Fume extraction system with automatic fume hood positioning

  • US 8,892,222 B2
  • Filed: 07/16/2010
  • Issued: 11/18/2014
  • Est. Priority Date: 07/17/2009
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
Patent Images

1. A fume extraction system capable of automatically following an electric welding arc, the system including:

  • a base;

    an articulated exhaust duct robotic arm including a proximal segment and a distal segment, the distal segment being juxtaposed to the proximal segment using a first motorized joint having a first joint motor, the proximal segment being mounted to the base using a second and a third motorized joint having a second and a third joint motor, respectively, the second joint motor changing a yaw angle of the proximal segment with reference to the base and the third joint motor changing a pitch angle of the proximal segment with reference to the base;

    a fume hood mounted to the distal segment of the articulated exhaust duct robotic arm;

    a first pair of photoelectric sensors provided on the fume hood to sense the presence of the electric welding arc, the photoelectric sensors of the first pair being spaced apart from one another along a first axis;

    a second pair of photoelectric sensors provided on the fume hood to sense the presence of the electric welding arc, the photoelectric sensors of the second pair being spaced apart from one another along a second axis;

    a third pair of photoelectric sensors provided on the fume hood to sense the presence of the electric welding arc, the photoelectric sensors of the third pair being adjacent to a corresponding one of the photoelectric sensors of the first pair and the photoelectric sensors of the third pair being spaced apart from one another along a third axis, and each of the photoelectric sensors of the third pair having a corresponding light-sensing central axis that defines a relative angle with reference to a light-sensing central axis of an adjacent one of the photoelectric sensors of the first pair, the photoelectric sensors of the first pair being symmetrically disposed with reference to a medial plane projecting under a center of the fume hood and the photoelectric sensors of the third pair being symmetrically disposed with reference to the medial plane; and

    a control unit that generates command signals for the articulated exhaust duct robotic arm so as to automatically position the fume hood over the electric welding arc and maintain a predetermined height distance between the fume hood and the electric welding arc, the command signals being based on signals received from the three pairs of photoelectric sensors, the control unit including;

    a first control subunit connected to the photoelectric sensors of the first pair, the first control subunit generating command signals for a motion of the fume hood along a first path based on the signals received from the photoelectric sensors of the first pair;

    a second control subunit connected to the photoelectric sensors of the second pair, the second control subunit generating command signals for a motion of the fume hood along a second path based on the signals received from the photoelectric sensors of the second pair; and

    a third control subunit connected to the photoelectric sensors of the first pair and of the third pair, the third control subunit generating command signals for the third joint motor to create a motion of the fume hood along a third path based on the signals received from the photoelectric sensors of the first pair and also from the photoelectric sensors of the third pair, the motion along the third path corresponding to a height distance variation between the fume hood and the electric welding arc.

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