Patent application title: Valve
Amir Jeshani (Norwalk, IA, US)
Daniel Welch (Dsm, IA, US)
Robert Folkestad (Des Moines, IA, US)
IPC8 Class: AF01L310FI
Class name: Valves and valve actuation biased valve springs and spring retainers
Publication date: 2012-05-24
Patent application number: 20120126161
The invention is an improved valve having a valve body, a valve stem
having a valve plug portion and a valve stem portion, and a valve guide
having an aperture in which the valve stem portion is received for
reciprocal movement of the valve stem longitudinally inside the valve
body. A valve seat is supported in the valve body and includes a pair of
spaced apart circular valve seat surfaces that each sealingly engage a
separate surface of the valve plug portion;. A spring biases the valve
plug portion into sealing engagement with the valve seat. The valve seat
has a pair of sealing surfaces that are brought in sealing engagement
with distinct surface portions of the valve stem to provide improved and
redundant sealing function. The valve has improved longevity and
1. An improved valve, comprising: (a) a valve body; (b) a valve stem
comprising a metal valve plug portion and a valve stem portion; (c) a
valve guide comprising an aperture in which the valve stem portion is
received for reciprocal movement of the valve stem longitudinally inside
the valve body; (d) a metal valve seat supported in the valve body and
comprising a pair of spaced apart circular valve seat surfaces that each
sealingly engage a separate surface of the valve plug portion; and (e) a
spring biasing the valve plug portion into sealing engagement with the
2. An improved valve as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a cap secured to the end of the valve stem portion trapping the spring between the end cap and the valve guide.
3. An improved valve as claimed in claim 1, wherein the contact surfaces of the valve plug portion are valve seat are outwardly facing frustoconical surfaces and the valve seat surfaces are corresponding inwardly facing frustoconical surfaces.
4. An improved valve as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a contoured shoulder of the valve body adjacent the valve seat that matches the contour of the valve stem and it in contact engagement therewith when the valve plug portion is in contact engagement with the valve seat.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 This application claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 61/379,098, filed Sep. 1, 2010.
 The invention relates generally to a valve and, more specifically, a valve having an improved seat that increases its duty life in harsh environments.
 Automated car washes use a large number of valves for the control the flow of water as well as solutions or mixtures of soaps, detergents, cleaners, waxes, polishes, and the like. Many of these fluids are corrosive and may react with normal valve components. Additionally, the valves must operate at high pressures, frequently at high temperatures, and may have short duty cycles. All of these factors shorten the life and reliability of the valves.
 The effect of valve failure can be substantial. Valve failure can result in reduced performance or failure of the carwash. The valves are used to prevent the unwanted flow of fluids from reservoirs of the carwash solutions such that failure of the valve can result in dispensing of the fluid under undesirable conditions, possibly disrupting the carwash process and certainly wasting the undesirably dispensed fluid. Perhaps worse, the valve failure by result in fluids mixing from reservoir to reservoir, ruining the entire reservoir of these expensive fluids.
 What is needed is a valve that eliminates the plastic valve seats of O-rings found in conventional valves and has a long life under the harsh operating conditions of automated carwashes, operates reliably, is economical and easy to install.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invention consists of a durable and reliable poppet valve suitable for use in the harsh environment of automated carwashes. The valve has a cylindrical valve body with threaded ports on either end for connection of the valve into a fluid line. A valve stem, having a valve plug at its downstream end portion, is received for reciprocal longitudinal movement inside the valve body by a valve guide. A spring is received about the valve stem and is compressed between the valve guide and an end cap secured to the upstream end of the valve stem. A metal valve seat is received in a seat support shelf of the valve body. The valve plug has a convex upstream face that, when in sealing engagement with the valve seat seals the valve closed, preventing fluid flow. The spring thus biases the valve stem to bring the valve plug into sealing engagement with the valve seat. If, however, fluid pressure on the upstream face of the valve plug is sufficient to overcome the biasing force of the spring, the valve plug will be moved out of sealing engagement with the valve seat and fluid will be allowed to flow through the valve. The valve seat has a profile that provides an improved sealing function and lengthens the service life and reliability of the valve.
 An object of the present invention is to provide an improved valve.
 Another object of the invention is to provide a valve with improved longevity and reliability.
 Still another object of the invention is to provide a valve that reliably controls the flow of fluids under harsh conditions.
 Yet another object of the invention is to provide a valve that reliably controls the flow of fluids and conditions common to automated carwashes.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the valve of the present invention.
 FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the valve of FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of the valve stem and valve seat of the valve of FIG. 1 shown in the open position.
 FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the valve stem and valve seat of the valve of FIG. 1 shown in the seated or closed position.
 FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of FIG. 4.
 FIG. 6 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the valve seat.
 FIG. 7 is a plan view of a representative application of a plurality of the valves of the present invention in a manifold.
 FIG. 8 is a perspective view the manifold of FIG. 7.
 FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram of the components of a typical carwash facility employing the valve.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, generally at 10, is a valve representing a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The valve 10 has a generally elongated body 12 with a throughbore 14 for the flow of fluids through the valve 10 under desired conditions. Extending radially across the throughbore 14 from a side wall of the body 12 to an opposite sidewall is a valve guide 16 having a guide hole 18 aligned longitudinally of the valve body 12. A valve stem 20 has an extended stem portion 22 and a valve plug portion 24. The stem portion 22 is received inside the guide hole 18 for reciprocal longitudinal guided movement of the valve stem 20 inside the valve body 12.
 Included in the valve body 12 is a seat support 26 that defines a circular aperture. A valve seat 28 is fitted into and supported by the seat support 26. The valve plug portion 24 is brought into and out of contact with the valve seat 28 as the valve stem 20 moves reciprocally inside the valve body 12. A cap 30 is secured to the free end portion of the stem portion 22, for example by threads 32 on the inside of the cap 30 and cooperating threads 34 on outer periphery of the stem portion. A spring 36 is placed around the stem portion 22 and, upon assembly, is compressed between the valve guide 16 and the cap 30. Accordingly, it is seen that the spring 36 biases the valve plug portion 24 away from the open position (FIG. 3) into contact engagement with the valve seat 28 (FIGS. 4 and 5).
 An improvement of the valve 10 is the profile of the valve seat 28. As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the valve seat 28 has a pair of circumferential sealing surfaces, downstream or outer surface 38 and upstream or inner surface 40. These surfaces 38 and 40 are formed into the valve seat 28 at a profile that matches the contour of the upstream surface of the valve plug portion 24 at the area of contact between the two when the valve is in its closed position (FIG. 5). Accordingly, the valve 10 provides multiple areas of contact between the valve stem 20 and the valve body 12 and valve seat 28 to greatly enhance the sealing performance of the valve 10 against the undesired passage of fluid through the valve 10. In the preferred embodiment, the outer contour of the upstream surface of the valve plug portion 24 is the surface of a frustum or frustoconical and the sealing surfaces of the valve seat 38 and 40 are matching or mating inwardly facing frustoconical surfaces. In a preferred embodiment, the angle of the frustoconical surface is 130°.
 The valve body 12 has threaded apertures at the upstream end 38 and the downstream end 40 to facilitate insertion of the valve 10 into a system of plumbing, such as the manifold 42 (FIGS. 7 and 8). The manifold 42 is a typical plumbing system found in an automated carwash wherein a plurality, seven in FIGS. 7 and 8, of the valves 10a-g are used to control the flow of fluids from a plurality of reservoirs, pumps or other sources. The impact of failure of one or more of the valves can be easily understood by reference to FIGS. 7 and 8. For example, if valve 10a should fail and stick open, fluid entering the manifold 46 through valve 10b will now backflow through valve 10a, contaminating a reservoir that feeds valve 10a.
 In a preferred embodiment, the upstream face of the valve plug portion 24 may be concave so as to increase the surface area of the valve stem 20 and thereby increase the sealing force.
 Referring to FIG. 6, the profile of a preferred embodiment of the valve seat 28 is shown, with thickness of section of the valve seat 28 on the figure. The diameter of distance A-A is 0.96 inches, distance B-B is 1.20 inches, distance C-C is 1.30 inches, and distance D-D is 1.40 inches.
 An exemplary car wash arrangement of components is illustrated in FIG. 9, divided into a low and high pressure side. On the low pressure side, a low pressure pump and injectors provide chemicals from chemical barrels to a chemical manifold (FIG. 8) to a valve of the present invention. Water from a high pressure pump is provided downstream of the valve as is a spot free rinse solution, leading past a check valve to the low pressure output. On the high pressure side, a high pressure pump provides water for an under body wash, through a check valve and an air pressure check valve to the high pressure output.
 The foregoing descriptions comprise illustrative embodiments of the present inventions. The foregoing embodiments described herein may vary based on the ability, experience, and preference of those skilled in the art. The foregoing description and drawings merely explain and illustrate the invention, and the invention is not limited thereto, except insofar as the claims are so limited. Those skilled in the art who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications and variations therein without departing from the scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class Springs and spring retainers
Patent applications in all subclasses Springs and spring retainers