WO2016181191A1 - Gas burner safety device, system and alarm - Google Patents

Gas burner safety device, system and alarm Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2016181191A1
WO2016181191A1 PCT/IB2015/053502 IB2015053502W WO2016181191A1 WO 2016181191 A1 WO2016181191 A1 WO 2016181191A1 IB 2015053502 W IB2015053502 W IB 2015053502W WO 2016181191 A1 WO2016181191 A1 WO 2016181191A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
gas
sensor
item
burner
hob
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2015/053502
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Benjamin FEINER
Daniel FEINER
Original Assignee
Yougreen Limited
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Yougreen Limited filed Critical Yougreen Limited
Priority to PCT/IB2015/053502 priority Critical patent/WO2016181191A1/en
Publication of WO2016181191A1 publication Critical patent/WO2016181191A1/en

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24CDOMESTIC STOVES OR RANGES ; DETAILS OF DOMESTIC STOVES OR RANGES, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F24C3/00Stoves or ranges for gaseous fuels
    • F24C3/12Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • F24C3/126Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices on ranges

Abstract

A gas burner safety device and system are disclosed. The system is for use with a gas burner, for example on a gas cooker or gas hob. A device includes a sensor which is configured to detect a surface of an item, such as pan, in proximity to the gas burner. In response to detection of the pan the device is placed in a state of readiness. Upon removal of the pan and continued detection of heat (a flame) a timer is initiated. In the event that the pan is not replaced onto the gas hob within a pre-set timer period an alert is triggered to issue an alarm or send a signal to a remote recipient who may be wearing a pendant. The sensor, which is a radiation sensor, may be configured to discriminate between heat form a gas flame and radiation reflected from a bottom surface of the saucepan.

Description

GAS BURNER SAFETY DEVICE, SYSTEM AND ALARM
Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a gas burner safety device, system and an alarm that monitors gas burners, in particular gas burners that are used with a gas cooking appliance or a gas hob.
Background of the Invention
Gas burners, such as gas hobs, are commonly used in domestic, business or manufacturing environments. In spite of safety measures introduced for such hobs, such as extractor fans and shut-off valves, there remain significant dangers associated with them, in particular when the gas burner remains lit after use, for example when a pan is removed by a person who then forgets to turn off the gas supply. When a gas hob is left burning by a user after a pan has been removed from the hob, this not only wastes gas but risks causing damage to the hob and/or other kitchen equipment. There is also an increased risk of a fire being caused. The problem is exacerbated for gas burners and hobs when used by elderly people who may be suffering from early stage Alzheimer's or dementia, as this has been shown to affect short term memory and so the risk of a fire being caused is increased.
Gas stoves, such as camping stoves, can also cause damage or fire if left on after use. Furthermore the operation of some gas burners, particularly in the case of gas hobs on cookers, is difficult to solve (for example for safety reasons) once the burner has been installed; cookers are usually large and unwieldy, and their installation and gas supply installation requires time and gas technician expertise.
Prior Art
US Patent Application US 201 1 /0083663 (EGO Elektro-Geratebau GmbH) discloses a device and method for controlling the flow of gas in accordance with a sensor. The sensor is connected to a valve which controls gas flow to a burner. A disadvantage with the aforementioned device is that it requires a valve which affects gas flow. Therefore it is complex to install and may require regulatory approval for its manufacture, installation and use.
Japanese Patent Application JP-A-2005351490 (Matsushita Electric Co limited) teaches a device including a gas cut-off valve for isolating supply of gas to a burner in the event of a temperature being exceeded. A disadvantage with this device is that it is complicated and required specialist installation.
US Patent Application US 2002/0130190 (Marbach) discloses a device which includes a circuit arranged to control a valve which directly affects gas flow to a burner. The sensing device measures temperature of a pan that is placed on a cooking surface or hob. An optical sensor detects at least one infra-red source for measuring the temperature of the cooking vessel. A flow adjuster modifies gas flow to the burner in dependence upon a signal received from the sensing device.
A disadvantage with the device disclosed by Marbach is that it is complicated, expensive and requires a specialist engineer to install it.
Japanese Patent Application JP-A-2009150613 (Hanshin Electrics) teaches a device that sensing infra-red radiation and includes a control means for controlling the amount of gas supplied (and therefore the temperature) to an item of cookware, such as a pan or saucepan on a gas hob.
The present invention aims to address the problems associated with the aforementioned devices and seeks to provide an improved device for use with a gas burner.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a system with an alarm for alerting a user to a potential hazard.
Summary of the Invention
According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a device for detecting the absence of an item from a gas hob comprising: a sensor that is arranged to detect the presence of the item on the gas hob whilst a gas burner is lit, the sensor detects removal of the item from the gas hob and initiates a timer when the item is removed from the gas hob and senses if the burner remains lit, whereby the timer triggers an alarm in the event of non-replacement of the item on the gas burner within a predetermined time period.
Ideally a means is provided for determining if a gas supply is flowing. This may be a switch or a gas flow meter but is preferably a sensor that is arranged to detect heat from a flame. In an alternative embodiment of the invention there is provided a device for detecting the absence of an item from a gas hob comprising: a sensor that is arranged to detect the presence of the item on the gas hob whilst a gas supply flows, the sensor detects removal of the item from the gas hob and initiates a timer when the item is removed from the gas hob and senses if the gas remains flowing, whereby the timer triggers an alarm in the event of non-replacement of the item on the gas hob within a predetermined time period. The present invention therefore serves as an alarm to alert a user, or a third party, when there has been absence of a pan from a gas hob for a pre-set period of time, thereby alerting the user to the possibility of a naked flame and risk of fire as well as to the potential waste of gas.
Advantages of the present invention over prior art devices are that: it is simple to use; and straightforward to install as it may be fitted to a stove or hob during fabrication or it may be retrofitted. The device is relatively cheap to manufacture and it does not have to be installed into a gas hob in order for it to operate.
Another advantage of the invention is that in one embodiment the invention does not require any interaction with the gas supply and therefore does not require a qualified gas engineer to install it or any form of approval from a gas supplier.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, an alert signal may optionally be transmitted to a number of individuals, including a person wearing a pendant, who is thereby alerted to the fact that he or she has left a gas flame unattended. The invention is of particular benefit to people suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia and their carer and families. The invention is also of use to students in shared accommodation or people living in communal or sheltered accommodation. For example if an Alzheimer sufferer forgets to switch off a gas supply, the invention may be configured to alert a family member by way of a signal that is sent to their mobile telephone or to a dedicated device carried by the third party, thereby alerting the person to a potential hazard.
Preferably the device is switched on automatically when the gas supply is turned on. This may be achieved by way of a mechanical contact switch, such as micro switch. In an alternative embodiment a sensor is provided in the device to monitor a temperature change. Such a sensor may be an infra-red sensor that is arranged to sense a heat from a flame.
In an alternative embodiment, the invention may be included in a gas burner safety system, comprising: a gas supply conduit, a gas burner and a sensing device, the sensing device being configured to detect a surface of a pan or other cookware item in proximity to the gas burner, the sensing device sends a signal to a controller; and in response to a detection result, the controller is arranged to trigger a safety measure of the system.
Thus the system provides a means for improving safety of a gas hobs and cookers, by detecting the presence or otherwise of a surface near the burner, and prompting a safety measure in response. Preferably a standalone device has a sensor that is a radiation sensor. Suitably, the sensor is arranged to receive radiation from an underside or bottom surface of a pan or other cookware item. The sensor is arranged to receive and distinguish radiation from the gas burner (flame) and radiation reflected by the surface a pan or other cookware item.
The sensor may be a light sensor or a heat sensor. The sensor may for example detect a specific range of infra-red radiation relating to a particular temperature range. The device that includes the sensor is configured to trigger the safety measure if a detection result is that no surface is detected in proximity to the gas burner for a pre-set duration. Preferably, the device is configured, on receipt of no radiation reflected from the surface, to note a detection result that no surface is detected and to commence a sequence to trigger an alarm or to issue an alert to trigger an alarm. In another preferred embodiment, the device is configured to capture readings at intervals, and to generate a detection result for readings. The device may generate a detection result for each reading, or for a set of readings. Advantageously the device is configured to note a detection result that no surface is detected on receipt of no radiation within a pre-defined time period.
The sensor may be configured to measure radiation (or lack of radiation) during specific time intervals. The sensor may be configured to obtain measurements within a time period in a pulsed duty cycle, the majority of which duty cycle the sensor is placed in a quiescent state in order to conserve energy. Alternatively the sensor may obtain a plurality of measurements, or sense a continued lack of radiation, over a specific threshold or a cumulative quantity of radiation over a specific time period.
The sensor may be configured to measure a time period between a lack of radiation signal and a resumed radiation signal (when a pan is replaced).
The sensor may be configured, in response to the detection result to trigger an alarm to a person so that the gas supply can be shut-off.
Optionally a processor is provided in the device to store captured data, assess values and determine time intervals. The processor may be configured to carry out such steps as noted above with use of inputs from the sensor in order to determine if an item has not been replaced within a specified time period.
The device ideally includes a memory and a battery. Alternatively the device may be connected to a power source provided in the hob or gas burner. Optionally the device may control components, such as a shut-off valve for stopping the supply of gas to the burner. According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a sensor for detecting the presence of an item on a gas hob, the sensor is arranged to activate a timer when the item is removed from the hob, so that the timer triggers an alarm in the event of non-replacement of the item within a predetermined time period.
The sensor is ideally incorporated in a standalone device or it may be provided as a retro-fit device. The standalone device may be adapted to be stuck on a hob or on a cooker surface or simply placed on the surface of the hob or cooker.
In another embodiment the sensor may be adapted to communicate with other electronic components, for example as part of a system, via a short range radio frequency signal, such as one operating using one of the following wireless protocols: Zigbee (Trade Mark) or Bluetooth (Trade Mark).
When configured, the system is capable of utilising: a wireless transmitter (such as Wi-Fi) to send or relay a message, such as a short message service (SMS), alarm or alert to another device, such as a local relay or a remote alarm. The local relay may alert a local alarm which may be worn by a person, for example as a pendant and optionally it may include a vibrating device. For example, the local alarm with the vibrating device may be used by deaf or hearing impaired people. The remote alarm may be located some distance away, for example at a control room or in a caretaker or carer's residence. In another embodiment the local or remote device may be incorporated into a mobile telephone (cellphone) or pager or similar device for receiving a radio signal such as mobile telephone operating on so-called application software (APP). The remote or local device may optionally include a visual and/or audible alarm and may be configured, for example in combination with application software (APP) to display a message, relay an alert to a server, send a text or other short message service (SMS) under control of software.
In another embodiment, the sensor may be built into a device that is adapted to be disposable, so that at the end of a 6 month or 12 month life cycle the device can be recycled and replaced.
In an alternative embodiment, the device - and hence the sensor - is configured, in response to non-replacement of a pan, to trigger a user alert device.
The user alert device may comprise a light, or an audible alarm. The user alert device may comprise a transmitter, which may transmit an alert signal to a mobile unit. The mobile unit may be a portable alert device, such as a pager, vibrating pendant light, audible alarm, vibrating alert, or the like.
One embodiment of the invention can provide a sensor unit attachable to a gas burner system, the sensor unit configured to: detect a surface in proximity to the gas burner; and in response to a detection result, trigger a safety measure of the system.
This allows the device to be retro-fitted to a hob, cooker or gas burner, so that no complex installation or dismantling of the hob, cooker or burner is required.
According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a safety method for a gas burner system, the method comprising the steps of: using a sensor to detect a surface in proximity of the gas burner; and in response to a non detection result by the sensor for a predetermined time interval, triggering a safety measure or issuing an alert. In this way a timer is activated when the item is removed from the gas burner or hob, so that an alarm is triggered in the event of non-replacement of the item within a predetermined time period. Preferably, the sensor includes an infra-red sensor. Suitably, the sensor is adapted to detect a variation in temperature in a range that is in excess of a range 100 - 1 50 SC or in excess of 200 SC.
In an embodiment, the sensor is fitted to a gas cooking appliance such as a cooker or stove. Suitably, the sensor is located in one or more locations on the hob.
Suitably, the timer is variable to a user selectable time period. Preferably, a timer interval is between 30 and 120 seconds. The timer may be adapted to be set by a user.
The above aspects and embodiments may be combined to provide further aspects and embodiments of the invention. The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Brief Description of the Drawings Figure 1 is a diagram illustrating a sensor and gas burner safety system according to an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 2 is a circuit diagram of an alternative embodiment of the invention which is built into a gas hob or cooker; Figure 3a is an overall view of an example of a system with a saucepan shown on a lit burner of gas hob;
Figure 3b is an overall view of an example of the system and shows the saucepan removed and diagrammatically how a timer is initiated ; and
Figure 3c illustrates how the system forwards an alarm to a person wearing a pendant or to a remote recipient, via a telephone or a mobile device. Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments of the Invention
Referring to the Figures and in particular Figures 3a to 3c, there is shown a safety system 100 which includes a sensor 1 02 for increasing safety of gas burners 104, that are typically part of a gas hob 106. A safety device 101 includes a sensor 102 that detects a surface of an object 108 (pan) that is located near the gas burner 104.
A timer 1 10, which is operated under control of a microprocessor 1 1 1 , is switched to an awake state, for example when a gas burner 104 is lit or when a gas valve (not shown) is detected as being opened by a micro switch 202 or when another predefined event is sensed. The timer 1 10 is initiated when the pan 108 is removed from the hob 106 and is not replaced and so is not detected - for a predefined time period. In the event that replacement of the pan 108 does not occur within the pre-time period, the safety system 100/200 is configured automatically to trigger an alarm 1 12.
The alarm 1 12 may for example be located close to the gas cooker or hob 106 (in the form of a standalone device) or the alarm 1 1 2 may send a signal to a relay 1 1 3 which is arranged to send an alert signal to a person wearing a pendant 1 14 or the alert signal may be relayed via a remote telephone 121 or a remote mobile device 123. Figure 1 illustrates, in a diagrammatical form, components of another embodiment of a safety device 101 which are included in another embodiment of a gas burner safety system 100. The device 101 comprises a sensor 102. A gas burner 104 is directed towards the surface (base) 107 of a pan 108 to be heated 102. In the example of a gas cooker, the burner 104 is part of a gas hob. One surface 107 of the pan 108 is placed in proximity to the burner 104.
A standalone device 101 , shown in Figure 1 , has an infra-red sensor 102 that in use senses heat from the burner 104 as well as reflected heat from the bottom surface 107 of the pan 108. In the example shown diagrammatically in Figure 1 , the sensor 102 may be either an ambient light sensor or a heat (infra-red) sensor that is able to detect incident radiation that is reflected from the base of the pan 108.
In use, when the burner 104 is lit the heat from the burner 104 is directed as indicated by arrow. The sensor 102 receives heat and/or light radiation either reflected from the surface 107 of the pan 108 and directly from the burner 104. In the case where heat (radiation) is only be received when the pan 108 is removed, a temperature change is sensed and this initiates a timer which is a counter in an integrated circuit 300, shown in the circuit in Figure 2.
The sensor 102 monitors the presence of the pan 108 with respect to the burner 104. When the pan 108 is replaced the timer is re-set. If the pan 108 is not replaced within a pre-set time interval, a lower level of heat is sensed and no reflected heat radiation (from the bottom of the pan 108 is sensed) then an alert signal is sent to a buzzer by integrated circuit 303 which then causes the buzzer 1 12 to sound an alarm. The sensitivity of the device may be varied by potentiometer 305. This may also be used to alter the range of detection of the sensor as well as range of the waveband of detected radiation of the sensor. The sensor 102 may for example simply continuously monitor receipt of radiation, and at the point when radiation is no longer being received (or an amount of radiation below a pre-set threshold) trigger the alert signal. This can be as simple as a trip activated by the removal of a signal linked to or generated by the incoming radiation. The trip or some simple logic can be used to initiate the safety measure.
The sensor standalone sensor (Figure 1 ) or the sensor as part of an integrated system (Figures 2 and 3a, 3b and 3c) may be employed in various ways. For example, it can be used to save energy and/or complexity, take readings only at intervals, and trigger the safety measure at the first interval without receiving (sufficient) radiation or at a determined number of intervals afterwards.
The sensor (in conjunction with any software) and in conjunction with associated logic in a microprocessor can instead allow a pre-determined amount of time to elapse before triggering the alert. For example, in the case of a gas hob, a predetermined (user specified) time can be set, by when the pan 108. has to be replaced on the hob 106. For example, a user specified time permits a user to stir the contents of the pan 108 or add ingredients, before replacing the pan back onto the hob.
In one embodiment this is achieved by a timer (not shown) which can be set by the user. In an embodiment, the timer may be set to between 30 to 60 seconds, preferably 30 to 90 seconds, most preferably 30 to 120 seconds or longer.
The alert that is triggered by the device may be one or more of a selection of measures or signals. In one embodiment, the sensor may simply trip an alert device, such as a warning light (for example, mounted on the sensor or nearby) and/or an audible alarm (again, which may be mounted on the sensor or nearby). Alternatively the device may be more complex, and be able to choose the type of alarm depending on the time elapsed since the object was last present, for example by adding further alert types cumulatively. The alert device may, for example, light a warning lamp as soon as the object is removed from the burner, and only raise a further alert, such as a warning sound, after a determined period of time.
The alert device may comprise a transmitter, such as Bluetooth (Trade Mark) which transmits an alert signal to a second unit. The second unit may be a fixed unit (for example, mounted in a dining room near a kitchen housing the gas appliance), or a mobile unit carried by a user. The alert signal can prompt the second unit to start an alert, such as a light or warning sound, or vibrating portion of the unit. The mobile unit may be a pendant worn by the user, or a mobile device carried by the user, such as a mobile telephone, watch or the like. The mobile unit may comprise a panic button or function, which when pressed or activated by the user after the alert, can raise a further alarm (for example calling a help number) or trigger a further safety feature, such as a remotely controlled gas shut-off valve. In one embodiment, the safety measure triggered is that of shutting-off the gas supply to the burner. Therefore, rather than alerting the user, in an alternative embodiment an actuator may be provided to shut off a gas supply automatically. This may also be included as a further measure or fail-safe in a system that includes the device.
In one embodiment therefore the sensor acts to control a shut-off valve as part of a safety system. The sensor may cause the valve to close directly, or a processor may be configured to instruct an actuator to close a valve automatically. The device ideally includes a micro-processor. The micro-processor may be configured to carry out such steps as noted above for configuring the sensor in the device. The device includes a memory. A power supply may be provided by one or more batteries 306 and 307 or electricity supplied to a cooker that lights an oven, overhead extractor and spark igniter for the gas hobs.
The device is ideally housed in a self-contained unit, comprising components required to carry out the safety measure(s). The housing is arranged such that the sensor faces a reflecting/emitting surface. Software may be accessed by the micro-processor so as to oversee processing of signals from the sensing material. A wireless transmitter (RF) In the device 101 sends signals to a relay 1 1 3 for producing a local alert signal and/or a light or sound emitter for the alarm 1 1 2. A memory (not shown) stores routines for the microprocessor 1 1 1 . The device 101 when included in a system may be retro-fitted to existing gas burners and appliances, in particular in the case of the self-contained unit described above. Alternatively, the device 101 may be installed as part of manufacture of the burner, for example as part of manufacture of a gas cooker. In the case of retro-fitting, the sensor or sensor unit may be connected to the relevant parts of the burner 104, for example being mounted near the burner site, and connected to any shut-off valve (not shown), pre-existing logic, a display (not shown) on the cooker or hob or as a warning unit (for example in an existing display of a gas cooker). A transmitter (for example, an existing transmitter on a gas appliance) or the RF transmitter in the device 101 may be used to send a signal indicating an alert, for example to a mobile device 123.
The sensor 101 and/or system 1 00 may of course be used for various different types of gas burner to measure radiation emitted from or reflected by the surface of an item placed on them. In another embodiment, a sensor is mounted on a welding torch or other high- powered burner. Such high-powered welding torches commonly have additional safety and fail-safe features due to risk of hazard entailed. For example, a torch will usually be activated by a user only when a lever or the like is depressed, and therefore the gas will be shut off on release of the lever.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention has been described by way of examples only, and that variation may be made to the aforementioned examples without departing from the scope of the invention, as defined by the appended claims. For example devices and systems may be used in student accommodation so that individual sensors may trigger locally and/or centrally to alert a caretaker or a warden on or off a student campus.
Optionally alert signals may be configured to appear on a recipient's television/home entertainment system and/or computer display and/or a games console. An advantage with this configuration is that no matter what a carer or relation is doing, they are alerted to a potential hazard by way of a suitable interrupt. Systems may be linked to existing security or home monitoring systems/devices, such as burglar alarm networks or so-called intelligent detectors and alarms, such as Nest Protect (Trade Mark) systems that communicate with mobile devices and may be used by residents in shared or communal accommodation. Such smart devices alert users to potentially hazardous situations, such as fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. Many new homes have such smart monitoring systems (that are controlled via the Internet) and so could accommodate the present invention by way of a suitable transponder.

Claims

Claims
1 . A device for detecting the absence of an item from a gas hob comprises: a sensor that is arranged to detect the presence of the item on the gas hob whilst a gas burner is lit, the sensor detects removal of the item from the gas hob and initiates a timer when the item is removed from the gas hob and senses if the burner remains lit, whereby the timer triggers an alarm in the event of non-replacement of the item on the gas burner within a predetermined time period.
2. A device according to claim 1 wherein a means is provided for determining if a gas supply is flowing.
3. A device according to claim 1 wherein the presence of the item on the gas hob is determined by the sensor that detects heat and/or light radiation reflected from a surface of the item.
4. A device according to claim 3 wherein the sensor includes an infrared sensor capable of discriminating between heat from the burner and radiation reflected from an under surface of the item.
5. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the sensor detects a variation in temperature.
6. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the sensor detects variations in ambient light levels.
7. A device according to any preceding claim which is fitted to a gas cooking appliance.
8. A device according to any of claims 1 to 6 which is adapted to be placed on a gas hob.
9. A device according to any preceding claim includes a transmitter which sends a wireless alert signal to a remote mobile unit.
10. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the predetermined time period is variable.
1 1 . A device according to claim 10 wherein the variable time period is user selectable.
12. A device according to any of claims 1 to 9 wherein the predetermined time period is between 30 seconds and 120 seconds.
13. A system includes the device according to any of claims 1 to 12 wherein an alarm according to claim 7 wherein the mobile unit is a pendant adapted to be worn by a person.
14. A system according to claim 13 wherein the mobile unit is a mobile communication device, for example a mobile telephone.
15. An alarm substantially as herein described with reference to the Figures.
PCT/IB2015/053502 2015-05-12 2015-05-12 Gas burner safety device, system and alarm WO2016181191A1 (en)

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CN109237546A (en) * 2018-09-04 2019-01-18 佛山市顺德区美的洗涤电器制造有限公司 The control method and anti-dry system of anti-dry

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CN109237546A (en) * 2018-09-04 2019-01-18 佛山市顺德区美的洗涤电器制造有限公司 The control method and anti-dry system of anti-dry

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