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Publication numberUS3606389 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 20, 1971
Filing dateOct 13, 1969
Priority dateOct 13, 1969
Publication numberUS 3606389 A, US 3606389A, US-A-3606389, US3606389 A, US3606389A
InventorsRupert Munton, Hal Capper, Kenneth White Pearson
Original AssigneeShipowners Cargo Res Assoc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Connector for use with refrigerated containers
US 3606389 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 20, '1971 RQ-MUNTON ETAL 3,606,389

. commc'roa FOR usn WITH REFRIGERATED cou'mmsns Filed oct'. 13, 1969 s Sheets-Sheet 1 a5 5/ 53 5/ a3 V Sept'. 20', 1971 MUNTON ETAL 3,606,389

CONNECTOR FOR USE WITH REFRIGERATED CONTAINERS Filed Oct. 15, 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Sept. 20, 1 971 um-0 ETAL 3,606,389

CONNECTOR FOR USE :WITH REFRIGERATED CONTAINERS Filed on. 13, 1969 v s Sheets-Shet s United States Patent 3,606,389 CONNECTOR FOR USE WITH REFRIGERATED CONTAINERS Rupert Munton, Surrey, Hal Capper, London, and Kenneth White Pearson, Somerset, England, assignors to Shipowners Refrigerated Cargo Research Association,- London, England Filed Oct. 13, 1969, Ser. No. 865,547 Int. Cl. F161 25/00 US. Cl. 285-9R 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A coupling device for connecting transportable refrigerated containers to a supply of fluid under pressure and in particular for connecting such containers with a refrigeration system, the coupling comprising a mounting bracket for connection with a supply of fluid under pressure, a flexible extendible annular body which is impervious and thermally insulating connected at one end to the mounting bracket and at its other end to a support ring, said support ring having in its opposite surface an annular groove in which a plurality of resiliently deformable strands of material are mounted, the strands being arranged to abut against a sealing plate surrounding an aperture in the container and the bracket being connected to the duct leading to the supply of fluid, the annular ring being biased towards the container and the arrangement being such that the coupling is fully automatic and is provided with cam means which engage the container as the container is moved into the coupling station, the arrangement being such that when the container is in the coupling station it is connected to the supply of fluid and the coupling permits limited movements of the container in every direction yet still maintains a seal.

This invention relates to a coupling device for connecting transportable containers to a supply of fluid under pressure. The invention is primarily intended for use with such aforesaid containers which are transported by one or more forms of transport, in which it is necessary on each form of transport, or even during stand-over periods, for example on a quay side, to connect the interior of the container with a refrigeration system to enable cold air to be circulated through the container to keep the contents of the container at the required temperature.

Most existing couplings depend upon hydraulic or pneumatic means or other forms of motivation to move the coupling from an extended position where it engages around an aperture in a wall of the container to provide communication between fixed ducting of a refrigerating system and the container, to a withdrawn position. The disadvantage of providing hydraulic or pneumatic means, or other forms of motivation to move the coupling to its withdrawn position is that such devices need servicing, which is time consumng and expensive, and may be impossible if a container is in position in the hold of a ship and the coupling connected to the container. Hence, if a breakdown occurs, the coupling may never function properly and the contents of the container will heat.

With the majority of these existing couplings, leak-free circulation of air is ensured by the provision of a seal which engages with a prepared surface on the container and a flexible but impermeable connection between a plate carrying the said seal and a second plate connected to the fixed ducting. When the coupling is disengaged and in its withdrawn position, sutficient clearance is established between the seal and the container face to enable the transportable container to be loaded or off-loaded without constraint or contact with the seal.

3,606,389 Patented Sept. 20, 1971 ice The present invention relates to a coupling device which does not require any pneumatic or hydraulic device or other form of motivation to operate it.

According to the present invention, we provide a coupling for connecting a supply of fluid under pressure with an aperture in a refrigerated transportable container arranged at a coupling station, said coupling comprising a mounting bracket adapted to be connected with the supply of fluid under pressure, a flexible extendible annular body made of closed cellular material of substantial thickness and of substantially U-shaped cross section and a flexible impervious membrane at both the inner and outer surfaces of said cellular material, a support ring, connecting means at one end of said body connecting the body to said mounting bracket connecting means at the other end of said body connecting it to said support ring, an annular channel provided in the face of said support ring, at least two layers of strands of resiliently deformable material, which layers are separated by an impermeable membrane, one end of said strands and membrane being received in said channel and the free ends of said strands being arranged to abut in sealing engagement with a sealing surface surrounding the aperture provided in said container, a lost motion linkage between said support ring and said mounting bracket, means biasing said support ring away from said mounting bracket and cam means carried by said support ring for engagement by said container as it is moved into said coupling station, to move said support ring against the bias of said biasing means, said coupling when in an operative sealing position with the strands abutting the sealing surface providing a fluid passage from said supply of fluid to said aperture in said container and accommodating limited movement of said container at said coupling station, in every plane.

Preferably, only two layers of strands of resiliently deformable material are provided and said one end of the two layers and the membrane are clamped together in known manner. The impermeable membrane may comprise a sleeve of plastics material and the strands of resiliently deformable material may comprise either nylon or horse hair bristles or a mixture of the two.

Preferably the impermeable membrane is provided with excess material by folding it upon itself to give it a substantially double layer thickness.

In the preferred arrangement, the support ring is slidably mounted on a pair of spaced parallel spindles by means of a pair of bifurcated arms and a cam roller is mounted between the arms of each pair, one on each spindle. The support ring is preferably biased to a central position on said spindles. Preferably, each spindle is carried by the lost motion linkage which includes a pair of links pivotally connected at one end, to the ends of the spindle, their other ends being connected both for sliding and for pivotal movement to the mounting bracket by means of a pin and slot arrangement. Preferably, two further links extend between the ends of each spindle ada pair of coil springs are arranged between these further links and the mounting bracket, said springs biasing the further links away from the mounting bracket.

The invention is now described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a preferred embodiment of coupling,

FIG. 2 is a section on the line 4-4 of FIG. 1, the part above the centre line showing the coupling in an inoperative position and the part below showing it in an operative position, and

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the coupling of FIGS. 1 and 2.

Referring to the drawings, there is shown a typical arrangement at a container coupling station in the hold of a ship, in which the container is located by vertical guides at the coupling station. The coupling station is connected to ducts, one leading from and the other returning to the refrigeration system, and hence two couplings will be required. Only one duct, that leading to a supply of refrigerated air, is shown at 21 and a container is shown at 23. (See in particular FIG. 2.) In the top half of FIG. 2, the container 23 is shown during lowering to the coupling station and in the lower half of FIG. 2 the container 23 is shown in position at the coupling station with its front face 25 forming a seal with the coupling indicated generally at 27. The coupling 27 has been moved from an inoperative position at the top of FIG. 2 into an operative position at the bottom of the figure.

A mounting bracket 29 is provided for each coupling and is fixed in known manner to one of the vertical cell guides for guiding the containers into the hold of the ship. Each bracket 29 has a central aperture 31 which is arranged to communicate with and to form a seal with the duct 21. Each bracket 29 is provided with four upstanding lugs 33, one at each corner, and the aperture 31 is defined by an upstanding annular flange 35. Each lug 33 has a slot 37 formed therein for engagement by a pin 39 carried by a pair of bifurcated arms 41 of a link 43. Hence, the link 43 can pivot and slide relative to its lug 33. The end of each link 43 remote from the arms 41 is provided with a further pair of bifurcated arms 45 identical to the arms 41 for connection to a spindle 47. Two spindles 47 are provided for each coupling, one extending between the arms 45 of the two links 43 secured to the lugs 33 at the upper corners of the bracket 29, and the other spindle extending between the arms 45 of the other two links.

A support ring 49 is suspended from the two spindles 47 by means of pairs of bifurcated arms 51 formed diametrically opposite each other on the ring 49. Each arm 51 is provided with an aperture through which the respective spindle 47 passes to permit pivotal movement be tween the arm and the spindle. Between each pair of bifurcated arms 51, a cam roller 53 is rotatably mounted on the spindle 47. The support ring 49 is provided on its outer face 55 with an annular groove 57 in which are located two layers of bristles 59, which layers preferably comprise a mixture of nylon and horse hair bristles and are separated by an impermeable membrane, e.g. of plastics material, folded in zig-zag manner to give it substantially double thickness and to enable it to flex with the bristles. The bristles and membrane are secured in the groove 57 in any known manner, e.g. by means of a crimp ring or adhesive or a combination of both. The rear face of the support ring 49 is provided with a flange 61 of substantially the same proportions as the flange 31 on the mounting brackets 29.

Between the flanges 31 and 61, a flexible seal 63 is provided, the seal being comprised of an outer impermeable diaphragm 65, a similar inner diaphragm 67 and the space between the diaphragms being filled by a plastics foam insert 69 possessing flexibility and thermal insulating properties. It will be appreciated that the seal 63 is substantially in the form of a sleeve and the two ends of the sleeves are turned over inwardly to face each other and are secured in known manner, for example by clamping rings, to the flanges 61 and 31.

The support ring 49 is biased away from the bracket 29 and in the illustrated embodiment, the biasing force is achieved by coil springs 71. Other spring means could, however, be used. The ends of each spindle 47 are connected to the same respective ends of the other spindle 47 by a link 73, the ends of each are pivotally mounted on the spindles 47 between the bifurcated arms 45 of the links 43. Each link 73 is formed, adjacent its ends, on its rear face, with a detent -75 (see FIG. 3) which locates a nose of a spring cap 76 for each spring 71. The spring caps 76 are each formed with upstanding lugs 79, one arranged to locate on either side of the link 73 and the face of the caps 76 opposite the nose is formed with '4 a recess 77 for one end of the spring 71. The opposite end of each spring 71 is suitably located as at 81 on the mounting bracket 29. Hence, the springs 71 will always bias the support ring 59 away from the bracket 29.

In operation a container 23 is lowered into -a coupling station down a pathway defined by four corner cell guides and as the lower edge of the container approaches the coupling station, it will abut the inclined outer edge of the two upper lings 43 and then the roller 53, causing the upper links 43 to pivot about the pins 39. As the container is lowered further the upper edge of the annular support ring 49 will move towards the bracket 29 against the bias of the spring 71, thereby deforming the seal 63. Eventually the lower edge of the container will abut against the bristles 59 thereby deforming them downwardly causing them to brush over the face of the container. Further lowering of the container will move its lower edge into contact with the lower roller 53, thereby moving the lower part of the support ring 49 against the bias of the springs '71 and establishing a predetermined distance between the ring 49 and the face of the container. When the container is correctly located at the coupling station the bristles 59 will maintain their deformed configuration but will surround the aperture in the wall of the container and abut a sealing surface surrounding the aperture and forming a suitable seal therewith.

Very limited vertical movement of the container with respect to the mounting bracket 29 will be accommodated by the bristles 59 and further, but limited, movement will be accommodated by the pins 39 in the slots 37. It will of course be appreciated that these pins will anyhow move towards the extreme positions in the slots as the container is moved to the coupling station. Although the bristles will accommodate a certain degree of sidewaysmovements of the container at the coupling station,

it is considered necessary to provide for further lateral displacement of the container and this is achieved by the support ring 49 being slidably mounted, as Well as rotatably mounted, on the spindles 47. Springs 83 are mounted on the spindles 47 to bias the support ring to a central position on. the spindles 47 but they will allow lateral movement of the container. As can be seen from FIG. 1, the springs 83 at one end abut an arm 51 and at their other end, abut an arm 45.

It will thus be appreciated that a fully automatic coupling for connecting a refrigerated cargo container with a source of refrigerated air is provided, and no power operated device is required to move the coupling between an operative and an inoperative position. Furthermore, in its operative position, the coupling will accommodate limited movement of the container in any direction, and still maintain a good seal.

It will be understood that the couplings could equally easily be used on board trucks, railway wagons, aeroplanes, hovercraft, or even on a quay, to connect ducting of a refrigeration system, or for that matter, any other source of fluid supply, to a container.

Although it is preferred to provide two layers of bristles spaced apart by a membrane, it will be appreciated that three or more layers of bristles could be provided, each spaced apart by a membrane Furthermore, instead of using bristles, strips of resiliently deformable material of any cross section could be used. It is even envisaged that the membrane need not be pro vided at all, in which case, only a single, thick layer of bristles is provided. Such a construction is satisfactory if a small amount of leakage through the bristles does not matter. I

What is claimed is:

1. A coupling for connecting a supply of fluid under pressure with an aperture in a transportable container arranged at a coupling station, said coupling comprising a mounting bracket adapted to be connected with the supply of fluid under pressure, a flexible extendible annular body made of closed cellular material of substantial thickness and of substantially U-shaped cross section and a flexible impervious membrane at both the inner and outer surfaces of said cellular material, a support ring, an outer face on said support ring, connecting means at one end of said body connecting the body to said mounting bracket, connecting means at the other end of said body connecting it to said support ring, an annular channel provided in said outer face of said support ring, at least two layers of strands of resiliently deformable material, which layers are separated by an impermeable membrane, one end of said strands and membrane being secured in said channel and the free ends of said strands projecting outwardly from said outer face and being arranged to abut in sealing engagement with a sealing surface surrounding the aperture provided in said container when a container is at said coupling station, a lost motion linkage between and connected to said support ring and said mounting bracket, means biasing said support ring away from said mounting bracket and including a pair of spaced parallel spindles carried by said mounting bracket and a pair of diametrically opposed sets of bifurcated arms on said support ring, said arms being slidably mounted on respective ones of said parallel spindles, and a cam roller mounted between the arms of "each set, one on each spindle, said cam rollers being arranged to be engaged by said container as it is moved into said coupling station, to move said support ring against the bias of said biasing means, said coupling when in an operative sealing position with the strands abutting the sealing surface providing a fluid passage from said supply of fluid to said aperture in said container and said coupling, as a result of said strands, lost motion linkage and mounting arrangement of said arms on said spindles, accommodating limited linear movement of said container at said coupling station, in every plane, and limited twisting or pivoted movement of the container.

2. A coupling according to claim 1, including biasing means for biasing said support ring to a central position on said spindles.

3. A coupling according to claim 2, in which each spindle is carried by said lost motion linkage which includes a pair of links pivotally connected at one end to the ends of said spindle, their other ends being connected both for sliding and for pivotal movement to the mounting bracket by means of a pin and slot arrangement.

4. A coupling according to claim 3, in which two further links extend between and are connected to the ends of each spindle and said means biasing said support ring away from said mounting bracket comprises a pair of coil springs arranged between these further links and said mounting bracket, said springs biasing the further links away from the mounting bracket.

5. A coupling according to claim 1, in which said impermeable membrane comprises a sleeve of plastics ma terial and in which said strands of resiliently deformable material comprise a mixture of nylon bristles and horse hair bristles.

6. An automatic coupling for use with thermally insulated containers of the kind having inlet and outlet ports for connection to an air-conditioning plant, comprising an apertured mounting bracket adapted to be connected to the air-conditioning plant, a support ring having an outer face and an extensible duct extending between and connected to the ring and bracket, an annular chanel provided in said outer face of said support ring, at least two layers of bristles, which layers are separated by an impermeable membrane, secured in, and extending outwardly from said channel beyond said face; the free ends of the bristles and membrane being arranged, in use, to abut in sealing engagement with a sealing surface surrounding one of the inlet and outlet ports, a lost motion linkage between and connected to said support ring and said mounting bracket, means biasing said support ring away from said mounting bracket and including a pair of spaced parallel spindles carried by said mounting bracket and a pair of diametrically opposed sets of bifurcated arms on said support ring, said arms being slidably mounted on respective ones of said parallel spindles, and a cam roller mounted between the arms of each set, one on each spindle, said carn rollers being arranged to be engaged by said container, to move said support ring against the bias of said biasing means, said coupling, when in an operative sealing position with the strands abutting the sealing surface providing a fluid passage from said plant to said one of said inlet and outlet ports, and said coupling, as a result of said bristles, lost motion linkage and mounting arrangement of said arms on said spindles, permitting said container to move a limited amount in any direction when said coupling is engaged with it, yet still maintaining said fluid passage closed.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,085,351 1/1914 McCandless 277227 2,878,048 3/1959 Peterson 277-227 3,473,828 10/1969 Pearson 285-9R 3,517,949 6/1970 Hirai et a1. 2859R FOREIGN PATENTS 213,392 2/1923 Great Britain 277-227 DAVE W. AROLA, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

277227, Dig. 6; 285229, 325, 349 Dig. l1

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4116418 *Aug 30, 1976Sep 26, 1978Shipowners Refrigerated Cargo Research AssociationFlexible couplings for providing fluid communication between two members
US4222589 *Oct 3, 1978Sep 16, 1980Compagnie Generale D'entertien Et De Reparation CogerCoupling means for an installation for refrigerating containers
US4605247 *Apr 21, 1982Aug 12, 1986Spetsialnoe Konstruktorskoe Bjuro "Transprogress"Device for sealing the detachable joints of tubing elements in pneumatic transport facilities
Classifications
U.S. Classification285/9.2, 277/634, 285/349, 285/229, 285/325, 277/606, 285/910
International ClassificationF16L27/10, B65D88/74, F16L37/58
Cooperative ClassificationY10S285/91, B65D88/74, F16L27/10, F16L37/58, F16L27/1025
European ClassificationF16L27/10, F16L27/10K, F16L37/58