Title:
Modular bulkhead for sealing passage of cables and pipes in structures of all kinds
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sealed feedthrough or bulkhead for cables or pipes in a wall assembled from modules having block-shaped members defining spaces in which a test pressure can be applied, utilizes spacers between the block-shaped members which maintain gaps between them while having pins extending into the block-shaped members.



Inventors:
Broder, Jan (Hamburg, DE)
Kreutz, Tomas (Syckeby, SE)
Application Number:
10/638121
Publication Date:
06/03/2004
Filing Date:
08/08/2003
Assignee:
FIRMA ROXTEC INGENIEUR GmbH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F16L5/08; H02G3/22; (IPC1-7): E04C2/52
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPAHN, GAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KF ROSS PC (Savannah, GA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A module capable of assembly with similar modules to form a feedthrough for sealed passage of a cable or pipe traversing a wall, comprising: two block-shaped members spaced apart longitudinally in a direction of passage and formed with respective arc-segmental recesses; and at least one spacer between said members and securing said members together.

2. The module defined in claim 1 wherein each of said arc-segmental recesses is semicylindrical.

3. The module defined in claim 2 wherein said spacer is configured to maintain a gap between said block-shaped members for receiving a pressurized fluid for testing a seal formed by the feedthrough upon assembly of two of said modules.

4. The module defined in claim 3 wherein said block-shaped members have openings adjacent outer edges thereof into

5. The module defined in claim 3 wherein said spacer has a pin received in said block-shaped members and an annular flange disposed midway along said pin and spacing said members apart.

6. The module defined in claim 3 wherein said spacer comprises a pin received in said block-shaped members and a ring on said pin spacing said members apart.

7. The module defined in claim 3 wherein said spacer is a frame segment formed with a plurality of pins received in recesses formed in juxtaposed ends of said block-shaped members.

8. The module defined in claim 7 wherein said spacer has four of said pins in pairs on opposite sides thereof, each pair of said pins extending into a respective one of said block-shaped members.

9. The module defined in claim 8, further comprising at least one channel formed in said spacer for admitting said fluid to said gap.

10. The module defined in claim 9 wherein said frame segment has outer dimensions less than outer dimensions of said block-shaped members.

11. The module defined in claim 9 wherein said frame segment has a semicylindrical recess of greater radius of curvature that the semicylindrical recesses of said block-shaped members.

12. A modular feedthrough for sealed passage of a cable or pipe traversing a wall, comprising: two feedthrough modules each comprised of: two block-shaped members spaced apart longitudinally in a direction of passage and formed with respective semicylindrical recesses, and at least one spacer between said members and securing said members together, whereby upon juxtaposition of said feedthrough modules, said semicylindrical recesses form cylindrical passages sealing receiving said cable or said pipe of a solid body, and said spacers maintain gaps between said block-shaped members for receiving a pressurized fluid for testing a seal formed by the feedthrough the juxtaposition of the two modules.

13. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 12 wherein said block-shaped members have openings adjacent outer edges thereof into which pins of the respective said spacer extend.

14. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 12 wherein each said spacer has a pin received in the respective block-shaped members and an annular flange disposed midway along the respective pin and spacing the respective said members apart.

15. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 12 wherein each said spacer comprises a pin received in the respective said block-shaped members and a ring on the respective pin spacing the respective said members apart.

16. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 12 wherein each said spacer is a frame segment formed with a plurality of pins received in recesses formed in juxtaposed ends of the respective block-shaped members.

17. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 16 wherein each said spacer has four of said pins in pairs on opposite sides thereof, each pair of said pins extending into a respective one of said block-shaped members.

18. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 17, further comprising at least one channel formed in each spacer for admitting said fluid to said gaps.

19. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 18 wherein each said frame segment has outer dimensions less than outer dimensions of said block-shaped members.

20. The modular feedthrough defined in claim 18 wherein each said frame segment has a semicylindrical recess of greater radius of curvature that the semicylindrical recesses of the respective said block-shaped members.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 10/268,609 filed 10 Oct. 2002 and based upon German national application 101 50 075.0 of 10 Oct. 2001.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] My present invention relates to a modular feedthrough capable of indicating the failure of a sealing effect and, more particularly, to a modular bulkhead for the sealing passage of cables and pipes in structures of all kinds, especially with the capability of detecting the effectiveness of the seal.

[0003] In particular the invention relates to a feedthrough for any wall structure requiring a seal between the elongated member which is to traverse the wall, namely, a cable, pipe, duct, rod, optical, communication line, or the like and wherein the wall may be any kind of wall, for example, for equipment, for building structures, ship walls, aircraft partitions and both structural or load bearing and nonload bearing walls.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Modular units allowing the sealed passage of cables and pipes and utilizing components which have two block-shaped parts, each of which has a semicylindrical recess and which sealingly engage a cable, a pipe or a filler body when pressed together against the latter and fully surround the member against which those parts are engaged, are known from EP 0 429 916 B1. Such modules can be stacked alongside one another and over one another, e.g. in layers. They can be received in a frame in a wall, roof structure or other structural element and by selection of the number of modules and their dimensions, a grid of cable or pipe passages can be provided and, depending upon the dimensions, cables, pipes or filler members of different diameters can be sealed. The filler bodies can be removed where required and replaced by cables or pipes.

[0005] Generally between two layers of such modules, anchor plates or gaskets can be provided which can be secured against the frame and thus prevent sliding of the modules out of the frame.

[0006] The modules can be clamped in the frame by wedge assemblies which apply a pressure to the modules to press the modules together and against the frame so that the entire assembly of frame, modules, wedge members, anchor plates and sealed against the passage of water, fire and gas. Round gland-type frames can also be used which can be inserted into a core bore and by means of which the requisite pressure for sealing action can be generated by the tightening of drawbolts or the like.

[0007] While such penetration seals can allow the passage of cables, pipes and the like in a highly effective manner, there is a problem in that the effectiveness of sealing of such modular penetration seals cannot be determined. To be certain that the seal works, in the past it has been necessary, in an expensive procedure, to close up the space having the wall traversed by the penetration seal and to pressurize it with compressed air or gas and determine pressure drop in that space with a manometer. In most cases that method is not at all economical or practical.

[0008] To overcome that problem, double bulkhead systems have been developed in which two identical penetration seals were provided, one following the other in a frame dimensioned to be correspondingly larger and adapted to be set in the wall. A space was provided between the two bulkheads and that space was supplied with compressed air or a test gas and the measurement of the pressure drop in that space with time was determined. Leaks from the system could be ascertained by leak testing sprays or the like. A double seal of that type was also uneconomical since it at least doubled the cost of a penetration seal arrangement. The double bulkhead approach, therefore, was only used in highly explosive environments, in some specialized locations or as fire prevention in extremely sensitive environments in which the added expense was justified.

[0009] There are many single bulkhead systems in apparatus in which safety is important, for example, in plants in which there are explosive conditions or in gas pressure control environments in which it is important to know whether the seal is gas tight and in environments in which it is important that gas not be permitted to cross the penetration seal. for example, where even after mounting of a penetration seal, testing of that seal for gas tightness is essential.

[0010] In DE 101 50 075, a modular bulkhead or feedthrough is described in which directly after mounting a test of the gas tightness can be undertaken. In this module, a peripheral recess is provided which lies in a plane perpendicular to the feedthrough direction of the cable or pipe and has at least one passage or channel or bore opening into it. Preferably two bores are provided, each in one of the sealing surfaces.

[0011] The creation of the aforementioned recess and the provision of the bores to communicate therewith in semicylindrical structures used to form the module are expensive and frequently unreliable and, as a consequence, an improvement in the construction of such units is desirable.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0012] It is, therefore, the principal object of this invention to provide a modular bulkhead type penetration seal as a single penetration seal unit which avoids the drawbacks of earlier single seal units and permits, directly following installation a testing of the seal for gas tightness in an economical manner.

[0013] It is also an object of this invention to provide an improved modular penetration seal and method of operating same whereby some of the above-mentioned disadvantages are avoided.

[0014] Still another object of the invention is to provide a modular feedthrough for the aforedescribed purpose which can be fabricated in a simpler and more effective way than heretofore, and can reliably provide the recess or the recesses and passages or channels communicating therewith which will allow all of the shapes which require sealing to be fully tested for that purpose.

[0015] It is also an object of the invention to enable the production of modular feedthroughs for the purposes described at a low cost.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] These objects are achieved, in accordance with the invention with a seal module having two block-shaped parts each formed with a semicylindrical recess and into which selectively a member selected from a cable, a pipe and a filler body can extend in a longitudinal direction and can be sealingly engaged, each module having external sealing surfaces formed with grooves transverse to the longitudinal direction, at least one bore being formed in the module in at least one of the grooves and reaching into the module to an outer surface of the member.

[0017] Advantageously, two bores are provided so that the grooves in each sealing surface can be provided with a respective such bore. The network of grooves and bores within the bulkhead provides the requisite test space and can be pressurized by a compressor and can have the pressure monitored over time so that leakage can be determined and a filler of the seal connected.

[0018] According to a feature of the invention, a method of providing a penetration seal in the form of the gas tight bulkhead comprises:

[0019] (a) providing a plurality of seal modules each having two block-shaped parts formed with semicylindrical recess and into which selectively a member selected from a cable, a pipe and a filler body can extend in a longitudinal direction and can be sealingly engaged, each module having external sealing surfaces formed with grooves transverse to the longitudinal direction, at least one bore being formed in each the module in at least one of the grooves and reaching into the module to an outer surface of the respective the member;

[0020] (b) assembling a plurality of the modules in a frame with the modules sealing against one another and against the frame so that the grooves and bores form an internal network defining a test volume sealed against the exterior;

[0021] c) from the exterior pressurizing the network with compressed air; and

[0022] (d) measuring pressure loss from the network to ensure gas-tightness of the penetration seal.

[0023] I have found, that even the basic system described in the above mentioned copending application can be improved if each of the block shaped parts of one of the semicylindrical modules of the feedthrough is comprised of two partial blocks which in the longitudinal direction of the cable or the pipe are arranged one behind the other and are interconnected by at least one spacer with one another.

[0024] More particularly, the invention includes:

[0025] two block-shaped members spaced apart longitudinally in a direction of passage and formed with respective arc-segmental recesses; and

[0026] at least one spacer between the members and securing the members together.

[0027] This configuration allows the prodution of the modules from which the feedthrough is assembled from parts which are relatively short and are interconnected by the spacer, simultaneously enabling the spacer to define the peripheral recess so that the sealing effectiveness of all of the sealing surfaces and the space formed by this recess and the wall in which the feedthrough is received can be readily tested. The spacer may be directly provided with the passage communicating with the recess or may simply form the channel between the block-shaped members.

[0028] According to the invention, each of the arc segmental recesses is semicylindrical and the spacer is configured to maintain a gap between the block shaped members for receiving the pressurized fluid for testing the seal formed by the feedthrough upon assembly of two such modules. The block shaped members can have openings adjacent outer edges thereof into which pins or parts of a pin of the spacer can extend. The spacer may be a pin with an annular flange disposed generally midway therealong or may carry an annular ring to separate the two block shaped members. Preferably, the spacer is a frame segment formed with a plurality of pins received in recesses in juxtaposed ends of the block shaped members.

[0029] The spacer can have four of the pins in pairs on opposite sides thereof, each pair of pine extending into a respective one of the block shaped members. The frame segment can have outer dimensions less than the outer dimensions of the block shaped members and a semicylindrical recess of greater radius of curvature than the cylindrical recesses of the block shaped members.

[0030] The invention also includes a modular feedthrough comprising:

[0031] two feedthrough modules each comprised of:

[0032] two block-shaped members spaced apart longitudinally in a direction of passage and formed with respective semicylindrical recesses, and

[0033] at least one spacer between the members and securing the members together, whereby

[0034] upon juxtaposition of the feedthrough modules, the semicylindrical recesses form cylindrical passages sealing receiving the cable or the pipe of a solid body, and the spacers maintain gaps between the block-shaped members for receiving a pressurized fluid for testing a seal formed by the feedthrough the juxtaposition of the two modules.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0035] The above and other objects, features, and advantages will become more readily apparent from the following description, reference being made to the accompanying drawing in which:

[0036] FIG. 1 Is a perspective view of a modular penetration seal for the sealed passage of pipes through a structure, illustrated somewhat diagrammatically;

[0037] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of two partial pieces of the module of FIG. 1 showing a filler body adapted to be sealed therein;

[0038] FIG. 3 is a vertical section through a modular penetration seal in which the modules are received in a frame;

[0039] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a wedge seal for use with the modules of the invention; and

[0040] FIG. 5 is a vertical section through a modular penetration seal with a gland frame construction;

[0041] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a module for providing a feedthrough or bulkhead according to the invention utilizing a spacer between the two block shaped members;

[0042] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the module of FIG. 6;

[0043] FIG. 8 is a plan view of the module of FIGS. 6 and 7;

[0044] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a spacer provided with an annular flange;

[0045] FIG. 10 is a plan view of a spacer having a ring which is slid onto the pin;

[0046] FIG. 11 is an end view of the spacer of FIG. 10;

[0047] FIG. 12 is a plan view of a spacer of the type utilizing a frame and four pins;

[0048] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the latter spacer;

[0049] FIG. 14 is an end view of this spacer;

[0050] FIG. 15 is an end view of one of the block shaped members in which the pins of the spacer of FIGS. 12 to 14 can be received; and

[0051] FIG. 16 is a side view of the feedthrough module upon assembly.

SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION

[0052] A modular penetration seal for the sealed passage of cables and pipes through structure in which the seal is to form a gas tight bulkhead is shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 and permits cables and pipes represented generally at 1 to pass through a wall 2 in a structure which can be a building, an apparatus, a ship or some other barrier between two parts for which a gas tight (and liquid tight) seal is required between the parts. The modules 3 which are used for this purpose according to the invention each comprise two block-shaped parts 4 (compare FIGS. 1 and 2), with each of the parts being generally of the shape of a rectangular parallepiped so that when the parts 4 are assembled together, the module seen in FIG. 1 has also the shape of a rectangular parallelepiped.

[0053] The block shaped parts 4 are provided with semicylindrical recesses into which selectively a member which can be a cable, a pipe or a filler body can be sealingly engaged. The cable or pipe has been represented at 1 and the filler body at 6 in the drawing. The recesses 5 can be lined with rubber, e.g. a single rubber body or rubber laminations or rubber laminated with other materials to form a compressible seal durably gripping the cable or pipe 1 or the filler body 6.

[0054] Each module 3 has external sealing surfaces 7, 8 which lie in mutually perpendicular planes and delimit the rectangular piped parallel to the cable or pipe 1 and the axis of the filler body 6. Two sealing surfaces 8 are vertical surfaces as shown in FIG. 1 and are parallel to one another but perpendicular to the horizontal sealing surfaces 7 shown in this figure.

[0055] Around the perimeter of the module 3 and in the surfaces 7 and 8, there is are grooves 9 which open outwardly. The grooves 9 have stretches running through each of the surfaces 7, 8 mentioned previously and in at least one of the grooves 9 a bore 10 is provided which extends perpendicular to the axis of the cable or pipe 1 or the filler body 6 and thus to the axis of the recesses 5 in which that member is received. The bore 10 extends into the module 3 from the base of the groove 9 to the outer surface 11 of the cable or tube 1 or the filler body 6.

[0056] The grooves 9 are preferably 2 mm deep rectangular millings in the surfaces 7, 8 which adjoin another so as to extend around the entire perimeter. The width of the grooves can vary and in general will be equal to or greater than the diameter of the bore 10 which opens at the base of the groove.

[0057] The bores 10 have preferably diameters of 8 mm.

[0058] The modules 3 are inserted into a frame 12 (FIG. 3) which in turn is received in an opening 13 in the wall 2. Between each two layers of modules 3 located one above the other, a respective anchoring gasket 14 is provided which has a throughgoing opening 15 at the adjoining regions of the grooves 9. The anchor gaskets 14 prevent sliding of the modules 3 one another together at the frame 12. The sides of the anchor gaskets 14 can additionally be stamped with triangular formations. As a result, the assembly of modules with the frame and the wedge arrangements clamping the modules in the frame form a communicating system via the bores 10, the grooves 9 and the openings 15 in the gaskets. The communicating system is a network of horizontal and vertical passages which is closed toward the spaces on opposite sides of the wall 2 and forms a network wholly within the frame in which a test gas volume can be provided for the bulkhead formed by the module assembly. Passages 16 can be provided to communicate with or form part of this network in the wedge unit 18 securing the frame and modules together and which can bear upon the upper frame member 19 and the upper surface of the top row of modules. The passages 16 can likewise be formed in grooves 9 of the wedge unit 18.

[0059] As can be seen from FIGS. 3 and 4, the wedge unit 18 can comprise upper and lower beams 18a and 18b whose upper and lower surfaces are placed against the surface 19 and the upper row of modules, respectively, and which are wedge shaped but sealed together along the exteriors at 18c and 18d. Spindles 18e traversing wedge blocks 18f and 18g press these wedge blocks together upon the tightening of the spindles in respective nuts to spread the beams 18a and 18b apart and clamp the module assemblies 3 in the frame 12.

[0060] As is also apparent from FIG. 2, a compressed air coupling 20 can be connected to the passage network within the penetration seal or bulkhead and pressure loss after pressurization can be measured by a manometer 20a, for example, to signal the integrity of the seal or bulk. In FIG. 5, there is shown an alternative bulkhead-type modular penetration seal in which a round gland-type frame 21 is formed in a circular opening 13′ in the wall 2′ and in which the modules 3 can be clamped sealingly. The network of passages 9, 10, etc. can be pressurized through the compressed air coupling 20 and the pressure loss indicated by the manometer 20a. The compressed air source is represented by the compressor 20b in FIG. 5.

[0061] Immediately upon the mounting of the modular gas bulkhead forming the penetration seal of the invention, using a commercial compressor and manometer, it can be determined whether the system is hermetic or not.

[0062] For example, a test pressure of about 4 bar can be provided in the passage network and the pressure drop determined by the manometer.

[0063] If there is between the passage network within the penetration seal bulkhead and the exterior, a sealing failure, the location of the leak can be determined by conventional bubble forming methods by leak testing sprays or the like, thereby indicating whether one side or both sides of the module are not tight.

[0064] When a sealing filler is determined, the penetration seal can be remounted to see if the failure can be remedied. Otherwise a replacement module 3 can be provided.

[0065] In this manner also, the module 3 can be tested for fabrication failures. further comprising a gland frame receiving a plurality of said modules and sealingly retaining same, said frame and said bores forming a communicating system of passages within the seal.

[0066] In FIGS. 6 through 16, I have shown a modular feedthrough system in which the block shaped members for each half of the feedthrough are interconnected by one or more spacers to define the test fluid space between them and around the spacers.

[0067] More particularly, as can be seen from FIGS. 6 to 8, each half 101 of the feedthrough comprises two block-shaped members 102, 103 having semicylindrical recesses 104, 105 with rectangular walls 106, 107 at the bottom and sides. The semicylindrical recesses 104, 105 are adapted to accommodate the cable or pipe in the manner described and have their axes aligned. The two block-shaped members 102, 103 are interconnected by at least one spacer 108 which has its outer surface inwardly of the walls 106, 107 to define a gap 109 into which a fluid can be pumped to test the seal in the manner described. In the embodiment of FIGS. 6 through 8, the spacer, as will be described in greater detail hereinafter, is a semicircular frame member 119 with notches 122 forming passages in the spacer.

[0068] Outer edges of the feedthrough are defined at 110 and the spacers lie within those outer edges. At the corners of the block-shaped members 102, 103 confronting one another (FIGS. 8 and 15), bores 111 are provided to receive pins of the spacers.

[0069] For the frame-shaped spacer of FIGS. 6 to 8, those pins are shown at 120 and 121 in FIGS. 12 to 14. The semicircular inner periphery of the frame shaped member 119 has been designated at 123 in FIG. 14.

[0070] FIGS. 9 to 11 and 16 show other embodiments of the spacer. For example, FIG. 16 shows that the two spacers 108 can be provided to define the gap 109 between the two block shaped members 102, 103 of each of two units 101, 101′ assembled together to form the feedthrough or bulkhead.

[0071] The spacers 108 may have a ring 118 which can be. slidably received on a pin 117, the ends of which can be fitted into the aligned bores 111 of the two block-shaped members 102, 103. Alternatively, the ring 118 may be a stack of washers.

[0072] In the embodiment of the spacer 108 shown in FIG. 9, an annular flange 114 is provided between pine 113 and 115, an end 116 of which can be chamfered to enable it to fit into the bores 111. In this case, the annular flange 114 holds the end faces of the block-shaped members 102, 103 apart.

[0073] FIGS. 12 to 14 show the spacer 108 of FIGS. 6 to 8 in greater detail. As previously noted, the frame members 119 have circular cutouts 123 which are of greater radius of curvature than the semicylindrical recesses 104 and 105, although the outer dimensions of the frame members 119 are less than the dimensions of the block-shaped members 102, 103 to leave the gap 109 free around the spacers 119 between the block-shaped members. The notches 122 allow the fluid to enter into the gap 109 for testing of the seal in the manner described in connection with FIGS. 1 through 5.

[0074] The units 101, 101′ can be assembled before hand with the spacers or assembled on site. The modules 101, 101′ can, as is customary, be mounted in a frame which is built into an opening in a wall and anchor disks can be provided between the layers of modules 101 so that slippage from the frame is prevented. The anchor disks can engage in the gaps 109. The anchor disks may have sides which are triangular stampings. The modules 101 can form, with the frame, a communicating network of passages which can be pressurized to check the seal against a solid body inserted in the feedthrough or the cables or pipes which are to traverse them. The structure can be sealed in place by wedge shaped seals or the like. The pressure loss as measured by a manometer can indicate the pressure tightness of the system in the manner described. The test pressure can be about 4 bar. If a leakage is suspected, commercial bubble sprays can be used to determine whether both sides or only one side of a module must be replaced or resealed. If a sealing failure is detected, the module can be remounted or replaced by another module. The test can show fabrication defects as well as assembly defects.