|Title of Invention||
|Abstract||An electrofusion coupling for joining together two or more sections of pipe or for joining a section of pipe and a pipework fitting, said coupling comprising: (i) a first part (14) having a first internal diameter at a first end adapted to form a tight sliding fit with a first pipe section and a second internal diameter at a second end, larger than the first; (ii) a second part (14) having a first internal diameter at a frist end dadpted to form a tight sliding fit with a second pipe section and an outside diameter at a second end adapted to form a tight sliding fit with the second internal diameter of the first part such that the two parts can nest together tightly with an overlapping region; (iii) electrical heating elements (16, 17, 18) and electrical terminal connections being provided in the two parts such that the first part can be used independently of the second part to join a section of pipe to a pipework fitting or the first and second parts can be used in combination to join two adjacent sections of pipe.|
|Full Text||Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for joining together lengths of pipe. It is particularly applicable, but in no way limited, to a method and apparatus for joining together lengths of secondarily contained plastic pipe, including elbows and other junctions.
Background to the Invention
Pipes made of plastics material are used extensively in industry and in construction. Many applications now use pipes made from plastics materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene rather than metal. One such application is the pipework used in petroleum installations such as garage forecourts.
In the design of petroleum forecourt installations for example, it is regarded as increasingly important ID contain and detect any leaks of petroleum or diesel fuel from subterranean pipes which connect one or more storage tanks to dispensing pumps in the installation. To that end, many current designs of "forecourt installation utilise secondary containment. This involves containing each supply pipeline in a respective secondary containment pipeline which is optionally sealed at its ends to the fuel supply pipelines. The secondary containment pipeline prevents leaks from the fuel supply pipeline from being discharged into the environment, and also can convey leaked petrol to a remote sensing device.
Whilst every effort is made to avoid having joints in an underground supply pipeline, other than inside manhole chambers, these joints sometimes cannot be avoided. Such joints are conventionally made using special fittings and the connections are made using a chemical-based jointing compound or by electrofusion welding. The latter technique is preferred in many applications.
In conventional single containment plastic piping systems, successive lengths of plastic pipe are joined end to end using so-called electrofusion couplings or welding muffs, which typically comprise short plastic sleeves providing sockets at
either end having internal diameters of a size to receive the ends of the respective pipes as a close fit and incorporating electrical resistance heating windings. Thus two adjoining pipe lengths can be connected end to end by inserting the adjoining pipe ends into such an electrofusion coupler from opposite ends thereafter passing electric current through the heating windings in order to fuse the interna) surfaces of the electrofusion coupling and the adjoining the external surfaces of the inserted pipe ends, thereby welding the pipe ends to the electrofusion coupling to form a fluid tight joint.
Hitherto, in constructing secondary containment pipeline systems utilising plastic pipes, the pipe lengths forming the inner plastic pipe have been connected end to end by a first series of electrofusion couplings, whilst the pipe lengths forming the outer pipe have been connected end to end by a second series of electrofusion couplings distinct from and separate from those connecting the lengths of inner pipe. This procedure inevitably involves threading the outer pipe and the electrofusion couplings for the outer pipes over the inner pipes and/Drthe longitudinal displacement of the outer pipes and the associated electrofusion couplings relative to the inner pipes. This involves substantially more labour than the construction of a comparable single containment pipe system .by similar techniques. In addition, it is normal practice to complete the primary pipework and test its integrity prior to completing the secondary containment system. This inevitably means multiple handling for the couplings. For example, couplings tor the secondary pipes have to be slid into position in advance then moved aside as necessary. Alternatively, sections of secondary pipe and the associated couplings have to be fed over the length of the primary pipe once it has been assembled, welded and tested. This is both time consuming and labour intensive.
Matters are "further complicated if a joint is being formed in the latest composite primary/secondary pipe. In this type of pipe, an example of which is described in GB9824955.B and PCT/GB98/03422 (PetroTechnik Ltd), the primary and secondary pipe are formed as one. Conventional welding sockets cannot be used at all to weld this type of pipe because there is insufficient space between primary and secondary pipes to accommodate the inevitabie terminal pins on the welding socket used on the primary pipe. Furthermore, the elbows and Tee-junctions for this type of pipe have to have a different, larger diameter than the pipe itself. This is because couplings for the primary pipe-to-primary etoow connection
have to be accommodated within the secondary pipe-to-outer elbow connection. • This requires a wide range of couplings to .be made where the opposing diameters of items to be Joined differ according to the intended use.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to overcome or at least mitigate one or more .of the problems Dutiined above.
Summary of the Invention
According to the present invention there is provided an electrofusion
coupling for joining together two or more pipework components, said coupling
(j) a first part having s first internal diameter at a first -end adapted to form a tight sliding fit with a first pipe section and a second internal -diameter at a second and, langer in diameter than the first and of substantially .uniform cross-section;
(ii) a second -part having a first internal diameter at a first end -adapted to form a tight sliding fit with a second pipe section and an outside diameter at a second end adapted to farm a tight sliding fit with the second internal diameter of the first part such that the two parts can nesttogether tightly with an overlapping region;
(iii) electrical heating elements and electrical terminal connections being provided in the two parts such that the -first part can be used independently of the second part to join a section of pipe to a pipe or pipework fitting or the first and second parts can be used in combination to join two adjacent sections of pipe. This arrangement provides, for the first time, a coupling which can be used to join together two pipes or pipework components of the same diameter or two pipework components of different diameter by using either both parts of the coupling or only one part
Preferably the second internal diameter of the first part is adapted to be a tight sliding fit over a pipe connector such as an elbow or a Tee fitting, and the electrical heating element associated with the overlapping region is located at or near the surface of the second internal diameter of the first part.
fn a particularly preferred embodiment an electrical connection is provided which establishes an electrical connection between the winding in the two parts of the coupling when the two parts are nested together.
Preferably a locking mechanism is provided adapted to lock the two parts together in the nested configuration.
Preferably the locking mechanism also provides for electrical contact between the electrical heating elements in the two parts of the coupling.
Brief Description of the Drawings
The invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to "the accompanying drawings wherein:
Pigure 1 illustrates s ptan view of a coupling for a secondary pipe with a primary pipe coupling housed within in shown in outline;
Pigure 2 shows an end view of the coupling in Pigure 1;
Pigure 3 illustrates a cross sectional view of the secondary coupling in Figure 1;
Pigure 4 illustrates a cross sectional view of a first part of the coupling 1rom Pigure 3 coupling a secondary pipe with a secondary elbow or Tee fitting;
Pigure 5 Illustrates in diagrammatic form the various electrical windings within the coupling;
Pigure € illustrates one type of composite primary/secondary pipe;
Figures 7 and 8 illustrate types of low profile couplings which can be used to couple primary pipes together in composite primary/secondary pipe system; Figures 9 and 10 show plan, section and two end views of first and second fitting parts respectively Df a coupling according to a further embodiment illustrating example preferred dimensions in millimetres;
Figures 11 and 12 show the embodiment of Figures 9 and 10 without dimensions;
Figure 13 shows a coupling according to Figure 9 to 12 in use joining a secondary pipe around a jointed primary pipe;
Figures 14 and 15 illustrate views generally corresponding to those in Figures 9 and 10 of a fitting according to a further embodiment of the present invention.
Detailed Description of the Preferred "Embodiments
The embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example only. They are currently the best ways known to the applicant of putting the invention into practice but they are not the only ways in which this can be achieved.
Referring to Figures 1 and 3 these show a coupling 10 for forming an electrofusion weld between two adjacent sections of secondary pipe 11, 12 or between s section of secondary pipe and a secondary pipe fitting. The coupling is manufactured in two parts 13, 14, the two parts mating together closely in a central region 15 in this particular embodiment.
One of the novel features of this type Df coupling is the special arrangement of electrofusion windings and that sets of electrofusion heating elements or windings are provided in each part. A first set of windings 16 are provided on the inner surface of part 13. This part has a first internal diameter 23 which is a tight sliding fit over the outside diameter of secondary pipe 11. The same part 13 also has a second internal diameter 25 which is a tight sliding fit over the external or outside diameter of part of the second part of the fitting 14. The windings 16 are located in the portion of part 13 which is designed to be a tight sliding fit over a secondary pipe. One end, a first end, of windings 16 is connected to electrical terminal pin A.
The special arrangement of electrical windings is shown diagrammaticaliy in more detail in Figure 5. Windings 16 associated with surface 23 are connected at one end to terminal pin A, 26. The other end of this set of windings leads into one end of windings 17 associated with the surface 25. The other end of windings 17 is
attached to terminal pin B, 27. Thus part 13 may be used as a stand alone coupling to form a joint between a piece of secondary pipe and a secondary elbow, Tee or other pipework component. In this mode, current is passed between terminals A and B, 26 and27 using a conventional electrofusion welding machine.
Part 14, a second part of the fitting has a first internal diameter24 at or near the first end of the fitting. This internal diameter is designed and adapted to be a tight sliding fit with the outside diameter of a section of secondary pipe. The outside diameter at or near the other, second end of the part 14 is adapted to form a tight sliding fit with the second internal diameter on the first part 13 such that the two parts can nest together with an overlapping region.
As with the first part 13, part 14 contains electrical windings 18 enabling it to be fused to secondary pipe 12. Electrical windings 18 are located on the inner surface of an internal diameter 24 which is a tight sliding fit over the outside diameter of secondary pipe 12. One end of windings 18 is connected to terminal pin C, 28. The other end of windings 18 is connected to connection means 2.9. When an electrical current is passed through windings 16, 17 and 18 it causes a fluid tight joint to be formed between regions of parts 13 and 14 and the secondary pipes 11 and 12 simultaneously. The sequence and options for passing current through the various windings will be described in detail .below.
An important feature of the present invention is that the second internal diameter 25 of the first part of the fitting 13 is also a tight sliding fit onto a secondary elbow or Tee fitting. This arrangement is shown diagrarnmatically in Figure 4, and will be described in more detail below. When electrical current is passed through windings 16 and 17 in this configuration a fluid tight weld is formed between part 33 and a secondary pipe 31 in the region of 36 (by windings 16) and also between part 33 and the secondary elbow or Tee fitting 32 at region 37 (by windings 17) simultaneously.
In addition parts 13 and 14 are a tight mating fit with each other and the central set of windings 17 enable the two parts 13 and 14 to be fused together such that in the central region 15 the two parts become one.
However, there is a further electrical connection into windings 17 in part 13. This is a connection 29 which links windings 17 with windings 18 when the second part of the fitting 14 is inserted and locked home into the first part 13. This so-called locked configuration is shown in Figure 3. Whilst one end of windings 18 is connected to connection 29, the other end is connected to terminal pin C, 28. In this locked configuration current can be passed between terminal pin A and terminal pin C, with no electrical connection being made to terminal pin B. Using terminal pins A and C simultaneous welds surface 23 to secondary pipe 11, the overlapping central region 15 becomes welded together, and surface 24 is welded to secondary pipe 12.
Methods of laying a heating wire into a surface are known, for example by Rutland Plastics (RTM) Ltd, and can be applied in this technology without substantial modification.
It will be appreciated that this arrangement has a number of advantages. First, during assembly, the coupling halves or parts can be fed easily onto the respective ends of the secondary pipes 11, 12. There is no need to -thread the whole connector over long lengths of pipe. Secondly, and more importantly, the internal diameter of the central region 15 on the projecting end 19 of part 13 corresponds to that of the outside diameter of an elbow or Tee-junction. This is shown more clearly in Figure 4. Therefore one coupling or connector can be used either as a whole to couple either two pieces of secondary pipe or in part to couple one piece of secondary pipe to an elbow or Tee as shown in Figure 4.
It follows that one of the advantages of this design is that in the first option the two parts can be used in conjunction to fuse two parts or pipes of the same O/D (outside diameter) when using the two halves together or, in the second option, two parts of different O/D when using one half of the coupling only.
The two halves or parts 13,14 are designed to mate and lock together. The locking arrangement is such that it makes it impossible io use the two halves together if not coupied properly in the right orientation. A number of locking arrangements are possible. For example the respective parts could include components of a bayonet-type fitting. The parts would need to be pushed and twisted together to make the alignment marks 21, 21 match up. An example of this
type of coupling connection is shown in Figures 9 and 10, described in more detail below. Alternatively an internal tongue and groove arrangement could be provided or some other "lock and key" mechanism. This would ensure proper electrical connection between the windings on the two parts of the fitting by ensuring that connection 29 mates together to secure good electrical contact. Locking mechanisms for use in this type of arrangement are known per se to the materials specialist. Also the technology to form a good electrical contact between two mating parts is known to those skilled in the art. It is during the "iocking" process that electrical contact in connector 29 occurs to ensure continuity of the welding element through the two halves, i.e. the contact can only be obtained in one position, the one and only correct one.
The profile of the locking arrangement is such that the two halves cannot separate horizontally or vertically during the welding operation which might otherwise result due to the extraordinary forces Df the melting and expanding plastic.
In this example there are provided pointing/meeting arrows 21, 211 as alignment markers on top of both halves so that it should be self-explanatory to the user that the two arrows have to face each other in alignment tor proper use.
As explained above, Figure 4 illustrates schematically an arrangement in which a novel type of pipework consisting of a primary and a tight fitting secondary pipe surrounding it is connected to a Tee or an elbow joint whilst retaining an intact secondary containment system throughout the joint region.
Unfortunately, due to tooling restrictions fittings such as elbows and Tees need to be formed with the outer elbow or Tee being of a greater DID than the secondary pipe.
in this type of arrangement the welding socket of the primary pipe will almost inevitably be thicker than the thickness of the secondary pipe and therefore it is necessary to step over the socket forming a joint between the two primary pipes.
It is thus a requirement to be able tD weld pipes and pipework components of either similar or dissimilar O/Ds. This has not been possible hitherto with the same coupling fitting.
It is normal practice to complete the primary pipework and test its integrity prior to closing the secondary containment. When using the two halves 13, 14 together it is therefore possible to slide each half over the respective secondary pipe, dose and finish welding the primary pipes together, prior to dosing the two halves of the coupling together and finishing the secondary containment system.
In the arrangements described above a primary pipe 35 is encased within a secondary pipe 31. Figure 4 illustrates a junction between a primary pipe and a primary Tee or elbow 34 and a secondary Tee or elbow 32. The two primary components 34 and 35 are joined using a low profile welding socket with removable contacts of the type described in GB 0022542.5 (see below), the entire text of which is incorporated herein by reference. It is intended that this text shouid form an integral part of this disclosure. A part of a welding socket 33, according to the present invention, which had previously been slid Dver 1he end of the secondary pipe is now moved across to cover the join in the primary components. This half-welding socket is used to join the secondary pipe 31 to the secondary etbow orTee 32. This completes ihe integrity of the secondary containment system in that Tegion.
Novel and compact secondary containment pipework systems have been described in GB 0118039.7, the entire text of which is incorporated herein by reference. It is intended that this earlier description "forms an integral part of the present disclosure.
Figure 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of such a pipe 40 consisting of an inner barrier layer 41, an inner supply pipe 42 and an outer secondary pipe 43. The inner barrier layer 41, which is optional, comprises a cylindrical skin or coating of nyion or a nylon derivative which is supported on the inner surface of the inner supply pipe 42. The supply pipe is typically constructed form polyethylene having a modulus in the range 100 to 4,000 MPa. Alternative construction materials are discussed below. The skin or coating 41 lines the central passage of the pipe 40 through which petrol/diesel is to be conveyed. The layer 41 is constructed from
material which is substantially impervious to petrol and thus presents a barrier to the diffusion of petrol through the inner supply pipe. It is advantageous to have an inner barrier layer because a polyethylene pipe, although showing some resistance towards the diffusion of petrol, does exhibit some permeability thereto.
The inner supply pipe 42 is of conventional construction and takes the form of a regular thick-walled pipe of substantially uniform cross-section.
In prior art pipes there is usually a discreet air gap between the outer surface of the primary, inner supply pipe and the inner surface of the outer secondary pipe. As can be seen from figure 6, in this embodiment, there is no appreciable air gap. Any gap shown in Figure 6 is purely for illustrative purposes only, to show that pipes 42 and 43 are separate entities and not bonded together. Rather the outer pipe fits tightly and snugly over the outside of the inner supply pipe. In this example the two pipes are not stuck or welded together for a number of reasons. Firstly, the pipe would be much more rigid if the inner pipe and the secondary pipe were stuck together. Improved flexibility, rather than rigidity, is a preferred feature because the complete pipe tias to pass around tightly radiused bends during installation and replacement.
Secondly, the almost imperceptible gap between the two layers is permeable to fluid and forms an interstitial space between the two pipes to enable monitoring and testing to take place. This interstitial space is infinitesimally thin and difficult to measure. Nonetheless it is fluid permeable.
This interstitial space is supplemented by one or more grooves 44,45, 46, 47 or channels formed in the inner-surface of the outer secondary pipe. These grooves or channels run the length of the pipe. They may be substantially straight, following the longitudinal axis of the pipe, or they may be spiral, heiicoidal or otherwise curvilinear.
The number, shape and configuration of these grooves is variable within certain limits. One groove around the circumference may be sufficient but more normally three or four grooves are formed, spaced equally around the inner circumference of the secondary pipe. A groove with a gently radiused profile, as shown in figure 6, is preferred since this limits any weakness in the secondary pipe
which results from the presence of grooves.
it will be appreciated that with the exception of the grooved region(s), the inner surface of the secondary pipe follows substantially exactly the contour of the inner supply pipe. The two pipes are thus as one, and as such, this arrangement couid be considered unitary construction.
in the example where a pipe of 110mm diameter is intended for petroleum applications, then the thickness of the wall of the supply pipe is typically in the order of 7mm. Of this the inner nyion layer can be from 0.01 mm to 6.99mm. Conversely, the outer polyethylene layer could be of a thickness of 0.01 to 6.99mm.
Pipe of this type can be used to carry a wide variety of fluids, which term includes both gases, liquids and vapours. This technology is applicable to pipework systems suitable for conveying a wide variety of fluids. For example, it couid be used for water mains or other aqueous streams, gases including natural gas, solvents, including hydrocarbons and petroleum, which has a very broad meaning in this context. It includes petrol, diesel, fuel oil, aviation -fuel and LPG.
Figures 7 and B illustrate low profile connectors of the type shown in Figure 4 as component 39 and of the type described in GB 0022542.5. The entire text of GB 0022542.5 is incorporated herein by reference and is intended to form an integral part of this disclosure.
An example of one such coupling is illustrated in Figures 7 and 8. in this example a welding socket 90 comprising a tubular element 93 is formed from plastics material and contains at or near the inner surface two sets of electrical windings 94 and 95. The terminals or contact points 96, 97 at the end of these windings are set within the body of the tube and are preferably flush with the tube surface at that point. These contact points are so arranged that terminal pin assemblies 100, 101 can be fastened over the contacts in a temporary fashion. The fully assembled welding socket is illustrated in Figure 7. If desired, the two sets of windings can be connected across the welding socket such that only two terminal pins are required, one on each side of the socket.
The terminal pin assemblies comprise terminal pins 101, 102 protected in
the normal way by plastic shrouds. Each assembly also has a base 106, 107 which
substantially follows the contours of the outer surface of the tube. The base acts as
a fixing point and a variety of fixing methods are envisaged. Thus, the terminal pin
assembles could be screwed or gJued in place or be a sliding fit with the end of the
welding socket tube, in a preferred embodiment the two components are
uJtrasonically welded together at strategic points using a spot welding technique.
These welds are strong enough to keep the two components together and the
terminal pins in eJeciricaJ connection with the winding contacts prior to welding but
weak enough such that the terminal pin assemblies or terminal means can be
removed after the weid is complete and tested. The preferred method of fixing will
be determined by the materials specialist and will depend, in part, on the materials
used and the application. The inventive feature is considered to be the separate
and removable terminal pin assemblies. In practice, where ultrasonic welding is
used, the terminal pin assemblies can be knocked off with a hammer blow or prised
off with a screwdriver. A shaped entry point (not shown) can be provided to allow a
screwdriver blade to be inserted between the temporary terminal means and the
body of the coupling. Leverage on the screwdriver causes the two components tD
separate. The result is a finished coupling with no significant protrusions extending
proud of the outer cylindrical surface of the coupling. Once again, it will be
appreciated that at the end of the welding operation described above there are no
protrusions which stand proud of the generally tubular surface of the welding
The grooves 108 are a deliberate feature and provide passages for both gas/vapour and liquid to pass over the welding socket even when it is assembled within alight-fitting secondary pipe, This not onty aids assembly but also ensures that there is a free passage for any fuel that might leak out into the interstitial space between primary and secondary pipes,
A larger version of the above socket suitable for use with secondary pipes is also described.
A further preferred embodiment is shown in Figures 9, 10, 11 and 12. These illustrate a two part fitting 200, manufactured in two parts 213 and 214. For clarity the windings are not shown. A similar numbering system to that used in Figures 1
to 3 has been used in Figures 9 to 12 inclusive. It will be appreciated from the foregoing description that one part of the coupling must contain two sets of electrically heating elements. In theory, it does not matter which part it is. Thus, although in Figure 3 it shows the central set of windings 17 on the inner surface of part 13, they could equally well have been positioned on the outer surface of part 14 in central region 15.
In the example shown in Figures 9 to 12 inclusive, the locking mechanism consists of a lug 250 protruding intD the larger diameter opening in part 214. This lug engages in a correspondingly L-shaped groove in part 213. Once the lug is inserted fully into the opening orifice of the "L", the two parts may be turned one with respect to the other such that the two parts cannot be separated by pulling them apart along the longitudinal axis of coupling. Once aligned in this fashion internal contacts form connection 229,229' between respective heating elements.
The general form of components 213 and 214 is similar to that described in the fitting of Figures 1 to 3. Component 213 takes the form of a sleeve which has a first end 253 whose internal diameter is iarge enough to pass over the coupling used to couple portions of a primary pipe to itself Dr to an elbow or to a Tee. The outside diameter of this first end 255 is adaptable and designed to be a fight sliding fit with the internal diameter of a first end of component 214.
The second end of component 213 has an internal diameter surface 263 adapted and designed to be a tight sliding fit to the outside diameter of a pipe to be joined. This internal diameter surface 2B3 also carries electrical windings in its surface (not shown), one end of which is connected to terminal pin 228 and the other end of which is connected to connection 229.
The first end of component 213 incorporates an L-shaped groove 251 cut into the inner surface of diameter 253.
Component 214 takes the form of a sleeve with a first end with an internal diameter 223 which is adapted and designed to be a tight sliding fit over the outside diameter of a secondary pipe. Two terminal pins 226, 227 are provided in this first end.
A second end of component 214 has an internal diameter which is designed and adapted to form a tight sliding fit over the outside diameter of the first end of component 21 3 and to form a tight sliding fit over the outside diameter of an elbow or Tee fitting. The internal surface of this second end also carries lug 250, adapted to engage in the L-shaped groove 251 described above.
Figure 13 illustrates a pipe-to-pipe connection formed using a fitting according to the present invention. Primary pipes 234 and 235 are butted end to end and joined using electrofusion fitting 239. The integrity of this weld can then be tested.
Before making the joint in the primary pipe, fitting components 213 and 214 are slid over the respective ends of secondary pipes 231 and 232. Components 213 and 214 are slid back out of the way so that the joint to the primary pipe can be formed unhindered. Once the joint in the primary pipe has been made and tested fitting components 213 and 214 are pulled together over the joint region of the primary pipe and locked into engagement. Electrical current is then pass through windings 216,217 and 218 to -fuse the fitting components to each other and to both parts of the secondary containment pipe. The joint can then be pressure tested.
Figures 14 and 15 illustrate a split coupling according to a further embodiment of the present invention which incorporates a further type of locking mechanism designed to lock the two components together. The general structure of the two components 313 and 314 are as described above.
In this embodiment, the circumferential shoulder 360 in component 313 which forms a mating fit with end diameter face 359 of component 314 incorporates two pins 249 and 250. One of these pins is shown in more detail in Figure 15E. The pins are firmly embedded in the shoulder surface such that they cannot come loose in normal use. Each pin is substantially identical and comprises a substantially circular cross-sectioned spigot, with a chamfered end, protruding substantially at right angles to the shoulder. The end of each spigot which is embedded in the should is also connected to windings 318 (not shown).
Figure 14, and in particular Figure 14E, shows the other component of the locking mechanism. Keyhole shaped apertures 351A and 351B are set into outer
end diameter shoulder 359 on fitting part 314. A pin 249,250 can pass through the substantially circular portion of the keyhole and rotation of the components 313 and 314 with respect to each other forces the pins into the narrow portion of their respective keyhole. This narrower portion is designed to be slightly smaller in cross section than the pin such that the metal of the keyhole cuts into the metal of the pin. This has the dual purpose of ensuring a good electrical connection and preventing the two component parts from separating during the welding process. By arranging for both pins and both keyholes to be connected to their respective windings, this allows for the unlikely event, of partial failure in one of the connections.
Couplings according to the present invention can be constructed from any suitable plastics material as determined by the materials specialist. Typically they are formed from a group consisting of:
Polyethylene Polypropylene Polyvinyl chloride
However, this group may also include other plastics such as:
Nylon 612 Polyamides
Polyamides 6,11 or 12 Polyethylene terephthalate Polyvinyiidene chloride or fluoride Ethylene/vinyl alcohol copolymers
or mixtures of any of the above.
From the above description it will be appreciated that the present invention provides an electrofusion coupling formed in two parts, both parts containing at least one electrofusion heating element and at least one electrical connection terminal, a first part being adapted for independent use to join a pipe to a pipe fitting, and the first and second parts being adapted to mate together in a nested configuration for use in combination to join two sections of pipe and, at the same time, to join themselves together.
The eiectrofusion heating element in the first part is connected at opposing ends to two terminal connecting pins, enabling current to pass through the eiectrofusion windings without the need to involve the second part. The first part also incorporates a connection means adapted to provide, in use, an electrical connection between the eiectrofusion heating element in the first part and the eiectrofusion heating element in the second part through a corresponding connection means in the second part. Once connected in this fashion electrical current can flow through both sets of electrical windings simultaneously causing the first and second parts to fuse together and the first part and the second part to fuse to adjacent sections of pipe.
Component 14 could be modified to replace the connection means 229/229' by a second terminal pin D, not shown, in that component. In this modification both component 13 and component 14, and their equivalents in other embodiments, can be used in isolation or in combination to join pipework components.
Couplings .according to the present invention can be used on a variety of pipes and pipe "fittings of varying sizes, shapes and cross-sections. They can also be used with both primary and secondary pipes.
1. An electrofusion coupling (10; 200) tor joining togethertwo or more sections
of pipe (11,12; 231, 232) or for joining a section of pipe and a pipework fitting,
said coupling comprising:
(i) a first part (13; 213) having a first internal diameter (23; 263) at a first end to form a tight sliding fit with a first pipe section (11; 231) and a second internal diameter (25) at a second end, larger in diameter than the first and of uniform cross-section;
(ii) a second part (14; 214) having a first internal diameter (24) at a first end to form a tight sliding fit with a second pipe section (12; 232) and an outside diameter (25) at a second end to form a tight sliding fit with the second internal diameter of the first part such that the two parts can nest together tightly with an overlapping region;
characterised in that electrical heating elements (16,17,18; 216, 217, 218) and electrical connection terminals (26,27,28; 226,227,228) are provided in the two parts such that the first part can be used independently of the second part to join a section of pipe to a pipe or pipework fitting or the first and second parts can be used in combination to join two adjacent sections of pipe; and wherein an electrical connection is established between the first and second parts when the two parts are fully nested together.
2. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first part (13; 213) of the coupling incorporates an electrical heating element (16,17; 216, 217) located at or near the surface of the first internal diameter and at or near the surface of the second internal diameter, the ends of the electrical heating element being connected to electrical connection terminals (26,27; 226,227).
3. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in claim 1 wherein the second part (14; 214) of the coupling incorporates an electrical heating element (18; 218)
located at or near the first internal diameter (24) of the second part, a first end of the heating element being connected to an electrical connection terminal (28; 228) and the other end of the heating element being connected to a connection means (29; 229) to form, in use, an electrical connection between the first part and the second part.
4. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the electrical heating element in the first part incorporates a connection means (29'; 229') adapted to form, in use, an electrical connection between the first part (13; 213) and the second part (14; 214).
5. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in claim 3 and claim 4, wherein the connection means (29; 229) located in the second part comprises an internal electrical contact and wherein the connection means (29; 229) located in the first part comprises an internal electrical contact and wherein the internal electrical contacts of the first and second parts form, in use, the electrical connection between the first part and the second part internal to the fitting.
6. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the second internal diameter (25) of the first part (13; 213) is a tight sliding fit over a pipe connector such as an elbow or a Tee fitting, and the electrical heating element (17; 217) associated with the overlapping region is located at or near the surface of the second internal diameter of the first part.
7. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the coupling incorporates three electrical connection terminal pins (26, 27, 28; 226, 227, 228), two associated with the electrical heating element in the first part and the third with the electrical heating element in the second part.
8. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in any preceding claim wherein a locking mechanism is provided adapted to lock the two parts together in the
9. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in claim 8 wherein the locking mechanism also provides means to establish electrical contact between the electrical heating elements in the two parts of the coupling.
10. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in claim 8 or claim 9 wherein the locking mechanism comprises a spigot pin (250) on one part of the coupling adapted to engage with a keyhole-shaped orifice (251) on the other part of the fitting.
11. An electrofusion coupling as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the electrofusion coupling is incorporated into a pipework system.
|Indian Patent Application Number||896/DELNP/2004|
|PG Journal Number||31/2009|
|Date of Filing||06-Apr-2004|
|Name of Patentee||PETRO TECHNIK LIMITED|
|Applicant Address||PETRO TECHNIK HOUSE, OLYMPUS CLOSE, WHITEHOUSE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, IPSWICH, SUFFOLK IP1 5LN, U.K.|
|PCT International Classification Number||B29C|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/GB02/04504|
|PCT International Filing date||2002-10-04|