US 3795420 A
A positively locking coupling system especially designed for the positive function necessary in remote handling of highly radioactive loads is provided. The coupling is adapted to be remotely operable.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 1111 3,795,420
Preston, Jr. Mar. 5, 1974  LIFT COUPLING 2,885,919 5/1959 Carlson 81 56 2,751,229 6/1956 s 116112 176 36 c  Inventor: Oak Rldge 2,395,534 2/1946 Ciok 279/82 Telm- 3,743,342 7/1973 K6" 294/86.33 x
2,796,284 6/1957 Benson et al. 294 83 AA  Assignee: The United States 0! America as represented by the United States 233% gemmlssmn Primary ExaminerRichard E. Aegerter g Assistant Examiner-Jeffrey V. Nase  Filed: Mar. 7, 1973 Attorney, Agent, or Firm.lohn A. Horan; David S.
] Appl. No; 338,798 Zachry; L. M. Deckelmann  US. Cl. 294/86 A, 176/30, 176/36 C,
294/83 AA, 294/86.33, 294/88, 294/90  ABSTRACT  Int. Cl. B66e 1/66, G2lc 19/20  Field of Search 294/86 A, 86.15, 86.26, 86.33, A positively locking coupling system especially de- 29 3 AA, 88, 90; 176/30, 36 C signed for the positive function necessary in remote handling of highly radioactive loads is provided. The
 References Cited coupling is adapted to be remotely operable.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,72l,462 3/1973 Pawlitzki 294/83 AA X 2 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures LIFT COUPLING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION imity to these containers or those involving inadvertentdisconnection from the lifting source are entirely unacceptable. There is an existing need for a remotely operable and positive locking coupling system for the remote handling of highly radioactive loads. The present invention was conceived to meet this need in a manner to be described hereinbelow.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the object of the present invention to provide an improved lift coupling, or connector, which can be positively locked to a container and unlocked therefrom remotely after movement of the container to a desired location.
The above object has been accomplished in the present invention by providing the lift coupling with a detent coupling device which locks onto a stepped lifting pin attached to the top of a waste container which is to be moved to another location. The coupling includes means which is operated with compressed air for effecting the attachment and/or release of the coupling from the container lifting pin under remote control of an operator, and means for mechanically latching the coupling to the lifting pin upon release of the air pressure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of the lift coupling of the present invention when a source of compressed air is connected thereto, and
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the lift coupling when it is in a positive locking position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The basic functional members of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 1, are a lower male member, or locking pin, attached to a container or load, and an upper female member. The male member is an endflanged pin 1, and the female member is an airoperated locking device comprising a stationary piston 2, a vertically traversible cylinder 3, locking tumblers 4 and loading springs 5, only one tumbler 4 and one spring 5 being shown in the drawings for the sake of clarity.
In more detail, the piston 2 includes a shaft 6, a flange 7, a sealing ring 8, a waist 9, a skirt l0, and a pin socket 11. The shaft 6 is functionable as a support stem and a cylinder guide. The piston flange 7 extends from the shaft centrifugally to form a pressure surface and a peripheral surface slidable with respect to the cylinder 3. A piston retainer 24 is coupled between the flange 7 and the piston 2. The seal 8 in a peripheral recess of the flange 7 provides slidable sealing between the piston flange 7 and the cylinder inner surface 16. The piston waist 9 is an axially aligned section of the piston at midheight providing free traverse of the cylinder 3. The piston skirt 10 comprises a downward-centrifugally flaring section having a beveled outer surface 12 and a beveled inner surface 13, and having cylindrically bored tumbler races 14 extending therethrough, only one of these races being shown in the drawings. The coupling device comprises at least four such races 14 for retaining respective locking tumblers 4 therein. The piston skirt further comprises an axially downward-extending portion having spring wells 15 axially bored from the lower extremity to retain the cylinder loading springs 5 tending to cause downward force on the cylinder. Only one spring well 15 and spring 5 are shown on the drawings. It should be understood that there are at least four such wells and springs in the complete device.
The cylinder 3 comprises a main cylinder body having the upper inner surface 16; a lower inner surface 17 mating with the piston skirt 10 in a slidable female relationship; a beveled inner surface 18 abutting the locking tumblers 4 and being abuttable with the beveled outer surface 12 of the piston; a cylinder head 19 fixedly secured to the top of the cylinder, extending centripetally to, and contacting the piston shaft 6 by a sealing means 20; an air inlet coupling 21 to admit air pressure to the cylinder head air space 27 by means of an air hose connected to a source of air pressure, not shown; and a tumbler retainer 22 fixedly secured to the bottom of the cylinder, extending centripetally and being folded axially upward as at 22 to limit upward traverse of the cylinder and being beveled at the upper extremity to axially retain in a slidably abutting relationship the four locking tumblers 4.
Each of the springs 5 rests upon a spring plate 23. A sealing ring 26 is positioned between the cylinder 3 and the cylinder head 19. Also, a sealing ring 25 is positioned between the flange 7 and the main body of the piston 2. The lift coupling of the present invention is fabricated from stainless steel parts, for example, and the sealing rings 8, 20, 25 and 26 are Viton 0 ring material because of its greater resistance to radiation damage and high temperature. The lift coupling can be used with loads from 4,000 to 8,000 pounds depending upon the type of load transporter used therewith.
In operation, the coupling is supported by the piston shaft 6 which is adapted to be affixed to any suitable transporter device. In the normally closed position of the coupling, spring pressure between the piston skirt l0 and the cylinder tumbler retainer 22 causes the cylinder to remain in the down position (FIG. 2) causing the tumblers to be forced inwardly down into a pinlocking position for retaining the pin 1 attached to a load such that the load may then be transported to another desired location. When it is desired to release the load, air pressure is applied through the coupling 21 into the air chamber 27 of the cylinder head which causes upward excursion of the entire cylinder, upward and centrifugal excursion of the locking tumblers 4, and thus release of the flanged pin 1 attached to the load such that the coupling can then be removed from the load.
When it is desired to attach the coupling to a subsequent load, then air pressure is applied to the chamber 27 of the cylinder to move the locking tumblers 4 radially outward, and after the coupling pin socket ll 1 is positioned about a flanged pin, then the air pressure is released and the springs 5 move the cylinder 3 downward to effect the positive locking of the coupling to the flanged pin by means of the tumblers 4, as shown in FIG. 2. Thus, it can be seen that locking of the device onto the pin is mechanical, and release of the device from the pin is activated by air pressure. Therefore, a positive locking device is provided by the present invention that cannot be inadvertently released until air pressure is applied.
The lift coupling of the present invention is thus adapted for remote operation by means of a remote source of air pressure coupled thereto such that it is well suited for the removal or transport of solidified ra dioactive waste from spent-fuel reprocessing plants to either an engineered surfaced storage facility or to a federal repository in a salt mine for storage.
This invention has been described by way of illustration rather than by limitation and it should be apparent that it is equally applicable in fields other than those described.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved lift coupling for remotely handling highly radioactive loads, comprising an end-flanged pin constituting the male member of said coupling and adapted to be connected to a load to be handled, and a female member for receiving said male member and adapted to be coupled to a transporter, said female member including a stationary shaft provided with a radially outwardly extending flange, with an axially aligned waist below said flange, and with a skirt provided with a downward-centrifugally flaring section defining an internal pin socket for receiving said pin, said flaring section provided with a beveled outer surface and a beveled inner surface and having a plurality of cylindrically bored tumbler races extending therethrough. said skirt further including an axially downward-extending portion from said flaring section and provided with a plurality of axially bored spring wells bored from the lower extremity thereof to retain respective loading springs therein, a plurality of respective tumblers positioned within said races, a vertically traversable cylinder encompassing said radial flange and said downward-extending portion of said skirt in respective slidable female relationship thereto, said cylinder further provided with a beveled inner surface slidably abutting one end of said tumblers and being abuttable with said beveled outer surface of said flaring section, a cylinder head affixed to the top of said cylinder and extending radially inward to and sealably contacting said stationary shaft, a portion of said cylinder head defining an air chamber between itself and said radial flange, an air inlet coupling adapted to be connected to a remote source of air pressure and mounted in said cylinder head portion for admitting air pressure to said air chamber, a tumbler retainer fixedly secured to the bottom of said cylinder, extending radially inward to retain said loading springs in said wells and being folded axially upward to limit upward traverse of said cylinder and being beveled at the upper extremity to axially retain in a slidably abutting relationship the other end of said tumblers, whereby when air pressure is supplied to said air chamber said entire cylinder is moved upward to compress said springs and to effect movement of said tumblers outwardly thereby permitting the flanged end of said pin to be inserted into or removed from said pin socket, and upon subsequent release from said air pressure said cylinder is moved downwardly by said loading springs to effect movement of said tumblers inwardly down into the flange of said inserted pin into a pin locking position.
2. The lift coupling set forth in claim 1, wherein the number of said tumbler races and tumblers positioned therewithin is at least four, and the number of said spring wells containing respective loading springs therewithin is at least four.
i =1 is l l