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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Power Take-Off for Engine Used in Multi-Function System and Load Management of Such System", for Approval

September 11, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors GILBERT, Tod (Nanaimo, CA); DAHLE, Peter Ivan (Nanaimo, CA); PATER, Maciej (Nanaimo, CA), filed on February 17, 2014, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The patent's assignee is VMAC, a division of Mangonel Investments Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "There is a general desire for engines capable of being used for multiple purposes (e.g. in multi-function systems). There is a general desire to extract power from such engines which power may be able to be used to power other devices and to manage the loads in systems incorporating such engines. For example, Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. of Appleton Wis. provides multi-function systems equipped with diesel engines under the brand-name ENPAK.TM.. Such engines may be used to provide power for an electrical generator, an air compressor and a hydraulic pump which are provided integrally with the multi-function system. The hydraulic pump of the ENPAK.TM. multi-function system is sold as a part of the multi-function system itself and comprises a variable displacement hydraulic pump where the pump displacement is varied based on pressure feedback.

"A drawback with variable displacement hydraulic pumps is that their components are relatively more sensitive (e.g. less robust) and more complex (e.g. to control) in comparison to fixed displacement hydraulic pumps. Further, variable displacement pumps are generally more expensive than fixed displacement hydraulic pumps. Some users may not need variable displacement hydraulic pumps. Some users may want to provide their own hydraulic pump which may be suited to their particular needs. Some users may want to change hydraulic pumps from time to time. Some users may also want to vary the type of accessory devices in a multi-function system. For example, some users may want to have a multi-function system with a drive shaft output which may provide mechanical power to some other accessory device such as a water pump, an auger and/or the like. As another example, some users may want switch from time to time between a hydraulic pump and a drive shaft output which provides mechanical power to some other accessory device such as a water pump, an auger and/or the like.

"There is a general desire to provide engines with power take-offs (also referred to as PTOs or power take-off ports) for extracting power from the engines for use to power other devices. By way of non-limiting example, such other devices may include hydraulic pumps and/or the like. There is a general desire to permit users to be able to relatively easily connect and disconnect their own devices to such power take-offs.

"Emissions standards for off-highway engines have been getting relatively stricter, particularly for off-highway engines having greater than specified power outputs. By way of non-limiting example, in the case of diesel off-highway engines, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and similar standards bodies in other countries have adopted the Tier 4 standard for diesel off-highway engines. These emissions standards are easier to meet for relatively small power engines (e.g. engines under 25 horsepower (19 kW) have emissions standards that are relatively less strict than engines over 25 hp (19 kW)). For example, engines under 25 hp (19 kW) require NMHC+NO.sub.x emissions of less than 7.5 g/kW-hr (a standard that has not changed since 2005), whereas engines having the next higher classification (19 kW-37 kW) require NMHC+NO.sub.x emissions of less than 4.7 g/kW-hr (a standard that has decreased as of 2013). Accordingly, there is a general desire to provide off-highway engines having relatively low power outputs (e.g. less than 25 hp (19 kW) or less than some other suitable power threshold). At the same time, however, there is a competing desire to maximize the power output available at power take-offs to thereby provide maximum versatility to the types of devices that can be coupled to such power take-offs and the types of applications for which such devices can be used.

"There is a general desire to manage the loads for multi-function systems incorporating power take-offs and used to provide power to a number of different accessories. By way of non-limiting example, such load management can be used to mitigate against engine overloading, engine wear, to attempt to achieve optimum performance of accessory devices, to mitigate against accessory damage and accessory wear and/or the like.

"The foregoing examples of the related art and limitations related thereto are intended to be illustrative and not exclusive. Other limitations of the related art will become apparent to those of skill in the art upon a reading of the specification and a study of the drawings."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The following embodiments and aspects thereof are described and illustrated in conjunction with systems, tools, and methods which are meant to be exemplary and illustrate, not limiting in scope. In various embodiments, one or more of the above-described problems have been reduced or eliminated, while other embodiments are directed to other improvements.

"One aspect of the invention provides an apparatus comprising an engine, a power take-off to be driven by the engine and one or more load services to be driven by the engine. The apparatus also comprises a PTO modulator coupled to the power take-off and operable to selectively engage the power take-off to the engine to provide output rotational power, one or more load-service modulators coupled to the one or more load services and operable to selectively engage the one or more load services to the engine to provide service outputs, and a load controller configured to selectively operate the PTO modulator and the one or more load-service modulators to change the output from the power take-off or the one or more load services based on a condition of the engine and a load priority assigned to the power take-off or the one or more load services.

"In some embodiments, each of the one or more load services comprises an air compressor, electrical generator, battery booster, welder, or a hydraulic pump. In other embodiments, the load priority is assigned by a user. The engine condition may be engine speed at a threshold level. The engine threshold level may be defined by a user. In yet further embodiments, the PTO modulators comprise a clutch. In some embodiments, the power take-off is located remotely from the crankshaft of the engine and the engine comprises a belt connected between the engine and the power take-off for driving the power take-off. In yet other embodiments, the apparatus comprises a crankshaft pulley connected to the engine's crankshaft and a power take-off pulley connected to the power take-off, the belt entrained around the crankshaft pulley and the power take-off pulley whereby rotation of the crankshaft pulley causes rotation of the power take-off pulley to drive the power take-off. In further embodiments, a flywheel is involved in rotating the power take-off pulley. In some embodiments, the PTO modulator or the load-service modulator comprises a modulator that is operable to increase or decrease the output from the power take-off or the load service.

"Another aspect of the invention provides managing the load of an engine driving a power take-off and one or more load services. The method comprises the steps of assigning a load priority to the power take-off or one or more load services, calculating the speed of the engine; and reducing output from the power take-off or one or more load services that have lower priorities when the engine speed is below a threshold.

"In some embodiments, each of the load services comprises an air compressor, electrical generator, battery booster, welder, or a hydraulic pump. In other embodiments, the engine threshold is defined by a user. In yet other embodiments, the load priority is assigned by a user. In further embodiments, the power take-off is located remotely from the crankshaft of the engine.

"Another aspect of the invention provides an apparatus comprising: an engine; a power take-off comprising a power take-off port operatively connected to be driven by the engine and connectable to a corresponding load service; one or more additional load services operatively connected to be driven by the engine; a PTO modulator coupled to the power take-off and operable to modulate power drawn, from the engine, by the power take-off; one or more load-service modulators respectively coupled to the one or more additional load services, each load-service modulator operable to modulate power drawn, from the engine, by its corresponding additional load service; and a controller configured to control the PTO modulator and the one or more load-service modulators to thereby control the power drawn from the engine based on a detected condition of the engine and a priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional load services.

"In some embodiments, the power take-off comprises a power take-off port located remotely from a crankshaft of the engine in a location which provides space for operative connection of any one of a variety of accessory devices to the power take-off port, the apparatus comprising: a crankshaft pulley coupled to rotate with the crankshaft; a power take-off pulley coupled, via the PTO modulator, to rotate with the power take-off port; and a belt entrained around the crankshaft pulley and the power take-off pulley for transferring rotational energy therebetween. In some embodiments, the power take-off comprises a power take-off port located remotely from a crankshaft of the engine in a location which provides space for operative connection of any one of a variety of accessory devices to the power take-off port, the apparatus comprising: a flywheel connected to rotate with the crankshaft; an engine pulley coupled to rotate with the flywheel; a power take-off pulley coupled, via the PTO modulator, to rotate with the power take-off port; and a belt entrained around the engine pulley and the power take-off pulley for transferring rotational energy therebetween.

"In some embodiments, the PTO modulator comprises a modulator having an ON state, wherein the power take-off is connected to draw power from the engine and an OFF state, wherein the power take-off is de-coupled from the engine so as not to draw power therefrom, and wherein at least one of the one or more load-service modulators comprises a modulator having an ON state, wherein the its corresponding additional load service is connected to draw power from the engine and an OFF state, wherein its corresponding additional load service is de-coupled from the engine so as not to draw power therefrom. In some embodiments, the PTO modulator comprises a variable-speed modulator operative for controlling the power drawn, from the engine, by the power take-off by increasing and decreasing the power drawn, from the engine, by the power take-off. In some embodiments, at least one of the one or more load-service modulators comprises a variable-speed modulator operative for controlling the power drawn, from the engine, by its corresponding additional load service by increasing and decreasing the power drawn, from the engine, by its corresponding additional load service.

"In some embodiments, the engine condition comprises an overload condition which comprises an engine speed being below a threshold level. The overload condition may comprise the engine speed being below a threshold level, relative to a configurable desired engine speed, for a threshold period of time. The configurable desired engine speed may be configurable to any one of a plurality of discrete speed modes, each speed mode comprising a corresponding target speed. A user interface or one or more user-interface controls may be provided for user configuration of any one or more of: the plurality of discrete speed modes, the corresponding target speeds, the threshold periods of time; and the threshold levels.

"In some embodiments, a user interface or one or more user-interface controls is provided for user configuration of the priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional load services.

"In some embodiments, the controller is configured to control the PTO modulator and the one or more load service modulators to thereby control the output power drawn from the engine based on the detected engine condition and the priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by reducing the power drawn from the engine by reducing a power drawn by a lowest priority one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services and, if the engine condition is not alleviated after reducing the power drawn by the lowest priority one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services to zero, then reducing a power drawn by a different one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services.

"In some embodiments, the controller is configured to control the PTO modulator and the one or more load service modulators to thereby control the output power drawn from the engine based on the detected engine condition and the priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by reducing the power drawn from the engine by reducing a power drawn by a lowest priority one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by a first amount, the first amount less than a full power drawn by the lowest priority one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services and, if the engine condition is not alleviated after reducing the power drawn by the lowest priority one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by the first amount, then reducing a power drawn by a different one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by a second amount, the second amount less than a full power drawn by the different one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services.

"The controller may be configured to control the PTO modulator and the one or more load service modulators to thereby control the output power drawn from the engine based on the detected engine condition and the priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by further reducing the power drawn by the lowest priority one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by a third amount, if the engine condition is not alleviated after reducing the power drawn by the different one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by the second amount. The controller may be configured to control the PTO modulator and the one or more load service modulators to thereby control the output power drawn from the engine based on the detected engine condition and the priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by reducing a power drawn by a further different one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by a third amount, if the engine condition is not alleviated after reducing the power drawn by the different one of the power take-off and the one or more additional load services by the second amount.

"Another aspect of the invention provides a method for managing the load of an engine driving a power take-off and one or more additional load services, the method comprising: providing an engine, a power take-off comprising a power take-off port operatively connected to be driven by the engine and connectable to a corresponding load service; and one or more additional load services operatively connected to be driven by the engine; detecting a speed of the engine; evaluating an overload condition based at least in part on the detected speed of the engine; and if the overload condition is positive, controlling the power drawn by at least one of the power take-off and the one or more additional services to control power drawn from the engine in accordance with a priority as between the power take-off and the one or more additional services.

"In some embodiments, evaluating the overload condition comprises determining that an engine speed is below a threshold level, relative to a configurable desired engine speed, for a threshold period of time. In some embodiments, the method comprises using a moving average filter on a detected engine speed to determine the engine speed prior compared to the threshold level.

"In addition to the exemplary aspects and embodiments described above, further aspects and embodiments will become apparent by reference to the drawings and by study of the following detailed descriptions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"Exemplary embodiments are illustrated in referenced figures of the drawings. It is intended that the embodiments and figures disclosed herein are to be considered illustrative rather than restrictive.

"FIGS. 1A-1G (collectively, FIG. 1) show various views of an engine provided with a power take-off according to a particular embodiment of the invention.

"FIGS. 2A-2E (collectively, FIG. 2) show various views of the power take-off of the FIG. 1 engine according to an example embodiment.

"FIGS. 3A and 3B (collectively, FIG. 3) show a front plan and cross-sectional view of the clutch mechanism of the FIG. 2 power take-off according to an example embodiment.

"FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a multi-function system having load management according to an example embodiment.

"FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a multi-function system having load management according to an example embodiment.

"FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating an example method of managing load in a multi-function system having an engine according an example embodiment."

For additional information on this patent application, see: GILBERT, Tod; DAHLE, Peter Ivan; PATER, Maciej. Power Take-Off for Engine Used in Multi-Function System and Load Management of Such System. Filed February 17, 2014 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=2292&p=46&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: VMAC, VMAC a division of Mangonel Investments Corporation, a division of Mangonel Investments Corporation.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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