(11)EP 3 262 017 B1


(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 15830931.0

(22)Date of filing:  22.12.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C06B 47/00  (2006.01)
C10L 3/00  (2006.01)
C06D 5/08  (2006.01)
B25C 1/08  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/137571 (01.09.2016 Gazette  2016/35)





(84)Designated Contracting States:

(30)Priority: 25.02.2015 US 201514631314

(43)Date of publication of application:
03.01.2018 Bulletin 2018/01

(73)Proprietor: Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Glenview, IL 60025 (US)

  • VANSTAAN, Valery H.
    Glenview, Illinois 60025 (US)

(74)Representative: HGF Limited 
3rd Floor Central Square South Orchard Street Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3AZ
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3AZ (GB)

(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 119 535
EP-A2- 1 666 571
US-A- 4 403 722
EP-A2- 1 093 889
US-A- 3 938 708
US-A1- 2003 051 394
    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).



    [0001] The subject of this invention is fuel and propellant composition of fuel containers/cells, used for gas combustion powered tools, including powered fastener driving tools, and more specifically changes to the formulations of such fuels for enhancing tool performance.

    [0002] Combustion powered fastening tools are widely used in construction and other industries and many consumer applications. Suitable examples of such tools are described in US Patent Nos. 4,403,722; 4,483,474; 4,522,162; and 8,302,831. Combustion tools are usually powered by liquefied hydrocarbon fuel, stored in aerosol dispensers, sometimes called fuel cells, containers or cartridges, delivering fuel in aerosol form to a tool combustion chamber to be mixed with air and ignited to combust and provide energy for inserting a fastener into a work piece. Inside the fuel cell container, the fuel is stored in a flexible bag or pouch with an outlet valve configured for connection with a fuel delivery system for metering doses of fuel to the combustion chamber. Exemplary fuel cells are described in US Patent Nos. 5,115,944 and 7,661,568.

    [0003] Usually, the fuel contained in a collapsible bag of such fuel cells includes a single component or a mixture of two or more components, typically liquefied hydrocarbon gases, plus a small amount of a lubricant. A propellant, contained within the cell but outside the collapsible fuel bag, is usually also a single component or a mixture of two or more liquefied hydrocarbons, in combination with air, nitrogen, or other gases. The propellant has a higher vapor pressure than the fuel pressure and maintains the fuel in a liquefied state during operation.

    [0004] One commonly used fuel used to power combustion powered fastening tools, on market since 2001, is a two-component fuel sold by ITW Paslode. The ITW fuel includes as its main components, propylene (11.93 bars (137 psig) at 21°C) and 1-butene, mixed in different percentages to meet local conditions and regulation requirements of particular markets. The highest vapor pressure mix of this fuel family is known at 6.21 bars (90 psig) at 21°C. A variation with a three-component fuel also has vapor pressure at 6.21 bars (90 psig) at 21°C. The propellant in these cases is propylene with or without atmospheric air. Conventional fuel cell fuels do not have vapor pressures exceeding 6.21 bars (90 psig) at 21°C.

    [0005] US Patent No. 8,205,777 describes the work of a fuel cell/container, and claims fuel formulations of 40-95% of 1-butene plus 60-5% of propane and also 56-96% of 1-butene plus 44-4% of propylene. For the purpose of this application, it should be noticed that in the '777 patent, none of the claimed combinations produces fuel with vapor pressure higher than 5.65 bars (82 psig) at 21°C.

    [0006] US Patent No. 6,800,104 discloses a combustion tool fuel composition having a fragrance to mask the often unpleasant odor of conventional fuels. While dealing mostly with fuel fragrances of 3-component fuels, this reference fails to disclose fuel component combinations to exceed 6.21 bars (90 psig) at 21°C. Notably, propylene is disclosed in the preferred composition in approximately 10 percent by weight.

    [0007] EP-A2-1 666 571 discloses the use of a fuel gas for a combustion type power tool.

    [0008] A common problem of users of combustion tools is that tool performance degrades as temperatures fall. It has been found that the rate of tool misfire increases at lower temperatures, usually below 5°C (40°F). These performance problems make the tool less desirable to users, who need to work efficiently in a variety of weather conditions.

    [0009] Thus, there is a need for an improved combustion tool fuel that enhances tool performance at low temperatures.


    [0010] The present invention specifically addresses the issue of improving performance of combustion powered tools, especially at lower ambient temperatures, by means of the invention recited in the claims. By providing an improved fuel cell fuel mixture, the present fuel has been found to improve combustion tool performance at lower temperatures by reducing the percentage of missed shots, and in some conditions, missed shots were eliminated.

    [0011] Combustion fuel cells typically store the fuel in pressurized liquid form. In a typical work cycle of a combustion tool, a metered dose of fuel is released from the fuel container/valve for each cycle/shot. The fuel travels under its own pressure through the delivery system of the tool and is ultimately injected into a combustion chamber in the tool. As the boiling point/temperature of fuel is usually lower than the air temperature in the combustion chamber, the fuel evaporates, and mixes with the air. Combustion occurs for driving the fastener once the user pulls the trigger and causes a spark to be generated by the tool spark plug.

    [0012] A proper mix of air and vaporized fuel, characterized by the air-fuel ratio, at this point must be present in the spark plug vicinity. Proper ignition requires that the air/fuel mix reaches the proper ratio. So, the time needed for fuel to travel from the valve to, and evaporate in, the combustion chamber and the spark plug area is critical. If the fuel takes too long to reach the combustion chamber, tool performance will be sluggish and unacceptable to a user.

    [0013] Thus, since the fuel travel time and evaporation is temperature dependent, combustion tool performance is enhanced at higher ambient temperature, when fuel evaporates faster. In conventional combustion tools, these operational characteristics hinder low temperature performance and reduce user productivity.

    [0014] It has been found that fuels having higher vapor pressure/lower boiling points, are able to travel relatively faster to the combustion chamber and evaporate more quickly at lower temperatures. More specifically, a combustion tool fuel cell having enhanced low temperature operation is provided and includes a fuel composition having at least one hydrocarbon component with a total vapor pressure equal or above 6.55 bars (95 psig) at 21°C.

    [0015] According to the invention, a method according the claims is provided.

    [0016] Another design factor in providing an effective combustion tool fuel relates to the propellant. Combustion tool fuel cells typically include a propellant enclosed in a second compartment separate from the fuel. Providing a pressure difference between the propellant and the fuel through a variety of work conditions during the operational life of the fuel container is usually a challenge, especially within the can/container strength constrains. This invention provides formulations of propellants to support the proposed "boosted" fuel for two and more compartment fuel cells/containers.



    FIG. 1 is a graphic representation of changes in combustion tool performance at various temperatures compared based on fuel vapor pressure;

    FIG. 2 is a plot of low temperature tool performance for various fuel mixtures plotted as percentage successful shots against temperature; and

    FIG. 3 is a graphical representation of tool performance at various temperatures and using various fuel mixtures.


    [0018] The present inventor has found that combustion tool performance at low temperatures is significantly improved when the fuel in the fuel cell has a total vapor pressure at or above 6.55 bars (95 psig) at 21°C. In the present application, "total vapor pressure" refers to a combined vapor pressure value for all of the various fuel ingredients or constituents. The fuel is a blend of various ingredients, such as propylene and n-butane or 1-butene.

    [0019] As is known in the art, the main ingredients of combustion tool fuel cell fuel include but are not limited to propylene, propane and MAPP gas, which itself is a blend of gases well known in the art. For the purpose of this application, "MAPP gas" includes other similar "naturally" derived multi-component hydrocarbon mixtures. Standard combustion tool fuel, referred to as the control in the present application, is also referred to as FUEL 90. This fuel comprises as its main ingredients propylene at 52 weight %, and 1-butene at 48 weight %, and is commercially available from ITW-Paslode. The "90" refers to the total gas vapor pressure. It was found that the tool users desire to be able to work at even lower ambient temperatures than they can now with fuels/cells currently available on the market.

    [0020] In one embodiment of the invention, a single hydrocarbon component with a vapor pressure equal or above 6.55 bars (95 psig) at 21°C is used. This can be, propylene with a vapor pressure of 9.38 bars (136 psig),

    [0021] The fuel composition includes two components, one of them being propylene in the amount of 53 weight % or above and the remainder is 1-butene, n-butane or isobutane, or a mix of them. In addition to having a fuel with a high vapor pressure, a preferred type of propellant composition is provided with 1, 2 or more hydrocarbon components with a total vapor pressure equal or above 9.65 bars (140 psig) at 21°C. In one embodiment, a propellant composition includes ethane, acetylene, or a mix of them as one of the primary components. A preferred embodiment of propellant composition in this case is the mix of 10 weight % or above of ethane with the balance of components, bringing the total vapor pressure to 11.72 bars (170 psig) or above. In another embodiment of the invention, a propellant composition contains 1, 2 or more hydrocarbon components and a compressed gas at or over 1.03 bars (15 psig) (before filling). In the latter case, the propellant composition in this case includes hydrocarbon components and either nitrogen, air or carbon dioxide or a mix of them at 1.03 bars (15 psig) or above pressure.

    [0022] Referring now to FIG. 1, tests were conducted using two models of combustion fastening nailers. The tools were each placed in a temperature-controlled chamber, and fired repeatedly at a speed of one shot every 2 seconds using each of several test blends of fuel. The control fuel was FUEL 90 described above. Another test fuel was FUEL 110 having 71 weight percent propylene and 29 weight percent 1-butene. Yet another test fuel was FUEL 136, with propylene as the major ingredient. FIG. 1 plots in summary fashion fuel vapor pressure at room temperature, 21°C (70°F), against a change in low temperature limit of a tools performance. It will be seen that as fuel vapor pressure increases, the combustion tool is able to work more effectively at lower temperatures.

    [0023] Referring now to FIG. 2, actual data points of the two tools designated Block A and Block B due to their structural configurations relating to the fuel delivery system, are shown each with FUEL 136 and FUEL 90. Tool performance is plotted as the percentage of successful shots out of 100 consecutive shots. In this graph, 94 percent successful shots was arbitrarily used as the measure of a successful operational session. It will be seen that exchanging FUEL 90 for FUEL 136 resulted in an extra -3°C (25°F) of efficient tool operation, extending down to the range of - 6°C (20°F).

    [0024] Referring now to FIG. 3, a comparison of FUEL 90, FUEL 110 and FUEL 136 is shown. In this case, using the same test combustion tool with all three fuels, FUEL 110 provided a decrease of about -15°C (5°F) in operational temperature, while FUEL 136 provided a reduction of about -11°C (12°F) in operational temperature. Thus, results clearly show that by changing only fuel vapor pressure with everything else being the same provides a significant improvement in tool low temperature performance.


    1. A method to enhance combustion tool fuel cell operation at low temperature operation of below 5°C by a fuel composition comprising at least one hydrocarbon component with a total vapor pressure equal or above 6.55 bars (95 psig) at 21°C, characterized in that said fuel composition comprises at least 53 weight % of propylene, with the remainder being at least one of 1-butene, n-butane and isobutane.
    2. A method according claim 1 wherein the combustion tool fuel cell fuel composition comprises :

    a fuel having a vapor pressure of at least 6.55 bars (95psig) at 21°C, said fuel including at least 53 weight percent of propylene; and

    a propellant comprising at least one hydrocarbon component with a total vapor pressure equal or above 9.65 bars (140 psig) at 21°C.



    1. Verfahren zur Verbesserung des Betriebs einer Brennstoffzelle für ein brennkraftbetriebenes Werkzeug im Niedertemperaturbetrieb unter 5 °C durch eine Brennstoffzusammensetzung, die mindestens eine Kohlenwasserstoffkomponente mit einem Gesamtdampfdruck gleich oder über 6,55 bar (95 psig) bei 21 °C umfasst, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Brennstoffzusammensetzung mindestens 53 Gew.-% Propylen umfasst, wobei es sich bei dem Rest um 1-Buten, n-Butan und/oder Isobutan handelt.
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Brennstoffzusammensetzung für eine Brennstoffzelle für ein brennkraftbetriebenes Werkzeug
    einen Brennstoff mit einem Dampfdruck von mindestens 6,55 bar (95 psig) bei 21 °C, wobei der Brennstoff mindestens 53 Gewichtsprozent Propylen enthält; und
    ein Treibmittel, das mindestens eine Kohlenwasserstoffkomponente mit einem Gesamtdampfdruck gleich oder über 9,65 bar (140 psig) bei 21 °C umfasst; umfasst.


    1. Procédé pour améliorer le fonctionnement d'une pile à combustible d'outil à combustion à un fonctionnement à basse température inférieure à 5 °C par une composition de combustible comprenant au moins un composant hydrocarboné doté d'une pression de vapeur totale égale ou supérieure à 6,55 bars (95 psig) à 21 °C, caractérisé en ce que ladite composition de combustible comprend au moins 53 % en poids de propylène, le reste étant au moins l'un parmi le 1-butylène, le n-butane et l'isobutane.
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, la composition de combustible de pile à combustible d'outil à combustion comprenant :

    un combustible possédant une pression de vapeur totale égale ou supérieure à 6,55 bars (95 psig) à 21 °C, ledit combustible comprenant au moins 53 % en poids de propylène ; et

    un propulseur comprenant au moins un composant hydrocarboné doté d'une pression de vapeur totale égale ou supérieure à 9,65 bars (140 psig) à 21 °C.




    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