CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
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This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 11/047,521, filed Jan. 31, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
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The present invention relates in general to air compressors and more specifically to an apparatus and method for cooling a compressor of a portable air compressor.
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OF THE INVENTION
Air compressors normally provide a source of pressurized air which is temporarily stored under pressure in a tank. A motor, typically an electric motor or a combustion engine, is connected to a compressor unit. The compressor unit typically includes a piston assembly having a piston slidably mounted in a cylinder, the piston compressing air from the atmosphere and forcing it into the fluid pressure tank for temporary storage. The work involved in compressing atmospheric air and the friction of the moving piston within the cylinder generate heat which must be dissipated. Cooling fins are commonly provided on the cylinder for air near the cylinder to convectively cool the piston assembly. Fans are also known which force air toward and about the piston assembly to increase convective cooling.
Several drawbacks exist for common portable air compressor cooling assemblies. One drawback is that common cooling configurations may not supply dedicated cooling air to the head area of the compressor. Another drawback is that common cooling configurations have duct portions that extend over the head area of the compressor. This can trap heat in the head area after the unit is turned off. Another drawback with some current compressor cooling designs is that only a single fan is used and the air ducting configuration(s) is/are not optimized to control the distribution of all the air flow. It is therefore desirable to provide a cooling device for a portable air compressor assembly which overcomes the drawbacks of known air compressor assemblies.
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OF THE INVENTION
In one preferred embodiment of the present invention, a cooling arrangement for a portable air compressor includes a portable air compressor air ducting device having a two-piece ducted fan blade cover. A first piece of the ducted cover includes a first air passage portion. A second piece of the ducted cover is adapted to connect to the first piece. The second piece has a second air passage portion adapted to align with the first air passage portion. An enclosed air passage is created between the first and second air passage portions when the first and second pieces are connected together. A grill area in the second piece of the ducted cover has a plurality of elongated apertures operable to deliver an air flow to the enclosed air passage.
In another preferred embodiment, a portable air compressor system includes a drive unit having a drive shaft. A first fan mounted to the drive shaft generates a first air flow. A compressor includes a driven shaft, a compressor head and a body. A second fan mounted to the driven shaft creates a second air flow directable toward the compressor body. A ducted fan cover at least partially encloses both the first and second fans. An air passage created in the fan cover transfers the first air flow from the first fan to the compressor head.
In yet another preferred embodiment, a portable air compressor assembly includes a tubular frame having side sections and an assembly longitudinal axis. A support plate between the side sections supports a power unit having a longitudinal axis arranged perpendicular to the assembly longitudinal axis. A compressor having a compressor head and longitudinal axis is mounted to the support plate with the compressor longitudinal axis parallel to the power unit longitudinal axis and perpendicular to the assembly longitudinal axis. A fan connected to the power unit generates an air flow. A ducted cover enclosing the fan includes an air passage directing the air flow from the fan to the compressor head. The ducted cover includes inner and outer covers each including a portion of the air passage. An air scoop extends into the outer cover portion of the air passage to redirect the air flow.
In still yet another preferred embodiment, a method for cooling a compressor of a portable air compressor assembly is provided. The air compressor assembly includes a power unit, a compressor having a body and a head area, a first fan mounted to the compressor, a second fan mounted to the power unit, and a ducted cover for protectively covering the first and second fans, the ducted cover having a ducted cavity and first and second grill areas. The method includes drawing a first air flow through the first grill area of the ducted cover using the first fan. A second air flow through the second grill area is generated using the second fan. The second air flow is directed through the ducted cavity formed within the ducted cover. The second air flow is redirected approximately 90 degrees using an opposed pair of radially curving walls of the ducted cover. The second air flow is then discharged adjacent to the head area of the compressor.
A cooling arrangement for a portable air compressor of the present invention offers several advantages. By aligning the longitudinal centerlines of both a compressor and a power unit parallel with each other and substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the air compressor, a compact arrangement of the components results. By providing two fans, a first driven by the compressor shaft and a second driven by the power unit shaft, increased cooling flow can be provided to the compressor. A ducted cover of the two fans allows for air intake through the cover and provides ducting to direct a substantially constant air flow from the power unit driven fan toward a head area of the compressor. An opposed pair of curved walls and an adapted air scoop within the ducting path smoothly transition the air approximately 90 degrees to discharge toward the compressor head area. Duct portions are provided in each of two halves of the ducted cover to provide defined duct segments which efficiently distribute the air flow and smoothly transition toward a discharge end.
Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiments of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment for an air compressor assembly having a cooling arrangement for a portable air compressor of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view taken along Section 3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view taken along Section 4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a side perspective view looking inward of a cooling jacket of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a side perspective view looking outward of a cooling shroud of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a partial cross sectional view taken at Section 7 of FIG. 6 showing a transitional region of the cooling jacket;
FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view showing the geometry of the exhaust area of the cooling jacket;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of another preferred embodiment of an air compressor assembly having a cooling arrangement for a portable air compressor of the present invention; and
FIG. 10 is a flow diagram presenting the operations of a method for cooling a compressor assembly of the present invention.
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OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The following description of the preferred embodiments is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.
FIG. 1 identifies an air compressor assembly 10 according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention. The air compressor assembly 10 includes a frame 12, a component group 14, and a pressurized fluid containment tank 16. A first wheel 18 and a second wheel 20 are rotatably supported from the frame 12 at an aft end of the air compressor assembly 10. The frame 12 includes a first side 22 and a second side 24. The first side 22 and the second side 24 are generally tubular shaped frame members substantially formed in a parallelogram configuration having rounded corners. A support plate 26 is provided at a lower portion of the frame 12 and is mechanically joined to the first side 22 and the second side 24, respectively. A pair of support feet 28 are mechanically joined to a forward end of the frame 12 at an under surface of the support plate 26. Frame 12 is more specifically described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,029,240 the subject matter of which is incorporated herein by reference.
Each of the support feet 28 includes an elastomeric pad 30 (only one is visible in FIG. 1). The purpose of elastomeric pads 30 is to reduce a sliding motion of air compressor assembly 10 when the compressor is operating and to prevent the unit from sliding when placed on a relatively smooth surface. A control panel 32 is provided on either the first side 22 or the second side 24. Control panel 32 provides pressure gauges, control switches, hose connections, etc. which are commonly available on air compressor assemblies and will therefore not be further described herein. A rear support member 34 is provided to structurally join the first side 22 to the second side 24. In one preferred embodiment, the rear support member 34 and the support plate 26 are each welded to the first side 22 and the second side 24. In the embodiment shown, the control panel 32 is connected to an upper member 35 and a lower member 36 of the second side 24.