US 3584640 A
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United States Patent  Inventor William E.Chapman 266 Deerfield Drive, Moraga, Calif. 94556 5.481
 Appl. No.  Filed Jan. 26, 1970  Patented June 15, 1971 pump station supplying water for use in buildings, municipal water systems, or ships and the like. The pump station p  PACKAGE PNEUMATIC PUMP STATION rovides a compact, easily transportaank with a water 11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
ble unit including a hydropneumatic t pump motor, and inlet and outlet fluid conduits arranged to ntenance. The water essible location, with g vertically through the tank. The
facilitate simplified installation and mai pump driven by a motor in an easil y acc is directed through the tank in a sealed .mwm r mmm en t a Bm ew mw h a Phm n 80 tdc 0 4 m w 4 a o fl 1M7 3 4 0 6 F 7 3 "0 wms Mb m 4 6 mmm m h m m m 0 l x m l .w h F l 1 l 0 5 5 ch conduit providing communication into the tank. Means are provided to maintain a pressurized air pocket within the tank for dischar ging water under pressure  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1/1960 Dorer...........................
when the pump is shut down. The housing for the unit encloses the elements in a tamper-proof manner, and vertical rib mem- 137/576 X bers serve both as enclosures for the control conduits and tank 3,135,282 6/1964 Gray..... 3,140,050
137/209 X sight glass, and also provide a rain water drain.
e r o m E 4 6 9 l 7 PATENTEUJUHISIEWI 35 84 640 SHEET 1 BF 3 FIG...2
INVENTOR. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN Adz am 74%! ATTORNEYS ATENTFILmmmn 3 5 4 5 sum 2 UF 3 FIG 3 INVENTOR. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN BY J M A/z)z, 1 ATTORNEYS PATEN TEU JUN] 5 I97! SHEET 3 BF 3 FIG 4 INVENTOR. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN BY l. Xmr/ (gzgm a M ATTORNEYS PACKAGE PNEUMATIC PUMP STATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND OBJECTS This invention relates to water systems used in buildings, municipalities, or ships, and more particularly relates to pneumatic pump station apparatus used in these water systems.
Various types of systems are conventionally employed for maintaining an adequate water supply for municipalities, office or apartment buildings, or large factories and the like. One such commonly used water system employs an elevated tank or standpipe for maintaining a large water reservoir supplying water under a relatively constant pressure. Elevated tanks of this type are expensive to build and maintain, and furthermore are objectionably unsightly, especially when used by a municipality. A series of incrementally sized pumps feed the water reservoir. Continued water consumption drops the reservoir level so that the pumps sequentially operate to provide a water resupply rate roughly equivalent to consumption rate.
Another conventional water system incorporates a variable speed pump controlled by water pressure. Pump speed varies to supply water at a rate to maintain a relatively constant pressure, thereby pumping water at a rate proportional to consumption. Water systems employing pumps ofthis type are expensive from the standpoint of initial cost and pump maintenance.
Still another water system of the type described employs a constantly running pump with a pressure responsive feedback line which recycles water as an inverse function of water consumption. This pump system is, however, highly inefficient as a result of constant pump operation.
Pneumatic pump water systems have been adopted to avoid having an unsightly and expensive elevated tank. Systems of this type enable the pump unit to be located on the ground at a low elevation for supplying water under pressure at a number of elevations. These pneumatic pump stations employ a hydropneumatic tank into which water is pumped periodically so that a contained air pocket or bubble within the tank is compressed to maintain water pressure while the pumps are shut down. When consumption drops the water level below a certain level, the pumps operate until water in the tank is resupplied.
Pneumatic pump water systems of the type described have presented considerable engineering problems during con struction of the building or municipal water systems. The various pumps, valves, piping, tanks, and air compressors must be sized in relation to different factors such as the desired flow capacity and pressure conditions. When these elements have been selected and the plans and specifications completed, a suitable architectural structure for housing the unit must then be constructed. The resulting structure is frequently very large, difficult to maintain and operate, and susceptible to vandalism or tampering. The need has been recognized for a small, compact pump station which can be inexpensively built by a manufacturer and shipped complete to an end user in response to the latters requirements, and without the necessity of custom engineering or architecture. Custom engineering must, by necessity, include the sizing of the pumps and controls in relation to the air/water volume ratio of the pressure tank. The pumps produce the pressure within the pressure tank and, in accordance with the physical law known as Boyle's Law, the pressure and volume are related, and thus the combined design of pumps, tank volume and controls is most difficult to achieve.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a pneumatic pump station which is easily manufactured in a small, compact unit adapted for immediate use in a water system without the requirement for custom engineering or architecture.
Another object is to provide a pneumatic pump station of the type described which provides a pump unit arranged in relation to a hydropneumatic tank facilitating replacement or maintenance ofthe component elements of the station.
Another object is to provide a pneumatic pump station of the type described enclosed by a housing in a manner preventing vandalism and tampering while also providing accessibility to the operating elements.
Another object is to provide a pneumatic pump station of the type described in which a housing supporting a hydropneumatic tank incorporates a plurality of vertical ribs functioning both as enclosures for control conduits or a tank sight glass, and as means for draining the exposed upper compartment ofthe unit.
The invention broadly inciudes a simplified and compact pneumatic pump station used in water systems for municipalities, office or apartment buildings, ships, or large factories and the like. The individual elements of the station may be easily engineered by a manufacturer into a compact unit to meet the end users requirements as to flow capacity and pressure conditions. The pump station includes a hydropneumatic tank between upper and lower compartments enclosing various component elements. A turbine or centrifugal pump disposed in a sealed housing running through the tank is driven from a motor mounted in the upper compartment where it is accessible for maintenance. An upper discharge manifold from the pump delivers water under pressure into the bottom of the tank through a sealed discharge conduit also running through the tank. Water is discharged from the tank and discharge conduit on a demand basis into the water system. A pressurized air pocket within the tank maintains water pressure while the pump is shut down, and an air compressor replenishes air which is absorbed from the air pocket into the water. The upper compartment opens upwardly facilitating maintenance in that the pump or pumps may be easily withdrawn from the pump housing through the opening without disturbing the effect of the other pump or pumps and their function. A plurality of vertical support ribs on the outside of the tank function both to enclose control conduits and a sight glass, and also to drain water which may enter the upper compartment. The component operating and control elements are enclosed in a manner preventing unauthorized entry or vandalism.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred pneumatic pump station incorporating features of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view, partially broken away, of the pump station of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross section elevational view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a partial cross section elevational view of another preferred form of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and particularly FIG. 1, a pneumatic pump station according to the invention is illustrated generally at 10. Pump station 10 would find application in a number of water systems, such as in municipalities, office or apartment buildings, or large factories and the like. The component elements of pump station 10 define a relatively small and compact upstanding housing 11 adapted for easy transportability to the end use site. The pump station is adapted for installation on a suitable prepared foundation 12 which may be of concrete, crushed rock or asphalt and the like. At the installation site it is only necessary to additionally provide suitable electrical connections and suction and discharge connections, not shown, to the desired water system. Similarly, pump station 10 could be installed in a room or enclosure of a building or factory for use in its associated water system.
Pump station 10 is illustrated in greater detail in FIGS. 2 and 3. The pump station includes a hydropneumatic pressure tank 14 preferably comprising an upstanding cylindrical midsection or sidewall 16 closed at its ends by domed bottom or lower end wall 18 and top or upper end wall 20. The tank retains a reservoir of water 22 received from and discharging through inlet/outlet fitting or opening 24. The level 26 of the water reservoir moves within the limits of low water level 28 and high water level 30 as determined by the rate of water consumption and resupply and as further defined by the desired pressure minimum at low water level 28 and the desired maximum pressure at high water level 30. The relationship between the high water level and the low water level must be consistent with the natural pressure volume relationship'as described in physics by Boyle's Law."
Tank 14 is supported on foundation 12 by means of lower cylindrical skirt 32 mounted at its lower end on base 34 and secured at its upper end to the outer margin of end wall 18. The skirt, foundation, and tank end together define a lower compartment 35. A suitable door or hatch, not shown, is provided in skirt 32 for access to the operating elements within the lower compartment. An upper cylindrical skirt 36 is secured to the outer margin of upper end wall 20 to define an upper compartment 37. Skirt 36 in turn supports at its upper end an annular inwardly extending cover member 38. This cover member is provided for stiffening skirt 36, and for aesthetic appeal. A central opening 40 in the cover member provides access to the elements in the upper compartment of the pump station to facilitate installation or maintenance thereof. Lifting rings, not shown may be provided at suitable location on station for transportability purposes.
Housing 11 further includes a plurality of upstanding circumferentially spaced hollow ribs 4146 extending between the upper and lower compartments and providing rigid support for tank 14. A series of drain openings 47,48 are formed at the lower edge of upper skirt 36 adjacent tank end wall and are aligned'with a respective support rib. Rain or moisture entering opening 40 will drain from compartment 37 through these openings, down through the hollow ribs, and out through openings 49,50 provided at the bottom of the ribs. In addition, rib 41 provides an enclosure for an electrical control conduit 52, while rib 46provides an enclosure for sight glass 54. An opening 56 is provided in rib 50 at the level of sight glass 54 for visual observation thereof, and this opening may be covered and locked by a suitable hinged plate 58 preventing unauthorized tampering or vandalism. The configuration of the pump station further discourages vandalism in that the pump elements in the lower compartment are closed from the outside, while those elements in the upper compartment are inaccessible since an individual would find it difficult to climb the vertical walls of the skirts and tank.
Pump station 10 is mounted on the foundation above a suction or inlet conduit 60 and water use discharge conduit 62. The suction and discharge conduits in turn are connected with the existing water lines of the selected water system where the installation is to be made.
A pump assembly 64 is provided for pumping water from suction conduit 60 and delivering it under high pressure into both tank 14 and discharge conduit 62. Pump assembly 64 comprises a turbine pump 66 mounted within cylindrical pump housing 68 and driven by a suitable electric motor 70 operably connected with pump drive shaft 72. Pump housing 68 extends vertically through tank 14 with fluid tight sealing provided at end wall openings 74,76 by suitable means such as welding. A suitable reducer connection 78 interconnects suction conduit 60 with the inlet of pump housing 68.
Turbine pump 66 is conventional and may comprise any number ofin-line pump stages or elements, shown as eight. Alternatively, the water pump may comprise a horizontal pump mounted within lower compartment 35. Water under high pressure is discharged from the turbine stages through outlet conduit 80 concentrically mounted between drive shaft 72 and pump housing 68. An Ell connection 82 directs the discharge from the pump into one-way check valve 84 connected with a suitable flow control valve 86, which may be a manually controlled butterfly valve, for example. Valve 86 is in turn connected with discharge conduit 88 extending through tank 14 and pressure sealed at the end wall openings 90 and 92 by suitable means such as welding. Conduit 88 extends through tank 14 rather than discharging directly into the air pocket so as to prevent the escape of air at the joints located about elements 82,84 and 86. Conduit 88 is filled with water effecting a water seal at these various joints. The lower end of conduit 88 communicates with a Tee connection 94. The side branch of Tee 94 connects with tank inlet/outlet fitting 24 through a flow control valve 96, which may be a butterfly-type valve, and E11 connection 98. The lower branch of Tee 94 is coupled with conduit communicating with discharge conduit 62.
Pump motor 70 is operated under influence of a conventional control circuit including control panel 102 mounted in the lower compartment secure from unauthorized tampering. Electrical power is supplied to the control panel through conduit 104, and control conduit 52 interconnects panel 102 with pump motor 70. The control conduit is trained between the upper and lower compartments through the hollow passageway or cavity formed between rib 41 and the outside surface of tank midsection 16. The control circuit of panel 102 energizes motor 70 for a pumping cycle responsive to conventional sensing means, not shown, in the tank indicating a resupply of water as required. The sensing means is conventional and may operate responsive to either water level in the tank, or air pressure in the tank which is a direct function of volume.
While the tank and pump has been shown in vertical positioning, it is understood that an arrangement could be used with the tank and pump in horizontal configuration, not shown, and with suitable modification in connecting the various conduits for operation in the manner of the present invention.
The tank 14 is sized in relation to the particular flow capacity requirements and pressure conditions of the water system in which the pump station will be utilized. The working volume ofthe tank is the volume of water between high water level 30 and low water level 28. Control panel 102 operates to energize the pump motor when the tank water drops below low level 28, and shuts down when the water is pumped into the tank above high level 30. For example, assume that flow consumption rate of a given water system would average 200 gallons per minute, and the operating pressure should be between 4050 p.s.i. With the tank sized to provide a working water volume between high and low water levels of 2,000 gallons, the pump would cycle every 10 minutes. During pump shutdown the pressurized air pocket in the tank will force water from reservoir 22 through inlet/outlet fitting 24, Tee 94, and into discharge conduit 62. During this time check valve 84 prevents return flow through conduit 88.
Sight glass 54 is in communication with the tank through lower tubing 106 and upper tubing 108, both of which are mounted within the hollow passageway or cavity formed between rib 46 and the outer surface of tank midsection 16. Water in the tank communicates with the sight glass through tubing 106 and provides a visual indication of water level within the tank. Hinge plate 58 swings away from opening 58 for observing the sight glass, and the plate may be locked to cover the opening preventing unauthorized tampering or vandalism.
A suitable air compressor 110 communicates with the tank through tubing 112 and supplies makeup air into the tank replacing the air absorbed by the water. Compressor 110 is energized by a conventional control circuit operating responsive to suitable sensors, not shown, detecting either tank water level or air pressure indicating a drop in the amount of air for a given water level. Conventional floating diaphragms, not shown, may also be employed on the surface of water reservoir 22 to reduce air absorption.
Maintenance and servicing of pump station 10 is facilitated by the novel construction and arrangement of the various elements. The valves, control panel and air compressor in the lower compartment are accessible for servicing through the locked door, not shown, provided in the wall of lower skirt 32. With the door locked, these elements are secure from vandalism. The elements in the upper compartment, including the pump motor and valves, are secure to the degree that it would be difficult for a person to climb up the tank sidewalls. Servicing of pump 66 is facilitated in that it can easily be vertically raised from pump housing 68 through opening 40. With housing 68 sealed from the tank it is thus not necessary to drain the tank during pump maintenance.
The cycle of operation for pump station is as follows. Assuming that water consumption has lowered the water below low level 28, this condition is sensed by the control circuit of panel 102 which energizes motor 70 for operation of pump 66. The pump draws water through the suction conduit 78 and delivers it under pressure through conduit 80, check valve 84, control valve 86, discharge conduit 88, and Tee connection 94. Water from the Tee flows both into conduit 100 and discharge conduit 62 on a demand basis, and through valve 96 and fitting 24 into the tank. Water in the tank rises and pressurizes the air pocket. The control circuit senses the water reaching high level 30 and terminates operation of motor 70 to shut down pump operation. Following this the pressurized air pocket is effective to force the water under pressure in a reverse flow through fitting 24, Tee 94 and discharge conduit 62 into the water system on a demand basis. Air compressor 110 operates intermittently to inject air into the tank responsive to the control circuit indicating that the air pocket has decreased due to absorption.
Referring to FIG. 4 another preferred pump station embodiment is illustrated generally at 114. Pump station 114 incorporates a dual pump system. The additional pump supplies increased flow capacity and at the same time provides a safety factor should one pump be shut down or inoperable for any reason.
Pump station 114 includes a hydropneumatic tank 116 mounted in a manner similar to the previously described pump station. The tank is supported on a lower cylindrical skirt 118 defining with the tank bottom wall a lower compartment 119. An upper cylindrical skirt 120 defines with the tank top end wall an upper compartment 121. A plurality of vertical, hollow ribs 122,124 are mounted around the periphery of the tank and skirts. Rib 122 provides a passageway or cavity for .sight glass 126 and associated tubing 128,130. A series of openings 132,134 are provided in upper skirt 120 for draining water from the upper compartment, down through the ribs, and out through openings 135,137 at the base of the ribs. A cover member 136 supported on skirt 120 defines an opening 138 providing access to the upper compartment.
The pump system for station 114 includes a pair of pump assemblies 140,142 each including vertically disposed turbine pumps, not shown, mounted in respective pump housings 144,146. The pump housings in turn are mounted through the tank with suitable fiuidtight sealing provided at the tank end walls. The turbine pumps of each pump assembly 140,142 are powered by respective motors 148,150 under influence of a conventional control system, not shown.
Water is drawn into the pump station through suction inlet 152 and inlet manifold 154. This inlet manifold in turn communicates with respective inlet ends of pump housings 144,146 through reducer connections 156,158. Suitable flow control valves 160,162, for example, of the butterfly valve type, are provided upstream of each reducer connection in manifold 154. Water discharging from the pumps is directed through respective check valves 164,166 and flow control valves 168,170 into Tee 172 communicating with discharge conduit 174 extending through tank 116 and fluidly sealed at the tank end walls. The lower end of conduit 174 communicates with a Cross 176 which has a side branch communicating with flow control valve 178 and tank inlet/outlet 180, a side branch communicating with flow control valve 182 and discharge fitting 134 adapted for connection with the discharge conduit of the desired water system, and a lower branch communicating with reducer E11 186. E11 186 recycles water into pressure reducer valve 188 on a horizontal run, not orthographically shown, connected with inlet manifold 154. Valve 188 is adapted to open at a suitable pressure setting for recycling water back through the pumps when the water pressure rises above the desired system pressure for any reason. A suitable air compressor, not shown, is preferably provided for injecting air into the tank for replacing air lost through absorption into the water.
From the foregoing it is apparent that there has been provided herein an improved pneumatic pump station of compact and simplified construction and operation. The pump station facilitates maintenance and servicing of the component elements and incorporates features discouraging unauthorized tampering and vandalism. The station is adapted for easy transportability as a unitary pumping system to the desired job site in a water system without requiring extensive engineering of the various components or separate architectural requirements. While the embodiments herein are considered to be preferred it is understood that numerous variations therein may be made by those skilled in the art within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.
1. A pneumatic pump station for use in a water system for supplying water under pressure from a source of water to water use conduit means, including the combination of: a tank for containing a reservoir of water and a pressurized air pocket, the tank including a sidewall enclosed by top and bottom end walls; a housing including a lower skirt supporting the tank and defining a lower compartment with the tank bottom wall, and an upper skirt mounted on the tank for defining an upper compartment with the tank top wall; water pump means having an inlet end and a discharge end, said inlet end extending through the tank into the lower compartment and in fluid communication with the source of water, and the discharge end extending through the tank into the upper compartment, the pump means including pump operating means mounted in the upper compartment; and, discharge conduit means connecting the pump means discharge end in fluid communication with the reservoir in the tank and the water use conduit means.
2. The invention of claim 1 and further characterized in that the discharge conduit means extends through the tank between respective upper and lower compartments in fluid tight sealing relationship with said tank end walls.
3. The invention of claim 2 and further characterized in that the discharge conduit means includes a branch conduit in the lower compartment communicating water to the tank from the pump means, and from the tank to the water use conduit means.
4. The invention of claim 1 and further characterized in that the water pump means includes a pump housing extending through the tank between the upper and lower compartments, and the pump housing is in fiuidtight sealing relationship with said tank end walls.
5. The invention of claim 4 and further characterized in that the pump means further includes a water pump mounted in the housing and adapted for vertical removal therefrom for maintenance, and said pump operating means is in driving connection with the water pump.
6. The invention of claim 1 and further characterized in that the pump means comprises a plurality of upstanding pump housings extending through the tank between the upper and lower compartments, a plurality of water pumps, each pump mounted in a respective pump housing, the operating means is adapted to drive respective means, the pump means inlet end comprises manifold conduit means communicating the source of water in parallel fluid connection with respective pump housing ends in the lower compartment, and the pump means discharge end comprises manifold conduit means communicating discharge from respective pump housing upper ends in the upper compartment in parallel fluid connection with the discharge conduit.
7. The invention of claim 6 and further including recycle conduit means providing fluid communication between the inlet manifold means and the discharge manifold means, and