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Title:
SELF-ALIGNING SPRING-DISK WATERJET ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/096567
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A spring disk (24) is utilized to retain and align an orifice (26), or orifices, on a smooth flat surface. The surface can be the interior of a nozzle cap (25), or a separately provided replaceable platen. The spring disk has a large outside diameter, one or more through-holes (34) in the area at or near the center of its surface, and concentric with the through holes, shallow recesses (or counterbores) to form wells in the spring disk. The wells are slightly larger in diameter than the particular orifice to be mounted and slightly shallower (in the water flow direction) than the thickness of the orifice. The orifice or orifices, as the case may be, are placed into the recesses (conterbores). The nozzle cap is made with a recess (33) (counterbore) that has a diameter that is slightly larger then the spring disk and has through-holes that are concentric with the orifice hole(s).

Inventors:
Mcdonald, Michael C. (2605-210th Avenue, East Sumner, WA, 98390, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2002/016793
Publication Date:
December 05, 2002
Filing Date:
May 28, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Mcdonald, Michael C. (2605-210th Avenue, East Sumner, WA, 98390, US)
International Classes:
B05B1/00; B05B1/10; B05B15/06; B05B17/04; B24C1/04; B24C5/04; B26F3/00; (IPC1-7): B05B1/00
Foreign References:
US3705693A1972-12-12
US3756106A1973-09-04
US4150794A1979-04-24
US5199640A1993-04-06
US5730358A1998-03-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Goodloe Jr., Reams R. (24722 - 104th Avenue, S.E. Suite 10, Kent WA, 98030-5322, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
1. A waterjet orifice assembly comprising: (a) a high pressure tubing having a central bore, a threaded end, and a bottom compressive end portion; (b) a nozzle cap, said nozzle cap having threads sized and shaped for complementary mating engagement with said threaded end of said high pressure tubing, said nozzle cap having an outlet bore, and, adjacent said nozzle cap outlet bore, an interior orifice receiving surface; (c) a spring disk, said spring disk having an overall diameter larger than the diameter of said central bore in said high pressure tubing, said spring disk further comprising a counterbore of preselected height, said counterbore further comprising an upper flange portion; (d) at least one orifice, said at least one orifice having a central bore sized and shaped for escapment of high pressure fluid therethrough, said at least one orifice having a height at least slightly larger than said preselected height of said counterbore of said spring disk, said at least one orifice removably mounted in said counterbore of said spring disk; and (e) wherein said spring disk is clamped between said nozzle cap and said high pressure tubing, so as to force said at least one orifice downward against said interior orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap.
2. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein a single orifice is provided, and wherein said outlet bore of said nozzle cap is concentric with said central bore of said high pressure tubing.
3. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein a single orifice is provided, and wherein said counterbore of said spring disk is concentric with said central bore of said high pressure tubing.
4. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said spring disk is sufficiently flexible so as to prevent the crushing of said orifice when said nozzle cap is tightened to secure said nozzle cap to said high pressure tubing.
5. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said orifice has an inlet side having an inlet side area, and an outlet size having an outlet side land area which sits against said interior orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap, and wherein hydrostatic pressure is contained within said high pressure tubing and transmitted to said inlet side area of said orifice, and wherein such force is transmitted through said orifice to said outlet side land area of said orifice, and wherein said inlet side area is larger than said outlet side land area of said orifice, so that sealing of said orifice against said interior orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap is achieved.
6. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, or in claim 5, wherein said interior orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap comprises a lapped surface.
7. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said spring disk comprises a plurality of counterbores, and wherein an orifice is provided in secure mounted engagement in each one of said plurality of counterbores.
8. A waterjet orifice assembly comprising: (a) a high pressure tubing having a central bore and a threaded end having a bottom compressive surface portion; (b) a nozzle cap, said nozzle cap having threads sized and shaped for complementary mating engagement with said threaded end of said high pressure tubing, said nozzle cap having an outlet bore, and, adjacent said nozzle cap outlet bore, an interior counterbore having an orifice receiving surface; (c) a spring disk, said spring disk having an overall diameter larger than the diameter of said central bore in said high pressure tubing, said spring disk further comprising a centrally located bore for passage of high pressure fluid therethrough; (d) an orifice, said orifice having a central bore sized and shaped for escapment of high pressure fluid therethrough, said orifice having a height at least slightly larger than said preselected height of said interior counterbore of said nozzle cap, said orifice removably mounted in said interior counterbore of said nozzle cap; and (e) wherein said spring disk is clamped between said nozzle cap and said high pressure tubing, so as to force said orifice downward against said orifice receiving surface of said interior counterbore of said nozzle cap.
9. The apparatus as set forth in claim 8, wherein a single orifice is provided, and wherein said outlet bore of said nozzle cap is concentric with said central bore of said high pressure tubing.
10. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 or in claim 8, wherein said spring disk is sufficiently flexible so as to prevent the crushing of said orifice when said nozzle cap is tightened to secure said nozzle cap to said high pressure tubing.
11. The apparatus as set forth in claim 8, wherein said orifice has an inlet side having an inlet side area, and an outlet size having an outlet side land area which sits against said orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap, and wherein hydrostatic pressure is contained within said high pressure tubing and transmitted to said inlet side area of said orifice, and wherein such force is transmitted through said orifice to said outlet side land area of said orifice, and wherein said inlet side area is larger than said outlet side land area of said orifice, so that sealing of said orifice against said orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap is achieved.
12. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, or in claim 8, wherein said orifice receiving surface of said nozzle cap comprises a lapped surface.
13. The apparatus as set forth in claim 8, wherein (a) said spring disk comprises a plurality of counterbores, and wherein an orifice is provided in secure mounted engagement in each one of said plurality of counterbores, and (b) said nozzle cap comprises a plurality of outlet bores.
14. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, or in claim 8, wherein said spring disk is removably replaceable.
15. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, or claim 8, wherein said orifice is removably replaceable.
16. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, or in claim 8, further comprising a platen, said platen comprising an integral base, a smooth upper platen surface, and a cylindrical shoulder, and wherein said spring disk further comprises an annular shoulder, and wherein said spring disk compresses said orifice against said platen, and wherein said spring disk and said platen are compressed in an operating positing between said nozzle cap and said compressive end of said high pressure tubing.
Description:
SELF-ALIGNING, SPRING-DISK WATERJET ASSEMBLY

Background This invention relates generally to high-pressure fluid jet nozzles, and more particularly to an orifice jet nozzle assembly for waterjet cutting systems and the like that that use high-pressure fluids to form a high-energy stream for solid material cutting and similar processes. In such systems, the proper alignment of the orifice insert that forms the water stream is essential to proper function and accurate cutting. The orifice insert must also be replaced at frequent intervals. The process of orifice insert installation and alignment takes time and cannot be done by machine operators under field conditions.

Furthermore, all prior art waterjet systems known to me provide only for a single orifice per nozzle. The foregoing illustrates the limitations known to exist in present devices and methods. Thus, it is apparent that it would be advantageous to provide a waterjet assembly including a means that allows for easy installation and alignment of orifices by operating waterjet system personnel, and which allows for multiple orifices from a single nozzle to allow multiple waterjet systems.

Accordingly, a suitable method is provided that allows easy replacement and alignment of orifices by field personnel, and which allows multiple orifices in a single nozzle. The assembly can also be used to maintain consistent alignment with a down stream mixing tube, such as is used in abrasive waterjet cutting.

SUMMARY The present invention uses a spring disk to retain and align an orifice, or orifices, on a smooth flat surface. The spring disk has a large outside diameter, one or more through-holes in the area at or near the center of its surface, and concentric with the through-holes, shallow recesses (or counterbores) to form wells in the spring disk. The wells are slightly larger in diameter than the particular orifice to be mounted and slightly shallower (in the water flow direction) than the thickness of the orifice. The orifice or orifices, as the case may be, are placed into the recesses (counterbores). When installing an orifice, a small amount of a viscous liquid, such a water with soap, will prevent the orifices from falling out of the recess (es) The nozzle cap is made with a recess (counterbore) that has a diameter that is slightly larger then the spring disk and has through- holes that are concentric with the orifice hole (s). The recessed surface of the cap is lapped so that it is very flat and smooth. The diameter of the spring disk is larger than the inner diameter of the inlet tube. When the cap is mounted on the inlet tube and tightened, the outer diameter of the spring disk is forced to flex to the cap surface while the center portion is restrained by the orifice that is resting on the same cap surface. This imposes a force (a reload) on the orifice (s) which acts on the lapped surface of the cap. The force on the orifice (s) is a function of the diameter, thickness, and displacement of the outer portion of the spring disk. However, this force is not sufficient to prevent fluid from leaking around the orifice. The principle that works to provide total sealing, so as to prevent fluid from leaking around the orifice, is a self-actuating concept that uses

the difference in area between the top of the orifice and the bottom that is resting on the lapped surface. The hole through the cap is larger than the diameter of the bore through the orifice. The inlet area of the orifice (exposed to high pressure fluid) is larger than the area of the orifice resting on the lapped surface.

The resulting effect is that the stress acting on the orifice at the lapped surface is much greater than the stress at the inlet area of the orifice. As a result, when the lapped area is smooth, fluid cannot leak past the orifice. In addition, the spring disk may be bored and counterbored to allow placement of several orifices at specified distances from each other to permit multiple waterjets for simultaneous cutting.

Brief Description of the Drawing In order to enable the reader to attain a more complete appreciation of the invention, and of the novel features and the advantages thereof, attention is directed to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawing, wherein: FIG. 1 is a cross section of a prior art nozzle assembly.

FIG. 2 is a cross section of a prior art support system for orifice.

FIG. 3 is a cross section of another prior art method for aligning and confining an orifice.

FIG. 4 is a cross section of nozzle assembly for use in accord with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a cross section of nozzle cap, inlet tube, spring disk and orifice for use in accord with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a cross section of an alternate configuration employing the spring disk.

FIG. 7 is a cross section of orifice and nozzle cap for use in accord with the present invention showing principle of difference in high pressure area between the bottom and the top of the orifice which prevents leakage around the orifice.

FIG. 8 is a cross section of a typical abrasive waterjet nozzle using the flexible, self-aligning spring disk as taught herein.

FIG. 9 shows another embodiment of the spring disk, showing here how a smooth, lapped replaceable platen with integral base may be provided for a jeweled orifice to act against when trapped in operating position by the retaining ring of the counterbore in the spring disk.

FIG. 10 shows the embodiment just described in FIG. 9, but now showing the apparatus inverted, for more clearly displaying some of the interior components and structure.

The foregoing figures, being merely exemplary, contain various elements that may be present or omitted from actual implementations depending upon the circumstances. An attempt has been made to draw the figures in a way that illustrates at least those elements that are significant for an understanding of the various embodiments and aspects of the invention. However, variations in the

elements of the self aligning, spring-disk water jet assembly, especially as applied for different variations of the functional components illustrated, may be utilized in various embodiments in order to provide a robust waterjet orifice alignment structure suitable for a variety of waterjet nozzle designs and applications.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 shows a prior art mounting assembly capable of accepting an orifice. As shown in FIG. 1, a piece of high pressure conveyance tubing, designated by the reference numeral 1, is provided with a threaded end 2, onto which a nozzle cap 3 is screwed to secure and hold in place an orifice system 4 between lands 5 of the nozzle cap and an alignment and seal taper 7 of the tube 1. For cutting solid material, cutting fluid, usually water under high pressures typically above 20,000 psi, is supplied to the interior 8 of the inlet tube 1 and escapes as a focused stream through orifice bore 6 and on through internal bore 15. This concentrated fluid jet performs the cutting process on solid materials.

FIG. 2 shows a prior art nozzle which might be installed in the nozzle fixture formed by nozzle tube 1 and nozzle cap 3, as shown in FIG. 1. The nozzle is formed of a body portion 9 having an internal bore 15 provided through the center of the body portion 9. A complementary seal taper 11 cooperates with the taper surface 7 of tube 1 to align and seal the orifice body 9 in the assembly.

A typical orifice 10 is shown mounted in counterbore 12 in the orifice body. A polymer seal 13 material is pressed in to the annulus between the orifice 10 outside diameter and the counterbore 12 wall 12w. This retains the orifice.

Although generally acceptable, this embodiment of the prior art fails to provide a positive means of securing the orifice 10 within the orifice body 9. Due to the high operating pressures and sometimes rapid fluctuations in pressure, the orifices 10 frequently become dislodged. In addition, erosion around the orifice 10 has occurred at times thus permitting the orifice 10 to move laterally out of

focus or become more easily dislodged from its mounting. Also, in applications using extreme high or low temperature fluids, the polymer seal 13 fails, resulting in orifice failure.

FIG. 3 shows a more recent prior art design in which a mounting body 14 is provided with a central through bore 15, a mounting flange 16 for mating with lands 5 of nozzle cap 3 (see FIG. 1), and a cylindrical head 17 which is further provided with a counterbore 18 which receives an orifice 10 having an orifice bore 19 which aligns axially along the centerline of through bore 15. Also shown is retaining hat 20 with a conical surface 21and a cylindrical bore 22, which cooperates with cylindrical head 17 by means of an interference fit to secure the conical hat 20 on the cylindrical head 17. The conical hat 20 is further provided with an internal flange 23 which presses on and secures the orifice 10 in the bore 18 of the cylindrical head 17. This prior art device secures the orifice 10 in place and provides alignment for the jet stream. While this prior art design provides for a positive system for securing the orifice, it is a complex and expensive design that requires special tools and does not allow for replacement of the orifice 10 by field personnel.

In contrast, in the present invention, the orifice supporting system is much simpler, is easily aligned, and allows the orifice to be replaced by operating field personnel; no special tools or training are required. This results in much lower orifice replacement costs and reduces the waterjet cutting system down time.

FIGS. 4,5,6,7, and 8 refer to the present invention. FIG. 4 shows a waterjet assembly capable of accepting an orifice. A piece of high pressure

tubing, designated by the reference numeral 1, is provided with a threaded end 2, onto which a nozzle cap 25 is screwed to secure a spring disk 24 between lapped surface 27 of the nozzle cap and the end of the nozzle tube 28. The spring disk 24 is designed to confine and concentrically align orifice (s) 26 with the throughbore of the spring disk 24 and the nozzle cap 25.

FIG. 5 shows spring disk 24 with a thickness slightly smaller than the orifice 26 with a recess (counterbore) 29 that receives orifice 26. The orifice 26 has an orifice bore 30. Recess (counterbore) 29 has a vertical depth H29 that is smaller than the height H26 of the orifice 26. Recess (counterbore) 29 aligns axially with bore 31 of the nozzle cap 25. The orifice 26 is restrained by a flange 32 of the spring disk. The nozzle cap 25 is made with a recess (counterbore) 33 that has a height that is smaller than that of the spring disk 24, a diameter that is slightly larger than the spring disk 24, and throughhole (s) 31 that is (are) concentric with the orifice hole 30. The recessed surface 27 of the nozzle cap 25 is lapped so that the surface is flat and smooth. The diameter D24 of the spring disk 24 is slightly larger than the diameter D1 of the inlet tube 1. When the nozzle cap 25 is mounted on the inlet tube 1 and tightened, the outer diameter of the spring disk 24 is forced to flex to the nozzle cap surface 27 while the center portion is restrained by the orifice 26 which is held in place by flange 32 and which rests on the lapped surface 27 of the nozzle cap 25. This structure and technique secures and aligns the orifice and prevents the possibility of movement or escape of orifice 26. The center portion of the spring disk 24 may contain thru bore (s) 34. The thru bore (s) 34 prevent pressure imbalances from occurring

between the top T24 and bottom B24 of the spring disk 24 that could cause over flexing and failure of the spring disk 24. The thru bore (s) 34 are located in the annulus defined between the bore of the inlet tube 1 and the recess (counterbore) 29.

FIG. 6 shows an alternate configuration of the assembly shown in FIG. 5 where a recess 29'is located in the nozzle cap 25.

FIG. 7 shows the principle that works to provide total sealing. It is a self- actuating concept that uses the difference in areas between the top and bottom surfaces of the orifice 26. Since the stress (pressure) that is acting on each surface is the same, the force acting on the larger area on top of the orifice (A1- A2) is much larger than the force acting on the area of the surface in contact with the nozzle cap (A1-A3). As a result, when the nozzle cap surface 27 is lapped and smooth, fluid cannot leak past the orifice 26. According to the present invention, it has been found that suitable material for the spring disk 24 are a number of metals having a degree of corrosion resistance and adequate flexibility to assure proper restraint of the orifice 26 without fracturing it.

FIG. 8 is a cross section of a typical abrasive waterjet nozzle. An extension is added to the nozzle cap 25. Abrasive media flows into a feed port 34 and a mixing tube 35 in located concentric with the through bore 10 of the orifice 26. The abrasive media is entrained after entering through feed port 34 and accelerated in the mixing tube 35 to very high velocities for cutting and cleaning. Alignment of the waterjet stream is very critical to prevent rapid erosion of the mixing tube bore 36.

Turning now to FIGS. 9 and 10, another embodiment of a spring disk 50 as taught herein is illustrated. Here a generally circular spring disk 50 is provided having an integral annular shoulder 52 which extends downward from the lower interior side 54 of the spring disk 50 (as better seen in the inverted view provided in FIG. 10). A jewel waterjet orifice 56, having a smooth upper side 58 and a smooth lower side 60 is trapped by retaining ring lip 62 located at the upper reaches of counterbore 64 located along the centerline 66 of spring disk 50.

Thus, the jewel orifice 56 is retained downward at its lower side 60 against a smooth, preferably lapped replaceable platen 70. The platen 70 is shown with an integral base portion 72. The base portion 72 is provided having a recessed cylindrical neck 74 shaped and sized for close fitting engagement with integral annular shoulder 52 of spring disk 50. In operation, the bottom 80 of the integral base portion 72 (see the inverted view in FIG. 10) is affixed against a nozzle cap such counterbore 33 in nozzle cap 35 shown above. Then, the spring disk 50 is compressed downward against platen 70 to trap jewel orifice 56 securely against the platen, similar to the configuration first shown in FIG. 5, but now with both spring disk 50 and replaceable platen 70 located between nozzle cap and the lower end of the high pressure tubing. Note that FIG. 10, shows the embodiment just described in FIG. 9, but now showing the apparatus inverted, for more clearly displaying some of the interior outlet passageways 90,92, and 94.

It is to be appreciated that the various aspects and embodiments of a self- aligning, spring-disk waterjet nozzle assembly, and the method of providing a self sealing waterjet orifice design, are an important improvement in the state of the

art. The self-aligning waterjet orifice design described herein is simple, robust, reliable, and susceptible to application in various configurations. Although only a few exemplary embodiments have been described in detail, various details are sufficiently set forth in the drawings and in the specification provided herein to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention (s), which need not be further described by additional writing in this detailed description.

Importantly, the aspects and embodiments described and claimed herein may be modified from those shown without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages provided by this invention, and may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. Therefore, the embodiments presented herein are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. As such, this disclosure is intended to cover the structures described herein and not only structural equivalents thereof, but also equivalent structures. Numerous modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention (s) may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Thus, the scope of the invention (s), as set forth in the appended claims, and as indicated by the drawing and by the foregoing description, is intended to include variations from the embodiments provided which are nevertheless described by the broad interpretation and range properly afforded to the plain meaning of the claims set forth below.