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Title:
CONNECTION BLOCK FOR CONNECTING TOGETHER A PLURALITY OF PIPELINES IN A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/076721
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Connection arrangement and connection block for connecting a first pipeline set to a second pipeline set each comprising at least two pipelines in a vehicle. The connection block comprises a first three-dimensional block element which has a substantially planar connecting surface and which has holes running through it which are configured to support first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set, and a second three-dimensional block element which has a substantially planar connecting surface and which has holes running through it which are configured to support second connecting parts of the pipelines of the second pipeline set. The first block element is provided with spigots and the second block element is provided with corresponding recesses configured to accommodate said spigots, so that the first block element substantially aligns itself with the second block element such that the connecting surfaces face towards and are parallel with one another when the spigots on the first block element are inserted into the corresponding recesses on the second block element and the first and second block elements are moved towards one another.

Inventors:
COLLING MORGAN (SE)
STOLTH JOHANNES (SE)
ÅKESON JOHAN (SE)
Application Number:
SE2014/051320
Publication Date:
May 28, 2015
Filing Date:
November 07, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SCANIA CV AB (SE)
International Classes:
F16L39/00; B60T17/04; F16L37/56
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009041865A12009-04-02
Foreign References:
US20020163187A12002-11-07
DE3440103A11986-05-22
FR2276768A71976-01-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FORSELL, Hans (Södertälje, SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) for connecting a first pipeline set (6a,

6b, 6c) to a second pipeline set each comprising at least two pipelines in a vehicle, which connection block comprises a first three-dimensional block element (7a) which has a substantially planar connecting surface (8a) and which has holes (9a) runnng through it which are configured to support first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set (6a, 6b, 6c), and a second three-dimensional block element (7b) which has a substantially planar connecting surface (8b) and which has holes (9b) running through it which are configured to support second connecting parts of the pipelines of the second pipeline set,

c h a r a c t e r i s e d in that the first block element (7a) is provided with at least two spigots (10a, 1 1 a, 12a) and the second block element is provided with corresponding recesses (10b, 1 1 b, 12b) configured to accommodate said spigots (10a, 1 1 a, 12a), so that the first block element (7a) substantially aligns itself with the second block element (7b) such that the connecting surfaces (8a, 8b) face towards and are parallel with one another when the spigots (10a, 1 1 a, 12a) on the first block element (7a) are inserted into the corresponding recesses (10b, 1 1 b, 12b) on the second block element (7b) and the first and second block elements (7a, 7b) are moved towards one another.

2 A connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to claim 1 , in which at least one spigot (10a, 1 1 a, 12a) has an at least partly conical shape in order to achieve progressively more accurate alignment of the first block element (7a) with the second block element (7b) when the spigots (10a, 1 1 a, 12a) on the first block element (7a) are inserted into the corresponding recesses (10b, 1 1 b, 12b) on the second block element (7b).

3. A connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to claim 1 or 2 which comprises a safety device (12a, 13a, 13b) for securing the first block element (7a) to the second block element (7b).

4. A connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to claim 3, in which the safety device comprises one of the spigots (12a) which has a protrusion (13a) configured to fit into a corresponding securing recess (13b) on one side of the second block element (7b), whereby the first block element (7a) is secured to the second block element (7b) when the first block element (7a) has been brought together with the second block element (7b) and the protrusion (13a) has been inserted into the securing recess (13b).

5. A connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to claim 4, in which the protrusion (13a) on the spigot (12a) on the first block element (7a) and the securing recess (13b) on the second block element (7b) are so configured relative to one another that when the protrusion (13a) has been inserted into the securing recess (13b) to a first position the connecting surfaces (8a, 8b) will be at a distance from one another.

6. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, in which the first and second block elements (7a, 7b) have running through them securing holes (14a, 14b) which are each situated along the same centreline when the block elements (7a, 7b) have been secured to one another, the block elements (7a, 7b) being configured to be fixed to one another so that the connecting surfaces (8a, 8b) abut against one another, by activating a threaded connector which runs through the securing holes (14a, 14b).

7. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to claim 6, in which the securing holes (14a, 14b) are situated substantially centrally in the block elements

(7a, 7b) to ensure that the block elements (7a, 7b) are fixed to one another with uniform loading across the block elements (7a, 7b).

8. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to claim 6 or 7, in which the first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set (6a, 6b, 6c) and the second connecting parts on the pipelines of the second pipeline set are connected together when the block elements (7a, 7b) are fixed to one another.

9. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, in which the spigots (10a, 1 1 a, 12a) on the first block element (7a) are at least partly situated on the connecting surface (8a, 8b) for the first block element (7a), and the recesses (10b, 1 1 b, 12b) on the second block element (7b) are situated along the second block element's side surface (15).

10. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, in which the holes (9a, 9b) in the first and second block elements (7a, 7b) each have a shoulder (16a, 16b) to keep the first and second connecting parts in place in the holes (9a, 9b).

1 1 . The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, in which the connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) has a substantially triangular shape.

12. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, in which the connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) is configured to be fastened to a dividing wall (3a) in the vehicle (1 ).

13. The connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, in which the pipelines of the pipeline sets (6a, 6b, 6c) are pipelines in a brake system. 14. A connection arrangement for a vehicle (1 ), which arrangement comprises a dividing wall (3a) and at least one connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) according to any one of the foregoing claims, which connection block (5a, 5b, 5c) is fastened to the dividing wall (3a). 15. A connection arrangement according to claim 14, which comprises at least one further connection block (5a, 5b, 5c), the connection blocks (5a, 5b, 5c) being situated at distances from one another along the extent of the pipelines.

16. The connection arrangement according to claim 15, in which the connection blocks (5a, 5b, 5c) have a substantially triangular shape and are configured to be rotated relative to one another in order to create space for the pipeline sets.

Description:
Connection block for connecting together a plurality of pipelines in a vehicle

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a connection block for connecting together a plurality of pipelines in a vehicle.

Background to the invention

A brake system for a vehicle may be configured in various different ways. A car often has a hydraulic brake system which uses some form of liquid, usually oil, since oil is not appreciably compressed by force exerted upon it. However, a hydraulically operated brake system is vulnerable in that a fracture on any of its pipelines for hydraulic liquid will result in liquid escaping, potentially reducing the pressure so much that there is no longer sufficient force to provide braking action. A hydraulically operated brake system is therefore divided into two circuits with two wheels in each circuit, so that if there is a fracture on one circuit the vehicle will still have brake function via the other circuit. A large vehicle such as a truck or a working vehicle such as a tractor, loader or excavator will often have an air- operated brake system which provides a more robust braking force when it works, and even when it does not work. An air-operated brake system works in such a way that a leak on one of its air lines, which thus reduces the pressure in the respective line, will in fact activate braking so that the vehicle comes to a halt safely. However, an air-operated brake system is more expensive and often requires more knowledge than a hydraulic brake system to enable it to be used correctly.

A brake system, whether hydraulic or air-operated, uses pipelines to transfer braking action from brake pedals etc. in the driving cab to the vehicle's various wheels. Long pipelines are therefore provided between the cab and the various points in the vehicle's chassis where different parts of the brake system are situated. A practice often employed to reduce the risk of braking action impairment by fracture of a pipeline is to use two or more pipelines divided into different circuits for different wheels. A large vehicle will often have more than four wheels and more air functions such as cab suspension, seat springing and air suspension for the vehicle's axles, resulting in a large number of pipelines.

To make it easier to fit them between cab and chassis, the pipelines may each be divided into two sections which can thereafter be connected together. The pipelines pass through a dividing wall, often called a firewall, which delineates the cab forwards in the vehicle's normal direction of movement. However, there is very limited space at the dividing wall because of the large number of components situated there, and it is very important to fit them as close together as possible. The present-day form of connection used for connecting the pipelines together occupies a great deal of space in terms of width, because of the large number of pipelines being connected. Fitting is also time-consuming because of the amount of care required to avoid destroying the O-rings in the connecting parts of the pipelines being connected together.

One object is therefore to propose a form of connection which simplifies the connecting together of two or more pipelines and which in particular reduces the risk of damage to the parts of the pipelines being connected. A further object is to propose a form of connection suitable for use where there is limited space.

Summary of the invention

In one aspect of the invention either of the objects described above is at least partly achieved by a connection block for connecting together a first pipeline set and a second pipeline set which each comprise at least two pipelines in a vehicle. The connection block comprises a first three-dimensional block element which has a substantially planar connecting surface and which has holes running through it which are configured to support first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set. The connection block further comprises a second three- dimensional block element which has a substantially planar connecting surface and which has holes running through it which are configured to support second connecting parts on the pipelines of the second pipeline set. The first block element is provided with at least two spigots and the second block element is provided with corresponding recesses configured to accommodate said spigots, so that the first block element substantially aligns itself with the second block element such that the connecting surfaces face towards and are parallel with one another when the spigots on the first block element are inserted into the corresponding recesses on the second block element and the first and the second block elements are moved towards one another.

The connection block makes it possible to connect together two pipeline sets without the connecting parts being positioned obliquely such as might cause damage to the O-ring on any connecting part. The use of spigots and

corresponding recesses to align the connection blocks with one another prevents oblique positioning of the connecting parts. The connection block makes it possible to share a plurality of pipelines among a plurality of connection blocks, which facilitate the fitter's work by enabling him/her to deal with a smaller number of pipelines at a time.

In one embodiment at least one spigot has an at least partly conical shape resulting in progressively more accurate alignment of the first block element with the second block element when the spigots on the first block element are being inserted into the corresponding recesses on the second block element.

In another embodiment the connection block has a safety device for securing the first block element to the second block element. In a further embodiment the safety device comprises one of the spigots being provided with a protrusion configured to fit into a corresponding securing recess on one side of the second block element, whereby the first block element is secured to the second block element, when the first block element has ben brought together with the second block element and the protrusion has been inserted into the securing recess. In one embodiment the protrusion on the spigot on the first block element and the securing recess on the second block element are so configured relative to one another that when the protrusion is inserted into the securing recess to a first position the connecting surfaces will be at a distance from one another. In another embodiment the first and second block elements each have running through them a hole situated along the same centreline when the block elements have been secured to one another, the block elements being configured to be fixed to one another so that their connecting surfaces abut against one another by activating a threaded connector which runs through the holes. In one embodiment the holes are situated substantially centrally in the block elements so that the latter will be fixed to one another with uniform loading across them. In a further embodiment the first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set and the second connecting parts on the pipelines of the second pipeline set are connected together when the block elements are fixed to one another.

In one embodiment the spigots are at least partly situated on the connecting surface of the first block element and the recesses are situated along the side surface of the second block element.

In a further embodiment the holes running through the first block element and the second block element each have a shoulder to keep the first and second connecting parts in place in the holes.

In another aspect either of the objects decribed above is at least partly achieved with a connection arrangement which comprises a dividing wall and at least one connection block, the connection block being fastened to the dividing wall. In one embodiment the connection arrangement comprises at least one further connection block and the connection blocks are situated at distances from one another along the extent of the pipelines. In one embodiment the connection blocks have a substantially triangular shape and are rotated relative to one another to create space for the pipeline sets. Using a plurality of smaller connection blocks than previous connection blocks and placing them at distances from one another results in the total connection occupying less space in terms of width. The connection being divided makes it easier to fix, since it will be easier to reach a fixing device, e.g. a threaded connector. It is also ergonomically easier to fit a connection divided into a plurality of connection blocks, since the fitter will then need to deal at the same time with only part of the total number of pipelines. A triangular shape makes it possible to create space for the pipeline sets by rotating the connection blocks relative to one another.

Preferred embodiments are decribed in the dependent claims and the detailed description.

Brief description of the attached drawings

The invention is described below with reference to the attached drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 depicts a vehicle with parts of a brake system highlighted.

Fig. 2A depicts a connection arrangement as seen from the front in the vehicle depicted in Fig. 1 .

Fig. 2B depicts the connection arrangement of Fig. 2A as seen obliquely from below.

Figs. 3A-3D depict the first connecting part in different views.

Figs. 4A-4B depict the second connecting part in different views.

Figs. 5A-5C depict the first and second connecting parts at various stages of assembling the connection block.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention

Fig. 1 depicts schematically a truck 1 with a driving cab 2 which is delineated forwards in the truck's normal direction of movement by a dividing wall 3a, also called a firewall. The truck's schematically depicted chassis 3b runs under and along the truck. A number of pipelines 4 which form part of the vehicle's brake system run up from the truck's chassis 3b on a forward side 3c of the dividing wall 3a and through an aperture in the dividing wall to connect to one or more brake controls (not depicted) in the cab 2. A brake control may for example be a foot brake. The brake system may for example be air-operated, in which case air in the pipelines is used as a pressure transmission medium. The pipelines have a long extent and it may be of advantage to divide them in order to facilitate their laying and fitting, followed by connecting them together again. Fig. 2A and Fig. 2B depict a connection arrangement which may for example be used to connect together the pipelines 4 in Fig. 1 on the forward side 3c of the dividing wall. Connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c may however be used to connect together other pipelines in the vehicle, e.g. to connect together pipelines in a cab suspension system which run between the cab 2 and the chassis 3b, or to connect together pipelines in a suspension system for wheels and/or wheelshafts which run between the chassis and the wheelshafts. One or more connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c may then be used to facilitate the fitting and laying of the pipelines. The connection arrangement comprises here three connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c which connect together a first pipeline set 6a, 6b, 6c of three pipelines and a second pipeline set 6d, 6e, 6f of three pipelines each. In this example, nine pipelines have been split up into three sets of three pipelines. In all 18 pipelines are thus here connected together. Each set of three pipelines may pertain to a different application, e.g. a forward axle or a first or second rear axle. Should any set of pipelines fail, other applications may continue to function. The connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c connect first connecting parts (not depicted) on the first pipeline sets 6a, 6b, 6c to second connecting parts (not depicted) on the second pipeline sets 6d, 6e, 6f. The three first pipeline sets 6a, 6b, 6c here come in from the cab 2 (Fig. 1 ), so their section within the cab is not depicted. The three second pipeline sets 6d, 6e, 6f are here shown truncated at the end which leads down to the chassis 3b and thence to the rest of the brake system, in order to be able to illustrate more clearly the various connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c. In reality all of the second pipeline sets will run from the connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c to the chassis (Fig. 1 ). The connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c connect together the first and second connecting parts so that fluid such as air or oil can flow between the first pipeline sets 6a, 6b, 6c and the corresponding second pipeline sets. O-rings may be used to achieve tight connections between the first and second connecting parts. Fig. 2B depicts the connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c of Fig. 2A as seen obliquely from below. The second pipeline sets 6d, 6e, 6f are here omitted to unmask the connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c. One or more of the connection blocks may be configured to be fastened to the dividing wall 3a, e.g. to its front side 3c. The connection arrangement may also comprise the dividing wall 3a to which one or more of the connection blocks are fastened. The connection blocks may for example each be fastened to the dividing wall by a fastening device which may for example take the form of a piece of metal anchored in a connection block and the dividing wall, e.g. by rivets, threaded connections or welding. Fastening the connection blocks to the dividing wall thus provides them with a form of suspension which is stable because the dividing wall is anchored in the chassis 3b and which keeps the connection blocks in respective desired positions.

In Figs. 2A and 2B the connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c are situated at distances from one another along the pipelines within the extent of the first pipeline sets 6a, 6b, 6c. In this way the whole connection of all 18 pipelines occupies less space in terms of width than if all of them were connected via a single connection block.

The connection blocks 5a, 5b, 5c in Figs. 2A and 2B are substantially triangular in shape, here in the form of two right-angled isosceles triangles which together form an obtuse triangle. The connection blocks may be rotated relative to one another to create space for the pipelines between the connection blocks and, for example, the dividing wall 3a. This may facilitate the laying of the pipelines, which may be relatively rigid. The connection blocks can more reliably be kept in their respective desired positions, which may be rotated relative to one another, by fastening them to the dividing wall as previously explained.

Figs. 3A-3D depict four different views of the first three-dimensional block element 7a, which in one embodiment is made in one piece. As depicted in Fig. 3A, it has a substantially planar connecting surface 8a and has holes 9a running through it which are configured to support the first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set 6a, 6b, 6c (Figs. 2A, 2B). The first block element 7a is here provided with three spigots 10a, 1 1 a, 12a, although the number of spigots may vary and instead be two, four, five or even more. The spigots are at least partly situated on the connecting suface 8a, In another embodiment one or more of the spigots are situated along the side surface 17 of the block element 7a. The spigots are integrated in the first block element 7a. Two spigots 10a, 1 1 a take the form of truncated cones, with the broadest part of the cone against the planar connecting surface 8a. One spigot 12a forms part of a safety device making it possible to secure the first block element 7a to the second block element 7b (Fig. 4A). This spigot 12a is substantially rectangular in shape but may have a different shape which matches with the recess 12b in the second block element. In one embodiment the safety device is integrated in the first and second block elements 7a, 7b. The spigot 12a has a protrusion 13a configured to fit into a corresponding securing recess 13b (Fig. 4A) on one side of the second block element 7b. The protrusion here faces towards the middle of the first block element 7a. The first block element also has running through it a securing hole 14a to enable it to accommodate a threaded rod (not depicted) and be secured to the second block element 7b. The securing hole 14a is situated substantially centrally in the first block element 7a to make it possible for the first and second block elements 7a, 7b to be fixed to one another with uniform loading across them. Fig. 3B depicts a view from above of the first block element 7a of Fig. 3A. It shows the innermost diameter d1 of the holes 9a, the transition of which to a larger diameter d2 of the same holes forms a shoulder 16a which may for example have a width of about 1 mm and which keeps the first connecting parts in place in the holes 9a. The first connecting parts have a corresponding shoulder so that when they have been inserted in the holes 9a into the block element 7a they will be prevented from dropping out of the first block element 7a at least towards the pipelines of the first pipeline set which support the first connecting parts. The size of the holes 9a is thus matched with the size of the first connecting parts which need to be held firmly by the first block element 7a. The holes 9a have here a circular shape but might instead be oval, rectangular or the like. The block element 7a has a width d3 from a hole 9a along its innermost surface to the block element's side surface 17. The width d3 might for example be between 3 and 8 cm.

The first block element 7a has here a substantially triangular three-dimensional shape. The connecting surface 8a and a rear surface 18a of the first block element have the triangular shape and the side surface 17 links the two surfaces 8, 18a. The connecting surface 8a and the rear surface 18a are thus parallel surfaces. The triangular shape substantially comprises two mirror-image right- angled isosceles triangles which together form an obtuse triangle. As illustrated in the drawings, the holes 9a are spaced evenly on the connecting surface 8a, with one hole in each isosceles triangle, and one at the intersection between the two triangles. The spigots 10a, 1 1 a in the form of cones have a smallest diameter d4 at their distal ends. Fig. 3C depicts the first block element 7a of Fig. 3A as seen from below, showing the rear surface 18a, the holes 9a and also the securing hole 14a for the threaded rod. A nut 19 is provided in the securing hole for the threaded rod, close to the rear surface 18a, and may be completely embedded in the first block element so as not to protrude beyond the rear surface 18a, or be partly outside the first block element. The spigots 10, 1 1 a, 12a protrude slightly along the side surface 17 from the triangular shape of the first block element.

Fig. 3D depicts the first block element 7a of Fig. 3A as seen upside down from the side. The sides of the conical spigots 10a, 1 1 a have a slope a of between 1 and 10°.

Figs. 4A-4D depict four different views of the second three-dimensional block element 7b, which in one embodiment is made in one piece. It has a substantially planar connecting surface 8b (facing downwards in the diagram) and has holes 9b running through it which are configured to support the second connecting parts on the pipelines of the second pipeline set. It is provided with recesses 10b, 1 1 b, 12b configured to accommodate the spigots 10a, 1 1 a, 12a on the first block element 7a depicted in Figs. 3A-3D. These recesses are situated along the second block element's side surface 15 which links the connecting surface 8b to a rear side 19 of the block element. Two recesses 10b, 1 1 b have a partly conical shape, with the broadest part of the cone against the planar connecting surface 8b. These conical recesses 10b, 1 1 b are configured to accommodate

corresponding conical spigots 10a, 1 1 a on the first block element. The third recess 12b on the side surface 15 forms part of the safety device and comprises here a securing recess 13b configured to fit with and accommodate the protrusion 13a on the spigot 12a on the first block element. The recess 13b therefore has a greater depth than the remainder of the third recess, depth meaning here the distance into the second block element 7b. The first block element 7a is configured to be secured to the second block element 7b when the first block element has been brought together with the second block element and the protrusion 13a has been inserted into the securing recess 13b. The third recess 12b has a substantially rectangular shape which matches the spigot 12a. The second block element 7b has running through it a securing hole 14b to enable it to accommodate the threaded rod (not depicted) and be secured to the first block element 7a. The securing hole is situated substantially centrally in the second block element 7b to make it possible for the block elements 7a, 7b to be fixed to one another with uniform loading across them. The securing hole is here situated equidistantly from the holes 9a.

Fig. 4B depicts a view from below of the second block element 7b of Fig. 4A. It shows the largest diameter d5 of the holes 9b, the transition of which to the smaller diameter d6 (Fig. 4C) of the same holes forms a shoulder 16b which in one embodiment has a width of about 1 mm. The shoulder 16d on each hole 9b keeps the second connecting parts in place in the holes. The second connecting parts have a corresponding shoulder so that when they have been inserted in the holes 9b in the block element 7b they will be prevented from dropping out of the second block element 7b at least towards the pipelines of the second pipeline set which support the second connecting parts. The holes 9b have here a circular shape but might instead be oval, rectangular or the like. The second block element 7b has a width d3 from a hole 9b along its innermost surface to the block element's side surface 15.

The second block element 7b may have a substantially triangular three- dimensional shape. The connecting surface 8b and the rear surface 18b of the second block element have the triangular shape and the side surface 15 links the two surfaces 8b, 18b. The connecting surface 8b and the rear surface 18b are thus parallel surfaces. The triangular shape substantially comprises two mirror- image right-angled isosceles triangles which together form an obtuse triangle. As illustrated in the drawings, the holes 9b are spaced evenly on the connecting surface 8b, with one hole in each isosceles triangle, and one at the intersection between the two triangles.

Fig. 4C depicts the second block element 7b of Fig. 4A as seen from below, showing the rear surface 18b, the holes 9b and also the securing hole 14b for the threaded rod. A nut 19 (not depicted) may be provided in the securing hole for the threaded rod, close to the rear surface 18b, and may be completely embedded in the second block element so as not to protrude beyond the rear surface 18b, or be partly outside the second block element. The spigots 10, 1 1 b, 12b protrude slightly along the side surface 15 from the triangular shape of the second block element.

Fig. 4D depicts the second block element 7b of Fig. 4A as seen upside down from the side. The sides of the conical recesses 10b, 1 1 b have a slope a of between 1 and 10 ° which matches the conical spigots 10a, 1 1 a.

Figs. 5A-5C illustrate what happens when the first block element 7a is brought together with the second block element 7b. For the sake of clarity, the various pipeline sets have been omitted. Fig. 5A depicts the block elements 7a, 7b before they are brought together. Typically a first block element 7a will at this stage be fastened at first connecting parts on a first set of lines in a vehicle, e.g. the vehicle 1 depicted in Figs. 1 -2B. The fitter holds the second block element 7b which is fastened to the second connecting parts on the second set of lines which has been laid from the vehicle's chassis 3b. The fitter now wants to connect the pipelines of the first pipeline set to the second pipeline set, and moves the second block element 7b towards the first block element 7a so that the spigots 10a, 1 1 a, 12a on the first block element are inserted into the corresponding recesses 10b, 1 1 b, 12b on the second block element so that the first block element is substantially aligned with the second block element such that the connecting surfaces 8a, 8b are facing towards and parallel with one another. The fitter continues to move the block elements 7a, 7b towards one another until the protrusion 13a on the first block element is inserted into the securing recess 13b on the second block element to a first position in which the connecting surfaces 8a, 8b are at a distance from one another. This first position is illustrated in Fig. 5B. In this first position the connecting surfaces 8a, 8b therefore do not yet abut against one another, so there is space between them for protruding portions of the first or second connecting parts, e.g. with O-rings fitted. The fitter cannot bring these parts together by hand, but needs a tool for the purpose. In this first position the block elements 7a, 7b are secured to one another by the safety device and are held together such that the fitter can let go of them without risk of their becoming detached from one another. It thus becomes easier for the fitter thereafter to fix the block elements 7a, 7b to one another by screwing up a threaded connection with a threaded rod which runs through the securing holes 14a, 14b. The protrusion 13a thus acts like a hook in the securing recess 13b. When the protrusion is in the first position, the distance between the connecting surfaces 8a, 8b is greater than the smallest distance between the second connecting surface 8b and the securing recess 13b. In one embodiment the distance between the connecting surfaces 8a, 8b is such that the protruding portions of the connecting parts substantially do not touch one another when the protrusion will be in the securing recess in the first position, enabling the fitter to bring the block elements 7a, 7b together by hand so that the protrusion will be in the first position. As depicted in Fig. 5B, when the protrusion 13a is in the first position and the block elements 7a, 7b have been secured to one another, their positioning will be such that the securing holes 14a, 14b are along the same centreline k. The conical shape of the spigots 10a, 1 1 a results in progressively more accurate alignment of the first block element 7a with the second block element 7b when the spigots 10a, 1 1 a, 12a on the first block element are being inserted into the corresponding recesses 10b, 1 1 b, 12b on the second block element. This makes it easier for the fitter to fit the block elements together quickly.

Fig. 5C depicts the situation when the block elements 7a, 7b have been fixed to one another so that the connecting surfaces 8a, 8b abut against one another. This fixed state is achieved by activating a threaded connector which runs through the securing holes 14a, 14b. The connector may for example take the form of a threaded rod which is screwed, using a tool, into a nut which is fastened in either of the block elements. The threaded rod might be prefitted in either of the block elements. As may be seen in the drawings the securing holes 14a, 14b are situated substantially centrally in the block elements 7a, 7b so that the latter will be fixed to one another with uniform loading across them. Tightening the threaded connection then reduces the risk of either part being positioned obliquely, which might cause destruction of any O-rings situated on the connecting parts. In the fixed state depicted in Fig. 5C, the first connecting parts on the pipelines of the first pipeline set 6a, 6b, 6c (Figs. 2A, 2B), and the second connecting parts on the pipelines of the second pipeline set 6d, 6e, 6f (Figs. 2A, 2B) are connected together so that fluid can flow between them. The respective holes 9a, 9b running through the block elements 7a, 7b are so configured that each hole 9a in the first block element 7a will be situated along substantially the same centreline (not depicted) as one of the holes 9b in the second block element 7b in the secured and fixed state, making it possible for the first and second connecting parts to be connected together. Using each connection block to connect together a smaller number of pipelines makes it easier for the fitter to have access to the threaded connector than if, for example, 18 pipelines were joined together.

The first and second block elements 7a, 7b in one embodiment are made of plastic, preferably a rigid plastic. In another embodiment they are made of metal. They may also be made of a combination of plastic and metal.

The present invention is not restricted to the embodiments described above. Sundry alternatives, modifications and equivalents may be used. The

embodiments mentioned above therefore do not limit the invention's scope, which is defined by the attached claims.