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"Apparatus for Controlling the Lift of a Valve Member" in Patent Application Approval Process (USPTO 20160010611)

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventor SINGH, Ashish (

Vancouver
, CA), filed on March 11, 2014, was made available online on January 21, 2016, according to news reporting originating from
Washington, D.C.
, by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Flow control valves are valves that control the flow of a fluid such that the fluid flow rate of the fluid exiting the valve outlet can be adjusted between a minimum value and a maximum value by lifting a valve member from its seated position. An example of such a flow control valve is a fuel injection valve which delivers fuel into the combustion chamber of an engine by injection into the intake port of the engine cylinder or directly into the combustion chamber. Typically a liquid fuel like diesel or gasoline has been used for fuelling such compression ignition internal combustion engines, and more recently, cleaner burning gaseous fuels such as natural gas, pure methane, ethane, liquefied petroleum gas, lighter flammable hydrocarbon derivatives, hydrogen, or blends of such fuels have been used as substitutes of diesel or gasoline.

"Some types of fuel injection valves can control valve member lift to adjust the quantity of fuel that is introduced into the combustion chamber according to the operational state of the engine. The 'valve member lift' is defined herein as the displacement of the valve member away from a closed/seated position to an open position in which fuel is delivered through the fuel injection valve into the combustion chamber. When the pressure of the fuel delivery to the fuel injection valve is constant, and the opening between the valve member and the valve seat is the choke point in the fuel flow path, an increase in valve member lift generally corresponds to an increase in the quantity of fuel being injected by increasing the flow rate through the opening between the valve member and the valve seat. This is beneficial for the engine operation because, when the engine is idling, or at low loads, a smaller amount of fuel is required for operating the engine compared to when the engine is operating at high loads and the amount of fuel injected into the combustion chamber needs to be increased to match the increased power requirements.

"An example of such fuel injection valves with an adjustable valve member lift are fuel injection valves actuated by a piezoelectric actuator. Piezoelectric actuators are known in the industry to allow control of the valve member lift at intermediate positions between the fully closed and the fully open positions of the valve. With piezoelectric, magnetostrictive and other strain-type actuators, because actuator displacement is a function of actuator length and there are practical dimensional limits for the size of the actuator, a much smaller valve member lift is achieved with such actuators compared to electromagnetic actuators. Accordingly, in some cases, strain-type actuators might not be sufficient for delivering the amount of fuel required for the optimum engine operation at high loads.

"An electromagnetic actuator, for example a solenoid, is typically employed when bigger displacements of valve needles are needed. Some of the prior art patent literature discloses the use of solenoid actuators for achieving different valve member lifts. For example,

United Kingdom
patent application number 2,341,893 describes an assembly of two actuators that permits the lifting of the valve member to a first intermediate position governed by the stroke of the first electromagnetic actuator, a second intermediate position governed by the stroke of the second electromagnetic actuator and a fully lifted position achieved by the combined strokes of the first and second actuators.

"Another solution for controlling the lift of the valve member of a flow control valve can be to limit the movement of the valve member by providing an end stop that comes into contact with valve member when the latter is moved into its lifted position. An example of such an arrangement is described in German patent application number 1911827 which employs an electromagnetically actuated end stop for limiting the movement of the valve member. The end stop is moved by the magnetic force of the electromagnet against the force of a spring which keeps the end stop in contact with the valve member and this allows the movement of the valve member over a predetermined lift which corresponds to the travel distance of the end stop. A disadvantage of such an arrangement is that the movement of valve member is not as precise as desired because of the oscillations introduced by the spring acting on the end stop when the valve member comes into contact with the end stop. As discussed in this patent application, these oscillations can be diminished by choosing a spring with a larger elastic constant.

"While other solutions for achieving a variable lift of a valve member in a flow control valve have been achieved by using piezoelectric or magnetostrictive actuators or hydraulic or mechanic actuators, such solutions are more complex requiring a more precise control of the actuator.

"While the solutions from the prior art mentioned above allow holding the valve member of a flow control valve at a few intermediate positions between the closed and open position there is still a need for a more simple and accurate solution for lifting the valve member of a flow control valve at discrete lift positions."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "An apparatus is disclosed for controlling the lift of a valve member in a flow control valve. The apparatus comprises an end stop assembly having one side that faces the valve member. The end stop assembly comprises two pieces, a plunger with one end interposed between the pieces and biasing members urging the pieces into contact with the plunger. The plunger is actuated by an actuator to move the pieces of the end stop assembly from a first position to a second position, wherein in the first position the pieces of the end stop assembly form a first surface that comes into contact with the valve member to allow a first lift L1 of the valve member when the valve member is lifted from its seated position and, in the second position, the pieces of the end stop assembly form a second surface that comes into contact with the valve member to allow a second lift L2 of the valve member when the valve member is lifted from its seated position.

"In another embodiment of the apparatus for controlling the lift of the valve member, the plunger is actuated to move the pieces of the end stop assembly to at third position in which the pieces form a third surface that comes into contact with the valve to allow a third lift L3 of the valve member when the valve member is lifted from its seated position.

"In one preferred embodiment, the apparatus for controlling the valve member lift comprises two pieces which each have an inwardly stepped end on the side of the end stop assembly which faces the valve member and the inwardly stepped ends of the two pieces form together a cavity which accommodates an end of the valve member when the valve member is lifted from its seated position and when said plunger is actuated to move the pieces of the end stop assembly apart from each other.

"In yet another preferred embodiment, the apparatus of controlling the lift of the valve member comprises two pieces which each comprise an outwardly stepped end on the side of the end stop assembly which faces the valve member, such that when the plunger is not actuated and when said valve member is lifted to from its seated position, said outwardly stepped ends fit into a cavity provided in an end of the valve member which comes into contact with said end stop assembly.

"In another preferred embodiment, the valve member is an outwardly opening valve member that can be moved away from its seat to allow fluid flow between its surface and the valve housing and the apparatus for controlling the lift of the valve member comprises two pieces, each of the pieces comprising an inwardly stepped profile. The inwardly stepped profiles of said pieces form together a cavity which can accommodate an end of the valve member and they form together at least two surfaces that come into contact with the valve member when the valve member is actuated, to allow at least two discrete lifts.

"In preferred embodiments, the plunger is actuated by an electromagnetic actuator. The plunger can be moved by the actuator along the center axis of the end stop assembly or along an axis that is offset from the center axis of the end stop assembly.

"In yet another preferred embodiment, the end stop assembly comprises two separate pieces which are hinged together at one side.

"In preferred embodiments, the biasing members which urge the pieces of the end stop assembly towards the interposing end of the plunger are elastic elements, for example springs.

"The end of the plunger which is interposed between the pieces of the end stop assembly has preferably a conical shape to diminish the friction between the plunger and the pieces when the plunger is actuated and moves the pieces apart from each other.

"In preferred embodiments, the flow control valve that comprises the described apparatus for controlling the valve lift is a fuel injection valve. In such valves, the valve member is actuated by a first actuator and the plunger is actuated by a second actuator. Both first and second actuators are preferably electromagnetic actuators, comprising an electromagnetic coil.

"In other embodiments, the valve member is actuated by an electromagnetic actuator and the plunger is connected to a structure comprising a permanent magnet that is interposed in the magnetic field of the electromagnetic actuator which actuates the valve member, whereby the structure that is connected to the plunger is moved under the action of the magnetic field of the electromagnetic actuator to thereby move the plunger.

"Other flow control valves which control the flow rate of a fluid between two discrete values can use the present apparatus for controlling the lift of a valve member. In such flow control valves, the valve member is actuated by a first actuator and the plunger is actuated by a second actuator, both actuators being preferably electromagnetic actuators comprising an electromagnetic coil. In other embodiments of such flow control valves, the valve member can be actuated by an electromagnetic actuator and the plunger is connected to a structure comprising a permanent magnet that is interposed in the magnetic field of the electromagnetic actuator which actuates the valve member whereby the structure comprising the permanent magnet is moved under the action of the magnetic field of the electromagnetic actuator to thereby move the plunger.

"A method is disclosed for controlling the lift of a valve member in a flow control valve, the method comprising actuating a plunger whose one end is interposed between the two pieces of an end stop assembly to move the two pieces from a first position in which the pieces form a first surface that comes into contact with to the valve member to allow a first lift L1 of the valve member to a second position in which the pieces of the end stop assembly form a second surface that comes into contact with the valve member to allow a second lift L2 of the valve member.

"In yet another embodiment of the present method of controlling the lift of a valve member, the plunger is further moved to a third position in which the pieces of the end stop assembly form a third surface that comes into contact with the valve member to allow a third lift L3 of the valve member when the valve member is lifted from its seated position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The drawings illustrate specific preferred embodiments of the invention, but should not be considered as restricting the spirit or scope of the invention in any way.

"FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of a fuel injection valve illustrating the first embodiment of an end stop assembly that can be actuated by an electromagnetic actuator to allow different discrete lifts of the valve member;

"FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate the operation of the first embodiment of the end stop assembly shown in FIG. 1, each figure illustrating a position of the end stop assembly for allowing a different lift of the valve member;

"FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate the operation of the second embodiment of the end stop assembly in which each of the two pieces of the end stop assembly has an outwardly stepped end, each figure illustrating a position of the end stop assembly for allowing a different lift of the valve member;

"FIGS. 4A and 4B is a three-dimensional view of the third embodiment of the present end stop assembly comprising a hinged arrangement of the two pieces which constitute the end stop assembly and a plunger whose end is interposed between the two pieces;

"FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate the operation of the fourth embodiment of the end stop assembly wherein the plunger is connected to a structure comprising a permanent magnet which is moved by the magnetic field generated by the electromagnetic actuator which lifts the valve member, each figure illustrating a position of the end stop assembly for allowing a different lift of the valve member;

"FIG. 6 represents a diagram of the current supplied to the electromagnetic actuator of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6;

"FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C illustrate the operation of the fifth embodiment of the end stop assembly which achieves three different lifts of the valve member, each figure illustrating a position of the end stop assembly for allowing a different lift of the valve member;

"FIG. 8 illustrates a schematic sectional view of an outwardly opening fuel injection valve and an embodiment of the end stop assembly that can be actuated by an electromagnetic actuator to allow different discrete lifts of the outwardly opening valve member; and

"FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate the operation of the embodiment of the end stop assembly shown in FIG. 8, each figure illustrating a position of the end stop assembly for allowing a different lift of the outwardly opening valve member."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: SINGH, Ashish. Apparatus for Controlling the Lift of a Valve Member. Filed March 11, 2014 and posted January 21, 2016. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4338&p=87&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20160114.PD.&OS=PD/20160114&RS=PD/20160114

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Electronics, Electromagnet.

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