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Title:
FASTENER INSTALLATION SYSTEM WITH SPLIT TOOL HEAD AND ACTUATION BASE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/071620
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fastener application device comprising an hydraulically-operated tool head held by an operator and having an actuator trigger, a base structure having an air-operated power cylinder operatively attached to an hydraulic cylinder to supply hydraulic pressure to the tool head in response to operation of the actuator trigger. The tool head and base structure are connected only by air and oil lines that are long enough to allow the base structure to be supported on, for example, a workbench, requiring the tool operator to support only the weight of the tool head during a fastener installation sequence.

Inventors:
POTTS TONY P (US)
LEIGH BRIAN H (US)
LANG KYLE R (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/050414
Publication Date:
April 15, 2021
Filing Date:
September 11, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GAGE BILT INC (US)
International Classes:
B21J15/02; B21J15/18; B21J15/20; B21J15/22; B25B21/00; B25B27/00; B25F5/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YOUNG, Thomas N. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED:

1. A fastener installation system comprising the combination of an hydraulically operated tool head having an actuator trigger and adapted to receive a fastener application tool, and an actuation base structure adapted to operate the tool head through a fastener installation sequence consisting of pull and return strokes, the system comprising: a base structure including a pneumatic power cylinder responsive input air pressure to cycle between a pull stage and a return stage; an hydraulically operated tool head separate from said base structure and having an actuator trigger, a reverse acting pneumatic air cylinder integral with said base structure for controlling air pressure to the power cylinder according to the position of said actuator trigger; an hydraulic cylinder integral with said base structure operatively connected to the pneumatic power cylinder to supply hydraulic fluid under pressure to said tool head; the base structure and the tool head being connected only through flexible hydraulic and pneumatic lines whereby actuation by an operator of said actuator trigger controls the flow of air to said reverse acting pneumatic cylinder and said pneumatic power cylinder to supply hydraulic fluid under pressure to said tool head to initiate a fastener installation sequence.

2. The fastener installation system defined in claim 1 further including: an air pressure inlet fitting on said base structure; a first air line connecting air flow from said fitting to the tool head, a second air line connecting the tool head to the pneumatic cylinder with air flow therethrough controlled by said trigger.

3. The fastener installation system of claim 2 wherein said reverse acting pneumatic cylinder includes a spring that biases the cylinder toward a closed condition.

4. A lockbolt installation device comprising: an hydraulically-operated tool head adapted to receive a lockbolt installation nose assembly and having a handle and a trigger for operator use; a base assembly separate from the tool head and including an hydraulic power source and a pneumatic control system for the power source; and flexible pneumatic and hydraulic lines interconnecting the tool head and base assembly so as to initiate a lockbolt installation process by an operator holding only the tool head and operating the trigger.

Description:
FASTENER INSTALLATION SYSTEM WITH SPLIT TOOL HEAD AND ACTUATION BASE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS [0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 16/909,419 filed June 23, 2020 and U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/913,403 filed October 10, 2019 and incorporates herein the entirety of these applications.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This invention relates to installation tools for fasteners such as pintail lock-bolts and more particularly to a fastener installation device having separate tool head and pneumatic/hydraulic actuation base joined only by hydraulic and pneumatic hoses so that the operator handling the tool head during a lockbolt installation sequence does not have to bear the weight of the actuation base during a fastener installation sequence.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Fasteners in the form of “lockbolts” having a head and a grooved shank adapted to have a lock collar permanently swaged onto it have been in widespread use since as early as 1989. The bolt shank is placed through holes pre-formed in the layers of materials to be joined. The collar is then placed on the shank and swaged by a tool so as to be permanently deformed into the grooves in the shank. The collar then serves as a nut opposite the lockbolt head but is essentially non-removable by conventional procedures.

[0004] Tools and collar feed equipment are shown and described in U.S. Patent Nos. 9,316,247, 9,511,416, 9,586,257, and 10,081,050, all assigned to Gage Bilt, Inc. of Clinton Township, Michigan. The tool comprises a nose assembly to perform the lockbolt and collar installation process.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0005] The presently disclosed fastener application device is characterized by a base which houses a main air cylinder and an hydraulic oil reservoir. The air cylinder is integral with and operatively connected to the hydraulic cylinder capable of operating a puller-type tool head via hydraulic lines. The device further comprises a tool head capable of receiving and actuating a nose assembly so as to act as a fastener installation tool for locating and collar swaging steps. The base and the tool head are physically separate, joined only by flexible hydraulic hoses and air lines. The operator, therefore, can perform a lockbolt installation process lifting only the tool head and does not have to lift or hold the base structure. This saves the operator substantial energy and makes the installation of multiple fastener faster and less tiring.

[0006] The air lines are associated with an operator-controlled actuator on the tool head handle and the hydraulic lines connect the hydraulic oil in the base housing to the tool head where it acts on a puller piston. The tool head is designed to receive a standard nose assembly (not shown) such as the nose assembly available from Gage Bilt, Inc. of Clinton Township, Michigan.

[0007] When the operator depresses the actuator trigger on the tool head, air is directed from the base through the tool head to a reverse acting air cylinder mounted on the top of the base to pull up on a rod and toggle a lever arm in the base housing which, in turn, operates a valve on the side of the base to direct air to the bottom of a pneumatic piston, placing it in the “pull” mode by moving the piston up in the cylinder housing. This movement, in turn, displaces an hydraulic piston to pressurize hydraulic fluid in the hydraulic line attached to the tool head causing a piston in the tool head to move in a direction which, by way of the nose assembly, initiates the “pull” cycle of a fastener installation process.

[0008] When the tool head actuator is released, the reverse acting air cylinder allows a spring in the throttle valve to move the valve to a return position causing air to be applied under pressure to the top of the air piston in the base while air below the piston is exhausted. This in turn moves the hydraulic piston downward to reverse the direction of hydraulic oil pressure in the tool head thereby returning the piston in the tool head to its original ready position. The air and oil lines can be any convenient length. The principal advantage of this arrangement is to relieve the operator of the task of lifting and supporting the base structure during a multiple fastener installation sequence.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0009] The disclosed device and the novel aspects of it will be best understood by reference to the attached drawings of which:

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the split system showing the air cylinder base with integral hydraulic cylinder, lever arm, and throttle valve, and the separate tool head, the base and tool head being interconnected by air and oil lines;

[0011] FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the tool head and a portion of the pneumatic/hydraulic actuator system components; and

[0012] FIGS. 3 and 4 are sectional diagrams of the pneumatic/hydraulic cylinder and tool head in the pull and return cycle positions, respectively.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows the overall device to comprise a tool head 10 having a handle 12 with an operator-controlled actuator lever or trigger 14 that is pulled to initiate a lockbolt installation sequence. The tool head has a fitting 11 to receive a nose assembly for, by way of example, a lockbolt fastener installation involving a “pull” and “return” cycle. [0014] The device further includes a base 18 housing an air cylinder having a piston 36 and an inlet 20 for air from a compressor (not shown). The base housing 18 includes an integral upper housing 26 and a reverse-acting pneumatic cylinder 28. Housing 26 has a side portion 27 that holds a vertical rod 34 connected to control a lever arm 24 pivotally mounted on top of the larger-diameter portion of the base further includes a throttle valve 22 controlled by the position of the lever arm 24. The weight of the base structure is about 11 pounds.

[0015] Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, more detail is shown. The throttle valve 22 is operated in part by an internal spring 42 that pushes up, and in part by the lever arm 24 which is toggled back and forth by means of the rod 34 in the cylinder 27. The rod is operated by the reverse acting air cylinder 28 which is mounted on block 25 on top of the hydraulic cylinder in housing 26. Hydraulic lines 30 interconnect the hydraulic cylinder housing 26 with the tool head 10 to operate the tool head by air pressure in a manner to be described. In addition, air lines 32 interconnect the base with the tool head such that operation of the actuator trigger 14 can initiate a pull sequence as described below.

[0016] FIG. 3 shows the device in a pull cycle, wherein the tool head 10 operates by way of a piston 40 to pull on the nose assembly (not shown) to the right as shown in FIG. 3 to initiate the first step in a fastener installation process. Depressing the actuator 14 causes air to flow through line 32a to the reverse acting cylinder 28 which pulls the rod 34 up. This lifts the right side of pivotally mounted lever arm 24 upwardly as shown in FIG. 3. This causes the left-hand side of the pivotally mounted lever arm 24 to move downwardly. This downward movement pushes the main body of the throttle valve 22 down against the action of return spring 42 causing air under pressure to flow to the bottom side of the air-operated power piston 36 while air above the piston is routed through the valve 22 to an exhaust 48. This pushes the piston rod assembly 38, 39 upwardly, applying pressure to the closed-loop hydraulic fluid reservoir 46, which in turn pressurizes a line 30 and pushes against the piston 40 in the tool head to move the piston from left to right as shown in FIG. 3. When the actuator 14 is released, the rod 34 moves down, allowing the spring 42 to push the throttle valve upwardly, applying air pressure to the top of the air piston 36 and exhausting air below the piston as shown in FIG. 4.

[0017] During the return cycle, air from the top of the piston 36 is exhausted through the center of the throttle valve and into the exhaust port 48. The hydraulic system is a closed-loop system of fixed volume and can be cycled in both directions. The air system is open-loop and requires constant input of air pressure from a conventional compressor via fitting 20.

[0018] The reverse-acting air cylinder 28 uses an internal spring 29 to reverse after the actuator 14 is released, cutting off air to the cylinder. This type of cylinder can be replaced with a reverse-acting cylinder that uses air for the return motion via an additional air line connection. These alternatives provide equivalent operation in a substantially similar fashion.

[0019] Summarizing, the actuator trigger 14 causes air to flow to the cylinder 28 which then toggles the lever arm 24 to cause the valve 22 to admit to and exhaust air from the power piston 36. That, in turn, powers the hydraulic cylinder 34 to supply hydraulic oil under pressure to the tool head.

[0020] As described the system overall allows the operator to bear only the weight of the tool head, while the base 18 can be separately supported on, for example, a work bench or cart. The hydraulic and air lines are the only weight-bearing connectors between the base structure 26 and the tool head 10 and can be as long as necessary to achieve the desired mobility, but a typical length is from 4 to 8 feet.