US 3502117 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 24, 1970 NEBELSEK ETAL 3,502,117
DEVICE FOR AUTOMATICALLY FILLING VEHICLE TANKS WITH MOTOR FUEL Filed July 26, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS.
Hilbert J. Nebe/siek Lawrence 7. Wright Irwin insburg/r ab "1141A" A TTOR/VEY March 24, 1970 H. J. NEBELSIEK ET AL 3,502,117
DEVICE FOR AUTOMATICALLY FILLING VEHICLE TANKS WITH MOTOR FUEL 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July 26, 1967 INVENTORS. Hilbert J. Nebe/sie/r Lawrence 7? Wright lrwin Ginsburg/r A T TOR/V5 Y United States Patent O 3,502,117 DEVICE FOR AUTOMATICALLY FILLENG VEHICLE TANKS WITH MOTOR FUEL Hilbert .I. Nebelsiek, Hammond, Ind, and Lawrence T. Wright, Homewood, and Irwin Ginshnrgh, Morton Grove, Ill., assignors to Standard Oil Company, Chicago, III., a corporation of Indiana Filed July 26, 1967, Ser. No. 656,078 Int. Cl. B67d /04; B6511 31/00, 3/18 US. Cl. 1417 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A vehicle mounted inlet means for mating with a dispensing means including a dispensing head for transferring fuel from bulk storage to a fuel tank. The vehicle mounted inlet means communicates with the vehicle tank through a plurality of conduits.
The dispensing head movably connected to a support means and communicating with a fuel supply mates with the vehicle mounted inlet means so that when final positioning occurs fuel is transferred in a controlled manner from the fuel supply through the dispensing head and the inlet means to the vehicle fuel tank.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The retailing of motor fuel for automobiles is a major business in the United States, and is becoming increasingly important in Western Europe and in other industrial nations. In the United States alone, there are currently approximately 220,000 service stations engaged in retailing gasoline. About 50 billion gallons of gasoline are sold an nually in the United States for the fueling of automobiles. Additional but much less amounts of diesel fuel are sold annually. A significant proportion, in the range of 4 to 7 per gallon, of the retail cost of gasoline is attributable to the operation, as currently practiced, of retail gasoline service stations. Such amount is generally referred to as the dealers margin, and varies generally within such range depending upon geographical location, the policies of the supplying refining company, and prevailing economic conditions. However, assuming a dealer margin of Sgt per gallon as a conservative average, it is apparent that the cost in the United States of retailing gasoline, after the same has been delivered to the service station, totals about $2.5 billion annually. The relative magnitude of the cost of retailing gasoline relative to the overall cost of furnishing gasoline to the public is apparent from recognition that the average retail price of gasoline in the United States, exclusive of taxes, is about per gallon, whereas the price of crude petroleum at the wellhead average about 7% per gallon (equivalent to $2.94 per barrel). Despite the general trend in the United States to mechanize and automate operations which involve a high percentage of labor, the manner of dispensing gasoline at retail has changed little in the last four decades.
Despite the rather poor economics of conventional fuel dispensing practices today which are further complicated by the manpower shortage, few commercial installations for automatically dispensing fuel to vehicles have been commercially reduced to practice although the need is a great and demanding one. Predominantly, the conventional method commonly carried out for dispensing gasoline and other fuels at the typical service station is done with the assistance of at least one attendant. The attendant is informed by the vehicle operator or passenger of the amount and grade of fuel desired and then the attendant manually opens the vehicle fuel tank and fills the tank by means of a nozzle connected to the conventional filling station pump. Generally, while the vehicle tank is being 'ice filled the attendant, to utilize his time, performs other services for the purchaser followed by the removal of the nozzle from the tank and the closing of the tank before the attendant is paid for the purchase in cash or through a credit card transaction.
The apparatus and method of this invention constitutes only a part of an entire system for automatically disensing fuel which is the subject matter of a co-pending application to Irwin Ginsburgh entitled Device for Automatically Filling Vehicle Tanks With Motor Fuel, filed July 26, 1967, Ser. N0. 656,171. This method and apparatus is for dispensing fuel to vehicles in a manner that does not require the presence of an individual prepared to function as an attendant during the purchase of vehicle fuel at the conventional filling station. The portions of this invention for automatically filling motor vehicles includes a dispensing head and a vehicle mounted fuel inlet means. The dispensing head when finally positioned with the vehicle mounted fuel inlet means which may be at any practical and desired location on the vehicle, provides a novel apparatus and method for transferring fuel from a source of supply to a motor vehicle tank without the aid of an attendant.
Illustrative of the prior art disclosing filling methods and apparatus are such patents as Sheets et al., US. 3,100,006; Darwin, U.S. 3,095,020; and Mays US. 3,079,960 wherein various designs are exhibited; however, none of the known art appears to anticipate or even suggest the novel method and apparatus disclosed and claimed herein.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention concerns a novel dispensing head and vehicle mounted inlet means utilized in a system for automatically filling vehicles when fuel is dispensed from a source of supply to a vehicle tank.
The vehicle mounted inlet means includes a fastening means for attaching the inlet to a selected part of the vehicle. Extending from the fastening means is the inlet means having a plurality of conduits connected to the vehicle fuel tank. The inlet means is adapted to mate with the dispensing head which when in the final position permits the transfer of fuel from bulk storage through the dispensing head, and the inlet means to the vehicle fuel tank.
The dispensing means includes contact surfaces and sealing means, a nozzle means for emitting fuel, means for sensing the level in the fuel tank for controlling the fiow of fuel, vent means for removing the displaced fluid in the tank, and means for determining the final mating position of the inlet means with the dispensing head prior to the commencement of the flow of fuel. The dispensing means is movably mounted on a support and a plurality of conduit means extend from the dispensing means to bulk storage and to a vacuum producing means.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A more complete understanding of the structural elements of this apparatus will be augmented by reference to the attached drawing wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the dispensing head and the vehicle mounted inlet means; and
FIG. 2 is a partial sectional elevation view of the dispensing head and the vehicle mounted inlet means in the final, communicating position.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, numeral 21 generally designates the dispensing means including a pair of support members 22a and 22b respectively. The support members are movably mounted on pivots 220 at the base 23 of the dispensing means 21. Full line 24 extends from a bulk fuel source to base 23 of dispensing head 21.
Conduits and 26 extend along support member 22a and terminates in substantially cylindrical protrusions 25a and 26a having side walls with openings in the contact face 27a of the upper portion 26 of dispensing means 21. Inlet line 24 also communicates with face 27a and terminates in a substantially cylindrical protrusion 24a from face 27a. The protrusion being similar to 25a and 26a in that it has a closed top and openings in the walls.
The protrusions 24a, 25a and 26a from the contact face 27a of upper portion 27 of dispensing means 21 are disposed for alignment and mating with related openings when the dispensing head 21 is finally positioned with the inlet means 31 mounted upon the under side of the vehicle as shown in FIG. 1.
Inlet means 31 including fastening means 32 and conduits 34, 35 and 36 are connected to the body portion 37 of the inlet means. The fastening means 32 are attached to the vehicle axle 40 which is rigidly attached to the vehicle differential 42 such as by a collar 41, etc.
Inlet means 31 has at the lower part of its body portion 37 a contact face 37a having openings 34a, 35a and 36a which communicates with conduits 34, 35 and 36. The openings 34a, 35a and 36a in the contact face 37a of inlet means 31 are aligned to communicate with the protrusions 24a, 25a and 26a forming nozzle means in the contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 when dispensing means 21 and inlet means 31 are finally positioned just prior to the automatic refueling of a motor vehicle.
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevation view of dispensing means- 21 and inlet means 31 in final positioning for automatically fueling a vehicle. Vent line 25 communicates through protrusion 25a in contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 and communicates through opening 35a in contact face 37a of inlet means 31 to vent line 35. Inlet line 24 is connected with protrusion 24a in contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 and communicates through opening 34a in contact face 37a of inlet means 31 of fuel line 34. Similarly, line 26 is connected with protrusion 26a in contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 and communicates through opening 36a in contact face 37a of inlet means 31 with line 36.
Check valves 34b, 35b and 36b are located within the body portion 37 of inlet means 31 and function to close the openings 34a, 35a and 36a of the contact face 37a. The check valves have closure means 340, 35c and 36c which seal the openings 34a, 35a and 36a when the inlet means is not in use. The closure means are urged into the closed position by spring means 34d, 35d, and 36d in valve housings 34c, 35c and 36a of the fill vent and sensor means respectively.
Each of the protrusions 24a, 25a and 26a in the contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 has a resilient concentric gasket or O-ring 24b, 25b and 26b and a fourth resilient gasket or O-ring 27b extending about the entire three concentric gaskets.
In operation the automatic gasoline dispensing apparatus of this invention is utilized with many elements such as vehicle positioning means, control means, moving means, etc., disclosed in a previously mentioned application for Letters Patent. When the vehicle is positioned in a station automated for the dispensing of motor fuels, the dispensing means moves upward from its recessed position of rest in the floor for contact with and engagement of the inlet means 31 so that the vent line protrusion 25a in contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 is in alignment with vent line opening 35a in the contact face 37a of inlet means 31. Similarly, protrusions 24a and 26a incontact face 27a of dispensing means 21 are also in alignment with openings 34a and 36a of contact face 37a of inlet means 31.
As the dispensing means 21 moves up from its recessed position of rest in the floor of the station powered by moving means (not shown) the support members 2211 and 22b pivotly mounted on base 23 at points 22c, there exists sufiicient movement in all directions such as horizontally, vertically, and laterally that the bevelled sides 27b of the upper portion 27 receive the lower portion of the inlet means 31. Inlet means 31 has contact face 37a with fill, openings 34a, 35a and 36a connecting the vent and sensor lines communicating with and terminating in the vehicle fuel tank. The bevelled sides 27b of the upper portion 27 of dispensing means 21 extend upwardly and outwardly from the contact face 271: and provide for an assist in the final positioning of contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 and contact face 37a of body portion 37 of inlet means 31.
In the final positioning as shown in FIG. 2 the protrusions upward from the contact face 27a designated 24a, 25a and 26a extend a slight distance into the check valves 34b, 35b and 36b of the body portion 37 of inlet means 31. The protrusions from contact face 27a of dispensing means 21 are substantially cylindrical in shape with closed tops and perforated walls which can be bevelled inwardly and the closed tops exert forces against the faces of closure means 340, 35c and 360 of the check valves which are spring urged and recess to accommodate the entry of the protrusions. The faces of the check valves are therefore in contact with the tops of the cylindrical protrusions having openings in their walls so that any dirt that may be present on the faces of the check valves is trapped.
In the final positioning of the dispensing means 21 and the inlet means 31 the contact faces 27a and 37a respectively are joined and the lines 24, 25 and 26 of dispensing means 21 are in communication with the lines 34, 35 and 36 of inlet means 31 through the perforated wall of the protrusions having side openings extending upwardly from contact face 27a of dispensing means 21. Also, in the final positioning, the resilient O-rings or gaskets protruding above the surface of contact face 2711 are also in contact with contact face 37a to form a seal to prevent the escape of fluids during the automated fueling operation.
In the final positioning prior to the flow of fuel, sensor line 26 in sealed communication with sensor line 36 in inlet means 31 has a slight negative pressure and should any obstruction of the sensor line exist the sensing apparatus to which the sensing line 26 communicates will prevent the further operation of the system. Should fuel be flowing through inlet line 24 to fuel line 34 when a leak occurs between the contact faces 27a and 37a respectively, and communication with the sensor exists to obstruct it, immediate cessation of the flow of fuel occurs because the vacuum in the sensor means abruptly changes causing the entire system to stop.
Vent line 35 extending from the vehicle fuel tank to the inlet means 31 communicates with vent line 25 of the dispensing means 21 and when the contact faces 37a and 27a are finally positioned, the communication allows the venting of the displaced fluids from the vehicle fuel tank as fuel is being placed in the tank through inlet line 24 of dispensing means 21 and fill line 34 of inlet means 31. Fill line 34 terminating in the vehice fuel tank is equipped with a conventional check value such as 34b to prevent the back flow of fuel from the tank.
Accordingly, when the contact faces 37a of inlet means 31 and 27a of dispensing means 21 are finally positioned communication exists between vent lines 25 and 35, fuel inlet lines 24 and 34, and sensor lines 26 and 36. If the seal between sensor line 26 and 36 is intact so that a slight vacuum may be drawn on the vehicle fuel tank to which line 36 communicates to permit the commencement of the flow of fuel through inlet line 24, and line 34 which communicates with the vehicle fuel tank. As the fuel is transferred from bulk storage through the inlet line 24 and line 34 to the vehicle gas tank vent lines 35 and 25 will permit the venting of the tank and the transportation of the displaced fluid to bulk storage or elsewhere. Consequently, the vent line should be large enough to handle the vapors from the vehicle fuel tank, at the rate that fuel is introduced through lines 24 and 34 to the fuel tank.
The terminal end of sensor line 36 in the vehicle fuel tank is so placed that when the level of fuel reaches the terminal end of sensor line 36 the consequent obstruction of the line causes a negative pressure to increase to as much as minus 5 p.s.i.g. and this increase in the vacuum within the line causes the apparatus to stop the refueling. The vacuum in the sensor line is easily maintained in amounts of about slightly below zero and when an ob struction occurs such as the liquid fuel level in the tank rising to the terminal end of sensor line 36 an almost instantaneous increase in vacuum occurs and reaches as much as minus 5 p.s.i.g.
It is apparent from the drawings including FIGS. 1 and 2 and from the specification and appended claims that the subject matter of this invention affords a novel apparatus and method which can be utilized in the automatic dispensing of vehicle fuels. The inlet means fastened to the underside of a vehicle such 'as the rear axle or other locations which yield a standardization of the location of the device affords a novel solution to some of the many problems involved in the automatic dispensing of motor fuels to vehicles. The inlet means can be an integral part of the vehicle fuel tank which obviates the necessity for conduit mean from the inlet means to the fuel tank. When the inlet means is fastened to the rear axle depicted in FIG. 1 a minimum distance from the inlet means to the vehicle fuel tank exists and necessitates shorter lengths of conduit extending from the inlet means and communicating with the vehicle fuel tank; however, there is no intent to restrict the location of the inlet means to the rear axle since there are undoubtedly a myriad of other locations on a vehicle that might be standardized for accomplishing the purposes of this invention.
The novel subject matter of this invention provides many other advantages in the automatic dispensing of motor fuels. For example, the device disclosed and claimed herein provides a substantially hidden location for the inlet means which is always advantageous for any additions of apparatus in the style-conscious motor vehicle industry. This invention also provides for a maximum of safety precautions in that a sensor mechanism functions to assure positive shut-off during the filling of a fuel tank.
The novel apparatus and method of this invention also provides for the maintenance of clean fuel in that all surfaces exposed to any types of dirt that might adhere to the surface are locked in by mating surfaces to prevent any accumulations of dirt from reaching the vehicle fuel tank. Furthermore, the vehicle mounted inlet means and mating dispensing means are inexpensive and sturdy with relatively few moving parts, and the inlet means mounted on the underside of the vehicle is simple and easy to install.
The invention is described by reference to a specific embodiment; however, it is understood that the embodiment is not intended to limit the scope of the invention but is presented only to teach the best mode contemplated for practicing this invention.
Having described the invention what is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for automatically dispensing fuel from a bulk storage source to vehicles in a system utilizing vehicle positioning means, customer selection means, and means for locating the vehicle inlet means from a reference point or plane including in combination:
(a) inlet means positioned on the vehicle and communicating with the vehicle fuel tank through a plurality of conduit means;
(b) dispensing means adaptable for communicating in sealed relationship with the inlet means, the dispensing means having a plurality of conduits communicating with the bulk fuel storage source and 6 communicating with means for producing a vacuum; and (c) sensing means allowing the commencement of the flow of fuel and for interrupting the flow of fuel should a leak occur and for interrupting the flow of fuel when the vehicle tank is filled, said sensing means including a conduit coupled with the means for producing a vacuum.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the dispensing means has a contact face adaptable for positioning with said inlet means in sealed relationship for communication between the bulk storage and the vehicle tank.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the dispensing means has a contact surface having means for communicating with the inlet means and means for establishing a positive seal between said inlet means and said dispensing means.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the conduit has therein a vacuum of from about slightly below zero to about minus 5 pounds per square inch.
5. A method for automatically dispensing fuel from a bulk storage source to a vehicle including the steps of:
(a) positioning a vehicle relative to a system for automatically dispensing fuel;
(b moving a dispensing means into a position of communication between the bulk storage source and the vehicle fuel tank; and positively sealing communication between the bulk storage source and the vehicle fuel tank;
(0) sensing the positive sealing of the communication established between the bulk storage source and the vehicle fuel tank; and
(d) venting the vehicle fuel tank for the removal of displaced fluids therefrom during the automatic filling of the tank.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein the step of sensing positive sealing and the absence of existing system leakage is performed through the utilization of a vacuum within the range of slightly below zero to about minus 5 pounds per square inch.
7. The combination comprising:
(a) inlet means in communication with a fuel tank to be filled, said inlet means including first passageway means allowing escape of fluids displaced from the tank during filling,
second passageway means allowing fuel to be fed into the tank,
third passageway means serving as a vacuum chamber and having an end terminating in the tank, said end being closed off when the tank is filled with a predetermined quantity of fuel, and
closure means movable between a first position normally blocking the passageway means and a second position allowing fluids to flow through the passageway means; and
(b) fuel dispensing means adapted to be mated with the inlet means so that fuel can be fed into the tank, said dispensing means including:
fourth passageway means allowing escape of fluids from the tank during filling,
fifth passageway means allowing fuel to be fed into the tank,
sixth passageway means serving as a vacuum chamber, said fourth, fifth and sixth passageways being aligned, respectively, with said first, second and third passageways during mating of the inlet means and fuel dispensing means, and
means adapted to move the closure means from the first position to the second position when said inlet means and fuel dispensing means are brought into mating engagement.
-8. The combination defined in claim 7 wherein the inlet means has a face portion, and the fuel dispensing means has a recessed portion adapted to receive said face portion when the inlet means and fuel dispensing means are brought into mating engagement.
9. The combination defined in-claim 8 including sealing means for preventing leakage of fluids and being adapted to come between the mating portions of the inlet means and the fuel dispensing means-when these said means come into mating engagement. 1
10. The combination defined in claim 9 wherein the inlet means is adapted to be mounted on an auto vehicle.
11. The combbination defined in claim 9 wherein the closure means comprises check valve means.
12. The combination defined in claim 9 in which there exists'in the third passageway means a vacuum of from slightly below to about lbs/sq. in.
13. The combination defined in claim 9 wherein said inlet means is mounted to the underside of an auto vehicle and the fuel dispensing means is adapted to be automatically moved into mating engagement with the inlet means.
14. The combination comprising:
(a) inlet means adapted to be coupled to a vehicle and having means in communication with the vehicles fuel tank to enable venting of fiuids and filling the tank with fuel," said inlet means also having a conduit with a first end terminating'inthe fuel tank and a second end terminating at a point remote from the tank; afid (b) fuel dispensing means adapted to bemated in a sealed relationship with theinlet means and having means which feed fuel into the tank, said fuel dispensing means also having a conduit with a first end adapted to be coupled to a vacuum source and a second end adapted to be coupled with the second end of the conduit of the inlet means.
15. The combination defined in claim 14 wherein the conduit of the inlet means has a closure means therein, and the fuel dispensing means has means adapted to open said closure means when said inlet means and fuel dispensing means are mated.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,010,062 8/1935 Dawson 141-95 2,439,887 4/1948 Elliott 141-96 3,032,079 5/1962 Lisciani 141--95 3,103,958 9/1963 Rath 141-96 HOUSTON S. BELL, JR., Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.