United States Patent 3640320

A filling device on a container for filling the same with a liquid gas comprises two parts adapted to be coupled to each other, the first of these parts being secured to the container and provided with two check valves having distinct flow paths which begin within the container at a certain level in the upper portion thereof. The second of said two parts comprises means for opening both check valves when the two parts are coupled together, and two separate passageways for liquid gas forming continuations of said two distinct flow paths, the first of said passageways being controlled by a valve which is responsive to the presence of liquid gas in the passageway and the second passageway being adapted for connection to a supply conduit for liquid gas. The first passageway may be connected to a suction pump whereby liquid gas is drawn through said supply conduit and the second passageway into the container until said valve responsive to the presence of liquid gas closes the connection of the first passageway with the suction pump.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
137/588, 141/198, 141/302, 141/346
International Classes:
F16K1/30; F17C5/02; (IPC1-7): B65B31/02
Field of Search:
141/37-50,198-229,301-306,346-350,59 137
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3353724Beer tapping device1967-11-21Johnston
3036586Valves for pressure casks1962-05-29Reeve
2638914Tap and coupling for barrels1953-05-19Flaith et al.

Primary Examiner:
Bell Jr., Houston S.
I claim

1. In a filling device having a container for filling with liquid petroleum gas and for inducing flow thereof from a storage tank to a predetermined level in the container and for discontinuing flow thereafter, said device comprising: a first portion fixedly secured to said container, said first portion defining a filling flow path for liquid flow and defining a draining flow path therein for draining gaseous gas from the inside of said container when filling the same with liquid gas, a valve inserted in each of said flow paths, each of said flow paths in said first portion terminating at an inner end, said inner ends being positioned at two different levels within said container, a second portion, means to removably connect said second portion to said first portion, said second portion defining two separate flow paths communicating with and continuing said filling flow path and said draining flow path, respectively, when said second portion is secured to said first portion, said drain path in said second portion being connectable to a suction pump to drain the container of residual pressure and to induce liquid gas from a storage tank to spontaneously flow into said container through said filling flow path, a valve body for said valve inserted in said filling flow path movable to an open position in the direction of the filling flow, a valve body for said valve inserted in said draining flow path movable to an open position in a direction opposing the direction of the draining flow when filling said container, means associated with said second portion for moving said valve bodies into said open positions when said second portion is connected to said first portion, and a further valve in said draining flow path responsive to covering of said lower end of said drain path and to flow of liquid gas upwardly in said drain path to said further valve to shift the latter and to further flow therethrough and thereby cause a termination of filling.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein one of said valve bodies encloses the other of said valve bodies and comprises a valve seat for said other valve body.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein said one valve body comprises a valve disk portion and a hollow body portion comprising a through passageway terminating in said valve seat, and wherein said other valve body comprises a ball member and spring means to bias said ball member against said valve seat to normally close said through passageway when said second portion is removed from said first portion.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein said second portion flow path continuing said filling flow path comprises a tube member, said tube member being mounted for axial displacement within said second portion, said moving means being secured to said tube member.

5. The device of claim 2 wherein said filling and said draining flow paths each comprise a dip pipe portion, said dip pipe portions being coaxially arranged one inside the other, the inner of said dip pipe portions being secured to said one valve body for common movement therewith.

This invention relates to a device for filling liquid-gas into a container and comprising two parts the first of which is secured to the container and the second part is adapted to be coupled to the first part.

The importance of liquid-gas, particularly of liquefied petroleum derivatives, such as propane, butane and mixtures thereof, but also liquid ammonium, has generally increased in recent years. The reason is that these gases may advantageously be transportable at normal room temperatures at a moderate positive pressures, and also may be stored in moderate quantities at room temperatures. Small propane gas containers are generally known which are delivered on hire to the consumer distributing organizations, a filled container being exchanged against an empty one for replenishing.

Until now replenishing of such containers required considerable expenditure for apparatus, and replenishing could only be effected at a limited number of central filling stations. Service for replenishing containers was rendered complicated due to transportation and intermediate storing of full and empty containers.

The reason for this drawback is the fact that the construction of the conventional valves on the containers requires complex filling equipment. The expense of such equipment and filling procedures has been detrimental to the providing of large numbers of filling stations in close proximity to the consumers.

Known valve constructions for such containers are equipped with hand wheel actuated needle or diaphragm valves to which a withdrawal conduit can be connected at the place of consumption or a supply conduit at the filling station. Other known valve constructions comprise a check valve closing towards the outside of the container and provided with a pipe connection for the withdrawal or the supply conduit, the valve opening simultaneously upon connection of the conduit.

A further serious inconvenience of customary containers is the fact that for each replenishing a weighing is required. It is known that also in the filled container, a gas cushion must remain and that the volume of the gas cushion must be at a certain ratio with respect to the total volume of the container. However, the volume of a containers may vary from one container to the other, and hence the admissible filling weight of the containers will vary. For this reason usually the admissible filling weight is marked on the containers and a weighing thereof has to be performed for each replenishing. Apart from the fact that such weighing is an additional operation, it may also be a source of serious mistakes. This obviously constitutes a reason for limiting the replenishment of liquid-gas containers to relatively few replenishing stations.

The object of the present invention is the provision of a container with means for filling it with liquid gas, which will avoid the mentioned inconveniences. According to the invention the filling means comprise two portions adapted to be coupled to one another, the first of said two portions including two check valves controlling two distinct flow paths leading to the exterior of the container, said flow paths beginning at a determined level within the container, means on said second portion for opening both said check valves when said second portion is coupled to the first portion, the second portion having formed therein two separate passageways defining each a continuation of one of said two flow paths of said first portion when the two portions are coupled to each other, a valve controlling one of said passageways, said valve being responsive to the presence of liquid-gas to close said one passageway, and the other passageway being adapted for connection to a feed conduit for liquid-gas to be filled into the container.

An embodiment of the container with filling means according to the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

FIG. 1 is a view in longitudinal section of the filling means having its two portions coupled to each other,

FIG. 2 is a view in longitudinal section of the first portion (without the container), drawn to a larger scale,

FIG. 3 is a diagram of conduits of a filling station at which containers provided with filling means according to the invention can be filled in a simple manner.

Referring to FIG. 1, the reference numeral 1 designates a fragmentary portion of the container, for example a welded steel bottle. The first portion 3 of the filling means is screwed into a neck flange 2 welded to the container 1. In FIG. 1 the second portion 6 is screwed to the first portion 3 by means of a coupling nut 4 integral with a handwheel 5.

Referring to FIG. 2, the first portion 3 of the filling means is constructed as follows: A valve casing portion 8 screwed directly into the neck collar 2 by means of a screw thread 7, has its inner end situated within the container 1 extended by a tube 10. A valve body 11 in sleeve shape is longitudinally movable within the valve casing portion 8. The valve body 11 is also extended at its end situated in the container by a tube 12 which is coaxial with the tube 10. The tube 12 is provided with a threaded portion 13 screwed to the valve body 11 and its upper end is provided with an enlargement 14 defining an annular groove 15 for receiving a sealing ring 16. This sealing ring forms a valve disk and cooperates with a valve seat 17 formed on an insert member 18 screwed into the casing portion 8 and sealed with respect to this latter by an O-ring seal 19. The insert 18 is provided with an axial bore 23 through which passes the axially bored valve body 11 with axial clearance. A recess 20 is formed in the insert member 18 for accommodating a compression spring 22 which is effective between the insert member 18 and the valve body 11 and which is tending to apply the seal 16 on the seat 17. In FIG. 1 the seal 16 is shown in a position where it is lifted off the valve seat 17.

The seal 16 together with the valve seat 17 and the spring 22 constitute a first check valve the flow path of which begins in the container with the annular space 24 between the tubes 10 and 12 and passes past the seal 16 and valve seat 17 and through the bore 23 to the recess 20 and from here, as will be described later, upwardly through an annular space 25 in the casing portion 8.

It will be seen in FIG. 2 that the upper edge of the insert member 18 is provided with alternating projections as notches 26, the latter allowing fluid flowing radially outward from the recess 20 in the insert member to the annular space 25. The projections and notches may receive an end of a suitable tool for screwing the insert member 18 into the casing portion 8.

The axial bore 27 of the valve body 11, which is in axial alignment with the tube 12 has its upper end enlarged to form a chamber 28 containing a valve ball 29 having lateral clearance in the chamber and resting on a compression spring 30. This ball 29 forms the valve body of a second check valve having a value seat formed by an annular sealing disc 31, the internal diameter of which is smaller than the diameter of the ball 29. The sealing disc 31 is clamped to the valve body 11 by a screw cap 32 which is screwed on the valve body 11 and locked thereto by a set screw 33 to prevent an undesired loosening of the screw cap. This latter is longitudinally slotted on its outer cylindrical face and the slots 21 form a continuation of the flow path of the first check valve 16, 17, 22.

As already mentioned, the ball 29, sealing ring 31 and compression spring 30 form the second check valve the flow path of which begins with the tube 12 and passes through the bore 27, the chamber 28 and past the ball 29 and sealing ring 31.

An annular seat 34 is formed on the upper face of the screw cap 32, and cooperates with a seal 35 (FIG. 1) which is a component of the second portion 6 of the container. This second portion (FIG. 1) comprises essentially a block 36 provided with passages which form a continuation of the two separate flow paths of the two check valves of the first portion 3.

A pipe connection 37 is screwed into the bottom side of block 36 and has its cylindrical lower end 38 fitting loosely into the opening 40 of the first portion 3 provided with an internal thread 39 (FIG. 2). This internal thread 39 is of no importance for the present invention or for the operation of the filling means. When the second portion 6 is removed from the first portion 3, the thread 39 may serve for connection of a consumption discharge conduit. The pipe connection 37 is sealed with respect to the casing portion 3 by a seal 400. It further comprises a shoulder 41 serving to absorb the stress exerted by the coupling nut 4 and to maintain this latter on the second portion to prevent it from getting lost.

The pipe connection 37 is provided with an axial passage 42 having its lower part enlarged and forming an internal cylindrical guide 43. A piston 45 having its circumference provided with channels 44 is longitudinally slidable within the cylindrical guide 43 in the pipe connection 37. The piston 45 carries at its bottom end the seal 35 already mentioned. The piston 45 also is provided with an axial bore receiving a tube 46 fixed to the wall of the bore and passing through the bore 42 with clearance and upwardly through a bore 47 in the block 36. The upper end of the tube 46 is provided with an actuating device, for example a handle, not shown, permitting to move the tube longitudinally up and down in the bore 47. A pin 48 is fixed to the bottom end of the tube 46 to extend coaxially with the tube and downwardly beyond the bottom face of the seal 35.

The tube 46 is sealed in the bore 47 by means of two stuffing boxes 49, 50. A transverse bore 51 is provided in the wall of the upper, sealed section of the tube 46. This bore communicates with a lateral inlet duct 52 in the block 36. A supply pipe for liquid gas, which is not represented, can be connected to the inlet duct 52.

It results from the above description that when the second portion 6 is coupled to the first portion 3, a downward movement of the tube 46 in the block 36 brings the check valves in the first portion 3 from the closed position shown in FIG. 2 into the open position shown in FIG. 1. In fact, first the pin 48 lifts the ball 29 off its seal, whereafter the seal 35 will be applied against the seat 34 and then the whole of the valve body 11 will be displaced downwardly and accordingly the seal 16 will be lifted off its seat 17.

The passage 42 in the pipe connection 37 opens into a chamber 53 in the block 36, and a duct 54 is directed laterally from this chamber into a float chamber 55. This float chamber formed in the block 36 is sealed at its bottom end by a closure flange 56 fixed to the block 36 and a seal 57. A further flange 58 and a seal 59 close the top of the float chamber 55. In the center of the flange 58 a passage 61 leads to the exterior of the float chamber. At the inlet end of the passage 61 there is provided a seal 60. A cylindrical float 62 is loosely arranged in the float chamber and carries a guide pin 63 at its bottom end. The guide pin 63 loosely engages in a bore in the flange 56. At its top the float carries a valve pin 65.

As soon as liquid gas arrives in the float chamber 55, in a manner as will be described later, the float 62 will be raised and the valve needle 65 will close the passage 61. When this passage is closed also the flow path of the first check valve and its continuation in the second portion of the filling means, namely the annular space 24, bore 23, recess 20, annular space 25, notches 26, channels 44, guide cylinder 43, passage 42, chamber 53, passage 54, chamber 55, is interrupted.

Referring to FIG. 3 an example of the filling method according to the invention will now be described. In this Figure, the container 1 is shown with the two coupled portions 3,6 of the filling means fixed thereto in the manner shown in detail in FIG. 1. From the passage 52 (FIG. 1) a conduit 66 leads to a supply container of liquid gas and communicates with a receiving tube 68 reaching below the level 69 of the liquid gas into proximity of the bottom of the container 67.

The passage 61 (FIG. 1) is connected by a conduit 70 to a reversing valve 71 permitting to establish communication of the conduit 70 with the suction piston 72 of a suction pump 73 or with its driving piston 74. The reversing valve 71 is connected by a conduit 75 with the supply tank 67 and opens into the gas phase situated above the liquid level 69, this gas phase being always at a certain excess pressure.

The suction pump 73 and the manner of its operation are described for example in U.S. Pat. No. 2,986,127. The mode of operation shall be briefly described.

As already mentioned, the suction pump comprises a driving piston which is driven by the pressure gas from the supply container 67. The expanded gas, after having transmitted its energy, is discharged into the open air by an exhaust pipe 76. The driving piston drives the suction piston 72 which withdraws the residual pressure from the container 1 through the conduit 70, until the pressure difference between the container 1 and the supply tank 67 is sufficient to make the liquid gas flow from the supply tank through the conduit 66 to the container 1.

In a relatively short time the container 1 will be filled with liquid gas until the liquid level in the container 1 has attained the bottom end of the tube 10. Then the liquid gas rises through the annular space 24 (FIG. 1) and reaches the float chamber 55. The valve needle 65 closes the passage 61, thus interrupting the suction conduit 70. Accordingly also the supply of liquid gas from the supply tank 67 is interrupted. An actuation of the reversing valve 71 produces equalization of pressure and places the suction pump 73 out of operation. The container 1 thus has been filled, always with the correct quantity of liquid-gas according to the volume of the respective container, without requiring any weighing operation or any external energy for the filling operation.

It will be appreciated that the equipment required at the filling station is extremely simple. When the conduits 66 and 75 are disconnected from the supply tank 67 after closure of the shutoff valves 77 and 78, the tank can be returned, for example, to the liquid-gas production plant for replenishment. However, the tank 67 also can be stationary at the filling station and can be replenished for example by a tank truck.

The filling-up of the container 1 can be effected quite rapidly, so that every consumer of liquid gas can possess his own container and it is not necessary for the consumer to exchange containers when he desires a refill. Moreover, it is assured that each filling of the container 1 is correct without any weighing operation, since the filling degree of each container is determined by the length of the tube 10 which is preset.

It will be appreciated that if only the portion of the filling means is secured to the container 1 it may be used as a tapping valve. More specifically, upon connection of the consumer conduit to the container 1, by threading into the thread 39 of the opening 40 means such as the pin 48 may lift the ball 29 off its seat 31. Then liquid gas can be withdrawn from the container 1 in the same manner as it is made in customary liquid gas containers.