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Title:
SELF-EMPTYING PLUG
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1997/009917
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A self-emptying plug for a container of liquid which comprises: (a) a plug body (5) adapted to fit into a hole in a container, the plug body having a first outlet (16) for liquid therethrough and also being provided with valve guide means (13); (b) a cap means (1) adapted to fit over the plug body, the cap having a second outlet (10) for liquid therethrough; (c) valve means (3), having a head (11) and a stem (12), the stem being adapted to slide within the guide means and the head being adapted to bear against a valve seat means (2), as defined below; (d) spring means (4) adapted to force the valve head against the valve seat means, the spring means being further adapted to collapse at a selected hydrostatic pressure; and (e) valve seat means, as mentioned under (c) and (d), adapted to be located between the plug body and the cap means, whereby as hydrostatic pressure in the container increases to a selected pressure, the valve head is forced out of contact with the valve seat allowing liquid to flow through the first and second outlets out of the container.

Inventors:
Liebert
John
Robert, Yammouni
Georg, Meiller
Lewis
Alexander
Application Number:
PCT/AU1996/000583
Publication Date:
March 20, 1997
Filing Date:
September 16, 1996
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Smartplug, Pty
LTD
Liebert, John Robert Yammouni Georg Meiller Lewis Alexander
International Classes:
A47K1/14; E03C1/242; (IPC1-7): A47K1/14; B65D90/26; E03C1/232; E03C1/24; E03C1/242; F16K17/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO1991016847A1
Foreign References:
AU3061195A
AU8251982A
GB2285216A
GB2261600A
DE2263662A1
US3809111A
US4276662A
US4926507A
US1467965A
FR762398A
Download PDF:
Claims:
The Claims Defining the Invention are as Follows:
1. A self emptying plug for a container of liquid which comprises: (a) a plug body adapted to fit into a hole in a container, die plug body having a first oudet for liquid therethrough and also being provided with valve guide means; (b) a cap means adapted to fit over the plug body, the cap having a second oudet for liquid theredirough: (c) valve means, having a head and a stem, the stem being adapted to slide wid in the guide means and the head being adapted to bear against a valve seat means, as defined below; (d) spring means adapted to force the valve head against the valve seat means, the spring means being fuπher adapted to collapse at a selected hydrostatic pressure; and (e) valve seat means, as mentioned under (c) and (d), adapted to be located between the plug body and the cap means, whereby as hydrostatic pressure in the container increases to a selected pressure, the valve head is forced out of contact widi the valve seat allowing liquid to flow through d e first and second oudets out of die container.
2. A plug as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plug body is adapted to fit into a plug seat which is itself adapted to fit into a hole in the container.
3. A piug as claimed in claim 2, wherein the plug seat may be let into the container either from its outside or its inside.
4. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the plug body and die plug seat are both preferably substantially round in shape.
5. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the plug body is supplied with a grid through which liquid may flow, tiiat is, the first oudet may comprise a number of holes.
6. A piug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the valve guide means is located ui the central structure.
7. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the valve guide means is a hole extending through the central structure referred to above.
8. A piug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the plug cap is provided with a lip which fits down around the plug body.
9. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7. wherein the second oudet takes die form of a number of holes of any suitable shape let dirough the top of the cap. the only requirement being that the holes allow a sufficient volume of liquid to flow therethrough.
10. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein die spnng means compπses a helical or a spiral spπng specially adapted to collapse at a selected hydrostaαc pressure.
11. 1 1 A plug as claimed in any oneof claims 1 to 7.
12. wherein the spring means is a specially adapted flat plate spnng.
13. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein die spπng means is a Belville spπng which, in a first operaαve posiπon, is comcally shaped (in crosssecαon) outwards but can take up a flattened shape (also in crosssecαon). in a second operaαve posiαon.
14. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the valve seat means is preferably adapted to flex downwardly and follow the direcαon of travel downwards of the valve head.
15. A plug as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein die self emptying plug according to die invenαon may be provided widi an overπde means which may be adapted to prevent opening of die valve means and/or close the valve means once open.
16. A plug as claimed in claim 14, wherem the piug body is provided with a set of internal ramps arranged around die inside surface of the plug body, tiiese ramps being adapted to interact w th a set of runner means attached to or forming pan of die valve means, whereby rotaαon of die valve means causes the runners to travel up the ramps forcing the valve means aεainst the valve seat.
17. A plug as claimed in claim 14, wherein the cap is provided widi a pivoting hook or fork means which interacts with the upper end (as viewed in use) of die valve stem which is itself suitably shaped to receive the pivoting hook or fork means.
18. A plug as claimed in claim 14, wherein the override means incorporates a movable wedge means which may be shifted into and out of an operative position, forcing die valve head towards the valve seat or allowing it to move away from the valve seat.
Description:
SELF-EMPTYING PLUG

FIELD OF THE INVENTION: This invennon relates to a self-emptying plug for a container of liquid which plug is provided with a valve means which, when the hydrostatic pressure increases, depresses to allow emptying of the container when the pressure reaches a certain value.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION: In this specification the word "container" is to be construed widely as meaning any vessel which can contain liquid and includes in particular bathtubs, spa baths, washing basins, laundry wash troughs and kitchen sinks.

There is a continuing problem concerning- overfilling of containers such as baths. This can cause particular problems where there is no arrangement to allow the removal ol overflow water, for example, by means ol a drain plug hole partly up the side of the container

The self -emptying plug according to the invenαon provides at least a partial soluuon to this problem in that it allows drainage of liquid once a given pressure is exceeded.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION: This invention provides a self-emptying plug for a container of liquid which comprises:

(a) a plug body adapted to fit into a hole in a container, the plug body having a first outlet for liquid therethrough and also being provided with valve guide means:

(b) a cap means adapted to fit over the plug body, the cap having a second oudet for liquid therethrough:

(c) valve means, having a head and a stem, the stem being adapted to slide within the guide means and the head being adapted to bear against a valve seat means, as defined below;

(d) spring means adapted to force the valve head against the valve seat means, the spring means being further adapted to collapse at a selected hydrostatic pressure; and

(e) valve seat means, as mentioned under (c) and (d), adapted to be located between the plug body and the cap means,

whereby as hydrostanc pressure in the container increases to a selected pressure, the valve head is torced out of contact with die valve seat allowing liquid to flow thiough the first and second oudets out ol the container

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS: The accompanying drawings illustrate three embodiments of the invention in which:

Fig I is an exploded view (as viewed down the page) of a first embodiment of a self -emptying plug;

Fig 2 is a cross-secnonal view of the assembled plus of Fig 1 in its "closed" configuration;

Fig 3 is a cross-secnonal view of the plug of Figs I and 2 in its "half-open" configuration, and

Fig 4 is a cross- sectional view of the plug of Figs I to 3 in its "open" configuration.

Figure 5 is an exploded view (as viewed down the page) of a second embodiment of a self -emptying plug;

Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view of the assembled plug of Figure 5 in its "closed" configuration;

Figure 7 is a cross-secnonal view of the plug of Figures 5 and 6 in its "half-open" configuranon;

Figure 8 is a cross-sectional view of the plug of Figures 5 to 7 in its "open configuranon; and

Figure 9 is a cross-secnonal view of a "waste" plug according to the invennon; and

Figure 10 is a cross-secnonal view of a disassembled "waste" plug according to

Figure 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION: It is preferred that the plug body be adapted to fit into a plug seat which is itself adapted to fit into a hole in the container The plug seat may be let into the container either from its outside or its inside.

2A-

The plug body and the plug seat are both preferably substantially round in shape. The plug body is preferably supplied with a grid through which liquid may flow, that is, the first oudet may comprise a number of holes. For example, the grid may be star-shaped having paitinons extending from a central structure. The valvue guide means is preferably located in the central structure. The valve guide means is preferably in a hole extending through the central structure referred to above.

The piug cap may be of any suitable shape but is preferably provided wid a kp which fits down around the plug body The second oudet may take the form of a number of holes of any suitable shape iet through the top of the cap, the only requirement being that the holes allow a sufficient voiume of liquid to flow therethrough.

The spπng means may be of any suitable type, for example, a helical or a spiral spπng specially adapted to collapse at a selected hydrostanc pressure. However, another opαon is a specially adapted flat plate spπng. A preferred opαon is a Belville spπng which, in a first operaαve posiαon, is conically shaped (in cross-secαon) outwards but can take up a flattened shape (also in cross-secαon , in a second operaαve posiαon.

The valve seat means is prererabiy adapted to flex downwardly and follow trie direcαon of travel downwards of the valve head. For example, it may be constructed as a flexible, flat πng which can fit over the top ot the plug body, be held widun the upper region of die plug cap. or be retained between the piug cap and the plug body

In a preferred embodiment, me self -emptying piug according to die invenαon may be provided with an overπde means which may be adapted to prevent opening of the valve means and/or close die valve means once open. For example, the plug body may be provided widi a set of internal ramps arranged around die inside surface of the piug body These ramps are adapted to interact with a set of runner means attached to or forming pan of the valve means, whereby rotaαon of the valve means causes the runners to travel up the ramps forcing the valve means against the valve seat.

Alternaαvely, the cap may be provided with a pivoαng hook or fork means which interacts with the upper end (as viewed in use) of the valve stem which may itself be suitably shaped to receive the pivoαng hook or fork means. This example is suitable for prevenαon of opening of the valve means.

In another example, the overπde means incorporates a movable wedge means which may be shifted into and out of an operaαve posiαon, forcing the valve head towards the valve seat or allowing it to move away from die valve seat

In the second and dnrd examples, the overπde means is operable from outside the plug cap and is preferably attached to or integral with die plug cap.

Turning to the accompanying drawings, in parαcular Fig 1

numeral I indicates a piug cap.

- 4 -

numeral 2 indicates a valve seac

numeral 3 indicates a valve;

numeral 4 indicates a Belville spring (in the flattened posidon);

numeral 5 indicates a piug body; and

numeral 6 indicates a plug seat

Referring to piug cap 1. a pattern of oudets 10 is illustrated. Valve 3 is shown as having a valve head 11 and valve stem 12. Plug body 5 is shown with a centrally located valve guide 13 in a cenπral structure 14 in a star-shaped grating 15 through which pass a number of oudets 16. Plug body 5 comprises a narrow diameter, lower poπion 17 joined to a wider diameter upper pordon 18. A series of outer barbs 19 are shown on the outer surface of upper portion 18. Finally, the plug seat 6 is provided with a base pordon 20 and upstanding pordon 21 which is adapted to fit snugly around plug body 5 using barbs 19 to improve fΪL

Turning to Figures 2 to 4. the diagrams diemselves and the associated text indicates how, in a first operadve posidon (Fig 2), Belville spring 4 bears upwardly against valve head 11 which in turn bears circumferendally against valve seat 2. Belville spring 4 in this posidon clearly has a conical cross-secdon. As hydrostadc pressure increases, valve 3 is forced downwardly and valve seat 2 flexes downwardly to follow valve head 11. Finally, as can be seen from Fig 4, Belville spring 4 collapses to allow valve head 1 1 to leave contact with valve seat 2 and allow liquid to flow through the respective oudets 10 and 16.

Note that in another embodiment barbs 19 may be left out and d e desired snug fit between plug body 5 and plug seat 6 achieved by appropriate shaping of these components. Referring to Figures 5 to 8:

numeral 30 indicates a piug cap:

numeral 31 indicates a valve seac

numeral 32 indicates an anti-flutter ring;

numeral 33 indicates a valve:

numeral 34 indicates a Belville spring (in die flattened posidon);

numeral 35 indicates a piug body; and

numeral 36 indicates a plug seat

Referring to plug cap 30, a pattern of oudets 41 is illustrated. An eyelet 42 is formed on die top of plug cap 30 for use in attaching a chain.

Valve 33 is illustrated with a circular valve head 43 and a dependent valve stem 44. A twist bar 45 is formed on the top (as viewed in use) of valve head 33. A set of outwardly projecting runners 46 is provided in the bottom (as viewed in use) of valve head 33.

Plug body 35 is shown with a centrally located valve guide 47 in a cenn"al structure 48 in a star shape grating 49 through which pass a number of oudets 50. Plug body 35 comprises a narrow diameter, lower portion 51 joined to a wider diameter upper portion 52. A series of stops 53 and ramps 54 " are shown as formed on die inner surface of upper portion 52. Again, upper and lower outwardly projecting rings 55 are formed on die outer surface of upper portion 52. These rings are useful to fit plug body 35 into piug seat 36 and cap 30.

Plug seat 36 is provided with a base portion 56 and upstanding portion 57 which is adapted to fit snugly around piug body 35.

The purpose of stops 53 and ramps 54 is to force runners 46 on valve 33 to travel upwards and fit against the lower side of valve seat 31 closing the oudet. when twist bar 45 is rotated.

Referring to Figures 6 to 8, the valve operates as follows;

Figure 6 shows the valve as closed;

Figure 7 shows the valve as it begins to open, the seat moves under water pressure to retain the seal:

Figure 8 shows the seal breaks about 2.5mm through the stroke, d e valve opens fully and water passes; and

The fourth position (not shown) occurs when water head is reduced sufficiendy and the valve closes.