|Title of Invention||
A TAMPER-PROOF, PILFER-PROOF LIQUID CONTAINER
|Abstract||This invention relates to a tamper-proof liquid container for use in applications such as petroleum products distribution systems, comprising; a) A vessel member having a nozzle that provides access to the vessel space therein, b) A first isolation means that comprises a first valve means and a first impulse means and that is associated with said nozzle for isolation of said vessel space by means of said first valve means thereof, said first valve means being of NC (normally-closed) configuration and being openable, for charging and discharging of said vessel space, by the activation of said first impulse means, . c) Breathing means for allowing air movement in and out of said vessel space during said charging / discharging, said activation being carried out by means of a key means that either remains connected / attached to said first isolation means or is discrete and separate and interposable between said container and the charging! discharging lines, said container being with or without the associated key means thereof and said association between said container and the key means thereof being on one-to-one basis or other.|
This invention relates to containers for liquids and more particularly to tamper-proof and pilfer-proof containers for liquids.
Liquid containers are used for storage and transportation of liquid materials. Commonly known liquid containers are tanks, tankers, barrels, drums casks and others. In this specification, the term 'tank' is exclusively used to denote liquid containers that are used for storage of liquids and that are generally stationary and immobile. An example of a mobile container is a tanker which essentially comprises a tank mounted on a mobile platform that carries it over land, rail, sea, air or combinations thereof. Said platforms may be, for example, the chassis of an automotive vehicle or a railway undercarriage or others. Drums, barrels, kegs, casks and the like are liquid containers that are primarily for transportation of liquids but may also be used for storage of the same.
In the description and claims hereinbelow, the scope of the term 'liquid containers' is intended to cover said tanks, tankers, drums, barrels, kegs, casks, flasks and others. This is because the tamper-proof, pilfer-proof construction of the invention is easily adapted to the wide range of liquid containers found in industry.
There are other container products such as inflatable tubes that are used for storage and/or transportation of liquids. Such products are also within the scope of the term 'liquid containers' of this specification.
At some places in the specification hereinbelow, the term liquid container is shortened to 'container'. This is in the interests of conciseness and the term 'container' refers to 'liquid containers' unless otherwise required by the context.
As mentioned, the novel tamper-proof and pilfer-proof construction of this invention is applicable and adapted to all said liquid containers. Thus, this invention provides for tamper-proof, pilfer-proof tanks and tankers and tamper-proof, pilfer-proof drums, barrels, casks, kegs and other containers.
Although the tamper-proof and pilfer-proof construction of this invention is, as mentioned, adapted for use with a wide range of liquid containers, the further description hereinbelow has been prepared in the context of, and refers mainly to a tamper-proof and pilfer-proof barrel. This is in the interests of clarity and conciseness and is without limitation to the scope of the invention.
It may be noted that this inventor has developed a novel scheme/method of retailing(retail distribution) of petroleum products for small outlets particularly for those located in the rural countryside. Said method is also referred to as the dispensing system for small rural outlets. It is a streamlined system that is highly cost-effective from the point of view of capital and operating costs and the highlight thereof is that this distribution chain is tamper-proof and pilfer-proof.
Said scheme does away with the conventional underground and overground storage tanks and the associated pumping(dispensing) system(s) as these would be an unacceptable cost burden for said small outlets. Also such conventional distribution systems are susceptible to tampering. Said small outlets are hereinafter referred to as Rural Fuel Outlets, or RFO's for short. The scheme provides that said barrels of the invention constitute both the transport means and the storage means at said outlets thus offering considerable cost benefit. The scheme is particularly adapted for distribution of High Speed Diesel(HSD) fuel to farmers and other small consumers. The further description hereinbelow, therefore makes reference
only to HSD. This is in the interests of conciseness and without limitation to the scope of the invention as the scheme, as well as the barrels of the invention are easily adapted for distribution of other petroleum products and indeed, of any other liquid product.
Said novel scheme is designed to ensure quality and quantity(Q&Q) of the product by comprehensively preventing unauthorised access to said barrels of the invention. The scheme envisages/provides for centralised filling points(stations) where said barrels of the invention would be filled with HSD and transported to said RFO's such that the required/desired storage capacity can be built up from said units. Thus, the barrels of the invention offer a flexible storage system that can be made to match the demand patterns of the different RFO's and also the seasonal variations in demand, if any, of the individual RFO's.
Dispensing would be by means of hand pumps(s) or power-operated pump(s). The HSD would be drawn from said barrels one after another or the barrels at the RFO's may be linked up to a common manifold system from where said drawing could take place. This is another element of flexibility in the scheme. However, the applications of the barrel of the invention is not confined to said scheme.
It will be observed that the tamper-proof, pilfer-proof barrels of the invention are specially adapted for said scheme and play a central role therein. The tamper-proof and pilfer-proof construction of the invention prevents tampering all along the distribution chain(line) from said charging at the central filling stations to the discharging(dispensing) at the RFO's.
Said novel tamper-proofing and pilfer-proofing means of the invention comprises a first isolation means that is mounted on the said barrel. Said first isolation means is preferably
rigid with the barrel and mounted on the barrel lid(cover) or at any point on the upper part of said barrel. Within the scope of the invention said mounting may be at other parts of the barrel.
The said first isolation means comprises a first valve means that controls access to the barrel space for charging and discharging, said valve means being operated by a first impulse means.
Said first valve means remains normally-closed(NC position). This is by means of a first spring means associated with said valve means. The opening of the valve means is through a key member. The key member(key means) is applied to said first isolation means and acts through said first impulse means thereof to open said first valve means thereby providing access to said barrel space. This is done at the time of charging of the barrel and at the discharging(dispensing) operation. It is intended that said key member(s) must remain in possession of, or under the control of appropriate personnel who would ensure that they do not fall into the hands of unauthorised personnel.
Preferably, said first isolation means is in the configuration of a conduit, that is, a pipe and the said first impulse and valve means are housed therein. In this preferred arrangement the invention calls for the said first isolation means to be in the form of a nozzle that would be attached to said barrel and that would provide a passage for HSD to move in and out of said barrel.
Preferably, said key member is also in the configuration of a conduit. Such a conduit is referred to hereinbelow as a coupler, said nozzle being referred to as the plug. Thus, the invention provides that said coupler is interposed between the filling line and barrel at the
time of said filling and between the dispensing line and barrel at the time of dispensing. It will be observed that at all other times said coupler is expected to be away from said barrel nozzle thus ensuring that the said first valve means remains closed and the barrel space isolated and inaccessible to unauthorised persons. The provision of said coupler means is novel.
The only effort in the prior art to protect said barrel space has apparently been to provide some sort of lock on the barrel cap. These prior art constructions provide limited protection only as while the cap is in the unlocked condition the barrel space is potentially accessible to mischief. Said prior art arrangements do not provide comprehensive protection all down the distribution chain(line) from filling to dispensing as in the barrel of the invention.
One prior art arrangement provides for skirting-type locking arrangement for the cap rather like the PP(pilfer-proof) caps used for bottles in the pharmaceuticals and beverages industry. Said skirting is detached to allow said cap to be removed which gives access to the barrel space. Once the skirting(seal) is broken at the time of dispensing, the barrel space is exposed thereafter till the dispensing process is completed which may extend over a considerable time as the dispensing may need to be done in discrete batches spread over a period of time.
The other prior/constructions comprise lock and key arrangements. They employ
conventional locks and keys. Like the skirting seal arrangement described, they cannot offer said comprehensive protection provided by the tamper-proof, pilfer-proof means of the invention.
It will be observed that the access in the case of the barrels of the prior art is by means of openings into which the filling and dispensing lines are introduced. There is no sealing between the said filling and dispensing pipes/hoses and the barrels and the barrel space is open to unauthorised access through the region surrounding the filling/dispensing pipes/hoses.
This inventor considered that for comprehensive protection the connection between the filling
line and the dispensing line and the barrel must be a sealed one and hence this invention
provides for a said nozzle connection in the barrel of the invention, said nozzle connection
being integral with, or attached thereto. The filling/dispensing pipe/hose is
connected/applied to said nozzle connection and when so connected/applied the transfer/(withdrawal/filling) of liquid from/to the barrel space would be under totally enclosed conditions. This consideration by the inventor is novel.
This invention considered that said first isolation means could be located within or without said nozzle and within or without said barrel. Said first isolation means comprises said first valve means and the said first impulse means that is activated by said key means. Upon activation, said impulse means moves said first valve means from the NC to the open configuration. This invention considered various method of activation of said impulse means such as electrical, mechanical, electronic, electromagnetic including solenoid arrangement and also a magnetic transfer of impulse from said key member to the said first impulse means and thence to said first valve means. Preferably, said transfer is by mechanical means and in the preferred embodiment the said key member acts through a pin type arrangement provided therein for applying and transferring thrust to said first impulse means. The thrust(impulse) acts on the first valve means to open the same such as to provide a through passage between the barrel space and the filling/dispensing
tanks/containers. The dispensing containers are cans or like vessels into which the barrel contents are discharged at said RFO's.
This invention also provides for a second isolation means comprising a second valve means
provided in the said key member(key means). The function of the said second isolation
means is to isolate the other side of said transfer operation, that is, said filling or dispensing
container. Correspondingly, the key member would also comprise the second impulse
means. It will be observed that upon connection of said key member(coupler in the
preferred arrangement) to said first isolation means(plug in the preferred arrangement) said thrust means of the key means acts upon said first and second impulse means through abutment to change the two said valve means associated therewith from NC to open aspect(position). This invention also provides for said second isolation, valve and impulse means to be located on the said filling and dispensing lines. Within the scope of the invention, said pin member in the key means can constitute also the said second impulse means for isolation of said charging and discharging sides of the transfer operation.
To summarise, this invention provides for three different constructions for said key
means(key member). The first construction is the preferred one wherein said key
means(coupler) includes within itself said second isolation means comprising second valve means and second impulse means for isolating the filling/dispensing lines/containers. ha this construction, the said thrust means is preferably the continuation of the valve spindle of said second valve means. Thus, the thrust means, the said second impulse means and the spindle of said second valve means are a single rod-like member in this arrangement. Said single rod-like member may be attached to, or integral with the disc of said second valve means.
Once the said transfer operation ceases, the said coupler of this invention may be removed from the line. Alternatively, said coupler may be left in the filling/dispensing line. The advantage in the latter procedure is that spilling from the said filling/dispensing lines is prevented when the said coupler is kept in the line after disconnection from the said barrel. From the security point of view, taking the coupler away would be preferable as it would prevent said unauthorised access to said filling/discharging lines and through them to said barrel. Where the requirements of security are not so rigid, the said coupler may be left in the said filling/dispensing lines.
In the second construction of the key means(coupler) of the invention, said second isolation means is a discrete and separate component that is installable on the charging/discharging lines with the result that the coupler merely comprises thrust member(s) that upon assembly of the coupler with one or both said lines(plug and/or the filling/dispensing lines) transmits the thrust to the impulse means causing the opening of the said valve means in one or both said lines.
In the third construction, said key member comprises a lock and key arrangement wherein said lock comprises a novel cam-type arrangement that upon turning of the said key imparts thrust to said first impulse means such as to open said first valve means. It will be noted that said third construction does not provide said second isolation means and therefore cannot really prevent unauthorised access to said charging/discharging lines and through them to said barrel. In situations where such extended protection is not called for, this construction would be cost-effective and may be employed. This construction is also referred as the alternative construction of said first isolation means.
This invention has considered various connection means(attachment means) for the connection between said key member and said first isolation means and fiirther with said second isolation means, if said second isolation means is discrete and separate from the key member. Threaded means, clamping means, twist-lock means and others are available in the art for the purpose some of which are available in quick-connect and quick-disconnect configurations. All said constructions are within the scope of the invention.
This invention provides for suitable arrangement for inspiration and expiration of air from the barrel. Said inspiration and expiration also referred to as breathing, arises with movement of liquid out of, and into the barrel. Said breathing can be taken care of by the provision of a small aperture in the top lid in the barrel. This invention considered that such an aperture is a potential access point for said unauthorised access. Another drawback of said aperture is the leakage and loss of the stored product that would occur if the barrel were to be tilted or turned upside down, accidentally or otherwise, during transport or storage. This invention provides for a novel breathing device that takes care of said drawbacks. An alternative version(embodiment) of the breathing valve is also provided.
According to the invention, therefore, there is provided a tamper-proof, pilfer-proof liquid container for use in applications such as petroleum products distribution systems, comprising: a vessel member having a nozzle that provides access to the vessel space therein, a first isolation means that comprises a first valve means and a first impulse means and that is associated with said nozzle for isolation of said vessel space by means of said first valve means thereof, said first valve means being of NC(normally-closed) configuration and being openable, for charging and discharging of said vessel space, by the activation of said first impulse means,
breathing means for allowing air movement in and out of said vessel space during
said charging/discharging, said activation being carried out by means of a key means that either remains connected/attached to said first isolation means or is discrete and separate and interposable between said container and the charging/discharging lines, said container being with or without the associated key means thereof and said association between said container and the key means thereof being on one-to-one basis or other.
The liquid container of this invention covers a wide range of containers such as tanks, tankers, drums barrels, casks kegs, flasks, carboys, canisters, jerrycans and the like within the scope of the invention. The vessel member is the liquid-holding part of the container of the invention and may be of a wide range of shapes, sizes, cross-sections and configurations that are found in the art such as circular and others, cylindrical shape or others, vertical or horizontal axis, varying cross-sections along the axis such as in casks, kegs, flasks, carboys and others. The container may have any capacity within the scope of the invention. A barrel in the petroleum and other industries has the capacity about 200 to 220 litres. However, other capacities are feasible within the scope of the invention. It may be noted again that the term 'barrel' in this description refers to tanks in general and, in fact, to liquid containers, in general. The said containers may be of any material of construction, metallic, non-metallic, ferrous, non-ferrous and with or without coatings and linings.
The barrel provided in the preferred embodiment described hereinbelow is a standard barrel of the petroleum industry but can be of other capacities and constructions. The preferred barrel construction disclosed is based on considerations such as ruggedness, service life, weight premium and others. Carbon steel, PVC and other materials were tried in the context of its application for HSD and carbon steel was found to be the better material.
The nozzle provides access to the vessel(barrel) space for said charging(fillings) and dischargings(decantings). The nozzle is essentially a pipe member and may be connected to the container or be integral therewith. Within the scope of this invention, the nozzle may be located at any point on the container. In the preferred barrel configuration, the nozzle may be located on the lid or on the barrel sides or near the top or otherwise. In the preferred embodiment, the nozzle is located on said lid which, like the cover at the other end is of a generally dished configuration such that the profile of said nozzle and the breathing means do not extend beyond the profile of the barrel.
The top end of the nozzle in the preferred embodiment receives the said key member(coupler). The connection between the key member and nozzle may be by threaded, twist-lock, clamping or other means. In the preferred embodiment, quick-connect snap-on means has been employed.
The first isolation means may be located in the said nozzle or at any of the ends thereof or within the barrel at the inner mouth of the said nozzle. Within the scope of the invention, said first impulse and valve means may be located at the outer mouth(outside the barrel) of said nozzle. In the preferred embodiment, said first valve means and first impulse means are located within the nozzle and in this construction said nozzle and the associated said first isolation means are referred to as the plug.
The first valve means comprises a disc mounted/located at the end of a spindle. This is the preferred construction. The said disc sits on a seating generally as in a globe-type valve and the valve is kept in the NC mode by spring action on said disc. Other valve configurations
such as spring-loaded ball valve arrangement are feasible and within the scope of the invention.
The impulse coming from said key member is transmitted to said disc of the first valve means.
Said nozzle and the associated first valve means and first impulse means are referred to as the plug and said key means as the coupler in the preferred construction. Li the preferred construction of said plug, the outer face of the valve disc thereof is flat with a countersunk portion(cavity) at the centre thereof. Said outer face is slightly recessed from the outer face of the plug. This is so that said valve disc and the outer face thereof remain protected from knocks during handling/transport of the barrel.
The impulse for the valve disc movement arises in said coupler which comprises a rod member(pin member) which is referred to as the thrust member. Said rod member projects slightly beyond the face of the said coupler. When the coupler is connected/joined to said plug said rod member abuts the floor of said cavity. This causes the first valve means disc to lift and open the access to said vessel space for said charging/discharging. Other constructions are within the scope of the invention.
In an alternative construction of the invention, a pin-like(rod-like) member is also provided in said first valve means and projects from the disc of said first valve means. During said connection(of plug and coupler) said two rod-like members abut causing the opening of said first valve means.
As mentioned, said nozzle and the associated first valve and impulse means located therein are referred to as the plug in the preferred constructions. Further, as mentioned, said plug extends short of the profile face of the barrel. This is in the interests of protection against damage. Other constructions, are within the scope of the invention.
As mentioned hereinabove, this invention provides for a second said isolation means comprising second valve means and second impulse means. The purpose of this second set is to isolate the filling(charging) line and the dispensing line if so required. . Said second isolation means may be located within said key member or on the said charging and discharging lines or on a member that is mounted detachably or otherwise on said lines.
]n the preferred construction, said second isolation means is located within said key member, the whole being referred to as the coupler in the preferred embodiment. Said coupler may be left connected in said filling/discharging lines, the advantage in leaving it connected being that it prevents spilling of HSD when the connection to/from said barrel is made or unmade. However, leaving it connected makes the system accessible to tampering. The decision may, therefore, be made on the basis of the level of security demanded by the application/situation. hi the preferred construction, said pin-like member extending from the coupler is an extension of the spindle of said second valve means and constitutes both said thrust member and said second impulse means. Said pin-like member of the coupler in the preferred construction extends a small length outside said coupler and when the coupler and plug are mated it abuts said first impulse means(disc face provided with the said cavity). Other constructions are feasible and are within the scope of the invention,
]n the alternative construction, said second isolation means is located on the charging and discharging lines. A rod member extending outwards from the valve disc face opposite that
whereon the spindle thereof is provided constitutes said second impulse means. Said rod member may have a flat end or may be of other constructions. When the coupler and said second isolation means are connected, a thrust member(also generally rod-shaped) abuts said second impulse means causing said second valve means to open. Other constructions are feasible and are within the scope of the invention. Said key member in this arrangement would have to be connected with said first and second isolation means one at each end thereof. The act of connecting would generate the impulse to change both said valve means into the open configuration thereof. In this arrangement, said key member does not have to remain linked to the said charging/discharging lines. In an alternative construction, said valve means disc of the second valve means may also comprise a countersunk cavity as in the case of the preferred construction of said first valve means. Within the scope of the invention, said thrust means of the key means may be spring-loaded.
The construction variations discussed for said first isolation, valve and impulse means generally extend to the second isolation, valve and impulse means.
The preferred construction provides a downpipe that extends from the inside mouth of the nozzle to the bottom of the barrel. Said downpipe is a continuation of said nozzle and extends into a small cavity formed in the bottom end(floor) of the barrel. Said cavity helps to more completely empty the barrel and minimize the residual HSD left behind. Said nozzle plug and downpipe are coaxial with the barrel axis. Other constructions are feasible and within the scope of the invention. The said downpipe is provided so that the barrel is not required to be tilted or turned upside down during dispensing. A said barrel without such a downpipe is also within the scope of the invention.
Said breathing means is a valve-like member that is mounted on the lid(cover) of the barrel. It provides passage for the incoming air when the barrel is being discharged and similarly for the outgoing air when the barrel is being charged.
One novel construction thereof comprises a valve disc and the spindle thereof wherein said
disc sits on a seat under spring pressure. Tiny passages are provided in said seat through
which air may flow in and out of the barrel space. Said passages are small in size which
makes unauthorised withdrawal or charging there through impossible. The purpose of the
spring-loaded breathing valve is to prevent unauthorised withdrawal or addition such as could
take place with an ordinary open aperture type breathing arrangement. This construction
also prevents spilling of the barrel contents when the barrel is tilted or turned upside down.
Li fact, this novel construction is appropriate in situations where said barrels need to be
turned upside down during transport and/or storage or during charge/discharge. The
arrangement comprises an 0-ring located on said spindle such that when a said barrel is
upturned said disc and the associated spindle move downwards under the head of the HSD in
the barrel. At the end of a small movement of said spindle said 0-ring engages with a
seat provided on the spindle sleeve(guide) thus, preventing any spillage of HSD through the breathing means. This is the preferred construction of the said breathing means(breathing valve).
Another novel construction of the breathing means provides for a similar valve disc, spindle and seating. However, said disc in this arrangement is a dual-disc and comprises two concentric parts, one part being circular ring-shaped while the other being circular disc-like. In effect, the device comprises two valve discs. The inner circular part moves downward to open and is provided with a tension spring that holds it against the seating thereof provided on said ring-shaped disc member. The falling pressure arising during the emptying of the
barrel pulls down said inner circular part(inner disc) which opens up a passage for the outside air to flow into the barrel.
When the barrel is filling up positive air pressure complemented by the said tension spring
holds the said inner disc on the seating thereof. Said pressure acting on said inner disc-
outer disc combination(dual disc) lifts the same against the force of the compression spring that acts on said outer disc. The lifting up of said disc combination opens up the passage for air to exhaust from the barrel space during said filling. There is no provision in this construction for prevention of spillage when the barrel is upturned. Other constructions of said breathing means are possible and are within the scope of the invention.
Another embodiment of the said first valve means and first impulse means of the invention
comprises a ball valve type arrangement wherein closure is provided by a ball seating on a
seat. Said first impulse means comprises a rod member disposed perpendicular to the
valve means axis. Said rod member abuts the ball and the engagement there between is
across a generally inclined plane considering the spherical surface of the said ball. The
movement of said rod end moves the ball away from the seat thereof and sideways. This opens up the passage for charging and discharging of the barrel. Said rod is moved by turning a key(key member), suitable linkage being provided between the lock part and the said rod member. In this construction, said rod is spring-loaded and is activated by a cam arrangement that is turned by the turning of said key. Said spring-loaded rod and the associated cam arrangement comprise the said first impulse means in this construction. Other constructions, including other orientations of said rod member, are within the scope of the invention.
The barrel may be of welded construction or otherwise. The joining of the cylindrical part
of the barrel with the two end covers may be by welding or other joining means and is of
crimped construction in the preferred embodiment. The crimped joints are protected by
chime rings provided in the preferred construction. Suitable reinforcements may be
provided on the cylindrical part of the barrel. Said reinforcements may be creases or hoops or others. In the preferred construction, said creases and hoops are provided, said hoops being of generally 'H' cross-section. Said hoops facilitate rolling of the barrel Rolling of barrels is, however, not intended/advised in the preferred construction.
The barrel of the invention as claimed may be with or without the said key means thereof.
In the preferred construction, said key means is a discrete and separate component. A said
barrel may be associated individually with said separate key means component on one-to-one
basis, or each of the latter may be associated with a plurality of the former. Said key
means may be integral with, or attached to the said barrel, said attachment being not confined to the duration of said chargings/dischargings. This is the construction wherein said key means is substantially a lock and key arrangement wherein said lock part of the arrangement forms a part of said barrel of the invention. Said lock part comprises cam means that engage said spring-loaded rod member that, in turn, engages with the ball of a ball-type valve means. Said construction is described hereinabove and is referred to as the alternative embodiment of the said first isolation means. It may be noted that said alternative embodiment of the first isolation means is provided in the second embodiment of the barrel of the invention that is described in detail hereinbelow and illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Said ball of the ball-valve means in this construction may be spring-loaded. Other types of valve constructions may be adapted in this said alternative embodiment and are within the scope of the invention. Other types of valve constructions may also be adapted into said first and second valve means of the said preferred construction.
Within the scope of the invention, the barrel of the invention may comprise additional security features such as specially(exclusively) dimensioned threaded means or clamping means or other such connecting means.
hi order to provide a clearer understanding of the invention and without limitation to the scope thereof, some embodiments thereof are described hereinbelow with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein like numerals represent like parts and wherein:
Fig. 1 shows the cross-section of the barrel(container) of the invention;
Fig. 2 shows the cross-section of the plug of the invention showing the preferred
construction of the nozzle, first isolation means, first valve means and first impulse
Fig. 3 shows the cross-section of the key member(coupler) and the plug of the
invention in assembled condition and shows the first and second isolation means,
valve means and impulse means and the snap-on securing means;
Fig. 4 shows the preferred embodiment of the breathing means of the invention;
Fig. 5 shows another embodiment of the breathing means of the invention;
Fig. 6 shows another embodiment of the first isolation means, first valve means and
the first impulse means and the key member of the invention; and
Fig. 7 shows the cross-section of the barrel(container) of the invention incorporating
the said alternative embodiment of the first isolation means.
Reference numeral (1) of Fig. 1 denotes the barrel of the invention as a whole, that comprises vessel part (2), nozzle(plug) (3), downpipe (4), breathing means (5), draining cavity (6), lid/cover (7) and bottom cover(barrel floor) (8).
The barrel vessel part (2) is generally cylindrical. Joined to said vessel part (2) by welding or other means is top lid/cover (7) and the bottom end cover (8). Both covers (7,8) are dished. Cover (7) is dished in the central region (9) thereof forming cavity (10). Said plug (3) is housed in cavity (10). To prevent tampering said plug (3) which is threadably connected to vessel part (2) is further bonded thereto by suitable adhesives. Bottom cover (8) of the vessel is also dished and furthermore has a cavity (6). Said bottom cover (8) is concave to the vessel space (12). This feature together with cavity (6) helps in more complete emptying of the barrel during dispensing.
Downpipe (4) extends from plug (3) to said cavity (6) in the bottom cover (8). Covers (7,8) are joined to cylindrical part (13) of the barrel by crimping in this embodiment. The crimped joints (14.15) are protected by chime rings(16.17). Barrel hoops (18,19) reinforce the barrel and are of 'H' cross-section as shown.
Breathing means (5) is also mounted on the top lid/cover (7). It is mounted by threaded means and is further adhesive-bonded to the said lid (7). The purpose of the adhesive-bonding is to prevent tampering. Breathing means (5), also referred to herein as the breathing valve, allows release of air from vessel space (12) to atmosphere during filling of the barrel and flow of air from outside into the barrel when emptying.
Details of the plug (3) are shown in Fig. 2. It comprises housing (20) that, in fact, constitutes the nozzle wherein is housed first valve means (21) comprising a disc member (22) and spindle (23) thereof. Spindle (23) moves in guide (24) that is held in position by retaining ring (25). Said disc (22) sits on seat (26). Disc (22) is urged onto the seating (26) thereof by spring (27). The front face (28) of disc (22) comprises a countersunk cavity
(29) that constitutes said first impulse means. Impulse is received from said coupler at the
floor (31) of cavity (29). Said impulse hfts disc (22) off the seat (26) thereof thus opening
the passage for flow of HSD into vessel space(barrel space) (12) during filling and flow out
therefrom during discharging(decanting). Spring (27) is of 25 kg. force which makes it
substantially impossible to force open said plug (3) by hand. The plug body is of brass, other materials being within the scope of the invention. In the alternative construction, said disc comprises a pin-like member that extends out of plug (3). It constitutes the said first impulse means. The impulse arises in said coupler and is transmitted through a pin-shaped member within the coupler to the pin-shaped member extending out of plug (3). The advantage of recessing the impulse means in the preferred construction is to eliminate the risk of damage thereto by knocking during barrel handling.
Details of the coupler are shown in Fig. 3. Coupler (32) comprises a brass body (33) wherein is housed said second valve means (34) and second impulse means (35). Second valve means (34) comprises valve disc (36) and the seating (37) thereof. Valve spring (38) urges disc (36) on to seating (37), that is, in the NC(normally-closed) position thereof. Sufficient spring force(25 kgs.) is provided to ensure that valve means (34) is not openable by hand. The valve disc (36) comprises an 0-ring (39) and spindle (40) which moves in guide (41). Guide(41) is held in position by retaining ring (42), The plug end of coupler (32) comprises pin-member (43) that constitutes the said second impulse mean^ When the coupler (32) is attached to plug (3) pin-member (43) abuts the floor (31) of cavity (29) in the disc (22) located in the plug. The abutment results in the opening of both valve means (21,34).
Fig. 4 shows the details of the preferred embodiment of the breathing means (5) of the invention. The breathing means (5) comprises a valve arrangement (11) that comprises
valve disc (30), valve spindle(44) and valve spring (45). Spring (45) urges disc (30) onto valve seat (46). Collar (47) of disc (30) comprises small air passages through which vessel space (12) communicates with the atmosphere. During said charging and discharging, air moves out of said vessel space (12), and thereinto, respectively through said passages.
Spindle (44) moves in guide (48), the clearance there between providing the breathing air passage for the barrel. An 0-ring (49) is provided on spindle (44) to prevent spilling of barrel contents should the barrel, for some reason, be either tilted or turned upside down during storage/handling. When the barrel is uptumed(or tilted) the head of the HSD in the barrel acts on disc (30) making it move. This movement continues till the 0-ring (49) comes into engagement with the shoulder (50) of guide (48). This provides a seal that prevents the spillage of the HSD from the barrel.
An alternative breathing means of the invention is depicted in Fig. 5. hi this arrangement, the air in vessel space (12) is isolated from the atmosphere by the two valve means provided in the breathing means. One said valve means comprises a circular-ring shaped disc (51) provided with compression spring (52). The second valve means comprises a circular disc (53) mounted on spindle (54) and provided with tension spring(55). The seating (56) of said circular disc(inner disc) (53) is provided on the said circular-ring shaped disc(outer disc) (51) and is wedge-shaped(conical surface). Said seating (56) is oriented such that when disc (53) moves upwards it carries the circular-ring disc (51) therewith. Further, said orientation is such that circular disc (inner disc)(53) is free to move downwards independently, that is, said downward motion thereof is not transmitted to the outer disc(circular-ring shaped disc) (51), which in any case, is restrained from downward movement by the seat thereof When the barrel is emptying the drop in pressure draws said inner disc (53) downwards. This opens up the passage for air to move into the barrel vessel space from outside. When
the barrel is filling up the rising pressure lifts inner disc (53) and along with it the outer disc (51). The upward movement of the two discs (51,53) occurs against the action of the compression spring (52). Said upward movement of the discs opens up the passage for air to rush out of the vessel space into the atmosphere during said charging. Valve poppets are referred to as valve discs, or briefly as discs, in this specification. Thus, the term 'disc' when used in reference to valve means may not have a 'disc' shape, for example, the outer ring-shaped disc of the valve means of the said alternative breathing means of the invention, which is in the form of a circular ring. .
Quick-connect and quick-disconnect snap-on means is provided for the connection of said coupler to plug (3) and is depicted in Fig. 3. During connection, the mouth (65) of the plug (3) enters the mouth (66) of coupler and the engagement therebetween is stabilised by a series of balls (67) mounted within holes (70). Balls (67) back onto the inside surface of the head (71) of the connecting sleeve (68) of the coupler. Sleeve (68) is urged outwards(with respect to the coupler) by compression spring (69).
Head (71) of sleeve (68) comprises tapered face (72). For assembling the coupler and plug, said sleeve (68) is pulled back against spring pressure. This brings said tapered face (72) against balls (67) and as said tapered face moves inwards increasing clearance is available for balls (67) to withdraw into the sleeve wall. Said balls (67) withdraw radially outwards with respect to the coupler axis. This allows the plug mouth (65) to move into mouth (66) of the coupler. At the end of the movement of said plug mouth (65), a circumferential cavity (73) located on the plug surface moves into position opposite said balls (67). Said balls (67) drop into cavity (73). At this point, the pulled-back sleeve (68) is released. Sleeve (68) springs back forcing said balls (67) into and against cavity (73). The engagement of balls (67) in cavity (73) under pressure from the said sleeve wall holds the coupler and plug together and
stabilises the connection. Rings (74) provide the Uquid seal during said transfer of HSD into and out of the barrel. Ring (75) on the outer surface of the coupler mouth (66) provides limit stop for the spring-loaded sleeve (68).
The barrel of the invention incorporating the said alternative construction of the invention for
said first isolation means and key means is shown in Fig. 7 with the details of said alternative
first isolation means and key means being shown in Fig. 6. In this construction, said
isolation and key means comprises a ball-valve arrangement wherein ball (57) sits on the seat
(58) thereof. Abutting the undersurface of the ball (57) is a rod-like member (60) that
together with a cam arrangement (61) constitutes the said isolation means of this alternative construction. Cam arrangement (61) comprises cam (62) and cam shaft (63). When key member (64) is turned, rod member (60) moves under cam action to displace ball (57) upwards and sideways, thus, opening the passage for said charging and discharging of the barrel. Compression spring (59) ensures abutting contact between said rod member(60) and the cam member(62).
The said alternative isolation and key means of the invention shown in Fig. 6 is shown mounted on the barrel lid/cover (7) in Fig. 7. The axis of the ball valve means (57) is coincident with that of the barrel. Downpipe (4) extends from the said alternative isolation and key means to the barrel floor (8). The breathing means (5) shown is the preferred construction shown in Fig. 4. At the top of the isolation means, hose nipple is provided for receiving the charging/discharging pipe/hose. Other means of connection for pipes/hoses, plugs and couplers are within the scope of the invention.
Various embodiments and variations other than described hereinabove that are within the art are within the scope of the invention.
1. A tamper-proof, pilfer-proof liquid container for use in applications such as petroleum
products distribution systems, comprising:
i. a vessel member having a nozzle that provides access to the vessel space therein,
ii. a first isolation means that comprises a first valve means and a first impulse means and
that is associated with said nozzle for isolation of said vessel space by means of said first valve means thereof, said first valve means being of NC(normally-closed) configuration and being openable, for charging and discharging of said vessel space, by the activation of said first impulse means, iii. breathing means for allowing air movement in and out of said vessel space during said charging/discharging, said activation being carried out by means of a key means that either remains connected/attached to said first isolation means or is discrete and separate and interposable between said container and the charging/discharging lines, said container being with or without the associated key means thereof and said association between said container and the key means thereof being on one-to-one basis or other.
2. A tamper-proof, pilfer-proof liquid container as claimed in the preceding claim 1 wherein said key means together with said nozzle constitute a unitary construction.
3. A tamper-proof, pilfer-proof liquid container as claimed in any of the preceding claims 1 and 2, wherein said key means comprises a key and lock type arrangement that is connected to said first impulse means through a cam means such as to cause the opening of the said first valve means upon the turning of said key.
|Indian Patent Application Number||393/CHE/2005|
|PG Journal Number||03/2008|
|Date of Filing||07-Apr-2005|
|Name of Patentee||RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LIMITED|
|Applicant Address||CAPITAL TOWERS, 8TH FLOOR, 180, KODAMBAKKAM HIGH ROAD, NUNGAMBAKKAM, CHENNAI - 600 034,|
|PCT International Classification Number||B67 D 5/372|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|