(19)
(11)EP 3 423 193 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
20.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/21

(21)Application number: 17711877.5

(22)Date of filing:  01.03.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B05B 12/02(2006.01)
B05B 12/08(2006.01)
B05B 7/12(2006.01)
B05B 12/00(2018.01)
B05B 5/053(2006.01)
B05B 7/24(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2017/020177
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/151753 (08.09.2017 Gazette  2017/36)

(54)

FLUID REGULATION SYSTEM

FLUIDREGULIERUNGSSYSTEM

SYSTÈME DE REGULATION DE FLUIDE


(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: 01.03.2016 US 201662302044 P
28.02.2017 US 201715445672

(43)Date of publication of application:
09.01.2019 Bulletin 2019/02

(73)Proprietor: Carlisle Fluid Technologies, Inc.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • YOUNG II, Roy Earl
    Indianapolis, Indiana 46234 (US)

(74)Representative: Gill Jennings & Every LLP 
The Broadgate Tower 20 Primrose Street
London EC2A 2ES
London EC2A 2ES (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-U1-202007 000 133
US-A- 4 928 880
US-A- 5 156 340
US-A1- 2011 189 032
US-A- 4 516 700
US-A- 4 998 672
US-A- 5 711 483
  
      
    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

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS



    [0001] This application claims priority from and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/302,044, entitled "FLUID REGULATION SYSTEM," filed March 1, 2016.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] The present application relates generally to pump control methods for pumps associated with spray tools to deliver coating materials.

    [0003] Spray tools output sprays of coating materials to coat objects for aesthetic or utilitarian purposes. For example, spray tools may be used to paint or stain objects. In operation, the coating material is stored in a container until it is conveyed or pumped to the spray tool. The coating material may be conveyed through a fluid regulator which is manually or pneumatically adjusted. Unfortunately, manually or pneumatically adjusting the fluid flow through the fluid regulator may contribute to varying output pressure of the coating material flow to the spray tool. The varied output pressure may lead to undesirable variations in the spray pressure and spray patterns resulting in rejected sprayed objects. U.S. Patent 4,998,672 discusses manually controlled spraying installation and sprayer; U.S. Patent 5,156,340 discusses fluid spray gun; U.S. Patent 4,928,880 discusses pumped coating product spraying installation; U.S. Patent 5,711,483 discusses liquid spraying system controller including governor for reduced overshoot; U.S. Pub. No. 2011/189032 discusses pressure control for a fluid sprayer; U.S. Patent 4,516,700 discusses hot melt anti-surge dispensing system; and DE 20 2007 000133 U1 discusses intelligent manual working space used for applying paint, adhesive, sealant and rubber to surfaces comprises a switch and a single channel wireless signal transfer integrated in a hand pistol to switch a material conveyor pump on and off.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION



    [0004] Certain embodiments commensurate in scope with the originally claimed disclosure are summarized below. These embodiments are not intended to limit the scope of the claimed disclosure, but rather these embodiments are intended only to provide a brief summary of possible forms of the disclosure. Indeed, the disclosure may encompass a variety of forms that may be similar to or different from the embodiments set forth below.

    [0005] In a first embodiment a system includes a spray tool including a trigger and a sensor as set out in appended claim 1.

    [0006] In another embodiment a method includes operating a valve that controls flow of a coating material in a spray tool in response to a trigger coupled to the spray tool as set out in appended claim 9.

    [0007] In another embodiment, a tangible, non-transitory computer-readable media stores computer instructions that, when executed by a processor, process a signal generated in response to operation of a trigger that controls flow of a coating material in a spray tool as set out in appended claim 15.

    DRAWINGS



    [0008] These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present disclosure will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters represent like parts throughout the drawings, wherein:

    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of a spray system that utilizes a fluid regulation system;

    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of a spray tool with a wireless signal transmitting system; and

    FIG. 3 is a flow chart of an embodiment of a method for controlling the fluid regulation system shown in FIG. 1.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0009] One or more specific embodiments of the present disclosure will be described below. In an effort to provide a concise description of these embodiments, all features of an actual implementation may not be described in the specification. It should be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, as in any engineering or design project, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which may vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it should be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of design, fabrication, and manufacture for those of ordinary skill having the benefit of this disclosure.

    [0010] When introducing elements of various embodiments of the present disclosure, the articles "a," "an," "the," and "said" are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements. The terms "comprising," "including," and "having" are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements other than the listed elements.

    [0011] The present disclosure is generally directed to a fluid regulation system capable of wirelessly controlling the flow of a coating material that is conveyed from a pump and/or tank to a spray tool (e.g., a spray gun or spray coating applicator), such as a manual spray tool that is manually operated by an operator. More specifically, the disclosure is directed towards a controller that adjusts one or more operating parameters (e.g., flow rate and/or pressure) of a fluid supply (e.g., pump and/or tank) to reduce variations or fluctuations in fluid flow conditions (e.g., flow rate and /or pressure) affecting a spray of coating material by the spray tool. The control of the fluid supply (e.g., pump and/or tank) is particularly useful in manual operation of spray tools, because the control may help to correct for any incorrect, imperfect, or inefficient use of the spray tool due to the manual operation. In other words, the control of the fluid supply may help increase the performance and quality of the spray coating procedures performed by the operator. As will be discussed in detail below, the controller adjusts one or more operating parameters of a pump (e.g., a positive displacement pump) to maintain process control and provide more consistent fluid flow of the coating material to the spray tool. For example, the controller may adjust pump operating parameters, such as flow rate and/or pressure. Reducing the occurrence of undesired flow rate and/or pressure changes of the coating material may result in improved process control, thereby reducing the number of sprayed objects that do not meet target specifications (e.g., rejected parts). For example, a more uniform flow rate and pressure of the coating material may provide a more consistent distribution and spread of droplets or particles in the spray from the spray tool, thus providing a more consistent application of the coating material on a target object. The controller receives a signal from a sensor and/or transmitter coupled to the spray tool. The sensor and/or transmitter may be coupled to an outer housing of the spray tool or integral to the spray tool. Other sensors may also be disposed throughout the fluid regulation system. The spray tool includes a trigger that, when activated (e.g., pulled toward a handle), sends a signal from the sensor to a receiver in response to sending a change in the trigger. The sensors may monitor various operating conditions, including but not limited to, a flow rate and/or pressure of the coating material provided by the fluid supply (e.g., pump or tank) to the spray tool, a level of coating material in a liquid supply container or tank, a distance between the spray tool and a target object, characteristics of the coating material (e.g., viscosity, ratio of materials such as resin and hardener, color, temperature, etc.), a flow rate and/or pressure of an atomization gas (e.g., air) provided to the spray tool, a rotational speed of a rotary bell cup of a rotary spray tool, a current and/or voltage of electrostatics in an electrostatic spray tool, environmental conditions (e.g., humidity, temperature, etc.), or other operating conditions. The controller utilizes the signal received by the receiver to generate a control command for the fluid supply, i.e. the pump. For example, the control command, i.e. pump control command, may include adjusting the flow rate and/or pressure of the pump based at least in part on the sensor feedback and/or a user input.

    [0012] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of a spray system 10 that utilizes a fluid regulation system 12. The fluid regulation system 12 may include a controller 14 (e.g., an electronic controller or computer-based control system), and a gas supply (e.g., an air supply 16). The fluid regulation system includes a coating material supply (e.g., a powder and/or liquid supply 18) preferably positioned externally to a containment room 20 (e.g., paint kitchen). The containment room 20 may be sealed to inhibit paint droplets or other coating material fumes from spreading to unwanted areas. The containment room 20 may be insulated from electrical or other influences to block contaminants from entering the containment room 20. In some instances, the containment room 20 may be used to spray or apply coating material that is regulated or potentially hazardous. Under such circumstances, the components and devices used in the containment room 20 may be constructed to provide additional protection against ignition of the coating material. As such, it may be desirable to locate electronic components external to the containment room 20.

    [0013] For example, the controller 14 may be located externally from the containment room 20 as it may include electrical components such as a processor 21 and a memory 22. The processor 21 may include multiple microprocessors, one or more "general-purpose" microprocessors, one or more special-purpose microprocessors, and/or one or more application specific integrated circuits (ASICS), system-on-chip (SoC) device, or some other processor configuration. For example, the processor 21 may include one or more reduced instruction set (RISC) processors or complex instruction set (CISC) processors. The processor 21 may execute instructions or non-transitory code and receive and distribute signals between various locations within the spray system 10. The instructions may be encoded in programs or code stored in a tangible non-transitory computer-readable medium, such as the memory 22, configured to perform the various functions of the controller 14. The memory 22, in the embodiment, includes a computer readable medium, such as, without limitation, a hard disk drive, a solid state drive, diskette, flash drive, a compact disc, a digital video disc, random access memory (RAM and/or flash RAM), and/or any suitable storage device that enables the processor 21 to store, retrieve, and/or execute instructions (e.g., software or firmware) and/or data (e.g., thresholds, ranges, etc.). The memory 22 may include one or more local and/or remote storage devices.

    [0014] The instructions may utilize feedback from one or more sensors 23 or user inputs within the containment room 20, as explained in detail below. One or more sensors 23 are coupled to a spray tool 26. The sensors 23 may include, couple to, or integrate with wireless communications circuitry (e.g., a wireless transmitter or transceiver). The sensors 23 may be coupled to various portions of the spray tool 26 depending on the type and configuration of the spray tool 26. The spray tool 26 may include a handheld and/or manual spray tool (e.g., spray gun or applicator), a powder coat spray tool (e.g., applies powder coating material), a liquid coat spray tool (e.g., applies a liquid coating material), an electrostatic spray tool, a rotary atomizer spray tool (e.g., a rotary bell cup spray tool), a hydraulic atomizer spray tool (e.g., atomizes coating material without a gas), pneumatic atomizer spray tool (e.g., atomizes coating material with assistance of a gas such as air), a gravity fed spray tool (e.g., with a gravity feed container disposed above and coupled to the spray tool), a siphon feed spray tool (e.g., with a siphon feed container disposed below and coupled to the spray tool), a or any combination thereof. The spray tool 26 includes one or more triggers. Depending on the configuration, the spray tool 26 may further include any number or type of manual inputs, such as one or more valve adjusters, voltage adjusters, current adjusters, motor speed adjusters (e.g., for a rotary bell cup), or any combination thereof. As a result, the sensors 23 may be coupled to an outer housing 25 of the spray tool 26, or the sensors 23 may be integrated within the spray tool 26 (e.g., within a trigger 94), along a fluid passage (e.g., powder passage, liquid passage, and/or gas passage such as air passage), at a valve or valve adjuster (e.g., liquid valve, atomizing air valve, shaping air valve, etc.), at a fluid inlet (e.g., gas, liquid, or powder inlet), at a spray tip adjacent a forming spray, or any combination thereof. In some embodiments, sensor feedback may also be provided from sensors disposed outside the containment room 20.

    [0015] The controller 14 may be in electronic communication with the air supply 16, the liquid supply 18, one or more spray tools 26, or other devices within the containment room 20 via wired and/or wireless communications devices (e.g., transmitters, receivers, and/or transceivers). The air supply 16 pressurizes and delivers air 24, which may be used to power pneumatic devices, atomize or shape a spray of a coating material (e.g., liquid and/or powder), or other uses within the containment room 20. In certain embodiments, the liquid supply 18 pressurizes liquid 28 for delivery to the spray tools 26. The liquid 28 may flow along a hose 30 to the spray tool 26 where an object 32 is sprayed by the spray tool 26. These embodiments may include fluid regulators that are regulated by pneumatic adjustment. Fluid regulator output pressure can vary greatly, which may increase or decrease fluid flow to the spray tool 26. The liquid supply 18 includes a pump 34 (e.g., a positive displacement pump) that displaces a set volume of liquid 28 rather than pressurizing the liquid 28 within the hose 30. The positive displacement pump 34 may include rotary-type positive displacement pumps such as internal gear, or screw type pumps. The liquid 28 may be displaced by one or more rotating gears that force a specific amount of liquid through the positive displacement pump 34. The gears may include vanes or flexible impellers that force the liquid forward while maintaining a tight seal within the positive displacement pump 34. The positive displacement pump 34 may also include reciprocating positive displacement pumps where a piston, plunger, or some other sealing membrane reciprocates or oscillates from one position to another to convey the liquid 28 through the hose 30. Utilizing a positive displacement pump may provide more consistent fluid flow to the spray tool 26, thereby resulting in improvements in process control as explained in detail below.

    [0016] The spray tool 26 includes one or more inputs, valves, and/or triggers to control the application of the coating material (e.g., liquid and/or powder) to the object 32. While using the positive displacement pump 34, it is beneficial if the valves and triggers open concurrently to avoid excess pressure building within the hose 30. That is, if the positive displacement pump 34 runs without the valves open, an excess volume of fluid is being pumped into the hose 30 with no place to exit. The excess volume of fluid, therefore, pressurizes the hose 30, which may result in potential wear to the hose 30, and/or the spray tool 26. To improve concurrent triggering of fluid 28 into the hose 30 and out of the spray tool 26, the controller 14 triggers the positive displacement pump 34 in response to a wireless signal sent from the spray tool 26 within the containment room 20. The controller 14 includes a wireless signal receiver 36 that receives the signal from the sensor 23 and/or a transmitter 38 on the spray tool 26 as detailed below. It may be appreciated that the wireless signal receiver 36 enables the pump 34 to be turned on or to be turned off remotely, without using a wired or pneumatic signal.

    [0017] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of a spray tool 26 with a wireless signal transmitting system 50. The wireless signal transmitting system 50 enables an operator to selectively trigger the positive displacement pump 34 to pump fluid 28 to the hose 30 and eventually to the object 32. The wireless signal transmitting system 50 may be powered by a power assembly 52 that may also be used to apply electric charge to the liquid as it is sprayed from the spray tool 26. As illustrated, the spray tool 26 may be configured to electrically charge while spraying the liquid 28 (e.g., paint, solvent, or various coating materials) towards an electrically attractive object 32.

    [0018] As illustrated, the spray tool 26 includes a handle 54, a barrel 56, and a spray tip assembly 58. The spray tip assembly 58 includes a fluid nozzle 60, air atomization orifices 62, and one or more spray shaping air orifices 64, such as spray shaping orifices 64 that use air jets to force the spray to form a desired spray pattern (e.g., a flat spray). The spray tip assembly 58 may also include a variety of other atomizers to provide a desired spray pattern and droplet distribution. For example, the spray tip assembly 58 may include a rotary bell cup or other rotary atomizer.

    [0019] The spray tool 26 includes a variety of controls and supply mechanisms. As illustrated, the spray tool 26 includes a liquid delivery assembly 66 having a liquid passage 68 extending from the fluid nozzle 60. Included in the liquid delivery assembly 66 is a liquid tube 70. The liquid tube 70 includes a first tube connector 72 and a second tube connector 74. The first tube connector 72 couples the liquid tube 70 near the spray tip assembly 58. The second tube connector 74 couples the liquid tube 70 to the handle 54. The handle 54 includes a material supply coupling 76, enabling the spray tool 26 to receive material from the liquid supply 18. Accordingly, during operation, the liquid 28 flows from the liquid supply 18 through the handle 54 and into the liquid tube 70, where the liquid 28 is transported to the fluid nozzle 60 for spraying.

    [0020] In order to control liquid and air flow, the spray tool 26 includes a valve assembly 80. The valve assembly 80 simultaneously controls liquid and air flow as the valve assembly 80 opens and closes. The valve assembly 80 extends from the handle 54 to the barrel 56. The illustrated valve assembly 80 includes a fluid nozzle needle 82 and an air valve needle 84, which couples to an air valve 86. The valve assembly 80 movably extends between the liquid nozzle 60 and a liquid adjuster 88. The liquid adjuster 88 is rotatably adjustable against a spring 90 disposed between the air valve 86 and an internal portion 92 of the liquid adjuster 88. The liquid adjuster 88, in some embodiments, may combine with other adjustment tools to adjust the amount of air passing through the air valve needle 84. The valve assembly 80 couples to a trigger 94 at point 96, such that the fluid nozzle needle 82 of the valve assembly 80 moves inwardly 96 and away from the fluid nozzle 60 as the trigger 94 rotates toward the handle 54 (e.g., in a clockwise direction 98). As the fluid nozzle needle 82 retracts, fluid begins flowing into the fluid nozzle 60. Likewise, when the trigger 94 rotates away from the handle 54 (e.g., in a counter-clockwise direction 100), the fluid nozzle needle 82 moves in direction 102 sealing the fluid nozzle 60 and blocking further fluid flow.

    [0021] As described above, the system includes one or more sensors 23 coupled to the triggers 94 of the spray tools 26, fluid passages in the spray tools 26, other inputs and outputs on the spray tools 26, the target object 32, and other spray equipment inside and/or outside of the containment room 20. For example, the sensors 23 may be distributed throughout spray tools 26 (e.g., spray guns), conduits, flow control devices (e.g., valves, pressure regulators, etc.), fluid tanks or supplies (e.g., gas tanks and/or liquid tanks), powder tanks or supplies, pumps, compressors, hoppers or solids feeders, fluid mixers, powder mixers, or any combination thereof. The sensors 23 are configured to monitor operating conditions of the components of the fluid regulation system 12, such as the spray tool 26, the fluid supply (e.g., pump 34 and/or tank), the target object 32, fluid mixing equipment, or any related spray equipment. For example, the sensors 23 may monitor the duration of time the trigger 94 is activated, the actual times of trigger 94 activations (e.g., time stamps), the frequency of trigger 94 activations, the degree or distance of trigger 94 activations (e.g., percent of full range of trigger pull; any variation in trigger pulls during each trigger pull, across a set of trigger pulls, across all trigger pulls for a project, etc.), material characteristics (e.g., flow rate, pressure, velocity, temperature viscosity, material composition, fluid to air ratio, powder to air ratio, resin to hardener ratio, etc.) of the coating material being conveyed to the spray tool 26, a distance between the spray tool 26 and the target object, movement of the spray tool 26 (e.g., speed, direction of movement, acceleration, deceleration, etc.), environment conditions (e.g., temperature, pressure, or humidity), or other operating conditions, or any combination thereof. Again, the sensor feedback may help to monitor and control operation of the spray tools 26 and the generated sprays and coatings inside the containment room 20 by remotely controlling various equipment and operational parameters outside the containment room 20, such as upstream components (e.g., fluid supplies, pumps, compressors, tanks, mixers, etc.), characteristics of fluids (e.g., gas and liquid), such as air and paint, characteristics of fluidized solid particulate (e.g., solid particulate disposed in a gas or liquid flow), such as air and powder, or any combination thereof. By enabling remote control of equipment outside of the containment room 20, the operator of the spray tool 26 is able to more efficiently operate the spray tool 26 inside the containment room 20 without downtime for adjusting controls and without leaving the containing room 20. The operator of the spray tool 26 is also able to increase uptime and continuous spraying, because the controller 14 may automatically adjust and correct for variations in the coating material (e.g., flow rate, pressure, viscosity, material composition, etc.), variations in the output spray (e.g., droplet size, distribution, spread, speed, etc.), environmental conditions, and so forth. The controller 14 also may collect raw data from the sensor feedback, process and analyze the raw data, and produce outputs (e.g., reports, alarms, messages, recommended servicing, recommended operator training, etc.). For example, the controller 14 may generate reports of adjustments to the fluid supply (e.g., pump and/or tank) and the spray tool 26 due to improper, inefficient, or imperfect operation of the equipment or the operator manually using the spray tool 26.

    [0022] In certain embodiments, the sensors 23 may send signals to a receiver which is configured to receive the signals from the sensors 23. The controller 14 utilizes the data received from the receiver 36 to vary the flow rate and/or pressure of the pump 34. For example, when the trigger 94 is activated (e.g., moved in a clockwise 98 direction by a user), the sensors 23 coupled to the trigger 94 are then activated and send signals to the receiver 36. The controller 14 is then utilized to generate a pump control command to operate the pump 34 based on the sensor input received and/or the user input received. In some embodiments, the controller 14 may utilize closed-loop control to generate a control sequence to meet the target operating conditions of the fluid regulation system 12.

    [0023] Returning to the discussion of the spray tool 26, the power assembly 52 includes an electric generator 110, a cascade voltage multiplier 112, a trigger switch 114, and a transmitter 116 that may be powered by the power assembly 52 or by a battery 118. To produce the electric charge, air from the air supply 16 is distributed into an electric generator air passage 120. The electrical generator air passage 120 directs air 24 through the handle 18 and into contact with a turbine 122 (e.g., a rotor having a plurality of blades). The air 24 flows against and between the blades to drive rotation of the turbine 122 and a shaft 124, which in turn rotates the electric generator 110. The electrical generator 52 converts the mechanical energy from the rotating shaft 124 into electrical power for use by the cascade voltage multiplier 112, the trigger switch 114 and the transmitter 116. The trigger switch 114 may include a detection point 126 that is activated when the trigger 94 is depressed.

    [0024] FIG. 3 is a flow chart of an embodiment of a computer-implemented method 130 for controlling the fluid regulation system 12 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The controller 14, for example, may perform the method 130. The method 130 begins when the fluid regulation system 12 is turned on and begins to regulate the flow of the coating material through the pump 34 that is supplied to the spray gun (block 132). Regulating the flow of the coating material through the pump that is conveyed to the spray gun may result in more consistent pressure of the coating material. For example, without regulating the flow of the coating material, the pressure of the coating material may suddenly increase or decrease. The sudden change of the pressure of the coating material may result in uneven coating of the sprayed object, changes in spray pattern, or other undesirable effects. These undesirable effects may result in rejected sprayed objects by failing to meet customer standards. Thus, regulating the pressure of the coating material may reduce pressure variations.

    [0025] The method 130 includes utilizing a receiver for receiving sensor input from one or more sensors coupled to the trigger and eventually coupled to other components of the spray tool 26 (block 134). The sensor input wirelessly transmits signals to the receiver. The sensor may monitor operating conditions of the fluid regulation system, such as a flow rate of the coating material through the spray gun, the amount of time the trigger is activated, among others. The method 130 may include utilizing the receiver for receiving user input (e.g., from an operator or authorized personnel). For example, the operator may input a target pump flow rate, a liquid (e.g., coating material) supply level, a desired coating thickness (e.g., on the sprayed object), and so forth.

    [0026] The method 130 includes controlling the pump control system based at least in part on the sensor input and/or the user input (block 136). For example, the pump control system may increase the pump flow rate when a greater amount of coating material needs to be supplied to the sprayed object. The pump control system may decrease the pump flow rate when less coating material needs to be sprayed. In one example, the pump control system may continuously convey the coating material until a target is reached. For example, the pump control system may instruct the pump to convey the coating material to the spray gun until a level within the liquid supply (e.g., coating material) container is reached. In another example, the pump control system may instruct the pump to convey the coating material to the spray gun until a desired thickness of the coating material (e.g., on the sprayed object) is reached. In yet another example, the pump control system may instruct the pump to convey the coating material to the spray gun for a prescribed amount of time (e.g., 1 to 60 seconds, 2 to 40 seconds, 5 to 30 seconds).

    [0027] While only certain features of the disclosure have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications and changes will occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes.


    Claims

    1. A system, comprising:

    a spray tool (26) comprising a trigger (94) and a sensor (23), wherein the sensor is coupled to the trigger;

    a fluid regulation system (12), comprising:

    a container configured to store a coating material; and

    a pump (34) configured to control a flow of the coating material;

    and

    a pump control system, comprising:
    a controller (14) configured to change an operating parameter of the pump (34) distributing the coating material in response to an input from the sensor;

    wherein the pump control system is coupled to the fluid regulation system, and

    wherein the sensor outputs a signal wirelessly transmitted to the pump control system to remotely activate the pump.


     
    2. The system of claim 1, wherein the spray tool (26) is located inside a containment room, and the pump control system is located outside the containment room, and preferably the fluid regulation system is located within the containment room.
     
    3. The system of claim 1, wherein the pump (34) comprises a positive displacement pump.
     
    4. The system of claim 1, wherein the operating parameter of the pump (34) comprises a flow rate, a pressure, or a combination thereof.
     
    5. The system of claim 1, wherein the sensor (23) is configured to monitor one or more parameters of the trigger, and preferably the one or more parameters of the trigger comprises a duration of activation, a frequency of activation, a time stamp of activation, a degree or distance of activation, a variation in activation, or any combination thereof.
     
    6. The system of claim 1, comprising a second sensor configured to monitor one or more parameters of the coating material, a spray of the coating material output by the spray tool, or a coating applied on a target object using the spray.
     
    7. The system of claim 1, wherein the spray tool (26) comprises communications circuitry coupled to the sensor, and preferably the communications circuitry comprises wireless communications circuitry.
     
    8. The system of claim 1, wherein the sensor (23) is disposed within the trigger, and preferably the trigger is configured to open a valve in the spray tool while also triggering the sensor to activate the pump.
     
    9. A method, comprising:

    operating a valve that controls flow of a coating material in a spray tool (26) in response to a trigger (94) coupled to the spray tool; and

    operating a pump that supplies the coating material to the spray tool in response to a signal received from a sensor (23) coupled to the trigger of the spray tool, wherein the sensor outputs a signal wirelessly transmitted to a pump control system configured to operate the pump.


     
    10. The method of claim 9, comprising generating the signal in response to sensing a change in the trigger (94).
     
    11. The method of claim 9, comprising generating the signal in response to sensing a change in a flow rate, a pressure, or a combination thereof.
     
    12. The method of claim 9, comprising communicating the signal from the spray tool to a controller of the pump control system coupled to the pump.
     
    13. The method of claim 12, wherein the spray tool is disposed inside a containment room, and the controller is disposed outside the containment room.
     
    14. The method of claim 12, comprising wirelessly communicating the signal.
     
    15. A tangible, non-transitory computer-readable media storing computer instructions thereon, the computer instructions, when executed by a processor, configured to:

    process a signal generated by a sensor (23) coupled to a trigger in response to operation of the trigger (94) that controls flow of a coating material in a spray tool (26);

    operate a pump that supplies the coating material to the spray tool in response to the signal, and communicate the signal wirelessly from a first location inside a containment room to a second location outside the containment room.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. System, umfassend:

    ein Sprühwerkzeug (26), umfassend einen Auslöser (94) und einen Sensor (23), wobei der Sensor mit dem Auslöser gekoppelt ist;

    ein Fluidregelsystem (12), umfassend:

    einen Behälter, der zum Speichern eines Beschichtungsmaterials konfiguriert ist; und

    eine Pumpe (34), die konfiguriert ist, um einen Fluss des Beschichtungsmaterials zu steuern; und

    ein Pumpensteuersystem, umfassend:

    eine Steuerung (14), die konfiguriert ist, um einen Betriebsparameter der Pumpe (34) zu ändern, die das Beschichtungsmaterial als Reaktion auf eine Eingabe des Sensors verteilt;

    wobei das Pumpensteuersystem mit dem Fluidregelsystem gekoppelt ist und wobei der Sensor ein Signal ausgibt, das drahtlos an das Pumpensteuersystem übertragen wird, um die Pumpe aus der Ferne zu aktivieren.


     
    2. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei sich das Sprühwerkzeug (26) innerhalb eines Sicherheitsraums befindet und sich das Pumpensteuersystem außerhalb des Sicherheitsraums befindet und wobei sich das Fluidregelsystem vorzugsweise innerhalb des Sicherheitsraums befindet.
     
    3. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Pumpe (34) eine Verdrängerpumpe umfasst.
     
    4. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Betriebsparameter der Pumpe (34) eine Strömungsrate, einen Druck oder eine Kombination davon aufweist.
     
    5. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Sensor (23) konfiguriert ist, einen oder mehrere Parameter des Auslösers zu überwachen, und wobei vorzugsweise der eine oder die mehreren Parameter des Auslösers eine Dauer der Aktivierung, eine Häufigkeit der Aktivierung, einen Zeitstempel der Aktivierung, einen Aktivierungsgrad oder -abstand, eine Aktivierungsänderung oder eine beliebige Kombination davon umfassen.
     
    6. System nach Anspruch 1, umfassend einen zweiten Sensor, der konfiguriert ist, einen oder mehrere Parameter des Beschichtungsmaterials, eines Sprühnebels der Beschichtungsmaterialausgabe durch das Sprühwerkzeug oder eine auf einem Zielobjekt unter Verwendung des Sprühnebels aufgebrachte Beschichtung zu überwachen.
     
    7. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Sprühwerkzeug (26) eine mit dem Sensor gekoppelte Kommunikationsschaltung umfasst und die Kommunikationsschaltung vorzugsweise eine drahtlose Kommunikationsschaltung umfasst.
     
    8. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Sensor (23) innerhalb des Auslösers angeordnet ist und wobei der Auslöser vorzugsweise konfiguriert ist, um ein Ventil in dem Sprühwerkzeug zu öffnen, während auch der Sensor ausgelöst wird, um die Pumpe zu aktivieren.
     
    9. Verfahren, Folgendes umfassend:

    Betreiben eines Ventils, das den Fluss eines Beschichtungsmaterials in einem Sprühwerkzeug (26) als Reaktion auf einen mit dem Sprühwerkzeug gekoppelten Auslöser (94) steuert; und

    Betreiben einer Pumpe, die das Beschichtungsmaterial dem Sprühwerkzeug als Reaktion auf ein Signal liefert, das von einem Sensor (23) empfangen wird, der mit dem Auslöser des Sprühwerkzeugs gekoppelt ist, wobei der Sensor ein Signal ausgibt, das drahtlos an ein Pumpensteuersystem übertragen wird, das zum Betreiben der Pumpe konfiguriert ist.


     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, umfassend das Erzeugen des Signals als Reaktion auf das Erfassen einer Änderung in dem Auslöser (94).
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, umfassend das Erzeugen des Signals als Reaktion auf das Erfassen einer Änderung in einer Strömungsrate, eines Drucks oder einer Kombination davon.
     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, umfassend das Übertragen des Signals vom Sprühwerkzeug an eine Steuerung des mit der Pumpe gekoppelten Pumpensteuersystems.
     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 12, wobei das Sprühwerkzeug innerhalb eines Sicherheitsraums angeordnet ist und die Steuerung außerhalb des Sicherheitsraums angeordnet ist.
     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 12, umfassend das drahtlose Übertragen des Signals.
     
    15. Materielles, nicht flüchtiges computerlesbares Medium, auf dem Computeranweisungen gespeichert sind, wobei die Computeranweisungen, wenn sie von einem Prozessor ausgeführt werden, konfiguriert sind, um:

    ein als Reaktion auf den Betrieb des Auslösers (94) erzeugtes Signal, das durch einen mit einem Auslöser gekoppelten Sensor (23) erzeugt wird, das den Fluss eines Beschichtungsmaterials in einem Sprühwerkzeug (26) steuert, zu verarbeiten;

    eine Pumpe zu betreiben, die das Beschichtungsmaterial als Reaktion auf das Signal dem Sprühwerkzeug zuführt, und das Signal drahtlos von einem ersten Ort innerhalb eines Sicherheitsraums an einen zweiten Ort außerhalb des Sicherheitsraums zu übertragen.


     


    Revendications

    1. Système comprenant :

    un outil de pulvérisation (26) comprenant une gâchette (94) et un détecteur (23), dans lequel le détecteur est couplé à la gâchette ;

    un système de régulation d'écoulement (12), comprenant :

    un récipient conçu pour stocker un matériau de revêtement ; et

    une pompe (34) conçue pour commander un écoulement du matériau

    de revêtement ;

    et

    un système de commande de pompe, comprenant :
    un dispositif de commande (14) configuré pour modifier un paramètre de fonctionnement de la pompe (34) distribuant le matériau de revêtement en réponse à une entrée du détecteur ;

    dans lequel le système de commande de pompe est couplé au système de régulation d'écoulement,
    et

    dans lequel le détecteur délivre un signal transmis sans fil au système de commande de pompe pour activer à distance la pompe.


     
    2. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'outil de pulvérisation (26) est situé à l'intérieur d'une chambre de confinement, et le système de commande de pompe est situé à l'extérieur de la chambre de confinement, et de préférence le système de régulation d'écoulement est situé à l'intérieur de la chambre de confinement.
     
    3. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la pompe (34) comprend une pompe volumétrique.
     
    4. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le paramètre de fonctionnement de la pompe (34) comprend un débit, une pression ou une combinaison de ceux-ci.
     
    5. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le détecteur (23) est configuré pour surveiller un ou plusieurs paramètres de la gâchette, et de préférence le ou les paramètres de la gâchette comprennent une durée d'activation, une fréquence d'activation, une estampille temporelle d'activation, un degré ou distance d'activation, une variation d'activation ou toute combinaison de ceux-ci.
     
    6. Système selon la revendication 1, comprenant un second détecteur configuré pour surveiller un ou plusieurs paramètres du matériau de revêtement, une pulvérisation du matériau de revêtement délivré par l'outil de pulvérisation, ou un revêtement appliqué sur un objet cible à l'aide du pulvérisateur.
     
    7. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'outil de pulvérisation (26) comprend une circuiterie de communication couplée au détecteur, et de préférence la circuiterie de communication comprend une circuiterie de communication sans fil.
     
    8. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le détecteur (23) est disposé à l'intérieur de la gâchette, et de préférence la gâchette est conçue pour ouvrir une valve dans l'outil de pulvérisation tout en déclenchant également le détecteur pour activer la pompe.
     
    9. Procédé comprenant :

    le fonctionnement d'une valve qui commande l'écoulement d'un matériau de revêtement dans un outil de pulvérisation (26) en réponse à une gâchette (94) accouplée à l'outil de pulvérisation ; et

    le fonctionnement d'une pompe qui fournit le matériau de revêtement à l'outil de pulvérisation en réponse à un signal reçu d'un détecteur (23) couplé à la gâchette de l'outil de pulvérisation, dans lequel le détecteur délivre un signal transmis sans fil à un système de commande de pompe conçu pour faire fonctionner la pompe.


     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 9, comprenant la génération du signal en réponse à la détection d'un changement dans la gâchette (94).
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 9, comprenant la génération du signal en réponse à la détection d'un changement dans un débit, d'une pression ou d'une combinaison de ceux-ci.
     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 9, comprenant la communication du signal de l'outil de pulvérisation à un dispositif de commande du système de commande de pompe accouplé à la pompe.
     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 12, dans lequel l'outil de pulvérisation est disposé à l'intérieur d'une chambre de confinement, et le dispositif de commande est disposé à l'extérieur de la chambre de confinement.
     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 12, comprenant la communication sans fil du signal.
     
    15. Support lisible par ordinateur non-transitoire tangible stockant des instructions informatiques sur celui-ci, les instructions informatiques, lorsqu'elles sont exécutées par un processeur, étant configurées pour :

    traiter un signal généré par un détecteur (23) couplé à une gâchette en réponse au fonctionnement de la gâchette (94) qui commande l'écoulement d'un matériau de revêtement dans un outil de pulvérisation (26) ;

    faire fonctionner une pompe qui fournit le matériau de revêtement à l'outil de pulvérisation en réponse au signal, et

    communiquer le signal sans fil d'un premier emplacement à l'intérieur d'une chambre de confinement à un second emplacement à l'extérieur de la chambre de confinement.


     




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    Cited references

    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