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Publication numberUS3557832 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 26, 1971
Filing dateNov 26, 1968
Priority dateDec 10, 1964
Publication numberUS 3557832 A, US 3557832A, US-A-3557832, US3557832 A, US3557832A
InventorsLeopold Wilbur R Jr, Mueller Frank H, Smith John J
Original AssigneeMueller Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ball valves
US 3557832 A
Images(6)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventors Frank H. Mueller;

Wilbur R. Leopold, Jr.; John J. Smith, Decatur, lll. Appl. No. 794,822 Filed Nov. 26, 1968 Division of Ser. No. 417,735, Dec. 10, 1964, Patent No. 3,437,106, Apr. 8, 1969. Patented Jan. 26, 1971 Assignee Mueller Co. Decatur, 111. a corporation of Illinois BALL VALVES 6 Claims, 18 Drawing Figs.

US. Cl i l37/625.22 lnt.Cl F16k 11/08 Field of Search 1 37/302, 308, 62121-62124, 621.46, 621.47; 251/315, 317

Primary Examiner-Henry T. Klinksiek Att0rneyCushman, Darby & Cushman ABSTRACT: A ball valve is provided with resilient annular seats between the ball and housing through passageway. The housing includes a cylindrical upstanding wall surrounding the laterally directed key receiving opening. An annular spacer is received between the housing, peripherally of the lateral opening and a retainer on the wall for the key. The key is provided with a cap, secured to the key with a blind pin.

BALL VALVES This application is a division of our copending application, Ser. No. 417,435, filed Dec. 10, I964 and which issued as US. Pat. No. 3,437,106, issued Apr. 8, I969. A division of this present application was filed Aug. 5, I969 and is copending therewith under Ser. No. 870,005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to valves and more particularly to improvements in valves having a rotatable valve body and resilient means to increase the seating pressure between the body and the valve seats when the valve is in its closed position.

Many prior art valves of this general type have not been providable with means for rendering them tamperproof, for instance for use by gas utility companies in distribution of gas products to residential users.

Valves which are tamperproof can be-installed in the supply lines for domestic gas immediately prior to the gas meter so that the utility can determine when gas will be supplied to the user. Such valves are commonly referred to as meter stops, and insofar as stops can be made tamperproof and discourage unauthorized prospective tamperers from attempting their disassembly, the utility is able to be confident that they are exercising effective control of the gas they supply so that they will be remunerated for all of the gas being used. Additionally, it is desirable in this type of valve to assure that attempts at unauthorized disassembly or tampering with the valves will not render them dangerous, for instance by causing them to leak gas to the atmosphere.

Most usually, unauthorized tamperers are those seeking to withdraw gas from a supply line surreptitiously by removing the valve rotor retaining means and the rotor, and collecting the gas escaping from the rotor receiving chamber. Such tampering is only effectively accomplishable where the procedure just set forth can be effected without visibly damaging the valve or rendering it thereafter inoperable.

Accordingly, in order to render such valves effectively tamperproof and safe it is necessary to construct them so they are not disassembleable by unauthorized persons with conventional tools or without being rendered thereafter inoperable. It is also an important consideration that the tamperproof arrangement not unduly restrict or hinder authorized repair and preventive maintenance work on the valves by representatives of the utility company.

Essentially, the subject valves are intended to be used as water curb stops, although they can be used for other purposes. When used as curb stops, however, they normally are buried in the earth, and so it is desirable for such valves to have a one-piece body or housing to facilitate sealing the same against the entry of grit-carrying ground water, dirt, and the like. Additionally, it is most desirable for such valves to have a completely enclosed check arrangement, i.e. the arrangement which limits the rotation of the valve plug between open and closed positions of the valve.

In the preferred embodiment to be described hereinafter, it is noted that the body is of one-piece construction having what may be called a closed bottom and an open top. In the art, this arrangement for ball valves is known as a top entry" arrangement, because the valve ball is inserted from the top. The lower end of the body is provided with a cylindrical journal bearing for the lower trunnion on the ball, while the inner ends of the body flow ports are provided with the cylindrical recesses in which annular cylindrical seats are slidably mounted. The outer end of each valve seat is exteriorly reduced to provide an annular space for the reception of an O- ring between the seat and the seat recess. It will be noted that the outer end of each seat is received within the flow passage so as to more effectively isolate the O-rings.

The seats, which preferably are made of a material such as nylon, the O-rings, and the valve ball are so proportioned that the latter can be inserted through the open upper end of the valve body, with the ball in an open position, between the two seat rings. When the O-rings are relaxed, the space between the two seat rings is somewhat less than the corresponding dimension of the valve ball in its open position. Hence, when the valve ball is inserted between the seat rings as aforesaid, the latter are forced back into their seat recesses against the spring action of the O-rings, so that the seat rings are maintained constantly in yieldable engagement with the valve ball.

As the valve ball is rotated from is open to its closed position, the spherical configuration of the valve ball forces the seat rings even further back into their recesses against the action of the O-rings. When the valve is closed, upstream fluid pressure essentially acts on the annular area of the O-ring to constantly force the upstream seat ring against the valve ball to maintain a tight seal. In this respect, a trunnion supported valve ball depends for its sealing effect upon upstream pres sure holding the upstream seat tightly against the valve ball. In other valve ball arrangements, wherein the valve ball is not trunnion supported, upstream line pressure holds the valve ball, when closed, tightly against the downstream seat to effect the seal.

The opening in the top of the valve body, at its inner end, is of a configuration corresponding to the outline of the valve ball when the latter is in its open position, so that the inner end of the opening is shaped so that it will just admit the entrance of the valve ball between the seat rings. It will be noted that this configuration of the opening provides, at its inner end. two opposed transverse, flat surfaces, and very practical use is made of these surfaces as described hereinafter.

Above its inner end, the top opening in the body is interiorly enlarged to a cylindrical or circular configuration for the snug rotatable reception of a corresponding cylindrical portion of a cap which, in a sense, acts as a valve stem. The cylindrical portion of the cap is provided with a circumferential groove for the reception of an O-ring which effectively makes a seal between the bottom of the groove in the cap and the opposed cylindrical surface in the body. Thus, the open upper end of the valve housing is effectively sealed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide valves susceptible of rotor removal and seat replacement while the valve remains in line, and which can be rendered effectively and safely tamperproof.

A ball valve is provided with resilient annular seats between the ball and housing through passageway. The housing includes a cylindrical upstanding wall surrounding the laterally directed key receiving opening. An annular spacer is received between the housing, peripherally of the lateral opening and a retainer on the wall for the key. The key is provided with a cap, secured to the key with a blind pin.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide valves of the type described that are usable as water works water curb stops having the valve housing bottom closed around the bottom trunnion of the rotor and which may alternatively have an open bottom with an O-ring seal provided to seal the bottom trunnion to the housing.

It is a further object of this invention to provide valves of the type described wherein the operating means is pinned to the top trunnion so that any desired form of operator, such as a lever handle, T-head, plain head, lock wing or the like may be provided thereon, thus effectively broadening the scope of usefulness of the valves according to the invention.

It is an object according to an embodiment of the invention to provide a valve of the type described wherein the check is a compact integral part of the valve operating head or cap arranged so that any overload on the check does not affect the ball or the seating arrangement, and wherein the check is concealed so that sand and gravel or the like are effectively prevented from disturbing proper operation of the check.

It is a further object according to further embodiments of the invention especially usable as water curb stops, to provide means on the ball and in the valve housing to accomplish automatic draining of the downstream side of the valve when the valve is in its closed position.

These and further objects of the present invention will be more fully set forth in the following detailed explanation of several preferred embodiments of the invention having reference to the attached drawings wherein the several embodiments illustrating the principles of the present invention are depicted.

IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view of a valve embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view takensubstantially along line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional view of another embodiment of the invention having housing drain means incorporated therein;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an embodiment of a valve according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an end elevation view of the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of another embodiment of a valve according to the principles of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is an end elevation view of the valve embodiment shown in FIGS. 8 and 9;

FIG. 1 1 is a top plan view of another embodiment of a valve according to the principles of the invention;

FIG. 12 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 12-12 ofFlG. 11;

FIG. 13 is an end elevation view of the valve embodiment of FIGS. It and 12;

FIG. 14 is a horizontal longitudinal sectional view taken along the line 14-14 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment of FIGS. lll through 114 with some portions broken away to expose elements otherwise hidden from view;

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of a further embodiment of a valve according to the principles of the invention;

FIG. 17 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 16; and

FIG. 18 is an end elevation view of the valve embodiment of FIGS. 16 and 17.

The embodiment of the ball valve 350 shown in FIGS. I through 3 as noted hereinbefore is particularly advantageously used in subterranean applications where gritty soil could easily cause the check means to become inoperable and where the valve might be subjected to temperatures below the freezing point of the fluid carried therein.

As illustrated the valve 350 includes a housing 352 having a flow passageway 354 extending axially therethrough. Centrally of the passageway 354, an opening 356 is formed through the housing 352 surrounded by an upstanding annular wall 358 defining a cylindrical key or rotor receiving chamber 360 laterally intersecting the passageway 354 at the top of the axially extending portion of the housing.

At the bottom of the central area of the passageway 354, and axially aligned with the chamber 360, a well-like bearing 362 is formed in the housing 352, the bearing 362 including a downwardly conical bottom 364 and a generally annular sidewall 366 communicating with the passageway 354 through an opening 368 therethrough.

The base of the upstanding annular wall 358 is preferably spaced radially outwardly from the periphery of .the opening 356, thereby defining an annular, upwardly facing, preferably flat surface 370.

The housing 352 may be threaded as at 372 for a short distance interiorly of the ends 374 of the passageway 354 or have other equivalent coupling provisions such as bolt flanges or the like formed thereon. Additionally. means such as lugs 376 may be provided on the exterior of the housing 352 to facilitate the making up of pipe joints including the threaded housing ends.

The passageway 354 is enlarged centrally thereof adjacent each side of the chamber 360 by any convenient method such as coring the housing casting or counterboring thereby defining two valve seat ring receiving portions378 each including a longitudinally extending annular surface 380 and a radially extending annular surface 382. For simplicity, these central enlargements are hereinafter referred to as counterbores though alternative methods of forming them are not intended to be foreclosed.

A resilient annular rollable seal in the form of an O-ring 384 of polytetrafluorethylene or the like is received in each counterbore 378 adjacent each surface 382. An annular resilient valve seat ring 386 is slidingly received in each counterbore 378 adjacent each O-ring 384 The rings 386, which may be formed from any suitable corrosion-resisting material including fiber reinforced or nonreinforced thermoplastic resin compositions such as those essentially comprising nylon, are preferably configured so as to have a radially inner, smooth annular surface 388 coaxial with the passageway 354, and a radially'outer, smooth annular surface 389 slidingly engaging the surface 380 of the associated counterbore 378.

The end of each sealingring 386 facing away from the chamber 360 includes an annular recess 390 extending therearound and opening endwardly and radially outwardly of the ring. 7

Accordingly each O-ring 384 is confined between the op posed smooth radially extending surfaces 382 and 392 on the ring 386 and valve housing 352 respectively and also sealingly confined between the opposed smooth longitudinally extending surfaces 394 and 380.

The valve seat rings 386 are preferably freely axially slidable to a limited extent in their respective counterbores 378, the surface 394 on each ring 386 being relatively long with respect to the diameter of the associated O-ring 384 so that within the range of limited axial movement of the seat rings 386, the O-rings will provide sealing between the rings 386 and the housing passageway 354.

Each valve seat ring 386 includes a smooth annular end face 396 presented toward the chamber 360 and arranged to sealingly engage the valve key peripherally of its through passage.

As best shown in FIG. 1, the valve key 398 of the valve 350 comprises a spherical ball portion 400 having a generally horizontalv fluid passageway 402 formed therethrough which is axially alignable with the housing passageway 354 and seat ring surface 388. The ball 400 is preferably integrally mounted on upper and lower trunnions 404 and 406 which are arranged to extend generally coaxially with the chamber 360 and perpendicularly to the passageway 402. I

The lower trunnion 406 is supported for rotation in the welllike bearing 362. As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 3 the lower trunnion 406 has a pair of I generally parallel, diametrically opposed, longitudinally extending flats 407 thereon and the lower end 409 of the lower trunnion is spaced upwardly from the bottom of the well 362. The flats 407 are shown lying-in planes perpendicular to they ball through passage 402.

Accordingly, should the valve 350 be subjected to a mild freeze, water or other fluid which has condensed or seeped into the trunnion well 362 and expands as it freezes, can move upwardly through the spaces 411 defined between the trunnion well sidewall and the flats 407. Should additional expansion occur the freezing material can move upwardly into the space 413 between the ball 400 and the bottom of the central portion of the housing.

The support for the upper trunnion of the key 398 is provided by means including an annular collar 408 integrally radially projecting from the upper trunnion a short distance above the ball 400. An annular spacer 410 is received between the inner surface of the annular housing wall 358 and the trunnion immediately supra-adjacent the collar 408. The spacer 410 at the radially outer and lower extent thereof has means defining an annular recess 412 therein. A resilient O-ring 414 is received in the chamber 360 engaging the surface 370 and the interior surface of the wall 358 at the base thereof.

When the spacer 410 is inserted downwardly into the valve as shown in FIG. 1, the surfaces thereof defining the annular recess 412 engage the O-ring 414. Accordingly the O-ring 414 provides a seal between the spacer and the valve housing.

The spacer 410 is sealed with respect to the trunnion 404 by a resilient O-ring 416 received in an annular groove 418 formed circumferentially in the trunnion radially inwardly from the spacer.

The lower surface of the spacer 410 is configured to engage both the flat annular surface 370 radially inwardly from the O- ring 414 and the upper surface of the collar 418.

The novel key arrangement just discussed is retained in the valve by an annular split retaining ring 420 composed of elastic hard metal or the like. The retainer 420 is seated in an annular groove 422 formed in the wall 358 and bears against the upper surface of the spacer.

The improved combined key cap and check 424 has a socket 426 arranged centrally in the bottom thereof in which the upper trunnion 404 is received. The cap 424 also includes a depending annular flange 425 adapted to abut the upper surface of the spacer immediately radially inwardly of the retainer 420. Inasmuch as the flange 425 as shown engages the radially inner extent of the retainer and additionally abuts the upper surface thereof, the retainer is effectively prevented from being forced inwardly and upwardly a sufficient amount to snap out of the groove 422. Thus the problem of effectively guarding against valve key blowout when the pressure within the valve is great or an unusually great upward thrust occurs therein is effectively solved by the key cap 424.

The key cap is made tamperproof by the inclusion of a skirt 428 which projects outwardly from the flange 425 immediatelyabove the upper end of the wall 358 and terminates in a downwardly directed flange 427 which effectively precludes unauthorized access to the retainer 420 by those having ordinary tools.

A pin 430 preferably composed of hardened metal is inserted in a socket 432 in the cap 424 and the lateral opening 433 of the trunnion 404. In order to make this arrangement tamperproof, the socket 432 may be formed as a blind socket and the pin 430 and socket have an interference fit.

In order to restrict the possible angular movement of the key to that necessary for use, an arcuate slot 435 defined between the flange 425 and skirt 428 bridged at two angularly spaced points 437, 439 is provided. A lug check 441 integrally projecting upwardly from the housing wall 358 is slidingly received in the slot 435 and arranged so that when the valve is brought to its full open position the lug check 441 will contact the slot end 437 and when the valve is brought to its fully closed position the lug check 441 will contact the slot end 439.

The advantages provided by the valve check just disclosed are firstly that, if an unauthorized person attempts to turn the key cap beyond either of its intended positions he will not damage the valve key or adversely affect its sealing arrangements. This is an especially important advantage where the valve is being used to conduct gas or other fluids which could be dangerous if allowed to leak to the atmosphere.

Secondly because the valve check just described is effectively concealed, the action of the check will not be hampered by dirt'or foreign objects and valves can be made quite compact.

FIG. 4 illustrates a modification of the valve just described relative to FIGS. l3 and accordingly the common elements are numbered the same in each.

The valve 450 is especially provided with means to drain the downstream or outlet side of the valve and any standpipe conduit or similar arrangement with which this valve can ad vantageously be associated.

A single flat 407 is provided on the lower trunnion and an opening 452 is formed through the well 362 at the lowermost point of the downwardly conical bottom thereof. Additionally a flat 454 is formed on the ball 400 below the horizontal centerline thereof.

The flat is formed sufficiently deeply that when the valve is brought to the closed position shown there is a space 456 between the ball 400 and the seat ring 386 adjacent the bottom thereof.

Accordingly fluid trapped on the side 458 of the ball when the valve is closed can flow through the space 456, down into the well past the flat 407 and out of the system through the opening 452.

The feature just discussed is of considerable importance in applications where the valve 450 is in a waterworks system. The valve itself is placed below the frost line, but the outlet conduit leading therefrom may carry water to a zone where freezing could occur. Accordingly, utilizing the valve 450, the downstream conduit will drain when the valve is turned off thus precluding ice damage to the downstream conduit.

As shown in FIGS. 5-7 the valve 10 includes a housing 12 having a flow passageway 14 extending axially therethrough. Centrally of the passageway 14 an opening 16 is formed through the housing 12 surrounded by an annular wall 18 defining a cylindrical key or rotor receiving chamber 20 laterally intersecting the passageway 14 at the top thereof.

At the bottom of the central area of the passageway 14, and axially aligned with the chamber 20 a well-like bearing 22 is formed in the housing 12, the bearing 22 including a bottom 24 and a generally annular sidewall 26 communicating with said passageway through an opening 28 therethrough.

The base of the laterally extending annular wall 18 is preferably spaced radially outwardly from the periphery of the opening 16, thereby defining an annular, upwardly facing, preferably flat surface 30.

The housing 12 may be threaded as at 32 for a short distance interiorly of the ends 34 passageway 14 or have other equivalent coupling provisions such as bolt flanges or the like formed thereon. Additionally threaded connecting means 36 may be provided exteriorly of the annular wall 18, for instance to receive a conventional curb box or the like.

In each of the valve embodiments shown the passageway 14 is counterbored centrally thereof adjacent each side of the chamber 20 forming two valve seat ring receiving portions 38 each defined by a longitudinally extending annular surface 40 and a radially extending annular surface 42.

A resilient annular rollable seal in the form of an O-ring 44 of polytetrafluoroethylene or the like is received in each counterbore 38 adjacent each surface 42. An annular resilient valve seat ring 46 is slidingly received in each counterbore 38 adjacent each O-ring 44. The rings 46, which may be formed from any suitable corrosion-resisting material including fiber reinforced or nonreinforced thermoplastic resin compositions such as those essentially comprising nylon are preferably configured so as to have a radially inner, smooth annular surface 48 coaxial with the passageway 14 and a radially outer, smooth annular surface 39 slidingly engaging the surface 40 of the associated counterbore 38.

The end of each sealing ring 46 facing away from the chamber 20 includes an annular recess 50 therearound opening radially outwardly and also endwardly of the ring 46.

Accordingly each O-ring 44 is confined between the opposed smooth radially extending surfaces 52 and 42 on the ring 46 and valve housing 12 respectively and also sealingly confined between the opposed smooth longitudinally extending surfaces 54 and 40.

The valve seat rings 46 are preferably freely longitudinally slidable in their respective counterbores 38, the surface 54 on each ring 46 being relatively long with respect to the diameter of the associated O-ring 44 so that the O-rings 44 will provide sealing between the rings 46 and the housing passageway at all times during the operation of the valves as will be explained hereinafter.

Each valve seat ring 46 includes a smooth end face 56 presented toward the chamber 20 and arranged to sealingly engage the valve key or rotor as next described.

As shown in FIG. 6 the valve key or rotor 58 comprises a spherical ball portion 60 having a fluid passageway 62 formed therethrough which is alignable with the housing passageway 14. The ball 60 is preferably integrally mounted on upper and lower trunnions 64 and 66 which extend from the ball generally perpendicularly of the passageway 62. In the embodiment of FIGS. -7 the lower trunnion 66 is supported for rotation in the well-like bearing 22.

An annular collar 68 forming an integral part of the key projects radially outwardly from the upper trunnion 64 a short distance above the ball 60. The bearing for the upper trunnion 64 includes an annular spacer 70 received between the inner surface of the annular housing wall and the trunnion 64. The spacer 70 radially outer surface 72 has an annular recess 74 therein extending circumferentially of the spacer and a resilient O-ring 73 received therein sealingly engages the wall 18. The spacer 70 is sealed with respect to the trunnion 64 by a resilient O-ring 76 received in an annular groove 78 formed circumferentially in the trunnion 64 radially inwardly of the spacer.

The bottom of the spacer 70 is configured to engage the flat annular surface 30 and the upper surface of the collar 68. The key arrangement just discussed is retained in valve by an annular split retaining ring 80 composed of elastic hard metal or the like. The retainer 80 is seated in an annular groove 82 formed in the wall 18 and bears against the upper surface of the spacer 70.

The key cap 84 shown as the valve operator in FIGS. 5-7 which could alternately be a lever handle, a flat head, a lock wing or the like, has a socket 86 therein in which the upper trunnion 66 is received. The cap 84 can be employed to make the valve tamperproof by including a radially extending skin 88 thereon which extends outwardly immediately above the upper end of the wall 18 so as to make the retainer ring 80 inaccessible to those having ordinary tools. A blind pin 90 composed of hardened metal can be inserted in a socket $2 in the cap 84 and a lateral opening formed through the trunnion 64 to secure the cap to the trunnion. In the tamperproof embodiment just described, the pin 90 and the socket 92 are preferably interference fit to prevent removal of the pin with ordinary tools.

However, if the valve is to be used in an industrial application where rapid teardown and reassembly are desirable, the skirt 88 can be eliminated and the pin socket 92 extended to open through both sides of the cap 84. Accordingly, the retainer 80 would be accessible and the pin 90 could easily be driven out using a punch and a mallet or similar tools.

Once the retainer 80 and pin 90 have been removed, an upward tug on the key 58 with the key in its open position as shown in full lines in FIG. 6, cause the ball 60 acting on the sealing surfaces 56 to move the rings 46 and compress the resilient O-rings 44 sufficiently that the key can be withdrawn from the valve. The valve seat rings 66 and other elements of the valve can then be replaced and the valve quickly reassembled by orienting the key in its open position with respect to the housing passageway and inserting it downwardly into place as shown in FIG. 6. The resilient O-rings 44 again are compressed by the action of the ball as the ball is moved into place. With the key in position as shown in FIG. 6, each O-ring 44 is preferably still somewhat compressed in order to resiliently bias the valve seat ring sealing surfaces 56 into sealing engagement with the ball 60.

The spacer 70 retainer 80, cap 84 and pin 90 are reassembled as shown in FIG. 57 completing the repair.

The valve embodiment 100 shown in FIGS. 8l0 is similar in all respects in structure and operation to that depicted in FIGS. 5-7 and is similarly numeraled but for the omission of the exterior threading surrounding the housing wall 18 and the addition of a check arrangement by the substitution of a key cap 102 which includes a lock wing 104. A similar lock wing R06 is provided on housing wall 18 projecting radially outwardly therefrom adjacent the upper extent of said wall.

The lock wings I04, I06 each have an opening I08 formed therethrough and are arranged on their respective members so that the openings 108 are in vertical registry when the key is in its closed position so that suitable locking means such as a padlock, lead seal or the like can be fastened therethrough.

As best seen in FIG. 10, an upstanding arcuate stop element U0 is defined at the upper extent of the housing wall 18 and a check stud 1112 is arranged on the cap 102, arcuately spaced from the lock wing opening 108, in position to abut one end 114 of the stop when the lock wings I04, I06 vertically coincide and the valve is in its closed position as aforementioned.

The arcuately opposite end 116 of the stop 110 is arranged to be abutted by a side 118 of the key cap lock wing 104 when the valve has been rotated to its open position, as illustrated in FIGS. 8-10.

It should be noted that in order to avoid interfering with the check arrangement just described, the key cap skirt 120 of the valve 1100 rather than extending over the wall 18, extends to a point so radially adjacent the inner surface of the wall 18 that the interposition of any conventional tool by an unauthorized person attempting'valve disassembly is effectively precluded.

Although it can be seen that the valve shown in FIGS. 8- 10 is balanced so that either side thereof may be used at the pressure or upstream side of the valve, it should be apparent that if valves including the lock wing and check carrying key cap as illustrated are installed in a standard manner, for instance so that the lock wing 104 points downstream when the valve is in its open position, that maintenance work on the system in which such standards are employedwill be greatly facilitated.

The valve embodiment 200 shown in FIGS. 11-15 differs from valve 100 only by its having an open bottom and lacking an upper trunnion collar.

In some installations, for instance where valves as described herein are to be used as water curb stops rather than in domestic gas distribution facilities, it is considered preferable to have an open bottom, for'instance because such valves may be less susceptible to housing failure when subjected to mild freezing in a subterranean environment.

Accordingly it can be seen that the improvements according to the present invention are providable in open bottomed as well as closed housing valves.

The key 2114 of the valve 200 has a lower trunnion bearing which engages a smooth interior surfaced downwardly extending annular wall 202. A resilient O-ring 204 recessed in an annular groove 206 circumferentially formed in the lower trunnion 66 forms an effective seal between the lower trunnion 66 and the valve housing.

The upper trunnion bearing collar having been eliminated in the valve embodiment200 now being described the spacer 208, which in other respects is similar to the spacer 70, includes an annularly downwardly extending leg 210 which is arranged to engage a relatively narrow generally flat annular shoulder 2'll2 at the top of the ball. The spacer 208 extends between the ball shoulder 212 and the retainer 80.

A further modification of the valve is designated 250 in FIGS. 16--ll8. It is an open bottomed housing-type valve quite similar to the valve 200 shown in FIGS. ill-15 but for being adapted for more rapid assembly and disassembly. Elements of the valve 250 common in structure with those shown in previously discussed embodiments are numbered accordingly.

The radially inner surface 252 of the upstanding annular wall 254 is shown threaded to receive an exteriorly threaded annular spacer 256. The spacer just mentioned extends between the key cap 266 and the ball shoulder 212 similarly to the spacer 208. However, the spacer 256 is preferably terminated flush with the upper extent of the annular wall 254, the function of a retainer being provided by the threading arrangement 260 and by vertically projecting stop pins 262.

As best seen in H0. 16, the two stop pins 262 are slidingly or alternatively threadably received in two generally vertically directed angularly spaced sockets 264 located intermediate the annular wall 254 and the spacer 256 comprising complementary arcuate recesses in each of these elements. Accordingly, the pins 262, when in place as shown prevent rotation of the spacer 256 with respect to the valve housing.

The key cap 266 is similar to the ones shown in the valves in FIGS. 8 13 but for the elimination of a radially extending snap ring covering skirt adjacent the lower extent thereof so that the cap retaining pin 268 is accessible from both sides of the cap.

llt should be noted that the pins 262 additionally act as stops adapted when positioned as shown in FIG. 16 to limit the rotation of the valve key to the l 80 are between full open with the lock wing of the key cap 66 pointing downstream and full open with the lock wing pointing upstream.

The spacer 256 may conveniently have a plurality of tool receiving sockets 270 in the upper surface for ease of assembly and disassembly of the modified valve 250 as more fully described hereinafter.

The O-ring 272 which provides a seal between the housing of the valve 250 and the spacer 256, rather than being received in an annular groove in the vertical surface of the spacer as in the embodiments already discussed, seals against a chamfer 274 formed at the lower radially outer edge of the spacer. This modification also facilitates the assembly of the valve 250.

To assemble the valve 250, the resilient Orings 44 and novel seat rings 46 are first inserted in their respective counterbores. The valve key 214 with the O-rings 76 and 204 received thereon, is easily inserted in the chamber by orienting the key in its open position with respect to the valve passageway and pushing the key axially downwardly.

As discussed in relation to the first embodiment of the valve the O-rings 44 are sufficiently resilient to be compressed enough by the ball of the entering key 214 to permit the ball to be brought to its proper orientation with respect to the seats 46. As the key is brought to the position shown the O-rings 44 recover and resiliently force the seat ring faces 56 into sealing engagement with the ball 60 peripherally of the passageway 62 therethrough.

[t has been found to be an advantageous assembly technique to place the Oring 27 2 at the base of the interior of the housing wall then insert the spacer 256 using the modification of the valve now being discussed than it is to first assemble an O- ring on a grooved sidewall-type spacer and then assemble the spacer to the valve housing inasmuch as in the former case, the problem of preventing the radially protruding ring from at least partially rolling from its groove and pinching between the spacer and the upstanding housing wall is alleviated.

The spacer 256 is threaded downwardly into position and brought to the desired tightness using an appropriately pronged tool arranged to engage the sockets 270. The stop pins 262 are then placed in the sockets 264 and the key cap 266 placed over the upper trunnion. The valve assembly is completed by pinning the cap 266 to the trunnion with the retaining pin 268. Rapid disassembly of the valve 250 proceeds in reverse of the steps just outlined. It should now be readily apparent that the several embodiments of the novel ball valve shown efficiently accomplish all of the objects set forth hereinabove and well illustrate the principles of the present invention.

Inasmuch as the embodiments shown may be considerably modified without departing from these principles the invention should be understood to encompass modifications encompassed by the principles and be limited only by the spirit and scope of the following claims.

We claim:

1. A valve assembly comprising an integral valve housing having a passage extending therethrough, the ends of said passage defining an inlet and an outlet, a lateral opening com municated with said passage intermediate the ends thereof, an annular member mounted within said passage adjacent said inlet for limited axial movement, annular resilient sealing means between said annular member and said valve housing providing a fluidtight seal between said annular member and said passage and a valve key received in said housing through said lateral opening, said valve key including a central ball portion and opposed trunnion portions extending from said ball portion, said ball portion including means defining a passage extending laterally therethrough; means defining an upstanding, generally cylindrical wall projecting from said valve housing peripherally adjacent said lateral opening and said upstanding wall, means defining an annular surface on said valve housing between said lateral opening and said up standing wall; means defining an annular groove in the interior surface of said upstanding wall; a removable retainer received in said groove; means interposed between said retainer and said key to removably retain said key in said housing, the interposed retaining means comprising an annular spacer flange means received on the upper of said opposed trunnions and urging against said generally annular surface; means defining an annular groove in said upper trunnion; an annular sealing member received in said groove for sealing between said upper trunnion and said spacer; means defining an annular groove in the spacer adjacent the outer periphery thereof, an annular sealing member received in the last-mentioned groove for sealing between said upstanding wall and said spacer; the lower of the opposed trunnions is received in means defining a well in said housing laterally opposite said lateral opening; means defining a flat on said key ball portion centered below the centerline of the ball portion and intermediate the junctures of said ball passage with the exterior of said ball portion; means defining a flat on said lower trunnion spaced from said annular member; and means defining an opening through said well to the exterior of the valve housing, whereby when said key ball portion is in a housing passage blocking position thereof the downstream side of the valve is communicated to the exterior of the valve housing.

2. A valve assembly comprising an integral valve housing having a passage extending therethrough, the ends of said passage defining an inlet and an outlet, a lateral opening communicated with said passage intermediate the ends thereof, an annular member mounted within said passage adjacent said inlet for limited axial movement, annular resilient sealing means between said annular member and said valve housing providing a fluidtight seal between said annular member and said passage and a valve key received in said housing through said lateral opening, said valve key including a central ball portion and opposed trunnion portions extending from said ball portion, said ball portion including means defining a passage extending laterally therethrough; means defining an upstanding, generally cylindrical wall projecting from said valve housing peripherally adjacent said lateral opening and said upstanding wall, means defining an annular surface on said valve housing between said lateral opening and said upstanding wall; means defining an annular groove in the interior surface of said upstanding wall; a removable retainer received in said groove; means interposed between said retainer and said key to removably retain said key in said housing, the interposed retaining means comprising an annular spacer flange means received on the upper of said opposed trunnions and urging against said generally annular surface; means defining an annular groove in said upper trunnion; an annular sealing member received in said groove for sealing between said upper trunnion and said spacer; means defining an annular groove in the spacer adjacent the outer periphery thereof, an annular sealing member received in the last-mentioned groove for sealing between said upstanding wall and said spacer; the lower of the opposed trunnions is received in means defining a well in said housing laterally opposite said lateral opening; said well includes a cylindrical sidewall and a bottom wall; said lower trunnion terminating short of said bottom wall; said valve assembly further including means defining opposed flats on said lower trunnion each extending the full length thereof in planes substantially transverse to said ball portion passage.

3. A valve assembly as set forth in claim 2 further comprising a key cap; means defining a socket in said key cap, said key upper trunnion being received in said socket; and means pinning said key cap to said key, said key cap protruding beyond said upstanding wall.

4. A valve assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein said pinning means comprises a blind pin received in a lateral socket in said key cap and a lateral pin receiving opening in said upper trunnion.

5. A valve assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein the key cap includes a laterally extending peripheral skirt arranged to project so closely to said upstanding wall as to prevent access to said removable retainer with ordinary tools.

6. A valve assembly as set forth in claim 3 further including means on said key cap and means on said upstanding wall to check the rotation of said key to positions wherein the ball passage is aligned with the housing passage and wherein the housing passage is fully blocked by the key ball portion.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3684241 *Aug 31, 1970Aug 15, 1972Stile Craft Mfg IncBall valve
US4027698 *Jan 6, 1975Jun 7, 1977Karl WeinholdValve with generally spherical closure member
US4778152 *May 19, 1987Oct 18, 1988Mueller Co.Plug valve havig interchangeable plug member
US4964614 *Oct 2, 1989Oct 23, 1990Mueller Co.Method for forming a ball valve connection and structure
US5082246 *Mar 12, 1991Jan 21, 1992Mueller Co.Gas ball valve
US5785074 *Jan 2, 1997Jul 28, 1998Nibco, Inc.Vented ball valve with lock-out ring
Classifications
U.S. Classification137/625.22
International ClassificationF16K5/06, F16K35/00
Cooperative ClassificationF16K5/0636, F16K35/00
European ClassificationF16K35/00, F16K5/06F4