Material Level Detection, E.g., Liquid Level Patents (Class 367/908)
  • Patent number: 10284208
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for frequency tuning/tracking between an electrical subsystem and a mechanical transducer subsystem is presented. An electromechanical transducer generates acoustic pulses as it is driven by a transmit signal from an electrical subsystem. As the transmit signal goes inactive, the settling behavior of the transducer is registered from which the difference in frequency between the resonance of the electromechanical transducer and the transmit signal frequency is determined and utilized for locking the electrical subsystem to the mechanical transducer subsystem by either tuning operating frequency of the electrical subsystem, or the mechanical transducer, to keep them matched (locked).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
    Inventors: Bernhard Boser, Richard Przybyla, Hao-Yen Tang
  • Patent number: 10107663
    Abstract: An apparatus for measuring the inner volume of a cavity. According to one embodiment the apparatus comprises a hollow body coupleable to the cavity, such that the inner volume of the cavity and the inner volume of the hollow body are communicated. A solid body is housed in the hollow body. A detector monitors the position of the solid body. A processor determines the inner volume of the cavity which is calculated from the oscillation of the solid body according to the volume of gas inside the cavity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2018
    Assignees: Ingenet Automatizacion, S.L., Vidrala, S.A.
    Inventors: Aitzol Iturrospe Iregui, Jose Manuel Abete Huici
  • Patent number: 10094690
    Abstract: An ultrasonic transducer apparatus is provided. In one embodiment, the apparatus includes an outer housing, an inner housing disposed within the outer housing, and an ultrasonic transducer disposed within the inner housing. The outer housing has an aperture that enables pressurized fluid to enter the outer housing while allowing the outer housing to acoustically isolate the inner housing and the ultrasonic transducer from an additional component when the outer housing is connected to the additional component. Additional systems, devices, and methods are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2018
    Assignee: Cameron International Corporation
    Inventors: Emanuel J. Gottlieb, Kevin P. Minnock, Donald R. Augenstein, Richard A. Zuckerman
  • Patent number: 10016756
    Abstract: A kit for detection of an analyte of interest in a liquid sample, and methods of using, are provided. The kit may include a pipette and a disposable pipette tip configured to engage the pipette. The pipette tip may define an acoustic channel configured for allowing flow-through of a liquid. The kit may also include a vibratory device in communication with the acoustic channel and configured for imparting a vibratory force thereto. The impartation of the vibratory force may create standing acoustic waves, thereby separating any negative acoustic contrast particles (NACPs) from the remaining contents of the liquid sample. The NACPs may capable of biospecific recognition of the analyte of interest, thereby separating the analytes of interest, which can then be collected or analyzed accordingly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2018
    Assignee: Duke University
    Inventor: Gabriel P. Lopez
  • Patent number: 9880272
    Abstract: During transmission, a speed of ultrasound pulses gradually reduces due to their energy loss from acoustic impedance. A thickness and a density of piezoelectric (PZT) elements and a sound speed in the PZT elements decides energy of the ultrasound pulses and their detecting depth. A speed of moving objects and an angle of the moving objects with the ultrasound pulses may change a speed of reflected ultrasound pulses and affect their time of flight (TOF) and TOF shift. A method of Coding ultrasound pulses combines advantages of a continuous wave ultrasound and a pulsed wave ultrasound. So, it can be used to obtained the TOF and the TOF shift and calculate the depth and the moving speed of the detecting objects, which also avoids a problem of an aliasing for highly moving speed of the objects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 30, 2018
    Inventors: Hai Huang, Tony Huang
  • Patent number: 9700814
    Abstract: A system for detecting an interface between a polymer-rich phase and a solvent-rich phase comprising a liquid-liquid separator configured to receive a polymer solution as an inlet stream comprising solvent, polymer and unreacted monomer produced in a solvent-based polymerization reactor through an inlet feed, wherein a tank is configured to provide a residence time of at least 20 minutes and to permit the stream to separate into the polymer rich phase and the solvent rich phase; a first sonic transponder for sending a first sonic signal from either a top or bottom of the liquid-liquid separator and for receiving a first reflected portion of the sonic signal, the reflected portion of the sonic signal created by the passage of the sonic signal through a liquid-liquid interface between the solvent rich phase and the polymer rich phase, wherein the first sonic transponder is positioned such that it transmits the signal which travels perpendicularly to the liquid-liquid interface is provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2017
    Assignee: DOW GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES LLC
    Inventors: Curvel Hypolite, Alec Y. Wang
  • Patent number: 9664553
    Abstract: Embodiments of a system and method for providing a float-based sensor are disclosed. Embodiments of the system and method provide a sealed pipe or tube, also referred to as a barrier chamber, that is located inside a tank (or body of water) to measure a fluid level in the tank, such as a fuel tank, an oil tank, a chemical tank, a water tank, and the like. No fluid is able to penetrate the interior of the sealed pipe to avoid any electrical, mechanical, or chemical problems, or degradation. Embodiments of the system and method use a float having a magnet that magnetically couples to a target located within the barrier chamber's interior. The movement of the target is constrained to one dimension, allowing it to move up and down as the fluid level in the tank (or body of water) moves the magnetically coupled float up and down.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2017
    Inventor: Andrew L. Smith
  • Patent number: 9610414
    Abstract: An apparatus for metering the delivery of a fluid. The apparatus has a variable acoustic source and a microphone, both acoustically coupled to a volume having a fluid region and an air region. The apparatus may also include a processor to determine a volume of the air region based on signals received from the microphone and the variable acoustic source. A fluid valve is coupled to the processor, and is configured to allow an amount of fluid to exit the fluid region associated with the volume of the air region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2017
    Assignee: DEKA Products Limited Partnership
    Inventors: Russell H. Beavis, Larry B. Gray, Derek G. Kane
  • Patent number: 9587939
    Abstract: A method, non-transitory computer readable medium and a system that includes a confidence level module arranged to calculate, in response to detection signals, estimated upper surface points and to associate a non-binary confidence level with each estimated upper surface point; wherein the detection signals are generated by a receiver in response to an irradiation of at least a portion of the upper surface of the content with radiation pulses transmitted by a transmitter; and an estimator that is arranged to calculate an estimate of the upper surface based upon the estimated upper surface points and the non-binary confidence level associated with each estimated upper surface point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2017
    Assignee: APM Automation solutions Ltd.
    Inventors: Avishai Bartov, Yossi Zlotnick
  • Patent number: 9557208
    Abstract: Provided is a liquid level measuring technique capable of measuring a liquid level with high accuracy even if a liquid stored in a container is boiling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2012
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2017
    Assignee: KABUSHIKI KAISHA TOSHIBA
    Inventors: Hidehiko Kuroda, Naruhiko Mukai, Osamu Kawakami, Makoto Takemura, Yuka Takada, Fujio Shiraishi
  • Patent number: 9550034
    Abstract: A method for metering the delivery of a fluid. The apparatus has a variable acoustic source and a microphone, both acoustically coupled to a volume having a fluid region and an air region. The apparatus may also include a processor to determine a volume of the air region based on signals received from the microphone and the variable acoustic source. A fluid valve is coupled to the processor, and is configured to allow an amount of fluid to exit the fluid region associated with the volume of the air region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2017
    Assignee: DEKA Products Limited Partnership
    Inventors: Russell H. Beavis, Larry B. Gray, Derek G. Kane
  • Patent number: 9550033
    Abstract: An apparatus for metering the delivery of an aerosol. The apparatus has a variable acoustic source and a microphone, both acoustically coupled to a volume having a fluid region and an air region. The apparatus may also include a processor to determine a volume of the air region based on signals received from the microphone and the variable acoustic source. A fluid valve is coupled to the processor, and is configured to allow an amount of fluid to exit the fluid region associated with the volume of the air region. An atomizer, coupled to the fluid region, is configured to aerosolize at least a portion of the fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2017
    Assignee: DEKA Products Limited Partnership
    Inventors: Russell H. Beavis, Larry B. Gray, Derek G. Kane
  • Patent number: 9550035
    Abstract: A method to deliver medication. The apparatus has an acoustic volume sensor that acoustically excites a reference volume and variable-volume chamber with an acoustic source and measures the acoustic response with microphones acoustically coupled to the reference and the variable-volume chamber. A disposable drug cassette is coupled to the acoustic volume sensor and includes a drug reservoir and valve. The method includes receiving a volume signal and inputs from a user input or a second sensor and controlling the valve based on these inputs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2017
    Assignee: DEKA Products Limited Partnership
    Inventors: Russell H. Beavis, Larry B. Gray, Derek G. Kane
  • Patent number: 9026310
    Abstract: A predictive method of detecting the depth of water ahead of a wading vehicle comprises providing a wading sensor and an attitude sensor on the vehicle, and using this information to estimate the depth of water at a location ahead of the direction of vehicle movement. Corresponding apparatus is disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 5, 2015
    Assignee: Jaguar Land Rover Limited
    Inventors: Thuy-Yung Tran, Edward Hoare, Nigel Clarke
  • Patent number: 8776594
    Abstract: An electronics unit and a method for a filling-level measuring device for determining a filling level. The unit including an arithmetic unit determining a functional relationship between a distance between a filling material surface and the filling-level measuring device and an amplitude of a signal component reflected by the filling material surface and received by the filling-level measuring device; an amplitude profiler creating a profile of amplitude values of filling level echoes which have been measured so far; and an amplitude evaluator determining an expected amplitude of the filling level echo at a particular location with help of the profile of amplitude values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2014
    Assignee: VEGA Grieshaber KG
    Inventors: Roland Welle, Karl Griessbaum, Juergen Motzer, Martin Gaiser, Christian Hoferer, Manuel Kaufmann, Joachim Benz
  • Patent number: 8446796
    Abstract: In a pulse-echo measuring system, echo signals are compared by a difference calculator with the output of a model simulating the system. The detected differences are used to re-calculate parameters in the model. Other parameters are directly measured and applied to the model. A primary measurement, such as level, is detected more accurately and other parameters such as froth height and turbulence are estimated accurately.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2013
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: George Quinton Lyon
  • Patent number: 8259533
    Abstract: A method for determining an ultrasonic detecting cycle is provided. Firstly, an initial detecting cycle T is set. Then, a first sensing wave is generated. Then, a first time-of-flight value is calculated corresponding to the first sensing wave. After the first sensing wave has been generated for the initial detecting cycle T, a second sensing wave is generated. Then, a second time-of-flight value is calculated corresponding to the second sensing wave. Afterwards, the second time-of-flight value is compared with the first time-of-flight value. If a difference between the second time-of-flight value and the first time-of-flight value is smaller than a threshold value, the initial detecting cycle T is determined as the ultrasonic detecting cycle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2012
    Assignee: Lite-On Corporation
    Inventor: Lin Yi-Min
  • Patent number: 8218396
    Abstract: A level measurement system suitable for use in a high temperature and pressure environment to measure the level of coolant fluid within the environment, the system including a volume of coolant fluid located in a coolant region of the high temperature and pressure environment and having a level therein; an ultrasonic waveguide blade that is positioned within the desired coolant region of the high temperature and pressure environment; a magnetostrictive electrical assembly located within the high temperature and pressure environment and configured to operate in the environment and cooperate with the waveguide blade to launch and receive ultrasonic waves; and an external signal processing system located outside of the high temperature and pressure environment and configured for communicating with the electrical assembly located within the high temperature and pressure environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2012
    Assignee: UT-Battelle, LLC
    Inventors: David E. Holcomb, Roger A. Kisner
  • Patent number: 8184503
    Abstract: A process measurement instrument with target rejection comprises a sensor circuit. The sensor circuit comprises a drive circuit for transmitting a pulse signal at a target of interest and a receive circuit receiving reflected echoes of the pulse signal and developing an analog receive signal representative of the reflected echoes. An analog processing circuit receives the analog receive signal and comprises a summer subtracting an analog target rejection signal from the analog receive signal to develop a corrected receive signal. A programmed digital processing circuit is operatively coupled to the analog processing circuit and comprises a memory storing target rejection signal value data representing false target reflections and developing the analog target rejection signal for transfer to the analog processing circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2012
    Assignee: Magnetrol International, Incorporated
    Inventors: Christopher P. Turcotte, Kevin M. Haynes
  • Patent number: 8154953
    Abstract: A fish locating system combines the functionality of a remote controlled miniature electric boat with an underwater sonar system. The watercraft is provided with a sonar transponder attached to an exterior deck. The sonar transponder wirelessly transmits sonar readings including bottom depth and terrain, schools of fish, underwater obstructions, water temperature, and the like, to the watercraft's wireless remote controller's display screen. The remote controller comprises a display screen that visually depicts the sonar scan in real-time. In use, a person can be on shore or on an anchored boat while performing underwater reconnaissance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2012
    Inventors: Henry F. Sims, Rex P. Cooper
  • Patent number: 8107319
    Abstract: A method of determining the volume or height of fluid in a reservoir is provided. A first burst of focused acoustic energy is used to raise temporarily a protuberance on a free surface of the fluid. A second burst of acoustic energy is directed to the free surface of the fluid. Echoes from the second burst of acoustic energy are detected. The detected echoes are employed to compute the height of the fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 2009
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2012
    Assignee: Labcyte Inc.
    Inventors: Richard G. Stearns, Sammy S. Datwani
  • Patent number: 8031557
    Abstract: A method of operating an acoustic pulse echo ranging system is provided. A series of acoustic energy pulses of successively increasing or decreasing burst frequencies are transmitted through a transducer assembly. For each transmitted energy pulse associated echoes are received and converted into an echo function over time. The obtained echo function is stored in a two-dimensional pattern whose first dimension is the burst frequency and whose second dimension is the time. Based upon the two-dimensional pattern a frequency response function is evaluated as a function of echo function values over burst frequency at a selected point of time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2011
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments, Inc.
    Inventor: George Quinton Lyon
  • Patent number: 7950424
    Abstract: A device for controlling the filling of a receptacle with liquid by a drink vending machine. The device includes visual marking device for marking the liquid fill level in the receptacle, a device for emitting a signal towards the receptacle, a device for receiving an incident signal and which receives the incident signal returning from the receptacle and a controlling device configured for commanding the stoppage of filling on the basis of a variation of the incident signal. The receiving device includes a series of photoelectric receivers and at least one variable which is a displacement of a light incident signal measured by the receivers. The visual marking, emitter and receiver are displaceable en masse so as to make it possible to modify the marking of the level of fill in the receptacle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 31, 2011
    Assignee: Nestec S.A.
    Inventors: Matthieu Ozanne, Alexandre Kollep, Ralph Piguet, Grégoire Terrien, Xavier Greppin
  • Patent number: 7826309
    Abstract: A method for measuring a fill level of a fill substance in a container and for monitoring at least one predetermined fill level (LMIN, LMAX), using a fill level measuring device working according to the travel-time principle, as well as a corresponding fill level measuring device, wherein the monitoring satisfies high safety standards, wherein, in each measuring cycle, transmission signals (S) are sent toward the fill substance and their echo signals (E) are received, the fill level is determined, based on the echo signals (E), in a first evaluation method, and it is determined, based on the echo signals (E), in a second evaluation method independent of the first evaluation method, whether the fill level exceeds or falls beneath the predetermined fill levels (LMIN, LMAX).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 2, 2010
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co. KG
    Inventors: Dietmar Spanke, Edgar Schmitt, Reinhard Schaefer, Holger Steltner
  • Patent number: 7753091
    Abstract: A device for controlling the filling of a receptacle with liquid by a drink vending machine. The device includes visual marking device for marking the liquid fill level in the receptacle, a device for emitting a signal towards the receptacle, a device for receiving an incident signal and which receives the incident signal returning from the receptacle and a controlling device configured for commanding the stoppage of filling on the basis of a variation of the incident signal. The receiving device includes a series of photoelectric receivers and at least one variable which is a displacement of a light incident signal measured by the receivers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2010
    Assignee: Nestec S.A.
    Inventors: Matthieu Ozanne, Alexandre Kollep, Ralph Piguet, Grégoire Terrien, Xavier Greppin
  • Patent number: 7433267
    Abstract: A circuit with two terminals that receive an input current. The circuit includes a sensor, and a controller to generate a modulated signal. The circuit also includes a flyback circuit that receives the modulated signal. The flyback circuit generates a first output voltage based on the modulated signal, shunts or redistributes at least a portion of the input current, and enables the controller to regulate the input current in proportion to the modulated signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 7, 2008
    Assignee: SSI Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Gregory P. Murphy, Lawrence B. Reimer
  • Patent number: 7420877
    Abstract: In a method for processing an echo profile generated by a pulse-echo ranging system, the echo profile is compared with a time-varying threshold function to identify valid echoes in those portions of the echo profile which exceed the TVT function. Based on the amplitude and/or area above the TVT function, each echo is rated and attributed a level of confidence. The echo with the highest level of confidence is selected as the echo of interest, and the level of confidence is reported. To provide an improved echo processing with increased accuracy in determining the confidence level of the selected echo of interest, it is furthermore determined whether the portion of the threshold function which timely corresponds to the selected echo of interest is part of a hump-shaped section of the threshold function. If so, said section is reshaped to reduced hump amplitude, and the confidence level of the echo of interest is redetermined based on the amplitude and/or area above the reshaped TVT function.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2008
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments, Inc.
    Inventors: Mazi Hosseini, Jean-René Larocque, Adam Lomas
  • Patent number: 7388810
    Abstract: A system for measuring distance in a gas or liquid operating medium has an even number of ultrasonic signal transmitters (12, 14), and a single ultrasonic signal receiver (16). The ultrasonic signal transmitters are adapted to transmit ultrasonic signals to a target (18) in the operating medium. Each of the transmitters and receiver are so spaced apart in a geometrically symmetrical planar array within an acoustically attenuating substrate medium, and each of the transmitted ultrasonic signals are so pulse driven in an acoustically symmetrical relationship, that opposing ultrasonic signals transmitted through the substrate medium by symmetrically opposed transmitters are cancelled at the receiver and a signal for measuring distance to the target is formed at the receiver by combination of the transmitted signals through the operating medium.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 25, 2006
    Date of Patent: June 17, 2008
    Assignee: Viren Pty Limited
    Inventor: Lawrence Alexander Campbell
  • Patent number: 7360417
    Abstract: A fluid detector for determining a presence of a fluid within a container includes a piezoelectric element that outputs a first ultrasonic signal in response to an input electrical signal and a lens with an upper portion and a lower portion. The piezoelectric element is coupled to the upper portion of the lens so that, when the lens is disposed adjacent the outer surface of the wall such that the lens is intermediate the piezoelectric element and the wall, the lens focuses the first ultrasonic signal toward the wall so that the first ultrasonic signal enters the wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 2005
    Date of Patent: April 22, 2008
    Assignee: Gems Sensors, Inc.
    Inventors: James B. Dockendorff, Kevin B. Downs, Bryan M. Labarge, George K. Lewis
  • Patent number: 7277020
    Abstract: Apparatus for indicating the oil level in a central heating oil tank comprises a battery powered monitoring unit (1) for mounting on the oil tank which determines the oil level by an ultrasonic signal transmitter/receiver (18). A first microprocessor (14) in the monitoring unit (1) determines the oil level from the ultrasonic transmitter/receiver (18) and operates a primary transmitter (12) for transmitting a radio signal which includes data indicative of the oil level. A remotely mounted mains electricity powered receiving unit (3) comprises a primary radio receiver (15) for receiving the transmitted signal, and a second microprocessor (16) in the receiving unit (3) controls the operation of a visual display unit (10) for graphically displaying the oil level. The monitoring unit (1) and the receiving unit (3) are operable in a teaching mode initially on power-up of the receiving unit (3) during which the monitoring unit (1) teaches the receiving unit (3) its address.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2005
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2007
    Assignee: Tekelek Patents Limited
    Inventors: Peter Anthony McCarthy, Martin Robert Von Lintzgy
  • Patent number: 7196971
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for damping an ultrasonic transducer suitable for time of flight ranging and level measurement systems. The ultrasonic transducer comprises a damping component which absorbs vibrations in the transducer to reduce the ringing effect. The damping component is subjected to plasma etching to produce a surface which readily bonds to component(s) of the transducer. According to one aspect, the damping component is formed from an inert elastomer, such as silicone rubber, and the transducer component is made of stainless steel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2007
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments, Inc.
    Inventor: Mark Trafford
  • Patent number: 7162922
    Abstract: A non-invasive method for measuring the level of filling material in a vessel and for detecting the presence of the filling material in the vessel at a predetermined set point level is based on monitoring the oscillation of the vessel's outside wall that follows an impact load applied to the external surface of the vessel's wall. The method may employ short range level measurement and long range level measurement procedures. The short-range level measurement utilizes the macro-dynamic properties of the oscillating space in the vicinity of the center of the impact. The long-range level measurement utilizes the properties of the transverse elastic waves propagating along the vessel's wall after the impact. The value of the measured level may be determined by a joint evaluation of the output of the short range level measurement procedure and the output of the long range level measurement procedure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2007
    Inventors: David I. Freger, Alexander M. Raykhman
  • Patent number: 7073379
    Abstract: An arrangement for fill level measurement is provided, with which accurate fill level measurement on a continuing basis is possible, including a container (3) containing a fill substance (1) whose fill level is to be measured, a fill level measuring device (5) arranged at the container (3) and operating according to the travel time principle, an apparatus (11, 13) for registering a filling and/or emptying of the container (3), an auxiliary unit (19), which by means of the filling and/or emptying registered by the apparatus (11, 13), determines an instantaneous change in fill level (VL) or an instantaneous change in material flow rate, and makes such available to the fill level measuring device (5) for determining the fill level (L) to be measured.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2006
    Assignee: Endreas & Hauser GmbH & Co. KG
    Inventors: Herbert Schroth, Rolf Deserno
  • Patent number: 6938475
    Abstract: A device for establishing and/or monitoring a predetermined fill level in a container is provided, which also operates stably in liquids with surface waves, which includes: a mechanical oscillatory structure placed at the height of the predetermined fill level, an electromechanical transducer, which in operation excites the oscillatory structure to resonance oscillations, and a receiver- and evaluation-unit, which serves for determining from the resonance oscillation whether the predetermined fill level has been reached, or not, in which a shape of the oscillatory structure is so constructed that the resonance frequency changes only slowly with immersion depth in the case of immersion in the region of the predetermined fill level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 6, 2005
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co. KG
    Inventor: Sergej Lopatin
  • Patent number: 6932097
    Abstract: The invention provides a device for controlling the composition and/or volume of a fluid within a reservoir. The device includes a reservoir adapted to contain at least one fluid, a means for monitoring a characteristic of the fluid contained in the reservoir, and a means for introducing additional fluid into the reservoir according to the fluid characteristic monitored by the monitoring means. The device also includes an acoustic generator for generating acoustic radiation. A dispensing means may be provided as well. Other devices and methods that use acoustic radiation to control the composition and/or volume of a fluid within a reservoir are included.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2005
    Assignee: Picoliter Inc.
    Inventors: Richard N. Ellson, Mitchell W. Mutz
  • Patent number: 6911935
    Abstract: A microwave-based level measurement system having a planar microwave antenna configuration. According to another aspect, the microwave-based level measurement devices are field interchangeable with ultrasonic based level measurement devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2005
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
    Inventor: Quinton Lyon
  • Patent number: 6865137
    Abstract: A pulse offset calibration method for a pulse-echo level measurement system. The pulse-echo level measurement system includes a transducer for transmitting calibration acoustic pulses and receiving echo pulses. A receiver converts the echo pulses into corresponding pulse profile signals having a leading edge. A static delay interval is defined on the leading edge corresponding to the time interval between the reception of the echo pulse and the response by the receiver. A dynamic delay interval is defined on the leading edge corresponding to the time response characteristics of the transducer and the receiver. The static delay interval and the dynamic delay interval are summed to determine the offset time interval for the echo pulse. The offset time interval is subtracted from the measurements to provide the true duration for the time of flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2005
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments, Inc.
    Inventors: Quinton Lyon, Perry Dirkx
  • Patent number: 6856576
    Abstract: A method and system for echo processing a receive signal using autocorrelation. A receive signal is sampled, digitized and high-pass filtered. A correlation signal is created by adding the filtered signal to a copy of the filtered signal shifted by a time unit. A set of correlation signals is created by repeating the process for a range of time units corresponding to a set of sequential sample points. Each correlation signal has a correlation indicator evidencing the strength of the correlation. The correlation signal having the highest correlation strength is identified, and the time shift used to create it is identified as the time of flight of the echo pulse. The echo distance is then calculated based upon the time of flight and the speed of propagation of the echo in the environment. The correlation indicator may the maximum peak value of the correlation signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2005
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
    Inventor: Nigel Ashley Preston
  • Patent number: 6816436
    Abstract: A method for processing echoes in a time-of-flight ranging system or level measurement system. The method comprises an initial noise floor level and identifying potential echoes in an echo signal above the initial noise floor level and a noise signal below the initial noise floor level. One or more portions of the initial noise floor level are modified and an adjusted noise floor level is generated by applying a cubic spline algorithm to the modified portions and the initial noise floor level. The adjusted noise floor level is then used to identify valid echoes in the echo signal and generate an echo signal profile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 9, 2004
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
    Inventor: Darcy Bachert
  • Publication number: 20040179428
    Abstract: A method and system for echo processing a receive signal using autocorrelation. A receive signal is sampled, digitized and high-pass filtered. A correlation signal is created by adding the filtered signal to a copy of the filtered signal shifted by a time unit. A set of correlation signals is created by repeating the process for a range of time units corresponding to a set of sequential sample points. Each correlation signal has a correlation indicator evidencing the strength of the correlation. The correlation signal having the highest correlation strength is identified, and the time shift used to create it is identified as the time of flight of the echo pulse. The echo distance is then calculated based upon the time of flight and the speed of propagation of the echo in the environment. The correlation indicator may the maximum peak value of the correlation signal.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 29, 2003
    Publication date: September 16, 2004
    Applicant: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
    Inventor: Nigel Ashley Preston
  • Patent number: 6771560
    Abstract: A calibration module and methods for a time-of-flight ranging system. The calibration module may be built into the circuitry of the time-of-flight ranging system and allows various operating parameters to be measured and evaluated. The calibration modes include amplitude calibration, frequency calibration, and time delay calibration. The calibration mode also includes an electronic noise measurement mode. The calibration modes may be initiated on power-up or reset, or in response to user input or time-based trigger.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2004
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
    Inventors: Quinton Lyon, Claude Mercier
  • Patent number: 6640628
    Abstract: This invention relates to a level-measuring device in which a signal generating device, a sampling device and a transmitting and/or receiving device are optimally connected to one another for various applications and signal shapes. The signal generating device generates both a radio-frequency transmit signal and a sampling control signal for sampling the radio-frequency signal. The sampling device, the signal generating device and the transmitting and/or receiving device being connected by a coupling device which comprises one of: a transformer; at least one line node; a &lgr;/4 coupler and a circulator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2003
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co. KG
    Inventors: Wolfram Lütke, Bernhard Michalski
  • Patent number: 6629457
    Abstract: A device for measuring a fill level of liquid in a container includes a measuring tube arranged inside the container and an ultrasonic sensor arranged outside the container such that a portion of the wall of the container is arranged between the measuring tube and the ultrasonic sensor. The ultrasonic sensor therefore has no contact with the liquid located in the container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 7, 2003
    Assignee: Mannesmann VDO AG
    Inventor: Dieter Keller
  • Patent number: 6631097
    Abstract: A sonic water level measuring method and system for mounting a wave-guide tube for measuring a water level in a reservoir, a river, etc. generating sonic pulses at the upper of the wave-guide tube, measuring transit times that it takes for the sonic pulses to transit from an original point to a water surface through air medium and transit back to the original point after being reflected on the water surface and multiplying the transit times by a sound velocity to compute a water level is configured to measure the sound velocity using the times that it takes for the sonic pulse to transit in two intervals in order to exactly measure the sound velocity that is changed according to the changing of an air temperature, pressure and component in the wave-guide tube and then measure the water level considering an arithmetical average value of the sound velocities measured as a sound velocity in the wave-guide tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 3, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 7, 2003
    Assignees: International Hydrosonic Co., Ltd., Hydrosonic International Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Tyan Khak Su
  • Patent number: 6621763
    Abstract: A power saving system and method for the analog-to-digital converter stage in a time of flight ranging system. A receiving echo signal having an envelope is converted into a digital form suitable for further processing by sampling the received echo signal envelope at precise intervals to obtain amplitude measurement points. An interpolation function is applied between each pair of adjacent amplitude measurement points. The application of the interpolation function provides a closer approximation of the shape of the received echo signal envelope without the need to use higher sampling rates which means slower analog-to-digital converters may be utilized resulting in power and cost savings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2003
    Assignee: Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
    Inventor: George Quinton Lyon
  • Patent number: 6606279
    Abstract: A method of detecting actual or incipient submersion of an electroacoustic transducer (2) facing downwardly toward a surface of fluent material to be sensed in a pulse-echo acoustic ranging system, the transducer having a skirt (6) surrounding a downwardly facing radiating surface (4) to maintain an air space (10) beneath the radiating surface even under submergence conditions, and the transducer being electrically energized to emit pulses of acoustic energy from the radiating surface, the system processing an electrical output received from the transducer following a pulse by repeatedly sampling it to obtain a response profile. Samples from an initial portion of the response of the transducer during a ring-down period following the transmit pulse are summed (FIG.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2003
    Assignee: Milltronics Ltd.
    Inventor: Ashley Preston
  • Publication number: 20030081502
    Abstract: A method of tracking an object comprising the steps of acquiring the position of at least one object; selecting the at least one object as a target; determining a sampling window which envelopes the target; obtaining an echo; repeating the foregoing step of obtaining an echo a predetermined number of times; determining valid echoes from the target; calculating the current position of the target from the received echoes; and repeating the steps of obtaining, repeating, determining, and calculating as desired. The step of obtaining an echo comprises the steps of transmitting a pulse at a desired frequency from a transducer; scanning for echoes within the sampling window by a receiver; and receiving at least one echo of the pulse at the receiver which are within the sampling window, the at least one echo having a frequency that matches the outgoing pulse frequency.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 1, 2001
    Publication date: May 1, 2003
    Inventor: James M. Welke
  • Patent number: 6556511
    Abstract: A method of tracking an object comprising the steps of acquiring the position of at least one object; selecting the at least one object as a target; determining a sampling window which envelopes the target; obtaining an echo; repeating the foregoing step of obtaining an echo a predetermined number of times; determining valid echoes from the target; calculating the current position of the target from the received echoes; and repeating the steps of obtaining, repeating, determining, and calculating as desired. The step of obtaining an echo comprises the steps of transmitting a pulse at a desired frequency from a transducer; scanning for echoes within the sampling window by a receiver; and receiving at least one echo of the pulse at the receiver which are within the sampling window, the at least one echo having a frequency that matches the outgoing pulse frequency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2003
    Assignee: Techno Research
    Inventor: James M. Welke
  • Patent number: 6545946
    Abstract: For use with a high gain receiver circuit which receives echo pulses of frequencies within a predetermined bandwidth and at times within interpulse periods of a predetermined pulse repetition rate and amplifies the echo pulses for measurement purposes, the receiver circuit susceptible to electrical noise within the frequency bandwidth of the received echo pulses to create false echo pulses, a method of eliminating substantially the false echo pulses without affecting substantially the amplified echo pulses by accepting only echo pulses which occur synchronously among interpulse periods. The pulse repetition rate may be varied to eliminate false echo pulses that are synchronous to the interpulse periods.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 8, 2003
    Assignee: Rosemount Aerospace Inc.
    Inventors: Charles George Huss, Eric David Haugen
  • Patent number: 6538598
    Abstract: A level sensing apparatus for attachment to a vessel to measure levels of contents in a tank of the vessel. The level sensing apparatus includes a housing, a transmitter disposed within and operatively connected to said housing, and an antenna operatively connected to the transmitter for directing electrical and/or mechanical waves in a direction away from the transmitter. The antenna is further adapted to receive electrical and/or mechanical waves. The level sensing apparatus further includes a mounting system affixing the level sensing apparatus to a vessel. The mounting system is adapted such that the mounting system can be placed in a first position while the transmitter is affixed to the vessel, wherein levels of contents in a tank can be measured with electrical and/or mechanical waves, or in a second position while the transmitter is affixed to the vessel, wherein levels of contents in a tank can be measured manually.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2003
    Assignee: Ohmart VEGA Corporation
    Inventors: Neil T. Wilkie, Michael L. Topputo