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Title:
INLINE, MULTI-PORT BALL VALVE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/148144
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A ball valve assembly having a valve body with a single inline fluid passage therethrough along a central longitudinal axis. A ball valve is sealingly seated in a valve seat within the valve body. The ball valve includes at least two through-bores, each of the at least two through-bores having a central axis intersecting one another, whereby the ball valve is rotatable between a fully open position and a fully closed position. In one application the ball valve has two bores intersecting one another such that an angle α between adjacent bore openings of the ball valve are less than 90 degrees and an angle β between other adjacent ends of the ball valve are greater than 90 degrees for applying liquid product in a seed furrow before and after each seed in the furrow but not onto the seed.

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Inventors:
MCMENAMY, Justin (7019 W. Challacombe Road, Edwards, Illinois, 61528, US)
Application Number:
US2019/015487
Publication Date:
August 01, 2019
Filing Date:
January 28, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PRECISION PLANTING LLC (23207 Townline Road, Tremont, Illinois, 61568, US)
International Classes:
F16K5/10; F16K11/056; F16K11/087; F16K11/14; F16K21/08; F16K27/02
Foreign References:
US4130128A1978-12-19
US4655078A1987-04-07
US5564470A1996-10-15
US20080156121A12008-07-03
US4949656A1990-08-21
US20060231000A12006-10-19
US20080172159A12008-07-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OPPOLD, Thomas (Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd, 8300 Norman Center Drive,Suite 100, Minneapolis Minnesota, 55437, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A ball valve assembly, comprising:

a valve body having a single inline fluid passage therethrough between an inlet port and an outlet port, the single inline fluid passage having a central longitudinal axis;

a valve seat disposed within the valve body;

a ball valve sealingly seated in the valve seat;

an operating stem having a rotation axis transverse to the central longitudinal axis of the single inline fluid passage, the operating stem rotationally fixed with respect to the ball valve and rotatably journaled to the valve body such that rotation of the operating stem about the rotation axis rotates the ball valve within the valve seat;

at least two bores extending through the ball valve, each of the at least two bores having a central axis disposed along a plane coincident with the central longitudinal axis of the single inline fluid passage, the central axis of the first bore intersecting with the central axis of the second bore, whereby the ball valve is capable of rotating between a fully open position in which the central axis of one of the at least two bores is aligned with the central longitudinal axis of the single inline passage of the valve body and a fully closed position in which no portion of the at least two bores are in fluid communication with the single inline passageway of the valve body.

2. The ball valve assembly of claim 1, wherein the ball valve consists of a first bore and a second bore and wherein the central axis of the first bore and the central axis of the second bore intersect one another at a 90 degree angle such that a l/8th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa.

3. The ball valve assembly of claim 1, wherein the ball valve consists of a first bore and a second bore, the first bore having a first open end and a second open end, the second bore having a third end and a fourth end, wherein the central axis of the first bore and the central axis of the second bore intersect one another such that an angle a between the first open end and the third end is less than 90 degrees and an angle b between the second open end and the third end is greater than 90 degrees.

4. The ball valve assembly of claim 1, wherein the ball valve consists of three bores with the central axis of each of the three bores intersecting at an angle of 60 degrees such that a 1/12th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa.

5. The ball valve assembly of claim 1, wherein the ball valve consists of four bores with the central axis of each of the four bores intersecting at an angle of 45 degrees such that a 1/16th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa.

6. The ball valve assembly of claim 1, wherein the ball valve consists of five bores with the central axis of each of the five bores intersecting at an angle of 36 degrees such that a l/20th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa.

7. The ball valve assembly of claim 1, further comprising an actuator coupled to an upper end of the operating stem, the actuator capable of rotating the ball valve in one direction of rotation or in either direction of rotation.

8. The ball valve assembly of claim 7, wherein the actuator is configured to increment the rotation of the ball valve only between the fully open position and the fully closed position.

9. The ball valve assembly of claim 8, further comprising:

a magnet and a Hall effect sensor arranged on the ball valve body and the operating stem for generating a signal indicative of a position of the ball valve with respect to the fully open position or the fully closed position.

10. A method of applying liquid product during planting operations using the ball valve assembly of claim 3, wherein the liquid product is delivered via a liquid delivery tube into a seed furrow intermittently before and after each deposited seed in the furrow, but not onto the deposited seed in the furrow, the method comprising:

with the liquid applicator continually advancing in a forward direction of travel and with an outlet port of the liquid delivery tube aligned with the seed furrow, communicating the liquid product from a liquid product source to the inlet port of the ball valve body disposed along the liquid delivery tube, and with the ball valve rotating at a rotation rate corresponding to a travel velocity of the planter and a seed population rate via an actuator coupled to the operating stem of the ball valve assembly;

(a) timing alignment of the first open end of the first bore with the outlet port of the ball valve body so liquid product is delivered to the seed furrow rearward of a deposited seed relative to the forward direction of travel;

(b) interrupting the flow of liquid product from the delivery tube prior to reaching the deposited seed relative to the forward direction of travel as the ball valve rotates into the closed position through the angle al;

(c) delivering the liquid product to the seed furrow forward of the deposited seed relative to the forward direction of travel as the third end of the second bore rotates into alignment with the outlet port of the ball valve body;

(d) interrupting the flow of liquid product from the delivery tube as the ball valve rotates into the closed position through the angle bΐ;

(e) delivering liquid product to the seed furrow rearward of a next deposited seed relative to the forward direction of travel as the second open end of the first bore moves into alignment with the outlet port of the ball valve body;

(f) interrupting the flow of liquid product from the delivery tube prior to reaching said next deposited seed relative to the forward direction of travel as the ball valve rotates into the closed position through the angle a2;

(g) delivering the liquid product to the seed furrow forward of said next deposited seed relative to the forward direction of travel as the fourth end of the second bore rotates into alignment with the outlet port of the ball valve body;

(h) interrupting the flow of liquid product from the delivery tube as the ball valve rotates into the closed position through the angle b2;

(i) repeating steps (b) - (h) with respect to each of the deposited seeds in the seed furrow as the planter advances in the forward direction of travel.

Description:
INLINE, MULTI-PORT BALL VALVE

BACKGROUND

[0001] Ball valves or plug valves are well known in the art. Ball valves for inline, two port applications, such as disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,183,073 generally comprise a valve body defining a straight flow path between a fluid inlet port and a fluid outlet port. A rotatable ball or spherical plug having a single bore through its center is sealingly seated within the valve body. A stem extending through the valve body is attached at its lower end to the ball. A hand lever is typically attached to the other end of the stem. To open the ball valve so that fluid is permitted to flow through the fluid passage of the valve body, the handle is turned so as to align the single bore through the ball with the fluid passage of the valve body. To close the valve so that no fluid is permitted to flow through the passage, the handle is rotated in the opposite direction such that the single bore through the ball is at a right angle or 90 degrees to the fluid passage of the valve body. Because the handle or ball must be rotated 90 degrees to fully open or fully close the ball valve, such ball valves are commonly referred to as“quarter turn” ball valves.

[0002] Ball valves with two or more bores through the ball are also known in the art, but such ball valves are used in connection with 4 way - 4 port valves as shown in FIGs. 1 A and 1B and as disclosed in CN203948711 and DE19740392. Accordingly, there is a need for an inline, two port ball valve that will permit the valve to be fully opened and fully closed with a l/8-tum.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003] FIGs. 1 A and 1B are schematic illustrations of a prior art 4-way / 4 port valve with a 1/8- turn ball valve in the open and closed position, respectively.

[0004] FIG. 2 is an isometric view of an embodiment of an inline, two port, l/8-turn ball valve.

[0005] FIG. 3 is an isometric, partial cutaway view of the ball valve of FIG. 2 showing the ball seated in the ball seat within the valve body.

[0006] FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional view of the ball valve of FIG. 2 as viewed along lines 4-4 of FIG. 2 showing the valve in the open position. [0007] FIG. 4B is another cross-sectional view of the ball valve of FIG. 2 as viewed along lines 4-4 of FIG. 2 showing the valve in the closed position.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of a ball valve.

[0009] FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration showing liquid product applied intermittently to each side of a seed using the ball valve of FIG. 5.

DESCRIPTION

[0010] Referring to the drawings wherein like reference numerals indicate the same or corresponding parts throughout the several views, FIG. 2 is an isometric view of an embodiment of an inline, two port, 1/8 turn ball valve assembly 10. FIG. 3 is an isometric partial cross- sectional view of the ball valve assembly 10 of FIG. 2. As best viewed in FIG. 3, the ball valve assembly 10 comprises a valve body 12 having a longitudinal axis 14 and a transverse axis 16. A fluid passage 18 extends through the valve body 12 coaxial with the longitudinal axis 14 such that the two ports, i.e., an inlet port 20 and an outlet port 22, are inline. An operating stem 24 is rotatably journaled in the valve body 12 coaxial with the transverse axis 16. The operating stem 24 is fixedly joined at a lower end to a generally spherical ball valve 30 which is seated in a valve seat 32 within the valve body 12. In this embodiment, the bores 34, 36 are shown extending through the ball valve 30 intersecting one another at approximately 90 degree angles along a plane coincident with the longitudinal axis 14. Annular sealing rings 38 fluidly seal the ball valve 30 within the valve seat 32. An actuator 40 may be coupled to the upper end of the operating stem 24 to cause rotation of the operating stem 24 in either direction (i.e., clockwise or counterclockwise) as indicated by arrow 42. The rotation of the stem 24 causes the ball valve 30 fixed thereto to rotate within the valve seat 32.

[0011] FIG. 4A shows the valve 10 in the open position with the bore 34 aligned with the fluid passagel8 of the valve body 12, thus permitting fluid to flow through the valve. FIG. 4B shows the valve 10 in the closed position with the ball valve 30 rotated 1/8 of a turn or about 45 degrees such that both bores 34, 36 are out of alignment with the fluid passage 18, thus preventing fluid to flow through the valve. It should be appreciated that with the two bores 34, 36 positioned at 90 degree angles from one another allows the valve to be fully opened or fully closed with a 1/8- turn or about a 45 degree angular rotation of the ball valve 30 in either direction. It should also be appreciated that the stem 24 and ball valve 30 may be rotated in 1/8 incremental turns in a singular direction (i.e. continuously clockwise or continuously counterclockwise) to open and close the valve. Alternatively, rather the rotating in a singular direction, the stem 24 and ball valve 30 may be rotated 1/8 turn in one direction (e.g., clockwise) and then in the reverse direction (e.g., counterclockwise) to open and close the valve.

[0012] In operation, the actuator 40 will preferably be configured to limit the rotation of the stem 24 and ball valve 30 to 1/8 of a turn or approximately 45 degrees upon each actuation to ensure that the valve is either in a fully open or fully closed condition. In one embodiment, a magnet 45 can be disposed on stem 24 or valve body 12 and Hall effect sensors 47 can be disposed on valve body 12 or stem 24 opposite the magnet 45. When the magnet 45 and Hall effect sensors are aligned (indicating alignment of one of the bores 34, 36 with the passage 18) it may indicate a zero position for the ball valve 30 and the actuator 40 that drives the rotation of stem 24 for calibrating a percent of rotation. A ball valve configured in this manner will allow for faster opening and closing of the valve under operating conditions thereby providing more precise timing and control of fluid flow through the valve. One exemplary use for such a ball valve is in the application of agricultural chemicals to a field. By providing faster opening and closing of the valve, an operator is better able to control the application of chemicals to minimize over spraying and under-spraying.

[0013] In an alternative embodiment as shown in FIG. 5, rather than the bores 34, 36 intersecting one another at 90 degree angles such that the bore openings are equally spaced, it may be desirable to not have the bore openings equally spaced. A benefit of such configuration is that it allows both a smaller angle of rotation (and thus a shorter time period) between alignment of a bore opening with the outlet port 22 of the ball valve body 12 and a greater angle of rotation (and thus a longer time period) between alignment of the other bore openings with the outlet port 22 of the ball valve body 12. A practical application of a valve with such a configuration is to have the rotation of the ball valve 30 timed to deposit liquid to each side of a seed deposited in a seed furrow during planting operations but not onto the seed such as shown in FIG. 6. Thus, referring to FIG. 5, the first bore 34 has a first open end 34-1 and a second open end 34-2, and the second bore 36 has a third open end 36-1 and a fourth open end 36-2, with small angle al between the first open end 34-1 and the third open end 36-1 and small angle a2 between the second open end 34-2 and the fourth open end 36-2 and larger angle bΐ between the third open end 36-1 and second open end 34-2 and larger angle b2 between the fourth open end 36-2 and the first open end 34-1. Referring to FIGs. 5 and 6 together, assume liquid product is being applied within a seed furrow as the planter deposits seeds in the seed furrow as the planter advances in a forward direction of travel indicated by arrow 50 in FIG. 6. Although not shown in FIG. 6, it should be appreciated that a liquid delivery tube is aligned with the seed furrow and the ball valve is disposed along the liquid delivery tube. The liquid delivery tube is in fluid communication with a liquid product source delivering liquid product to the inlet port 22 of the ball valve assembly 10. As the planter advances in the forward direction of travel 50, the ball valve 30 is rotated by the actuator 40 at a rotation rate corresponding to the speed of the planter and the population rate at which the seed is being planted. For purposes of this example, it is assumed that the ball valve 30 is being rotated in the counter-clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 5, although it should be appreciated that the rotation could be in the clock-wise direction or the actuator40 may rotate back and forth between a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction. The first open end 34-1 of the first bore 34 is timed to be in alignment with the outlet port 22 and passage 18 of the ball valve body so liquid product is delivered to the seed furrow rearward of the deposited seed 60-1 (designated by strip“A” in FIG. 6). The flow of the liquid product from the liquid delivery tube is interrupted prior to reaching the deposited seed 60-1 as the ball valve rotates into the closed position through the angle al. As the planter continues in the forward direction of travel, the actuator 40 continues to rotate the ball valve 30 at the rotation rate. As the third end 36-1 of the second bore 36 rotates into alignment with the outlet port 22 and passage 18 of the ball valve body 12, the liquid product is again delivered to the seed furrow forward of the deposited seed 60-1 (designated by strip“B” in FIG. 6). As the actuator 40 rotates the ball valve 30 into the closed position through the angle bΐ, the flow of the liquid product from the delivery tube is once again interrupted. As the planter continues to advance in the forward direction of travel, liquid product is again delivered into the seed furrow rearward of the next deposited seed 60-2 as the second open end 34-2 of the first bore 34 moves into alignment with the outlet port 22 and passage 18 of the ball valve body 30 (designated by strip“C” in FIG. 6). As the ball valve 30 rotates into the closed position through the angle a2, the flow of the liquid product is interrupted prior to reaching the next deposited seed 60-2. The liquid product is again delivered to the furrow as the fourth end 36-2 of the second bore 36 rotates into alignment with the outlet port 22 and passage 18 of the ball valve body 12 (designated by strip“D” in FIG. 6). The liquid product from the liquid delivery tube is once again interrupted as the ball valve 30 rotates into the closed position through the angle b2. This process is repeated with respect to each of the deposited seeds in the seed furrow as the planter advances in the forward direction of travel.

[0014] While the ball valve assembly 10 is depicted in the drawing figures with the inlet and outlet ports 20, 22 having flanges 44 for bolting to a fluid conduit or pipe (not shown) with mating flanges, it should be appreciated that, depending on the application, the flanges may be eliminated and the inlet and outlet ports 20, 22 may be internally threaded or externally threaded to threadably couple to a tube, conduit or pipe, or the inlet and outlet ports 20, 22 may include or be adapted to connect to a conduit with compression fittings or any other suitable coupling means.

[0015] Additionally, while the valve body 12 is depicted in the drawing figures as being fabricated from individual component fixed together by weldments and/or fasteners, it should be appreciated that the valve body 12 may be a unitary body that is cast or molded from any suitable materials depending on the application, including, but not limited to metal or plastic.

[0016] Furthermore, rather than an actuator 40 to rotate the operating stem 24 for opening and closing the valve, a lever or hand wheel may be attached to the stem for rotation manually by hand. In such an embodiment, marking (not shown) can be placed on the valve body 12 to align with the lever to indicate the alignment of the bores 34, 36 with the fluid passage 18 to indicate whether the valve is in either a fully open or fully closed condition.

[0017] Also, while illustrated with two bores 34, 36; ball valve 30 may be fabricated with three bores with the central axis of each of the three bores intersecting at an angle of 60 degrees such that a 1/12th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa. Alternatively, the ball valve 30 may be fabricated with four bores with the central axis of each of the four bores intersecting at an angle of 45 degrees such that a 1/16th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa. Alternatively, the ball valve 30 may be fabricated with five bores with the central axis of each of the five bores intersecting at an angle of 36 degrees such that a l/20th rotation of the ball valve in either direction of rotation from the fully open position moves the ball valve to the fully closed position and vice-versa. It should be appreciated that the ball valve 30 may include more bores up to any number that can be disposed through ball valve 30.

[0018] The present invention is not to be limited to the embodiments of the apparatus, systems and methods described herein and illustrated in the drawing figures, but should be accorded the widest scope consistent with the disclosure and the appended claims.