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SYSTEM ZUM GESTEUERTEN SENKEN EINES ROHRES ODER KABELS - Dokument EP1104524
 
PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1104524 15.05.2003
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1104524
Titel SYSTEM ZUM GESTEUERTEN SENKEN EINES ROHRES ODER KABELS
Anmelder Bogey Venlo B.V., Venlo, NL
Erfinder BEAUJEAN, Marie, Joseph, NL-5913 VT Venlo, NL
Vertreter BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT, 28209 Bremen
DE-Aktenzeichen 69906753
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, CY, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 17.08.1999
EP-Aktenzeichen 999407125
WO-Anmeldetag 17.08.1999
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/NL99/00520
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0000011387
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 02.03.2000
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 06.06.2001
EP date of grant 09.04.2003
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 15.05.2003
IPC-Hauptklasse F16L 1/18
IPC-Nebenklasse F16L 1/20   

Beschreibung[en]

The invention relates to a system for controlled lowering of an elongated body such as a tube or cable into a volume of water such as a lake or sea, from a relatively high level, especially the water level of said volume of water, to a relatively low level, especially the bottom under said volume of water, comprising an elongated tubular guide which is connected to one or more bouyancy bodies, and braking means for braking the movement of said elongated body through said tubular guide, said braking means incorporating at least one braking unit comprising:

  • a flexible tubular inflatable body, the outer wall being supported by said tubular guide and the inner wall of which acts as braking surface,
a valve unit for inflating or deflating the inflatable body whereby the valve unit is connected to a source of pressurized fluidum and is controlled by a control unit.

Such a system is known from the US specification US5575590. In this document air is used to inflate or deflated the inflatable bodies of the braking units. Each braking unit is connected to an individual source of pressured air and the pressure inside the inflatable body of each of the braking units is preset independent of the other braking units on a value which is dependent on the depth at which the respective braking unit thereafter has to function. Because of the increasing hydrostatic pressure the air or gas in the inflatable body is compressed more and more with increasing depth. As a result the contact surface between the inflatable body and the tube becomes smaller and smaller so that in fact in each braking unit only a part of the initial braking surface will be active. Controlling the actual braking force under these circumstances in the prior art system is rather difficult or even impossible.

The object of the invention is now to eliminate the above indicated disadvantages.

In agreement with said object the invention now provides a system of the above indicated type which according to the invention is characterised in that the fluidum inside each inflatable body has a specific weight equal to the specific weight of the surrounding water.

It is especially preferred that the fluidum inside each inflatable body consists of the same water as the surrounding water.

In one further development each valve unit is connected to a separate fluid reservoir attached to the corresponding braking unit and acting as source of pressurized fluidum for said valve unit. Each braking unit is now able to operate independent of the others. The large number of reservoirs could be a disadvantage of this embodiment.

In another development a number of valve units (preferably all valve units) are connected to a fluid conduit which extends along the tubular guide and is connected to one fluid reservoir acting as source of pressurized fluidum for said valve units. Only one reservoir is needed in this embodiment, however, a fluid conduit is necessary between each valve unit and the common reservoir.

The control communication between the control centre and the valve units can be performed in various ways using data transfer along electrical connections, along acoustical communication paths, using radio waves, etc.

In all known prior art cases pressurised air is used as fluid for inflating or deflating the inflatable bodies of the braking units and for determining in correspondence therewith the applied braking force. Assume a water depth of 2000 m and assume a desired control range of 50 cm water column. In that case 4000 braking units would be necessary each capable of functioning at a different depth and at a different hydrostatic bias pressure.

With increasing water depth the controllability of the valve units becomes more and more a problem. The valve unit which has to operate for instance at 1000 m depth should have a pressure control range between 999,75 m and 1000,25 m water column. Such a control range poses a serious problem. This problem will be twice as serious for the most lower valve unit which has to operate in the pressure range between 1999,75 m and 2000,25 m water column. An accurate control within such a small control range under such relatively high bias pressure of the surrounding sea water is hardly performable.

The whole problem is caused by the depth dependent hydrostatic pressure. The question how to eliminate this problem appeared to be surprisingly simple. The hydrostatic pressure acting on the outside of the inflatable bodies has to be eliminated by the pressurizing control fluid inside the inflatable bodies. To obtain such a situation a preferred embodiment of the system is characterised in that the fluid has a specific weight equal to the specific weight of (sea)water. It is especially preferred that the fluid is (sea)water.

By using (sea)water as fluid the hydrostatic pressure difference is completely eliminated at all depths.

In a preferred system, in which the abovementioned fluid is (sea)water, the number of braking units is equal to one, said one braking unit comprising:

  • an elongated non stretchable outer tubular wall
  • an elongated flexible tubular inflatable body, the outer wall of which is supported by said outer tubular wall and the inner wall of which acts as braking surface,
  • a valve unit connected to a pump unit through which (sea)water can be pumped in or out the inflatable body to obtain the required braking stress.

The abovementioned elongated outer wall and the elongated flexible tubular inflatable body preferably extends from just below sea level to just above bottom level. In that case the whole tube is guided and controlled by only one combined component.

If for reasons which will not be discussed here it is preferred to use two or more braking units then each of the braking units comprises

  • a non stretchable outer tubular wall
  • a flexible tubular inflatable body, the outer wall of which is supported by said outer tubular wall and the inner wall of which acts as braking surface,
whereby all outer tubular walls are mechanically connected in series,

whereby all flexible tubular inflatable bodies and a valve unit are connected in series by suitable conduits, and

whereby furthermore the valve unit is connected to a pump unit through which (sea)water can be pumped in or out the series connected inflatable bodies to obtain the required braking stress.

The pump can be of a rather simple design which only has to be able to generate a pressure in the desired control pressure range, in the above example a pressure between 0 and 50 cm water column.

The invention will be explained further with reference to the attached drawings.

Figure 1 illustrates schematically the general situation during lowering of a tube or cable from a ship onto the sea bottom.

Figure 2 illustrates a cross-section through a system according to the invention.

Figure 3 illustrates a longitudinal section through a first embodiment of a system according to the invention especially at the interconnection between two sections of the elongated tubular guide.

Figure 4 illustrates a longitudinal section through a second embodiment of a system according to the invention especially at the interconnection between two sections of the elongated tubular guide and one end of the tubular guide.

Figure 5 shows an embodiment with only one elongated brake unit and separate outside buoyancy bodies.

Figure 6 illustrates a cross section through the elongated brake unit of figure 5.

Figure 1 illustrates a vessel 10, floating on the sea surface 12, from which vessel 11 an elongated object such as a tube or cable 14 is lowered onto the sea bottom 16. To limit the velocity with which the tube or cable 14 is lowered and to maintain during the whole process an S-shape in the cable or tube 14 so that kinking or buckling of the cable or tube 14 is prevented, an elongated tubular guide is used which in the illustrated embodiment comprises a number of sections 18a, 18b, 18c ..... 18n. Each of those sections 18a etc. has a predetermined buoyant capacity necessary to maintain the abovementioned S-shape. Furthermore, each section comprises brake means which are clamped around the tubular cable 14 such that a braking force is applied to the tube or cable which is at least to a large degree in balance with the buoyant force.

Figure 2 illustrates a cross-section through one of the sections 18x, clamped around a tube 14. The section 18x comprises a non stretchable outer tubular wall 20. Within said tubular wall a layer 21 is situated made from a material with a lower specific gravity than water, which material generates the abovementioned buoyancy force. As such suitable materials are known and furthermore the buoyancy features are not the subject of the invention.Therefor a further detailed discussion is considered superfluous.

Within the layer 21 the braking unit is positioned comprising a flexible tubular inflatable body 22. At the inside surface this body may comprise a coating of friction material 24. However, taking into account the relatively large contact surface between the body 22 and the tube 14 in many cases this friction layer could be omitted.

To improve handling of the whole system it is preferred that the tubular configuration can be made from an initially flat or at least open configuration by folding the flat configuration around the tube 14 and fastening the longitudinal edges to each other. If the outer wall 20 is made of a rather stiff material such as metal then it is preferred that the outer wall 20 is divided into a number of segments interconnected by means of hinges. In the illustrated embodiment in Figure 2 there are two of such segments 20a and 20b interconnected by the hinge 23. On the other hand one could make the outer wall from any strong flexible but non stretchable material in which case the jacket could be attached as a blanket around the tube 14. The longitudinal edges of the outer wall are connected by means of a number of cables or chains 26 which preferably are as short as possible. Because of the presence of these cables or chains the flexible inflatable body 22 does not completely surround the cable or tube 14 but fills only the volume between the outer wall 20 and the cable or tube 14, which volume has to be (nearly) constant.

To improve the strength of the configuration and to improve the transfer of the braking forces from the braking layer 24 to the buoyancy layer 21 the braking cushion 22 might be internally subdivided by means of dividing walls one of which is indicated by 27 in figure 2. It will be clear that the resulting subvolumes of the cushion 22 are all interconnected so that the pressure inside each subvolume is always the same.

Figure 3 illustrates a longitudinal cross-section through a specific embodiment of the elongated tubular guide comprising at least the segments 18M and 18N. Each of the segments 18M, 18N,.. has an outer layer 20M, 20N,.., a buoyancy layer 21M, 21N,..,and a braking cushion 22M, 22N,.. of which the inner side could have a strengthening layer 24M, 24N,..of e.g. friction material. The various segments are interconnected by suitable means such as the chains 30A, 30B. In this embodiment the braking cushion 22M of segment 18M of the tubular guide is through a suitable conduit 40M and a valve unit 42M connected to a reservoir 44M. The reservoir 44M comprises for instance pressurized air which through the valve unit 42 can be filled into the inflatable body 22M. On the other hand the valve means 42M are able to let pressurized air escape from the body 22M through the conduit 40M into the surroundings. All other segments of the tubular guide are in the same manner equipped with valve means and reservoirs.

By controlling the inflating/deflating of the body 22M a predetermined pressure can be set as soon as the segment 18x has reached its operating depth. An electrical control line 46M extends from the valve means 42M to a central control unit 48. All other valve means from all other segments are in the same manner connected to this central control unit 48 as indicated by the dotted lines 46X and 46Y. Preferably, the central control unit 48 is installed on board of the vessel 10 and can be operated by the crew of said vessel to set and maintain the pressure in each of the inflatable bodies in each of the braking means at the desired value.

Instead of a pressurized fluid reservoir 44 for each of the segments of the elongated tubular guide, it will be clear even without detailed illustration that one (larger) reservoir can be installed somewhere along the tubular guide 18. In that case each segment of the tubular guide comprises only a set of valve means, which on the one hand are connected to the inflatable body of the respective segment and are on the other hand through suitable conduit means connected to said central reservoir. The valve means are in the same manner as in Figure 3 connected to a central controller 48 for controlling the pressure inside the various inflatable bodies.

As already indicated above, it is preferred to fill the inflatable bodies with a substance which has the same specific gravity as the surrounding (sea) water and more especially to fill the bodies actually with (sea)water. By filling these bodies with (sea)water, the problems with the hydrostatic pressure are eliminated. The hydrostatic pressure outside and inside the inflatable bodies 22 is equal. A rather small overpressure is already sufficient to generate a rather large braking force by each of the inflatable hollow bodies 22.

An example of an embodiment whereby sea water is used as the fluid for inflating/deflating the hollow bodies is illustrated in Figure 4. This figure shows parts of the segments 18R and 18S of the elongated body. Each of the segments 18S, 18R,.. has an outer layer 20S, 20R,.., a buoyancy layer 21S, 21R,..,and a braking cushion 22R, 22SN,.. The various segments are mechanically interconnected by suitable means such as the chains 30C, 30D. Although relatively long chains are shown the relatively short chains as indicated in Figure 3 are preferred.

The actual difference between Figures 3 and 4 relies in the fact that in Figure 4 all the inflatable bodies are connected in series by means of suitable conduits. One of these conduits 36 is visible at the left hand side of Figure 4. This conduit 36 is connected between the inflatable bodies 22R and 22S through suitable connectors 38R and 38S. The whole system comprises only one valve means 50 which through a suitable conduit 52 is connected to one of the inflatable bodies 18... in the series, in the illustrated case the last inflatable body 18S of the series. The valve means 50 cooperates with a pump 52 such that either (sea) water from the surroundings is pumped from the port 56 through the valve means 50 and the conduit 52 into the series circuit of inflatable bodies 22, or water is through the conduit 52, the valve means 50 and the port 56 pumped out of the series circuit of inflatable bodies. The inflating/deflating operation is under control of a central controller 60 which preferably is installed on board of the vessel 10.

In the embodiment of figure 4 only one valve in combination with only one pump is necessary to control the braking force developed by the combination of all braking means. Controlling this configuration by means of the controller is rather simple.

In stead of two or more braking units a preferred embodiment of the system, comprises only one elongated braking unit 18 as schematically illustrated in Figure 5. Figure 5 shows a view similar to the view in Figure 1. As illustrated in cross section in figure 6 the elongated body 18 now comprises only one combination of an outer layer 20, and a braking cushion 22. The pump/valve combination for inflating/deflating the braking cushion is installed on board the ship 10 and not shown separately in Figure 5.

In this embodiment the buoyancy capacity is supplied by a series of annular buoyancy bodies 62a, 62b, ... which are attached with mutual intervals around the elongated braking unit. The buoyancy bodies may have some flexibility so that they can be clipped around the unit 18 and secured by means of a suitable fastener 64 rather easily.


Anspruch[de]
  1. System zum gesteuerten Senken eines länglichen Körpers, wie zum Beispiel eines Rohres oder Kabels (14), in ein Wasservolumen, wie zum Beispiel einen See oder ein Meer, von einem relativ hohen Niveau, speziell dem Wasserpegel des Wasservolumens, auf ein relativ niedriges Niveau, speziell den Boden unter dem Wasservolumen, mit einer länglichen rohrförmigen Führung (18), die mit einem oder mehreren Bojenkörper(n) verbunden ist, und einem Bremsmittel zum Bremsen der Bewegung des länglichen Körpers durch die rohrförmige Führung, wobei das Bremsmittel zumindest eine Bremseinheit enthält, die umfaßt:
    • einen flexiblen ringförmigen aufblasbaren Körper (22), dessen nach außen gerichtete Wand von der rohrförmigen Führung gehalten wird und dessen nach innen gerichtete Wand als Bremsfläche wirkt,
    • eine Ventileinheit (42) zum Aufblasen bzw. Entleeren des aufblasbaren Körpers, wobei die Ventileinheit mit einem Reservoir (44) mit unter Druck stehendem Fluid verbunden ist und von einer Steuereinheit gesteuert wird, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß das Fluid innerhalb jedes aufblasbaren Körpers ein spezifisches Gewicht aufweist, das dem spezifischen Gewicht des umgebenden Wassers entspricht.
  2. System nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß das Fluid innerhalb jedes aufblasbaren Körpers (22) aus demselben Wasser wie das umgebende Wasser besteht.
  3. System nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß jede Ventileinheit (42) mit einem separaten Flüssigkeitsreservoir (44) verbunden ist, das an der entsprechenden Bremseinheit angebracht ist und als Quelle mit unter Druck stehender Flüssigkeit für die Ventileinheit dient.
  4. System nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß eine Zahl von Ventileinheiten mit einer Flüssigkeitsleitung verbunden ist, die sich entlang der rohrförmigen Führung (18) erstreckt und mit einem Flüssigkeitsreservoir verbunden ist, das als Quelle mit unter Druck stehender Flüssigkeit für die Ventileinheiten dient.
  5. System nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die Anzahl von Bremseinheiten gleich eins ist, wobei die eine Bremseinheit umfaßt:
    • eine längliche nicht dehnbare äußere rohrförmige Wand (20),
    • einen länglichen flexiblen rohrförmigen aufblasbaren Körper (22), wobei dessen Außenwand von der äußeren rohrförmigen Wand gehalten wird und dessen Innenwand als Bremsfläche wirkt,
    • ein Ventilelement (42), das mit einer Pumpeinheit verbunden ist, durch die Wasser zum Erzielen der erforderlichen Bremskraft in den aufblasbaren Körper hinein oder aus diesem herauspumpbar ist.
  6. System nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die Anzahl von Bremseinheiten zwei oder mehr beträgt und jede Bremseinheit umfaßt:
    • eine nicht dehnbare äußere rohrförmige Wand (20),
    • einen flexiblen rohrförmigen aufblasbaren Körper (22), dessen Außenwand von der starren äußeren rohrförmigen Wand gehalten wird und dessen Innenwand als Bremsfläche wirkt,
       wobei alle Außenwände mechanisch in Reihe verbunden sind,

       wobei alle flexiblen rohrförmigen aufblasbaren Körper und eine Ventileinheit durch geeignete Leitungen in Reihe verbunden sind,

       wobei außerdem die Ventileinheit mit einer Pumpeinheit verbunden ist, durch die Wasser zum Erzielen der erforderlichen Bremskraft in die in Reihe verbundenen aufblasbaren Körper hinein oder dort herauspumpbar ist.
  7. System nach irgendeinem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die rohrförmige Führung (18) aus in sich zusammenhängenden Abschnitten hergestellt ist, wobei jeder eine der Bremseinheiten umfaßt.
Anspruch[en]
  1. System for controlled lowering of an elongated body such as a tube or cable (14) into a volume of water such as a lake or sea, from a relatively high level, especially the water level of said volume of water, to a relatively low level, especially the bottom under said volume of water, comprising an elongated tubular guide (18) which is connected to one or more buoyancy bodies, and braking means for braking the movement of said elongated body through said tubular guide, said braking means incorporating at least one braking unit comprising:
    • a flexible annular inflatable body (22), the outwards directed wall being supported by said tubular guide and the inwards directed wall of which acts as braking surface,
    • a valve unit (42) for inflating or deflating the inflatable body, whereby the valve unit is connected to a reservoir (44) of pressurised fluidum and is controlled by a control unit, characterised in that, the fluidum inside each inflatable body has a specific weight equal to the specific weight of the surrounding water.
  2. System according to claim 1, characterised in that the fluidum inside each inflatable body (22) consists of the same water as the surrounding water.
  3. System according to claim 1, characterised in that, each valve unit (42) is connected to a separate fluid reservoir (44) attached to the corresponding braking unit and acting as source of pressurized fluidum for said valve unit.
  4. System according to claim 1, characterized in that a number of valve units are connected to a fluid conduit which extends along the tubular guide (18) and is connected to one fluid reservoir acting as source of pressurized fluidum for said valve units.
  5. System according to claim 1, characterised in that the number of braking units is equal to one, said one braking unit comprising:
    • an elongated non stretchable outer tubular wall (20)
    • an elongated flexible tubular inflatable body (22), the outer wall of which is supported by said outer tubular wall and the inner wall of which acts as braking surface,
    • a valve unit (42) connected to a pump unit through which water can be pumped in or out the inflatable body to obtain the required braking force.
  6. System according to claim 1, characterised in that the number of braking units is two or more and each of the braking units comprises
    • a non stretchable outer tubular wall (20)
    • a flexible tubular inflatable body, (22) the outer wall of which is supported by said rigid outer tubular wall and the inner wall of which acts as braking surface,
    whereby all outer walls are mechanically connected in series,

    whereby all flexible tubular inflatable bodies and a valve unit are connected in series by suitable conduits,

    whereby furthermore the valve unit is connected to a pump unit through which water can be pumped in or out the series connected inflatable bodies to obtain the required braking force.
  7. System according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the tubular guide (18) is made out of interconnected sections each comprising one of the braking units.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Système pour faire descendre de façon contrôlée un corps allongé tel qu'un tube ou un câble (14) dans un volume d'eau tel qu'un lac ou une mer, depuis un niveau relativement haut, spécialement le niveau d'eau dudit volume d'eau, à un niveau relativement bas, spécialement le fond dudit volume d'eau, comprenant un guide tubulaire allongé (18) relié à un ou plusieurs corps de flottaison, et des systèmes de freinage pour ralentir le mouvement dudit corps allongé grâce audit guide tubulaire , lesdits moyens de freinage comprenant au moins une unité de freinage comprenant;

       un corps annulaire flexible gonflable (22), dont la paroi externe est soutenue par ledit guide tubulaire et dont la paroi interne tient lieu de surface de freinage,

       une unité de soupape (42) pour gonfler ou dégonfler le corps gonflable, la servovalve étant reliée à un réservoir (44) de fluide pressurisé et étant contrôlée par une unité de contrôle, caractérisée en ce que le fluide contenu dans chaque corps gonflable a un poids précis, égal au poids volumique de l'eau environnante.
  2. Système selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que le fluide contenu dans chaque corps gonflable (22) consiste en la même eau que l'eau environnante.
  3. Système selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que chaque unité de soupape (42) est reliée à un réservoir de fluide à part (44), relié à l'unité de freinage correspondante et jouant le rôle de source de fluide pressurisé pour ladite unité de soupape.
  4. Système selon la revendication 1. caractérisé en ce qu'un certain nombre d'unités de soupape sont reliées à une conduite de fluide qui se prolonge le long du guide tubulaire (18) et qui est relié à un réservoir de fluide jouant le rôle de source de fluide pressurisé pour lesdites unités de soupape.
  5. Système selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que le nombre d'unités de freinage est égal à un, ladite piste de freinage comprenant:
    • une paroi externe tubulaire allongée non étirable (20),
    • un corps tubulaire gonflable allongé flexible (22), dont la paroi externe est soutenue par ladite paroi externe tubulaire et dont la paroi interne tient lieu de surface de freinage,
    • une unité de soupape (42) reliée à un groupe de pompage grâce auquel l'eau peut être pompée à l'intérieur ou à l'extérieur du corps gonflable pour obtenir la force de freinage requise.
  6. Système selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que le nombre d'unités de freinage est de deux ou plus et où chaque unité de freinage comprend:
    • une paroi interne tubulaire non étirable (20),
    • un corps tubulaire gonflable flexible (22), dont la paroi externe est soutenue par ladite paroi externe tubulaire rigide et dont la paroi interne tient lieu de surface de freinage,
    • toutes les parois externes étant mécaniquement reliées en série,
    • tous les corps gonflables tubulaires flexibles et une unité de soupape étant connectés en série par des conduits appropriés,
    • également, l'unité de soupape étant connectée à une unité de pompage à travers laquelle l'eau peut être pompée à l'intérieur ou à l'extérieur des corps gonflables reliés en série afin d'obtenir la force de freinage requise.
  7. Système selon l'une des précédentes revendications, caractérisé en ce que le guide tubulaire (18) est composé d'éléments interconnectés, chacun d'entre eux comprenant l'une des unités de freinage.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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