US 3597780 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Jan R. Coyle  References Cited P.0. Box 297, Milford, Utah 84751 UNITED STATES PATENTS P 873572 3,059,814 10 1962 POIICeI 6! al. 222/5 1969 3,077,288 2/1963 Henry 222/5 3,426,942 2/1969 McMains 61 al. 9/3 18 x 3,449,777 6/1969 l-lattori 9 316 Primary ExaminerMilton Buchler Assistant ExaminerPaul E. Sauberer AUTOMATIC INFLATION DEVICE 8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 9/316, 222/5 Int. Cl. B631: 9/18 Field ofSearch 9/311- Attorney-Newton H. Lee, Jr.
ABSTRACT: An automatic inflation device for flotation gear, in which a manually operable cam lever for effecting the release of gas from a pressure cartridge by moving a punch, is provided with a pyrotechnic device for shifting the punch for releasing the gas without requiring operation of the cam lever.
AUTOMATIC INFLATION DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the inflation of flotation gear, such as life rafts and life jackets, it is the practice to provide a source of compressed gas, for example a bottle or-cartridge of compressed carbon dioxide gas, which can be released to inflate the flotation gear when desired. In general, the devices for releasing the gas from the pressurized cartridge have involved a'pivoted lever which effects movement of a punch, the punch, in turn, piercing the closure of the pressure cartridge to liberatethe pressurized gas.
Automatic operation of thepunch mechanism, upon immersion of the gear in water has long been desirable. However, the devices heretofore available for automatically punching the seal or closure of the pressure cartridge have not been entirely satisfactory and have been relatively complex and expensive to produce and service.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION- The present invention provides an inflation device for flotation gear, which is adapted to be either manually or automatically operated-to punch a pressurized gas cartridge.
More particularly, the device provided by the present'invention is simple in its construction, has few parts, is reliable in operation, relatively inexpensive to produce, and easy to service.
In accomplishing the foregoing, the present invention involves the provision of the usual cam and lever, normally employed to puncture a closure of a pressure cartridge, with a pyrotechnic device which, upon initiation, is effective to shift the usual cam operated punch to effect release of pressurized gas from a pressure cartridge. Specifically, the pyrotechnic device is an actuator cylinder containing a piston and a quantity of explosive material adapted, upon firing, to project the piston from the cylinder. The pyrotechnic device is disposed in a bore in the cam which usually effects shifting of the punch for the pressure cartridge, and the pyrotechnic device being substantially in alignment with the punch and engaged therewith, so that upon firing of the pyrotechnic device, the punch is shifted to puncture the closure or seal of the pressure cartridge.
In order to initiate the pyrotechnic device, a suitable water activated firing system may be employed, whichupon'immersion in water will fire the pyrotechriiodevice.
A device according to the invention is of general application, wherever the release of a gas charge-may be necessary in the presence of water, but, more particularly, the inventionis particularly well suited to safety flotation gear such as is employed by crewmen of a seagoing vessel, who are particularly exposed to the hazards of life at sea or enemy attack. The device also has particular application to airmen who may go down at sea or parachute from an aircraft over the water.
An advantage attributable to the present invention is that the inflation device is so constructed that it may be readily adapted for automatic actuation by a pyrotechnic device, but if such actuation is not desired, the inflation device is manually operable in the customary mannerfThc simplicity of arming the inflation device for automatic operation also renders the device easy to service after use.
This invention possesses many other advantages, and has other purposes which may be made more clearly apparent from a consideration of a form in which it may be embodied. This form is shown in the drawings accompanying and forming part of the present specification. It will now be described in detail, for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention; but it is to be understood that such detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, since the scope of the invention is best definedby the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a longitudinal section through an automatic inflation device made in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan ofthe device; and
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view in section, showing the operation ofthe punch by the pyrotechnic device.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As seen in the drawings, a head I0 of the device is provided with a threaded bore II adapted to receive the threaded neck 12 of a housing 13. Within the housing 13 is a pressure cartridge or bottle 14 of the usual type adapted to contain gas under pressure, such as pressurized carbon dioxide. The neck I2 of-the housing I3 is retained against inadvertent displacement from the bore II by a set screw I5 engaged in a radially extended threaded bore in the lower end portion 16 of the head I0. At its lower end, the housing 13 is threaded, as at 17,
to receive a bottom closure I8, a seal '19 preferably being provided between'the housing 13 and the closure 18. This closure I8 pennits the housing I3 to be loaded with a cartridge 14.
well known. In order to puncture this seal, the head 10 is pro vided with a reciprocable punch 23, having a point 24 at the lower end 'of a stem 25. The punch 23 is biased upwardly or away from the upper end 22 of the pressure cartridge 14 by a coiled compression spring 26 which is disposed about the stem 25 and seats on the lower shoulder 27 provided in a bore 28 in which the punch 23 is reciprocable, the upper end of the spring 26 abutting with a head section 29 of the punch 23. The head section 29 of the'punch 23 is provided with a suitable side ring seal 30 slidably and sealingly engaged in the bore 28, so that upon release of the pressurized gas from the cartridge I4, such gas cannot escape upwardly through the bore 28 past the punch head 29.
At one side of the head 10 of the inflation device is a 'passage 31, which in the usual manner, is adapted to be connected to appropriate flotation gear, such as a life raft or life preserver, and the head 10 has a laterally extended port 32 leading from a reduced portion 33 of the bore 28, whereby pressurized gas liberated from the pressure cartridge 14 may flow into the bore portion 33, through the port 32, and into the outlet passage 3! ofthe head 10.
Means are provided for effecting downward movement of the punch 23 toward the upper end 22 of the pressure cartridge I4 so as to'puncture or pierce the seal at the upper end of the cartridge I4, as is customary. This means includes a cam surface 34 formed on a section 35 of a lever 36. The lever is pivotally mounted on a pivot pin 37 which extends between a pair of upstanding ears 38 on the body 10. The arm of the lever 36 normally extends longitudinally along the side of the body or head 10. Upon pivotal movement of the lever 36, the cam surface 34 is adapted to axially shift the punch 23 against the counter force of the spring 26, whereupon the point 24 'of thepunch 23 will pierce or puncture the upper end 22 of the pressure cartridge I4. When the lever 36 is released, the spring 26 and the pressure of the gas in the cartridge 14 will act on the punch 23 to return the same to the normal position of FIG. I.
At suitable locations, the head or body 10 is provided with an opening 39 and the lever 36 is provided with an adjacent opening 40 through which a suitable safety retainer is adapted to extend and hold the lever 36 in the normal position of'FIG.
I, as is also customary. Such a retainer would be manually removed in order to enable manual operation of the device as described above.
However, in accordance with the present invention, means are provided for actuating the punch 23 to pierce or puncture the cartridge 14 without requiring actuation of the lever 36. In this connection, the lever 36 is provided with a bore 4] terminating at an inner shoulder 42. A reduced bore 43 extends through the lever 36. Disposed in the bore 41 and seating on the shoulder 42 is a pyrotechnic device 44. This pyrotechnic device is typical of those comprising a cylinder and a piston extensible from the cylinder when the pyrotechnic device is initiated or fired. Such a piston is illustrated in FIG. 3 at 45. The pyrotechnic device 44 includes a pair of electrical conductor leads 46 which project from the lever 36 through drilled holes 47' provided at opposite sides of an enlarged threaded cavity 48 adapted to receive a screw 48a which retains the pyrotechnic device 44 in the bore 41. The conductor ieads 46 may be connected to any suitable water activated switch mechanism, so that pyrotechnic device 44 will be initiated upon immersion of the switch mechanism in a body of water. An example of a water activated mechanism useful to initiate the pyrotechnic device 44 is the Liquid Activated System of my pending application for Letters Patent of the United States, Ser. No. 752,551, filed Aug. 14, 1968, although other water activated switches are known.
References to FIG. 3 will show that when the piston 45 is extended from the pyrotechnic device 44, it will engage the arcuate upper end surface 49 of the punch 23 so as to force the punch 23 downwardly against the spring 26, the point 24 of the punch 23 piercing the upper end 22 of the pressure cartridge 14, without requiring manual actuation of the lever 36. After the pressure cartridge 14 has been punctured and the effect of the initiation of the pyrotechnic device 44 has dissipated, the pressure of the gas within the cartridge 14 and the force of the spring 26 will shift the punch 23 upwardly to free the gas from the cartridge 14 for flow into the bore 33, through the port 32 and from the discharge passageway 31 in the head or body 10.
When it is desired to rearm the flotation device, it is only necessary to remove the lower closure 18 from the housing 13 to allow the replacement of the cartridge 14 and to remove the screw 48a from the lever 36 to allow replacement of the pyrotechnic device 44.
The actuation of the punch 23 by the pyrotechnic device 44 is effectively caused by the action of the piston 45 on the upper end of the punch 23, and the reaction of the pyrotechnic device is taken by the pivot pin 37 for the lever 36. Accordingly, the pyrotechnic device 44 is substantially aligned with the punch 23 so as to effect longitudinal movement of the punch with a minimum of side load thereon. Other arrangements of the pyrotechnic device are possible so as to completely eliminate all side loads from the punch 23, such as for example, the relocation of the pivot pin and the pyrotechnic device so that the pivot pin, the pyrotechnic device and the punch are arranged on a common plane.
Other changes or alterations may be made without depart ing from the invention, the essence of which involves as will be understood from the foregoing, the provision ofa pyrotechnic piston and cylinder device 44 in the lever 36 whereby to effect automatic actuation of the punch 23 in lieu of manual operation of the punch in response to the pivotal movement of the lever 36.
1. In an inflation device for flotation gear, a head having a passage for communication with the flotation gear, a pressure cartridge containing gas under pressure, means supporting said pressure cartridge on said head, said pressure cartridge being puncturable to release said gas therefrom, whereby said gas will flow through said passage to said flotation gear, punch means reciprocable in said head between a normal position and a position for puncturing said pressure cartridge, cam means on said head manually operable to move said punch to puncture said pressure cartridge, and pyrotechnic means including a cylinder and piston carried by said cam means for automatically moving said punch topuncture said pressure cartridgeuplon initiation of said yrotechnic means.
2. An in ation device as de med in claim 1, wherein sa|d cam means includes a cam member, a pivot pin for said cam member, a lever arm on said cam member for pivoting said cam member on said pin, and said pyrotechnic means is operatively interposed between said cam member and said punch, whereby said piston and cylinder means acts on said punch and reacts on said pivot pin.
3. An inflation device as defined in claim 1, wherein said cam has a bore receiving said cylinder of said pyrotechnic means, said cam having a reduced bore aligned with the firstmentioned bore for movement of said piston from said cylinder into engagement with said punch.
4. An inflation device as defined in claim 1, wherein said cam has a bore receiving said cylinder of said pyrotechnic means, and including a threaded member removably holding said cylinder in said bore.
5. An inflation device as defined in claim 1, wherein said cam has a bore receiving said cylinder of said pyrotechnic means, and including a threaded member removably holding said cylinder in said bore, said cylinder having electrical conductors connectable to a source of electricity to initiate said pyrotechnic means, and said conductors extending from said bore between said threaded member and said cam.
6. An inflation device as defined in claim 1, wherein said cam has a bore receiving said cylinder of said pyrotechnic means, and including a threaded member removably holding said cylinder in said bore, and said means supporting said pressure cartridge on said body comprises a removable member to allow replacement of said cartridge.
7. In an inflation device for flotation gear, a head having a bore therein, a port leading from said bore, a passage communicating with said port and adapted to communicate with said flotation gear, a cam lever, a pivot pin pivotally supporting said cam lever on said head, a punch reciprocable in said bore, said cam lever having a cam surface engageable with one end of said punch upon pivotal movement of said cam lever to move said punch in one direction, a housing on said head, a cartridge of pressurized gas in said housing, a point on the other end of said punch engageable with said cartridge to puncture the same upon movement of said punch in said one direction, and pyrotechnic means effectively interposed in said cam lever between said punch and said pivot pin for moving said punch in said one direction.
8. An inflation device as defined in claim 7, wherein said cam has a bore in said lever, said pyrotechnic means including an actuator cylinder in said latter bore, said cylinder having a piston therein and a quantity of explosive material, conductor means connectable to a source of electricity to initiate said explosive material, and said cylinder being substantially aligned with said punch, whereby said piston will engage said punch and shift the latter in said one direction upon initiation of said explosive material.