This application claims priority from Italian Utility Model Application No. 202017000044768 filed on Apr. 24, 2017 and Italian Patent Application No. 102017000086560 filed on Jul. 27, 2017, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.
The invention relates to an oil separator for a compressor designed for the production of compressed gas and to a compressor assembly comprising said separator. This invention finds preferred (though not exclusive) application in the field of compressors for motor vehicles, in particular trucks, but it can also be used in every industrial field.
As it is known, compressors are usually associated with auxiliary devices, such a separator to separate the lubricating oil from the compressed air, which also works as an oil tank, an anti-condensate valve, a minimum pressure valve, as well as further accessory elements and ducts for the connection between the aforesaid elements. The reduction of the dimensions and of the weight of the components is a widely spread need, especially in vehicle applications. A further need is that of reducing the number of components and of simplifying the assembling cycles, so as to contain manufacturing costs.
The object of the invention is to provide an oil separator for a compressor, which is capable of solving the above-mentioned problems.
The aforesaid object is reached by an oil separator according to claim 1.
A further object of the invention is to provide a compact compressor assembly, which can easily be installed on board a vehicle.
The aforesaid object is reached by a compressor assembly according to claim 9.
The invention will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment, which is provided by way of non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
With reference to
an air filter 2, which is designed to filer the ambient air flowing in;
a motor-compressor 3 comprising a blade compressor 4 and an electric motor 5 for driving the compressor 4;
a separator 6, which is connected to an outlet of the compressor 4 and is designed to separate the lubricating oil of the compressor from the compressed air;
an oil filter 7, which is interposed between the separator 6 and the compressor 4; and
a heat exchanger 8, which can be connected in series to the oil filter 7 through a thermostatic valve 10 and can be selectively activated from the latter.
The compressor assembly 1 has a modular structure. The above-mentioned five main components (air filter 2, motor-compressor 3, separator 6, oil filter 7, exchanger 8) are manufactured as distinct modules, which can be autonomously placed on board the vehicle and can be connected to one another through flexible ducts. This modular structure allows manufacturers to make better use of the spaces available on board the vehicle and, in particular, does not require a large available space for housing the entire unit.
With reference to
The separator 6 comprises the following auxiliary devices, which are described more in detail below:
On the lid 12 there are obtained in an integral manner (
Conveniently, the first union 18 and the second union are arranged in an upper area and in a lower area, respectively, of the lid 12 and, therefore, are in communication with an upper area and a lower area, respectively, of the tank 11.
The valve body 20 comprises a tubular duct 27 with axis A, which projects from the lid 12 at the front and defines an outlet of the tank 11; in an end area of the tubular duct 27 there is housed the safety valve 15 (
The valve body 20 further defines an upper head 28 of the coalescence filter 17, substantially with the shape of a frontally rounded shelf projecting from the lid 12 at the front. The coalescence filter comprises a hollow cup-shaped body 40 with a substantially cylindrical shape with vertical axis B, which defines, on the inside, a volume 41. This volume 41 communicates with the tubular duct 27 through a vertical passage 42 on the inside of the valve body 20 (
The head 28 has a central hole with axis B, which defines an outlet duct 30 for the air of the coalescence filter 17, where a hollow union 44 is screwed.
The union 44 houses, with a radial clearance, an oil outlet pipe 45, which extends downwards up until it gets close to the bottom of the cup-shaped body 40 and communicates, at an upper end, with a recirculation union 29 arranged at the front of the valve body 2 and designed to be connected to the compressor (
The valve body 20 finally defines, in an integral manner, respective tubular bodies 31, 32 of the minimum pressure valve 14 and of the anti-condensate valve 13.
More in particular, the body 31 of the minimum pressure valve 14 looks like a cylindrical appendage of the head 28 of the coalescence filter 17 and has a cavity 46 with horizontal axis C, perpendicular to the axes A and B and intersecting the latter. The cavity 46 (
The second segment 48 communicates with a delivery duct 37 (
A second hollow cylindrical slide 56 can slide inside the first slide 53, from which it projects with an end 57 of its; between the first slide 54 and the second slide 56 there is axially interposed a second spring 58. In non-deformed conditions of the second spring 58, the end 5 of the second slide 56 is in an intermediate area of the second segment 48 of the cavity 46.
Inside the second slide 56 there is mounted, in a sliding manner, a shutter 59, which is designed to isolate the second segment 48 from the hole 50 due to the thrust a third low-rigidity spring 60.
The body 32 of the anti-condensate valve 13 (
The thermally sensitive bulb 34 acts upon a slide 64, which is mounted so as to slide in a second chamber 65 of the cavity 33, against the action of a spring 66.
The second chamber 65 communicates, through an axial hole 67, with a vertical draining duct 68 (
The slide 64 comprises an end portion 68, which is designed to engage, in a sealing manner, the axial hole 67.
The operation of the compressor assembly 1, which is already partly evident from the description above, is the following.
The compressed air generated by the compressor 4, containing suspended oil particles, is sent to the separator 6 through the duct 19.
A first oil separation takes place, through impact, inside the tank 11.
The compressed air then flows to the valve assembly 20 through the duct 27 and, unless a maximum safety pressure is reached, which determines the switching of the safety valve 15 to a position in which the compressed air is drained to the outside, to the coalescence filter 17.
Here the residual oil is separated and recirculated to the compressor 4 through the union 29, whereas the air, through the outlet duct 30, reaches the first chamber 60 of the cavity 33 of the anti-condensate valve 13 and the inlet hole 50 of the minimum pressure valve 14.
The lubrication of the compressor 4 takes place under the thrust of the pressure of the air in the tank 11 of the separator 6, thanks to which the oil is caused to recirculate from the separator 6 to the compressor 4 through the filter 7 and, if necessary, the heat exchanger 8.
When the compressor 4 is started, the shutter 59 of the minimum pressure valve 14 opens, but, until a predetermined minimum pressure (for example 5.5 bar) is reached, the second slide 56 remains in an air flow chocking position towards the utility. Therefore, in this step, the minimum pressure valve 14 determines a local pressure drop that is such as to allow the minimum pressure level in the separator 6 to be quickly reached, so as to ensure a correct lubrication of the compressor 4.
When the pressure in the separator 6 reaches the aforesaid minimum level, the resultant of the pressure forces acting upon the second slide 56 of the minimum pressure valve 14 overcomes the force of the spring 54 and the second slide 56 moves (to the left in
When the pressure reaches a second threshold value (for example equal to 8-9 bar), which is defined by the calibration of the first spring 54 and is smaller than a maximum pressure of the utility (for example 10 bar, which, once reached, causes the compressor to stop working in a conventional manner due to a pressure switch), the first slide 53 opens (namely moves to the left in
Until reaching of a steady thermal condition detected by the thermally sensitive element 34, the anti-condensate valve 13 is open and drains part of the air to the outside through the draining duct 35 and the filter 36. Alternatively, the drained air flow rate can be directly recirculated to the compressor so to reduce the time needed by the system to reach the steady thermal condition. Upon reaching of the steady thermal condition, the anti-condensate valve 13 closes and the compressed air is entirely sent to the utility through the outlet duct 37.
The object of the anti-condensate valve is that if draining part of the flow rate, thus delaying the moment in which the maximum pressure is reached, in order to make sure that the compressor 4 reaches the steady thermal condition before stopping working; by so doing, since the air, in the steady thermal condition, is above the dew point, no condensate forms.
An analysis of the features of the separator 6 clearly reveals the advantages of the invention.
The valve body 20, which is integrated in the lid 12, defines a series of auxiliary components and ducts integrated with one another; therefore, the sizes, the total weight and the number of components are reduced and, as a consequence, the assembling cycle is simplified. Furthermore, always thanks to the integration of different auxiliary components and ducts in the lid 12 of the separator 6, most of the precision mechanical processing is carried out on one single component, which helps optimize the manufacturing cycle and obtain a reduction of manufacturing costs.
Finally, thanks to the modular structure of the compressor assembly, the installation thereof on board a vehicle is made easier, even in the presence of small available spaces.
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