US 3731599 A
There is disclosed an operator in which flexible bags are disposed between adjacent vanes and fixed walls on a rotatable shaft and a housing, respectively, which extend across an annular chamber formed by the shaft and housing and arranged concentrically about the shaft. Pressure fluid is selectively admitted to bags on one side of the vanes while being exhausted from bags on the other sides of the vanes so as to cause the vanes to rotate between alternate positions within the chamber.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
'0 1 United States Patent 1191 1111 3,731,599 Allen 1 May 8, 1973 54 ROTARY OPERATOR 3,246,580 4/1966 Huska ..92 125 3,475,979 11/1969 Huska ..92/121  lnventor. Herbert Allen, Houston, Tex. 3,495,502 2/1970 Bousso 092/92 X 73 Assignee; Cameron I w k I 3,155,019 11/1964 SligliC .,92/122 Houston, Tex. Primary Examiner-Charles J. Myhre 1 Flledi 1971 Assistant Examiner-11. H. Lazarus [21 1 Appl No.: 122,063 Att0rneyHyer, Eickenroht, Thompson & Turner  ABSTRACT 2 1  U S Cl 9 I122 92} 25 There is disclosed an operator in WhlCh flexrble bags  Int. Cl ..F0lc 9/00 are disposed between ad acent vanes and fixed walls  Field of Search ..92/89, 90, 91, 92,
.92/93 24 125 122 on a rotatable shaft and a housing, respectively, WhlCh extend across an annular chamber formed by the shaft and housing and arranged concentrically about the  References Cited shaft. Pressure fluid is selectively admitted to bags on UNITED STATES PATENTS one side of the vanes while being exhausted from bags on the other sides of the vanes so as to cause the vanes 3,137,214 5/1964 Feld et al ..92/125 X to rotate between alternate positions within the 3,277,796 10/1966 Wessel et al.. ..92/125 h b 3,051,143 18/1962 Nee ..92/92 3,229,590 1/1966 Huska ..92/92 3 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTED 81915 3.731.599
sum 2 OF 2 JNVENTOR. Herbs/*2 /4//e/2 zg h M WrW ROTARY OPERATOR This invention relates to an operator for rotating the stem of a valve or the like. More particularly, it relates to improvements in so-called vane-type rotary operators in which a vane on a shaft connectable to the stem and extending across an annular chamber formed by the shaft and a housing connectable to the valve is caused to rotate within the chamber in response to the selective admission and exhaustion of pressure fluid to and from the portions of the chamber on opposite sides of the vanes.
In prior operators of this type, such as those shown in U. S. Pat. No. 2,780,432, elaborate and complicated seals are provided to contain the pressure fluid within the portions of the chamber on opposite sides of the vanes. These not only increase the cost of the operator, but also increase the likelihood of malfunction of the operator due to leakage from one or more of the seals. Still further, the sliding seals between the relatively movable parts within the housing necessarily increase the friction between them and thus the power required to rotate the shaft, and thus the valve stem or other part to be operated.
An object of this invention is to provide an operator of this type which does not require such elaborate high pressure seals.
Another object is to provide such an operator having a housing which is constructed of a minimum number of parts and which is easily assembled and disassembled for repair and/or replacement of internal parts.
These and other objects are accomplished, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the invention, by an operator having a flexible bag disposed within each such portion of the annular chamber, and means for selectively admitting pressure fluid to the bags on one side of the vanes while exhausting it from bags on the other sides of the vanes. Thus, alternate bags may be expanded and contracted in order to cause the vanes to be rotated between alternate positions within the chamber, and thus to cause the shaft to rotate the valve stem or other part to be operated. In this way, the only high pressure seals which are required are those which connect the pressure fluid admitting and exhausting means to the bags themselves, and since these seals are not sliding seals, they do not influence the power required for rotating the shaft. Preferably, grease fills the chamber externally of the bags therein so as to lubricate the surfaces between the bag and the chamber, and thereby facilitate their sliding relative to one another as the bags expand and contract during rotation of the vanes.
It is also preferred that the means for admitting and exhausting pressure fluid include a passageway connecting the exterior of the housing with the interior of each bag near a wall which is fixed to the housing. In this manner, there is little or no strain on the connection of the passageway to the bag due to flexing of the bag during expansion and contraction. More particularly, the housing includes a central arcuate portion and end portions, with one of the end portions being removably connected to the central portion, and the means for alternately admitting and exhausting pressure fluid includes a hollow insert providing the fluid passageway and removably located at its ends by said end portions of the housing.
In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the housing is cylindrical, a pair of vanes extend from opposite sides of the shaft, and a pair of fixed walls extend from opposite sides of the housing intermediate the blades. Thus, the chamber has four portions in each of which a flexible bag is disposed.
In the drawings, wherein like reference characters are used throughout to designate like parts:
FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view of an operator constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a horizontal sectional view of the operator, as seen along broken lines 2-2 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2, but with the shaft of the operator rotated to an alternate position.
With reference now to the details of the abovedescribed drawings, the operator, which is indicated in its entirety by reference character 10, is shown in FIG. 1 as installed upon a portion 14 of a valve body 11 for use in rotating the valve stem 12 between alternate positions within the body. Thus, operator 10 includesa housing 13 connected to valve body portion 14, as by means of welds 15, and a shaft 16 rotatably mounted within the housing and connected to valve stem 12, as by means of splines 17. As shown in FIG. 1, shaft 16 is hollow to receive the upper end of stem 12, although this is merely illustrative of one way in which the shaft and stem may be connected. It will also be understood that the operator may be used for rotating parts other than valve stems, and that its use for rotating a valve stem is also merely for purposes of illustration.
As shown in FIG. 1, housing 13 is cylindrical and comprised of a central cylindrical portion 19 and upper and lower end portions 20a and 20b which enclose an annular chamber 18 within the housing concentrically about shaft 16. The end portions are connected to the top and bottom of central portion 19 by bolts or the like (not shown) which permit either end portion to be disconnected from the central portion to provide access to chamber 18.
The shaft has upper and lower reduced ends 16a and 16b closely received within openings 21a and 21b in upper and lower end portions 20a and 20b of the housing. Seal rings 22a and 22b are carried in openings 21a and 21b for sealably surrounding the upper and lower ends of the shaft during its rotation within the housing. The upper and lower end portions of the housing are also sealed with respect to central portion 19, when connected thereto, by means of seal rings 23a and 23b. The inner sides of end portions 20a and 20b of the housing bear on annular shoulders of shaft 16 adjacent its reduced portions so as to hold the shaft axially within the housing.
A pair of walls or vanes 23 extend from diametrically opposite sides of shaft 16 and into chamber 18 with their outer ends close to the inner side of cylindrical portion 19 of housing 13 and their upper and lower ends close to upper and lower housing portions 20a and 20b. A pair of walls 24 extend from opposite sides of central portion 19 of the housing and into chamber 18 with their outer ends close to the outer diameter of shaft 16 and their upper and lower ends close to the upper and lower housing portions. Thus, chamber 18 is divided into four arcuate portions of variable volume between adjacent vanes 23 and walls 24.
Shoes of a relatively soft material are disposed over the outer, upper and lower ends of vanes 23 for sliding over the adjacent walls of the housing. Similar shoes 26 are disposed over the outer ends of walls 24 for sliding over the outer circumference of shaft 16.
A bag 27 of rubber or other flexible materials is disposed within each portion of the chamber, and is of a size for substantially filling such portion when the chamber portion in which its received is of maximum volume i.e., when vanes 23 are at one alternate position of rotation. Thus, with the vanes rotated to the position of FIG. 2, bags 27 in one pair of diametrically opposed chamber portions are expanded so as to substantially fill such portions. Then, with the vanes swung approximately 90 in a counterclockwise direction into the position of FIG. 3, the bags in the other diametrically opposed chamber portions are similarly expanded so as to substantially fill such portions. At the same time, of course, the bags in the other chamber portions are collapsed, whereby their inner and outer sides fold in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3.
The bags are caused to expand and contract, and thereby rotate the vanes, upon the selective admission and exhaustion of pressure fluid with respect to the bags in diametrically opposed chamber portions through passageways in housing 13 which connect the exterior thereof with the interior of each of bags 27. Each of these passageways includes a port 28 through upper end portion 200 of the housing coaxial with a hollow insert 29 within each chamber portion. Each of inserts 29 has reduced upper and lower ends 29a and 29b which fit closely within cylindrical recesses 30a and 30b adjacent opposite sides of walls 24 in upper and lower housing end portions 200 and 2012. As shown in FIG. 1, when the inserts are so located, a port 31 through each forms a continuation of port 28 to connect it with a short tube 32 in the side of the insert extending sealably into a corner of bag 27. Thus, by means of suitable control apparatus (not shown), pressure fluid may be either admitted to or exhausted from each individual bag 27.
Preferably, the portions of each bag above and below and on opposite sides of the insert are attached to insert 29 so as in effect to anchor the bag to a portion of the housing. This presents no problem during expansion and contraction of the bag since the inserts are disposed in an area of housing in which there is no relative movement between thebag and the housing.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, shoes 25 and 26 are flared outwardly on opposite sides of the end of the vane or fixed wall on which they are disposed so as to hold the adjacent corner of each flexible bag 27 away from the corner of the vane or fixed wall. Thus, the shoes not only facilitate sliding between them and the housing and shaft, but also prevent the corners of bags 27 from being pinched between the vanes and fixed walls and the housing and shaft over which they slide.
A heavy grease fills the chamber 18 externally of bags 27 therein, so as to lubricate the outer walls of the bags, and thus permit them to slide easily over the adjacent walls of the shaft and housing during their expansion and contraction. This grease is contained within the chamber by means of the above-described seal rings 22a, 22b, 23a, 23b, although due to the viscosity of the grease, the seals need not be of a high pressure type, as would be required in the event operating pressure fluid had to be contained by them. In fact, even if one or more of the seals should leak, the operator would continue to function, although less efficiently. Furthermore, the leaking grease would be a visible signal that it needed replenishing, which, of course, could be done merely by lifting upper end portion 20a of the housing from cylindrical portion 19 thereof.
Shoes 25 and 26 do not form seals with the portions of the shaft and housing over which they slide, so that grease is free to flow from one chamber portion to another during rotation of the vanes. The grease will at the same time facilitate sliding of the shoes relative to the adjacent housing or shaft portion.
In the operation of operator 10, pressure fluid is selectively introduced into bags 27 within one pair of diametrically opposed chamber portions, while being exhausted from the bags within the other pair of chamber portions. This of course causes the first-mentioned pair of bags to expand and thereby cause vanes 23 to rotate in a first direction. Upon manipulation of the controls to reverse this cycle, pressure fluid is selectively introduced into the second mentioned pair of bags so as to cause them to expand, as pressure fluid is being exhausted from the first-mentioned pair, so as to rotate the vanes in the opposite direction.
In the illustrated embodiment, the expanding bags cause vanes 23 to rotate approximately between the alternate positions of FIGS. 2 and 3. These alternate positions may, of course, be determined by suitable limit stops, which may be mounted on the operator, or may alternatively be formed on the valve.
It will also be understood that while, in the illustrated operator, the vanes are rotated approximately 90 between alternate positions, they may instead be rotated more or less than 90. Thus, the only practical limitation on the degree of rotation of the vanes in this embodiment is that it must be somewhat less than It will further be understood that other degrees of rotation may be obtained by obvious modifications of the illustrated arrangement of bags, vanes and fixed walls.
From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which. are obvious and which are inherent to the apparatus;
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.
As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be ,interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
The invention having been described, what is claimed is: i
1. An operator for rotating the stem of a valve or the like, comprising a housing adapted to be fixed with respect to the valve, a shaft adapted to be fixed to the stem and rotatably mounted within the housing, said housing and shaft forming an arcuate chamber arranged concentrically of the axis of the shaft, a wall fixed to one of said shaft and housing and extending across the chamber to slide over the other of said shaft and housing, means providing wall surfaces fixed to the other of said shaft and housing and extending across the chamber on opposite sides of said wall to slide over the one of said shaft and housing, a flexible bag disposed within a portion of the chamber between said wall and each of said wall surfaces, and means for selectively admitting pressure fluid to one while exhausting it from the other bag so as to cause them to expand and contract, respectively, and thereby rotate said shaft between alternate positions, each said bag being of a size to substantially fill the chamber portion in which it is disposed, when said bag expands, and having inner and outer sides which are detached from the shaft and housing and thus free to fold inwardly, when said bag contracts, and the chamber externally of the bags being substantially filled with grease which is free to flow from one portion of the chamber to the other during expansion and contraction of said bags.
2. An operator for rotating the stem ofa valve or the like, comprising a housing adapted to be fixed with respect to the valve, a shaft adapted to be fixed to the stem and rotatably mounted within the housing, said housing and shaft forming an arcuate chamber arranged concentrically of the axis of the shaft, a wall fixed to one of said shaft and housing and extending across the chamber on opposite sides of said wall to slide over the one of said shaft and housing, means and housing and extending across the chamber on opposite sides of said wall to slide over the one of said shaft and housing, a flexible bag disposed within a por tion of the chamber between said wall and each of said wall surfaces, and means for selectively admitting pressure fluid to one while exhausting it from the other bag so as to cause them to expand and contract, respectively, and thereby rotate said shaft between alternate posi tions, each said bag being of a size to substantially fill the chamber portion in which it is disposed, when said bag expands, and having inner and outer sides which are detached from the shaft and housing and thus free to fold inwardly, when said bag contracts, said housing including a central arcuate portion and end portions, one of said end portions being removably connected to the central portion, and said pressure fluid admitting and exhausting means includes a port through an end portion of the housing, and an insert removably located at its ends by said end portions of the housing, said in sert having a passageway connecting at one end with the port and said bag having a hole therein connecting with the other end of the passageway and being attached to the insert about the hole.
3. An operator of the character defined in claim 2, wherein said wall is fixed to said housing, and each said insert is near said fixed wall.