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Publication numberUS3844306 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 29, 1974
Filing dateMar 7, 1973
Priority dateMar 7, 1973
Publication numberUS 3844306 A, US 3844306A, US-A-3844306, US3844306 A, US3844306A
InventorsHill R
Original AssigneeHill R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gas supply system
US 3844306 A
Abstract
A system for supplying gas, such as compressed air, from large capacity banks of storage containers having different pressure capacities. The gas is withdrawn first from the lowest pressure storage bank and only if necessary from a higher pressure bank. The storage banks are refilled automatically as necessary to bring the pressure of each up to rated capacity.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[451 Oct. 29, 1974 United States Patent 1191 Hill 3,719,196 3/1973 McJones 137/256 GAS SUPPLY SYSTEM [76] Inventor: Robert E. Hill, 325 Hickory Ave.,

Merritt Island, F] 32952 Primary ExaminerMartin P. Schwadron Mar. 1973 Assistant ExammerRobert J. Miller Appl. No.: 338,846

Attorney, Agent, or FirmO1tman and Flynn [22] Filed:

3,285,272 11/1966 Messenger.......................... 137/256 3,524,444 8/1970 Ellard 137/256 X 10 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure GAS SUPPLY SYSTEM This invention relates to a system for supplying gas, such as compressed air, oxygen or natural gas, from relatively large capacity storage containers to smaller tanks.

A principal object of this invention is to provide a novel and improved gas supply system which is essentially automatic and therefore less subject to human error in its operation.

Another object of this invention is to provide a novel and improved gas supply system whose efficiency is enhanced by filling a tank first from lower pressure storage containers and then topping off" from higher pressure containers, if necessary.

Another object of this invention is to provide a novel gas supply system of improved safety in which different capacity storage containers have their individual inputs pressure-regulated automatically and without the necessity of human supervision.

Further objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of a presently-preferred embodiment thereof, which is illustrated schematically in the single FIGURE of the accompanying drawing.

The single FIGURE of the drawing shows schemtically a system in accordance with the present invention for pressurizing different banks of containers with compressed air in a predetermined sequence, and for withdrawing compressed air from the container banks in the same sequence.

Referring to the drawing, the dashed line enclosure contains the storage portion of the present system, and the dashed line enclosure 11 contains the utilization portion of the system. In this embodiment, the pressurized gas in the system is compressed air, supplied by an air compressor 12 driven by an electric motor 13 whose energization is controlled by on" and off pressure switchs l4 and 15, respectively.

Three banks of relatively large capacity storage containers are shown in the storage portion 10 of the system: a first bank of storage containers 16 having a maximum pressure of 3,600 pounds per squre inch; a second bank of storage containers 17 having a maximum pressure of 3,000 psi; and a third bank of storage containers 18 having a maximum pressure of 2,000 psi. It is to be understood that the number of banks of storage containers and their maximum pressures may differ from the particular example given.

The high pressure storage bank 16 is connected to the output of the air compressor 12 through two seriesconnected check valves 19 and 20 and a manual shutoff valve 21. The check valve 20 and the shut-off valve 21 are individual to the high pressure bank of storage containers 16. The check valve 19 is common to all three banks of storage containers 16, 17 and 18.

The intermediate pressure bank 17 receives pressurized air from the air compressor 12 through check valves 19 and 22, a manually adjustable pressure regulator 23, check valve 24, and a manual shut-off valve 25. All of these are individual to the intermediate pressure bank, except the check valve 19.

The lowest pressure bank of storage containers 18 receives pressurized air from the air compressor through check valve 19 and, in series, a check valve 26, a manually adjustable pressure regulator 27, a check valve 28, and a shut-off valve 29, all individual to this low pressure bank.

The on" and off" switches 14 and 15 for the compressor motor 13 are both pressure-operated switches that are connected to sense the air pressure in the high pressure storage bank 16. Together they operate to keep the air compressor 12 on whenever the air pressure in the high pressure storage bamk 16 is below a predetermined value, and to turn off the compressor when the air pressure here reaches this value.

The three banks of storage containers 16, 17 and 18 are filled automatically from the air compressor 12 as follows:

In practice, the bank of storage containers 18 will have the lowest air pressure and these will be filled first, via check valve 26, pressure regulator 27, check valve 28, and shut-off valve 29.

When the air pressure in the containers 18 reaches the air pressure in the bank which is at the next higher pressure, then both banks of containers will be filled simultaneously. For example, the intermediate pressure containers l7 usually will be at this next higher pressure, and these containers will be filled now via check valve 22, pressure regulator 23, check valve 24 and shut-off valve 25 while the container bank 18 is continued to be filled.

When the pressure in both banks of containers l7 and 18 reaches the pressure in the high pressure bank 16, all three banks of containers will be filled simultaneously.

Whenever the air pressure in the lower pressure bank 18 reaches the cut-off value determined by the setting of its pressure regulator 27, the latter will close and thereby stop the filling of this container bank. The remaining container banks 17 and 16 will continue being pressurized simultaneously until the pressure in the container bank 17 reaches the cut-off value for which its pressure regulator 23 is set to close. Following this, the air compressor 12 continues to pressurize the container bank 16 until the maximum pressure for this bank is reached, at which time the cut-off switch 15 will turn off the compressor motor.

It is to be understood that there may be in the system any desired number of different banks of storage containers with different maximum pressures, as determined by individual pressure regulators.

The output from the lowest pressure storage container bank 18 is connected to the utilization portion of the system through the shut-off valve 29 and a check valve 30 leading to an output line 31. A pressure gauge 32 senses the air pressure in the container bank 18.

The output from the intermediate pressure storage container bank 17 is connected to the same output line 31 through the shut-off valve 25, a solenoid valve 33 and a check valve 34. The solenoid valve 33 is normally closed, and it is opened in response to the energization of its solenoid coil 35 by the closing of a manual switch 36 in the utilization portion 11 of the system. A pressure gauge 57 senses the air pressure in the container bank 17.

The output from the highest pressure storage container bank 16 is connected to the output line 31 through the shut-off valve 21 and a normally closed solenoid valve 37, which is opened in response to the energization of its solenoid coil 38 by the closing of a manual switch 39 in the utilization portion 11 of the system.

Both solenoid switches 36 and 39 are shown connected between the respective solenoid and a battery 40. However, it is to be understood that any appropriate power source for the solenoids may be provided, as desired.

ln the utilization portion of the system, the line 31 is connected through a shut-off valve 41 and a remote fill shut-off valve 42 to a quick-disconnect fitting 43 to which a fill hose 44 may be connected. The air pressure in hose 44 is unregulated. This hose may be connected to a remotely located utilization device, such as an air tank. A vent valve 45 is connected to the unregulated air line ahead of the quick-disconnect fitting 43 for venting this line to the atmosphere, when desired.

The output line 31 from the storage portion of the system is connected through the shut-off valve 41 to a pressure regulator 46. Air pressure gauges 47 and 48 are provided at the inlet and outlet sides of this pressure regulator. The outlet of the pressure regulator 46 is connected through a hose shut-off valve 49 and a check valve 50 to a fill hose 51, which may be detachably connected to a tank to be filled. An air pressure gauge 52 reads the pressure in hose 51.

The outlet of the pressure regulator 46 also is connected through a hose shut-off valve 53 and a check valve 54 to another fill hose 55, which may be detachably connected to a second tank to be filled. An air pressure gauge 56 reads the air pressure in hose 55.

Any additional number of fill hoses may be connected to the outlet of the pressure regulator 46 through similar individual shut-off valves and check valves.

The pressure regulator 46 is manually adjustable to limit the air pressure that may be applied to the fill hoses 51, 55.

Operation A tank to be filled is connected to a fill hose, 51, for example, and the corresponding hose shut-off valve 49 is opened manually. Initially, the storage container bank 18 that is at the lowest pressure is connected to the fill hose 51 via shut-off valve 29, check valve 30, line 31, shut-off valve 41, pressure regulator 46, hose shut-off valve 49, and check valve 50. The air pressure in the tank being filled is read at the pressure gauge 52.

If the pressure in the storage container bank 18 is insufficient to fill the tank at the fill hose 51 to the desired final pressure, then the operator manually closes the solenoid switch 36, thereby energizing the solenoid coil 35 and connecting the intermediate pressure storage container bank 17 to the fill hose 51 via the shut-off valve 25, the now-open solenoid valve 33, check valve 34, line 31, shut-off valve 41, pressure regulator 46, shut-off valve 49 and check valve 50. In this manner, the intermediate pressure storage container bank 17 may be used to'top of the tank that is being filled (i.e., to bring it up to the desired final pressure).

However, if the pressure in the intermediate pressure bank of storage containers 17 is insufficient to bring the tank being filled up to the desired final pressure, then the operator opens switch 36 and closes switch 39, thereby energizing solenoid coil 38 and connecting the high pressure bank of storage containers 16 to the fill hose 5] via the shut-off valve 21, the now-open solenoid valve 37, line 31, shut-off valve 41, pressure regulator 46, hose shut-off valve 49 and check valve 50. in this manner, the high pressure storage container bank 16 may be used to "top of "the tank being filled, when necessary.

It is to be understood that the successively higher pressure storage container banks 17 and 16 are used only when necessary to bring the tank being filled up to the desired final pressure. The initial filling is from the lowest pressure bank of storage containers l8, and in some cases the pressure here will be enough to bring the tank being filled up to the desired final pressure without the necessity of drawing any pressurized air from the higher pressure storage container banks. In this manner, the most efficient use is made of the banks of storage containers, with their different pressure capacities. Also, the lower pressure storage containers 18, which provide the intial filling, need not be as heavily constructed and expensive as the higher pressure storage containers used for topping of It is to be understood that two or more tanks may be filled at one time through the respective fill hose in the utilization portion of the system.

The refilling of the storage banks 16, 17 and 18 takes place whenever the pressure in the highest pressure bank 16 drops to a predetermined level effective to cause the on" pressure switch 14 to turn on the motor for the air compressor 12. This may happen while one or more tanks are being filled at the fill hoses 51, 55.

When the air compressor is turned on, the banks of storage containers 16, 17 and 18 are re-filled as described in detail hereinbefore, with the lowest pressure bank being filled first.

If desired, a pressure relief valve (not shown) may be connected in each storage container bank to vent excess pressure to the atmosphere in case of a malfunction of the corresponding pressure regulator or a check valve or the compressor cut-off switch 15.

The various check valves in the system prevent any undersired backflow among its different components.

It is to be understood that the invention is susceptible of embodiments differing from the particular arrangement disclosed. For example, the source of pressurized gas may be high pressure storage vessels instead of the air compressor shown. Also, if desired, certain of the banks of storage containers may be connected to have the same maximum gas pressure, instead of each having a different maximum pressure.

I claim:

1. In a gas supply system comprising:

a plurality of banks of storage containers;

and regulator means operatively associated individually with banks of said storage containers for limiting the respective gas pressures therein to different predetermined values;

the improvement which comprises:

means for connecting a pressurized gas source to said plurality of banks of storage containers to first add pressurized gas to the bank which is at the lowest pressure until its pressure becomes substantially equal to that of the next higher pressure bank, and thereafter in succession to each successively higher pressure bank simultaneously with said lowest pressure bank until each bank being filled reaches the gas pressure limit determined by its individual regulator means;

said gas supply system also comprising:

means for withdrawing pressurized gas first from the bank of storage containers which is at the lowest pressure;

and means operable thereafter for withdrawing pressurized gas from the higher pressure banks of storage containers in succession.

2. A gas supply system according to claim 1, wherein said last-mentioned means comprises a respective normally closed, electrically operated valve connected to each higher pressure bank of storage containers, and a switch for opening said valve.

3. A gas supply system according to claim 1, and further comprising check valve means connected to said banks of storage containers to:

a. pass pressurized gas from said source to said banks of storage containers; and

b. block return flow from the respective banks of storage containers to said source; and

c. block gas flow from any of said banks of storage containers to another bank.

4. A gas supply system according to claim 3, wherein said means for withdrawing pressurized gas from each higher pressure bank of storage containers comprises a normally closed solenoid valve connected between the respective bank of storage containers and said check valve means, and a switch for opening said solenoid valve.

5. In a gas supply system comprising:

a plurality of banks of storage containers;

a pressurized gas source;

and individual regulator means for the banks of storage containers operatively connected individually to the latter to limit the gas pressure therein to different predetermined values;

the improvement which comprises:

means for connecting said source to said plurality of banks of storage containers to first add pressurized gas from said source to the bank which is at the lowest pressure and thereafter in succession to each successively higher pressure bank simultaneously with said lowest pressure bank until each bank being filled reaches the pressure limit set by its individual regulator means;

and check valve means operatively connected to each bank of storage containers to pass pressurized gas thereto from said source and to block return flow from the respective bank to said source and to block gas flow from any bank of storage containers to another bank;

said gas supply system also comprising:

means for filling a tank with pressurized gas first from the bank of storage containers which is at the low est pressure and thereafter from one or more higher pressure banks of storage containers in succession when the gas pressure in said lowest pressure bank is insufficient to fill the tank to the desired pressure.

6. A gas supply system according to claim 5, wherein said source is an air compressor, and the individual regulator means for the highest pressure bank of storage containers is a pressure switch operatively associated with said highest pressure bank and with said compressor to turn off said compressor when the gas pressure in said highest pressure bank reaches a predetermined value.

7. A gas supply system according to claim 5, wherein said means for filling the tank comprises a fill hose, a check valve connected to said fill hose to pass pressurized gas thereto and block return flow from the fill hose, a pressure regulator connected between said banks of storage containers and said last-mentioned check valve, and a pressure gauge for sensing the gas pressure in said fill hose.

8. In a gas supply system:

different banks of individually pressure-regulated storage containers for storing gas at different pressures;

and means for connecting a pressurized gas source to said banks of storage containers to first add pressurized gas to the bank which is at the lowest pressure until its pressure is substantially equal to that of the next higher pressure bank, and thereafter to add pressurized gas to successively higher pressure banks simultaneously until each bank reaches a predetermined pressure.

9. A system according to claim 8, and further comprising check valve means connected to said banks of storage containers to a. pass pressurized gas from said source to said banks of storage containers; and

b. block return flow from the respective banks of storage containers to said source; and

c. block gas flow from any of said banks of storage containers to another bank.

10. In a gas supply system comrising:

a plurality of banks of storage containers which store gas at different pressures and which are all connected to a common outlet;

and means for withdrawing pressurized gas through said outlet first from the bank of storage containers which is at the lowest pressure and thereafter from a higher pressure bank of storage containers;

the improvement wherein:

said means for withdrawing pressurized gas comprises a respective normally closed, electrically operated valve connected between each higher pres sure bank of storage containers and said outlet, and a switch for opening said electrically operated valve.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification137/256, 222/6
International ClassificationF17D1/00, F17C5/06, F17C7/00, F17D1/04, F17C5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF17D1/04, F17C5/06, F17C7/00
European ClassificationF17C7/00, F17D1/04, F17C5/06