US 3891002 A
A system for controllably delivering volatile fluids, such as high pressure, inflammable gases to a working region within a housing. The system includes a manifold extending through a wall of the housing and into the working region. The manifold is coupled to one or more cylinders containing the volatile fluid with the cylinders being disposed exteriorly of the housing. Fluid-actuated valve means exteriorly of the housing controls the flow of volatile fluid through the manifold. A control unit interiorly of the housing controls the flow of an actuating fluid signal to the valve means to selectively open and close the same.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 Mowrer et al.
I FLUID DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR VOLATILE FLUIDS I75] inventors: Ronald L. Mowrer; Robert W.
Ehbler, both of Menlo Park; Major F. Gates, Paciflca. all of Calif.
1731 Assignee: Medental, lnc., Menlo Park. Calif.
1221 Filed: Apr. 30, 1974 [2!] Appl. No.: 465,714
 U.S. Cl. 137/557; 137/561; 32/22  Int. Cl. Fl6k 37/00 1581 Field of Search 32/22; 137/557. 561, 608
[561 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,780296 2/1957 Hcigis 137/557 X 118K434 6/1965 Hrdina 32/22 UX 1 June 24, 1975 Attorney. Agent, or FirmTownsend and Townsend 57] ABSTRACT A system for controllably delivering volatile fluids. such as high pressure, inflammable gases to a working region within a housing. The system includes a mani fold extending through a wall of the housing and into the working region. The manifold is coupled to one or more cylinders containing the volatile fluid with the cylinders being disposed exteriorly of the housing. Fluid-actuated valve means exteriorly of the housing controls the flow of volatile fluid through the manifold. A control unit interiorly of the housing controls the flow of an actuating fluid signal to the valve means to selectively open and close the same.
10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEIJJUH24 1915 3,891. ,OOZ SHEET 2 I FLUID DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR VOLATILE FLUIDS This invention relates to improvements in a fluid delivery system and, more particularly, to such a system for handling volatile, inflammable gases in areas where individuals move about.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION While the present invention is suitable for a wide va riety of uses, it is especially suitable for use in isolating dental offices and clinics from sources of volatile, inflammable gases, such as nitrous oxide and oxygen. In the past, it has been the practice to locate cylinders of such gases within a dental office adjacent to the area in which the gases are to be used. These cylinders present explosion and lire hazards because the valves or regulators therefor oftentimes leak or rupture causing both an explosion and fire which immediately engulfs individuals in the immediate vicinity. In a number of cases, this has caused fatalities and serious injuries. Thus, a need has arisen for structure which minimizes the danger of using volatile, inflammable fluids so as to protect individuals against explosion and fire.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a system which accomplishs the foregoing aim and, to this end, provides a system which permits sources of volatile, inflammable fluids to be exteriorly ofa working region in which such fluids are to be used. To this end, the system includes a manifold which can extend through a wall of a housing in which the working region is disposed. The manifold is coupled to one or more cylinders cxteriorly of the housing which contain the fluid to be used therewithin, and improved valve means is coupled to the manifold at a point exteriorly of the housing to control the flow of fluid from the cylinders into the housing and to the working region therewithin. The valve means is fluid-actuated by a fluid signal controlled from within the housing so that flow of fluid can be cut off immediately as desired or necessary. Thus, any explosion or fire due to malfunction of the cylinders or associated accessories, will occur exteriorly of the housing so as to protect individuals within the working region in the housing.
The primary object of the invention is, therefore, to provide an improved system for the handling of volatile, inflammable fluids, such as high pressure gases and the like. when the sources of such gases are disposed exteriorly of a confined space in which individuals move about with improved valve means being provided to control the fluid from the sources to such space to assure protection of individuals therewithin in the event of explosion or fire due to malfunction of the fluid source itself.
Another object of this invention is to provide an improved fluid delivery system which includes a manifold extending through a wall of a housing and the manifold is controlled by improved. fluid-actuated valve means extcriorly of the housing so that fluid from a cylinder outside the housing can be controllably directed into the housing as desired or needed yet the fluid flow can be stopped during non-working periods to thereby assure protection of the premises during such nonworking periods.
Another object of this invention is to provide a system of the type described wherein the valve means is 2 actuated by a non-flammable fluid signal originating from within the housing to permit remote control of the flow of fluid from the source exteriorly of the housing.
Other objects of this invention will become apparent as the following specification progresses, reference being had to the accompanying drawings for an illustration of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. I is a fragmentary, side elevational view of the system showing the portions thereof exteriorly of a housing;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view of the valve of the system;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, partly in section, showing the system as applied to a dental office; and
FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the control circuitry of the valve of FIG. 2.
The fluid delivery system of the present invention is broadly denoted by the numeral I0 and, for purposes of illustration, is shown as being used in a dental office in the interior ofa housing 12 having a wall I4 adjacent to the outer face of which are disposed a number of tanks or cylinders (FIG. I) for containing fluids, such as high pressure gases. Typical gases for dental use are nitrous oxide and oxygen. Again, for purposes of illustration, two of the cylinders. denoted by the numeral I6, are provided for nitrous oxide, and the other pair of cylinders [8 are provided for oxygen.
Each cylinder has a manually actuated valve 24 and a regulator 26 at the upper end thereof so that the gases therein can be directed by means ofa tube or manifold 28 through suitable flow control structure 29 hereinafter described. Each of the cylinders with its valve and regulator is conventional in construction. The purpose of system I0 is to deliver the gases of the cylinders under pressure into the interior of housing I4 adjacent. for example, to a chair 30 in which a dental patient is seated. Equipment (not shown), such nose masks and the like, is provided to utilize the gases so that the latter can be applied to a patient in chair 30 as desired or needed. A terminal 32 is provided adjacent to the inner surface of wall 14 and chair 30 and is coupled by a tube or manifold 34 to control structure 29 of each cylinder. respectively. Structure 29 operates to controllably interconnect manifolds 28 and 34. The aforesaid equipment is coupled to the terminal to receive the gases therefrom and the terminal can be provided with a valve for additional control.
A control structure 29 is provided for each pair of tanks, respectively. Each control structure (FIG. 2) is identical with the other control structure so that a description of one will suffice for the other.
Control structure 29 includes a body 38 having two inlet ports 40 coupled by manifolds 28 from respective cylinders 16. Each port 40 has a one-way check valve 42 between the port and a fluid passage 44 common to ports 40 and extending into the body from one side face 46 thereof. A removable plug 48 closes one end of passage 44. A pressure relief valve 50 in a secondary passage 52 in body 38 is biased into a closed position by a spring 54. When the pressure in passage 44 exceeds a predetermined value, valve 50 is opened. thereby exhausting passage 44 to the atmosphere through a side port 56 extending into side 46 of body 38. A pressure gage S8 is in fluid communication by means of another secondary passage 60 to register the fluid pressure in passage 44.
Body 38 is further provided with a bore 62 having an outer open end and intersecting fluid passage 44. A conventional valve cartridge 64 is removably mounted in any suitable manner in bore 62. Cartridge 64 includes a hollow housing having a valve member 66 bi ased by a spring 68 into a closed position against a valve seat 69 as shown in FIG. 2. Valve 66 is carried by a rod 76 extending upwardly through a portion of the hollow interior ofthe cartridge. Rod 70 has a piston 72 on the upper end thereof. The piston is movable in a chamber 74 communicating with a side passage 76 ex tending to the opposite side 78 of body 38.
A main exit port 80 extends into body 38 from side 78 and communicates with passage 44 when valve 66 is opened. Manifold 34 is coupled with body 38 at port 80 and extends through wall 14 into housing 12 to terminal 32.
To actuate each valve 66 to open the same. a fluid signal is applied to its chamber 74 through a corresponding port 76 with the signal being. for purposes of illustration. an air signal under pressure sufficient to overcome the bias force of spring 68 to shift valve 66 away from seat 69. The air signal is controlled by a hy draulie switch 84 on a control panel 86 (FIGS. 3 and 4) located Within housing 14, such as a location remote from wall 14, e.g.. an office separate from the room containing chair 30. Control panel 86 has a number of pilot lights 87 and is coupled to a compressed air line 88 normally provided in housing 14 so that compressed air can flow along fluid line 90 (FIG. 4). through control panel 86. and then through fluid line 92 through wall 14 and into port 76 (HO. 2]. A common line 93 (FIG. 1) interconnects ports 76 of both control structures 29. In this way. compressed air will actuate valves 66 of control structures 29 and open the same when switch 84 is actuated.
OPERATION In use. system 10 is assembled in the manner shown in FIG. 3. Assuming only one cylinder 16 and one cylinder ]8 is to be used. the corresponding valves 24 thereof are opened to pressurized fluid passages 44 of corresponding control structures 29. Then. by actuating switch 84 on control panel 86. air under pressure will be delivered to ports 76 of control structures 29 to open valves 66. Then. fluid under pressure will be provided at terminal 32. the latter having respective outlet ports for the gases from cylinders 16 and 18.
Typically, switch 84 will be in the on" position throughout a working day. Thus, the gases from cylinders l6 and [8 will be continuously available at termi nal 32. At the end ofthe working day. switch 84 will be moved to the "off position. thereby causing valves 66 to close. Thus. there will be no pressurization of manifolds 34 within housing 12 so as to assure a safe. reliable condition inasmuch as any malfunction of the cyl inders or their valves and regulators will occur exteriorly of the housing rather than intcriorly thereof. Also. during the working day, any such malfunction will not cause personal injury or property damage within housing 12.
System 10, therefore. provides a simple and safe means for protecting personnel within the housing yet assures continuous supply of gases therewithin without sacrificing control of the flow of gases thereto. While the invention has been described with respect to the supply of gases to a dental office. the invention is suitable fora wide variety ofother uses where direct exposure to the presence of volatile fluids is to be avoided.
We claim 1. In a system for handling a volatile fluid in a con- 5 lined space defined by a boundary. the improvement comprising: a cylinder containing a volatile fluid under pressure. said cylinder adapted to be positioned externally of said space; a terminal adapted to be coupled with fluid-actuated equipment usable in said space; manifold means adapted to extend through said boundary for coupling said cylinder and said terminal together to permit a flow of said fluid to said terminal; valve means externally of said space and responsive to a control signal for controlling the flow of fluid through said manifold means; and means in said space and coupled to said valve means for selectively providing a control signal therefor.
2. In a system as set forth in claim I, wherein said signal providing means includes a source ofa second fluid under pressure. fluid passage means between said source and said valve means, and fluid switch means for selectively controlling the flow of said second fluid to said valve means.
3. ln a system as set forth in claim 2. wherein is in eluded a control panel in said space. said fluid switch means being mounted on said control panel. said fluid passage means including a fluid line passing through said control panel.
4. In a system as set forth in claim 1. wherein said valve means comprises a valve body having a fluid passage therethrough. and a fluid-actuated valve assembly within the body and across the passage. said body having a fluid port for receiving a fluid signal for actuating the valve.
5. In a system as set forth in claim 4. wherein the valve body has a fluid inlet port coupled with said fluid passage. there being a check valve in said inlet port to prevent fluid flow out of the same from said fluid passage.
6. ln a system as set forth in claim 4. wherein said body has a bore extending thereinto and intersecting said fluid passage. said valve assembly having a hollow housing removably mounted in said bore.
7. In a system as set forth in claim 4. wherein is included relief valve means coupled with said body for relieving the pressure of said fluid passage when the pressure exceeds a predetermined value.
8. In a system as set forth in claim 4, wherein said body has a fluid inlet port and a fluid outlet port. said manifold means including a first manifold coupling said cylinder to said inlet port and a second manifold coupling said terminal to said outlet port.
9. In combination: a housing having a wall; a cylinder containing a volatile fluid under pressure. said cylinder being positioned externally of said housing adjacent to said wall; a terminal within said housing and adapted to be coupled with fluid-actuated equipment usable in said housing; manifold means extending through said wall for coupling said cylinder and said terminal together to permit a flow of said fluid to said terminal; valve means externally of said housing and responsive to a control signal for controlling the flow of fluid through said manifold means; and means in said housing and coupled to said valve means for selectively providing a control signal therefor.
10. ln combination: a housing having a wall; a terminal within said housing and adapted to be coupled with (ill fluid-actuated equipment usable in said housing; munifold means extending through said will] for coupling said terminal with 11 fluid-contuining cylinder externally of said housing to permit u flow of said fluid to said terling the flow of fluid through said manifold means to said terminal; and means in said housing and coupled to said valve means for selectively providing u control minul from the cylinder. valve means externally ol'suid 5 8 thcrcfml housing and responsive to a control signal for Control-