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Title:
METHOD FOR LOADING REFRIGERANT FLUID IN AN AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/193857
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100) comprises a step of hydraulically connecting the apparatus (100) with the A/C system (200) by a high pressure duct (101) and a low pressure duct (102) and a step of loading refrigerant fluid present into a storage container (110) of the apparatus (100) into the A/C system (200). The loading step comprises the steps of setting a value Q of total amount of refrigerant to load, loading in the A/C system (200) an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to Q — x, changing value Q with a value Q' depending to the loading speed of the refrigerant in the A/C system (200). Furthermore, there is a step of iterating for a number i of cycles the steps of measuring the amount of refrigerant fluid contained in the storage container (110) obtaining a value Ti of the amount of fluid discharged to the i-th cycle, computing an amount α i = Q'—T i of refrigerant still to load to the i-th cycle and loading in the A/C system (200) an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to α i /2. The step of iterating ends when becomes less than a predetermined value ε.

Inventors:
SANHAJI, Rahhali (Via Carlo Pisacane 22, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, IT)
Application Number:
IB2016/053019
Publication Date:
December 08, 2016
Filing Date:
May 23, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SNAP-ON CLIMATE SOLUTIONS S.R.L. (Via Provinciale Carpi 33, Correggio, 42015, IT)
International Classes:
F25B45/00
Foreign References:
US20140174114A12014-06-26
US20090126375A12009-05-21
US20130312434A12013-11-28
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CELESTINO, Marco (Viale Giovanni Pisano 31, Pisa, 56123, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), said method comprising the steps of:

— hydraulically connecting said apparatus (100) with said A/C system (200) through a high pressure duct

(101) and a low pressure duct (102) ;

— loading in said A/C system (200) refrigerant fluid present into a storage container (110) of said apparatus (100);

characterized in that said loading step comprises the steps of:

— setting a value Q of the amount of total refrigerant to load in said A/C system;

— loading in said A/C system (200), through said high pressure duct (101) and/or said low pressure duct

(102) , an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to Q - x ;

— changing said value Q of the amount of total refrigerant to load with a value Q' dependent to the speed of loading said refrigerant in said A/C system (200) ;

— iterating, for a number i of cycles, of the steps of: — measuring the amount of refrigerant fluid contained in said storage container (110) obtaining a value of the amount of fluid discharged from said storage container (110) at the i-th cycle;

— computing an amount (Xi = Q'— Ti of refrigerant still to load at the i-th cycle;

— loading in said A/C system (200) an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to /2 through said high pressure duct (101) and/or said low pressure duct (102);

said step of iterating ending when becomes less than a predetermined value ε.

2 . Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 1, wherein

Q' = f{Q, DPaverage) i-s a value according to Q and to the average difference of pressure DPavercLge between the pressure in said storage container (110) and the pressure in said A/C system (200) . 3. Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 2, wherein said value Q ' depends to said average difference of pressure DPaverage according to the following law:

- DPaverage < lbar→Q' = Q +m1 - 1 bar≤ DPaverage < 2 bar => Q' = Q + m2

- DPaverage > 2 bar => Q' = Q + m3

4. Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 1, wherein Q' = f Q, DMaverage) is a value dependent to Q and to the average mass flowrate DMaverage of refrigerant during the loading of said amount of refrigerant Q — x .

5. Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 4, wherein said value Q' depends to said average mass flowrate DMavercLge according to the following law:

- DMaverage Q> = Q + mi m 5i3n5u9to≤ DMaavveerraaagee < mjnute bar→Q' = Q + m2

- DMa avveerraagQee ≥ mmute = Q' = Q + m3

Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 3 or 5, wherein 8g < mx < 12g , lg < m2 < Sg , —4g < m3 < 0.

Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 1, wherein 20g < x < 80g .

8. Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 1, wherein, upstream of said step of iterating, a step is provided of sending towards said A/C system (200) an amount V1 of refrigerant fluid in gaseous phase through said low pressure duct (102), in order to push towards said plant (200) the refrigerant in liquid phase present in said low pressure duct (102) .

9. Method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system (200) from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid (100), according to claim 1, wherein, downstream of said loading step of refrigerant fluid in liquid phase, a step is provided of sending towards said A/C system (200) an amount V2 of refrigerant fluid in gaseous phase through said high pressure duct (101), in order to push towards said plant (200) the refrigerant in liquid phase present in said high pressure duct (101) .

Description:
TITLE

Method for loading refrigerant fluid in an air

conditioning system

DESCRIPTION Field of the invention

The present invention relates to the field of regenerating refrigerant fluid in an air conditioning system.

In particular, the invention relates to a method for loading regenerated refrigerant fluid in the A/C system itself .

Description of the prior art

As well known, the refrigerant fluid present in A/C systems, in particular those on board of vehicles such as cars, is periodically recovered and recycled to eliminate the impurities accumulated during the operating cycle.

A type of machines used for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid is described, for example, in EP1367343A1 or in PI2012A000067.

In particular, this type of apparatus provides hydraulically connecting two lines of the A/C system, one with low-pressure fluid and one with high-pressure fluid, to two connection pipes of the apparatus itself that allow to recover the refrigerant. The fluid aspirated from the ducts arrives, through a feeding duct, to a purification unit, comprising a separator/heater, a compressor and a condenser. The refrigerant condensed and purified after the regenerating process is accumulated in a storage container. Finally, ended the vacuum phase of the A/C system, the fluid is reentered in the plant through the ducts, exploiting the pressure difference between the regenerating apparatus and the A/C system.

More in detail, during the loading phase of the refrigerant fluid in the plant, a load cell monitors the loss of weight of the storage container allowing the calculation of the refrigerant dispersed, in order to adjust the opening of the valves of the connection pipes and then the flowrate of the outlet fluid. Once the weight of refrigerant that is used for filling the plant is released from the storage container, the refill is stopped and the valves are closed.

Concerning the amount of refrigerant to be refilled, in the last years, cars producers reduced remarkably the amount of refrigerant used in A/C systems, in order to reduce wastes and production costs, maintaining in any case the same performances. In the late 90s plants, for example, it was used an amount of refrigerant of about 900g with a tolerance of refill of about 50g set by rules. Instead, currently a plant of the same kind requires about 350g of refill with a tolerance of about 15g, as provided by regulations that control the treatment of the refrigerants and the procedure for their recovery and refilling in an A/C system, for example by regulations SAE J2788 and SAE J2843.

Despite the amount and the tolerance of filling are already very low, the current tendency is to further reduce the amount of refrigerant and therefore the tolerances provided for its refilling. It is then presumed that the amount of refrigerant and the tolerance fall further under the 350g and 15g, presently provided.

There are however difficulties in complying with a tolerance so low, for machines presently used, owing to the amount of refrigerant that remains in the connection ducts between the apparatus for recovering and regenerating the refrigerant and the A/C system. The connection pipes, in particular, have an average length comprised between 2 and 3 m and have an inner diameter comprised between the 4 and 5 mm. The amount of gas that remains in said connection ducts is generally comprised between 20 and 80g according to the pressure of the A/C system in the instant considered, to the status and the spatial configuration of the ducts, and to the external temperature.

Therefore, the uncertainty on the amount of gas present in the connection pipes and the impossibility to verify the content do not allow to accurately determine how much gas has been refilled in the A/C system, since it is not possible to know, of all the refrigerant that left the storage container, how much reached the A/C system and how much remained instead in the connection pipes.

Currently, an effective method used to solve this problem consists in causing the compressor of the A/C system to aspirate all the amount of refrigerant that remains in the connection pipes, creating gradually vacuum inside them.

This step, however effective, is rather difficult and requires time and attention to operators, in addition to having to keep turned on the motor of the vehicle for all the time of the step, causing noise, pollution and energy consumption .

Furthermore, with the introduction of the refrigerant HFO 1234yf, a flammable gas, it is not any more allowed for safety reasons to put the A/C system in function during the steps of recovery, regenerating and refilling, and this leads however to face in a different way the problem of verification of the filling and of the residual in the connection pipes.

On the other hand, the tight tolerances of refilling do not allow avoid the step of the verifying the filling, using the sole weight reading of refrigerant discharged from the reservoir, for the reasons above described.

Summary of the invention

It is therefore a feature of the present invention to provide a method for loading refrigerant fluid in an A/C system that allows to meet the tight tolerances provided by regulations in force.

It is also a feature of the present invention to provide such a method that ensures not to disperse refrigerant in the external environment.

These and other objects are achieved by a method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid, comprising the steps of:

— hydraulically connecting of the apparatus with the

A/C system through a high pressure duct and a low pressure duct;

— loading in the A/C system refrigerant fluid present into a storage container the apparatus;

wherein the loading step comprises the steps of:

— setting a value Q of the amount of refrigerant total from loading in the A/C system;

— loading in the A/C system, through the high pressure duct and/or the low pressure duct, of an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to Q—x ;

— change of value Q of the amount of total refrigerant to load with a value Q' dependent to the speed of loading the refrigerant in the A/C system;

— iterating, for a number i of cycles, of the steps of:

— measuring the amount of refrigerant fluid contained in the storage container obtaining a value Ti of the amount of fluid discharged from the storage container at the i-th cycle;

— computing an amount = Q'— of refrigerant still to load at the i-th cycle;

— loading in the A/C system (200) of an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to /2 through said high pressure duct (101) and/or said low pressure duct (102);

said step of iteration ending when becomes less than a predetermined value ε.

The method according to the present invention allows to have loading tolerances of the refrigerant very tight, since it proceeds by iterative steps evaluating instant-by- instant the conditions of loading.

Furthermore, the fact that the amount of refrigerant to load is dependent to the loading speed reduces the uncertainties in managing the refrigerant to load.

Advantageously, Q ' = f(Q, DP avera g e ^ is a value according to Q and to the average difference of pressure DP average between the pressure in the storage container and the pressure in the A/C system.

In particular, value Q' depends to the average difference of pressure DPaverage according to the following law: - DP average < 1 bar => Q' = Q + m l

- 1 bar≤ DP average < 2 bar => Q' = Q + m 2

- DP average > 2 0 ar => <? ' = <? +™3

Alternatively, = DM average ) is a value dependent to Q and to the average mass flowrate DM average of refrigerant during the loading of the amount of refrigerant Q — x .

In particular, value Q' depends to the average mass flowrate DM average according to the following law:

- DM average Q > = Q + mi mSinuto< DM a a v v e e r r a a g g e e < - m 12j n Z u ¾t e bar => Q' = Q + m 2

- DM a a v v e e r r a ag Qe e ≥ mm ute = Q' = Q + m 3

In particular, Qg < m x < 12g, < m 2 < 5^, —4^ < m 3 < 0. In particular, 20g < x < QOg .

Advantageously, upstream of the step of iterating, a step is provided of sending towards the A/C system an amount V 1 of refrigerant fluid in gaseous phase through the low pressure duct, in order to pushing towards the plant the refrigerant in liquid phase present in the low pressure duct same .

Advantageously, downstream of the loading step refrigerant fluid in liquid phase, a step is provided of sending towards the A/C system an amount V 2 of refrigerant fluid in gaseous phase through the duct of high pressure, in order to pushing towards the plant the refrigerant in liquid phase present in the high pressure duct itself. Brief description of the drawings

Further characteristic and/or advantages of the present invention are brighter with the following description of an exemplary embodiment thereof, exemplifying but not limitative, with reference to the attached drawings in which:

— Fig. 1 shows a flowchart of the method for loading refrigerant fluid in a A/C system according to the present invention;

— Fig. 2 shows a possible hydraulic connection between storage container and A/C system during the loading of refrigerant fluid, according to the method of Fig. i;

— Fig. 3 shows a variant of the method shown in Fig. 1, wherein two further steps are provided of loading refrigerant fluid in gaseous phase;

— Fig. 4 shows a possible hydraulic connection between storage container and A/C system during the loading of refrigerant fluid according, to the method of Fig. 3;

Description of a preferred exemplary embodiment

With reference to Figs. 1 and 2, the method for loading refrigerant fluid in an A/C system 200 from an apparatus for recovering and regenerating refrigerant fluid 100, according to the present invention, provides a first step (301) of connecting the ducts 101 and 102 to the A/C system 200. In particular, the high pressure duct 101 is connected to the plant 200 at a line where the refrigerant has higher pressure, whereas the low pressure duct 102 is connected to a line where the refrigerant has lower pressure.

The method provides then a step (302) of setting a value Q of total amount of refrigerant to load in the A/C system.

A step (303) is then provided where the valve 123a, the valve 133a and/or the valve 133b are open and the refrigerant fluid in liquid phase is drawn by the storage container 110 through a dip tube 111. The refrigerant fluid, through the duct 103a and one of the ducts 101 and 102, or both, is loaded in the A/C system 200. The amount of refrigerant removed from the storage container 110 is determined by a load cell and the valves 133a and 133b are closed when an amount of refrigerant equal to Q— x has been removed, where X is a predetermined parameter. Advantageously, value of x is set between 40g and 80 g.

Then, a step is provided (305) where value of Q initially calculated is replaced by a value Q' dependent to the loading speed of the refrigerant in the A/C system 200. In particular, the higher the speed the larger the uncertainty in measuring the amount of fluid loaded and therefore lower has to be value of Q' . In order to compute Q' a step is provided (304) upstream of the step (305) where it is calculated the average pressure difference DP average between the pressure in the storage container 110 and the pressure in the A/C system 200. This way, it is possible to correlate the amount Q to the speed with which the refrigerant is loaded in the plant 200, since higher is DP avercL g e higher is the loading speed of the refrigerant .

In particular, Q' depends to DP average according to the following law:

- DP average < l bar => Q' = Q + m 1

- l bar < DP average < 2 bar => Q' = Q + m 2

- DP average > 2 bar => Q' = Q + m 3

where, for example, 8g < m 1 < 12g , lg < m 2 < Sg , — 4g < m 3 <0. As described, higher is value of DP average and lower is value of Q' , since the loading speed, and then the uncertainty, is higher.

Alternatively, it is possible to calculate Q' on the basis of the average mass flowrate DM average of refrigerant during the loading of the amount of refrigerant Q — x .

In this case, Q' depends to DM average according to the following law:

- DM average Q > = Q + mi m 5 i 3 n 5 u 9 to≤ - D "M'" a a v v e e r r a a g g e e <-S- bar => Q' = Q + m 2

1070g

- DM a a v v e e r r a a g g e e ≥— mjnu ± te →Q > = Q + m 3 Similarly to what said above, higher is value of DM avercL g e and lower is value of Q' because the loading speed is higher.

It begins then a step of iterating, for a number i of cycles, the steps of:

— measuring the amount of refrigerant fluid contained in the storage container 110 obtaining a value 7^ of the amount of fluid discharged from the storage container 110 at the i-th cycle (306); — computing an amount (Xi = Q'— Ti of refrigerant still to load at the i-th cycle (307);

— loading in the A/C system 200 an amount of refrigerant in liquid phase equal to /2 through the high pressure duct 101 and/or through the low pressure duct 102 (308) .

The iteration goes on until C is higher than a predetermined value ε, for example comprised between 2g and lOg.

This way, the refrigerant loaded is monitored at each iterative cycle, ensuring to stay within the tolerances required by regulations..

With reference to Figs. 3 and 4, an exemplary implementation of the method above described provides the introduction of two steps of sending refrigerant in vapour phase arranged to push towards the plant 200 the refrigerant in liquid phase present in the duct 101 and 102.

In particular, a first step (309), upstream of the iterating step, provides the opening of the valves 123b and 133b. This way, through an opening 112 which is located in the upper part of the container 110, an amount V 1 of refrigerant in gaseous phase comes out because of the pressure difference. This amount of refrigerant V 1 crosses the ducts 103b and 103c up to reaching the low pressure duct 102, which is emptied of the liquid phase refrigerant present. For example, the amount V 1 can be about lOg.

During the iterating step, the valves 123b and 133b are closed and the valves 123a and 133a are open, in such a way that the refrigerant in liquid phase arrives to the plant 200 through the ducts 103a and 103c and the high pressure duct 101.

At the end of the iterating step, there is then a further step (310) in which the valve 123a is closed and the it is opened the valve 123b that makes it possible to an amount V 2 of refrigerant in gaseous phase to cross the ducts 103b and 103c up to reaching the high pressure duct 101, which is emptied by the refrigerant accumulated during the iterating step.

If the valves 133a and 133b are manual, the steps (309, 310) are grouped in a single step that provides the opening of the valves 133a, 133b and 123b allowing an amount V 3 of refrigerant in gaseous phase to cross the ducts 103b and 103c up to reaching the ducts of high and low pressure 101 and 102, which are emptied from the liquid refrigerant accumulated during the iterating step.

The foregoing description some exemplary specific embodiments will so fully reveal the invention according to the conceptual point of view, so that others, by applying current knowledge, will be able to modify and/or adapt in various applications the specific exemplary embodiments without further research and without parting from the invention, and, accordingly, it is meant that such adaptations and modifications will have to be considered as equivalent to the specific embodiments. The means and the materials to realise the different functions described herein could have a different nature without, for this reason, departing from the field of the invention, it is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology that is employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.