(19)
(11)EP 2 195 539 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/12

(21)Application number: 08837095.2

(22)Date of filing:  08.10.2008
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F04B 49/06  (2006.01)
F25B 49/00  (2006.01)
F04C 28/28  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2008/011576
(87)International publication number:
WO 2009/048566 (16.04.2009 Gazette  2009/16)

(54)

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MONITORING OVERHEAT OF A COMPRESSOR

SYSTEM UND VERFAHREN ZUR ÜBERWACHUNG DES ÜBERHITZENS EINES KOMPRESSORS

SYSTÈME ET PROCÉDÉ PERMETTANT DE SURVEILLER LA SURCHAUFFE D'UN COMPRESSEUR


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 08.10.2007 US 978312 P
08.10.2007 US 978258 P
07.10.2008 US 247033

(43)Date of publication of application:
16.06.2010 Bulletin 2010/24

(73)Proprietor: Emerson Climate Technologies, Inc.
Sidney, OH 45365-0669 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • MCSWEENEY, Daniel L.
    Sidney Ohio 45365 (US)

(74)Representative: J A Kemp LLP 
14 South Square Gray's Inn
London WC1R 5JJ
London WC1R 5JJ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-A1-102006 036 282
JP-A- 10 160 271
JP-A- 2003 156 244
US-A- 4 527 399
US-A1- 2005 235 663
JP-A- 1 167 556
JP-A- 2000 205 630
JP-A- 2004 069 295
US-A- 5 058 390
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to compressors and more particularly to a system and method for monitoring an overheat condition of a compressor.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] The statements in this section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may not constitute prior art.

    [0003] Compressors may be used in a wide variety of industrial and residential applications to circulate refrigerant within a refrigeration, heat pump, HVAC, or chiller system (generically "refrigeration systems") to provide a desired heating or cooling effect. In any of the foregoing applications, the compressor should provide consistent and efficient operation to insure that the particular application (i.e., refrigeration, heat pump, HVAC, or chiller system) functions properly. A variable speed compressor may be used to vary compressor capacity according to refrigeration system load. Operating parameters of the compressor and of the refrigeration system may be used by protection, control, and diagnostic systems to insure optimal operation of the compressor and refrigeration system components. For example, evaporator temperature and/or condenser temperature may be used to diagnose, protect, and control the compressor and other refrigeration system components.

    [0004] JP 2004-069295 discloses a system according to the precharacterising portion of claim 1.

    [0005] DE 10 2006 036 282 A1 discloses a coolant circuit arrangement with ejector pump having adjustable output of first and second compressors, reduction in coolant pressure through nozzle and decompression device.

    [0006] US 5 058 390 discloses an aircraft vapor cycle cooling system with two speed control of a condenser fan and a method of operation.

    SUMMARY



    [0007] The invention provides a system according to claim 1.

    [0008] The invention also provides a method according to claim 4.

    [0009] Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. It should be understood that the description and specific examples are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

    DRAWINGS



    [0010] The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way.

    Figure 1 is a schematic view of refrigeration system.

    Figure 2 is a cross-section view of a compressor.

    Figure 3 is a flow chart illustrating steps for an algorithm according the present teachings.

    Figure 4 is a graph showing discharge super heat correlated with suction super heat and outdoor temperature.

    Figure 5 is a graph showing discharge line temperature correlated with evaporator temperature and condenser temperature.

    Figure 6 is a graph showing an operating envelope of a compressor.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0011] The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses. It should be understood that throughout the drawings, corresponding reference numerals indicate like or corresponding parts and features.

    [0012] As used herein, the terms module, control module, and controller refer to one or more of the following: An application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), an electronic circuit, a processor (shared, dedicated, or group) and memory that execute one or more software or firmware programs, a combinational logic circuit, or other suitable components that provide the described functionality. As used herein, computer readable medium refers to any medium capable of storing data for a computer. Computer-readable medium includes, but is not limited to, memory, RAM, ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, flash memory, CD-ROM, floppy disk, magnetic tape, other magnetic medium, optical medium, or any other device or medium capable of storing data for a computer.

    [0013] With reference to Figure 1, an exemplary refrigeration system 5 includes a compressor 10 that compresses refrigerant vapor. While a specific refrigeration system is shown in Figure 1, the present teachings are applicable to any refrigeration system, including heat pump, HVAC, and chiller systems. Refrigerant vapor from compressor 10 is delivered to a condenser 12 where the refrigerant vapor is liquefied at high pressure, thereby rejecting heat to the outside air. The liquid refrigerant exiting condenser 12 is delivered to an evaporator 16 through an expansion valve 14. Expansion valve 14 may be a mechanical or electronic valve for controlling super heat of the refrigerant. The refrigerant passes through expansion valve 14 where a pressure drop causes the high pressure liquid refrigerant to achieve a lower pressure combination of liquid and vapor. As hot air moves across evaporator 16, the low pressure liquid turns into gas, thereby removing heat from evaporator 16. The low pressure gas is again delivered to compressor 10 where it is compressed to a high pressure gas, and delivered to condenser 12 to start the refrigeration cycle again.

    [0014] Compressor 10 may be monitored and controlled by a control module 25. Control module 25 includes a computer readable medium for storing data including the software executed by a processor to monitor and control compressor 10 and to perform the algorithms of the present teachings.

    [0015] As described in the disclosure titled "VARIABLE SPEED COMPRESSOR PROTECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD", U.S. Application Serial No. 60/978,258, suction superheat (SSH) may be used to monitor or predict an overheat condition of compressor 10. As described therein, an overheat condition is undesirable and may result in damage to compressor 10, a compressor component, or a refrigeration system component.

    [0016] A compressor floodback or overheat condition is undesirable and may cause damage to compressor 10 or other refrigeration system components. Suction super heat (SSH) and/or discharge super heat (DSH) may be correlated to a flood back or overheating condition of compressor 10 and may be monitored to detect and/or predict a flood back or overheating condition of compressor 10. DSH is the difference between the temperature of refrigerant vapor leaving the compressor, referred to as discharge line temperature (DLT) and the saturated condenser temperature (Tcond). Suction super heat (SSH) is the difference between the temperature of refrigerant vapor entering the compressor, referred to as suction line temperature (SLT) and saturated evaporator temperature (Tevap).

    [0017] SSH and DSH may be correlated as shown in Figure 4. The correlation between DSH and SSH may be particularly accurate for scroll type compressors, with outside ambient temperature being only a secondary effect. As shown in Figure 4, correlations between DSH and SSH are shown for outdoor temperatures (ODT) of about forty-six degrees Celsius (one-hundred fifteen degrees Fahrenheit), about thirty-five degrees Celsius (ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit), about twenty-four degrees Celsius (seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit), and about thirteen degrees Celsius (fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit). The correlation shown in Figure 4 is an example only and specific correlations for specific compressors may vary by compressor type, model, capacity, etc.

    [0018] A flood back condition may occur when SSH is approaching zero degrees Celsius (zero degrees Fahrenheit) or when DSH is about eleven to about twenty-two degrees Celsius (twenty to forty degrees Fahrenheit). With respect to overheating, when SSH is between about seventeen degrees Celsius (thirty degrees Fahrenheit) and about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (fifty degrees Fahrenheit), the onset of an overheating condition may occur. When SSH is greater than about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (fifty degrees Fahrenheit) or when DSH is greater than about fifty-six degrees Celsius (one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit), a severe overheating condition may be present.

    [0019] In Figure 4, typical SSH temperatures for exemplar refrigerant charge levels are shown. For example, as the percentage of refrigerant charge in refrigeration system 5 decreases, SSH typically increases.

    [0020] With reference to Figure 1, evaporator 16 may include an evaporator temperature sensor 40 that may sense an evaporator temperature. Alternatively, an evaporator pressure sensor may be used. Control module 25 receives evaporating temperature (Tevap) from evaporator temperature sensor 40.

    [0021] A suction sensor 34 monitors a temperature of refrigerant entering compressor 10 (i.e., SLT). Alternatively, a combination suction temperature/pressure sensor may be used. In such case, control module 25 may receive SLT from the temperature portion of the sensor and Tevap from the pressure portion of the sensor, as Tevap may be derived or measured based on suction pressure. Further, Tevap may be derived from other system parameters, as disclosed in the disclosure titled "VARIABLE SPEED COMPRESSOR PROTECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD", U.S. Application Ser. No. 60/978,258.

    [0022] For example, Tevap may be derived as a function of Tcond and DLT, as described in commonly assigned U.S. application Ser. No. 11/059,646, U.S. Publication No. 2005/0235660. For variable speed compressors, the correlation may also reflect compressor speed. In this way, Tevap may be derived as a function of Tcond, DLT and compressor speed.

    [0023] As shown in Figure 5, Tevap is shown correlated with DLT, for various Tcond levels. For this reason, compressor map data for different speeds may be used.

    [0024] Tcond and Tevap may be calculated based on a single derivation.

    [0025] In addition, iterative calculations may be made based on the following equations:





    [0026] Multiple iterations of these equations may be performed to achieve convergence. For example, three iterations may provide optimal convergence. As discussed above, more or less iteration, or no iterations, may be used.

    [0027] Tevap and Tcond may also be determined by using compressor map data, for different speeds, based on DLT and compressor power, based on the following equations:





    [0028] Control module 25 determines an evaporator temperature. Control module 25 may calculate Tevap or receive Tevap data from the pressure portion of sensor 34. Control module 25 then calculates SSH, which may be a difference between SLT and Tevap.

    [0029] As shown in Figure 1 , suction sensor 34 is external to compressor 10 and monitors a temperature of refrigerant as it is entering the suction inlet of compressor 10. Alternatively, a suction sensor internal to the compressor may be used. As shown in Figure 2, a suction sensor 32 may be disposed within a shell of compressor 10. In such case, SLT may be communicated to control module 25 through an electrical connection via terminal box 24.

    [0030] Control module 25 may monitor an overheat condition of compressor 10 by comparing SSH with a predetermined overheat threshold. As shown in Figure 3, control module 25 receives SLT data in step 302. In step 304, control module 25 receives Tevap from evaporator temperature sensor 40. In step 306, control module 25 calculates SSH based on SLT and Tevap. Alternatively, Tevap may be estimated or derived based on other sensed parameters, as described above and in the disclosure titled "VARIABLE SPEED COMPRESSOR PROTECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD", U.S. Application Ser. No. 60/978,258.

    [0031] In step 308, control module compares SSH with a predetermined threshold to determine whether an overheat condition exists.

    [0032] Control module 25 may determine that compressor 10 is operating within a normal temperature range when SSH is between zero and about seventeen degrees Celsius (between zero and thirty degrees Fahrenheit). When SSH is between about seventeen degrees and about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (between thirty degrees Fahrenheit and fifty degrees Fahrenheit), control module 25 detects an overheat condition and takes responsive measures. A SSH temperature above about twenty-eight Celsius (fifty degrees Fahrenheit) may indicate that components of the compressor, including the compressor scrolls, bearings, etc., are at risk of being damaged.

    [0033] Control module 25 may also determine whether SSH is greater than a predetermined threshold for a predetermined period of time. For example, control module 25 may determine when SSH is between about seventeen and about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (between thirty degrees and fifty degrees Fahrenheit), or greater than about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (fifty degrees Fahrenheit), for a predetermined period. For example, the predetermined period may be a number of minutes (e.g., one minute, two minutes, five minutes, etc.). A first predetermined period (e.g., five minutes) may be used for monitoring when SSH is between about seventeen and about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (between thirty degrees and fifty degrees Fahrenheit). A second predetermined period, shorter than the first predetermined period, (e.g., one minute or two minutes) may be used for monitoring when SSH is greater than about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (fifty degrees Fahrenheit). It is understood that any time period may be used as appropriate.

    [0034] As described in the disclosure titled "VARIABLE SPEED COMPRESSOR PROTECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD", U.S. Application Ser. No. 60/978,258 in response to an overheat condition, control module 25 may adjust compressor operation and/or adjust expansion valve 14. In a severe overheat condition, control module 25 may stop operation of compressor 10. Control module 25 may also generate an alarm or notification that an overheat condition exists.

    [0035] As shown in Figure 6, a compressor operating envelope may provide maximum flood back and maximum SSH limits. In addition, a maximum scroll temperature limit (Tscroll) may be provided, in the case of a scroll compressor. In addition, a maximum motor temperature (Tmotor) may be provided. As shown in Figure 6, compressor speed and expansion valve 14 may be adjusted based on SSH to insure compressor operation within the compressor operating envelope. In this way, SSH may be maintained within an acceptable range as indicated by Figure 6.

    [0036] At a SSH between about seventeen and about twenty-eight degrees (between thirty degrees Fahrenheit and fifty degrees Fahrenheit), control module 25 reduces compressor speed and may cause expansion valve 14 to open. At a SSH greater than about twenty-eight degrees Celsius (fifty degrees Fahrenheit), control module 25 may stop operation of compressor 25.


    Claims

    1. A system (5) comprising:

    a compressor (10) connected to an evaporator (16);

    a suction sensor (34) that outputs a suction signal corresponding to a temperature of refrigerant entering said compressor; and

    a control module (25) connected to said suction sensor (34);

    wherein the control module (25) is configured to determine an evaporator temperature, calculate a suction superheat temperature based on said evaporator temperature and said suction signal, and monitor an overheat condition of said compressor (10) by comparing said suction superheat temperature with a predetermined temperature range having an upper limit temperature and a lower limit temperature;

    characterized in that the control module is configured, when it is determined that said suction superheat temperature is between said upper limit temperature and said lower limit temperature, to detect the overheat condition and reduce a speed of said compressor (10) to a reduced speed determined based on said suction superheat temperature, wherein said lower limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range is seventeen degrees Celsius and said upper limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range is twenty-eight degrees Celsius.


     
    2. The system (5) of Claim 1 wherein said control module (25) stops said compressor (10) when said suction superheat temperature is greater than said upper limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range.
     
    3. The system (5) of Claim 1 wherein said control module reduces said speed of said compressor (10) when said control module (25) determines that said suction superheat is between said upper limit temperature and said lower limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range for a predetermined time period.
     
    4. A method comprising:

    determining an evaporator temperature of an evaporator (16) connected to a compressor (10);

    receiving a suction signal that corresponds to a temperature of refrigerant entering said compressor (10);

    calculating a suction superheat temperature based on said evaporator temperature and said suction signal; and

    monitoring an overheat condition of said compressor (10) by comparing said suction superheat with a predetermined temperature range having an upper limit temperature and a lower limit temperature;

    characterized in that the method comprises, when said suction superheat temperature is determined to be within said predetermined temperature range, detecting the overheat condition and reducing a speed of said compressor (10) to a reduced speed determined based on said suction superheat temperature wherein said lower limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range is seventeen degrees Celsius and said upper limit temperature is twenty-eight degrees Celsius.


     
    5. The method of Claim 4 further comprising stopping said compressor when said suction superheat is greater than said upper limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range.
     
    6. The method of Claim 4 further comprising reducing said speed of said compressor (10) when said suction superheat temperature is between said upper limit temperature and said lower limit temperature of said predetermined temperature range for a predetermined time period.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. System (5), umfassend:

    einen Kompressor (10) in Verbindung mit einem Verdampfer (16);

    einen Ansaugsensor (34), der ein Ansaugsignal ausgibt, das einer Temperatur eines in den Kompressor eintretenden Kältemittels entspricht; und

    ein Steuermodul (25) in Verbindung mit dem Ansaugsensor (34);

    wobei das Steuermodul (25) konfiguriert ist, um eine Verdampfertemperatur zu bestimmen, eine Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur auf der Grundlage der Verdampfertemperatur und des Ansaugsignals zu berechnen und einen Überhitzungszustand des Kompressors (10) zu überwachen, indem die Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur mit einem vorbestimmten Temperaturbereich mit einer oberen Grenztemperatur und einer unteren Grenztemperatur verglichen wird;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuermodul konfiguriert ist, um, wenn bestimmt wird, dass die Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur zwischen der oberen Grenztemperatur und der unteren Grenztemperatur liegt, den Überhitzungszustand zu erfassen und eine Drehzahl des Kompressors (10) auf eine reduzierte Drehzahl zu reduzieren, die auf der Grundlage der Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur bestimmt wird, wobei die untere Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs siebzehn Grad Celsius und die obere Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs achtundzwanzig Grad Celsius beträgt.


     
    2. System (5) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Steuermodul (25) den Kompressor (10) anhält, wenn die Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur größer als die obere Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs ist.
     
    3. System (5) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Steuermodul die Drehzahl des Kompressors (10) reduziert, wenn das Steuermodul (25) bestimmt, dass die Ansaugüberhitzung zwischen der oberen Grenztemperatur und der unteren Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs für eine vorbestimmte Zeitspanne liegt.
     
    4. Verfahren, umfassend:

    Bestimmen der Verdampfertemperatur eines Verdampfers (16) in Verbindung mit einem Kompressor (10);

    Empfangen eines Ansaugsignals, das einer Temperatur eines in den Kompressor (10) eintretenden Kältemittels entspricht;

    Berechnen einer Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur auf der Grundlage der Verdampfertemperatur und des Ansaugsignals; und

    Überwachen eines Überhitzungszustands des Kompressors (10) durch Vergleichen der Ansaugüberhitzung mit einem vorbestimmten Temperaturbereich, der eine obere Grenztemperatur und eine untere Grenztemperatur aufweist;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Verfahren, wenn bestimmt wird, dass die Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur innerhalb des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs liegt, das Erfassen des Überhitzungszustands und das Reduzieren einer Drehzahl des Kompressors (10) auf eine reduzierte Drehzahl umfasst, die auf der Grundlage der Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur bestimmt wird, wobei die untere Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs siebzehn Grad Celsius und die obere Grenztemperatur achtundzwanzig Grad Celsius beträgt.


     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 4, ferner umfassend das Anhalten des Kompressors, wenn die Ansaugüberhitzung größer als die obere Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs ist.
     
    6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 4, ferner umfassend das Reduzieren der Drehzahl des Kompressors (10), wenn die Ansaugüberhitzungstemperatur für eine vorbestimmte Zeitdauer zwischen der oberen Grenztemperatur und der unteren Grenztemperatur des vorbestimmten Temperaturbereichs liegt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système (5) comprenant :

    un compresseur (10) connecté à un évaporateur (16) ;

    un capteur d'aspiration (34) qui délivre un signal d'aspiration correspondant à une température de réfrigérant entrant dans ledit compresseur ; et

    un module de contrôle (25) connecté audit capteur d'aspiration (34) ;

    dans lequel le module de contrôle (25) est configuré pour déterminer une température d'évaporateur, calculer une température de surchauffe d'aspiration sur la base de ladite température d'évaporateur et dudit signal d'aspiration, et surveiller une condition de surchauffe dudit compresseur (10) en comparant ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration avec une plage de températures prédéterminée ayant une température limite supérieure et une température limite inférieure ;

    caractérisé en ce que le module de contrôle est configuré, lorsqu'il est déterminé que ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration est comprise entre ladite température limite supérieure et ladite température limite inférieure, pour détecter la condition de surchauffe et réduire une vitesse dudit compresseur (10) à une vitesse réduite déterminée sur la base de ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration, dans laquelle ladite température limite inférieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée est de dix-sept degrés Celsius et ladite température limite supérieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée est de vingt-huit degrés Celsius.


     
    2. Système (5) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit module de contrôle (25) arrête ledit compresseur (10) lorsque ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration est supérieure à ladite température limite supérieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée.
     
    3. Système (5) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit module de contrôle réduit ladite vitesse dudit compresseur (10) lorsque ledit module de contrôle (25) détermine que ladite surchauffe d'aspiration est entre ladite température limite supérieure et ladite température limite inférieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée pour une période de temps prédéterminée.
     
    4. Procédé comprenant :

    la détermination d'une température d'évaporateur d'un évaporateur (16) connecté à un compresseur (10) ;

    la réception d'un signal d'aspiration qui correspond à une température de réfrigérant entrant dans ledit compresseur (10) ;

    le calcul d'une température de surchauffe d'aspiration sur la base de ladite température d'évaporateur et dudit signal d'aspiration ; et

    la surveillance d'une condition de surchauffe dudit compresseur (10) en comparant ladite surchauffe d'aspiration à une plage de températures prédéterminée ayant une température limite supérieure et une température limite inférieure ;

    caractérisé en ce que le procédé comprend, lorsque ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration est déterminée comme étant dans ladite plage de températures prédéterminée, la détection de la condition de surchauffe et la réduction d'une vitesse dudit compresseur (10) à une vitesse réduite déterminée sur la base de ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration dans laquelle ladite température limite inférieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée est de dix-sept degrés Celsius et ladite température limite supérieure est de vingt-huit degrés Celsius.


     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 4, comprenant en outre l'arrêt dudit compresseur lorsque ladite surchauffe d'aspiration est supérieure à ladite température limite supérieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée.
     
    6. Procédé selon la revendication 4, comprenant en outre la réduction de ladite vitesse dudit compresseur (10) lorsque ladite température de surchauffe d'aspiration est entre ladite température limite supérieure et ladite température limite inférieure de ladite plage de températures prédéterminée pendant une période de temps prédéterminée.
     




    Drawing





















    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description