US 3674246 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Freeman  CLAMP ASSEMBLY  Inventor:  Assignee:
Darrell L. Freeman, Tulsa, Okla.
Nutter Engineering Company, Division of Heat/Fluid Engineering Corporation, Tulsa, Okla.
 Filed: Jan. 28, 1970  Appl.No.: 6,389
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 839,437, July 7,
Primary Examiner-Tim R. Miles Assistant ExaminerSteven H. Markowitz AttorneyBeveridge & De Grandi  ABSTRACT For use in a refining tower, a bubble tray having a plurality of spaced clamping assemblies operable from either above or below for releasably securing the trays to a marginal support in the tower or an inspection passage-way section within the tray area. Each clamping assembly includes one each of generally rectangular clamping and sealing members having rectangular apertures therethrough mounted on the opposite sides of the tray by means of a rectangular bolt, produced from threaded square shaped metal stock, extending through the apertures and also through an elongated slot in the tray. The bolt has a rectangular cross section slightly less in width than the elongated slot in the tray and the square apertures in the clamping and sealing members, to prevent their rotation relative to the tray while permitting longitudinal sliding movement of these members between an extended position projecting from the edge of the tray for receiving therebetween either the tray support or an adjacent section of tray and a retracted position for release from the securement position. The clamping assembly is maintained on the tray by a pair of nuts received on the opposite ends of the bolt and which also serve to secure the assembly in attached position upon advancement of the nuts on the bolt.
9 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures P'A'TENTEDJUL '4 1972 SHEET 10F 2 FIG. 2
INVENTOR DARRELL L. FREEMAN ATTORNEYS CLAMP ASSEMBLY RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending U.S. application, Ser. No. 839,437 filed July 7, 1969 and now abandoned.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION AND OBJECTS The present invention generally relates to bubble trays for use in refining towers, and more specifically to a novel clamping assembly for releasably securing the tray and tray passageways within an associated refining tower from either above or below the tray position within the tower.
Although the clamping assembly is disclosed herein in connection with a bubble tray, it will be appreciated that the invention need not be restricted thereto.
One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a new and improved clamping assembly.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved two-way clamping assembly for releasably securing from either above or below a bubble tray in a refining tower or the like and adjacent tray sections therein.
A further object of the present invention is to provide such a clamping assembly which may be quickly and easily operated between clamping and unclamping positions without interfering with any of the valves or flow control members included in the tray. Included herein is the provisiOn of such a clamping assembly which permits maximum utilization of the area of the tray for liquid and fluid contact.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide such a clamping assembly which is non-rotatable when moving between clamping and unclamping positions so as not to interfere with any of the valves on the tray.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of such a clamping assembly which may be economically manufactured with simple parts easily adaptable to various bubble trays on which it will provide dependable service over long periods of repeated use.
In one embodiment of the invention, the above and other objects are achieved in a bubble tray having a plurality of elongated rectangular flow apertures therein located substantially throughout the area of the tray with valvemembers associated with each of the apertures to control flow therethrough. The tray is releasably clamped to a support in a refining tower by means of a plurality of clamping assemblies situated along the circumference of the tray. The clamping assemblies adjacent the rounded edges of the tray, where attachment is with the tray support shelf within the tower may be of a standard rotating type for attachment to a variable margin of support resulting from variance in the roundness tolerance of the tower. Straight-way portions of the tray edge and adjoining tray sections, are held to close margins of tit and this invention is more desirably applied in such areas without overlying or interfering with the contact device pattern on tray.
In the specific embodiment, each clamping assembly of this invention includes a pair of generally rectangular clamping members each having a square slot formed generally therethrough. The clamping members are mounted on the edges of the tray by means of a bolt received through the apertures in the clamping members as well as an elongated slot in the tray extending perpendicular to the edge thereof. The threaded bolt has a square cross section slightly less in size than the apertures in the clamping members and the width of the slot in the tray so that the clamping members may be moved longitudinally into an extended position projecting from the edge of the tray or a retracted position inwardly of the tray without however undergoing any rotation relative to the tray.
In the extended position of the clamping members, they receive a support on an adjacent member of tray, and to secure the clamping members firmly to the support, a pair of nuts are provided on opposite end portions of the bolt for advancement against the clamping members to tightly secure the same. In order to release the clamping members from the support, a nut on either or both sides is loosened whereupon the clamping members may be retracted longitudinally away from the support for disengagement with the bolt moving along the slot and without any rotation of the clamping members so as not to interfere with adjacent flow control valves on the tray.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description taken in conjunction with the attached drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is.a transverse, cross-sectional view taken through a refining tower and showing a top of a bubble tray including a plurality of clamping assemblies embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a clamping member included in each clamping assembly;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the clamping member shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a second clamping member included in each assembly;
FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the clamping member shown in FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is a side view of a rectangular bolt produced from threaded, square shaped, metal stock included in each assembly;
FIG. 7 is a plan view of the rectangular bolt shown in FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along lines 8-8 of FIG. 1 to show a clamp assembly applied to a marginal support attached to the liquid exit weir of the tray; and
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along lines 9-9 of FIG. 1 to show a clamp assembly applied to an adjacent deck section around the passageway area through the tray.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings in detail, there is shown in FIG. 1 a refining tower having a generally cylindrical wall designated 2 and a tray support member 4 projecting inwardly from the wall to which a plurality of bubble trays 6 (only one shown) are adapted to be releasably secured by a plurality of clamping assemblies 14, 16. In further reference to FIG. 1 exit weir 7 is positioned in a straight line along the liquid exit side of the tray, and releasably attached to weir 7 is a support shelf 10 positioned in the same elevation as tray support member 4 and projecting inwardly from the wall of the tower so as to support the straight-way edge of tray 6 at the same elevation as tray support member 4. In this tray assembly the margin of overlay of tray 6 on detachable support 10 is of close tolerance. In contrast the overlay of tray 6 on tray support 4, about the circular periphery of the tray, may be quite variable because construction tolerance permit noticeable differences in tower roundness and consequently such variance would exist in the position of tray support member 4. The marginal fit of each tray section to an adjacent section is also of quite close tolerance such that the clamping members of this invention, when applied to these areas of attachment, may also be designed for quite close tolerance adjustment and securement is accomplished by a plurality of clamping assemblies shown in detail in FIGS. 8 and 9 constructed in accordance with the present invention.
The illustrated tray is of the type having a plurality of elongated rectangular flow apertures 11 distributed substantially throughout the area of the tray with several apertures ll located adjacent the straight-way edge of the tray to which clamps shown in FIG. 8, are applied, and also adjacent adjoining tray sections at 12 to which clamps shown in FIG. 9, are applied. Flow through the apertures is controlled by valve members 13 mounted to close and open the apertures respectively. Operation of the valves controlling flow through apertures 11 is well known and needs no further description.
Clamping assemblies shown in FIG. 8 are located along the straight-way edge of the tray for releasably securing this edge of the tray to detachable tray support while clamping assemblies shown in FIG. 9 which are identical to clamping assembly of FIG. 8 but in an upside down position, are located along adjacent tray sections within tray 6. In the shown embodiment each clamping assembly includes a clamping member 14 having a generally rectangular outline and a sealing member 16 also having a generally rectangular shape; the clamping members and the sealing members being formed from any suitable material such as steel or an alloy. Both the clamping member and the sealing member have square apertures formed therethrough, the aperture 18 in the clamping member 14 being formed generally centrally thereof while the aperture 20 in the sealing member 16 being formed generally at the forward end thereof. Clamping member 14 and sealing member 16 are mounted to the opposite sides of tray 6 by means of a bolt 22 which is received through apertures 18, 20 respectively, in these members and also through an elongated slot 24 formed in the tray adjacent the straight-way marginal edges thereof, with the slot extending perpendicular to the edge of the tray. A pair of nuts 25 are received on opposite end portions of bolt 22 as illustrated in the drawing. Bolt 22 is constructed from metal or alloy square stock which is threaded throughout its full length to receive nuts 25. The dimension of this metal square stock is such that it retains a distinct square shape after having been threaded to receive nuts 25. The square cross section of threaded bolt 22 is slightly smaller than the size of apertures 18 and 20 in the clamping and seal members 14 and 16, respectively and also slightly smaller than the width of slot 24 in the tray. Thus while bolt 22 will permit the clamping and seal members 14 and 16 to be moved longitudinally between extended and retracted positions relative to the tray, it will prevent rotation of the clamping and sealing members relative to the tray so as not to interfere with adjacent flow control valves 13 associated with the tray flow openings.
In operation, to secure the straight-way edge of tray 6 to detachable support member 10 and also to secure adjacent tray sections at 12 together, nuts 25 are loosened and the clamping and seal members are moved longitudinally outward to receive therebetween support 10 in the case of FIG. 8 and adjacent tray edge 6 in the case of FIG. 9. Nuts 25 are then advanced along bolt 22 and tightened against clamping and sealing members 14 and 16 to move the same towards each other and secure them firmly to opposite sides of the tray and the member to which it is being attached. When it is desired to release the clamping members to remove the tray, nuts 25 are loosened and the clamping and sealing member are retracted longitudinally, with bolt 22 moving along slot 24 until the members are released from the adjacent members to which they are attached. In this retracted position, although the nuts are loosened, the clamping members are still being retained on the tray.
In the specific embodiment shown, reference is made to FIG. 9 where one of the adjacent tray sections 6 is at a higher elevation than the other section of tray 6 to which the clamp is applied when the latter is in the clamped position. Clamping member 14 is formed with a downward offset rear portion 15 which engages the top of tray 6 with the main portion of clamping member 14 engaging the adjacent section tray 6 as shown in FIG. 9. In addition in the specific embodiment shown, the forward edge portion 17 of clamping member 14 is bent upward to facilitate reception of the adjacent member to be attached. It will also be noted in the particular embodiments seal member 16 has sufficient length so as to cover slot 24 in the tray when the clamping assembly is secured to the adjacent tray section or support member.
lt will thus be seen from the above description that the clamping assemblies of the present invention may be secured to or released from the adjacent support members or tray sections solely through longitudinal or rectilinear movement relative to the tray so as not to interfere with valve members 13 associated with the flow control openings in the tray. Thus the tray apertures may be provided adjacent the close marginal edges of the tray as indicated in the drawings to obtain maximum use of the area of the tray for flow control openings and thus liquid-fluid contact. The non-rotating characteristic of the clamping assemblies also facilitates clamping and unclamping by serving to maintain the clamping and sealing members in each assembly generally parallel to each other at all times. It will be further noted that the clamping assemblies permit them to be handled from above or below the tray.
Although the illustrated embodiment is generally typical, it should be understood that a greater number of clamping assemblies may be employed on a single tray as needed. Moreover the specific bubble tray has been shown and described purely for illustrative purposes only; it being understood that the clamping assemblies 8 may be employed on other types of trays.
1. Bubble tray contact apparatus including interconnected support bodies and tray bodies, said tray bodies having a plurality of fluid flow apertures therein, a plurality of clamping assemblies located on one of said bodies for connecting the bodies together, each of said clamping assemblies comprising the following:
a pair of clamping members located on opposite sides of a first said body in the vicinity of the second said body, said members being interconnected for concurrent longitudinal movement from an extended position where the second said body lies between one clamping member and the first said body to a retracted position where the one clamping member does not face the second said body, connector means for connecting the clamping members and preventing their rotation with respect to each other and the one said body,
said first body having an elongated slot, a pair of apertures in said clamping members, and the connector means include a bolt received through the apertures in said clamping members and the elongated slot, said bolt having an intermediate portion with a non-circular cross section the width of which is slightly less than the width of said slot and said apertures to prevent rotation of said clamping members relative to the bodies while permitting the clamping members to be moved longitudinally with the bolt through said slot.
2. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said assembly further includes threads on the opposite end portions of said bolt, and nuts received on said threaded portions for advancement against said clamping members to draw the same towards each other to clamp the first and second bodies therebetween.
3. The combination defined in claim 2 wherein one of said clamping members constitutes an upper clamping member and the other constitutes a lower clamping member, and wherein the lower clamping member has a length sufficient to cover the elongated slot.
4. The combination defined in claim 3 wherein said aperture in the lower clamping member is positioned in a forward position thereof.
5. The assembly defined in claim 3 wherein said lower clamping member has a generally planar shape.
6. The combination defined in claim 5 wherein said upper clamping member has a main portion which engages the second said body, a forward portion projecting upwardly from the main portion and a rear portion offset from the main portion in a direction opposite to the forward portion for engagement against the first body.
7. The combination defined in claim I wherein said first body is a said tray body having a plurality of fluid flow apertures therein and valve members associated with the fluid flow apertures.
8. The combination defined in claim 7 wherein a pair of said fluid flow apertures in the tray are situated in close proximity to each other adjacent the edge of the tray, and wherein at least one of said clamping assemblies is situated between said pair of fluid flow apertures.
9. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said first and second bodies are adjacent overlapping portions of the same bubble tray.