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Title:
FLUID-POWERED LINEAR MOTOR WITH ROTARY PISTONS AND MOTION RECTIFIER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/071167
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fluid-powered linear motor with rotary pistons is disclosed. An application is for a downhole motor but it could be used in other applications. Rotational pistons provide increased torque generation as the torque generated is proportional to motor length. Since downhole drills are long (generally up to a maximum length of 30 ft.), a high-torque motor can be produced using this method. A pressurized fluid is used to drive the piston assemblies to produce bit shaft power. This concept employs rotary pistons and a mechanical rectifier to convert the rotational reciprocation produced by a reciprocating rotational piston into continuous rotary motion.

Inventors:
RAYMOND, David W. (91 Square H. Rd, Edgewood, NM, 87015, US)
Application Number:
US2018/054669
Publication Date:
April 11, 2019
Filing Date:
October 05, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS OF SANDIA, LLC (P.O. Box 5800, MS-0161Albuquerque, NM, 87185, US)
International Classes:
F15B15/02
Foreign References:
US9447798B12016-09-20
US4867000A1989-09-19
US5634390A1997-06-03
US7527130B22009-05-05
US3059619A1962-10-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JENKINS, Daniel J. (Senior Intellectual Property Counsel, Sandia National LaboratoriesP.O. Box 5800, MS-016, Albuquerque NM, 87185-0161, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A motor module, comprising:

a primary rotor assembly comprising a harmonic drive rotor;

a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly coupled to the primary rotor assembly, the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly comprising a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and a helical drive screw;

a helical drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive screw; and

a harmonic drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive reciprocating ring and the harmonic drive rotor so that reciprocating motion of the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly imparts linear motion to the helical and harmonic reciprocating rings so that the harmonic reciprocating ring rotates the helical drive screw to impart continuous rotary motion to the primary motor assembly.

2. The motor module of claim 1, wherein the primary rotary assembly further comprises a reciprocating rotary piston assembly comprising two or more motor pistons.

3. The motor module of claim 1, wherein the helical drive reciprocating ring comprises ball transfers that couple the helical drive reciprocating ring to the helical drive screw.

4. The motor module of claim 1, wherein the harmonic drive reciprocating ring comprises ball transfers that couple the harmonic drive reciprocating ring to the harmonic drive rotor.

5. The motor module of claim 1, wherein the helical ring is rigidly coupled to the harmonic drive ring.

6. The motor module of claim 1, wherein the primary rotor assembly further comprises a primary rotor shaft comprising a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet for receiving and discharging the fluid.

7. The motor module of claim 1, further comprising a liner assembly disposed around the motor module for porting the fluid to and from the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly.

8. The motor module of claim 1, further wherein the liner assembly comprises two or more stator ribs that with rotary pistons of the reciprocating rotary piston assembly partially define fluid chambers that receive fluid to drive the reciprocating rotary piston assembly.

9. A motor comprising:

two or more motor modules, wherein each of the two or more motor modules comprises: a primary rotor assembly comprising a harmonic drive rotor; a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly coupled to the primary rotor assembly, the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly comprising a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and a helical drive screw;

a helical drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive screw; and a harmonic drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive reciprocating ring and the harmonic drive rotor so that reciprocating motion of the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly imparts linear motion to the helical and harmonic reciprocating rings so that the harmonic reciprocating ring rotates the helical drive screw to impart continuous rotary motion to the primary motor assembly.

10. The motor of claim 9, wherein the primary rotary assembly further comprises a reciprocating rotary piston assembly comprising two or more motor pistons.

11. The motor of claim 9, wherein the helical drive reciprocating ring comprises ball transfers that couple the helical drive reciprocating ring to the helical drive screw.

12. The motor of claim 9, wherein the harmonic drive reciprocating ring comprises ball transfers that couple the harmonic drive reciprocating ring to the harmonic drive rotor.

13. The motor of claim 9, wherein the helical ring is rigidly coupled to the harmonic drive ring.

14. The motor of claim 1, wherein the primary rotor assembly further comprises a primary rotor shaft comprising a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet for receiving and discharging the fluid.

15. The motor of claim 1, further comprising a liner assembly disposed around the motor module for porting the fluid to and from the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly.

16. The motor of claim 1, further wherein the liner assembly comprises two or more stator ribs that with rotary pistons of the reciprocating rotary piston assembly partially define fluid chambers that receive fluid to drive the reciprocating rotary piston assembly.

17. A method for converting fluid energy to rotational energy, comprising:

providing fluid to a motor module comprising a primary rotor assembly comprising a harmonic drive rotor;

diverting a portion of the fluid to a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly coupled to the primary rotor assembly, the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly comprising a reciprocating rotary piston assembly;

energizing the reciprocating rotary piston assembly with the portion of the fluid to reciprocatedly rotate the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly; and transferring energy from the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly to the primary rotor assembly via a mechanical rectifier to rotate the primary rotor assembly.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein a liner assembly ports the diverted fluid to the reciprocating rotary piston assembly to energize rotary pistons of the reciprocating rotary piston assembly.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising receiving the non-diverted portion of the fluid in a second primary rotor assembly to energize a second motor module.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the non-diverted portion of the fluid is used to further energize rotary pistons and a mechanical rectifier of the second motor module.

Description:
FLUID-POWERED LINEAR MOTOR WITH

ROTARY PISTONS AND MOTION RECTIFIER

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 16/153,265, filed on October 5, 2018, entitled "FLUID-POWERED LINEAR MOTOR WITH ROTARY PISTONS AND MOTION RECTIFIER," which claims priority to provisional patent applications U.S. Serial No. 62/569,074, entitled "FLUID-POWERED LINEAR MOTOR WITH ROTARY PISTONS AND MOTION RECTIFIER," by David W. Raymond, filed October 6, 2017, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] This invention was developed under Contract No. DE-NA0003525 between the United State Department of Energy and National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC, for the operation of the Sandia National Laboratories.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention relates to the field of motors, and specifically to fluid-powered linear motors with rotary pistons for drilling.

[0004] Downhole drills are used for oil drilling, geothermal drilling, and other deep earth penetration applications. Downhole drills include rotary and percussive drills. For nearly any drilling method, rotational energy must be transferred downhole in order to promote rock reduction. The drill bit may be rotated by an electric motor or fluid/hydraulic system. The rotating action can be produced either at the surface or near the drill bit. In addition to rotational cutting, drills may also be pressurized or mechanically actuated to force the drill bit to hammer against the rock/earth. Prior art rotation systems and methods are complex, require large form factors to create sufficient torque, and require a high degree of maintenance.

[0005] The most common method of downhole energy transfer is rigid drill pipe. The drill pipe is rotated from the surface, with drilling joints added for tripping (moving in and out of the hole). For this type of system, the entire drill string rotates. Typically, a rotary table system or a top drive is used to drive the drill string. Although it is well suited for vertical drilling, it has limited applications in directional drilling because the drill string curvature and thrust loads generate additional torque that the surface based motor must overcome and drill pipe survive.

[0006] Downhole techniques used to generate rotation such as positive displacement motors (PDMs) are limited in their temperature range due to the use of elastomers. Energy resources like geothermal and deep oil and gas wells lie in hot (160°C-300°C), and often hard rock. The high- temperatures limit the use of PDMs in those environments. Additionally, while PDM motors are used for the vast majority of directional drilling operations, they introduce significant lateral vibration to the drilling assembly as the multi-lobed helical rotor comprising the power section undergoes nutation within the motor housing to generate rotor rotation. This lateral vibration is detrimental to both hardware life and directional drilling operations.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 9,447,798 discloses a motor that includes a module assembly incorporating an axially-cycled piston. The piston axial motion is torque coupled to convert the axial motion into rotary motion. The method does not require elastomers for operation and the rotor operates concentrically thereby not inducing lateral vibration. A modular fluid powered linear piston motor with harmonic coupling is described in U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 15/090,282 filed April 4, 2016, entitled " Modular Fluid Powered Linear Piston Motors with Harmonic Coupling", and includes a drive train to convert reciprocating motion from a piston into rotary motion in an output shaft. Rotation is accomplished with roller balls captured between an inner race and a drive liner to facilitate rotation between a rotor and a stator. These roller balls must operate with low friction to enable smooth operation of the motor. Additionally, they must operate under a high contact load as they are in the preloaded and active load path to transmit torque to the output rotor. Finally, they must potentially operate with an abrasive drilling fluid under the rigors of high ambient temperatures and high friction conditions,

[0008] The limitations of these configurations are: 1) many pistons are required to generate the requisite torque to drive a drill bit downhole, and 2) any particulates in the drilling fluid would potentially settle out on the upper surfaces of the piston and eventually restrict operation.

[0009] What is needed are systems and/or methods that overcome one or more of these limitations or provides other advantageous features.

[0010] Other features and advantages will be made apparent from the present specification. The teachings disclosed extend to those embodiments that fall within the scope of the claims, regardless of whether they accomplish one or more of the aforementioned needs. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] According to an embodiment of the disclosure, a motor module is disclosed that includes a primary rotor assembly including a harmonic drive rotor, a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly coupled to the primary rotor assembly, the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly comprising a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and a helical drive screw, a helical drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive screw, and a harmonic drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive reciprocating ring and the harmonic drive rotor so that reciprocating motion of the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly imparts linear motion to the helical and harmonic reciprocating rings so that the harmonic reciprocating ring rotates the helical drive screw to impart continuous rotary motion to the primary motor assembly.

[0012] According to another embodiment of the disclosure, a motor is disclosed that includes two or more motor modules, wherein each of the two or more motor modules includes a primary rotor assembly comprising a harmonic drive rotor, a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly coupled to the primary rotor assembly, the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly comprising a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and a helical drive screw, a helical drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive screw, and a harmonic drive reciprocating ring coupled to the helical drive reciprocating ring and the harmonic drive rotor so that reciprocating motion of the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly imparts linear motion to the helical and harmonic reciprocating rings so that the harmonic reciprocating ring rotates the helical drive screw to impart continuous rotary motion to the primary motor assembly.

[0013] According to another embodiment of the disclosure, a method for converting fluid energy to rotational energy is disclosed that includes providing fluid to a motor module comprising a primary rotor assembly comprising a harmonic drive rotor, diverting a portion of the fluid to a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly coupled to the primary rotor assembly, the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly comprising a reciprocating rotary piston assembly, energizing the reciprocating rotary piston assembly with the portion of the fluid to reciprocatedly rotate the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly, and transferring energy from the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly to the primary rotor assembly via a mechanical rectifier to rotate the primary rotor assembly.

[0014] One advantage of the present disclosure are motors having improved torque characteristics.

[0015] Another advantage of the present disclosure are motors that do not introduce lateral vibration to a drilling assembly. [0016] Another advantage of rotary pistons is the drilling fluid is allowed to flow through the power section and is thereby immune to particulates settling on the piston lands.

[0017] Another advantage is that preferential torque and speed characteristics may be prescribed by specification of design parameters governing the operation of the rotary piston/helical drive screw/harmonic drive combination comprising the assembly.

[0018] Alternative exemplary embodiments relate to other features and combinations of features as may be generally recited in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Figure 1 illustrates an internal power section portion of a fluid-powered linear motor module according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0020] Figure 2 illustrates a primary rotor assembly and harmonic drive rotor disposed thereupon according to an embodiment of the disclosure

[0021] Figure 3 illustrates a secondary rotor assembly according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0022] Figure 4 illustrates a composite rotary assembly according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0023] Figure 5 illustrates a helical drive reciprocating ring and connecting flange according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0024] Figure 5A is a cross section view of the helical drive reciprocating ring and connecting flange of Figure 5.

[0025] Figure 6 illustrates a harmonic drive reciprocating ring according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0026] Figure 6A is a cross section view of the harmonic drive reciprocating ring of Figure 6.

[0027] Figure 7 illustrates a liner assembly according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0028] Figure 7A is a cross section view of the liner assembly of Figure 7.

[0029] Figure 8 is a partial cross section view of a motor module according to an embodiment of the disclosure with liner assembly cutaway.

[0030] Figure 9 is the motor module of Figure 8 indicating cut aways for Figures 9A-9H.

[0031] Figure 9A is an illustration of cut away 1-1 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0032] Figure 9B is an illustration of cut away 2-2 of the motor module of Figure 9. [0033] Figure 9C is an illustration of cut away 3-3 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0034] Figure 9D is an illustration of cut away 4-4 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0035] Figure 9E is an illustration of cut away 5-5 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0036] Figure 9F is an illustration of cut away 6-6 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0037] Figure 9G is an illustration of cut away 7-7 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0038] Figure 9H is an illustration of cut away 8-8 of the motor module of Figure 9.

[0039] Figure 10 illustrates a fluid-powered linear motor according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0040] Figure 11 illustrates working and power fluid flows through a motor module according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0041] Figure 12 is a partial cross section view of a motor module at commencement of a stroke according to an embodiment of the disclosure with liner assembly cutaway illustrating clockwise reciprocating rotor assembly rotation.

[0042] Figure 13 is a partial cross section view of a motor module at completion of a stroke according to an embodiment of the disclosure with liner assembly cutaway illustrating counterclockwise reciprocating rotor assembly rotation.

[0043] Figure 14 is an illustration of a harmonic drive rotor according to an embodiment of the disclosure described herein using two cycles per revolution.

[0044] Figure 15 is an illustration of a harmonic drive rotor according to another embodiment of the disclosure using three cycles per revolution.

[0045] Figure 16 is an illustration of a harmonic drive rotor according to another embodiment of the disclosure using four cycles per revolution.

[0046] Figure 17 is an illustration of a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and compatible stator with three rotary piston blades according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0047] Figure 18 is an illustration of a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and compatible stator with four rotary piston blades according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

[0048] Figure 19 is an illustration of a reciprocating rotary piston assembly and compatible stator with five rotary piston blades according to an embodiment of the disclosure

[0049] The application will become more fully understood from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0050] Before turning to the figures which illustrate the exemplary embodiments in detail, it should be understood that the application is not limited to the details or methodology set forth in the following description or illustrated in the figures. It should also be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description only and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0051] The present disclosure is directed to systems and methods that use motors with rotary pistons and reciprocating linear rings to rectify reciprocative rotary motion to continual rotary motion to improve torque over axial piston configurations. The torque generated by the rotational pistons is proportional to the length of the rotary pistons; hence the pistons can be prescribed of the length necessary to generate a desired torque. Furthermore, an increased number of pistons may be used for greater torque. The form factor presented by rotational pistons allows flow through the piston section so fluid particulates will not settle out within the piston assembly. The disclosed motors have improved torque and particle settling characteristics and do not introduce lateral vibration and can operate at high temperatures.

[0052] Figure 1 illustrates an internal power section of a fluid-powered linear motor module (internal power section) 10 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 1, the internal power section 10 includes a primary rotor assembly 20, a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30, a helical drive reciprocating ring (helical drive ring) 40 and a harmonic drive reciprocating ring (harmonic drive ring) 50. Additional components not seen are discussed in further detail below. The internal power section 10 has aft end or fluid inlet 1 1 and a fore end or fluid outlet 12. The internal power section 10 receives fluid at the aft end that drives the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly that drives the helical and harmonic reciprocating rings to drive a harmonic drive rotor (described below) attached to the primary rotor assembly to impart a continual rotation thereto, the fluid discharged thereafter from the fluid outlet.

[0053] Figure 2 illustrates a primary rotor assembly 20 and harmonic drive rotor 60 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. The primary rotor assembly 20 ports the fluid to the piston chambers as it rotates. The primary rotor assembly 20 produces torque in response to the harmonic drive ring 50 moving across the harmonic drive rotor 60. The primary rotor assembly 20 includes a primary rotor shaft 21, thrust bearing flanges 22, and end retainers 23. The primary rotor assembly 20 also includes a primary shaft fluid outlet (pressure) valve 24 and a primary shaft fluid inlet (exhaust) valve 25.

[0054] The thrust bearing flanges 22 react the force from the action of the harmonic drive reciprocating ring 50. There are three thrust bearing flanges 22, an aft thrust bearing flange 22a proximate the fluid inlet 21a, a forward thrust bearing flange 22b proximate the fluid outlet 21b, and a primary/secondary rotor bearing flange 22c proximate the middle of the shaft 21.

[0055] The end retainers 23 retain the various components comprising the subassembly on the primary rotor shaft. There are two end retainers 23, a first end retainer or locknut 23a disposed on the shaft 21 proximate the fluid inlet 21a and a second end retainer or shaft collar 23b disposed proximate the fluid outlet 21b.

[0056] The primary shaft fluid outlet valve 24 allows a portion of the fluid entering the shaft fluid inlet 21a and flowing through a shaft internal pressurized flow channel (not shown), which flows between the primary shaft fluid inlet 21a and the primary shaft fluid outlet 21b, to exit the shaft internal pressurized flow channel and drive the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30. The primary fluid inlet valve 25 allows the fluid that has driven the secondary reciprocating 30 to return to a shaft internal flow channel separate from the pressurized fluid flowing through the shaft internal pressurized flow channel. Both the pressurized fluid flowing through the shaft internal pressurized flow channel and the fluid that has performed work by driving the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 are discharged as separate streams at the shaft fluid outlet 21b.

[0057] The harmonic drive rotor 60 is a cylindrical sleeve that has ball track grooves 60a that allow seating of ball transfers in harmonic drive reciprocating ring 50. The ball track grooves 60a form a recirculating path around the harmonic drive to convert harmonic, cycloidal or polynomial motion in the harmonic drive reciprocating ring 50 to rotary motion in the primary rotor assembly. The harmonic drive rotor 60 converts reciprocating motion in the harmonic drive reciprocating ring 50 to continuous rotary motion in primary rotor assembly 20. The harmonic drive rotor 60 is joined to, affixed or otherwise attached to the primary rotor assembly 20 so that imparting rotation to the harmonic drive rotor 60 imparts rotation to the primary rotor assembly 20.

[0058] Figure 3 illustrates a secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. The secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 is concentric to the primary rotor assembly 20 and can reciprocatedly rotate thereabout. The secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 includes a secondary reciprocating rotor (secondary rotor) 31, a reciprocating rotary piston assembly 32, and a helical drive screw assembly 33. The reciprocating rotary piston assembly 32 includes a housing 32a, reciprocating rotary motor blades or pistons 32b and splines 32c internal to the housing 32a. The reciprocating rotary piston assembly 32 shows an end view of the secondary rotor 32 so as to show secondary rotor splines 3 la that engage with the splines 32c of the reciprocation rotary piston assembly 32.

[0059] The secondary rotor 31 is disposed concentrically around the primary rotor shaft 21 (see Figure 4). As discussed above, the secondary rotor 31 includes secondary rotor splines 3 la that engage with splines 32c internal to the reciprocating rotary piston assembly 32 and splines internal to the helical drive screw assembly 33 (not shown), so that reciprocating rotary motion imparted to the reciprocating rotary piston assembly 32 rotates the helical drive screw assembly 33 in a reciprocating manner as well.

[0060] The helical drive screw assembly 33 includes helical drive screw spacers (spacers) 34 on both sides of a helical drive screw 35. The spacers 34 include a fore drive screw spacer 34a and an aft drive screw spacer 34b. The spacers 34 have internal splines that couple the spacers 34 to the secondary rotor 31. The aft drive screw spacers 34a abuts against a bearing flange 36 coupled to the secondary rotor 31 via mating splines. The bearing flange 36 reacts thrust load from the helical drive reciprocating ring 40 to a thrust bearing 78 (see Figure 7A). The fore drive screw spacer 34b is coupled to a flange 37. The bearing flange 37 reacts thrust load from the helical drive reciprocating ring 40 to the primary/secondary thrust bearing 22 (see Figure 2).

[0061] The helical drive screw 35 is a cylindrical sleeve that has ball track grooves 35a that allow seating of ball transfers 45 (see Figures 5 and 5A) in helical drive reciprocating ring 40. The ball track grooves 35a form a non-recirculating path around the helical drive to convert reciprocating rotary motion in the secondary rotor assembly to reciprocating motion in the helical drive reciprocating ring 40.

[0062] Figure 4 illustrates a composite rotary assembly 70 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 4, the composite rotary assembly 70 is formed by concentrically assembling the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 and the primary rotor assembly 20. The secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 is positioned longitudinally on the primary rotor assembly 20 by 1) abutting flange 37 on primary/secondary thrust bearing flange (flange) 22c with a thrust bearing 78a in the interstitial space between the flanges 22c and 37 at the interface between the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 30 and the primary rotor assembly 20 and 2) abutting the reciprocating rotary piston assembly 30 against flange 22a with a thrust bearing 78b in the interstitial space between reciprocating rotary piston assembly 30. The helical drive ring 40 (see Figures 5 and 5B), the helical drive screw 35, the harmonic drive ring 50 (see Figures 6 and 6A), and the harmonic drive rotor 60 may be referred to as mechanical rectifier.

[0063] Figures 5 and 5A illustrate a helical drive reciprocating ring (helical drive ring) 40 and a connecting flange 41 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figures 5 and 5 A, the helical drive ring 40 includes a housing 42 and a plurality of ball transfers 43. The plurality of ball transfers 43 include a plurality of ball transfer housings (ball housings) 44 and a plurality of track, roller balls (balls) 45 (see Figure 5 A) disposed within the plurality of ball transfer housings 44. The plurality of ball housings 44 contain the corresponding plurality of balls 45 so that a portion of the balls extends towards the axial centerline of the housing 42 beyond the inner wall 42a of the housing 42 and the plurality of ball housings 44 (see Figure 5A). The connecting flange 41 includes an insert portion 41a that is used to rigidly connect the helical drive ring 40 to the harmonic drive ring 50. The connecting flange 41 also includes an opposing insert portion (not shown) disposed within and rigidly connected to the helical drive ring 40.

[0064] The helical drive ring 40 is disposed around and concentric to the helical drive screw assembly 33 (Figures 1, 3, 4). The plurality of balls 45 engage and track in corresponding track grooves 35a of the helical drive screw 35 (Figure 1, 3, 4). In such a manner, the balls 45 and track grooves 35a are in load bearing contact and the balls 45 rotationally reciprocate in the ball housings 44 as the helical drive screw 35 reciprocates.

[0065] Figures 6 and 6A illustrate a harmonic drive reciprocating ring (harmonic drive ring) 50 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figures 6 and 6A, the harmonic drive ring 50 includes a housing 52, a plurality of ball transfers 53 that include a plurality of ball transfer housings 54 and a plurality of track, roller balls (balls) 55 disposed within the plurality of ball transfer housings 54. The plurality of ball housings 54 contain the corresponding plurality of balls 55 so that a portion of the balls extend towards the axial centerline of the housing 52 beyond the inner wall 52a of the housing 52 and the plurality of ball housings 54.

[0066] The harmonic drive ring 50 is disposed around and concentric to the harmonic drive rotor 60 (Figures 2, 4). The plurality of balls 55 engage and track in corresponding harmonic track grooves 60a of the harmonic track rotor 60 (Figure 2, 4). In such a manner, the balls 55 and harmonic track grooves 60a are in load bearing contact and the balls 55 rotate in the ball housings 54 as the harmonic drive rotor 60 rotates.

[0067] The ball transfers, and in particular, ball transfers with polycrystalline diamond bearing support, are the subject of co-owned U.S. Patent Application No. 15/726,506 entitled "BALL TRANSFER MECHANISM WITH POLYCRYSTALLINE DIAMOND BEARING SUPPORT," filed October 6, 2017, incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0068] Figures 7 and 7A illustrates a liner assembly (liner) 72 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. In this exemplary disclosure the liner 72 is formed from multiple segments for ease of assembly of the motor module 80 (see Figure 8). In other embodiments, the liner 72 may be formed of one or more components. The liner 72 acts as a stator and forms the interface between the motor case (shell) and the rotor assembly shown in Figure 4. As can be seen in Figure 7 and 7 A, the liner

72 includes a housing 73 having external splines 73a and internal splines 73b. The external splines

73 a engage with the motor case or shell 101 (see Figure 10) to prevent rotation of the liner 72 as the liner 72 reacts the torque from the reciprocating rings (40, 50) on the interior surface using internal splines 73b to prevent the rings 40, 50 from rotating. Thrust bearings 78c, 78d, 78e, 78f are shown installed within the liner in Figure 7A and act to react rotor thrust loads during operation. Also shown in Figure 7A are rotary bearings 79a & 79b that centralize the rotor assembly (Figure 4) within the liner 72 and rotary bearings 79c & 79d that centralize the rotary piston 32 (Figure 3) within the liner 72.

[0069] As can be seen in Figure 7A, the liner 72 includes stator ribs 71 disposed there within. These stator ribs 71 interface with the rotary piston 32 to form cavities or chambers (e.g., chambers "A" & "B") that facilitate chamber pressurization in response to the following fluid pressurization sequence. As discussed in further detail below, adjacent rotary pistons 32 have a stator rib 71 disposed therebetween so as to divide the space therebetween into chambers "A and "B." The internal components 73c include ports to receive fluid from the pressure valve 24 and convey the fluid to the chambers as described in further detail below. It should be noted that internal components 73 are shown solid at the cut away but contain ports internal thereto.

[0070] Figure 8 is a partial cross section view of a motor module 80 according to an embodiment of the disclosure with the liner 72 cutaway. The rotor assembly 70 shown in Figure 4 is shown installed in the cut-away of the liner 72a. The aforementioned thrust bearings 78c, 78d, 78e, 78f and rotary bearings 79a, 79b, 79c & 79d (shown in Figure 7A) integrate the rotor assembly with the liner. [0071] Figure 9 shows the complete motor module 80 with sectional references for Figures 9A-9H indicated. As can be seen in Figures 9A-9H, the liner 72a further includes fluid injection ports 74 (fluid injection port 74a - Chamber A, fluid injection port 74b - Chamber B) into rotary piston stator 72b, a fluid relief port 75 (fluid relief port 75a - Chamber A, fluid relief port 75b - Chamber B) in liner 72c, a fluid channel 76 (fluid relief port 76a - Chamber A - external to liner 72d, fluid relief port 76b - Chamber B - internal to liner 72d) and a fore fluid inlet port 77 (fluid relief port 77a - Chamber A, fluid relief port 77b - Chamber B in liner 72e). These are described below using the various sections through the motor module 80 in Figure 9.

[0072] Figures 9A-9H shows how alternatively pressurizing and exhausting Chambers A and B impart reciprocative rotary motion to motor pistons to generate rotation and torque in the output rotor. As discussed below, Chamber A is pressurized while Chamber B is concurrently exhausted to energize the rotor assembly to impart clockwise motion to the rotary pistons to generate clockwise motion in the output rotor, followed by alternatively porting Chamber B to pressurize while Chamber A is concurrently exhausted to energize the rotor assembly to impart counter-clockwise motion to the rotary pistons to generate clockwise motion in the output rotor.

[0073] The fluid injection ports 74 receive fluid from the primary shaft fluid outlet (pressure) valve 24 (see Figures 9A section 1-1 and 9B section 2-2) and port it to the rotary piston Chambers A and B (see Figure 9C section 3-3). Fluid injection port 74a connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 24a to rotary piston Chamber A via flow through the liner 72a; fluid injection port 74b connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 24b to rotary piston Chamber B via flow through the liner 72a. These fluid injection ports 74a & 74b connect alternatively during rotor rotation to pressurize the chambers for rotary piston reciprocation. (Note the referenced figures show the beginning of Chamber A pressurization and completion of Chamber B pressurization corresponding to clockwise rotation of the rotor assembly.)

[0074] The fluid relief port 75 receives fluid from the rotary piston chambers (see Figure 9C section 3-3) for ejection to the rotor primary shaft fluid inlet (exhaust) valve 25 via fluid channel 76 and fore fluid port 77. Fluid injection port 75a (see Figure 9D section 4-4) connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 25 to rotary piston Chamber A via fluid channel 76a (described below) and fore fluid port 77a (described below); fluid injection port 75b connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 25 to rotary piston Chamber B via fluid channel 76b (described below) and fore fluid port 77b (described below). These fluid ejection ports 75a & 75b connect alternatively during rotor rotation to exhaust the chambers for rotary piston reciprocation.

[0075] The fluid channel 76a receives fluid from the fluid relief port 75 for ejection to the rotor primary shaft fluid inlet (exhaust) valve 25 via fore fluid port 77. Fluid injection port 76a, one or more cavities in the exterior of liner 72d (see Figure 9E section 5-5 and 9D section 6-6) connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 25 to rotary piston Chamber A via fore fluid port 77a; fluid injection port 76b, flow across the helical drive reciprocating 40 (see Figure 9E section 5-5) in the interior of liner 72d and harmonic drive reciprocating ring 50 (see Figure 9F section 6-6) in the interior of liner 72d connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 25 to rotary piston chamber "B" via fore fluid port 77b. These fluid channels 76a & 76b connect alternatively during rotor rotation to exhaust the chambers for rotary piston reciprocation.

[0076] The fore fluid inlet port 77 receives fluid from the fluid channel 76 for ejection to the rotor primary shaft fluid inlet (exhaust) valve 25. Fore fluid inlet port 77a (see Figure 9G section 7-7) connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 25 to rotary piston chamber "A" via fluid channel 76a and flow through the liner 72e; fore fluid inlet port 77b (see Figure 9H section 8-8) connects rotor primary shaft fluid outlet valve 25 to rotary piston Chamber B via fluid channel 76b fluid injection port 76b and flow through the liner 72e. These fore fluid inlet ports 77a & 77b connect alternatively during rotor rotation to exhaust the chambers for rotary piston reciprocation.

[0077] Figure 10 illustrates a partial cut away view of a fluid-powered linear motor (motor) 100 according to an embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 10, the motor 100 includes a first motor module 100a and a second motor module 100b. In other embodiments, a motor 100 may include two or more modules depending on the torque requirements of the application. The motor 100 requires the second motor module 100b to be assembled rotationally clocked from the first motor module 100a to provide a continuous output torque as the individual modules can then transition the respective dwell point or motion reversals of their piston reciprocation while the other module is providing rotor power. Additional modules can be added and similarly offset to allow continuous rotor torque during constituent module dwell points and provide increased torque delivery for the overall assembly.

[0078] Also shown in Figure 10 is a case or shell 101 that accommodates installation of the constituent motor modules including a splined bore to receive liner assembly 72 and mate with housing 73 and external splines 73a. The shell 101 is secured (preloaded) with a connection (threaded or welded) to hold the motor in place.

[0079] It should be appreciated that the primary rotor shaft of the motor may be connected or coupled to a rotary tool or device, such as, but not limited to a rotary cutter or bit, via a rotating collar at the forward end of the shell. Likewise, the aft end of the shell may be connected to a drillstring such that the motor introduces rotary motion relative to the drillstring connection. In addition, the motor receives a fluid from a drillstring connection or other fluid supply source as may be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0080] Figure 11 illustrates fluid flow paths through the motor 100 (Figure 10). As discussed above, the fluid entering each module is separated into a working fluid flow that energizes the secondary reciprocating motor assembly of that module and a pressure fluid flow that passes through the primary rotor shaft of that module and an exhaust flow that may have been collected from previous modules. The working fluid, after performing work, is exhausted from that module as an exhaust flow. The exhaust flow is then provided to downstream module(s) to continue to pass through the motor. The pressure fluid flow, after passing through a module, is provided to a downstream module to power the secondary reciprocating motor assembly of that downstream module. Similarly, exhaust fluid flows from upstream modules must be isolated from pressure fluid flows that have yet to perform work until all exhaust fluid can be collected at the motor exit.

[0081] As can be seen in Figure 11, an exhaust piping manifold 100a is assembled with subassembly 101 disposed within the first module 100a (see Figure 10) and subassembly 102 disposed within the second module 100b (see Figure 10) with the assemblies interconnected by exhaust tube 103. For the two-module motor under consideration, centralizer 104 is disposed within the first module and as such does not collect any exhaust flows from previous modules; it does allow pressurized fluid to the downstream module and accordingly has flutes cut in its periphery to allow pressurized fluid to flow by. Pressurized fluid is delivered to the first module, performs work, is collected as exhaust fluid at centralizer 105, and conveyed to exhaust tube 103 for pass through module 2. Centralizer 105 also includes flutes to allow pressurized fluid to flow by to module 2. Pressurized fluid is conveyed across these flutes within the primary rotor of module 1 and delivered to module 2. Pressurized fluid is delivered to the second module proximate centralizer 106, performs work, collected as exhaust fluid at centralizer 107, and combined with exhaust flow in exhaust tube 108 and allowed to exit the motor assembly. Comparable fluid management flow manifolds can be conceived for motors consisting of more than two modules with exhaust manifolds configured for each module according to the sequential connection of the assembly.

[0082] Figures 12 and 13 show the rotary reciprocation of the rotary piston assembly, related ring reciprocation, and the corresponding rotor rotation. Figure 12 is a partial cross section view of a motor module 120 at the commencement of a stroke according to an embodiment of the disclosure, with liner assembly cutaway illustrating clockwise reciprocating rotor assembly rotation at commencement of stroke. As can be seen in Figure 12, fluid is rotating the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 122 in a clockwise direction A that imparts will forward linear motion B to the helical and harmonic drive rings 124 (driving them in the direction indicated by B) such that the harmonic drive ring 124a imparts clockwise rotation C to the primary rotor assembly 126.

[0083] Figure 13 is a partial cross section view of a motor module according to an embodiment of the disclosure with liner assembly cutaway illustrating counter-clockwise reciprocating rotor assembly rotation at completion of a stroke. As can be seen in Figure 13, fluid is rotating the secondary reciprocating rotor assembly 122 in a counter-clockwise direction A' that will impart a backward linear motion B' to the helical and harmonic drive rings 124 such that the harmonic drive ring 124a imparts clockwise rotation C to the primary rotor assembly 126.

[0084] Figure 14 is an illustration of a harmonic drive rotor 140 according to the present embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 14, the rotor has two tracks or harmonics per revolution.

[0085] Figure 15 is an illustration of a harmonic drive rotor 140 according to another embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 15, the rotor has three tracks or harmonics per revolution, resulting in 2/3 the rotor advance of the baseline embodiment of the disclosure per ring reciprocation. Hence, the output speed of the rotor can be tailored by selecting the properties of the harmonic drive.

[0086] Figure 16 is an illustration of a harmonic drive rotor 140 according to another embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 16, the rotor has four tracks or harmonics per revolution, resulting in 1/2 the rotor advance of the baseline embodiment of the disclosure per ring reciprocation. Hence, the output speed of the rotor can be tailored by selecting the properties of the harmonic drive.

[0087] Figure 17 is an illustration of a reciprocating rotary piston assembly with a stator according to the present embodiment of the disclosure. As can be seen in Figure 17, a three-blade reciprocating rotary piston assembly is used with a three-ribbed stator. [0088] Figure 18 is an illustration of a four-blade reciprocating rotary piston assembly with a four- ribbed stator, resulting in 4/3 the output torque of the baseline embodiment of the disclosure for comparable pressure conditions. Hence, the rotor output torque can be increased by selecting the properties of the rotary piston assembly.

[0089] Figure 19 is an illustration of a five-blade reciprocating rotary piston assembly with a five- ribbed stator, resulting in 5/3 the output torque of the baseline embodiment of the disclosure for comparable pressure conditions. Hence, the rotor output torque can be increased by selecting the properties of the rotary piston assembly.

[0090] Comparing chamber volumes in Figures 17 - 19, the cumulative chamber volume of each design decreases as additional stator ribs is used thereby decreasing the required fluid volume to complete reciprocation. Hence, the input flowrate characteristics of the motor can be modified by selecting the properties of the rotary piston assembly.

[0091] Comparing ring reciprocation (axial amplitude) of various harmonic drives in Figures 14- 16 with reciprocating rotary piston assemblies (circumferential reciprocation) in Figures 17-19 requires displacement compatibility via preferred selection of helical power screw properties that convert rotary piston reciprocation into axial ring displacement. Multiple configurations can be conceived by selecting the properties of the overall assembly components to achieve the desired rotor output speed and torque based upon input flow and pressure conditions.

[0092] Operation

[0093] The operation of a rotary piston motor is as follows. As the rotor rotates, the valves within the first valve block assembly open to allow fluid pressure and flow into chamber A of the rotary piston assembly at the upstream end. The fluid pressure drives the rotary pistons clockwise exhausting the fluid from chamber B at the downstream end. The exhaust fluid is ported around the harmonic drive assembly and directed to the exhaust ports in the lower valve block assembly. The exhaust valves allow flow from chamber B into the exhaust manifold on rotor centerline.

[0094] As the rotary pistons rotate clockwise, an output torque is delivered to the helical drive screw assembly. This clockwise rotation and torque produces ball motion in the non-reversing track and produces forward axial motion in the helical and harmonic drive rings. The helical and harmonic drive rings apply a force to the ball(s) in the reversing track of the harmonic drive and introduces clockwise rotation and torque to the output rotor. [0095] As the rotary pistons reach the end of stroke, the pressure and exhaust valves reverse port connections and the pressurized fluid is directed to chamber B and the fluid is exhausted from chamber A. This produces counter-clockwise motion in the rotary piston output shaft and reverses the motion of the ball(s) in the helical drive screw and causes the helical and harmonic drive rings to retract. Since the ball(s) in the harmonic drive had reached the dwell point at the end of the chamber A pressurization stroke, the ball(s) in the harmonic drive is now on the reversing track of the harmonic drive. As the helical and harmonic drive rings retract during pressurization of chamber B, clockwise motion and torque are delivered to the output rotor. When the rotary piston reaches the end of stroke, the harmonic drive(s) reaches another dwell point and the cycle is complete. The cycle repeats itself with the subsequent pressurization of chamber A and exhaust of chamber B as the rotor valves return to their initial conditions following one full or fractional rotation of the rotor.

[0096] Configurations

[0097] The harmonic drive rotor includes a specified number of harmonics. The number of harmonics on the output shaft is coupled with the number of blades on the rotary piston so that the speed output of the assembly is commensurate with the rotation-generating capacity of the rotary piston assembly. That is, as the number of harmonics on the assembly increases, the rotor advance per piston cycle will decrease; this will decrease the speed of the rotor for a given flowrate through the motor. Accordingly, the number of blades on the rotary piston can likewise increase to provide increased torque at lower speeds so that the motor can run at constant rotational power with the output torque and speed tailored to preferred values. Some of the options are shown in the top and bottom panel pairs of Figures 14-19.

[0098] While the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the figures and described herein are presently preferred, it should be understood that these embodiments are offered by way of example only. Accordingly, the present application is not limited to a particular embodiment, but extends to various modifications that nevertheless fall within the scope of the appended claims. The order or sequence of any processes or method steps may be varied or re-sequenced according to alternative embodiments.

[0099] Although only a few embodiments have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited in the claims. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements, the position of elements may be reversed or otherwise varied, and the nature or number of discrete elements or positions may be altered or varied. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present application. The order or sequence of any process or method steps may be varied or re-sequenced according to alternative embodiments. In the claims, any means-plus-function clause is intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangement of the exemplary embodiments without departing from the scope of the present application.