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US5475614: Method and apparatus for controlling a variable fluid delivery system

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) Tofte; S. David · Steven W. Vogel ·
Assignee(s) Micro-Trak Systems, Inc. ·
Attorney/Agent(s) Merchant, Gould, Smith, Edell, Welter & Schmidt ·
Primary Examiner Ellis B. Ramirez ·
Application Number US8180687
Filing date 01/13/1994
Issue date 12/12/1995
Predicted expiration date 01/13/2014
U.S. Classifications 364/509  · 364/510  ·
International Classifications G06F 1700  ·
Kind CodeA
International Classifications 364509;510;571.01;551.01;479 ·
21 Claims, No Drawings


Abstract

A fluid delivery control system is provided for controlling a fluid delivery system to deliver a fluid under pressure at a target flow rate. In a hybrid mode, the preferred fluid delivery control system is responsive to signals from a pressure sensor and a flowmeter. Primary feedback control is provided using the sensed pressure from the pressure sensor, and the sensed flow rate from the flowmeter is utilized to provide compensation for the pressure responsive feedback control and to provide accurate measurements of flow rate and total flow for the fluid delivery system. The preferred fluid delivery control system is also capable of operating in flowmeter and pressure modes which are only responsive to signals from a flowmeter and a pressure sensor, respectively. In the preferred embodiment, the fluid delivery control system is utilized in a mobile sprayer system for applying an agent over a surface. A constant application rate of agent over the surface is maintained by varying the delivery rate of the fluid delivery system with the speed of the sprayer system.

Independent Claims | See all claims (21)

  1. 1. A fluid delivery system for delivering a fluid to an output at a target flow rate, comprising:(a) delivery means for providing a fluid under pressure to an output, the delivery means being controllable to deliver the fluid at a plurality of delivery rates;(b) a pressure sensor configured to provide a pressure signal representative of fluid pressure in the delivery means;(c) a flowmeter configured to provide a flow rate signal representative of fluid flow rate in the delivery means;(d) control means, responsive to the pressure signal, for controlling the delivery means to deliver fluid to the output at the target flow rate, wherein the target flow rate and the pressure signal are related by a control equation having a compensation factor; and(e) compensation means for controlling the compensation factor to vary the responsiveness of the control equation in response to deviations between a flow rate value calculated from the pressure signal and a flow rate value measured from the flow rate signal.
  2. 5. A fluid delivery system for delivering a fluid to an output at a target flow rate, comprising:(a) delivery means for providing a fluid under pressure to an output the delivery means being controllable to deliver the fluid at a plurality of delivery rates;(b) a pressure sensor configured to provide a pressure signal representative of fluid pressure in the delivery means:(c) a flowmeter configured to provide a flow rate signal representative of fluid flow rate in the delivery means:(d) control means, responsive the pressure signal, for controlling the delivery means to deliver fluid to the output at the target flow rate by comparing the pressure signal with a target pressure computed from the target flow rate, wherein the target flow rate and the pressure signal are related by a control equation, wherein the target pressure is related to the target flow rate by the equation: ##EQU7## wherein the nozzle factor is a constant representative of the relationship between flow rate and the square root of pressure in the delivery means, and wherein the delta nozzle factor is representative of an error in the nozzle factor; and(e) compensation means for controlling the delta nozzle factor to vary the responsiveness of the control equation in response to deviations between a flow rate value calculated from the pressure signal and a flow rate value measured from the flow rate signal.
  3. 12. A fluid delivery system for delivering a fluid to an output at a target flow rate, comprising;(a) delivery means for providing a fluid under pressure to an output, the delivery means being controllable to deliver the fluid at a plurality of delivery rates;(b) a pressure sensor configured to provide a pressure signal representative of fluid pressure in the delivery means;(c) a flowmeter configured to provide a flow rate signal representative of fluid flow rate in the delivery means;(d) control means, responsive to the pressure signal, for controlling the delivery means to deliver fluid to the output at the target flow rate by comparing the pressure signal with a target pressure commuted from the target flow rate, wherein the target flow rate and the pressure signal are related by a control equation having a compensation factor, and wherein the control means includes:(1) means for computing the percent error between the target pressure and the pressure signal from the pressure sensor; and(2regulating means for regulating pressure in the delivery means responsive to the percent error between the target pressure and the pressure signal; and(e) compensation means for controlling the compensation factor to vary the responsiveness of the control equation in response to deviations between a flow rate value calculated from the pressure signal and a flow rate value measured from the flow rate signal.
  4. 14. A sprayer control system for controlling a sprayer delivery system to deliver an agent from a source of agent to an output at a target application rate, wherein the sprayer delivery system is of the type which is controllable to provide an agent under pressure at a plurality of delivery rates, the sprayer control system comprising:(a) pressure sensing means for providing a pressure signal representative of agent pressure in the sprayer delivery system;(b) flow rate sensing means for providing a flow rate signal representative of agent flow rate in the sprayer delivery system;(c) control means for controlling the sprayer delivery system to deliver agent at the target application rate, wherein the control means includes error determining means, responsive to the pressure signal, for determining error between a flow rate sensed by the pressure sensing means and the target application rate; and(d) compensation means, responsive to the flow rate signal, for varying the responsiveness of the error determining means to the pressure signal, to compensate for variations between the flow rate sensed by the pressure sensing means and an actual flow rate sensed by the flow rate sensing means.
  5. 17. A method for controlling a delivery system to deliver a fluid to an output at a target flow rate, wherein the delivery system is of the type which is controllable to provide a fluid under pressure at a plurality of delivery rates, the method comprising the steps of:(a) sensing fluid pressure in the delivery system and providing a pressure signal representative thereof;(b) sensing fluid flow rate in the delivery system and providing a flow rate signal representative thereof;(c) controlling the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate responsive to the pressure signal, wherein the target flow rate and pressure signal are related by a control equation; and(d) varying the responsiveness of the control equation responsive to the flow rate signal to compensate for variations between a flow rate value calculated from the pressure signal and the actual flow rate determined from the flow rate signal.
  6. 18. A method for controlling a delivery system to deliver a fluid to an output at a target flow rate, wherein the delivery system is of the type which is controllable to provide a fluid under pressure at a plurality of delivery rates, the method comprising the steps of:(a) sensing fluid pressure in the delivery system and providing a pressure signal representative thereof;(b) sensing fluid flow rate in the delivery system and providing a flow rate signal representative thereof;(c) controlling the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate responsive to the pressure signal, wherein the target flow rate and pressure signal are related by a control equation, the controlling step including the steps of:(1) comparing the pressure signal with a target pressure, wherein the target pressure is computed from the target flow rate using the control equation, the control equation having a nozzle factor constant representative of the relationship between flow rate and the square root of pressure in the delivery system, and a delta nozzle factor representative of error in the nozzle factor;(2) computing the percent error between the target pressure and the pressure signal from the pressure sensor; and(3) regulating pressure in the delivery system responsive to the percent error between the target pressure and the pressure signal; and(d) varying the responsiveness of the control equation responsive to the flow rate signal to compensate for variations between a flow rate value calculated from the pressure signal and the actual flow rate determined from the flow rate signal.
  7. 21.21. A fluid delivery control system for controlling a delivery system to deliver a fluid to an output at a target flow rate, wherein the delivery system is of the type which is controllable to provide a fluid under pressure at a plurality of delivery rates, the fluid delivery control system comprising:(a) a pressure sensor for providing a pressure signal representative of fluid pressure in the delivery system;(b) a flowmeter for providing a flow rate signal representative of flow rate in the delivery system; and(c) a controller operatively connected to receive the pressure and flow rate signals, for controlling the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate, wherein the controller is configurable to operate in pressure, flowmeter and hybrid modes, and wherein:(1) in the pressure mode, the controller is configured to control the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate responsive to the pressure signal;(2) in the flowmeter mode, tho controller is configured to control the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate responsive to the flow rate signal; and(3) in the hybrid mode, the controller is configured to control the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate responsive to both the pressure and flow rate signals, wherein in the hybrid mode the controller comprises:(i) control means, responsive to the pressure signal, for controlling the delivery system to deliver fluid at the target flow rate according to a control equation defining a relationship between the target flow rate and the pressure signal; and(ii) compensation means for varying the responsiveness of the control equation responsive to the flow rate signal to compensate for deviations between a flow rate value calculated from the pressure signal and a flow rate value measured from the flow rate signal.

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