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Patent Searching and Data

Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/012768
Kind Code:
A control module or manifold (A) allows the mounting or insertion of push-to-connect fittings to integrated or premounted connectors or parts. Additional connectors can also be added as need witout disassembly or disconnection of the manifold. A seal is created from the elements to protect the unused fittings via a frangible wall located between aligned recesses (20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30) in the manifold housing. A thin walled region encloses a knock-out portion of the wall and is preferably located at right angles to the center line of the recesses at a predetermined depth.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
February 14, 2002
Filing Date:
August 06, 2001
Export Citation:
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International Classes:
F16D65/00; F16L5/12; F16L39/00; G06F15/173; G06F21/00; H04L29/06; H04L29/08; (IPC1-7): F16L5/12
Domestic Patent References:
Foreign References:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Criss, Roger H. (NJ, US)
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Having thus described the invention, we claim:
1. A manifold adapted to receive a plurality of associated pushtoconnect fittings, the manifold comprising : a housing having plural recesses dimensioned to individually receive associated push toconnect fittings, each recess having a longitudinal axis along which the associated fittings are received to complete a connection, and a frangible wall in each recess extending substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the recess.
2. The manifold of claim 1 wherein the frangible wall includes a circumferentially extending minor region having a crosssection substantially less than a crosssection of a major remainder of the wall.
3. The manifold of claim 1 wherein the recess has a cylindrical configuration.
4. The manifold of claim 3 wherein the minor region is defined by a thin, circular weakened portion of the wall.
5. The manifold of claim 4 wherein the weakened portion is circumferentially continuous.
6. The manifold of claim 5 wherein the wall is located closer to a first end of the recess than a second end of the recess.
7. The manifold of claim 6 wherein the recesses are differently sized on the manifold.
8. The manifold of claim 1 wherein the manifold is an integrally molded, one piece plastic component.
9. The manifold of claim 1 wherein the wall is located closer to a first end of the recess than a second end of the recess.
10. The manifold of claim 1 wherein the recesses are differently sized on the manifold.
11. A driver controlled module manifold for a truck brake system comprising: a manifold housing having first and second opposed surfaces; a plurality of recesses extending inwardly from the first and second surfaces along longitudinal axes; and frangible walls extending in perpendicular relation to the longitudinal axes associated with the recesses, each wall having a weakened portion relative to the remainder of the wall adapted to break away from the housing in response to a predetermined force imposed thereon and form a through bore defined by aligned recesses.
12. The manifold of claim 11 wherein the frangible walls extend substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axes.
13. The manifold of claim 11 wherein the frangible walls are disposed closer to the first surface than the second surface.
14. The manifold of claim 11 wherein each of the recesses has a cylindrical conformation.
15. The manifold of claim 14 wherein the recesses have different diameters.
16. The manifold of claim 14 wherein the weakened portions are defined by continuous circles spaced radially inward from the recesses.
17. The manifold of claim 11 wherein the frangible walls are integrally molded with the housing.
CONVERTIBLE MOUNTING FOR PUSH-TO-CONNECT FITTINGS Background of the Invention Field of the Invention This application relates to a driver control module for a truck brake system and, more particularly, to a manifold used therewith.

Discussion of the Art Driver control modules for brake systems employ a manifold having a number of ports that are accessible to the driver or vehicle operator.

Oftentimes, these ports are plumbed or assembled with a number of fittings for various uses. On occasion, additional connectors are required. If additional connectors are required, the mount or module must be removed to complete the assembly of the new connector. Occasionally, a new mount is required to accommodate the new connector.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon to premount adaptors or connectors. Unfortunately, access to these premounted connectors requires an opening which may be contaminated over time.

Alternatively, known premounted connectors are usually covered and the mounting must be removed to create an opening therethrough and complete the connection.

A need exists, therefore, for the ability to mount push-to-connect fittings in an integrated or premounted module that allows additional connections to be made without disassembly or disconnecting the mount. Moreover, the ability to complete the connections without the need to interchange or replace the parts, while simultaneously providing protection from contaminants or outside elements in

unused mounts is another desired feature. This would result in easier installation and reduction in vehicle costs.

Summary of the Invention A new and improved mounting or manifold adapted to receive push-to-connect fittings overcomes the above noted problems and others in a simple, economical manner.

A preferred manifold that receives a plurality of associated push-to-connect fittings has a housing with plural recesses dimensioned to individually receive the associated push-to-connect fittings. Each recess has a longitudinal axis along which an associated fitting is received to complete a connection. A frangible wall is provided in each recess and extends substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the recess.

The frangible wall has a thin, circular weakened portion that disconnects from the remainder of the housing upon imposition of a predetermined force.

The frangible wall is preferably integrally molded as a one-piece plastic component with the housing and is preferably disposed closer to one end of the recess than the other end.

A primary benefit of the invention resides in the ability to combine fittings without the need to interchange or replace parts.

Another benefit of the invention is associated with the protection offered to unused mounts without using additional components.

Still another benefit resides in the easy installation and reduced vehicle costs associated with the mounting arrangement.

Still other features and benefits of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading and understanding of the following detailed description.

Brief Description of the Drawings FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a manifold or drive control module formed in accordance with the present invention.

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view thereof.

FIGURE 3 is an elevational view thereof with selected portions shown in phantom.

FIGURE 4 is a bottom plan view of the manifold.

FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along the lines 5-5 of FIGURE 4.

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged detail view of the encircled portion of FIGURE 5.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments A driver control module A is typically provided to centralize a number of pneumatic connections at a single location. The module or manifold A shown in FIGS. 1-6 includes a housing 10 having a first or upper surface 12, and a second or lower surface 14. A predetermined number of recesses are provided in the manifold housing. Here, six such recesses 20,22,24,26,28 and 30 are illustrated.

It will be appreciated, however, that a greater or lesser number of recesses can be employed if necessary. The recesses are all preferably cylindrical in conformation, i. e., they define a circle in cross-section. Other conformations for the recesses could be adopted, although the cylindrical recess is common because of its adaptation to

associated fittings (not shown) that are received therein. As will be appreciated, the recesses extend inwardly from both the upper and lower surfaces 12, 14. The recesses are aligned along longitudinal axes and are similarly dimensioned to define a substantially smooth wall through bore when a connector fitting is completely assembled. For purposes of clarity and brevity, mating recesses extending inwardly from the upper surface and the lower surface, respectively, are identified by the same reference numeral with an Aa-or Ab-suffix.

For example, recess 20a extending inwardly from the upper surface 12 is aligned with the recess 20b extending inwardly from the lower surface 14. These recesses 20a, 20b are similarly dimensioned and aligned along a common longitudinal axis.

The recesses are divided one from the other by a frangible wall 40 (FIGS. 3,5, and 6). Since each aligned pair of recesses originally includes a frangible wall, they are all identified by reference numeral 40, the details of which are particularly illustrated in FIGURES 2,4, and 5. As illustrated in FIGURE 3, all of the walls are preferably disposed in a common plane 42. Preferably, the plane 42 is disposed closer to one surface than the other; here, the wall dividing the recesses being disposed more closely adjacent the lower surface than the upper surface. Again, it will also be appreciated that in other instances alternative locations of the wall will be required. The frangible wall 40 preferably seals or divides a pair of recesses when originally formed. It is contemplated that in accordance with the preferred embodiment, the wall is integrally molded with the housing, for example, from a plastic

material. The wall includes a weakened region 44.

As best illustrated in FIGURE 6, the weakened region 44 is a continuous, thinned region that encloses a knock-out region 46. Preferably, the weakened region is continuous so that upon imposition of a predetermined force, a knock-out region 46 is severed from the remainder of the housing. The knock-out region 46 is then removed from the recesses to allow access to the premounted fitting or connector.

In the preferred embodiment, since the recesses are cylindrical in conformation, the weakened regions of the frangible walls are preferably circular and have a diameter just less than that of the cylindrical recesses. In this manner, when the knock-out region 46 of the wall is removed, the aligned recesses define a through-bore having a substantially constant dimension throughout its length.

It will also be appreciated that the walls 40 are illustrated as being perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the aligned recesses. This conformation is easiest for purposes of molding the housing, although the invention should not be so limited. Additionally, the recesses can be of different diameters, as long as the mating pair of recesses preferably have the same diameter. This will accommodate various sized fittings in a simplified manner.

The housing preferably has a flanged portion 50 that extends about the perimeter and preferably includes mounting openings 52 that receive fasteners (not shown) for securing the housing to the vehicle. A central or boss portion 54 includes the recesses formed therein and extends a predetermined height from each side of the flange.

The use of the frangible walls allows the fittings to be completed ahead of time, i. e., premounted, so that the knock-out fitting is sealed from contaminants or the environment until desired for use. Likewise, when an additional connection is desired, it can be easily accessed by applying a predetermined force to the frangible wall, which then breaks along the weakened region. The knock-out is then easily removed from the housing so that the push-to-connect fittings can be made up or coupled to complete the desired pneumatic connection.

The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiment. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding of this specification. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations insofar as they fall within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.