United States Patent 3589388

A problem exists in cleaning and servicing injector nozzles which normally extend into a high pressure atmosphere. Inasmuch as they cannot simply be removed from their point of installation, a means and system are needed for removal. The present invention incorporates a housing which surrounds a pressure-driven retriever which has a forward grappling means, the entirety of the retriever screwing onto the rear of an injector nozzle assembly, the assembly being supported by a flanged structure, the retriever moving forwardly to engage and grasp the assembly and pull it back into the retriever housing, thereafter permitting closure of a valve to plug the opening left on removal of the assembly.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/213.1, 118/302, 134/167C, 137/317
International Classes:
B08B9/093; F02M65/00; (IPC1-7): F16K43/00; B08B3/02; B23P19/04
Field of Search:
137/315,317,318 239
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US Patent References:

Primary Examiner:
Klinksiek, Henry T.
What I claim is

1. An apparatus for manipulation of an elongate nozzle assembly relative to a supportive receptacle with which an exposed opening permitting access to the nozzle assembly, comprising:

2. The invention of claim 1 including a valve means having an open position permitting passage of the nozzle assembly and said piston means therethrough, said valve means being found between said chamber means and the supportive receptacle.

3. The invention of claim 1 for use with a cylindrical elongate nozzle, and including:

4. The invention of claim 1 wherein the receptacle includes the improvement of a removable radially directed pin means for locking the nozzle assembly in position in the receptacle.

5. The invention of claim 1 including:

6. The invention of claim 1 including a control means which incorporates:

7. The invention of claim 1 wherein said piston means includes:

8. The invention of claim 1 wherein said nozzle assembly includes an elongate cylindrical structure having an opening means at the rear thereof, said opening means having an undercut portion which is of greater diameter than the opening thereof for the purpose of engaging and connecting with a grappling means carried on said piston means.

9. The invention of claim 1 wherein said piston means includes:

10. The invention of claim 1 wherein said chamber means includes:


In a substantial number of processes, it is necessary to inject a spray through a nozzle. A common environment is found in petrochemical processing plants wherein the process found within a pressurized chamber may require a spray, notwithstanding the fact that the pressure within the chamber is perhaps 300 p.s.i. or greater. While success has been had with the maintenance of a spray in such atmosphere, nevertheless, the spray injectors must occasionally be serviced. Quite often it is not possible to shut down the entirety of the equipment merely to clean a spray nozzle, replace the component, or perform needed repair work. As will be understood, it is difficult to remove the injector nozzle from its point of mounting in the pressurized vessel because of the action of the pressures. For instance, if the nozzle has a cross-sectional area of 2 square inches and is found in a chamber with 300 p.s.i. internal pressure, the force acting on the nozzle is 600 pounds. Such a force cannot be handled through hand techniques. Moreover, once the injector nozzle is removed from the opening, great difficulties are encountered working against a force of 600 pounds in attempting to plug the opening. This process must be repeated on replacing the repaired or serviced injector nozzle. The problems noted herein are readily apparent.

The present invention which meets these problems is summarized broadly as incorporating a means for controlled removal of an injector nozzle assembly from its secured position in the wall of a process vessel. The present invention is particularly cooperative with an injector nozzle mounted on a bayonet which protrudes within the pressure vessel from a fitting found at the wall of the pressure vessel. The fitting routinely incorporates a nippled connection for a glycol line for a source of material to be sprayed in the chamber. The fitting includes the nipple connection for the glycol line, and a rearwardly facing access opening which is normally closed by a protective plug. The present apparatus includes a plug or ball valve which has a full bore opening which is adapted to be placed at the rear of the flanged fitting attached to the housing. Additionally, an elongate cylindrical chamber closed at its rear end is connected to the ball valve. This forms a long, tubular opening extending from the rear of the bayonet by a length greater than the length of the bayonet to receive it on removal. Suitable valve and line connections are incorporated and in communication with the elongate cylindrical chamber to pressurize a slidable piston which carries a grappling means for engagement with the rear end of the bayonet to lock the bayonet and pull it back from its position, once the plug valve or ball valve is opened to permit passage. The availability of pressure fluid on both sides of the retriever apparatus permits the retriever and the attached bayonet to be retrieved smoothly and slowly. After retrieval, the plug valve is closed and the flanged fitting attached to the pressure vessel is thusly closed to prevent leakage. It will be noted that the foregoing process achieves removal, or can be reversed for insertion without any leakage and without any danger or harm arising from opening of the high pressure vessel.

Many objects and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from a consideration of the following specification and drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view taken along the longitudinal axis of the installed bayonet and flanged fitting in the pressure vessel;

FIG. 2 is a view of a portion of the structure shown in FIG. 1 showing the relationship of a guide pin and shoulders formed on the bayonet to insure that the installed bayonet is oriented properly and not at some random angle;

FIG. 3 is an assembled view, omitting the wall of the pressure vessel, showing the bayonet, its flanged fitting, the plug valve, and the retrieval means of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the retriever means shown in FIG. 3 with portions thereof cut away to show internal details of construction and the retriever plunger;

FIG. 5 shows the retriever tool cooperative with an installed bayonet in a position to retrieve the bayonet from its flanged fitting after opening the plug valve; and,

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing the bayonet fully withdrawn past the plug valve and further permitting closure of the opening left vacant in the pressure vessel housing.

Attention is first directed to FIG. 1 of the drawings which illustrates a pressure vessel in dotted line at 10 having secured thereto a flanged receptacle 11 for receiving a nozzle assembly 12. A glycol conduit 13, or some other suitable source of liquid, supplies the liquid to be sprayed through the nozzle assembly 12. The flanged receptacle 11 is joined to the side wall of the pressure vessel 10 to hold the nozzle assembly 12 in position.

The nozzle assembly 12 in conjunction with the flanged receptacle 11 will be first described in its normal or quiescent condition wherein the spray is injected into the pressure vessel 10. Thereafter, the apparatus of the present invention will be described cooperative with the spray nozzle and the entire system will be developed for the purpose of describing the manner in which the nozzles are removed and returned to the illustrated position.

In FIG. 1, the line 13 supplies a flow of glycol or some other spray material. It is connected through a fitting 17 which is welded into a cylindrical housing 18. The housing 18 has a flange 19 which abuts the wall of the pressure vessel 10, the flange 19 being welded, bolted, or otherwise joined to the pressure vessel 10. The cylindrical member 18 has an internal bore 20 which is smooth and cylindrical and of a suitable diameter to receive the nozzle assembly therethrough in sliding movement as will be described. More particularly, the cylindrical bore 20 extends rearwardly to a shoulder 21 which is somewhat larger in diameter and which is rearwardly facing for providing a stop position for the nozzle assembly as will be described. The rear end of the cylindrical member 18 is threaded at 22 to receive an assembly generally indicated at 24 as will be described.

The assembly 24 includes multiple components but is in the main a connector assembly which is closed by incorporating a plug 25 which is threadedly received within a tubular coupling 26 which is locked in position by a knockoff clamp 27. The clamp 27 draws the cylindrical coupling 26 sealing contact with an adapter 28. The whole assembly 24 provides a sealed internal chamber permitting access to the rear of the nozzle assembly as will be described.

Attention is next directed to a perpendicular cylindrical chamber 32 which is immediately opposite of the glycol inlet 17 previously mentioned. The chamber 32 is internally threaded and receives a lock ring 33 which secures in position an Allen wrench removable threaded lock pin 34 which secures the nozzle assembly 12 in fixed position with respect to the flanged receptacle 11. It will be noted that the lock pin 32 protrudes into the nozzle assembly 12 to prevent its removal except after the pin 34 has been withdrawn. A seal prevents leakage.

It will be noted that the nozzle assembly 12 is pinned in position by the pin 34. However, the nozzle assembly must be rotated to a particular angle to receive the pin 34. For this purpose, a pin 36 protruding through the sidewall of the flanged receptacle 11 extends into the axial opening 20 for the purpose of turning the nozzle assembly 12 to the correctly oriented position. Attention is momentarily directed to FIG. 2, which shows a pair of shoulders 37 and 38 which wrap fully around the nozzle assembly 12, each in the form of about one-half of a helix, and which terminate in a semicircular recess 39 which mates with the protruding pin 36 to position the nozzle assembly 12 with the correct orientation. Thus, if the nozzle assembly is inserted at some random angle, the pin 36 will strike either the shoulder 37 or the shoulder 38, and as the nozzle assembly is driven home, it is rotated by the pin 36 bearing against one of the two shoulders until the pin comes to rest in the receptacle 39 which is dished out at the end of the two shoulders 37 and 38. This locates the nozzle assembly in the correctly oriented posture. This also positions it so that the pin 34 which locks it in position can be inserted.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the numerals 40 and 41 indicate a pair of O-rings which fully encircle the nozzle assembly 12 in appropriate slots formed for the O-rings. The O-rings seal against liquid flow therepast. The glycol line 13 and its connective receptacle 17 are in communication with an opening 42 in the flanged receptacle 11 which communicates to a point amid the pair of O-rings 40 and 41. A passage 43 provides an opening for the lock pin 34. Additionally, the nozzle assembly is drilled with an axial opening 44 for directing the glycol from the passage 42 along the length of the hollow nozzle assembly as will be described.

The opening 44 is formed in the forward end of a member 46 which is essentially a solid member except for the passages 42, 43 and 44. The member 46 comprises the solid body portion of the nozzle assembly 12. At its forward end, it has a neck portion which is of reduced diameter for seating a thin-walled pipelike member 48 which comprises the great length of the nozzle assembly 12. The hollow member 48 is plugged at its forward end by a streamlined plug 49 and a number of nozzle assemblies represented by the numerals 50 are located at strategic locations along the length of the member 48. The member 48 is preferably brazed or welded to the solid portion 46. The member 46 likewise provides support for the shoulder 38 which is a contour, or half-helix, as mentioned above, wrapping around the pipelike member 48.

At the rear of the solid cylindrical portion 46 of the nozzle assembly 12, the numeral 52 identifies an undercut rearwardly facing opening for use with a grapple as will be described. It should be particularly noted that the opening 52 is undercut or has an internal shoulder which protrudes inwardly and which overlays a portion of increased diameter.

To this juncture, the nozzle assembly 12 has been described as it fits within the flanged receptacle 11. It will be noted that the nozzle assembly 12 is movable to the rear as viewed in FIG. 1 on removal of the lock pin 34. On forward motion, it achieves the desired relative rotational angle or position with respect to the flange 11 through operation of the guide pin 36. IN sum and substance, the nozzle assembly 12 has been described to this juncture, and now the remainder of the equipment will be described for removing and returning the nozzle assembly 12 without forming a leak or opening in the pressure vessel 10.

Attention is next directed to FIG. 3, of the drawings which illustrates the connection of additional equipment for removing the nozzle assembly 12. In FIG. 3, threaded connections are achieved by removing the plug 25 shown in FIG. 1 from the connector means 24 and threading it to a plug or ball valve 54. The plug or ball valve 54 is likewise connected with an additional connective means 56 which is similar to the means 24. The means 56 is threaded to an elongate cylindrical member 58 which is closed at its back end by an additional connector means 60 which is similar to the means 24 and 56 previously noted. The rear end is closed by a plug 61 which is similar to the plug 25 shown in FIG. 1.

An axial passage is formed from the flanged receptacle 11 through the means 24, 54, 56, and into the cylindrical member 58. The passage is of sufficient length to receive the nozzle assembly 12 when it is fully withdrawn. The diameter is sufficiently large to receive it with adequate clearance. The clearance should be something on the order of that provided at the shoulder 21 shown in FIG. 1, it being noted that the relatively narrow bore at 20 in the flanged receptacle 11 must provide a sealing surface cooperative with the O-ring seal members 40 and 41. Thus, when the nozzle assembly pulls free of the relatively narrow bore at 20, and the portion 46 passes the shoulder 21, it moves rather easily and freely within the elongate tubular means permitting withdrawal of the nozzle assembly.

The means 24 in FIG. 3 is hollow and incorporates suitable threads for connection with the ball or plug valve 54. The plug valve 54 is of conventional construction and includes either a plug or ball which is opened by rotating the stem which protrudes from the valve 54. Moreover, the opening in the ball or plug within the valve 54 is of sufficient diameter to permit the nozzle assembly to be withdrawn through the valve 54. The means 56 serves the same function as the means 24, namely that of being a connector between the major components of the present invention.

The means 58 is a support for a control panel 60. The panel 60 includes pressure gauges, valves and plumbing fittings as needed. It will be noted in FIG. 6 that the means 58 is preferably of one-piece construction, but extends through a portion of the structure of the control panel 60 as a support for it. The manner of support is of no particular consequence as will be understood.

In FIG. 3, the cylindrical member 58 is connected at its rear end through a feed line 62 with a source of pressure fluid such as glycol. The line 62 communicates from the control panel 60 to the rear end of the cylindrical chamber 58. Additionally, the control panel 60 is connected by a line 63 at the forward end of the means 58. The line 63 will be described along with the line 62 when operation of the device is described hereinafter.

As shown in the enlarged sectional view of FIG. 4, a piston assembly 64 is slidable within the member 58 in response to the differential pressure acting on the piston. The piston assembly includes a cylindrical body portion 65. The cylindrical portion 65 extends forwardly and has a threaded opening at 66 which is adapted to receive a grapple means 67. The means 67 is at least partially hollow or tubular, and two or three slots 68 are cut in the means 67 to define a plurality of fingers as shown. The fingers extend forwardly in a circular arrangement, save for the portion cut away at the slots and a peripheral lip 69 is formed on the several fingers for the purpose of engaging the opening 52 shown in FIG. 1. The several fingers are springlike for the purpose of fitting into the opening 52 and expanding so that the lip 69 locks the means 64 to the nozzle assembly 12. It will be noted that three or four fingers are sufficient in comprising the grapple means 67. Moreover, the grapple means 67 is of sufficient springiness to adequately engage and make fast the two members described.

The piston 64 includes a tubular extension at 70 which is joined to the body portion 65. The tubular portion 70 is a support means for a pair of packing members 71 and 72. The packing members 71 and 72 will be noted to be facing in opposite directions in the bore of the tubular member 58. The packing members seal so that leakage of pressure fluid past the piston means 64 is impossible. By way of example, the packing members 71 and 72 forbid fluid communication between the lines 62 and 63 as shown in FIG. 3. So long as the packing members are located in the chamber 58 with its narrow diameter or between the two inlets associated with the feed lines 62 and 63, the pressure seal is preferably maintained.

It will be observed from the foregoing that the piston assembly 64 traverses the member 58 in response to pressure differential. The means for providing the pressure differential will now be described. Briefly, the numeral 73 identifies an inlet or supply line connection in the control panel 60. Preferably, it is connected with the glycol source such as the line 13 shown in FIG. 1. The line 73 communicates through a needle valve 74 which can be cracked over so slightly to very accurately control the rate of flow. The needle valve 74 is connected with the gauge 75 which indicates the glycol or driving pressure which moves the piston 64. The piston assembly 64 is communicated with the supply line by the valve 74 previously described. Additionally, the numeral 76 identifies a glycol drain valve which drops the pressure in the line 62 and to the rear of the piston assembly 64 at the completion of the pressure step in operation as will be set forth hereinafter.

The numeral 77 identifies an additional needle valve which vents the line 63. The line 63 is thus connected forward of the piston assembly 64 when it is in the normal withdrawn posture of FIG. 4. Additionally, the valve 77 is connected to an indicator or pressuring meter 78 which indicates the pressure acting on the piston on its upstream face.

Thus, the control panel 60 and its associated apparatus have been described to this juncture as including a means for pressurizing the piston at its rear face or at its forward face. The pressure at both faces can be reduced by venting to atmosphere through the valves 76 and 77 as described.

In operation, it will be presumed that the nozzle assembly 12 is to be serviced by removing, cleaning, and returning it to the installation in question. It will be further assumed that the plug 25 is installed as shown in FIG. 1. If this is the case, the plug 25 is first removed to expose the opening 52 for later connection with the grapple means 67 as will be described. The plug 25 is removed and the elongate cylindrical members are assembled in the manner of FIG. 3. That is to say, the connector means 24 is engaged with the plug or ball valve 54, the valve being closed, and the connector means 56 is joined to the tubular member 58. Preferably, the valves 74, 76 and 77 are likewise closed. Once the threaded connections are made in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3, the nozzle assembly 12 is prepared or exposed for removal. At some juncture, the glycol liquid through the line 13 is terminated. At this time, the piston assembly 64 is at the right hand end of the tubular member 58 as best illustrated in the sectional view of FIG. 4. The valve 74 is cracked slightly to apply glycol pressure through the line 62 at the rear of the piston assembly 64. Simultaneously, the valve 77 is slightly cracked open to exhaust the pressure on the forward face of the piston 64. The piston thus inches forwardly in the member 58. At this juncture, the valve 54 is turned from fully closed to fully opened as illustrated in FIG. 5. The glycol pressure is continuously increased until the piston 64 passes through the valve 54 and the grapple means 67 at its forward end engages the opening 52 of the nozzle assembly 12. It should be noted that the member 58 maintains a relatively constant diameter so that a pressure seal is maintained at the seal members 71 and 72 even though the piston traverses the length of the member 58. In any case, the grapple 67 is jammed into the rear opening of the nozzle assembly 12 to engage it in the posture shown in FIG. 5. Once the connection is made, the pin 34 is withdrawn to free the nozzle assembly 12 of its fixed connection with the flanged receptacle 11. At this juncture, it will be noted that pressure is maintained on the rear face of the piston assembly 64. Moreover, the vent line 63 is located at a point no further rearward than the front packing member 71 so that it does not bleed the glycol pressure to atmosphere. The vent valve 77 is closed and at this juncture, the piston 64 and the nozzle assembly 12, acting as a single unit, are maintained in a hydrostatic balance. Preferably, the glycol pressure far exceeds the pressure within the chamber 10 so that the removable assembly 12 and piston 64 are forced to the left as shown in FIG. 5.

The next step is retrieval of the piston 64 connected with the nozzle assembly 12. The valve 77 is fully closed. The valve 74 is now fully closed and the valve 76 is slightly opened to vent to atmosphere. This tends to reduce the pressure on the back face of the piston 64. As this pressure decreases, the pressure within the chamber 10 acts on the forward face of the entire assembly as a single unit and forces the assembly slowly to the right. Thus, the piston 64 moves to the right connected to the nozzle assembly 12. The movement is preferably maintained somewhat slowly to keep the piston assembly from rebounding off the back plug at 60 shown in FIG. 3.

Attention is directed to FIG. 6 showing the nozzle assembly 12 moving to the right. The pressure within the vessel 10 is used as the driving force while the rate of withdrawal is controlled by manipulating the needle valve 75. As the back side pressure is slowly reduced, the entire nozzle assembly is withdrawn past the plug valve 54. As shown in FIG. 6, this then permits the plug valve 54 to be closed. Once it is closed, leakage of pressure fluid from the vessel 10 is forbidden. The valve 77 is then opened to reduce pressure between the valve 54 on the seal 71. This then permits the fitting 56 to be disconnected. At this juncture, the nozzle assembly 12 is retrieved from the cylindrical chamber 58 and is disconnected from the grapple 67 for servicing. It will be noted that the flanged receptacle 11 is left without a nozzle assembly but its rear opening is plugged to prevent leakage. The nozzle assembly can then be serviced, or in the alternative, a replacement assembly can be positioned in the tubular member 58 for return to the illustrated position of FIG. 5. All this is accomplished while the plug or ball valve 54 is closed.

At some time immediately after retrieval of the nozzle assembly 12, or after some elapsed interval permitting service, the nozzle assembly is returned to the illustrated position. This is accomplished by first engaging the connective coupling 56 with the closed valve 54. This attaches all the necessary apparatus. Within the tubular chamber 58, the piston 64 is engaged by its grapple means 67 with a fresh or repaired nozzle assembly 12. The valves 74, 76 and 77 are now closed. Since this is a closed system, there is no particular surge of pressure through the valve 54 when it is opened. The valve 54 is then opened and the initial condition of the equipment finds the piston 64 at the far right-hand end of the equipment and connected with the replacement nozzle assembly. The valve 74 is cracked slightly to pressure the back face of the piston which drives it slowly against the pressure within the chamber 10 to return the nozzle assembly to its required position.

In returning a nozzle assembly 12 to the required connection with the flanged receptacle 11, the piston 64 and connected nozzle assembly 12 are resident in the tubular member 58. The entire assemblage is connected to the back of the plug valve 54, and the valve 54 is then opened. When the valve 54 is fully opened, this clears the axial path to permit the joined assemblage to traverse to the left of FIG. 5. The valve 74 is opened to increase the pressure on the back face of the piston which gently urges the piston and nozzle assembly to the left. As shown in FIG. 5, it moves to the left and forces the nozzle assembly 12 through the flanged receptacle 11. At this juncture, it will be noted that the angular orientation of the nozzle assembly 12 with respect to the flanged receptacle 11 is corrected by operation of the alignment pin 36 bearing against either the shoulder 37 or the shoulder 38. Once the pin 36 is seated within the cutout 39, the proper alignment is obtained and the nozzle assembly 12 has been forced home to its seated position. The lock pin 34 is then threaded inwardly of FIG. 1 to secure the nozzle assembly 12 in the required location. Once it is locked in position, glycol flow through line 13 may be resumed to the flanged receptacle 11, and glycol may again be pumped through the nozzle assembly 12. The nozzle assembly 12 is well secured in position to thereby permit disconnection of all the equipment at the quick disconnect fitting 24. That is to say, the plug valve 54 is removed and the various equipment connected to it goes with it. The plug 25 is returned to the position of FIG. 1, thusly restoring all of the equipment to the original condition of FIG. 1.

Many alterations and variations, too numerous to set forth herein, may be incorporated in the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof. The scope of the present invention is determined by the claims which are appended hereto.