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Title:
A LARGE SLOW-RUNNING TWO-STROKE ENGINE AND A METHOD OF LUBRICATING IT AND A CONTROLLER FOR SUCH ENGINE AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/114902
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A large slow-running two-stroke engine comprising a cylinder (1) with a reciprocal piston inside and with a plurality of injectors (4) distributed along a perimeter of the cylinder (1) for injection of lubricant into the cylinder (1) at various positions on the perimeter. A controller (11) is provided for controlling the amount and timing of the lubricant injection through the injectors (4). The controller (11) comprises a dosing unit (26) with a dosing chamber (29) in cyclic operation between an injection phase where the accumulated lubricant is dispensed from the dosing chamber (29) to the injectors (4) and a subsequent accumulation phase with accumulation of lubricant in the dosing chamber (29). A flow meter (31) connected to the dosing chamber (29) is measuring the volume of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber (29) in the accumulation phase for measuring the injected volume of lubricant in the preceding injection phase.

Inventors:
BAK, Peer (Kvisten 9, 9300 Sæby, 9300, DK)
Application Number:
DK2018/050352
Publication Date:
June 20, 2019
Filing Date:
December 13, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HANS JENSEN LUBRICATORS A/S (Smedevænget 3, 9560 Hadsund, 9560, DK)
International Classes:
F01M1/08; F01M1/16; F16N25/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2011110181A12011-09-15
WO2011150943A12011-12-08
WO2011116768A12011-09-29
WO2007057027A12007-05-24
WO2016015732A12016-02-04
Foreign References:
EP2196639A12010-06-16
EP2722500A22014-04-23
EP1586751A22005-10-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATRADE A/S (Ceresbyen 75, 8000 Aarhus C, 8000, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A large slow-running two-stroke engine comprising a cylinder (1) with a recip- rocal piston inside and with a plurality of injectors (4) distributed along a perimeter of the cylinder (1) for injection of lubricant into the cylinder (1) at various posi- tions on the perimeter; the engine further comprising a controller (11) that is con figured for controlling the amount and timing of the lubricant injection by at least one of the injectors (4); the controller (11) being connected by a feed conduit (9) to at least one of the injectors (4) for supplying lubricant for injection into the cylin der (1); characterised in that the controller (11) comprises a dosing unit (26), the dosing unit (26) comprising a dosing chamber (29) and a chamber outlet (29A) connecting the dosing chamber (29) with the feed conduit (9), wherein the dosing unit (26) is configured for cyclic operation between an injection phase and a subse- quent accumulation phase, wherein the injection phase comprises dispensing of lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29A) and through the feed conduit (9) to the at least one of the injectors (4), and wherein the subsequent accumulation phase comprises refilling lubricant into the dosing cham ber (29); the controller (11) further comprising a flow meter (31) connected to the dosing chamber (29) and configured for measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber (29) for refilling in the accumulation phase, and wherein the flow meter (31) is configured for providing a corresponding electronic flow-indicating signal as a measure for the injected mass and/or volume of lubricant of the preceding injection phase.

2. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to claim 1, wherein the dos ing chamber (29) is connected to a lubricant refill conduit (13’) for refilling the dosing chamber (29) with lubricant from the lubricant refill conduit (13’) in the ac cumulation phase, wherein the flow meter (31) is interposed between the refill conduit (13) and the dosing chamber (29) for measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing from the return conduit (13’) through the flow meter (31) and into the dosing chamber (29) in the accumulation phase.

3. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to claim 2, wherein the flow meter (31) is interposed between the lubricant refill conduit (13’) and the feed con duit (9) for flow of lubricant from the refill conduit (13’) through the flow meter (31) and through the feed conduit (9) into the dosing chamber (29) in the accumu- lation phase.

4. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to claim 3, wherein a non return valve (30) is interposed between the flow meter (31) and the feed conduit (9) for preventing backflow of lubricant from the feed conduit (9) into the flow meter (31).

5. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to claim 3 or 4, wherein the chamber outlet (29A) has a two-way flow with a first flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber (29), through the chamber outlet (29A) into the feed conduit (9) and through the feed conduit (9) to the injector (4) in the injection phase and with a second flow of lubricant from the lubricant refill conduit (13’), through the flow meter (31), through part of the feed conduit (9), through the chamber outlet (29 A) into the dosing chamber (29) in the accumulation phase.

6. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to any preceding claim, wherein the dosing unit (26) comprises a dosing inlet (26A) and a plunger (27) be tween the dosing inlet (26A) and the chamber outlet (29A), the plunger (27) being arranged for displacement towards the chamber outlet (29A) upon pressure from lubricant flowing into the dosing inlet (26A), the displacement causing a reduction of the volume in dosing chamber (29) and corresponding expelling of lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29A) into the feed con duit (9).

7. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to claim 6, wherein the con troller (11) comprises a first valve (20A) with an intake port (12A) connected to a lubricant supply conduit (12) and an outlet port (24A) connected to the dosing inlet (26A), the first valve (20A) being configured to toggle between a first state in the injection phase in which the intake port (12A) and the outlet port (24A) are con- nected for feeding lubricant from the supply conduit (12) through the intake port (12A) and through the outlet port (24A) to the dosing inlet (26A) when the first valve (20A) is in the first state for supplying the lubricant from the supply conduit (12) to the dosing unit (26), and a second state in the accumulation phase in which the inlet port (21 A) and the outlet port (24A) are disconnected for preventing lubri cant from the supply conduit (12) to reach the dosing inlet (26 A) when the first valve (20A) is in the second state.

8. A large slow running two stroke engine according to claim 7, wherein the first valve (20A) also comprises a return port (13 A) connected to a lubricant return con duit (13), wherein the first valve (20A) is configured for connecting the outlet port (24A) with the return port (13A) in the second state for draining lubricant from the dosing inlet (26A) into the return conduit (13) when the plunger (27) is displaced towards the dosing inlet (26A) in the accumulation phase.

9. A large slow running two stroke engine according to claim 7 or 8, wherein the lubricant refill conduit (13’) is connected to the return line (13) for receiving lubri cant from the return line (13) for refilling the dosing chamber (29) in the accumula tion phase, wherein the pressure of the lubricant in the return line (13) is lower than the pressure of the lubricant in the supply line (12).

10. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to any preceding claim, wherein the injector (4) comprises an injector inlet port (4 A) in communication with the feed conduit (9) and a pressure control port (4B) in communication with a pressure control conduit (10); wherein the injector (4) comprises a feed volume (17) in communication with the injector inlet port (4A) for receiving lubricant from the feed conduit (9); wherein the injector comprises a nozzle (5) with a nozzle ap erture (5’) in communication with the feed volume (17), the nozzle aperture (5’) being arranged inside the cylinder (1) for injection of lubricant into the cylinder (1) from the feed volume (17) through the nozzle aperture (5’); wherein the injector (4) comprises a reciprocal valve body (15) with a first side communicating with the feed volume (17) and an opposite side communicating with the pressure control port (4B) for controlling the position of the valve body (15) in dependence of a pressure difference between the injector inlet port (4 A) and the pressure control port (4B); the valve body (15) being arranged for toggling between opening and closing the nozzle aperture (5’) by pressure changes between the injector inlet port (4A) and the pressure control port (4B)

11. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to claim 10, wherein the controller (11) comprises a second valve (20B) with an inlet port (21B) connected to the supply conduit (12) and an outlet port (24B) connected to the pressure con trol conduit (10) and a return port (13B) connected to the return conduit (13); the second valve (20B) being configured to toggle between a first state and a second state, wherein the inlet port (21B) and the outlet port (24B) are interconnected in the first state of the second valve (20B) for feeding lubricant from the supply con duit (12) to the pressure control port (4B), and wherein the outlet port (24B) and the return port (13B) are interconnected in the second state of the second valve (20B) for draining lubricant from the pressure control port (4B) to the return con duit (13).

12. A large slow-running two-stroke engine according to any preceding claim, wherein the feed conduit (9) and the pressure control conduit (10) have lengths dif fering by less than 10%.

13. A method for lubricating a large slow-running two-stroke engine comprising a cylinder (1) with a reciprocal piston inside and with a plurality of injectors (4) distributed along a perimeter of the cylinder (1) for injection of lubricant into the cylinder (1) at various positions on the perimeter; the engine further comprising a controller (11) that is configured for controlling the amount and timing of the lub ricant injection by at least one of the injectors (4); the controller (11) being con nected by a feed conduit (9) to at least one of the injectors (4) for supplying lubri cant for injection into the cylinder (1); characterised in that the controller (11) comprises a dosing unit (26), the dosing unit (26) comprising a dosing chamber (29) and a chamber outlet (29A) connecting the dosing chamber (29) with the feed conduit (9); the controller (11) further comprising a flow meter (31) connected to the dosing chamber (29) and configured for measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber (29); and wherein the method com prises operating the dosing unit (26) in a cyclic operation between an injection phase and a subsequent accumulation phase; in the injection phase dispensing the lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29A) and through the feed conduit (9) to the at least one of the injectors (4) and injecting the lubricant from the at least one of the injectors (4) into the cylinder (1); in the sub- sequent accumulation phase refilling lubricant into the dosing chamber (29) and, by the flow meter (31), measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing in to the dosing chamber (29) for the refilling; wherein the method further comprises providing a corresponding electronic flow-indicating signal by the flow meter (31) as a measure for the injected mass and/or volume of lubricant of the preceding in jection phase.

14. A method according to claim 13, wherein the dosing chamber (29) is con nected to a lubricant refill conduit (13’) for refilling the dosing chamber (29) with lubricant from the lubricant refill conduit (13’) in the accumulation phase, wherein the flow meter (31) is interposed between the refill conduit (13’) and the dosing chamber (29); and the method comprises, by the flow meter (31), measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing from the refill conduit (13’) through the flow meter (31) and into the dosing chamber (29) in the accumulation phase.

15. A method according to claim 14, wherein the flow meter (31) is interposed between the refill conduit (13’) and the feed conduit (9) and the chamber outlet (29A) has a two-way flow function, the method comprising causing a first flow of lubricant out of the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29A), into the feed conduit (9), and to the injector (4) in the injection phase; and subsequently causing a second flow of lubricant from the flow meter (31), through the feed con duit (9), through the chamber outlet (29A) into the dosing chamber (29) in the ac cumulation phase.

16. A method according to any one of the claims 13-15, wherein the dosing unit (26) comprises a dosing inlet (26A) and a plunger (27) between the dosing inlet (26A) and the chamber outlet (29A); wherein the method comprises displacing the plunger (27) towards the chamber outlet (29 A) by providing pressure from lubri cant flowing into the dosing inlet (26A) and causing a reduction of the volume of the dosing chamber (29) by the displacement of the plunger (27) and correspond- ingly expelling lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29 A) into the feed conduit (9) and into the injector (4).

17. A method according to claim 16, wherein the injector (4) comprises an injec- tor inlet port (4A) in communication with the feed conduit (9) and a pressure con trol port (4B) in communication with a pressure control conduit (10); wherein the injector (4) comprises a feed volume (17) in communication with the injector inlet port (4 A) for receiving lubricant from the feed conduit (9); wherein the injector comprises a nozzle (5) with a nozzle aperture (5’) in communication with the feed volume (17), the nozzle aperture (5’) being arranged inside the cylinder (1) for in jection of lubricant into the cylinder (1) from the feed volume (17) through the nozzle aperture (5’); wherein the injector (4) comprises a reciprocal valve body (15) with a first side communicating with the feed volume (17) and an opposite side communicating with the pressure control port (4B) for controlling the position of the valve body (15) in dependence of the pressure difference between the injec tor inlet port (4A) and the pressure control port (4B); the valve body (15) being ar ranged for toggling between opening and closing the nozzle aperture (5’); and the method comprising cyclic changing the pressure difference between the injector in let port (4A) and the pressure control port (4B) and thereby causing toggling the valve body (15) between an injection state where lubricant is injected into the cyl inder (1) and a closing state where no lubricant is injected.

18. A method according to claim 17, wherein the controller (11) comprises a first valve (20A) with an intake port (12A) connected to a lubricant supply conduit (12) and an outlet port (24A) connected to the dosing inlet (26A) and a return port (13 A) connected to a lubricant return conduit (13); the first valve (20A) being con figured to toggle between a first state in which the intake port (12A) and the outlet port (24A) are interconnected for feeding lubricant from the supply conduit (12) through the intake port (12A) and through the outlet port (24A) to the dosing inlet (26A) and a second state in which the intake port (12A) and the outlet port (24A) are disconnected from each other and the outlet port (24A) and the return port (13A) are interconnected for draining lubricant from the dosing inlet (26A) through the first valve (20A) into the return conduit (13); wherein the controller (11) com prises a second valve (20B) with an intake port (12B) connected to the supply con duit (9) and an outlet port (24B) connected to the pressure control conduit (10) and a return port (13B) connected to the return conduit (13); the second valve (20B) be ing configured to toggle between a first state in which the intake port (12B) and the outlet port (24B) are interconnected for feeding lubricant from the supply conduit (12) to the pressure control port (4B) and a second state in which the outlet port (24B) and the return port (13B) are interconnected for draining lubricant from the pressure control port (4B) to the return conduit (13); wherein the method comprises cyclic performance of either A) or B), wherein

A) comprises firstly filling the dosing chamber (29) in an accumula tion phase while the first valve (20A) and the second valve (20B) are both in the second state; and subsequently for initiating the injection phase, switch ing the first valve (20A) from the second state to the first state while the sec ond valve (20B) is still in the second state and as a consequence causing dis placement of the plunger (27) in the dosing unit (26) towards the chamber outlet (29A) and flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29A) and the feed conduit (9) into the feed volume (17) of the injector (4) and through the nozzle aperture (5’) into the cylinder (1); and subsequently switching the second valve (20B) from the second state to the first state and causing flow of lubricant from the supply conduit (12) to the pressure control port (4B) and as a consequence stopping injection of lubri cant into the cylinder (1);

B) comprises firstly filling the dosing chamber (29) in an accumula tion phase while the first valve (20A) and the second valve (20B) are both in the second state; secondly switching the second valve (20B) to the first state and then switching the first valve (20A) to the first state; subsequently for in itiating the injection phase switching the second valve (20B) from the first state to the second state while the first valve (20A) is still in the first state and as a consequence causing a pressure drop at the pressure control port (4B) relatively to the pressure at the injector inlet port (4A) and causing displace- ment of the plunger (27) in the dosing unit (26) towards the chamber outlet (29A) and flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the cham ber outlet (29 A) and through the feed conduit (9) and through the injector in let port (4A) into the feed volume (17) and through the nozzle aperture (5’) into the cylinder (1); and subsequently switching the first valve (20B) from the first state to the second state and causing stop of flow of lubricant to the injector inlet port (4 A) and as a consequence stopping injection of lubricant into the cylinder (1).

19. A method according to claim 17 or 18, wherein a pressure intensifier is inter posed between the supply conduit (12) and the pressure control port (4B), wherein the method comprises periodically enhancing the lubricant pressure at the pressure control port (4B) to a level above the pressure of the lubricant in the supply conduit (12) for minimizing reaction time for opening and closing the nozzle aperture (5’) by the reciprocal valve body (15).

20. A method according to any one of the claims 13-19, wherein the feed conduit (9) and the pressure control conduit (10) have lengths differing by less than 10%.

21. A method according to anyone of the claims 12-19, wherein the method comprises providing lubricant pressure in the supply conduit (12) at least two times higher than lubricant pressure in the return conduit (13).

22. A controller (11) for an engine according to anyone of the claims 1-12 or for a method according to anyone of the claims 13-21, wherein the controller (11) is configured for for controlling the amount and timing of the lubricant injection by at least one of the injectors (4); the controller (11) being configured for connection by a feed conduit (9) to at least one of the injectors (4) for supplying lubricant from the controller (11) to the injector (4) for injection of the lubricant by the injector (4) into the cylinder (1); characterised in that the controller (11) comprises a dosing unit (26), the dosing unit (26) comprising a dosing chamber (29) and a chamber outlet (29A) configured for connection to the feed conduit (9), and whereon the dosing unit (26) is configured for cyclic operation between an accumulation phase and a subsequent injection phase, wherein the accumulation phase comprises ac- cumulation of lubricant in the dosing chamber (29), and the subsequent injection phase comprises dispensing the accumulated lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29 A) to the at least one injectors (4); the control - ler (11) further comprising a flow meter (31) connected to the dosing chamber (29) and configured for measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber (29) in the accumulation phase, and wherein the controller (11) is configured for providing a corresponding flow-indicating signal from the flow meter (31), the flow-indicating signal being a measure for the injected mass and/or volume of lubricant of the preceding injection phase.

23. A controller (11) according to claim 22, wherein the flow meter (31) com prises an upstream connection to a lubricant refill conduit (13’) for refilling the dosing chamber (31) through the flow meter (31) with lubricant from the lubricant refill conduit (13’) in the accumulation phase, wherein the dosing chamber (29) has a downstream connection to a non-return valve (31) for preventing flow in reverse through the flow meter (31).

24. A controller (11) according to claim 22 or 23, wherein the dosing unit (26) comprises a dosing inlet (26A) and a plunger (27) between the dosing inlet (26A) and the chamber outlet (29A), the plunger (27) being arranged for displacement towards the chamber outlet (29A) upon pressure from lubricant flowing into the dosing inlet (26A), the displacement causing a reduction of the volume in dosing chamber (29) and corresponding expelling of lubricant from the dosing chamber (29) through the chamber outlet (29 A).

Description:
A large slow-running two-stroke engine and a method of lu bricating it and a controller for such engine and method

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a large slow-running two-stroke engine and a method of lubricating it as well as a controller for such engine and method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Due to the focus of on environmental protection, efforts are on-going with respect reduction of emissions from marine engines. This also involves the steady optimiza- tion of lubrication systems for such engines, especially due to increased competition. One of the economic aspects with increased attention is a reduction of oil consump tion, not only because of environmental protection but also because this is a signifi- cant part of the operational costs of ships. A further concern is proper lubrication de spite reduced lubricant volume because the longevity of diesel engines should not be compromised by the reduction of oil consumption. Thus, there is a need for steady improvements with respect to lubrication. For lubricating of large slow-running two-stroke marine diesel engines, several differ ent systems exist, including injection of lubrication oil directly onto the cylinder liner or injection of oil quills to the piston rings. Examples of lubrication systems and com ponents therefore are disclosed in W02011/150943A1, WO2011/116768A1, and W02007057027A1, EP2196639A1, WO2011/110181 Al, WO2016015732A1, and EP2722500A2.

An alternative and relatively new lubrication method, compared to traditional lubrica tion, is commercially called Swirl Injection Principle (SIP). It is based on injection of a spray of atomized droplets of lubricant into the scavenging air swirl inside the cylin- der. The helically upwards directed swirl results in the lubricant being pulled towards the Top Dead Centre (TDC) of the cylinder and pressed outwards against the cylinder wall as a thin and even layer. This is explained in detail in international patent appli cations W02010/149162 and W02016/173601. The injectors comprise an injector housing inside which a reciprocating valve member is provided, typically a valve nee- dle. The valve member, for example with a needle tip, closes and opens the lubricant’s access to a nozzle aperture according to a precise timing. In current SIP systems, a spray with atomized droplets is achieved at a pressure of, typically, 35-40 bars, which is substantially higher than the oil pressure of less than 10 bars that are used for sys tems working with compact oil jets that are introduced into the cylinder. In some types of SIP valves, the high pressure of the lubricant is also used to move a spring-loaded valve member against the spring force away from the nozzle aperture such that the highly pressurised oil is released therefrom as atomized droplets. The ejection of oil leads to a lowering of the pressure of the oil on the valve member, resulting in the valve member returning to its origin and remaining there until the next lubricant cycle where highly pressurized lubricant is supplied to the lubricant injector again.

In such large marine engines, a number of injectors are arranged in a circle around the cylinder, and each injector comprises one or more nozzle apertures at the tip for deliv ering lubricant jets or sprays into the cylinder from each injector. Examples of SIP lubricant injector systems in marine engines are disclosed in international patent ap plications W02002/35068, W02004/038189, W02005/124112, W02010/149162, WO2012/126480, WO2012/126473, WO2014/048438, and W02016/173601.

International patent application WO2011/110181 discusses the importance of precise lubricant dosing in a lubrication systems of marine engines. For the precise timing of the dosing, a double valve system is disclosed for separate control of opening and closing time of the lubricant injector, allowing the system to be adjusted to a short dosing period. However, precise adjustment of the dosing period is not sufficient for a precise dosing volume, as the dispensed volume is not only defined by the length of the time of dispensing but also depends on the pressure of the lubricant as well as on the viscosity, which, in turn, depends on the temperature. As an additional control measure, WO2011/110181 discloses a flow meter that is provided in the supply con duit between the lubricant supply and the injector nozzle and which measures the vol- ume of lubricant flowing through the supply conduit during the dispensing of the lub- ricant through the nozzle.

However, despite these apparent advantages of SIP lubrication systems and advanced dosing systems for injectors in general, a steady motivation for improvements exists. Especially, due to increasingly strict requirements for reduction of oil consumption, improvements with respect to precise measurements of injection volumes are desired in excess of what has already been achieved with the system in WO2011/110181.

DESCRIPTION / SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore the objective of the invention to provide an improvement in the art. A particular objective is to provide a better flow control of lubricant injection by the injector. Especially, it is the objective to improve lubrication with SIP injectors in a large slow-running two-stroke engine. These objectives are achieved by a system in a large slow-running two-stroke engine and method as described in the following, as well as by a controller for the engine and method. The large slow-running two-stroke engine comprises a cylinder with a reciprocal pis- ton inside and with a plurality of injectors distributed along a perimeter of the cylinder for injection of lubricant into the cylinder at various positions on the perimeter during injection phases. For example, the large slow-running two-stroke engine is a marine engine or a large engine in power plants. Typically, the engine is burning diesel or gas fuel.

The engine further comprises a controller. The controller is configured for controlling the amount and timing of the lubricant injection by the injectors during an injection phase. Optionally, also the injection frequency is controlled by the controller. For pre- cise injection, it is an advantage if the controller is electronically connected to a com puter or comprises a computer, where the computer is monitoring parameters for the actual state and motion of the engine. Such parameters are useful for the control of optimized injection. Optionally, the controller is provided as an add-on system for upgrade of already existing engines. A further advantageous option is a connection of the controller to a Human Machine Interface (HMI) which comprises a display for surveillance and input panel for adjustment and/or programming of parameters for injection profiles and optionally the state of the engine. Electronic connections are optionally wired or wireless or a combination thereof.

The term“injector” is used for an injection valve system comprising a housing with a lubricant inlet and one single injection nozzle with a nozzle aperture as a lubricant outlet and with a movable member inside the housing, which opens and closes access for the lubricant to the nozzle aperture. Although, the injector has a single nozzle that extends into the cylinder through the cylinder wall, when the injector is properly mounted, the nozzle itself, optionally, has more than a single aperture. For example, nozzles with multiple apertures are disclosed in WO2012/126480. The term“injection phase” is used for the time during which lubricant is injected into the cylinder by an injector. The term“idle phase” is used for the time between injec- tion phases. The term“injection cycle” is used for the time it takes to start an injection sequence and until the next injection sequence starts. For example, the injection se- quence comprises a single injection, in which case the injection cycle is measured from the start of the injection phase to the start of the next injection phase. The term “timing” of the injection is used for the adjustment of the start of the injection phase by the injector relatively to a specific position of the piston inside the cylinder. The term“frequency” of the injection is used for the number of repeated injections by an injector per revolution of the engine. If the frequency is unity, there is one injection per revolution. If the frequency is 1/2, there is one injection per every two revolutions. This terminology is in line with the above mentioned prior art.

In a practical embodiment, the housing comprises a base with a lubricant inlet port and comprises a flow chamber, typically a rigid cylindrical flow chamber, which rig- idly connects the base with the nozzle. The flow chamber is hollow and, thus, allows lubricant to flow inside the flow chamber from the base to the nozzle. When the injec- tor is mounted, the flow chamber extends through the cylinder wall of the engine so that the nozzle is held rigidly inside the cylinder by the flow chamber. Due to the base being provided at the opposite end of the flow chamber, it is typically located on or at the outer side of the cylinder wall. For example, the injector comprises a flange at the base for mounting onto the outer cylinder wall. The term“flow meter” is used for a meter measuring mass and/or volume of the flow through the flow meter. The term“flow measurement” covers measurement of volume and/or mass.

In order to fully understand the invention, it is pointed out that a hitherto unrecognised problem has been discovered when using the system of WO2011/110181 for SIP in jectors. Closer experimental analysis has revealed that SIP injectors, which are opened only a very short time in the order of some milliseconds, press lubricant back through the flow meter towards the lubricant supply during the closing of the injector, so that the flow meter does not measure the injected volume and/or mass in an injection cycle precisely, seeing that it is disposed serially in the supply conduit between the lubricant supply and the injector nozzle. Accordingly, the invention has the objective to solve this problem.

In contrast to the disclosure in WO2011/110181, the system and method of the inven- tion explained herein uses a different way of measuring the volume and/or mass of the lubricant ejected through the nozzle of the injector, namely not during the dispensing of the lubricant by the injector, but, instead, the volume and/or mass is measured after the dispensing, in between injection phases. In practice, the invention comprises a combination of a dosing unit and a flow meter, where the dosing unit is used for dispensing a predetermined amount of lubricant to the injectors, and the flow meter is used for subsequent verification that the injected amount in the preceding injection phase was correct. In more detail, the dosing unit comprises a well-defined and predetermined lubricant volume in a dosing chamber that is filled with lubricant and from which during peri odical lubricant cycles a portion is delivered from the dosing chamber through a chamber outlet to the injector or injectors for dispensing of it into the cylinder. After the dispensing of the portion of lubricant, the lubricant volume is refilled with lubri cant for the next injection cycle and the amount of lubricant for the refilling is meas- ured. As only lubricant from the lubricant volume of the dosing unit is used for dis pensing by the injector, the amount of lubricant for the refilling thereof is identical to the portion dispensed by the injector in the preceding dispensing cycle. This portion is then measured after the injection by the flow meter between consecutive dispensing phases. Typically, the refilled amount is measured by the flow meter during the refill ing of the dosing unit. As the volume and/or mass of the dispensed portion is measured after the lubricant injection, any backflow of lubricant from the injector has already finished, once the measurement starts, why such backflow does not disturb the flow measurements. This way, the flow measurements are more precise and independent of pressure and viscos- ity, which is why such a system is an improvement over the system in WO2011/110181. It is especially an improvement when used for SIP injection.

In a practical embodiment, the dosing unit is provided according to a principle of a syringe with a plunger that is reciprocating for each injection cycle. The length of movement of the plunger determines the lubricant amount that is ejected from a dos- ing chamber in the dosing unit. The length of the plunger movement is determined by the speed and time by which the plunger is moved, however, delimited by the maxi- mum stroke of the plunger. The speed and time of the plunger movement is deter mined by the pressure to which the plunger is exposed as well as the time that the plunger is moved. For example, the plunger is moved by high pressure oil which acts a certain time on the plunger. A system therefore is explained in detail below.

The system can, in principle, be used to supply lubricant to a single injector, but it will, typically, be used for a group of injectors, for example all injectors of a single cylinder in the engine. The latter is often called“common rail” hydraulic system. An example of a common rail system is disclosed in Danish patent DK176424 or, equiva lently, German patent application DE19959300A1. In concrete embodiments, the controller is connected by a feed conduit to at least one of the injectors for supplying lubricant for injection into the cylinder. Typically, the controller is connected to a plurality of injectors, for example all of the injectors of a single cylinder or to a subgroup of injectors, for example half of the injectors of a sin- gle cylinder. For example, the engine comprises a lubricant circuit with a supply con duit connected to the controller for providing lubricant to the controller from a lubri cant supply and a return conduit connected to the controller for returning lubricant from the controller for recirculation in the lubricant circuit. The dosing unit comprises a dosing chamber and a chamber outlet connecting the dos ing chamber with the feed conduit, and the dosing unit is configured for cyclic opera tion between an injection phase and subsequent accumulation phase. The injection phase comprises dispensing lubricant from the dosing chamber of the dosing unit through the chamber outlet into the feed conduit and to the at least one injector. The subsequent accumulation phase comprises refilling of lubricant into the dosing cham ber.

The controller further comprises a flow meter connected to the dosing chamber and configured for measuring the flow of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber for refilling of it in the accumulation phase between the injection phases. The flow meter provides a corresponding electronic flow-indicating signal as a measure for the injected volume and/or mass of lubricant of the preceding injection phase.

The electronic flow-indicating signal is typically fed into a computer, to which the controller is electronically connected or which is part of the controller, where the computer is configured for registering this flow (mass and/or volume) as a measure for the injected amount of lubricant of the directly preceding lubricant injection. For example, the computer is connected to a Human machine Interface (HMI) for display ing the signal for the injected volume and/or mass, optionally after sampling within a time range. Such HMI can also be useful for parameter and control adjustment.

In operational embodiments, the method comprises operating the dosing unit in a cy clic operation between an injection phase and a subsequent accumulation phase. In the injection phase, lubricant from the dosing chamber is dispensed through the chamber outlet and through the feed conduit to the at least one injector and the lubricant is dis pensed from the injector into the cylinder. In the subsequent accumulation phase, lub- ricant is refilled into the dosing chamber and the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber is measured. In the accumulation phase and a corre- sponding electronic flow-indicating signal for the refilling is provided by the flow meter.

In some practical embodiments, the dosing chamber is connected to a lubricant refill conduit for refilling the dosing chamber with lubricant from the lubricant refill con duit in the accumulation phase. The flow meter is interposed between the refill con duit and the dosing chamber for measuring the mass and/or volume of the lubricant flowing from the return conduit through the flow meter and into the dosing chamber in the accumulation phase. For example, the flow meter is interposed between the re- fill conduit and the feed conduit for flow of lubricant from the refill conduit through the flow meter and through the feed conduit into the dosing chamber in the accumula tion phase. Advantageously, in order to prevent backflow of lubricant from the feed conduit into the flow meter, a non-return valve is interposed between the flow meter and the feed conduit. Optionally, the chamber outlet has a two-way flow with a first flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber, through the chamber outlet into the feed conduit and through the feed conduit to the injector in the injection phase and with a second, flow of lubricant from the lubricant refill conduit through the flow meter, through part of the feed conduit, through the chamber outlet into the dosing chamber in the accumulation phase.

In the case of the controller comprising a return conduit for returning lubricant to the lubricant cycle of the engine, the refill conduit is advantageously connected to the return conduit. In some embodiments, the dosing unit comprises a dosing inlet and a plunger between the dosing inlet and the chamber outlet, separating the dosing chamber from the dos ing inlet. The plunger is arranged for displacement towards the chamber outlet upon pressure from lubricant flowing into the dosing inlet, the displacement causing a re- duction of the volume in the dosing chamber. In operation, during the injection phase, the plunger is displaced towards the chamber outlet by providing pressure from lubri cant flowing into the dosing inlet, causing a reduction of the volume of the dosing chamber by the displacement of the plunger and correspondingly expelling lubricant from the dosing chamber through the chamber outlet into the feed conduit in order to provide lubricant to the injector. After the injection phase, the plunger is returned in the opposite direction in the accumulation phase, which draws lubricant back into the dosing chamber for refilling, for example in reverse through the chamber outlet or through a separate refill inlet.

In practical embodiments, the controller comprises a first valve with an inlet port con nected to a lubricant supply conduit and an outlet port connected to the dosing inlet. The first valve is configured to toggle between a first state in the injection phase in which the inlet port and the outlet port are connected for feeding high-pressure lubri- cant from the supply conduit through the inlet port and through the outlet port to the dosing inlet when the first valve is in the first state, and a second state in the accumu lation phase in which the inlet port and the outlet port are disconnected for preventing lubricant from the supply conduit to reach the dosing inlet when the first valve is in the second state.

In the accumulation phase, the lubricant on the dosing inlet side of the plunger is drained to allow the plunger to return to its starting position. This can be done by us ing a separate valve or by constructing the first valve correspondingly. For example, the first valve also comprises a return port that is connected to the return conduit, and is configured for connecting the outlet port with the return port in the second state for draining lubricant from the dosing inlet into the return conduit when the plunger is displaced towards the dosing inlet in the accumulation phase.

In some embodiments, the injector comprises an inlet port in communication with the feed conduit and a pressure control port in communication with a pressure control conduit. Pressure difference between the lubricant inlet port and the pressure control port can then be used for controlling the lubricant injection, in particular in cases where the injector comprises a reciprocal valve body toggling between opening and closing the nozzle aperture by pressure changes between the lubricant inlet port and the pressure control port. For example, the reciprocal valve body, optionally a valve needle with a tip towards the nozzle aperture, is pre-stressed by a spring towards the nozzle aperture for closing the nozzle aperture when the valve body in idle state. High pressure at the inlet port in the injection phase is uses to displace the valve body away from the nozzle aperture against the force of the spring, which will open for lubricant injection into the cylinder.

For example, the injector comprises a feed volume in communication with the lubri cant inlet port for receiving lubricant from the feed conduit. The nozzle aperture of the injector is in communication with the feed volume in order for the nozzle aperture, which is arranged inside the cylinder, to inject lubricant into the cylinder from the feed volume during the injection phase. The reciprocal valve body is provided with a first side communicating with the feed volume and an opposite side communicating with the pressure control port for controlling the position of the valve body in depend- ence of a pressure difference between the lubricant inlet port and the pressure control port. In this case, the pressure difference needs to be correspondingly higher than the force from the spring.

For example, in order to end the injection phase, a corresponding oil pressure or high er oil pressure at the pressure control port is then used to close the nozzle aperture again, using force from the spring. Alternatively, equally high pressure on both the inlet port and the pressure control port keeps the nozzle aperture closed until reduction of the pressure at the pressure control port, which would then result in the pressure at the inlet port to be highest, which, in turn, causes displacement of the valve body for opening the nozzle aperture for injection. Some concrete embodiments are explained in the following.

Optionally, the oil pressure at the pressure control port is provided by pressurized lub ricant from the lubricant source of the engine. Alternatively, pressurized servo oil from a servo oil source different from the lubricant source of the engine is used for the pressure control in the injector. In some embodiments, the controller comprises a second valve with an inlet port con nected to the supply conduit and an outlet port connected to the pressure control con duit and a return port connected to the return conduit. The second valve is configured to toggle between a first state and a second state. Only in the first state, the inlet port and the outlet port are interconnected for feeding lubricant from the supply conduit to the pressure control port. In the second state, the outlet port and the return port are interconnected for draining lubricant from the pressure control port to the return con duit. As the pressure in the supply conduit is higher than the pressure in the return conduit, toggling between the first and the second state cyclically increases and de creases the pressure in the control pressure conduit and at the pressure control port.

In a first mode of operation, the dosing chamber is filled in an accumulation phase while the first valve and the second valve are both in the second state. Thus, there is low pressure on both the injector inlet and the control pressure inlet of the injector. Secondly, in the subsequent injection phase, the first valve is switched from the sec ond state to the first state while the second valve is in the second state and, as a con sequence, the first valve connects the supply conduit with the dosing inlet and the lubricant flowing from the supply conduit through the dosing inlet into the dosing unit causes displacement of the plunger in the dosing unit towards the chamber outlet and causes corresponding flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber through the chamber outlet and through the feed conduit through the inlet port of the injector, for example into the feed volume of the injector, and through the nozzle aperture into the cylinder. Subsequently, in order to end the injection phase, the second valve is switched from the second state to the first state and causes flow of lubricant from the supply conduit to the pressure control port of the injector and, as a consequence, stopping injection of lubricant into the cylinder.

For an injector with a valve body that is pre-stressed by a spring to close the nozzle aperture, the initial switch of the first valve into the first state provides high pressure lubricant at the inlet port whereas the pressure control port is still at a lower pressure, and the pressure difference displaces the valve body against the spring force and opens for lubricant injection into the cylinder. The subsequent switch of the second valve into the first state, equalizes the pressure between the inlet port and the pressure control port so that the spring can cause the valve body to again close the nozzle aper ture. It is seen that the term“pressure control port” is justified, as the pressure at this port determines the opening and closing of the nozzle aperture.

Accordingly, in this embodiment, the control injector inlet port and injector control port are kept at low pressure until the injection phase is initiated by the injector inlet port switching from low pressure to high pressure, and the stop of the injection phase is cause by raising the pressure at the control port. In order to assist the spring in clos- ing the nozzle aperture, a pressure intensifier is optionally inserted in the pressure control conduit in order to increase the pressure at the pressure control port relatively to the inlet port of the injector.

As an alternative, the switch of the second valve from the second state to the first state, which causes high pressure at the pressure control port of the injector, is done with a simultaneous switch of the first valve from the first to the second state, which creates instantly a lower pressure at the inlet port. The higher pressure at the control part as compared to the inlet port closes the nozzle by displacement of the valve body into a closing state. For embodiment, in which the valve body is pre-stressed by a spring, the spring force is assisted by the high pressure from the control port. Even for embodiments, in which the valve body is not pre-stressed, the switch of the pressure from high to low at the inlet port with the simultaneous shift of the pressure at the control port from low to high causes a displacement of the valve member to close the nozzle aperture.

In a different mode of operation, prior to the injection phase, the second valve is switched to the first state, causing high pressure at the pressure control port of the injector, assisting in keeping the nozzle aperture closed. Then, the first valve is switched to the first state, which still causes no injection, because the pressure at the injector inlet port and at the pressure control port are equal. Subsequently, for the in jection phase, the second valve is switched from the first state to the second state while the first valve is still in the first state. The consequence is a pressure drop at the pressure control port relatively to the pressure at the injector inlet port. The higher pressure in the lubricant feed conduit and the injector inlet port at this stage as com- pared to the lower pressure in the return conduit and the control pressure port causes displacement of the plunger in the dosing unit towards the chamber outlet and flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber through the chamber outlet and through the feed conduit and through the inlet port of the injector into the feed volume at the nozzle and through the nozzle aperture into the cylinder.

For an injector with a valve body that is pre-stressed by a spring to close the nozzle aperture, the pressure drop at the pressure control port and the lubricant supply through the inlet port displaces the valve body against the spring force such that the nozzle aperture is opened. Subsequently, in order to end the injection phase, the first valve is switched from the first state to the second state, causing a drop in pressure at the injector inlet port and causing stop of flow of lubricant to the injector inlet port and, as a consequence, stopping injection of lubricant into the cylinder. In this embod- iment, the injector inlet port and the injector control port are kept at high pressure un til the injection phase, which is initiated by the control port switching from high pres- sure to low pressure, and the stop of the injection phase is caused by lowering the pressure at the inlet port.

As an alternative, the switch of the first valve from the first state to the second state, which stops flow of lubricant to the inlet port of the injector, is done simultaneously with a switch of the second valve from the second to the first state, which creates in stantly a higher pressure at the control port than at the inlet port, which closes the nozzle by displacement of the valve body into a closing state. For embodiment, in which the valve body is pre-stressed by a spring, the spring force is assisted by the high pressure from the control port. For embodiments, in which the valve body is not pre-stressed, the switch of the pressure from high to low at the inlet port with the sim ultaneous shift of the pressure at the control port from low to high causes a displace ment of the valve member to close the nozzle aperture.

Using two valves for regulating the pressure difference between the inlet port and the pressure control port is advantageous in that the timing between start and stop of in jection can be controlled very precisely in the millisecond or even sub-millisecond range as compared to a single valve, for example magnetic valve, which has a much longer reaction time for a complete cycle of opening and closing.

In order to optimize precision of timing, especially the time length for injection, the feed conduit and the pressure control conduit are equally long or at least have lengths differing by less than 10%.

The controller can be provided as an add-on unit for the engine above. It would then be provided with respective conduit-connectors for connecting the controller to the lubricant pump and return conduit as well as the feed conduit to the injector or injec- tors. For the case of the injector comprising a pressure control port, the controller also is configured for connection to the pressure control conduit. In line with the above description, it comprises the cyclic operational dosing unit with the dosing chamber and the chamber outlet as well as the flow meter connected to the dosing chamber, which is measuring the flow (mass and/or volume) of the lubricant flowing into the dosing chamber in the accumulation phase. The flow meter is configured for provid- ing a corresponding electronic flow-indicating signal as a measure for the injected mass and/or volume of lubricant of the preceding injection phase.

The controller as add-on unit or when installed in the engine has the capability of be- ing provided with each single of the above described controller-related options or a selection or all of the options in combinations. These options, as also described in the patent claims for the engine and the related method.

For example, the injectors comprise a nozzle with a nozzle aperture of between 0.1 and 1 mm, for example between 0.2 and 0.5mm, and are configured for ejecting a spray of atomized droplets, which is also called a mist of oil.

A spray of atomized droplets is important in SIP lubrication, where the sprays of lub- ricant are repeatedly injected by the injectors into the scavenging air inside the cylin der prior to the piston passing the injectors in its movement towards the TDC. In the scavenging air, the atomized droplets are diffused and distributed onto the cylinder wall, as they are transported in a direction towards the TDC due to a swirling motion of the scavenging air towards the TDC. The atomization of the spray is due to highly pressurized lubricant in the lubricant injector at the nozzle. The pressure is higher than 10 bars, typically between 25 bar and 100 bar for this high pressure injection. An ex- ample is an interval of between 30 and 80 bars, optionally between 35 and 60 bars. The injection time is short, typically in the order of 5-30 milliseconds (msec). Howev- er, the injection time can be adjusted to 1 msec or even less than 1 msec, for example down to 0.1 msec. Therefore imprecisions of only a few msec may alter the injection profile detrimentally, why high precision is required, as already mentioned above, for example a precision of 0.1 msec.

Also, the viscosity influences the atomization. Lubricants used in marine engines, typically, have a typical kinematic viscosity of about 220 cSt at 40°C and 20 cSt at l00°C, which translates into a dynamic viscosity of between 202 and 37 mPa-s. An example of a useful lubricant is the high performance, marine diesel engine cylinder oil ExxonMobil® Mobilgard™ 560VS. Other lubricants useful for marine engines are other Mobilgard™ oils as well as Castrol® Cyltech oils. Commonly used lubricants for marine engines have largely identical viscosity profiles in the range of 40-l00°C and are all useful for atomization, for example when having a nozzle aperture diame- ter of 0.1-0.8 mm, and the lubricant has a pressure of 30-80 bars at the aperture and a temperature in the region of 30-l00°C or 40-l00°C. See also, the published article on this subject by Rathesan Ravendran, Peter Jensen, Jesper de Claville Christiansen, Benny Endelt, Erik Appel Jensen, (2017) "Rheological behaviour of lubrication oils used in two-stroke marine engines", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 69 Issue: 5, pp.750-753, https://doi.org/l0.H08/ILT-03-20l6-0075.

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be explained in more detail with reference to the drawing, where FIG. 1 is a sketch of part of a cylinder in an engine;

FIG. 2 is a drawing of an embodiment of the controller and injector;

FIG. 3 is a principle sketch of an example of an injector. DETAILED DESCRIPTION / PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 illustrates one half of a cylinder 1 of a large slow-running two-stroke engine, for example marine diesel engine. The cylinder 1 comprises a cylinder liner 2 on the inner side of the cylinder wall 3. Inside the cylinder wall 3, there are provided a plu- rality of injectors 4 for injection of lubricant into the cylinder 1. As illustrated, the injectors 4 are distributed along a circle with the same angular distance between adja- cent injectors 4, although this is not strictly necessary. Also, the arrangement along a circle is not necessary, seeing that an arrangement with axially shifted injectors is also possible, for example every second injector shifted relatively to a neighbouring injec- tor.

Each of the injectors 4 has a nozzle 5 with a nozzle aperture 5’ from which a fine at- omized spray 8 with miniature droplets 7 is ejected under high pressure into the cylin der 1.

For example, the nozzle aperture 5’ has a diameter of between 0.1 and 0.8 mm, such as between 0.2 and 0.5 mm, which at a pressure of 10-100 bars, for example 25 to 100 bars, optionally 30 to 80 bars or even 50 to 80 bars, atomizes the lubricant into a fine spray 8, which is in contrast to a compact jet of lubricant. The swirl 14 of the scaveng ing air in the cylinder 1 transports and presses the spray 8 against the cylinder liner 2 such that an even distribution of lubrication oil on the cylinder liner 2 is achieved. This lubrication system is known in the field as Swirl Injection Principle, SIP.

However, also other principles are envisaged in connection with the improved lubrica tion system, for example injectors that have jets directed towards the cylinder liner.

Optionally, the cylinder liner 2 is provided with free outs 6 for providing adequate space for the spray 8 or jet from the injector 4.

The injectors 4 receive lubrication oil from a controller 11 through a common feed conduit 9. Alternatively, the injectors 4 are arranged in groups where each group re ceives lubrication oil from the controller 11 through a common feed conduit 9 for each group. For example, there are two groups of injectors, optionally such that neighbouring injectors belong to different groups. As a further alternative, a controller is provided for each single injector 4.

In addition to the feed conduit 9, the injectors 4 are connected to the controller 11 by an oil pressure control conduit 10. The feed conduit 9 is used for opening the nozzle aperture 5’ in the injector 4, which causes lubricant injection into the cylinder 1, and the pressure control conduit 10 provides oil pressure to regulate closing and opening of the nozzle aperture inside the injector 4. The oil pressure in the pressure control conduit 10 is provided by pressurised lubricant from a lubricant supply 32, for exam ple from the lubricant circuit in the engine. Alternatively, the oil pressure in the pres- sure control conduit 10 is provided by pressurised servo oil obtained from a different pressurised oil source than the lubricant circuit. Typically, a reciprocal valve body, such as a valve needle, is provided inside the injector 4 for closing and opening the nozzle aperture 5’.

The controller 11 is connected to a supply conduit 12 for receiving lubricant from a lubricant supply 32, including an oil pump, and connected to a return conduit 13 for drain of lubricant from the controller 11, for example for return of lubricant to the lubricant supply 32, for example to the engine lubrication circuit with an oil reservoir for recirculation of oil. The lubricant pressure in the supply conduit 12 is higher than the pressure in the return conduit 13, for example at least two times higher. For exam ple, the pressure in the supply conduit 12 is in the range of 25 to 100 bars, optionally 30 to 80 bars or even 50 to 80 bars, and the pressure in the return conduit is in the range of 5 to 15 bars, optionally in the range of 8 to 12 bars.

The controller 11 supplies lubrication oil to the injectors 4 in precisely timed pulses that are synchronized with the piston motion in the cylinder 1 of the engine. Typically, for the synchronization, the controller system 11 comprises a computer 19 or is elec tronically connected to a computer 19 that controls components in the controller 11 for the lubrication supply. Optionally, the computer monitors parameters for the actual state and motion of the engine, for example speed, load, and position of the crank shaft, the latter revealing the position of the pistons in the cylinders. FIG. 2a and 2b illustrate a simplified principle sketch of such injector 4. The injector 4 comprises a valve with a reciprocal valve body 15 that is loaded by a spring 16 such that the tip 15A of the valve body 15 is pressed against a valve seat at the nozzle 5, thereby closing it. The feed conduit 9 is connected through injector inlet port 4A to a feed volume 17 at the tip 15A such that pressurised oil in the feed volume 17 presses the valve body 15 away from the nozzle 5 against the pressure from the spring 14. While the valve body 15 is pressed away from the nozzle 5, as illustrated in FIG 2b, pressurised lubricant from the feed conduit 9 is ejected through the nozzle aperture 5’, for example as an atomized spray, as illustrated in FIG. 2b, although a compact jet is also possible, depending on the pressure and viscosity of the lubricant and the nozzle configuration. When the pressure difference between the feed volume 17 and the pres- sure control volume 18 is smaller than the force from the spring 14 on the valve body 15, the nozzle aperture 5’ is closed by the spring pushing the valve body 15 with the tip 15A against the valve seat at the nozzle aperture 5’.

It is pointed out that valve body 15 with a tip 15A against a nozzle aperture 5’ is an example only. Alternatively, a different mechanism for closure of the nozzle aperture 5’ is used, for example a cylindrical body closing a nozzle aperture in a tubular chan nel, such as disclosed in WO2014/04838.

In principle, opening and closing of the nozzle aperture 5’ can be caused by first in creasing the pressure in excess of the pressure from the spring 16 and then, at the end of the injection phase, reducing the pressure in the feed conduit 9 again such that the pressure from the spring 16 gets larger than the pressure in the feed volume 17.

However, an even more precise feeding time is obtained by raising the pressure in the pressure control volume 18 on the back side of the valve body 15, which is accom plished by toggling the pressure cyclically between the inlet port 4A and the pressure control port 4B. An example is disclosed in WO2011/110181.

The length of the injection phase determines the lubricant mass and volume that is injected. However, an improved principle for flow control is illustrated in FIG. 3. FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the controller 11. The controller comprises a dou- ble valve system with a first valve 20A and a second valve 20B, each being provided with an intake port 12A, 12B, connected to supply conduit 12 for receiving lubricant at high pressure, as described above, and with a return port 13 A, 13B connected to return conduit 13, in which the lubricant has a lower pressure, for example at least two times lower than the pressure in the supply conduit 12.

The first valve 20A has an outlet port 24A that is connected to a dosing unit 25, and the second valve 20B has an outlet port 24B that is connected to a pressure control conduit 10, which will be explained in greater detail below.

Each of the first and second valve 20A, 20B comprises a valve member 21A, 21B with a first closure member 22A, 22B and a second closure member 23 A, 23B, be- tween which a valve chamber 25A and 25B is provided.

The valve member 21A, 21B is reciprocal between a first position in a first state, in which the valve chamber 25A, 25B communicates with the respective intake port 12A, 12B and the outlet port 24A, 24B, and a second position in a second state, where the valve chamber 25A, 25B communicates with the outlet port 24A, 24B and the re- turn port 13A, 13B, the latter position being illustrated in FIG. 3 for both valves 20A, 20B. For example, the movement of the valve members 21A, 21B between the first and second position is caused by magnetic force provided by an electromagnet.

The outlet port 24A of the first valve 20A is connected to a dosing unit 26, which supplies a certain predetermined mass and/or volume of lubricant to the feed conduit 9 when the dosing unit 26 is activated. In the present embodiment, the dosing unit 26 is provided with a dosing inlet 26A and a chamber outlet 29A, mutually separated by a plunger 27 that is loaded by a helical spring 28 with a force against the dosing inlet 26A. A chamber 29 is provided between the plunger 27 and the chamber outlet 29A, and the volume of the chamber 29 is reduced when the plunger 27 is moved towards the chamber outlet 29A. The length of the movement of the plunger depends on the speed with which the plunger 27 is moved and the time in which the intake port 12A is connected to the outlet port. Due to the plunger 27, the dosing unit 25 is a pressure separator, separating the lubricant from the supply conduit 12 and the lubricant in the feed conduit 9.

The computer 19 is functionally connected to the valve system 20A, 20B and elec- tronically the flow meter 31 in the controller 11. Optionally, the computer is also elec- tronically connected to sensors in the engine in order to monitor parameters for the actual state and motion of the engine, as already mentioned above. In the case that multiple controllers 11 are used for the engine, or even multiple controllers 11 for each cylinder, the controllers 11 would, typically, share a single computer 19.

A lubrication cycle is explained in the following.

While the valve member 21B of the second valve 20B is in its second position in a second state of the second valve 20B, closing off the intake port 12B of the second valve 20B, as indicated in FIG. 3, the valve member 21A of the first valve 20A is moved from the second position, as illustrated in FIG. 3, to the first position, in which the valve chamber 25 A of the first valve 20A communicates with the respective intake port 12A and the outlet port 24A. The pressurised lubricant from the lubricant supply conduit 12 flows through the intake port 12 A, through the valve chamber 25 A and through the outlet port 24A of the first valve 20A and from the outlet port 24A to the dosing inlet 26A, thereby moving plunger 27 towards the chamber outlet 29A against the load of the spring 28. The volume of the chamber 29 is reduced and lubricant in the chamber 29 is expelled through the chamber outlet 29A into feed conduit 9 and further through inlet port 4 A into injector 4 and ejected through the nozzle aperture 5’ into the cylinder 1 of the engine.

A first option for ending the injection phase is a return the first valve 20A to the sec- ond state, while the second valve 20B remains in the second state. The reduced pres- sure at the inlet port 4 A causes the spring to close the nozzle aperture 5’.

A second option for ending the injection phase is provided by, subsequently, while the first valve 20A is still in the first state and pressurising the inlet port of the injector, switching the second valve 20B from the second state to the first state, where the valve member 21B of the second valve 20B is shifted from the second position, which is illustrated in FIG. 3, to the first position where the valve chamber 29B of the second valve 20B connects the respective intake port 12B with the outlet port 24B, thereby connecting the pressure control conduit 10 to the high pressure lubricant from supply conduit 12. This connection results in a pressure equalisation at both ports 4A, 4B of the injector 4, and the spring force on the valve body 15 inside the injector 4 causes closure of the nozzle aperture 5’ and stop of the lubricant ejection from the injector 4. Accordingly, in this above mode of operation, the control injector inlet port 4a and injector control port 4B are kept at low pressure until the injection phase is initiated by the injector inlet port 4 A switching from low pressure to high pressure, and the end of the injection phase is caused by raising the pressure at the control port 4B.

Optionally, in order to assist the spring 16 and accelerate this closing procedure, the pressure in the pressure control conduit 10 is increased to a pressure level above the pressure in the feed conduit 9. This can be accomplished in practice by inserting a hydraulic pressure increasing device, for example a hydraulic pressure intensifier, in the pressure control conduit 10.

As an alternative, the switch of the second valve 20B from the second state to the first state, which causes high pressure at the pressure control port 4B of the injector 4, is done simultaneously with a switch of the first valve 20A from the first to the second state, which creates instantly a lower pressure at the inlet port 4. The higher pressure at the control part 4B as compared to the inlet port 4 A closes the nozzle 5 by dis placement of the valve body 15 into a closing state.

After ending the injection phase, the second valve 20B returns to the second position for the accumulation phase.

An advantage of these operation methods for ending the injection phase, as described above, is the fact that the injector 4 is pressurised to the high pressure level from the lubricant supply conduit 12 only during injection phase and not in the idle period of the accumulation phase, which minimizes the risk for loss of lubricant by leak. In a further alternative mode, the second valve 20B is switched to the first state prior to the injection phase, causing high pressure at the pressure control port 4B of the in jector 4, assisting in keeping the nozzle aperture 5’ closed. Then, the first valve 20A is switched to the first state, which still causes no injection, because the pressure at the injector inlet port 4A and at the pressure control port 4B are equal. Subsequently, for the injection phase, the second valve 20B is switched from the first state to the second state while the first valve 20A is still in the first state. The consequence is a pressure drop at the pressure control port 4B relatively to the pressure at the injector inlet port 4 A. The higher pressure in the lubricant feed conduit 9 and the injector inlet port 4 A at this stage, as compared to the lower pressure in the return conduit 13 and the con trol pressure port 4B, causes displacement of the plunger 27 in the dosing unit 26 to wards the chamber outlet 29A and flow of lubricant from the dosing chamber 29 through the chamber outlet 29A and through the feed conduit 9 and through the inlet port 4 A of the injector 4 and further through the nozzle aperture into the cylinder 1.

For an injector with a valve body 15 that is pre-stressed by a spring 16 to close the nozzle aperture 5’, the pressure drop at the pressure control port 4a and the lubricant supply through the inlet port 4a displaces the valve body 15 against the spring force such that the nozzle aperture 5’ is opened. Subsequently, in order to end the injection phase, the first valve 20 A is switched from the first state to the second state, causing a drop in pressure at the injector inlet port 4 A and causing stop of flow of lubricant to the injector inlet port 4 A and, as a consequence, stopping injection of lubricant into the cylinder 1. In this embodiment, the injector inlet port 4A and the injector control port 4B are kept at high pressure until the injection phase, which is initiated by the control port 4B switching from high pressure to low pressure, and the stop of the in jection phase is caused by lowering the pressure at the inlet port 4A.

As an alternative, the switch of the first valve 20A from the first state to the second state, which stops flow of lubricant to the inlet port 4A of the injector 4, is done sim ultaneously with a switch of the second valve 4B from the second to the first state, which creates instantly a higher pressure at the control port 4B than at the inlet port 4A, which closes the nozzle 5 by displacement of the valve body 15 into a closing state. For embodiment, in which the valve body 15 is pre-stressed by a spring 16, the spring force 16 is assisted by the high pressure from the control port 4B. For embodi- ments, in which the valve body 15 is not pre-stressed, the switch of the pressure from high to low at the inlet port 4A with the simultaneous shift of the pressure at the con trol port 4B from low to high causes a displacement of the valve member 15 to close the nozzle aperture 5.

As it appears from the various embodiments above, a double valve system as dis closed with the first valve 20A and the second valve 20B gives a high degree of flexi- bility for various modes of operation. This is useful when using the controller for dif ferent types of injectors 4, with our without spring and with various displacement mechanisms.

When the injection phase with ejection of lubricant through the nozzle aperture 5’ has finished, the accumulation phase starts, in which the valve member 21A of the first valve 20A is returned to the second position, as illustrated in FIG. 3, such that the valve chamber 25 A connects the outlet port 24A with the return port 13 A of the first valve 20A.

The mass and volume that is expelled from the dosing chamber 29 depends on the time lapse between the instance where the first valve 20A switches from low pressure at the second position to high pressure at the first position and the instance where the second valve 20B switches from low to high pressure. Apart from general parameters, such as the pressure, nozzle aperture, and the viscosity of the lubricant, it further de- pends on the speed with which the spring 16 in the injector 4 is able to push the valve member 15 back into closing position.

The pressure reduction at the dosing inlet 26A causes the spring 28 to push the plung er 27 back to its original position, which is a state that is illustrated in FIG. 3. Howev er, return of the plunger 27 is only possible if the lubricant in chamber 29 is replen ished. This replenishment is done through a one way check valve 30 and a flow meter 31, which are serially connected to refill conduit 13’, which is exemplified as being connected to return conduit 13, although the refilling could also be done from a differ ent lubricant source. The flow meter 31 measures the flow (mass and/or volume) of the lubricant that is replenished into the chamber 29 in the accumulation phase and provides an electronic flow-indicating signal that is a measure for the injected mass and/or volume of lubricant of the preceding injection phase. This mass and/or volume corresponds to the mass and/or volume that has been expelled in the previous injec- tion phase through the injector 4 or group of injectors 4 connected to feed conduit 9.

As the flow (mass and/or volume) is measured by the flow meter 31 after the lubricant ejection by the injector 4, any uncertainty in the flow measurement due to backflow from the injector is eliminated. The measured flow corresponds exactly to the ejected mass and/or volume of lubricant in the preceding injection phase, apart from a minute difference due to volume change of the oil in the conduits caused by pressure change from the injection pressure, typically in the range of 30 to 100 bars, and the later, low- er refill pressure.

Typically, the valves 20A, 20B are magnetic valves in which opening and closing is achieved by moving a valve member 21A, 21B by electromagnetic force. However, such magnets have a relatively long reaction time, for example in the range of 10 to 20 milliseconds, which is why a double valve system is preferred. For identical first and second valves 20A, 20B, the reaction time is the same, and the injection time is given by the differential time lag between activation of the first valve 20A and the second valve 20B, eliminating the reaction time.

In some embodiments, the feed conduit 9 including the dosing unit 26 has the same length from the valves 20 A, 20B to the injector 4 as the pressure control conduit 10. This minimized time lags for high pressure building up at the respective two ports 4A, 4B of the injector, further minimizing uncertainty with respect to correct opening pe- riods for injecting lubricant into the cylinder of the engine. In this connection, it is pointed out that the injection phases are in the order of 10 milliseconds or less, poten tially down to injection phases of less than 1 millisecond, why uncertainties in the order of one millisecond or a few milliseconds can have substantial influence on the success of the lubrication. This is why even small uncertainties are important to elimi nate or at least minimize. Numbering

1 cylinder

2 cylinder liner

3 cylinder wall

4 oil injector

4 A inlet port of oil injector 4

4B pressure control port of oil injector 4

5 nozzle

5’ nozzle aperture

6 cut-out in liner

7 atomised spray from a single injector 4

8 swirling spray

9 lubricant feed conduit

10 pressure control conduit

11 controller

12 lubricant supply conduit

12 A, 12B intake port of first and second valve 20 A, 20B, respectively

13 return conduit

13 A, 13B return port of first and second valve 20A, 20B, respectively

13’ lubricant refill conduit

14 swirl in cylinder

15 valve body

15A tip of valve body 15

16 spring acting on valve body 15 inside injector 4

17 feed volume at tip 15A of valve body 15

18 pressure control volume on backside of valve body 15

19 computer electronically connected to controller 11

20A, 20B first and second valve, respectively

21 A, 21B valve member of first and second valve 20A, 20B, respectively

22A, 22B first closure member of first and second valve 20A, 20B, respectively 23 A, 23B second closure member of first and second valve 20A, 20B, respectively 24A, 24B outlet port of first and second valve 20A, 20B, respectively 25A, 25B valve chamber of first and second valve 20A, 20B, respectively

26 lubricant dosing unit

26A inlet of dosing unit 26

27 plunger in dosing unit 26

28 spring acting against plunger 27

29 lubricant dosing chamber in dosing unit 26

29A chamber outlet of dosing chamber 29

30 one way check valve

31 lubricant flow meter

32 lubricant supply