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Title:
VALVE ASSEMBLIES PRINCIPALLY FOR IN-FLOOR SWIMMING POOL CLEANING SYSTEMS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/191121
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Detailed are valve assemblies (112) principally for use as part of in-floor cleaning systems for swimming pools. The assemblies use mechanisms for converting continuous rotation into discontinuous rotation, changing the timing of water distribution to different outlet of the assemblies. One such mechanism includes both an impeller (140), whose blades (180) are rotated continuously by impingement of pressurized water, and a Geneva drive (160), whose driven wheel (196) is rotated discontinuously by one or more associated drive wheels (184).

Inventors:
TAYLOR, Devin (990 N 950 E, Bountiful, Utah, 84010-2610, US)
SWANN, Bradley (736 Avenida Amigo, San Marcos, California, 92069, US)
DEWYEA, Nathan (10167 Millbury Way, Sandy, Utah, 84092, US)
DRECHSEL, LaMont (2266 Gregson Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84109, US)
Application Number:
US2019/024106
Publication Date:
October 03, 2019
Filing Date:
March 26, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ZODIAC POOL SYSTEMS LLC (2882 Whiptail Loop East #100, Carlsbad, California, 92010, US)
International Classes:
E04H4/12; E04H4/16; F16K11/00; F16K31/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1998040042A11998-09-17
Foreign References:
US4077424A1978-03-07
US8714182B22014-05-06
US4077424A1978-03-07
US8714182B22014-05-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUSSELL, Dean W. (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, 1100 Peachtree Street NE Suite 2800,Mailstop: IP Docketing - 2, Atlanta Georgia, 30309, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An in-floor pool cleaning system including a valve assembly comprising:

a. an impeller; and

b. a Geneva drive.

2. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 1 further comprising a housing (i) containing the impeller and the Geneva drive and (ii) defining a fluid inlet.

3. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 2 in which the housing further defines a plurality of fluid outlets.

4. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 3 in which the Geneva drive comprises:

a. a rotatable drive wheel; and

b. a driven wheel; and

in which (i) at least one of the drive wheel or the dri ven wheel comprises a slot and (ii) at least the other of the drive wheel or the driven wheel comprises a pm configured to engage the slot as the drive wheel rotates.

5. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 4 in which, when the drive wheel rotates in a first direction and the pm engages the slot the driven wheel rotates in a second direction opposite the first direction.

6. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 5 further comprising a valve plate (i) connected to the Geneva drive and (ii) defining an aperture.

7. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 6 in which the aperture is configured to align with at least one of the plurality' of fluid outlets at times m use.

8. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 7 in which the Geneva drive comprises a plurality' of rotatable drive wheels and a plurality of driven wheels.

9. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 8 in which (i) the plurality' of fluid outlets comprises at least a first fluid outlet and a second fluid outlet adjacent to the first fluid outlet but spaced therefrom and (ii) the aperture spans the space between the adjacent first and second fluid outlets.

10. An in-floor pool cleaning system according to claim 9 in which the impeller comprises a plurality' of blades impinged upon by pressurized water entering the housing through the fluid inlet.

11. A valve assembly including a mechanism for converting continuous rotation to discontinuous rotation.

12. A valve assembly m which pressurized liquid impinges on blades of an impeller connected directly or indirectly to a Geneva drive, with continuous rotation of the impeller producing discontinuous rotation of a driven wheel of the Geneva drive.

Description:
VALVE ASSEMBLIES PRINCIPALLY FOR IN-FLOOR

SWIMMING POOL CLEANING SYSTEMS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/648,736, filed March 27, 2018, and having the same title as appears above and U.S. Utility Patent Application Serial No. 16/255,022, filed January 23, 2019, and having the same title as appears above, the entire contents of which applications are hereby incorporated herein by this reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to valves and more particularly, although not necessarily exclusively, to valve assemblies having Geneva drives for distributing water to multiple outlet ports.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Patent No. 4,077,424 to Ehret, et al, discloses a conventional water- distribution valve assembly. The valve assembly includes a housing defining a chamber m which a centrally-located vertical spindle extends. Fixed to the spindle for rotation in the chamber is an impeller. In use, pressurized water passing through an inlet of the housing rotates blades of the impeller, which in turn rotate the spindle and two gear assemblies. See Ehret, col. 2, 1. 48 to col. 3, 1. 7; col. 4, 11. 42-50. As noted in the Ehret patent, rotation of the gear assemblies

. . . imparts a rotational movement to [a] platform and, therefore, [a] valve disc at a lower speed than that of the impeller. As a result, the valve disc rotates relatively slowly but with a relatively high torque in a counterclockwise direction whereby [a] slot successively exposes . . . outlets to permit fluid to pass therethrough, while sealing the remaining portion of the outlets. See id., col. 4, 11. 53-61 (numerals omited).

Illustrated in U.S. Patent No. 8,714, 182 to Malinasky, Jr. is another valve assembly for an in-floor pool cleaning system. It too includes a housing, an inlet port, and a plurality of outlet ports. See Malinasky, Jr., col. 3, 11. 55-56. As with the assembly of the Ehret patent, that of the Malinasky, Jr. patent operates by passing pressurized water through the inlet port so as to rotate blades of an impeller and ultimately rotate a plate.

See id., col. 5, 11. 5-12. Rotation of the plate changes its position relative to the outlet ports, with an aperture of the plate allowing the water to exit through one of the outlet ports. See id., col. 7, 11. 5-11.

For water at constant pressurization, valve assemblies of both the Ehret and Malinasky, Jr. patents are designed to produce continuous, uniform rotation of the disc or plate. Consequently, these assemblies distribute water to any particular outlet port for only relatively short periods of time and transfer between outlet ports relatively slowly. Beneficial, therefore, would be a valve assembly which allows distribution of water to a particular outlet port for a longer period of time and transfers between outlet ports more quickly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention seeks to provide such a beneficial valve assembly principally for use as part of an in-floor cleaning system of a swimming pool or spa. Rather than utilizing a continuously-rotating plate, assemblies of the invention may employ a Geneva drive. This sort of drive mechanism effectively translates continuous rotational movement to discontinuous, intermittent rotary motion of an associated plate. As a result, water distribution may occur through a particular outlet until the next intermittent rotation of the driven wheel of the Geneva drive occurs. Moreover, when the next intermittent rotation of the driven wheel happens, water distribution relatively rapidly switches to the adjacent outlet.

It thus is an optional, non-exclusive object of the present invention to provide valve assemblies for distributing fluid sequentially to multiple outlets.

It is also an optional, non-exclusive object of the present invention to provide valve assemblies for m-f!oor swimming pool cleaning systems in which continuous rotational motion is converted to discontinuous rotational motion.

It is another optional, non-exclusive object of the present invention to provide valve assemblies utilizing a Geneva drive to produce such discontinuous rotary motion.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the relevant art with reference to the remaining text and the dra wings of this application.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE, DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary valve assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view' of internal portions of the valve assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the valve assembly of FIG. 1 with a cover removed for clarity'.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Depicted especially in FIG. 1 are base 100 and cover 104, which collectively form a housing 108 of valve assembly 1 12, Base 100 and cover 104 may attach in any suitable manner so as to form an interior chamber 1 16. Such attachment need not necessarily be permanent, however, as when access to chamber 1 16 may be desirable for component repair or replacement, for example FIG. 1 also illustrates placement of o-ring 120 in groove 124 of base 100 to facilitate sealing of cover 104 and base 100. Pressurized water enters assembly 112 through inlet 128 of base 100 (see also FIG. 3) and, as the assembly 112 operates, may exit through outlets 132.

Well illustrated in FIG. 2 are components of valve assembly 1 12 present within chamber 1 16. Included among these components may be shaft 136, impeller 140, upper gear case 144, gear assembly 148, synchronizer gear 152, lower gear case 156, Geneva drive 160, upper cassette 164, valve plate 168, inner bearing cage assembly 172 (which may include bearings 201 supporting valve plate 168), and lower cassette 176. As shown m FIG. 2, lower cassette 176 contains six outlets 132, tw > exemplary adjacent outlets being labelled 132A and 132B. Persons skilled in the art will, of course, understand that assembly 112 may contain more or fewer than six outlets 132 if appropriate or desired.

Shaft 136 advantageously is located centrally within chamber 116. Affixed to or contacting shaft 136 may be impeller 140, gear assembly 148, synchronizer gear 152, Geneva drive 160, and lower cassette 176. Various other connections of components within chamber 1 16 and exemplary connectors and fasteners also are depicted m FIG. 2. Similar to operation of the valve assembly of the Ehret patent, assembly 112 relies on pressurized water entering chamber 1 16 via inlet 128 to impinge upon and rotate blades 180 of impeller 140. Rotation of impeller 140 rotates its gear 182, in turn rotating gears of assembly 148 and synchronizing gear 1 52.

Gearing of the present invention does not directly drive valve plate 168, however. Instead, the gearing serves to rotate drive wheels 184 of Geneva drive 160. This rotation causes a pin 188 of each wheel 1 84 eventually to engage one of a plurality of slots 192 of driven wheel 196 of the Geneva drive 160 As a pin 188 engages a slot 192, continued rotation of its corresponding drive wheel 184 causes driven wheel 196 to rotate (in the opposite direction) until the pin 188 no longer engages the slot 192. Driven wheel 196 thence will cease rotation until another pin 188 engages a slot 192.

In this manner, driven wheel 196 is caused to rotate discontmuously. By connecting Geneva drive 160 to valve plate 168, the valve plate 168 likewise will rotate discontinuously. Consequently, its aperture 200 will rotate to a particular location- aligned with outlet 132 A, for example, remain there for an extended period, and then rotate relatively quickly so as to be aligned with adjacent outlet 132B.

As shown in FIG. 2, a presently-preferred Geneva drive 160 includes three drive wheels 184 and a driven wheel 196 having six slots 192. Including three drive wheels 184 is not strictly necessary', however, as more or fewer wheels 184 may be employed instead. Likewise, driven wheel 196 may have more or fewer than six slots 192. Geneva drive 160 similarly need not necessarily be constructed exactly as depicted m FIG. 2, as the present invention envisions other methods of converting continuous rotational motion to discontinuous rotational motion.

The diameter of aperture 200 advantageously is at least as large as the diameter of each outlet 132. Aperture 200 additionally may be elongated (so as, e.g., to form an ellipse or oval) so that its overall area is larger than that of an outlet 132 and the fluid opening it furnishes spans the space between adjacent outlets such as outlets 132A and 132B. In this way, aperture 200 is never wholly blocked by that space between outlets 132, thus allowing water to exit for pressure relief even as aperture 200 rotates. Exemplary concepts and combinations of features of the invention may include:

A. A valve assembly including a mechanism for converting continuous rotation to discontinuous rotation.

B. An in-floor pool cleaning system including a valve assembly comprising both an impeller and a Geneva drive.

C. A valve assembly in which pressurized liquid impinges on blades of an impeller connected directly or indirectly to a Geneva drive, with continuous rotation of the impeller producing discontinuous rotation of a driven wheel of the Geneva drive.

These examples are not intended to be mutually exclusive, exhaustive, or restrictive in any way, and the invention is not limited to these example embodiments but rather encompasses all possible modificati ons and variations within the scope of any claims ultimately drafted and issued m connection with the invention (and their equivalents).

For avoidance of doubt, any combination of features not physically impossible or expressly identified as non-combinable herein may be within the scope of the invention.

The foregoing is provided for purposes of illustrating, explaining, and describing embodiments of the present invention. Modifications and adaptations to these embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. Additionally, the word“pool” and phrase“swimming pool” as used herein may include vessels such as spas and hot tubs within its definition, and“pressurized” water is water whose pressure is above that generally of the water in the vessel to be cleaned. Finally, the entire contents of the Ehret and Malinasky, Jr. patents are incorporated herein by this reference.