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Title:
ORBITAL COUPLING ARRANGEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/113436
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An orbital coupling arrangement is disclosed. In one example, the orbital coupling arrangement includes a first connector part, and orbital member, and a seal member. The first connector part can define a central passageway and can include a first connection arrangement at a first end. The orbital member can define a spherical segment and an adjacent tubular segment that together define a central passageway extending between a first end proximate the spherical segment and a second end proximate the tubular segment. The seal member is in sealing contact with the orbital member spherical segment at a location between a geometric center of the spherical segment and the orbital member first end.

Inventors:
STEARNS, Frank, Arthur (15 Heron Drive, Superior, WI, 54880, US)
Application Number:
US2018/064461
Publication Date:
June 13, 2019
Filing Date:
December 07, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
STEDLIN MFG., INC. (1028 Minnesota Avenue, Duluth, MN, 55802, US)
International Classes:
F16L27/047; F16L27/06
Foreign References:
US5149146A1992-09-22
JPH09273681A1997-10-21
EP0087401A11983-08-31
US20150001842A12015-01-01
US20080284165A12008-11-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUESS, Steven, C. (Merchant & Gould P.C, P.O. Box 2903Minneapolis, MN, 55402-0903, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An orbital coupling arrangement comprising:

a. a first connector part defining a central passageway and including a first connection arrangement at a first end and a second connection arrangement at a second end;

b. an orbital member defining a spherical segment and an adjacent tubular segment that together define a central passageway extending between a first end proximate the spherical segment and a second end proximate the tubular segment;

c. a seal member defining a longitudinal axis and forming a seal

between the orbital member spherical segment and the first connector part; and

d. a retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part, the retaining member being separable from the first connector part;

e. wherein the retaining member and the seal member are positioned on opposite sides of a plane extending both orthogonally to the seal member longitudinal axis and through a geometric center of the orbital member spherical segment.

2. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 1, wherein the retaining member is a polymeric material.

3. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 1, wherein the retaining member is threaded onto the first connector part.

4. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 1, wherein the first connector part includes a shoulder portion against which a face of the retaining member abuts.

5. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 4, wherein the retaining member includes a load ring and a separate lock ring, wherein the load ring is in direct contact with the orbital member spherical segment and the lock ring secures the load ring to the first connector part.

6. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 5, wherein the retaining member has a first interior surface having the shape of a spherical segment that is complementary to the shape of the orbital member spherical segment.

7. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 6, wherein the retaining member has a second interior surface opposite the first interior surface, the second interior surface extending at an oblique angle to a longitudinal axis of the retaining member.

8. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 7, wherein the first connector part defines a circumferential groove within which the seal member is partially disposed. 9. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 8, wherein the retaining member includes a tool engagement arrangement for receiving a tool configured to rotate and tighten the retaining member with respect to the first coupling part.

10. An orbital coupling arrangement comprising:

a. a first connector part defining a first central passageway;

b. a second connector part defining a second central passageway;

c. an orbital member defining a tubular portion extending between a first spherical segment and a second spherical segment, the orbital member defining a third central passageway;

d. a first seal member defining a first longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member first spherical segment and the first connector part;

e. a second seal member defining a second longitudinal axis and

forming a seal between the orbital member second spherical segment and the second connector part;

f. a first retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part; and

g. a second retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the second connector part.

11. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 10, wherein the orbital member is a unitarily formed component. 12. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 10, wherein the first and second retaining members are formed from a polymeric material.

13. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 10, wherein the first and second retaining members are respectively threaded onto the first and second connector parts.

14. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 10, wherein the first and second retaining members each include a load ring and a separate lock ring, wherein the load ring is in direct contact with the orbital member first or second spherical segment and the lock ring secures the load ring to the first or second connector part.

15. An orbital coupling arrangement comprising:

a. a first connector part defining a first central passageway and

including a first connection arrangement;

b. a second connector part defining a second central passageway and including a second connection arrangement;

c. an orbital member defining a first spherical segment, a second

spherical segment, and a tubular segment extending between the first and second spherical segments, wherein the orbital member defines a third central passageway and is unitarily formed as a single component;

d. wherein the orbital member is rotatably connected to and in sealing contact with the first and second connector parts such that that the third central passageway is in fluid communication with the first and second central passageways;

e. wherein the first connector part can rotate relative to the second connector part at a first angle between a longitudinal axis of the fist connector part and a longitudinal axis of the second connector part, the first angle being at least 60 degrees.

16. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 15, wherein the first angle is at least 80 degrees.

17. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 15, wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the first connector part at a second angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the first connector part, the second angle being at least 30 degrees.

18. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 17, wherein the second angle is at least 40 degrees. 19. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 15, wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the first connector part at a second angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the first connector part, the second angle being at least 30 degrees; and wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the second connector part at a third angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the second connector part, the third angle being at least 30 degrees.

20. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 19, wherein the second and third angles are at least 40 degrees.

21. An orbital coupling arrangement comprising:

a. a first connector part defining a central passageway and

including a first connection arrangement at a first end and a second connection arrangement at a second end;

b. an orbital member defining a spherical segment and an

adjacent tubular segment that together define a central passageway extending between a first end proximate the spherical segment and a second end proximate the tubular segment; c. a seal member defining a longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member spherical segment and the first connector part; and

d. a retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part, the retaining member being separable from the first connector part, the retaining member including: i. an annular load ring defining a first interior curved surface in contact with and

complementary to a curvature of the spherical segment, the annular load ring defining an outer end surface extending at an oblique angle to a longitudinal axis of the annular load ring; and

ii. an annular lock ring securing the load ring to the first connector part, the annular lock ring having a second interior surface in flush surface contact with the annular load ring end surface;

e. wherein the annular load ring and the annular lock ring

contact the orbital member on a first side of a first plane and the seal member contacts the orbital member on a second side of the first plane, wherein the first plane extends both orthogonally to the seal member longitudinal axis and through a geometric center of the orbital member spherical segment.

22. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 21, wherein one or both of the annular load ring and annular lock ring of the retaining member is a polymeric material.

23. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 21, wherein the annular lock ring is threaded onto the first connector part.

24. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 21, wherein the first connector part includes a recess with a shoulder portion against which a face of the retaining member annular load ring abuts. 25. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 21, wherein the first connector part defines a circumferential groove within which the seal member is partially disposed.

26. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 21, wherein the retaining member includes a tool engagement arrangement for receiving a tool configured to rotate and tighten the annular lock ring with respect to the first coupling part.

27. An orbital coupling arrangement comprising:

a. a first connector part defining a first central passageway;

b. a second connector part defining a second central passageway;

c. an orbital member defining a tubular portion extending between a first spherical segment and a second spherical segment, the orbital member defining a third central passageway;

d. a first seal member defining a first longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member first spherical segment and the first connector part;

e. a second seal member defining a second longitudinal axis and

forming a seal between the orbital member second spherical segment and the second connector part;

f. a first retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part; and

g. a second retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the second connector part;

h. wherein each of the first and second retaining members includes:

i. an annular load ring defining a first interior curved surface in contact with and

complementary to a curvature of the spherical segment, the annular load ring defining an outer end surface extending at an oblique angle to a longitudinal axis of the annular load ring; and

ii. an annular lock ring securing the load ring to the first connector part, the annular lock ring having a second interior surface in flush surface contact with the annular load ring end surface;

ii. wherein the annular load ring and the annular lock ring contact the orbital member on a first side of a first plane and the seal member contacts the orbital member on a second side of the first plane, wherein the first plane extends both orthogonally to the seal member longitudinal axis and through a geometric center of the orbital member first or second spherical segment.

28. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 27, wherein the orbital member is a unitarily formed component.

29. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 27, wherein one or both of the annular load ring and annular lock ring of the retaining member is a polymeric material.

30. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 27, wherein the first and second retaining members are respectively threaded onto the first and second connector parts.

31. An orbital coupling arrangement comprising:

a. a first connector part defining a first central passageway and

including a first connection arrangement;

b. a second connector part defining a second central passageway and including a second connection arrangement; c. an orbital member defining a first spherical segment, a second spherical segment, and a tubular segment extending between the first and second spherical segments, wherein the orbital member defines a third central passageway and is unitarily formed as a single component;

d. wherein the orbital member is rotatably connected to and in sealing contact with the first and second connector parts such that that the third central passageway is in fluid communication with the first and second central passageways;

e. wherein the first connector part can rotate relative to the second connector part at a first angle between a longitudinal axis of the fist connector part and a longitudinal axis of the second connector part, the first angle being at least 80 degrees. 32. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 31, wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the first connector part at a second angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the first connector part, the second angle being at least 40 degrees. 33. The orbital coupling arrangement of claim 31, wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the first connector part at a second angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the first connector part, the second angle being at least 40 degrees; and wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the second connector part at a third angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the second connector part, the third angle being at least 40 degrees.

Description:
ORBITAL COUPLING ARRANGEMENT

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is being filed on 7 December 2018, as a PCT International patent application, and claims priority to LTnited States Provisional Patent

Application Serial Number 62/596,281, filed on December 8, 2017 and to LTnited States Patent Application Serial Number 15/958,670, filed on April 20, 2018, the entireties of which are hereby incorporated by reference. BACKGROUND

[0002] Couplings are used in compressed air system to interconnect various system components, such as air compressors, piping, and end use devices, such as hand held tools. In some applications, it is desirable to have a coupling that provides more freedom of movement between system components than what is provided by a rigid connection. For example, an orbital coupling can be provided between a compressed air hose and a pneumatic tool to allow an operator to more easily manipulate the tool. Although swivel couplings are known, improvements are desired as many prior art swivel couplings do not provide a sufficient degree of relative movement, leak excessively, and/or require significant force to induce relative movement at the location of the orbital.

SUMMARY

[0003] Orbital coupling arrangements for use in fluid-carrying piping assemblies, for example compressed air piping assemblies, are disclosed.

[0004] In one example, the orbital coupling arrangement includes a first connector part, an orbital member, and a seal member. The first connector part can define a central passageway and can include a first connection arrangement at a first end.

The orbital member can define a spherical segment and an adjacent tubular segment that together define a central passageway extending between a first end proximate the spherical segment and a second end proximate the tubular segment. The seal member is in sealing contact with the orbital member spherical segment at a location between a geometric center of the spherical segment and the orbital member first end.

[0005] In one example, an orbital coupling arrangement includes a retaining or lock ring or member that secures the orbital member to the first connector part.

[0006] In one example, the lock ring or member and the seal member are positioned on opposite sides of a geometric center of the orbital member spherical segment.

[0007] In one example, the orbital coupling arrangement includes a first connector part and a second connector part, wherein the orbital member defines a first spherical segment, a second spherical segment, and a tubular segment extending between the first and second spherical segments.

[0008] In one example, the orbital member is rotatably connected to and in sealing contact with the first and second connector parts such that that a central passageway defined by the orbital member is in fluid communication with central passageways defined by the first and second connector parts.

[0009] In one example, the orbital coupling arrangement includes a load ring or member disposed about and in surface contact with the orbital member, wherein the load ring or member defines a central opening having a diameter that is less than a diameter of the spherical segment, the load ring or member being in surface contact with the spherical segment.

[0010] In one example, the lock ring or member defines a central opening having a diameter that is less than a diameter of the spherical segment.

[0011] In one example, the lock ring or member is threaded onto the first connector part proximate the second end such that the orbital member is secured to and rotatable with respect to the first connector part and such that the spherical segment forms a seal with the seal member.

[0012] In one example, an orbital coupling arrangement is disclosed that includes a first connector part defining a central passageway and including a first connection arrangement at a first end and a second connection arrangement at a second end, an orbital member defining a spherical segment and an adjacent tubular segment that together define a central passageway extending between a first end proximate the spherical segment and a second end proximate the tubular segment, a seal member defining a longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member spherical segment and the first connector part, and a retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part, the retaining member being separable from the first connector part, wherein the retaining member and the seal member are positioned on opposite sides of a plane extending both orthogonally to the seal member longitudinal axis and through a geometric center of the orbital member spherical segment.

[0013] In one example, an orbital coupling arrangement is disclosed that includes a first connector part defining a first central passageway, a second connector part defining a second central passageway, an orbital member defining a tubular portion extending between a first spherical segment and a second spherical segment, the orbital member defining a third central passageway, a first seal member defining a first longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member first spherical segment and the first connector part, a second seal member defining a second longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member second spherical segment and the second connector part, a first retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part; and a second retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the second connector part.

[0014] In one example, an orbital coupling arrangement includes a first connector part defining a first central passageway, a second connector part defining a second central passageway, an orbital member defining a tubular portion extending between a first spherical segment and a second spherical segment, the orbital member defining a third central passageway, a first seal member defining a first longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member first spherical segment and the first connector part, a second seal member defining a second longitudinal axis and forming a seal between the orbital member second spherical segment and the second connector part, a first retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the first connector part, and a second retaining member rotatably securing the orbital member to the second connector part.

[0015] In one example, an orbital coupling arrangement includes a first connector part defining a first central passageway and including a first connection

arrangement, a second connector part defining a second central passageway and including a second connection arrangement, an orbital member defining a first spherical segment, a second spherical segment, and a tubular segment extending between the first and second spherical segments, wherein the orbital member defines a third central passageway and is unitarily formed as a single component, wherein the orbital member is rotatably connected to and in sealing contact with the first and second connector parts such that that the third central passageway is in fluid communication with the first and second central passageways, wherein the first connector part can rotate relative to the second connector part at a first angle between a longitudinal axis of the fist connector part and a longitudinal axis of the second connector part, the first angle being at least 60 degrees.

[0016] In some examples, the retaining member is a polymeric material. In some examples, the first and second retaining members are formed from a polymeric material.

[0017] In some examples, the retaining member is threaded onto the first connector part. In some examples, the first and second retaining members are respectively threaded onto the first and second connector parts.

[0018] In some examples, the first connector part includes a shoulder portion against which a face of the retaining member abuts.

[0019] In some examples, the retaining member includes a load ring and a separate lock ring, wherein the load ring is in direct contact with the orbital member spherical segment and the lock ring secures the load ring to the first connector part. In some examples, the first and second retaining members each include a load ring and a separate lock ring, wherein the load ring is in direct contact with the orbital member first or second spherical segment and the lock ring secures the load ring to the first or second connector part.

[0020] In some examples, the retaining member has a first interior surface having the shape of a spherical segment that is complementary to the shape of the orbital member spherical segment.

[0021] In some examples, the retaining member has a second interior surface opposite the first interior surface, the second interior surface extending at an oblique angle to a longitudinal axis of the retaining member. [0022] In some examples, the first connector part defines a circumferential groove within which the seal member is partially disposed.

[0023] In some examples, the retaining member includes a tool engagement arrangement for receiving a tool configured to rotate and tighten the retaining member with respect to the first coupling part.

[0024] In some examples, the orbital member is a unitarily formed component.

[0025] In some examples, the first angle is at least 80 degrees. In some examples, the orbital member can rotate relative to the first connector part at a second angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the first connector part, the second angle being at least 30 degrees. In some examples, the second angle is at least 40 degrees. In some examples, the orbital member can rotate relative to the first connector part at a second angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the first connector part, the second angle being at least 30 degrees; and wherein the orbital member can rotate relative to the second connector part at a third angle between a longitudinal axis of the orbital member and the longitudinal axis of the second connector part, the third angle being at least 30 degrees. In some examples, the second and third angles are at least 40 degrees.

[0026] A variety of additional aspects will be set forth in the description that follows. The aspects can relate to individual features and to combinations of features. It is to be understood that both the forgoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the broad inventive concepts upon which the examples disclosed herein are based.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the description, illustrate several aspects of the present disclosure. A brief description of the drawings is as follows:

[0028] Figure 1 is a schematic representation of a piping assembly having features in accordance with the present disclosure. [0029] Figure 2 is a cross-sectional view of the piping assembly shown in Figure 1.

[0030] Figure 2A is an enlarged portion of the view shown in Figure 2.

[0031] Figure 3 is a side view of an orbital coupling arrangement of the compressed air piping system shown in Figure 1.

[0032] Figure 4 is a first end view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in

Figure 3.

[0033] Figure 5 is a second end view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 3.

[0034] Figure 6 is a perspective view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 3 with a first coupling member and a second coupling member shown as being transparent.

[0035] Figure 7 is a perspective view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 3 with the first and second coupling members removed.

[0036] Figure 8 is a side view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 3 with the first and second coupling members removed.

[0037] Figure 9 is a perspective view of the first coupling member of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 3.

[0038] Figure 10 is a cross-sectional view of the first coupling member shown in Figure 9.

[0039] Figure 11 is a perspective view of a portion of the second coupling member of the orbital arrangement shown in Figure 3.

[0040] Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view of the second coupling member portion shown in Figure 11.

[0041] Figure 13 is a perspective view of an orbital member usable with the first and second coupling members shown in Figure 3.

[0042] Figure 14 is an end view of the orbital member shown in Figure 13.

[0043] Figure 15 is a side view of the orbital member shown in Figure 13.

[0044] Figure 16 is a cross-sectional view of the orbital member shown in Figure 13. [0045] Figure 17 is a perspective view of a seal ring or member usable with the first and second coupling members shown in Figure 3.

[0046] Figure 18 is a top view of the seal ring or member shown in Figure 17.

[0047] Figure 19 is a bottom view of the seal ring or member shown in Figure 17.

[0048] Figure 20 is a cross-sectional view of the seal ring or member shown in

Figure 17.

[0049] Figure 21 is a perspective view of a load ring or member usable with the first and second coupling members shown in Figure 3.

[0050] Figure 22 is a top view of the load ring or member shown in Figure 21.

[0051] Figure 23 is a bottom view of the load ring or member shown in Figure 21.

[0052] Figure 24 is a cross-sectional view of the load ring or member shown in Figure 21.

[0053] Figure 25 is a perspective view of a lock ring or member usable with the first and second coupling members shown in Figure 3.

[0054] Figure 26 is a top view of the lock ring or member shown in Figure 25

[0055] Figure 27 is a bottom view of the lock ring or member shown in Figure 25.

[0056] Figure 28 is a cross-sectional view of the lock ring or member shown in Figure 25.

[0057] Figure 29 is a perspective view of a second example of an orbital coupling arrangement usable in a compressed air system of the type shown in Figure 1.

[0058] Figure 30 is a cross-sectional view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 29.

[0059] Figure 31 is a perspective view of a third example of an orbital coupling arrangement usable in a compressed air system of the type shown in Figure 1.

[0060] Figure 32 is a cross-sectional view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 31.

[0061] Figure 33 is a perspective view of a fourth example of an orbital coupling arrangement usable in a compressed air system of the type shown in Figure 1. [0062] Figure 34 is a cross-sectional view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 33.

[0063] Figure 35 is a perspective view of two of the orbital coupling arrangements shown in Figure 33 that are coupled to each other.

[0064] Figure 36 is a cross-sectional view of the coupled orbital coupling arrangements shown in Figure 35.

[0065] Figure 37 is a perspective view of a fifth example of an orbital coupling arrangement usable in a compressed air system of the type shown in Figure 1.

[0066] Figure 38 is a cross-sectional view of the orbital coupling arrangement shown in Figure 37.

[0067] Figure 39 is a perspective view of a retaining member or ring usable with the first and second coupling members shown in Figure 37.

[0068] Figure 40 is a top view of the retaining member or ring shown in Figure 39.

[0069] Figure 41 is a bottom view of the retaining member or ring shown in Figure 39.

[0070] Figure 42 is a cross-sectional view of the retaining member or ring shown in Figure 39.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0071] Various examples will be described in detail with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts and assemblies throughout the several views. Reference to various examples does not limit the scope of the claims attached hereto. Additionally, any examples set forth in this specification are not intended to be limiting and merely set forth some of the many possible examples for the appended claims. Referring to the drawings wherein like reference numbers correspond to like or similar components throughout the several figures.

[0072] Referring to Figures 1 and 2, a piping assembly 10, including an orbital coupling arrangement 100, is presented. Although piping assembly 10 can be configured for other types of fluids (e.g. liquids), piping assembly 10 is shown as being configured for use with a gas, such as compressed air. As shown, the piping assembly 10 is shown as further including a compressed air line 12 having threaded male connectors 14 at each end. At one end, the threaded male connector 14 is connected to the orbital coupling arrangement 100. At the opposite end, the threaded male connector 14 is connected to a male quick connect fitting plug 16 for connection with a female quick coupler body (not shown). The orbital coupling arrangement 100 is also configured to accept a quick connect fitting plug 16. In one example, the compressed air line is a 3/8 inch hose, for example a Flexilla #

HFZ3825YW2 hose manufactured by Legacy Manufacturing of Marion, Iowa. In one example, the threaded male connectors 14 include a first end with male threads and a second end with a barbed fitting, such as a Tru-Flate 21-143 1/4 NPT male fitting x 3/8 ID hose barb type fitting manufactured by Plews and Edelman of Dixon, Illinois. In one example, the male quick connect fitting plug 16 is configured with male threads, such as a Milton M style plug with 1/4 NPT threads manufactured by Milton Industries of Chicago, Illinois. As many other variations in piping and fitting size and type are possible, the disclosure is not limited to the specific configuration of fittings and piping shown.

[0073] In one aspect, the orbital coupling arrangement 100 includes a first connector part 110 and a second connector part 120. The first and second connector parts 110, 120 are rotatably connected together by an orbital member 140. The orbital member 140 may also be referred to as a swivel member 140. The orbital member 140 can be either a plastic part or a metal part. In one aspect, the orbital member 140 is retained to the first and second connector parts 110, 120 by a load ring or member 150 and a lock ring or member 160 provided at each end of the orbital member 140. A seal member 170 is also provided at each end of the orbital member 140 such that a seal is formed between the orbital member 140 and the first and second connector parts 110, 120.

[0074] The first connector part 110 is shown in isolation at Figures 9-10. In one aspect, the first connector part 110 extends between a first end 1 lOa and a second end 1 lOb. The first connector part 110 is shown as being formed as a unitary main body 112 and can be a machined or molded, plastic or metal component. The main body 112 defines an internal passageway 1 l2a extending between the first and second ends l lOa, 110b. [0075] Proximate the first end 1 lOa, the main body 112 defines a connection arrangement 1 l2b. In the example shown, the connection arrangement 1 l2b is a female threaded arrangement with NPT-type threads for connection with

corresponding male threads of the connector 14. The connection arrangement 1 l2b can be any type of arrangement to suit any particular application, such as male threads, a quick connect plug, unions, gender changers, or a female quick coupler. For example, the orbital coupling arrangement 100 shown in Figures 31 and 32 has a first connector part 110 with a connection arrangement 1 l2b configured as a male quick connect plug. Figures 33 and 34 show another example of an orbital coupling arrangement 100 in which the first connector part 110 has a connection arrangement 1 l2b configured as a hose barb. Figures 35 and 36 show yet another example of an orbital coupling arrangement 100 in which the first connector part 110 has a connection arrangement 1 l2b configured with female threads, such as NPT-type threads. In the example shown, the female threads are complementarily shaped to the male threads on the connector part 120 which allows for multiple coupling arrangements 100 to be coupled together in chain-like fashion in order to achieve greater total orbital angles. Such an arrangement is shown at Figures 35 to 36.

[0076] Proximate the second end 1 lOb, the main body 112 further defines a second connection arrangement 1 l2c. As shown, the connection arrangement 1 l2c is shown as a female threaded arrangement. Adjacent the connection arrangement 1 l2c, a bore 1 l2d is provided. In one aspect, the bore 1 l2d is defined by a sidewall 1 l2e and a shoulder 1 l2f. The bore 1 l2d is for receiving the load ring or member 150 while the connection arrangement 1 l2c is for receiving and retaining the lock ring or member 160. When the lock ring or member 160 is screwed onto the main body 112, the lock ring or member 160 is supported by the shoulder 1 l2f of the bore 1 l2d such that the shoulder 1 l2f accepts the load exerted by the lock ring or member 160 onto the lock ring or member 160 rather than the orbital member 140. Adjacent he bore 1 l2d is a transition bore 1 l2g that extends to a seal groove 1 l2h. The seal groove 1 l2h is for accepting the seal ring or member 170 such that the seal member 170 can form a seal with the orbital member 140. A transition bore 1 l2i is shown extending between the seal groove 1 l2h and the connection arrangement 1 l2b. The main body 112 is also provided with a hex surface 1 l2j such that a wrench can be utilized to fix the main body 112 as the lock ring or member 160 is threaded and tightened onto the connection arrangement (i.e. threads) 1 l2c.

[0077] The second connector part 120 is shown in isolation at Figures 11-12. As mentioned previously, the first connector part 110 can be completely identical to the second connector part 120, if desired for a particular application. In the example shown, the second connector part 120 differs from the first connector part 110 in that the second connector part 120 is provided with a connection arrangement 130 configured as a female quick-connect coupler instead as a threaded arrangement. However, the features of the second connector part 120 relating to the securement and retention of the load ring or member 150, lock ring or member 160, and seal member 170 are the same as those already described for the first connector part 110. Accordingly, the second connector part 120 is provided with a main body 122 defining a connection arrangement l22c, bore l22d, sidewall l22e, shoulder l22f, transition bore l22g, seal groove l22h, and a hex surface 1 l2j. The second connector part main body 122 can be a machined or molded, plastic or metal component.

[0078] As with the first connector part 110, the second connector part connection arrangement 130 could be alternatively provided with any type of arrangement to suit a particular application, such as female threads, male threads, a male quick connect plug, etc. For example, the orbital coupling arrangements 100 shown in Figures 31 to 34 have a second connector part 120 with a connection arrangement 130 configured with male NPT threads.

[0079] The disclosed connection arrangement 130 can be any type of connection arrangement, for example a standard quick connect coupler configured to receive a male quick connect plug 16 of the type shown at Figure 1.

[0080] Referring to Figures 13 to 16, the orbital member 140 is shown in isolation. As presented, the orbital member 140 extends between a first end l40a and a second end l40b. In one aspect, the orbital member 140 has a main body 142 in the general shape of a bar-bell with a cylindrical or tubular portion l42a extending between oppositely disposed generally spherical segments l42b. In the example shown, the spherical segments l42b are identical with an outer diameter l42dl. However, the spherical segments l42b could be differently sized. The tubular portion l42a is shown as having a length 14011 and a diameter l42d2. In one aspect, the length 14011 is sufficient such that the first and second connector parts 110, 120 do not contact each other when they are moved to the maximum angle al . Rather, the length 14011 ensures that the maximum angle al (discussed later) is defined by contact between the orbital member tubular portion l42a and the lock ring or member 160 of each connector part 110, 120. An internal passageway l42c extends through the tubular portion l42a and the spherical segments l42b, and is shown as having an internal diameter l42d3. In one example, length 14011 is .30 inch, diameter l42dl is .625 inch, diameter l42d2 is .32 inch, and diameter l42d3 is .236 inch.

[0081] Referring to Figures 17-20, the seal member 170 is shown in isolation. In the example shown, the seal member 170 is formed as an O-ring from a polymeric material, such as a rubber material. In one example, the seal member 170 is formed from a 70 duromoter buna nitrile rubber or silicone material. As presented, the seal member 170 is defined by a main body 172 having a generally rounded or circular cross-sectional shape defining an annulus with a central opening l72c. In one aspect, the main body 172 has a central axis 170X, an outer perimeter surface l72a, and an inner surface l72b. When the seal member 170 is inserted into the seal groove 1 l2h, l22h of the first or second connector part 110, 120, the outer perimeter surface l72a abuts the inner surfaces of the seal groove 1 l2h, l22h while the seal member portion l72c faces general towards the second end 1 lOb, l20b. As can be most easily seen at Figure 2A, the inner perimeter surface l72b deforms to conform to the spherical segments l42b at the location of contact between the seal surface l72b and the spherical segments l42b.

[0082] Referring to Figures 21-24, the load ring or member 150 is shown in isolation. In one aspect, the example shown, the load ring or member 150 is formed from a low friction polymeric material, such as a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Other materials can also be used, such as PerFluoroAlkoxy (PFA), fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), and possibly ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (HMWPE, EIHMWPE) for low temp applications. As presented, the load ring or member 150 is defined by a main body 152 having an asymmetrical cross-sectional shape. In one aspect, the main body 152 is formed as an annulus defining a central opening l52a. The main body 152 is defined by a first end surface l52b, a second end surface l52c, an outer perimeter surface l52d extending between the first and second end surfaces l52b, l52c, a third end surface l52e extending from the second end surface l50c to the central opening l52a, and an interior surface 152f extending between the third end surface l52d and the first end surface l52b. In one aspect, the third end surface l52e is disposed at an angle l50al with respect to the longitudinal axis 150X of the load ring or member 150.

[0083] The interior surface 152f is defined as a spherical segment and has a curvature that matches the curvature of the spherical segments l42b. Accordingly, when the load ring or member 150 is installed onto the orbital member 140, all portions of the interior surface 152f are in contact with some portion of the spherical segment 142 to which the load ring or member 150 is mounted. Due to the spherical segment shape of the interior surface l52f, the interior surface has a first diameter 150dl proximate the third end wall 152f and a second diameter l50d2 proximate the first end wall l52b, wherein the second diameter l50d2 is larger than the first diameter 150dl . As the load ring or member 150 is formed from a low friction material, frictional forces between the load ring or member 150 and the spherical segment l42b are minimized. In one example, diameter 150dl is 0.592 inch, the diameter l50d2 is 0.625 inch, and the angle l50al is 120 degrees.

[0084] In one aspect, the both the first and second diameters l50dl, l50d2 are less than the diameter l42dl of the spherical segments l42b of the orbital member 140. Accordingly, the spherical segment l42b cannot pass through the central opening l52a without deflection or deformation of the load ring or member 150. As the load ring or member 150 is formed from a polymeric material with a particular geometry, sufficient elasticity exists to allow the load ring or member 150 to be expanded over the spherical segment l42b such that at least a portion of the load ring or member can be positioned between the orbital member tubular portion l42a and the geometric center l42e of the spherical segment l42b.

[0085] When the load ring or member 150 is installed into the first or second connector part 110, 120, the first end surface 150b abuts and is supported by the shoulder 1 l2f, l22f while the outer perimeter surface l52d rests adjacent the sidewall 1 l2e, l22e of the connector part main body 112, 122. [0086] Referring to Figures 25-28, the lock ring or member 160 is shown in isolation. In one aspect, the example shown, the lock ring or member is formed from a polymeric material, such as Delrin (Dupont of Wilmington, Delaware) or some other acetal resin. In one aspect, the lock ring or member 160 is formed from a material that is harder than the material from which the load ring or member 150 is formed. As presented, the lock ring or member 160 is defined by a main body 162 having an asymmetrical cross-sectional shape. In one aspect, the main body 162 is formed as an annulus defining a central opening l62a. The main body 162 is defined by a first end surface l62b, a second end surface l62c, and an outer threaded portion l62d extending between the first and second end surfaces l62b, l62c. The outer threaded portion l62d is configured to engage with the threads 1 l2c, l22c of the first and second connector parts 110, 120. The lock ring or member 160 can be provided with a tool engagement arrangement l62g for enabling an assembler to use a tool to tighten the lock ring or member 160 onto the first and second connector parts 110, 120. In the example shown, the tool engagement arrangement l62g is a plurality (e.g. two, four, six, eight, etc.) of partial-depth bores l62g radially spaced about the first end surface l62b. Protrusions could also be used instead of bores, although reduced clearances between the connector parts 110, 120 and the orbital member 140 may result.

[0087] The lock ring or member main body 162 is also defined by a first interior surface l62e and a second interior surface l62f that meet to define a diameter l60dl of the central opening l62a. In one aspect, the first interior surface l62e extends at an angle l60a2 with respect to the longitudinal axis 160X of the lock ring or member 160. In one aspect, the second interior surface l62f extends at an angle l60al with respect to the longitudinal axis 160X of the lock ring or member 160.

As configured, the angle l60a2 equals the angle l50al such that the first interior surface l62e of the lock ring or member 160 can contact the third end surface l52e of the load ring or member 150 in a flush manner. In this position, the second end surface l52c of the load ring or member 150 is also in flush contact with the second end surface l62c of the lock ring or member 160. In one example, diameter 160dl is .60 inch, the angle l60al is 40 degrees, and the angle l60a2 is 60 degrees.

[0088] In one aspect, the diameter l60dl is less than the diameter l42dl of the spherical segments l42b of the orbital member 140. Accordingly, the spherical segment l42b cannot pass through the central opening l62a without deflection or deformation of the lock ring or member 160. As the lock ring or member 160 is formed from a polymeric material with a particular geometry, sufficient elasticity exists to allow the lock ring or member 160 to be expanded over the spherical segment l42b. As both the lock ring or member 160 and the load ring or member 150 are elastically deformable, the orbital member 140 can be manufactured as a single part with two spherical segments l42b. Where the load and/or lock ring or members 150, 160 are formed from a non-elastic material, such as a metal material, the orbital member 140 can be formed as a multiple part assembly (e.g. tube section is configured as two threaded parts) such that the load and lock ring or members 150, 160 can be slid over the tubular section l42a and brought into contact spherical segment l42b.

[0089] In one example, the load ring or member 150 and the lock ring or member 160 can be combined into a single retaining ring or member. Such a configuration is shown at Figures 37 to 42, wherein a unitarily formed retaining ring or member 180 is provided in the first and second connector parts 110, 120 of the coupling arrangement shown in Figures 33 and 34, in lieu of separate load and lock ring or members 150, 160. The retaining ring or member 180 can formed from a low friction polymeric material with sufficient strength to retain the orbital member 180 within the connector part 110, 120, such as a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Other materials can also be used, such as PerFluoroAlkoxy (PFA), fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), and possibly ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (HMWPE, EIHMWPE) for low temp applications.

[0090] The retaining ring or member 180 is shown in isolation at Figures 39 to 42, where it can be seen that the retaining ring or member 180 has the combined features of the load and lock ring or members 150, 160. For example, the retaining ring or member 180 can be defined by a main body 182 having an asymmetrical cross- sectional shape. In one aspect, the main body 182 is formed as an annulus defining a central opening l82a. The main body 182 is defined by a first end surface l82b, a second end surface l82c, and an outer threaded portion l82d extending partially or wholly between the first and second end surfaces l82b, l82c. The outer threaded portion l82d is configured to engage with the threads 1 l2c, l22c of the first and second connector parts 110, 120. The retaining ring or member 180 can be provided with a tool engagement arrangement l82e for enabling an assembler to use a tool to tighten the lock ring or member 160 onto the first and second connector parts 110, 120. In the example shown, the tool engagement arrangement l82e is a plurality (e.g. two, four, six, eight, etc.) of partial-depth bores l82e radially spaced about the first end surface l82b. Protrusions could also be used instead of bores, although reduced clearances between the connector parts 110, 120 and the orbital member 140 may result.

[0091] The retaining ring or member main body 182 is also defined by a first interior surface l82f defining a diameter 180dl of the central opening l82a. In one aspect, the second interior surface l82f extends at an angle l80al with respect to the longitudinal axis 180X of the retaining ring or member 180. In one example, diameter 180dl is .60 inch and the angle l80al is 60 degrees. In one aspect, the diameter 180dl is less than the diameter l42dl of the spherical segments l42b of the orbital member 140. Accordingly, the spherical segment l42b cannot pass through the central opening l62a without deflection or deformation of the retaining ring or member 180.

[0092] In one aspect, the retaining ring or member 180 further defines an outer perimeter surface l82g extending between the second end surface l82c and the threaded portion l82d, and an interior surface l82h extending between second end surface l82c and the interior surface l82f. The interior surface l82h is defined as a spherical segment and has a curvature that matches the curvature of the spherical segments l42b. Accordingly, when the retaining ring or member 180 is installed onto the orbital member 140, all portions of the interior surface l82h are in contact with some portion of the spherical segment 142 to which the retaining ring or member 180 is mounted. Due to the spherical segment shape of the interior surface l82h, the interior surface has the diameter 180dl proximate the interior surface l82f and a second diameter l80d2 proximate the second end wall l82c, wherein the second diameter l80d2 is larger than the first diameter 180dl . As the retaining ring or member 180 is formed from a low friction material, frictional forces between the retaining ring or member 180 and the spherical segment l42b are minimized. In one example, diameter 180dl is 0.592 inch and the diameter !80d2 is 0.625 inch. [0093] In one aspect, the both the first and second diameters l80dl, l80d2 are less than the diameter l42dl of the spherical segments l42b of the orbital member 140. Accordingly, the spherical segment l42b cannot pass through the central opening l82a without deflection or deformation of the retaining member or ring 180. As the retaining ring or member 180 is formed from a polymeric material with a particular geometry, sufficient elasticity exists to allow the retaining ring or member 180 to be expanded over the spherical segment l42b such that at least a portion of the load ring or member can be positioned between the orbital member tubular portion l42a and the geometric center l42e of the spherical segment l42b. Such a configuration enables the orbital member 140 to be manufactured as a single part with two spherical segments l42b. Where the retaining ring or member 180 is formed from a non-elastic material, such as a metal material, the orbital member 140 can be formed as a multiple part assembly (e.g. tube section is configured as two threaded parts) such that the retaining ring or member 180 can be slid over the tubular section l42a and brought into contact spherical segment l42b.

[0094] When the retaining ring or member 180 is installed into the first or second connector part 110, 120, the end surface l82c abuts and is supported by the shoulder 1 l2f, l22f while the outer perimeter surface l82g rests adjacent the sidewall 1 l2e, l22e of the connector part main body 112, 122.

[0095] To assembly either end of the orbital coupling arrangement 100, the lock ring or member 160 is first mounted onto the orbital member 140 such that at least a portion of the lock ring or member 160 is located between the orbital member tubular portion l42a and the geometric center l42e of the spherical segment l42b, and such that the first interior surface l62e of the lock ring or member 160 is generally facing towards the spherical segment l42b over which the lock ring or member 160 is mounted.

[0096] After the lock ring or member 160 is mounted onto the orbital member 140, the load ring or member 150 can be mounted to the orbital member 140 in the manner already described above such that at least a portion of the load ring or member 150 is located between the lock ring or member 160 and the geometric center l42e of the spherical segment l42b. The load ring or member 150 is oriented on the orbital member 140 such that the first end surface l52b of the load ring or member is generally facing towards the spherical segment l42b and such that the interior surface 152f is in contact with the outer surface of the spherical segment l42b.

[0097] Where the retaining member or ring 180 is used in lieu of the load and lock ring or members, 150, 160, the above two steps are completed as a single step in which the retaining member or ring 180 is mounted onto the orbital member 140.

[0098] Once the lock ring or member 160 and load ring or member 150 (or retaining member or ring 180) have been mounted onto the orbital member 140, the spherical segment l42b can be inserted into the first or second connector part second end 1 lOb, l20b. However, prior to this step, the seal member 170 is placed within the connector part seal groove 1 l2h, l22h. After the seal member 170 is installed, the orbital member 140 can be inserted into the connector part end 1 lOb, l20b until the spherical segment l42b seats onto the seal member 170. Once such contact is made, the load ring or member 150 (or retaining member or ring 180) can be seated into the connector part 110, 120 such that the first end surface l52b seats onto the shoulder l22f, as previously stated. Once the load ring or member 150 is seated, the lock ring or member 160 can then be threaded onto the connector part threads 1 l2c, l22c. Where the retaining ring or member 180 is provided, seating occurs as the retaining member or ring 180 is threaded onto the connector part 110, 120. Since the diameter 150dl of the load ring or member 150 and the diameter 160dl of the lock ring or member 160 are less than the diameter l42dl of the spherical segment l42b, the orbital member 140 is retained to the connector part 110, 120 once the lock ring or member 160 is fully threaded onto the connector part 110, 120.

Although the lock ring or member 160 and load ring or member 150 are elastically deflectable, the connection arrangement or threads 1 l2c, l22c and the sidewall 1 l2e, l22e prevent such deflection from occurring once the lock ring or member 160 is threaded onto the connector part 110, 120. Thus, the spherical segment l42b is securely retained by the load ring or member 150 and lock ring or member 160 once the lock ring or member 160 is threaded onto the connector part 110, 120.

[0099] As the lock ring or member 160 (or retaining member or ring 180) is tightened onto the connection arrangement or threads 1 l2c, l22c, the load ring or member 150 is compressed between the lock ring or member 160 and the shoulder l22f, with the load ring or member 150 (or retaining member or ring 180) deforming to some extent onto the spherical segment l42b to aid in preventing external contamination. In one aspect, the shoulder l22f prevents the load ring or member 150, and in turn the spherical segment l42b, from being drawn towards the seal member 170 as the lock ring or member 160 is being tightened. Notably, this interaction does not continually force the spherical segment l42b into further and further engagement with the seal member 170 as the lock ring or member 160 is being tightened as a positive stop is provided by the shoulder l22f. This interaction also applies where the retaining member or ring 180 is used. Because of this configuration, excessive frictional forces between the seal member 170 and orbital member 140 are avoided that could inhibit or altogether prevent rotational movement between the connector part 110, 120 and the orbital member 140.

Additionally, the seal member 170 is advantageously located between the end l40a, l40b of the orbital member 140 and the geometric center l42e of the spherical segment l40b which can further reduce frictional forces.

[00100] Once both connector parts 110, 120 are assembled onto the orbital member 140, as described above, the fluid passageway 112a of the first connector part 110 is placed in fluid communication with the fluid passageway l22a of the second connector part 120 via the internal passageway l42c of the orbital member 140. Thus compressed air or another fluid (liquid or gas) can flow from the first connector part 110 to the second connector part 120, or vice-versa.

[00101] In one aspect, the orbital coupling arrangement 100 is configured such that, the first connector part 110 can be rotated relative to the second connector part 120 such that the first and connector parts 110, 120 form an angle al with respect to each other. The angle al is the angle from the longitudinal axis 11 OX of the first connector part 110 to the longitudinal axis 120X of the second connector part 120. When the first and second connector parts 110, 120 are coaxially aligned, the angle al is zero. In the example shown, the first and second connector parts 110, 120 are configured such that a maximum angle al of about 82 degrees can be achieved. At this maximum angle, and all angles between zero and this angle, the first connector part 110 can be rotated a full 360 degrees about the second connector part 120, and vice versa. In one aspect, the maximum angle al is achieved by the sum of the maximum angle a2 that can be achieved between the orbital member 140 and the first connector part 110 and the maximum angle a3 that can be achieved between the orbital member 140 and the second connector part 120. In the example shown, the angles a2 and a3 are equal at about 41 degrees since the geometries of the orbital member 140, load ring or member 150, and lock ring or member 160 (or retaining member or ring 180) are the same at each end of the orbital member 140.

In one example, the angles al, a2 are at least 20 degrees for a resulting angle al of at least 40 degrees, and are more preferably at least 30 degrees for a resulting angel al of at least 60 degrees, and even more preferably at least 40 degrees for a resulting angle al of at least 80 degrees. However, it is entirely possible to provide the orbital member 140, load ring or member 150, and lock ring or member 160 (or retaining member or ring 180) with different geometries at each end of the orbital member 140 such that the angles a2 and a3 are not equal. In either case, the angle al will remain the sum of the angles a2 and a3. It is also possible to achieve even greater total angles than angle al by coupling multiple connector parts 110 and/or 120 together. For example, an intermediate first connector part 110 could be configured to retain a first orbital member 140 at one end (as shown) and a second orbital member 140 at the other end (i.e. instead of male connector 14). The other end of the second orbital member 140 could then be connected to the first connector part 110 of the type shown in the drawings. With such a configuration, the rotational angle between the first and second connector parts 110, 120 can be effectively doubled.

[00102] In one aspect, the advantageous designs disclosed herein allow for an orbital coupling arrangement 100 to be constructed that can rotate or swivel freely up to 150 psi of pressure within the coupling arrangement 100. Many prior art designs become very difficult to move at such pressures.

[00103] From the forgoing detailed description, it will be evident that modifications and variations can be made in the aspects of the disclosure without departing from the spirit or scope of the aspects. While the best modes for carrying out the many aspects of the present teachings have been described in detail, those familiar with the art to which these teachings relate will recognize various alternative aspects for practicing the present teachings that are within the scope of the appended claims.