US 3659675 A
A lubrication system consisting of a metering valve for providing a measured quantity of lubricant to parts to be lubricated, a pump for moving lubricant to the metering valve through distribution lines, and a reservoir dispenser of novel design from which the pump draws lubricant. The reservoir dispenser is formed of (1) a bag of flexible impermeable plastic, and (2) a rigid flat bottom plate to which the open end of the bag is fastened and sealed. The top of the bag is opposite to the open end, is relatively rigid, and is provided with a check valve which allows egress of fluid from the bag but not ingress. A pair of crossed ribs are formed on the underside of the top to prevent undesired sealing of openings in the flat bottom plate. The side walls of the bag are relatively thick for the lower approximately one half portion and are relatively rigid throughout such portion. The upper slightly more than one half portion of the side walls is thinner, relatively flexible, and tapers to the portion adjacent the top. The portion adjacent the top is thinnest so that under atmospheric or higher pressure the upper portion of the side walls folds down into the interior of the bag as the top descends into the bag. The flat bottom plate is provided with two automatic valves, one being an outlet check valve allowing egress from the bag but not ingress. This outlet valve is connected to the pump for supplying lubricant to the meter valves. Lubricant is supplied to the reservoir as needed through an inlet valve in the bottom plate, but except when lubricant is being supplied to the reservoir, the inlet valve is sealed. A quick-connect lubricant fitting is secured to the inlet valve.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Edelstein et al.
[ 51 May 2, 1972 s4 LUBRICATION SYSTEM AND FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS RESERVOIR THEREFOR 780,443 1/1935 France ..1124/45  inventors: Harold P. Edelstein, Bexley; Roy B. Smith,
Primary Examiner-Manuel A. Antonakas Washington Court House, both of Ohio Aomey Clee w Upchurch  Assignee: Transportation Specialists, Inc., Columbus, Ohio ABSTRACT  Filed: July 7, 1969 A lubrication system consisting of a metering valve for providing a measured quantity of lubricant to parts to be lubricated, PP 839,572 a pump for moving lubricant to the metering valve through distribution lines, and a reservoir dispenser of novel design from which the pump draws lubricant. The reservoir dispenser  U.S. Cl ..184/39, 184/7 is formed of 1 a bag omexible impermeable plastic and (2) Int Cl 6n n/o'o a rigid flat bottom plate to which the open end of the bag is fastened and sealed. The top of the bag is opposite to the open  new Search 3 end, is relatively rigid, and is provided with a check valve 184/105 222/3865 141/383' 95 which allows egress of fluid from the bag but not ingress. A pair of crossed ribs are formed on the underside of the top to  References Cited prevent undesired sealing of openings in the flat bottom plate. The side walls of the bag are relatively thick for the lower ap- UNITED STATES PATENTS proximately one half portion and are relatively rigid 2,409,324 10/1946 Turenchalk et al ..l84/46 throughout Such p pp slightly more than one 2,715,454 8/1955 Mueller at a] 34/105 X half portion of the side walls 1s thmner, relatively flexible, and 2,850,336 9/1958 184/45 X tapers to the portion adjacent the top. The portion adjacent 2,985,256 /1961 Simmons et a1" 184/45 the top 1s thinnest so that under atmospheric or higher pres- 3 258 27 6/1966 Hollingsworthn 141/95 x sure the upper portion of the side walls folds down into the in- ]'984422 12/1 934 Ne" I 184/39 X terior of the bag as the top descends into the bag. The flat bot- 2'l41022 12/1938 "184/39 X tom plate is provided with two automatic valves, one being an 2439O53 4/1948 184/39 outlet check valve allowing egress from the bag but not in- 2852O98 9/1958 Be 8 "184/39 gress. This outlet valve is connected to the pump for supplying 2857020 /1958 "184/45 lubricant to the meter valves. Lubricant is supplied to the reservoir as needed through an inlet valve in the bottom plate, 1135356 6/1964 Pohs 2/386'5 x but except when lubricant is being supplied to the reservoir, 3'140802 7/1964 Everett "222/3865 the inlet valve is sealed. A quick-connect lubricant fitting is secured to the inlet valve.
8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures zwmm 2 m2 SHEET 2 [IF 2 FIG 6 FIG 5 INVIiN'lOR. HAROLD P. EDELSTEIN ROY B. SMITH Wu- .fly:
AT TOR N EY LUBRICATION SYSTEM AND RESERVOIR THEREFOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Our invention relates to lubrication apparatus, and more particularly to a combination of devices forming an automatic lubrication system which assures a reliable and exactly measured quantity of air-free and dirt-free lubricant which is supplied to bearings and other devices requiring lubrication.
Heretofore, automatic lubricating systems have had supply and dispensing reservoirs of various kinds. Often the reservoir has been of a type from which the lubricant flows by gravity, as for example, a can with an open top. Other types have spring biased pistons in cylindrical reservoirs.
One disadvantage present in previously known lubricant reservoirs is that they often provide an air vent to permit the entry of air into the reservoir to occupy space previously occupied by lubricant. The air harmfully dilutes the lubricant causing excessive oxidation. Moreover, such vents permit the entry of various abrasive materials or other contaminants which eventually find their way into the bearings being lubricated. Another disadvantage of these vents is that they clog easily because their oily surfaces collect deposits of dirt. This interferes with their operation and the operation of the lubricating system.
So far as we know, no one has heretofore developed a lubrication dispensing reservoir designed as is ours. However, containers from other non analogous fields bear some resemblance to the reservoir dispenser which we have developed.
In none of the structures of the prior art of which we have knowledge is there any flexible bag structure of the configuration of out reservoir, our do any of them, so far as we know, have outlet valves formed in the flexible bag itself.
While the devices, referred to above, function well in their respective non-analogous fields, there is need for a reservoir dispenser device co-operative with a metering valve (and preferably with an intermediate pump) for automatic lubrication systems which will be separately completely fillable without air or vacuum pockets and which will be able to supply undiluted uncontaminated lubricant to the metering valve. There is need for a device for efficiently dispensing minute amounts of undiluted lubricant.
OBJECTS It is therefore an object of our invention to provide an automatic lubricating system capable of assuring a reliable quantity of undiluted and air-free and dirt-free lubricant to devices requiring lubrication.
A further object of our invention is to provide a lubricant reservoir dispenser arranged to minimize the possibilities of dilution of the lubricant.
Further objects and features (1 our invention will be apparent from the following specification and claims when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of our invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION We have found that the foregoing and other objects may be attained by an apparatus wherein the lubricant is forced into the bottom of a flexible bag under pressure, filling the bag completely and driving all air from the bag through a one-way check valve at the upper substantially closed end of the bag, and wherein thereafter as the lubricant is pumped from the bag, the top of the bag and the side walls thereof follow the lubricant down without leaving any space therein for air or vacuum. The bag is formed of a special flexible plastic (for example, polyvinyl chloride), may be shaped initially approximately as a cylinder having one wide open end and the other end substantially closed as is normally the case with a conventional bag or sack. However, the normally closed end is formed with a small opening for the egress of fluid under pressure and may be provided with a one-way check valve through which all air may be expelled from the bag. The closed end, as
shown, may be reinforced by a substantially rigid plate, as for example, of metal or plastic.
The bag is formed of a special flexible plastic engineered to accomplish the desired purposes. We have found that a flexible polyvinyl chloride plasticized from a plastisol containing a plasticizer, an ultra violet constituent (or treated with ultraviolet), and with other additives, is satisfactory for this purpose.
The conventionally open end may be also, as shown, closed by a rigid plate which may be a metallic or plastic plate. It is provided with an opening through which lubricant may be forced in to fill the bag. This opening may be provided with a normally closed and sealed valve. The plate is also provided with a further opening connected to a pump by which lubricant is pumped to meter valves for supplying lubricant to parts requiring lubrication. The bag thus comprises a lubricant supply reservoir accomplishing, together with the pump and meter valves, the desired objects.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view showing in phantom the chassis or body of an automotive truck or coach, and diagrammatically the arrangement of the parts of a system for lubricating the fittings associated with the flexible connections between the wheels of the truck or coach body and the body itself, including in the system a lubrication reservoir, an air compressor, a pump, distribution lines, meter valves, and parts to be lubricated;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the reservoir;
FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view of the reservoir showing substantially the actual shape of the reservoir when filled with lubricant;
FIG. 4 is a vertical sectional view of the reservoir showing the theoretical shape thereof when a very small portion of the lubricant has been withdrawn;
FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the reservoir similar to FIG. 4 but showing a further portion of the lubricant withdrawn;
FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view of the reservoir showing the actual shape thereof when substantially emptied of lubricant; and
FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the top of the reservoir as seen from inside of the reservoir.
In describing the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended to be limited to the specific terms so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Not only do we require a meter valve to pass a metered quantity of lubricant from the meter valve to the part being lubricated, but we also require a reservoir dispenser from which the meter valve draws the lubricant and which is so designed and arranged that the possibility of dilution of the lubricant with air, etc. is minimized and practically eliminated. Also, we prefer the provision of an efiicient pump to draw the air-free lubricant from the reservoir dispenser and deliver it still air-free to the meter valve. Lubrication meter valves of the type desired by us are disclosed in copending application of Roy B. Smith, Ser. No. 714,895, now US. Pat. No. 3,559,765. Just as it is desirable that the pump and meter valve be free of leaks, it is imperative that the reservoir be free of air and leaks so that the lubricant stored may be undiluted and uncontaminated. To this end, the reservoir dispenser is designed so that as air pressure forces the top end of the reservoir dispenser down it is maintained in contact with the lubricant and allows neither the entrance of air nor the presence of a vacuum. Because of this, we have developed the reservoir illustrated in FIGS. 2-7, inclusive, of the drawings. By reason of the taper of the side walls, they bend first at the top and fold sometimes in random fashion substantially as indicated in FIGS. 4 and 5 from the condition shown in FIG. 3 to that shown in FIG. 6, thus being maintained always in contact with the lubricant and preventing the dilution of the lubricant.
In FIG. 1, we have shown diagrammatically a lubrication system installed on an automotive truck and comprising a preferred embodiment of our invention. Therein is shown a truck generally designated 11 having wheels 12 and 13. In order to supply lubricant to the suspension system to which these wheels are attached, we provide an automatic lubrication system which includes a lubricant reservoir 21, and a pump 22 for withdrawing lubricant from reservoir 21 and for distributing it through distribution lines such as 23, 24, and 25 to meter valves such as 26 and 27. The pump 22 may be driven by compressed air which is supplied from an air tank 31 having air compressed therein by an air compressor 32. Air could, however, be supplied (if desired) from other portions of the air system of the vehicle. The air under pressure is delivered from the compressor 32 to the tank 31 by air line 33 and from the tank 31 to the pump 22 by an air line 34. The pump, however, if desired, can be operated by other means such as vacuum, hydraulic pressure, or electric or magnetic devices.
The pump 22 is activated periodically in cycles as desired. Such periodic activation or cycling may be initiated in any convenient manner, but we prefer that it be accomplished either (1) by operation of the brake, (2) by the unloading valve of the air compressor, or (3) by a timing device.
The reservoir 21 is shown more clearly in FIGS. 2-7, inclusive.
The reservoir 21 is structured to obtain a desired mode of collapse. FIG. 2 is a top view, and FIGS. 3 through 6 are each a vertical section thereof. A pliable or flexible container 40 seats upon a circular rigid base 42. The container 40 is provided with a thick, lower wall portion 43 extending somewhat less than one-half of the distance from the bottom toward the top of the side wall 41. The portion 43 is further stiffened by a metal thimble 44 as shown. However, if the plastic is suffciently rigid, the thimble 44 may be omitted. The upper 45, somewhat more than one-half of the side walls, is tapered having a thick portion 46 near its lower end and its thinnest portion 47 at the top of the side wall adjacent the top 52 of the container 40.
The top 52 of the container 40 is relatively thick, having its thickest portion 53 near the center of the top 52. The top is made more rigid by a rigid (metal or plastic) stiffener 54 (which may be eliminated if desired). As shown, especially in FIG. 3 and FIG. 7, a pair of crossed ribs 55 extend beneath the top 52. A safety check valve 56, which in the manner of a relief valve requires a sufficient pressure to be opened, is provided in the top 52 so that air or lubricant under a sufficient selected pressure can be emitted from the container 40, but fluid may not enter through the valve 56. As shown, in FIG. 3, the bottom of the container 40 seats around the circumference of the base 42 and is provided with a flange 61. A circular band clamp 62 holds the bottom of the container 40 tightly sealed against the circumference of the base 42. The base 42 is also provided with an inlet passageway 64 to which there is attached a safety lubrication quick attachment fitting 65. In the fitting 65 is a valve. The base 42 is also provided with an outlet passageway and outlet check valve 67. The outlet valve 67 is connected to the pump 22. A complementary fitting 68 is at times attached to the fitting 65 in order to fill the reservoir with lubricant.
To operate the lubrication system, including the reservoir, grease, oil, or other lubricant is initially pumped through the inlet passageway 64 to fill the reservoir 21. During the filling process, air will be initially emitted out of the check valve 56 until an operator observes the emission of lubricant through the check valve 56. This will signify that the reservoir is completely filled with lubricant and devoid of air. The fitting 68 is then removed, causing the closing and sealing of the valve in the fitting 65 against either entrance or egress of fluid therethrough. The valve 67 is a check valve which prevents the entrance of any fluid into the reservoir, but when the pump 22 is activated, immediately allows the withdrawal of lubricant from the reservoir. By means of pump 22, the lubricant is thus withdrawn through the valve 67 for a one shot lubrication of all of the fittings. This lubricant is slowly withdrawn from the container 21 and the container begins to collapse. Because the top 52 is strengthened by its extra thickness and by the rigid plate 54, and because the top of the side walls is thinner than any other portion of the container 40, collapse will begin by the descent of the flat top 52 and the approximately circular bending or folding of the top of the side walls. As the lubricant is withdrawn from the container 40, the top 52 continues to descent, descend, uniformly or possibly at random, until it reaches a configuration as shown in FIG. 6. The ribs 55 contact the top of the base 12 and maintain the top 52 spaced from the outlet opening and thereby prevent sealing of the outlet valve 67 prior to the withdrawal of all of the lubricant. The fold in the side walls theoretically begins at the top and moves progressively downward until the top reaches the bottom of its descent and the fold approaches the thicker more rigid portion of the side walls.
In actual practice on a test stand, under static conditions, the fold proceeds in random fashion. Often indentations appear in the side walls at the same time that the top moves downward and as the lubricant is removed by the pump.
Lubricant withdrawn by pump 22 from reservoir 21 through outlet 69 is forced by pump 22 through lubricant lines 23, 24, and 25 to the fittings of the suspension for the wheels of the truck.
It is to be understood that while the detailed drawings given describe a preferred embodiment of our invention, they are for the purpose of illustration only, and various changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention which is defined by the following claims.
1. In a lubricating system, the combination of a reservoir for lubricant, means for metering lubricant, means comprising a pump for withdrawing lubricant from the reservoir and for transferring it under pressure to the metering means and means for periodically activating said pump, said reservoir having walls which are impervious to the entrance of fluids while lubricant is being withdrawn therefrom, means for introducing lubricant under pressure into the reservoir, means spaced from the last said means for escape of fluid from the reservoir as lubricant is introduced, said walls being flexible and collapsible under atmospheric pressure as lubricant is withdrawn, said walls being more responsive to atmospheric pressure adjacent the top of the reservoir than adjacent its base whereby the top of the reservoir folds inwardly as lubricant is withdrawn therefrom and moves downwardly to remain in contact with residual lubricant in the reservoir.
2. In an automatic lubricating apparatus of the type having a lubricant dispensing reservoir, a meter valve for metering the quantity of lubricant, distribution lines for conveying lubricant from the reservoir to the meter valve, and a pump for moving the lubricant, a reservoir comprising a base and a flexible, collapsible container having a flexible side wall secured to and sealed with said base, and a top integral with said side wall, said side wall tapering from a relatively thick and relatively inflexible lower portion to a relatively flexible and thin upper portion, an inlet valve in communication with the container for at times permitting movement of lubricant into the container but preventing movement of lubricant out of the container, an outlet check valve in communication with the container and the pump for permitting withdrawal of lubricant from the container, and a relief valve for venting the container to the atmosphere in response to a selected pressure within the container.
3. In a lubricating system, a reservoir for lubricant, means comprising a pump for withdrawing lubricant from the reservoir and for transferring it in metered amounts under pressure to parts to be lubricated, and means for periodically activating the pump, said reservoir being substantially impervious to the entrance of fluids while lubricant is being withdrawn therefrom, said reservoir having a side wall which is flexible and collapsible under atmospheric pressure as lubricant is withdrawn, said wall being more rigid adjacent its base than adjacent its top and more responsive to atmospheric pressure adjacent its top than adjacent its base whereby the wall collapses inwardly as lubricant is withdrawn therefrom to remain in contact with residual lubricant in the reservoir, and means for venting fluid from the reservoir prior to filling the reservoir with lubricant.
4. The lubricating system of claim 3 wherein the reservoir wall is thicker adjacent the base than adjacent the top.
5. The lubricating system of claim 3 wherein the wall is reinforced with a substantially rigid thimble.
6. The lubricating system of claim 3 wherein the top of the reservoir has internally disposed cross-ribs.
7. The lubricating system of claim 3 wherein the reservoir comprises a flexible polyvinyl chloride plastic container.
8. The lubricating system of claim 3 wherein the reservoir has a rigid base and a substantially cylindrical side wall, a top having a valve therein which permits fluids under pressure to escape from the reservoir but is closed to entrance of fluids into the reservoir.
4 I I l 9 3 3 UNITED S'LA'JES PATENT OFFICE QERTIFICATE (H? COR'RE HON Patent No. 3,659,675 Dated y 1972 Inventor(s} Harold P. Edelstein and Roy B. Smith It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Immediately below the names of the inventors read:
Assignee: Samuel Moore & Company, Mantua, Ghio Signed and sealed this 3rd day of October 1972.
EDWARD M@FLETCHER,JR, ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents 123$ UN'l'lED STA'JES PAIEN'I OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORREC'UON Patent No. 3,659,675 Dated May 2, 1972 Inventor(s) Harold P. Edelstein and Roy B. Smith Ir is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Immediately below the names of the inventors read: "I
Assignee: Samuel Moore & Company, Mantua, Ghio Signed and sealed this 3rd day' of October 1972.
EDWARD M.FLETCHER,J'R. Attesting Officer ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Commissioner of Patents