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Title:
SEALING COMPONENT FOR CIRCUITS OF PRESSURIZED FLUIDS PROVIDED WITH INHERENT SAFETY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/187377
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A sealing component (1) for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety, of the type suitable for coupling to threaded end holes (2) of an apparatus of the circuit; the sealing component (1) comprises a first element (3) whose shape and dimensions are substantially complementary to those of a border (4) of the hole (2) and which is suitable for hermetic abutment against the border (4); furthermore, the sealing component (1) comprises at least one second threaded element (5), which can be screwed into the hole (2), for the tightening of the first element (3) on the border (4) of the hole (2); the second element (5) comprises furthermore a through opening (6) that is arranged between its face (5a) directed toward the border (4) of the hole (2) and its face (5b) that is directed outward; the presence of the through opening (6) allows the discharge of fluid if the first element (3) fails to provide a seal on the border (4)·

Inventors:
BELLUZZI, Dante (Via Ariosto 10, Bologna, 40132, IT)
Application Number:
IB2017/052432
Publication Date:
November 02, 2017
Filing Date:
April 27, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BELLUZZI, Dante (Via Ariosto 10, Bologna, 40132, IT)
International Classes:
F16J13/12; F16B35/00; F16J13/24; F16L41/14
Foreign References:
US20120160849A12012-06-28
US20050129459A12005-06-16
US2679411A1954-05-25
GB2236566A1991-04-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO, Micaela Nadia (Modiano & Partners, Via Meravigli 16, Milan, 80538, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety, of the type suitable for coupling to threaded end holes (2) of an apparatus of said circuit, characterized in that it comprises a first element (3) whose shape and dimensions are substantially complementary to those of a border (4) of said hole (2), said first element (3) being suitable for hermetic abutment against said border (4), at least one second threaded element (5), which can be screwed into said hole (2), for the tightening of said first element (3) on said border (4) of said hole (2), said second element (5) comprising a through opening (6) that is arranged between its face (5a) directed toward said border (4) of said hole (2) and its face (5b) that is directed outward, said through opening (6) being for the discharge of fluid if said first element (3) fails to provide a seal on said border (4).

2. The sealing component according to claim 1, characterized in that said through discharge opening (6) is a channel (6a) that passes through said second element (5).

3. The sealing component according to claim 1 and as an alternative to claim 2, characterized in that said through discharge opening (6) is a groove (6b) along the lateral surface of said second element (5), said groove (6b) being deeper than the height of the crests of the thread that is external to said second element (5).

4. The sealing component according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first element (3) is a sealing insert (7) and said second element (5) is a threaded plug (8), said insert (7) having a terminal end (7a) that is substantially frustum-shaped, with a taper angle that does not exceed the angle defined on the surface that faces it of said border (4) of said hole (2) in the configuration for use.

5. The sealing component according to claim 4, characterized in that a disconnection element (9), such as a washer, a bushing, a bush and the like, is interposed between said sealing insert (7) and said threaded plug (8), said disconnection element (9) allowing the free rotation of said threaded plug (8) with respect to said sealing insert (7) during the screwing/unscrewing thereof in the respective hole (2).

6. The sealing component according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said sealing insert (7) is made of a material that is not harder than the apparatus of said circuit in which the respective hole (2) is provided, said material being chosen preferably among steel, aluminum and alloys thereof, copper and alloys thereof, thermoplastic polymers, thermosetting polymers and elastomers.

7. The sealing component according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said sealing insert (7) comprises a centering and alignment member (10) whose shape and dimensions are complementary to those of a corresponding centering and alignment unit (11) of said threaded plug (8).

8. The sealing component according to one or more of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that said first element (3) is a tube (12) of said fluid circuit which is threaded externally substantially at a terminal end thereof (12a) and said second element (5) comprises a collar (13) which has a thread that is complementary to that of said end (12a) of said tube (12) and a locking bushing (14) with a thread that is complementary to that of said hole (2), said tube (12) of said fluid circuit being provided with a substantially frustum- shaped terminal end (12b) with a taper angle that does not exceed the angle formed on the surface that faces it of said border (4) of said hole (2) in the configuration for use, said through opening (6) being provided along said locking bushing (14).

9. The sealing component according to claim 8, characterized in that the thread of said collar (13) and of said end (12a) of said tube (12) and the thread of said locking bushing (14) and of said hole (2) are formed according to opposite spirals, which correspond to opposite directions of rotation for screwing.

10. The sealing component according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the angle of the taper provided on the frustum- shaped surface of the border (4) of said hole (2) is comprised between 30° and 160°, the angle of the frustum-shaped portion of said sealing insert (7) and the angle of the terminal portion (12b) of said tube (12) being comprised preferably between 28° and 160°, in any case not greater than the angle of the taper that is present on the frustum- shaped surface of said border (4) of the respective hole (2).

Description:
SEALING COMPONENT FOR CIRCUITS OF PRESSURIZED FLUIDS PROVIDED WITH INHERENT SAFETY

The present invention relates to a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety, of the type suitable for coupling to threaded end holes of an apparatus of said circuit.

It is known to install apparatuses in circuits of pressurized fluids provided with holes for interconnection to ducts and connectors, in order to provide the desired circuit layout.

Different types of plugs are known for closing said holes when they are not used and therefore are not connected to user devices.

For this reason, the end part of the holes generally is provided with a thread that is adapted to allow hermetic coupling between the plug and the hole.

For example, it is known to use frustum-shaped plugs which have the thread on the lateral surface thereof.

In particular, sealing liquid is distributed on the thread of the plug; in this manner, once the plug is inserted and screwed into the hole, it is sufficient to wait for the liquid to dry in order to ensure the seal.

One of the main limitations of this type of plug is the difficulty in removing it if required.

In order to be able to remove the plug it is in fact necessary to heat the portion around the plug so that the sealing liquid melts and allows the removal thereof.

This operation, in addition to requiring a certain time, can be particularly complex if the plug is in a position that is difficult to access for the operator.

Furthermore, in case of a leak of fluid from the thread (seepage), it is very difficult to attempt a repair, since the fluid that is present in the duct will continue to escape, flowing onto the thread of the hole and thus preventing the sealing liquid from drying. Furthermore, it is known to use cylindrical threaded plugs the head of which, having a larger diameter, protrudes radially from the hole.

In this type of plug, the sealed coupling to the hole is ensured by the presence of a hermetic sealing gasket, which is interposed between the outer wall of the apparatus and the lower portion of the head of the plug.

The wall of the apparatus must therefore have a predefined surface roughness in order to ensure optimum adhesion and tightness of said gasket.

Furthermore, in order to prevent the head of the plug from protruding from the wall of said apparatus, causing a certain space occupation, which might therefore limit the coupling of the apparatus to other elements in that area of the circuit, it is necessary to perform further work, i.e., to provide a recess around the hole that is at least as deep as the thickness of the head of the plug, with a predefined roughness.

In addition to this, again during installation, it is necessary to insert the plug by using appropriately set torque wrenches.

Excessive tightening might in fact cause the deformation of the head of the plug at the gasket, consequently compromising its seal.

Furthermore, it is appropriate to specify that both of these types of plug have a safety defect.

In case of a loss of fluid from the thread (seepage), or instantaneous collapse/failure of the thread of the plug or of the threaded seat (which can be caused by material defect, by excessive tightening torque, by hammering, and the like), the plug exits from the hole at an extremely high speed, with the risk that objects or operators located in the vicinity of the apparatus might be struck or injured.

It is appropriate to specify that the same safety defect might also occur in the presence of connectors inserted in the threaded holes.

In order to obviate these drawbacks, it is known to provide, during the installation of the apparatus, draining holes for the discharge of the fluid if the plug or connector fails to provide a seal. If the operator is not careful in providing the holes or in the absence of holes, the responsibility of an accident (such as for example accidents caused by the high-speed escape of the plug) might be attributed all the same to the manufacturer of said plugs and connectors, with consequent insurance, legal and commercial problems.

The aim of the present invention is to solve the problems described above, by providing a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety, which allows to minimize the risk of accidental expulsion of said component from the threaded hole in which it is accommodated stably.

Within this aim, an object of the present invention is to provide a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety that does not require the use of sealant additives to be applied to the thread of said hole in order to ensure tightness.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety that allows to minimize stresses on thread of said component and thus prevent the accidental unscrewing of said component.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety that is easy and quick to install.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety that allows, if needed, quick and swift inspection of the apparatus in which said component is installed.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety that has modest costs, is relatively simple to provide in practice and is safe in application.

This aim and these objects, as well as others which will become better apparent hereinafter, are achieved by a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety, of the type suitable for coupling to threaded end holes of an apparatus of said circuit, characterized in that it comprises a first element whose shape and dimensions are substantially complementary to those of a border of said hole, said first element being suitable for hermetic abutment against said border, at least one second threaded element, which can be screwed into said hole, for the tightening of said first element on said border of said hole, said second element comprising a through opening that is arranged between its face directed toward said border of said hole and its face that is directed outward, said through opening being for the discharge of fluid if said first element fails to provide a seal on said border.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of the sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety according to the invention, illustrated by way of nonlimiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is an exploded view of the sealing component according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a sectional view of Figure 1 , taken along a plane that passes through the longitudinal axis of symmetry of the sealing component, according to the invention;

Figure 3 is an exploded view of a different version of the sealing component according to the invention;

Figure 4 is a sectional view of Figure 3, taken along a plane that passes through the longitudinal axis of symmetry of the sealing component according to the invention;

Figure 5 is an exploded view of a different version of the sealing component according to the invention;

Figure 6 is a sectional view of Figure 5, taken along a plane that passes through the longitudinal axis of symmetry of the sealing component according to the invention;

Figure 7 is an exploded view of a further version of the sealing component according to the invention;

Figure 8 is a sectional view of Figure 7, taken along a plane that passes through the longitudinal axis of symmetry of the sealing component according to the invention.

With reference to the figures, the reference numeral 1 generally designates a sealing component for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety of the type suitable for coupling to threaded end holes 2 of an apparatus of said circuit.

According to the invention, the sealing component 1 comprises a first element 3, whose shape and dimensions are substantially complementary to those of a border 4 of the hole 2, which is suitable for hermetic abutment against the border 4.

Furthermore, the sealing component 1 comprises at least one second threaded element 5, which can be screwed into the hole 2, for the tightening of the first element 3 onto the border 4 of the hole 2.

The second element 5 further comprises a through opening 6 which is arranged between its face 5a that is directed towards the border 4 of the hole 2 and its face 5b that is directed outward.

The presence of the through opening 6 allows the discharge of fluid if the first element 3 fails to provide a seal on the border 4, consequently preventing the pressure applied by the fluid to the first element 3 from causing the exit thereof from the hole 2, an event which is particularly dangerous for both objects and people located in the vicinity of the apparatus, which therefore might be struck accidentally.

According to a particularly useful and practical solution, illustrated in the accompanying Figures 1 and 2, the through discharge opening 6 can be a channel 6a that passes through the second element 5. According to a constructive solution of particular practical interest, illustrated in the accompanying Figures 3 to 8, the through discharge opening 6 can be a groove 6b along the lateral surface of the second element 5.

The groove 6b can have a depth that is greater than the height of the crests of the thread that lies outside the second element 5.

According to a particularly efficient and effective solution, illustrated in the accompanying Figures 1 to 4, the first element 3 can be a sealing insert 7, while the second element 5 can be a threaded plug 8.

The insert 7 can therefore have a terminal end 7a which is substantially frustum- shaped, with a taper angle that is not greater than the angle defined on the surface that faces it of the border 4 of the hole 2 in the configuration for use.

Moreover, the possibility is not excluded to apply a layer of grease between the sealing insert 7 and the threaded plug 8 in order to allow a more effective coupling between them and therefore allow the insert 7 to maintain the alignment with the plug 8 during the screwing/unscrewing thereof in the respective hole 2.

According to a preferred solution, the insert 7 can be made of a ductile material; in this manner, by virtue of the axial thrust generated by the tightening torque of the plug 8 and of the insert 7, the insert 7, in abutment against the border 4 of the hole 2, is deformed, thus providing a perfect hermetic seal.

If the insert 7 is made of ductile materials, it is possible to interpose between the sealing insert 7 and the threaded plug 8 a disconnection element 9 of the type of a washer, a bushing, a bush, and the like.

The disconnection element 9 therefore allows the free rotation of the threaded plug 8 with respect to the sealing insert 7 during the screwing/unscrewing thereof in the respective hole 2.

The disconnection element 9 can be made of a material that is chosen preferably from steel, iron, aluminum, and the like.

More particularly, the sealing insert 7 can be made of a material that is not harder than the apparatus of the circuit in which the respective hole 2 is provided.

Said material can be chosen preferably from steel, aluminum and alloys thereof, copper and alloys thereof, thermoplastic polymers, thermosetting polymers, and elastomers.

The material used to provide the sealing insert 7 must be in any case compatible with the fluid that circulates inside said circuit.

In particular, plastic materials are suitable to be used for a maximum operating pressure of 100 bars and at temperatures not exceeding 90°C, and up to 150°C, in the case of plastic materials with additives.

Aluminum is instead suitable to be used at a maximum operating pressure of 6500 bar and at temperatures not exceeding 400°C.

For higher pressures and temperatures it is instead possible to use copper or its alloys, which are suitable to operate at a maximum operating pressure of 8000 bars and at temperatures not exceeding 600°C.

It is specified furthermore that low-carbon steel is suitable to operate at a maximum operating pressure of 10,000 bars and at temperatures not exceeding 750°C.

For maximum temperatures of 800°C it is instead possible to use annealed stainless steel, which is suitable to operate at a maximum operating pressure of 12,500 bars.

The threaded plug 8 can be made of a material chosen preferably from steel, iron, aluminum, and the like.

The thread of the plug 8 can partially occupy the lateral surface thereof.

Furthermore, the threaded plug 8 can have, in its upper portion, a contoured seat that is complementary to the seat of the tightening tool that is used to screw the plug 8 into the hole 2. Said seat can have a shape preferably chosen from hexagonal, square, and the like.

More particularly, the plug 8, in the configuration for use, can be inserted completely within the hole 2.

The possibility is not excluded that the plug 8, in the configuration for use, can protrude radially from the hole 2.

It is further useful to specify that the sealing insert 7 can comprise a centering and alignment element 10 whose shape and dimensions are complementary to those of a corresponding centering and alignment unit 11 of the threaded plug 8.

The element 10 and the unit 11 for centering and alignment can be respectively a pin 10 arranged on the sealing insert 7 and a through hole 11 formed on the threaded plug 8.

The operation of the sealing component 1 according to the constructive solution shown in Figures 1 to 4 will be described hereinafter.

First of all, one proceeds by applying the layer of grease inside the hole 11 formed in the threaded plug 8.

Then the insert 7 is coupled to the threaded plug 8, inserting the pin 10, formed on the insert 7, inside the hole 11 formed in the threaded plug 8.

At this point the operator proceeds by inserting and, by using the tightening tool, screwing the sealing component 1 inside the hole 2, until the substantially frustum- shaped terminal end 7a of the insert 7 abuts hermetically against the border 4 of the hole 2.

Furthermore, in order to allow quick and swift extraction of the component 1 from the hole 2, once the pin 10 has been inserted in the through hole 11 one proceeds by riveting and bending the terminal portion of the pin 10 or by applying an elastic ring around the pinlO; in this manner, the insert 7 is firmly coupled to the plug 8, allowing in any case both to rotate freely with respect to each other.

If the insert 7 is made of a ductile material, before coupling the insertion 7 to the plug 8 the disconnection element 9 is fitted on the pin 10.

According to a further constructive solution of unquestionable interest in practice and in application, illustrated in the accompanying Figures 5 to 8, the first element 3 can be a tube 12 of the fluid circuit, which is threaded externally substantially at a terminal end 12a thereof, while the second element 5 can comprise a collar 13, which has a thread that is complementary to the thread of the end 12a of the tube 12, and a locking bushing 14 with a thread that is complementary to the thread of the hole 2.

If the tube 12 has a reduced diameter, as shown in the accompanying Figures 5 and 6, the threaded collar 13 can be interposed between the locking bushing 14 and the tube 12.

If instead the tube 12 has a large diameter, as shown in the accompanying Figures 7 and 8, the threaded collar 13 can be arranged below the fastening bushing 14 in order to reduce the overall space occupation of the component 1.

The tube 12 of the fluid circuit can be provided with a terminal end 12b which is substantially frustum-shaped, with a taper angle that does not exceed the angle formed on the surface that it faces of the border 4 of the hole 2 in the configuration for use.

According to this further constructive solution, the through opening 6 can thus be provided along the locking bushing 14.

The presence of the through opening 6 allows the discharge of fluid in case of a failed seal, consequently preventing the pressure applied by the fluid to the component 1 (which comprises the tube 12, the collar 13 and the bushing 14) from causing the exit thereof from the hole 2, an event that is particularly dangerous both for objects and for people located in the vicinity of the apparatus, which might therefore be struck accidentally.

It is useful to specify that the thread of the collar 13 and of the end 12a of the tube and the thread of the locking bushing 14 and of the hole 2 can be defined according to oppositely oriented spirals, which correspond to opposite directions of rotation for screwing.

More particularly, the angle of the taper that is present on the frustum- shaped surface of the border 4 of the hole 2 can be comprised between 30° and 160°, while the angle of the frustum- shaped portion of the sealing insert 7 (shown in the accompanying Figures 1 to 4) and the angle of the terminal portion 12b of the tube 12 can be comprised preferably between 28° and 160°, in any case not greater than the angle of the taper that is present on the frustum- shaped surface of the border 4 of the respective hole 2.

The operation of the sealing component 1 according to the constructive solution shown in Figures 5 to 8 will be described hereinafter.

First of all one proceeds by screwing the collar 13 onto the tube 12. Then the locking bushing 14 is fitted onto the tube 12.

At this point the operator proceeds by inserting and screwing the sealing component 1 within the hole 2, until the substantially frustum- shaped terminal end 12b of the tube 12 is in hermetic abutment against the border 4 of the hole 2.

Advantageously, the sealing component 1 for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety allows to minimize the risk of accidental expulsion of the component 1 from the threaded hole 2 in which it is accommodated stably.

The presence of the through opening 6 in fact allows the discharge of fluid in case of failure of the seal of the component 1 , in practice preventing the pressure applied by the fluid to the component 1 from causing the exit thereof from the hole 2, an event that is particularly dangerous both for objects and for people that are located in the vicinity of the apparatus and might therefore be struck accidentally.

Conveniently, the sealing component 1 for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety does not require the use of sealant additives to be applied to the thread of the hole 2 in order to ensure tightness, allowing in practice, if needed, quick and swift inspection of the apparatus in which the component 1 is installed.

Furthermore, it is possible to remove and reinsert, even multiple times, the component 1 inside the hole 2 even in the presence of residual fluid in the pipes.

Effectively, the sealing component 1 according to the invention allows to minimize the stresses on the thread of the component 1 and thus prevent accidental unscrewing of the component 1.

Usefully, the sealing component 1 for circuits of pressurized fluids provided with inherent safety 1 is easy and quick to install.

In fact, as regards the invention shown in Figures 1 to 4, it is not necessary to provide any further work in order to create the optimum sealing conditions, since it is sufficient to drill with a helical bit in the apparatus in order to provide the hole 2.

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

It is not excluded to insert a bushing of ductile material (copper, aluminum, polymeric material, and the like) between the tube 12 and the hole 2.

According to this last constructive solution, the angle of the terminal portion 12b of the tube 12 is greater than the angle of the taper that is present on the frustum- shaped surface of the border 4 of the hole 2, so as to trap said bushing following a compression of the terminal portion 12b of the tube 12 on the border 4.

In the exemplary embodiments shown, individual characteristics, given in relation to specific examples, may actually be interchanged with other different characteristics that exist in other exemplary embodiments.

In practice, the materials used, as well as the dimensions, may be any according to the requirements and the state of the art.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application no. 102016000043244 (UA2016A002951), from which this application claims priority, are incorporated herein by reference.

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