US 2972362 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 21, 1961 R. E. GARDNER 2,972,362
FILL SIGNAL Filed Jan. 5, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.
ROBERT E. GARDNER A TTORNEY Feb. 21, 1961 R. E. GARDNER FILL SIGNAL 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Jan. 5, 1959 ,Illilfllflll/lfll F ig. 6
IN VEN TOR ROBERT E. GARDNER By 5/0 ATTORNEY United States Patent C FILL SIGNAL Filed Jan. 5, 1959, Ser. No. 785,002
11 Claims. (Cl. 141-96) This invention relates to a fill signal. It relates to an audible fill signal adapted to be incorporated into a closed tank system whereby audible warning is given a filling operator during the filling operation when the level in the tank system reaches a predetermined level. The underlying function of this fill signal is to prevent .accidental over-filling of the tank or the tank and its associated piping, and thus prevent spills and overflows of the material being fed into the tank.
More particularly, this invention relates to an apparatus which is partly permanently installed or fixed in a tank system and is partly portable or non-fixed, and which provides an audible signal such as a whistle while the tank system is being filled, and which causes the audible signal to cease whena pre-determined level in the tank system has been reached by filling.
It is an object of this invention to provide a signal giving audible warning when a tank system has been filled to a pre-determined level.
It is an object of this invention to provide a tank, and means whereby said tank may be filled, and means whereby warning is provided to the operator when the tank -or its filling means have been filled to a pre-selected level.
It is another object of this invention to provide an audible fill signal adapted for use with a tank system, which produces an audible signal during filling of the tank system and which ceases giving an audible signal when a desired level of fill is attained. 7
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an audible fill signal in which part of said signal is fixed or permanently installed in the filling means of a closed or partly closed tank, the permanently installed part of the signal being set to be operative at a pre-determined level in the tank system, and a portable part of the fill signal adapted to be removably attached to the permanent part of the signal.
Other aims and objects of this invention are, made apparent in the following specification and claims.
This invention is best understood in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts and in which: 1
Figure 1 is a view in elevation, partially fragmented and partially in cross-section of the portable unit of the fill signal, 3
Figure 2 is a View in elevation, partially fragmented and partially in cross-section of the fixed or permanent unit of the fill signal shown installed in a fill pipe,
Figure 3 is a top view of the fixed unit illustrated in Figure 2,
Figure 4a is an elevation view, partially fragmented and partially in cross-section of an alternative form of part of the fixed unit illustrated in Figure 2, showing the fixed unit tubing in uncoupled or disengaged position,
Figure 4b is a view as described in connection with Figure 4a with the apparatus in the coupled or engaged position, i
Figure 5 is a viewin elevation, partially fragmented and partially in cross-'sectionof an alternative form'of 2 tubing couplingmeans for the fill signal illustrated in Figures 1 and 2,
Figure 6 is a view in elevation, partly fragmented, of a complete tank system incorporating the fill signal,
Figure 7 is a view in elevation, partially fragmented and partially in cross section of one embodiment of the audible signal shown in Figure 1.
Before describing the illustrated embodiments in detail and setting forth the wider significance and applications of this invention along with a detailed analysis of its advantages, a brief description of the function and advantages of the invention will be given. Figure 6 illustrates a typical type of installation of a closed submerged oil tank, having a fill pipe 22 leading into the tank 71 from a fill box 21 at ground level. Such an installation is representative of the storage tank for a residential oilburning heating system. It is obviously highly objectionable to permit overflow of the fuel oil onto the ground during the periodic filling operation, yet this overflow is a constant danger. Various devices have been proposed to solve the problem, but are unsatisfactory.
The provision of a signal of some sort to indicate when a tank or its fill pipe has been filled to a safe level has been known. Typically, it is desirable to fill such a tank almost to its top but without filling the fill pipe itself. One difiiculty is that each tank is likely to have different physical configurations, and more particularly to have fill pipes of different lengths. Thus, it is not satisfactory to provide the filling operator with an alarm device set to operate at a single depth, since this device would not be suitable for all of the tanks which he fills on his rounds.
One known solution to this problem has been to pro vide what in effect is a dip stick which is lowered into the fill pipe to determine the level of the oil at its desired highest level with reference to the ground. A relatively long tubing is fitted with an adjustable collar so that the collar is set at a position along the tubing in accord with the depth reading taken from the dip stick and the long tubing is thereupon inserted into the fill pipe. to the depth permitted by the collar. Without explaining this previously known device in detail, it is apparent that the filling operator must carry with him an apparatus long enough to fit the deepest tank or longest fill pipe he will service on his rounds. For residential and other oil tanks, such devices often are six feet in length. the operator to handle an apparatus of this size, and consequent weight and to insert it into the fill pipe properly. Furthermore, the operator must adjust the position of the collar for each tank. These difliculties have made the problem of 'providing an adequate spill or fill alarm a constant and continuing problem.
The installation of a complete alarm system permanently associated with each tank system presents several serious difliculties. In most installations, it is not permissible to have any permanent part of the filling means extend above ground level when the system is not being filled. Permanent installation of signal or alarm means would almost certainly necessitate an extension of some part thereof above ground level. To avoid this would require relatively elaborate and expensive alterations in existing systems and the provision of relatively expensive and complicated submerged fill boxes with alarm apparatus. Also of course, the provision of complete separate units for each tank would in itself be prohibitively expensive, even if the other difliculties were not present.
Thus, the present invention ingeniously solves the objections inherent in either a completely portable fill signal. In broad terms, the present invention and the method of practising it comprises measuring individually It is sometimes difficult if not impossible for alarm ,or signal or a completely 'installed'and permanent closed tanks and closed tank systems.
for each tank system the allowable depth to which it may be filled, and then cutting or otherwise providing a section of tubing to this predetermined length. Without significant alteration in presently existing structures, this tubing is inserted into the fill pipe and fixedly or permanently supported therein, without requiring a new fill box and without extending above the previous level of the complete tank installation. A portable or movable unit is provided which comprises an audible signal activated by the passage of air. Provision is made whereby the audible signal is coupled to the permanently installed tubing. Elements of the coupling means are provided in both units. Thus, the filling operator need carry with him only a relatively small, handy, and light unit which may rapidly and easily be connected to the permanent system, as is explained in detail below, and the need for making individual adjustments for each tank is obviated.
It is understood that the above explanation is made in connection with a typical system for purposes of illustration, and that both a detailed description of a preferred embodiment and a description of more generalized application are made below.
This invention has its field of application in filling A closed tank as used herein may, and generally does, have a separate vent line, and the presence of such a vent line shall not be deemed to take a tank or tank system out of the definition of a closed tank. The invention may be utilized in connection with tanks that have separate vent lines and also with those that do not.
Each tank considered herein has a fill means or filling means whereby the tank may be filled. In a typical structure such as is illustrated in Figure 6, the fill means comprises the fill pipe 22 and the fill box 21. The
term fill means is deemed to include a fill pipe without a separate fill box, a fill box mounted directly on the tank, or merely the opening in a tank by which it can be filled. Such fill means always have a proximal end which is closest to the interior of the tank itself, and a distal end which is most remote from the interior of the tank. Tanks may be submerged as shown in Figure 6, they may have fiil pipes or sections thereof oriented other than in a vertical direction, tanks may be located at or above ground level and may or may not have fill pipes and/or fill boxes. While this invention has its most common application in connection with a tank systern as shown, it will be made apparent that it also has applications in other tank systems as have been broadly listed above.
The complete unit is illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, the two figure designations being used for ease of reference to refer to the two parts. Figure 1 illustrates the portable or movable unit. The portable or movable unit is shown i a nozzle insert cam 15B. A filling nozzle (not shown in Figure 1) is adapted for quick coupling to the insert by means of the cam 158.
At the lower end of the casing 14, a pipe 17 is provided, being coupled to the casing by means of threads 17A. A pair of lugs 17B are provided near the lower end of this short pipe 17. A short distance above the lugs,
a gasket 19 is pro-vided around the pipe 17. This gasket is backed and held in place by means of pipe collar 13, which bears against the gasket 19 with its lower edge 13A. The functions of the gasket and lugs are made apparent below.
A length of tubing or tube runs through the portable unit, extending through the pipe 17 and the casing 14,
typical embodiment illustrated in this figure.
but not extending into the nozzle opening 15A. Instead, this tubing 12 extends into that branch of the casing 14 other than the nozzle opening 15A. it terminates in an audible signal 11 positioned in said other branch. As can be seen from Figure l, the diameter of tubing 12 is rather small compared to the diameter of the casing 14 or the pipe 17, although exact dimensional relationships are not essential to'the practice of this invention. The audible signal 11, which is shown in greater detail in Figure 7, is preferably and generally a whistle operated by the passage of air, although any other air-activated audible signal or noise maker may be utilized.
The tubing 12 is held in position within pipe 17 by means of tubing supports 13. The tubing 12 is preferably centered within pipe 17. In the preferred embodiment shown in Figure 1, the lower end of the tubing 12 terminates in a tubing flare 12A. This tubing flare is an element or part of the coupling means by which the portable unit tubing 12 is detachably sealably coupled or attached to the corresponding tubing 31 in the fixed unit 20. I
The fixed or permanent unit, generally designated at 20, is illustrated in Figure 2. A section of the fill pipe 22 is shown, this being the pipe which comprises part of the filling means of the tank (not shown in Figure 2). This pipe has threads'22A at its upper end, which engage corresponding threads on fill box 21. This fill box is positioned with its upper edge at ground level 32, in the An in sert 23, provided with exterior threads, is screwed into the upper end of the fill box 21, its threads engaging the fill box threads 21A.
The insert 23 is providedwith a flange or gasket retainer 23C, and a gasket 25 is held by this flange against the fill box. This gasket, and gasket 19 on the portable unit can, of course, be of any known shape and material. The gasket 25 can often be eliminated cornpletely.
A pair of tube support brackets 26 are provided on the lower surface of the insert 23. In the embodiment illustrated, these brackets take the form of solid round stock threaded at one end and screwed into matching threaded sockets in the insert 23. A pair of tube support clamps, comprising an upper clamp 27 and a lower clamp 29, are provided between the brackets. Each clamp consists of two matching elements fastened together with bolts 28.
A length of tube or tubing 31 is provided within the fill pipe 22 and extends upward into the fill box 21. The clamps 27 and 29 hold the tubing 31 firmly in position approximately centered within the pipe 22. Figure 3, which is a top view of the unit illustrated in Figure 2, clarifies the clamp structure. The tubing 31 terminates below the top of insert 23.
Insert 23 is provided on its lower surface with cams or cam surfaces 23D and with vertical slots 23B into which the portable unit lugs 178 can be inserted. The insert 23 has a pair of short extensions 23A of its interior wall. These extensions 23A act as stops to limit the travel of lugs 17B along cam surfaces 23D.
When it is desired to assemble or associate the two units, 10 and 20, to provide a completed fill signal, the portable unit 10 is lowered vertically into the fixed unit 20, with lugs 17B fitting into slots 23B. Portable unit 10 is then partially rotated so that the lugs ride on cams 23D. This cam action forces the upper end of tubing 31 into scalable connection with the interior of tubing flare 12A, as well as bringing the upper surface of insert 23' into sealed contact with gasket 19.
If a nozzle or gun 51, connected to a fill line 52 (Figure 6) is then inserted into nozzle insert 15 and locked into position by means of cam 15B, it is apparent that fuel oil or other liquid can be fed either by a gravity or pressure through nozzle opening 15A, into casing 14, through pipe 17, into fill box 21, and thence'into fill pipe 22 which leads to the tank. Air displaced bythe filling (or at least some of the air) is forced upward through tubing 31, through the sealed connection between tubing 31 and tubing 12, and thence into the audible signal means 11.
It is apparent that the physical structure of the units may be widely varied within the spirit of this invention. Some of these variations, for example only, can be the elimination of the fill box, the provision of the break between the two units at other than ground level, the coupling or fastening meansbetween the unit or between the portable unit and gun can be other than cams. Also, for example the supporting means of the tubes within each unit can be of any convenient construction. Where the flow of liquid through the invention is not under high pressure, it is apparent that it is not essential that there be a tight seal between pipe 17 and fill box 21; if running freely by gravity, for example, no liquid would be lost at a loose break or joint.
It is desirable that there be at least a fairly good air seal between tubing 31 and tubing 12. A simple seal is illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. Figures 4a and 4b show an alternate structure which is better adapted to maintain a good seal in spite of dimensional variations in the coupling means between the two units.
The tubing 46 of the upper unit is shown with a flare 46A at the bottom end thereof. The fixed unit tubing 31 is mounted in lower clamp 42 and upper clamp 41, which in turn are supported by tube support brackets 26, in the same manner as explained in connection with Figure 2. A slidable connecting tube 44 is positioned around tube 31, and extending above its upper end. This connecting tube is fitted with a flange at its lower end, said flange being positioned below the upper clamp 41. spring 43 bears on lower clamp 42 and on the flange of connecting tube 44, normally biassing tube 44 upwards.
The upper end of tube 44 is fitted with an exteriorconical seat 45.
When the portable and fixed units are engaged, the
able unit tubeinto the fixed unit. Figure 4b illustrates the sealed state of the tubes when the units are engaged.
Figure 5 illustrates another alternate means of insuring a seal between portable unit tube 61 and permanent unit tube 31. As before, a flare 61A is provided at the lower end of tube 61. A resilient conical seat 62is'fixed T 1 finto the body of the tank, so that when the liquid reaches atthc upper end of tube 31. Thisseat may be made of a wide variety of materials, such as heoprendffor-Qexample. The resiliency or'tae seat 62 accommodates variations in the enegagement of the two units.
It is apparent that many different coupling or sealing means may be utilized within the spirit of this invention.
Figure 7 shows in more detail the structure of audible signal 11. In this preferred embodiment, the signal is an air whistle, generally designated 11, consisting of an outer case 80, mounted at the upper end of tube 31. Inside the case 80 is positioned an upper whistle section 82 inserted into a lower whistle section or cup 81. The walls of cup 81 are bent over the top of section 82 to fasten the two sections together. They rest inside case 80 on ledge 83. A relatively large hole 84 is provided in the bottom of cup 81, and a somewhat smaller hole 85 is provided in the top of upper section 82. The tube 31 terminates before cup 81. The passage of air through tube 31 produces an audible whistling noise. It is understood that this whistle is merely one possible embodiment of an audible signal, and its exact structure may vary widely.
A general view of the invention as installed in a tank system is shown in Figure 6. This illustration is a typical installation, and shows a particularly useful application of the invention. A submerged fuel tank 71,
the ground level.
6 mounted on supports 72 is provided below ground level 32. A fill pipe 22 leads from the tank to fill box" 21, the top of which is approximately at or below ground level. A vent line 90, leads from the tank up along a wall 91. A vent cap 92 is schematically shown at the top of the vent line. The vent line and the cap 92 are shown larger than would generally be the case for ease in presentation. During filling, the displaced air from the tank escapes through vent 90. Since it is necessary to have at least some air escape through tube 31 to activate the audible signal, it is often necessary or desirable to provide some back pressure means in vent line 90 so that all the air will not escape through this line. A vent cap which may take the form of a cover weighing several ounces,'hinged or otherwise, has been found to supply enough resistance for this purpose. Such vent caps are known, and it is also apparent that the function of directing some air through tube 31 may be accomplished in a wide variety of means, as by providing a valve or constriction in line 90. The provision of such a vent line and such a vent cap as illustrated is not essential to the operation of this invention, although in most tank installations, such a vent line is provided, and the vent cap is usually necessary to render the audible signal operative.
The pipe 17 and casing 14 of the portable unit are connected to the fill box, and the fill line 52 leading from a tank truck (for example) is connected to the casing 14 by means of the nozzle or gun 51. The gun is here shown onlyschematically. Of course, the gun may be attached to the portable unit before the portable unit is connected to the. fixed unit.
In a typical installation, local laws of regulations insist that the fill boxor other fill means does not extend above This is shown better by reference to Figure 2. In phantom lines, a cap 24 having a lug 24A which rides'under cams 23D is shown. When the portable unit is removed and the system is left, the cap 24 is installed as shown. state preferably does not extend above the ground level, or if so, only to a neglectable degree. This is a highly important aspect of the invention, and it is apparent that it is made possible by virtue of the general structure of this invention. V p
As has beenexplained, the fill means of the tank may vary widely. For example, the fixed unit, comprising the tube 31,its supports, and coupling means, may be installed directlyinto the top or other surface of a tank, and theportable unit may be attached to it there.
In most applications, the bottom of tube 31 will extend stopped before it proceeds into the fill pipe or other fill means, which might result in a rapid rise in level and consequent overflow. Of course, the tube 31, provided of predetermined length, as has been explained, can have its lower termination at any desired point within the tank system, within the scope of this invention.
An important aspect of this invention lies in the pro vision of a fill signal or alarm in which that portion which is sensitive to depth is permanently installed in the system set to the proper depth, and that portion of the signal which provides the audible alarm itself is the only part necessary to be transported from tank to tank for filling. As has been explained, this broad capability is of extreme importancewhen it is applied to many presently existing tank systems, especially oil tanks for building heating.
The scope of this invention is to be determined by the appended claims, and is not to be limited to the accompanying drawings and above specification, which are intended to be illustrative and not limiting.
Thus, the system in its normal I claim:
1. A closed tank filling system comprising a closed tank, filling means on said tank whereby said tank may be filled, a fill signal comprising a fixed unit and a portable unit, said portable unit having two ends, said fixed unit being provided within said fill means, said portable unit containing an audible signal means and including a casing around said signal means, means to removably connect said portable unit at one end thereof to said fixed unit, and means on said casing of said portable unit at the other end thereof to removably connect said portable unit to a fill line nozzle.
2. A closed tank filling system comprising a closed tank, filling means on said tank whereby said tank may be filled, a deep fill signal comprising a fixed unit and a portable unit, said fixed unit being provided entirely within said fill means, said portable unit containing an audible signal means and including a casing around said signal means, and means to removably connect said portable unit to said fixed unit, a fill line nozzle, and means on said casing of said portable unit to removably connect said portable unit to said nozzle.
3. A closed tank filling system comprising a closed tank having a fill box, a fill pipe connecting said tank and said fill box, a fill signal comprising a fixed unit and a portable unit, said fixed unit being provided within said fill pipe andfill box, said portable unit'containing an audible signal means including a casing and means to removably connect said portable unit to said fixed unit, a fill line nozzle, and means on said casing of said portable unit to removably connect said portable unit to said nozzle.
4. A deep fill signal having a filling function adapted to be used with a closed tank, said closed tank having fill means, said fill means having a proximal and distal end with relation to said closed tank, cornprising'a fixed unit positioned within the distal end of said fill means, said fixed unit comprising air tubing running through said fill means to a predetermined distance and supported Within said fill means, said predetermined distance being the distance from said distal end up to which said tank is filled before the fill signal is given, a portable unit having means to removably connect to a fill line nozzle and to said fixed unit and having tubing and means to removably connect said portable unit tubing with said tubing in said fixed unit, and audible signal means connected to said portable unit tubing. V
5. A deepfill signal having a filling function adapted to be used with a closed tank having a fill pipe leading thereto, comprising a fixed unit positioned within said fill pipe, said fixed unit comprising air tubing running through said fill pipe into said closed tank to a predetermined distance and supported within said fill pipe, said predetermined distance being the distance from said distal end up to which said tank is filled before the fill signal is given, a portable unit having means to removably connect to a fill line nozzle and to said fixed unit, tubing supported within said portable unit having means to removably connect with said fixed unit tubing, and audible signal means connected to said portable unit tubing.
6. A deep fill signal having a filling function comprising a fixed installation unit adapted to be used in providing an audible signal showing when a closed tank has been filled to a predetermined depth, wherein said tank has a fill pipe having a fill box at the distal end thereof, said fixed unit being wholly supported within said fill pipe and said fill box, comprising an air tube supported within said fill pipe and said fill box, said tube having a lower end extending toward the interior of said tang to a predetermined distance, said predetermined distance being the distance from said distal end up to which said tank is filled before the fill signal is given, and having an upper end provided with means to removably sealably interconnect with the tubing of a portable unit, having means to removably connect to a fill line nozzle and containing an audible fill signal.
7. A deep fill signal having a filling function as defined in claim 6 wherein said audible signal comprises an air operated whistle.
8. A deep fill signal having a filling function as defined in claim 6 wherein said interconnecting means comprises resilient seating means mounted on said tubing.
9. A deep fill signal having a filling function as defined in claim 8 wherein said tank is provided with a separate vent line.
10. A deep fill signal having a filling function as defined in claim 8 wherein said resilient means comprises a connecting tube slidable on said installation tube, a ,conical seat at the upper end of said connecting tube, and
. a spring bearing against the lower end of said connecting tube.
7 11. A deep fill signal having a filling function as defined in claim 8 wherein said resilient means comprises a .resilient conical seat provided at the upper end of said installation tubing.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITEDv STATES PATENTS 1,712,977 Bohnhardt May 14, 1929 2,260,385 Krone et a1. Oct. 28, 1941 2,391,040 Scully Dec. 18, 1945 2,399,167 Chouinard Apr. 30, 1946 2,580,157 Chadwick Dec. 25, 1951