(19)
(11)EP 2 831 475 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 13769671.2

(22)Date of filing:  28.02.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F16K 31/06  (2006.01)
H01F 7/08  (2006.01)
G05D 16/20  (2006.01)
F16K 11/07  (2006.01)
F16K 31/66  (2006.01)
H01F 7/18  (2006.01)
F16K 37/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/AU2013/000189
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/142893 (03.10.2013 Gazette  2013/40)

(54)

SOLENOID SPOOL VALVE MODULE WITH ADAPTIVE VALVE WEAR COMPENSATION

ELEKTROMAGNETVENTILSCHIEBERBAUEINHEIT MIT ADAPTIVEN ABNUTZUNGAUSGLEICH

MODULE DE VANNE À TIROIR À COMMANDE PAR SOLÉNOÏDE RÉALISANT UNE COMPENSATION D'USURE DE LA VANNE


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

(30)Priority: 27.03.2012 AU 2012901235

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.02.2015 Bulletin 2015/06

(73)Proprietor: BRT GROUP PTY LTD
Castle Hill, NSW 2154 (AU)

(72)Inventor:
  • TAMBA, Richard Terrence
    Castle Hill, New South Wales 2154 (AU)

(74)Representative: Lavoix 
Bayerstrasse 83
80335 München
80335 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 469 220
EP-A2- 2 336 605
WO-A1-2011/100800
JP-A- H11 141 696
US-A1- 2003 070 710
US-A1- 2008 265 190
EP-A2- 1 223 372
EP-A2- 2 336 605
JP-A- H10 258 731
US-A- 5 469 877
US-A1- 2003 164 193
US-A1- 2010 269 632
  
      
    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 of the Invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to a solenoid device and, more particularly but not exclusively, to a solenoid spool valve having an integrated pressure sensor which provides improved performance characteristics when the solenoid spool valve is used in a communications network of a vehicle or system.

    Background of the Invention



    [0002] A modern vehicle typically has a large number of electronic control units (ECU) for various subsystems. The biggest processor is commonly the engine control unit, however other ECUs are used for controlling other devices in the vehicle, such as the transmission, airbags, antilock braking system, cruise control, electric power steering, audio systems, windows, doors, mirror adjustment, battery and recharging systems for hybrid/electric cars, etc. Some of these form independent subsystems, but communications among others are essential. A subsystem may need to control actuators or receive feedback from sensors. The Controller-Area Network (CAN) is a standard vehicle bus or communications network devised to fill this need.

    [0003] US 2008/0265190 relates to an electromagnetic pressure regulating valve device having an integrated pressure sensor, however this document relates to a transducer, not to a high-flow, direct acting pressure regulating solenoid device. US 2003/0070710 discloses a fluid pressure regulator, however these are for a system of feed and bleed solenoids joined together to achieve a pressure result and having their outputs combined and measured and fed back into the control system. US 5,469,877 discloses an electric to pneumatic transducer for a set of pilot solenoids, however it does not relate to direct acting, high-flow controls as it requires an additional valve to do the work based on what the pilot valves tell the additional valve to do.

    [0004] US 2010/0269632 discloses a fluid pressure control device with integrated pressure sensor, however it relies on communication with an external device by transmitting an electrical signal indicative of a sensed fluid pressure to the external device, which external device then communicates a control signal.

    [0005] The applicant is aware that existing systems have sensors elsewhere on a hydraulic circuit for sensing pressure delivered by solenoid valves. The applicant has determined that such systems may be improved, at least in so far as performance and maintenance are concerned.

    [0006] The applicant has also identified that current design high flow solenoids have an equal area spool, meaning that lands of the spool have the same external dimension, usually the outside diameter, resulting in the lands having the same surface area for driving the spool in response to fluid pressure against the lands. To increase the pressure obtained from the current design solenoid spool valves requires the spool diameter to be increased. As the diameters of each of the lands on the spool increase, the force against a diaphragm of the solenoid spool valve increases, necessitating a magnet (coil) size of an electromagnetic actuator to be increased. The applicant has determined that it would be desirable to obviate the necessity to increase the magnet (coil) size with pressure capacity of the solenoid spool valve.

    [0007] Furthermore, the applicant has also identified that increasing diameters of all lands on the spool in accordance with current practice typically increases leakage to an exhaust port of the solenoid spool valve, requiring a larger pump to compensate for the leakage.

    [0008] Examples of the invention seek to solve, or at least ameliorate, one or more disadvantages of previous solenoid spool valves.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0009] In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a solenoid device according to claim 1. The dependent claims set out particular embodiments of the invention.

    [0010] Preferably, the controller is in the form of a control circuit. More preferably, the control circuit is arranged to receive the pressure request from a communications network. Even more preferably, the communications network is a Controller-Area Network.

    [0011] Preferably, the pressure sensor is arranged to sense the control pressure of the spool valve at a location inside the sleeve.

    [0012] Preferably, the controller is mounted relative to the sleeve.

    [0013] It is preferred that the solenoid spool valve including the pressure sensor and controller are provided as a unitary module.

    [0014] Preferably, the solenoid spool valve further includes an exhaust port, the spool has a first piston with a first land for opening/closing the supply pressure port and a second piston with a second land for opening/closing the exhaust port, wherein the first piston has a larger piston face surface area in fluid communication with the control pressure port than does the second piston.

    [0015] Preferably, the first piston has one piston face (b) in fluid communication with the control pressure port arranged such that force of fluid against said one piston face acts on the spool in an axial direction away from the electromagnetic actuator, and an opposite piston face (a) in fluid communication with a feedback orifice arranged such that force of fluid against said opposite piston face acts on the spool in an axial direction toward the electromagnetic actuator.

    [0016] More preferably, the feedback orifice supplies fluid at the same control pressure as the control pressure port. Even more preferably, the feedback orifice is in fluid communication with the control pressure port. In one example, the orifice is formed as a duct extending through the first piston to communicate with the control pressure port.

    [0017] Preferably, the face (c) of the second piston in fluid communication with the control pressure port is arranged such that force of fluid against said face acts on the spool in an axial direction toward the electromagnetic actuator.

    [0018] Preferably, the spool is arranged such that, the combined force on the spool from fluid against piston faces of the spool is independent of the transverse extent of the first piston, owing to equal and opposite face surface areas of the first piston. More preferably, the first piston is cylindrical and the combined force on the spool from fluid against piston faces of the spool is independent of an outside diameter of the first piston.

    [0019] Preferably, the spool is arranged such that, the combined force on the spool from fluid against piston faces of the spool is given by the equation:

    where A, B and C are the fluid forces acting on faces a, b and c, respectively.

    [0020] In a preferred form, the first piston has a larger diameter than the second piston. More preferably, as a result of the larger diameter of the first piston, the valve has relatively high flow from the supply pressure port to the control pressure port and relatively low flow from the control pressure port to the exhaust port.

    [0021] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a range of solenoid spool valves, each of which is as described above, wherein each of the solenoid spool valves has a different first piston diameter to second piston diameter ratio to provide different pressure capabilities, and wherein each of the solenoid spool valves has an identical electromagnetic actuator.

    [0022] In one particular example, each of the solenoid spool valves has a different first piston diameter, and the same second piston diameter.

    [0023] However, a learned person can appreciate that the technology described herein does not need to be limited to solenoids having spool valves and could be incorporated into other solenoid types that can alter pressure through other control means, for example, by controlling the exhausting of oil from a control chamber, fed by a controlled source, ie an orifice, in a controlled manner, thus effecting pressure control. The integration of the pressure sensor and controls in this case would be key to the repeatable pressure output from this previously non-self-regulating system/solenoid.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0024] The invention is described, by way of non-limiting example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

    Figure 1 is a solenoid spool valve with pressure sensor in accordance with an example of the present invention;

    Figure 2(a) is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a solenoid spool valve in accordance with a first example;

    Figure 2(b) is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a solenoid spool valve in accordance with a second example;

    Figure 2(c) is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a solenoid spool valve in accordance with a third example;

    Figure 2(d) is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a solenoid spool valve in accordance with a fourth example;

    Figure 3 shows detail of a spool of a solenoid spool valve the same or similar to those shown in Figures 2(a) to 2(d);

    Figure 4 is a diagrammatic view of an example system incorporating a solenoid spool valve in accordance with the invention;

    Figure 5 is a diagrammatic view of another example system incorporating a plurality of solenoid spool valves in accordance with the invention; and

    Figure 6 is a diagram showing an on board controller with a series of possible CAN nodes.


    Detailed Description



    [0025] With reference to Figure 1 of the drawings, there is provided a solenoid spool valve 10 used for supplying varying pressures from a system supply pressure to an object (such as, for example, a friction clutch). The solenoid spool valve 10 is advantageously provided with a pressure sensor 46 and a controller 48 to achieve improved performance/convenience when used in a communications network such as a Controller-Area Network (CAN).

    [0026] More specifically, the applicant has determined that existing systems typically use a sensor elsewhere on a hydraulic circuit, separate to the solenoid spool valve. The applicant has determined that such arrangements are disadvantageous, particularly when it comes to rebuilding and maintenance. Specifically, as existing systems supply the solenoid spool valve with a current and use an external pressure sensor to sense pressure achieved by the solenoid spool valve, components of the system separate to the solenoid spool valve may have to adapt to wear of the solenoid spool valve as it may deteriorate over time and change its characteristics. Then, when the solenoid spool valve is replaced with a fresh solenoid spool valve, the remainder of the system must re-learn to accommodate the new solenoid spool valve which has different characteristics to the replaced solenoid spool valve. The applicant has determined that it would be advantageous for there to be provided a solenoid spool valve which has its own pressure sensor and controller such that the solenoid spool valve is sent a pressure request rather than a current, as is typical in existing systems. In this way, the components of the system external to the solenoid spool valve do not need to compensate for the change in characteristics of the solenoid spool valve which are dealt with internally of the solenoid spool valve by virtue of its ability to be self-compensating. The pressure sensor 46 is in the control pressure circuit of the solenoid spool valve 10, and there is feed from the CAN such that an input pressure may be requested and controlled at the source of the signal (ie. within the solenoid). The pressure signal is fed back to the solenoid controller 48 from the pressure sensor 46.

    [0027] More specifically, the solenoid spool valve 10 includes a spool valve 12 having a sleeve 14 provided with a supply pressure port 16, a control pressure port 18 and a spool 22 supported in the sleeve 14 for axial displacement within the sleeve 14. The solenoid spool valve 10 also includes an electromagnetic actuator 24 for providing an axial drive force to the spool 22 in a first axial direction away from the electromagnetic actuator 24 so as to operate the spool valve 12. The solenoid spool valve 10 further includes the pressure sensor 46 arranged to sense a control pressure of the spool valve 12, and the controller 48 which receives a pressure request and is arranged to control delivery of power to the electromagnetic actuator 24 with feedback from the pressure sensor 46 to meet the pressure request.

    [0028] The controller 48 may receive the pressure request from the communications network by way of communication means such as, for example, communication wires 50. Similarly, the pressure sensor 46 may be coupled in communication with the controller 48 by way of communication wires 52. The controller 48 shown in Figure 1 supplies power to the electromagnetic actuator 24 by way of power lines 54. However, an alternative to this arrangement can be the combining of the power and CAN wires in that the CAN signal is "injected" on top of the power wires thus requiring only 2 wires to be connected to the solenoid assembly.

    [0029] In the example shown, the pressure sensor 46 is located in a cavity of the sleeve 14 near a bore of the spool valve 12 so as to sense the pressure of fluid (gas or liquid) in the control pressure circuit in communication with the control pressure port 18. The controller 48 is mounted relative to the sleeve 14 and may be arranged to adaptively learn current provided to the electromagnetic actuator 24 in relation to pressure sensed by the pressure sensor 46, such that the solenoid spool valve 10 is self-compensating.

    [0030] Advantageously, as the solenoid spool valve 10 including the pressure sensor 46 and controller 48 is provided as a unitary module, the entire module is able to be replaced at the end of its life without any need for an external controller to adapt to the new unit as it performs its own conversion of the desired pressure to the power requirements of the electromagnetic actuator 24.

    [0031] In the example shown in Figure 1, the solenoid spool valve 12 is a two land high flow solenoid spool valve which enables higher control pressures to be used without necessitating a correspondingly larger electromagnetic actuator. A similar solenoid spool valve 12 is shown in Figure 2(a), and is described below. In the subsequent figures, there are shown examples of alternative solenoid spool valves 12 which may also be adapted to include a pressure sensor 46 and controller 48 in the manner shown in Figure 1 so as to embody alternative configurations of the present invention.

    [0032] With reference to Figure 2(a) there is shown a solenoid spool valve 10 used for supplying varying pressures from a system supply pressure to an object (such as, for example, a friction clutch). The solenoid spool valve 10 shown has an increased supply pressure diameter of the spool while leaving the regulated pressure end of the spool at the original diameter. By virtue of this configuration, the resultant force on a diaphragm of the valve 10 is independent of the increased supply pressure diameter.

    [0033] More specifically, the solenoid spool valve 10 includes a spool valve 12 having a sleeve 14 provided with a supply pressure port 16, a control pressure port 18, an exhaust port 20 and a spool 22 supported in the sleeve 14 for axial displacement within the sleeve 14. The solenoid spool valve 10 also includes an electromagnetic actuator 24 for providing an axial drive force to the spool 22 in a first axial direction away from the electromagnetic actuator so as to operate the spool valve 12. The spool 22 has a first piston 26 with a first land 28 for opening/closing the supply pressure port 16, and a second piston 30 with a second land 32 for opening/closing the exhaust port 20. The first piston 26 has a larger piston face surface area 34 in fluid communication with the control pressure port 18 than does the second piston 30.

    [0034] The first piston 26 has one piston face (b) in fluid communication with the control pressure port 18, arranged such that force of fluid against the face (b) acts on the spool 22 in an axial direction away from the electromagnetic actuator 24. The first piston 26 also has an opposite piston face (a) in fluid communication with a feedback orifice 36 arranged such that force of fluid against the opposite piston face (a) acts on the spool 22 in an axial direction toward the electromagnetic actuator 24. The feedback orifice 36 supplies fluid at the same control pressure as the control pressure port 18. In the example shown in Figure 2(a), the feedback orifice 36 is formed in the sleeve 14 so as to provide fluid at the control pressure to piston face (a) of the first piston 26.

    [0035] Figures 2(b) to 2(d) show alternative configurations of solenoid spool valves 10 in accordance with other examples of the present invention. More specifically, with reference to Figure 2(b), the solenoid spool valve 10 shown in this example is similar to the example shown in Figure 2(a), except in that the feedback orifice 36 is located in an end of the spool valve 12, rather than in a side wall of the sleeve 14. With reference to the example shown in Figure 2(c), the feedback orifice 36 is provided in a sidewall of the sleeve 14 (in a manner similar to that in Figure 2(a)), however this example differs in that the sleeve 14 is non-circular, in contrast to the examples in Figures 2(a), 2(b) and 2(d). This is made evident by the cross-sectional depiction of the sleeve 14 in Figure 2(c), wherein the sleeve 14 extends to a greater degree below the spool 22 than it does above the spool 22.

    [0036] The solenoid spool valve 10 shown in Figure 2(d) has a feedback orifice 36 formed as a duct 38 extending through the first piston 26 to communicate with the control pressure port 18. Also, the example shown in Figure 2(d) incorporates a damper 40 as part of the solenoid spool valve 10. As can be seen, the size of the magnet 42 is common to all four versions of the solenoid spool valve 10 shown in Figures 2(a) to 2(d), as all four versions use an identical electromagnetic actuator 24.

    [0037] In each of the solenoid spool valves 10 shown in Figures 2(a) to 2(d), the face (c) of the second piston 30 in fluid communication with the control pressure port 18 is arranged such that force of fluid against that face (c) acts on the spool 22 in an axial direction toward the electromagnetic actuator 24.

    [0038] With reference to Figure 3, the spool 22 is arranged such that, for any stationary position of the spool valve (including when the supply pressure port 16 of the solenoid spool valve 10 is closed as shown), the combined force on the spool 22 from fluid against piston faces of the spool 22 is independent of the transverse extent of the first piston 26. This independence is due to equal and opposite face surface areas of the first piston 26, which effectively cancel each other. Where the first piston 26 is cylindrical, the combined force on the spool 22 from fluid against piston faces of the spool 22 is independent of an outside diameter of the first piston 26. With regard to the lettering shown in Figure 3, the combined force on the spool 22 from fluid against piston faces of the spool 22 is given by the equation:
    Combined force = A + C - B, where A, B and C are the fluid forces acting on faces (a), (b) and (c), respectively.

    [0039] In this way, the force on the annular part of surface (a) represented by the six outermost arrows of A cancel out the forces on surface (b) represented by the six arrows of force B, such that the combined force is truly independent of the outside diameter of the first piston 26.

    [0040] Where the spool is cylindrical, the first piston 26 has a larger diameter than the second piston 30 so that the first piston 26 has a larger piston face surface area in fluid communication with the control pressure port 18 than does the second piston 30. As a result of the larger diameter of the first piston 26, the valve 10 has relatively high flow from the supply pressure port 16 to the control pressure port 18 and relatively low flow from the control pressure port 18 to the exhaust port 20. This is desirable, as the relatively low flow from the control pressure port 18 to the exhaust port 20 minimises leakage such that a smaller pump may be used.

    [0041] Advantageously, the ability to increase the diameter of the first piston 26 enables higher control pressure to be used, assisting in the regulation of higher pressures and facilitating quick action of the solenoid spool valve 10. Also, as the size of magnet 42 is independent of the flow area design, the pressure can be adjusted by varying the diameter of the first piston 26 while maintaining a common coil/core size between pressure/flow variants. This may assist in maintaining an overall short length when compared with other high flow solenoids, and facilitates the provision of a family of solenoid designs using a common magnet coil/core and body.

    [0042] The tuneable feedback orifice 36 may have a maximised effect by being located to cooperate with the largest area of the spool 22.

    [0043] The solenoid spool valve 10 may have a filled canister whereby oil is provided inside the electromagnetic actuator to change the natural frequency of the solenoid spool valve 10. Also, a trimming screw 44 may be mounted as shown in Figures 2(a) to 2(d).

    [0044] With reference to Figure 4, there is shown a diagrammatic view of an example system incorporating a solenoid spool valve 10 in accordance with the invention. In the example shown, the solenoid spool valve 10 is used in combination with a seat base/cushion 56 to control operation of the seat base/cushion. In particular, the solenoid spool valve 10 receives information from a sensor 46 via an on board controller (OBC) 48. The OBC is connected by wiring to a master controller 58.

    [0045] Figure 5 shows an example system incorporating a plurality of solenoid spool valves 10, each of which is provided with a separate OBC 48, and an individual identifier such that the individual solenoid spool valves 10 are able to be operated individually. The solenoid spool valves 10 are connected by communication wires 50. The communication wires 50 can be a combinination of the power and CAN wires such that the CAN signal is "injected" on top of the power wires thus requiring only two wires to be connected to each solenoid assembly. As the communication wires 50 connect to the master controller 58 in an endless loop, this allows for continued power and CAN communication from either direction in the even that a wire or connection is faulty, thus making the system more robust and failsafe.

    [0046] Figure 6 shows an OBC 48 of a solenoid spool valve 10 with a series of possible CAN nodes that could be used by the OBC 48 to measure responses. More specifically, the diagram shows a range of different sensors 46 that could be used by the OBC 48 to measure responses, depending on the nature of the request quantity type which is received by the OBC 48. In each case, the sensor 46 is arranged to sense a control value of the spool valve, and the OBC 48 receives a request and is arranged to control delivery of power to the electromagnetic actuator of the solenoid spool valve 10 with feedback from the sensor 46 until the control value meets the request.

    [0047] While various embodiments of the present invention have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not by way of limitation. It will be apparent to a person skilled in the relevant art that various changes in form and detail can be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention. Thus, the present invention should not be limited by any of the above described exemplary embodiments.

    [0048] The CAN solenoid spool valve (CS) of examples of the present invention is the combination of several technologies into one device that enables that device to:
    • self control its own pressure output based on a CAN signal from a master controller;
    • be self compensating for wear;
    • be self compensating for changes in ambient conditions (ie temperature, pressure, fluid viscosity, leakage); and
    • be able to be commonised and calibrated according to customer requirements by simple programming.


    [0049] In one variation of the design the CS includes a solenoid spool valve having the ability to produce varied pressure outputs, with the integration of a pressure sensor into the control port and a small on-board controller that is supplied power and a CAN signal from a master controller and is able to drive the solenoid spool to achieve the desired pressure output independent of wear, leakage, temperature and inlet pressure to achieve the desired result.

    [0050] In another variation of the design the CS includes a solenoid spool valve having the ability to produce varied flow outputs, with the integration of a flow sensor into the control port and a small on-board controller that is supplied power and a CAN signal from a master controller and is able to drive the solenoid spool to achieve the desired flow output or speed independent of wear, leakage, temperature and inlet pressure to achieve the desired result.

    [0051] In another variation of the design the CS includes a solenoid spool valve having the ability to produce varied flow outputs, with the integration of a temperature sensor into the control port and a small on-board controller that is supplied power and a CAN signal from a master controller and is able to drive the solenoid spool to achieve the desired temperature independent of wear, leakage, temperature and inlet pressure to achieve the desired result (ie coolant control valve).

    [0052] In yet another variation of the design the CS includes a solenoid spool valve having the ability to produce varied flow outputs, with the integration of a speed sensor to measure engine speed and a small on-board controller that is supplied power and a CAN signal from a master controller and is able to drive the solenoid spool to achieve the desired speed output independent of wear, leakage, temperature and inlet pressure to achieve the desired result.

    [0053] In still another variation of the design the CS includes an actuator motor having the ability to produce position control, the integration of a position sensor onto the output and a small on-board controller that is supplied power and a CAN signal from a master controller and is able to drive the actuator to achieve the desired position independent of wear, leakage, temperature and voltage supply.

    [0054] The CS controller is connected to power and can be interconnected to the master controller via CAN as separate wires, or can also be linked via CAN-Over-Power, radio links, Bluetooth or otherwise as examples. The CS can also use other sensors already existing on the CAN to effect the desired results and monitor its performance.

    [0055] The CS would automatically adjust itself to wear over its lifetime and adjust itself to suit its environment.

    [0056] The CS can be "labelled" to have a distinguishing number or identifier so that many solenoids of the same type can be used on the same CAN line where only the identifier is different so that each solenoid has its own unique ID address so that when CAN requests a pressure change, it could ask each solenoid individually to perform the change as requested and when requested.

    [0057] Using an example of a CS controlling pressure, the following is offered:
    1. (i). Ignition is turned on in vehicle and engine is started
    2. (ii). Driver engages Drive gear
    3. (iii). Master controller sends a signal to the solenoid via CAN requesting a ramp up of pressure over time to effect a smooth engagement of drive gear in the transmission
    4. (iv). The solenoid self regulates the pressure at the desired increasing rate as instructed, compensating for wear, leakage and temperature to achieve the desired rate of change of pressure
    5. (v). Once the function is completed, the solenoid sends a signal back over CAN to the master controller to confirm the function requested has completed, or, the solenoid is unable to complete the task and the reason eg. pressure too low, pressure too high, etc (error message whereby the Master controller adopts a failsafe mode)


    [0058] Variations of the invention include but are not limited to:
    1. (a). An Idle Air Control Solenoid for Internal Combustion Engines with an integrated speed sensor and controller that will adjust air bleed bypass to the engine at idle to control idle speed at the request of the engine ECU over CAN. The idle air solenoid would automatically adjust the airflow to achieve the desired engine idle speed based on its own integrated speed sensor.
    2. (b). A centre-neutral logic control solenoid that would control hydraulic oil in industrial/mining machines where the integrated sensor(s) and controller would perform the dual purpose of providing control pressure to the correct pressure port as directed via CAN (left on or right on) and would feed back information to the main machine control unit if the incorrect pressure has been achieved, or if there is pressure caused by leakage into the control circuit that has not been requested by the solenoid controller, thus enabling a safety shutdown of the machine due to unplanned/uncommanded actions.
    3. (c). Any device that requires flow control, speed control or position control that is normally controlled via the supplying of current or voltage to the device to achieve control whereby the resulting feedback is not monitored and corrected for at the device itself by the use of integrated sensors and local control.


    [0059] The reference in this specification to any prior publication (or information derived from it), or to any matter which is known, is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgment or admission or any form of suggestion that that prior publication (or information derived from it) or known matter forms part of the common general knowledge in the field of endeavour to which this specification relates.

    [0060] Throughout this specification and the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise", and variations such as "comprises" and "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or step or group of integers or steps but not the exclusion of any other integer or step or group of integers or steps.


    Claims

    1. A solenoid device (10) including pressure altering means (12) for altering an output pressure of the solenoid device (10); and an actuator (24) for providing an actuating signal to said pressure altering means (12); wherein the solenoid device (10) further includes a controller (48), wherein the solenoid device is a solenoid spool valve (10) including a spool valve (12) having a sleeve (14) provided with a supply port (16), a control port (18), and a spool (22) supported in the sleeve (14) for axial displacement within the sleeve (14); the actuator is an electromagnetic actuator (24) for providing an axial drive force to said spool (22) in a first axial direction, wherein the solenoid spool valve (10) further includes a pressure sensor (46) arranged to sense a control value of the spool valve (12), the control value being a control pressure, characterised in that the solenoid device (10) is in the form of a module, including the pressure altering means, the actuator, the pressure sensor and the controller, and in that the controller (48) receives a pressure request and is arranged to control delivery of power to the electromagnetic actuator (24) with feedback from the pressure sensor (46) until the control value meets the pressure request, wherein the controller (48) is arranged to adaptively learn current provided to the electromagnetic actuator (24) in relation to pressure sensed such that the solenoid spool valve (10) is self-compensating for wear of the solenoid spool valve.
     
    2. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the supply port (16) is a supply pressure port, and the control port (18) is a control pressure port.
     
    3. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 2, wherein the controller (48) is in the form of a control circuit arranged to receive the pressure request from a communications network.
     
    4. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 3, wherein the communications network is a Controller-Area Network or similar.
     
    5. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 4, wherein the solenoid spool valve (10) is arranged to use other sensors already existing on the communications network.
     
    6. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 4, wherein the solenoid spool valve (10) has a unique identifier to enable said solenoid spool valve (10) to be identified, addressed and operated individually in the communications network.
     
    7. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in any one of claims 2 to 4, wherein the pressure sensor (46) is arranged to sense the control pressure of the spool valve (12) at a location inside the sleeve (14).
     
    8. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein the solenoid spool valve (10) further includes an exhaust port (20), the spool (22) has a first piston (26) with a first land (28) for opening/closing the supply pressure port (16) and a second piston (30) with a second land (32) for opening/closing the exhaust port (20), wherein the first piston (26) has a different piston face surface area (34) in fluid communication with the control pressure port (18) than does the second piston (30).
     
    9. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 8, wherein the first piston (26) has one piston face (b) in fluid communication with the control pressure port (18) arranged such that force of fluid against said one piston face acts on the spool (22) in an axial direction away from the electromagnetic actuator (24), and an opposite piston face (a) in fluid communication with a feedback orifice (36) arranged such that force of fluid against said opposite piston face acts on the spool (22) in an axial direction toward the electromagnetic actuator (24), wherein the feedback orifice (36) supplies fluid at the same control pressure as the control pressure port (18), wherein the feedback orifice (36) is in fluid communication with the control pressure port (18), and wherein the first piston (26) is cylindrical and the combined force on the spool (22) from fluid against piston faces of the spool (22) is independent of an outside diameter of the first piston (26).
     
    10. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 9, wherein the spool (22) is arranged such that, the combined force on the spool (22) from fluid against piston faces of the spool is given by the equation:

    where A, B and C are the fluid forces acting on faces a, b and c, respectively.
     
    11. A solenoid device (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the controller (48) is arranged to receive the pressure request from one or more of the following communication types: CAN, CAN-Over-Power, radio links, or Bluetooth.
     
    12. A range of solenoid devices (10), each of which is as claimed in any one of claims 8 to 10, wherein each of the solenoid spool valves (10) has a different first piston diameter to second piston diameter ratio to provide different pressure capabilities, and wherein each of the solenoid spool valves has an identical electromagnetic actuator (24).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Solenoidvorrichtung (10), umfassend Druckveränderungsmittel (12) zur Veränderung eines Ausgangsdrucks der Solenoidvorrichtung (10), und einen Aktor (24) zur Bereitstellung eines Betätigungssignals an die Druckveränderungsmittel (12), wobei die Solenoidvorrichtung (10) ferner eine Steuerung (48) umfasst, wobei die Solenoidvorrichtung ein Magnetschieberventil (10) ist, das ein Steuerventil (12) mit einer Hülse (14) mit einem Versorgungsanschluss (16), einem Steueranschluss (18) und einer in der Hülse (14) getragenen Spule (22) zur axialen Verschiebung im Inneren der Hülse (14) umfasst, es sich beim Aktor um einen elektromagnetischen Aktor (24) zur Bereitstellung einer axialen Antriebskraft in einer ersten axialen Richtung an die Spule (22) handelt, wobei das Magnetschieberventil (10) ferner einen Drucksensor (46) umfasst, der zur Erkennung eines Kontrollwerts des Steuerventils (12) angeordnet ist, wobei der Kontrollwert ein Steuerdruck ist, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Solenoidvorrichtung (10) in Form eines Moduls vorliegt, das die Druckveränderungsmittel, den Aktor, den Drucksensor und die Steuerung umfasst, und dass die Steuerung (48) eine Druckanforderung empfängt und derart angeordnet ist, dass sie die Stromzuführung zum elektromagnetischen Aktor (24) mit einer Rückkopplung des Drucksensors (46) solange regelt, bis der Kontrollwert die Druckanforderung erfüllt, wobei die Steuerung (48) derart angeordnet ist, dass sie den dem elektromagnetischen Aktor (24) zugeführten Strom in Bezug auf den erkannten Druck erlernt, so dass das Magnetschieberventil (10) einen Verschleiß des Magnetschieberventils selbst kompensiert.
     
    2. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Versorgungsanschluss (16) ein Versorgungsdruckanschluss ist und der Steueranschluss (18) ein Steuerdruckanschluss ist.
     
    3. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Steuerung (48) in Form eines Regelkreises vorliegt, der zum Empfang der Druckanforderung von einem Kommunikationsnetz angeordnet ist.
     
    4. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 3, wobei das Kommunikationsnetz ein Steuergerätenetz oder ähnliches ist.
     
    5. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 4, wobei der Magnetschieberventil (10) derart angeordnet ist, dass es andere Sensoren, die bereits auf dem Kommunikationsnetz vorhanden sind, benutzt.
     
    6. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 4, wobei der Magnetschieberventil (10) eine eindeutige Kennung aufweist, um die Erkennung, Adressierung und einzelne Bedienung des Magnetschieberventils (10) im Kommunikationsnetz zu ermöglichen.
     
    7. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach einem der Ansprüche 2 - 4, wobei der Drucksensor (46) derart angeordnet ist, dass er den Steuerdruck des Steuerventils (12) an einem Ort im Inneren der Hülse (14) erkennt.
     
    8. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach einem der Ansprüche 2 - 7, wobei der Magnetschieberventil (10) ferner eine Abluftöffnung (20) umfasst, die Spule (22) einen ersten Kolben (26) mit einem ersten Steg (28) zum Öffnen/Schließen des Versorgungsdruckanschlusses (16) und einen zweiten Kolben (30) mit einem zweiten Steg (32) zum Öffnen/Schließen der Abluftöffnung (20) umfasst, wobei der erste Kolben (26) eine mit dem Steuerdruckanschluss (18) fluidisch verbundene Fläche (34) der Kolbenoberfläche, die sich vom zweiten Kolben (30) unterscheidet.
     
    9. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 8, wobei der erste Kolben (26) eine mit dem Steuerdruckanschluss (18) fluidisch verbundene Kolbenoberfläche (b) aufweist, die derart angeordnet ist, dass die auf die eine Kolbenfläche einwirkende Kraft eines Fluids auf die Spule (22) in axialer Richtung weg vom elektromagnetischen Aktor (24) einwirkt, und eine mit einer Rückkopplungsöffnung (36) fluidisch verbundene entgegengesetzte Kolbenfläche (a), die derart angeordnet ist, dass die auf die entgegengesetzte Kolbenfläche einwirkende Kraft eines Fluids auf die Spule (22) in axialer Richtung hin zum elektromagnetischen Aktor (24) einwirkt, wobei die Rückkopplungsöffnung (36) im gleichen Steuerdruck wie der Steuerdruckanschluss (18) Fluid zuführt, wobei die Rückkopplungsöffnung (36) mit dem Steuerdruckanschluss (18) fluidisch verbunden ist und wobei der erste Kolben (26) zylindrisch ist und die auf Kolbenflächen der Spule (22) einwirkende kombinierte Fluidkraft unabhängig von einem Außendurchmesser des ersten Kolbens (26) ist.
     
    10. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 9, wobei die Spule (22) derart angeordnet ist, dass die auf die Spule (22) einwirkende kombinierte Fluidkraft, die gegen Kolbenflächen der Spule gerichtet ist, sich aus folgender Gleichung ergibt:

    wobei A, B und C die auf die Oberflächen a, b bzw. c jeweils einwirkenden Fluidkräfte sind.
     
    11. Solenoidvorrichtung (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuerung (48) derart angeordnet ist, dass sie die Druckanforderung von mindestens einem folgender Kommunikationstypen empfängt: CAN, CAN-Over-Power, Funkverbindungen oder Bluetooth.
     
    12. Gruppe von Solenoidvorrichtungen (10) jeweils nach einem der Ansprüche 8 - 10, wobei jedes der Magnetschieberventile (10) ein unterschiedliches Verhältnis von erstem Kolbendurchmesser zu zweitem Kolbendurchmesser aufweist, um unterschiedene Druckkapazitäten bereitzustellen, und wobei jedes der Magnetschieberventile einen identischen elektromagnetischen Aktor (24) aufweist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) comprenant un moyen de modification de pression (12) destiné à modifier une pression de sortie du dispositif de solénoïde (10) ; et un actionneur (24) destiné à fournir un signal d'actionnement audit moyen de modification de pression (12) ; dans lequel le dispositif de solénoïde (10) comprend en outre un contrôleur (48), dans lequel le dispositif de solénoïde est une vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) comprenant une vanne à tiroir (12) ayant un manchon (14) muni d'un orifice d'alimentation (16), un orifice de commande (18), et un tiroir (22) supporté dans le manchon (14) en vue d'un déplacement axial dans le manchon (14) ; l'actionneur est un actionneur électromagnétique (24) destiné à fournir une force d'entraînement axial audit tiroir (22) dans une première direction axiale, dans lequel la vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) comprend en outre un capteur de pression (46) prévu pour détecter une valeur de commande de la vanne à tiroir (12), la valeur de commande étant une pression de commande, caractérisé en ce que le dispositif de solénoïde (10) est sous la forme d'un module, comprenant le moyen de modification de pression, l'actionneur, le capteur de pression et le contrôleur, et en ce que le contrôleur (48) reçoit une demande de pression et est prévu pour contrôler la délivrance d'énergie à l'actionneur électromagnétique (24) avec un retour du capteur de pression (46) jusqu'à ce que la valeur de commande satisfasse la demande de pression, dans lequel le contrôleur (48) est prévu pour apprendre de manière adaptive le courant fourni à l'actionneur électromagnétique (24) en lien avec la pression détectée de sorte que la vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) compense automatiquement sa propre usure.
     
    2. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'orifice d'alimentation (16) est un orifice de pression d'alimentation, et l'orifice de commande (18) est un orifice de pression de commande.
     
    3. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le contrôleur (48) est sous la forme d'un circuit de commande prévu pour recevoir la demande de pression de la part d'un réseau de communication.
     
    4. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le réseau de communication est un réseau CAN ou similaire.
     
    5. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 4, dans lequel la vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) est prévue pour utiliser d'autres capteurs qui existent déjà sur le réseau de communication.
     
    6. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 4, dans lequel la vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) possède un identifiant unique destiné à permettre à ladite vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) d'être identifiée, adressée et actionnée individuellement sur le réseau de communication.
     
    7. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 4, dans lequel le capteur de pression (46) est prévu pour détecter la pression de commande de la vanne à tiroir (12) à un emplacement situé à l'intérieur du manchon (14).
     
    8. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 7, dans lequel la vanne à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) comprend en outre un orifice d'évacuation (20), le tiroir (22) possède un premier piston (26) avec un premier méplat (28) destiné à ouvrir/fermer l'orifice de pression d'alimentation (16) et un second piston (30) avec un second méplat (32) destiné à ouvrir/fermer l'orifice d'évacuation (20), dans lequel le premier piston (26) possède une surface de face de piston différente (34), en communication de fluide avec l'orifice de pression de commande (18), du second piston (30).
     
    9. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 8, dans lequel le premier piston (26) possède une face de piston (b) en communication de fluide avec l'orifice de pression de commande (18) prévue de sorte que la force du fluide contre ladite face de piston agisse sur le tiroir (22) dans une direction axiale éloignée de l'actionneur électromagnétique (24), et une face de piston opposée (a) en communication de fluide avec l'orifice de retour (36) prévue de sorte que la force du fluide contre ladite face de piston opposée agisse sur le tiroir (22) dans une direction axiale qui va vers l'actionneur électromagnétique (24), dans lequel l'orifice de retour (36) fournit un fluide à la même pression de commande que l'orifice de pression de commande (18), dans lequel l'orifice de retour (36) est en communication de fluide avec l'orifice de pression de commande (18), et dans lequel le premier piston (26) est cylindrique et la force combinée sur le tiroir (22) exercée par le fluide contre les faces du piston du tiroir (22) est indépendante d'un diamètre extérieur du premier piston (26).
     
    10. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le tiroir (22) est prévu de sorte que la force combinée exercée sur le tiroir (22) par le fluide contre les faces de piston du tiroir soit donnée par l'équation :

    où A, B et C sont les forces du fluide qui agissent sur les faces a, b et c, respectivement.
     
    11. Dispositif de solénoïde (10) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le contrôleur (48) est prévu pour recevoir la demande de pression de la part d'un ou plusieurs des types de communication suivants : CAN, CAN-Over-Power, liaisons radio, ou Bluetooth.
     
    12. Ensemble de dispositifs de solénoïdes (10), chacun selon l'une quelconque des revendications 8 à 10, dans lequel chacune des vannes à tiroir à commande par solénoïde (10) possède un rapport diamètre du premier piston/diamètre du second piston différent afin d'offrir des capacités de pression différentes, et dans lequel chacune des vannes à tiroir à commande par solénoïde possède un actionneur électromagnétique identique (24).
     




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    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