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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
VALVE MEMBER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/211743
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a valve member constituted of multiple components. The valve member is arranged to be fitted to a valve such as a ball valve, plug valve, and the like. The valve member comprises a hollow valve body for fitting to the valve, the hollow body defines an inlet end and an outlet end. A reinforcement arrangement is fitted within the hollow body to reinforce the hollow body so as to enable the valve member to be useable in high fluid pressure applications.

Inventors:
MCMENAMIN, John Wilson (No. 17 - 22nd Street, Parkhurst, 2193 Gauteng, 2193, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2019/053527
Publication Date:
November 07, 2019
Filing Date:
April 30, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PATENTS PLUS CC (Unit 1 The Gardens Business Park, Ateljee Street, Randpark Ridge,,Randburg, Johannesbur, 2194 Gauteng, 2194, ZA)
International Classes:
F16K27/10; F16K5/04; F16L57/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIANDEIRO, João Achada (2nd Floor 34 Fredman Drive,,Sandto, Johannesburg 2196 Gauteng, 2196, ZA)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A valve member for fitting to a valve, such as a ball valve, plug valve, and the like, the valve member comprising:

a hollow valve body defining an inlet end and an outlet end; and

a reinforcement arrangement fitted within the hollow valve body for reinforcing the hollow valve body.

2. The valve member according to claim 1 , wherein the reinforcement arrangement comprises a first reinforcement means that extends between the inlet and outlet ends of the hollow valve body, and wherein the first reinforcement means defines a fluid passageway of the valve member.

3. The valve member according to claim 2, wherein the first reinforcement means is a conduit which is sealingly fitted to the hollow body between the inlet and outlet ends.

4. The valve member according to claim 3, wherein ends of the conduit are arranged flush with the inlet and outlet ends, respectively.

5. The valve member according to claim 4, wherein the reinforcement arrangement comprises a second reinforcement means for at least partly occupying an interior space defined between the hollow valve body and the conduit.

6. The valve member according to claim 5, wherein the second reinforcement means comprises a flowable material.

7. The valve member according to claim 6, wherein the flowable material disposed in the interior space is cured.

8. A method of assembling a valve member for fitting in a valve such as a ball valve, plug valve, and the like, the method comprising

providing a hollow valve body defining an inlet end and an outlet end; and

fitting a reinforcement arrangement within the hollow valve body to reinforce the hollow valve body.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the provided hollow valve body is substantially spherical, cylindrical, or conically tapered.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the step of providing the substantially spherical hollow body is preceded by:

providing a first substantially hemispherical hollow member defining the inlet end, and a second substantially hemispherical hollow member defining the outlet end; and

fitting the first substantially hemispherical hollow member to the second substantially hemispherical hollow member to define the substantially spherical hollow body.

1 1 . The method of claim 8, wherein the step of fitting the reinforcement arrangement within the body comprises sealingly fitting a first reinforcement means between the inlet and outlet ends of the hollow valve body.

12. The method of claim 1 1 , wherein the first reinforcement means is a conduit defining a fluid passageway of the valve member.

13. The method of claim 1 1 , wherein the fitting of the reinforcement arrangement into the hollow valve body further comprises: forming a first opening in the hollow valve body, wherein the opening is in communication with an interior space defined between the valve body and first reinforcement means;

introducing a second reinforcement means into the valve body through the first opening so as to at least partly occupy the interior space; and

sealing the first opening.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising forming a second opening on the hollow valve body to enable air/gases to escape from the hollow valve body during the introduction of the second reinforcement means into the interior space.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising sealing the second opening upon at least partly filling the interior space.

16. The method of claim 13, comprising allowing the second reinforcement means introduced into the hollow valve body to cure or causing the second reinforcement means to cure.

17. The method of claim 13, wherein the second reinforcement means comprises a flowable material.

18. A valve comprising the valve member of claim 1 .

19. A valve comprising a valve member assembled according to the method of claim 8.

Description:
VALVE MEMBER

FIELD OF INVENTION

THIS Invention is in the field of valve members, particularly valve members that can be fitted in ball valves, plug valves, and the like; the invention also extends into the method of manufacture of the valve members; and also extends to the method of assembling components of the valve member.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The costs involved in the manufacture of single piece or integrally formed hollow valve components are relatively high. The formed single piece valve components have inferior properties (i.e. they are weak and easily collapsed in service), which thus makes their commercialization very difficult.

It is accordingly the object of the invention to ameliorate at least some of the problems associated with single piece hollow valve components by providing an improved version of the valve component that is relatively easy to manufacture and has good mechanical properties.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a valve member for a valve such as a ball valve, plug valve, and the like, the valve member comprising: a hollow valve body for fitting to the valve, the hollow body defining an inlet end and an outlet end; and a reinforcement arrangement fitted within the hollow valve body for reinforcing the hollow valve body.

In an embodiment, the reinforcement arrangement may comprise a first reinforcement means, such as a conduit that extends between the inlet and outlet ends of the hollow body and the conduit defines a bore which defines a fluid passageway of the valve member.

In an embodiment, the conduit may be sealingly fitted to the hollow valve body, in particular bonded, for example welded, more in particular argon welded to the walls

(preferably annular walls) of the body defining the inlet and outlet ends.

In an embodiment, the ends of the conduit may be flush with the inlet and outlet ends (i.e. walls that define the inlet and outlet ends of the hollow body).

In an embodiment, the reinforcement arrangement may comprise a second reinforcement means for at least partly occupying an interior space defined between the hollow valve body and the conduit.

In an embodiment, the second reinforcement means may comprise, for example, a flowable material such as a resin, silicone, or polyurethane.

In an embodiment, the flowable material may be cured when it is disposed in the interior space defined between the conduit and valve body.

In a first version, the hollow body may be substantially spherical.

In this first version, the substantially spherical hollow body may comprise a first substantially hemispherical hollow member, and a second substantially hemispherical hollow member joined to each other along their annular edges to define the substantially hollow spherical body.

In a second version, the hollow body may be substantially cylindrical.

In this second version, the substantially cylindrical hollow body may comprise a first half of a substantially cylindrical hollow member and a second half of a substantially cylindrical hollow member joined to each other along their elongate edges to define the substantially cylindrical hollow body.

In a third version, the hollow body may be substantially conically tapered.

In this third version, the substantially conical hollow body may comprise a first half of a substantially conically tapered hollow member, and a second half of a substantially conically tapered hollow member joined to each other along their tapered elongate edges to define the substantially conically tapered hollow body.

In an embodiment, the hollow body may be made from an alloy, preferably a titanium alloy.

In an embodiment, the conduit may be made from an alloy, such as stainless steel, in particular 316L stainless steel.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of assembling a valve member for use in a valve such as a ball valve, plug valve, and the like, the method comprising

providing a hollow valve body defining an inlet end and an outlet end; and fitting a reinforcement arrangement within the hollow valve body to reinforce the hollow valve body. In an embodiment, the provided hollow valve body may be substantially spherical, cylindrical, or conically tapered.

In a first version, the step of providing the substantially spherical hollow body may be preceded by:

providing a first substantially hemispherical hollow member defining the inlet end, and a second substantially hemispherical hollow member defining the outlet end; and

fitting, preferably by bonding, in particular welding, preferably by argon welding, the first substantially hemispherical hollow member to the second substantially hemispherical hollow member to form the substantially spherical hollow body.

In a second version, the step of providing the substantially cylindrical hollow body may be preceded by:

providing a first half of a substantially cylindrical hollow member defining the inlet end, and a second half of a substantially cylindrical hollow member defining the outlet end; and

fitting, preferably by welding, more preferably by argon welding, the first half of the substantially cylindrical hollow member to the second half of the substantially cylindrical hollow member to form the substantially cylindrical hollow body.

ln a third version, the step of providing the substantially conically tapered hollow body may be preceded by:

providing a first half of a substantially conically tapered hollow member defining the inlet end, and a second half of a substantially conically tapered hollow member defining the outlet end; and fitting, preferably by bonding, in particular welding, more preferably by argon welding, the first and second halves of the substantially conically tapered hollow members to each other to form the substantially conically tapered hollow body.

In an embodiment, the reinforcement arrangement may comprise a first reinforcement means, such as a conduit, and the step of fitting the reinforcement arrangement within the body may comprise sealingly fitting the conduit between the inlet and outlet ends of the hollow body.

In an embodiment, the step of sealingly fitting the conduit to the substantially spherical, cylindrical, or conically tapered hollow body may be preceded by the step of inserting the conduit into the hollow body through either one of the inlet and outlet ends.

In an embodiment, the step of sealingly fitting the conduit to the substantially spherical, cylindrical, or conically tapered hollow body may comprise joining or bonding, preferably by welding, more preferably by argon gas welding, the ends of the conduit to walls of the substantially hollow body that define the inlet and outlet ends.

In an embodiment, the step of sealingly fitting the conduit to the hollow body may be followed by the step of cutting off portions of the conduit protruding from the hollow body so that the ends of the conduits are substantially flush with the inlet and outlet ends (i.e. walls of the hollow body defining the inlet and outlet ends).

In an embodiment, the method of fitting the reinforcement arrangement into the hollow valve body may further comprise:

forming a first opening in the hollow valve body, wherein the opening is in communication with an interior space defined between the hollow valve body and first reinforcement means (i.e. the conduit); introducing a second reinforcement means into the hollow valve body through the first opening so as to at least partly occupy the interior space; and

sealing the first opening.

In an embodiment, the method may comprise forming a second opening on the hollow valve body, preferably adjacent the first opening to enable air/gases to escape from the hollow valve body while the second reinforcement means is introduced into the interior space.

In an embodiment, the method may comprise sealing the second opening upon at least partly filling the interior space defined between the conduit and hollow valve body with a predetermined amount of the second reinforcement means.

In an embodiment, the method may comprise filling the interior space partly or fully with the second reinforcement means.

In an embodiment, the method may comprise allowing the second reinforcement means introduced into the hollow valve body to cure or cause the second, flowable reinforcement means to cure.

In an embodiment, the second reinforcement means may comprise, for example, a flowable material such as a resin, silicone, or polyurethane.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing a valve member, the method comprising metalworking, such as casting or forming (for example forging, metal fabrication, etc.,) a hollow valve body defining an inlet end and an outlet end. ln an embodiment, the method may comprise the optional step of metalworking a first reinforcement means, or the step of providing a first reinforcement means, for being fitted into the hollow valve body to reinforce the hollow valve body.

In a first version, the hollow valve body may be substantially spherical, and therefore the step of metalworking the substantially spherical hollow body may comprise:

metalworking a first substantially hemispherical hollow member defining the inlet end; and

metalworking a second substantially hemispherical hollow member defining the outlet end.

In a second version, the hollow body may be substantially cylindrical, and therefore the step of metalworking the substantially cylindrical hollow body may comprise: metalworking a first half of a substantially cylindrical hollow member defining the inlet end; and

metalworking a second half of a substantially cylindrical hollow member defining the outlet end.

In a third version, the hollow body may be substantially conically tapered, and therefore the step of metalworking the substantially conically tapered hollow body may comprise:

metalworking a first half of a substantially conically tapered hollow member defining the inlet end; and

metalworking a second half of a substantially conically tapered hollow member defining the outlet end.

In an embodiment, the method may comprise the step of assembling the metalworked members according to the method hereinbefore described. ln an embodiment, the method may comprise machining the valve member to improve the surface finish of the valve member.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention there is provided a valve, such as a ball valve, plug valve, and the like comprising the valve member hereinbefore described, or a valve member manufactured by the method hereinbefore described, or a valve member assembled by the method hereinbefore described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS The invention will now be further described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 shows an exploded cross-sectional view of components of a valve member in accordance with the invention;

Figure 2 shows a cross sectional view of the assembled components of the valve member of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a detailed view of detail A of Figure 2

Figure 4 shows the valve member of Figure 2 provided with openings in the hollow valve body and a filler material arranged to be introduced into an interior space defined between a conduit and a body of the valve member; and

Figure 5 shows an example embodiment of another valve member in accordance with the invention, with the filler material occupying the interior space. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXAMPLE EMBODIMENT

The following description of the invention is provided as an enabling teaching of the invention. Those skilled in the relevant art will recognise that many changes can be made to the embodiment described, while still attaining the beneficial results of the present invention. It will also be apparent that some of the desired benefits of the present invention can be attained by selecting some of the features of the present invention without utilising other features. Accordingly, those skilled in the art will recognise that modifications and adaptations to the present invention are possible and can even be desirable in certain circumstances, and are a part of the present invention. Thus, the following description is provided as illustrative of the principles of the present invention and not a limitation thereof.

As can be seen in Figures 1 and 2 of the drawings, there is provided some of the components for use in assembling a valve member in accordance with the invention, the pre-assembled valve member being designated by reference numeral 10’ as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings.

The pre-assembled valve member 10’ comprises a first hemispherical hollow member 12 defining a first annular opening 14 and a second annular opening 16 defined by a first annular edge 18 of the first hemispherical member 12, wherein the second annular opening 16 is larger than the first annular opening 14.

The pre-assembled valve member 10’ further comprises a second hemispherical hollow member 20 that is a mirror image of (i.e. symmetrical to) the first hemispherical member 12. The second hemispherical hollow member 20 defines a third annular opening 22 and a fourth annular opening 24 that is defined by a second annular edge 26 of the second hemispherical member 20, wherein the fourth annular opening 24 is larger in diameter than the third annular opening 22. The first and second hemispherical hollow members 12, 20 may be constructed from a metal alloy, preferably a titanium alloy of the type used in the manufacture of golf head clubs.

As can be seen in Figure 1 of the drawings, a reinforcement arrangement comprising a first reinforcement means 28 is provided. The first reinforcement means 28 is an elongate stainless steel conduit that has a first end 30 and a second opposite end 32 and defines a bore 42. The conduit 28 extends between the first and third annular openings 14, 22 and the ends 30, 32 thereof are bonded to the first and third annular openings 14, 22 as will be described below.

Now turning our attention to an exemplary method of assembling the aforementioned members 12, 20, 28 to form the valve member 10 in accordance with the invention, the method comprises abutting the first annular edge 18 of the first hemispherical member 12 against the second annular edge 26 of the second hemispherical hollow member 20, so as to have the first annular opening 14 of the first hemispherical member 14 aligned with, or being in register with, the third annular opening 22 of the second hemispherical member 20. The method comprises sealingly fitting, typically by bonding, for example by welding, more preferably by argon welding, the first hemispherical member 12 to the second hemispherical hollow member 20 along the first and second annular edges 18, 26 as shown by the weld 34 in Figure 2, so as to define a substantially spherical hollow valve body 36.

The method further comprises inserting the conduit 28 into the hollow body 36 via, for example, the first annular opening 14, followed by joining, preferably welding, more preferably argon welding, the circumference of the conduit 28 at or proximate the first and second ends 30, 32 of the conduit 28 to walls 38, 40 of the hollow body 36 which define the first annular opening 14 and third annular opening 22, as can be seen in Figures 2 and 3 of the drawings, so as to form a partially reinforced valve member 10 in accordance with the invention. As can be seen in Figure 3 of the drawings, the outer surface of the conduit 28 at the first ends 30 thereof, is sealingly fitted to the wall 40 of the hollow valve body 36, as shown by the weld 44. Also, as can be seen in Figure 2 of the drawings, the welded conduit 28 extends between the first annular opening 14 and third annular opening 22 of the substantially spherical hollow valve body 36. The conduit 28 defines a bore 42 which defines a fluid passageway of the valve member 10. The first end 30 of the conduit

28 is accommodated in the third annular opening 22 and is substantially flush with the wall 40 of the hollow valve body 36, and similarly, the second end 32 of the conduit is accommodated in the first annular opening 14, and is substantially flush with the annular wall 38.

The valve member 10 as shown in Figures 2 and 3, incorporates the first reinforcing member 28 that acts to strengthen the substantially spherical hollow body 36.

The Applicant has found that most customers in the mining industry are at times not particularly fond of valve members, such as those depicted in Figure 2, since such valve members are prone to warp when exposed to high fluid pressures in pipelines - which would then compromise the sealing quality of the valves in which the valve members 10 are fitted. The other problem with such a valve member 10, as shown in Figure 2, is that it can only be manufactured up to a predetermined size for it to be acceptable in practice. Therefore, the size of the valve member 10 limits its application in practice. Typically, larger hollow valve members 10 are usually not accepted in practice and are never used due to the susceptibility to failure, particularly in high pressure fluid conditions.

In this regard, in addition to using the first reinforcement means for strengthening the hollow valve body 36, the Applicant has found it useful to further reinforce the hollow valve body 36 with additional reinforcement means. In this regard, the reinforcement arrangement in accordance with the invention comprises a second reinforcement means 51 , typically a curable flowable material, such as a fluid which, as shown in Figure 4, is contained in a reservoir 50. The second reinforcement means 51 is arranged to at least partly fill an interior space 37 defined by the conduit 28 and the hollow valve body 36, and is allowed to cure within the interior space 37 so as to strengthen or further reinforce the valve member.

The invention therefore extends to an exemplary method of introducing the second reinforcement means into the valve member 10 described above, so as to form a substantially completely reinforced valve member 100, as shown in Figure 5. The method according includes forming a first opening 52 and a second spaced apart opening 54 on the first, hollow hemispherical member 12, as shown in Figure 4. The method includes introducing a predetermined amount of the flowable, second reinforcement means 51 through the first opening 52 into the space 37. The second reinforcement means 51 may be a resin, polyurethane or any other suitable filler material, which will preferably not cause the valve body 36 to expand or contract while the flowable second reinforcement means 51 is introduced into the space 37, and also while it cures/solidifies/hardens inside the valve body 36. As the flowable reinforcement means 51 is introduced into the valve body 36, air/gases are arranged to escape through the second opening 54.

The second reinforcement means 51 is introduced into the body 36 until it either partly or fully occupies the space 37, according to the overall strength required for the valve member 100. Upon introducing the required amount of second reinforcement means 51 into the valve body 36, the first and second openings 52, 54 are sealed, preferably by means of an argon weld 56, so as to trap the second reinforcement means 51 within the valve body 36, as shown in Figure 5. The second reinforcement means 51 may be allowed to cure under ambient temperature conditions or may be caused to cure, for example by placing the valve body 36 containing the second reinforcement means 51 in a cold environment. The overall method in accordance with the invention results in the formation of either a valve member 10 as shown in Figure 2, or the valve member 100 as shown in Figure 5.

It will be appreciated that, although in the present embodiment the first reinforcement means 28 is shown as a conduit, it is envisaged that the first reinforcement means may comprise other reinforcement members (not shown) which could be fitted across the first and second hemispherical hollow members 12, 20 to increase the rigidity and strength of the hollow body 36 of the valve member 10.

It will also be appreciated by those skilled in the art of the invention that the filler material used or referred to hereinbefore as the second reinforcement means, can be substituted with other suitable reinforcement members which can be fitted to the hollow members before or after assembling the symmetrical hollow valve members 12, 20 into the hollow valve body 36.

Advantageously, the valve member 100 shown in Figure 5 can be used in high fluid pressure applications, and the filler material (i.e. second reinforcement means introduced therein) increases the weight of the valve member 100 making it a desirable product for end users. Advantageously, the valve member 100 in accordance with the present invention can have varying sizes and does not warp during service.