US 2378404 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 19, 1945. H. C.-GRANT, JR 2,373,404
FIRE EXTINGUISHING SYSTEM Filed Feb. 25, 1941 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR 2 C s /$2 ATTORNEY Patented June 19, 1945 ma EXTINGUISHING SYSTEM Harry 0. Grant, Jr., New York. N. Y.. assignor to Specialties Development Corporation, Bloomfield, N. J., a corporation of New Jersey Application February 25, 1941, Serial No. aao,429
The present invention relates to a fire extinguishing system, and more particularly to automatic control devices for such a system for discharging a fluid medium under pressure.
The present invention is particularly adapted to be utilized in connection with a fire extinguishing system which comprises a source of a fire extinguishing fluid under pressure, a plurality of discharge conduits for conducting the fluid to one or more of several locations where a fire may occur, branching off from a main fluid conducting conduit, and a valve in each branch conduit adapted to be opened in the event of fire. The valves employed usually are of the fluid pressure operated type, and may be provided with manually, mechanically or electrically operable means for selectively controlling the operation thereof.
I In systems of this type, after a fire has been extinguished by the flow of fiuid from one of the selected discharge conduits, the 'valve in the branch conduit will usually tend to reseatitself, as for instance by spring action. However, a frequent difilculty is that the means for controlling the opening of the valve by pressure do not return to their initial, unoperated positions, so that in the case of another fire, regardless of its location with respect to the system, the same branch valve is again opened and fluid is discharged. This is objectionable because, if the fire is at another location, fluid will be discharged from at least two conduits. Half of the fiuid will be wasted. and may cause personal injury and property damage. Furthermore, due to this waste, the amount of fluid supplied to the fire may be'insufficient to extinguish it rapidly and thereby prevent the fire from spreading or getting out of control.
The present invention aimsto eliminate the foregoing diiliculties by providing in a system of the type described, suitable control devices, which insure the operation of the valve intended to be operated: and providing indicating devices, which enable the operator to determine, whether or not the valve and its control devices have been properly operated.
An object of the present invention is to provide a system of the foregoing character comprising branch conduit distribution valves which are held open until the fire extinguishing medium is completely discharged and are returned to their initial position after each operation, whereby they will be ready for operation when the next emergency occurs.
Another object of the invention is to provide distribution valves in systems of the foregoing character, having self-resetting control means.
Another object is to provide means for indicating the operation of the valve and its control means whereby operation thereof can be. observed at a remote location.
A further object is to provide indicating and control means for accomplishing the foregoing objects, which are simple and inexpensive; ef-
.fective in operation; requires a minimum of maintenance and repair; and can be readily embodied in existing or newly installed systems.
Other and further objects will be apparent as the invention is described in greater detail in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Figure 1 is a diagrammatic view of a'fire extinguishing system and a wiring system therefor, illustrating an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 2 is an enlarged sectional view of a valve, illustrating the valve closed and the control means therefor in unoperated position prior to the occurrence of a fire;
Figure 3 is a fragmentary sectional view, illustrating the valve control means of Figure 2 in actuated position prior to the opening of the valve itself;
Figure 4 is a fragmentary sectional view, illustrating the valve control means in operated position after the valve itself is opened; and
Figure 5 is a fragmentary sectional view, illustrating modified means for actuating the valve opening control devices.
In Figure 1 there is shown a fire extinguishing system in which the present invention may be utilized. I'he system may comprise .a centrally located container to for storing a fluid fire extinguishing medium, such as carbon dioxide under pressure, and a main discharge conduit H connected to the container and provided with a main control valve 1| 2. Along the main conduit il, .a series of branch or distributing conduits I4 is provided, and these branch conduits l4 may extend to various locations throughout a building, ship, aircraft or other structure where the system may be utilized. While three of such branch conduits M are illustrated, it will be understood that any suitable number maybe employed depending on the size and the design of the structure in which the system is installed.
In each of the branch conduits It, a branch control valve II! is provided, which may be electrically, mechanically, pneumatically, or'manually actuated. For purposes of illustration, the valves l5 may each be operated through the pendently actuated electro-magnetically from a switch or control panel l1 by a series of normally open switches l9, respectively connected by an electrical circuit to the electro-magnetic devices of the pilot valves. Such a circuit may comprise a lead extending from one terminal of the switch to one terminal of the electro-magnetic device, a lead 2| extending from the other terminal oi the electro-magnetic device to one terminal of a source of electrical energy, such as a battery 22, and a lead 24 extending from the other terminal of the battery to the other terminal oi the switch l9.
As mentioned previously herein, the present invention, among other objects, contemplates providing each of the branch valves l5 with a device for indicating when the valve control devices (which will be described in detail hereafter) are not reset. Such an indicating device may comprise a normally open switch operatively associated with the valve l5, and electrically connected to a lamp 25 or the like on the control panel 11. The electrical connections comprise a lead 21 extending from one terminal or the lamp 23 toone terminal of the switch 25, a lead 29 extending from the other terminal of the switch to one terminal of the battery 22 by way oi the lead 2|, and a lead 30 extending from the other terminal of the lamp 28 to the other terminal of the battery 22 by way of the lead 24.
Referring more particularly to Figure 2, there is shown in detail one unit, comprising one of the branch conduit control valves l5, its pilot valve l8, and the operating and ind cating devices associated therewith. Since all these units are similar in design, a description of one will sufllce for all.
The valve 15 may be of the self-seating type, and has an inlet 35, an outlet 35, and a valve seat 31 intermediate the inlet and outlet adapted to receive a valve member 39 which is normally held in valve closing position by one end or a spring 40, the other end of which is seated in an annular groove 4| in the interior wall of the valve housing. In order to unseat the valve member 39 and-open the valve, a cylnder 42 is provided on the exterior of the valve housing, and a piston 44 is postioned therein, connected to the valve member 39 by a piston rod 45, extending from the cyinder 42 to the interior of the valve throu h an aperture 46. The cylinder 42 and piston 44 have a greater area than the area of the valve member 39 upon which pressure is efle"tive. The resistance of the spring 40, when suitably tensioned, can be overcome by introdu ing pressure from the inlet sde of the valve into the cylinder 42 to cause the piston 44 to move upwa dly, whereby the connecting piston rod 45 unseats the valve member 39 to open the valve. Pressure may be introduced into the cylinder 42 through 9, conduit or passage 41 in the valve hous ng, the pilot valve 18, and a second passage 49 leading from the pilot va ve to the cylinder. It desired, the upper end of the piston rod may be provided with a stem portion 50, adapted to protrude through an aperture in a cylinder cover (not shown) to indicate when the valve member 39 is unseated and the valve is open. While pressure operated means for opening the valve are shown herein, it will be understood that manually operated or other suitable means with or without the intermediary of a. pilot valve may be utilized for opening the valve.
The pilot valve, preferably, is arranged intermediate the passages 41 and 49 by providing a bore in the valve body, which is suitably threaded for receiving a casing 55 of the pilot valve. The
lower portion of the casing 55 has an inner bore 55, providing a cylinder for a pilot valve member 51 adapted to be normally urged against a valve seat 59 by a spring 50 under compression. Adjacent the valve seat 59 is a valve opening 6!, which is in communication with passages 62, adapted to admit pressure passing through the pilot valve to the passage 49.
In order to attach devices for moving the pilot valve member 51 away from the valve seat 59, the upper end of the casing 55 is provided with a bore 54 for receiving the lower end 85 of a housing 98 of the pilot valve opening device. The housing 56 has an outwardly extending flange 61 adapted to overlie the upper edge of the valve casing 55, and is held in place by a cap member 69 threaded to the upper end of the casing 55. The cap may have an inwardly extending flange 10 engaging the flange 61.
' upper end or the housing 66.
The housing 66 has a bore 1| adjacent its lower end for receiving a piston or plunger member 12 which may be in the form of solenoid core. This piston member 12 is provided with a downwardly depending stem or rod portion it adapted to extend through an aperture 15 in the bottom of the housing 58 and into the valve opening 8|, whereby upon downward movement of the member 12 the stem portion 14 engages and unseats the pilot valve member 51. Normally, the stem or rod portion 14 is held out of engagement with the pilot valve member 51 by a spring 19 engaging the under side of the piston member 12. Upward movement of the piston member 12 may be limited by a stop 13 at the This stop may be provided with a screw 13 for adjusting the extent of upward movement of the member 12.
In the event, it is desired to move the piston member 12 into pilot valve operating position by electro-magnetic means, a solenoid winding 11 is disposed about the housing 59 which, in this instance, will be constructed of non-magnetizable material, as will other elements closely associated with the winding and the core. The winding 11 may be secured to the housing 68 by upp r and lower disks '19 and 80. The solenoid winding 11 has a pair of terminals to which are connected the indicating means referred to in connection with Figure 1.
Such devices may comprise a latch member 35, 'pivotaliy mounted at 85 on an extension member or arm 31 on the housing 68. The latch member has a finger 39 at one end, which is positioned to engage the outer side wall of the plunger member 12, when said plunger is in its upper position. when the plunger member 12 is in its lower position, the finger 99 is adapted to extend over, and engage, a shoulder 90 at the upper end of the piston member 12, looking the piston member and the pilot valve member 51 in the lower or operated position, as shown in Figure 3. At its other end .the latch member has an arm 9|, which is positioned to engage and move the switch 25 into circuit closing position. To effect'pivotal movement of the latch member 95, the arm 9I has one'end of a spring 92 attached to it at' 94, while the other end of spring 92 may be secured to an ear 95 of the extension 91. The spring 92 is tensioned, so that upon downward movement of the piston member 12, the finger 89 swings downwardly over the shpulder 90 to lock piston member 12 in its actuated position, as shown in Figure 3 and the arm 9| closes the switch 25.
It is intended to permit the pilot valve I5 to close only after the valve I5 has been fully opened and a complete discharge of the fire extinguishing medium has taken place. Means are therefore provided for resetting the latch member 95 after such discharge has taken place. Such means may comprise an upright rod 96, secured into piston 44 and movable therewith, and an actuating lever member I00, pivoted at IN on the end of the rod 95, which tends to rotate counterclockwise by the action of a spring I02. One end I03 of the spring is secured to rod 96,
and its other end I04 is secured to an ear I05 of lever I00. A stop pin I05 on rod 96 maintains the lever I in upright position as shown. The rod 98 and the lever I00 are positioned, so that a latch formation I01 on the lever I00, upon upward movement of the piston 44, rides past an offset I09 on the arm 9| of the latch member 95, the lever I00 being rotated in a clockwise direction in opposition to the spring I02. A shoulder I09 of the latch member I00 then latches into 'place over the offset I09, as shown, in Figure 4.
When a fire occurs, the-main control valve I2, and the distribution valve l5, controlling the branch conduit for the fire extinguishing medium at the location of the fire, are opened either manually or automatically, in the latter case, by a momentary closing of the switch I9 of the respective valve I5. Closing of the switch I9 causes the solenoid 11 to be energized, whereby the solenoid piston or plunger12 is moved downwardly, and its stem or rod portion 14 engages and unseats the pilot valve member 51. This enables pressure in the branch conduit I4 to pass through the passage 41, past the pilot valve member 51, through the passage 49, and into the cylinder 42, to cause the piston 44 therein to be moved upwardly, whereby the valve member 39 is unseated, and the valve I is opened to release the fire extinguishing medium.
As illustrated more particularly in Figure 3, the solenoid piston 12 is shown moved downwardly, and the latch finger 99 as being urged by the spring 92 to extend inwardly and over the shoulder 90 of the piston 12. This arrangement acts as an electromechanical relay,'in that energization of solenoid 11 for even the briefest duration, results in the actuation of the latch member 95, whereby thepilot valve member 51 is held in an open position. This insures that valve member 39 may be operated and kept open as -long as pressure is effective at the inlet 35.
As the finger 99 of the latch member is moved into locking position, the arm 9i at the other end of the latch member engages the switch 25 to v 3 close theindicating lamp circuit, whereupon the lamp 29 on the panel I1 is illuminated and the operator knows that the pilot valve is open to admit pressure medium to the valve opening cylinder 42. When such pressure medium is admitted. the piston 44 in the cylinder 42 and the rod 99 thereon are moved upwardly. When approaching the uppermost position, the latch formation I01 of the lever I00 on the rod 95 frictionally engages the offset I09. Further upward movement of the rod 95 results in the latch I01 snapping into place over the offset I09 (Figure 4). By providing this offset the upward movement of the lever I 00 does not affect the indicating circuit switch 25, which, as was shown above, is actuated by arm 9I. The fire extinguishing medium is now able to discharge through the open valve. Although the indicating lamp 25, in the embodiment shown, is employed as indicating means for the pilot valve, it will be understood that in theabsence of such a pilot valve, the operation of the main. valve member 39 itself may be indicated similarly.
After the fire has been extinguished, the main valve I2 is closed, and conduits II and I4 are restored to atmospheric pressure. medium trapped under the valve opening piston 44 is gradually, forced out through passages 49 and 41 by the action of the, valve spring 40, which urges the valve member 99 against the seat 91 toward its closed position.
The downward movement of the piston 44 and the rod 99 causes the latch formation I01 to depress the arm 9i, and to rotate the latch member 95 in a clockwise direction. until the extreme end of the finger 99 is moved out of the path of movement of the piston or plunger 12. Once the finger is clear of the piston 12, the spring 16 forces the piston upwardly, and returns it to the position shown in Figure 2. At the same time. the spring 50 reseats the pilot valve mem- 'ber 51. If, at any time after the fire, or after the main valve I2 is closed, the lamp 29 remains illuminated, a warning is conveyed to the operator that the particular branch valve I5 will open upon admission of pressure medium to the conduit II. The pilot valve is then unlatched to permit it to reclose, and to insure that it is not in valve opening position, at the time of a subsequent fire. The danger of fire extinguishing medium being discharged at an undesired location is thus eliminated.
In Figure 5, a modified embodiment of the invention is illustrated, which differs essentially from the'embodiment'shown in Figures 2, 3 and 4, in that the pilot valve is here actuated by a pull cord instead of a solenoid device. A housing 66 encloses a piston or plunger 12', and is formed with a slot 9I, at its upper end. The housing also has a screw 18', threaded through the top, which acts as an adjustable element of a, stop 13 for the piston 12'. The housing may, also have an outwardly extending ear or lug 92 for pivotally mounting a bell crank 93. One end of the bell crank 93 extends into a slot formed in' the piston 12', and is pivotally connected thereto by a pin 84, A pull cord 23 is attached to the other end of the bell crank, and the cord may extend through suitable tubing (not shown) to a central control station.
A latch member 95 is provided, which may be mounted on an extension ear or lug 91' of the housing 95','and is adapted to operate like the latch member described in connection with Fig- The pressure cured similarly to the corresponding member in the construction of Figure 2. The reset rod may also be of a design similar tothat described in the previous drawings. Any other suitable means for attaching the spring and mounting the reset rod may be utilized.
The operation of the modified embodiment shown in Figure 5 need not be described in detail, since it operates similarly to the device illustrated in Figures 2, 3 and 4. The essential difference is, that the pilot valve operating piston I2 is moved downwardly, in response to a pull on the cord 23, instead of elec'tromagnetically, By pulling the cord, the bell crank 83 swings about its pivot, and the end attached to the piston 12' imparts downward movement to the piston 12'. Subsequent valve operation, and functioning of the indicating and latching means, is eifected as described in connection with the preceding illustrations.
From the foregoing description, it will be seen, that the present invention provides an improved fire extinguishing system. It will be observed, that the devices for actuating or controlling the operation of the valve opening piston are retained in effective position by latching means until. the valve has begun to return toward its'closed position. In this manner, proper opening of the valve and a full discharge of the fire extinguishing medium is insured. After the discharge of the fluid medium has been effected, the latching means are rendered ineifective, whereby the actuating or controlling devices are permitted to return to their initial and non-actuated position, to insure proper operation of the valve when it is so desired. At the same time, the indicating means cooperate with'the valve controlling devices, and enable the position of the valve controlling devices to be determined from a remote location.
It will be appreciated that the principle of operation of the foregoing described system, which comprises moving the valve control means and maintaining the control means in a position to permit operation of the valve opening means in response to the-pressure medium, releasing the pressure medium to operate the valve opening means, maintaining the control means in a position to ermit continued operation of the opening means, and returning the control means to their initial position upon closing of the valve, may be utilized in embodiments other than shown herein for illustrative purposes. For example, the foregoing operations may be accomplished by a valve provided with mechanical means which eliminate the necessity of a pressure admitting pilot valve.
It is, therefore, to be understood, that, although I have shown and described a specific embodiment of my invention, I am fully aware that many modifications thereof are possible, and that the present invention, while it has been described with specific reference to the accompanying drawings, is not to be limited save as defined in the appended claims.
' I claim:
1. In a fire extinguishing system, a fire extinguishing medium control valve of the type having an inlet and an outlet separated by a valve seat, a valve member, means for normally urging said valve member against said valve seat, a cylinder provided with a bore of greater area than said valve member and with an aperture adjacent said valve member, a piston in said cylinder, a piston rod extending through the aperture and con-v necting said valve member and piston, said valve having a passage for introducing pressure from the inlet side of the valve to said cylinder; in combination with a pilot valve positioned in said passage and having a valve chamber and a valve seat, a valve member in said pilot valve chamber, and means for normally urging said pilot valve member against said pilot valve seat; a movable member adapted to engage and unseat said pilot valve member, means for normally urging said movable member away from said pilot valve member; remotely controllable means for moving said movable member to unseat said ilot valve member; indicating means, including an element operable in response to movement of said movable member and adapted to retain said movable member in position to unseat said pilot valve member, said indicating means being adapted to indicate that said pilot valve member is unseated; and a member adapted to engage and move said element of said indicating means into a position to release said movable member, said last member being positioned to be moved by said piston in said valve cylinder.
2. In a valve device, the combination of a main valve member, a valve seat, means for normally urging said valve member against said valve seat, means for moving said valve member away from its seat, means for initiating operation of said valve member moving means, means for normally maintaining said last means in an ineffective position; a movable member adapted to engage and move said initiating means into effective position, means for normally urging said movable member out of engagement with said initiating means; remotely controllable means for moving said movable member; an element operable in response to movement of said movable member and adapted to retain said movable member in position to engage and maintain said initiating means in effective position; and a member movable with said valve member moving means adapted to engage and move said element into a position to release said movable member.
3. In a valve device, the combination of a main valve member, a valve seat, means for normally urging said valve member against said valve seat, pressure operated means for moving said valve member away from said valve seat; a pilot valve for admitting a pressure medium to said pressure operated means having a valve chamber and a valve seat, a valve member in said pilot valve chamber, and means for normally urging said pilot valve member against said pilot valve seat; a movable member adapted to engage and unseat said pilot valve member; means for normally urging said movable member away from said pilot valve member; remotely controllable means for moving said movable member to unseat said pilot valve member: indicator operating means including an element operable in response to movement of said movable member and adapted to retain said movable member in position to unseat said pilot valve member; and a member movable with said pressure operated means adapted to engage and move the element of said indicator operating means into a position to release said movable member.
4. In a valve device, the combination of a main valve having an inlet and an outlet separated by a valve seat, a valve member, means for normally urging said valve member against said valve seat, a cylinder provided with a bore of greater area than said valve member and with an aperture adjacent said valve member, a piston in said cylinder, a piston rod extending through the aperture and connecting said valve and piston, said valve having a passage for introducing pressure medium from the inlet side of said valve to said cylinder; a pilot valve positioned in said passage and having a valve chamber and a valve seat, a valve member in said pilot valve chamber, and means for normally urging said pilot valve member against said pilot valve seat; a movable memoperating means into a position to release said movable member, said last member being positioned to be moved by said piston in said valve cylinder.
5 In combination, a valve, means for opening said valve, means for initiating operation of said :1
valve opening means, means for indicating when said initiating means is conditioned-for effectin operation of said valve opening means, means effective upon operation of said initiatin m ans for operating said indicating means, and means movable with said valve opening means for subsequently moving said last defined means out of indicating means operating position.
6; The structure of. claim 5 as set forth and defined therein, wherein said initiating means constitutes electromagnetically operated means for initiating operation of said valve opening means.
'7. The structure of claim 5 as set forth and defined therein, wherein said initiating means constitutes manually operated means for initiating operation of said-valve opening means.
8. The combination of a valve having an inlet, means for opening said valve including a piston and a conduit extending from the inlet to said piston, pressure responsive means for closing said valve, means including pilot valve means connected in said conduit for preventing access of fluid from said inlet to said piston and for initiating operation of said valve opening means by positive fluid pressure,, means for latching said pilot valve means in valve opening operating position, meansfor rendering said latching means inefi'ective when said valve is operated towards closed position by said pressure responsive means, and means for returning said pilot valve means to its initial position when said latching means are rendered ineffective.
9. The combination of a source of flre extinguishing fluid under pressure, a conduit for distributing the fluid, a valve in said conduit having an inlet, means operated by the pressure from the conduit for-opening said valve, means responsive to the diminution of pressure in said conduit for closing said valve, means for preventing access of fluid from said inlet to said valve opening means and for initiating the operation of said valve opening means by positive fluid pressure and being normally maintained in an ineffective condition, means for maintaining said last mentioned means in an effective condition, and means associated with said valve opening means for rendering said maintaming means inefiective upon operation of said valve by said valve closing means.
10. In combination, a valve, means operable for opening said valve, means for controlling the operation of said valve opening means, means for indicating when said controlling means is conditioned for effecting operation of said opening means to open said valve, means operable in response to the operation of said controlling means for operating said indicating, means, and means movable with said valve opening means for subsequently moving said last defined means out of indicating means operating position.
11. The combination of a valve for controlling pressure fluid and comprising a, housing forming main valve and pressure chambers separated by a partition adapted for preventing passage of the fluid between the chambers, an inlet to said main valve chamber and an outlet therefrom having a main valve seat, a pilot valve chamber including an outlet for the pressure fluid to said pressure chamber and having a pilot valve seat, conduit means by-passing said main valve chamber from said inlet to said pressure chamber through said pilot valve chamber; a main valve body normally held by the fluid pressure in said main valve chamber against said main valve seat; means for urging said main valve body against said main valve seat; means including means in said pressure chamber responsive to the fluid pressure for unseating said main valve body and adapted to be so connected to said main valve body through said partition as to prevent passage of the fluid through said partition; means including a pilot valve body in said pilot valve chamber; means normally urging said pilot valve body against said pilot valve seat to prevent access of the fluid from said inlet to said fluid pressure responsive means; and means for latching said pilot valve body in unseated position and being responsive to seating action of said main valve body for releasing said pilot valve body for seating by its said urging means.
* HARRY 0. GRANT, JR.