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Title:
FLOW CHANNEL PRESSURE MEASUREMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/194579
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A differential pressure sensor is used for measuring or identifying a pressure difference, for example to determine a movement or speed of fluid in a fluid conduit or printer re-circulation conduit. The differential pressure sensor determines the difference between an air pressure and a fluid pressure, wherein the fluid is moving in a flow channel. The flow channel includes a surface conveying a fluid between a first port and second port. An opening in the surface of the flow channel provides a fluid communication between the differential pressure sensor and fluid. Moreover, the sensor is arranged in air communication with the pressure box, such as to allow the differential pressure sensor to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box and the fluid pressure in the flow channel.

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Inventors:
BUTINYA, David (HP Inc, Cami de can Graells 1-21, Sant Cugat del Valles, Valles, ES)
COMA VIVES, Marta (HP Inc, Cami de Can Graells 1-21, Sant Cugat del Valles, Valles, ES)
CRESPI SERRANO, Albert (HP Inc, Cami de Can Graells 1-21, Sant Cugat del Valles, Valles, ES)
MIRAVET JIMENEZ, Joan-Albert (HP Inc, Cami de Can Graells 1-21, Sant Cugat del Valles, Valles, ES)
Application Number:
US2017/028313
Publication Date:
October 25, 2018
Filing Date:
April 19, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P. (11445 COMPAQ CENTER DRIVE WEST, HOUSTON, Texas, 77070, US)
International Classes:
G01L7/08; B41J2/18
Foreign References:
US20020059833A12002-05-23
US6398329B12002-06-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GARDINER, Austin et al. (HP Inc, Intellectual Property Administration3390 East Harmony Road,Mail Stop 3, Fort Collins Colorado, 80528, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A sensor device comprising;

a first pott and a second port;

a flo channel with a surface for conveying a fluid between tbe first port, and the second port;

a sensor arranged in fluid communication with an opening i the surface of the flow channel;

a pressure box arranged in air communication with tbe sensor, wherein the sensor is a differential pressure sensor to identify the pressure difference between, the air pressure in the pressure box and the fluid pressure in the flow channel.

2. The sensor device according to claim.1, wherein the sensor includes a diap hragm having an air side exposed to the air pressure in the pressure box and a fluid side exposed to the fluid pressure in the flow channel, wherein the distance between tbe diaphragm and the surface of the flow channel is in the range o to 2 mm.

3. The. sensor device according; to claim 2, wherein the diameter of the diaphragm exposed to the fluid pressure is in the range a to 10 mm.

4. The sensor device according to claim , wherein the opening .in the surface of the flow channel is circular or rectangular.

5. The sensor device according to claim 1, wherein the opening in the surface of the flow channel is arranged in the center of the flow channel,

6. The sensor device according to claim i, wherei n the flow channel has a circular or rectangular cross-section having a diameter in the range 2 to 5 mm.

7. Tbe sensor device according to claim 6, wherein the flow channel is a straight channel and wherein a surface of the flow channel guiding the fluid is even and without protrusions or obstacles.

8. The sensor device according to claim 1 , wherein a length of the flow channel is in the range 20 to 40 mm.

9. The sensor device according to claim 1, wherein the sensor determines the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box and tbe fluid pressure in tbe flow channel to determine a movement of the fluid in the range 40 ctf/rain to 200 cms/min.

10. The sensor device according to claim i. wherein the fluid conveyed between the first port and the second port Is an ink including pigments or heavy particles.

U. The sensor device according to claim i, wherei n the pressure box is hermetically sealed against the sensor.

12. The sensor device according to claim 11, wherein the pressure box has a. port to pressurize the ai inside the pressure box or to provide an outlet for conveying fluid.

13. A sensor device comprising:

a first port and a second port;

a straight flow channel having a surface for 'conveying a fluid between the first port and the second port without protrusions or obstacles;

a sensor arranged in fluid communication with an opening in the surface of the flow channel;

a pressure box arranged in air communication, with the sensor, wherein the sensor includes a diaphragm having an air side exposed to the air pressure in the pressirre box and a fluid side exposed to the fluid pressure in the flow channel to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box and th fluid pressure in the flow channel to determine a movement or speed of the fluid.

14» A printer comprising:

a fluid conduit; and

a sensor device, wherein the sensor device comprises:

a first port and a second port both in fluid eomnvunkation with the fluid conduit; a flow channel including a surface for con veying a fluid between the first port and the second port;

a sensor arranged in fluid communication with an opening in the surface of the flow channel;

a pressure box arranged In air communication with the sensor, wherein, the sensor is a differentia! pressure sensor to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box and the fluid pressure in the flow channel, to determine a movement or speed of fluid in the fl uid conduit.

15. The printer according to claim 1 further comprising an ink recirculation system including a recirculation conduit, wherein the sensor is arranged in the recirculation conduit and determines a movement or speed of fluid in the fluid conduit corresponding to an ink flow in the recirculation conduit.

Description:
FLOW CHANNEL PRESSURE MEASUREMENT

[ooo j The liquid pressure of a flui I a flow channel can be measured using sensor arrange- merits and ca provide useful information to determine the operating state of a .fluid conduit system. For example, a printer can have fluid, conduits coupled to printheads and. the operating state of the printer may depend on a certain fluid flow in the conduits,

[0002] Depending on the application, the fluid pressure of different types of fluids can be measured. For example, the fluid can include heavy pigments or particles that tend to precipi- late if the fluid is not moving, or the fluid can tend to carry air or gas molecules. Moreover, a fluid can be conveyed in the fluid conduit system under different pressure and speed conditions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0003] Certain examples are described in the following detailed description and in reference to the drawings, in whic :

Figure i shows an example of a sensor device comprisin two ports and a differential sensor; Figure 2 shows a perspective view of an example of a pressure sensor box forming a part of a sensor device;

Figure 3 shows an example of disassembled sensor device comprising the pressure sensor box shown in Fig, 2;

Figure 4 shows a top view of the example of a sensor de vice including three ports shown in Figs. 2 and 3;

Figure 5 shows a side view of an example of a sensor device ;

Figure 6 shows a different side view of the sensor device shown in Fig. 5;

Figure 7 shows an example of a printer syst em including a differential pressure sensor arranged in a fluid conduit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0004] Pressure sensors can he used for measuring the fluid pressure of a station ary fluid, or of a fluid moving in a flow channel. Fluid pressure measurements can provide useful infor- niation to determine the operating state of a system or apparatus, for example to determine the fluid pressure of a fluid moving in a flow channel, or to determine or estimate the fluid level in a supply tank. [Ό005ΊΑ pressure sensor can be coupled to a flow channel forming a part of the fluid conduit system and may be in fluid communication with the liquid such as to. measure the fluid pressure. For example, pressure sensors can have a single port coupled- to a bifurcation of the flow channel to measure a stationary fluid ptesssore indicative of the fluid pressure of the moving fluid, in other words, the fluid is branched off from the flow channel and collected in a deadend conduit body leading to the single-port pressure sensor. Hence, the pressure sensor is in fluid communication to a stationary fluid that is not moving in. the dead-end conduit body.

[ooooj if the fluid includes particles, such as for example ink with heavy pigments, the stationary fluid may tend to precipitate in the dead-end conduit body, for example close to the pres- sure sensor impairing the sensor measurement accuracy. Moreover, the dead-end conduit body can also trap air or gases between the pressure sensor and fluid. As a result, the compressed air or gases can influence the measurement precision, for example by inducing an oscillation frequency corresponding to compression and expa nsion patterns of the air or gas volumes. Purging the alt out of a system having a bifurcation may help to obtain acceptable roeas- urement results.

[0007] A printer can have ink conduits coupled to printheads. The fluid pressure in the conduits maybe measured to monitor or determine the operating state of the printer. Monitoring can be used in a prin ter including an ink recirculation system for dispersing heavy ink pigments prior to printing. If the ink conveyed in the ink conduits has heavy particles or pigments, the ink may tend to precipitate or clog the dead-end conduit body leading to the pressure sensor. Bifurcation based sensor arrangements further can influence measurement precision due to air or other gases being trapped in the dead-end conduit body.

[0008] Figure 1 shows an example of a sensor device 100 comprising a first port no and a second port 120, wherein the first port i 10 and the second port 120 are coupled by a flow chan- nel ί 30, The flow channel ί 30 has a surface 140 for conveying a fluid between the first port 11 o and the second port 120, or from the second port 120 to the first port 11,0, in other words, the fluid subject to fluid pressure measurement is flowing in the flow channel 130 between two ports of the device, an inlet and an outlet.

[ooooJThe surface 140 of the flow channel 130 has an opening 160 allowing the fluid to make contact with a sensor 150. Thus, the sensor 150 is arranged in thud communication with an opening 160 in the surface 140 of the flow channel .130. In Fig. .1 , the opening 140 in the surface 160 is connected to the sensor 130 via a fluid chamber 165, wherein the opening 140 forms one end of the fluid chamber 165 and the sensor 150 forms the other end of the fluid chamber 165. in an example, the sensor .1.50 is arranged to sea! the fluid chamber 165 such as to prevent any fluid leakage, for example by arranging a sealing element between the fluid chamber 165 and the sensor 150, for example a rubber ring or an adhesive sealing material OQ o] As- shown in Fig. 1, a pressure b x 370 is arranged at the opposite side of the sensor 159. The pressure box 170 contains air and is arranged i air communicatio wit the sensor 150. in an exam le, the pressure box 170 is hermetically sealed against the sensor 150 such that the air pressure in the pressure box 1 0 can be exposed to the sensor 150 without leakage effect,

[0011] In. this way, the sensor 150 can represent a differential pressure senso to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and the fluid pressure in the flow channel 1.30. For example, the differential pressure sensor can be operated to measure the difference between the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130 in the range -6 psi to 6 psi.

[00123 The fluid chamber 165 separates the differential pressure sensor 150 from the moving fluid of the flow channel 130. In an example, the fluid chamber 165 is disposed directly between the differential pressure sensor .150 and the flow channel, with no further intervening eompo- nents. Thus, the sensor device too can measure the fluid pressure of a fluid that is moving between two ports of the sensor device too via a flo w channel 130. wherein an opening 160 in the flow channel 30 allows the sensor 150 to be in a ver compact fluid connection with the movin fluid. Accordingly, most, if not all of the fluid contained by the sensor device 100 is moving, reducing the risk of heavy particles or pigments carried by the fluid precipitating in the sensor and impairing the sensor functionality, and also reducing the risk that air or gases are being trapped between the pressure sensor and fluid.

[0013] For example, the fluid conveyed between the first port no and the second port 120 can represent an ink including pigments or heavy particles, such as for example: white ink, metallic ink, or silver ink. In an example, the white ink includes titanium dioxide in its pigments, which can tend to precipitate when the ink is not moving, and thus can cause the settling of pigments or particles that deteriorate the performance of the sensor device 100.

[0014] In an example, the: senso 150 of the sensor device 300 includes a diaphragm 180 having an air side 190 exposed to the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and a fluid side 200 exposed to the fluid pressure in the flow channel .130, For example, the diap agm 180 can be made of a rigid material, such as for example ceramic, metal or plastic, and can be formed as a part of a semiconductor device. Accordingly, a deflection due to bending of the diaphragm tSo can he determined to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130, for example by using an electronic sensor arrangement for determining a mechanical deviation caused by the deflection. tooisj In the example show in Fig, i . the distance 210 between the diaphragm 180 and the surface 140 of the flow channel 130 can be reduced to farther minimize the volume of the fluid chamber 165 separating the sensor 150 from the flo channel 130- in this wa * the possibilit of precipitation or collection of air or gases in the sensor device too is further .reduced,. I» an 5 example, the distance 210 between the diaphragm 180 arid the surface 140 of the flow channel

130 is in the range o to 2 mm. in a further example, the volume between the surface 140 of the flow channel 130 and the diaphragm 1S0 is in the range 0,004 to 0,012 cm¾ or approximately 0.008 cms.

[0016] In an example, the sensor device 100 is positioned and oriented such that the eMail ) phragm 180 is arranged above the flow channel 130 such that any precipitation in the fluid chamber 165 is pulled by gravitation towards the flow channel 130, further improving the sensor device 100 performance.

[0017] The diameter 220 of the diaphragm 180 exposed to the fluid pressure influences the volume of the fluid chamber 165 -separating the sensor 150 from the flow channel 130, and thus i 5 can influence the risk of precipitation o collection of air or gases in the sensor device 100. In an example, a small diameter 220 of the diaphragm 180 exposed to the fluid pressure is selected to minimize the respective volume, for example., a diameter 220 in the range 2 to 10 mm.

[0018] in an example, the opening 160 in the surface 140 of the flow channel 130 is circular or rectangular, or has any other shape allowing an efficient recirculation of fluid collected in the 20 volume of the fluid chamber 165 separating the sensor 150 from the flo channel 130. in this way, the possibility of precipitation or collection or air or gases in the sensor device too is reduced.

[00193 ¾· 2t shows a perspective view of an example of a pressure sensor box 240 forming a part of a sensor device 100. Fig, 3 shows a corresponding example of the disassembled sensor

25 device 100 comprising the pressure sensor box 240 shown in Fig, 2, As shown in Figs. 2 and 3, the pressure sensor box 240 comprises a first port 1 0 and a second port 120, wherein the first port no and the second port 120 are coupled by a flow channel for conveying a fluid between the first port 110 and the second port 120, or from the second port .120 to the first port no. Fig, 3 also shows how the sensor device too has the sensor 150 attached to the pressure sensor box

30 240 by screws and other fixing elements 250. In this example, an 0-ring shaped seal 260, for example rubber seal 260, is arrange to attached the fluid side 200 of the sensor 150, exposed to the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130, to the pressure sensor box 240; see also Fig. 1. An electronic sensor arrangement 270 is coupled to the sensor 150 for determining a mechanical movement or deflection of a diaphragm 180 comprised by the senso 150 to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressur box .170 and the .fluid, pressure in the flow channel 130,

[0020] In this regard. Fig, 3 shows how a sealing member 280, screws and other fixing ele- meats 250 are used to attach a sensor cover 290 to the pressure sensor box 240. In this way, the sensor cover 290 and pressure sensor box 240 form a pressure box 170 containing air and wherein the pressure box 170 is in air communication with the sensor 150. Hence, the sensor 150 can represent a differential pressure sensor to identify the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure bo 170 and the fluid pressure in the flow cha nel 330. [0021] Figs. 4, 5 and 6 show top and side views of an example of a sensor device 100 including the first and second ports no, 120 and an additional port 230 of the pressure bo 170. The port 230 of the pressure box can, for example, be used to pressurize the air inside the pressure box 170 or to provide an outlet for conveying fluid, for example in case of fluid leakage; see also Figs. 1 and 2. C0022] The examples of sensor devices 1.00 shown in Figs. 1, 2, 4. nd 6 have the opening 160 in the surface 140 of the flow channel 130 arranged in the center of the flow channel 130 to further stabilise the fluid flow i th flow channel 130, . close to the sensor 150, for measurement accuracy.

[0023] In the example of a sensor device 100 shown in Fig.5 the flow channel 130 is formed to have a circular cross-section, and in a different example, the cross-section may be- rectangular, for example with a diameter in the range 2 to 5 mm., for example for flo stability and measurement accuracy.

[0024] In the examples of a sensor device 100 shown in Figs, ί to 6 the flow channel Ϊ30 is a straight channel, for example a flow channel 130 having a length in the range 20 to 40 ram, wherein the surface 140 of the flow channel 130 is even and without protrusions or obstacles. In this way, the surface texture of the flow channel 130 may comprises small or no local deviations from the perfectly flat and straight ideal, improving the flow stability and measurement accuracy.

[0025] In an example, the sensor 150 determines the pressure difference between the air pres- sure in the pressure box .1.70 and the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130 to determine a movement of the fluid, for example in the range 40 cms/min to 200 cma/min. in other words, the measured pressure difference can be used for detecting or determining the movement of fluid, for example when the speed of fluid is in the range 40 cxafl m to 200 ems/mi . t ' 0026] In an example, the sensor device 100 comprises a first port 110 and a second port 120, wherein the first port 110 and the second port 120 are coupled by a flow channel 130. The flow channel 130 has a surface 140 for conveying a fluid between the -first port no and the second port 120. or from the second port 120 to the first port no. In other words, the fluid subject to flow pressure measurement is flowin in the flow channel 130 between two ports of the sensor device ioo, an inlet and an outlet. The surface 140 of the flow channel 130 has an opening 160 allowing the fluid to make contact with a sensor 150. Thus, the sensor 150 is arranged in fluid communication with an opening 160 in the surface 140 of the flow channel 130. In Fig. 1, the opening 140 in the surface 160 is connected to the sensor 130 via a fluid chamber 165, wherein the opening 140 forms one end of the .fluid chamber 165 and the sensor 150 forms the other end of the fluid chamber 165. A pressure box 170 containing air is arranged in air communication with the sensor 150, wherein the sensor 150 includes a diaphragm 180 having an air side 190 exposed to the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and fluid side 200 exposed to the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130. in this way, the sensor device too can identify or measure the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and the fl uid pressure in the flow channel 130, for example to determine a movement or speed of the fluid. In this example, the distance 220 between the diaphragm 180 and the surface 140 of the flow channel 1,30 is in. the range o to a mm, such that a small volume of the fluid chamber .165: separates the sensor 150 from the flow channel 130, reducing the risk of precipitation or collection of air or gases in the sensor. Moreover, the flow in the flow channel 130 is stabilized by forming the flow channel 130 as straight channel having a surface 140 guiding the fluid without any protrusions or obstacles.

[002-7] In this exam le, the sensor device 100 allows a small moun of the fluid contained by the sensor device 100 not to be moving, and thus reduces the. possibility of precipitation in the sensor impairing the sensor ftmctionaKty-, and also reduces the risk that air or gases Is trapped between the pressure sensor and fluid. It follows that the sensor device 100 can be used to measure the fluid pressure of ink movin in the flo channel 130, wherein the ink can include pigments or heavy particles. Moreover, the shape and properties of the flow channel 130 are selected to stabilize the flow and to further enhance the pressure measurement precision,

[0028] Figure 7 shows an example of a prin ter 300 including a differential pressure sensor too arranged In a fluid conduit 310.

[00293 The printer 300 comprises a fluid conduit 31.0 and a sensor device too, wherein the sensor device too can determine a movement or speed of fluid in the fluid conduit 310. For example, the movement or speed of fluid in the fluid cond uit 310 can be determined to i dentify a flow of ink in the fluid conduit 31Q, for example to monitor the operation of the printer, to determine ink consumption or clogging in the fluid conduit 310, or to measure or regulate the flow of ink for other purposes. For example, an ink pump 320 can be controlled based on the determined movement or speed of fluid in the fluid conduit 310, for example to regulate fluid pressure or speed of Ink. flow in the fluid conduit 310.

[0030] In an example, the fluid conduit 310 is a recirculation conduit 310, in other words, the fluid conduit 310 is arranged to circulate a fluid in the printer 300, for example to circulate ink. The ink can, for example, include: white ink, metallic ink, silver ink, or any other type of ink that tends to precipi tate or cause the settling of pi gments when the ink is not moving, and thus risks clogging the fluid conduit 310. For example* white ink including titanium dioxide in its pigmen ts can represent an ink having heavy pigments or heavy particles. [0031] The ink in the recirculation conduit 310 is. circulated such as to keep the ink pigments dispersed. As shown in Fig. 7, the recirculation conduit 310 can couple the ink pump 320 to an ink reservoir 330» the sensor device 100 and printheads 340, wherein the sensor device 100 can determine a movement or speed of fluid in the fluid conduit 310 corresponding to an ink low in the recirculation conduit 3.1.0..Accordingly, in an example, the determined movement or speed of fluid in tire fluid conduit 310 can be need for adjusti ng the pressure provided by the ink pump 320, for example by adjusting the electrical current of the ink pump 320, such that the ink in the recirculation conduit 3.1.0 is circulated with a sufficient speed to keep the ink pigments dispersed in the sensor device too, recirculation conduit 310 and printheads 340,

[0032] In the example shown in Fig. , the sensor device 100 can comprise: a first port 110 and a second port 120, both in fluid, communication with the fluid conduit 310. The sensor device further comprises a flow channel 130 including a surface 140 for conveying a fluid between the first port no and the second port 120. Moreover, a sensor 350 included in the sensor device .100 is arranged in fluid communication with an opening 160 in the surface 140 of the flow channel 130; see, for example, Fig. 1. 0033 ' J The sensor device .100 comprises a pressure box 370 arranged in air communication with the sensor 150, wherein the sensor 150 is a. differential pressure sensor to identify the pressure ' difference between the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130, As men lioned above, the determined pressure difference can be used for determining a movement or speed of fluid in the fluid conduit 310. for example in the fluid conduit representing a recirculation conduit 310.

[0034] in an example, the printer 300 shown in Fig. 7 can include a sensor device loo comprising a first port no and a second port 120, wherein the first port no and the second port 1.20 are coupled b a flow channel 130. The flow channel 130 has a surface 140 for conveying a fluid between the first port 110 and the second port 1.20, or from the second port .120 to the first port no. in other words, the fluid subject to fluid pressure measurement is flowing in the flow channel 130 between two ports of the. device, an inlet and m outlet, The surface 140 of the flow channel 1.30 has an opening 160 allowing the fluid to make contact with a sensor 150, Thus, the sensor 150 is arranged in fluid-commirotca lpn with, an opening 160 in the surface 140 of the flow channel 130, In other wor s, the opening .540 in the surface 160 is connected to the sensor 130 via a fluid chamber 165, wherein the opening 140 form one end of the fluid chamber .165 and the sensor 150 forms the other end of the fluid chamber 165. A pressure box 170 containing air Is arranged in air communication with the sensor 1.50, wherein the sensor 150 can include a diaphragm 180 having an air side 190 exposed to the air pressure in the pressure bo 170 and a fluid side 200 exposed to the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130. In this way, the sensor device too can identify or measure the pressure difference between the air pressure in the pressure box 170 and the fluid pressure in the flow channel 130. for example by determining a deflection of the diaphragm .180. In an example, the determined pressure difference is used for identifying the movement or speed of fluid being conveyed i n the recirculation conduit shown in Fig, 7, in an example, the distance 220 between the diaphragm 180 and the surface 140 of the flow channel 130 is in the range o to 2 mm. By ha ving the fluid chamber u¾ define a small volume separating the sensor 150 from the flow channel 130, the risk of precipitation or collection or air or gases in the printer is reduced. Moreover, the st ability of flow in the flow channel :¾30 of the .sen sor 100 and the sensor too measurement precision can be enhanced by forming the flow channel 130 as a straight channel having a surface 146 without any protrusions or obstacles.