Patents Represented by Attorney, Agent or Law Firm David M. Masterson
  • Patent number: 6371214
    Abstract: A control system implements several methods for automating work functions of a machine. Single activation of an operator switch generates a command to automatically perform a desired work function. A controller determines whether conditions are satisfactory to perform the desired function. When the conditions are satisfactory, the work function is performed automatically without requiring the operator to manipulate levers that are otherwise used to control the work implement of the machine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2002
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Sohel Anwar, Sabri Cetinkunt, Chenyao Chen, Richard G. Ingram, Unnat Pinsopon
  • Patent number: 6367456
    Abstract: In one aspect of the present invention, a method is disclosed for controlling the timing at which fuel is to be injected. In response to engine speed and temperature, a desired timing signal is produced. The desired timing angle represents when the start of injection is to occur in order to cause combustion at substantially Top Dead Center (TDC). The timing signal additionally accounts for a predetermined ignition delay from the time that fuel is injected to the start of combustion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 1994
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2002
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Travis E. Barnes, Brian E. Uhlenhake
  • Patent number: 6269300
    Abstract: A method of operating a computer to automatically produce production control software for a natural gas engine controller or a diesel engine controller is provided. The method includes the steps of (1) as a function of user input, defining a set specifications of the controller; and (2) producing control software to operate the controller as defined by the specifications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2001
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Amy L. Moore-McKee, William Schubert
  • Patent number: 6257118
    Abstract: An apparatus controllably moves a moveable element within a hydraulic motor. A lever device establishes an operator command signal indicative of a desired velocity and direction of movement of the moveable element. A position sensor senses the position of the moveable element and produce a position signal. An electronic controller receives the operator command signal and position signal, determines the actual velocity of the moveable element, and determines a limit value in response to the actual velocity of the moveable element. Additionally, the controller compares the operator signal magnitude to the limit value and produces a flow control signal in response to the comparison. An electrohydraulic controller receives the flow control signal and responsively controls the movement of the moveable element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2001
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: R. Carl Wilbur, John D. Duffy, Douglas W. Koehler
  • Patent number: 6234254
    Abstract: An apparatus for controlling the torque associated with a power train of a machine having a work implement is disclosed. A plurality of position sensors sense the position associated with the work implement and responsively produce respective position signals. A controller modifies the desired engine speed in response to the angular position of the work implement and regulates the speed of the engine at the modified desired engine speed to control the power train torque.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2001
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Hans P. Dietz, Eric A. Reiners, Thomas G. Skinner
  • Patent number: 6185493
    Abstract: An apparatus for controllably moving a work implement of an earth moving machine is disclosed. The work implement includes a boom and a bucket being attached thereto where the boom is actuated by a hydraulic lift cylinder and the bucket is actuated by a hydraulic tilt cylinder. An operator controlled joystick produces an operator command signal for controlling the movement of the work implement. Implement position sensors sense the elevational position of the boom and the pivotal position of the bucket, and responsively produce respective implement position signals. A controller receives the implement position and operator command signals, determines the instant position of the work implement, reduces the operator command signal as the boom is being raised and the bucket is being pivoted, and produces an electrical valve signal based on the reduced operator command signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2001
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas G. Skinner, Hans P. Dietz
  • Patent number: 6162146
    Abstract: In one aspect of the present invention, an electrohydraulic control device for a drive train of a machine is disclosed. A control member produces an operator control signal. An engine control module receives the operator control signal and responsively reduces the rotational speed of the engine. A transmission control module additionally receive the operator control signal and responsively controls the engagement of a predetermined transmission clutch to reduce the transmitted torque from the transmission.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 28, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Kenneth J. Hoefling
  • Patent number: 6135065
    Abstract: It is common in the operation of a construction machine to utilize several different functional modes. Some modes may predominately utilize the braking systems of the machine will other modes may predominately utilize the engine to operate the various implements. In either case, supplemental cooling of these systems is often desirable. The present invention provides a cooling system wherein each axle assembly has a cooling system in addition to the conventional cooling system for the engine. All the cooling systems communicate with a common heat exchanger. A pump is provided to circulate oil from the axle assemblies, as well as coolant from the engine through the heat exchanger to reduce the temperature of one of the fluids. A pair of sensors are engaged with the engine and the axles to selective actuate a clutch member to provide driving engagement between the engine and the pump in response to either component reaching a preselected temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth E. Weathers, Paul A. Dicke, Jeffry A. Butler
  • Patent number: 6119074
    Abstract: An apparatus for predicting a fault condition for a machine is disclosed. The machine has a plurality of parameters being dependent upon machine performance. A sensor connected to the machine produces an electrical signal in response to one of the plurality of machine parameters. A computer produces a data trend of the parameter in response to the electrical signal, calculates the duration and slope of the trend, and predicts the time period in which the trend will exceed the warning level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Jagannathan Sarangapani
  • Patent number: 6098008
    Abstract: In one aspect of the present invention, a method for determining a fuel command for an engine having a cruise control system is disclosed. The method includes the steps of determining a desired engine speed, determining an actual engine speed, modifying the actual engine speed value in response to a previous value of the engine speed, and then determining the fuel command in response to the modified and desired engine speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Michael S. Lukich, James B. Maddock
  • Patent number: 6073442
    Abstract: A method for controlling the displacement of a variable displacement hydraulic pump to produce a desired flow of fluid is disclosed. The method includes the steps of: determining that the machine is being operated in a digging cycle; determining a desired displacement of the pump, the desired pump displacement being less than the maximum pump displacement; and controlling the pump displacement to the desired pump displacement to produce a desired flow of fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Todd D. Creger, Hans P. Dietz
  • Patent number: 6060690
    Abstract: A welding nozzle contains a plurality of orifices through which a shielding gas is directed. The shielding gas is routed by an inner member to flow directly onto the weld area in an axial direction through the inner member and in a radial direction through the plurality of orifices. The welding nozzle causes the shielding gas to completely surround the weld area and optimizes weld quality. This welding nozzle is particularly suited for use with a gas stream shielded arc welding device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 9, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Vichitra Tyagi
  • Patent number: 6014956
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for varying the duration of current levels of a fuel injection signal used in connection with an electronically controlled hydraulic actuator unit injector fuel system is disclosed. The apparatus and method varies the duration of the pull-in current of the fuel injection signal delivered to the unit injector based on sensed engine parameters, which preferably include a sensed temperature of the engine and engine speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 18, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Gary L. Cowden, Brian G. McGee, Daniel R. Puckett, John P. Timmons
  • Patent number: 5996343
    Abstract: In one aspect of the present invention, an apparatus for controlling the negative load of an engine is disclosed. The engine is drivingly connected to a hydro-mechanical drive system that includes a variable displacement pump and motor. An engine speed sensor senses the rotational speed of the engine and produces an actual engine speed signal indicative of the rotational engine speed. A travel speed sensor senses the travel speed of the machine and produces an actual travel speed signal indicative of the machine travel speed. An overspeed controller compares the actual engine speed signal to a proportional and integral threshold, produces a proportional and integral error signal indicative of the difference between the actual engine speed signal magnitude and the corresponding thresholds, calculates a proportional and integral control signal from the corresponding errors, combines the proportional and integral control signals and responsively produces a command signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Brian D. Kuras
  • Patent number: 5989154
    Abstract: An apparatus for controlling the torque on a power train of a machine is disclosed. The power train includes an engine, a transmission, and a torque converter for transmitting torque between the engine and transmission. A torque converter speed sensor produces a torque converter speed signal and an engine speed sensor produces an engine speed signal. A gear selector device produces a gear select signal indicating a desired gear ratio. A look-up table stores an upper engine power curve and a lower engine power curve. Finally, an electronic controller receives the torque converter, engine speed and gear select signals, and selects one of the upper and lower engine power curves to operate the engine in response to the selected gear ratio and torque converter speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Steven V. Christensen, Dale A. Dalton, Joshua Zulu
  • Patent number: 5967756
    Abstract: An apparatus for controlling an electrohydraulic system of a work machine having an engine that drives a variable displacement pump is disclosed. A pump displacement setting device produces a pump command signal indicative of a desired displacement of the variable displacement pump. An engine speed setting device produces an engine command signal indicative of a desired rotational speed of the engine. A power manager receives the pump and engine command signals, determines an efficient engine speed and pump displacement, and produces an engine control signal that decreases the engine speed to the efficient engine speed and a pump control signal that increases the pump displacement to an efficient pump displacement, while maintaining a substantially constant pump flow rate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 19, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Lonnie J. Devier, Stephen V. Lunzman
  • Patent number: 5951613
    Abstract: An apparatus for determining a position of a work implement of a work machine in a site coordinate system. The position of the work implement is defined as the position in the site coordinate system of two fixed points located on the work implement. The apparatus includes first and second position sensors mounted on the work implement. A pitch sensor connected to the work implement senses a pitch of the work implement and responsively produces a pitch signal. A cross slope sensor connected to the work implement senses a cross slope of the work implement and responsively produces a cross slope signal. A rotation sensor connected to the work implement senses a rotation of the work implement and responsively produces a rotation sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: William C. Sahm, Gregory R. Harrod, Ronald J. Siroky, Craig L. Koehrsen, Satish M. Shetty
  • Patent number: 5951258
    Abstract: An apparatus for controlling an electrohydraulic system of a work machine having an engine that drives a variable displacement pump is disclosed. The apparatus includes a pump displacement setting device that produces a pump command signal, a pressure sensor that detects the fluid pressure associated with the variable displacement pump and produces a pressure signal, and an engine speed sensor that detects the speed of the engine and produce an engine speed signal. A microprocessor computes the torque demand on the engine in response to the desired pump displacement, determines a torque limit associated with the engine in response to the engine speed, and responsively modifies the pump command signal to limit the engine torque.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin J. Lueschow, Stephen V. Lunzman
  • Patent number: 5947242
    Abstract: An electrohydraulic control device for a drive train of a machine is disclosed. The machine includes an engine, a torque converter having an impeller element, a reactor element and a turbine element, an impeller clutch drivingly connected between the engine and the impeller element, and a set of service brakes. An impeller brake is drivingly connected between the impeller element and a stationary support member. A controller receives at least one input signal representing an operation of the drive train and responsively controls one of the impeller clutch, impeller brake and brake set.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Todd D. Creger
  • Patent number: 5950147
    Abstract: An apparatus for predicting a fault condition for a machine is disclosed. The machine has a plurality of parameters being dependent upon machine performance. A sensor connected to the machine produces an electrical signal in response to one of the plurality of machine parameters. A computer produces a data trend of the parameter in response to the electrical signal, calculates the duration and slope of the trend, and predicts the time period in which the trend will exceed the warning level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Jagannathan Sarangapani, David R. Schricker