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Cooling apparatus for controlling airflow

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Cooling apparatus for controlling airflow


A cooling apparatus for providing airflow to a cooling core, the cooling apparatus includes a housing, a fan assembly and an air diverter. The fan assembly is mounted to the housing and configured to direct air along a first plane towards a second plane. The first plane is substantially perpendicular to the second plane. Moreover, the air diverter is positioned substantially perpendicular to the second plane and configured to move in angular relation to the first plane.
Related Terms: Air Diverter

Browse recent Caterpillar Inc. patents - Peoria, IL, US
Inventor: Jeffrey David Suckow
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120298327 - Class: 165 111 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > With Alarm, Indicator, Signal, Register, Recorder, Test Or Inspection Means

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120298327, Cooling apparatus for controlling airflow.

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TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosure relates to a cooling system, and more particularly, to a cooling apparatus for controlling airflow for cooling one or more cooling cores.

BACKGROUND

A cooling apparatus including a cooling fan is used to provide airflow in a machine. U.S. Pat. No. 7,008,184 discloses a control system for changing the direction of airflow through a cooling core in response to an external signal. A fan control signal, generated by a logic circuit, causes a fan to operate in a cooling mode and generate airflow through the cooling core, or operate in a neutral mode with reduced or no airflow through the cooling core.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the present disclosure provides a cooling apparatus for controlling airflow to a cooling core. The cooling apparatus includes a housing, a fan assembly and an air diverter. The fan assembly is mounted to the housing and configured to direct air from a first plane towards a second plane. The first plane is substantially perpendicular to the second plane. Further, the air diverter is positioned substantially perpendicular to the second plane and configured to move in angular relation to the first plane.

In another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for controlling airflow in a cooling apparatus. The method passes air over a cooling core on a first side of the cooling apparatus and also passes air over a cooling core on a second side of the cooling apparatus by a fan assembly. The fan assembly is positioned substantially perpendicular to the first and second sides. The method then receives a real time input from a sensor associated with the cooling cores. The method then computes a target outlet temperature associated with the cooling core. Subsequently, the method generates an output signal to move an air diverter, positioned substantially perpendicular to the fan assembly, for controlling the relative airflow to the cooling cores.

Other features and aspects of this disclosure will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a machine;

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary schematic of a power system of the machine shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a cooling apparatus for providing airflow to cooling cores;

FIG. 4 is a bottom schematic view of the cooling apparatus shown in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of an airflow controlling sequence.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a side view of a machine 1, according to an aspect of this disclosure. The machine 1 may embody a wheel tractor scraper, as shown in FIG. 1. However, the machine 1 may be any type, such as, but not limited to, an off-highway truck, an on-highway truck, an articulated truck, a wheel tractor, a track type tractor, a wheel loader, a compactor, an excavator, a dozer, a motor grader, or any other machines having an engine or requiring cooling. The machine 1 includes a power system 10 and a cooling apparatus 100.

The machine 1 may further include a tractor portion 2, and a scarper portion 3 that are pivotally coupled. The power system 10 may be disposed in the tractor portion 2. The cooling apparatus 100 may be a box style cooling package located on the side of the machine 1. In other embodiments or in other machines the cooling apparatus 100 may have a different structure or located in a different position on the machine 1. For example, the cooling apparatus 100 may also be in the front, back, top, or underneath the machine 1.

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary schematic of the power system 10, according to an aspect of this disclosure. The power system 10 may include an engine 12, a hydraulic drive system 14, and a brake system 16. The engine 12 may be a diesel engine, a gasoline engine, a gaseous fuel powered engine such as a natural gas engine, or any other type of engine known in the art. Further, an air to air aftercooler (ATAAC) 18, an oil cooler 20, and a radiator 22 may be associated with the power system 10. Moreover, the ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20 and the radiator 22 may be fluidly connected to the brake system 16, the hydraulic drive system 14, and the engine 12, respectively. The ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22 may be provided with an air intake pipeline 24, an oil intake pipeline 26, and a coolant intake pipeline 28, respectively.

The ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22 may be positioned within the cooling apparatus 100. The cooling apparatus 100 may include a fan assembly 102 which may be drivably connected to the hydraulic drive system 14. The fan assembly 102 may be configured to direct air from a first plane P1 towards a second plane P2 which is substantially perpendicular to the first plane P1; substantially perpendicular may be within plus or minus approximately 30 degrees from normal or perfectly perpendicular. As a result, the airflow generated by the fan assembly 102 may be directed from the first plane P1, passing over the ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22, towards the second plane P2.

In an embodiment, the cooling apparatus 100 may further include an air diverter 104, and a motor 106. In an embodiment, the motor 106 may include an alternating current (AC) motor or a direct current (DC) motor or any another type of motor. The air diverter 104 may be disposed or positioned substantially perpendicular to the second plane P2. The air diverter 104 may be coupled to the motor 106 to move in angular relation to the first plane P1. The air diverter 104 may move substantially towards and away from the ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22 to distribute an airflow generated by the fan assembly 102.

The air intake pipeline 24 may be provided with an air temperature sensor 30 for detecting a real time temperature of the intake air. The oil intake pipeline 26 may be provided with an oil temperature sensor 32 for detecting a real time temperature of the hydraulic oil. The coolant intake pipeline 28 may also provided with a coolant temperature sensor 34 for detecting a real time temperature of the coolant (i.e. cooling water). In an embodiment, the temperature sensors 30, 32, and 34 may include thermocouple or resistance temperature detectors (RTD) which are well known in art. Moreover, other techniques known in the art may be utilized to detect or estimate the real time temperature parameters associated with the ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22 without deviating from the scope of the disclosure.

The temperature sensors 30, 32, and 34 may be connected to a control system 108 through the respective input signal lines 36, 38, and 40. The control system 108 may be associated with the cooling apparatus 100 and also configured receive one or more real time signals corresponding to an engine load factor and an engine retarder status (On/Off) from an engine control module (ECM) 42 associated with the engine 12. A person of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the one or more real time inputs may be obtained using engine sensing devices, temperature sensors, and other techniques known in the art. In an embodiment, the control system 108 may be incorporated in the ECM 42.

The control system 108 may include a signal input unit 110, a system memory 112, and a processor 114. The signal input unit 110 may be configured to receive a voltage or current signals from the temperature sensors 30, 32, and 34 corresponding to the real time temperature value of the air, the hydraulic oil and the coolant. Further, the signal input unit 110 may be also be configured to detect defective or missing sensors.

The system memory 112 may include for example, but not limited to, a Random Access Memory (RAM), a Read Only Memory (ROM), flash memory, a data structure, and the like. The system memory 112 may include a computer executable code to compute a target outlet temperature of the air, the hydraulic oil, and the coolant based on the engine load factor and the engine retarder status (On/Off). Moreover, the system memory 112 may store the received one or more real time inputs and/or signals. In one embodiment, the system memory 112 may store the target outlet temperature of the air, the hydraulic oil, and the coolant.

The system memory 112 may be operable on the processor 114 to generate one or more output signals to control a position of the air diverter 104. The one or more output signals may be provided to the motor 106 to move the air diverter 104 substantially towards or away from the ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22.

Moreover, the hydraulic drive system 14 may include a hydraulic pump 44 and a hydraulic motor 46. The hydraulic pump 44 may be of any well known construction and type, such as, a gear pump, a rotary vane pump, a screw pump, an axial piston pump or a radial piston pump. Further, the hydraulic motor 46 may be a high speed, low torque type motor of any well-known construction. It should be understood that the present disclosure is not intended to be limited to a particular motor type, as those skilled in the art will readily be able to adapt to various types of motors, for example, a radial or an axial piston type hydraulic motor, without departing from the teachings hereof.

In an embodiment, the hydraulic pump 44 may be provided with an electro-hydraulic transducer valve 48. The electro-hydraulic transducer valve 48 may be configured to receive electronic reference signals from the control system 108 and regulate the pressure or flow from the hydraulic pump 44,. Thus, the hydraulic pump 44 may control the rotation speed of the hydraulic motor 46 based on an electronic reference signal received by the electro-hydraulic transducer valve 48. Various type of electro-hydraulic transducer valve 48 which are used to proportionally control and vary the pressure or flow based on the electronic reference signal are well known in the art and may be used with hydraulic pump 44.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the cooling apparatus 100, according to an aspect of this disclosure. The cooling apparatus 100 may include a housing 116, such that the fan assembly 102 may be mounted on an upper surface of the housing 116. In various another embodiments, the fan assembly 102 may be mounted along any other surface of the housing 116. Moreover, the fan assembly 102 may be an integral part of the housing 116. As shown in FIG. 3, the housing 116 may be in a shape of a box and include first and second sides 118 and 120 joining to form an edge 122. Further, a curved sidewall 124 may be configured to connect the first and second sides 118 and 120. The housing 116 may have one or more openings located at the first and second sides 118 and 120, such that one or more cooling cores 126 and 128 may be positioned within the openings at the first and second sides 118 and 120. The cooling cores 126 and 128 may include the ATAAC 18, the oil cooler 20, and the radiator 22 (see FIG. 2). A person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the arrangement of the cooling cores 126 and 128 described herein is on exemplary basis and various other arrangements may be utilized without deviating from the scope of the disclosure.

The fan assembly 102 may include a mechanically, electrically or hydraulically driven axial fan 130 having a plurality of vanes 132. By rotating the plurality of vanes 132 of the axial fan 130 the airflow may be drawn into the cooling apparatus 100 through the openings present in the first and second sides 118 and 120. The airflow provided by the fan assembly 102 may be directed from the first plane P1, passing over the cooling cores 126 and 128, towards the second plane P2. The airflow may assist in heat dissipation from the cooling cores 126 and 128.

The air diverter 104 may include a planar wall disposed inside the housing 116, such that the air diverter 104 may be positioned substantially perpendicular to the second plane P2. As shown in FIG. 3, the air diverter 104 may be pivoted in proximity to the edge 122 formed by the first and second sides 118 and 120 of the housing 116. By moving the air diverter 104 within the housing 116, the airflow generated by the fan assembly 102, may be distributed to the cooling cores 126 and 128.

Moreover, any difference between the real time inlet temperatures received and the computed target outlet temperatures by the control system 108, associated with the cooling cores 126 and 128, may be an indicative of the cooling requirement for the cooling cores 126 and 128. The cooling requirement of the cooling cores 126 and 128 for duration of time may vary based on factors such as, but not limited to, working conditions of the engine, load conditions of the engine, and the like. In order to effectively cool the cooling cores 126 and 128, the airflow over the cooling cores 126 and 128 needs to be controlled.

In order to meet the varying cooling requirements of the cooling cores 126 and 128, the airflow over the cooling cores 126 and 128 may be relatively increased or decreased. To increase the airflow over one of the cooling cores 126 and 128, the air diverter 104 may be positioned farthest with respect to the corresponding cooling core 126 or 128. Likewise, to decrease the airflow over one of the cooling cores 126 and 128, the air diverter 104 may be positioned closer with respect to the corresponding cooling core 126 or 128.

FIG. 4 shows a bottom schematic view of the cooling apparatus 100 shown in FIG. 3. As shown in FIG. 4, the air diverter 104 may be pivoted at point O in proximity to the edge 122 and positioned at an angular location OA. In an exemplary state described herein, the cooling core 126 may have cooling requirement more the than the cooling core 128. In order to reach the cooling requirement associated with the cooling core 126, the airflow passing over the cooling core 126 needs to be increased as compared to the airflow passing over the cooling core 128.

The control system 108 may then generate the output signals to move the air diverter 104 to a new location OA′, such that the air diverter 104 may be closer to the cooling core 128 and away from the cooling core 126. At the new location OA′ of the air diverter 104, the amount of the airflow passing over the cooling core 126 may be more than the airflow passing over the cooling core 128. Further, the air diverter 104 may be retained at the new location OA′ until the cooling requirement associated with the cooling core 126 may be achieved.

In another exemplary state, the cooling requirement of the cooling core 126 may be small almost dropping to zero. In such a state, the air diverter 104 may be allowed to attain a location (not shown in the figs.) as close as possible to the cooling core 126 and away from the cooling core 128. The position of the air diverter 104 may be such that minimum airflow may be allowed to pass over the cooling core 126; and all the airflow may pass over the cooling core 128.

In one embodiment, the control system 108 may also generate the one or more output signals to control the fan speed of the fan assembly 102. Depending on the cooling requirements of the cooling cores 126 and 128, the fan speed may be relatively increased or decreased. The fan assembly 102 may produce the airflow to meet the cooling requirement, while the air diverter 104 may be moved to distribute the airflow between the cooling cores 126 and 128 to achieve the variable cooling requirement.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram 500 for an airflow controlling sequence. In step 502, air is passed over the cooling cores 126 and 128 located on the first and second sides 118, 120 of the cooling apparatus 100 by the fan assembly 102. The fan assembly is positioned substantially perpendicular to the first and second sides 118, 120.

In step 504, the control system 108 may receive a real time input from the sensor 30, 32, 34 associated with the cooling cores 126 and/or 128. The sensor 30, 32, 34 may include a temperature sensor to provide an inlet temperature for the cooling cores 126 and/or 128. At distinctly different intervals of time the machine 1 may have different cooling load requirements for the cooling core 126 and/or 128 associated with various components present in the machine 1, such as, the engine 12, the hydraulic drive system 14, the brake system 16, and the like.

Moreover, in step 506, the control system 108 may also receive the one or more real time signals corresponding to engine conditions. The real time signals corresponding to the engine conditions may include the engine load factor, the engine retarder status (On/Off), and the like, obtained from the ECM 42. In an embodiment, the control system 108 may receive the one or more real time inputs and/or signals at predetermined intervals of time. A person of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the one or more real time inputs and/or signals stated above are merely on an exemplary basis.

Further, the real time inputs and/or signals received by the control system 108 may then be processed to compute the target outlet temperature associated with the cooling core 126 and/or 128, in step 508.

As described above, the target outlet temperature may be indicative of the cooling requirement of the corresponding cooling core 126 and/or 128. Finally, in step 510, the control system 108 may generate the one or more output signals to move the air diverter 104; the air diverter 104 being positioned substantially perpendicular to the fan assembly 102. The angular movement of the air diverter 104 may be done automatically in response to the one or more output signals generated by the control system 108. Consequently, the position of the air diverter 104 may control the relative airflow provided to the cooling core 126 and/or 128. In one embodiment, the one or more output signals generated by the control system 108 may vary the fan speed of the fan assembly 102.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

Conventional cooling systems may provide a fixed percentage of airflow to the cooling cores 126 and 128. However, by the use of the air diverter 104 to distribute the airflow and/or by regulating the fan speed of the fan assembly 102 the required airflow for the cooling core 126 and 128 may be controlled. Therefore, the cooling apparatus 100 may provide more efficient cooling to the cooling cores 126 and 128 by providing a variable airflow according to the cooling requirement of the cooling cores 126 and 128. Because of the improved efficiency, smaller package sizes may also be achieved.

By regulating the fan speed a reduction in fan noise generated by the cooling apparatus 100 may be also achieved. Further, the air diverter 104 may also be moved towards or away from the cooling cores 126 and 128, in order to direct the fan noise away from the certain areas of the machine 1.

Moreover, the airflow provided by the fan assembly 102 may be periodically reversed in order to blow out debris that may have collected in the cooling cores 126 and 128. In such a state, the air diverter 104 may be moved completely away from one of the cooling cores 126 and 128. This may facilitate an effective cleaning of the cooling cores 126 and 128 by the reversed airflow.

While aspects of the present disclosure have been particularly shown and described with reference to the embodiments above, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various additional embodiments may be contemplated by the modification of the disclosed machines, systems and methods without departing from the spirit and scope of what is disclosed. Such embodiments should be understood to fall within the scope of the present disclosure as determined based upon the claims and any equivalents thereof



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120298327 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13115426
File Date
05/25/2011
USPTO Class
165 111
Other USPTO Classes
165 96
International Class
/
Drawings
6


Air Diverter


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