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Title:
SEALING SYSTEM FOR METALLIC ROPES PASSING THROUGH BULKHEADS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/130274
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Sealing system (1) of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead comprising two movable frames (3) consisting of a flange supporting a semi cylinder (10), said movable frames being reciprocally tightened by means of control cylinders (4), the tightening involving the abutment of said semicylinders forming a cylinder concentrical with a rope passing through a hole and involving the compression of at least two couples of semicircular seals (11) internally fixed to said semicylinders, said tightening involving the reciprocal coupling of the two ends of each couple of said semicircular seals, forming annular seals pressed against the rope, the longitudinal distance "H" between said couples of seals involving the formation of a circular rim around the rope defining a chamber (12). The sealing system possibly comprises a chemical sealing system which, through an inlet (27) obtained on at least one of said semicylinders, injects in said chamber, by means of an injector (16), a sealing product penetrating into the meatuses (33) of the rope.

Inventors:
LUCIGNANI, Gianfranco (Salita Guardia, 60 A, Ceranesi, I-16014, IT)
Application Number:
EP2009/003436
Publication Date:
November 18, 2010
Filing Date:
May 14, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NAVALIMPIANTI S.P.A. (Salita Guardia, 60 A, Ceranesi, I-16014, IT)
LUCIGNANI, Gianfranco (Salita Guardia, 60 A, Ceranesi, I-16014, IT)
International Classes:
F16L5/04; B63B21/04
Foreign References:
US4679800A1987-07-14
GB2142585A1985-01-23
US2652018A1953-09-15
US4256920A1981-03-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
D' AGOSTINI, Giovanni (D'Agostini Organizzazione S.r.l, Via G. Giusti 17, Udine, I-33100, IT)
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Claims:
Claims

1. Sealing system (1 ) of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead characterized in that it comprises:

• Two movable frames (3) supported by a plate (8), each movable frame consisting of a flange (9) supporting a semicylinder (10), said movable frames (3) being intended to reciprocally tighten by means of frames control cylinders (4), said reciprocal tightening involving the abutment of said semicylinders (10) forming a cylinder concentrical with a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of said plate (8) and involving the compression of at least two couples of semicircularly shaped seals (11) internally fixed to said semicylinders (10), each seal (11) of each couple of seals being located in correspondence with one of the ends of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10), each seal (11) of one of the semicylinders

(10) having a corresponding seal (11) on the other semicylinder (10) located at the same distance from the corresponding end of the semicylinder itself, said tightening involving the reciprocal coupling of the two ends of each couple of said semicircular seals (11), each couple of seals on opposite semicylinders forming an annular seal which is pressed against the rope (2), the longitudinal distance "H" between said couples of seals located in correspondence of each end of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10) involving the formation of a circular rim around the rope defining a chamber (12).

- Locking devices (24, 31 ) of said flange (9) of said movable frames (3) against said plate (8) supporting said movable frames (3), said locking devices (24, 31 ) pushing said movable frames (3) against said plate (8), said pushing involving the compression of at least one O-ring (7) located between said plate (8) and said flanges (9) and located concentrically radially outside with respect to the hole (23) for the passage of the rope (2) on said plate (8).

- Locking means (6, 25, 26) reciprocally locking a movable frame (3) with respect to the other movable frame (3), said locking means being operated once the reciprocal abutment position of one movable frame against the other movable frame is reached.

2. Sealing system (1 ) according to the previous claim characterized in that it further includes a chemical sealing system consisting of at least one sealing product inlet (27) obtained on at least one of said semicylinders (10), said sealing product inlet (27) putting said chamber (12) in communication with the outside of the cylinder formed by the reciprocal coupling of said semicylinders (10), said sealing product inlet (27) being coupled to an injector (16) that injects a sealing product into the chamber (12) penetrating in the meatuses (33) of the rope (2).

3. Sealing system (1 ) according to the previous claim characterized in that said sealing product is a bi-component resin mixed by means of a mixer (15) to which a component A container (13) and a component B container (14) are connected by means of respective component A duct (29) and component B duct (30), the injection of said bi-component resin occurring by means of the activation of a proper injection cylinder (17) located upstream with respect to said component A container (13) and the component B container (14), said mixer proportioning the quantities of the A and B components.

4. Sealing system (1) according to the previous claim characterized in that said bi- component resin is a fast hardening bi-component resin polymerizing also in the presence of fresh water or sea water.

5. Sealing system (1) according to any of the previous claims 1 to 4 characterized in that internally with reference to said two semicylinders (10) four couples of seals (11 ) are present, up to a total number of eight semicircular seals for the two semicylinders (10), two couples of seals of which are longitudinally located reciprocally spaced in correspondence with one of the ends of the semicylinders and two couples of seals of which are longitudinally located reciprocally spaced in correspondence of the opposite end of the semi-cylinders with reference to the end relative to the other couples of seals, the chamber (12) being defined by the couples of internal seals (11 ) with respect to the sequence of the four couples of seals (11) along the longitudinal development of said semicylinders (10).

6. Sealing system (1) according to any of the previous claims 1 to 5 characterized in that said seals (11) have a rectangular section.

7. Sealing system (1) according to any of the previous claims 1 to 6 characterized in that it includes centering devices of the rope with respect to said two semicylinders (10), said centering devices of the rope consisting of guide wheels located in correspondence of the two sides of the plate (8).

8. Sealing system (1 ) according to any of the previous claims 1 to 7 characterized in that it further includes a fire protection and high temperature protection system consisting of a couple of protection metallic shields, integral with said movable frames (3), said protection metallic shields being equipped with a protection covering, segregation labyrinths and flames intumescent gaskets for the segregation of the labyrinths.

9. Sealing system (1 ) according to any of the previous claims 1 to 8 characterized in that the activation of said sealing system (1 ) occurs by means of hydraulic control means (4, 24, 6, 17) controlled by a device accumulating energy by means of a compressed gas (19) which, following the activation of an activation control (35), releases a gas in the circuit upstream with reference to a fluids separator cylinder (18), increasing the pressure upstream with reference to said fluids separator cylinder (18), which in turn injects a second fluid in the circuit downstream with reference to said fluids separator cylinder (18), the fluid coming out downstream with reference to said fluids separator cylinder (18) entering in turn the cylinders control circuit (45), said fluid performing the following operations:

- The fluid first operates the movable frame control cylinders (4) which in turn will control the reciprocal tightening of the two movable frames (3). - Then, following the pressure increasing due to the reaching of the limit stop position of the movable frame control cylinders (4), the fluid causes the activation of a first sequence valve (43) which allows the fluid to flow downstream with respect to the valve itself.

- Then the fluid operates the locking cylinders (24) which in turn tighten the flange (9) of said movable frames (3) against the plate (8) which supports said movable frames

(3).

- Subsequently, following the pressure increasing due to the reaching of the limit stop position of the locking cylinders (24), the fluid causes the activation of a second sequence valve (43) which allows the fluid to flow downstream with respect to the valve itself.

- Then the fluid operates the safety lock cylinders (6) which in turn control the reciprocal locking of the semicylinders (10) by means of reciprocal locking means (25, 26) which lock a frame with respect to the other frame.

- Subsequently, following the pressure increase due to the reaching of the limit stop position of the safety lock cylinders (6), the fluid causes the activation of a third sequence valve (43) which allows the fluid to flow downstream with respect to the valve itself. - Then the fluid operates the injection cylinder (17) which in turn will control the sealing product injection in the chamber (12).

10. Sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead characterized in that said device is structured according to the sealing system (1) according to claim 1.

11. Sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead characterized in that said device is structured according to the sealing system (1) according to claims 1 and 2.

12. Sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead according to any of the claims 10 to 11 characterized in that said device is structured according to the sealing system (1) according to any of the claims 3 to 9.

13. Sealing method of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead operating on a sealing system according to claims 1 and 2 characterized in that it includes the following steps: i. Mechanical sealing further comprising the steps of: a) Reciprocal tightening of two movable frames (3) involving the reciprocal coupling of at least two pairs of semicircular seals (11), each pair of seals forming an annular seal pressed against said rope (2), at least two of said couples of seals (11) delimiting a chamber (12) with a circular rim section around said rope (2). b) Tightening said movable frames (3) against the plate (8) which supports said movable frames (3), said tightening involving the compression of one or more O-rings (7) located between said plate (8) and said flanges (9) and located concentrically radially outside with respect to the hole (23) for the passage of the rope (2). c) Reciprocally locking said semicylinders (10) by means of reciprocal locking means (6, 25, 26) which lock a movable frame with respect to the other movable frame. ii. Chemical sealing further comprising the steps of: a) Mixing the components of the sealing product. b) High-pressure injection of the sealing product in said chamber (12).

14. Sealing method of a rope (2) passing through bulkheads according to the previous claim operating on a sealing system (1 ) according to any of the claims 3 and 9.

15. Vessel characterized in that it includes a sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead according to any of the claims 10 to 12.

16. Vessel according to the previous claim characterized in that said vessel is a cable- laying vessel.

17. Vessel according to claim 15 characterized in that said vessel is a towing ship.

18. Structure characterized in that it includes a sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead according to any of the claims 10 to 12.

Description:
SEALING SYSTEM FOR METALLIC ROPES PASSING THROUGH BULKHEADS

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads according to the characteristics of the pre characterizing part of claim 1. Definitions

Throughout the present description the generic expression "vessel" will indicate both passenger and merchant ships/boats as well as floating structures in general. Background Art In the field of ships/boats/vessels both for the transportation of goods and passengers a particular problem refers to the sealing of metallic ropes passing through bulkhead, which need to be water-tightened and/or gas-tightened for safety reasons. A particularly important problem refers to the sealing of the passage hole for towing ropes connected to winches located below-decks or for cables to be laid. Though in the text particular reference is made to ships/boats/vessels, it is evident that the present invention is applicable in all those cases in which there is a need to realize a sealing of metallic ropes passing through bulkheads that possibly must be sealed. It is known that, for safety reasons, ships/boats/vessels are internally divided in compartments which can possibly be reciprocally sealed to avoid that a possible flooding of one of the compartments could involve other compartments or to avoid the propagation of fire, explosions and/or gas and/or fumes and/or vapours escaped or generated due to possible accidents. The division between the compartments is made by means of watertight bulkheads and the openings between a compartment and the following one are created by means of hatch-doors which, once closed, ensure the insulation between the two compartments that said hatch-door divides. However, in the case of metallic ropes passing through bulkheads, as, for instance, in the case of towing ropes connected to winches, said ropes must pass through said bulkheads. The bulkheads are thus equipped with holes intended for the passage not only of the rope, but also of possible accessories connected to the end of the rope, such as, for example, terminals, etc. The systems of the prior art are conceived in such a way that the sealing of these ropes occurs by means of flanges equipped with elastomeήc gaskets which are closed around said ropes. Problems of the Prior Art

The systems of the prior art allow a sealing which could fail if submitted to high pressures. Moreover, being the ropes made of a number of reciprocally braided strands, they internally have internal meatuses, which can become ducts allowing the passage of gas and/or fluids which the sealing is expected to block. De facto, therefore, the meatuses can partially make the sealing ineffective.

A still worse situation occurs in the case in which the rope is partially damaged due to continuous use, this causing the direct exposure of the internal meatuses to the external environment and facilitating in a still serious manner the communication effect between the two sides of the bulkhead by means of the internal meatuses. Moreover, in this case, if the elastomeric gasket intended to be pressed against the rope is located just in correspondence of the damage then also the sealing by means of the elastomeric gasket can be compromised because of the imperfect pressure of the gasket on the rope. Aim of the invention The aim of this invention is to supply a sealing system for the passage of cables and/or ropes which in the case of normal operative conditions allows the free passage of the rope and/or cable and the passage of its accessories (terminals, etc.) while in emergency conditions, once the movement of the rope is stopped, it ensures a tight-sealing between the two sides among which said passage is obtained and in the internal interstices/meatuses of the rope itself which would otherwise become spaces conducting gaseous and/or liquid fluids preventing the tight-sealing condition, which is an essential condition for the safety of the staff and the safeguard, as far as possible, of the integrity of the product on which the device/s is/are installed. Disclosure of the invention

The aims are reached by means of the sealing system according to the characteristics of claim 1. The dependent claims 2 to 6 represent advantageous embodiments of the sealing system according to claim 1. A sealing device according to claim 10 is also disclosed. The dependent claims 11 to 12 represent advantageous embodiments of the sealing device according to claim 10. A sealing method according to claim 13 is also disclosed. The dependent claim 14 represents an advantageous embodiment of the sealing method according to claim 13. Vessels in general including a sealing device of a rope passing through a hole of a bulkhead according to the present invention are comprised themselves within the present invention according to the characteristics of the claims 15 to 17. Advantageous effects of the invention

The solution according to the present invention, by the considerable creative contribution, the effect of which constitutes immediate and non-negligible technical progress, presents advantages in relation to the quality of the achieved sealing which is sealed against water- head conditions immediately after the activation of the system and, even more advantageously, is able to resist much higher pressures after a given very short time starting from the moment of activation of the system. Therefore, the solution according to the present invention allows a sealing with sealing characteristics which are considerably higher with respect to the ones commonly considered as sufficient, thus ensuring an increased safety degree of the sealing obtained in this way.

The solution according to the present invention is easily utilizable also in the case of existing bulkheads, ensuring the improvement of the sealing previously obtained by means of less efficient systems of the prior art or ensuring the sealing also in structures in which the sealing was not previously present or ensuring an easy and fast adjustment of existing structures according to new needs and/or new requirements and/or new laws. Description of a preferred embodiment

A preferred embodiment is described below with the aid of the enclosed schematic drawings whose execution details are not to be considered limitative but only, and exclusively, illustrative of the present invention, and wherein identical reference numbers refer to similar components in the various figures in which:

Fig. 1 represents a front view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention in which the system is represented in the position corresponding to the non-sealing condition. Fig. 2 represents a front view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention in which the system is represented in the position corresponding to the sealing condition.

Fig. 3 represents a plan view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention in which the system is represented in the position corresponding to the non-sealing condition. Fig. 4 represents a plan view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention in which the system is represented in the position corresponding to the sealing condition.

Fig. 5 represents a three-dimensional view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention in which the system is represented in the position corresponding to the non-sealing condition.

Figs. 6 to 11 represent schematic views from above showing the sequence of operation of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention, in which Figs. 6, 7, 8, 11 are sectional views, Fig. 9 is a plan view and Fig. 10 is an enlargement of the zone indicated with A in Fig. 9. Fig. 12 represents a schematic view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention in which the hydraulic operation devices of the system itself are schematically represented too. Fig. 13 represents a view of the hydraulic scheme of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention. Fig. 14 represents a schematic view of the sealing system for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads made according to the present invention representing the sealing chamber. Fig. 15 represents a section of a typical metallic rope.

Detailed description of the invention with reference to the drawings The sealing system (1) according to the present invention for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads that possibly must be sealed uses the combination of a mechanical sealing intended to seal the rope with respect to the bulkhead and a chemical sealing intended to obtain also the sealing the internal meatuses of the rope.

In fact, it is well known that to ensure good characteristics of mechanical resistance and simultaneously to ensure a good flexibility of the rope itself, the metallic ropes (2) are made (Fig. 14) of a plurality of strands (32) grouped together and reciprocally wound over one another according to predetermined winding steps. Though said solution actually gives excellent mechanical resistance and flexibility characteristics, however it constitutes a problem in the case in which the sealing of a bulkhead through which said rope transits must be ensured.

In fact, the simple mechanical sealing action by means of the pressure of gaskets which are compressed on the external surface of the rope does not ensure the sealing of the meatuses (33) internal to the rope itself which are formed between the different strands

(32) constituting the rope (2), the meatuses (33) being able to become ducts that allow the passage of gas and/or fluids which the sealing is expected to block. De facto, therefore, the meatuses (33) can partially make the sealing ineffective. A still worse situation occurs in the case in which the rope is partially damaged due to continuous use, this causing the direct exposure of the internal meatuses (33) to the external environment and facilitating in a still serious manner the communication effect between the two sides of the bulkhead by means of the internal meatuses. The sealing of the rope (2) by means of the sealing system (1) according to the present invention occurs (Fig. 1 to 11 ) by means of the combined action of a series of components mounted on a plate (8) provided with a hole (23) for the passage of the rope (2) and for the passage of the relative accessories (e.g. terminals). This solution allows an easy and fast installation of the system according to the present invention also on existing structures with consequent saving in terms of duration of the intervention having an immediate positive economical outcome due to the consequent stop of the activity occurring in the rooms where the intervention occurs. For example, in this specific case of ships/boats/vessels, the downtime in the boat yard is considerably reduced because all the devices to be mounted can be preliminarily prepared and checked in order to perform the intervention as quickly as possible.

The mechanical sealing occurs by means of the action of a couple of movable frames (3) each of which consists of (Fig. 5) a flange (9) and a semicylinder (10), the semicylinder (10) of a movable frame (3) being intended to go in abutment condition with the semicylinder (10) of the other movable frame (3), the two semicylinders (10) positioned in reciprocal abutment constituting (Fig. 2) a cylinder coaxial to the rope (2) passing through the bulkhead to be sealed.

The movable frames (3) are moved with a reciprocal approaching movement (Fig. 1 , 3, 5) by means of a couple of movable frames (3) control cylinders (4) each of which pushes one of the movable frames (3) with respect to said plate (8). The internal diameter of the cylinder made up of the reciprocal approach in abutment of the two semi-cylinders (10) is equal or slightly larger than the diameter of the rope (2) to be sealed.

The mechanical sealing action, thus, does not occur by means of the pressing action of the two semicylinders (10) against the rope (2). Internally, (Fig. 3, 5) with reference to each of the semicylinders, (10) at least two couples of seals (11 ) are present, said seals (11) being semicircularly shaped and adapted and fixed in corresponding seats internally to said semicylinders (10), each seal (11) of each couple of seals being located in correspondence with one of the ends of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10), each seal (11) of one of the semicylinders (10) having a corresponding seal (11) on the other semicylinder (10) located at the same distance from the corresponding end of the semicylinder itself so that the reciprocal approaching action to the abutment condition of the two semicylinders (10) also involves the reciprocal coupling of the two ends of each couple of said semicircular seals (11 ), each couple of seals on opposite semicylinders thus forming an annular seal which is pressed against the rope (2) by the reciprocal coupling action of the two semicylinders (10). Though in some of the figures (Fig. 6-11), for purposes of simplification of the illustration, only two couples of semicircular seals (11) are represented, in the preferred embodiment of this invention (Fig. 5), four couples of seals (11) are present for a total number of eight semicircular seals for the two semicylinders, two couples of which are reciprocally spaced and longitudinally located in correspondence with one of the ends of the semicylinders, and two couples of which are reciprocally spaced and longitudinally located in correspondence with the opposite end of the semicylinders with reference to the end relative to the other couples of seals. Moreover, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, each seal (11 ) has a rectangular section in order to increase the contact surface between the seal (11) and the rope (2) when said semicylinders (10) are brought in the condition of reciprocal contact. It will become apparent to those skilled in the art that, for the purpose of this invention, a greater number of couples of seals can be present depending on the sealing degree to be obtained in the first phase of the sealing process according to the present invention. The couples of semicircular seals (11 ) located on opposite ends of the longitudinal development of the semicylinders (10) are (Fig. 14) reciprocally longitudinally spaced by a distance "H" in such a way that they form a circular rim around the rope defining a chamber (12). Said chamber (12) is intended to receive, by means of an inlet (27), a sealing means that fills out the chamber completely and also penetrates in the meatuses (33) of the rope (2), said sealing means, after solidifying, forming an additional chemical sealing with respect to the mechanical sealing provided by the pressing of the seals (11 ) on the rope (2). More in detail (figs. 1 , 3, 5) the movable frames (3) closing operation occurs by means of the frame control cylinders which, being fixed at one side on the plate (8), when operated, push the flanges (9) until a semicylinder (10) of one of the movable frames (3) comes into abutment with the semicylinder (10) of the other movable frame (3), the two semi-cylinders (10) positioned in reciprocal abutment constituting (Fig. 2) a cylinder coaxial to the rope (2) passing through the bulkhead which is thus mechanically sealed by means of the couples of semicircular seals (11). The movable frames (3) are driven along the reciprocal approaching movement by means of frame guides (5) longitudinally located with respect to the movement direction. Before the sealing system (1 ) is activated, the longitudinal movement of the rope (2) must be stopped. The rope centering with respect to the two mechanical sealing semicylinders (10) occurs by means of guiding wheels (not represented) located in correspondence of the two sides of the bulkhead to be sealed; little possible differences in this centering are easily compensated by the sealing system (1) itself which is able, in virtue of the high force applied by the movable frames control cylinders (4), to move the rope (2) in the ideal working position, that is the position concentrical with respect to said cylinder made up of said two mechanical sealing semicylinders (10).

Each movable frame (3) is provided with locking means (6, 25, 26), for the reciprocal locking of a frame with respect to the other frame, said locking means being operated once the reciprocal abutment position of one movable frame against the other movable frame is reached and locking the movable frames in the reciprocal engagement position against one another, preventing the reciprocal separation of the movable frames (3) during the following operations from jeopardizing or reducing the effect of the mechanical sealing obtained by means of the couples of seals (11). In the particular embodiment illustrated, each movable frame (3) is equipped, in correspondence of the semicylinders (10), with pin seats (26) which, due to the movement operation of the frames themselves to the abutment position, penetrate in corresponding penetration holes (39), located on the opposite frame with respect to the movable frame on which said pin seats (26) are located, and are aligned with corresponding safety pins (25) and pin counter guides (34) located on the opposite movable frame (3) with respect to the movable frame on which said pin seats (26) are located. Successively, safety lock cylinders (6) are operated, each of which (figs. 5, 9, 10) moves at least one corresponding safety pin (25) making it penetrate within the corresponding pin seat (26) and within the corresponding pin counter guide (34), making de facto the two movable frames (3) integral to each other and reciprocally locked.

Finally, a further operation intended to improve the mechanical sealing of the sealing system (1) is performed, activating, preferably before the activation of said locking means (6, 25, 26), for the reciprocal locking of a frame with respect to the other frame, some locking devices (24, 31) intended to push said movable frames (3) against the plate (8) in order to also realize a sealing of the air-space between said plate (8) and said movable frames (3), said sealing occurring by means of one or more O-rings (7) located between said plate (8) and said movable frames (3) and located radially outside with respect to the hole (23) for the passage of the rope. In the particular embodiment illustrated, the locking devices consist of locking cylinders (24) which, acting on a wedge (31 ) system cause said pushing action of said movable frames (3) against said plate (8), causing the compression of said O-rings (7) radially located outside with respect to the hole (23) for the passage of the rope. Therefore, in general, the sealing system (1) of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead according to the present invention is characterized in that it comprises:

- Two movable frames (3) supported by a plate (8), each movable frame consisting of a flange (9) supporting a semicylinder (10), said movable frames (3) being intended to reciprocally tighten by means of frames control cylinders (4), said reciprocal tightening involving the abutment of said semicylinders (10) forming a cylinder concentrical with a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of said plate (8) and involving the compression of at least two couples of semicircularly shaped seals (11) internally fixed to said semicylinders (10), each seal (11) of each couple of seals - being located in correspondence with one of the ends of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10), each seal (11) of one of the semicylinders (10) having a corresponding seal (11) on the other semicylinder (10) located at the same distance from the corresponding end of the semicylinder itself, said tightening involving the reciprocal coupling of the two ends of each couple of said semicircular seals (11), each couple of seals on opposite semicylinders forming an annular seal which is pressed against the rope (2), the longitudinal distance "H" between said couples of seals located in correspondence with each end of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10) involving the formation of a circular rim around the rope defining a chamber (12).

- Locking devices (24, 31) of said flange (9) of said movable frames (3) against said plate (8) supporting said movable frames (3), said locking devices (24, 31 ) pushing said movable frames (3) against said plate (8), said pushing involving the compression of at least one O-ring (7) located between said plate (8) and said flanges (9) and located concentrically radially outside with respect to the hole (23) for the passage of the rope (2) through said plate (8).

- Locking means (6, 25, 26) reciprocally locking a movable frame (3) with respect to the other movable frame (3). These locking means are operated once the reciprocal abutment position of one movable frame against the other movable frame is reached.

At this point the mechanical sealing is completed and the phase concerning the chemical sealing begins. Each movable frame (3) is provided, at the respective semicylinder (10), with a sealing product inlet, the inlet of one of the semicylinders (10) being a closed sealing product inlet (28) because not in use and the inlet of the other semicylinder (10) being the sealing product inlet (27) in use. The fact of having a sealing product inlet in correspondence of each movable frame (3) allows the connection of the necessary upstream components from the side of the sealing system (1) most suitable according to the particular installation position on the bulkhead to be sealed. Moreover, the adopted solution makes it possible to build two perfectly identical movable frames (3) with evident consequent advantages from the economical point of view, since it is sufficient to mount on the plate (8) one movable frame (3) rotated by 180 degrees with respect to the other identical movable frame (3) to obtain the correct reciprocal coupling of all of the components.

The sealing product inlet (27) is located (Fig. 14) in between the semicircular seals (11) and puts the chamber (12) in contact with the outside of the cylinder formed by the reciprocal coupling of said semicylinders (10). By means of said sealing product inlet, (27), an injector (16) injects in the chamber (12) a sealing product which in the illustrated embodiment is a bi-component resin mixed by means of a mixer (15) to which the component A container (13) and the component B container (14) are connected. Obviously the component A container (13) and the component B container (14) could also be placed away with respect to the injection position, being connected to the mixer (15) by means of (figs. 12) a respective component A duct (29) and a component B duct (30). The injection of the sealing product occurs by means of the activation of a proper injection cylinder (17) located upstream with respect to said component A container (13) and the component B container (14).

In general, the sealing system according to the present invention can therefore further comprise a chemical sealing system consisting of at least one sealing product inlet (27) obtained on at least one of said semicylinders (10), said sealing product inlet (27) putting in communication said chamber (12) with the outside of the cylinder formed by the reciprocal coupling of said semicylinders (10), said sealing product inlet (27) being coupled to an injector (16) which injects in the chamber (12) a sealing product penetrating in the meatuses (33) of the rope (2). Conveniently in the preferred embodiment of this invention, the sealing product is a fast hardening (1 + 5 minutes) bi-component resin, able to polymerize also in the presence of fresh water or sea water, which allows to obtain an optimal sealing both in virtue of the fact that it penetrates in the meatuses (33) of the rope (2) and for the fact that it improves also the mechanical sealing itself, if the couples of seals were not in a perfect sealing condition, for example because of damages on the rope jeopardizing the perfect adherence of the seals themselves on the rope.

The injection of the sealing product occurs by means of a high-pressure injection system which mixes and rapidly injects the bi-component resin between the couples of seals permeating the metallic rope and obstructing the meatuses and the internal channels formed by the strands of the rope itself. Moreover the bi-component resin mixer (15) proportions the quantities of the A and B components in order to maintain the expected proportions among them to obtain the polymerization according to the specifications of the resin itself.

The present invention also relates to a sealing method of ropes (2) passing through bulkheads (figs. 6 to 11 and fig.14), which comprises the following steps: i. Mechanical sealing further comprising the steps of: a) Reciprocal tightening of two movable frames (3) each of which consisting of a flange (9) supporting a semicylinder (10), said reciprocal tightening involving the abutment of said semi-cylinders (10) forming a cylinder concentrical with said rope (2) and the compression of at least two couples of semicirculariy shaped seals (11) fixed internally to said semicylinders (10), each seal (11) of each couple of seals being located in correspondence of one of the ends of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10), each seal (11) of one of the semicylinders

(10) having a corresponding seal (11) on the other semicylinder (10) located at the same distance from the corresponding end of the semicylinder itself, said tightening involving the reciprocal coupling of the two ends of each couple of said semicircular seals (11 ), each couple of seals on opposite semicylinders forming an annular seal which is pressed against the rope (2), the longitudinal distance "H" between said couples of seals located in correspondence of each end of the longitudinal development of said semicylinder (10) involving the formation of a circular rim around the rope defining a chamber (12). b) Tightening the flange (9) of said movable frames (3) against the plate (8) which supports said movable frames (3) by means of locking devices (24, 31 ) pushing said movable frames (3) against said plate (8), said pushing involving the compression of at least one O-ring (7) located between said plate (8) and said flanges (9) and located concentrically radially outside with respect to the hole

(23) for the passage of the rope (2) on said plate (8). c) Reciprocally locking said semicylinders (10) by means of reciprocal locking means (6, 25, 26) which lock a frame with respect to the other frame, said locking means being operated once the reciprocal abutment position of one movable frame against the other movable frame is reached, ii. Chemical sealing further comprising the steps of: a) Mixing the components of the sealing product. b) High-pressure injection of the sealing product in said chamber (12). Moreover, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention the sealing system (1 ) according to the present invention is advantageously operated by means of hydraulic control means only, which are controlled by a device accumulating energy by means of a compressed gas which ensures the functionality even in case of electrical energy failure. In short, (Fig. 12) the operating cylinders (4, 6, 24, 17) are sequentially activated by a hydraulic pack (22) consisting of: - A device accumulating energy by means of a compressed gas, which in the illustrated embodiment consists of at least one compressed gas container (19), typically nitrogen in high pressure cylinders.

A conversion device converting said compressed gas energy in oleodynamic energy by means of a fluids separator cylinder (18). - A hydraulic control group (21) which by means of mechanical / hydraulic type direct control sequentially operates said operating cylinders (4, 6, 24, 17) providing them with said oleodynamic energy. Moreover, an auxiliary hydraulic group (20), for example a fluid-dynamic station, maintains the correct oil volume in the fluids separator cylinder (18) and in the related connection and control circuit. Said auxiliary hydraulic group (20) is controlled by an automatic activation and operation system and does not contribute to the operativeness of the system in case of blackout. The connections (Fig. 13) are all of the hydraulic type to ensure the operation of the device even in emergency conditions in which a black-out occurs. When an emergency condition is not present, the auxiliary hydraulic group (20), by means of the motor (41 ), operates a compressor (40) in order to control/restore the fluid level in the fluids separator cylinder (18). The recovery selector (36) is in the normal operating position (37).

In emergency conditions it is necessary to operate the activation control (35), which can be remote-operated by means of the simple gas releasing, operated by means of a manual manoeuvre or controlled by means of a controlled servo-valve or fast release valve; this manoeuvre can be demanded to the direct control of the operator or interlocked to an external safety device or system which is not part of the device under discussion. Once started, the control sequence is irreversible and is automatically carried out without any intervention of the operator, the state of the manoeuvre being indicated on the control system and remotely displayed, but the operation of this part of the system has no influence on the purpose of carrying out the aim of the device. Following the activation of the activation control (35) the gas contained in the compressed gas containers (19) is released in the circuit upstream with reference to the fluids separator cylinder (18), increasing the pressure upstream with reference to said fluids separator cylinder (18), which in turn injects a second fluid in the circuit downstream to said fluids separator cylinder (18). The fluid coming out downstream of said fluids separator cylinder (18) enters the cylinders control circuit (45) and, due to the presence of the sequence valves (43), it performs the following operations, according to the order given by the sequence of the devices in the circuit:

- The fluid first operates the movable frame control cylinders (4) which in turn will control the reciprocal tightening of the two movable frames (3).

- Then, following the pressure increase due to the reaching of the limit stop position of the movable frame control cylinders (4), the fluid causes the activation of the first sequence valve (43) which allows the fluid to flow downstream with respect to the valve itself.

- Then the fluid operates the locking cylinders (24) which in turn tighten the flange (9) of said movable frames (3) against the plate (8) which supports said movable frames (3).

- Subsequently, following the pressure increase due to the reaching of the limit stop position of the locking cylinders (24), the fluid causes the activation of the second sequence valve (43) which allows the fluid to flow downstream with respect to the valve itself.

- Then the fluid operates the safety lock cylinders (6) which in turn control the reciprocal locking of the semicylinders (10) by means of reciprocal locking means (25, 26) which lock a frame with respect to the other frame.

- Subsequently, following the pressure increase due to the reaching of the limit stop position of the safety lock cylinders (6), the fluid causes the activation of the third sequence valve (43) which allows the fluid to flow downstream with respect to the valve itself. - Then the fluid operates the injection cylinder (17) which in turn will control the resin injection in the chamber (12).

At the end of the manoeuvre and at the end of polymerization of the bi-component resin the passage is fluid-tight under water-head conditions, its water-head resistance level being determined by the mechanical sizing of the frames and of the operating devices, while the resin, when hardened, is able to resist to much higher pressures than those required by the device. .

The circuit also provides the restoring of the initial conditions at the end of the emergency conditions. Shifting the recovery selector (36) in the recovery position (37), the recovery system (44) intervenes causing the return of the cylinders (4, 24, 6, 17) to the initial position. Obviously for the complete restoring of the system it will be necessary to remove the previously injected resin too and to restore the compressed gas containers (19). The sealing system (1 ) according to the present invention for metallic ropes passing through bulkheads that possibly must be sealed can also comprise a protection system (not represented) for protection against fire and high temperatures which is integrative of the system according to the present invention, in the specific cases in which it is necessary for the specific installation. Said protection system against fire and high temperatures essentially consists of a couple of protective metallic shields, integral with the movable frames (3), equipped with an A60 class protection covering according to the need, segregation labyrinths and flames intumescent gaskets for the segregation of the labyrinths.

The previously described sealing system (1) can be structured in such a way that it realizes a sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead able to be easily mounted on bulkheads that must be sealed, both in vessels of new construction and in existing vessels. Said sealing device of a rope (2) can comprise all or some of the characteristics of said sealing system (1), for example comprising only the components related to the mechanical sealing characteristics or integrating both the components related to the mechanical sealing characteristics and those related to the chemical sealing characteristics, as well as, if necessary, those components relative to rope centering, to fire protection, etc.

Vessels in general, both for the transport of passengers and goods, including a sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead according to the present invention are part of the present invention themselves. In particular ships for cable laying and/or for towing floating structures including a sealing device of a rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead according to the present invention are part of the present invention themselves. In general any structure characterized by at least one rope (2) passing through a hole (23) of a bulkhead which must be possibly sealed and including a sealing device of the rope (2) according to the present invention is part of the present invention itself. The description of this invention has been made with reference to the enclosed figures showing a preferred embodiment of the invention itself, but it is evident that many alterations, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Thus, it should be understood that the invention is not limited by the foregoing description, but embraces all such alterations, modifications and variations in accordance with the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Used nomenclature With reference to the identification numbers reported in the enclosed figures, the following nomenclature has been used:

1. Sealing system

2. Rope

3. Movable frames 4. Movable frames control cylinder

5. Frames guide

6. Safety lock cylinder

7. Plate O-ring

8. Plate 9. Flange

10. Semicylinder

11. Seal

12. Chamber

13. Component A container 14. Component B container

15. Mixer

16. Injector

17. Injection cylinder 18. Fluids separator cylinder

19. Compressed gas container

20. Auxiliary hydraulic group

21. Hydraulic control group 22. Hydraulic pack

23. Rope passage hole

24. Frames seal locking cylinder

25. Safety pin

26. Pin seat 27. Sealing product inlet

28. Sealing product closed inlet

29. Component A duct

30. Component B duct

31. Wedge 32. Strands

33. Meatus

34. Pin counter guide

35. Activation control

36. Recovery selector 37. Normal operating position

38. Recovery position

39. Pin seat penetration hole

40. Compressor

41. Motor 42. Recovery circuit

43. Sequence valve

44. Recovery system

45. Cylinders control circuit.