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Title:
JOINT ASSEMBLY, PARTICULARLY FOR PIPES CROSSED BY SUBSTANCES IN FLUID AND/OR GRANULAR AND/OR POWDERED AND/OR SOLID STATE IN GENERAL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/069030
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A joint assembly, particularly for pipes crossed by substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in gĂȘnerai, that comprises means of mutually clamping a first half-joint (2), substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a first end section of a first pipe (A), and a second half-joint (3), substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a second end section of a second pipe (B), for the mutual joining of the first pipe (A) and of the second pipe (B). The clamping means comprise at least one first conical flaring (4), defined inside the first half-joint (2), for shape coupling with a first conical surface portion (5) of the second half-joint (3). The clamping means moreover comprise an outer clamping body (6), which can be coupled to the first half-joint (2) and to the second half-joint (3), for their mutual clamping and for the provision of at least one first hermetic conical coupling, between the first conical flaring (4) and the first conical surface portion (5).

Inventors:
LARDIERI SALVATORE (IT)
Application Number:
IT2011/000370
Publication Date:
May 16, 2013
Filing Date:
November 08, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LARDIERI SALVATORE (IT)
International Classes:
F16K27/02; F16L23/00; F16L55/07
Domestic Patent References:
WO2003048624A12003-06-12
Foreign References:
EP2028399A12009-02-25
US4213595A1980-07-22
DE3220659A11983-12-08
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO Micaela (MODIANO & PARTNERS, Via Meravigli 16, MILANO, 20123, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A joint assembly, particularly for pipes crossed by substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general, comprising means of mutually clamping a first half-joint (2), substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a first end section of a first pipe (A), and a second half-joint (3), substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a second end section of a second pipe (B), for the mutual joining of the first pipe (A) and of the second pipe (B), characterized in that said clamping means comprise at least one first conical flaring (4), defined inside said first half-joint (2), for shape coupling with a first conical surface portion (5) of said second half-joint (3), said clamping means comprising an outer clamping body (6), which can be coupled to said first half-joint (2) and to said second half-joint (3), for their mutual clamping and for the provision of at least one first hermetic conical coupling, between said first conical flaring (4) and said first conical surface portion (5).

2. The joint assembly according to claim 1 , characterized in that it comprises a dividing baffle (7), installed at the passage opening (8) defined by said first half-joint (2) and by said second half-joint (3), said baffle (7) rotating on command about one of its diametrical axes in order to pass from a closed configuration, in which said baffle (7) is arranged parallel to said half-joints (2, 3), in order to block at least partially the opening (8), to an open configuration, in which said baffle (7) is inclined with respect to said half-joints (2, 3), in order to allow the passage of materials, particularly of substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general, through said opening (8), and vice versa.

3. The joint assembly according to claims 1 and 2, characterized in that each one of said half-joints (2, 3) comprises two cavities (9), mutually opposite diametrically and facing toward the respective cavities (9) of the other one of said half-joints (3, 2), at the mutual coupling of said first half- joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3), each pair of said mutually facing cavities (9) defining an insertion seat (10) for at least one rotating pin (11), supporting said baffle (7), for its rotation from said open configuration to said closed configuration, and vice versa.

4. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first half-joint (2) and said second half- joint (3) are provided inside with respective perimetric niches (12), mutually facing, so as to define a groove (13) for accommodating a gasket seal (14), adapted to prevent leaks between said baffle (7) and said half-joints (2, 3), in said closed configuration.

5. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first conical surface portion (5) is substantially defined along the contoured outer lateral surface (15) of said second half-joint (3).

6. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said contoured outer lateral surface (15) is provided with an end protrusion (16), directed toward said first half-joint (2), said first conical surface portion (5) being defined along the outer face of said protrusion (16) and adapted to shape coupling with said first flaring (4) of said first half-joint (2).

7. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first half-joint (2) is provided, substantially at its outer rim, with a circumferential contoured lip (17) directed toward said second half-joint (3), said first flaring (4) being defined along the inner face of said lip (17) and in contact with said first conical surface portion (5) of said second half-joint (3) at the mutual clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3), for the provision of the first hermetic conical coupling.

8. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that at least one from among said first half-joint (2), said second half-joint (3) and said outer body (6) is made of a material preferably chosen from among a polymeric material and a metallic material.

9. The joint assembly according to one or more of claims 1 to 8, characterized in that said first half-joint (2) and said second half-joint (3) are provided with a surface layer, which will be in contact with the substances, made of metallic material, the remaining part of said first half- joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3) being made of a polymeric material and co-molded with said layer.

10. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said clamping means comprise said first conical flaring (4) and a second conical flaring (18), spaced apart from said first flaring (4) and defined inside said first half-joint (2), for shape coupling respectively with said first conical surface portion (5) and with a second conical surface portion (19) of said second half-joint (3), for the provision of a first hermetic conical coupling and of a second hermetic conical coupling, at the clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half- joint (3) by said outer body (6).

11. The joint assembly according to claim 10, characterized in that said second conical surface portion (19) is substantially defined along said contoured outer lateral surface (15) of said second half-joint (3).

12. The joint assembly according to claims 10 and 11, characterized in that said first half-joint (2) is provided with a plurality of teeth (20), arranged on the tip of respective elastically deformable extensions (21) extending from said lip (17), said teeth (20) being capable of being snap- fitted with said second half-joint (3) at the coupling with said body (6), with consequent mutual clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3).

13. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the inner wall of said body (6) is provided with an abutment surface (22) with a corresponding area mated (23) to said lip (17) and, on the opposite side, an indentation (24) facing and proximate to a pit (25) defined along said outer lateral surface (15) of said second half-joint (3), for the stable accommodation, through snap-fitting, of each one of said teeth (20), following the snap-acting insertion of said body (6) and of the consequent elastic deformation of said extensions (21), with corresponding mutual clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3).

14. The joint assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said extensions (21) are provided internally with said second flaring (18), spaced apart from said first flaring (4) and in contact with said second conical surface portion (19) of said second half- joint (3), at the mutual clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3), for the provision of the second hermetic conical coupling.

15. The joint assembly according to one or more of claims 1 to 9, characterized in that said contoured lateral surface (15) of said second half- joint (3) shapes an outer L-shaped rim (26), forced into contact, in order to increase the seal, with a circumferential enlargement (27) of said first half- joint (2), at the clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half- joint (3) by said outer body (6).

16. The joint assembly according to claim 15, characterized in that said outer body (6) is substantially constituted by a U-shaped profile (28), so as to define two lateral arms (29) connected by an intermediate portion (30), said lateral arms (29) having a C-shaped cross-section which is open inward, in order to clamp mutually facing perimetric crests (31) of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3), with consequent coupling of said profile (28) with said first half-joint (2) and with said second half-joint (3), for their mutual clamping.

17. The joint assembly according to claims 15 and 16, characterized in that each one of said lateral arms (29) is provided with a raised edge(32), slideable in a track (33) provided along said crest (31) of said first half-joint (2), as a guide for clamping said crests (31).

18. The joint assembly according to one or more of claims 1 to 9, characterized in that said clamping body (6) is substantially constituted by an annular collar (34), said collar (34) being provided with a plurality of projections (35) directed inward and adapted to abut against a corresponding plurality of counter-projections (36) protruding out from said first half-joint (2), at the coupling of said body (6) according to a preset angular arrangement with said first half-joint (2) and with said second half- joint (3), for their mutual clamping.

19. The joint assembly according to claim 18, characterized in that said collar (34) is constituted by a first half-ring (37a) and by a second half- ring (37b), which can be mutually fixed by way of respective removable mutual anchoring means (38).

20. The joint assembly according to claims 18 and 19, characterized in that said removable mutual anchoring means (38) comprise a plurality of protrusions (39) spaced apart by respective inlets, provided on each end of said half-rings (37a, 37b), at the mutual coupling of said half-rings (37a, 37b), each one of said protrusions (39) of each one of said half-rings (37a, 37b) being inserted in a corresponding inlet of the other one of the said half- rings (37b, 37a), said anchoring means (38) comprising a pair of pegs (40) that can be inserted in through holes defined in said protrusions (39) and aligned in the configuration of mutual coupling of said half-rings (37a, 37b).

21. The joint assembly according to one or more of claims 1 to 9, characterized in that said clamping body (6) is substantially constituted by an annular collar (34), said collar (34) being provided with a plurality of buttons (41) that are elastically kept extracted and are directed inward, at the snap-acting insertion of said collar (34) with said first half-joint (2) and with said second half-joint (3), said buttons (41) being stably accommodated in a tangential mortise (43), delimited by a pair of ridges (44) externally provided on said first half-joint (2), for the mutual clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3).

22. The joint assembly according to claim 21, characterized in that the ridge (44) directed toward said second half-joint (3) when said first half- joint (2) and said second half-joint (3) are mutually coupled, is provided with a plurality of openings (45), in order to permit, at at least one specific angular arrangement of said collar (34) with respect to said first half-joint (2), the passage of said buttons (41) and the extraction of said collar (34).

23. The joint assembly according to claims 21 and 22, characterized in that said clamping means comprise said first conical flaring (4) and a second conical flaring (18), spaced apart from said first flaring (4) and defined inside said first half-joint (2), for shape coupling respectively with said first conical surface portion (5) and with a second conical surface portion (19) of said second half-joint (3), for the provision of a first hermetic conical coupling and of a second hermetic conical coupling, of the type of a Morse taper, at the clamping of said first half-joint (2) and of said second half-joint (3) by said outer body (6).

24. The joint assembly according to claim 23, characterized in that said second conical surface portion (19) is substantially defined along said contoured outer lateral surface (15) of said second half-joint (3), said second conical flaring (18) being defined along said circumferential contoured lip (17).

25. The joint assembly according to one or more of claims 21 to 24, characterized in that said first half-joint (2) and said collar (34) are provided with respective counter-inclined surfaces in mutual contact, in order to define a third conical coupling and a further increase of the seal.

Description:
JOINT ASSEMBLY, PARTICULARLY FOR PIPES CROSSED BY SUBSTANCES IN FLUID AND/OR GRANULAR AND/OR POWDERED AND/OR SOLID STATE IN GENERAL

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a joint assembly, particularly for pipes crossed by substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general.

Background Art

As is known, numerous implementation solutions are widespread in industry which perform the function of joining or connecting two distinct pipes, both where they are substantially coaxial, and where they have different orientations, and for example have axes that are mutually perpendicular or variously incident.

At such joints, it is often necessary to install valves, other blocking elements and similar devices, in order to control and limit the passage of substances from one pipe to the next.

With particular reference to the pharmaceutical, chemical, food, cosmetic and agriculture industries, it is common to use butterfly valves (or other blocking elements), designed to intercept a flow of substances, which typically are in the fluid state or in the powdered or granular state (or solid state in general).

As is known, such valves are normally constituted by a dividing baffle, which can be located in the point of connection between two distinct pipes and which rotates on command about one of its diametrical axes. The rotation enables the baffle to be brought from a first configuration, in which it is arranged to completely block the pipe, to a second configuration, so as to open the pipe and the passage section in which the baffle is installed, in order to allow the free or partial circulation of the substances, and vice versa.

To ensure the correct coupling between the two pipes, once the connector element is installed at the connection, use is frequently made of screw or toggle elements, which make it possible to mutually and stably secure the outer walls of the connected pipes (such elements, moreover, are sometimes used simply to couple the two pipes, even when there are no valves or other devices).

Such implementations are however not free from drawbacks.

In fact, it is often difficult to ensure the necessary seal at the joint, precisely because of the nature of such substances, which tend to infiltrate into every gap, no matter how small, which may be caused by an imperfect coupling between two parts of the walls of the pipes in contact.

Such drawback is even more felt when it is necessary to install valves at the joint.

It is precisely the increased complexity of assembly, and generally of the device obtained, that in fact makes the risk of couplings that are even only partially incorrect more probable, with consequent possibilities of unwanted leaks or losses of fluids or powders, both outward, and from one part of the pipe to the other, when the valve is in the closed configuration.

Moreover, the very type of clamping adopted (by way of the above mentioned screw or toggle elements) is the cause of further risks, in that following the clamping, this type ensures the desired mutual coupling, even at imperfect couplings between the parts, but they are such as to produce the onset of unwanted gaps and passage openings, even if small, often not visible to the naked eye (and/or inside the joint, thus, again, hidden from view).

Thus, with an apparently correct assembly, the joint could contain imperfections and misalignments that are such as to determine losses and/or leaks, which, while modest, over time would compromise the reliability of the device and jeopardize its operation, until maintenance and/or repair is required.

Moreover, it should be observed that the use of screw or toggle elements involves the presence of outer protrusions on the pipes, which can cause a hindrance or be knocked against by operators during normal operations, with consequent danger of cuts or grazes.

Disclosure of the invention

The aim of the present invention is to solve the above mentioned problems, by providing a joint assembly that ensures an optimal seal of the coupling provided thereby.

Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that ensures an optimal seal of the coupling between two pipes, including in the event of installation, at the point of connection, of a valve, for example of the type of a butterfly valve.

Another object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that ensures the possibility of obtaining a correct coupling between two pipes, in a practical and easy manner, without resorting to screws, bolts and the like.

A further object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that ensures an optimal seal, without the risk of incorrectly coupled portions remaining.

Another object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that has contained external encumbrances, without the presence of protruding elements that are potentially hazardous for operators in the immediate vicinity.

Another object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly constituted by a low number of components.

Another object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that ensures a high reliability of operation and for which simple maintenance is required.

Another object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that can be easily implemented using elements and materials that are readily available on the market.

Another object of the invention is to provide a joint assembly that is low weight, low cost and safely applied.

This aim and these objects are all achieved by a joint assembly, particularly for pipes crossed by substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general, comprising means of mutually clamping a first half-joint, substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a first end section of a first pipe, and a second half-joint, substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a second end section of a second pipe, for the mutual joining of the first pipe and of the second pipe, characterized in that said clamping means comprise at least one first conical flaring, defined inside said first half-joint, for shape coupling with a first conical surface portion of said second half-joint, said clamping means comprising an outer clamping body, which can be coupled to said first half-joint and to said second half-joint, for their mutual clamping and for the provision of at least one first hermetic conical coupling, between said first conical flaring and said first conical surface portion.

Brief description of the drawings

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of five preferred, but not exclusive, embodiments of the joint assembly according to the invention, illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings wherein:

Figures 1 to 18 show the joint assembly according to the invention, in the first embodiment, more specifically:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of the joint assembly according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a side elevation view of the joint assembly according to the invention, interposed between two pipes, shown as dotted lines;

Figure 3 is a front elevation view of the joint assembly according to the invention, deprived of some components;

Figure 4 is a sectional view of Figure 3, taken along the line IV-IV; Figure 5 is a sectional view of Figure 3, taken along the line V-V; Figure 6 is a front elevation view of the first half-joint;

Figure 7 is a sectional view of Figure 6, taken along the line VII-VII; Figure 8 is a greatly enlarged detail of Figure 7;

Figure 9 is a side elevation view of the first half-joint;

Figure 10 is a view from above of the first half-joint;

Figure 11 is a front elevation view of the second half-joint;

Figure 12 is a sectional view of Figure 11, taken along the line XII-

XII;

Figure 13 is a sectional view of Figure 11, taken along the line XIII-

XIII;

Figure 14 is a side elevation view of the second half-joint;

Figure 15 is a front elevation view of the outer clamping body;

Figure 16 is a sectional view of Figure 15, taken along the line XVI- XVI;

Figure 17 is a side elevation view of the outer clamping body;

Figure 18 is a greatly enlarged and sectional detail, taken along a plane perpendicular to the half-joints, of the joint assembly according to the invention, and shows the mutual coupling between first half-joint, second half-joint and outer clamping body;

Figures 19 to 21 show the joint assembly according to the invention, in the second embodiment, more specifically:

Figure 19 is an exploded perspective view of the joint assembly according to the invention;

Figure 20 is a sectional view of the coupling between the two half- joints, taken along an axial plane;

Figure 21 is a greatly enlarged detail of the joint assembly in Figure 19, in a sectional view taken along an axial plane;

Figures 22 to 26 show the joint assembly according to the invention, in the third embodiment, more specifically: Figure 22 is an exploded perspective view of the joint assembly according to the invention;

Figure 23 is a perspective view of the outer clamping body;

Figure 24 is an exploded perspective view of the outer clamping body;

Figure 25 is a greatly enlarged detail of the joint assembly in Figure 22, in a sectional view taken along an axial plane, in a first variation of embodiment;

Figure 26 is a greatly enlarged detail of the joint assembly in Figure 22, in a sectional view taken along an axial plane, in a second variation of embodiment;

Figures 27 and 28 show the joint assembly according to the invention, in the fourth embodiment, more specifically:

Figure 27 is an exploded perspective view of the joint assembly according to the invention;

Figure 28 is a greatly enlarged detail of some components of the joint assembly in Figure 27, in a sectional view taken along an axial plane;

Figures 29 to 31 show the joint assembly according to the invention, in the fifth embodiment, more specifically:

Figure 29 is a perspective view of the joint assembly according to the invention;

Figure 30 is an exploded perspective view of the joint assembly according to the invention;

Figure 31 is a greatly enlarged detail of the joint assembly in Figure 29, in a sectional view taken along an axial plane.

Ways of carrying out the invention

With reference to the figures, the joint assembly according to the invention, generally designated with the reference numeral 1 , is particularly indicated for joining pipes crossed by substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general, and, even more specifically, as will be seen below, the assembly 1 is preferably but not exclusively intended to accommodate a butterfly valve, or other blocking element, adapted to regulate the passage of such substances (where between powdered and/or granular substances it is understood that this range includes, among other formats, substances that are provided in the form of nuggets, pellets, blocks, and other discrete solid components).

It should therefore be emphasized from here onward that such uses constitute preferred applications of the present invention, and it is to such applications that reference will be made hereinafter in this discussion.

However, the possibility is not ruled out of using the assembly 1 according to the invention in different fields of application, according to specific requirements, without departing from the scope of protection claimed herein.

The assembly 1 according to the invention comprises means of mutually clamping a first half-joint 2, substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a first end section of a first pipe A, and a second half-joint 3, substantially annular in shape and which can be associated with a second end section of a second pipe B (as can be seen in Figure 2), in order to thus obtain the mutual joining of the first pipe A and of the second pipe B.

It should be noted that the first pipe A and the second pipe B can be part of a new plant, in which it is necessary to provide a joint (optionally provided with a valve) that avails of the advantages that can be achieved by using the assembly 1 according to the invention, but the possibility is not ruled out of using the assembly 1 on existing plants, without departing from the scope of protection claimed herein, by welding or otherwise coupling the first pipe A and the second pipe B to pre-existing pipes, at a point of discontinuity thereof.

According to the invention, the clamping means comprise at least one first conical flaring 4, which is defined within the first half-joint 2 and which can provide a shape coupling with a first conical surface portion 5 of the second half-joint 3.

The above mentioned clamping means moreover comprise an outer clamping body 6, which can be coupled to the first half-joint 2 and to the second half-joint 3, in order to ensure their mutual clamping and the consequent provision of at least one first hermetic conical coupling, between the first conical flaring 4 and the first conical surface portion 5 (thus achieving, from here onward, the intended aim).

According to the preferred embodiment, cited by way of non-limiting illustration of the application of the invention, the joint assembly 1 comprises a dividing baffle 7, installed at the passage opening 8 defined by the first half-joint 2 and by the second half-joint 3.

The baffle 7 rotates on command about one of its diametrical axes in order to pass from a closed configuration, in which the baffle 7 is arranged parallel to the half-joints 2, 3, in order to at least partially block the opening 8 (as in Figure 1, where blocking is total), to an open configuration, in which the baffle 7 is inclined with respect to the half-joints 2, 3, in order to permit the passage of materials, particularly of substances in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general, through the opening 8, and vice versa.

Thus as briefly stated in the foregoing pages, according to the preferred embodiment the joint assembly 1 is designed to accommodate the components of a butterfly valve, capable of intercepting on command the flow of substances (in particular, in the fluid state and/or in the granular and/or powdered and/or solid state in general) thanks to the presence of the baffle 7.

The hermetic conical coupling thus ensures that at such valve (and thus at the point of discontinuity between the first pipe A and the second pipe B), no unwanted outward leaks or losses of substances can occur.

Advantageously, each half-joint 2, 3 comprises two cavities 9, mutually opposite diametrically and facing toward the respective cavities 9 of the other half-joint 3, 2, at the mutual coupling of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3.

As can be seen from the accompanying figures, each pair of such mutually facing cavities 9 defines an insertion seat 10 for at least one rotating pin 11, supporting the baffle 7, in order to enable and thus command its rotation from the open configuration to the closed configuration, and vice versa.

More specifically, the possibility exists for the joint assembly 1 according to the invention to be provided with a single rotating pin 11, accommodated in the insertion seats 10, and supporting the baffle 7. As an alternative, the assembly 1 can be provided with two separate rotating pins 11 (coaxial), each one of which is accommodated in a corresponding insertion seat 10 (as in the solutions proposed in Figures 19, 22, 29 and 30).

Conveniently, the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3 are provided with respective perimetric niches 12, mutually facing, so as to define a groove 13, adapted to accommodate a gasket seal 14, adapted to prevent leaks between the baffle 7 and the half-joints 2, 3, when the baffle 7 is arranged in the closed configuration (and to generally increase the seal at the point of discontinuity between the two half-joints 2, 3).

In the embodiments proposed in the accompanying figures by way of non-limiting example, the first conical surface portion 5 is substantially defined along the contoured outer lateral surface 15 of the second half-joint 3.

More specifically, the contoured outer lateral surface 15 is provided with an end protrusion 16, which extends along all of the outer circumference of the second half-joint 3 and which is directed toward the first half-joint 2.

Along the outer face of the protrusion 16, the first conical surface portion 5 is defined, adapted to shape coupling with the first flaring 4 of the first half-joint 2.

Moreover, the first half-joint 2 is provided, substantially at its outer rim, with a circumferential contoured lip 17 directed toward the second half- joint 3. Defined along the inner face of the lip 17 is the first flaring 4, in contact with the first surface portion 5 of the second half-joint 3, at the mutual clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3, in order to obtain the provision of the above mentioned first hermetic conical coupling.

Positively, every element of the assembly 1 according to the invention can be made (without departing from the scope of protection claimed herein), from a choice of material (and of any size), according to requirements and to the state of the art.

In particular, the possibility exists that at least one from among the first half-joint 2, the second half-joint 3 and the clamping body 6 (or even other elements of the assembly 1 according to the invention), is made from a material that is preferably chosen from among a polymeric material and a metallic material.

Moreover, according to an embodiment of important practical interest, it is possible to provide assemblies 1 according to the invention in which the elements intended to come into direct contact with the substances that travel through the pipes (or even just the surface layers of these same elements intended for contact) are made of metallic material (better quality), while the other elements can be constituted by polymeric materials.

Thus by way of example, each half-joint 2, 3 could be provided with an inner surface layer, intended to come into contact with the substances, made of metallic material, with the remaining part made of a polymeric material co-molded with the layer (for example, a jacket of polymeric material could be co-molded around the surface layer). Such option, by way of non-limiting example, is shown in the accompanying drawings with reference to the embodiment in Figures 22 to 26. In fact, Figures 25 and 26 show how it is possible, in a first different embodiment, to provide the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3 in a single material (see Figure 25) or, in a second different embodiment, in two different materials, one for the inner surface layer and one for the outer jacket (in Figure 26).

It should be noted that solutions which involve the use of polymeric materials moreover confer an excellent interchangeability (since elements obtained by molding have constant dimensions) and ensure easy installation and maintenance (since elements made of polymeric materials are not weighty and can be easily disassembled and transported).

In a first embodiment of the assembly 1 according to the invention, shown by way of non-limiting example in Figures 1 to 18, in order to ensure an optimal seal of the joint assembly 1 according to the invention, and preclude any risk of outward leaks and losses of substances, the clamping means comprise both the first conical flaring 4 and also a second conical flaring 18, spaced apart from the first flaring 4 and defined within the first half-joint 2. The second flaring 18 can thus provide a second shape coupling with a second conical surface portion 19 of the second half-joint 3, thus achieving, in addition to the first hermetic conical coupling, a second hermetic conical coupling, at the clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3, by the body 6.

In this manner, it is possible to achieve the provision of two hermetic conical couplings, a further guarantee against any losses and leaks of substances, if the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3 are mutually clamped following the coupling with the body 6, which in this embodiment is substantially annular in shape.

More specifically, as can be seen in particular from Figures 13, 14 and 18, the first conical surface portion 5 and the second conical surface portion 19 are both substantially defined along the contoured outer lateral surface 15 of the second half-joint 3 (the second conical surface portion 19 corresponds substantially to a median band of the outer lateral surface 15 of the second half-joint 3).

Conveniently, the first half-joint 2 is provided with a plurality of teeth 20, arranged on the tip of respective elastically deformable extensions 21, which extend from the lip 17. The teeth 20 are capable of being snap-fitted with the second half-joint 3 (according to methods that will be better clarified below) at the coupling with the body 6, in order to obtain the consequent mutual clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half- joint 3.

In order to obtain the desired coupling of the body 6 with the half- joints 2, 3, with consequent mutual clamping of the latter, conveniently the inner wall of the body 6 is provided with an abutment surface 22 with a corresponding area 23 mated to the lip 17. Moreover, on the opposite side, the inner wall of the body 6 is provided with an indentation 24 facing and proximate to a pit 25 defined along the outer lateral surface 15 of the second half-joint 3, for the stable accommodation, through snap-fitting, of each tooth 20 (as illustrated in Figure 18).

Thus, following the coupling of the body 6 to the two half-joints 2, 3 (obtainable substantially with the snap-acting insertion of the body 6, in an axial direction), while the abutment surface 22 rests on the area 23, the body 6 causes the elastic deformation of the extensions 21, which rotate partially inward, with the tooth 20 which is brought into partial accommodation in the pit 25 (and also in the indentation 24). It is precisely this accommodation of the tooth 20 in the pit 25 that determines the mutual clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3, since, as can be seen in particular in Figure 18, an extraction of the latter with respect to the former is prevented.

Conveniently, as can be seen again from Figure 18, according to the embodiment shown therein, it is precisely the extensions 21 that are internally provided with the second flaring 18, which is spaced apart from the first flaring 4 and is in contact with the second surface portion 19 of the second half-joint 3, at the mutual clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3, in order to provide the second hermetic conical coupling.

In a second possible embodiment, which can be seen in Figures 19 to 21 , the contoured lateral surface 15 shapes an outer L-shaped rim 26 which is forced into contact with a circumferential enlargement 27 of the first half- joint 2, when the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3 are mutually clamped by the outer body 6.

These elements forced into mutual contact, as with the second conical coupling described with regard to the first embodiment, increase the seal of the assembly 1 against any losses and leaks of materials.

More specifically, as can be seen in particular in Figure 19, the outer body 6 is substantially constituted by a U-shaped profile 28 so as to define two lateral arms 29 connected by an intermediate portion 30.

The lateral arms 29 have a C-shaped cross-section which is open inward, so as to allow them to clamp mutually facing perimetric crests 31 (arranged on planes substantially parallel to the opening 8) of the first half- joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3, with consequent coupling of the profile 28 with the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3, for their mutual clamping.

In order to facilitate the mounting of the assembly 1 , and more precisely the above mentioned step of clamping the crests 31 by the arms 29, each one of the arms 29 is provided with a raised edge 32, slideable in a track 33 provided along the crest 31 of the first half-joint 2, in order to guide the clamping of the crests 31 (which is thus achieved by bringing the profile 28 to laterally embrace, according to the direction and in the way indicated by the arrow C in Figure 19, the two half-joints 2, 3).

In a third embodiment of the joint assembly 1 according to the invention, shown in Figures 22 to 26, the clamping body 6 is substantially constituted by an annular collar 34, which is provided with a plurality of projections 35 directed inward, adapted to abut against a corresponding plurality of counter-projections 36 which protrude out from the first half- joint 2, at the coupling of the body 6 according to a preset angular arrangement with the first half-joint 2 and with the second half-joint 3, for their mutual clamping.

In more detail, in order to obtain the clamping, it is is sufficient to embrace the two half-joints 2, 3 with the collar 34 (for example by making it slide coaxially until it is brought into abutment against the rotating pin 11 that protrudes, or other elements of the two half-joints 2,3). The axial height at which the projections 35 are arranged is such that a rotation of the collar 34, in order to align them with the counter-projections 36, brings them below the latter with the respective mutually facing surfaces forced into contact (and provided inclined precisely in order to facilitate such coupling), and this ensures the mutual clamping of the two half-joints 2, 3. Naturally, in order to dismount the collar 34 it is sufficient to rotate it in the opposite direction and slide it off the half-joints 2, 3 (and slide it off the pipes A, B).

Conveniently, the possibility exists that the collar 34 is constituted by a first half-ring 37a and by a second half-ring 37b, which can be mutually fixed by way of respective mutual anchoring means 38.

More specifically, the mutual anchoring means 38 comprise a plurality of protrusions 39 spaced apart by respective inlets, provided on each end of the half-rings 37a, 37b.

When the mutual coupling of the half-rings 37a, 37b is determined, each projection 39 of each half-ring 37a, 37b is inserted into a corresponding inlet of the other half-ring 37b, 37a. The anchoring means 38 then comprise a pair of pegs 40 that are introduced into through holes defined in the protrusions 39 and aligned in the configuration of mutual coupling of the half-rings 37a, 37b, with this providing the desired mutual anchoring of the half-rings 37a, 37b.

The choice to adopt a collar 34 constituted by two half-rings 37a, 37b makes it possible to mount the collar 34 even when it is not possible to couple it coaxially to the two half-joints 2, 3, for example if it is necessary to install clamping bodies 6 on pre-existing plants and pipes. In such case in fact, it is possible, from opposite sides, to laterally embrace the half-joints 2, 3 (and optionally the pipes A, B), with the respective half-rings 37a, 37b, in order to then mutually anchor them with the pegs 40.

Figures 27 to 31 show a fourth and a fifth embodiment of the joint assembly 1 according to the invention, which differ from each other in that the fifth (illustrated in Figures 29, 30 and 31) shows the use of a joint assembly 1 on pipes that accommodate a baffle 7 of a butterfly valve (the baffle 7 is not present in the fourth embodiment, illustrated in Figures 27 and 28, designed as a simple pipe joint A, B, without regulation of the flow of substances that circulate therewithin).

In any case, in each one of the two embodiments shown in the above mentioned Figures 27 to 31, the clamping body 6 is substantially constituted by an annular collar 34 (for example of the type provided with anchoring means 38 for mutually coupling two half-rings 37a, 37b, as in the embodiment described previously) that can be inserted in a snap-acting manner, according to an axial direction, or coupled to the half-joints 2, 3 according to a transverse direction, taking advantage of the presence of the half-rings 37a, 37b.

Moreover, the collar 34 is provided with a plurality of buttons 41 that are elastically kept extracted and are directed inward, for example thanks to the action of a spring 42 interposed between the buttons 41 and the collar 34.

At the coupling of the collar 34 to the first half-joint 2 and to the second half-joint 3, the buttons 41 are brought stably into accommodation in a tangential mortise 43, which is delimited by a pair of ridges 44 externally provided on the first half-joint 2. The ridges 44 prevent the accidental removal of the collar 34 (since they obstruct the translational motion in an axial direction of the buttons 41) and this ensures the mutual clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3.

Conveniently, in order to allow the removal of the collar 34, and thus the dismantling of the assembly 1 , the ridge 44 directed toward the second half-joint 3 (at the mutual coupling between the latter and the first half-joint 2), is provided with a plurality of openings 45, such as to allow, at at least one specific angular arrangement of the collar 34 with respect to the first half-joint 2, the passage of the buttons 41 and thus the translational motion of the collar 34 according to an axial direction.

In place of the buttons 41, it should be noted that the collar 34 can also be provided with a plurality of cylindrical pins, directed inward and stably engageable with the mortise 43.

Moreover, it should be observed that in the fourth embodiment as well, similarly to the observations for the first and the second embodiment, forced contact is provided between the outer lateral surface 15 and the lip 17 in a second area also (generally designated with D in Figure 28), in order to increase the seal offered by the assembly 1 according to the invention.

Conveniently, in the fifth embodiment as well, the clamping means comprise both the first conical flaring 4 and a second conical flaring 18, spaced apart from the first flaring 4 and defined within the first half-joint 2. The second flaring 18 can thus provide a second shape coupling, of the type of a Morse taper, with a second conical surface portion 19 of the second half-joint 3, thus obtaining, in addition to the first hermetic conical coupling, a second hermetic conical coupling, at the clamping of the first half-joint 2 and of the second half-joint 3, by the body 6.

Thus again, two hermetic conical couplings are obtained (the second, of the type of a Morse taper), a further guarantee against possible losses and leaks of substances, when the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3 are mutually clamped following the coupling with the body 6, which in this embodiment is constituted by the collar 34. More specifically, as can be seen in particular from Figures 13, 14 and 18, the first conical surface portion 5 and the second conical surface portion 19 are both substantially defined along the contoured outer lateral surface 15 of the second half-joint 3, while the second conical flaring 18 is defined along the circumferential contoured lip 17.

Moreover, as can be seen from Figure 31 , in the fifth embodiment, in order to obtain a further increase of the seal, a third conical coupling is provided (in this case, between the first half-joint 2 and the outer body 6 constituted by the collar 34), at the join area, designated with E in Figure 31 , defined by counter-inclined surfaces placed in mutual contact.

Operation of the joint assembly according to the invention is the following.

Faced with the necessity to join together a first pipe A to a second pipe B, it is possible to use the assembly 1 according to the invention, by firstly associating, according to known methods, the first half-joint 2 with a first end section of the first pipe A and the second half-joint 3 with a second end section of the second pipe B.

The mutual joining of the two pipes A and B is obtained thanks to the coupling of the body 6 to the half-joints 2, 3, since, as described in detail in the foregoing paragraphs with reference to the various proposed embodiments, following such coupling, a first hermetic conical coupling is provided, between the first flaring 4 of the first half-joint 2 and the first conical surface portion 5 of the second half-joint 3 (and optionally a second hermetic conical coupling, between the second flaring 18 of the first half- joint 2 and the second conical surface portion 19 of the second half-joint 3 or of a type other than conical).

The first conical coupling (and the second coupling) ensure the desired seal of the assembly 1, which thus does not in any way permit outward losses and leaks of substances, at the point of discontinuity between the first half-joint 2 and the second half-joint 3. Again with reference to the preferred, but non exclusive, use of the assembly 1 according to the invention, in which the passage opening 8 of the half-joints 2, 3 accommodates a baffle 7 for the provision of a butterfly valve, the outward seal is ensured by the presence of the above mentioned couplings, as well as by the gasket 14.

Moreover, in such final embodiment, as we have seen, the possibility exists of arranging a gasket seal 14 in the groove 13, in order to prevent leaks of substances from the first pipe A to the second pipe B (and vice versa), when the baffle 7 is in the configuration that closes the opening 8.

It is precisely the nature of the couplings, which ensure the seal as well as completely precluding the danger of losses and leaks, that ensures the provision of an optimal mounting.

In fact, the couplings obtained (conical and of other type) are substantially self-centering, and the coupling of the body 6 (with consequent mutual clamping of the half-joints 2, 3) is possible only when the parts in play are correctly mounted and positioned, and this rules out the possibility, when installation is complete, of misalignments and gaps remaining owing to imperfect couplings. The seal is thus optimal, without the risk that any hidden play and misalignments could cause, over time, unwanted losses and leaks of substances.

Moreover, as can be clearly seen for example from Figure 1 , the joint assembly 1 according to the invention is provided with an outer radial encumbrance that is absolutely contained, in that the body 6, in all the proposed embodiments, does not present any protruding element, such as to constitute a hazard for operators working in (or simply passing through) the areas adjacent to the assembly 1, differently from what occurs with conventional clamping elements.

In addition it should be observed that the installation of the assembly 1 according to the invention (and optionally the dismantling), is absolutely simple and easy (as can also be seen from the description in the foregoing pages), and is such as to be capable of being carried out by any employee, without special tools, and even if the latter is wearing latex gloves or the like, typically required by safety and hygiene regulations of operators in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food, cosmetic and agricultural industries.

It should be noted moreover that the joint assembly 1 according to the invention, thanks to the peculiar choice of adopting an outer body 6 for coupling and clamping the two half-joints 2, 3, makes it possible to preclude the use of screws, bolts and the like, thus reducing the number of components (with respect to conventional assemblies) and at the same time simplifying the activities of installation, dismantling and maintenance (activities which, as we have seen, are further facilitated by the choice of light materials like polymeric materials, which moreover keep the overall weight of the assembly 1 according to the invention contained).

In practice it has been found that the joint assembly according to the invention fully achieves the intended aim, in that, the presence of at least one first conical flaring, defined inside a first half-joint, associable with a first pipe, for shape coupling with a first conical surface portion of a second half-joint, associable with a second pipe, and the use of an outer body, which can be coupled to the half-joints, for their mutual clamping and the provision of at least one first hermetic conical coupling, between the first conical flaring and the first conical surface portion, ensure an optimal seal of the coupling provided by the assembly.

The invention, thus conceived, is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims. Moreover, all the details may be substituted by other, technically equivalent elements.

In the embodiments illustrated, individual characteristics shown in relation to specific examples may in reality be interchanged with other, different characteristics, existing in other embodiments.

Where the technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference numerals and/or signs, those reference numerals and/or signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference numerals and/or signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference numerals and/or signs.