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Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSTALLING AN ASSURANCE CAP ONTO A FLUID CONNECTOR USING OPTICAL AND INDUCTION SENSORS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/104901
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fluid connector assembly comprises a tubular member (24), a fitting body (26) having a bore (40) for receiving the tubular member, a resilient clip (60) mounted on the body to lock the tubular member in the fitting body when the insertion end (22) of the tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the housing, and an assurance cap (70) slidably mounted on the tubular member (24) to insure full insertion of the tubular member in the body. The assurance cap (70) defines a continuous annular body (72) with radially inward extending latch edges at an end of latch fingers configured for latching with an edge of a recessed latch groove formed in the fitting body (26) only when the tubular member is in the fully inserted position in the fitting body.

Inventors:
FREMONT, Bradley C. (Inc.4437 Walden Avenu, Lancaster New York, 14086, US)
Application Number:
IB2017/057722
Publication Date:
June 14, 2018
Filing Date:
December 07, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OETIKER NY, INC. (4437 Walden Avenue, Lancaster, New York, 14086, US)
International Classes:
F16L37/088
Foreign References:
US20150345684A12015-12-03
US20170114935A12017-04-27
US5749606A1998-05-12
US20130175795A12013-07-11
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VRANJES, Michael Nicholas (Simpson & Simpson, PLLC5555 Main Stree, Williamsville New York, 14221, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fluid connector assembly comprising:

a tubular member (24) having a tapered surface spaced from a first insertion end (22) defining a radially extending shoulder (36);

a fitting body (26) having a bore (40) for receiving the tubular member (24);

a resilient clip (60) mounted on the body (26) and extending partially into the bore (40) to engage the shoulder (36) of the tubular member (24) to lock the tubular member in the fitting body when the insertion end (22) of the tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the housing; and

an assurance cap (70; 130; 170; 200; 300) slidably mounted on the tubular member (24), the assurance cap having latch fingers (82, 84, 86; 110, 112; 202; 302, 304) configured for latching with a latch groove (98; 244) formed in the fitting body (26) to latch the assurance cap on the fitting body only when the tubular member is in the fully inserted position in the fitting body.

2. The connector assembly of claim 1 wherein:

the resilient clip (60) has a radially expanded state when the resilient clip rests on a portion of the shoulder (36) of the tubular member (24) when the tubular member is partially inserted into the bore (40) in the housing, and a relaxed state wherein outer portions of the resilient clip are contained within the groove in the fitting body (26) when the tubular member is fully inserted into the fitting body; and

the assurance cap (70; 130; 170; 200; 300) defines a continuous annular body (72) with radially inward extending latch edges at an end of the latch fingers (82, 84, 86; 110, 112; 202; 302, 304) configured for latching with an edge of the latch groove (98; 244).

3. The connector assembly of claim 1 or 2 wherein the latch fingers (302, 304) on the assurance cap (300) comprise a plurality of circumferentially spaced, individual fingers extending from a first end of the assurance cap body.

4. The connector assembly of any preceding claim further comprising secondary latch fingers formed at a second end of the assurance cap body and configured for mounting about the edge portions of the open receiving end of the fitting body (26).

5. The connector assembly of any preceding claim further comprising:

a second end of the assurance cap body (72) having a key hole shaped aperture (102) having a smaller diameter first end portion (104) and a larger diameter second end portion (106); the larger diameter second end portion (106) having an opening size larger than an outer diameter of a large end portion of the raised portion (37) on the tubular member (24), the large sized end portion (106) of the keyhole shaped aperture (102) in the assurance cap body (72) permitting mounting of the assurance cap body over the raised portion on the tubular member.

6. The connector assembly of claim 5 wherein the raised portion (37) of the fitting body (24) includes an outward extending tapered portion (34) extending from the outer diameter of the receiving portion (56) of the fitting body to the outer surface of the raised portion on the fitting body.

7. The connector assembly of any preceding claim further comprising a raised portion formed on the insertion end of the fitting body (230) having an outer diameter substantially equal to the outer diameter of the receiving end (232) of the fitting body extending from the receiving end of the fitting body, an annular recess (244) positioned adjacent to the raised portion (240) for receiving the latch fingers (202) of the assurance cap (200) in the fully forward position of the assurance cap on the fitting body.

Description:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSTALLING AN ASSURANCE CAP ONTO A FLUID CONNECTOR USP G OPTICAL AND INDUCTION SENSORS

BACKGROUND

[1 ] The present apparatus relates to fluid connectors including a fluid carrying tubular member, which is coupled to a fitting body connected to a receptacle which uses the fluid. More particularly, the disclosure relates to a method and apparatus for installing an assurance cap onto a fluid connector using optical and induction sensors. In an automotive application, the fluid carrying components are connected at one end to an automatic transmission and at another end to a cooler disposed within a vehicle radiator.

[2] Such quick connectors typically include a resilient clip carried on the fitting body which is adapted to snap behind a raised shoulder of the tubular member when the tubular member is fully inserted into the fitting body to lock the tubular member in place.

[3] Assurance caps can be used to insure full insertion of the tubular member in the body. Such assurance caps are carried by the tubular member and slide over one end of the body and the resilient clip. If the tubular member is not fully inserted in the body such that the resilient clip is not seated below the shoulder on the tubular member, raised portions of the resilient clip extend outward from one end of the body and interfere with the complete movement of the assurance cap to its fully installed position thereby providing an indication to the installer that the tubular member is not fully latched in the body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[4] The invention will now be more fully described with reference to the drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a prior-art fluid connector;

Fig. 2 is a view similar to Fig. 1 showing the same fluid connector but with an assurance cap in accordance with the present invention;

Figs. 3 to 7 and 8A to 8D are views showing details of the assurance cap of Fig. 2;

Figs. 9A to 9C depict another embodiment of the assurance cap which functions in the same manner as that shown in Figs. 2 to 8D;

Figs. 10A and 10B show another embodiment of an assurance cap;

Figs. 11A and 11B depict another embodiment of an assurance cap which is similar to the one shown in Figs. 10A and 10B; Figs. 12A and 12B illustrate another aspect of a fitting body which includes variations from the fitting body show in Fig. 2;

Figs. 13A and 13B are views of another embodiment of the fitting body;

Figs. 14A and 14B depict another variation in the structure of an assurance cap; and

Fig. 15A and 15B are views illustrating a tool used to install an assurance cap onto a fluid connector.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[5] Referring now to Fig. 1 , there is depicted a prior art fluid connector 20 which locks one end 22 of a tubular member 24 in a connector body 26 which is itself removably mountable in a port, such as by engagement of external threads 28 on one end of the body 26 with internal threads in the port.

[6] The tubular member 24 is generally made of a metallic materials, but rigid plastic material may also be employed. The tubular member 24 has a generally constant diameter extending from the first end 22.

[7] A head section 30 extends from the first end 22 at a first diameter portion 32 to an outward extending tapered portion 34 which terminates at a large diameter end in a radially outward extending shoulder 36.

[8] The connector body 26 can be, but is not necessarily, integrally made from a single piece of metallic or plastic material. The body 26 has a through bore 40 extending from a first end 42 to an opposite second end 44. The bore 40 need not have a constant diameter between the first and second ends 42 and 44. An annular internal groove 46 is formed in the body 26 intermediate the first and second ends 42 and 44 an receives a seal member 48, such as a O-ring, for sealing the tubular member 24 to the body 26 and to prevent fluid leakage therebetween.

[9] As described above, the body 26 has an externally threaded end portion 28 spaced from the first end 42. A recessed radially inward extending groove 50 can be formed in certain applications adjacent one end of the threaded section 28 and a continuous annular collar 52 to receive a washer, not shown. A hexagonal outwardly projecting portion 54 is formed adjacent the annular collar 52. A reduced diameter receiving portion 56 having a generally constant diameter extends from one end of the hexagonal portion 54 to the second end 44 of the body 26. A recessed, outward opening, annular groove 58 is formed in the receiving portion 56. The groove 58 has a constant closed inner end facing the bore 40 in the body 26 which is interrupted by one or more circumferentially spaced slots.

[10] A resilient clip 60 is mounted in the groove 58. The resilient clip 60 can be, but need not necessarily be formed of a single piece of spring wire. The resilient clip 60 can be formed with inwardly extending protrusions which project through the slots in the groove 58, when the resilient clip 60 is in a relaxed state behind the shoulder 36 on the tubular member 34 to lock the tubular member 24 to the connector body 26.

[11] When the first end 22 of the tubular member 24 is inserted to the receiving portion 56 of the body 26, the first end 22 and the head portion 32 of the tubular member 24 slide through the receiving portion 56 toward the first end 42 of the body 26. The inward extending protrusions on the resilient clip 60 seated in the groove 58 slide along the tapered portion 34 on the tubular member 24 causing the resilient clip 60 to expand radically outward moving the protrusions on the resilient clip 60 out of the bore 40 until the shoulder 36 on the outward tapered portion 34 of the tubular member 24 slides past one end of the resilient clip. At this point, the protrusions on the resilient clip 60 snap radially inward behind the shoulder 36 locking the tubular member 24 in the body 26. Also at this point during the insertion process, the outermost portions of the resilient clip 60 are fully contained within the groove 58 below the outer surface of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26.

[12] A prior art assurance cast cap 62 shown in Fig. 1, carried on the tubular member

24, can then be slid over the the receiving portion 56 of the body 26. The assurance cap 62 includes an inward opening recess 64 which is positioned between the ends of the assurance cap 60 to overlay the outer portions of the resilient clip 60 when the resilient clip 60 is in the fully seated position in the groove 58 behind the shoulder 36 of the tubular member 24. This provides the installer with a visual indication that the tubular member 24 is fully inserted and seated in the body 26 in a fluid sealed position.

[13] In the event that the tubular member 24 is not fully inserted into the body 26 such that it is not in the position shown in Fig. 1, the outer portions of the resilient clip 60 will have been pushed radially outward into an expanded state as the clip 60 rides up along a tapered outer surface portion 34 of the tubular member 24. The outer tips of the outer portions of the resilient clip then extend outward beyond the outer surface of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26 in an interfering position with the sliding movement of the assurance cap 62. This interference prevents the assurance cap 62 from being slid fully forward such that the recess 64 cannot snap over the resilient clip 60. Since the assurance cap 62 is therefore not in a fully forward position, the installer has a visual indication that the tubular member 24 is not fully inserted into the body 26.

[14] Fig. 2 depicts the same fluid connector 20 which is used to sealingly lock the tubular member 24 to the body 26. However, the third connector 20 in Fig. 2 includes a novel assurance cap 70 which provides assurance of a full insertion of the tubular member 24 into the body 26 and, at the same time, provides secondary latches to hold the assurance cap 70 on the body 26 and to provide an additional latching force preventing disengagement of the tubular member 24 from the body 26.

[15] The assurance cap 70, shown in an assembled position in Fig. 2 and in detailed views in Figs. 3-7 and Figs. 8A-8D, can be formed of a material having a suitable strength, such as high strength plastic, or a metal, such as stainless steel, aluminum, etc.

[16] In this aspect, the assurance cap 70 is in the form of an annular body 72 having a first end 74, an opposed second end 76, and an intermediate sidewall 78 extending between the first and second ends 74 and 76. At least one or a plurality of slots 80, with three slots 80 shown by example are formed through the first end 74 and a portion of the sidewall 78 to separate the sidewall 78 into a plurality of fingers with three fingers 82, 84 and 86 being shown by example in Fig. 3-7. The slots 80 and the intervening fingers 82, 84, and 86 provide flexibility to the assurance cap 70 allowing the first end 74 of the assurance cap 70 to flex radially outward over the outer surface of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26 until the assurance cap 70 has reached its fully forward position of movement, as described hereafter.

[17] The first end 74 of each of the fingers 82, 84 and 86 has a rounded over end portion 90 which terminates in a radially inward extending edge 92 forming a shoulder 94. The shoulder 94 is configured to snap over an engage a mating shoulder 96 formed along one side of an open ended annular groove 98 formed in the body 26 between the hexagonal portion 54 and the receiving portion 56 of the body 26. The shoulders 94 on each of the three fingers 82, 84, and 86, which extend over substantially the entire circumference of the assurance cap 70, provide a secure circumferential secondary latching force to secure the assurance cap 70 on the body 26 as well as providing additional latching force to resist separation of the tubular member 24 from the body 26.

[18] The second end 76 of the assurance cap 70 has a partially closed, irregularly shaped endwall 100 which includes a keyhole shaped aperture 102 having a reduced diameter or width first end portion 104 and a larger diameter second end portion 106. The walls forming the first portion 104 and the second portion 106 are generally arcuate to enable the assurance cap 70 to be mounted over the first end 22 of the tubular member 24 as described hereafter and shown in Figs. 8A-8D.

[19] Generally centrally in the endwall 100 on the second end 76 of the assurance cap

70, a pair of diametrically opposed, inward extending fingers 1 10 and 1 12 are provided. The fingers 110 and 112, with only the finger 112 shown in Fig. 3, have an inward curled wall 114 terminating in an inner edge wall 116. As shown in Fig. 2, the inner wall 114 is generally parallel to the outer sidewall 78 of the assurance cap 70, with the inner edge 116 facing, but spaced from the resilient clip 60.

[20] The inner walls 114 will rest on a raised bead 1 15 on the tubular member 24 extending from the shoulder 36 at the fully inserted position of the tubular member 24 in the body 26.

[21] The fingers 110 and 112 provide an additional engagement or latching function for the assurance cap 70 on the body 20 when the assurance cap 70 is in the full forward, latched position shown in Fig. 2.

[22] Figs. 8A-8D depict the orientation of the tubular member 24 and the assurance cap 70 for mounting of the assurance cap 70 over the first end 22 of the tubular member 24 and the tapered surface 34. At the time of assembly, the assurance cap 70 is oriented as shown in Fig. 8B with a longitudinal axis 120 extending through the keyhole shaped aperture 102 oriented at an angle along axis line 122 of the tubular member 24 in Fig. 8 A to bring the larger diameter or width second end portion 106 of the keyhole shaped aperture 102 over the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered portion 34 of the tubular member 24.

[23] The other end of the assurance cap 70 can then be pivoted in the direction of arrow 124 in Fig. 8C to move the entire keyhole shaped opening 102 over the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered portion 34 of the tubular member 24 until the first end 74 of the assurance cap 70 clears the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered surface 34 of the tubular member 24.

[24] After the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered portion 36 of the tubular member 24 has been urged past the inner edges of the large diameter end 106 of the key hole aperture 102 in the assurance cap 70, the cap 70 can be tilted upward toward a perpendicular orientation with respect to a longitudinal axis of the tubular member 24 and moved longitudinally along the tubular member 24 until the inner edges of the keyhole shaped aperture 102 are completely past the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered portion 36 of the tubular member 24, as shown in Fig. 8C. The assurance cap 70 can then be urged or slide into the smaller diameter portion 104 of the keyhole shaped aperture 102 to center the assurance cap 70 with respect to the tubular member 24 as shown in Fig. 18.

[25] Referring now to Figs. 9A, 9B and 9C, there is depicted another aspect of an assurance cap 130 which functions in the same manner as the assurance cap 70 described above and shown in Figs. 1-8D. The assurance cap 130 has a plurality of longitudinally extending, spaced fingers 132, each with a radially inward extending edge 134 terminating in a shoulder 136 configured to latchably engage the edge 96 of the groove 98 in the body 20 to secure the assurance cap 130 in position at its forward most position of movement relative to the tubular member 24 and the body 26. It should be noted that instead of three larger length arcuate fingers 82, 84, and 86, the fingers 132 in the assurance cap 130 are smaller in length and greater in number to provide a slightly greater degree of flexibility to enable the assurance cap 130 to be easily slid over the raised end of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26.

[26] The assurance cap 130 has a one piece unitary body with a hinge 140 interconnecting one portion 142 with a second portion 144. The first and second portions 142 and 144 are pivotally movable with respect to each other about the hinge 140 from an open position shown in Fig. 9B which enables the assurance cap 130 to be mounted over the tubular member 24 to a closed position forming a continuous body about the tubular member 24 by pivotal movement of the first and second sections 142 and 144 toward each other about the hinge 140 until a latch finger 146 on the second portion 144 engages a latch recess 148 in the opposite first portion 142 as shown in Fig. 9B. The engagement of the latch finger 146 in the latch recess 148 locks the two portions of 142 and 144 of the assurance cap 130 into a continuous body encircling the tubular member 24. [27] It should also be noted that the second end of the assurance cap 130 has a radially inward extending skirt formed of a first skirt portion 152 on the first portion 142 of the assurance cap 130 and a second skirt portion 154 on the second portion 144 of the assurance cap 130. Arcuate inner edges 156 and 158 respectively on the skirt portions 152 and 154 form a continuous annular edge configured to engage or be slightly spaced from the outer surface of the tubular member 24 when the assurance cap 130 is slid to its forward most position over the tubular member 24 and latched to the body 26 as shown in Fig. 9C. The skirt portions 152 and 154 also act to center the assurance cap 130 about the tubular member 24 during the forward sliding movement.

[28] A raised annular rib 160 is formed on the outer surface of the assurance cap 130 between the first and second ends to act as a gripping surface to facilitate movement of the assurance cap 130 from a rest position about the tubular member 24 to its forward position shown in Fig. 9C.

[29] Figs. 10A and 10B show another modification in an assurance cap 170. In this aspect, the assurance cap 170 has a one piece unitary body 172 formed as a closed, annular, one- piece cylindrical-shaped body 172. The first end of the body 172 has a plurality of fingers 174 spaced apart by longitudinally extending slots 176. Inward extending edges 178 terminating in a radially inward extending shoulder 180 extend from one end of each of the fingers 174 to engage the edge 96 of the groove 98 in the body 26 to latch the assurance cap 170 to the body 76 in a forward most position of movement indicating full insertion of the tubular member 24 in the body 26.

[30] An annular radially outward extending rib 182 is formed intermediate the first end and the opposed second end of the body 172 to act as a gripping surface to facilitate movement of the assurance cap 170.

[31 ] The second end 184 of the body 172 includes a continuous annular outer ring 186 and a radially inward conical-shaped skirt 188 extending from the outer ring 186 to an inner edge 190. A plurality of radially extending slots 192 are formed in the skirt 188 and extend from the inner edge 190 partially through the radial extent of the skirt 188. The slots 192 divide the skirt 188 into a plurality of radially inward, conically tapered fingers 194. The slots 192 provide flexibility to the fingers 194 to enable the assurance cap 170 to be forcibly urged over the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered surface 34 on the tubular member 24 to mount the assurance cap 170 on the tubular member 24 prior to insertion of the tubular member 24 into the fitting body 26.

[32] Figs. 11A and 11B depict another aspect of an assurance cap 200 which is substantially similar to the assurance cap 170 in that the assurance cap 200 is formed of a continuous one-piece body 201 having a plurality of fingers 202 at a first end spaced apart by slots 206. The fingers 202 terminate in an inward extending edge 206 having an inner shoulder 208 to engage the edge 96 in the groove 98 of the fitting body 26 when the assurance cap 200 is moved to its forward position relative to the fitting body 26 indicating full insertion of the tubular member 24 in the fitting body 26.

[33] A radially outward extending rib 210 is formed in the body 201 intermediate the first and second ends. The second end 212 of the body 201 is formed as an annular ring 214 from which a conically shaped radially inward extending skirt 216 extends to an inner edge 218 defining an aperture the same size or slightly larger than the outer diameter of the constant diameter portion of the tubular member 24.

[34] In this aspect of the assurance cap 200, the skirt 216 does not include any slots.

However, the material used to form the body 201 provides a degree of flexibility to enable the assurance cap 200 to be forcibly urged over the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered portion 34 on the tubular member 24 to movably mount the assurance cap 200 on the tubular member 24 prior to insertion of the tubular member 24 in the fitting body 26.

[35] Referring now to Figs. 12A and 12B, there is depicted another aspect of a fitting body 230, which includes variations from the fitting body 26 shown in Fig. 2. As most of the fitting body 230 is identically constructed as the fitting body 26, only variations between the fitting body 230 and the fitting body 26 will be described in detail.

[36] As shown in the fitting body 26 depicted in Fig. 2, the receiving portion 56 extending from the end 57 of the fitting body 26 has a constant outer diameter. This allows the radially inward turned edges 92 of the fingers 82, 84 and 86 on the first end 74 of the assurance cap 70 to snap into the recessed groove 98 in the fitting body 26.

[37] In the fitting body 230 depicted in Figs. 12A and 12B, the receiving portion extending from a first end 232 of the fitting body 230 has a first diameter end portion 234 and a second smaller diameter end portion 236 disposed on opposite sides of the groove 238 which receives the resilient clip 60. A raised intermediate annular ring 240 is formed adjacent to the second end portion 236 and includes a radially outward, extending conically shaped, tapered endwall 242 extending from the second end portion 236. The outer diameter of the ring 240 is larger than the diameters of the first and second end portions 234 and 236 of the receiving portion of the fitting body 230.

[38] A recessed groove 244 is formed between the annular ring 240 and the hexagonal shaped portion 54 of the fitting body 230. The inner surface 246 of the groove 244 has a diameter smaller than the diameter of the second end portion 236 of the insertion portion of the fitting body 230 to define a recess for receiving the latch portions of the fingers of the assurance cap in the fully inserted position relative to the fitting body 230.

[39] During such forward sliding movement of any of the assurance caps described above, the radially inward turned fingers of the assurance cap flex outward over the tapered endwall 242 and then along the outer surface of the ring 240 before snapping in latched engagement with the groove 244 to provide the secondary latch function for the assurance cap.

[40] In another variation of a fitting body 260 shown in Figs. 13A and 13B, again the fitting body 260 is substantially the same as the fitting body 26 and only variations therebetween will be described in detail.

[41] Like the fitting body 230 shown in Figs. 12A and 12B, the fitting body 260 has a first end 262 from which extends a first end portion 264 of the receiving portion at a first diameter. The receiving portion includes a second end portion 266, also at the same diameter to define a recess 268 for the resilient clip 60.

[42] The fitting body 260 also includes a raise annular ring 270 having an outer diameter greater than the first diameters of the first and second end portions 264 and 266. A radially outward, conical shaped tapered surface 272 extends from the second end portion 266 to the raised annular ring 270. A recess or groove 274 is formed between the raised annular ring 270 and the hexed shaped portion of the fitting body 260. The inner surface 276 of the groove 274 is spaced at the same first diameter of the first and second end portions 264 and 266 of the receiving portion of the fitting body 260.

[43] In this aspect, the annular shoulder 270 forms a raised outermost portion of the receiving portion of the fitting body 260. The difference between the outer diameter of the annular ring 270 and the inner surface 276 of the adjacent groove 274 requires that the fingers on the assurance cap cab be flexed outward over the raised outer edge of the annular ring 270 before snapping over the outer edge of the annular ring 270 into the groove 274.

[44] Referring now to Figs. 14A and 14B, there is depicted another variation in the construction of an assurance cap 300. In this aspect, the assurance cap 300 is similar to the assurance cap 70 described above and shown in Figs. 1-8D except that the assurance cap 300 has two small fingers 302 and 304 extending from an intermediate annular portion 306. The fingers 302 and 304, which can be provided in any number, such as two, three, or more fingers, are configured more as standalone latch fingers rather than the closely separate fingers 82, 84 and 86 on the assurance cap 70, which have a much longer circumferential extent.

[45] The latch fingers 302 and 304 are constructed similarly to the latch fingers 82, 84 and 86 in the assurance cap 70 and are designed to snap into and latch in the groove 98 on the body 26 when the tubular member 24 is fully inserted into the body 26.

[46] The fingers 302 and 304 are spaced apart about the circumference of the assurance cap 300 in an angular orientation designed to intercept the raised portions of the resilient clip which would extend outward beyond the upper extent of the insertion portion 56 of the body 26 from the groove 98 when the tubular member 24 is not fully inserted in the body 26. Thus, for example, in a two finger construction shown in Figs. 14A and 14B, the two fingers 302 and 304 are spaced less than 180° apart to one side of the assurance cap 300 and greater than 180° apart on the other side of the assurance cap 300.

[47] As shown in Fig. 14B, the fingers 302 and 304 are circumferentially spaced so that at least one of the fingers 302 or 304 is in a interference position with the resilient clip 60 so as to strike a raised portion of the resilient clip 60 extending out of the groove 68 in the body 26 to prevent full movement of the assurance cap 300 to the fully forward latched position. This assures that the assurance cap 300 functions in its intended manner regardless of its angular orientation with respect to the protrusions and outer portions of the resilient 60 in the groove 96.

[48] When fluid connectors are secured to devices such as radiators, tubular connectors inserted into these fluid connectors may not be fully seated and allow leak paths to form once the assembly is pressurized. Current tubular connectors include a witness bead which is used as a visual indicator of proper sealing, but is not always reliable as it is dependent on a human user to check. Even if the witness bead appears properly inserted, small leak paths could form due to misalignment of the tubular connector within the fluid connector undetectable to the naked eye. [49] In order to solve this problem, as best seen in Figure 15, the invention is both a tool used to install an assurance cap onto a fluid connector, as well as a detection means to ensure the assurance cap is fully seated on the fluid connector. The tool includes an annular groove 310 which a shoulder of the assurance cap 300 (Figs. 14A, 14B) sits within. This annular groove 310 allows the assurance cap 300 to be axially installed onto the fluid connector 26. Additionally, within the annular grove 310 of the tool is an optical sensor 312 which detects if the assurance cap is properly positioned within the groove 310.

[50] Also contained within the tool is an inductive proximity sensor 320. In applications where the fluid connector or an outer portion of the fluid connector is manufactured of a metallic material, an inductive proximity sensor can be used to detect the position of the fluid connector relative to the tool. Once the assurance cap 300 is arranged in the annular groove 310 of the tool, the assurance cap is slid axially, and arranged about a tubular connector over the fluid connector. As the assurance cap 300 reaches a certain axial position on the fluid connector, the flexible arms 322 of the assurance cap will deform and pass over a raised shoulder 324, then deform back to their original position within a groove 326 on the fluid connector.

[51] Due to geometry of the fluid connector and the arrangement of the inductive proximity sensor 320 within the tool, the inductive proximity sensor will detect the metallic body of the raised shoulder 324 and transmit a signal to the operator or manufacturing system indicating that the assurance cap is properly installed on the fluid connector. Additionally, the optical sensor 312 simultaneously informs the user that the assurance cap 300 is still properly arranged within the annular groove 310 of the tool.

[52] If the assurance cap 300 is not fully seated on the fluid connector, the inductive proximity sensor 320 will not be close enough to detect the raised shoulder 324 of the fluid connector. This will transmit an error signal to the operator or manufacturing system that the assurance cap is not properly installed on the fluid connector and is either a faulty part or needs to be axially positioned further onto the fluid connector.

[53] The invention combines both a tool which can be used to install the assurance cap, as well as a detection means to measure the position of the assurance cap. This combination eliminates the need for an installer to use both a separate tool and then a separate sensor to ensure the assurance cap is properly installed. REFERENCE NUMBERS

20 fluid connector 170 assurance cap

22 end of member 24 172 body

24 tubular member 174 finger

26 connector body 176 slot

28 threads 178 edge

30 head portion 180 shoulder

32 first diameter portion 182 rib

34 tapered portion 184 end of body 172

36 shoulder 186 outer ring

37 end of tapered portion 34 188 skirt

40 through bore 190 inner edge

, 44 ends of body 26 192 radial slot

46 internal groove 194 fngers

48 seal member 200 assurance cap

50 groove 201 body

52 annular collar 202 fingers

54 projecting portion 206 slots

56 receiving portion 208 shoulder

58 annular groove 210 rib

60 clip 212 end of body 201

62 assurance cap 214 ring

64 recess 216 skirt

70 assurance cap 218 inner edge

72 annular body 230 fitting body4, 76 ends of body 72 232 end of body 230

78 sidewall 234, 236 end portions

80 slots 238 groove

4, 86 latch fingers 240 ring

90 end portion 242 endw all

92 edge 244 groove

4, 96 shoulders 260 fitting body

98 annular groove 262 end of body 260

100 endwall 264, 266 end portions

102 aperture 268 recess

, 106 end portions 270 ring

. 1 12 latch fingers 272 tapered surface

114 curled wall 274 groove

115 raised head 276 inner surface

116 edge wall 300 assurance cap

122 axis 302, 304 fingers

130 assurance cap 306 intermediate portion

132 fingers 310 annular groove

140 hinge 312 optical sensor, 144 end portions 320 proximity sensor

146 latch finger 322 flexible arms

148 latch recess 324 shoulder

, 154 skirt portions 326 annular groove, 158 inner edges