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Quick connect/disconnect coupling apparatus

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

Richard A. Martindale, James M. Tuyls, Juha K. Salmela, Bret Baker

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A coupling apparatus provides quick-connect coupling between a fluid source such as a condiment source and a pump. In specific embodiments, the coupling apparatus comprises a tube, and a fluid source connector coupled to an end of the tube and configured to releasably connect to the fluid source. A quick-connect coupler is coupled to another end of the tube and is configured to releasably connect to the pump inlet fitting of the pump. The quick-connect coupler includes a spring-loaded member being biased by a spring toward a locked position to lock the quick-connect coupler to the pump inlet fitting and being movable to a release position to release the quick-connect coupler from the pump inlet fitting. The quick-connect feature conveniently allows the pump to be easily and quickly disconnected from the dispensing system for cleaning or replacement.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a coupling apparatus for condiment delivery according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a quick-connect coupler in the coupling apparatus of FIG. 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a flow shut-off valve in the coupling apparatus of FIG. 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a coupling apparatus for condiment delivery according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view of a quick-connect coupler in the coupling apparatus of FIG. 1 according to another embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the coupler in a locked position; and

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view of the quick-connect coupler of FIG. 5A illustrating the coupler in a release position.

Claims

1. A device for coupling a tube to a pump inlet fitting of a pump, the quick-connect coupler comprising:

2. A device for coupling a tube to a pump inlet fitting of a pump, the quick-connect coupler comprising:

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the sliding member comprises a latch having an end which is biased by the spring inward to engage the outer annular groove in the locked position, the end of the latch being disengaged from the outer annular groove in the release position by pulling the latch outward away from the outer annular groove.

4. The device of claim 2 wherein the body of the quick-connect coupler is configured to be inserted at least partially into the pump inlet fitting in the locked position.

5. A device for coupling a tube to a pump inlet fitting of a pump, the quick-connect coupler comprising:

6. The device of claim 5 wherein the outer groove comprises an outer annular groove.

7. The device of claim 5 wherein the shaft is biased by the spring outward from the body to slide to the locked position, the enlarged portion being disengaged from the outer groove in the release position by pushing the shaft in toward the body.

8. An apparatus for connecting a fluid source to a pump having a pump inlet fitting, the apparatus comprising:

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the tube is flexible.

10. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the fluid source connector includes a flow shut-off valve adjustable between an open position to open a flow passage therethrough and a closed position to close the flow passage.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the flow passage in the flow shut-off valve is substantially the same in size to a flow path through the tube.

12. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the quick-connect coupler includes a flow passage which is substantially the same in size to a flow path through the tube.

13. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the spring-loaded member comprises a latch having an end which is biased by the spring inward to engage the outer groove in the locked position, the end of the latch being disengaged from the outer groove in the release position by pulling the latch outward away from the outer groove.

14. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the shaft is biased by the spring outward from the body to slide to the locked position, the enlarged portion being disengaged from the outer groove in the release position by pushing the shaft in toward the body.

15. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the outer groove comprises an outer annular groove.

16. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the body of the quick-connect coupler is configured to be inserted at least partially into the pump inlet fitting in the locked position.

17. A device for coupling a tube to a pump inlet fitting of a pump, the quick-connect coupler comprising:

18. The device of claim 17 wherein the sliding member comprises a latch having an end which is biased by the spring inward to engage the outer annular groove in the locked position, the end of the latch being disengaged from the outer annular groove in the release position by pulling the latch outward away from the outer annular groove.

19. The device of claim 17 wherein the shaft is biased by the spring outward from the body to slide to the locked position, the enlarged portion being disengaged from the outer annular groove in the release position by pushing the shaft in toward the body.

20. The device of claim 17 wherein the body of the quick-connect coupler is configured to be inserted at least partially into the pump inlet fitting in the locked position.