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Publication numberUS3815783 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 11, 1974
Filing dateApr 3, 1972
Priority dateApr 3, 1971
Also published asDE2215797A1, DE2215797B2, DE2215797C3
Publication numberUS 3815783 A, US 3815783A, US-A-3815783, US3815783 A, US3815783A
InventorsHirata M
Original AssigneeTokyo Toyo Rubber Ind Co Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gas filling apparatus for inflatable floats
US 3815783 A
Abstract
A gas filling apparatus for an inflatable float which comprises a compressed gas cartridge, a piercing pin for piercing the sealing cap of said gas cartridge to open it, a driving lever for driving the piercing pin, a manual operating lever and an automatic actuation mechanism which will automatically operate when submerged in water to actuate said driving lever, characterised in that said piercing pin driving lever is interposed between said piercing pin and said manual operating lever, and said automatic actuation mechanism is fitted in the form of a replaceable cartridge.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Unite States Patent Hirata June 11, 1974 [5 GAS FILLING APPARATUS FOR 3,490,648 1/1970 Fujimoto 222/5 INFLATABLE FLOATS [75] Inventor: Michiaki lliirata, Tokyo. Japan Priman E-"amimr R0bert Reeves I Assistant E.\'aminerThomas E. Kocovsky Asslgneei Tokyo Toyo Rubber Industry Attorney, Agent. or Firn1Woodhams. Blanchard and Ltd., Tokyo, Japan Flynn [22] Filed: Apr. 3, I972 [21] Appl. No.: 240,386 [57] ABSTRACT A gas filling apparatus for an inflatable float which [30] Foreign Application Priority Data comprises a compressed gas cartridge, a piercing pin Apr 3 1971 Japan 46-24482 for Piercing the Sealing Cap of Said gas Cartridge to open it, a driving lever for driving the piercing pin, a [52 13.5. C1. 222/5, 9/314 manual Operating lever and an automatic actuation 151 int. c1. B63c 9/14 mechanism which will automatically Operate when [58] Field of Search H 222/5. 141/17 19 229 submerged in water to actuate said driving lever, chal41/33O. 9/314 316 8. 2 6 racterised in that said piercing pin driving lever is interposed between said piercing pin and said manual [56] References Cited operating lever, and said automatic actuation mecha- UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/l954 Fox 222/5 nism is fitted in the form of a replaceable cartridge.

'5 Claims, 17 Drawing Figures PATENYEBJUN 1 I 6974 SHEEF 2 BF 4 GAS FILLING APPARATUS FOR INFLATLE F LOATS This invention relates to a gas filling apparatus which will automatically open a gas cartridge to inflate an inflatable float when submerged in water. It is provided with both an automatic actuation mechanism and a manual operating device.

There are already known various gas filling apparatus for inflatable floats. The most common of them is one which is provided with an actuating device comprising a spring compressed with a water-soluble solid material and a stopper. This kind of automatic gas filling apparatus has many defects.

An inflatable float must be inflated and float up within several seconds in case it is submerged in water irrespective of whether it is operated manually or automatically. Therefore, the water-soluble solid material used in this prior kind of gas filling apparatus must quickly dissolve when it is submerged in water. On the other hand, a water-soluble solid material which will quickly and easily dissolve or collapse in water has also the property of dissolving or collapsing on contact with moisture in the air. Therefore, the water-soluble solid material used in such prior gas filling apparatus as is mentioned above eventually will be overcome by the load of the compressed spring and the user of the float will be inconvenienced by an accidental inflation. Due to this defect, this kind of gas filling apparatus is generally fitted with a safety device to prevent such accidental inflation. However, in case it is forgotten to release the above mentioned safety device in this kind of gas filling apparatus, the apparatus will not automatically operate. Further, in an emergency, it will be difficult to well understand the releasing operation of such safety device.

As described above, the conventional gas filling apparatus using a water-soluble solid material has an essential defect and is not always satisfactory.

There is a further well known gas filling apparatus provided with an actuating device comprising a spring compressed with a paper stopper. It is preferable that such paper stopper be of a required minimum strength, because the paper stopper must be broken as quickly as possible, the same as for the above mentioned watersoluble solid material, in case it is dipped in water. However, such weak paper has another great defect that the user will be inconvenienced by an accidental inflation caused when the paper is broken under the influence of moisture in air. On the other hand, paper having a strength high enough in view of safety has the greater defect that a long time will be required until the paper is broken when it is dipped in water.

An object of the present invention is to provide an improved gas filling apparatus which will open a gas cartridge by the operation of an automatic actuation mechanism to introduce the gas contained in the gas cartridge into the float to inflate it when it is submerged in water.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a gas filling apparatus having an automatic actuation mechanism which can be easily fitted to and removed from a gas filling apparatus of the above mentioned type in the form of a replaceable cartridge.

A still further object of the present invention to provide a gas filling apparatus in which the gas filling apparatus once submerged in water can be easily reset for repeated use by replacing the automatic actuation cartridge with a new one.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a gas filling apparatus which can be also used only as a manually operated apparatus by removing the automatic actuation cartridge and is adapted for swimming and diving.

Broadly speaking, the present invention provides an improved gas filling apparatus for an inflatable float which comprises a compressed gas cartridge, a piercing pin for piercing the sealing cap of said gas cartridge to open it, a driving lever for driving the piercing pin, a manual operating lever and an automatic actuation mechanisms which will automatically operate when submerged in water to actuate said driving lever, characterised in that said piercing pin driving lever is interposed between said piercing pin and said manual operating lever, and said automatic actuation mechanism is fitted in the form of a replaceable cartridge.

The features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the detailed description of an embodiment of the present invention described in the following with reference to the drawings. In the Drawings:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of one embodiment of the gas filling apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation thereof; FIG. 3 is side elevation of the opposite side thereof;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevation thereof; FIGS. 5 and 6 are respectively top and bottom elevations thereof;

FIG. 7 is a partly sectioned view showing the front part of the gas filling apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 6;

part of the automatic actuation cartridge shown in FIG.

8 after it has been used.

FIGS. 11 and 12 are respectively a partly sectioned perspective view and a top elevation showing a piercing pin for opening the sealing cap of a gas cartridge;

FIGS. 13 and 14 are respectively a front elevation and a sectioned front elevation showing another embodiment of the piercing pin for opening the sealing cap;

FIGS. 15 and 16 are respectively a side elevation and top elevation showing the piercing pin for opening the sealing cap shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 17 is a front elevation showing another embodiment of the piercing pin for opening the sealing cap.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 7, particularly in FIG. 7, the gas filling apparatus of the present invention comprises a housing I which is provided with two chambers 2 and 3 extending in the vertical direction and a third chamber 4 extending in the horizontal direction and connecting the chambers 2 and 3. The first chamber 2 is fitted with an automatic actuation mechanism in the form of a cartridge to be described in detail later and is closed by an octagonal screw cap 5 screwed in so as to accurately coincide with an octagon at the top open end of the chamber 2.

the lower part with a circular flange 7 for supporting the automatic actuation cartridge 33 in the chamber 2.

The second chamber 3 has a screw thread 9 in the upper part of the chamber, into which a gas cartridge 8 is screwed. The second chamber 3 is provided below the screw thread 9 with a circular flange 10 on which a packing 11 is mounted to seal the mouth of the gas cartridge 8. The second chamber 3 also contains in the lower part thereof a piercing pin 13 for opening a sealing cap 12 of the gas cartridge 8. The piercing pin 13 has a follower 14 at its lower-end a cylindrical portion 15 extending upwardly from the follower and a disk 16 at the upper end of the portion 15. A groove is formed between the follower 14 and disk 16 and said groove is provided with an O-ring 17 to seal the second chamber 3. The second chamber 3 is reduced in diameter in the upper part 18 so as to guide the piercing pin 13 when it moves to open the sealing cap 12. A spring 19 is fitted around the piercing pin 13 in the second chamber 3 so as to return the piercing pin 13 to the original position. The spring 19 is in contact at one end with the lower surface of the flange of the part 18 and at the other end with the top surface of the disk 16. The second chambeer 3 is provided with a passage 20 to lead the gas from the opened gas cartridge to a float (not shown) and is connected to a hole of a valve (not illustrated) of the float fitted in a D-shaped sleeve 21 so as to inflate the float.

In the third chamber 4, a seesaw type lever 22 is pivoted at 23 to the housing 1. The seesaw lever 22 at one end contacts the bottom 50 of a capsule 46 of an automatic operating cartridge 33 through the flange 7 and the other end contacts the follower 14 of the piercing pin 13. The underside of the lever 22 contacts the upper surface 26 of a manual lever pivoted at 24 to the housing 1. The manual lever 25 is fitted with a pull cord 27 and is provided with a hole 28 in which a shear pin 29 is inserted. The pin 29 is fixed to the housing 1 (FIG. 4) to prevent the free movement of the manual lever 25.

A slot 32 is provided on the bottom 30 and one side 31 of the housing 1 so that, in case the gas filling apparatus is submerged in water, water may enter the automatic actuation cartridge 33 through said slot and the third chamber 4. At this time, the air in the third chamber 4, first chamber 2 and automatic actuation cartridge 33 will flow out of the housing 1 through the vent hole 6.

An automatic actuation mechanism 34 to be used in the gas filling apparatus of the present invention comprises an actuation spring 35, spring receiving member 36, cylindrical transverse bar 37 and restricting member 38 as shown in FIGS. 7 to 10.

The spring receiving member 36 has a cylindrical shank 39 illustrated in FIGS. 8 to 10. The lower portion of the shank 39 is divided into two bifurcations 40 and 41. A cylindrical hole 42 is centrally located between the bifurcations 40 and 41 and extends in a direction perpendicular to them and is adapted to receive the cylindrical transverse bar 37. The bifurcations 40 and 41 can be bent slightly inward or outward without breaking. The upper end of the shank 39 is secured to the center of a cylindrical disk 43. The disk 43 is reduced in diameter at'44 so as to fit the actuation spring 35 surrounding the reduced diameter portion. The bifurcations 40 and 41 are bound together by the restricting member 38 which is made of paper or the like and'the actuation spring 35 is held under compression between the disk 43 and the cylindrical bar 37 snugly inserted in the hole 42.

The above described automatic actuation mechanism 34 is mounted on a slide 45 so that the cylindrical bar 37 is positioned in a pair of recesses cut on the upper end of the side wall of the slide 45 and is fitted together with the slide 45 into a capsule 46. The slide 45 has a stem 47 at the tip and has four water passages 49 in the bottom 48. The stem 47 of the slide 45 is supported at the tip 49 by a slide supporter 51 of a circular flange type provided in the center of the bottom 50 of the capsule 46 so that the automatic actuation mechanism 34 may not come out of the capsule. On the other hand, the disk 43 of the spring receiving member 36 is fitted inside the side wall 52 of the capsule 46 so tightly that is cannot be pulled out. The capsule 46 is provided with four water passages 53 in the bottom 50 and with vent 54in the upper side wall 52 and has in the center of the bottom 50 the above described slide supporter 51 formed to be thinner than the bottom 50. It is necessary that the flange of this slide supporter 51 should be sufficiently thin so that it can be easily pushed and broken by the stem 47 when the operating mechanism 34 operrates.

The automatic actuation cartridge 33 formed as described above (consisting of the automatic actuation mechanism 34, the slide 45 and the capsule 46) is fitted in thefirst chamber 2 of the housing 1 so that the bottom 50 of the capsule 46 is downwardly and is positioned on the flange 7 so that the the lower end 5A of screw cap 5A presses against a part of the upper surface of the disk 43 of the spring receiving member 36 and the top portion of the capsule 46.

When the gas filling apparatus of the present invention is submerged in water, the water having come in through the slot 32 of the bottom 30 and sides 31 of the housing 1 will pass through the water passages 53 in the bottom 50 of the capsule 46 through the third chamber 4 and will further pass through the water passages 49 in the bottom 48 of the slide 45 to wet the restricting member 38. The wet restricting member 38 will be broken within several seconds and at the same time the bifurcations 40 and 41 of the spring receiving member 36 will be bent outward by the cylindrical bar 37 to permit extension of the actuation spring 35. With the extension of the actuation spring 35, the slide 45 will push and breakthe slide supporter 51 provided in the center of the bottom 50 of the capsule 46 with the tip 49 of the stem 47 and will push one end of the seesaw lever 22 downwardly. The seesaw lever 22 will rotate around the pivot 23 as fulcrum and will push at the other end the cylinder 14 of the piercing pin 13. At this time, as the spring 19 is far weaker that the actuation spring 35, the movement of the piercing pin 13 will not be obstructed. The piercing pin 13 will push and break the sealing cap 12. The piercing pin 13 is provided at the tip with grooves 55 so that, while the tip of the piercing pin is in the gas cartridge 8 as it is, gas will flow out of the gas cartridge through said grooves and will pass through the gas passages to inflate the float.

As described above, when the automatic actuation cartridge 33 operates, the manual operating lever 25 will not be influenced at all. When the automatic actuation cartridge 33 operates, the seesaw lever 22 will be pushed down at one end by the stem 47 of the slide 45 and will be therefore able to be seen through a transparent aperture 56 in the front wall of the housing 1 so that the user may know that the actuation cartridge 33 can not be used again.

On the other hand, if the pull cord 27 of the manual operating lever 25 is pulled, the lever 25 will rotate around the pivot 24 as an axis, will push upon the surface 26 the seesaw lever 22 at the other end and will further push up the piercing pin 13 to push and break the sealing cap 12.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show, as magnified, the piercing pin 13 shown in FIG. 7. The tip of the piercing pin 13 forms a tetrahedron 58 so as to be adapted to jet the gas through the grooves 55 while the tip 57 is in the gas cartridge after piercing the sealing cap 12.

FIGS. 13 to 17 show another embodiment of the piercing pin. The vertical axis A of the reduced upper portion 59 of the piercing pin 13 is offset by a distance r from the axis A of the vertical axis of the cylinder 14 of the piercing pin 13, as shown in FIG. 16. The tip of the reduced upper portion 59 has an inclined surface 60 on which is made a groove 61 through which the gas is to pass. By thus forming the piercing pin, there are obtained the following advantages. Because the end point 62 of the inclined surface 60 is deviated eccentrically from the vertical axis A of the cylinder 14, when the sealing cap 12 of the gas cartridge 8 is to be broken, even if the piercing pin moves as deviated from the direction of the vertical axis A, the end point 62 will not strike the hull of the gas cartridge 8 but will be always able to strike the sealing cap 12 to puncture it.

As will be apparent from the above detailed explanation, in the gas filling apparatus of the present invention, the automatic actuation cartridge is inserted in the first chamber and, when submerged in water, it will automatically operate to inflate the float. Further, the used actuation cartridge can be replaced with a new one and the gas cartridge can be also replaced so that the apparatus may be repeatedly used.

Further, the automatic actuation cartridge can be taken out so easily that the apparatus can be used only as a manual operating device and is adapted to be used for swimming and diving.

Further, the automatic actuation cartridge operates quite independently of the manually operating lever and, therefore, it is not necessary to repair the manually operating lever after the use of the automatic actuation cartridge. When the automatic operating cartridge operates, the operation will be seen and easily confirmed through the aperture in the front window of the apparatus.

The restricting member within the actuation cartridge will be little influenced by moisture and water will quickly enter the automatic actuation cartridge to actuate it when the apparatus is submerged in water.

Further, the manual operation can be made irrespective of whether the automatic actuation cartridge is in the first chamber or not or may well be carried out simultaneously with the automatic operation of the apparatus.

What is claimed is:

l. A gas filling apparatus for an inflatable float which comprises: I

a compressed gas cartridge having a sealing cap;

a piercing pin for piercing said sealing cap to open it;

a driving lever for moving said piercing pinto cause same to pierce said sealing cap, one end of said piercing pin contacting one side of said driving lever adjacent one end thereof;

a manual operating lever contacting the opposite side of said driving lever adjacent said one end thereof so that said one end of said driving lever is interposed between said piercing pin and said manual operating lever; and

a replaceable cartridge containing automatic actuation mechanism which will automatically operate when submerged in water to actuate said driving lever, said automatic actuation mechanism including a movable stem for contacting said one side of said driving lever adjacent the opposite end thereof.

2. The gas filling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, in which said automatic actuation mechanism comprises an actuation spring, a spring receiving member, a cylindrical bar and a water-sensitive restricting member, said spring receiving member having a shank surrounded by said spring, which shank has end branches bound by said restricting member, said cylindrical bar being received and held in position between said end branches of said shank, said bar engaging one end of said spring and holding it under compression, said restricting member having sufficient tensile strength when dry to prevent spreading of said end branches of said shank, said restricting member having insufficient tensile strength when wet to prevent spreading of said end branches, said automatic actuation mechanism being mounted on a slide and fitted together with the slide into a capsule to form a replaceable cartridge.

3. A gas filling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, comprising a housing having two chambers therein, said compressed gas cartridge being attached to said housing in communication with one chamber thereof, said piercing pin being movably mounted in said one chamber for projection therefrom through the sealing cap of said compressed gas cartridge, said housing having a passage leading from said one chamber to the inflatable float so that the compressed gas flows from said cartridge through said one chamber into said float, said replaceable cartridge containing the automatic actuation mechanism being mounted in the other chamber, said lever extending from one end of said one chamber to one end of said other chamber.

4. A gas filling apparatus according to claim 1, in which said driving lever is a first class type-lever with said piercing pin and said actuation mechanism being disposed adjacent opposite ends of said driving lever.

to retain said spring under compression.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2684784 *Aug 28, 1951Jul 27, 1954Fox Robert GInflator for pneumatic life preserving apparatus
US3490648 *Dec 5, 1967Jan 20, 1970Fujimoto TadaoAutomatic gas filling device of an inflatable life-saving equipment
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4260075 *Aug 1, 1978Apr 7, 1981Mackal Glenn HAutomatic inflator
US4629436 *Aug 2, 1985Dec 16, 1986James F. StewartPersonal flotation assistance device
US4687451 *Aug 11, 1986Aug 18, 1987Chen Tsung HAutomatic actuation device for inflatable life-saving equipment
US4768128 *May 5, 1987Aug 30, 1988Conax Florida CorporationWater activated pressurized gas release device
US4800835 *Mar 10, 1988Jan 31, 1989Radarfind, Inc.Locator device
US4927057 *May 30, 1989May 22, 1990Inflation Technologies & InnovationAutomatic inflator for inflatable articles
US4959034 *Oct 25, 1988Sep 25, 1990Wass Lloyd GPuncture disc inflation valve with improved cutting bayonet
US4972971 *Jun 29, 1989Nov 27, 1990Inflation Technologies & InnovationAutomatic inflator for inflatable articles
US5035345 *May 7, 1990Jul 30, 1991Apoc, Inc.Automatic inflator for inflatable articles
US5058635 *May 14, 1990Oct 22, 1991Mackal Glenn HGas cartridge inflator having hollow pin of truncate extent
US5271525 *Feb 18, 1992Dec 21, 1993Petrie Ross JInflation manifold
US6260570Jun 16, 1998Jul 17, 2001Lloyd G. WassPuncture disc raft inflation valve having a one-piece valve body
US6601731 *Dec 21, 2001Aug 5, 2003Scott WuQuick inflation device with a safety means
US7357689Jan 19, 2005Apr 15, 2008Campbell Richard AAutomatic inflation device having a moisture activated trigger and release system with reduced force applied to the degradable element
US8413329Oct 1, 2010Apr 9, 2013Illinois Tool Works Inc.Compressed gas cartridge lance housing
DE2930858A1 *Jul 30, 1979Feb 21, 1980Glenn H MackalAufblasvorrichtung, beispielsweise fuer schwimmwesten
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/5, 441/94, 441/95
International ClassificationF16K15/20, B63C9/00, B63B7/08, B63B7/00, F16K15/00, B63C9/19
Cooperative ClassificationB63B7/08, F16K15/20
European ClassificationF16K15/20, B63B7/08