"A Specialty Valve for Quickly & Safely Isolating Components"




U.S. Design & Utility Patent # 5,915,402

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For more information, please contact:

William G. Mitchell II (Sonny)

1212 Hwy 758

Eunice, LA 70535

Cell Phone: 337.335.8149

Home & Fax: 337.457.0423

Email: gmitchell6@charter.net

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Isolation Valve

"A Specialty Valve for Quickly & Safely Isolating Components"



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Background of the Invention

This valve is unique because it permits a true & equal flow of liquids, gases, or refrigerants. Furthermore, it allows these same flows to be cut-off and isolated without interrupting system integrity. The valve was originally designed to use on air conditioning or refrigeration equipment for a quick interchange of faulty equipment without having to use conventional means or an experienced service technician. The use of recovery machines, torches, and vacuum pumps are not necessary if the valve is installed on HVAC/R equipment prior to equipment malfunction. Since freon can be isolated to either side of the system, the need to recover the freon would not be necessary; furthermore, preventing the escape of hazardous freon into the atmosphere. Since its design, potential uses for the valve have become evident in numerous applications other than air conditioning. Some of those applications are mentioned on the following pages.
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Industry Application


Commercial & Residential Industry

Commercial refrigeration systems and air conditioning systems have become absolute necessities in commercial ventures around the world. Such systems have become so much of everyday living that we depend on them for our existence and commerce to the point that we can hardly do without them even for short periods. These systems seem to break down more often in the hottest times of the year, thereby causing a backlog for the repair industry. Inventories are depleted and systems are down for long periods thus prompting repeated service calls. The problem is compounded further in countries where refrigeration service technicians are scarce. In many cases, although it is very simple to diagnose the problem in such systems, it is quite another to obtain essential critical components, especially such expensive components as condensing coils and compressors, and locate experienced technicians to install them immediately when they are needed. In most cases to make such major repairs as replacing a coil or compressor, the technicians must first recover the freon (required in some countries) from the system for disposal under regulated conditions. The technician must then cut the refrigeration lines leading to the component unit, thereby contaminating the system with moist air. When the new component is connected in place by soldiering the lines in an attempt to perfect a perfect seal, which is not always easily accomplished on the first try, the technician must draw a vacuum on the system prior to injecting new freon, all of which takes time and some degree of expertise.
The problem may be as simple as providing precharged components. Therefore, if the system were equipped with isolation valves that allow the refrigeration lines to be disconnected with very little loss of the vital freon gas from either the system or the component element, an experienced technician would not be required to get the system back on line. Further, precharged components could be warehoused more easily and ready for use when they are needed.
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Refer to Commercial & Residential Industry section for more information.


Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil & Gas Industry, the valve can be used as a quick-release valve in high-risk areas where environmental hazards are present and/or where limitations exist due to weight & space restrictions.
One area, which would benefit from using the valve, would be the HVAC/R sector of the Oil & Gas Industry. Savings associated with quicker and more efficient change-outs of faulty HVAC/R equipment can be realized if the valve is strategically installed on HVAC/R equipment. Savings would be realized because downtime would be reduced and food-product can be saved if the problem is a refrigeration issue.
Presently, it takes approximately two to three days to replace broken or faulty HVAC/R equipment because of transportation issues. Even though numerous modes of transportation are utilized & range from hot-shot services, vehicles, boats, and helicopters there are still many critical issues that can hinder transportation to an inland or off-shore based rig-site. Transportation can be delayed or postponed as a result of inclement weather, a lack of transportation, long distances, etc. Once the dispatch for a HVAC/R technician goes out, the technicianís turn-around time is dependent on these transportation issues. Once the technician finally reaches the rig and diagnoses the problem, additional time is lost if equipment and parts need to be shipped for replacement. Again, transportation issues are critical in expediting these much needed parts. While waiting on parts, the rig is still experiencing down-time, no air/heat, food spoilage, etc. and still being charged for the technicianís time.
Installing the valve in this sector would greatly expedite the turn-around time for change-outs and repairs. In addition, a preventive maintenance or lease-type program can be offered to maintain system life for equipment that has the valve installed. Cost-savings can be realized with all options explored in this industry!
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Refer to Commercial & Residential Industry section for more information.

Plant Industry

The quick-release valve can be used in high-risk areas where environmental & explosive hazards exist due to dangerous chemicals and gasses. If the valve is used on HVAC/R equipment in this industry the use of torches and multiple wrenches can be eliminated, thus eliminating potential safety threats and loss of down-time while waiting on hot-work permits. Bleed-ports between the two ball valves keep air-contaminants out of the system and allow the area between the two ball valves to be purged, thus eliminating the need of a vacuum pump.
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Summary of the Invention

The instant invention and its method of use as disclosed herein addresses the problem described above and is based on the need for a quick interchange of refrigeration components by other than a skilled, trained refrigeration technician. A valve is provided having a pair of close-coupled ball valves connected by a union operable by a spanner wrench. The two valves may be separated and independently capped, thus preventing possibility of accidental leakage. The valves are positioned in each of the inlet and discharge lines leading to and from various refrigeration components such as a condensing coil or a compressor unit. Therefore, if the charged component becomes defective and must be replaced, the connection can be broken by, first, simply closing each of the two valves and releasing the gas vent to release pressure on the valve fitting and turning the union with a spanner wrench until the connection is broken. A new precharged component having a compatible fitting can then be recoupled to the system. By cracking one of the valves, then closing the valve, the space between the valves is charged; then, by cracking the vent, a small amount of trapped air and gas is expelled. Resealing the vent and opening both valves to the maximum places the system back in functional operation.
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Valve Components




End Seal Caps
 
Valve (Disconnected)
 
Valve (Connected)
 
Ball Valve
 
Spanner Wrench

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Abstract

A refrigeration isolation valve including an integral pair of ball valves closed coupled by a custom union for disconnecting and replacing charged refrigeration components. The annular bore through the valve bodies and coupling are consistent with the ball valve aperture and thus allow a true & equal flow. The external diameter of the valve body and coupling are also consistent. The isolation valve is further fitted with a vent for purging trapped air and refrigerant. A method is taught for isolating and disconnecting essential refrigerant components from a system and replacing such components with a precharged component without disturbing the system integrity.
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