Condition Responsive Patents (Class 37/382)
  • Patent number: 9458603
    Abstract: A level selecting unit is a device for selecting a tractive force level from a plurality of levels when a velocity stage of a transmission is a first velocity. The plurality of levels includes at least a first level and a second level. A control unit controls the engine. When the velocity stage of the transmission is the first velocity and the first level is selected, the control unit controls the engine on the basis of a first tractive force characteristic. The first tractive force characteristic prescribes a relationship between the vehicle speed and the tractive force of the vehicle. When the velocity stage of the transmission is the first velocity and the second level is selected, the control unit controls the engine on the basis of a second tractive force characteristic. The tractive force is reduced more in the second tractive force characteristic than in the first tractive force characteristic.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2016
    Assignee: KOMATSU LTD.
    Inventor: Ryota Enomoto
  • Patent number: 9322139
    Abstract: A self-propelled construction road milling machine, includes a machine frame and a milling drum housing, in which a milling drum is arranged. The machine includes a drive unit with which the height of the scraper blade of a scraper device can be adjusted in relation to the milling drum. A control unit for the drive unit adjusts the height of the scraper blade and a measurement device measures the distance between the lower edge of the scraper blade and the milled material. The control unit is designed in such a way that the scraper blade is height-adjustable depending on the height of the milled material remaining in the milled track. The control unit ensures that, on the one hand, the milled material can come out of the milling drum housing unimpeded behind the milling drum in the direction of work and, on the other hand, that the milling drum housing is shut above the material that is coming out.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2016
    Assignee: Wirtgen GmbH
    Inventors: Christian Berning, Andreas Vogt, Cyrus Barimani, Günter Hähn
  • Patent number: 9014924
    Abstract: A system for determining material characteristics of a material of a work surface includes a position sensor and a controller. The controller stores a first estimate of the material characteristics and utilizes a planning system to determine an expected profile. The expected profile is based at least in part upon the first estimate of the material characteristics. The controller determines an actual profile of the work surface, compares the expected profile to the actual profile, and determines a second estimate of the material characteristics based at least in part upon the difference between the expected profile and the actual profile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2015
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Thandava K. Edara, Michael Taylor, Timothy Felty, Mo Wei, Kenneth L. Stratton, Troy K. Becicka
  • Patent number: 8970363
    Abstract: A supplemental control system for a materials handling vehicle comprises a wearable control device, and a corresponding receiver on the materials handling vehicle. The wearable control device is donned by an operator interacting with the materials handling vehicle, and comprises a wireless transmitter to be worn on the wrist of the operator and a travel control communicably coupled to the wireless transmitter. Actuation of the travel control causes the wireless transmitter to transmit a first type signal designating a request to the vehicle. The receiver is supported by the vehicle for receiving transmissions from the wireless transmitter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 21, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2015
    Assignee: Crown Equipment Corporation
    Inventors: James V. Kraimer, Jay G. Pollack, Timothy A. Wellman, Lewis H. Manci, Vernon W. Siefring, Mark E. Schumacher, Matthew M. Green, Anthony T. Castaneda
  • Patent number: 8327562
    Abstract: A hydraulic system with thermal shock protection. The hydraulic system can include a controller that limits when hot hydraulic fluids may be directed to cold hydraulic components. The hydraulic system can be used in machines such as trenchers to protect hydraulic components such as hydraulic motors from failure due to thermal shock.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2012
    Assignee: Vermeer Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Ty Hartwick, Jason Morgan
  • Patent number: 8078297
    Abstract: An operator controllable machine is retrofitted to be operator controlled or to be automatically controlled. An electrical joystick output is provided by a manually actuated joystick control, including a joystick, to a machine control in the manually controlled machine. An interface is added between the joystick control and the machine control to permit an external source, such as a GPS receiver or a laser receiver, to apply an electrical automatic control output to the machine control, as well. The interface includes a number of optical isolation circuits and a microprocessor. The isolated microprocessor output is supplied to the machine control, which produces valve control signals to control the hydraulic valves of the machine. The application of hydraulic fluid to the hydraulic cylinders of the machine is then controlled by either the joystick control output or the automatic control output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2006
    Date of Patent: December 13, 2011
    Assignee: Trimble Navigation Limited
    Inventors: Vincent Lansing Lasher, Richard Paul Piekutowski, James Thomas Zalusky
  • Patent number: 7930843
    Abstract: A system and process for controlling propulsion and steering of a track trencher excavation machine powered by an engine includes a multiple mode propulsion and steering control system that performs a plurality of functions depending on a selection of one of a plurality of operational modes. A controller generates a vehicle propulsion hydrostatic drive signal optionally using a track drive hydraulic pressure or a track drive speed as a variable for modifying the propulsion drive signal. The controller optionally uses a hydraulic attachment drive pressure as a variable for further modifying the propulsion drive signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2011
    Assignee: Vermeer Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: Ty Hartwick
  • Patent number: 7869923
    Abstract: In an excavator equipped with an offset boom, an offset command value generating device of a rotation control device offsets a second boom arranged on a distal end side in a rotation direction relative to a first boom arranged on a proximal end side when an acceleration start judging device judges that a rotation operation is started, and offsets the second boom in a reverse rotation direction when a deceleration start judging device judges that a rotation deceleration operation is started. Accordingly, when a rotation acceleration is performed using a reaction force generated in the offset, clearances between members of a work machine can be contracted in advance in the rotation direction, while when the rotation deceleration operation is performed, these clearances can be contracted in advance in the rotation reverse direction, thereby reducing an impact in the acceleration and deceleration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2005
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2011
    Assignee: Komatsu Ltd.
    Inventor: Tadashi Kawaguchi
  • Patent number: 7865285
    Abstract: A machine control system may include a machine mounted stereo imaging apparatus configured to provide a 3-D model indicative of a terrain feature. The machine control system may also include a control module configured to process the 3-D model, and automatically perform an operation with a work tool based on the characteristics of the 3-D model.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 4, 2011
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc
    Inventors: Robert J. Price, Everett G. Brandt
  • Patent number: 7797860
    Abstract: A method and system for automated operation of a work vehicle comprises a boom having a first end and a second end opposite the first end. A first hydraulic cylinder is associated with the boom. A first sensor detects a boom position based on a first linear position of a first movable member associated with the first hydraulic cylinder. An attachment is coupled to the second end of the boom. A second hydraulic cylinder is associated with the attachment. A second sensor detects an attachment position based on a second linear position of a second movable member associated with the second hydraulic cylinder. A switch accepts a command to move to or enter a preset position state from another position state. A controller controls the first hydraulic cylinder to attain a target boom position and for controlling the second cylinder to attain a target attachment position associated with the preset position state in response to the command.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2010
    Assignee: Deere & Company
    Inventors: Dennis Eric Schoenmaker, Mark Peter Sahlin, Jason Meredith, Jerry Anthony Samuelson, David August Johnson, Eric Richard Anderson
  • Patent number: 7752779
    Abstract: A first hydraulic cylinder is associated with a boom. A first sensor detects a boom angle of a boom with respect to a support (or a vehicle). An attachment is coupled to one end of the boom. A second hydraulic cylinder is associated with the attachment. A second sensor detects an attachment position of attachment based on a second linear position of a second movable member of the second hydraulic cylinder. An accelerometer detects an acceleration or deceleration of the boom. A switch is arranged to accept a command to move to a preset position from another position. A controller is capable of controlling the first hydraulic cylinder to attain a target boom position and for controlling the second cylinder to attain a target attachment position associated with the preset position in response to the command in conformity with at least one of a desired boom motion curve and a desired attachment motion curve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2010
    Assignee: Deere & Company
    Inventors: Dennis Eric Schoenmaker, Mark Peter Sahlin, Jason Meredith, Jerry Anthony Samuelson, David August Johnson, Eric Richard Anderson
  • Patent number: 7752778
    Abstract: A first hydraulic cylinder is associated with the boom having a first end and a second end opposite the first end. A first sensor detects a boom angle of a boom with respect to a support (or a vehicle) near the first end. An attachment is coupled to the second end of the boom. A second hydraulic cylinder is associated with the attachment. A second sensor detects an attachment angle of attachment with respect to the boom. An accelerometer detects an acceleration or deceleration of the boom. A switch is arranged to accept a command to move to a preset position from another position. A controller is capable of controlling the first hydraulic cylinder to attain a boom angle within the target boom angular range and for controlling the second cylinder to attain an attachment angle within the target attachment angular range associated with the preset position in response to the command in conformity with at least one of a desired boom motion curve and a desired attachment motion curve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2010
    Assignee: Deere & Company
    Inventors: Dennis Eric Schoenmaker, Mark Peter Sahlin, Jason Meredith, Jerry Anthony Samuelson, David August Johnson, Eric Richard Anderson
  • Patent number: 7748147
    Abstract: A method and system for automated operation of a work vehicle comprises a boom having a first end and a second end opposite the first end. A first hydraulic cylinder is associated with the boom. A first sensor detects a boom angle of a boom with respect to a support near the first end. An attachment is coupled to the second end of the boom. A second sensor detects an attachment angle of attachment with respect to the boom. A second cylinder is associated with the attachment. A switch accepts a command to move to or enter a preset position from another position. A controller controls the first hydraulic cylinder to attain a boom angle within a target boom angular range and for controlling the second cylinder to attain an attachment angle within a target attachment angular range associated with the preset position in response to the command.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2010
    Assignee: Deere & Company
    Inventors: Dennis Eric Schoenmaker, Mark Peter Sahlin, Jason Meredith, Jerry Anthony Samuelson, David August Johnson, Eric Richard Anderson
  • Patent number: 7640683
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for using satellite positioning systems to more precisely locate the position of a portion of an attachment on an earthmoving machine is disclosed. More specifically, satellite positioning system antennas are mounted to an arm or other point relative to the arm of an illustrative excavator. A reference point relative to these antennas is used to determine the precise location of a portion of an attachment to the excavator, such as the prongs of a bucket. In one embodiment, an angle sensor or inclinometer is used to ascertain the position of the prongs when the bucket is scooped. In another embodiment, an angle sensor or inclinometer is used to measure the tilt of the body of the excavator, such as would occur when the excavator is resting on a sloped surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2005
    Date of Patent: January 5, 2010
    Assignee: Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Steven Daniel McCain
  • Patent number: 7617620
    Abstract: A work vehicle with a working implement, comprising: a control lever 49 for controlling the working implement 3, the control lever being rockably disposed laterally of a driver's seat 16 mounted on a vehicle body 7; a control valve 52 disposed laterally of the vehicle body for controlling actuators 32, 44 that drive the working implement; and interlocking links 56, 57 for interlocking the control lever and spools 54, 55 of the control valve 52, and transmitting rocking of the control lever to the spools; wherein the control lever 49 and the spools 54, 55 are staggered transversely and longitudinally of the vehicle body 7, and the interlocking links 56, 57 are bent, one end of each interlocking link being connected to a first link connector 72, 68c connected to the control lever, the other end of each interlocking link being connected to a second link connector connected to one of the spools.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2009
    Assignee: Kubota Corporation
    Inventors: Hiroki Fukudome, Eiji Miyazaki, Masataka Takagi, Shuichi Takeshita
  • Patent number: 7555855
    Abstract: An automatic loading control system for loading a work implement of a work machine with material from a pile may include a lift sensor configured to monitor a lift actuator and communicate a lift signal. The system may also include a tilt sensor configured to monitor a tilt actuator and communicate a tilt signal. A speed sensor may be configured to communicate a speed signal indicative of a speed of the work machine. A control module may be configured to receive the lift signal, the tilt signal, and the speed signal and generate a signal to control a rim-pull based on at least one of a lift velocity of the lift actuator, a tilt velocity of the tilt actuator, and a work machine velocity to facilitate movement of the work implement through the pile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2009
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Bassam Jameel Alshaer, Richard G. Ingram, John James Krone, Jeffrey Kent Berry, Jared James Harris
  • Patent number: 7540102
    Abstract: A snow blower has an adaptive speed control, optionally an open carrier differential, which is optionally selectively lockable. The auger is preferably chain driven. The engine output shaft optionally has a first fixedly secured pulley and a second clutched pulley. The discharge chute can be guided in rotation by an idler wheel. The chute can be rotatably actuated by a cable assembly controlled by a rotatable handle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2009
    Assignee: Wisconsin Engineering, CZ s.r.o.
    Inventors: Jaroslav J. Olmr, Richard M. Olmr
  • Patent number: 7490421
    Abstract: A method for producing ground surfaces with a hydraulic excavator including a shovel applicable to the surface of the ground, and a lifting cylinder for lifting and lowering the excavator equipment. The lifting cylinder of the excavator equipment is actively connected with at least one work pump via a control device actuated by the operator; and whereby the lifting cylinder is lifted, lowered or blocked depending on the switching position of the control device. For compensating the weight of the excavator equipment and for adjusting an approximately constant pressure of application of the shovel to the surface of the ground as the excavator equipment is moving and working, the lifting side of the lifting cylinder, upon actuation of an actuating element, is automatically acted upon by an adjustable compensation pressure by supplying or evacuating a hydraulic medium.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2009
    Assignee: Herrn Georg Pletzer
    Inventors: Georg Pletzer, Joachim Waegner, Heinrich Lackenberg
  • Patent number: 7487608
    Abstract: A walk-behind self-propelled working machine has a machine body, a working unit mounted on the machine body to perform a working operation, an engine mounted on the machine body to drive the working unit, and a traveling unit mounted on the machine body and drivable to cause the machine body to travel. A control unit controls operations of the working unit and the traveling unit. An operating section is operatable by a human operator to provide signals to the control unit to control operations of the working unit and the traveling unit. A mode selector switch is mounted on the operating section for operation by the human operator to select one working operation mode from among plural alternative working operation modes that are set in advance in the control unit on the basis of a combination of a travel speed of the machine body, a revolving speed of the engine, and an opening of a throttle valve associated with the engine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2006
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2009
    Assignee: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Nobuo Yamazaki, Kiyomi Yanai, Toshiaki Kawakami, Norikazu Shimizu, Tsutomu Wakitani
  • Patent number: 7478489
    Abstract: The present invention is related to a loader of a construction apparatus such as front-end wheel loader or an agricultural tractor. Specifically, the present invention is related to a control system for a loader.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 20, 2009
    Assignee: Deere & Company
    Inventors: Eric R Anderson, Jahmy Hindman, Joshua D Graeve
  • Publication number: 20080263912
    Abstract: A system is provided for positioning a work implement. The system has at least one actuator for actuating a movement of a work implement. The system also has at least one sensor associated with the at least one actuator and configured to sense at least one parameter indicative of a position and an orientation of the work implement. Furtherrnore, the system has a controller configured to automatically create a travel path for the work implement and guide the work implement in response to the data received from the at least one sensor, wherein the controller is further configured to automatically modify the travel path when detecting an imminent collision between the work implement and an obstacle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 30, 2007
    Publication date: October 30, 2008
    Inventors: Imed Gharsalli, Vivek Bhaskar
  • Patent number: 7305778
    Abstract: A self-propelled working machine has a pair of transporting parts, a working part, an engine for driving at least the working part, and a main switch for turning the engine on and off. A locomotion preparation switch produces a command for moving the transporting parts when turned on and produces a stop command for stopping movement of the transporting parts when turned off. A locomotion speed setting member orders a target locomotion speed of the transporting parts. A work switch switches the working part on and off. A control part stops the engine when a first condition that the main switch is on, a second condition that the locomotion preparation switch is off, a third condition that the transporting parts have stopped moving and the target locomotion speed ordered by the locomotion speed setting member is zero, and a fourth condition that the work switch is off, are satisfied.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2007
    Assignee: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tsutomu Wakitani, Norikazu Shimizu, Toshiaki Kawakami
  • Patent number: 7246456
    Abstract: A tool control system includes actuators to move the tool, a controller to permit either manual or automatic tool operation, and an output configured to display information pertaining to a position of the tool. In addition, the tool can be moved in either an independent or linked mode, the latter such that during tool operation, both sides of the tool can move substantially in unison with one another, or during system setup, detectors used to ensure coordination with of the tool to a known benchmark can move substantially in unison with one another. The controller can display either single or multiple numbers related to the tool position, and can accept either single or multiple user inputs to move the tool by a user-determined or system-determined amount.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2007
    Assignee: Caterpillar Trimble Control Technologies LLC
    Inventor: Albert Wray
  • Patent number: 7185449
    Abstract: A system for controlling the hydraulically actuated components, including snow-ice control components carried by a truck. The system employs a hermetically secure composite housing mounted externally of the truck cab on the truck frame which retains a unique hydraulic reservoir in combination with a manifold supporting a plurality of solenoid actuated hydraulic valves and an associated electronic drive circuitry including a slave controller having a bidirectional data transmission port. That port communicates through a single bidirectional transmission bus with a master controller retained within an operator interface control console mounted in the truck cab. That control console also will contain a slave interface controller, as well as a slave datalog and communications controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2007
    Inventor: James A. Kime
  • Patent number: 7020553
    Abstract: A machine body controller 70A includes a modification control unit 70Ab for computing a torque modification value based on detected signals from environment sensors 75 to 83, and modifies a maximum absorption torque of a hydraulic pump controlled by a basic control unit 70Aa. An engine controller 70B includes a modification control unit 70Bb for computing an injection modification value based on detected the signals from the environment sensors 75 to 83, and modifies a fuel injection state of a fuel injection device 14 controlled by a basic control unit 70Ba. The controllers 70A, 70B further include computation element altering units 171, 181. A communication controller 70C downloads alteration data obtained from an external terminal 150 to the computation element altering units 171, 181, whereby corresponding computation elements contained in the modification control units 70Ab, 70Bb are altered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2006
    Assignee: Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Kazunori Nakamura, Toichi Hirata, Yasushi Arai, Yoichi Kowatari, Gen Yasuda, Hiroshi Watanabe
  • Patent number: 6951067
    Abstract: An apparatus for controllably positioning a work implement of an earth moving machine is disclosed. The work implement includes a boom and an attachment being attached thereto where the boom is actuated by a hydraulic lift cylinder and the attachment is actuated by a hydraulic tilt cylinder. Implement position sensors sense the elevational position of the boom and the pivotal position of the attachment and responsively produce respective implement position signals. A controller that receives the implement position signals, compares the relative position of the boom and the attachment with a pre-determined boundary condition, and produces an electrical valve signal. A valve assembly receives the electrical valve signal and controllably provides hydraulic fluid flow to the respective hydraulic cylinders in response to a magnitude of the electrical valve signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2005
    Assignee: Caterpillar, Inc.
    Inventors: Hans P. Dietz, Thomas G. Skinner
  • Patent number: 6897967
    Abstract: Railroad beds require regrading in order to permit for an increased axial load. There are often cables or tubes embedded in the roadbed at the roadbed sides, making regrading difficult. In accordance with the present invention, material is moved by suction to form pits at each side of the track at intervals along the railroad bed, and a laser camera is used to obtain information relating to the profile adjacent to the pits and the positions of the embedded cables or tubes. This information is saved, and used to control a device for mechanically excavating material from the railroad bed sides without damaging the embedded cables or tubes and grading the railroad bed. A laser measuring device is provided for reading the railroad bed profile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 24, 2005
    Assignee: Railcare AB
    Inventor: Dan Nilsson
  • Patent number: 6854523
    Abstract: In a motor grader, controls for running the vehicle at a constant speed are provided when a work for improving a land surface with a blade is started by running a working vehicle at a low speed from the low idling start. With this operation, it is possible to perform the work for improving a land surface by maintaining an actual revolution speed of the engine 5 at a value obtained by subtracting a prespecified revolution speed from the revolution speed for low idling to run the working vehicle at a low speed. With this feature, it is possible to continue the work at a constant speed and also to prevent occurrence of engine stop during the work at a low speed, when a higher duty of the engine is required and the actual revolution speed drops like in the case where an ascending slope of the land to be improved becomes large or where the cutting rate temporally increases due to local irregularities of the land surface during the land surface improvement work.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2005
    Assignee: Komatsu Ltd.
    Inventor: Hitoshi Takahashi
  • Patent number: 6736216
    Abstract: A construction apparatus (12) and method of controlling a construction apparatus from a laser source (38) made up of a substantially non-rotating beam (56). The construction apparatus includes a body (14), a construction tool (16) adapted to move material, a support moveably supporting the construction tool from the body and a control for guiding movement of the construction tool. A control is provided including a camera (28) that is adapted to capture an illuminated image that is derived from the laser source. The control determines direction information of the illuminated image with respect to the apparatus at least in part from an output of the camera. The control is further adapted to determine separation information of the spot with respect to the body and a physical relationship between the construction tool and the illuminated image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2004
    Assignee: Leica Geosystems GR, LLC
    Inventors: Hassel J Savard, Robert A Hasara
  • Patent number: 6675904
    Abstract: A set amount of fluid can be constantly supplied to an actuator and a flow-back of fluid from the actuator can be prevented, even in case of developing variations of a load pressure of the actuator and a pressure of a hydraulic pump, and provided is a control valve for controlling the driving of the actuator connected to the hydraulic pump, a logic check valve mounted in a path between the hydraulic pump and the control valve to be opened and shut, and a logic control valve mounted between the hydraulic pump and the pressure chamber of the logic check valve and for controlling an amount of fluid passing through the upper side of the logic check valve from the hydraulic pump upon switching.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 13, 2004
    Assignee: Volvo Construction Equipment Holding Sweden AB
    Inventor: Hae Kyun Joung
  • Patent number: 6523617
    Abstract: An intuitive control for a motor grader controls the blade high lift assembly by adjustment of a miniature representation available at the operator's station. This miniature representation allows the direction of adjustment of various hydraulic components to be made by moving the representation in the desired directions. The control is intuitive in that it corresponds to the actual high lift assembly. A similar miniature representation can be used for controlling the steering of the motor grader.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2003
    Assignee: Volvo Motor Graders Limited
    Inventor: Edward McGugan
  • Patent number: 6470251
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for controlling a hydraulically movable tool carried by a machine in order to maintain a selected horizontal orientation and a selected elevation relative to an external light reference. The apparatus is a control device, having a light detector, placed at a known location along a longitudinal axis of the tool and a single-axis gravity-based sensor. The gravity-based sensor is also provided within the housing of the control device to measure the horizontal orientation (side-to-side slope or pitch) of the longitudinal axis of the tool relative to true horizontal at the known location. Finally, with internal valve drivers, the control device individually controls the lift mechanism(s) of the hydraulically movable tool to maintain both a selected elevation and a selected horizontal orientation with only the signals provided by the light detector and the gravity-based sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2002
    Assignee: Trimble Navigation Limited
    Inventor: Bruce Wayne Enix
  • Patent number: 6295746
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for controlling movement of a work implement movably connected to a work machine. Movement of the work implement is controlled by manual and automatic control valves that are associated with “manual” and “automatic” modes of operation. The manual and automatic control valves are connected between hydraulic motors for controlling movement of the work implement and a hydraulic fluid supply. Each of the manual and automatic control valves governs hydraulic fluid flow to the hydraulic motors. A pressure sensing device is associated with the manual control valves to detect operator modulation of the manual control valves and thereby alter operation of the automatic control valves in the “automatic” mode on the same side of the implement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2001
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: Gregory L. Meduna, Jeffrey L. Slunder
  • Patent number: 6249994
    Abstract: A method of operating a work machine having (i) a hydraulic drive system for driving a drive track chain, (ii) a track tensioning assembly for adjusting tension on the drive track chain, (iii) a hydraulic work implement for performing a work function, and (iv) a fluid supply circuit for providing pressurized hydraulic fluid to both the hydraulic drive system and the hydraulic work implement includes the step of advancing the pressurized hydraulic fluid from the fluid supply circuit to the work implement when the work machine is being operated in a work mode of operation. The method also includes the step of diverting the pressurized hydraulic fluid from the work implement to the drive system when the work machine is being operated in a travel mode of operation. The method further includes the step of detecting a fluid pressure increase within the drive system in response to diversion of the pressurized hydraulic fluid from the work implement to the drive system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2001
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas E. Oertley
  • Patent number: 6125561
    Abstract: The present invention generally provides a method of automatic control for a scraper bowl by measuring a first force as applied to the scraper bowl during forward movement of the scraper. Preferably, the first force is derived by measuring the hydraulic pressure within the hydraulic actuator that controls the scraper bowl. A target force value is then subtracted from the first force to obtain a force error signal which is converted into a position command signal. The position command signal is preferably used to automatically adjust the depth of cut performed by the scraper blade without diversion of the operator's attention. Additionally, the scraper blade can be further controlled by constraining the vertical adjustment speed signal of the cutting blade to prevent the cutting blade from digging to deep or breaking through the ground by providing an upper constraint limit and a lower constraint limit which can be set according to tractive effort and the material condition acting upon the scraper blade.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2000
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Andrew G. Shull
  • Patent number: 6122848
    Abstract: A hydraulic drive type working vehicle, with speedy responsiveness in an excavating operation, includes: a pouring changeover valve (10), which is switchable between (a) a pouring position, wherein pressurized oil of a travel hydraulic circuit (5) is poured into a working machine hydraulic circuit (8), and (b) a shutoff position, wherein the travel hydraulic circuit (5) and the working machine hydraulic circuit (8) are isolated from each other; a first changeover valve (16), which is switchable from its shutoff position to its communicating position when the oil pressure of the travel hydraulic circuit (5) exceeds a predetermined oil pressure; a pouring command switch (14); and a second changeover valve (17), which is connected in series with the first changeover valve (16) and which is switchable from its shutoff position to its communicating position upon receipt of a pouring command from the pouring command switch (14); and wherein the pouring changeover valve (10) is switchable to the pouring position whe
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2000
    Assignee: Komatsu Ltd.
    Inventors: Masao Fukuda, Hiroaki Inoue, Nobuo Matsuyama
  • Patent number: 6076029
    Abstract: A slope excavation control system for a hydraulic excavator and a slope excavation method using a hydraulic excavator include an external reference 80 which extends horizontally in the direction of advance of a target slope face. A vertical distance hry and a horizontal distance hrx from the external reference to a reference point on a target slope face, and an angle of the target slope face are set by using a setting device. When a front reference provided at a bucket end is aligned with the external reference and an external reference setting switch is depressed, a control unit calculates a vertical distance hfy and a horizontal distance hfx from a body center of the excavator to the external reference, then calculates a vertical distance hsy and a horizontal distance hsx from the body center to the reference point of the target slope face by using the distances hsy and hsx as modification values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2000
    Assignee: Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Hiroshi Watanabe, Kazuo Fujishima, Masakazu Haga
  • Patent number: 5951613
    Abstract: An apparatus for determining a position of a work implement of a work machine in a site coordinate system. The position of the work implement is defined as the position in the site coordinate system of two fixed points located on the work implement. The apparatus includes first and second position sensors mounted on the work implement. A pitch sensor connected to the work implement senses a pitch of the work implement and responsively produces a pitch signal. A cross slope sensor connected to the work implement senses a cross slope of the work implement and responsively produces a cross slope signal. A rotation sensor connected to the work implement senses a rotation of the work implement and responsively produces a rotation sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1999
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: William C. Sahm, Gregory R. Harrod, Ronald J. Siroky, Craig L. Koehrsen, Satish M. Shetty
  • Patent number: 5822891
    Abstract: A work area limitation control system for a construction machine which includes a second entrance forbidden area calculating portion which sets a second entrance forbidden area positioned closer to a front device than a first entrance forbidden area. A slowdown control calculating portion calculates distances between two monitoring points and the second and first entrance forbidden areas and modifies operation signals (pilot pressures) depending on the relation of the calculated distances with respect to a slowdown distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1998
    Assignee: Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Kazuo Fujishima, Hiroshi Watanabe, Masakazu Haga
  • Patent number: 5722190
    Abstract: A priority biased load sense hydraulic system for hydraulic excavators is provided. The hydraulic system includes first and second variable flow pumps which are coupled in load sense arrangement. The first pump is coupled to a first valve bank having a first valve section having a main spool and a compensator spool having an orifice therein, a second valve section having a main spool and a compensator spool having an orifice therein, and third and fourth valve sections each having a main spool and a compensator spool. The second pump is connected to a second valve bank. The second valve bank includes a first section having a main spool and a compensator spool having an orifice. A second valve section having a main spool and a compensator spool having an orifice and a third valve section. The compensator spools in the first and second valve banks serve to prioritize hydraulic fluid flow through the valve banks thereby affectively prioritizing the hydraulic functions receiving hydraulic fluid flow.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 3, 1998
    Assignee: The Gradall Company
    Inventor: John W. Arnold
  • Patent number: 5647439
    Abstract: An apparatus coupled to a work machine for assisting the work machine in removing a first layer of material from a second layer of material is provided. The work machine includes a work implement with a cutting portion. The work implement is elevationally movably connected to the work machine. The cutting portion extends in a direction transverse the longitudinal axis of the work machine. An electromagnetic unit, connected to the work machine, delivers electromagnetic radiation towards the surface, receives a reflection of the delivered electromagnetic radiation, and delivers a responsive first signal. The electromagnetic radiation penetrates the first layer of material and reflects off of the second layer of material. A controller receives the first signal, determines the distance between the electromagnetic unit and the second layer of material and responsively produces a distance signal. An implement controller receives the distance signal and responsively actuates the work implement relative to the frame.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 15, 1997
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: J. Scott Burdick, Paul T. Corcoran, Adam J. Gudat, Robert A. Herold, John F. Szentes
  • Patent number: 5584346
    Abstract: A motor grader includes a work implement operating device which permits operation of a plurality of direction control valve with reduced number of operation levers. The motor grader includes a wheeled body for traveling and carrying at least one work implement, at least one operation lever operable in a first direction for electrically generating a first operation command signal and a second direction perpendicular to the first direction for generating a second operation command signal and a mode selector selectable at least between a first mode and a second mode for generating a mode selection signal. A controller receives the first and second operation command signals and the mode selection signal for controlling different motor grader functions depending upon an input combination of the first and second operation command signals and the mode selection signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 17, 1996
    Assignees: Komatsu Est Corp., Kabushiki Kaisha Komatsu Seisakusho
    Inventors: Masaaki Sakamoto, Tsuneo Kaneko, Masaaki Nishimura
  • Patent number: 5551518
    Abstract: A tilt rate compensating implement system and method utilizes first hand second sensors for sensing the position of the rod end portion of first and second implement lift jacks. A controller calculates a tilt angle of the implement based on a difference in the amount of extension of the lift jacks. An inclinometer senses an angle of the frame relative to a predetermined plane and a tilt rate sensor senses the rate of change of the frame angle relative to said plane. A corrected frame angle based on signals from the inclinometer and tilt rate sensors is combined with the implement tilt angle to provide a corrected implement tilt angle. A display device displays the corrected implement tilt angle. The controller compares the corrected implement tilt angle to the desired implement tilt angle and actuates a fluid operated system to move a tilt jack in response to a difference between the desired and corrected implement tilt angles. The tilt angle control system is particularly suited for use on a bulldozer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 3, 1996
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventor: Kenneth L. Stratton
  • Patent number: 5469646
    Abstract: A hydraulic excavator adapted to be changed over simply to a fine operation mode so as to control the capacity of a hydraulic pump through load-sensing control to thereby make it possible to perform accurate work when the machine needs to be finely operated temporarily for operations such as ground levelling, and position adjustment on a dump vessel, wherein the fine operation mode is easily cleared to switch the excavator to a standard mode to thereby improve operability, as well as work efficiency. When the excavator is switched to the fine operation mode so as to control the capacity of the hydraulic pump through load-sensing control for accurate work, the engine is driven at such a torque and engine revolution as permitting a minimum fuel consumption, thus reducing the fuel consumption of the engine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 28, 1995
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Komatsu Seisakusho
    Inventor: Fujitoshi Takamura
  • Patent number: 5365442
    Abstract: An implement position control device including a central processing unit (6) coupled to an ultrasonic transducer (17) and receiver/amplifier (20) adapted to calculate the distance to a reference target (12 and a relatively more distant surface (9). Control pulses are initiated by the CPU (6) to manipulate a solenoid (25) by means of a valve driver (24) in response to the calculated distance measurements. An autotune task (26) causes a series of precise pulses to manipulate the solenoid, thereby permitting calculation of the transfer function (52) defining the relationship between pulse width and implement position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 1991
    Date of Patent: November 15, 1994
    Assignee: Thermedics, Inc.
    Inventor: Douglas C. Schmidt