US20060120890A1 - Drive system for fluid flow device - Google Patents

Drive system for fluid flow device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060120890A1
US20060120890A1 US10999267 US99926704A US2006120890A1 US 20060120890 A1 US20060120890 A1 US 20060120890A1 US 10999267 US10999267 US 10999267 US 99926704 A US99926704 A US 99926704A US 2006120890 A1 US2006120890 A1 US 2006120890A1
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
drive motor
fluid flow
flow device
longitudinal axis
system
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10999267
Inventor
David Moorhouse
Robert Albers
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Dresser Inc
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Dresser Inc
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F04POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS FOR LIQUIDS OR ELASTIC FLUIDS
    • F04CROTARY-PISTON, OR OSCILLATING-PISTON, POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; ROTARY-PISTON, OR OSCILLATING-PISTON, POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT PUMPS
    • F04C29/00Component parts, details or accessories of pumps or pumping installations, not provided for in groups F04C18/00 - F04C28/00
    • F04C29/0042Driving elements, brakes, couplings, transmissions specially adapted for pumps
    • F04C29/0085Prime movers
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F01MACHINES OR ENGINES IN GENERAL; ENGINE PLANTS IN GENERAL; STEAM ENGINES
    • F01CROTARY-PISTON OR OSCILLATING-PISTON MACHINES OR ENGINES
    • F01C21/00Component parts, details or accessories not provided for in groups F01C1/00 - F01C20/00
    • F01C21/007General arrangements of parts; Frames and supporting elements
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F04POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS FOR LIQUIDS OR ELASTIC FLUIDS
    • F04CROTARY-PISTON, OR OSCILLATING-PISTON, POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; ROTARY-PISTON, OR OSCILLATING-PISTON, POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT PUMPS
    • F04C29/00Component parts, details or accessories of pumps or pumping installations, not provided for in groups F04C18/00 - F04C28/00
    • F04C29/0042Driving elements, brakes, couplings, transmissions specially adapted for pumps
    • F04C29/005Means for transmitting movement from the prime mover to driven parts of the pump, e.g. clutches, couplings, transmissions
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F04POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS FOR LIQUIDS OR ELASTIC FLUIDS
    • F04CROTARY-PISTON, OR OSCILLATING-PISTON, POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; ROTARY-PISTON, OR OSCILLATING-PISTON, POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT PUMPS
    • F04C2220/00Application
    • F04C2220/10Vacuum

Abstract

A drive system for a fluid flow device including a transmission member (e.g., a drive belt or the like) coupled to a drive motor and a fluid flow device such that the transmission member can be readily loosened without the use of extra tooling such as lifting jacks, sliding plates, or other lifting devices. In some embodiments, a drive belt may be removed from the fluid flow system by shifting the position of the drive motor relative to the fluid flow device through application of manual force from a user's hand. The drive system includes a drive motor mounted on a mounting platform that is pivotably coupled about a longitudinal axis to a base. At least a portion of the drive motor is disposed above the longitudinal axis of the mounting platform.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This invention relates to a drive system for a fluid flow device, and certain embodiments related to coupling components for the drive system.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Fluid flow systems may be used in a variety of industrial applications, including fluid conveyance, chemical mixing and dispensing, material drying, material transport, product packaging, and others. These systems typically include a fluid flow device, such as a vacuum pump, a rotary blower, or the like. The fluid flow devices are powered by a drive motor that is coupled to an input shaft of the fluid flow device. For example, a positive displacement rotary blower uses one or more impellers that are rotatably mounted in a chamber formed in a casing. Fluid to be processed, such as air, is introduced into an inlet at one end of the casing, and is forced by impellers to an outlet at the other end of the casing. In general, at least one input shaft is coupled to the impellers to provide rotational power to the impellers. This rotational power is transmitted to the blower's input shaft from the motor's output shaft. In many instances, a drive belt couples the output shaft of the drive motor to the input shaft of the blower.
  • Some fluid flow systems may include a rotary blower or vacuum pump mounted on a common base with the drive motor. Certain packaged systems may have smaller motors in order to provide portable or temporary fluid control solutions. Alternatively, the drive motor and fluid flow device may be mounted adjacent one another on a common base in more permanent applications, such as waste water treatment plants. In either case, certain factors affect the design of fluid flow systems that use a drive motor to transmit power to a fluid flow device.
  • The time and costs associated with system maintenance and repair is one factor that affects the design of a fluid flow system. For example, the drive belt that couples the drive motor to the rotary blower may need repair or replacement during the life of the fluid flow system. In some cases, the drive belt can only be removed when the drive motor and rotary blower are shifted closer to one another, which relieves the tension in the drive belt. A significant amount of labor and time may be required to disconnect the drive motor from the base to shift the position of the drive motor. In certain systems that have sizeable drive motors (e.g., some 30-hp electric motors can weigh approximately 450 lbs or more), jacking equipment, sliding tracks, or other specialized lifting devices are required to shift the position of the drive motor and loosen the tension of the drive belt. This tooling can increase the costs associated with the maintenance and repair of the fluid flow system. Moreover, additional time and tooling may be required to properly tension the new drive belt after the drive motor and fluid control device have been shifted back into the original positions.
  • Another factor that affects the design of the drive system of the fluid flow device is safety. In some circumstances, the drive motor and fluid flow device are spaced apart to increase the tension in the drive belt. If the drive belt is placed under sufficient stress, the belt may break or become severely deformed. Depending on the construction of the system, the drive motor or the fluid flow device may unexpectedly shift positions when the tension in the belt is eliminated. Such unexpected movements may injure nearby workers or otherwise damage equipment.
  • SUMMARY
  • Certain embodiments of a fluid flow system provide a transmission member (e.g., a drive belt or the like) coupled to a drive motor and a fluid flow device such that the transmission member can be readily loosened without the use of extra tooling such as lifting jacks, sliding plates, or other lifting devices. In some embodiments, a drive belt may be removed from the fluid flow system by shifting the position of the drive motor relative to the fluid flow device through application of manual force from a user's hand.
  • In one illustrative embodiment, a system includes a drive motor that is pivotably coupled to a base about a first axis. The drive motor has an output member that is rotatable about a second axis. The second axis is substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the first axis, and at least a portion of the drive motor and the first axis are disposed vertically relative to one another. The system also includes a fluid flow device coupled to the base. The fluid flow device has an input member. The system further includes a transmission member to engage with the output member and the input member to transmit rotational power from the drive motor to the fluid flow device.
  • This and other embodiments may be configured to provide one or more of the following advantages. First, the fluid flow system may include a transmission member (e.g., a drive belt or the like) that can be safely loosened by applying a force from the user's hand to the side of the drive motor or another component. Second, replacement of the transmission member may be accomplished without the use of a lifting jack or other such devices. Third, the fluid flow system may include a self-tensioning apparatus to properly tension the transmission member after installation. Fourth, the system may include one or more safety mechanisms to limit the pivoting movement of the drive motor relative to the base. Such safety mechanisms may prevent harm to the user or other equipment in the event of transmission member breakage. Some or all of these and other advantages may be provided by the stretching systems described herein.
  • The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a front view of a fluid flow system in accordance with certain embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a right side view of the fluid flow system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a left side view of the fluid flow system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 is a top view of the fluid flow system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 is a front view of a fluid flow system with a drive motor in a first position in accordance with certain embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 6 is a front view of the fluid flow system with a drive motor in a second position in accordance with some embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a front view of a fluid flow system illustrating a portion of an enclosure with a front panel removed.
  • FIG. 8 is a front view of the enclosure of the fluid flow system of FIG. 7 with the front panel installed.
  • FIG. 9 is a top view of the enclosure of the fluid flow system of FIG. 7.
  • Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
  • A number of embodiments of a fluid flow system provide a transmission member, such as a belt or cable, coupled to a drive motor and to a fluid flow device in a manner that permits the transmission member to be readily loosened by application of manual force from a user's hand to a component of the system. In certain preferred embodiments, the drive belt may be removed from the drive motor and/or the fluid flow device without the use of extra tooling such as lifting jacks or other such devices.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a fluid flow system 100 includes a drive motor 130 movably coupled to a base 110. In this embodiment, a mounting platform 112 is rotatably engaged with the base portion 110 about a longitudinal axis 115. The motor 130 may be mounted to the platform 112 such that the motor 130 is pivotably coupled to the base 110 and movable about a longitudinal axis 115 of the platform 112. A fluid flow device 150 is mounted to the base 110 and disposed laterally adjacent to the drive motor 130. A transmission member 170, such as a belt, cable, or chain, is engaged with the drive motor 130 and the fluid flow device 150 such that rotational power is transmitted from the drive motor 130 to the fluid flow device 150.
  • Referring more closely to FIGS. 1-2, the fluid flow device 150 may have a casing 155 that at least partially surrounds an internal chamber. An input portion 152 of the fluid flow device 150 engages the transmission member 170. The input portion 152 may include an input shaft 154 and one or more pulleys, gears, collars, or other devices to engage the transmission member 170. The input shaft 154 rotates about an input axis 156 and may cause one or more impellers (not shown in FIGS. 1-2) to rotate in the internal chamber of the flow device 150, thereby forcing fluid to flow through the system 100. In this embodiment, the fluid flow device 150 is depicted as a positive displacement rotary blower having multiple impellers that deliver a large quantity of fluid relative to the individual pulses. It should be understood that other fluid flow devices, such as vacuum pumps, centrifugal flow control units, or other rotationally powered flow devices, may be mounted to the base 110 and used in the fluid flow system 100.
  • An inlet filter 180 may be connected to the fluid flow device 150 to prevent undesirable matter from entering the fluid flow device 150. The inlet filter 180 may be connected to the flow device 150 using a slip-on connection, a threaded engagement, or other fastening devices. The inlet filter 180 is adapted to receive fluid from a source, such as a supply tank or from ambient air. The fluid flow system 100 may control the flow of almost any type of fluid, such as air, other gases, water, oil, other liquids, or mixtures thereof. When the fluid flow system 100 is operating, the fluid may be passed through the inlet filter 180 and into the internal chamber of the fluid flow device 150.
  • Still referring to FIGS. 1-2, after the fluid is passed through the internal chamber, the flow device 150 may force the fluid into a discharge silencer 185. The fluid flow device 150 may have pulsation within the piping system and in the vicinity of the flow device can create significant noise depending on the size and operational speed of the flow device. The discharge silencer 185 can be used to reduce the noise levels emitting from the fluid flow system 100. The proper size and type of discharge silencer 185 may depend upon the fluid flow volume and type of discharge fluid. The discharge silencer 185 may be integrally manufactured with the base 110 or may be mounted to the base 110 using specially sized mounting flanges. In addition or in the alternative, the discharge silencer 185 may be mounted to the flow device 150 using clamps, a threaded connection, a slip-on connection, a welded connection, or the like.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, the fluid may pass through the discharge silencer 185 and out an exhaust port 188 (also shown in FIG. 4). Depending upon the application in which the fluid flow system 100 is used, the various structures, such as a hose, tube, pipe, or the like, may be connected to the exhaust port 188. The exhaust port 188 may include threads 189 or other engagement devices to which an output structure can be secured.
  • The fluid flow system 100 may include a pressure relief valve 190, as shown in FIG. 2 (refer also to FIG. 4). In the event that fluid is prevented from exiting through the exhaust port 188, the fluid may escape the system 100 through the pressure relief valve 190.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 3, the drive motor 130 includes an output portion 132 that supplies rotational power for operation of the fluid flow system 100. The output portion 132 may include a drive shaft 134 and one or more pulleys, gears, collars, or other devices to engage the transmission member 170. Thus, as the output portion 132 and drive shaft 134 rotate about an output axis 136, the transmission member 170 causes the input portion 152 to rotate about the input axis 156, thereby supplying power for the operation of the fluid flow device 150.
  • In this embodiment, the drive motor 130 is depicted as an electric motor having a NEMA frame. (The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has established industry-standard, base-mounted motor dimensions.) The drive motor 130 depicted in this embodiment has a substantially cylindrical casing 137 with fins 138 extending therefrom. Also, this embodiment of the drive motor 130 includes a junction box 139 for electrical interconnection with a power source. It should be understood that other drive motors, such as gasoline-powered motors, electrical servo motors, or other rotational output devices, may be pivotably coupled to the base 110 and used in the fluid flow system 100.
  • Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, the drive motor 130 includes mounting flanges 135 that are connected to one or more mounting platforms 112 (also shown in FIG. 4). In this embodiment, the platforms 112 are mounted to a shaft 114, which is rotatably engaged with the base 110. The shaft 114 is connected to the base 110 via a bearing connection 116 such that the shaft is rotatable about the axis 115. Thus the drive motor 130 is pivotably coupled with the base 110 such that the drive motor 130 can pivot about the longitudinal axis 115 of platform 112 relative to the base 110.
  • In one presently preferred embodiment, two platforms 112 are mounted to the shaft 114 such that the one platform 112 may be adjusted relative to the other platform 112 along the longitudinal axis 115. For example, a bushing-and-setscrew connection may be used between each platform 112 and the shaft 114 so that each platform 122 may be shifted along the shaft 114 and then locked into a desired position. As such, the platforms 112 may be adjustable relative to one another to accommodate driver motors 130 of various sizes. Furthermore, some embodiments may include mounting platforms 112 having laterally extending slots through which the motor's flanges 135 may be secured to the mounting platform by means of fasteners. These slots permit the drive motor 130 to be laterally shifted relative to the longitudinal axis 115. In these embodiments, adjusting the lateral position of the drive motor 130 on the mounting platforms 112 may accommodate driver motors 130 or transmission members 170 of various sizes.
  • In this embodiment, the output axis 136 of the drive motor 130, the input axis 156 of the flow device 150, and the longitudinal axis 115 of the platform 112 each extend in a substantially horizontal direction and are substantially parallel to one another. Accordingly, as the drive motor 130 pivots about the longitudinal axis 115 of the platform 112, the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 remain substantially parallel to one another, yet the distance between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 is modified. For example, if the drive motor 130 is pivoted about the axis 115 toward the fluid flow device 150, the distance between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 is decreased, thereby reducing the tension of the transmission member 170. On the other hand, if the drive motor 130 is pivoted about the axis 115 away from the fluid flow device 150, the distance between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 is increased, thereby increasing the tension of the transmission member 170.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the axis 115 and at least a portion of the drive motor 130 are disposed vertically relative to one another (e.g., at least a portion of the drive motor 130 is disposed above or below the longitudinal axis 115 of the platform 112, as shown, for example, in FIG. 1). In such embodiments, moving the drive motor 130 to pivot about the longitudinal axis 115 requires relatively lower amounts of force. Because a portion of the drive motor 130 is on each side of the longitudinal axis 115, a user attempting to move the drive motor 130 is not required to lift the entire weight of the drive motor 130. Rather, the user may apply a force with his or her hand to the side of the drive motor 130 (or another component such as the platform 112) to create a moment about the axis 115, which causes the drive motor 130 to pivot about the axis 115. If, on the other hand, the drive motor 130 was positioned wholly outside of vertical relation with the axis 115 (e.g., no portion of the drive motor 130 was disposed vertically above or below the axis 115), the amount of force required to pivot the drive motor 130 about the axis 115 would be significant and, in some cases, would likely require the use of a lifting jack.
  • In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the output axis 136 of the drive motor 130 is positioned substantially vertically above the longitudinal axis 115 so that at least one mounting flange 135 is disposed on each side of the longitudinal axis 115 of the platform 112. In this embodiment, a vertical plane through the longitudinal axis 115 and the center of mass of the drive motor 130 are spaced apart at a distance of less than half the width of the drive motor 130. In some instances, the center of mass of the drive motor 130 may fall within the vertical plane through the axis 115. As such, a user may move the drive motor 130 to pivot about the longitudinal axis 115 with a reduced amount of force.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, the fluid flow system 100 may include a tensioning system 140 to maintain sufficient tension in the transmission member 170. The tensioning system 140 includes a biasing member, such as a spring 144, that urges the drive motor 130 to pivot about the longitudinal axis 115 away from the flow device 150 so that the tension in the transmission member 170 is maintained. In this embodiment, the tension system 140 includes a spring 144 that is disposed around a threaded shaft 142. The spring 144 may be under compression between a cap 143 and the platform 112 such that a downward force is applied to the platform 112. This compression force from the spring 144 creates a moment about the longitudinal axis which may be offset by the tension in the transmission member 170. Thus, the force from the spring 144 urges the drive motor 130 to pivot away from the flow device 150 while the tension in the transmission member 170 urges the drive motor 130 to pivot toward the flow device 150. Accordingly, the force from the spring can be adjusted to modify the static tension in the transmission member 170 and maintain a proper tension in the transmission member 170 while the drive motor 130 is operating.
  • In this embodiment, the force from the spring 144 can be modified by adjusting the position of the cap 143 along the threaded shaft 142. For example, the cap 143 (or nut disposed above the cap) can be screwed along the threaded shaft 142 to adjust the position of the cap 143, thereby adjusting the compression of the spring 144. (The threads may extend only along certain portions of the threaded shaft 142.) The threaded shaft 142 may be pivotably engaged with the base 110 so that the compression force from the spring 144 remains substantially perpendicular to the mounting platform 112. If, for example, the mounting platform 112 is pivoted at a certain angle relative to the base 110, the threaded shaft 142 may pivot to extend in a position substantially normal to the platform 112. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the threaded shaft 142 is attached to a mounting axle 146 that is rotatably engaged with an angle bracket 147. Such an embodiment permits the threaded shaft to pivot relative to the base 110.
  • The tensioning system 140 can maintain sufficient tension in the transmission member 170 even if the transmission member 170 deforms during operation of the fluid flow system 100. In some embodiments, the transmission member 170 may comprise a material that is susceptible to creep or other deformation, such as when the transmission member 170 is a belt or a cable comprising a polymer material. After a large number of cycles during the operation of the drive motor 130, the tension in the belt may cause the belt material to creep or otherwise deform such that the circumferential length of the belt is slightly increased. This deformation or creep may reduce the tension in the belt if the distance between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 remains unchanged. A reduction in tension may cause slippage or other inefficiencies between the transmission member 170 and at least one of the output portion 132 and the input portion 152. The tensioning system 140 may compensate for any gradual deformation of the transmission member 170 that occurs after numerous cycles of the drive motor operation. In the event that the transmission member 170 slightly deforms and increases in circumferential length (which may cause a reduction in the tension force), compression force from the spring 144 may cause the drive motor 130 to slightly pivot away from the flow device 150. This self-tensioning adjustment by the tensioning system 140 shifts the distance between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 when a reduction in the tension of member 170 occurs, thereby maintaining a sufficient tension in the transmission member 170 during the operation of the fluid flow system 100.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, the fluid flow system 100 may include a safety mechanism 195 to reduce the likelihood of injuring a user or damaging equipment. In this embodiment, the safety mechanism 195 includes one or more stoppers 196 and 197 to limit the rotation of the drive motor 130 about the axis 115. As previously described, the drive motor 130 is pivotably coupled to the base 110 about the axis 115, and the compression force from the spring 144 and the tension force in the transmission member 170 cooperate to retain the drive motor 130 in an operational position. In the event that the transmission member 170 is removed, broken, or severely deforms, the drive motor 130 may pivot away from the flow device 150. Such movement of the drive motor 130, if unexpected, may cause injury to a nearby worker or damage to other equipment.
  • As shown in FIG. 5, the stopper 196 may comprise a nut engaged with the threaded shaft 142 so that the position of the stopper 196 is adjustable. The stopper 196 is adapted to intercept the mounting platform 112 in order to limit the drive motor's pivoting movement. Thus, the higher the stopper 196 is positioned on the threaded shaft 142, the greater the pivoting limitation is imposed on the drive motor 130. In one example, if the transmission member 170 snaps at a breakage point 172, the drive motor 130 may be urged to pivot away from the flow device 150 (due to the force from the spring 144, the position of the motor's center of mass relative to the longitudinal axis 115, or both). If the drive motor 130 is permitted to freely pivot in that direction, the platforms 112 or a part of the drive motor 130 (e.g., the electrical junction box 139) may unexpectedly strike a nearby worker or some piece of equipment. In this embodiment, the stopper 196 limits the degree of drive motor's pivoting movement to reduce the likelihood of such injuries or damage. In certain embodiments, the safety mechanism 195 may limit the drive motor's pivoting movement to no more than 20° from the vertical. In some presently preferred embodiments, the safety mechanism 195 limits the drive motor's pivoting movement to about 5° or less from the vertical.
  • Still referring to FIG. 5, the safety mechanism 195 may also include a second stopper 197 on the opposite side of the drive motor 130 from the first stopper 196. In this embodiment, the second stopper 197 is depicted as an angle bracket that is attached to the base 110. The second stopper 197 is disposed proximal to the mounting platform 112 so as to intercept the mounting platform 112 at a certain position, thereby limiting the drive motor's pivoting movement in the direction toward the flow device 150. The first and second stoppers 196 and 197 of the safety mechanism 195 are not limited to the threaded nut or the angle bracket shown in FIG. 5. Rather, each stopper 196 or 197 may comprise an actuator, flange, rod, cable, or other device to limit the pivoting movement of the drive motor 130 at certain positions.
  • Referring now to FIG. 6, the fluid flow system 100 may be operated such that the transmission member 170 can be readily replaced and then properly tensioned. In some embodiments, the transmission member 170 can be sufficiently loosened by application of manual force from a user's hand 104 without the use of lifting devices such as lifting jacks or sliding plates. For example, a drive belt may be removed from the fluid flow system 100 by shifting the position of the drive motor 130 relative to the fluid flow device 150 without the use of extra tooling such as lifting jacks, sliding plates, or other lifting devices. The drive motor 130 can be pivoted about the longitudinal axis 115 through application of a force 102 from the user 104 against the side of the drive motor 130 or another component.
  • As shown in FIG. 6, when the transmission member 170 is in need of replacement, a user may apply a force 102 to some portion of the drive motor 130 (or another component such as the platform 112) to create a moment about the axis 115, which causes the drive motor 130 to pivot toward the fluid flow device 150. In some circumstances, the user may choose to raise the position of the cap 143 to relieve the compression of the spring 144. By relieving the compression of the spring 144, the force 102 required to pivot the drive motor 130 toward the flow device 150 may be reduced. In this embodiment, the force 102 required to shift the position of the drive motor 130 may be applied directly from the user's hand 104 or from an instrument held in the user's hand 104. As shown in FIG. 6, the user may shift the position of the drive motor 130 to the maximum rotation permitted by the second stopper 197 in order to prepare the transmission member 170 for removal. It should be understood that, in some embodiments, the transmission member 170 may be sufficiently loosened for removal without forcing the drive motor 130 to pivot to the maximum rotation permitted by the stopper 197.
  • Still referring to FIG. 6, when the force 102 is applied to pivot the drive motor 130 about the longitudinal axis 115 toward the fluid flow device 150, the distance 105 between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 is decreased. As previously described, the tension of the transmission member 170 is reduced when the distance between the output axis 136 and the input axis 156 is decreased. At a point when the tension in the transmission member 170 is sufficiently reduced, the user may grasp the transmission member 170 with a hand 106 (or a handheld instrument) and pull the transmission member away from either the output portion 132 or the input portion 152.
  • After the transmission member 170 is removed from the fluid system 100, a replacement transmission member 170 can be installed. With the drive motor 130 pivoted toward the fluid flow device 150 (refer, for example, to FIG. 6), the user may engage the replacement transmission member 170 with the output portion 132 of the drive motor 130 and the input portion 152 of the flow device 150. Then the user may release the force 102 and permit the drive motor 130 to pivot to a steady-state position (while the replacement transmission member is engaged with both the output portion 132 and the input portion 152). The user may adjust the position of the cap 143 along the threaded shaft 142 to increase or decrease the compression of the spring 144 so that the transmission member 170 is set to a proper tension. Optionally, a force transducer or another measuring device may be connected to the transmission member 170 to measure the tension. As previously described, even after the drive motor 130 has operated through numerous cycles, the tensioning system 140 can maintain sufficient tension in the transmission member 170 and compensate for minor changes in the transmission member's circumferential length.
  • Accordingly, certain embodiments of the fluid flow system 100 include a transmission member 170 that can be safely loosened and removed without the use of a lifting jack or other such devices. Furthermore, such replacement of the transmission member 170 may be accomplished by applying a force from the user's hand or handheld instruments. These features may reduce the labor and costs associated with the maintenance of the transmission member 170 in fluid flow systems.
  • Referring to FIGS. 7-9, some embodiments of the fluid flow system 100 may be mounted in an enclosure 200. In this embodiment, the enclosure 200 includes a front panel 210 (FIG. 8), two side panels 220 and 230, a rear panel 240, a top panel 250, and an enclosure base 260. The side panels 220 and 230 include vents 222 and 232 to permit airflow in and out of the enclosure 200. The enclosure base 260 includes a substantially planar portion 262 onto which the fluid flow system 100 is mounted. One or more mounting flanges 264 may be attached to the enclosure base 260 so that the enclosure 200 may be secured to the ground or another surface. The enclosure 200 may also include a pressure measurement system 270 that displays pressure measurement information. For example, the pressure measurement system 270 may include a first gauge 272 to display the pressure measurement in the inlet filet 180 and a second gauge 274 to display the pressure measurement at the exhaust port 188.
  • As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the front panel 210 may be removable from the enclosure 200 to provide access to the fluid flow system 100 mounted therein. Thus, a user may perform maintenance on the transmission member 170 or other components of the fluid flow system 100 without removing the system 100 from the enclosure 200. In this embodiment, the front panel 210 may be partially removed to reveal a safety screen 212 (FIG. 8). As such, a user may remove a portion of the front panel 210 and view into the enclosure 200 without exposing any limbs or instruments to the moving components of the fluid flow system 100 mounted therein. In such embodiments, the front panel 210 (including the safety screen 212) may be wholly removed from the enclosure 200 to provide access inside the enclosure 200, or the front panel 210 may be partially removed such that the safety screen 212 remains connected to the enclosure 200.
  • A number of embodiments of the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (24)

  1. 1. A drive system for a fluid flow device, comprising:
    a drive motor pivotably coupled to a base about a first longitudinal axis, the drive motor having an output member that is rotatable about a second axis that is substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the first axis, wherein at least a portion of the drive motor is disposed vertically above or below the first longitudinal axis;
    a fluid flow device coupled to the base, the fluid flow device having an input member; and
    a transmission member to engage with the output member and the input member to transmit rotational power from the drive motor to the fluid flow device.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein when the drive motor is in a first operative position relative to the base, the transmission member is under tension and engaged with output member and the input member.
  3. 3. The system of claim 2, wherein when the drive motor is in a second operative position relative to the base, tension in the transmission member is reduced such that the transmission member is disengagable from at least one of the output member or input member.
  4. 4. The system of claim 3, wherein the drive motor is pivoted about the first longitudinal axis toward the fluid flow device when in the second operative position.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive motor is pivotably coupled to the base about the first axis such that the drive motor is pivotably movable from a first operative position to a second operative position by application of manual force from a user.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1, wherein the transmission member is disengagable from at least one of the output member or input member by application of manual force from a user to pivot the drive motor about the first longitudinal axis.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive motor weighs at least 85 lbs and is pivotably coupled about the first longitudinal axis such that the drive motor is movable relative to the fluid flow device by application of manual force from a user's hand without aid from a separate lifting device.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a safety mechanism to limit the drive motor's pivoting movement about the first axis, wherein the safety mechanism includes at least one stopper that prevents the drive motor from pivoting more than 20 degrees from vertical.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1, further comprising a self-tensioning apparatus to apply a bias force to a component of the system such that a moment is created about the first longitudinal axis to urge the drive motor to pivot away from the fluid flow device.
  10. 10. The system of claim 1, further comprising a first mounting platform pivotably coupled to the base about the longitudinal axis, wherein the drive motor is mounted to the first mounting platform.
  11. 11. The system of claim 11, further comprising a second mounting platform pivotably coupled to the base about the longitudinal axis, the second mounting platform being adjustable along the longitudinal axis relative to the first mounting platform, wherein the drive motor is mounted on the first and second mounting platforms.
  12. 12. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive motor is an electric NEMA frame motor.
  13. 13. The system of claim 1, wherein the fluid flow device is selected from the group consisting of rotary blowers, vacuum pumps, and centrifugal flow control units.
  14. 14. The system of claim 1, wherein the transmission member is selected from a group consisting of belts, chains, and cables.
  15. 15. A drive system for a fluid flow device comprising:
    a drive motor disposed on a mounting platform,
    said mounting platform pivotably coupled about a longitudinal axis to a base,
    said drive motor having an output member that is rotatable about a second axis that is substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the first longitudinal axis,
    wherein at least a portion of the drive motor is disposed vertically above the first longitudinal axis of the mounting platform;
    a fluid flow device coupled to the base, the fluid flow device having an input member; and
    a transmission member to engage with the output member of the drive motor and the input member of the fluid flow device to transmit rotational power from the drive motor to the fluid flow device.
  16. 16. The drive system of claim 15, wherein the drive motor is positioned on the mounting platform such that a center of mass of the drive motor is disposed a distance of less than half the width of the drive motor apart from a vertical plane passing through the longitudinal axis of the mounting platform.
  17. 17. The drive system of claim 15, wherein a center of mass of the drive motor is positioned substantially above the longitudinal axis of the mounting platform.
  18. 18. The drive system of claim 15, further comprising a second mounting platform pivotably coupled about the longitudinal axis to the base, the second mounting platform being adjustable along the longitudinal axis relative to the first mounting platform; wherein the drive motor is disposed on the first and second mounting platforms.
  19. 19. A method for replacing a drive belt for a drive system of a fluid flow device, said method comprising:
    reducing tension in a drive belt by pivoting a drive motor about a first longitudinal axis toward a fluid flow device, the first longitudinal axis and at least a portion of the drive motor being disposed vertically above or below the longitudinal axis, wherein the drive motor has an output member that is rotatable about a second axis that is substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the first axis, and wherein the drive belt is engaged with the output portion of the drive motor and an input portion of the fluid flow device; and
    removing the drive belt from at least one of the output portion of the drive motor and the input portion of the fluid flow device.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19, wherein reducing tension in the drive belt comprises applying manual force from a user's hand to pivot the drive motor about the first longitudinal axis.
  21. 21. The method of claim 20, wherein the drive motor weighs at least 85 lbs and is pivotably coupled about the first axis such that the drive motor is movable relative to the fluid flow device by application of manual force from the user's hand without aid from a lifting device.
  22. 22. The method of claim 19, further comprising engaging a replacement drive belt with the output portion of the drive motor and the input portion of the fluid flow device.
  23. 23. The method of claim 22, further comprising increasing tension in the replacement drive belt by pivoting the drive motor about a first longitudinal axis away from the fluid flow device.
  24. 24. The method of claim 23, further comprising arranging a self-tensioning apparatus to apply a bias force such that a moment about the first longitudinal axis is created to urge the drive motor to pivot about the first longitudinal axis away from the fluid flow device.
US10999267 2004-11-30 2004-11-30 Drive system for fluid flow device Abandoned US20060120890A1 (en)

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