|Title of Invention||
A PEROXY VAPOR SYSTEM
|Abstract||A peroxy vapor system including: a liquid peroxy solution interface (20) for receiving a source (12) of liquid peroxy solution; a vapor generation unit (10) for vaporizing the liquid peroxy solution and entraining the vapor in dry air for delivery to a point of use; and, a replaceable desiccant dryer (14) connected with the vapor generation unit for drying air of vapor prior to entraining the generated vapor in the dried air, characterized by: a pair of nipples (72, 92) for interconnecting the dryer (14) with the vapor generating unit (10), the dryer including: a desiccant chamber (44, 44') connected between end pieces (60, 62 ; 60', 62') each end piece including a bore (70, 90 ; 70', 90') that receives one of the nipples in a fluid-tight relationship, and at least one latch (74,94 ;74',94') for latching the end pieces to the nipples.|
|Full Text||FORM 2
THE PATENTS ACT, 1970 (39 of 1970)
COMPLETE SPECIFICATION (See Section 10, rule 13)
A PEROXY VAPO >R SYSTEM
STERIS INC. of 43425 BUSINESS PARK DRIVE TEMECULA, CA 92590, U.S.A., AMERICAN Company
The following specification particularly describes the nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed : -
Background of the Invention
The present invention relates to the peroxy vapor treatment arts, more particularly to hydrogen peroxide vapor sterilization and disinfection. The invention finds particular application in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide vapor sterilization systems in which peroxide vapor is entrained in dry air which has been dried with a desiccant and will be described with particular reference thereto. It is to be appreciated that the present invention may be used with other peroxy vapors in conjunction with disinfection, sanitation, and other treatment processes.
Heretofore, a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water have been vaporized and entrained in dry air. The vapor and air are pumped into a sterilization or other treatment chamber. The hydrogen peroxide reacts with microbial and other decontaminants in an oxidizing reaction which deactivates them and converts the vapor molecule from peroxide to water. To maintain a preselected concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the chamber, air and vapor from the chamber are recirculated to the vaporizer. Hydrogen peroxide vapor in the withdrawn air is decomposed catalytically or by heat to water vapor. The water vapor is then removed from the air, leaving dry air to be recirculated to the vaporizer.
One technique for drying the air was by condensation. However, condensation requires relatively expensive compressors and refrigeration units. Moreover, such condensation units typically fail to dry the air to a consistent level of humidity.
Consistent and lower level of humidity have been achieved by passing the air and water vapor through a desiccant. Although desiccants dry the air consistently to a low humidity, it typically takes longer to regenerate a desiccant than to saturate it. One way to meet these demands was through the use of a desiccant wheel. The air and water vapor were passed through a first portion or section of a desiccant wheel until that section became substantially saturated. The wheel was then indexed, bringing a new desiccant portion or section into the air and water vapor flow path. The saturated portion of the desiccant was subject to a regeneration process over the next several indexed positions of the wheel. Such onboard systems for regenerating
desiccant were not only expensive and mechanically complex, but also added significant weight and bulk to portable hydrogen peroxide generation systems.
US-A-5,173,258 discloses a system for peroxy vapor generation including an air dryer which is regenerated between cycles.
US-A-3,338,032 is directed to a desiccant cartridge which is threadedly received in a flow valve at one end and which has knockouts adjacent an opposite end.
US-A-4,828,589 discloses a filter unit with a replaceable cartridge filled with a hydroscopic desiccant granular material. A tubular casing has an interior chamber which is accessible through an openable and closable end port. A drying cartridge is selectively admitted into the interior chamber through the end port.
The present invention provides a new and improved desiccant drying system which overcomes the above-referenced problems.
Summary of the Invention
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a peroxy vapor system includes a liquid peroxy interface for receiving a source of liquid peroxy solutions, a vapor generation unit for vaporizing the liquid peroxy solution and entraining the vapor in dry air for delivery to a point of use, and a replaceable desiccant dryer is connected with the vapor generation system for drying air of vapor prior to entraining the generated vapor in the dried air. A pair of nipples interconnects the dryer with the vapor generation unit. The dryer further includes a desiccant chamber connected between end pieces, each end piece including a bore that receives one of the nipples in fluid tight relationship and at least one latch for latching the end pieces to the nipples.
In accordance with one another aspect of the invention, a disposable desiccant cartridge is supplied for the system.
The disposable desiccant cartridge includes a tubular chamber with end closures at each end and is dimensioned to be received between the end pieces and engage a clamping assembly on the end pieces. A desiccant material is received in the tubular chambers. An inlet aperture is defined in one end closure of the tubular member and an outlet aperture is defined in an opposite end enclosure. Annular seals surround the apertures of the end closures. A screen element at each end aperture restrains the desiccant material within the tubular element. Removable vapor barriers seals close the end apertures to prevent humidity from entering the desiccant cartridge before the seals are removed.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method of using the above-described system is provided. A source of liquid peroxy solution is connected with an interface for the vaporizer. The liquid peroxy solution is vaporized and the vapor is entrained in dry air. The entrained vapor in air is supplied to a point of use. Air and vapor from the point of use are returned through a replaceable desiccant dryer. When or before the replaceable desiccant dryer becomes saturated, it is replaced.
The desiccant dryer includes a cartridge and wherein the replacing step includes: disconnecting a
saturated desiccant dryer cartridge from the flow path leading to the vaporizer; and, connecting an
unsaturated desiccant dryer cartridge in the flow path to replace the saturated cartridge.
The source of peroxy liquid includes a container containing a preselected volume of peroxy liquid
and further including: loading /amount of desiccant in the cartridge which is sufficient to absorb the
Further including steps of: regenerating the saturated desiccant cartridge; attaching temporary seals
to openings into the cartridge to prevent the regenerated desiccant from absorbing moisture; and,
before connecting the regenerated cartridge, opening the seals.
One advantage of the present invention resides in its simplicity and low cost.
Another advantage of the present invention resides in the assurance of adequate desiccant drying
Another advantage of the present invention resides in the assurance of dry air with a predictable low
Still further advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the
art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description of the preferred
Brief Description of the Drawings
The invention may take form in various components and arrangements of components, and in
various steps and arrangements of steps. The drawings are only for purposes of illustrating a
preferred embodiment and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.
FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of a hydrogen peroxide vapor decontamination system in
accordance with the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a side-view of the peroxy vapor generation system;
FIGURE 3 is an end-view of the system of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a top view of the vaporizer unit and disposable dryer cartridge embodiment of
FIGURES 2 and 3;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged view of the desiccant cartridge of FIGURES 2-4;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged sectional view of an end portion of the cartridge of FIGURE 5;
FIGURE 7 is a side-sectional view of the desiccant cartridge receiving assembly of FIGURES 2-4;
FIGURE 8 is a front view of an upper portion of the assembly of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 9 is a top view of the assembly of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 10 is an side view of the vaporizer system of FIGURE 2 with an alternate, reusable dryer;
FIGURE 11 is an end view of the alternate embodiment of FIGURE 10;
FIGURE 12 is a top view of the vaporizer unit and reusable dryer cartridge embodiment of FIGURES
10 and 11 with front access panel doors partially open;
FIGURE 13 is a side sectional view of the reusable dryer cartridge of FIGURES 10-12; and
FIGURE 14 is a diagrammatic illustration of a regenerator unit for the cartridge of FIGURES 10-13.
Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments
With reference to FIGURES 1,2, 3, and 4, a vapor generation unit 10 vaporizes a peroxy solution from a solution source 12 and entrains the vapor in dry air which has been dried by a dryer 14. The dry air and vapor are conveyed to a treatment chamber, such as an isolator 16.
In the preferred embodiment, the peroxy solution source is a container or cartridge of hydrogen peroxide in water solution which is received in a cartridge interface 20.
Once in the cartridge interface, the cartridge is interconnected with a dip tube assembly for withdrawing the solution. Although a solution of hydrogen peroxide in water vapor is preferred, other solutions are contemplated, such as peracetic acid and water, other peroxy compounds and water, peroxy compounds in alcohol and water, and the like. In a preferred embodiment, the hydrogen peroxide and water solution is 35-50% hydrogen peroxide.
The vaporizer system includes an injection pump 22 which injects metered amounts of the peroxy solution into a vaporizer 24. The vaporizer, in a preferred embodiment, is a heated surface, such as a heated plate or the interior surface of a bore onto which the peroxy solution is sprayed or injected forming peroxy and water vapor. Dry air from the dryer 14 is preheated in a preheater 26 and supplied to the vaporizer to entrain the hydrogen peroxide or other peroxy vapor and water vapor. The vapor entrained in the air is supplied to the treatment chamber 16.
In the treatment chamber, hydrogen peroxide vapor interacts with microbes and other contaminants in an oxidation reaction, deactivating the microbial material and leaving water vapor suspended in the air. Thus, with time, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the treatment chamber drops. To maintain the concentration of hydrogen peroxide vapor, a portion of the vapor and air is withdrawn and fed through a destroyer 28, such as copper pellets. The copper pellets catalytically degrade the remaining peroxide vapor into water vapor and oxygen. A blower 30, which provides the motive force to move the air and vapor, pumps the air and water vapor to the dryer 14. Desiccant in the dryer absorbs the water vapor such that air of accurately predictable low humidity is discharged to the preheater 26. In this manner, air of known humidity is supplied to the vaporizer, permitting the vaporizer to optimize the concentration of peroxide vapor without condensation. It will be noted that if a significant amount of unexpected water vapor were returned to the vaporizer, the additional vapor content of the saturated air could push the total vapor content of one or both of the peroxide and the water vapor beyond the condensation point.
In a preferred embodiment, the dryer 14 includes a disposable desiccant cartridge 40 which is clamped into a clamping assembly 42.
With reference to FIGURES 5 and 6, the desiccant cartridge includes a cylindrical tube 44 which is closed at either end with end caps 46 to form a cartridge of preselected length. Apertures 48 are defined centrally in each end cap to allow for the passage of gas into and out of the cartridge. The apertures are covered on the inside by disks 50 of screening material to retain a desiccant 52. A water vapor impermeable end seal 54 is adhesively adhered over an exterior of each opening to prevent the desiccant within the cartridge from absorbing water vapor before it is mounted in the clamping assembly 42.' The aperture in each end is surrounded by a resilient gasket 56, such as a closed cell foam of a material which is inert to hydrogen peroxide or other circulated gases. /
With reference again to FIGURES 2 and 3, and further reference to FIGURES 7,8, and 9, the clamping assembly 42 includes a pair of end elements 60,62 and pair of tie angles 64 which maintain the end pieces 60,62 in a preselected, fixed spaced relationship. The lower end element 62 includes an inlet connection port or bore 70 for interconnection with an outlet nipple 72 of the vapor generator assembly 10. A latch assembly 74 engages a lip 76 around the outlet nipple to maintain the clamping assembly 42 attached to the vapor generator. The inlet port includes an L-shaped passage terminating in an outlet port 78 adjacent an inlet to the cartridge. The lower assembly has a smooth sealing face 80 surrounding the outlet port 78 to provide an air-tight seal with the lower gasket 56. The lower assembly includes an upstanding, semi-circular guide portion 82 which receives and positions a lower end of the cartridge centered on the outlet port 78.
The upper element 60 includes an outlet port 90 which is dimensioned to be received in a fluid-tight relationship with a nipple 92 of an inlet port for dry gas on the vaporizer unit 10. A latch assembly 94 locks the upper element to the nipple assembly lip 95. The upper element 60 includes an L-shaped passage terminating in an inlet port 96. The inlet port 96 is surrounded by a piston 98 of larger diameter than the gasket 56 of the desiccant cartridge. The piston defines a smooth, polished
sealing face 100 which forms a sealing relationship with the desiccant cartridge gasket. The piston 98 is retracted by pulling a handle 102 toward the user, away from the vaporizing unit 10. Springs 104 bias the piston toward engagement with the gasket of the desiccant cartridge. When a desiccant cartridge is to be inserted, the handle 102 is pushed away from the user, retracting the piston. This loosens the seal between the piston and the gasket of the used desiccant cartridge which is removed. The adhesive seals 54 of the new desiccant cartridge are removed and the desiccant cartridge is inserted into the latching unit 72 until its rear surfaces engage the alignment surface 84 of the lower element 62 and a matching alignment surface 106 of the upper element 60. The handle 102 is returned to the angled position allowing the springs 104 to bias the sealing face 100 of the piston 98 into a fluid-tight seal with the upper gasket of the desiccant cartridge. An O-ring 108 between the piston 98 and the upper element 60 prevents vapor from passing between the piston and the upper end element.
In one preferred embodiment, the desiccant cartridge is sized in accordance with the anticipated hydrogen peroxide consumption. In one embodiment, the dryer is sized to accommodate the moisture from one cycle of the largest enclosure under worst case conditions. In this embodiment, the desiccant cartridge is replaced at the beginning of each cycle. In another embodiment, the desiccant cartridge is sized to absorb all of the water vapor that is generated by the contents of the hydrogen peroxide cartridge. In this embodiment, the desiccant cartridge is replaced each time the hydrogen peroxide cartridge is replaced. In another embodiment, the desiccant cartridge is sized to be able to hold the water generated by a plurality of the hydrogen peroxide cartridges. As yet another alternative, the desiccant cartridge includes an indicator which provides a visual indication that the cartridge is nearing saturation and should be replaced. As yet another alternative, the vaporization unit 10 includes a moisture sensor which senses the humidity of the air entering the preheater. When the humidity starts to rise, the vaporization unit provides a visual or audio signal indicating that the desiccant cartridge 40 is due for replacement.
As another alternative, the alignment surfaces 82, 106 have projections that are received in corresponding recess in the cartridge 40 to ensure accurate alignment. In
another alternative, mating surface 80 of the lower element 62 and the lower end cap have mating projections and recesses outside of the perimeter of the gasket 56 to assure alignment. When the handle 102 is pushed to retract the piston, a pawl holds the piston 98 retracted. A projection or element on the upper end cap interacts with the pawl directly or through a connecting linkage to release the piston only when the top of the cartridge is properly received to release the piston. As another option, cutters can be provided on the lower element 62 and the piston 98 to open the end seals 54 when the cartridge is properly aligned.
With reference to FIGURES 10-13, in another embodiment, a dryer cartridge 40'is attached directly to the nipples 72,92 of the vaporizer unit 10. This embodiment includes a first or top element 60'and a second or lower end element 62'which are interconnected by a desiccant cylinder 44'. The upper end element includes a bore 90'with a gasket configured to receive the uppermost nipple 92 in a fluid-tight relationship; and the lower end element defines a lower well 70' and a gasket 56'configured to receive the lower nipple 72 in a fluid tight seal. A lower latch 74' engages the latching surface of the lower nipple 72 and an upper latch 94'engages the latch surface of the upper nipple 92. Screen elements 50' are disposed adjacent upper and lower outlets of the cartridge to contain a desiccant 52'therebetween. A glass sight 110 enables the operator to view a lower desiccant chamber 112 that is defined between a pair of the lower screens 50'. The color of the desiccant is an indication to the user whether or not a dryer has been regenerated. In the preferred embodiment, the desicacant turns clear soon after the dryer is put in use. The desiccant turns color (blue in this case) after regeneration.
Preferably, all components of the reusable desiccant cartridge are constructed of metal or other materials capable of withstanding repeated exposure to temperatures on the order of 150°C. Alternately, the cartridge can be a single use cartridge that is disposed after being used.
When the desiccant cartridge is saturated or cannot hold the moisture generated by the next cycle to be run, the latches 74', 94' are released and the drying cartridge is removed and replaced with a regenerated cartridge. With reference to FIGURE 14,
the saturated cartridge is placed in a regeneration unit 120. The regeneration unit includes nipples of the same size and spacing as nipples 72, 92 in the second embodiment which are plug into the passages 70', 90'. For cartridges of the embodiment of FIGURE 5, the manifold 128 includes mating top and bottom connections. The regeneration unit includes a filter, preferably a HEPA filter 122 which removes airborne contaminants. A blower 124 blows the filtered air through a heater 126 to a manifold 128. The manifold is connected with one or more desiccant cartridges 40'which are to be regenerated. The heated air, heated to about 150°C, is blown through the desiccant entraining the absorbed water, and discharged to the atmosphere. After the desiccant is fully regenerated, as determined by measuring the temperature of the discharged air with a temperature switch 130, based on time, or other factors, the circulation of heated air through the desiccant is stopped and a cooling fan 132 is started. The cooling fan cools the desiccant cartridge back to room temperature while the ports of the cartridge remain closed. A lockable door 134 is released once the desiccant cartridges have cooled to a temperature that is safe to handle. The desiccant cartridges remain connected to the manifold to prevent the cooling air from entering the chambers where humidity from the cooling air would be absorbed.
|Indian Patent Application Number||457/MUMNP/2004|
|PG Journal Number||42/2008|
|Date of Filing||17-Aug-2004|
|Name of Patentee||STERIS INC.|
|Applicant Address||43425 BUSINESS PARK DRIVE TEMECULA, CA 92590, U.S.A.|
|PCT International Classification Number||a61l 2/20|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/US03/06501|
|PCT International Filing date||2003-02-28|