CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This patent application claims priority to Argentine Patent Application No. 20110101146, filed on Apr. 6, 2011, and all the benefits accruing therefrom under 35 U.S.C. §119, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein.
The present invention is related to the field of fuel load control systems in vehicles.
More particularly, it refers to a load control device which enables detection of duration, time and place of fuel load, and storing said information, that may be supplied in order to compare it with the information corresponding to the fuel dispenser that performed the loading. It also refers to a control procedure applicable with the device.
Up to date, no device such as the present fuel load control device is known.
Devices are known, such as the one disclosed by CN101000334, provided with means to analyze water percentages entering the vehicle.
The device disclosed by CN2573304 is useful to check the delivered volume, by means of a flow meter which requires the modification of the fuel dispenser nozzle.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,469,149 shows a device which enables the identification of the vehicle being loaded by means of the reading of a bar code placed in the tank inner part. The reading is performed through an optical reader placed in the fuel dispenser nozzle.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,934,419 shows a device wherein verification is made with a photo emitter located in the vehicle and a reader placed in the fuel dispenser nozzle.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,156,198 shows a device with emitter-receiver means located in the vehicle and in the fuel dispenser nozzle, connected to respective computers that may communicate between each other.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,204,819, U.S. Pat. No. 5,359,522 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,605,182 show respective devices based on the communication between the vehicle and the fuel dispenser.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,913,180 shows a fuel dispenser nozzle provided with a fuel delivery control system. There is wireless communication between the fuel tank, the fuel dispenser, the vehicle and a remote position. Information is exchanged among the four points. A keyboard and a screen are included in the fuel dispenser nozzle for the operator's control.
FR2600318 also shows a device based on wireless communication with the fuel dispenser nozzle.
- BRIEF SUMMARY
U.S. Pat. No. 6,024,142 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,805 show a device that performs RFID verification between the fuel tank and the fuel dispenser nozzle, and, at the same time, a second verification between the vehicle and the fuel dispenser, so that if the two connections are not properly set, fuel delivery is stopped.
In general, the present invention is related to a fuel load control device arranged in the loading inlet (2) of the fuel tank (21) of a vehicle that detects when there is fuel flow (30) into said tank (21). The signals of the detector (4) can be perceived by the sensor (5), and the result can be temporarily identified by the clock (7) [time, date, load time]. In this manner, duration and the time when there is fuel flow (30) towards the tank (21) of the vehicle (20) is detected. On the other hand, the presence of the GPS (8) enables identification of the geographical position of the vehicle (20) at the time the fuel load is performed. This information is controlled and saved by a data storing means (9) or storage means. The applicable control procedure comprises steps wherein the information stored in the storing means (9) is obtained, the information from the fuel dispenser is obtained, the already obtained data is contrasted and information is generated, which distinguishes the consistency and/or inconsistency between the information from the device and the fuel dispenser.
A main advantage of the present load control device is that it does not depend on establishing a direct communication with the fuel dispenser or any of its parts. Neither has it required that the fuel dispenser is modified or that auxiliary or supplementary devices are added to it, as it works with any fuel dispenser, regardless of its technical features.
Another advantage is that the device may act in the control, without the need to measure fuel quantities. Control is based on time periods, dates and times when the fuel flows through the tank load inlet of the vehicle bearing the device. Geographical positioning control of the vehicle may be added to it.
A further advantage is that data can be stored in the vehicle and/or transmitted remotely, if required.
The information generated by the present device may be contrasted, for example, with the ticket or invoice issued by the oil company for the load, and that will be delivered to the driver of the unit being measured. Said file may be delivered to the company contracting the system, in written format, or, by electronic report, at said company's choice.
The information interpreted by the device shall be considered a “VALID TRANSACTION” report, if the data of the ticket/invoice and data about the storage device coincide.
Otherwise, it will issue a notice that the operation is irregular, allowing the transport company to be able to analyze this particular case.
If the supply time is longer than the loading time, it will be considered a “CONFLICT” transaction, thus indicating that part of the fuel supplied by the fuel dispenser has not entered effectively into the fuel tank.
In case the supply time is shorter than the loading time, the transaction will be considered “INVALID,” thus indicating that the transaction needs technical revision and special analysis.
In the case of an “INVALID” transaction report, this will imply that through the fuel loading inlet flew more fuel than the fuel supplied by the fuel dispenser. Thus, it will be stated that there was fuel purchase of unknown origin, or there was an addition of strange fluids in the fuel tank.
In this manner, it will be ensured that in the relation between “unit's driver” and “fuel seller” of the oil company, there is no collusion which fosters and encourages fuel fraud and theft.
This system will be hidden, so that none of the controlled parts will know about it and/or will have access to it for its handling.
Similarly, it will contain security features preventing it from being removed and/or handled during loading operation or at any other moment during the unit travel.
Obtaining the information from the storage device and the fuel dispenser may be performed, for example, with a wireless system, operating with a computerized IT system, which reads, contrasts and processes the information obtained, thus issuing the necessary reports.
With relation to the geographical position report, it will be obtained through the use of a GPS, enabling the controller to detect accurately the place where the system activity took place. Thus, it may indicate the area where the fuel load was made.
In case the loading facility prevents, by any means, the reading of this device, it will issue a report indicating the last geographical position measured and the first next reading, upon resuming the reading.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
This will prevent the “on travel” loading of strange fluids in the fuel tank, enabling, if this happens, the detection of the exact place where there was an irregular situation; and, if necessary, that the controller specifically analyzes the existence or not of a gas station or loading facility at that place during the travel.
To clarify and understand better the aim of the invention, it is illustrated with several figures in which it was represented in one of its preferred forms of embodiment, as an illustrative, not limitative example:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a vehicle with the present control device applied to its fuel tank. It includes a detail with a partial longitudinal section which enables an appreciation of the arrangement of the device in the load inlet of the above mentioned tank.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the present device applied to a load inlet.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the structure of the load pipe in an embodiment, wherein it is closed in order to prevent the access to the tank housing, with its walls provided with holes that enable the passage of fuel through it.
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the detector means, including the detector reel and the sensor.
FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of the detecting means of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a schematic representation of the present device in one of its embodiments.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION
In the different drawings, the same reference numbers and/or letters indicate the same or corresponding parts.
More particularly, the present fuel load control device is applicable to any vehicle (20) driven by a fuel fluid, loaded at gas stations provided with fuel dispensers. The latter are usually provided with their own respective fuel delivery control means.
The above mentioned fuel fluid is introduced into the fuel tanks (21) of the vehicles (20), through a loading inlet (2) situated in an opening (21 b) of the walls (21 a) of said tank (21). The fuel flow (30) is produced from said loading inlet (2) towards the inner housing or cavity (21 c) of the tank (21).
The present device comprises detector means (1) of the fuel flow (30) entering the tank (21). In one of the embodiments, the present device comprises a fuel loading pipe (3) formed by a structure (3 a), along which (3 a) the fuel flows (30) until an outflow (3 b) which opens towards the housing (21 c) of the tank (21).
In this loading pipe (3) is arranged a detector (4) of the fuel flow (30) which operates in association with a sensor (5). In the embodiment described, the detector (4) of the flow (30) comprises a reel (6) which shaft (6 c) is mounted in a rotary manner on a proper support (6 d). The reel (6) has rotary paddles (6 a) provided with signal generating means (6 b). For example, said generating means (6 b) may be comprised by magnets comprising neodymium.
The sensor (5) is prepared to change its status with the passage of the signal generators (6 b) of the detector (4). In one embodiment, the sensor (5) may be of “Hall effect” type. In order to prevent non-allowed access to the housing (21 c) of the fuel tank (21), the structure (3 a) of the loading pipe (3) can be disposed in a manner that prevents said access, but which at the same time enables the fuel circulation. For that, open walls (3 c) with a plurality of holes can be provided.
In the present control device, the detecting means (1) are connected to a clock (7) that provides the temporary parameters of the fuel flow (30) to data storing means (9) able to store and deliver the data corresponding to each fuel flow event (30) detected by the detecting means (1). These storing means (9) can have a data port enabling its communication with other devices.
In another embodiment, the control device comprises an AVL type circuit which is connected with the detector (4) of flow (30) and with the sensor (5), the two latter situated in the pipe (3) which extends from the loading inlet (2).
Said AVL type circuit comprises at least one clock (7), a GPS (8), a cell transceptor (10) and a data storing device (9).
The GPS (8) is connected in such a manner that it provides global positioning data at each event of stored fuel flow (30). In addition, the storing means (9) [it may be any circuit, equipment, device or system suitable to that effect] stores the data corresponding to each event of fuel load, including the time parameters provided by the clock (7) and the geographical positioning parameters provided by the GPS (8).
Finally, the cell transceptor (10) is linked to transmission and data reception networks, towards which it transmits the data corresponding to the above mentioned events.
It has been considered that the transmission and data reception means may communicate in a wireless or wired manner and/or through interconnected communication networks, such as local networks, Internet, etc. It has also been considered that the present device is connected to a network wherein the computerized systems of gas stations where the bearing vehicle (20) loads fuel are also integrated.
The presence of the control device in the loading inlet (2) of the tank (21) enables detection when there is fuel flow (30) entering said tank (21). The detector signals (4) perceived by the sensor (5) are temporarily identified by the clock (7) [time, date, loading time].
In this manner, the duration and the time when there is fuel flow (30) towards the tank (21) of the vehicle (20) are controlled.
In addition, the presence of the GPS (8) allows identification of the geographical position of the vehicle (20) at the time fuel load occurs.
This information is controlled and stored by the data storage (9), which is able to deliver the information under different formats, for example, generating a file containing the data.
The data storage device (9) may have one or more ports which enable it to extract the accumulated or stored information or to transmit it to a system that may use or process it.
In general, the present fuel load control procedure consists of, on the one hand, obtaining the information stored by the detecting means (4) in the storage means (9) of a vehicle control device. This may be done in a wired or wireless manner, extracting the information from the vehicle itself (20) or transmitting it, for example, through a cell transceptor (10).
In addition, the information is obtained from the fuel dispenser where said vehicle (20) has been loaded.
Once the information is available, either from the control device or from the fuel dispenser, by means of a computerized and communication system suitable to that effect, the data corresponding to both sources are contrasted, sorted out and/or compared.
Finally, information is generated, processed, sorted out and organized so that it enables a user to distinguish consistency and/or inconsistency between the information from the device and the fuel dispenser.
Undoubtedly, upon putting the present invention into practice, modifications may be introduced as far as certain details of construction and form are concerned, which will be encompassed within the scope of the following claims.
All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.
The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.
- LIST OF REFERENCE NUMBERS
Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.
- (1) Fuel flow detecting means (30).
- (2) Loading inlet of the fuel tank (21).
- (2 a) Outer lid of the loading inlet (2).
- (2 b) Mounting base of the loading inlet (2).
- (3) Fuel loading pipe.
- (3 a) Loading pipe structure (3).
- (3 b) Loading pipe outflow (3).
- (3 c) Open walls with holes of the loading pipe (3).
- (4) Fuel flow detector (30).
- (5) Sensor adjacent to the detector (4).
- (6) Detector reel (4).
- (6 a) Reel paddles (6).
- (6 b) Signal generating means [magnets].
- (6 c) Reel shaft (6).
- (6 d) Reel support (6).
- (7) Clock.
- (8) GPS.
- (8 a) GPS antenna (8).
- (9) Data storage [data storing means].
- (10) Cell transceptor.
- (10 a) Cell antenna.
- (20) Vehicle.
- (21) Fuel tank.
- (21 a) Walls of the fuel tank (21).
- (21 b) Opening of the fuel tank (21).
- (21 c) Inner housing or cavity of the fuel tank (21).
- (30) Fuel flow.