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Publication numberUS3680831 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 1, 1972
Filing dateMay 21, 1970
Priority dateJun 7, 1969
Also published asCA960340A, CA960340A1
Publication numberUS 3680831 A, US 3680831A, US-A-3680831, US3680831 A, US3680831A
InventorsFujiwara Katsuji
Original AssigneeFujiwara Katsuji
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrically driven valve apparatus
US 3680831 A
Abstract
For use in a fluid flow system, a ball valve having two operative positions, namely the open and the closed positions, is operated by an electric motor which is under the control of an electric control circuit. This control circuit comprises a control switching means capable of taking two different states, at one of which the motor is energized to drive the valve toward the open position. The motor is de-energized by positioning switch means which is changed over to open the current supply path to the motor, when the valve reaches the open position. At the same time with this changing-over of the positioning switch means, another current supply path to the motor is previously provided, which path can thereafter be closed by setting the control switching means to the other state, to thereby rotate the valve to the closed position. In this manner, the opening and the closing operations of the valve can selectively be controlled merely by changing over the control switching means.
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United States Patent Fujiwara [151 3,680,831 51 Aug. 1,1972

[54] ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN VALVE APPARATUS [72] Inventor: Katsuii Fujiwara, 191 Nishitani,

l-liraoka-c-ho, Kakogawa-shi, Hyogoken, Japan [22] Filed: May 21, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 39,442

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data June 7, 1969 Japan ..44/44829 Sept. 20, 1969 Japan ..44/74525 Sept. 20, 1969 Japan ..44/75063 Oct. 11, 1969 Japan ..44/81410 [52] US. Cl. ..251/134, 251/130 [51] Int. Cl ..Fl6k 31/04 [58] Fieldof Search ..251/134, 130

[56.] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,334,859 8/1967 Raymond, Jr ..251/134 3,520,332 7/1970 Willard ..251/134 X 2,977,437 3/1961 Doane ..251/134 X Primary Examiner-Arnold Rosenthal Attorney-Kane, Dalsimer, Kane, Sullivan and Kurucz [5 7] ABSTRACT For use in a fluid flow system, a ball valve having two operative positions, namely the open and the closed positions, is operated by an electric motor which is under the control of an electric control circuit. This control circuit comprises a control switching means capable of taking two different states, at one of which the motor is energized to drive the valve toward the open position. The motor is de-energized by positioning switch means which is changed over to open the current supply path to the motor, when the valve 3 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAUB 1 m2 3.680.831

SHEETSOFQ Fig.

ATTORNEY Fig I2 INVENTOR 44750.17 Fur/M464 ATTORNEX ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN VALVE APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION:

The present invention relates in general to an electrically operated valve apparatus, and more particularly an electrically operated valve apparatus which comprises a valve having two predetermined different operative positions, namely open and closed positions, electric motor operationally connected to the valve to selectively drive it to the above operative positions thereof and an electric control circuit for controlling the operation of the motor.

In a fluid flow system, the electrically operated valve apparatus of the above type have been widely employed to automatically control the flow of fluid supplied to a processing or storing apparatus and the like in dependence upon various conditions thereof. When the fluid is to be supplied, the valve is opened by the electric motor which is energized by a control switch adapted to be closed manually or automatically by a control signal produced by a suitable means depending upon the above conditions. If the valve attains the open position, the energization of the motor has to be interrupted by opening the current supply line to the motor. To this end, a limit or positioning switch is employed which is adapted to be opened to interrupt said supply circuit when the valve reaches the open position. On the other hand, when the motor is to be energized to drive the valve toward the closed position from the open position in order to block the flow of fluid, another current supply circuit to the motor must be established by another control means. Of cource, the circuit has to be again opened by means of the limit switch, when the valve reaches the closed position.

For such valve operations, a very complex and hence expensive control circuit incorporating therein many limit and control switches has been required. Furthermore, due to the construction of the heretofore used valve, reduction or transmission gear apparatuses have to be interposed between the driving motor and the valve, in order to stop it precisely at the intended operative positions thereof.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION:

Accordingly, an important object of the present invention is to provide an electrically operated valve apparatus which is simple in the construction and nevertheless very reliable in the operation thereof.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an electric control circuit for controlling the valve operation, which has a very simple arrangement.

Further object of the present invention is to provide a ball valve having an improved construction so that the valve may easily and precisely be set to the desired operative positions thereof directly by means of the driving motor under the control of the control circuit.

Still further object of the present invention is to provide limit or positioning switches of simple and robust constructions which can be advantageouslyemployed in the control circuit for positioning the valve at the These and other objects of the present invention can be accomplished by providing a valve apparatus provided with an electric control circuit comprising a control switching means which can take two different states, at one of which the motor is energized to drive the valve to one of the two operative positions, the open position, for example, while at the other state of said switching means, the motor is operated to drive the valve to the other or closed position, and limit or positioning switch means for automatically stopping the operation of the motor when the valve attains the open or closed position.

The valve which is controlled by the above circuit should preferably be such a ball valve which comprises a ball-like valve element having a transverse passage which can be communicated with the flow line of the fluid flow system to be controlled in the open position of the valve and disconnected from the above line in the closed position. The ball-like valve element is disposed between a pair of seats rotatably by a valve stem around a diametrical axis thereof normal to the axis of the transverse passage. The one of said valve seats is preferably mounted movably and forced to bear against the valve element under a resilient pression exerted by a compression spring, while the other seat is fixedly mounted. The movable seat should preferably be disposed at the inlet side of the valve. The ball valve element maybe directly connected to the motor by means of the valve stem or indirectly by means of a coupling member.

The positioning switch means according to this invention comprises a switch having two changeable contact positions and adapted to open the current supply circuit to the motor which was initially closed by the control switching means set to one state, when the valve attains one of the operative positions or open position, for example, and at the same time previously provide the current supply circuit to the motor which can thereafter be closed by setting said control switching means to the other state to thereby operate the motor to drive the valve toward the other or closed position.

The novel features of the present invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, the invention will best be understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS;

FIG. 1 is an elevational side view showing an embodiment of the valve apparatus according to this invention partially in a vertical section,

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of an embodiment of the positioning switch as viewed from the line IIII in FIG.

FIG. 3 is a diagram of an embodiment of the electric circuit for controlling the valve apparatus according to this invention,

FIG. 4 is a diagram of a similar control circuit in which a reversible motor is employed for driving the valve,

FIG. 5 shows in a vertical sectional view another embodiment of the positioning switch according to this invention,

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the same taken along the line VI-Vl in FIG. 5,

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line VII- VII in FIG. 5,

FIG. 8 is an exploded plan view of electrically conductive strips employed in the positioning switch shown in FIG. 5,

FIG. 9 is an electrically equivalent circuit of the positioning switch shown in FIGS. to 8,

FIG. 10 is a diagram of another embodiment of the electric control circuit according to this invention,

FIG. 11 is an elevational side view showing another embodiment of the valve apparatus according to this invention partially in a vertical section,

FIG. 12 is an exploded perspective view of a coupling member which is employed in the valve apparatus shown in FIG. 1 1,

FIG. 13 is a circuit diagram of another embodiment of the control circuit according to this invention,

FIG. 14 shows in a plan view an embodiment of the positioning switch which can be used in the control circuit shown in FIG. 13,

FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 14 and shows another positioning switch which can be used in place of the one shown in FUG. 14,

FIG. 16 shows in a horizontal section another embodiment of the positioning switch which can be used in the control circuit shown in FIG. 13,

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an electrically conductive strip ring used in the switch shown in FIG. 16,

FIG. 18 is a wiring diagram of the control circuit in which the positioning switch of FIG. 16 is used, and

FIG. 19 shows a conductor strip similar to those shown in FIG. 8 but modified so as to be used for the positioning switch in the control circuit shown in FIG. 10.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS:

valve 1 passing between the slidable ring 9 and the inner wall of the chamber 5.

The valve chamber 5 is closed at the upper end portion thereof by a cover member 13 which has a central depending sleeve 14. Disposed rotatably within this sleeve 14 is a vertical valve stem 15 which in turn is operationally connected to the valve element 6 at the lower end thereof so that the rotation of the stem 15 around the vertical axis thereof results in the rotation of the valve element 6 between the open and the closed positions. A ring seal 16 and an annular gasket 17 are provided between the sleeve 14 and the valve stem 15.

The valve 1 is fixedly mounted on a mounting structure 18 by a clamping member 19 and a clamping screw 20 with a thermal insulator 21 such as bakelite band or the like interposed between the clamping ring 19 and valve 1.

The mounting structure 18 further supports thereon a housing 22 in which an electrical motor 23, a capacitor 24 and a relay 25 are disposed. The driving motor 23 has an output shaft 26. A connecting member 27 which freely extends through openings formed in the bottom of the housing 22 and the supporting structure 18 is disposed between the output shaft 26 of the driving motor 23 and the upper projection 28 of the valve stem 15 for coupling the power output from the motor 23 to the valve stem 15. Reference numeral 29 indicates a manual control member which is secured to Now referring to FIG. 1, reference numeral 1 generally indicates a ball valve which comprises a main body 2 having inlet and outlet openings 3 and 4 formed at both ends thereof. These openings 3 and 4 are provided with respective internal threads by means of which the ball valve 1 is adapted to be connected to conductors or pipes of a fluid flow system to be controlled. Provided between the inlet and the outlet openings 3 and 4 is a valve chamber 5 within which a ball-like valve element 6 is disposed rotatably around a vertical axis thereof as viewed in FIG. 1. In more detail, the valve element 6 is supported in a sandwitched manner between valve seat members 7 and 8, the valve seat 7 being fixedly secured to the valve body 2 adjacent to the outlet opening 4, while the valve seat 8 is mounted on a seat supporting ring 9 which in turn is disposed within the valve chamber 5 slidably along the longitudinal axis of the valve body 2. Disposed between an offset 10 of the chamber 5 and the supporting ring 9 is a compression spring 11 which usually exerts such a spring force onto the supporting ring 9 that the seat member 8 may be resiliently urged to bear against the valve element 6. In this manner, the valve element 6 is fittingly but rotatably sandwitched between the seat members 7 and 8. Reference numeral 12 indicates a ring seal or O-seal disposed within an annular groove formed in the inner wall of the valve chamber 5, which seal 12 serves for tightly preventing the fluid under control from entering the remaining portion of the the projection 28 of the stem 15 and adapted to receive a tool for rotating the stem 15 to thereby manually setting the operating positions of the valve element 6.

Formed integrally in the connector column 27 at the upper end thereof is a cam 30 which comprises a pair of cam lobes 31 and 32 positioned in the diametrical opposition to each other. As is apparent from FIG. 2, each of these cam lobes or surfaces 31 and 32 extends for right angle around the periphery of the connector 27. A change-over switch 33 for positioning the valve element 6 is secured to the mount 18 through an interposed thermal insulator (not shown). The positioning switch 33 has a switching lever 34 provided with a cam follower or roll 35 which cooperates with the cam 30 to control the state of the change-over switch 33 in dependence upon the positions of the valve element 6. The switch 33 together with the relay 25 disposed within the housing 22 constitutes an electrical control circuit for the driving motor 23, which will now be described with reference to FIG. 3.

Referring to FIG. 3, the relay 25 generally indicated by a phantom block in FIG. 3 comprises a relay solenoid or electro-magnetic coil 36 connected to a current source 37 by way of a control switch 38, a pair of fixed contacts 25A and 25B and a moval contact 25C which is connected to one pole of the current source 37. The stationary contacts 25A and 25B are electrically connected to the fixed contacts 33A and 333, respectively, of the change-over switch 33. The movable contact 33C of the switch 33 is connected to one terminal of the electrical drive motor 23, while the other terminal thereof is connected to the power source 37. As hereinbefore mentioned, the change-over switch 33 is under the control of the cam 30 provided on the periphery of the coupling column 27.

In operation of the above control circuit, it is assumed that the valve element 6 is set in the closed posi- 'is de-energized with the movable contact 25C fallen on the fixed contact 25B. Under these starting conditions, when the control switch 38 is closed, the solenoid 36 of the relay 25 is energized and the movable contact 25C is attracted to the fixed'contact 25A, as a result of which current is supplied to the driving motor 23 by way of the now closed contacts 25A and 25C of the relay 25 and the initially closed contacts 33A and 33C of the change-over switch 33. The valve element 6 is thus rotated toward the open position such as shown in FIG. 1. When the valve stem is rotated for a predetermined angular distance, aright angle in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the cam follower 35- rides on one of the cam lobes 31 and 32 to switch the movable contact 33C of the switch 33 to the stationary contact 338 from the contact 33A. The current supply to the motor 23 is then interrupted, since the contact 33B of the switch 33 is electrically connected to the contact 25B of the relay 25 which is in the open position at this time. When the motor 23 is to be again supplied with current in order to return the valve 1 to the starting or closed position, the control switch 38 is opened. The solenoid 36 of the relay 25 is then de-energized and the movable contact 25C thereof is fallen on the contact 258. The current is supplied to the motor 23 by way of the now closed contacts 25B and 25C of the relay 25 and the previously closed contacts 33B and 33C of the change-over switch 33. The rotation of the coupler member 27 for a right angle will cause the cam follower 35 to get down from the cam lobes 31 or 32, to thereby change over the position of the movable contact 33C of the switch 33 to the fixed contact 33A. The current supply circuit for the motor 23 is then opened and the valve 1 is stopped at the closed position.

It will be appreciated that, with the arrangement of the control circuit as above mentioned, the opening and the closing of the valve 1 can be controlled by merely closing and opening, respectively, the control switch 38. Since it is not required to rotate the driving motor 23 and hence the valve element 6 in two dif ferent directions in order to open and close the valve 1, the motor will never be subject to an excessive load. This assures a smooth or uniform rotation of the valve and contributes to remarkably lengthening the life of the valve by reducing the defacement and fatigue of the movable parts thereof. Although it has been described with reference to FIG. 3 that the valve 1 is opened by closing the control switch 38 and the former is closed by opening the latter, it will be appreciated that the control circuit can be easily so wired or alternatively the starting position of the valve can be so set that the opening and the closing of the switch 38 will bring about the closing and the opening, respectively, of the valve 1.

FIG. 4 shows another type of the driving and control apparatus according to this invention which can be employed for controlling the operation of the ball valve such as shown in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, a reversible electric motor 39 of a conventional type is used and the rotation of the motor in one direction is utilized to drive the valve 1 to the open position and the rotation of other direction is utilized to close the valve. As is well known, the reversible motor has three input terminals and can change the directions of rotation by switching the connection oftwo input terminals to the current supply line. The control circuit shown in FIG. 4 is different from the one shown in FIG. 3 in that a reversible motor 39 of the above type as well as a double-pole and double-throw switch 40 are employed. The relay as well the control switch may be the same as those used in the circuit shown in FIG. 3.

As is obvious from FIG. 4, the double-pole and double-throw switch 40 has fixed contacts A1, A2 and B1, B2 as well as two movable contacts Cl and C2, which contacts C1 and C2 are connected to the input terminals 39A and 398, respectively, of the reversible motor 39. It will be appreciated that the motor 39 is rotated in one direction when the current is applied to the terminals 39A and 39C and the rotation of the motor can be reversed by applying the input voltage to the terminals 39B and 39C. The simultaneous switching of the movable contacts Cl and C2 of the switch 40 from the fixed contacts Al and B1 to A2 and B2, respectively, or vice versa can be effected by the switching lever 34 under the command of the cam 30.

In describing the operation of the above control circuit, it is assumed that the cam follower 35 (FIG. 2) initially does not rest on the cam lobes 31 or 32 and the valve 1 is in the closed position. The control circuit is also in the state as shown in FIG. 4. Upon closing the control switch 38, the relay coil 36 is energized to attract its movable contact 25C toward the stationary contact 25A, as a result of which the motor 39 is supplied with electrical energy by way of the previously closed contacts B2 and C2 of the positioning switch 40 and the input terminal 398, and rotated in one direction. After a predetermined rotation of the valve element 6 to the opening position, the cam follower 35 rides on the cam surface 31 or 32 to change over the movable contacts C1 and C2 of the switch 40 to the fixed ones A1 and B1, respectively. The current supply to the motor 39 is then interrupted, since the supply line is broken at the open contact 258 of the relay 36. When the control switch 38 is opened, the movable contact 25C is fallen to the contact 258 and the current supply path to the input terminal 39A is now closed.

The motor 39 is then rotated in the reversed direction to close the valve l until the cam follower 35 has run over the cam surface 31 or 32.

FIGS. 5 to 8 show a structure of a positioning switch which can be used in place of the double-pole and double-throw typed change-over switch 40. In this switching structure, the coupling column 27 is provided with a pair of strips 41 and 42 of a conductive material such as copper or the like. Each of these strips 41 and 42 is of a zig-zag configuration having upwardly projecting rectangular flaps 43 and downwardly projecting flaps 44 which are offset to each other by the length of one flap (FIG. 8). The strips 41 and 42 have the same length which substantially correspond to the circumference of the connecting member 27. The length of the respective flaps 43 and 44 is substantially equal to a quarter of the length of the strips 41 or 42.

As is shown in FIGS. 5 to 7, the pair of strips 41 and 42 are embedded in the coupling member 27 therearound in parallel to each other as shown in FIG. 8 so that the exposed surfaces of the conductive strips 41 and 42 become flush with the peripheral surface of the column 27.

Disposed in alignment with the embedded conductor strips 41 and 42 is a brush assembly generally indicated by reference numeral 45 (FIG. which comprises an insulator supporting member 46 formed with four through-holes 47, carbon brushes 48a to 48d slidably disposed within the respective through-holes 47 and compression springs 49 which are retained within the through-holes 47 by respective cover plates 50 secured to the insulator support 46 by means of screws 51. It will be appreciated that each of the brushes 48a to 48d is aligned with the upper or lower flap 43 or 44 of the conductor strips 41 or 42 so as to make, under the resilient influence of the springs 49, electrical contacts with these flaps intermittently or with the strips for every other angular sectors of 90 defined by the length of the flap, as the coupling column 27 is rotated. The brush assembly 45 can be fixedly secured to a bottom portion of the housing 22. The operation of the switch shown in FIGS. 5 to 8 can be understood from the equivalent circuit diagram of this switch shown in FIG. 9. The lead-out from this switch can be effected by another brush arrangements 41 and 42' disposed to continuously and slidably contact the strips 41 and 42.

The control circuits shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 have a common drawback that the control switch 38 must be continuously maintained in the set position during the operation of the control circuits. If the switch 38 is unintentionally or transiently opened during the valve opening operation, the valve will be stopped in the way and never come to the opened position, since the current supply to the driving motor is suddenly interrupted due to the de-energization of the relay 25. In other words, the control circuits of FIGS. 3 and 4 require a continuous control signal having a long duration which corresponds to the period during which the valve element 6 is rotated from one position to the other.

The present invention also provides another example of the control circuit which is evades from such inconveniency. This control circuit is different from those shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 mainly in that two electro-magnetic relays each having self-holding contacts are employed.

Now referring to FIG. 10, the construction and the operation of the above control circuit will be described. The reference numeral 52 indicates a double-pole and double-throw switch having ganged movable contacts Cl and C2 as well as paired fixed contacts A1, A2 and B1, B2. This change-over switch may consist of a micro-switch of a cam control type or the switching structure such as shown in FIGS. 5 to 9. A first relay 53 comprises four pairs of fixed contacts 53Al; 53A2, 53Bl; 53B2, 53Cl; 53C2, and 53I-Il; 53I-I2 and ganged movable contacts 53M which can be magnetically actuated by a solenoid coil 54. A second relay 55 also comprises two pairs of fixed contacts 55Al; 55A2 and 55I-I1; 55H2, and ganged movable contacts 55M which are magnetically operated by relay coil 56. Reference numeral 38 indicates the control switch and numeral 23 indicates the electric motor to be controlled. In operation, it is assumed that the valve 1 is in the closed position with the circuit elements set in the position shown in FIG. 10. To initiate the valve opening operation, the control switch 38 is closed to thereby energized the coil 54 of the first relay 53, the movable contacts 53M of which are then magnetically attracted to close the fixed contacts 53I-I2, 53A2, 53B2, and 53C2. The motor 23 is supplied with current from the source by way of the contacts M1 and A2 of the positioning switch 52 and the contacts 53M and 53A2 of the relay 53. Furthermore, a self-holding loop for the relay 53 is fonned through the coil 54, contacts 53M and 53H2, and the contacts B2 and M2 of the switch 52. Accordingly, even if the control switch 38 is unintentionally or transiently opened during the opening operation, the valve can attain the final or opened position.

Upon the initiation of the valve closing operation, it is assumed that the control switch 38 is closed with the movable contacts 53M of the first relay 54 fallen on the contacts 53A2, 53B2 and 53C2, while the movable contacts M1 and M2 of the positioning switch 52 are thrown to he fixed contacts Al and B1. The second relay 55 is in the state shown in FIG. 10. Under these conditions, the opening of the control switch 38 will result in the deenergization of the first relay 53 with the movable contact 53M returned to the rest position, namely to the fixed contacts 53l-l1, 53Al, 53B] and 53Cl. The motor 23 is then energized through the contacts 53B] and 53M of the relay 54 and the contacts Al and M1 of the switch 52. At the same time, the solenoid 56 of the relay 55 is also energized through the contacts 53M and 53C1 to thereby attract the movable contacts 55M of the second relay 55' toward fixed contacts 55I-I2 and 53A2. The contacts 55M and 55I-I2 serve for closing the holding circuit for the relay 55 by way of the closed contacts M1 and A1 of the switch 52. In this manner, the valve can attain the closed position which is determined by the positioning switch 52, even if the control switch 38 is transiently closed during the closing operation.

FIG. 11 shows another embodiment of the electrically driven ball valve according to the present invention. In this drawing, the parts which serve for the same functions as those of the valve shown in FIG. 1 are indicated by the same reference numerals. This embodiment of FIG. 11 is different from the one shown in FIG. 1 only in respect to the construction of the coupling member which serves for the transmission of the output power of the electric motor 23 to the valve stem 15 of the valve 1. Although the coupling member 27 of the first embodiment is constructed from one piece of the solid cylindrical body or column, the coupler 27' of the embodiment of FIG. 11 is composed of various parts as shown in the exploded view of FIG. 12.

As is apparent from FIG. 12, the coupling member 27' comprises a disk-like cam member 60, which has a central square hole 61 adapted to receive non-rotatably but axially slidably the motor shaft 26 having a corresponding sectional configuration. A pair of diametrically opposed notches 62 and 63 are formed in the periphery of the disk 60. Furthermore, the cam disk 60 has a depending cylinder 64 fixed coaxially to the lower surface thereof. A pair of teeth 65 having a right-angle triangular shape are formed in the cylinder 64 along the circular lower edge of the cylinder. The coupling member 27 further comprises a cylinder 66 having upper circular edge provided with a diametrically opposed teeth 68 having a shape compensatory to that of the teeth 65. The cylinders 64 and 66 are rotatably connected to each other by means of a sleeve-like shaft 59 so that the teeth 65 and 68 mesh each other in the aligned position of the cylinders 64 and 66. Refer to FIG. 11. Disposed underside of the cylinder 66 is a disk 70 of a thermally insulative material such as bakelite having a square hub 70a adapted to be fitted within an opening 71 of a corresponding shape formed in the bottom of the cylinder 66. Reference numeral 29 indicates a plate by means of which the valve can be manually operated. The plate 29 has also a central square aperture 72. The coupling member 27 is shown in FIG. 11

in the assembled position in which the projection 28 of the stem extends non-rotatably through the opening 72 of the plate 29 and the hub 70a, which in turn extends through the square opening 7 ]l of the cylinder 66.

The cam disk 60 has a circular concaved portion 73 formed in the upper surface thereof for receiving a spring seat 74, which abuttingly supports one end of a compression spring 75 disposed around the output shaft of the motor 23. Reference numeral 76 indicates a similar spring seat for supporting the other end of the spiral spring 75. It will be appreciated that, in the assembled position of the coupling member 27, the cam disk 60 is under the resilient influence of the spring 75 to be biased downwardly so that the teeth 65 and 68 fittingly mesh or engage with each other.

With the construction of the coupling member 27' as above mentioned, only the rotation of the motor 23 of one direction indicated by an arrow 77 can be transmitted to the valve stem 15 due to the free wheel-like action of the clutch teeth 65 and 68. Additionally, the position of the valve element 6 can be easily set by hands independently from the motor 23 by rotating the valve stem 15 by means of the plate 29 in the counter direction as indicated by a phantom arrow 78.

For automatically controlling the operation of the electrically driven ball valve shown in FIG. 11, a control circuit shown in FIG. 13 may be employed. In this control circuit, the relay is omitted and a double pole switch 80 is employed as the control switch. The positioning switch 81 can be constituted by two microswitches 82 and 83 which have respective switching arms 84 and 85 each having a cam roll and are disposed around the disk cam 60 with angular distance of 90 maintained between the switches 82 and 83, as is shown in FIG. 14. Each of the switches 82 and 83 is usually closed and, when the roll thereof drops in the cam notch 62 or 63, the switch is opened.

In describing the operation of the above control circuit with reference to FIG. 13 together with FIG. 14, it is assumed that the switch 83 is closed with the switch 82 opened and the control switch 80 is closed on the contact A. The valve 1 shown in FIG. 11 is manually set to the closed position by means of the member 29. If the control switch 80 is changed-over to close the contact B, the motor 23 is rotated and the valve 1 is driven toward the open position. The switch 82 is then closed, since the cam roll thereof runs out of the notch 63. When the valve 1 attains the open position, the micro switch 83 is opened due to the drop-in of the roll thereof in the notch 62 of the cam disk 60 to thereby interrupt the current supply to the motor. In order to close the valve 1, the control switch is switched to close the contact A, the motor 23 is supplied with current through the switch 82 and drives the valve 1 toward the closed position. This drive is stopped, when the switch 83 is opened with the roll thereof dropped in the cam notch 63. It will be appreciated that the valve rotation toward the open or closed position can never be stopped by the temporary switching-over of the control switch 80 during the operation.

Switching arrangement shown in FIG. 15 may be employed in place of the one shown in FIG. 14. In this case, the cam disk 60' is formed with a pair of diametrically opposed projections 62' and 63'. The microswitches 82 and 83' are adapted to be usually held in the closed position, and opened only when the cam roll provided on the switching arm rides on the cam projection 62 or 63.

Furthermore, another structure of the positioning switch can be employed in connection with the embodiment shown in FIG. 11. Referring to FIG. 16, this switch structure comprises an electrically conductive ring 91 fixed to the circumference of a disk 93 of an electrical insulation material. This disk 93 may be disposed in place of the cam disk 60 shown in FIG. 12. The conductive ring strip 91 has a pair of diametrically opposed notches 94 and 95, as clearly shown in FIG. 17. A brush holding ring 96 of an insulation material is disposed around the disk 93 with small annular gap at such position that brushes 97, 98, 99 and 190 will be aligned with the conductive ring 91. Reference numeral 92 indicates a track on and along which the brushes 97 to 100 are slided over the ring 91. These brushes 97 to 100 are angularly displaced from one another about and put under rfiilient pression exerted by resmctive compression springs 101 to 104 which are accommodated within the brush holding holes by means of screws and cover plates in a manner similar to the case of the positioning switch shown in FIGS. 5 to 7.

FIG. 18 shows a control circuit in which the positioning switch of the structure as above mentioned is employed. In the shown state of the circuit, the brushes 98 and 108 are electrically connected to each other by way of the ring 91. Accordingly, if the control switch 80 is fallen to the contact B, the current supply circuit to the motor 23 is closed and the valve is driven toward the one desired position, which results in the rotation of the disk 93 in a direction indicated by an arrow 105 in FIG. 18. When the valve attains the desired position after the disk 93 has been rotated about 90, the brushes 98 and I00 are on the non-conductive portions or notches 94 and 95, respectively, and thus the supply circuit is opened. By switching the control switch 80 to contact A, the supply line to the motor 23 is again closed, since the brushes 97 and 99 are electrically connected to each other by the ring 91. The motor 23 can rotate the valve for 90 to the other position, at which the brushes 97 and 99 are on the non-conductive portions and 94, shown in FIG. 18, and the valve is stopped at this position.

While this invention has been shown and described in certain particular arrangements merely for illustration and explanation, it will be apparent that the arrangements and operating features may be arranged in other and widely varied organization for the purpose of carrying out the general principles and objectives of the present invention, without departing from the spirit and the scope thereof. For example, a positioning switch which comprises one strip such as shown in FIG. 8 by 41 and the brushes 48a, 48b and 41' can be employed in place of the switch 33 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Furthermore, in the control circuit shown in FIG. 10, a positioning switch such as shown in FIG. 19 may be alternatively used.

This switch structure comprises an electrically conductive strips which has a configuration as shown and is wound around the connecting member 27 to form a continuous ring. It will be appreciated that the brush 48a of FIG. 19 which is slidable on the interrupted track 43' functionally corresponds to the fixed contact A1 of FIG. 10. The brush 48b on the continuous track corresponds to the movable contacts M1 and M2 of FIG. 10, and the brushes 48c and 48d positioned on the connected tracks 44 and 44" corresponds to the contacts A2 and B2.

Accordingly, it is never intended that the present invention is restricted to the details of the disclosed embodiment.

What is claimed is:

1. An electrically operated valve apparatus comprising: valve means having two predetermined different operative positions; an electric motor operatively connected to said valve means and adapted to be electrically operated to drive said valve means to said predetermined operative positions; an electric control circuit connected to said motor for controlling the operation thereof, said electric control circuit comprising a power source, control switching means electrically connected to said power source and adapted to take two different states, wherein at one state said electric motor is operated to drive said valve means to one of said two operative positions and, at the other state said electric motor is operated to drive said valve to the other operative positions; positioning switch means electrically connected to said motor and said control switching means for automatically stopping the operation of said electric motor when said valve attains either one of said predetermined operative positions; wherein said valve means comprises:

a ball valve having a valve stem by means of which said ball valve is operationally connected to said electric motor through a coupling member so as to be thereby rotated to the operative positions, and said positioning switch comprises:

an electrically conductive ring strip provided in an electrically insulated manner around said coupling member, which strip is formed with a pair of diametrically opposed and electrically insulated notches at positions corresponding to said operative positions of said ball valve,

a first pair of terminals slideably disposed on said strip along a track at diametrically opposing positions and,

a second pair of terminals slideably disposed on said strip along said track at diametrically opposing positions angularly displaced for a right angle from the positions of said first pair of terminals, said track being broken by said notches.

2. Electrically operated valve apparatus as set forth in claim 1, in which said valve stem is provided with means or a all ositi ni said valve element.

3. El ectr i caii y 0 15811318 va e apparatus as set forth in claim 1, in which said valve stem is operationally connected to said motor by a coupling member which comprises two parts operatively connected to each other by means of clutch means which serve to transmit the driving power of said electric motor only in one rotational direction to said valve element.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification251/129.12
International ClassificationF16K31/04
Cooperative ClassificationF16K31/041
European ClassificationF16K31/04B