US 3517949 A
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COUPLER CONSTRUCTION Filed Nov. 12, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS To! me HIRA scum-u OKnon Mum-c kn/d mum Nmjznwfl BY WWW? ATTORNEYS Julie 30, 1am
Filed Nov. 12, 1968 TOHIQHlRAI E COUPLER couswnucnon 2 Shets-Sheet 2 FIG.I4I l9 INVENIORS amorHMH 50mm OKABA HHK O. KHNEKO v Hmonu unxnznwA vumam* ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,517,949 COUPLER CONSTRUCTION Toshio Hirai, Tokyo, Soichi Okada, Toyonaka-shi, and Makoto Kaneko and Hirornu Nakazawa, Mihara-shi, Japan, assignors to Mitsubishi Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha and Osaka Shosen Mitsui Senpaku Kabushiki Kaisha, Chuyoda-ku, Tokyo and Osaka-shi, Japan, respectively Filed Nov. 12, 1968, Ser. No. 774,631 Claims priority, application Japan, Nov. 13, 1967, 42/ 95,614 Int. Cl. F161 25/00, 27/10 US. Cl. 285-9 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A coupler is provided for connecting a refrigeration unit to a refrigerated box. The coupler has flexible ventilation passage members, or coolant flow conduits in the shape of bellows, each of which is provided at its one end with a connector. These connectors are either brought into engagement with the refrigerated box or released therefrom by means of an operating member. The connectors are adjustably held to the operating member so that a tight fit of the connectors in the refrigerated box can be ensured.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a coupler construction between two parts, and more particularly to a coupler construction between a refrigeration unit and a refrigerated box.
As an offspring of modern distribution revolution, containers for marine transport have come into the limelight in very recent years. These containers are roughly classified into two groups, dry containers for dry cargo and refrigerated containers for the transportation of refrigerated goods. The latter group is further divided into two types, one type having a built-in refrigerator while the other is equipped with a separate refrigerator adapted to introduce a cooling medium into the container.
The present device pertains to the latter type which uses the separate refrigerator.
The principal object of the present invention is to provide a coupler which makes it possible to urge the cooling medium from the refrigeration unit easily and positively into the refrigerated box even though the latter may be somewhat out of position.
In accordance with the present invention, a coupler between a refrigeration unit and a refrigerated box has flexible ventilation passage members of a heat insulating structure. The passage members are connected at first ends to the refrigeration unit and equipped at their other ends with connectors to the refrigerated box. An operating member is provided to shift the connectors either to the position of engagement with the refrigerated box or to that of release therefrom. The connectors are constructed to have limited movement in vertical and horizontal directions with respect to the operating member.
The invention will be more fully understood from the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side view of a coupler according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged detailed view of the connection between a bellows and a refrigerated box;
FIG. 3 is a front view showing one half of the flange portion at the front end of the bellows;
3,517,949 Patented June 30, 1970 ice . DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT air from a refrigeration unit (not shown) is fed into the refrigerated box 1 and the other opening 2 as a passage through which the air that has circulated through the box 1 is urged back to the refrigeration unit. The openings 2 may be located in a number of ways. In the embodiment shown, they are formed as a vertically oriented pair with respect to the center of the end plate or wall of the refrigerated box. In each opening 2 is fitted a flange 4 which is attached to the front end of a bello'ws 3, as shown in FIG. 2. Each bellows 3 is connected at a first end to a duct or the front end 5 of a refrigeration unit. Upper and lower flanges 4, 4 are connected by pins 6, 6 to a link 7, which in turn is connected at its center to a handle 9 by a pin 8. The handle 9 is supported by a bracket 10 on a bed. One end of a spring 12 is hooked on pin 8, while the other end thereof is fixed to a metallic member 11 which is secured to the bed. The pin 8 is under a constant tensile load. Accordingly, as the handle 9 is pushed downwardly, the position of the pin 8 is shifted beyond the point (C), so that the link 7 can be forced to the position (A) or the position (B). The position (A) represents the point where the passages for the cooling medium have been connected. The position (B) represents the state in which the bellows 3 has been contracted out of connection. As can be seen from FIG. 2, the flange 4 is formed with a conically chamfered portion v13 at its front end, which is adapted to fit in the correspondingly beveled contour of opening 2 formed in the end wall 14 of the refrigerated box 1. Along the periphery of each flange 4 there is provided a packing 15 to prevent air from leakage. The flange 4 is made of a rigid, strong resin to avoid heat loss. Also, to minimize the heat loss from the bellows 8, the latter is doubled in structure, with an outer bellows member 16 and inner bellows member 17. Each component member consists of a porous, resilient heat-insulating material 18 such as urethane foam sandwiched by cold-proof and moisture-proof plastic sheets 19 as shown in FIG. 4. In applications where the heat insulation of this part is not required so severely or where the refrigeration unit has a surplus capacity, the bellows may be fabricated as a unitary or monolayer construction. In each bellows 3, the outer bellows mem ber 16 includes outer rings 20 and inner rings 21, while the inner bellows member 17 includes inner rings 22 and outer rings 23, said rings being arranged alternately to form the bellows. Both bellows members or flow conduits are fixedly secured at second ends to the flange 4 'with the aid of retainers 24, 25.
The manner of fixing of the flange 4 and the link 7 will be explained by reference to FIGS. 5 and 6. The flange 4 has lugs '26 at the left and right sides thereof. Each lug is provided with a square hole 27, in which a threaded and headed pin 6 is inserted and is held in position with a nut 29 and a cotter pin 30' so as to move upwardly and downwardly in a rectangular hole 28 of the link 7. Embracing the pin 6 is a sliding plate 31, and an arm 32 is attached to the upper end of sliding plate 31. The arm 32 is suspended by the link 7 via a spring 33, a screw 34 and nuts 35, 36, and is adjustable so that the pin can always be located at about the center of rectangular hole 28 by the screw 34 and nuts 35, 36. The sliding plate 31 is provided with a slot 37 on the other end, in which a bolt 38 attached to the link 7 is inserted and presses the sliding plate 31 against the link 7, with the aid of a spring 39, washers 40, a nut 41 and a cotter pin 42, thus imparting a suitable resistance to the vertical movement of the flange 4.
The operation of the device will be described hereinafter. Maneuvering of the handle 9 can bring the flanges 4 to either position (A) or (B) of FIG. 1, and because the pin 6 is square-shaped, the flanges can be kept parallel with the link 7 even if any unbalance moment may be given around the pin 6 by the flanges 4 or the bellows 3. As the flanges 4 are pressed against the refrigerated box 1, they are positively coupled with the latter as their conically beveled front end portions 13 fit in the correspondingly beveled openings 2 of the end wall 14. If the refrigerated box 1 is out of position, the clearances X and Y of FIG. 5 and Z of FIG. 2 may be suitably chosen so that the flanges 4 can be automatically fitted in the openings 2 of said box.
As described in detail hereinabove, the present device is so constructed that the connectors of the ventilation passage members, or coolant flow conduits, of flexible structure for communication 'with a refrigeration unit are provided movably between a position for connection with a refrigerated box and a position released out of the connection by means of an operating member, Accordingly, there is no need of cumbersome maneuvering of displacing the refrigerated box for engagement with the connectors of the ventilation passage members as is conventionally required where the connectors are fixed in position. In such case it is only necessary to place the refrigerated box in position and then move the connectors of the ventilation passage members to the communicating position with respect to said box. Thus, the coupling operation is achieved with extreme ease. Because the connectors are constructed for moving small or limited distances vertically and horizontally with respect to the operating member, it is possible to connect the ventilation members automatically with the refrigerated box even when the openings of the refrigerated box are somewhat out of position, by simply pressing the connectors against the openings. Among other outstanding features of the present device is a heat insulating structure of the flexible ventilation members that ensures an excellent cold-retaining effect.
What is claimed is:
1. A coupler for connecting a refrigeration unit to a refrigerated container comprising, in combination, flexible coolant flow conduits constructed of heat insulating material, each connected at one end to one of said unit and said container; a respective connector at the other end of each conduit for connection of the associated conduit to the other of said unit and said container; a common operating member operatively associated with said connectors and operable to shift said connectors between a first position connecting the associated conduit to said other of said unit and said container and a second position releasing the connection; and means connecting said common operating member to said connectors and providing for limited movement of said connectors relative to said operating member in mutually perpendicular directions; each conduit being made of urethane foam sandwiched between plastics sheets.
2. A coupler, as claimed in claim 1, wherein each conduit is formed as a bellows having alternating valleys and crests and alternating inner and outer reinforcing rings, each outer ring engaging the exterior surface of a valley of a respective bellows and each inner ring engaging an interior surface of a crest of the respective bellows, whereby each outer ring has a diameter smaller than that of each inner ring of the respective bellows.
3. A coupler, as claimed in claim 1, wherein, to avoid heat loss, each connector is formed of a rigid, strong heat insulating resin.
4. A coupler, as claimed in claim 1, wherein each connector comprising an annular flange formed, to avoid heat loss, of a rigid, strong, heat insulating resin.
5. A coupler, as claimed in claim 4, including an annular packing on that surface of each flange engageable with said other of said unit and said container.
6. A coupler, as claimed in claim 1, wherein, to avoid heat loss, each conduit is a double-walled member including an inner wall and an outer wall in radially spaced relation with each other.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,062,806 12/1936 Casler 285-9 X 2,293,316 8/1942 Stebbins 62-237 X 3,087,745 4/1963 Rumbell 285226 X 3,154,326 10/1964 Anding 2859 3,273,600 9/1966 Swan 138149 X 3,402,731 9/1968 Martin 285-47 X 3,425,455 2/1969 Kilpert et a1 138149 X FOREIGN PATENTS 842,233 7/ 1960 Great Britain.
DAVE W. AROLA, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.