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Title:
MULTI-COUPLING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/106036
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Multiconnector comprising a connecting device (1), which comprises a body (5) of a male part and a body (7) of a female part, which are arranged, during a connecting movement along a common centre line (CL), to open a duct (9) in the male part and a duct (13) in the female part; a first operating device (11) and a second operating device (15) are arranged in the body (5) of the male part and the body (7) of the female part respectively, to open a first valve device (17) and a second valve device (21) respectively arranged in the body (5) of the female part and the body (7) of the male part respectively; the body (5) of the male part comprises a sealing male end part (23) that forms a seal against a sealing female end part (19) on the body (7) of the female part during the connecting movement. The sealing male end part (23) and the sealing female end part (19) on the body (5) of the male part and the body (7) of the female part respectively extend axially in a direction parallel to the centre line (CL) in such a way that the body (5) of the male part and the body (7) of the female part form a seal against each other during the connecting movement, before the first and second valve devices (17, 21) open during the said connecting movement.

Inventors:
LILJEGREN MARKUS (SE)
Application Number:
SE2007/050157
Publication Date:
September 20, 2007
Filing Date:
March 15, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NYBERG BO ERIK (CH)
LILJEGREN MARKUS (SE)
International Classes:
F16L37/34; F16L29/00; F16L37/32; F16L37/56; F16L39/00
Foreign References:
US20020148514A1
US5159955A
DE9209060U1
US5464042A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALBIHNS AB (Stockholm, SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Multiconnector comprising a connecting device (1), which connecting device (1) comprises a body (5) of a male part and a body (7) of a female part, which are arranged to open a duct (9) in the male part and a duct (13) in the female part during a connecting movement along a common centre line (CL); a first operating device (11) and a second operating device (15) are arranged in the body (5) of the male part and the body (7) of the female part for opening a first and second valve device (17, 21) arranged in the body (5) of the female part and the body (7) of the male part respectively; the body (5) of the male part comprises a sealing male end part (23) that forms a seal against a sealing female end part (19) on the body (7) of the female part during the connecting movement, characterized in that the sealing male end part (23) and the sealing female end part (19) on the body (5) of the male part and the body (7) of the female part extend axially in a direction parallel to the centre line (CL) in such a way that the body (5) of the male part and the body (7) of the female part form a seal against each other, during the connecting movement, before the first valve device (17) and the second valve device (21) open, during the said connecting movement.

2. Multiconnector according to Claim 1, characterized in that a sealing element (29) is arranged in the duct (9) in the male part within the area of the male end part (23) in such a way that a seal is made between the second valve device (21) and the body (5) of the male part until the first valve device (17) and the body of the male part form a seal against each

other, during the said connecting movement.

3. Multiconnector according to Claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the sealing element (29) is arranged in such a way that, during the said connecting movement, during a sequence of movements, it is in a plane

(P) transverse to the centre line, essentially comprising the respective end surfaces (33', 33") of the first valve device (17) and the second valve device (21), so that a simultaneous seal is made between the first valve device (17) and the second valve device (21) before the said opening.

4. Multiconnector according to Claim 2 or 3, characterized in that the sealing element (29) is an O-ring.

5. Multiconnector according to any one of Claims 1-4, characterized in that the first valve device (17) is spring-loaded in the direction along the centre line (CL) towards the female end part (19) and is arranged to be able to move in the duct (13) in the female part and to form a seal against the duct (13) in the female part; the first valve device (17) is arranged to form a seal against the second operating device (15), before the said first valve device (17) opens, during the said connecting movement.

6. Multiconnector according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the first valve device consists of a cylindrical valve sleeve (36).

7. Multiconnector according to Claim 6, characterized in that the valve

sleeve (36) is designed with a part (43) that projects in the direction towards the female end part (19) and parallel to the centre line (CL); at the position for the female end part (19), the surface of the projecting part (43) facing towards the duct (13) in the female part is located at a distance (s) from the surface of the duct (13) in the female part that corresponds to the thickness (t) of the wall of the male end part (23), so that the projecting part (43) can form a seal against both the body (5) of the male part and the second operating device (15) before the valve sleeve (36) opens, during the said connecting movement.

8. Multiconnector according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the second valve device (21) is arranged to be able to move in the duct (9) in the male part and is spring-loaded in the direction along the centre line (CL) towards the male end part (23) and is arranged to form a seal against the male end part (23) during the said connecting movement until the male end part (23) forms a seal against the first valve device (17).

9. Multiconnector according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the second valve device consists of a valve spindle

(44) comprising a cylindrical sealing surface (46).

10. Multiconnector according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the sealing male end part (23) and the sealing female end part (19), the sealing surfaces of the first and second valve devices (17, 21) and the sealing surfaces of the first and second operating devices (11, 15), all extend in an axial direction parallel to the centre line (CL).

11. Multiconnector according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the first operating device consists of the sealing male end part (23).

12. Multiconnector according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the multiconnector (3) is constructed of an operating part (25) and a connecting part (27); the operating part (25) comprises a connecting and disconnecting mechanism (45) for moving the bodies (5) of the male parts and the bodies (7) of the female parts of two connecting devices (1) simultaneously towards each other, when the connecting part (27) is connected to the operating part (25).

13. Multiconnector according to Claim 12, characterized in that a body (5) of a male part and a body (7) of a female part are mounted on the operating part (25), and that a body (5) of a male part and a body (7) of a female part are mounted on the connecting part (27).

14. Multiconnector according to Claim 12, characterized in that the bodies (5) of the male parts are mounted on the operating part (25) and the bodies (7) of the female parts are mounted on the connecting part (27).

15. Multiconnector according to any one of Claims 12-14, characterized in that the operating part (25) comprises a part (57) that receives the connecting part (27), that can be moved in the direction parallel to the centre line (CL) for carrying out the said connecting movement.

16. Multiconnector according to any one of Claims 12-15, characterized in

that the multiconnector (3) comprises a locating device (85) for ensuring that the connecting part (27) moves in a direction parallel to the centre line (CL).

17. Multiconnector according to any one of Claims 12-16, characterized in that the operating part (25) comprises a lever device (71) comprising a handle (73) at its first end (75) and with its second end (77) mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary first axis (A') perpendicular to the centre line (CL) and parallel to a plane coinciding with the centre lines (CL) of the connecting devices (1), a link (69) with a first end (79) mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary second axis (A") in a position between the first and second ends (75, 77) of the lever device (71), and with a second end (81) mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary third axis (A' ") of a part (57) that receives the connecting part (27).

Description:

MULTI-COUPLING

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a multiconnector according to the preamble to Claim 1.

In particular, the present invention relates to connectors that are primarily used for refrigerants, which connectors are designed in such a way that spillage- free connection of the connector can be carried out even when the male and female parts of the connector are under pressure in the disconnected state. The present invention is, however, not limited to this, but can advantageously relate to multiconnectors for gas, vacuum, pressurized air, etc, and other gases that are suitable for the purpose.

BACKGROUND ART

At present, various types of multiconnectors are used for refrigerants, such as freon, etc. The document US 5 464 042 describes a quick-connection multiconnector, which multiconnector is designed to be able to be connected and disconnected quickly without the use of tods. At the same time, the multiconnector shown in US 5 464 042 solves the problem of how the multiconnector can be connected and disconnected in such a way that spillage of refrigerant and ingress of air into the duct system of the connector can be avoided when disconnecting and connecting the male and female parts of the connector. It is, however, desirable to be able to achieve a multiconnector that can be made less heavy and bulky.

An object of the present invention is to achieve a multiconnector that is as small and as light as possible, while ensuring that this desirable multiconnector has the technical characteristics that enable connection and disconnection to be carried out quickly without the use of tools, and that mean that spillage of refrigerant and ingress of air into the duct system of the connector can be avoided when disconnecting and connecting the male and female parts of the multiconnector.

The object of the present invention is to achieve a multiconnector for quick connection and disconnection of refrigerant hoses in, for example, air- conditioning systems, which multiconnector avoids the disadvantages associated with known technology.

The abovementioned problems have been solved by means of the multiconnector described in the introduction and in the characterizing part of Claim 1. Other objects and advantages of the invention are described in the associated subordinate claims.

By this means, a spillage-free and easily operated quick-connection multiconnector is achieved, which multiconnector is not bulky and is light in weight. By utilizing the extent in the axial direction of the male and female end parts that form a seal against each other and letting the cylindrical surfaces of the male and female end parts make the seal, a primary seal can be obtained between the bodies before the valve devices open, which eliminates the need for strong outer sleeves, which are bulky.

A sealing element is preferably arranged in the duct in the male part in the vicinity of the male end part, in such a way that a seal is obtained between the

second valve device and the body of the male part until the first valve device and the body of the male part form a seal against each other during the said connecting movement.

In this way, a linear movement of the valve devices along the centre line, brought about by the operating devices, can be utilized for opening the valve devices and contributes to the primary seal. The linear movement of the valve devices and their respective sealing cylindrical outer surfaces, which surfaces are moved and have a longitudinal extent parallel to the longitudinal direction of the connecting device, means that the connecting device and hence the multiconnector can be designed in such a way that they are not bulky.

Alternatively, the sealing element is arranged in such a way that, during the said connecting movement, during a sequence of movements, it is in a plane that is transverse to the centre line, essentially comprising the end surfaces of the first and second valve devices, so that a simultaneous seal is made between the first valve device and the second valve device before the said opening takes place.

By this means, a multiconnector has been achieved that ensures minimal spillage. In addition, the number of sealing elements can be reduced, which enables the multiconnector to be made less bulky.

The sealing element is suitably an O-ring.

In this way, the manufacture of the multiconnector can be cost-effective and standardized sealing elements can be used. The material of the O-ring suitably consists of nitrile rubber, viton, EPDM, etc.

The first valve device is preferably spring-loaded in the direction along the centre line towards the female end part and is arranged to be able to move in the duct in the female part and to form a seal against the duct in the female part; the first valve device is arranged to form a seal against the second operating device before the said first valve device opens, during the said connecting movement.

By this means, the multiconnector can be under pressure in its disconnected state and at the same time can be spillage-free.

Alternatively, the first valve device consists of a cylindrical valve sleeve.

The valve sleeve is suitably designed with a part that projects in the direction towards the female end part and parallel to the centre line; at the position for the female end part, the surface of the projecting part facing towards the duct in the female part is located at a distance from the surface of the duct in the female part that corresponds to the thickness of the wall of the male end part, so that the projecting part can form a seal against both the body of the male part and the second operating device before the valve sleeve opens, during the said connecting movement.

In this way, the first valve device can be used to form a seal between the duct in the female part and the duct in the male part in the opened position, and also to achieve a seal between the second valve device and the second operating device before the said opening of the valve devices during the connecting movement. The linear movement of the valve devices and their respective sealing cylindrical outer surfaces, which surfaces are moved and have a

longitudinal extent parallel to the longitudinal direction of the connecting device, means that the connecting device and hence the multiconnector can be designed in such a way that they are not bulky.

The second valve device is preferably arranged so that it can move in the duct in the male part and is spring-loaded in the direction along the centre line towards the male end part and is arranged to form a seal against the male end part, during the said connecting movement, until the male end part forms a seal against the first valve device.

By this means, the multiconnector can be under pressure, even in its disconnected state.

Alternatively, the second valve device consists of a valve spindle comprising a cylindrical sealing surface.

The sealing male end part and the sealing female end part, the sealing surfaces of the first and second valve devices and the sealing surfaces of the first and second operating devices, suitably all have an extent in an axial direction that is parallel to the centre line.

In this way, a connecting movement along the centre line can be utilized in order to achieve a seal between the body of the male part and the body of the female part before the valve devices open. The seal is achieved by the male end part "taking over" the seal against the first valve device and moving the first valve device in a linear direction parallel with the centre line, away from its sealing contact with the second operating device, whereupon the first valve device opens.

The first operating device consists preferably of the sealing male end part.

Alternatively, the multiconnector is constructed of an operating part and a connecting part; the operating part comprises a connecting and disconnecting mechanism for moving the bodies of the male parts and the bodies of the female parts of two connecting devices towards each other simultaneously when the connecting part is connected to the operating part.

Accordingly, the operating part can be mounted on, for example, a house wall, and a refrigerant source, that is connected to the connecting part via hoses, can be connected to the operating part as required.

A body of a male part and a body of a female part are preferably mounted on the operating part, and a body of a male part and a body of a female part are mounted on the connecting part.

In this way, a multiconnector can be modified for use with a circulating flow of fluid, that is, with flows through one connecting device in the direction from the body of the male part to the body of the female part and back through the multiconnector in the opposite direction via the second connecting device in the direction from the body of its male part to the body of its female part. Thus, as the flow goes in both directions through the multiconnector, the flow in the direction from the body of the male part to the body of the female part can be regulated in the same way in both the connecting devices.

The bodies of the male parts are suitably mounted on the operating part and the bodies of the female parts are mounted on the connecting part.

The operating part preferably comprises a part that receives the connecting part that can move in a direction parallel to the centre line in order to achieve the said connecting movement.

Alternatively, the multiconnector comprises a locating device for ensuring that the connecting part moves in a direction parallel to the centre line.

In this way, the connecting movement can be carried out simultaneously for two connecting devices by means of a single action without the use of tools. The locating device ensures that friction between the body of the male part and the body of the female part is minimized, which simplifies the action. By designing the locating device as a locating pin fitting in a locating sleeve, this enables the multiconnector to be made less bulky.

The operating part suitably comprises a lever device comprising a handle at its first end and with its second end mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary first axis perpendicular to the centre line and parallel to a plane coinciding with the centre lines of the connecting devices, and a link with a first end mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary second axis in a position between the first and second ends of the lever device, and with a second end mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary third axis of a part that receives the connecting part.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

In the following, the present invention will be described in greater detail, with reference to the attached drawings, in which:

Figures Ia- Id show schematically a connecting device for a multiconnector according to known technology;

Figures 2a-2e show schematically a connecting device for a multiconnector according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figures 3a-3e show schematically a connecting device for a multiconnector according to a second embodiment;

Figures 4a-4d show schematically different embodiments of multiconnectors comprising connecting devices constructed according to the connecting device shown in Figures 3a-3d;

Figures 5a-5e show schematically different stages of a connecting movement of the multiconnector shown in Figure 4c;

Figure 6 shows schematically an embodiment in which the seal between the valve sleeve and the body of the female part is arranged in the body of the female part; and

Figures 7a-7e show schematically an embodiment in which the valve sleeve has been provided with leakage grooves.

MODES FOR CARRYTNG OUT THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described in the form of embodiments. For the sake of clarity, components that are not of significance for the invention have been omitted in the drawings. In certain cases, the same components that are shown in several figures do not have reference numerals, but correspond to those that have a reference numeral.

Figures Ia- Id illustrate schematically a connecting device 101 (only one of the two connecting devices is shown) for a multiconnector 103 according to

known technology. Figure Ia shows the body 105 of the male part and the body 107 of the female part of the connecting device 101 in a disconnected state. The body 105 of the male part comprises a duct 109 in which a first operating device 111 is arranged. The body 107 of the female part comprises a duct 113 in which a second operating device 115 is arranged. A first valve device 117 is arranged to be able to move in the duct 113 in the female part. A first spring F' urges the first valve device 117 in the direction towards a sealing female end part 119 on the body 107 of the female part. A second valve device 121 is arranged to be able to move in the duct 109 in the male part. A second spring F" urges the second valve device 121 in the direction towards a sealing male end part 123 on the body 105 of the male part. Figure Ib shows how the first valve device 117 in the body 107 of the female part, that forms a seal against the second operating device 115, makes a sealing contact with the male end part 123 at the commencement of a connecting movement. Figure Ic shows how the continued connecting movement results in the second operating device 115 in the body 107 of the female part coming into contact with the second valve device 121 in the body 105 of the male part for opening of the second valve device 121. The first valve device 117 in the body 107 of the female part is pressed by means of the first spring F' against the sealing male end part 123 and the second spring F" in the body 105 of the male part now begins to be compressed, after which the second valve device 121 opens, during the continued connecting movement, until a primary seal is achieved, in which the sealing female end part 119 comes into sealing engagement with the sealing male end part 123, as shown in Figure Id.

Figures 2a-2e show schematically a connecting device 1 for a multiconnector 3 according to a first embodiment of the present invention. The connecting device 1 comprises a body 5 of a male part and a body 7 of a female part. The

multiconnector 3 comprises an operating part 25 and a connecting part 27, to which parts, the bodies 5 of the male parts and the bodies 7 of the female parts of, for example, two connecting devices 1 are attached. The operating device will be described in greater detail below with reference to Figures 4a-5e. During a connecting movement along a common centre line CL, the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part are arranged to open a duct 9 in the male part and a duct 13 in the female part by means of a first operating device 11 and a second operating device 15 respectively that are arranged in the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part respectively. The first and second operating devices 11, 15 open first and second valve devices 17, 21 respectively arranged in the body 7 of female part and the body 5 of the male part respectively, as shown in Figures 2b-2e. The body 5 of the male part comprises a sealing male end part 23 that forms a seal against a sealing female end part 19 on the body 7 of the female part, during the connecting movement. According to this embodiment, during the connecting movement, firstly the second operating device 15 (such as a spindle attached to the body 7 of the female part) operates the second valve device 21, and thereafter the first operating device 11 (such as a part of the male end part 19) operates the first valve device 17.

The sealing male end part 23 and the sealing female end part 19 on the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part respectively extend axially in a direction parallel to the centre line CL in such a way that, during the connecting movement, the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part form a primary seal against each other before the first and the second valve devices 17, 21 open during the said connecting movement, which will be described with reference to Figures 2b-2e.

Figure 2b shows how the body 5 of the male part has been inserted a short way into the body 7 of the female part and the second operating device 15 in the body 7 of the female part comes into contact with the second valve device 21 comprising a sealing element 29 that forms a seal against the male end part 23 on the body 5 of male part. The second valve device 21 is arranged to be able to move in the duct 9 in the male part and is spring-loaded in the direction along the centre line CL towards the male end part 23 and is arranged to form a seal against the male end part 23 during the said connecting movement until the male end part 23 forms a seal against the first valve device 17. Accordingly, the multiconnector 3 can be under pressure, even in its disconnected state. Figure 2c shows how, during the continued connecting movement, the second operating device 15 begins to move the second valve device 21 in the direction towards a first spring element 31 (here a spiral compression spring, which starts to be compressed), with the sealing element 29 being arranged in the male end part 23 in such a way that, during the connecting movement, during a sequence of movements (shown in Figure 2c), it is in a plane P that extends transverse to the centre line, essentially intersecting the respective end surfaces 33', 33" of the first and second valve devices 17, 21, so that a simultaneous seal is made between the first and second valve devices 17, 21 before the opening of the first and second valve devices 17, 21, as shown in Figures 2d and 2e. This simultaneous seal contributes to a spillage-free connection. According to this embodiment, the end surface 33' also comprises the surface of the second operating device 15 that faces towards the body 5 of the male part.

A sealing element 29 is thus arranged in the duct 9 in the male part within the area of the male end part 23 in such a way that a seal is obtained between the second valve device 21 and the body 5 of the male part until the first valve

device 17 and the body 5 of the male part form a seal against each other during the connecting movement.

Figures 2d and 2e show how, during the continued connecting movement, the first operating device 11 (which consists of the sealing male end part 23) comes into engagement with the first valve device 17. The first valve device 17 is spring-loaded in the direction along the centre line CL towards the female end part 19 by means of a second spring element 35 (here a spiral compression spring, which starts to be compressed) and is arranged to be able to move in the duct 13 in the female part and to form a seal against the internal wall of the duct 13 in the female part. The first valve device 17 is arranged to form a seal against the second operating device 15, before the first valve device 17 is opened by means of the sealing male end part 23. By integrating the first operating device 11 as a part of the male end part 23 on the body 5 of the male part, a connecting device 1 is achieved that is not bulky.

The sealing male end part 23 and the sealing female end part 19, the sealing surfaces of the first and second valve devices 17, 21 and the sealing surfaces of the first and second operating devices 11, 15, all have an extent in an axial direction that is parallel to and concentric around the centre line CL. In this way, a connecting movement along the centre line CL can be utilized in order to achieve a seal between the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part before the valve devices 17, 21 open. The linear movement of the valve devices and their respective cylindrical outer sealing surfaces, which surfaces are moved and have a longitudinal extent parallel to the longitudinal direction of the connecting device, means that the connecting device and hence the multiconnector can be designed in such a way that it is not bulky. The seal is achieved by the male end part 23 "taking over" the seal against the first

valve device 17 and moving the first valve device 17 parallel with the centre line CL linearly away from its sealing contact with the second operating device 15, whereby the first valve device 17 opens, as shown in Figure 2e.

Figures 3a-3d show a connecting device 1 for a multiconnector 3 according to a second embodiment.

Figure 3 a shows a connecting device 1 that is comprised in a multiconnector 3 (which is described in greater detail below). The connecting device 1 comprises a body 5 of a male part and a body 7 of a female part. During a connecting movement along the common centre line CL, the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part are arranged to open the duct 9 in the male part and the duct 13 in the female part by means of the first operating device 11 and the second operating device 15 respectively that are arranged in the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part respectively. The first and second operating devices 11, 15 open the first and second valve devices 17, 21 respectively that are arranged in the body 7 of the female part and the body 5 of the male part respectively, which sequence of events is shown in Figures 3b-3d. The body 5 of the male part comprises the sealing male end part 23 that forms a seal against the sealing female end part 19 on the body 7 of the female part during the connecting movement.

The sealing male end part 23 and the sealing female end part 19 on the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part respectively extend axially in a direction parallel to the centre line CL in such a way that, during the connecting movement, the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part form a primary seal against each other before the first and the second valve devices 17, 21 open during the connecting movement. The linear

movement of the valve devices and their respective cylindrical outer sealing surfaces, which surfaces are moved and have a longitudinal extent parallel to the longitudinal direction of the connecting device, means that the connecting device and hence the multiconnector can be designed in such a way that it is not bulky.

Figure 3a illustrates how the male end part 23 is inserted into the female end part 19 and the end surfaces 33', 33" of the first and second valve devices 17, 21 come into contact with each other. The first valve device 17 (a cylindrical valve sleeve 36) is arranged with an external seal Tl that forms a continuous seal against the inner wall of the duct 13 in the female part and is arranged to form a seal against a seal T2 that surrounds the second operating device 15 (that consists of a spindle 37 that is attached to and integrated into the body 7 of the female part, which spindle has a mushroom-shaped projection 39 with a cylindrical outer surface 41 that forms a seal). In this way, the body 7 of the female part can be pressurized with refrigerant (not shown) in the disconnected state, without any spillage taking place.

The valve sleeve 36 is designed with a part 43 that projects in the direction towards the female end part 19 and parallel to the centre line CL; at the position for the female end part 19, the surface of the projecting part 43 that faces towards the duct 13 in the female part is located at a distance s from the surface of the duct 13 in the female part that corresponds to the thickness t of the wall of the male end part 23 (that is, the external radius minus the internal radius of the external and internal walls of the cylindrical hollow body of the male end part), so that the projecting part 43 can form a seal against both the body 5 of the male part and the second operating device 15 before the valve sleeve 36 opens during the connecting movement, as shown in Figures 3b-3c.

In this way, the first valve device 17 can be utilized for forming a seal between the duct 13 in the female part and the duct 9 in the male part in the opened position (as shown in Figure 3d), and also for forming a seal between the second valve device 21 and the second operating device 15. By this means, a spillage-free and easily operated quick-connection multiconnector 3 has been achieved, which multiconnector 3 is not bulky and is a light weight. By utilizing the extent in the axial direction of the male end part 23 and the female end part 19 that form a seal against each other and by letting the cylindrical internal and external surfaces of the male end part 23 and the cylindrical internal surface of the female end part 19 form a seal in stages during movement in the direction parallel to the centre line CL, a primary seal between the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part can be obtained by means of the valve sleeve 36 that is designed with the projecting part 43. The purpose of the sealing element T3, such as a rubber O-ring, that is arranged on the internal sealing surface of male end part 23 is firstly to form a seal between the body 5 of the male part and the second valve device 21 (a valve spindle 44), and then, during the continued connecting movement, to form a seal against both the cylindrical sealing surface 46 of the second valve device 21 and the first valve device 17 (that is, also against the projecting part 43 of the first valve device 17) and thereafter only against the first valve device 17 in the connected position. The first valve device 17 is arranged to form a seal against the wall of the duct 13 in the female part by means of the seal Tl. A seal T4 (O-ring) that seals the female end part is arranged on the cylindrical internal surface of female end part 19 to form a seal between the female end part 19 and the male end part 23. The spindle seal T2 (O-ring) is arranged on the cylindrical outer surface of the projection 39 on the spindle 37 to form a seal between the second operating device 15 (the fixed spindle 37) and the first valve device (the valve sleeve 36 comprising the projecting part

43).

Figure 3e shows an alternative embodiment of the end surface 33" of the valve spindle 44. A cut-out 50 is made in the valve spindle to receive the projection 39 on the second operating device 15 to such an extent that the seal T2 is partially covered by the valve spindle. In this way, the seal T2 is held securely in the connected state.

Figures 4a-4c show a multiconnector 3 comprising connecting devices 1 of the type shown in Figures 3 a-3d.

Figure 4a illustrates in perspective an operating part 25 designed for the multiconnector 3. The operating part 25 comprises a connecting and disconnecting mechanism 45 for moving the bodies 5 of the male parts and the bodies 7 of the female parts in two connecting devices 1 towards each other when a connecting part 27 comprising bodies 7 of the female parts has been connected to the operating part 25. The connecting part 27 is shown in Figure 4b in perspective. The operating part 25 comprises a first steel plate 47 comprising two holes 49 (hidden) that are arranged for mounting two bodies 5 of the male parts (shown attached to the first steel plate 47). The first steel plate 47 is arranged to be able to be mounted on a house wall (not shown).

The connecting part 27 that is shown in greater detail in perspective in Figure 4b comprises a second steel plate 51 comprising two holes 53 (hidden) for receiving the two bodies 7 of the female parts that are attached to the second steel plate 51. Hoses 55 (feed and return hoses) from an air-conditioning unit (not shown) are connected to the bodies 7 of the female parts.

The operating part 25 comprises a part 57 that receives the connecting part 27, that can be moved in a direction parallel to the centre line CL in order to achieve the abovementioned connecting movement. The receiving part 57 is shown clearly in Figure 4a and comprises a bracket 59 comprising cut-outs 61 for the bodies 7 of the female parts and slots 63 in which the edges 65 of the second steel plate 51 can be received for a simple connection or disconnection of the connecting part 27 to the operating part 25. The bracket 59 is arranged with two pins 67 that are connected to a link 69 (comprising two curved plates) in such a way that it can pivot, which link 69 is, in turn, connected to a lever device 71 comprising a handle 73 at its first end 75 and with its second end 77 mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary first axis A' (see Figure 4c) that is perpendicular to the centre line CL and parallel to a plane coinciding with the centre lines CL of the connecting devices 1; the first end 79 of the link 69 is mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary second axis A" (see Figure 4c) in a position between the first end 75 and second end 77 of the lever device 71, and its second end 81 is mounted in such a way that it can pivot around an imaginary third axis A'" (the two pins 67) on the part 57 (comprising the bracket 59) that receives the connecting part 27.

Figure 4c shows the multiconnector 3 from the side in a connected state. It should be noted that in order to provide a simple locking of the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part of the multiconnector 3 with each other, the lever device 71 is arranged in such a way that it can pivot to an end position for the completed connection in such a way that an angle α is obtained between a first imaginary straight line E' intersecting the first A' and third A'" imaginary axes and a second imaginary straight line E" intersecting the first A' and second A" imaginary axes. A stop 83 is arranged in the first steel

plate 47 that limits the angle α. The first imaginary line E' is parallel to and coincides with the plane of the centre lines CL of the two connecting devices 1.

The multiconnector 3 (see Figure 4a) comprises a locating device 85 (comprising a locating pin 87 mounted in such a way that it can be inserted in a locating sleeve 89) for ensuring that the receiving part 57 and the connecting part 27 move in a direction parallel to the centre line CL. In this way, the connecting movement for two connecting devices 1 can be brought about simultaneously by means of a single action without the use of tools. The locating device 85 ensures that the friction between the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part is minimized, which simplifies the operation of the multiconnector 3. By designing the locating device as a locating pin 87 and a locating sleeve 89, this enables the multiconnector 3 to be made less bulky. A slot 91 (see Figure 4b) is arranged in the second steel plate 51 in order to eliminate the risk of making the connection the wrong way round. The slot 91 is arranged to house the locating sleeve 89 and the locating pin 87. A secure connection, that is not affected by loads on the hoses and the like, has thus been achieved for the multiconnector 3.

Figure 4d shows in perspective a view of an especially preferred embodiment in which a body 5 of a male part and a body 7 of a female part are mounted on the operating part 25. A body 5' of a male part and a body 7' of a female part are mounted on the connecting part 27. The body T of the female part and the body 5' of the male part that are mounted on the connecting part 27 are arranged to fit to make a connection with the corresponding body 5 of the male part and body 7 of the female part on the operating part 25. In this way, the multiconnector 3 can be adapted for use when the flow of fluid circulates (see

schematically the flow 24). That is, in the connected state, fluid can flow in one connecting device 1 ' in the direction from the body 5 of the male part to the body 7' of the female part and back through the multiconnector 3 in the opposite direction via the second connecting device 1 " in the direction from the body 5' of its male part to the body 7 of its female part. Thus, the flow 24 in the direction from the bodies 5, 5' of the male parts to the bodies 7, 7' of the female parts, can be regulated in the same way in both the connecting devices 1', 1" as the directions of flow are in opposite directions through the multiconnector 3.

Figures 5a-5e show in cross-section a connecting movement of the multiconnector 3 shown in Figure 4c in a view from the side. In a first stage (see Figure 5a), the connecting part 27 is connected to the operating part 25, that is the second steel plate 51 is offered up to and inserted into the slots 63 in the bracket 59. In a second stage (see Figure 5b), the connecting part 27 is in position for connection to the operating part 25 in which the bodies 5 of the male parts are aligned with the bodies 7 of the female parts along the respective centre lines CL. In a third stage (see Figure 5c), the lever device 71 has been rotated slightly by an operator's hand (not shown), whereupon the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part of the connecting device 1 assume a position as shown in Figure 3 a, that is the male end part 23 is inserted into the female end part 19 and the end surfaces 33', 33" of the first and second valve devices 17, 21 respectively come into contact with each other. This movement of the connecting part 27 in the direction towards the operating part 25 (the connecting movement) is achieved by means of the link 69 transferring a tractive force acting upon the part 57 that receives the connecting part 27. The locating device 85 ensures that the connecting part 27 moves in a direction parallel to the centre line CL.

In a fourth stage (see Figure 5d), the lever device 71 has been rotated still further, whereby the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part of the connecting device 1 assume a position as shown in Figure 3c. That is, a primary seal has been achieved between the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part before the first and second valve devices 17, 21 open. This results in a spillage-free connection when the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part are pressurized with refrigerant.

Finally, in a fifth stage (see Figure 5e), before the lever device 71 has been rotated to the position for locking the multiconnector 3, the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part of the connecting device 1 have assumed a position as shown in Figure 3d. In this position, the first and second valve devices 17, 21 have opened.

By utilizing the movement in the longitudinal direction of the connecting device 1, a seal can be achieved between the body 5 of the male part and the body 7 of the female part. By achieving the movement by means of a lever mechanism that simultaneously acts upon the two connecting devices 1, the two connecting devices 1 can be connected together simultaneously with a single action without the use of tools and without spillage of refrigerant taking place and without undesirable ingress of air or dust into the connecting devices 1. As a result of the interacting valve devices 17, 21 and the operating devices 11, 15 having an extent parallel to the centre line CL and by opening the duct 9 in the male part and the duct 13 in the female part, whereby these produce a through- flow gap 93 (see Figure 3d) extending essentially in the longitudinal direction of the connecting device 1, a high flow capacity can be achieved.

Figure 6 shows an embodiment in which the seal Tl between the valve sleeve 36 and the body 7 of the female part is arranged in the body 7 of the female part. This results in the technical effect that if the valve sleeve 36 "sticks fast" when the connection has been connected for a long period of time, the force from the link mechanism (the operating part 25, see Figure 5d) can be utilized by the body of the male part 9 being pushed over the seal Tl so that the valve sleeve can thereby continue its movement to the sealing position. Thus, the spring force from the second spring element 35 does not need to be utilized, whereby this can be made less bulky.

When the seal Tl according to this embodiment is instead mounted in the body of the female part 35, the seal Tl has no contact with the valve sleeve in the connected position and hence the risk of the seal "sticking fast" is eliminated.

Instead, Tl is in contact with the outer surface of the body 9 of the male part and disconnection is assisted by the force from the link mechanism.

Figures 7a-7e show an embodiment in which the valve sleeve has been arranged with leakage grooves. Figure 7a shows the connector in the connected position. Fluid flows according to the arrow FF. The valve sleeve 36 is provided with leakage grooves 100 (see also Figures 7d and 7e). Figure 7b shows how the connector starts to be disconnected. The projection 39 on the spindle 37 with the seal T2 comes into contact with the leakage grooves 100 in the valve sleeve 36, whereby the valve starts to form a seal. The pressure FFl is now increased gradually, as, if it were to be increased suddenly, this could result in the seal T2 being forced out and trapped and being subjected to wear, or possibly being cut through by the movement of the projection 39 against the valve sleeve 36. By means of this embodiment, when

the connector is under pressure during the disconnection procedure, it is the case that fluid under pressure FFl passes between the valve sleeve 36 (through the leakage grooves 100 at Z) and the projection 39 during the disconnection procedure. That is, a great pressure is not built up at FFl, but instead fluid is allowed to pass to the body 9 of the male part during the disconnecting movement and is throttled slowly by means of the leakage grooves 100. The pressure at FF2 is lower than at FF 1 and a smooth throttling of the flow of fluid is achieved. Figure 7c shows a position in which the throttling has been completed and disconnection can be carried out without leakage. The valve sleeve 36 has now passed the projection 39 by such an extent that the seal T2 is in the position X (see Figure 7b), that is, it is against the internal outer surface of the valve sleeve where the leakage grooves 100 come to an end 101 (see also Figures 7d and 7e), whereby a total seal is achieved between the projection 39 and the valve sleeve 36.

The leakage grooves 100 can be designed in various ways; they can be conical (see Figure 7e), which is advantageous as far as manufacture is concerned. They can be arranged symmetrically around the circumference and there can be various numbers of grooves.

The present invention is not to be regarded as being limited to the embodiments described about, modifications and combinations of these being possible within the framework of the present invention. For example, more connecting devices than two can be arranged in one and the same multiconnector. During the connecting movement, firstly the second operating device can act upon the second valve device and thereafter the first operating device 11 can act upon the first valve device 17 or vice versa or they can act simultaneously. The body of the male part and the body of the female part can

be manufactured of hardened steel or of chromium-plated brass that resists corrosion and has a long life. The material of the O-rings can be nitrile rubber, viton, EPDM rubber, etc. The valve devices can be made of steel, brass, etc. The bodies of the male parts and the bodies of the female parts can be mounted by means of locking washers, mechanical joints, etc. The spring elements can be compressible plastic springs or sleeves. The sealing elements can consist of separate sealing components or can consist solely of the sealing cylindrical surfaces on the interacting valve devices.




 
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