Having Sonic Sensor Patents (Class 340/621)
  • Patent number: 6631639
    Abstract: A non-invasive system and method for measuring liquid level in a vessel utilizes a pair of ultrasonic transducers mounted spaced apart externally on the vessel wall. One of the transducers excites a single pulse of sonic energy that produces a flexural, or elastic, wave in the wall and the second transducer receives the flexural wave to produce an electrical signal waveform corresponding to the travel time of the flexural wave between the two transducers. The electrical waveform signals produced at different times are compared to determine if a phase delay exists between two waveform signals, which indicates that there has been a change in the liquid level condition in the vessel interior space between the two transducers. Measuring the phase delay, or time delay, between the flexural wave components produced at two different times is used to indicate presence or absence of the liquid at a point on the vessel and/or the height of the liquid in the space.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 14, 2003
    Assignee: Cosense, INC
    Inventors: Naim Dam, Howard Paul Austerlitz
  • Publication number: 20030140696
    Abstract: The invention provides a piezoelectric liquid gauge system in particular for a motor vehicle fuel tank, the system comprising piezoelectric means suitable for transmitting a sound wave in a liquid and for detecting said wave in order to determine the distance traveled by the wave in the liquid on the basis of the time between transmission and reception, said piezoelectric means comprising two distinct active piezoelectric portions suitable respectively for directing a sound wave towards a reference obstacle and a sound wave towards the surface of the liquid to be gauged, the system being wherein the pellet is contained in a housing suitable for being fixed in position in the tank in which measurement is to be performed, the reference obstacle extending over a face of the housing which faces one of the active portions, said face also having a measurement opening placed facing the other active portion and suitable for allowing the measurement sound waves to pass through.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 20, 2002
    Publication date: July 31, 2003
    Applicant: Marwal Systems
    Inventors: Karim Benghezal, Olivier Vaillant, Christophe Gouzou
  • Patent number: 6598474
    Abstract: An adapter for holding a sample container includes a main body portion and a tapered body portion that forms a continuation of the main body portion. The tapered body portion includes a mouth opening that is of lesser diameter than the diameter of the main body portion. The mouth opening of the adapter is sized to provide direct support of a sample container which holds a liquid sample. During liquid level sensing ultrasonic waves from an ultrasound detector are reflected back to the sound detector as echoes from the lip flange of the sample container and from the liquid level within the sample container. The tapered surface of the adapter deflects sound echoes away from the sound detector. The adapter is thus invisible to the ultrasound detector. The echo from the liquid level is a variable duration echo and the echo from the lip flange of the sample container is a fixed duration echo that is always of lesser duration than the variable duration echo.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2003
    Assignee: Bayer Corporation
    Inventors: Paul E. Purpura, Thomas W. De Young
  • Patent number: 6600417
    Abstract: The present invention involves a system and method for detecting a graffiti-making act such as the spray of a spray paint can, the writing with a felt-marker pen on a surface, and the scratching with an abrasive instrument on a surface. The system includes one or more sensors adapted to sense the graffiti-making act and transmit a signal representative of the graffiti-making act, and a base unit including electronics adapted to process the signal and determined whether the signal represents a graffiti-making act, and a communication device coupled to the electronics and adapted to communicate to one or more entities that a graffiti-making act has been detected. The method includes sonically detecting the graffiti-making act, and initiating an alarm indicating that the graffiti-making act took place.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2001
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2003
    Assignee: Traptec Corporation
    Inventors: George H. Lerg, Arthur J. Devine, Donald L. Roberts, Randy E. Johnson
  • Publication number: 20030102620
    Abstract: A resonance chamber is provided in a printing device, or in a print medium supply tray of the printing device, to determine the size of the print medium in the printing device. The supply of print medium and the resonance chamber are positioned so that the print medium covers a portion of the resonance chamber. An audio signal system then emits an audio signal to drive the resonance chamber. The frequency of the audio signal is varied until the natural resonance frequency of the chamber, as partially covered by the print medium, is discovered. The resonance frequency of the chamber will correspond to the amount of the chamber that is covered by the print medium and, hence, to the length (or width) of the print medium. In this way, the size of the print medium, whether standard or custom, can be determined.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 3, 2001
    Publication date: June 5, 2003
    Inventors: Tim M. Hoberock, Angela K. DiFronzo, John W. Huffman
  • Patent number: 6539794
    Abstract: A continuous measurement of the level of contents in a container is effected by a level measuring device functioning in accordance with the transit time principle by means of waves transmitted from a position located above the highest possible contents level onto the surface of the material in the container. A measuring circuit determines the contents level from the transit time of the useful echo reflected from the material surface. In addition, one or more limit sensors are located at the container, each of which furnishes a signal indicating whether the contents level is above or below a level to be monitored by the limit sensor and which is situated between the minimum and maximum contents levels of the container. The measuring circuit receives the output signals of all limit sensors and uses these output signals to check and eventually to correct the contents level measured value determined by the level measuring device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2003
    Inventors: Johanngeorg Otto, Wolfgang Lubcke
  • Publication number: 20020186140
    Abstract: Apparatus 1 for detecting a change of flow rate of a fluid being pumped through a pipe 2, the apparatus 1 comprises a cylindrical chamber 4, a fluid sensor 6 disposed on the side of the chamber 4, alarm means 8 and a vent valve 10 located at a distal enclosed end of the chamber 4. The chamber 4 extends upwardly from the pipe 2 and is formed with a port 4 at the lowermost end of the chamber 4. The lower end of the chamber 4 is formed with a port 7 that extends through the wall of the pipe 2 such that the inner region of the chamber 4 is in fluid communication with the pipe 2 via the port 7. The fluid sensor 6 may be a solid state liquid level switch such as an optical liquid level switch. It will be appreciated that other types of fluid level sensors may be used. The fluid sensor 6 is in communication with the alarm means.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 4, 2002
    Publication date: December 12, 2002
    Inventor: Alan Anderson
  • Patent number: 6489896
    Abstract: An air in-line sensor for detecting air bubbles in a therapeutic solution flowing through a tube utilizes a unitary type sensor having a channel for receiving the tube. The channel has a tube loading section. A signal emitting member is positioned on one side of the tube and a signal receiving member is positioned on an opposite side of the tube. A first air baffle is positioned between the signal emitting and signal receiving members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2002
    Assignee: Baxter International Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Platt, Ralph LaBedz, Patrick Hovis
  • Publication number: 20020167413
    Abstract: Acoustic level sensing by creating, or failing to create, resonance in a tube having a free end. An acoustic transducer at one end of the tube injects sound at a frequency that could produce resonance, depending on whether the free end is open or closed. The drive to the acoustic transducer is then removed, and the sound decay in the tube is monitored to determine if resonance occurred. Based on that determination, a signal is produced that indicates whether a material has or has not closed the free end of the tube. Beneficially, the same acoustic transducer that produces the sound monitors the sound decay. To determine whether resonance has occurred, or to verify system operation, the sound decay at the possible resonant frequency can be compared to the decay at another frequency. Temperature compensation can be performed by attempting to produce resonance at a plurality of frequencies.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 14, 2001
    Publication date: November 14, 2002
    Inventor: John M. Kelly
  • Publication number: 20020167414
    Abstract: Resonant decay sensors that determine a parameter based on the decay of acoustic standing waves in a tube. Parameters that can be determined include temperature, pressure, the level of a material in the tube, and the height of a material above an end of the tube. Resonant decay sensors can produce both point level and continuous level sensors. A vibration mount, such as a rubber ring, beneficially isolates an acoustic transducer from the body of the tube.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 6, 2001
    Publication date: November 14, 2002
    Inventor: John Michael Kelly
  • Publication number: 20020100317
    Abstract: A method of measuring level in a vessel by means of a level measuring device operating with pulses is disclosed. Based on waves being transmitted into the vessel and reflected from the contents of the vessel a digital sampling sequence, representative of the amplitudes of said waves, is generated and a transit time difference, representative of said measuring level, is determined. For determining said difference a first data tuple, representative of a reference point in said envelope signal and a second data tuple, representative of an echo pulse in said envelope signal, are derived from the sampling sequence, each of said data tupel having an amplitude value and a time value.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 28, 2002
    Publication date: August 1, 2002
    Inventors: Rolf Deserno, Dietmar Spanke
  • Patent number: 6288643
    Abstract: The present invention involves a system and method for detecting a graffiti-making act such as the spray of a spray paint can, the writing with a felt-marker pen on a surface, and the scratching with an abrasive instrument on a surface. The system includes one or more sensors adapted to sense the graffiti-making act and transmit a signal representative of the graffiti-making act, and a base unit including electronics adapted to process the signal and determined whether the signal represents a graffiti-making act, and a communication device coupled to the electronics and adapted to communicate to one or more entities that a graffiti-making act has been detected. The method includes sonically detecting the graffiti-making act, and initiating an alarm indicating that the graffiti-making act took place.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2001
    Assignee: Traptec Corporation
    Inventors: George H. Lerg, Arthur J. Devine, Donald L. Roberts, Randy E. Johnson
  • Patent number: 6281792
    Abstract: The present invention involves a system and method for detecting a firearm shot. The system includes one or more sensors adapted to sense the firearm shot and transmit a signal representative of the firearm shot, and a base unit including electronics adapted to process the signal and determined whether the signal represents a firearm shot, and a communication device coupled to the electronics and adapted to communicate to one or more entities that a firearm shot has been detected. The method includes sonically detecting the firearm shot, and initiating an alarm indicating that the firearm shot took place.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2001
    Inventors: George H. Lerg, Arthur J. Devine, Donald L. Roberts, Randy E. Johnson
  • Patent number: 6263731
    Abstract: An assembly for monitoring a predetermined level of a material in a container comprises two ultrasonic transducers mounted on the container in line with the level to be monitored, such that an interspace exists between the ultrasonic transducers into which the material enters on attaining the level to be monitored. The one ultrasonic transducer is an emitter transducer which at predetermined points in time for emitting ultrasonic pulses is energized by a frequency which is so low that the ultrasonic pulses are transmitted through the interspace to the detector transducer even when the interspace is filled with air. The other ultrasonic transducer is a detector transducer which converts detected ultrasonic pulses into electrical detection signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2001
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin
  • Publication number: 20010008084
    Abstract: A portable container level indicator comprises a frame having an upper end and a lower end, and adapted to move along a generally vertical wall surface; an elongate handle having a frame end and a grip end, the frame end pivotally attached to the frame such that the angle between the frame and the handle may vary; a tapping mechanism attached to the frame and operable to propel a tapping member towards the wall surface such that the tapping member contacts the wall surface and generates a sound; and a trigger located adjacent to the grip end of the handle for operating the tapping mechanism. The sound is audible to the operator and may be amplified if necessary.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 4, 2001
    Publication date: July 19, 2001
    Inventor: Ken Mann
  • Patent number: 6236322
    Abstract: An apparatus for establishing and/or monitoring a predetermined filling level in a container is described, which apparatus can be used in a wide range of applications, that is to say in many different media, which apparatus comprises: a housing (1), an oscillating element for projecting into the container, a diaphragm (5), which is fixedly clamped into the housing (1) at its edge and to which the oscillating element is fastened, and an electromechanical transducer for exciting the diaphragm (5) to produce oscillations in dependence on a transmission signal (S) present at the transducer and for receiving and converting oscillations thereof into an electrical reception signal (E), in which a percentage interval between a resonant frequency fr and an antiresonant frequency far divided by the resonant frequency fr exceeds 20% when the oscillating element oscillates in air.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2001
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Sergej Lopatin, Helmut Pfeiffer, Alexander Müller, Volker Dreyer, Wolfgang Brutschin
  • Patent number: 6192751
    Abstract: A non-invasive elastic wave fluid level sensing system for use in sludge laden environments, including transmitting and receiving transducers mounted on an outer face of a wall of a container for a fluid and along a propagation path for an elastic wave transmitted through the wall of the container wherein the elastic wave has a frequency of less than 5 kHz, more preferably less than about 2 kHz, and most preferably less than 1 kHz. A signal processor determines a change in a characteristic of the elastic wave between when a fluid is present in the container in the region of the propagation path and when a fluid is not present in the container in the region of the propagation path. One embodiment utilizes multiple horizontally oriented transmitting and receiving transducer pairs to detect levels of the fluid in the container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2001
    Assignee: Scientific Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Peter J. Stein, Steven Edmund Euerle
  • Patent number: 6166630
    Abstract: A wireless fuel gauge assembly including a fuel tank containing fuel having a level defining a liquid-air boundary. A control determines a digital indication of the fuel level. The control is able to determine plural digital signals that provide incremental level readings. A transmitter then sends an RF signal indicative of the level. A receiver captures the RF signal and communicates to a fuel gauge.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 26, 2000
    Assignee: Lear Automotive Dearborn, Inc.
    Inventor: Joseph D. King
  • Patent number: 6154144
    Abstract: The Automatic Shutoff Overflow Controller comprises a circuit which engages between a source of power and a water processing device, the controller, sensing an undesirably high water level in the device, shutting off the device and producing an audible warning that such condition exists.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2000
    Inventor: Stephen Johnson
  • Patent number: 6148665
    Abstract: An arrangement for establishing and/or monitoring a predetermined filling level is described, in which a fixed phase difference (.DELTA..phi..sub.R), which is independent of the oscillation quality of the arrangement, exists between a transmission signal and a reception signal (E) at the resonant frequency of the mechanical oscillatory structure. This arrangement comprises a mechanical oscillatory structure (1) at least one transmitter (3), which excites the oscillatory structure (1) to produce oscillations, and two piezoelectric elements as receivers (24a, 24b). In accordance with a first variant, a first signal line (241a) of the first receiver (24a) is connected to an electrode which is arranged on a surface which bounds the first receiver (24a) in a direction opposite to its polarization. A second signal line (241b) of the second receiver (24b) is connected to the transmission signal line (5) via an electrical impedance (Z).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2000
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin
  • Patent number: 6142015
    Abstract: Sensing the level of a liquid in a vessel by the pulse transit time technique is done by means of an ultrasonic transducer mounted above the highest-permissible level in the vessel which emits ultrasonic transmission pulses to the surface of the liquid and receives the ultrasonic echo pulses reflected from the liquid surface. The level in the vessel is established from the transit time of the ultrasonic pulses. To detect an overfill when the ultrasonic transducer is immersed in the liquid the decaying output signal of the ultrasonic transducer generated by the ringing of the ultrasonic transducer following the end of the each ultrasonic transmission pulse is analyzed. In this arrangement the fact is exploited that due to the better coupling of the ultrasonic transducer to the liquid than to air the ringing duration is shorter when the ultrasonic transducer is covered by the liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2000
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin, Roland Muller
  • Patent number: 6138507
    Abstract: An apparatus for establishing and/or monitoring a predetermined filling level in a container is described, in which a fixed phase difference (.DELTA..phi..sub.R), which is independent of the oscillation quality of the apparatus, exists between a transmission signal and a reception signal (E) at the resonant frequency (f.sub.r) of the mechanical oscillatory structure. This apparatus comprises a mechanical oscillatory structure (1), an electromechanical transducer (2) having at least one transmitter (23) and a receiver (24), an evaluation unit (9), which determines the frequency of the reception signal (E), compares it with a reference frequency (f.sub.R) and generates an output signal which indicates that the mechanical oscillatory structure (1) is covered by a charge material if the frequency has a value which is less than the reference frequency (f.sub.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2000
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin, Volker Dreyer
  • Patent number: 6053041
    Abstract: Noninvasive method for determining the liquid level and density inside of a container having arbitrary dimension and shape. By generating a flexural acoustic wave in the container shell and measuring the phase difference of the detected flexural wave from that of the originally generated wave a small distance from the generated wave, while moving the generation and detection means through the liquid/vapor interface, this interface can be detected. Both the wave generation and wave detection may be achieved by transducers on the surface of the container. A change in the phase difference over the outer surface of the vessel signifies that a liquid/vapor interface has been crossed, while the magnitude of the phase difference can be related to fluid density immediately opposite the measurement position on the surface of the vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2000
    Assignee: The Regents of the University of California
    Inventor: Dipen N. Sinha
  • Patent number: 6047598
    Abstract: A continuous measurement of the level of contents in a container is effected by a level measuring device functionong in accordance with the transit time principle by means of waves transmitted from a position located above the highest possible contents level onto the surface of the material in the container. A measuring circuit determines the contents level from the transit time of the useful echo reflected from the material surface. In addition, one or more limit sensors are located at the container, each of which furnishes a signal indicating whether the contents level is above or below a level to be monitored by the limit sensor and which is situated between the minimum and maximum contents levels of the container. The measuring circuit receives the output signals of all limit sensors and uses these output signals to check and eventually to correct the contents level measured value determined by the level measuring device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2000
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Johanngeorg Otto, Wolfgang Lubcke
  • Patent number: 6008728
    Abstract: A water level detecting and alarm system for informing a user when a water level within a bathtub has risen to or above a desired level. The system includes a housing having an opening at one end forming a lower lumen and a closed end opposite thereof. A securing means is attached to a side of the housing for adjustably securing to an interior surface of the bathtub corresponding to desirable water level. A partition within the housing is oriented traverse to a longitudinal axis of the housing. A tube projects in and through the partition coaxial with the longitudinal axis of the housing. A shaft has a flanged end and a lower end, and slidably projects through the tube. A float slidably projecting in the lower lumen of the housing for having a latitude similar to the water level within the bathtub. The float is secured to the lower end of the shaft for elevating and descending the shaft in a manner corresponding to the water level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 28, 1999
    Inventor: Akintunde O. Wesey
  • Patent number: 5969621
    Abstract: An apparatus for establishing and/or monitoring a pre-determined filling level in a container is provided, in which the reception signal (E) corresponds to the desired measurement signal and in which a fixed phase difference (.DELTA..phi..sub.R), which is independent of the oscillation quality of the apparatus, exists between the transmission signal and the reception signal (E) at the resonant frequency (f.sub.r) of the mechanical oscillatory structure (1).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 19, 1999
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin
  • Patent number: 5844491
    Abstract: An apparatus for establishing and/or monitoring a predetermined filling level in a container is provided, in which a reception signal (E) is equal to the measurement signal, and in which a fixed phase difference (.DELTA..phi..sub.R), which is independent of the oscillation quality of the apparatus, exists between a first transmission signal (S.sub.1), and a reception signal (E) at a resonant frequency (f.sub.r).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 1, 1998
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin
  • Patent number: 5836192
    Abstract: For monitoring a predetermined level of a liquid in a container an ultrasonic transducer is fitted on the outer surface of the container wall at a measurement point situated at the height of the level to be monitored. The ultrasonic transducer contains a piezoelectric element which generates, when excited by an alternating voltage pulse having a given transmission frequency, an ultrasonic transmission pulse which is transferred via a diaphragm to the container wall and which converts ultrasonic vibrations transferred from the container wall to the ultrasonic transducer into electrical reception signals. So that the piezoelectric element for given dimensions can be operated in a large frequency range, and so that a good adaptation to the diaphragm is achieved, the piezoelectric element consists of a porous piezoelectric ceramic having a type 3--3 connectivity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 17, 1998
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin, Roland Muller
  • Patent number: 5835454
    Abstract: A sonic transducer shroud is shaped to present an inclined surface to rising bubbles and other matter during water treatment. Attached to the face of the sonic transducer, the shroud prevents the bubbles and other matter from being trapped on the transducer measurement surface and subsequently interfering with echo reception. The shroud has acoustic properties that are matched to the water such that the shroud is substantially acoustically transparent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 10, 1998
    Assignee: Drexelbrook Controls, Inc.
    Inventor: Frederick L. Maltby
  • Patent number: 5821864
    Abstract: A wireless interface probe having a transmitter, a signal transport/measuring device, and a receiver as provided. The transmitter has two sensors: a liquid level sensor and a water level sensor. The liquid level sensor determines the boundary between gaseous and liquid media. The water level sensor detects the presence of conductive liquid such as water. Signals generated by the transmitter sensors are transported inductively to the receiver via the signal transport/measuring device. The signal transport/measuring device is a standard metallic measuring tape which affixes to the transmitter via metallic fasteners. The receiver decodes the signals generated by the transmitter and creates an audio and visual reading output. The output reading indicates to the operator the level of the free-phase hydrocarbons and the level of the water. The difference between the two levels is the thickness of the hydrocarbons, which can be determined by using the measuring tape.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 13, 1998
    Assignee: Enviro Products, Inc.
    Inventors: Scott R. Knop, Randall J. Vorce
  • Patent number: 5815079
    Abstract: A description is given of a sturdy device for establishing and/or monitoring a predetermined filling level in a container, which device exhibits a housing (1), two oscillating rods (3, 4) projecting into the container, a first diaphragm (2) which is fixedly clamped, at its border, into the housing (1), a second diaphragm (6, 6') which is arranged parallel to said first diaphragm in the interior of the housing (1), a piezoelectric element (7, 7') which is arranged on the second diaphragm (6, 6') and is intended for receiving and converting oscillations into an electric output signal and for inducing bending oscillations in the second diaphragm (6, 6'), and in the case of which device the mode of oscillation produced by the piezoelectric element (7, 7') corresponds to the mode of oscillation utilized for inducing oscillation in the oscillating rods (3, 4).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 29, 1998
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Igor Getman, Sergej Lopatin
  • Patent number: 5793704
    Abstract: A method and device for ultrasonic ranging. As in prior art devices, ultrasound pulses are transmitted by the device towards a target, and echo pulses from the target are received. The timing of the maximum of the amplitude envelope of the echo pulses is picked and used as a measure of the return time of these pulses. This maximum envelope time is relatively independent of the speed of sound between the device and the target. Preferably, the duration of the echo pulses is less than the response time of the receiving circuit, to enable an accurate pick of the amplitude envelope maximum.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 11, 1998
    Assignee: Solid Scientific Research and Development Ltd.
    Inventor: David Freger
  • Patent number: 5778726
    Abstract: For monitoring a predetermined level of a liquid in a container an ultrasonic sensor is fitted on the outer surface of the container wall at a measurement point situated at the height of the level to be monitored, said sensor containing an ultrasonic transducer having a diaphragm in contact with the container wall. The components of the ultrasonic sensor including those of the ultrasonic transducer are grouped together in a sensor block which is releasably connected to an adapter secured to the container wall, this adapter being configured so that it can be secured in any way required to containers of differing shape and/or material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 14, 1998
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Roland Muller, Winfried Maier, Rolf Schwald
  • Patent number: 5777550
    Abstract: A high reliability instrument system includes means for applying a test condition to the instrument and for determining whether the instrument properly responds to the test condition, and means for inhibiting the generation of an instrument output in response to such testing. This provides verification that most of the instrument system components, but not the system output, are properly functioning. The system further includes means for overriding the output-inhibiting function when it is desired to test the entire instrument system including the system output. The instrument system may include a gap-type ultrasonic instrument, with the test condition comprising a pulse applied to one crystal, the effects of which are detected at the other crystal to determine sensor integrity. The system is preferably configured as a two-wire on-off instrument system, in which application of the test condition at a transmitter is controlled by signals applied to the two-wire signal loop at a remote receiver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 7, 1998
    Assignee: Drexelbrook Controls, Inc.
    Inventors: Frederick L. Maltby, Glen L. Mitchell, Mort Gorowitz
  • Patent number: 5745041
    Abstract: A system for dissipating heat from a power supply enclosed within a housing having an air inlet and outlet. The system includes fans disposed in a plenum structure adapted to fit over the housing to thereby establish air communication between the fans and the housing inlet so that operation of the fans causes air to flow through the inlet, the power supply, and out through the outlet, thereby dissipating heat from the power supply. Each fan is operable independent of any other of the fans. The relationship between the fans may be serial, parallel, or a combination of serial and parallel. The fans are monitored to detect failure of any of the fans and, upon such detection, an alert is activated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1998
    Assignee: Dell U.S.A., L.P.
    Inventor: David L. Moss
  • Patent number: 5717383
    Abstract: The device for determining and/or monitoring a predetermined level of contents in a container comprises a sensor, which is so mounted on the container at the level of contents to be monitored that it comes into contact with the contents of the container when the same reach the predetermined level. The sensor is excited to mechanical vibrations at its natural resonant frequency by an exciting arrangement. An evaluating circuit serves for causing indicating and/or switching operations in a manner dependent on whether the frequency of the mechanical vibrations of the sensor is higher or lower than a switching frequency. Associated with the sensor is an electrical circuit element which has a characteristic parameter, whose value bears an unambiguous relationship to the natural resonant frequency of the sensor. In the evaluating circuit the switching frequency is set in accordance with the value of the characteristic parameter of the electrical circuit element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 18, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 10, 1998
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Volker Dreyer, Arthur Schrock, Martin Pfandler
  • Patent number: 5673026
    Abstract: A method for determining a stopped flow condition in a fluid fraction measuring apparatus includes the steps of establishing a minimum threshold level of statistical variation in the measured parameter repetitively (continuously) monitored by the measuring apparatus, and giving an indication when the standard deviation, statistical average, or the kurtosis of the measured parameter or characteristic drops to the threshold level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 30, 1997
    Assignee: Texaco Inc.
    Inventors: John David Marrelli, Farhan Siddiqui
  • Patent number: 5631633
    Abstract: The determination and/or monitoring of a predetermined material level in a container is effected with the help of a material level sensor which contains a mechanical oscillatory structure, an electromechanical excitation transducer and two electromechanical reception transducers. The mechanical oscillatory structure is secured at the height of the predetermined material level in such a way that it comes into contact with the material when said material reaches the predetermined material level. Each reception transducer is connected to the input of an assigned circuit channel, which contains an amplifier circuit, the output of which is connected to the excitation transducer and which is so constructed that the mechanical oscillatory structure is excited to produce oscillations with its natural resonance frequency. The two circuit channels are activated alternately by means of a control circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 20, 1997
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventors: Volker Dreyer, Bernd Strutt
  • Patent number: 5629681
    Abstract: The displacement sensor of this invention comprises a tube combined with a sonic transmitter and receiver. The tube acts as a waveguide for the sonic waves and a processor determines whether the tube has changed in length or has been constricted which, in either case, changes the pattern of sonic waves traveling from the transmitter to the receiver. In some applications, the transmitter and receiver are at different ends of the tube. In these cases, the attenuation in sound energy reaching the receiver, caused by the tube being squeezed at at least one point, is measured and the amount of cross action area reduction is determined. In other applications, the transmitter and receiver are at the same end of the tube and, in some of these cases, the transmitter and receiver are the same transducer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 13, 1997
    Assignee: Automotive Technologies International, Inc.
    Inventors: Wilbur E. DuVall, Wendell C. Johnson, David S. Breed
  • Patent number: 5625343
    Abstract: In devices for determining and/or monitoring a predetermined level with a sensor that is excited to perform mechanical oscillations at its self-resonant frequency by means of an electronic excitation circuit which is excited via a piezoelectric excitation and a reception transducer and an evaluation circuit for triggering display and/or switching processes, there exists the difficulty that the natural frequencies of the sensors are different due to the manufacturing conditions, and that the operating frequency must be adjusted individually for each sensor. This disadvantage makes repair and maintenance procedures quite difficult.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: April 29, 1997
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventor: Werner Rottmar
  • Patent number: 5600997
    Abstract: A carrier frequency based system employs a capacitive probe which is located at a predetermined desired fluid detection level in a fluid containing vessel. The probe forms one plate of a capacitor where the other plate is formed by the fluid in which the probe is immersed. A carrier frequency is injected into the fluid by means of a suitable oscillator and at a frequency which is close to the system resonant frequency. When the probe is immersed in fluid, the probe will receive a predetermined carrier frequency of an amplitude determined by the system. The output of the probe is coupled to suitable sensing circuits which monitor the amplitude of the signal frequency coupled to the probe. When the fluid level recedes and therefore a portion of the probe or the total probe is out of fluid, the capacitance of the system changes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 11, 1997
    Assignee: ITT Corporation
    Inventors: William H. Kemp, Victor J. Shideler
  • Patent number: 5575316
    Abstract: A device for automatic filling of a mobile container (4) with a material stream (13) from a harvester (1) moving alongside a discharge knee/discharge pipe which is controllably pivotable around a vertical and/or horizontal axis, with a pivotable discharge flap (5) at the end from the harvester (1) to the container (4). At least one optical and/or acoustic range finder (6) for measuring the container (4) and measuring fill levels is disposed on the discharge knee/discharge pipe (3). The range finder (6), either together with the discharge knee/discharge pipe (3) or independently thereof, can be pivoted horizontally and/or vertically.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 19, 1996
    Assignee: Claas oHG beschraenkt haftende offene Handelgesellschaft
    Inventor: Manfred Pollklas
  • Patent number: 5483226
    Abstract: The ultrasonic transmitter (E) is subjected to two different excitation modes, and is mounted on the support (2) which at the same constitutes a waveguide.Excitation of the transmitter at its axial-resonance frequency transmits ultrasonic waves through the liquid to provide a detection signal. Its excitation at its radial-resonance frequency creates ultrasonic waves propagated along the support (2) to provide an operation-control signal.The invention is applicable to the detection of various liquids in a broad range of conditions and is suitable for industrial applications, notably in safety and control systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1992
    Date of Patent: January 9, 1996
    Inventor: Jean-Baptiste Menut
  • Patent number: 5408168
    Abstract: The device comprises at least two oscillation rods that are mounted at a distance from each other on a membrane, the edge of which are connected with a screw insert. A clamping screw is connected with the membrane on the side opposing the oscillation rods in such a rigid manner that the clamping screw and the membrane assume a position to each other in which their symmetry axes coincide. The clamping screw is surrounded by a stack of annular piezoelectric elements, electrode rings as well as insulating rings. This stack forms the excitation and reception transformer of the device. The stack-shaped excitation and reception transformer is clamped and mounted between the membrane and a hexagonal nut. The stack braces itself on a shoulder that encompasses the membrane within a distance by the metal ring that closes the stack. The clamping force is chosen such that the membrane is simultaneously prestressed in a concave manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 18, 1995
    Assignee: Endress & Hauser GmbH & Co.
    Inventor: Martin Pfandler
  • Patent number: 5400376
    Abstract: Ultrasonic fuel gauging apparatus for a fuel tank having a plurality of ultrasonic fuel level sensors for sensing fuel levels at respective predetermined locations in a tank based on echo ranging; a memory means for storing sensor data; and a state device for interrogating each of the sensors by controlling the application of transmit pulses to each of the sensors and for receiving output signals corresponding to return echoes, the state device operating in response to a sequential state counter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1993
    Date of Patent: March 21, 1995
    Assignee: Simmonds Precision Products, Inc.
    Inventor: Christian L. Trudeau
  • Patent number: 5349994
    Abstract: A system for controlling the loading of fuel into a multi-compartmented transport tank interrupts loading of fuel when the level of fuel in any compartment is above a given upper level and prevents loading when the level of fuel is above a given lower level. Fail safe operation is provided by top and bottom liquid level sensors which generate a "dry" signal to indicate that the liquid level is below the upper and lower levels in each compartment. A "dry" signal from the bottom sensor is required to initiate loading of a compartment. Once initiated, a substitute signal permits continued loading of the compartment. The "dry" signal is a pulsing electrical signal which cooperates with a multivibrator to generate a signal for each compartment indicating that loading of fuel is appropriate. Indicia lights are provided for each compartment to indicate the level of fuel in each compartment. Diagnostic means enable these lights to identify the failure of a sensor or a faulty electrical connection therewith.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 1993
    Date of Patent: September 27, 1994
    Assignee: Dover Corporation
    Inventor: Robert C. Koeninger
  • Patent number: 5337289
    Abstract: A real time ultrasonic surface contour mapping system is provided including a digitally controlled phased-array of transmitter/receiver (T/R) elements located in a fixed position above the surface to be mapped. The surface is divided into a predetermined number of pixels which are separately scanned by an arrangement of T/R elements by applying phase delayed signals thereto that produce ultrasonic tone bursts from each T/R that arrive at a point X in phase and at the same time relative to the leading edge of the tone burst pulse so that the acoustic energies from each T/R combine in a reinforcing manner at point X. The signals produced by the reception of the echo signals reflected from point X back to the T/Rs are also delayed appropriately so that they add in phase at the input of a signal combiner. This combined signal is then processed to determine the range to the point X using density-corrected sound velocity values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 9, 1994
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Energy
    Inventors: George E. Fasching, Nelson S. Smith, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5321630
    Abstract: A method of detecting the condition of a liquid layer level in a case where a plurality of liquids are in a layer condition, such method of being capable of knowing each layer level condition even in a case where a system as a whole is high at temperature, pressure or dirt as well as emulsification are large in extent. In order to detect the layer condition, the measurement values of temperatures and so on in a system as a whole or the mathematically processed values of the measurement values are provided as inputs, the layer level condition at this time is outputted, processed by a neurocomputer so as to compose an input-output model. As the layer level condition at this time is adapted to be estimated with the use of the input-output model, the layer level condition may be properly detected even when a system as a whole is high at temperature, pressure or the dirt as well as the emulsification are larger in extent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 1991
    Date of Patent: June 14, 1994
    Assignee: Kao Corporation
    Inventors: Yoshifumi Torimoto, Junichi Nakamura, Keiichi Tsuto, Iori Hashimoto, Takeshi Fujiwara, Kenichiro Sotowa
  • Patent number: 5301549
    Abstract: An ultrasonic liquid level sensor has a transducer mounted at the lower end of an aluminum tube that projects upwardly in a liquid tank so that the tube is filled with liquid to the same height as that outside the tube. Internally, the tube has a layer of an acoustically-absorbing plastics to damp the transmission of ultrasonic vibration from the wall of the tube into liquid within the tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 12, 1994
    Assignee: Smiths Industries Public Limited Company
    Inventor: David Sinclair
  • Patent number: 5267474
    Abstract: A liquid level sensor has a liquid sensing element carried on the end of a curved probe which is inserted into a liquid-holding chamber. The probe can be rotated to properly locate the sensor within the chamber. A threaded nut locks the curved probe in position to maintain the sensor in the proper position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 1992
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1993
    Assignee: Kohler Co.
    Inventor: James A. Ten Hoven