(19)
(11)EP 1 729 916 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
15.01.2014 Bulletin 2014/03

(21)Application number: 04821942.2

(22)Date of filing:  31.03.2004
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B25B 27/10  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2004/009828
(87)International publication number:
WO 2005/105367 (10.11.2005 Gazette  2005/45)

(54)

AXIAL SWAGE ALIGNMENT TOOL

AXIALGESENKAUSRICHTUNGSWERKZEUG

OUTIL DE MATRIÇAGE EQUIPE D'UN MECANISME D'ALIGNEMENT AXIAL


(84)Designated Contracting States:
DE FR GB IT

(43)Date of publication of application:
13.12.2006 Bulletin 2006/50

(73)Proprietor: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
Fort Worth, TX 76101 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • SEMBRITZKY, David, D.
    Grapevine, TX 76051 (US)
  • SAVILLE, Terry, L.
    St. Charles, MO 63303 (US)

(74)Representative: Lawrence, John et al
Barker Brettell LLP 100 Hagley Road
Edgbaston Birmingham B16 8QQ
Edgbaston Birmingham B16 8QQ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
NL-A- 8 204 763
US-A- 409 008
US-A- 2 105 954
US-A- 2 656 607
US-A- 4 189 817
US-B1- 6 430 792
US-A- 251 474
US-A- 726 122
US-A- 2 514 374
US-A- 2 656 607
US-A- 5 347 701
US-B1- 6 430 792
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical Field



    [0001] The present invention relates to alignment tools. In particular, the present invention relates to axial swage alignment tools.

    Description of the Prior Art



    [0002] Many complicated machines require metal tubing for carrying pressurized fluids, such as fuel and hydraulic fluid. Often, this metal tubing is formed by assembling together several small metal tubes. This is particularly true for metal tubing that has curves, bends, joints, and other complicated shapes. When assembling the small metal tubes, the joints must be coupled together with fluid tight seals that can withstand the pressures required by the machine. Some applications, such as aircraft applications, require specialized couplings, or fittings, that must be swaged onto the metal tubes with high-precision swaging tools to provide proper, fluid-tight, metal-to-metal seals and ensure that the resultant metal tubing conforms to strict dimensional tolerances. These swaging tools are typically high-pressure hydraulic machines that are capable of slightly deforming the metal tubing and the specialized fittings. Once the tubes and fitting are swaged together, they cannot be separated without damaging the tubes and fittings.

    [0003] Often, due to space constraints, the swaging tool will not fit into the required location to swage the metal tubes and fittings. When this happens, the metal tubes and fittings must be removed from the machine, swaged remote from the machine, and then reinstalled onto the machine as assembled metal tubing. These parts must be temporarily fastened together so that the orientation between them is maintained while they are remotely swaged together. Both the rotational alignment and the axial alignment must be accurately maintained. If the proper orientation is not maintained, the resultant metal tubing will not fit properly when it is reinstalled onto the machine.

    [0004] Several problems arise when metal tubes and fittings must be removed from the machine and remotely swaged together. With one method, the tubes and fittings must be precisely marked with reference marks to ensure the proper axial and rotational orientation. This is a time consuming process that is prone to errors. Often, the marks are made by hand with dull markers. With another method, the metal tubes and fittings must be temporarily fastened together. This Is typically done by driving small wedges between the metal tube and the fitting, or by using super glue between the metal tube and the fitting. Methods that require the placement of materials between the metal tube and the fitting are undesirable. Wedges do not work well, because they fall out when the assembly is moved. Adhesives do not work well, because they degrade the seal.

    [0005] In the document US-B1-6 430 792 there is described an axial swage alignment tool for swaging together a tube and a fitting having a swaging collar and a flange according to the preamble of claim 1.

    [0006] A method of swaging together a metal tube and a fitting having a swaging collar according to the preamble of claim 6 is also known from this document.

    [0007] Although there have been significant developments in the area of swaging metal tubing, considerable shortcomings remain.

    [0008] It is against the background, and the limitations and problems associated therewith, that the present invention has been developed.

    [0009] There is a need for an axial swage alignment tool that can accurately maintain the proper orientation between the swaged parts.

    [0010] Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an axial swage alignment tool that can accurately maintain the proper orientation between the swaged parts.

    [0011] To achieve this, the axial swage alignment tool of the invention is characterized by the features claimed in claim 1 and the method of swaging together a metal tube and a fitting according to the invention comprises the features claimed in claim 6.

    [0012] This object is achieved by providing an axial swage alignment tool having a bridge member that is temporarily bonded to the exterior surfaces of the metal tubing and the fitting. The tool does not require placing any material between the metal tube and the fitting.

    [0013] The present invention provides significant advantages, including: (1) the metal tubes and the fittings can be removed from the machine and accurately swaged remote from the tool; (2) specialized marking templates are not required; (3) the parts do not have to marked prior to removal; (4) the axial alignment of the fitting on the metal tube is adjustable, i.e., the metal tube does not have to be axially bottomed-out into the fitting; and (6) because the bridge member Is only bonded to the exterior surfaces of the metal tube and the fitting, it is not necessary to place any material between the metal tube and the fitting.

    [0014] Additional objectives, features, and advantages will be apparent in the written description that follows.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0015] The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, the invention itself, as well as, a preferred mode of use, and further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

    Figure 1 is a perspective view of the axial swage alignment tool according to the present invention;

    Figure 2 is a partial longitudinal cross-sectional view of the axial swage alignment tool of Figure 1;

    Figure 3A is a left side view of the bridge member of the axial swage alignment tool of Figure 1;

    Figure 3B is a cross-sectional view of the bridge member of Figure 3A taken at A-A; and

    Figure 3C is a right side view of the bridge member of the axial swage alignment tool of Figure 1.


    Description of the Preferred Embodiment



    [0016] The present invention represents the discovery that metal tubes and fittings can be swaged together without placing adhesives and other materials between the metal tubes and the fittings. The alignment tool according to the present invention is particularly useful in applications in which the metal tubes and the fittings are swaged remotely from the machine on which they are to be installed.

    [0017] Referring to Figure 1 in the drawings, the preferred embodiment of an axial swage alignment tool 11 according to the present invention is illustrated. Tool 11 is preferably powered by a hydraulic system, but may be powered by other means, such as an electric motor. Tool 11 includes a hydraulic pump (not shown) for pumping high-pressure hydraulic fluid through a hydraulic line 13. Hydraulic line 13 is coupled to a housing 15 and a ram member 17 by a coupling 19. Ram member 17 is driven forward and backward in the direction of arrow B by a piston (not shown) that is in communication with the hydraulic fluid from hydraulic line 13. Tool 11 is used to precisely align and axially swage a metal tube 21 to a fitting 23, so that metal tube 21 can be coupled to an elbow 25 or other tube or component part. A bridge member 27 is used to align tube 21 and fitting 23.

    [0018] Referring now Figures 2 and 3A-3C in the drawings, the assembly of metal tube 21, fitting 23, and elbow 25 is illustrated prior to swaging. As is shown, fitting 23 preferably includes a body portion 31 and a collar 33. Fitting 23 may be any of a wide variety of fittings, including unions, elbows, and tees. Body portion 31 includes a radially outward extending flange 35. One side of flange 35 may form a selected fillet radius 37 with body portion 31. The opposing side of flange 35 is received by a recessed area 39 bored into the end of collar 33 upon swaging.

    [0019] Bridge member 27 is generally U-shaped having a first end 41, a second end 43, and a cross piece 45. First end 41 includes a contact surface 47 that is curved to match the outside diameter of tube 21. In a similar fashion, second end 43 has a contact surface that is curved to match the outside diameter of fitting 23. In addition, second end 43 includes a fillet radius that matches fillet radius 37 of flange 35. Cross piece 45 is configured to provide sufficient clearance between the inside surface of cross piece 45 and the outside surface of collar 33, including any radially outward deformation that occur to collar 33. Bridge member 27 is preferably made of steel, but may be made of other metallic or strong, rigid materials. Bridge member 27 eliminates the need to place any material between metal tube 21 and fitting 23 either prior to or after the swaging process.

    [0020] In operation, tube 21 is inserted into fitting 23. Tube 21 may be axially located anywhere within fitting 23. It is not necessary that tubing 21 bottom-out within fitting 23. One significant advantage of the present invention is that tool 11 allows for both axial and rotational alignment of tube 21 and fitting 23. Next, first end 41 of bridge member 27 is adhered to tube 21 and second end 43 of bridge member 27 is adhered to fitting 23. In the preferred embodiment, first end 41 and second end 43 are adhered to metal tube 21 and fitting 23 with cyanoacrylate, or a similar high-strength adhesive for bonding smooth metal parts together. It is preferred that second end 43 butt-up against and be adhered to fillet radius 37 of flange 35. This provides additional strength and stability to the assembly. Once assembled in this fashion, metal tube 21 and fitting 23 may be moved to any convenient location for carrying out the swaging process.

    [0021] In the swaging process, metal tube 21 is installed into a slot 51 in ram member 17, and fitting 23 is installed into a slot 53 in housing 15 (see Figure 1). Slot 51 engages collar 33, and slot 53 engages flange 35. Tool 11 is then activated such that ram member 17 forces collar 33 in the direction of arrow C. This movement slightly deforms metal tube 21, body portion 31, and collar 33 and forms a metal-to-metal seal between metal tube 21 and fitting 23. Then, bridge member 27 is pried off of tube 21 and fitting 23. First end 41 and second end 43 of bridge member 27 may then be cleaned with acetone, alcohol, or any other suitable cleansing agent, and reused.

    [0022] It is apparent that an invention with significant advantages has been described and illustrated. Although the present invention is shown in a limited number of forms, it is not limited to just these forms.


    Claims

    1. An axial swage alignment tool (11) for swaging together a tube (21) and a fitting (23) having a swaging collar (33), and a flange (35), the axial swage alignment tool (11) comprising:

    a housing (15) adapted to accept a fitting (23), the housing (15) having:

    a housing slot (53) adapted to accept the fitting (23); and

    a ram member (17) located within the housing (15), the ram member (17) having: a ram member slot (51) adapted to accept a tube (21), the ram member slot (51) being axially aligned with the housing slot (53) ;

    characterized in comprising a unitary bridge member (27) adapted to maintain the orientation of the tube (21) relative to the fitting (23) during swaging, the bridge member (27) having:

    a first end portion (41) having a curved contact surface to match the outside diameter of the tube (21), the first end portion (41) being adapted to adhere to the exterior surface of the tube (21) ;

    the contact surface having an adhesive to adhesively bond to the exterior surface of the tube (21);

    a second end portion (43) having a curved contact surface to match the outside diameter of the fitting (23), the second end portion (43) being adapted to adhere to the exterior surface of the fitting (23);

    the contact surface having an adhesive to adhesively bond to the exterior surface of the fitting (43); and

    a cross piece (45) adapted to connect the first end portion (41) to the second end portion (43).


     
    2. The axial swage alignment tool according to claim 1, characterized in that the bridge member (27) is U-shaped.
     
    3. The axial swage alignment tool according to claim 1, characterized in further comprising:

    a means (13,19) for actuating the ram member (17).


     
    4. The axial swage alignment tool according to claim 3, characterized in that the means (13,19) for actuating the ram member (17) is a hydraulic power source (13).
     
    5. The axial swage alignment tool according to claim 4, characterized in that the means for actuating (13,19) the ram member (17) is an electromechanical power source.
     
    6. A method of swaging together a metal tube (21) and a fitting (23) having a swaging collar (33) comprising the steps of:

    inserting the metal tube (21) into the fitting (23) such that the metal tube (21) is selectively aligned both axially and rotationally with the fitting (23);

    characterized by providing a bridge member (27) having a first end (41) and a second end (43), the first end (41) having a contact surface configured to mate with the exterior surface of the metal tube (21), the second end (43) having a contact surface configured to mate with the exterior surface of the fitting (23);

    adhering the contact surface of the first end (41) to the metal tube (21);

    adhering the contact surface of the second end (43) to the fitting (23);

    forcing the swaging collar (33) over the fitting (23);

    removing the bridge member (27) from the metal tube (21) and the fitting (23)


     
    7. The method according to claim 6, characterized in that the steps of adhering the contact surfaces of the first and second ends (41,43) to the metal tube (21) and fitting (23) are achieved by using a cyanoacrylate adhesive.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ein Axialgesenkausrichtungswerkzeug (11) zum Gesenkschmieden einer Röhre (21) mit einem Formstück (23), das einen Gesenkkragen (33) aufweist, und einem Flansch (35), wobei das Axialgesenkausrichtungswerkzeug (11) Folgendes umfasst:

    ein Gehäuse (15), das adaptiert wurde, um ein Formstück (23) aufzunehmen, wobei das Gehäuse (15) Folgendes aufweist:

    eine Gehäuseaussparung (53), die adaptiert wurde, um das Formstück (23) aufzunehmen, und

    ein Stößelteil (17), das sich innerhalb des Gehäuses (15) befindet, wobei das Stößelteil (17) eine Stößelteilaussparung (51) aufweist, die adaptiert wurde, um eine Röhre (21) aufzunehmen, und wobei die Stößelteilaussparung (51) axial an der Gehäuseaussparung (53) ausgerichtet ist;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es ein einheitliches Brückenteil (27) aufweist, das adaptiert wurde, um die Ausrichtung der Röhre (21) relativ zum Formstück während des Gesenkschmiedens aufrechtzuerhalten, wobei das Brückenteil (27) Folgendes aufweist:

    einen ersten Endabschnitt (41) mit einer gekrümmten Kontaktfläche, die mit dem Außendurchmesser der Röhre (21) übereinstimmt, wobei der erste Endabschnitt (41) adaptiert wird, um an der Außenfläche der Röhre (21) anzuhaften;

    wobei die Kontaktfläche einen Kleber aufweist, damit sie mit der Außenfläche der Röhre (21) verklebt werden kann;

    einen zweiten Endabschnitt (43) mit einer gekrümmten Kontaktfläche, die mit dem Außendurchmesser des Formstücks (23) übereinstimmt, wobei der zweite Endabschnitt (43) adaptiert wird, um an der Außenfläche des Formstücks (23) anzuhaften;

    wobei die Kontaktfläche einen Kleber aufweist, damit sie mit der Außenfläche des Formstücks (43) verklebt werden kann; und

    ein Querstück (45), das adaptiert wird, um den ersten Endabschnitt (41) mit dem zweiten Endabschnitt (43) zu verbinden.


     
    2. Das Axialgesenkausrichtungswerkzeug gemäß Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Brückenteil (27) U-förmig ist.
     
    3. Das Axialgesenkausrichtungswerkzeug gemäß Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es überdies eine Vorrichtung (13, 19) zur Betätigung des Stößelteils (17) beinhaltet.
     
    4. Das Axialgesenkausrichtungswerkzeug gemäß Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Vorrichtung (13, 19) zur Betätigung des Stößelteils (17) eine Hydraulik-Energiequelle (13) ist.
     
    5. Das Axialgesenkausrichtungswerkzeug gemäß Anspruch 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Vorrichtung (13, 19) zur Betätigung des Stößelteils (17) eine elektromechanische Energiequelle ist.
     
    6. Ein Verfahren zum Gesenkschmieden einer Röhre (21) mit einem Formstück (23), das einen Gesenkkragen (33) aufweist, bestehend aus folgenden Schritten:

    Einfügen der Metallröhre (21) in das Formstück (23), sodass die Metallröhre (21) selektiv sowohl axial als auch in der Drehrichtung am Formstück (23) ausgerichtet ist;

    gekennzeichnet durch das Bereitstellen eines Brückenteils (27), das ein erstes Ende (41) und ein zweites Ende (43) aufweist, wobei das erste Ende (41) eine Kontaktfläche aufweist, die gestaltet ist, um sich mit der Außenfläche der Metallröhre (21) zu verbinden, und wobei das zweite Ende (43) eine Kontaktfläche aufweist, die gestaltet ist, um sich mit der Außenfläche des Formstücks (23) zu verbinden;

    Kleben der Kontaktfläche des ersten Endes (41) auf die Metallröhre (21);

    Kleben der Kontaktfläche des zweiten Endes (43) auf das Formstück (23);

    Zwingen des Gesenkkragens (33) über das Formstück (23);

    Entnahme des Brückenelements (27) aus der Metallröhre (21) und dem Formstück (23).


     
    7. Das Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 6, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Schritte des Aufklebens der Kontaktflächen des ersten und zweiten Endes (41, 43) auf die Metallröhre (21) und das Formstück (23) mit Hilfe eines Cyanoacrylat-Klebers erzielt werden.
     


    Revendications

    1. Un outil d'alignement de sertissage axial (11) destiné à sertir ensemble un tube (21) et un raccord (23) possédant un collier de sertissage (33), et un contrefort (35), l'outil d'alignement de sertissage axial (I1) comprenant :

    un logement (15) adapté de façon à accepter un raccord (23), le logement (15) possédant :

    une fente de logement (53) adaptée de façon à accepter le raccord (23), et

    un élément vérin (17) situé à l'intérieur du logement (15), l'élément vérin (17) possédant : une fente d'élément vérin (51) adaptée de façon à accepter un tube (21), la fente d'élément vérin (51) étant alignée axialement avec la fente de logement (53),

    caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend un élément de pont unitaire (27) adapté de façon à maintenir l'orientation du tube (21) par rapport au raccord (23) au cours du sertissage, l'élément pont (27) possédant :

    une première partie d'extrémité (41) possédant une surface de contact incurvée destinée à apparier le diamètre extérieur du tube (21), la première partie d'extrémité (41) étant adaptée de façon à adhérer à la surface extérieure du tube (21),

    la surface de contact possédant un adhésif destiné à se lier par collage à la surface extérieure du tube (21),

    une deuxième partie d'extrémité (43) possédant une surface de contact incurvée destinée à apparier le diamètre extérieur du raccord (23), la deuxième partie d'extrémité (43) étant adapté de façon à adhérer à la surface extérieure du raccord (23),

    la surface de contact possédant un adhésif destiné à se lier par collage à la surface extérieure du raccord (43), et

    une pièce transversale (45) adaptée de façon à raccorder la première partie d'extrémité (41) à la deuxième partie d'extrémité (43).


     
    2. L'outil d'alignement de sertissage axial selon la Revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que l'élément pont (27) est en forme de U.
     
    3. L'outil d'alignement de sertissage axial selon la Revendication 1, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend en outre :

    un moyen (13, 19) d'actionnement de l'élément vérin (17).


     
    4. L'outil d'alignement de sertissage axial selon la Revendication 3, caractérisé en ce que le moyen (13, 19) d'actionnement de l'élément vérin (17) est une source d'énergie hydraulique (13).
     
    5. L'outil d'alignement de sertissage axial selon la Revendication 4, caractérisé en ce que le moyen d'actionnement (13, 19) de l'élément vérin (17) est une source d'énergie électromécanique.
     
    6. Un procédé de sertissage ensemble d'un tube métallique (21) et d'un raccord (23) possédant un collier de sertissage (33) comprenant les opérations suivantes :

    l'insertion du tube métallique (21) dans le raccord (23) de sorte que le tube métallique (21) soit sélectivement aligné à la fois axialement et en rotation avec le raccord (23),

    caractérisé par la fourniture d'un élément de pont (27) possédant une première extrémité (41) et une deuxième extrémité (43), la première extrémité (41) possédant une surface de contact configurée de façon à s'accoupler avec la surface extérieure du tube métallique (21), la deuxième extrémité (43) possédant une surface de contact configurée de façon à s'accoupler avec la surface extérieure du raccord (23),

    l'adhésion de la surface de contact de la première extrémité (41) au tube métallique (21),

    l'adhésion de la surface de contact de la deuxième extrémité (43) au raccord (23),

    le forçage du collier de sertissage (33) par dessus le raccord (23),

    le retrait de l'élément pont (27) du tube métallique (21) et du raccord (23)


     
    7. Le procédé selon la Revendication 6, caractérisé en ce que les opérations d'adhésion des surfaces de contact de la première et de la deuxième extrémité (41, 43) au tube métallique (21) et du raccord (23) sont réalisées au moyen d'un adhésif cyanoacrylate.
     




    Drawing









    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description