Title:
Tank-refilling pump arrangements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A refilling pump arrangement comprises a refilling hose (1), and a pump (2) mounted at the free end of the hose which takes in fluid. This hose and pump arrangement can be stored anywhere, either on or off a vehicle or other machine that receives fluid, and when stored on the machine the hose and pump can be stored in an area that does not need to be adjacent the liquid tank. This enables space savings for the parts of the vehicle which have the most critical space demands.



Inventors:
Worswick, Ian (Potton, GB)
Trimby, David (Royston, GB)
Millard, Chas (Wrestlingsworth, GB)
Cox, Steve (Coventry, GB)
Bishop, Lee (Hoddesdon, GB)
Application Number:
12/156486
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
06/02/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
141/231, 417/410.1, 141/34
International Classes:
B65B1/14; B67D7/68; B67D7/02; B67D7/04; F04B35/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GORDON, JENNIFER LYNNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEON D. ROSEN (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for supplying fluid to a first machine that has a fluid storage tank, comprising: transporting fluid by storing fluid in a mobile container while transporting said mobile container by movement of a vehicle to a mobile fluid location adjacent to said first machine; moving a second end of a hose on which a pump is mounted, to and through an access opening in said mobile container and into said fluid therein so said pump is immersed in said fluid therein; with a first end of said hose connected to said first machine storage tank, energizing an electric motor of said pump to energize a pump element of said pump, to pump said fluid from said mobile container through said hose to said fluid storage tank.

2. The method described in claim 1 wherein: supplying current at a constant voltage to said electric motor, sensing the amount of current flowing to said electric motor, and when the level of current falls below a predetermined level ceasing to supply further current to said motor.

3. A method of refilling a storage tank of a vehicle, comprising: connecting a hose first end to a vehicle storage tank of the vehicle and mounting a pump on a second end of the hose; immersing the pump in a mobile reservoir of liquid; and controlling the pump to pump liquid from the mobile reservoir to the vehicle storage tank.

4. Apparatus for pumping liquid from a container to a vehicle storage tank of a first vehicle, comprising: a hose having a hose first end connected to said vehicle storage tank and having a hose second end; a pump mounted on said hose second end, with the combination of said hose second end and said pump thereon being insertable into said container with said pump immersed in liquid in said container to pump fluid from said container into said vehicle storage tank.

5. The apparatus described in claim 4 wherein: said hose has a second end that is disconnectable and reconnectable to said vehicle storage tank; said first vehicle has a storage area where said hose and pump are stored when not in use; said container is a mobile container and including a second vehicle for transporting said mobile container to a location adjacent to said first vehicle.

6. The apparatus described in claim 4 wherein: said container has an upper end with an opening that is capable of passing a round 65 mm hose and pump into the container, and said pump is of cylindrical shape and has a diameter that fits through a 65 mm round opening.

7. The apparatus described in claim 4 wherein: said pump comprises a cylindrical housing, a cylindrical electric motor lying in said housing and occupying a majority of the cross-section of the housing, and a centrifugal pump element lying at an end of said motor.

8. The apparatus described in claim 4 wherein: said pump includes an electric motor and a pump element that is driven by said electric motor; and including a shut off switch connected to said motor which shuts off power to the motor when the current drawn by the motor is below a threshold level.

9. A pump arrangement for pumping liquid from a mobile reservoir to a vehicle storage tank, comprising a hose having first and second ends with said first end releasably coupled to the vehicle storage tank; and a pump mounted on said second end of the hose, and constructed to be temporarily immersed in the liquid of said mobile reservoir.

10. An arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein: said pump comprises an electric motor and a centrifugal pump element connected to the motor.

11. An arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein: said pump includes a cylindrical housing at an end of the hose and a pump element contained within said housing; said housing having an outer diameter of less than 65 mm.

12. An arrangement as claimed in claim 9, further comprising: a strainer and flow straightener positioned at the pump inlet.

13. An arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein: the pump comprises a pump element and an electric motor, and electrical wires extending through the inside of the hose.

14. An arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein: said pump includes a pump element, an electric motor connected to said pump element, and a shut off device that shuts off power to the motor when the current drawn by the motor is below a threshold level.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE

This is a continuation-in-part of PCT/GB2006/004535 filed 5 Dec., 2006, which claims priority from British patent applications GB 0525134.3 filed 9 Dec., 2005 and GB 0607849.7 filed 20 Apr., 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to pump arrangements. Particularly, but not exclusively, the invention relates to pump arrangements used for the refueling of hydrocarbon fueled machinery that have movement cost implications. Such machinery is typically refueled on site from mobile storage vessels such as barrels or bowsers that are carried by truck or other vehicle.

Examples of such machinery may include construction, agricultural or industrial machinery. Off road vehicles such as diggers, cranes, and other excavation vehicles are generally refueled on site. These are typically, but not exclusively diesel vehicles. Boats and other marine equipment also have refueling mobility issues.

The need to take these vehicles to a filling station is an inefficient use of the machinery resource. Instead, such vehicles are typically refueled on site from a barrel, bowser or some other such mobile or localized static containers.

To enable this refueling operation, the machinery is typically provided with a pump which is mounted on the machinery, usually in a toolbox. A flexible hose is stored in a tool compartment, and this is coupled at one end to the pump inlet, whereas the hose free end is placed in the mobile container. The outlet to the pump may be permanently connected to the machinery's fuel tank. The free end of the hose has a strainer, which is immersed in the diesel fuel within the container.

For some machinery, space saving and weight is of vital importance. For example, excavators that are designed for working in confined spaces (in cities) are referred to as short radius or zero swing machines. Boats designed for speed are weight dependant.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the invention, there is provided a pump arrangement for pumping liquid from a reservoir of liquid to a vehicle storage tank, the pump arrangement comprising a hose having a first end adapted to be releasably coupled to the vehicle storage tank, and a pump mounted at the second end of the hose, the pump being adapted to be temporarily immersed in the reservoir of liquid.

This arrangement provides the pump for refueling or refilling of another tank as part of the refueling/refilling hose. This hose and pump assembly can be stored anywhere, either on or off a vehicle, and when stored on the vehicle, it can be stored in an area that does not need to be adjacent the fuel/water tank. This enables space savings for the parts of the vehicle which have the most critical space demands.

The pump may comprise a centrifugal pump, which is a well known reliable pump which can be made with no elastomeric moving parts, and is particularly suitable for the transfer of hydrocarbon fuels due to its safe dry running capability.

The pump is powered by a fully submersible electric motor which may be cooled directly from the fluid being pumped.

The pump is preferably fitted within a primarily cylindrical housing at the end of the hose, and this is sized to fit into the opening in a standard fuel barrel. For example, the housing can have an outer diameter preferably less than 60 mm, and particularly less than a 2 inch (50 mm) BSP (British Standard Pipe) female thread.

A strainer can be provided at the pump inlet. A flow straightener can also be provided at the pump inlet and these two may be combined. The pump preferably comprises an electric motor, and electrical supply wires are provided through the inside of the hose which protects them from rough handling and abuse. A non return valve can be provided at the pump outlet. To aid priming, a valve can be incorporated into the pump to allow air to be expelled from inside the pump before use, but to restrict fluid loss during pump operation.

The pump and hose may be de-coupled (including electrical connections) to aid serviceability.

A shut off device can be provided for shutting off power to the pump based on the pump drive conditions. For example, the pump can comprise an electric motor, and the shut off device shuts off power to the pump when the current drawn by the pump motor is below a threshold level. This can be used to detect when the pump is running dry, or if there is a blockage in the hose.

The invention also provides a vehicle having a pump arrangement of the invention. The vehicle may comprise a fuel tank with the pump separate or attached to it.

The invention also provides a method of refilling a storage tank of a vehicle, comprising:

    • coupling a pump arrangement to the tank, the pump arrangement comprising a hose having one end adapted to be coupled to the vehicle storage tank, and a pump mounted at the other, free end of the hose, immersing the pump in a reservoir of liquid; and controlling the pump to provide refilling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An example of the invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which;

FIG. 1 shows a pump arrangement of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a vehicle and a mobile tank to which the invention can be applied;

FIG. 3 shows how the cable arrangement is installed into the hose; and

FIG. 4 shows a modification to the pump arrangement.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A first example of the invention relates to machinery such as vehicles, which are refuelled remotely from a fixed refuelling centre, typically using fuel stored in barrels, bowsers (pumps for dispensing fuel) or other containers driven to the site of the machinery. The machinery may have a tank that holds 1000 liters (250 gallons) of diesel fuel.

Conventionally, a pump is mounted near the fuel tank of the machinery which is to be filled and connected via a hose. A hose is connected to the pump and leads to the external fuel container for refueling purposes.

A first example of the invention provides a refueling pump arrangement 30 (FIG. 2) comprising a refueling hose 1 connected to or inserted into the machinery fuel storage tank 13, and a pump 2 mounted at the free end of the hose. The refueling pump 2 may be stored in the machinery cab C and the hose is typically stored in a tool kit, either on or off the vehicle, when not in use. When stored on the vehicle, the hose can be stored in an area 34 that does not need to be adjacent to the fuel tank.

FIG. 1 shows a pump arrangement 30 that includes a hose 1 for submersion into a mobile container such as a fuel barrel 12. In most cases the mobile container 12 is transported to a mobile fluid location adjacent to the machine M by a vehicle indicated at V. The pump arrangement also includes a pump 2 at the end of the hose. The pump 2 lies in a primarily cylindrical housing 6 which houses an electric motor 3, a pump element 4 such as centrifugal vanes and a non-return valve 5.

A filter can also be incorporated into the pump. A flow straightener can also be added to the pump inlet 7, and these two items can be combined. An air check valve can also be incorporated into the pump above the pump element or set 4.

The pump element 4 comprises a centrifugal element for a centrifugal pump, which is a well known pump suitable for fuel pumping.

FIG. 2 shows one example of the type of machinery which may use the pump arrangement of the invention, and shows excavation machinery M.

The pump housing 6 is designed to fit into the opening 36 in a standard fuel barrel 12. For example, the housing can have an outer diameter of 60 mm.

A control panel 10 is used to control the refueling operation, once the refueling pump arrangement has been connected to the inlet 22 of the fuel tank 13. This connection provides both fluid and electrical connection of the refueling pump arrangement to the fuel tank and control panel 10. The pump housing 2 is submerged in fuel 11 in the barrel 12.

The control panel 10 can provide automated control of the pump to provide the required delivery flow rates and to cease operation of the pump when the tank 13 is full or when the container 12 is empty.

The refueling pump arrangement, including the hose and pump can be stored as part of the tool kit of the vehicle, and this can be stored anywhere on or off the vehicle.

FIG. 3 shows how the electricity supply cables 14 can be provided to the pump through the hose 1, although it may instead run attached to an outer wall of the hose.

FIG. 4 shows a system with an additional safety shut off device 20 that is added to the automated control mentioned above, and which controls the power supply to the pump 2. This device can be used to prevent the pump running when the pump is not immersed in fluid, for example because all fluid has been pumped or the pump has not been inserted deeply enough into the tank 12. This prevents overheating and can also save energy.

In the case of a centrifugal pump, the load on the pump is directly related to the material being pumped. As a result, the current drawn by the pump motor can be measured and used as an indicator of whether the pump is immersed in liquid or if it is in a gas (e.g. air).

By way of example, the motor may draw 8 to 9 Amps when pumping liquid, but draw 4 Amps when in air.

In this example, a current flow of 5 Amps or less provides an indication that the pump is running dry, there are air bubbles in the pump, or there is no flow because the hose is blocked. By switching off the pump in these circumstances, there is an energy saving, overheating is prevented and the lifetime of the pump may be prolonged.

A further switch 22 can be installed in the tank 13 to be filled, to provide an indication that the tank 13 is full to switch off the pump. This can be in the form of a normally closed float switch.

The user control panel (10 of FIG. 2) forms part of the safety device 20 of FIG. 4, and can simply comprise an on and an off button 24, 26, as shown schematically in FIG. 4. The pump can only be turned on when there is sufficient current, and current overload can be protected by a fuse.

The safety device will switch off whenever the tank being filled is full or the tank being emptied is empty. The manual off switch provides an extra user controlled shut off capability.

Only one type of machinery has been shown, but as outlined above, the invention can be applied to many different types of machinery, especially vehicles, where space or weight saving is an issue, so that the freedom to detach the pump arrangement and choose where storage should be will provide advantage.

In the example above, the pump arrangement is for refueling, but the same arrangement may be used for pumping other liquids. For example, the pump arrangement can be used to pump water from a stream/creek to a water storage tank. This may be of interest for many different types of agricultural machinery such as vehicles.

The arrangement of the invention provides the pump at the free end of the hose, namely as a portable fitting which is immersed in the liquid to be pumped on site.

There are various possible pump designs that can be used, for example the centrifugal pump mentioned above, sliding vane pumps or others.

Various modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art, and consequently, it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents.





 
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