Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TORQUE WRENCH HAVING SELF-ADJUSTING ADAPTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/027786
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A torque wrench is disclosed for use in rotating a range of different sized fasteners. The torque wrench may include an input end configured to receive a torsional input, and a gear train operatively driven to rotate by the torsional input, a driver connected to the gear train and a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver. The clamps may be movable to radially engage a range of different sized fasteners by rotation of the driver in either of a clockwise direction or a counterclockwise direction. The torque wrench may further include a housing configured to enclose the gear train, the driver, and the clamps.

Inventors:
BARZELAY, Abraham (603 Mill Run, Paramus, NJ, 07652, US)
Application Number:
US2018/043849
Publication Date:
February 07, 2019
Filing Date:
July 26, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TYM LABS L.L.C. (350 North Midland Avenue, Saddle Brooke, NJ, 07663, US)
International Classes:
B25B23/00; B25B23/14
Foreign References:
US20140053693A12014-02-27
US2884826A1959-05-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WATWE, Abhay, A. (Finnegan, Hernderson Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP,901 New York Avenue, N, Washington DC, 20001-4413, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A torque wrench, comprising:

an input end configured to receive a torsional input;

a gear train operatively driven to rotate by the torsional input;

a driver connected to the gear train;

a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver, the clamps being movable to radially engage a range of different sized fasteners by rotation of the driver in either of a clockwise direction or a counterclockwise direction; and

a housing configured to enclose the gear train, the driver, and the clamps.

2. The torque wrench of claim 1, wherein the driver includes a plurality of lobes configured to engage directly or indirectly with the plurality of clamps.

3. The torque wrench of claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of lobes includes:

a clamp engaging end configured to engage with a radially outermost end of one of the clamps; and

a pair of trailing ends, the clamp engaging end being located radially further from an

axis of rotation than the trailing ends.

4. The torque wrench of claim 3, wherein each of the plurality of lobes further includes a curved surface connecting the clamp engaging end and the trailing ends.

5. The torque wrench of claim 4, wherein the curved surface is configured to engage a corresponding rounded surface of an associated one of the plurality of clamps at the radially outermost end.

6. The torque wrench of claim 5, wherein adjacently disposed trailing ends of adjacent lobes are

circumferentially spaced apart from each other.

7. The torque wrench of claim 5, wherein adjacently disposed clamp engaging ends of adjacent lobes are circumferentially spaced apart from each other.

8. The torque wrench of claim 2, wherein the plurality of lobes includes:

a left side lobe extending from a first trailing end to a first clamp engaging end; and

a right side lobe extending from a second trailing end to a second clamp engaging end, the

left side lobe and the right side lobe being configured to engage with an associated one of the plurality of clamps.

9. The torque wrench of claim 8, wherein the first clamp engaging end and the second clamp engaging end are disposed adjacent each other and adjacent a rounded surface of the associated one of the plurality of clamps.

10. The torque wrench of claim 8, wherein the left side lobe includes a first curved surface configured to engage the rounded surface of the associated one of the plurality of clamps at a radially outermost end when the driver is rotated in the clockwise direction; and

the right side lobe includes a second curved surface configured to engage the rounded surface of the associated one of the plurality of clamps at the radially outermost end when the driver is rotated in the counterclockwise direction.

11. The torque wrench of claim 10, wherein the first and the second clamp engaging ends are connected to each other.

12. An adjustable adapter module for use with a torque wrench, comprising:

a driver configured to receive a rotational input from the torque wrench; and

a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver and moveable to radially engage and lock onto a range of different sized fasteners by rotation of the driver in either of a clockwise direction or a counterclockwise direction.

13. The adjustable adapter module of claim 12, wherein the driver includes a plurality of lobes

configured to engage with the plurality of clamps, each of the plurality of lobes including:

a clamp engaging end configured to engage with a radially outermost end of one of the clamps; and

a pair of trailing ends, the clamp engaging end being located radially further from an

axis of rotation than the trailing ends.

14. The adjustable adapter module of claim 13, wherein

each of the plurality of lobes further includes a curved surface connecting the clamp

engaging end and the trailing ends, and

the curved surface is configured to engage a corresponding rounded surface of an associated one of the plurality of clamps at the radially outermost end.

15. The adjustable adapter module of claim 13, wherein

each of the plurality of clamps is cuboid, and includes a recess at an end opposite the

different sized fasteners; and

the adjustable adapter module further includes a plurality of springs, each disposed within the recess of a corresponding one of the plurality of clamps to bias the corresponding one of the plurality of clamps away from the different sized fasteners.

16. The adjustable adapter module of claim 15, further including a guide having a plurality of radially oriented channels, each of the plurality of radially oriented channels being configured to guide a corresponding one of the plurality of clamps into engagement with the different sized fasteners. 17. The adjustable adapter module of claim 13, wherein trailing ends of adjacent lobes are

circumferentially spaced apart from each other.

18. The adjustable adapter module of claim 11, further including a plurality of lobes, wherein a left side lobe extends from a first trailing end to a first clamp engaging end; and

a right side lobe extends from a second trailing end to a second clamp engaging end, the left side lobe and the right side lobe being configured to engage with an associated one of the plurality of clamps.

A torque assembly, comprising:

a wrench;

an adjustable adapter module, including:

a driver configured to transmit a rotational input received from the wrench to a plurality of integral lobes, each having:

a clamp engaging end configured to engage with a radially

outermost end of one of the clamps; and

a pair of trailing ends, the clamp engaging end being located

radially further from an axis of rotation than the trailing ends; and

a curved surface connecting the clamp engaging end and the

trailing ends;

a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver and engaged with the curved surfaces of the plurality of integral lobes, the plurality of clamps being moveable to radially engage and lock onto a range of different sized fasteners by rotation of the driver in either of a clockwise direction or a counterclockwise direction;

a plurality of springs configured to bias the plurality of clamps away from the different sized fasteners; and

a guide having a plurality of radially oriented channels configured to guide the plurality of clamps into engagement with the different sized fasteners; and a retention assembly configured to retain the adjustable adapter module connected to the wrench.

The torque assembly of claim 19, wherein the plurality of lobes includes:

a left side lobe extends from a first trailing end to a first clamp engaging end; and

a right side lobe extends from a second trailing end to a second clamp engaging end, the left side lobe and the right side lobe being configured to engage with an associated one of the plurality of clamps.

Description:
Description

TORQUE WRENCH HAVING SELF-ADJUSTING ADAPTER Related Application

[0001] This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Application No. 15/666,810 filed on August 2, 2017, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. U.S. Application No.

15/666,810 is also a continuation-in-part application of U.S. Application No. 15/488,097 filed on April 14, 2017, which is also incorporated by reference in its entirety.

Technical Field

[0002] The present disclosure is directed to a torque wrench and, more particularly, to a torque wrench having a self-adjusting adapter.

Background

[0003] A torque wrench is a tool designed to exert torque on a fastener (e.g., on a bolt head or nut having specially designed inner and/or outer surfaces) to loosen or tighten the fastener. In some embodiments, the torque wrench is powered. For example, the torque wrench can be hydraulically, pneumatically, or electrically powered. In other examples, the torque wrench is manually manipulated.

[0004] Conventional torque wrenches connect to the fastener via an adapter. For example, a hexagonal socket having an internal diameter corresponding to an external diameter of the fastener is temporarily connected to the torque wrench and then placed over the fastener. The hexagonal socket is configured to internally receive the head of the fastener and inhibit relative movement of the fastener during the application of torque by the wrench. Sockets are available in many different sizes to accommodate different sizes of fasteners.

[0005] Although conventional torque wrenches and socket-type adapters may be acceptable for some applications, they can also be problematic. For example, in order to be capable of accomplishing any task presented in the field, a technician may be required to carry around a large assortment of sockets of different sizes. This can be burdensome for the technician and expensive to stock and maintain. In addition, it can be difficult to immediately match the correct socket to a given fastener, leading to a delay in removing or installing the fastener. And each time a new fastener is encountered, a new socket may be required to address the new fastener.

[0006] The torque wrench and adapter of the present disclosure solves one or more of the problems set forth above and/or other problems of the prior art.

Summary

[0007] One aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a torque wrench. The torque wrench may include an input end configured to receive a torsional input, and a gear train operatively driven to rotate by the torsional input. The torque wrench may also include a driver connected to the gear train and a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver. The clamps may be movable to radially engage a range of different sized fasteners by rotation of the driver in either of a clockwise direction or - - a counterclockwise direction. The torque wrench may further include a housing configured to enclose the gear train, the driver, and the clamps.

[0008] Another aspect of the present disclosure is directed to an adjustable adapter module for use with a torque wrench. The adjustable adapter module may include a driver configured to receive a rotational input from the torque wrench. The adjustable adapter module may also include a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver and moveable to radially engage and lock onto a range of different sized fasteners by rotation of the driver in either of a clockwise direction or a

counterclockwise direction.

[0009] Another aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a torque assembly. The torque assembly may include a wrench, an adjustable adapter module, and a retention assembly configured to retain the adjustable adapter module connected to the wrench. The adjustable adapter module may include a driver configured to transmit a rotational input received from the wrench to a plurality of integral lobes. Each of the plurality of integral lobes may have a clamp engaging end configured to engage with a radially outermost end of one of the clamps. Each lobe may also have a pair of trailing ends. The clamp engaging end may be located radially further from an axis of rotation than the trailing ends. Further, each lobe may have a curved surface connecting the clamp engaging end and the trailing ends. The adjustable adapter module may further include a plurality of clamps disposed at least partially inside the driver and engaged with the curved surfaces of the plurality of integral lobes. The plurality of clamps may be moveable by rotation of the driver to radially engage and lock onto a range of different sized fasteners. The adjustable adapter module may additionally include a plurality of springs configured to bias the plurality of clamps away from the different sized fasteners, and a guide having a plurality of radially oriented channels configured to guide the plurality of clamps into engagement with the different sized fasteners.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0010] Fig. 1 is a cross-sectional illustration of an exemplary disclosed torque wrench;

[0011] Fig. 2 is an exploded view illustration of the torque wrench of Fig. 1;

[0012] Fig. 3 is an exploded view illustration of an exemplary adjustable adapter that may form a portion of the torque wrench of Figs. 1 and 2;

[0013] Fig. 4 is a cross-sectional illustration of the adjustable adapter of Fig. 3;

[0014] Fig. 5 is an exploded view illustration of an exemplary torque assembly having an adjustable adapter module and a torque wrench; and

[0015] Figs. 6-9 are cross-sectional illustrations of other exemplary embodiments of the adjustable adapter.

Detailed Description

[0016] Fig. 1 illustrates an exemplary torque wrench ("wrench") 10 that can be used to loosen or tighten a fastener (e.g., a bolt having a head with internal and/or external engagement features - shown only in Fig. 4). Wrench 10 may generally be divided into an input end 12 and an output end 14. Input end 12 may be configured to receive a torsional input (e.g., from a manually operated lever or from an electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic motor), which is then transformed into a torsional output at output end 14. The torsional input may be generally aligned with a first axis 16 of wrench 10, while the torsional output may be generally aligned with a second axis 18 that is substantially (e.g., within 0-10°) orthogonal to first axis 18. Input end 12 may include an engagement interface (e.g., a socket; a splined, torx, or square stub shaft; etc.) 20 configured to mate with a corresponding engagement interface of the lever or motor and receive the torsional input.

[0017] In one embodiment, input end 12 of wrench 10 may not mate directly with the lever or motor described above. Instead, an optional engagement unit (not shown) may be disposed between wrench 10 and the lever or motor. The engagement unit may be configured to selectively create a mechanical coupling between input end 12 and the lever or motor, for example based on a speed, pressure, flow rate, power, and/or other parameter associated with wrench 10 and/or the lever or motor. In one embodiment, the mechanical coupling of the engagement unit could be selectively interrupted, such that a hammering effect is created within wrench 10 that helps to loosen and/or tighten a corresponding fastener.

[0018] As shown in Figs. 1 and 2, wrench 10 may be assembly of multiple different components that cooperate to transfer torque received at input end 12 to output end 14. These components may include, among other things, a gear train 22, an adjustable adapter 24, a housing 26 configured to support and enclose gear train 22 and adjustable adapter 24, and a variety of hardware that retains and seals gear train 22 and adjustable adapter 24 within housing 26.

[0019] Gear train 22 may include a pinion gear 28 and a crown gear 30. Pinion gear 28 may be formed at an end of a shaft 32 that extends to engagement interface 20, and may include a plurality of teeth that engage and drive corresponding teeth of crown gear 30. In the disclosed embodiment, the teeth of pinion gear 28 and crown gear 30 are beveled, such that pinion gear 28 may rotate about axis 16 while crown gear 30 rotates about axis 18. It is contemplated that the teeth of these gears could be straight and have a conical pitch (e.g., pinion gear 28 could be a straight bevel gear), curved and have a conical pitch (e.g., pinion gear 28 could be a spiral bevel gear), or curved and have a hypoid pitch (e.g., pinion gear 28 could be a hypoid bevel gear), as desired.

[0020] Pinion gear 28 may be supported within housing 26 by way of a bearing block 38. For example, a bearing (e.g., bushing, needle bearing, roller bearing, etc.) 39 may be disposed within bearing block 38 and configured to slidingly receive shaft 32 in an axial direction and to support rotation of shaft 32. One or more seals (e.g., O-rings or gaskets) 40 and/or retainers (e.g., circlips, snaprings, etc.) 42 may be used to seal and/or retain bearing 39 and/or shaft 32 in place within housing 26.

[0021] Crown gear 30 may have teeth extending toward an outer annular periphery, and include a central opening 46 with engagement features (e.g., internal splines, cogs, gear teeth, etc.) 48 formed therein. Features 48 may be configured to engage corresponding features 50 of adjustable adapter 24. A shoulder 52 may surround opening 46 at a back (i.e., non- toothed) side of crown gear 30 and function to position and support rotation of crown gear 30 within housing 26. A bushing 54 may be placed against the back side of crown gear 30 and around shoulder 52, and include a step that passes through a corresponding - - opening within housing 26. A seal (e.g., O-rings or gaskets) 56 may be annularly sandwiched between bushing 54 and shoulder 52, and a retainer (e.g., a circlip, snapring, etc.) 58 may engage a corresponding groove in shoulder 52 to retain crown gear 30 in place.

[0022] A bushing 60 may be placed around adjustable adapter 24 at an opposite side of wrench 10, and a seal (e.g., O-rings or gaskets) 62 may be annularly sandwiched between housing 26 and adjustable adapter 24. In the example of Fig. 1, adjustable adapter 24 may have an axial length L sufficient to provide internal clearance for bushing 60 around pinion gear 28 inside of housing 26. In particular, in this example, adjustable adapter 24 may function at least partially as a spacer that maintains a desired distance between bushing 60 and pinion gear 28.

[0023] A retaining sub-assembly ("sub-assembly") 64 may be used, in some embodiments, at the closed or non-accessible side of wrench 10 to retain connection between adjustable adapter 24 and crown gear 30. As shown in Fig. 2, sub-assembly 64 may include, among other things, a locking housing ("housing") 65, a pin 66, a spring 67, a clip 68, and one or more balls 69. Housing 65 may be generally cylindrical and hollow, having a shaft that is received within adjustable adapter 24, and an annular flange located at an exposed end that rests against shoulder 52 of crown gear 30. Pin 66 may pass a distance through the shaft of housing 65, and clip 68 may engage the protruding end to inhibit separation of pin 66 from housing 65. Spring 67 may be trapped inside of the shaft of housing 65, between an internal lip of the shaft of housing 65 and an external shoulder of pin 66. In this configuration, pin 66 may be pushed downward against a bias of spring 67, and the bias may urge pin 66 out of housing 65. However, pin 66 may not leave housing 65 due to the connection with clip 68. Balls 69 may rest in pockets co-formed by external recesses of pin 66 and internal recesses of housing 65. When sub-assembly 64 is placed into an exposed end of adjustable adapter 24, balls 69 may be pushed outward and into engagement with corresponding recesses inside adjustable adapter 24, such that a mechanical interference is created between balls 69, internal walls of adjustable adapter 24, and walls of housing 65.

[0024] Housing 26 of wrench 10 may also be an assembly of multiple components. The components of housing 26 may include among other things, first and second plates 70, 72 oriented in opposition to each other, and a shroud 74 that wraps around edges of plates 70, 72 to surround and enclose adjustable adapter 24 and gear train 22. Each of plates 70, 72 may be generally rectangular at input end 12 to match a size and shape of bearing block 38, and generally rounded and concentric with crown gear 30 at output end 14. The openings through which bushing 52 and adjustable adapter 24 pass may be located at a general center of the rounded portions of plates 70, 72. Any number of fasteners 76 may be used to connect shroud 74 to the edges of plates 70, 72 and/or to connect plates 70, 72 to bearing block 38.

[0025] In one embodiment, wrench 10 may be sealed from the environment at an elevated or positive pressure. For example, one or more fittings (e.g., one-way valves) 78 may be connected to housing 26 (e.g., to one or more both of plates 70, 72) and configured to admit a lubricant (e.g., grease) into housing 26 without allowing escape of the lubricant. The lubricant may be pressurized, such that external contaminates (e.g., water, air, debris, etc.) do not enter housing 26. This may allow wrench 10 to be operated in harsh conditions (e.g., under water or in contaminated environments) without undue effects. The sealed nature of wrench 10, combined with an inherent low rotational speed and temperature, may also reduce maintenance requirements. In particular, the grease may be retained inside wrench 10 for a life of wrench 10 without significant degradation (e.g., because of the clean environment inside of sealed housing 26).

[0026] Figs. 3 and 4 illustrate an exemplary embodiment of adjustable adapter 24. As shown in these figures, adjustable adapter 24 may be an assembly of components that function to engage and rotate an associated fastener, as crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2) is rotated inside of wrench 10. These components may include, among other things, a driver 80, a guide 82, and a plurality of clamps 84 that are moved by driver 80 into guided contact with the head of the fastener.

[0027] Driver 80 may be generally cylindrical and hollow, having an open end 86 and an opposing closed end 88. Features 50 of driver 80, which are described above as engaging features 48 of crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2), may protrude in a normal direction from an outer axial surface at closed end 88. A plurality of (e.g., six) arcuate lobes or opposite inclined wedges 90 may extend from an inner axial surface of driver 80 toward open end 86. As shown in Fig. 4, lobes 90 may be equally distributed around an inner periphery of driver 80, and each may include a leading end 92 located radially further from axis 18 and a trailing end 94 located radially closer to axis 18. A smooth inner annular surface may connect leading end 92 to trailing end 94. With this configuration, a rotation of crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2) may result in a corresponding rotation of driver 80 and lobes 90. It should be noted that a radial offset between leading and trailing ends 92, 94, as well as an arc-length of the surface connecting these features, may be adjustable and tailored to accommodate a specific size-range of fasteners accepted by adjustable adapter 24 and/or a speed of fastener engagement that may be needed for specific applications.

[0028] In some embodiments, lobes 90 may be integrally formed with driver 80 (e.g., cast, forged, and/or machined as a monolithic structure) from the same material. This may be a low-cost way to fabricate driver 80 and lobes 90. However, in other embodiments, lobes 90 may be fabricated separately from the same or different material. Separate fabrication could allow for simple replacement of worn lobes 90, reorientation of lobes 90, and/or lobes made from a specialized material (e.g., from a harder and/or low- friction material).

[0029] Guide 82 may also be generally cylindrical and hollow, having a first open end 96 and an opposing second open end 98. An opening at first end 96 may be larger than an opening at second end 98. First end 96 may be received within driver 80 (e.g., within an annular space located radially outward of lobes 90). Second end 98 may be configured to receive the associated fastener that is to be loosened or tightened. A plurality of radially oriented channels 100 may be distributed around an inner axial surface of guide 82 and extend radially from an inner periphery of guide 82 to the opening at second end 98. Each channel 100 may have a width sufficient to slidingly receive a corresponding clamp 84. - -

[0030] A post 102 may be mounted to guide 82 at an outer end of each channel 100, and a biasing element (e.g., a spring) 104 may engage post 102. As will be described in more detail below, spring 104 may bias the corresponding clamp 84 radially outward and away from the head of the fastener.

[0031] Clamp 84 may be a generally elongated cuboid configured to slide with channel 100 of guide 82 when moved by lobe 90 of driver 80. Each clamp 84 may include a generally rounded surface 106 at an outer-most end, and a generally flat surface 108 at an inner-most end. Surface 106 may ride on the arcuate inner annular surface of lobe 90, while surface 108 may engage a corresponding flat land of the bolt head. With this configuration, as driver 80 is rotated by crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2), lobe 90 may move from engagement with rounded surface 106 at leading end 92 to engagement with rounded surface 106 at trailing end 94. This operation, due to the radial offset between leading and trailing ends 92, 94, may force clamp 84 to slide radially inward within channel 100 of guide 82 until surface 108 engages the flat land of the bolt head. A post 1 10 may be mounted to each clamp 84 adjacent surface 106, and spring 104 may engage post 1 10, such that spring 104 pulls clamp 84 back radially outward as lobe 90 is rotated away from clamp 84 (i.e., from trailing end 94 back to leading end 92). In some embodiments, clamp 84 may be recessed at post 1 10 (e.g., at a surface of clamp 84 adjacent the inner axial surface of guide 82) to provide clearance for post 110 and/or spring 104. It is also contemplated that in some exemplary embodiments, lobe 90 may engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 indirectly. For example, a bushing (not shown) or bearing (not shown) may be disposed about post 110. Lobe 90 may engage with an outer surface of the bushing or bearing, which may in turn engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84.

[0032] In some embodiments, adjustable adapter 24 may itself be sealed from its environment and/or from the rest of wrench 10 in the same manner described above regarding wrench 10. For example, a seal 1 16 may be disposed between driver 80 and guide 82. The lubricant may be pressurized inside of adjustable adapter, such that external contaminates (e.g., water, air, debris, etc.) do not enter adjustable adapter 24. This may allow adjustable adapter 24 to be removed from wrench 10, reoriented, and/or used with a different wrench 10 without undue effects caused by external contamination.

[0033] Fig. 5 illustrates an alternative embodiment of wrench 10 and adjustable adapter 24. In this embodiment, adjustable adapter 24 may be a separate and stand-alone module that can be selectively used with wrench 10 or with another tool (e.g., a manual wrench or lever - not shown). Like the previously described embodiment, adjustable adapter 24 of Fig. 5 may include driver 80, guide 82, clamps 84, posts 102, springs 104, and posts 1 10. However, in the embodiment of Fig. 5, bushing 60 may not be required; guide 82 may not be mounted within plate 70 of wrench housing 26; and features 48 of crown gear 30 may be male and protrude into closed end 88 of driver 80 to engage corresponding female features (not shown). In addition, an optional retention assembly 1 12 (e.g., an assembly substantially identical to retention assembly 64 described above) may be used to retain connection between wrench 10 and adjustable adapter 24). - -

|0034] In some embodiments, wrench 10 and adjustable adapter 24 may be used with another module, if desired. For example, one or more torque multiplier modules 1 14 may be disposed between wrench 10 and adjustable adapter 24. Torque multiplier module 1 14 may be configured to receive a torque input from wrench 10, increase the torque, and provide the increased torque to adjustable adapter 24. In this embodiment, the various modules may be stacked on top of each other, and one or more retention assemblies 1 12 may be used to hold the stack together.

[0035] Fig. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of another exemplary embodiment of adjustable adapter 24. As illustrated in Fig. 6, a plurality of (e.g., six) arcuate lobes or opposite inclined wedges 120 may extend from an inner axial surface of driver 80 toward open end 86 (see Fig. 3). Lobes 120 may be equally distributed around an inner periphery of driver 80. Each lobe 120 may include a clamp engaging end 122 and a pair of trailing ends 94. Clamp engaging end 122 may be located radially further from axis 18 relative to trailing ends 94 located radially closer to axis 18. A smooth inner annular surface 124 may connect clamp engaging end 122 and trailing ends 94. Annular surface 124 may be configured to engage with radially outermost end 126 of clamp 84. With this configuration, a rotation of crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2) may result in a corresponding rotation of driver 80 and lobes 120, which may cause lobes 120 to drive clamps 84 radially inward to engage with a fastener. Clamp engaging end 122 may be a radially outermost portion of annular surface 124 that may initially engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 when driver 80 and lobes 120 commence rotation in a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction. As driver 80 and lobes 120 continue to rotate, additional portions of annular surface 124 may engage rounded surface 106 to drive clamp 84 radially inward. It should be noted that a radial offset between trailing ends 94 and clamp engaging end 122, as well as an arc-length of annular surface 124 connecting these features, may be adjustable and tailored to accommodate a specific size-range of fasteners accepted by adjustable adapter 24 and/or a speed of fastener engagement that may be needed for specific applications. As discussed above with respect to the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 4, it is contemplated that in some exemplary embodiments, lobes 120 may engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 indirectly. For example, a bushing (not shown) or bearing (not shown) may be disposed about post 1 10. Annular surfaces 124 of lobes 120 may engage with an outer surface of the bushing or bearing, which may in turn engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84.

(0036] In one exemplary embodiment, lobes 120 may be integrally formed with driver 80 (e.g., cast, forged, and/or machined as a monolithic structure) from the same material. This may be a low-cost way to fabricate driver 80 and lobes 120. In other exemplary embodiments, however, lobes 120 may be fabricated separately from the same or different material, and may be attached to driver 80 via one or more fasteners (not shown).

[0037] Fig. 7 illustrates a cross-sectional view of another exemplary embodiment of adjustable adapter 24. The embodiment of adapter 24 illustrated in Fig. 7 includes several features similar to those already described above with respect to adapter 24 of Fig. 6. Therefore, differences between the embodiments of Figs. 6 and 7 are highlighted in the following description and a description of the similar features is - - omitted. As illustrated in Fig. 7, a plurality of (e.g., six) left side lobes 132 and right side lobes 134 may extend from an inner axial surface of driver 80 toward open end 86 (see Fig. 3). Left and right side lobes 132, 134 may be circumferentially arranged such that each left side lobe 132 may be disposed between a pair of right side lobes 134 and vice- versa.

[0038] Each left side lobe 132 may extend from first trailing end 136 to first clamp engaging end 138. Each right side lobe 134 may similarly extend from second trailing end 140 to second clamp engaging end 142. First and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 may be located radially further from axis 18 relative to first and second trailing ends 136, 140. As illustrated in Fig. 7, first and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 may be disposed adjacent a radially outermost end 126 of each clamp 84. First clamp engaging end 138 of left side lobe 132 may be circumferentially spaced apart from second clamp engaging end 142 of right side lobe 134. Furthermore, second trailing end 140 of a right side lobe 134 may be circumferentially spaced apart from first trailing end 136 of an adjacently disposed left side lobe 132.

[0039] Each left side lobe 132 may include inner annular surface 144, which may connect first trailing end 136 and first clamp engaging end 140. Similarly, each right side lobe 134 may include inner annular surface 146, which may connect second trailing end 140 and second clamp engaging end 142. First and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 may be radially outermost portions of annular surfaces 144, 146, respectively, which may initially engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 when driver 80 and left and right side lobes 132, 134 commence rotation in a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction. As discussed above with respect to the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 4, it is contemplated that in some exemplary embodiments, left side and right side lobes 132, 134 may engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 indirectly. For example, a bushing (not shown) or bearing (not shown) may be disposed about post 1 10. Annular surfaces 144, 146 of left side and right side lobes 132, 134, respectively, may engage with an outer surface of the bushing or bearing, which may in turn engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84.

[0040] With this configuration, a rotation of crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2) may result in a corresponding rotation of driver 80, and left and right side lobes 132, 134, which may cause left or right side lobes 132, 134 to drive clamps 84 radially inward to engage with a fastener. For example, as driver 80, and left and right side lobes 132, 134 rotate in a clockwise direction, annular surfaces 144 of left side lobes 132 may engage with rounded surfaces 106 of clamps 84 to drive clamps 84 radially inward.

Likewise, as driver 80, and lobes 132, 134 rotate in a counterclockwise direction, annular surfaces 146 of right side lobes 134 may engage with rounded surfaces 106 of clamps 84 to drive clamps 84 radially inward. Thus, left and right side lobes 132, 134 may allow clamps 84 to be engaged with a fastener regardless of a direction of rotation of driver 80, and lobes 132, 134.

[0041] In one exemplary embodiment, left and right side lobes 132, 134 may be integrally formed with driver 80 as a monolithic structure from the same material. This may be a low-cost way to fabricate driver 80 and lobes 132, 134. However, in other embodiments, left and right side lobes 132, 134 may be - - fabricated separately from the same or different material, and may be attached to driver 80 via one or more fasteners (not shown). Separate fabrication could allow for simple replacement of worn left and right side lobes 132, 134 and/or may allow for use of lobes 132, 134 made from a specialized material (e.g., from a harder and/or low-friction material).

[0042] Fig. 8 illustrates a cross-sectional view of another exemplary embodiment of adjustable adapter 24. The embodiment of adapter 24 illustrated in Fig. 8 includes several features similar to those already described above with respect to adapter 24 of Figs. 6 and 7. Therefore, differences between the embodiment of Fig. 8 relative to the embodiments of Figs. 6 and 7 are highlighted in the following description and a description of the similar features is omitted. As illustrated in Fig. 8, a plurality of (e.g., six) arcuate lobes or opposite inclined wedges 150 may extend from an inner axial surface of driver 80 toward open end 86 (see Fig. 3). Lobes 150 may be equally distributed around an inner periphery of driver 80.

[0043] Each lobe 150 may extend from first trailing end 136 to second trailing end 140 with clamp engaging end 122 disposed between the first and second trailing ends 136, 140. First and second trailing ends 136 and 140 may be located radially nearer to axis 18 as compared to clamp engaging end 122. A smooth inner annular surface 124 may connect first trailing end 136, clamp engaging end 122, and second trailing end 140. Annular surface 124 may be configured to engage with radially outermost end 126 of clamp 84. Clamp engaging end 122 may be a radially outermost portion of annular surface 124 that may initially engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 when driver 80 and lobes 150 commence rotation in a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction. As driver 80 and lobes 150 continue to rotate, additional portions of annular surface 124 may engage rounded surface 106 to drive clamp 84 radially inward. As discussed above with respect to the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 4, it is contemplated that in some exemplary embodiments, lobes 150 may engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 indirectly. For example, a bushing (not shown) or bearing (not shown) may be disposed about post 1 10. Annular surfaces 124 of lobes 150 may engage with an outer surface of the bushing or bearing, which may in turn engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84.

[0044] A comparison of Figs. 7 and 8 suggests that lobes 150 may be formed by connecting left side lobe 132 and right side lobe 134 to form an integral lobe 150. Thus for example, lobe 150 may be obtained by connecting adjacently located first and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 of left side and right side lobes 132, 134, respectively (see Fig. 7). As also illustrated in Fig. 8, adjacent lobes 150 may be circumferentially spaced apart from each other near adjacently located trailing ends 136, 140 (shown in Fig. 7). With this configuration, a rotation of crown gear 30 (referring to Figs. 1 and 2) may result in a corresponding rotation of driver 80 and lobes 150, which may cause lobes 150 to drive clamps 84 radially inward to engage with a fastener.

[0045] In one exemplary embodiment as illustrated in Fig. 8, lobes 150 may be integrally formed with driver 80 as a monolithic structure from the same material. This may be a low-cost way to fabricate driver 80 and lobes 150. However, in other embodiments, lobes 150 may be fabricated separately from - - the same or different material, and may be attached to driver 80 via one or more fasteners (not shown). Separate fabrication could allow for simple replacement of worn lobes 150 and/or may allow for use of lobes 150 made from a specialized material (e.g., from a harder and/or low-friction material).

[0046] Fig. 9 illustrates a cross-sectional view of another exemplary embodiment of adjustable adapter 24. The embodiment of adapter 24 illustrated in Fig. 9 includes several features similar to those already described above with respect to adapter 24 of Figs. 6-8. Therefore, differences between the embodiments of Fig 9 and the embodiments of Figs. 6-8 are highlighted in the following description and a description of the similar features is omitted. As illustrated in Fig. 9, a plurality of (e.g., six) arcuate lobes or opposite inclined wedges 160 may extend from an inner axial surface of driver 80 toward open end 86 (see Fig. 3). Lobes 160 may be equally distributed around an inner periphery of driver 80.

[0047 J Each lobe 160 may extend from first clamp engaging end 138 to second clamp engaging end 142 with trailing end 94 disposed between first and second clamp engaging ends 138, 140. First and second clamp engaging ends 138 and 142 may be located radially further from axis 18 as compared to trailing end 94. A smooth inner annular surface 162 may connect first clamp engaging end 138 and trailing end 94. Likewise, a smooth inner annular 164 may connect second clamp engaging end 142 and trailing end 94. Annular surface 162 may be configured to engage with radially outermost end 126 of clamp 84 when driver 80 and lobes 160 commence rotation in a clockwise direction. Likewise, annular surface 164 may be configured to engage with radially outermost end 126 of clamp 84 when driver 80 and lobes 160 commence rotation in a counterclockwise direction. First and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 may be radially outermost portions of annular surfaces 162, 164, respectively. First and second clamp engaging ends may initially engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 when driver 80 and lobes 160 commence rotation in a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction, respectively. As driver 80 and lobes 160 continue to rotate, additional portions of annular surfaces 162 or 164 may engage rounded surface 106 to drive clamp 84 radially inward. As discussed above with respect to the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 4, it is contemplated that in some exemplary embodiments, lobes 160 may engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84 indirectly. For example, a bushing (not shown) or bearing (not shown) may be disposed about post 1 10. Annular surfaces 162, 164 of lobes 160 may engage with an outer surface of the bushing or bearing, which may in turn engage with rounded surface 106 of clamp 84.

[0048] A comparison of Figs. 7 and 9 suggests that lobes 160 may be formed by connecting left side lobe 132 and right side lobe 134 to form an integral lobe 160. Thus for example, lobe 160 may be obtained by connecting adjacently located first and second trailing ends 136, 140 of adjacently located left side and right side lobes 132, 134, respectively (see Fig. 7). As also illustrated in Fig. 9, adjacent lobes 160 may be circumferentially spaced apart from each other near adjacently located first and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 (shown in Fig. 7).

[0049] In one exemplary embodiment as illustrated in Fig. 9, lobes 160 may be integrally formed with driver 80 as a monolithic structure from the same material. This may be a low-cost way to fabricate driver 80 and lobes 160. However, in other embodiments, lobes 160 may be fabricated separately from - - the same or different material, and may be attached to driver 80 via one or more fasteners (not shown). Separate fabrication could allow for simple replacement of worn lobes 160 and/or may allow for use of lobes 160 made from a specialized material (e.g., from a harder and/or low-friction material).

Industrial Applicability

[0050] The torque wrench and adjustable adapter of the present disclosure have wide application in many different industries. The disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may be used anywhere that a range of different-sized fasteners are to be loosened or tightened with high-levels of torque and/or at high speed without having to use multiple different adapters. For example, the disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may be used in the oil and gas industry to join segments of a pipeline together. Operation of wrench 10 and adjustable adapter 24 will now be described with reference to Figs. 1 and 4.

[0051] To loosen and/or tighten a fastener, the opening of guide 82 at end 98 may be placed over the head of the fastener. Driver 80 should already be rotated to its starting position prior to placement over the fastener, such that the arcuate inner annular surfaces of lobes 90 are engaged with clamps 84 at leading end 92 (shown in Fig. 4). This may help ensure that clamps 84 are pulled by springs 104 within channels 100 to their furthest apart positions. Adjustable adapter 24 should be capable of receiving a largest fastener within its operational range at this time.

[0052] If adjustable adapter 24 is internal to wrench 10, torque may now be applied to input end 12 of wrench 10. If adjustable adapter 24 is a separate and stand-alone module, adjustable adapter 24 may be connected to wrench 10 via retention assembly 1 12, after which the torque may be applied to input end 12 of wrench 10. It is also contemplated that adjustable adapter 24 may first be connected to wrench 10, and then placed over the fastener head, if desired. The applied torque may cause pinion gear 28 to rotate about axis 16 and generate a corresponding rotation of crown gear 30 about axis 18 (referring to Fig. 1). The rotation of crown gear 30 may be transmitted to driver 80 via features 48 and 50. As driver 80 is rotated, lobes 90, 120, 132 and 134, 150, or 160 may also be caused to rotate such that respective arcuate inner annular surfaces slide along the corresponding curved surfaces 106 of clamps 84 toward the trailing end 94. Due to the radial offset between leading end 92 and trailing end 94, clamps 84 may be caused to slide radially inward within channels 100 until end surfaces 108 engage corresponding flat lands of the bolt head. The bolt head may become locked within adjustable adapter 24 at this point in time.

[0053] After the bolt head becomes locked within adjustable adapter 24, additional torque applied to wrench 10 may be transmitted through driver 80, lobes 90, 120, 132, 134, 150, or 160, and clamps 84 to the fastener. Depending on the orientation of lobes 90 within driver 80 and the direction of the torque, the torque may result in a corresponding loosening or tightening of the fastener. To achieve an opposite effect, an adjustable adapter 24 having an opposite orientation of lobes 90 may be required. It is contemplated that adjustable adapters 24 may be dedicated to only loosening or to only tightening. It is also contemplated that lobes 90 may be removable from adjustable adapter 24, such that they can be reoriented in a desired manner to achieve desired loosening or tightening. Alternatively, an adjustable adapter 24 having lobes 120, 132 and 134, 150, or 160 may be used to turn the fastener in either a - - clockwise or a counterclockwise direction. Using an adjustable adapter 24, having lobes 120, 132 and 134, 150, or 160, may allow use of a single adapter configuration for both tightening and loosening fasteners without having to make changes to the adapter, which in turn may reduce an amount of time and effort required to turn the fasteners. Furthermore, a technician using an adjustable adapter 24, having lobes 120, 132 and 134, 150, or 160, may not need to carry additional components (e.g.

reorientable/reversible lobes) and/or tools to reconfigure the adapter before turning the fasteners.

[0054] After the fastener has been loosened or tightened, the torque applied to wrench 10 may be reversed. This reversal may cause pinion gear 28 to rotate about axis 16 in an opposite direction and generate a corresponding opposite rotation of crown gear 30 about axis 18 (referring to Fig. 1). The opposite rotation of crown gear 30 may be transmitted to driver 80 via features 48 and 50. As driver 80 is rotated in the opposite direction, lobes 90 may also be caused to rotate in the opposite direction such that the arcuate inner annular surfaces slide along the corresponding curved surfaces 106 of clamps 84 toward the leading end 92. Due to the radial offset between leading end 92 and trailing end 94, clamps 84 may be allowed to slide radially outward within channels 100 under the bias of springs 104, allowing surfaces 108 to move away from the corresponding flat lands of the bolt head. The bolt head may become unlocked within adjustable adapter 24 at this point in time, and adjustable adapter 24 and wrench 10 may be removed from the fastener.

[0055] When using adapter 24 including lobes 120, 132 and 134, 150, or 160, opposite rotation of crown gear 30 may initially cause clamps 84 to slide radially outward within channels 100 under the bias of springs 104, allowing surfaces 108 to move away from the corresponding flat lands of the bolt head. However, continued opposite rotation of crown gear 30 may cause clamps 84 to again slide radially inward within channels 100 and engage with the flats of the fastener. Therefore, to remove wrench 10 from the fastener, it may be helpful to ensure that clamp engaging ends 122 of lobes 120 and 150, or first and second clamp engaging ends 138, 142 of lobes 132 and 134, or 160 are disposed adjacent radially outermost ends 126 of clamps 84. In this configuration, the bolt head may become unlocked within adjustable adapter 24, allowing adjustable adapter 24 and wrench 10 to be removed from the fastener.

[0056] The disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may be versatile. Specifically, the disclosed torque wrench, via the adjustable adapter, may be used to loosen and/or tighten any fastener within its given size range. This may allow for a technician to address a greater variety of situations with a reduced amount of equipment. The increased capacity may increase profit and efficiency, while the reduced amount of equipment may reduce owning and operating costs.

[0057] The disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may be capable of reliably producing high- levels of torque. In particular, the disclosed gear train inside of the wrench may allow for efficient torque transmission with little or no backlash.

[0058] Finally, the disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may be simple and low- cost to maintain. In particular, because the disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may be sealed and pressurized, these tools may not need to be opened, cleaned, and/or lubricated frequently. In addition, the - - sealed and pressurized nature of the disclosed torque wrench and adjustable adapter may allow for usage in locations and/or conditions (e.g., underwater and/or in contaminated environments) not heretofore possible.

[0059] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the torque wrench and adjustable adapter of the present disclosure without departing from the scope of the disclosure. Other embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the torque wrench and adjustable adapter disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope of the disclosure being indicated by the following claims and their equivalents.