The present invention relates generally to pipe clamp assemblies, such as those used to sealingly connect pipes together or to repair breaks or leaks in pipes.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Many kinds of removable band-type couplings for pipes exist in the art. It is noted that throughout the specification and claims, the term "pipe" encompasses any kind of generally cylindrical object, and the terms "clamp" and "coupling" are used interchangeably.
For example, one well known type of pipe coupling includes a seal clamp housing. Clamp members are positioned face to face and a tightening element is tightened to press an annular seal element against the outside of the pipe inserted through the seal clamp housing. One end of the tightening element is generally installed in one of the clamp members and the other end must be brought into a socket or opening formed in the other clamp member.
The tightening elements are generally bolts cooperating with a nut, which are tightened by a torque wrench and the like. The bolts fit into holes or other kinds of openings before tightening. Often when tightening one of the bolts, other bolts which have not yet been tightened, can become loosened in their holes and even fall out of them. This prolongs the tightening procedure and can make it so cumbersome as to require another person to hold the other bolts in place while tightening one of the bolts.
An example of a pipe clamping device is shown in US 2,227,551
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention seeks to provide novel pipe clamp assembly with a keeper for the tightening elements, as is described more in detail further below. The keeper prevents the tightening elements from falling out of their mounting openings and makes the tightening operation much quicker and easier.
There is provided in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention a pipe clamp assembly including a band having an inner annular seal element wrappable around a pipe, opposing clamp members extending from the band, tightening elements for clamping together the clamp members, the tightening elements passing through holders located at ends of the clamp members, and a keeper fastened to one of the holders at a first end of at least one of the tightening elements, the keeper having a cover portion that lies over the first end.
In accordance with the present invention two opposing legs extend from the cover portion, which straddle the first end. A bent tab may extend from a distal end of each of the legs. The keeper is assembled to the holder by inserting the legs into apertures formed in the holder.
In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention the cover portion is narrower than the first end.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:
Figs. 1A and 1B are simplified upper and lower perspective illustrations, respectively, of a pipe clamp assembly, constructed and operative in accordance with a non-limiting embodiment of the present invention;
Fig. 2 is an enlarged pictorial illustration of a keeper for tightening elements of the pipe clamp assembly of Figs. 1A and 1B, constructed and operative in accordance with a non-limiting embodiment of the present invention; and
Fig. 3 is an enlarged pictorial illustration of the keeper of Fig. 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
Reference is now made to Figs. 1A and 1B, which illustrate a pipe clamp assembly 10, constructed and operative in accordance with a non-limiting embodiment of the present invention.
Pipe clamp assembly 10 includes a band 12 having an inner annular seal element 14 wrappable around a pipe (not shown). Band 12 is typically, but not necessarily, made of metal and annular seal element 14 is typically, but not necessarily, made of an elastomer, such as natural or synthetic rubber.
Opposing clamp members 16 extend from ends of band 12 and are clamped and tightened together with tightening elements 20, such as but not limited to, bolts tightened by nuts. Each of the tightening elements 20 has a first end 22, e.g., the bolt head end, which passes through a hole formed in a holder 24 assembled against one of the clamp members 16. A second end 26 of the tightening element 20, e.g., the nut end, also passes through a hole formed in another holder 28. The holders 24 and 28 serve as nut plates against the clamp members 16.
In accordance with a non-limiting embodiment of the present invention, a keeper 30 is provided at the first end 22 of the tightening elements 20, which prevents the tightening elements 20 from falling out of their mounting openings in holder 24. In one embodiment, as seen in Figs. 2 and 3, keeper 30 has a cover portion 32, which lies over the first end 22. Two opposing legs 34 extend from cover portion 32 and straddle the first end 22. Bent tabs 36 extend from distal ends of the legs 34. Keeper 30 is assembled to holder 24 by inserting legs 34 into apertures 38 formed in holder 24. Tabs 36 keep the keeper 30 in place in apertures 38. Keeper 30 may be made of metal or plastic or other suitable materials. Cover portion 32 may be of any shape, such as but not limited to, flat in Fig. 2 or round (designated 32A) in Fig. 3.
In the illustrated embodiment, the head of tightening element 20 is a round bolt head. The shank of tightening element 20 may have a non-round (e.g., square) portion which sits in a similarly shaped non-round hole in holder 24, so that tightening element 20 is self-wrenched in the hole. Alternatively, the head of tightening element 20 is hexagonal with flat faces for gripping with a wrench or other suitable tool. Cover portion 32 can be narrower than the first (head) end of tightening element 20 to allow easy access for the tool to grip this end of tightening element 20. It is also noted that the keeper 30 could alternatively be used for the other end of tightening element 20.
The keeper 30 can be provided for one or more or all of the tightening elements 20 that are used in the assembly 10. Keeper 30 can be easily removed from the holder, and also replaced, if desired.
The scope of the present invention is defined by the following claims.
A pipe clamp assembly (10) comprising:
a band (12) having an inner annular seal element (14) wrappable around a pipe; and
opposing clamp members (16) extending from said band (12);
and tightening elements (20) for clamping together said clamp members (16), said tightening elements (20) passing through holders (24) located at ends of said clamp members (16); the pipe clamp assembly (10) is characterised by
a keeper (30) fastened to one of said holders (24) at a first end (22) of at least one of the tightening elements (20), said keeper (30) having a cover portion (32) that lies over said first end (22), wherein two opposing legs (34) extend from said cover portion (32) that straddle said first end (22) and wherein said keeper (30) is assembled to said holder (24) by inserting said legs (34) into apertures (38) formed in said holder (24).
2. The pipe clamp assembly (10) according to claim 1, wherein a bent tab (36) extends from a distal end of each of said legs (34).
3. The pipe clamp assembly (10) according to claim 1, wherein said cover portion (32) is narrower than said first end (22).
Rohrklemmanordnung (10), die Folgendes umfasst:
ein Band (12) mit einem inneren ringförmigen Dichtungselement (14), das um ein Rohr gewickelt werden kann; und
gegenüberliegende Klemmelemente (16), die sich von diesem Band (12) erstrecken;
und Spannelemente (20) zum Zusammenklemmen dieser Klemmelemente (16), wobei diese Spannelemente (20) durch Halter (24) führen, die sich an den Enden dieser Klemmelemente (16) befinden;
dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
eine Haltevorrichtung (30), die an einem der Halter (24) an einem ersten Ende (22) mindestens eines der Spannelemente (20) befestigt ist, wobei die Haltevorrichtung (30) einen Abdeckbereich (32) aufweist, der über dem ersten Ende (22) liegt, wobei sich zwei gegenüberliegende Schenkel (34) von diesem Abdeckbereich (32) erstrecken und das erste Ende (22) überspannen, und wobei die Haltevorrichtung (30) am Halter (24) durch Einsetzen der Schenkel (34) in Öffnungen (38), die im Halter (24) ausgebildet sind, montiert ist.
2. Rohrklemmanordnung (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei sich eine gebogene Lasche (36) vom entfernten Ende jedes der Schenkel (34) erstreckt.
3. Rohrklemmanordnung (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Abdeckbereich (32) schmaler ist als das erste Ende (22).
Ensemble (10) faisant office de collier de serrage, comprenant :
une bande (12) possédant un élément annulaire interne (14) faisant office de joint d'étanchéité apte à entourer un tuyau ; et
des éléments de fixation opposés (16) s'étendant à partir de ladite bande (12) ; et
des éléments de serrage (20) destinés à fixer l'un à l'autres lesdits éléments de fixation (16), lesdits éléments de serrage (20) passant à travers des supports (24) disposés aux extrémités desdits éléments de fixation (16), ledit ensemble (10) faisant office de collier de serrage étant caractérisé par :
un dispositif de maintien (30) fixé à un desdits supports (24) à une première extrémité (22) d'au moins un des éléments de serrage (20), ledit dispositif de maintien (30) possédant une portion de recouvrement (32) qui est disposée pardessus ladite première extrémité (22) ; dans lequel deux branches opposées (34) s'étendent à partir de ladite portion de recouvrement (32) qui chevauche ladite première extrémité (22) ; et dans lequel ledit dispositif de maintien (30) est monté sur ledit support (24) par l'intermédiaire d'une insertion desdites branches (34) dans des orifices (38) pratiqués dans ledit support (24).
2. Ensemble (10) faisant office de collier de serrage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une languette de forme courbe (36) s'étend à partir d'une extrémité distale de chacune desdites branches (34).
3. Ensemble (10) faisant office de collier de serrage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite portion de recouvrement (32) est plus étroite que ladite première extrémité (22).