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Filter with memory, communication and pressure sensor

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Title: Filter with memory, communication and pressure sensor.
Abstract: The present invention describes a system and method for accurately measuring the pressure within a filter housing. A pressure sensor and a communications device are coupled so as to be able to measure and transmit the pressure within the filter housing while in use. This system can comprise a single component, integrating both the communication device and the pressure sensor. Alternatively, the system can comprise separate sensor and transmitter components, in communication with one another. In yet another embodiment, a storage element can be added to the system, thereby allowing the device to store a set of pressure values. The use of this device is beneficial to many applications. For example, the ability to read pressure values in situ allows integrity tests to be performed without additional equipment. In addition, integrity testing for individual filters within multi-filter configurations is possible. ...


Browse recent Millipore Corporation patents - Billerica, MA, US
Inventors: Anthony DiLeo, John Dana Hubbard
USPTO Applicaton #: #20110247429 - Class: 73861 (USPTO) -
Measuring And Testing > Volume Or Rate Of Flow

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110247429, Filter with memory, communication and pressure sensor.

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This application is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/984,341, filed Jan. 4, 2011, which is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/894,652, filed Sep. 30, 2010, which is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/402,438, filed Apr. 12, 2006, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of RFID tags has become prevalent, especially in the management of assets, particularly those applications associated with inventory management. For example, the use of RFID tags permits the monitoring of the production line and the movement of assets or components through the supply chain.

To further illustrate this concept, a manufacturing entity may adhere RFID tags to components as they enter the production facility. These components are then inserted into the production flow, forming sub-assemblies in combination with other components, and finally resulting in a finished product. The use of RFID tags allows the personnel within the manufacturing entity to track the movement of the specific component throughout the manufacturing process. It also allows the entity to be able to identify the specific components that comprise any particular assembly or finished product.

In addition, the use of RFID tags has also been advocated within the drug and pharmaceutical industries. In February 2004, the United States Federal and Drug Administration issued a report advocating the use of RFID tags to label and monitor drugs. This is an attempt to provide pedigree and to limit the infiltration of counterfeit prescription drugs into the market and to consumers.

Since their introduction, RFID tags have been used in many applications, such as to identify and provide information for process control in filter products. U.S. Pat. No. 5,674,381, issued to Den Dekker in 1997, discloses the use of “electronic labels” in conjunction with filtering apparatus and replaceable filter assemblies. Specifically, the patent discloses a filter having an electronic label that has a read/write memory and an associated filtering apparatus that has readout means responsive to the label. The electronic label is adapted to count and store the actual operating hours of the replaceable filter. The filtering apparatus is adapted to allow use or refusal of the filter, based on this real-time number. The patent also discloses that the electronic label can be used to store identification information about the replaceable filter.

A patent application by Baker et al, published in 2005 as U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US2005/0205658, discloses a process equipment tracking system. This system includes the use of RFID tags in conjunction with process equipment. The RFID tag is described as capable of storing “at least one trackable event”. These trackable events are enumerated as cleaning dates, and batch process dates. The publication also discloses an RFID reader that is connectable to a PC or an internet, where a process equipment database exists. This database contains multiple trackable events and can supply information useful in determining “a service life of the process equipment based on the accumulated data”. The application includes the use of this type of system with a variety of process equipment, such as valves, pumps, filters, and ultraviolet lamps.

Another patent application, filed by Jornitz et al and published in 2004 as U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0256328, discloses a device and method for monitoring the integrity of filtering installations. This publication describes the use of filters containing an onboard memory chip and communications device, in conjunction with a filter housing. The filter housing acts as a monitoring and integrity tester. That application also discloses a set of steps to be used to insure the integrity of the filtering elements used in multi-round housings. These steps include querying the memory element to verify the type of filter that is being used, its limit data, and its production release data.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,936,160, issued to Moscaritolo in 2005, describes a wireless MEMS sensing device, for use with filtering elements. Moscaritolo describes a MEMS device, having at least two different sensors in a single assembly package. The patent discloses use of this MEMS device in the end cap of a filter, preferably for measuring differential pressure of a fluid, thereby allowing it to monitor the operating conditions within the housing. Related patents also describe the use of this MEMS device to estimate and predict a filter\'s life.

Despite the improvements that have occurred through the use of RFID tags, there are additional areas that have not been satisfactorily addressed. For example, there are a number of applications, such as in-situ filter integrity testing and filter life monitoring via transmembrane pressure changes, in which real time monitoring of the pressure at various points within the filter housing would be extremely beneficial.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The shortcomings of the prior art are overcome by the present invention, which describes a system and method for accurately measuring the pressure and/or flow at various points within a filter housing. In one embodiment, a sensor, capable of measuring the pressure at a specific point is used. In a second embodiment, a differential pressure sensor, capable of measuring the difference in pressure between two points, is employed. In a third embodiment, a gas flow meter is incorporated into the nose of a filter for directly measuring the flow of gas through that point in the filter. Similarly, a differential pressure sensor or a liquid flow sensor can be incorporated in a TFF module to measure the flow of critical fluids, like cleaning fluids, within a system. These sensors are in communication with a communications device so that the combination is able to measure and transmit the pressure measurement, while the filter is in use. This system can comprise a single component, integrating both the communication device and the pressure sensor. Alternatively, the system can comprise separate sensor and transmitter components, in communication with one another. The transmitter component can utilize either wired or wireless communication. In yet another embodiment, a storage element can be added to the system, thereby allowing the device to store a set of pressure values.

The use of this device is beneficial to many applications. For example, the ability to monitor transmembrane pressure across each filter individually in a multiple filter configuration improves the reliability and validity of an integrity test. This also allows the integrity of each filtering element to be individually determined in situ. The ability to monitor the transmembrane pressure within the filter housing also enables the plugging of multi-layer filters to be monitored, allowing the life of the filter to be estimated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a representative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a representative embodiment of the present invention as used in a multi-element filter configuration;

FIG. 3 is a first representative embodiment of the present invention as used to perform in situ integrity testing within multi-element filter configurations;

FIG. 4 is a second representative embodiment of the present invention as used to perform in situ integrity testing within multi-element filter configurations; and

FIG. 5 is a representative embodiment of the present invention as used to perform in situ integrity testing of tangential flow filters.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE INVENTION

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110247429 A1
Publish Date
10/13/2011
Document #
13164988
File Date
06/21/2011
USPTO Class
73861
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
01F1/00
Drawings
6



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