(19)
(11)EP 2 863 732 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
28.08.2019 Bulletin 2019/35

(21)Application number: 12806329.4

(22)Date of filing:  10.05.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A01G 25/02  (2006.01)
A01G 25/06  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2012/037326
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/158462 (22.11.2012 Gazette  2012/47)

(54)

CYLINDRICAL DRIP IRRIGATION EMITTER

ZYLINDRISCHER TROPFBEWÄSSERUNGSAUSLASS

GOUTTEUR D'IRRIGATION CYLINDRIQUE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 16.05.2011 GB 201108066

(43)Date of publication of application:
29.04.2015 Bulletin 2015/18

(73)Proprietor: Metzerplas Agricultural Cooperative Ltd.
Israel (IL)

(72)Inventor:
  • ALKALAY, Uri
    40500 Even Yehuda (IL)

(74)Representative: Harrison IP Limited 
3 Ebor House Millfield Lane
Nether Poppleton, York YO26 6QY
Nether Poppleton, York YO26 6QY (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 0 730 822
CA-C- 2 061 846
IT-B- 1 255 120
RU-C2- 2 298 314
US-A1- 2003 042 335
US-A1- 2008 067 266
WO-A1-2010/127358
CN-U- 201 768 643
RU-C1- 2 311 757
US-A1- 2002 104 903
US-A1- 2006 196 977
  
      
    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

    FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to drip irrigation emitters, and, more particularly, to compact cylindrical-type drip irrigation emitters.

    [0002] Drip irrigation is a particularly efficient method of irrigating, particularly in arid environments. Water is slowly applied directly to the soil, enabling the water to be quickly absorbed, whereby losses due to evaporation or to run off are reduced. Drip irrigation systems may be utilized to irrigate a particular area around a plant. This further reduces water consumption and also reduces weed growth.

    [0003] Market forces are continually demanding improved performance and improved cost efficiencies for drip irrigation systems. While a plethora of drip emitter types and species have been developed to meet various needs of the consumer, the present inventor has recognized a need for further improving the cost efficiency of cylindrical drip irrigation emitters.

    [0004] Previous examples of drip irrigation emitters have been disclosed in US 2002/104903 A1 and US 2003/042335 A1.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] According to the teachings of the present invention there is provided a liquid delivery system as set forth in claim 1 of the appended claims.

    [0006] According to further features in the described preferred embodiments, the functionally active sections include a pressure-controlling section.

    [0007] According to further features in the described preferred embodiments, the functionally active sections consist of the pressure-reducing section, the liquid inlet section, and a pressure-controlling section.

    [0008] According to further features in the described preferred embodiments, the functionally active sections consist of the pressure-reducing section and the liquid inlet section.

    [0009] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, a length ratio of La to L of the emitter body is at least 0.60 or at least 0.65.

    [0010] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, this length ratio is at least 0.70, at least 0.75, at least 0.78, at least 0.80, at least 0.82, or at least 0.85.

    [0011] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the inner facing has a diameter D, wherein an aspect ratio of the diameter D to length L is at least 0.25, at least 0.30, or at least 0.34.

    [0012] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the outer facing spans, in at least one location, an arc corresponding to an angle of at least 180°, at least 225°, or at least 270° of the inner surface.

    [0013] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the outer facing spans, in at least one location, an arc corresponding to an angle of 360° of the inner surface.

    [0014] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the emitter body is generally cylindrical.

    [0015] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the emitter body is generally cylindrical over all of length La.

    [0016] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the emitter body is generally cylindrical over all of length L.

    [0017] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the pressure-reducing section includes at least one labyrinth channel.

    [0018] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the distance between a first end of the emitter body and a proximal end of the functionally active sections disposed proximally to the first end, is less than 9 mm, less than 7 mm, less than 5 mm, or less than 4 mm.

    [0019] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the functionally active sections are substantially longitudinally continuous with respect to the body.

    [0020] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the pipe has at least one additional aperture disposed therethrough, the additional aperture situated within length L, but longitudinally outside of the longitudinal segment of the drip emitter.

    [0021] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the liquid inlet section includes a filtration section.

    [0022] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the outer surface of the pipe has at least one protrusion indicating a radial alignment of the emitter within the pipe.

    [0023] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the emitter has at least one alignment protrusion in the outer facing, the alignment protrusion at least partially protruding into the pipe.

    [0024] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the outer surface of the pipe has at least one mark, groove, or other external feature indicating a radial alignment of the emitter within the pipe.

    [0025] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, an opening passes through the emitter body, whereby the inner facing and the outer facing are in fluid communication, the liquid inlet section adapted to receive the liquid from within the pipe, via the inner facing, and to deliver the liquid, via the opening, to the outer facing.

    [0026] According to still further features in the described preferred embodiments, the functionally passive section is disposed completely within the longitudinal segment.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0027] The invention is herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice. Throughout the drawings, like-referenced characters are used to designate like elements.

    [0028] In the drawings:

    Figure 1 is a side view of a drip irrigation emitter of the prior art;

    Figure 2 is a perspective view of the drip irrigation emitter of Figure 1, disposed within a partially transparent irrigation pipe;

    Figure 3 provides a perspective view of a drip irrigation emitter according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    Figure 4 is an axially cut-open view of the drip irrigation emitter of Figure 3, disposed within a partially transparent irrigation pipe;

    Figure 5 provides a second perspective view of the drip irrigation emitter of Figure 3;

    Figure 6 is a side view of the inventive drip irrigation emitter of Figure 3;

    Figure 7 is a perspective view of the inventive drip irrigation emitter of Figure 3, disposed within a partially transparent irrigation pipe;

    Figure 8 is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the inventive drip irrigation emitter, disposed within a partially transparent irrigation pipe;

    Figure 9 provides a perspective view of a pressure-controlling drip irrigation emitter, according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    Figure 10 is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the inventive drip irrigation emitter, the outer surface of the emitter body having an arc or contour of about 160°;

    Figure 11A is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the inventive drip emitter, disposed within a within a non-cylindrical irrigation pipe;

    Figure 11B is a wire -rim drawing of the drip irrigation emitter of Figure 11A, in which the outer surface of the emitter body has a contour of about 250°;

    Figure 12A is a generally axial perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the inventive drip emitter, having alignment protrusions disposed in an outer facing of the emitter body; and

    Figure 12B is another perspective view of the drip emitter of Figure 12A, disposed within a partially transparent pipe.


    DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



    [0029] The principles and operation of the cylindrical drip irrigation emitter according to the present invention may be better understood with reference to the drawings and the accompanying description.

    [0030] Before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

    [0031] With reference now to the drawings, Figure 1 is a side view of a drip irrigation emitter 100 of the prior art. Drip irrigation emitter 100 is a cylindrical emitter, adapted to be bonded to an irrigation pipe 210, shown in Figure 2. Emitter 100 includes a liquid inlet section 120, a labyrinth channel 130, and a liquid transfer section 140.

    [0032] Liquid inlet section 120 fluidly communicates with labyrinth channel 130, which in turn fluidly communicates with liquid transfer section 140. Thus, water passes through liquid inlet section 120, into labyrinth channel 130, and winds through labyrinth channel 130, ultimately discharging into liquid transfer section 140. The water exits liquid transfer section 140 via an opening 142 disposed at each end thereof, and subsequently enters generally annular discharge regions 145, each of which is distally located with respect to labyrinth channel 130, i.e., towards each emitter end fixture 160.

    [0033] Figure 2 is a perspective view of drip irrigation emitter 100 of Figure 1, disposed within irrigation pipe 210. According to methods of the prior art, during the extrusion-based process for producing irrigation pipes such as irrigation pipe 210, drip emitters such as drip emitter 100 may typically be affixed to the interior surface of the pipe, at substantially fixed intervals (time and distance). Apertures such as apertures 147 are formed through the wall of the irrigation pipe, based on the estimated longitudinal position of each drip emitter within the pipe. More specifically, apertures 147 are formed through the wall of the irrigation pipe, based on the estimated longitudinal position of annular discharge regions 145 of each drip emitter 100 within irrigation pipe 210. The longitudinal length Lp of each annular discharge region 145 is typically 4-7 mm, to ensure that each aperture 147 is generally aligned with a respective annular discharge region 145.

    [0034] Water flowrate and optional pressure control are effected upstream of annular discharge regions 145, such that the main function of discharge regions 145 is to enable passage of the water into a discharge aperture in the wall of the pipe or conduit (as shown in Figure 2). Thus, annular discharge regions 145 may be considered substantially, functionally passive length sections, in that they are disposed towards the end of the water flowpath, downstream of the pressure reduction section, and any pressure control section. The pressure reduction section (e.g., a labyrinth), and pressure control section of the drip emitter may be considered functionally active sections.

    [0035] The market for drip irrigation systems is continually demanding improved performance and improved cost efficiencies for these systems. I have recognized several deficiencies in discharge region 145, including appreciable waste of raw materials, additional energy expenditure per emitter produced, relatively high shipping and storage volumes, and lower throughput of emitters through the feeding system.

    [0036] Referring again to Figure 1, the total length L of emitter 100 substantially consists of the sum of the total length of a functionally active section 175 (described in greater detail hereinbelow), the length of each emitter end fixture 160, and the length of each annular discharge region 145:



    [0037] Significantly, the length ratio of the annular discharge regions to the total length of the prior art emitters may be at least 0.25, and more typically, at least 0.30. In some of the more advanced, compact emitters of the prior art, the length ratio of the annular discharge regions to the total length of the emitter body may be at least 0.35.

    [0038] I have discovered that a method in which Lp may be substantially eliminated, enabling the use of a drip emitter that is at least 25-35% more compact with respect to emitters of the prior art. As will be elaborated in detail hereinbelow, the cylindrical- type drip emitters according to the present invention are designed to effect an at least partial discharge of the effluent water via a region that is longitudinally aligned with a functionally active section of the emitters, thereby obviating the need for the annular discharge regions of the prior art.

    [0039] With reference now to Figure 3 and Figure 4, Figure 3 is a perspective view of a drip irrigation emitter 300 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Figure 4 is an axially cut-open view of drip irrigation emitter 300 of Figure 3, disposed within irrigation pipe 210. Drip irrigation emitter 300 is an in-line, cylindrical emitter, adapted to be disposed within, and secured within or attached (e.g., bonded) to, an irrigation pipe 210, shown in Figure 4. According to the invention emitter 300 includes a filtration or liquid inlet section 320, at least one pressure-reducing section such as a labyrinth channel 330a, and at least one functionally passive section or liquid transfer section such as section 340a, a small portion of which can be seen in Figure 3.

    [0040] Emitter 300 may advantageously have an emitter end fixture 360 on each longitudinal end of the emitter. Emitter end fixture 360 may be identical or substantially identical to emitter end fixtures known in the art, such as emitter end fixture 160 provided in Figure 1.

    [0041] Figure 4 shows an inner facing 315 of emitter 300. Inner facing 315 may advantageously include a plurality of inlet openings or apertures such as openings 326, which provide fluid communication between a volume contained by inner facing 315 and an outer facing 350 of emitter 300. As will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art, openings 326 are adapted to inhibit coarse particles in the water from entering, and clogging, emitter 300.

    [0042] The vast majority of the water within irrigation pipe 210 flows in longitudinal fashion through emitter 300, and flows out into downstream section 212 of irrigation pipe 210. A minute fraction of the water flows through openings 326, towards outer facing 350 of emitter 300. Having passed through filtration section 320, the water is now free to flow into labyrinth channel 330a. The flow of water exits labyrinth channel 330a via labyrinth intermediate channel 332, which may typically extend to an opposite side or face of emitter 300, shown in Figure 5.

    [0043] Over the course of the tortuous path of labyrinth channel 330a, a designed, predetermined, or otherwise pressure drop may be achieved, as will be readily understood by those of ordinary skill in the art.

    [0044] Figure 5 provides another perspective view of drip irrigation emitter 300, in which labyrinth channel 330b and a functionally passive section or liquid transfer section 340b are prominently displayed. Labyrinth channel 330b fluidly communicates with intermediate channel 332 (shown in Figure 3), whereby the flow of water is discharged from intermediate channel 332 into a first or proximal end of labyrinth channel 330b.

    [0045] The far or distal end of labyrinth channel 330b fluidly communicates with liquid transfer section 340b. It may be advantageous, as shown in Figure 5, for the distal end of labyrinth channel 330b to fluidly communicate directly with a distribution passageway 335, which in turn feeds into liquid transfer section 340b, and preferably, into liquid transfer section 340a as well.

    [0046] Liquid transfer sections 340a (shown in Figure 3) and 340b have a particular radial orientation with respect to the body of emitter 300. In exemplary emitter 300, each of liquid transfer sections 340a and 340b are disposed on an arc or contour representing about 25% of the total outer perimeter or circumference of emitter 300. It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the number of liquid transfer sections, as well as the individual and total fractions of the emitter perimeter or circumference, may vary due to various design constraints or choices. It is critical, however, that the total fraction of the emitter perimeter or circumference be less than 1 , and typically less than 0.8, less than 0.7, or less than 0.6, to enable the disposition of at least one functionally active section (e.g., a pressure reducing section or a pressure controlling section) substantially alongside the liquid transfer section or sections, within the same longitudinal section or segment of the emitter body. This arrangement will be elaborated further with respect to Figures 6 and 7.

    [0047] Figure 6 is a side view of drip irrigation emitter 300. The length L of emitter 300 includes the length of a first emitter end fixture 360a (length = Le), at least one functionally active section such as section 675 having a total length La along the body of emitter 300, and the length of a second emitter end fixture 360b. Emitter end fixtures 360a, 360b are typically identical, such that the total length of these fixtures is 2'Le.

    [0048] Typically, length L of emitter 300 consists of, or substantially consists of, the sum of the total length of functionally active section 675 and the lengths of emitter end fixtures 360a, 360b:



    [0049] In this exemplary embodiment, the length La of functionally active section 675 is determined by the sum of the length of liquid inlet section 320 and the length of the labyrinth channel (e.g., labyrinth channel 330a). More generally, functionally active section 675 may include a pressure controlling section (an exemplary embodiment of which is provided in Figure 9 and the associated description). Also, the sections of labyrinth channel provided herein are meant as exemplary embodiments of pressure reducing sections. It will be appreciated that various types of pressure reducing means and sections will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.

    [0050] Referring now to Figure 7, Figure 7 is a perspective view of inventive drip irrigation emitter 300, disposed within irrigation pipe 210. In emitter 300, water or liquid discharged from functionally active section 675 may collect within functionally passive section or liquid transfer section 340b, or between section 340b and an inner surface 712 of pipe 210. A discharge aperture 747 is disposed in the wall of pipe 210, such that section 340b may fluidly communicate with, or directly fluidly communicate with, an environment outside of pipe 210, via aperture 747.

    [0051] Discharge aperture 747 is both longitudinally aligned within a longitudinal segment defined by functionally active section 675, and radially aligned with functionally passive section 340b. Inadvertent misalignment of discharge aperture 747, whereby aperture 747 is radially aligned with a functionally active section, may severely compromise or destroy the function of the emitter.

    [0052] Referring back to Figure 6, obviation of the annular discharge regions of the prior art cylindrical emitters enables an increased ratio of the total length La of the functionally active sections to length L of the emitter body. This length ratio may be at least 0.60, or at least 0.65, and more typically, at least 0.70, at least 0.75, at least 0.78, at least 0.80, at least 0.82, or at least 0.85.

    [0053] Figure 8 is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of a drip irrigation emitter 800 according to the present invention, disposed within a pipe 810. As with drip irrigation emitter 300 provided in Figure 7, water or liquid discharged from the functionally active section of the emitter may collect within functionally passive section or liquid transfer section 340b, or between section 340b and an inner surface 812 of pipe 810. A discharge aperture 747 is disposed in the wall of pipe 210, such that section 340b may fluidly communicate with, or directly fluidly communicate with, an environment outside of pipe 810, via aperture 747. Discharge aperture 747 is both longitudinally aligned within a longitudinal segment defined by functionally active section 675, and radially aligned with functionally passive section 340b.

    [0054] Drip irrigation emitter 800 has a generally annular discharge region 845, which may be substantially similar to annular discharge region 145 described with respect to Figure 1. Annular discharge region 845 is disposed between functionally active section 675 and emitter end fixture 160. An additional aperture 847 is formed through the wall of pipe 810, based on the estimated longitudinal position of annular discharge region 845 of each drip emitter 800 within irrigation pipe 810.

    [0055] Figure 9 provides a perspective view of a pressure-controlling drip irrigation emitter 900, according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As described hereinabove, the pressure-controlling section forms a portion of the functionally active section of the emitter. The pressure-controlling section is not described in detail, being well known to those of ordinary skill in the art of irrigation drip emitters.

    [0056] Figure 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a drip irrigation emitter 1000, according to the present invention. In this exemplary embodiment, an outer surface 1105 of emitter 1000 has an arc or contour (a) of about 160°. The outer surface of the drip emitters of the present invention typically span at least 140°, at least 160°, or at least 180°.

    [0057] Figure 11A is a perspective view of a drip emitter 1100 according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, disposed within a non-cylindrical irrigation pipe 1110 having a non-cylindrical contour.

    [0058] Figure 11B is a wire-rim drawing of drip irrigation emitter 1100. In this exemplary embodiment, an outer surface 1105 of the emitter body has a contour (a) of about 250°.

    [0059] Figure 12A is a generally axial view of a drip emitter 1200 according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, having alignment protrusions 1292, 1294 and 1296 disposed in an outer facing 1205 of emitter 1200. Alignment protrusion 1296 may be disposed on a radially opposite side of emitter 1200, with respect to alignment protrusions 1292, 1294.

    [0060] Figure 12B is a perspective view of drip emitter 1200, disposed within a pipe 1210. Typically, drip emitters such as drip emitter 1200 are inserted into an irrigation pipe such as pipe 1210, after the pipe has been extruded. Alignment protrusions 1292, 1294 may be adapted whereby, during the insertion of drip emitter 1200 into pipe 1210, external protrusions are formed in an outer surface 1212 of pipe 1210. Consequently, the radial alignment of emitter 1200 within pipe 1210 may be observed or determined based on the radial positioning of these external protrusions.

    [0061] Knowing the radial alignment of emitter 1200 within pipe 1210 may be important in identifying the proper position of discharge apertures such as discharge aperture 747 (shown in Figures 7 and 8).

    [0062] Alternatively or additionally, an external mark (stripe, groove, etc.) may be made on outer surface 1212 of pipe 1210, to designate the radial alignment of emitter 1200 within pipe 1210.

    [0063] Various detection means, including electromagnetic detection methods and apparatus, may be utilized to determine a position of the drip emitter within the pipe. Such methods and apparatus may include, but are not limited to, X-ray imaging or infra-red imaging.

    [0064] As used herein in the specification and in the claims section that follows, the term "functionally passive section", with respect to an emitter or emitter body, refers to a section disposed towards a downstream end of the water flowpath, i.e., downstream of the pressure reduction section, and any pressure control section.

    [0065] As used herein in the specification and in the claims section that follows, the term "functionally active section", with respect to an emitter or emitter body, is meant to include a section in which the pressure is controlled and/or reduced. The term "functionally active section" is further meant to include a liquid inlet section such as filtration or liquid inlet section 320 shown in Figure 3.

    [0066] As used herein in the specification and in the claims section that follows, the term "pressure -reducing section", with respect to a drip emitter, is meant as used by those of skill in the art of drip irrigation emitters. One typical type of pressure-reducing section is a labyrinth-containing section.

    [0067] It will be appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination
    in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable sub-combination.

    [0068] Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the scope of the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A liquid delivery system comprising:

    (a) a pipe (210) having an inner surface and an outer surface, and at least a first aperture (747) providing fluid communication between said surfaces; and

    (b) a drip emitter (300) disposed within said pipe (210), said emitter (300) including:

    (i) an emitter body having an outer facing (350), and an inner facing, said outer facing (350) having a generally convex contour adapted in generally complementary fashion to a concave contour of said inner surface, said outer facing secured to said inner surface,
    said body having a length L, said length L defining an entire length of said drip emitter (300);

    (ii) a liquid inlet section (320) adapted to receive a liquid from within said pipe (210), and to deliver said liquid to said outer facing (350);

    (iii) at least one pressure-reducing section (330a) disposed in fluid communication with said liquid inlet section (320);

    (iv) functionally active sections (675) including at least said at least one pressure-reducing section and said liquid inlet section (320), said functionally active sections having a total length La, said functionally active sections disposed along a first arc of said outer facing (350), and disposed within at least one longitudinal segment of said emitter body, said functionally active sections longitudinally defining a position of said at least one longitudinal segment; and

    (v) at least one functionally passive section (340a), disposed on another arc of said outer facing (350), at least partially within said at least one longitudinal segment;

    said liquid inlet section (320), said pressure-reducing section, said at least one functionally passive section (340a), and said at least a first aperture (747) arranged to form a liquid flow path fluidly connecting between said liquid inlet section (320) and said at least one functionally passive section (340a), via said pressure-reducing section, and between said at least one functionally passive section (340a, 340b) and an ambient environment, via said at least a first aperture (747),
    said outer facing (350) spanning, in at least one location, an arc corresponding to an angle of at least 140° of said inner surface of said pipe (210)
    characterised in that said at least a first aperture (747) is situated within longitudinal bounds of said at least one longitudinal segment, and said at least a first aperture (747) is radially aligned with a portion of said at least one functionally passive section (340a) disposed within said at least one longitudinal segment.


     
    2. The system of claim 1, wherein a length ratio of said length La to said length L of said emitter body is at least 0.70.
     
    3. The system of claim 2, wherein said length ratio is at least 0.75.
     
    4. The system of claim 2, wherein said length ratio is at least 0.78.
     
    5. The system of claim 2, wherein said length ratio is at least 0.80.
     
    6. The system of claim 2, wherein said length ratio is at least 0.82.
     
    7. The system of any one of claims 1 to 6, said outer facing spanning, in at least one location, an arc corresponding to an angle of at least 180° of said inner surface.
     
    8. The system of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein said emitter body is generally cylindrical.
     
    9. The system of any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein said pressure-reducing section includes at least one labyrinth channel.
     
    10. The system of any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein a distance between a first end of said emitter body and a proximal end of said functionally active sections disposed proximally to said first end, is less than 5 mm.
     
    11. The system of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein said outer surface of said pipe has at least one protrusion indicating a radial alignment of said emitter within said pipe.
     
    12. The system of any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein an opening passes through said emitter body, whereby an inner facing of said body and said outer facing are in fluid communication, said liquid inlet section adapted to receive said liquid from within said pipe, via said inner facing, and to deliver said liquid, via said opening, to said outer facing.
     
    13. The system of any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein said functionally passive section is disposed completely within said longitudinal segment.
     
    14. The system of claim 1, wherein a length ratio of said length La to said length L of said emitter body is at least 0.60, and wherein said outer surface of said pipe has at least one mark or groove indicating a radial alignment of said emitter within said pipe.
     
    15. The system of claim 1, wherein a length ratio of said length La to said length L of said emitter body is at least 0.60, and wherein said outer surface of said pipe has at least one external feature indicating a radial alignment of said emitter within said pipe.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Flüssigkeitsabgabesystem, umfassend:

    (a) ein Rohr (210) mit einer Innenfläche und einer Außenfläche, und mindestens einer ersten Öffnung (747), die eine Fluidverbindung zwischen den Flächen bereitstellt; und

    (b) einen Tropfemitter (300), der in dem Rohr (210) angeordnet ist, wobei der Emitter (300) enthält:

    (i) einen Emitterkörper mit einer Außenschicht (350) und einer Innenschicht, wobei die Außenschicht (350) eine allgemein konvexe Kontur aufweist, die in allgemein komplementärer Art an eine konkave Kontur der Innenfläche angepasst ist, wobei die Außenschicht an der Innenfläche befestigt ist, wobei der Körper eine Länge L aufweist, wobei die Länge L eine gesamte Länge des Tropfemitters (300) definiert;

    (ii) einen Flüssigkeitseinlassabschnitt (320), der angepasst ist, eine Flüssigkeit von innerhalb des Rohrs (210) zu empfangen und die Flüssigkeit an die Außenschicht (350) abzugeben;

    (iii) mindestens einen Druckreduktionsabschnitt (330a), der in Fluidverbindung mit dem Flüssigkeitseinlassabschnitt (320) angeordnet ist;

    (iv) funktionell aktive Abschnitte (675), enthaltend mindestens einen Druckreduktionsabschnitt und den Flüssigkeitseinlassabschnitt (320), wobei die funktionell aktiven Abschnitte eine Gesamtlänge La aufweisen, wobei die funktionell aktiven Abschnitte entlang eines ersten Bogens der Außenschicht (350) angeordnet sind und in mindestens einem Längssegment des Emitterkörpers angeordnet sind, wobei die funktionell aktiven Abschnitte in Längsrichtung eine Position des mindestens einen Längssegments definieren; und

    (v) mindestens einen funktionell passiven Abschnitt (340a), der auf einem anderen Bogen der Außenschicht (350), mindestens teilweise in dem mindestens einen Längssegment angeordnet ist;

    den Flüssigkeitseinlassabschnitt (320), den Druckreduktionsabschnitt, den mindestens einen funktionell passiven Abschnitt (340a) und die mindestens eine erste Öffnung (747), die angeordnet ist, um einen Flüssigkeitsströmungspfad zu formen, der zwischen dem Flüssigkeitseinlassabschnitt (320) und dem mindestens einen funktionell passiven Abschnitt (340a) eine Fluidverbindung herstellt, über den Druckreduktionsabschnitt, und zwischen dem mindestens einen funktionell passiven Abschnitt (340a, 340b) und einer Umgebung, über die mindestens eine erste Öffnung (747),
    die Außenschicht (350), die an mindestens einer Stelle einen Bogen spannt, der einem Winkel von mindestens 140° der Innenfläche des Rohrs (210) entspricht,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mindestens eine erste Öffnung (747) innerhalb von Längsbegrenzungen des mindestens einen Längssegments gelegen ist, und die mindestens eine erste Öffnung (747) radial auf einen Abschnitt des mindestens einen funktionell passiven Abschnitts (340a) ausgerichtet ist, der in dem mindestens einen Längssegment angeordnet ist.


     
    2. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein Längenverhältnis der Länge La zur Länge L des Emitterkörpers mindestens 0,70 ist.
     
    3. System nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Längenverhältnis mindestens 0,75 ist.
     
    4. System nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Längenverhältnis mindestens 0,78 ist.
     
    5. System nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Längenverhältnis mindestens 0,80 ist.
     
    6. System nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Längenverhältnis mindestens 0,82 ist.
     
    7. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei die Außenschicht an mindestens einer Stelle ein Bogen spannt, der einem Winkel von mindestens 180° der Innenfläche entspricht.
     
    8. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei der Emitterkörper allgemein zylindrisch ist.
     
    9. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei der Druckreduktionsabschnitt mindestens ein Labyrinthkanal enthält.
     
    10. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei ein Abstand zwischen einem ersten Ende des Emitterkörpers und einem proximalen Ende der funktionell aktiven Abschnitte, die proximal zum ersten Ende angeordnet sind, kleiner als 5 mm ist.
     
    11. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die Außenfläche des Rohrs mindestens einen Vorsprung aufweist, der eine radiale Ausrichtung des Emitters auf das Rohr anzeigt.
     
    12. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, wobei eine Öffnung durch den Emitterkörper führt, wodurch eine Innenschicht des Körpers und die Außenschicht in Fluidverbindung sind, wobei der Flüssigkeitseinlassabschnitt angepasst ist, die Flüssigkeit von innerhalb des Rohrs über die Innenschicht zu empfangen und die Flüssigkeit über die Öffnung an die Außenschicht abzugeben.
     
    13. System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei der funktionell passive Abschnitt vollständig im Längssegment angeordnet ist.
     
    14. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein Längenverhältnis der Länge La zur Länge L des Emitterkörpers mindestens 0,60 ist und wobei die Außenfläche des Rohrs mindestens eine Markierung oder Rille aufweist, die eine radiale Ausrichtung des Emitters im Rohr anzeigt.
     
    15. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein Längenverhältnis der Länge La zur Länge L des Emitterkörpers mindestens 0,60 ist und wobei die Außenfläche des Rohrs mindestens ein externes Merkmal aufweist, das eine radiale Ausrichtung des Emitters im Rohr anzeigt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système de distribution de liquide comprenant :

    (a) un tuyau (210) possédant une surface interne et une surface externe, et au moins une première ouverture (747) fournissant une communication fluidique entre lesdites surfaces ; et

    (b) un goutteur (300) disposé à l'intérieur dudit tuyau (210), ledit goutteur (300) comprenant :

    (i) un corps de goutteur possédant une face externe (350) et une face interne, ladite face externe (350) présentant un contour généralement convexe adapté de façon à être généralement complémentaire à un contour concave de ladite surface interne, ladite face externe étant fixée à ladite surface interne, ledit corps possédant une longueur L, ladite longueur L définissant la longueur entière dudit goutteur (300) ;

    (ii) une section d'entrée de liquide (320) adaptée pour recevoir un liquide provenant de l'intérieur dudit tuyau (210) et pour distribuer ledit liquide à ladite face externe (350) ;

    (iii) au moins une section de réduction de pression (330a) disposée en communication fluidique avec ladite section d'entrée de liquide (320) ;

    (iv) des sections fonctionnellement actives (675) comprenant au moins ladite au moins une section de réduction de pression et ladite section d'entrée de liquide (320), lesdites sections fonctionnellement actives possédant une longueur totale La, lesdites sections fonctionnellement actives étant disposées le long d'un premier arc de ladite face externe (350), et disposées à l'intérieur d'au moins un segment longitudinal dudit corps de goutteur, lesdites sections fonctionnellement actives définissant longitudinalement la position dudit au moins un segment longitudinal ; et

    (v) au moins une section fonctionnellement passive (340a), disposée sur un autre arc de ladite face externe (350), au moins partiellement à l'intérieur dudit au moins un segment longitudinal ;

    ladite section d'entrée de liquide (320), ladite section de réduction de pression, ladite au moins une section fonctionnellement passive (340a) et ladite au moins une première ouverture (747) agencées pour former un trajet d'écoulement de liquide se raccordant de manière fluidique entre ladite section d'entrée de liquide (320) et ladite au moins une section fonctionnellement passive (340a), par l'intermédiaire de ladite section de réduction de pression, et entre ladite au moins une section fonctionnellement passive (340a, 340b) et un environnement ambiant, par l'intermédiaire de ladite au moins une première ouverture (747), ladite face externe (350) couvrant, au niveau d'au moins un emplacement, un arc correspondant à un angle supérieur ou égal à 140° de ladite surface interne dudit tuyau (210), caractérisé en ce que ladite au moins une première ouverture (747) est située dans les limites longitudinales dudit au moins un segment longitudinal, et ladite au moins une première ouverture (747) est alignée radialement avec une partie de ladite au moins une section fonctionnellement passive (340a) disposée à l'intérieur dudit au moins un segment longitudinal.


     
    2. Système selon la revendication 1, un rapport de longueur de ladite longueur La sur ladite longueur L dudit corps de goutteur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,70.
     
    3. Système selon la revendication 2, ledit rapport de longueur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,75.
     
    4. Système selon la revendication 2, ledit rapport de longueur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,78.
     
    5. Système selon la revendication 2, ledit rapport de longueur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,80.
     
    6. Système selon la revendication 2, ledit rapport de longueur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,82.
     
    7. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, ladite face externe couvrant, au niveau d'au moins un emplacement, un arc correspondant à un angle supérieur ou égal à 180° de ladite surface interne.
     
    8. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, ledit corps de goutteur étant généralement cylindrique.
     
    9. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, ladite section de réduction de pression comprenant au moins un canal à labyrinthe.
     
    10. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, une distance entre une première extrémité dudit corps de goutteur et une extrémité proximale desdites sections fonctionnellement actives disposées de manière proximale par rapport à ladite première extrémité étant inférieure à 5 mm.
     
    11. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, ladite surface externe dudit tuyau présentant au moins une saillie indiquant un alignement radial dudit goutteur à l'intérieur dudit tuyau.
     
    12. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, une ouverture traversant ledit corps de goutteur, une face interne dudit corps et ladite face externe étant en communication fluidique, ladite section d'entrée de liquide étant adaptée pour recevoir ledit liquide en provenance de l'intérieur dudit tuyau, par l'intermédiaire de ladite face interne, et pour distribuer ledit liquide, par l'intermédiaire de ladite ouverture, vers ladite face externe.
     
    13. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, ladite section fonctionnellement passive étant disposée complètement à l'intérieur dudit segment longitudinal.
     
    14. Système selon la revendication 1, un rapport de longueur de ladite longueur La sur ladite longueur L dudit corps de goutteur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,60, et ladite surface externe dudit tuyau comportant au moins une marque ou rainure indiquant un alignement radial dudit goutteur à l'intérieur dudit tuyau.
     
    15. Système selon la revendication 1, un rapport de longueur de ladite longueur La sur ladite longueur L dudit corps de goutteur étant supérieur ou égal à 0,60, et ladite surface externe dudit tuyau comportant au moins une caractéristique externe indiquant un alignement radial dudit goutteur à l'intérieur dudit tuyau.
     




    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