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Latching connectors

Image Number 12 for United States Patent #8056581.

Improved latching connectors that can be used to connect a fluid system, such as manufacturing, test, or processing equipment, to an external system, for example charging, evacuation and/or testing equipment. In one embodiment, the connector includes elements by which to protect connector seals from being exposed to fluid being transferred, thereby lengthening the lifetime and reliability of the connector. In another embodiment, the male connector portion and the female connector portion are both valved in a normally closed position. The connector is designed to achieve connection of the male portion to the female portion, and sealing between the male portion and the female portion, prior to the valves in each connector portion being opened and fluid flowing through the connector. The latching connector includes a pressure locking sleeve that, once the connector is under pressure, locks the connector to prevent accidental disconnection.

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