US 3561477 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Olympic F. Pinto Praia de Botofogo 1'14, Apt. 602, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Appl. No. 766,788 Filed Oct. 11, 1968 Patented Feb. 9, 1971 REDUCING VALVE ASSEMBLY 4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs. 1.1.8. Cl ..-.....137/6l4.19, 137/505.25, 137/613, 137/615 int. Cl A621) 9/02 137/63R,
References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 534,765 '2/1895 Spadone l37/580X 2,199,040 4/1940 Cecchet 137/505.25X
3,004,686 10/1961 McKee l37/505.25X
3,147,761 9/1964 Lec0co.. 137/(63R) 3,461,877 8/1969 Morch 235/272X FOREIGN PATENTS 728,599 11/1942 Germany 137/(63R) 882,074 11/1961 Great Britain 137/505.28
Primary Examiner-Robert G. Nilson Attorney-Jessup & Beecher ABSTRACT: The invention is concerned with an improved on-off valve and reducing valve unit for use, for example, in underwater diving equipment, and which is interposed between the air hose from the face mask and the high-pressure air cylinder which is carried by the diver. The unit includes a manually controllable on-oft' valve, and an internal regulator which causes air at a predetermined regulated reduced pressure to be produced at the outlet of the unit and through the air hose to the face mask in response to the high-pressure air from the interior of the air cylinder.
Ive/4771K ATENTEDFEB 9|97| 3 SHEET 1 UF 2 1 a nsnucuvc VALVE ASSEMBLY CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS My copending application Ser. No. 539,477, which issued Mar. 18, 1969 as U.S. Pat. No. 3,433,222, and which is assigned to the present assignee, discloses and claims underwater diving equipment. The particular equipment described in the copending case includes a helmet to be worn by the diver, and a face mask removably attached to the helmet. The reducing valve unit of the present invention finds particular utility in supplying low-pressure air to the face mask of diving equipment, such as the equipment disclosed in my copending application, from the high-pressure air cylinders carried by the diver. However, it will become evident as the description proceeds; that the reducing valve unit of the present invention has general utility whenevera low-pressure fluid is to be produced from a high-pressure source.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION It is usual in underwater diving equipment, for example, for the diver to carry a cylinder of pressurized air on his back, as shown in the aforementioned copending application. The air in the cylinder is usually maintained at a pressure of the order of 3,000 pounds per square inch.
The usual air cylinder in the prior art is equipped with an on-off valve which is opened whenever the equipment is in use, so as to permit air to flow from the air cylinder to the face mask. A separate reducing valve is coupled to the on-off valve in the prior art system by a somewhat complicated coupling arrangement, in order that air under a constant low pressure bay be supplied to the face mask. The usual pressure in the face mask is of the order of 100 pounds per square inch. This low pressure is usually attained in the prior art by one or two separate reducing valve units, each containing a suitable pressure regulator, so as to reduce the pressure to the desired constant low-pressure level.
The improved unit of the present invention is one in which the functions of pressure regulating and pressure reduction are combined in a simple unit with anon-off control valve mechanism; the on-off control valve being manually controlled to turn on the air supply when wanted and to turn off the supply of air, whenever the equipment is not in use.
With the improved unit of the present invention, which is attached to the air cylinder, it is merely necessary to plug the air hose from the face mask directly into the valve unit on the air cylinder, without the need for extraneous reducing valves or the like. Not only does the improved unit of the present invention represent a substantial monetary saving over the multiple control valve regulator units of the prior art systems, but it also results in a great convenience to the diver since he no longer has to carry or be concerned with extraneous reducing valves which must be manually coupled by extraneous couplers to the cylinder when the equipment is to be put to use.
It will be appreciated as-the. description proceeds, and as mentioned above, that although the valve assembly of the invention findsparticular utility in conjunction with underwater diving equipment, it finds general utility in any system in which a fluid is to be delivered at a reduced pressure, from a high-pressure source. For example, the assembly of the invention can be used in administering anesthetics, in therapeutic systems, in survival equipment, and so on.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a pictorial representation of a diver carrying, in usual manner, an air cylinder on his back, and having a face mask coupled to the air cylinder by means of a usual air hose, the system including a combined valve assembly of the present invention, which is interposed between the air hose and the cylinder;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of an improved reducing valve unit, which incorporates the concepts of the present invention, the particular illustration showing an additional air hose clamped to the unit for filling the air cylinder with high-pressure air;
FIG. 3 is a view, like FIG. 2, but with the unit rotated 90 about the longitudinal axis;
FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the lll'llll of FIGS. 2 and 3, and illustrating the various components which go to make up the unit; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of the unit of'FlGS. 2
and 3, showing the manner in which the internal components thereof operate so as to achieve a desired regulated control of the air pressure delivered from the cylinder to the air hose.
OF PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENT DESCRIPTION .14 extends from the face mask 12 to an air cylinder 16 which,
conveniently, is carried on the back of the diver. A reducing valve assembly 18 is screwed into the tank 16, and the air hose -14 is plugged into the valve unit 18 by means, for example, of
a quick-connect coupling, of the type described in the said 'application and patent.
The valve unit 18 may be constructed in accordance with the present invention. As will be described, the valve 18 in- .cludes a manual control,-which can be adjusted to turn on or off the supply of air from the cylinder [[6 to the interior of the face mask 12.
When the manual control is turned on, the high-pressure air in the cylinder 16 is supplied through the air hose 14 at regulated low pressure to the interior of the face mask. The pressure reduction is accomplished in the unit 18, in a manner to be described, and a regulated low-pressure level is maintained, throughout the operation of the equipment. As mentioned above, the pressure in the cylinder 16 is of the order of 3,000 p.s.i., whereas the regulated pressure in the face mask 12 is of the order of psi.
The valve unit 18 also includes, as will be described, an auxiliary control, so that when the air pressure in the cylinder 16 drops to a critical level, an emergency reserve can be instituted, so as to provide the diver with enough air to reach the surface. I
As shown, for example, in FIGS. 2 and 3, the valve unit 18 of the invention is threaded into the neck of the air cylinder 16. The unit 18 includes a-manually adjustable valve handle 20 which may be turned to a valve open position so that air from the cylinder may flow into the unit 18, and through the unit. Conversely, the valve handle 20 may be turned to a valve closed position, at which the supply of high-pressure air from the cylinder 16 into the valve unit is turned off.
The valve unit 18 also includes an additional control handle 22 which, also, is manually adjusted. The handle 22 controls a safety reserve valve, and when turned to its on" position, it permits a reserve supply of air to pass through the valve unit 18 from the cylinder 16, when the air pressure in the cylinder 16 drops to a critical level, to provide an additional amount of air, sufficient, for example, to permit the diver to reach the surface.
The valve unit 18 includes a cylinder 24 which is mounted at the top of the unit. As A series of holes, such as the hole 26 are provided in the wall of the cylinder 24, to permit water to flow into the cylinder, for reasons to be described.
The low-pressure air from the unit 18 flows through the cylinder 24 and appears at a coupling 28 at the top of the cylinder. The coupling 28 is pivotally mounted on top of the cylinder 24. The coupling may be of the quick-disconnect type described in the aforesaid application and patent, and it releasably receives the air hose 14 which extends to the mask 12 of FIG. 1. As described in the aforesaid patent application,
the air hose 14 may be coupled into the coupling 28, merely by inserting it in the coupler and snapping it in place. Conversely, the air hose can be removed from the coupling 28, merely by pulling it out of the coupling.
It will be appreciated, from the description to this point, that the unit 18 is screwed into the neck of the air cylinder 16, and it constitutes a complete controllable source for the lowpressure regulated air for the face mask. 12. There is no need for the diver to couple extraneous regulators or other equipment to the cylinder 16 in order to place his equipment in operation. Instead, all he need do is plug the air hose 14 into the coupling 28 of the unit, and turn on the valve 20.
The unit 18 also includes a filler vent for the cylinder 16, so that the cylinder may be recharged with high-pressure air whenever necessary. For this purpose, the air hose 14 is disconnected, and a clamp 30 is slipped over the unit and tightened in place, for example, by means of a butterfly screw 32. As shown in FIG. 2, the valve handle 20 is shaped to have a series of concave surfaces, so as to receive conveniently the clamp and screw 32. An air hose 34 is secured to the clamp 30, and the latter air hose extends to a source of high-pressure air (not shown), for filling the tank 16.
The details of the reducing valve and regulator of the invention are shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. As shown in FIGS; 4 and 5, the valve unit includes a body portion 50, the lower end of which is threaded, as at 52, so as to permit the unit to be threaded into the neck of the cylinder 16..
A central passageway 54 extends up along the longitudinal axis of the body portion 50 from the bottom of the unit, and the passageway extends with reduced diameter, as an upper portion 54a, to a transverse passage 56. A further transverse passage 58 extendsacross the body 50 from the passage 56 to a second transverse passage 60.
Thereafter, an inclined passage 62 is formed in the body portion and extends up to yet another transverse passage 64. A transverse passage 66 couples the passage 64 to a further passage 68. The passage 68 extends along the longitudinal axis of the body portion to the upper end, and it has a peripheral channel therein, designated 68a, and which receives an O- ring, as will be described.
A further transverse passage 70 extends from the conduit 54a to a passage 72. The passage 72 extends transversely to one side of the body 52, and has internal threads for receiving a threaded bushing 74 which, in turn, holds a safety pressure plug 76 seated against the right-hand end of the passage 72 and effectively sealing the end of the passage 70. However, when the pressure in the unit exceeds a predetermined maximum, a hole is blown in the safety plug 76, so that air can escape through the bushing 74.
The left-hand wall of the passageway 56 serves as a seat for a valve 90 which is spring loaded by a spring 92. A turning lever 94 bears against a slide member 96 at the right-hand end of the spring 92 to hold the valve 90 seated against the wall of the passageway 56, so as to close the upper end of the conduit 54a. The turning lever is held in place by a locking nut 98 which, in turn, is sealed to the body 52 by means of an O-ring 100. The handle 22 fits over the locking nut 98, and is held by a lock screw 104 which, in turn, is spring loaded by means of a spring 106.
The elements described above constitute the components of a safety reserve valve. When the safety reserve valve is closed, the pressure from the air cylinder 16 is normally sufficiently high to force the spring-loaded valve 90 back to the right in FIG. 4, and thereby permit the air to flow out of the passage 54a and into the transverse passage 58.
' When the pressure in the air cylinder falls below a predetermined critical level, the spring-loaded safety reserve valve closes, so as to cut off any further supply of air to the face mask. However, the diver, by turning the handle 22, can release the spring-loaded valve 90, so that additional air will flow to the face mask. This is usually adjusted to provide an additional five minute supply, so as to provide the diver with sufficient time to reach the surface.
The passageway 60, on the other hand, forms a seat at its right-hand wall for a valve 110. The valve is threaded into the passageway 60, and is controlled by a turning lever 112. The turning lever 112 is held in place by a lock nut 114 which is threaded into an enlarged section 60a of the passageway 60, and which is sealed to the body 52 by means of an O-ring 116. A washer 118 is also provided between the lock nut and the turning lever.
The handle 20 is coupled to the end of the turning lever 112, and is held in place by a lock screw 120 which, in turn, is spring loaded by a spring 122. The handle 20 may be turned to cause the turning lever 112 to turn the valve 110 and cause it to seat against the right-hand end of the conduit 58, so that the supply of air from the cylinder 16 is cut off. Then, when the equipment is to be placed in operation, the handle 20 is turned to cause the valve 10 to be moved back from the conduit 58, so that air is free to flow from the conduit up the inclined conduit 62 to the passageway 64.
The passageway 64 receives the air hose 34, when it is desired to fill the cylinder 16 with high-pressure air. During normal operation of the unit, the passageway 64 is plugged by a copper washer 130, for example, which is held in place by a plug 132, the plug being threaded into the passageway 64 and sealed to the body 52 by means of an h I g The upper portion of the unit, as bes? shown in FIG. 5, serves as a pressure regulator, whereby the pressure of the air from thecylinder 16 is reduced to the level required by the face mask.
As shown in FIG. 5, a piston has a hollow stern 150a which extends down into the passage 68, and which is sealed to the inner wall of the conduit by means of an O-ring 152 which fits into the aforesaid channel 68a.
The piston 150 moves up and down within the cylinder 24, and an O-ring 154 effectively seals the piston to the inner wall of the cylinder. A spring 156 normally biases the piston up with respect to the body 52.
Whenever the pressure in the mask 12 of FIG. 1 dropsbelow the predetermined level of, for example, 100 pounds per square inch, the spring 156 moves the piston 150 upwardly within the cylinder 24. This opens a port at the left-hand end of the passage 66, so that air is free to flow through the hollow piston and into the upper half of the interior of the cylinder 24. This flow of air continues, until the pressure is such that the piston is forced down to the bottom of the conduit 68, effectively closing the part at the end of the passage 66. A Teflon seat 158 may be provided, for example, at the bottom of the conduit 68 to absorb the thrust of the lower end of the piston stem.
The water holes 26 permit water to flow into the lower part of the cylinder 24, so that the water pressure effectively assists the regulator spring 156. This provides for an increase in the pressure of the regulated low-pressure air which is supplied to the air mask, as the diver descends into deeper water, which is the result of an increase in water pressure in the lower section of the cylinder 24. This increase in the regulated pressure of the low-pressure air is desired, since it is desired for the pressure inside the mask 12 in FIG. 1 to increase, as the diver descends into deeper water, so that pressure equalization inside and outside the mask may be achieved.
The coupling 28, as shown in FIG. 5, is mounted on the top 8 I of the cylinder 24 in a manner to permit rotation of the coupling about the longitudinal axis of the unit, so as to facilitate the air hose coupling procedure.
The coupling 28 has a lower portion of reduced outer diameter which extends through the top of the cylinder 24, and which is sealed to the cylinder by means of an O-ring 160. A Teflon washer 162 may be provided, on the underside of the cylinder top, and the coupling may be held in place by a clamp 164 which bears against a further O-ring 166.
While a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, modifications may be made. The following claims are intended to cover such modifications as come within the scope of the invention.
I. A reducing valve assembly to be mounted on the neck of a cylinder for supplying high-pressure fluid from said cylinder to a remote point at a regulated reduced pressure, said assembly including: an integral body portion adapted to be mounted on said cylinder and to extend into the neck thereof, said body portion having internal passages therein through which fluid from said cylinder flows from an inlet port in the bottom of said body portion to an outlet port at the top of said body portion; a manually controlled on-off valve mounted on the side of said body portion and coupled to said internal passages selectively to open a path from said inlet port to said outlet port and selectively to close said path; pressure regulator means mounted in the upper end of said body portion and extending through said outlet port into one of the aforesaid passages for regulating the pressure of the fluid from the valve assembly so as to reduce the pressure thereof to a predetermined regulated value; spring-loaded valve means mounted in the side of said body portion opposite to said on-off valve and coupled to said internal passages to interrupt the flow of fluid from said inlet port to said outlet port when the pressure in the cylinder falls below a predetermined thresho d; and Q IQP Y operated means coupled to said spring-loaded valve for selectively releasing the spring pressure on said spring-loaded valve.
2. The assembly defined in claim 1 in which said pressure regulator means includes a cylindrical member mounted on said body portion and surrounding said outlet port and a hollow piston member slidably mounted in said cylindrical member and extending down through said outlet port into said last-named passage, and an air hose coupling mounted on the upper end of said cylindrical member.
3. The assembly defined in claim 2 in which said cylinder has an opening therein to permit water to flow into the lower portion of said cylinder between said piston and said body portion.
4. The assembly defined in claim 1 in which said body portion has a port therein for receiving an air hose, said lastnamed port being coupled to said passages in said body portion at a point between said on-off valve and said outlet port to introduce compressed air into the cylinder through said on-off valve and through said spring-loaded valve.