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1. WO2020205207 - PIVOT CLIP

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

PIVOT CLIP

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This disclosure relates to pipe couplings. More specifically, this disclosure relates to a pivot clip for pipe couplings.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Pipes can typically be joined at their ends by pipe couplings comprising two segments and two fasteners joining distal ends of the segments. Each fastener can typically comprise a nut and a bolt. The fasteners typically need to be tightened one at a time, incrementally and altematingly, such that the space between each opposite end of the tightened coupling is substantially the same. This process can take time and can encounter difficulties when, for example, one of the ends is not accessible when the coupling is fitted onto the pipe ends.

SUMMARY

[0003] It is to be understood that this summary is not an extensive overview of the disclosure.

This summary is exemplary and not restrictive, and it is intended neither to identify key or critical elements of the disclosure nor delineate the scope thereof. The sole purpose of this summary is to explain and exemplify certain concepts off the disclosure as an introduction to the following complete and extensive detailed description.

[0004] Disclosed is a pipe coupling comprising: a first segment comprising a first end and a second end distal to the first end; a second segment comprising a first end and a second end distal to the first end; a first tightening element configured to draw the second end of the first segment towards the first end of the second segment; a second tightening element configured to draw the first end of the first segment towards the second end of the second segment; and a pivot clip between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment, the pivot clip configured to maintain a separation distance between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment.

[0005] Also disclosed is a method of coupling two pipes, the method comprising: fastening two coupling segments into an untightened configuration; the two coupling segments comprising a first segment and a second segment, the first segment comprising a first end and a second end distal to the first end , the second segment comprising a first end and a second end distal to the first end, wherein fastening the two coupling segments comprises: placing a pivot clip between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment, the pivot clip configured to maintain a separation distance between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment, and tightening a first tightening element to draw the second end of the first segment towards the first end of the second segment; placing ends of the two pipes between the two coupling segments; and tightening a second tightening element to draw the first end of the first segment towards the second end of the second segment.

[0006] Also disclosed is a pipe coupling comprising a first segment; a second segment; a first tightening element configured to draw the first segment towards second segment; and a pivot clip between the first segment and the second segment, the pivot clip configured to maintain a separation distance between the first segment and the second segment.

[0007] Various implementations described in the present disclosure may include additional systems, methods, features, and advantages, which may not necessarily be expressly disclosed herein but will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following detailed description and accompanying drawings. It is intended that all such systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within the present disclosure and protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] The features and components of the following figures are illustrated to emphasize the general principles of the present disclosure. Corresponding features and components throughout the figures may be designated by matching reference characters for the sake of consistency and clarity.

[0009] FIG. 1 is a front view of a pipe coupling comprising a pivot clip in accordance with one aspect of the current disclosure, showing the pipe coupling in an untightened configuration.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the pipe coupling of Figure 1 positioned on an end of a pipe.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the pivot clip of Figure 1.

[0012] FIG. 4 is a top view of the pivot clip of Figure 1.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a side view of the pivot clip of Figure 1.

[0014] FIG. 6 is a front view of the pivot clip of Figure 1.

[0015] FIG. 7 is a front view of the pipe coupling of Figure 1 in a tightened configuration. [0016] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the pipe coupling connecting two pipes.

[0017] FIG. 9 is a side view of the pipe coupling with a pivot clip in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure.

[0018] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the pipe coupling of Figure 9, shown positioned on an end of a pipe to be joined.

[0019] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the pivot clip of Figure 9.

[0020] FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional perspective view of the pivot clip in Figure 11 taken from line 12-12 in Figure 11.

[0021] FIG. 13 is a front view of the pipe coupling and pivot clip Figure 9 in the tightened configuration.

[0022] FIG. 14 is a side view of a pipe coupling comprising a pivot clip in accordance with another aspect of the present disclosure.

[0023] FIG. 15 is a side view of a pipe coupling comprising a pivot clip in in accordance with another aspect of the present disclosure.

[0024] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a coupling segment of the pipe coupling of Figure 15.

[0025] FIG. 17 is a detail view of a pivot of the segment of Figure 16 and taken from detail 17 in Figure 16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] The present disclosure can be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description, examples, drawings, and claims, and the previous and following description. However, before the present devices, systems, and/or methods are disclosed and described, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to the specific devices, systems, and/or methods disclosed unless otherwise specified, and, as such, can, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0027] The following description is provided as an enabling teaching of the present devices, systems, and/or methods in its best, currently known aspect. To this end, those skilled in the relevant art will recognize and appreciate that many changes can be made to the various aspects of the present devices, systems, and/or methods described herein, while still obtaining the beneficial results of the present disclosure. It will also be apparent that some of the desired benefits of the present disclosure can be obtained by selecting some of the features of the present disclosure without utilizing other features. Accordingly, those who work in the art will recognize that many modifications and adaptations to the

present disclosure are possible and can even be desirable in certain circumstances and are a part of the present disclosure. Thus, the following description is provided as illustrative of the principles of the present disclosure and not in limitation thereof.

[0028] As used throughout, the singular forms "a," "an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "an element" can include two or more such elements unless the context indicates otherwise.

[0029] Ranges can be expressed herein as from "about" one particular value, and/or to

"about" another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another aspect includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent "about," it will be understood that the particular value forms another aspect. It will be further understood that the endpoints of each of the ranges are significant both in relation to the other endpoint, and independently of the other endpoint.

[0030] For purposes of the current disclosure, a material property or dimension measuring about X or substantially X on a particular measurement scale measures within a range between X plus an industry-standard upper tolerance for the specified measurement and X minus an industry-standard lower tolerance for the specified measurement. Because tolerances can vary between different materials, processes and between different models, the tolerance for a particular measurement of a particular component can fall within a range of tolerances.

[0031] As used herein, the terms "optional" or "optionally" mean that the subsequently

described event or circumstance can or cannot occur, and that the description includes instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not.

[0032] The word "or" as used herein means any one member of a particular list and also

includes any combination of members of that list. Further, one should note that conditional language, such as, among others, "can," "could," "might," or "may," unless specifically stated otherwise, or otherwise understood within the context as used, is generally intended to convey that certain aspects include, while other aspects do not include, certain features, elements and/or steps. Thus, such conditional language is not generally intended to imply that features, elements and/or steps are in any way required for one or more particular aspects or that one or more particular aspects necessarily include logic for deciding, with or without user input or prompting, whether these features, elements and/or steps are included or are to be performed in any particular aspect.

[0033] Disclosed are components that can be used to perform the disclosed methods and systems. These and other components are disclosed herein, and it is understood that when combinations, subsets, interactions, groups, etc. of these components are disclosed that while specific reference of each various individual and collective combinations and permutation of these may not be explicitly disclosed, each is specifically contemplated and described herein, for all methods and systems. This applies to all aspects of this application including, but not limited to, steps in disclosed methods. Thus, if there are a variety of additional steps that can be performed it is understood that each of these additional steps can be performed with any specific aspect or combination of aspects of the disclosed methods.

[0034] Disclosed is a pivot clip for pipe couplings and associated methods, systems, devices, and various apparatus. It would be understood by one of skill in the art that the disclosed pivot clip is described in but a few exemplary embodiments among many. No particular terminology or description should be considered limiting on the disclosure or the scope of any claims issuing therefrom.

[0035] For ease of understanding, the use of the directional terms herein, such as right, left, front, back, top, bottom, and the like can refer to the orientation shown and described in the corresponding figures, but these directional terms should not be considered limiting on the orientation or configuration required by the present disclosure. The use of ordinal terms herein, such as first, second, third, fourth, and the like can refer to elements associated with elements having matching ordinal numbers. For example, a first light bulb can be associated with a first light socket, a second light bulb can be associated with a second light socket, and so on. However, the use of matching ordinal numbers should not be considered limiting on the associations required by the present disclosure.

[0036] Figure 1 is a front view of a pipe coupling 100, in accordance with one aspect of the present disclosure. The pipe coupling 100 can couple two pipes 154a,b together. In some aspects, the coupling 100 can be a slip-on coupling, such as the slip-on coupling described in U.S. Patent No. 9,194,516, issued on November 24, 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The pipe coupling can comprise a first segment 120, a second segment 121, and a gasket 108 positioned and held between the first segment 120 and the second segment 121. In some aspects, each of the segments 120,121 can be constructed similarly, such as casted from the same mold (not shown). In example aspects, each of the segments 120,121 can comprise a first end 122 and a second end 124 distal to the first end 122. As shown in Figure 1, in some aspects, the segments 120,121 can be configured in the pipe coupling 100 to be 180-degree rotations of each other, with the first end 122 of the first segment 120 proximate to the second end 124 of the second segment 121, and the second end 124 of the first segment 120 proximate to the first end 122 of the second segment 121. In some aspects, the two pipes 154a,b can be grooved- end pipes defining grooves proximate each end, and the segments 120,121 can each be configured to engage a groove in each pipe 154a,b upon tightening of the coupling to prevent separation of the pipes 154a,b. The gasket 108 can then seal a joint defined between the pipes 154a,b.

[0037] For each segment 120,121, in some aspect, a first shoulder 125 and a second shoulder 127 can protrude outwardly from the segments 120,121 proximate to each of the first end 122 and the second end 124, respectively. The shoulders 125,127 can comprise fastener pads 126,128. A first fastener pad 126 proximate to the first end 122 of the first segment 120 can be fastened to a second fastener pad 128 proximate to the second end 124 of the second segment 121. The remaining fastener pads 126,128 can be fastened in

corresponding fashion.

[0038] In some aspects, a tongue 132 can protrude from the first end 122 of each segment 120,121. Likewise, in some aspects, a groove 138 can be defined in the second shoulder 127, the groove 138 configured to receive the tongue 132.

[0039] The fastener pads 126,128 can comprise tightening elements 129. The tightening elements 129 can comprise fastener holes (not shown) extending through each fastener pad 126,128. Each fastener hole can receive a bolt 134. A nut 136 can be configured to secure the bolt 134 in the fastener holes 130. A first fastener pad 126 proximate to the first end 122 of the first segment 120 can be fastened to a second fastener pad 128 proximate to the second end 124 of the second segment 121 with a first bolt 134 and a first nut 136, and a second fastener pad 128 proximate to the second end 124 of the first segment 120 can be fastened to a first fastener pad 126 proximate to the first end 122 of the second segment 121 with a second bolt 134 and a second nut 136.

[0040] The pipe coupling 100 can further comprise a pivot clip 140 configured to maintain a separation distance 142 between the second end 124 of the first segment 120 and the first end 122 of the second segment 121. In example aspects and as shown in Figure 1, the pipe coupling can be in an untightened configuration 144. In the untightened

configuration 144, the separation distance 142 between the ends 122,124 proximate to the pivot clip 140 can be less than a tightening gap 160 between the ends 122,124 distal to the pivot clip 140.

[0041] The pivot clip 140 can comprise two arms 145 (only one arm shown in Figure 1, a second arm 145 shown in Figure 3 connected to a body 147. The pivot clip 140 can be configured to substantially surround an outer surface 146 of the tongue 132. In example aspects, the arms 145 can extend toward an interior edge 148 of the shoulders 125,127, such that a lateral side 150 of the tongue 132 is covered by the arm 145. The bolt can define an inner portion 152 proximate to the pipe 154a,b, and an outer portion 156 distal to the pipe 154a,b. The pivot clip 140 can further be configured to surround the inner portion 152 of the bolt 134, such as by receiving the bolt 134 in a cutout 157 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 147 of the pivot clip 140.

[0042] The arms 145 of the pivot clip 140 can be angled with respect to the body 147. In example aspects, the arms 145 can be angled toward the groove 138 in the first segment 120, as well as toward a head 158 of the bolt 134. The pivot clip 140 can further comprise a bend 164, a tip 166 of the arm 145, and a top surface 168. The bend 164 can define an angle 162 that the arm 145 makes with the body 147. Slight tightening of the nut 136 on the bolt 134 at the second end 124 of the first segment 120 and the first end 122 of the second segment 121 can bring those ends 122,124 towards each other and thereby rotate the pivot clip 140 such that the bend 164, the tip 166, and the top surface 168 of the body 147 to simultaneously contact the ends 122,124 of the segments 120,121, as shown in Figure 2. In example aspects, the nut 136 of each bolt 134 can be tightened such that any further tightening of the nuts 136 and bolts 134 would cause the pivot clip 140 to deform and flatten, as shown in Figure 7. Thus, the pipe coupling 100 can be configured in the untightened configuration 144 by screwing the nut 136 on the bolt 134 using a first torque that is less than a second torque needed to deform and flatten the pivot clip 140 and put the pipe coupling 100 in a tightened configuration 170 (see Figure 7). In other aspects, placing the pipe coupling 100 in the untightened configuration 144 can comprise deforming and flattening the pivot clip 140 while leaving the opposite ends 122,124 of the segments 120,121 spaced apart sufficient to insert the pipes 154a,b.

[0043] The pivot clip 140 can have a substantially uniform thickness 172 in some aspects.

For example, pivot clips 140 can be die cut from sheet metal in some aspects. In some aspects, the arms 145 can thereafter be bent relative to the body 147 of the pivot clip 140. In other aspects, the pivot clips 140 can be formed from any desired method, such as casting or 3D printing, and the disclosed methods of forming pivot clips 140 should not be considered limiting on the current disclosure.

[0044] Figure 2 is a perspective view of the pipe coupling. In this view, the cutout 157 of the body 147 of the pivot clip 140 is shown, surrounding at least the inner portion 152 of the bolt 134. In the current aspect, the cutout 157 is sized such that the body 147 extends past the bolt 134. One of the pipes 154a,b to be joined is shown.

[0045] Figure 3 is a perspective view of the pivot clip 140, showing the top surface 168. A bottom surface 518 (shown in Figure 5) is defined opposite from the top surface 168. In example aspects, the tips 166 of the arms 145 can be rounded.

[0046] Figure 4 is a top view (orthographic projection) of the pivot clip 140, showing the body 147, the arms 145, the bend 164, and the cutout 157. The body 147 can further comprise an outside edge 410 that defines the cutout 157 and a pair of prongs 412 adjacent to the cutout 157. Excluding the cutout 157, the outside edge 410 can be straight. In example aspects, the outside edge can comprise two prongs 412, each prong 412 on either side of the cutout 157 and configured to be the same length. The body 147 can further comprise a pair of opposing lateral edges 414. Within the top orthographic projection, each lateral edge 414 can define an angle 415 with respect to a direction perpendicular to the outside edge 410. In example aspects, the lateral edge 414 can define an angle 417 with the outside edge 410 that is obtuse. The two lateral edges 414 can be a symmetric reflection of each other about a center line 416 of the pivot clip 140.

[0047] The cutout 157 of the body 147 can define a cutout edge 418. The cutout edge 418 can be curvilinear and can define a circular arc 420 having a center 422, and a pair of straight segments 424. The circular arc 420 can be complementary to the inner portion 152 of the bolt 134. Each straight segment 424 can form an angle 425 with the center line 416. The two straight segments 424 can be symmetric about the center line 416. The cutout 157 can further define a depth 426. The body 147 can define a minimal distance 428 between the cutout edge 418 and an interior edge 430 of the body 147. The interior edge 430 of the body 147 can comprise a recessed portion 432 and a pair of connecting portions 434 extending to the arms 145.

[0048] Figure 5 shows a side orthographic projection of the pivot clip 140. A length 510 of the arms 145 can be shorter than a length 512 of the body 147. The thickness 172 of the pivot clip 140 can be uniform as shown. The bend 164 can define a bend angle 516.

[0049] Figure 6 shows a front orthographic projection of the pivot clip 140. The thickness 172 is shown, as well as a width 610 of the pivot clip 140. The pivot clip 140 can also define a tip height 612, and the tips 166 can define a tip width 614.

[0050] Figure 7 shows a front view of the pipe coupling 100, in the tightened configuration 170. The tightening gap 160 opposite the pivot clip 140 can be configured to be the same as the separation distance 142 between the segments 120,121 proximate the pivot clip 140. In the tightened configuration 170, the tightening gap 160 can be a minimum tightening gap, and the separation distance 142 can be a minimum separation distance.

The separation distance 142 in the tightened configuration 170 can be the same as the thickness 172 of the pivot clip 140. The pipe coupling 100 can be configured to change from the untightened configuration 144 shown in Figure 1 to the tightened configuration 170 shown in Figure 7 by tightening only the tightening element 129 distal to the pivot clip 140. In the process of tightening, in some aspects, the pivot clip 140 arms 145 can be flattened, such that the bend 164 in the pivot clip 140 is removed. When the pipe coupling 100 is untightened, the pivot clip 140 can be configured to elasticity deform to recover the bend 164. However, in other aspects, the pivot clip 140 may only plastically deform such that the bend 164 does not recover after untightening.

[0051] Figure 8 is a perspective view of the pipe coupling 100 connecting two pipes 154a,b.

In the current aspect, each segment 120,121 defines keys engaging the grooves defined in the ends of each pipe 154a,b, and the gasket 108 seals the joint therebetween. As shown the pivot clip 140 can be sized such that it does not extend into the path of the pipes 154a, b between the segments 120,121 when the pivot clip 140 is in position between the respective ends 122,124 of the segments 120,121.

[0052] Figure 9 is a side view of the pipe coupling 100 with another exemplary aspect of a pivot clip 140 in accordance with the present disclosure. In the untightened configuration 144, the tightening gap 160 distal to the pivot clip 140 can be wider than the separation distance 142 proximate to the pivot clip 140. In example aspects, the pivot clip 140 can encircle the bolt 134. The fastener pads 126,128 can contact the pivot clip 140

substantially along an upper surface 910 and a lower surface 920 of the pivot clip 140. An interior portion 922 of the pivot clip 140 can be narrower than an outer portion 924 of the pivot clip 140. The pivot clip 140 can be symmetrical about a middle plane 926 of the pivot clip 140. The upper and lower surfaces 910,920 can taper in a smooth curvilinear path from the wider outer portion 924 to the narrower interior portion 922. The pivot clip 140 of Figure 9 can thereby define a shape that is complementary to the fastener pads 126,128 such that the pivot clip 140 can fit between the fastener pads 126,128 and maintain the separation distance 142.

[0053] Figure 10 is a perspective view of the pipe coupling 100 and pivot clip 140 of Figure 9, showing one of the two pipes 154a,b to be joined.

[0054] Figure 11 is a perspective view of the pivot clip 140 of Figure 9. The pivot clip 140 can comprise an outer lateral wall 1102. A cross section through the middle plane 926 can reveal a shape of the outer lateral wall 1102 that is circular, ellipsoid, oblong curvilinear, rectilinear, or any other shape. The pivot clip 140 can further comprise an inner lateral wall 1104. A plurality of boundaries 1106 can be defined between the upper surface 910, the lower surface 920, the outer lateral wall 1102, and the inner lateral wall 1104 and can be smooth and curvilinear or, in other aspects, edge-like. In some aspects, the pivot clip 140 can be without sharp edges— that is, the edges can be smooth. The pivot clip can be toroidal in shape in some aspects. The pivot clip 140 can have a further reflection symmetry about a vertical plane 1108. The vertical plane 1108 can be defined by a line passing through a hole 1110 defined by the inner lateral wall 1104 and can bisect the pivot clip 140.

[0055] Figure 12 shows a cross-sectional perspective view of the pivot clip 140 of Figure 11.

The pivot clip 140 can define a solid interior 1202 or, in other aspects, a hollow interior (not shown). The pivot clip 140 can be metal, such as stainless steel or ductile iron, and can be formed by casting, but any material or method known in the art would be suitable for making the pivot clip 140, such as injection-molded plastic.

[0056] Figure 13 is a front view of the pipe coupling 100 and pivot clip 140 of Figure 9 in the tightened configuration 144. The tightening gap 160 opposite the pivot clip 140 can be configured to be the same as the separation distance 142 between the segments 120,121 proximate the pivot clip 140. In some aspects, the segments 120,121 can define grooves (not shown) below the respective fastener pads 128,126 that are complementary to the interior portion 922 the pivot clip 140. The pivot clip 140 can thus appear to be extending into the segments 120,121, as shown in Figure 13.

[0057] The pipe coupling 100 with the pivot clip 140 of the current disclosure can couple two pipes 154a,b together by a following procedure. A first step can be to configure the pipe coupling 100 in the untightened configuration 144. The tightening element 129 proximate to the pivot clip 140 can be tightened up to an untightened point. The point or degree of tightening in the untightened configuration 144 can be such that the pipe coupling 100 has enough freedom of movement to allow the ends of two pipes 154a,b to be placed between the segments 120,121. These steps can be done prior to providing the pipe coupling 100 to an end user, such as prior to selling and shipping the pipe coupling 100. The degree of tightening can also be such that the pipe coupling 100 is drawn to the tightened configuration 170 by only tightening the tightening element 129 distal to the pivot clip 140, which eases the installation process for the end user. A second step can be to place the ends of two pipes 154a,b between the segments 120,121. A third step can be to tighten the tightening element 129 distal to the pivot clip 140, such that the tightening gap 160 is about the same as the separation distance 142. The configuration after the third step can be called the tightened configuration 170. This step engages the coupling segments 120,121 with the pipes 154a,b, such as by engaging the grooves defined in the ends of the pipes 154a,b when the pipes are grooved-end pipes. In some aspects, the coupling segments 120,121 can deform after engaging the pipes 154a,b to bend the coupling segments 120,121 around the pipes 154a,b, which can act as a mandrel for the coupling segments 120,121 bending. In some aspects, the point about which the coupling segments 120,121 bends can be offset from a midpoint of each coupling segment and can be closer to the ends 122,124 with the pivot clip 140 than to the ends 122,124 without a pivot clip 140. In some aspects, the tightening gap 160 can be defined by the point at which the coupling segments 120,121 can no longer bend around the pipes 154a,b. The third step can also seal the joint between the pipes 154a,b by compressing the gasket 108 into sealing engagement with the pipes 154a,b.

[0058] The aforementioned procedure allows one of the tightening elements 129 to be

tightened while keeping the ends 122,124 opposite to it wide enough to insert pipes 154a, b into the coupling 100 before tightening the opposite tightening element 129. The coupling 100 can be sold and shipped in the untightened configuration 144 such that only one of the tightening elements 129 needs to be tightened onsite where the pipes are to be joined.

[0059] Figure 14 shows another aspect of the pipe coupling 100 and the pivot clip 140, in accordance with the present disclosure. In this aspect, the pivot clip 140 can also be referred to as a pivot 1302. The pivot 1302 can be formed on one of the segments 120,121 of the pipe coupling 100. For example, the pivot 1302 can be part of a monolithically- casted segment 120,121. The pivot 1302 can be formed on the shoulders 125,127 of the segment 120,121. The pivot 1302 can be a first pivot 1304, and the segment 120,121 can further comprise a second pivot (not shown) on the same shoulder 125,127, such that the second pivot is a symmetric reflection of the first pivot 1304, the plane of symmetry being defined by the x-y plane of Figure 14. The pivots can be positioned at an interior edge 148 of the shoulders 125,127. In the current aspect, the opposing or opposite end 122,124 of the segment 120,121 or pipe coupling 100 with the pivot 1302 can lack a pivot. The configuration in this aspect allows the opposing end to be tightened such that the pipe coupling 100 is stabilized around the pipes rigidly. Hence, the coupling 100 in this aspect can be named a rigid coupling. Angled washers (not shown) can be installed between the nuts 136 and the fastener pads 126,128 to reduce the point load on the mating bearing surfaces.

[0060] Figure 15 shows yet another aspect of the pipe coupling 100 and the pivot clip 140, in accordance with the present disclosure. In this aspect, the pivot clip 140 can also be referred to as a pivot 1302. The pivot 1302 can be formed on one of the segments 120,121 of the pipe coupling 100. The pivot 1302 can be a first pivot 1304, and the segment 120,121 can further comprise a second pivot 1602 (shown in Figure 16) diagonally opposed on the same segment 120,121. In other words, the second pivot 1602 can be on an opposite end 122,124 of the segment 120,121, on an opposite side of the opposing shoulder 125,127. In other aspects, the second pivot (this configuration not shown) can be on the same shoulder 125,127 as the first pivot 1304, such that the second pivot 1602 is a symmetric reflection of the first pivot 1304, the plane of symmetry being defined by the x-y plane of Figure 15. In the current aspect, both segments 120,121 of pipe coupling 100 can comprise pivots 1302. The pivots can be configured such that the segments 120,121 are 180-degree rotations of each other. As such, the segments 120,121 can be casted from the same mold. The configuration in this aspect allows each end 122,124 to be tightened until the pivots 1302 make contact with the shoulders 125,127 from the opposing segment 120,121. This configuration can limit the bolting load applied to the pipes (not shown).

As such, the pipe coupling 100 is in a flexible configuration around the pipes (relative to the rigid coupling). Hence, the coupling in this aspect can be named a flexible coupling.

[0061] Figure 16 is a perspective view of one of the segments 120,121 from the pipe

coupling of Figure 15. The first pivot 1304 and the second pivot 1602 can be diagonally opposed, as explained for Figure 15.

[0062] Figure 17 is a close-up of one of the pivots 1302. The pivots 1302 can comprise an interior vertical edge 1604 substantially aligned with the interior edge 148 of the shoulders 125,127, a bottom edge 1606, and an outer edge 1608. A transition feature, such as a beveled corner 1610 or a rounded corner, can be defined between the bottom edge 1606 and the outer edge 1608.

[0063] In one exemplary aspect, a pipe coupling can comprise a first segment comprising a first end and a second end distal to the first end, a second segment comprising a first end and a second end distal to the first end, a first tightening element that can be configured to draw the second end of the first segment towards the first end of the second segment, a second tightening element that can be configured to draw the first end of the first segment towards the second end of the second segment, and a pivot clip between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment. The pivot clip can be configured to maintain a separation distance between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment.

[0064] In a further exemplary aspect, the first segment can further comprise a tongue at the first end of the second segment, the tongue can comprise an outer surface, and the pivot clip can define an upper surface, a lower surface opposite the upper surface, an interior edge, an outside edge opposite the interior edge, and two lateral edges. The interior edge can be configured to substantially surround the outer surface of the tongue. In a further exemplary aspect, the first segment can further comprise a first fastening pad protruding proximate to the first end of the first segment and a second fastening pad protruding proximate to the second end, and the second segment can further comprise a first fastening pad protruding proximate to the first end of the second segment and a second fastening pad protruding proximate to the second end. In a further exemplary aspect, the first tightening element can comprise a nut and a bolt, and the bolt can define an inner portion and an outer portion. In a further exemplary aspect, the outside edge of the pivot clip can surround the inner portion of the bolt. In a further exemplary aspect, the pivot clip can define a substantially uniform thickness. In a further exemplary aspect, the pivot clip can further comprises a body and two arms, the arms can be connected to the body at the interior edge, and the arms can be angled with respect to the body. In a further exemplary aspect, the pipe coupling can be in a tightened configuration, the separation distance can be a minimum separation distance when the second tightening element is tightened, the first fastener pad of the first segment and the second fastener pad of the second segment distal to the pivot clip can define a tightening gap therebetween, and the minimum separation distance and the tightening gap can be substantially the same. In a further exemplary aspect, the pivot clip can be sheet metal. In a further exemplary aspect, the first tightening element can comprise a nut and a bolt, and the pivot clip can fully encircle the bolt. In a further exemplary aspects, the pipe coupling can be in a tightened configuration, the separation distance can be a minimum separation distance when the second tightening element is tightened, the first fastener pad of the first segment and the second fastener pad of the second segment distal to the pivot clip can define a tightening gap therebetween, and the minimum separation distance and the tightening gap can be substantially the same. In a further exemplary aspect, the pivot clip can comprise an outer lateral wall, an inner lateral wall encircling the bolt, an outer lateral wall encircling the inner lateral wall, an interior portion, an outer portion, an upper surface, and a lower surface. In a further exemplary aspect, the two fastener pads proximate to the first tightening element can substantially contact the upper surface and the lower surface of the pivot clip. In a further exemplary aspect, the outer later wall can be curvilinear. In a further exemplary aspect, the outer lateral wall can meet the upper surface and the lower surface at a smooth curvilinear edge. In a further exemplary aspect, the pivot clip can have reflection symmetry about a vertical plane that can be collinear with an axis of the bolt, the upper surface and the lower surface of the pivot clip can be symmetric reflections of each other, and the lower surface can taper toward the upper surface at the interior portion. In a further exemplary aspect, the pivot clip can be formed

monolithically with the first segment.

[0065] In another exemplary aspect, a method of coupling two pipes can comprise fastening two coupling segments into an untightened configuration, the two coupling segments can comprise a first segment and a second segment, the first segment can comprise a first end and a second end distal to the first end and the second segment can comprise a first end and a second end distal to the first end. Fastening the two coupling segments can comprise placing a pivot clip between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment, wherein the pivot clip can be configured to maintain a separation distance between the second end of the first segment and the first end of the second segment, and tightening a first tightening element to draw the second end of the first segment towards the first end of the second segment. The method can further comprise placing ends of the two pipes between the two coupling segments and tightening a second tightening element to draw the first end of the first segment towards the second end of the second segment.

[0066] In a further exemplary aspect, fastening the two coupling segments into an

untightened configuration can take place before placing ends of the two pipes between the two coupling segments, and tightening the second tightening element can take place after placing ends of the two pipes between the two coupling segments. In a further exemplary aspect, tightening the second tightening element can comprise deforming the coupling segments around the pipes. In a further exemplary aspect, each tightening element can comprise a nut and a bolt.

[0067] In another exemplary aspect, a pipe coupling can comprise a first segment, a second segment, a first tightening element configured to draw the first segment towards second segment, and a pivot clip between the first segment and the second segment. The pivot clip can be configured to maintain a separation distance between the first segment and the second segment.

[0068] One should note that conditional language, such as, among others, "can," "could," "might," or "may," unless specifically stated otherwise, or otherwise understood within the context as used, is generally intended to convey that certain embodiments include, while other embodiments do not include, certain features, elements and/or steps. Thus, such conditional language is not generally intended to imply that features, elements and/or steps are in any way required for one or more particular embodiments or that one or more particular embodiments necessarily include logic for deciding, with or without user input or prompting, whether these features, elements and/or steps are included or are to be performed in any particular embodiment.

[0069] It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the present disclosure. Any process descriptions or blocks in flow diagrams should be understood as representing modules, segments, or portions of code which include one or more executable instructions for implementing specific logical functions or steps in the process, and alternate implementations are included in which functions may not be included or executed at all, may be executed out of order from that shown or discussed, including substantially concurrently or in reverse order, depending on the functionality involved, as would be understood by those reasonably skilled in the art of the present disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the present disclosure. Further, the scope of the present disclosure is intended to cover any and all combinations and sub-combinations of all elements, features, and aspects discussed above. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of the present disclosure, and all possible claims to individual aspects or combinations of elements or steps are intended to be supported by the present disclosure.