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Title:
QUICK CONNECTOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/157994
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a quick connector for coupling a hose at a male coupling element comprising a connector main body (2) with a hose receiving portion (2.1), a receiving area (2.2) adapted to receive a portion of said male coupling element and a locking mechanism (3) adapted to lock the male coupling element at the quick connector in a position in which said male coupling element is partially inserted in said receiving area (2.2), wherein said locking mechanism (3) comprises two or more snap hooks (4) adapted to interact with a groove or recess provided at the male coupling element in order to lock the male coupling element in the inserted state, wherein said snap hooks (4) com¬ prise : - a foot portion (4.1); - an upper portion (4.3) forming an engagement portion; and - a bending portion (4.2) being arranged between said foot portion (4.1) and said upper portion (4.3); wherein said bending portion (4.2) comprises a tapered shape, wherein the thickness of the bending portion (4.2) is increasing towards the upper portion (4.3).

Inventors:
RIEDE, Felix (Silberdistelweg 5, Herbrechtingen, 89542, DE)
Application Number:
EP2018/051197
Publication Date:
September 07, 2018
Filing Date:
January 18, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
HUSQVARNA AB (Drottninggatan 2, Huskvarna, 56182, SE)
International Classes:
F16L37/098; F16L37/133; F16L37/138
Foreign References:
DE102007020556B32008-06-26
DE202009007897U12009-10-01
DE29719415U11998-01-22
FR1310713A1962-11-30
US5884943A1999-03-23
US4681350A1987-07-21
US4681350A1987-07-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FINKELE, Rolf (Hans-Lorenser-Strasse 40, Ulm, 89079, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Quick connector for coupling a hose at a male coupling ele¬ ment comprising a connector main body (2) with a hose receiv¬ ing portion (2.1), a receiving area (2.2) adapted to receive a portion of said male coupling element and a locking mecha¬ nism (3) adapted to lock the male coupling element at the quick connector in a position in which said male coupling el¬ ement is partially inserted in said receiving area (2.2), wherein said locking mechanism (3) comprises two or more snap hooks (4) adapted to interact with a groove or recess provid¬ ed at the male coupling element in order to lock the male coupling element in the inserted state, wherein said snap hooks (4) comprise:

- a foot portion (4.1);

- an upper portion (4.3) forming an engagement portion; and

- a bending portion (4.2) being arranged between said foot portion (4.1) and said upper portion (4.3);

wherein said bending portion (4.2) comprises a tapered shape, wherein the thickness of the bending portion (4.2) is in¬ creasing towards the upper portion (4.3) .

2. Quick connector according to claim 1, wherein the thickness (tl) of the bending portion (4.2) close to the transition ar¬ ea between the upper portion (4.3) and the bending portion (4.2) is greater than the thickness (t2) of the bending por¬ tion (4.2) in a centre area (4.2.1) of said bending portion (4.2) .

3. Quick connector according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the thick¬ ness (t3) of the bending portion (4.2) close to the transi¬ tion area between the foot portion (4.1) and the bending por¬ tion (4.2) is greater than the thickness (t2) of the bending portion (4.2) in a centre area (4.2.1) of said bending por¬ tion (4.2) .

Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the snap hook (4) comprises a front side (4a) at which a hook portion (4.4) protrudes and a back side (4b) op posite to said front side (4a) , wherein said back side (4b) comprises a concave shape.

Quick connector according to claim 4, wherein said concavely -shaped surface provided at the back side (4b) spans from the bending portion (4.2) into the upper portion (4.3) .

Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the bending portion (4.2) comprises a straight or concavely-shaped surface at the front side (4a) which is ar¬ ranged in a centre area (4.2.1) of said bending portion

(4.2) .

Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the snap hook (4) comprises at its front side (4a) a rounded, concavely-shaped transition area (4.5) arranged be¬ tween the bending portion (4.2) and the upper portion (4.3) .

Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein a hook portion (4.4) provided at the upper portion (4.3) comprises multiple planar surfaces which are connected by multiple edges or rounded transitions. Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein said two or more snap hooks (4) are coupled by means of a coupling ring (5) .

10. Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein a spring element (6) is provided between said at least two snap hooks (4) .

11. Quick connector according to claim 11, wherein said spring element (6) comprises an oval-shaped spring body (6.1) and bar-shaped top and bottom portions (6.2, 6.3).

12. Quick connector according to claim 11 or 12, wherein said

spring elements (6) and snap hooks (4) are coupled with each other by means of a coupling ring (5) .

13. Quick connector according to claims 12, wherein the spring elements (6), snap hooks (4) and the coupling ring (5) are manufactured using a two-component injection moulding process or multi-component injection moulding technique.

14. Quick connector according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein said connector main body (2) comprises one or more stop portions (2.3) at which the snap hooks (4), the spring elements (6) and/or the coupling ring (5) rest on.

15. Quick connector according to claim 14, wherein the stop por¬ tion (2.3) of the connector main body (2), the foot portions (4.1) of the snap hooks (4) and/or the coupling ring (5) are over-moulded using a two-component injection moulding process or multi-component injection moulding technique.

Description:
Description

Quick connector

The present invention relates generally to the field of quick connectors. More specifically, the present document discloses a quick connector with an improved locking mechanism.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Quick connectors for coupling a hose with a water tap, a hose cart or a spray head are known in prior art. The quick connector comprises a hose receiving portion and - opposite to said hose receiving portion - a receiving area for receiving a male cou ¬ pling element. The quick connector further comprises a locking mechanism for securing the male coupling element in an inserted position, i.e. in a position in which a portion of the male cou ¬ pling element is inserted in the receiving area of the quick connector . US 4,681,350 discloses a quick coupling connection comprising a male element with an outer engagement groove and a receiving portion in the form of a female element to axially receive the male element and provided with two diametrically opposing aper ¬ tures. Interposed between said female element and, collar, two teeth are inserted into the apertures of the female teeth radi ¬ ally outwardly into engagement with the inner surface of the collar. Elastic means comprise two identical annular elements interposed between strips and in the form of an ellipse with its major axis orthogonal to the axis of the coupling. The annular elements are each curving about their major axis and the strips and annular elements are connected to a common circular base ring resting on a widened part of the receiving portion. Respec ¬ tive projections on the inner surface of the collar against which said elliptical elastic elements press and protuberance on said collar for retaining the teeth in their locking position are provided. The collar has beyond said protuberances widened spaces into which the teeth are inserted by the strips when the teeth are released from the projections. During insertion of a male element the collar is left in its locking position with the protuberances opposing the elastic action of the strips to keep the teeth inserted through the apertures and partly into the re ¬ ceiving portion of the female element. During this insertion stage the male element acts on the teeth to cause them to rotate about their points of contact with the protuberances with simul ¬ taneous elastic deformation of the strips and complete emergence from the apertures. In order to release it is necessary only to pull the collar in a direction away against the elastic thrust of rings so that the protuberances become disposed below the teeth to release them and the strips which are no longer re ¬ tained extract the teeth from the respective apertures.

Disadvantageously, known locking mechanisms of quick connectors show deficiencies in terms of stability and reliability of the locking mechanism and the assembling effort of the quick con ¬ nector comprising multiple parts is high.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an objective of the embodiments of the present invention to provide a quick connector for coupling a hose at a liquid providing or liquid receiving entity which shows an improved locking mechanism. The objective is solved by the features of the independent claim. Preferred embodiments are given in the dependent claims. If not explicitly indicated otherwise, embodi ¬ ments of the invention can be freely combined with each other.

According to an aspect, the invention relates to a quick con ¬ nector for coupling a hose at a male coupling element. Said male coupling element may be provided at a liquid providing entity (e.g. water tap) or liquid receiving entity (e.g. spray head) . The male coupling element comprises a connector main body with a hose receiving portion, a receiving area adapted to receive a portion of said male coupling element and a locking mechanism adapted to lock the male coupling element at the quick connector in a position in which said male coupling element is partially inserted in said receiving area. The locking mechanism comprises two or more snap hooks adapted to interact with a groove or re ¬ cess provided at the male coupling element in order to lock the male coupling element in the inserted state. Said snap hooks comprise a foot portion, an upper portion forming an engagement portion and a bending portion being arranged between said foot portion and said upper portion. The bending portion comprises a tapered shape, wherein the thickness of the bending portion is increasing towards the upper portion. Said thickness may be measured in radial direction with respect to the central axis of the quick connector.

Said quick connector is advantageous because the due to tapered shape of the snap hooks improved bending properties and restor ¬ ing forces of the snap hooks are obtained.

According to embodiments, the thickness of the bending portion close to the transition area between the upper portion and the bending portion is greater than the thickness of the bending portion in a centre area of said bending portion. Thereby the deflection of the bending portion occurs at a lower bending por ¬ tion section which is closer to the foot portion than to the up ¬ per portion forming the hook portion. Thereby the lever arm of the snap hook is increased in order to provide an improved se ¬ curing of the male coupling element.

According to embodiments, the thickness of the bending portion close to the transition area between the foot portion and the bending portion is greater than the thickness of the bending portion in a centre area of said bending portion. Thereby the bending of the snap hook is obtained by a deformation of the snap hook in an area between the foot portion and the upper por ¬ tion in which the thickness of the bending portion is reduced.

According to embodiments, the bending portion may be waisted or waist-shaped in a centre area. Thereby the effective length of the lever arm of the snap hook can be chosen as desired. According to embodiments, the snap hook comprises a front side at which a hook portion (also referred to as engagement portion) protrudes and a back side opposite to said front side, wherein said back side comprises a concave shape. Said hook portion may be directed towards the central axis of the quick connector and may protrude through an opening into the receiving area of the connector main body. The back side may face away from said cen ¬ tral axis and may face a movable sleeve arranged around the con ¬ nector main body. Said movable sleeve may be adapted to deacti ¬ vate the locking mechanism in order to be able to remove the male coupling element from the quick connector. Due to the con ¬ cave shape, the bending properties of the snap hook, specifical ¬ ly in the centre area of the bending portion, are further im ¬ proved . According to embodiments, said concavely-shaped surface provided at the back side spans from the bending portion into the upper portion. Preferably, there is a steady transition between the upper portion and the bending portion. Thereby a flexible bend ¬ ing portion and a massive, not deformable upper portion of the snap hook are obtained.

According to embodiments, said bending portion thickens towards the foot portion. Thereby, the bending region is shifted towards the centre area of the bending portion, i.e. the bending of the snap hook occurs at a distance from the foot portion. According to embodiments, the bending portion comprises a straight or concavely-shaped surface at the front side which is arranged in a centre area of said bending portion. Thereby, the space for integrating the snap hooks into the quick connector can be reduced without affecting the bending properties of the snap hooks .

According to embodiments, the snap hook comprises at its front side a rounded, concavely-shaped transition area arranged be ¬ tween the bending portion and the upper portion, specifically the hook portion. Said transition area may form a contact sur ¬ face which interacts with an edge of an opening provided in the circumferential wall of the connector main body. Thereby, the bending of the snap hook is limited to a certain degree in order to avoid an excessive inward-bending of the upper portion, spe ¬ cifically the hook portion.

According to embodiments, a hook portion provided at the upper portion comprises multiple planar surfaces which are connected by multiple edges or rounded transitions. The inclinations and dimensions of said planar surfaces may be adapted to the groove or recess provided in the male coupling element in order to ena ¬ ble a form-fitted engaging of the hook portion into said groove or recess.

According to embodiments, said two or more snap hooks are cou ¬ pled by means of a coupling ring. Said coupling ring may be pro ¬ vided at a lower free end of the snap hooks. Thereby, the assem- bling process of the quick connector can be improved.

According to embodiments, one or more spring elements are pro ¬ vided between said at least two snap hooks. Said spring elements may be adapted to push a sleeve circumferentially provided at the connector main body in an upper position. In order to deac- tivate the locking mechanism, the sleeve has to be moved against the spring force of the spring elements in a retracted position.

According to embodiments, said spring element comprises an oval- shaped spring body and bar-shaped top and bottom portions. The legs of the oval-shaped spring body provide deformable portions which provide the spring forces. The oval-shaped spring body may extend along an angular range of 30° to 60°. According to other embodiments, the spring body may comprise multiple X-shaped spring portions or may comprise a lattice-like structure. The bar-shaped top and bottom portions provide increased contact surfaces for abutting against the sleeve, respectively, the con ¬ nector main body. The bar-shaped top and bottom portions may be arranged perpendicular with respect to the central axis of the quick connector.

According to embodiments, said spring elements and snap hooks are coupled with each other by means of a coupling ring. There ¬ by, the assembling effort is further improved.

According to embodiments, the spring elements, snap hooks and the coupling ring may be manufactured using a two-component in ¬ jection moulding process or multi-component injection moulding process .

Multiple thermoplastic polymers may be used which are incompati ¬ ble such that said thermoplastic polymers no not mix but stay separated from each other. However, said polymers are adhered against each other such that a single-piece element comprising the spring elements, snap hooks and the coupling ring is ob ¬ tained. Thereby different polymers can be used for building the spring elements, the snap hooks and the coupling ring. Said pol ¬ ymers may comprise properties adapted to the specific tasks of the spring elements, the snap hooks and the coupling ring. In addition, also the spring element and/or the snap hook itself can be manufactured using different polymers, e.g. a harder pol ¬ ymer for the upper portion and a more flexible polymer for the bending portion of the snap hook. The term polymer herein includes any polymer material and mix ¬ tures of polymer materials and co-polymer materials, in particu ¬ lar thermoplastic polymers.

According to embodiments, said connector main body comprises one or more stop portions at which the snap hooks, the spring ele ¬ ments and/or the coupling ring rest on. Said stop portion may be a protrusion, shoulder or collar radially protruding from the wall portion of the connector main body. Said snap hooks and/or the coupling ring and/or the spring elements may abut against said one or more stop portions. Thereby the stop portion pro ¬ vides a support for said elements.

According to embodiments, the stop portion of the connector main body, the foot portions of the snap hooks, the spring elements and/or the coupling ring are over-moulded using a 2-component- or multi-component-injection moulding technique. Thereby a se ¬ cure fixing of the snap hooks, the spring elements and/or the coupling ring at the connector main body is obtained. According to other embodiments, the fixing of the coupling element is ob- tained by a tight fit and/or a form fit of the coupling ring at the connector main body.

According to embodiments, the spring elements are included in the sleeve. Said spring elements may be formed at the inner sur- face of the sleeve using a 2-component- or multi-component- injection moulding technique.

The term "essentially" or "approximately" as used in the inven ¬ tion means deviations from the exact value by +/- 10%, prefera- bly by +/- 5% and/or deviations in the form of changes that are insignificant for the function.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The various aspects of the invention, including its particular features and advantages, will be readily understood from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings, which : Fig. 1 illustrates a lateral view of an example embodiment of a quick connector with snap hooks and spring elements arranged around the connector main body (with removed sleeve) ; Fig. 2 illustrates a sectional view of the quick connector ac ¬ cording to Fig. 1 along the cutting line X-X;

Fig. 3 illustrates a sectional illustration of a snap hook

section of the quick connector (indicated by the cir- cle) according to Fig. 2;

Fig. 4 illustrates a lateral view of a snap hook according to an example embodiment; Fig. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the spring element according to an example embodiment;

Fig. 6 illustrates an exploded view of a quick connector ac ¬ cording to an example embodiment;

Fig. 7 illustrates a lateral view of an example embodiment of a quick connector with snap hooks and spring elements arranged around the connector main body and fixed by an overmoulding technique; Fig. 8 illustrates a sectional illustration of the quick cou ¬ pler according to Fig. 7;

Fig. 9 illustrates an exploded view of a connector main body and a coupling ring comprising multiple spring elements adapted to be pushed on the connector main body; and

Fig. 10 illustrates an exploded view of an example quick con ¬ nector comprising a sleeve with integrated spring ele- ments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention will now be described more fully with ref- erence to the accompanying drawings, in which example embodi ¬ ments are shown. However, this invention should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Throughout the following description similar reference numerals have been used to denote similar elements, parts, items or features, when ap- plicable.

Fig. 1 illustrates an example embodiment of a quick connector 1. The quick connector 1 may be a female coupling element which in ¬ teracts with a male coupling element in order to provide a de- tachable connection, for example, between a hose and a water tap .

Said quick connector 1 comprises a connector main body 2 with a hose receiving portion 2.1 and a receiving area 2.2. Said hose receiving portion 2.1 may be adapted to receive a free end of a hose and couple said free end of the hose with a liquid channel provided within the connector main body 2. Said hose receiving portion 2.1 may provide clamping means for clamping the hose at the hose receiving portion 2.1. The receiving area 2.2 may be adapted to receive a portion of the male coupling element. Said receiving area 2.2 may be provided opposite to the hose receiv ¬ ing portion 2.1. The receiving area 2.2 may be a recess in which a front portion of the male coupling element can be inserted. In addition, a locking mechanism 3 is provided at the quick con- nector 1. Said locking mechanism 3 is adapted to secure the male coupling element in the inserted position if said front portion of the male coupling element is inserted in the receiving area 2.2. Said locking mechanism 3 may comprise two or more snap hooks 4 which are adapted to interact with a groove or recess provided at the male coupling element in order to lock the male coupling element in the inserted position. Said two or more snap hooks 4 may be circumferentially distributed around the connect ¬ or main body 2, e.g. equally distributed based on a given angu ¬ lar distance.

The snap hooks 4 are flexible in order to be bent inwardly and outwardly (with respect to a central axis A of the connector main body 2) . Each snap hook 4 may comprise an upper portion 4.3 forming an engagement portion or hook portion 4.4 which pro- trudes through an opening 2.4 provided in the connector main body 2 into the receiving area 2.2. After inserting the male coupling element into the receiving area 2.2, the engagement portion or hook portion 4.4 of each snap hook 4 engages into the groove or recess provided at the male coupling element thereby avoiding that the male coupling element can be pulled out of said receiving area 2.2.

The locking mechanism 3 further comprises a sleeve 3.1 movably, preferably slidably mounted at the quick connector 1. The sleeve 3.1 may surround the connector main body 2 in an area in which said snap hooks 4 are provided. Said sleeve 3.1 may be spring- loaded. By means of one or more spring elements 6, the sleeve 3.1 is pushed in a first position. By applying forces to said sleeve 3.1, said sleeve 3.1 can be pushed or pulled in a second position, specifically in a retracted position. Said sleeve 3.1 may interact with the snap hooks 4 such that said snap hooks 4 can not be bent outwardly in case that the sleeve 3.1 is in the first position. In case that the sleeve 3.1 is pushed or pulled in the second position, the snap hooks 4 can be bent outwardly thereby releasing the snap connection with the male coupling el ¬ ement. Thereby, the male coupling element can be pulled out of the receiving area 2.2 of the connector main body 2.

Fig. 2 to 4 show the snap hook 4 and its integration into the quick connector 1 in greater detail. The snap hook 4 comprises a foot portion 4.1, a bending portion 4.2 and an upper portion 4.3. In the assembled state of the quick connector 1, the upper portion 4.3 may be arranged in close proximity to the opening 2.4 through which the hook portion 4.4 of the snap hook 4 pro ¬ trudes into the receiving area 2.2. The foot portion may be ar ¬ ranged towards the hose receiving portion 2.1 and the bending portion 4.2 is arranged between said foot portion 4.1 and said upper portion 4.3. The longitudinal axis of the snap hook 4 may be arranged parallel or essentially parallel to the central axis A of the quick connector 1. In addition, the snap hook 4 com ¬ prises a front side 4a and a back side 4b. Said hook portion 4.4 may be provided at said front side 4a and said back side 4b may be arranged opposite to the front side 4a.

As shown in Fig. 2, the connector main body 2 may comprise a re ¬ cess or support area 2.5 at which at least a portion of the snap hook 4, specifically the front side 4a in the area of the bend ¬ ing portion 4.2 rests on. The foot portion 4.1 of the snap hook may be adapted to rest at a stop portion 2.3. Said stop portion 2.3 may be formed by a collar provided at the outer surface of the connector main body 2.

As shown in Fig. 3 and 4, the snap hook 4 may comprise a hammer ¬ like shape. In order to improve the bending behaviour and the restoring force of the snap hook 4, the bending area 4.2 is ta ¬ ll pered. Preferably, the bending portion 4.2 is tapered towards the upper portion 4.3. In addition, the bending portion 4.2 may also be tapered towards the foot portion 4.1. So in other words, the bending portion 4.2 may be double-tapered. The bending por- tion 4.2 may comprise a centre area 4.2.1 which comprises a thickness t2. The thickness of the bending portion 4.2 may in ¬ crease in the direction to the upper portion 4.3, respectively the hook portion 4.4 such that the thickness tl of the bending portion close to the transition area between said bending por- tion 4.2 and the upper portion 4.3 is greater than the thickness t2 (tl > t2) . For example, the thickness tl may be at least dou- ple the thickness t2 (tl ≥ 2*t2) . Thereby the bending behaviour and the restoring forces of the snap hook 4 are improved. . In general the radius or curvature as well as the thickness as well as the length and the width of the snap hook 4, in particular its bending portion 4.2, have an influence on the flexibility or elastic resilient forces and the retaining forces and the snap ¬ ping forces . In addition, the snap hook 4 may be curved at its back side 4b. Said back side 4b may comprise a concave shape which may open outwardly, i.e. towards the movable sleeve 3.1 surrounding the snap hook 4 (not shown in Fig. 1 to 3) . At the front side 4a, the snap hook 4 may comprise a rounded transition area 4.5 based on which the bending portion 4.2 merg ¬ es into the upper portion 4.3. Said transition area 4.5 may be adapted to abut against an edge of the opening 2.4 in order to limit the inwardly directed bending of the snap hook 4. The hook portion 4.4 may be formed by multiple planar or essentially pla ¬ nar surfaces. Said planar surfaces may be inclined with respect to each other in order to build an engagement portion adapted to interact with a groove or recess of the male coupling element. Said planar surfaces may be connected by edges or rounded tran- sitions. The upper portion 4.3 of the snap hook 4 may be mas- sive, i.e. the upper portion 4.3 is not deformed when operating the locking mechanism.

The length of the bending portion 4.2 may be chosen such that the bending portion 4.2 comprises at least twice the length of the upper portion 4.3, preferably more than the double length of the upper portion 4.3. The snap hook 4 may comprise a length (measured along its longitudinal axis) of at least 15mm, prefer ¬ ably at least 20mm, most preferably 21,5mm.

Fig. 5 shows a spring element 6 which can be used for spring- loading the sleeve 3.1. As shown in Fig. 1, said spring element 6 may be arranged at the outer surface of the connector main body 2, i.e. in a space between a wall portion of the connector main body 2 and said sleeve 3.1. The spring element 6 comprises a ring-shaped or circular-shaped or oval-shaped spring body 6.1 which can be deformed by a pressure applied to the spring body 6.1. When applying pressure to said spring body 6.1, the side portions of the spring body 6.1 may bend outwardly thereby re- ducing the height h of the spring element 6. The spring element 6 is made of a flexible material which is reversibly deformable. So, in case that the applied force is deactivated, the spring element 6 returns into its original shape thereby pushing the sleeve 3.1 into its initial position.

The spring element 6 comprises a top portion 6.2 and a bottom portion 6.3, wherein the top portion 6.2 and/or the bottom por ¬ tion 6.3 comprises a bar-shaped protrusion. Said bar-shaped pro ¬ trusion provides a contact surface for the sleeve 3.1, respec- tively, the stop portion 2.3 provided at the connector main body 2. Thereby the application of force into the spring body 6.1 is improved. The spring element 6 may be concavely shaped in order to be able to adapt to the curved shape of the connector main body 2. The height of the spring body 6.1 (measured parallel to the central axis) may be greater than the width of the spring body 6.1 (measured perpendicular to the central axis) .

Fig. 6 shows the quick connector 1 in a partly disassembled state. A coupling ring 5 may be provided by means of which the snap hooks 4 and the spring elements 6 are interconnected. Said interconnection may be obtained at the lower side of the snap hooks 4 and the spring elements 6. The snap hooks 4 may be even ¬ ly distributed along the circumference and the spring elements 6 may be arranged between a pair of adjacent snap hooks 4. Prefer ¬ ably, three snap hooks 4 and three spring elements 6 may be pro ¬ vided at the coupling ring 5. It is worth mentioning that also more or less snap hooks 4 / spring elements 6 can be used. The arrangement of snap hooks 4 / spring elements 6 at a common coupling ring 5 can be provided as an injection moulding compo ¬ nent, i.e. the snap hooks 4, the spring elements 6 and the cou ¬ pling ring 5 are integrally formed. A two-component-injection moulding process or multi-component injection moulding process can be used for manufacturing the assembly of snap hooks 4 / spring elements 6 at the common coupling ring 5. Thereby it is possible that the snap hooks 4 comprise another material (e.g. plastic or polymer material) than the spring elements 6 and/or the coupling ring 5 The two-component-injection moulding process or multi-component injection moulding process may be chosen such that the plastic or polymer materials do not merge, in other words are not compatibel; but stay separated from each other and are interconnected by adhering forces of the plastic or polymer materials. It is worth mentioning that the assembly of snap hooks 4 / spring elements 6 at the common coupling ring 5 can also be manufactured using a single-component injection moulding process .

In one embodiment, the snap hooks 4 may even comprise multiple portions built by or made from different polymers. Thereby it may, for example, be possible to form an upper portion of the snap hooks 4 using a harder polymer and a middle portion using a polymer with a greater elasticity The coupling ring 5 comprising the snap hooks 4 and the spring elements 6 can be fixed at the connector main body 2 based on different techniques. First, the connector main body 2 may be adapted to provide an interlocking connection with the coupling ring 5. For example, the connector main body 2 may comprise one or more hooks or recesses adapted to interact with inversely formed portions at the coupling ring 5 in order to secure the coupling ring 5 at the connector main body 2 (Fig. 9) . Alterna ¬ tively or in addition, the coupling ring 5 may be secured at the connector main body 2 based on a tight fit. For example, a mate- rial shrinkage during a cooling down of the coupling ring 5 can be used for providing a tight fit of said coupling ring 5 at the connector main body 2.

Furthermore, as shown in Fig. 7 and 8, the coupling ring 5 can be secured at the connector main body 2 based on an over-moulded material portion 7. The over-moulded material portion 7 may se ¬ cure the coupling ring 5 by form-fitted enclosing a contour of the connector main body 2. For example, the connector main body 2 may comprise one or more protrusions (e.g. the stop portion 2.3 formed by a collar) at its outer surface which are arranged close to the coupling ring 5 and said coupling ring 5 is secured at the connector main body 2 by over-moulding said coupling ring 5 and said one or more protrusions. For over-moulding, a two- component-injection moulding process or multi-component injec- tion moulding process can be used. The injection moulding pro ¬ cess may be chosen such that the plastic materials do not merge but stay separated from each other and are interconnected by ad ¬ hering forces of the plastic materials. Alternatively or in ad ¬ dition, the connector main body 2 may comprise one or more re- cesses wherein during over-moulding the coupling ring 5, said recesses are filled with a plastic material. Thereby a positive connection between the connector main body 2 and the material providing the over-moulding of the coupling ring 5 is obtained.

According to other embodiments, as shown in Fig. 10, the spring elements 6 can be also included in the sleeve 3.1. The spring elements 6 may be provided within the sleeve 3.1 using a multi- component injection moulding process. Preferably, the spring el ¬ ements 6 are directly injection-moulded at the inner surface of the sleeve 3.1. The sleeve 3.1 may comprise a contour or one or more recesses for providing a positive connection between the spring elements 6 and the sleeve 3.1.

It should be noted that the description and drawings merely il ¬ lustrate the principles of the proposed quick connector. Those skilled in the art will be able to implement various arrange ¬ ments that, although not explicitly described or shown herein, embody the principles of the invention.

List of reference numerals

1 quick connector

2 connector main body

2.1 hose receiving portion

2.2 receiving area

2.3 stop portion

2.4 opening

2.5 support area

3 locking mechanism

3.1 sleeve

4 snap hook

4a front side

4b back side

4.1 foot portion

4.2 bending portion

4.2.1 centre area

4.3 upper portion

4.4 hook portion

4.5 transition area

5 coupling ring

6 spring element

6.1 spring body

6.2 top portion

6.3 bottom portion

7 overmoulded material portion

A central axis

h height

tl thickness

t2 thickness

t3 thickness