|Title of Invention||
WATER FILTRATION / PURIFICATION SYSTEM
|Abstract||A filter cartridge based water purification system comprising at least one filter cartridge, a discharge outlet adapted to discharge filtered water, and a flow sensor arrangement adapted to sense the flow of water through the discharge which flow sensor arrangement comprises a first sensor positioned ahead of the entry of the filtered water into the discharge outlet and a second sensor positioned at the outer end of the discharge outlet downstream of the first the first and second sensors being operatively connected to an electronic control panel, so that when the discharge outlet is opened and water flows through the outlet and between the sensors, the sensors become electrically connected to the electronic control panel and the water flow can be measured based on the time during which the electrical connection is established and the status of the system can be monitored based on the measured water flow.|
|Full Text||FORM -2
THE PATENTS ACT, 1970 (39 of 1970)
(See Section 10)
WATER RILTRATION / PURIFICATION SYSTEM
HINDUSTAN LEVER LIMITED, a company incorporated under the Indian Companies Act, 1913 and having its registered office at Hindustan Lever House, 165/166, Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai -400 020, Maharashtra, India
The following specification particularly describes the nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION:
The present invention relates to a water purification system having means for sensing the water flow through the system and indicating the status/end of life of the filtration means and/or other related aspects of the system such as number of uses, ntmber of changes of filtration means, volume discharged through each filter centrally etc. based on said means for sensing the water flow through the system. In particular, the invention is directed to cartridge based storage filters having battery operable and cost-of the cartridge based on the sensed water flow through the filter.
BACKGROUND & PRIOR ART
Presently, various system/devices for monitoring the end of life of filtration means/filtration cartridge based on number of uses or elapsed time of use and also additional factors such as storage, output water quantity etc. are known and available.
US 4623451 (Bruce J. Oliver) describes a home sink mounted on-line water purification system which incorporates a conductivity sensing circuit consisting of a pair of electrodes for measuring current flow. This device is specific for a purification system which purifies water through reduction of dissolved solids. Dissolved solids would determine the conductivity of water. The system has limitations in that it cannot function in a water purification device where the purification is carried out not by reduction of dissolved solids but by means erf biocide which would not have any influence on the conductivity of water. In particular, a rotation of the knob of the faucet mechanically establishes contact between the electrodes by means of two fingers provided in the faucet. The electrodes are always submerged in water. However, these electrodes only get charged when the knob on the faucet is turned to on position enabling the mechanical contact of the electrodes as explained above. The system also requires a flow limiter to deliver water at a predetermined constant flow rate under normal operating pressure. Also in such system the amount of purified water delivered by the faucet is directly a function of how long the valve is on. Here, an assumption has been
made of uninterrupted flow of water through the faucet whenever the valve is on. The device does not use sensors to sense water flow because even if there is no water flowing through the faucet, based on the position of the knob, the control circuit would keep monitoring the time and such a phenomenon could be quite misleading.
US 5328597 discloses the use of programmed integrated circuit to mbhitor the; number of fills of water into a purification device. The monitoring unit provides an audio signal to warn the user of anticipatory end of life warning stage, after the predetermined numbers of fitts-ups have occurred. However, the monitoring unit proposed for the purpose involves complex multiple contacts (sensors) and involves piezo-electric transducers to produce designed signals which make it complex as well as cost extensive to obtain.
US 6024867 (Water Safety Corp. of America) discloses a water filtration device that includes an electronic display that enables a user to determine readily if a contained filter cartridge within its useful life-span, nearing the end of its useful life-span, or expired. For the purpose, the patent suggest use of ball means to detect magnetjcjield fluctuations due to movement of ball by flowing of water flow to carry out the detection of flow amount. This necessarily makes the system complex, cost extensive and cumbersome to install and maintain.
In particular this patent relates to a counter top water filter unit comprising a filter unit having filter housing containing a. removable cylindrical filter cartridge and a removable pre-filter screen coaxial with said cartridge and surrounding said cartridge and also includes replaceable means for evaluating the life-span of said filter cartridge and means for powering said replaceable evaluation means. The unit thus requires a complex and specific filter cartridge and the evaluation of the life span is also therefore very complex and is based on velocity of water flow rate of water through the unit. Such monitoring unit is also likely to be influenced by pressure drop across the pre-filter due to suspended impurities etc. can lead to improper evaluation of life-span. Moreover, in such system every time the cartridge gets exhausted, the same along with the
evaluation means need to be replaced by a fresh one which render its use complex ana cost extensive.
US 5089144" (Nartron Corporation) discloses another method and apparatus to"sense the condition of a filter regarding whether it has reached end of life. Specifically it monitors the end of life of an activated charcoal filter. The flow sensor is positioned between the filter and the faucet. This device also essentially involves the flow sensing by means of magnet fixed within the module cavity. The movement of the magnet (caused by pressure differential) results in the setting up of a magnetic field around the magnet that in turn closes a switch and completes a circuit via conductors to provide an indication that water is flowing through the module. The conductors are placed side by side and connect to a printed circuit board. The placement of the conductors is towards the part of the assembly that will connect to the faucet. Such system is also found to be complex to obtain and maintain and is also cost extensive.
US 4918426 discloses a filtration unit having means for detection end of life of cartridge. It uses a pressure sensor which generates a pressure differential proportional to the volume of the fluid flow which is then converted into an electrical signal. This electrical signal is then totalised to find out the actual amount of water passing through the filter. When this flow exceeds a pre-set value, a signal is generated to show the end of life of the cartridge. The use of pressure sensors and measurement of pressure differential again involve complex and expensive gadgets, which are difficult to install and maintain and thus have limitations in application.
It would be well apparent from the above that while several varieties of monitoring of flow in filters are known, each is specifically developed/performed based on the variety of the purification system and its application. Also, while flow monitoring units in particular electronic gadgets and device for monitoring status of filter cartridge/filtration means are known, however, such known systems for monitoring status/life of filter units either have limitations in use/applications in simple storage filters or are too complex for use/adaptation in conventional storage filters. Considering that water filters presently
have extensive use which is not only restricted to urban locations but alsojto use in rural areas, it is important that such status/end of life monitoring of the filter unfts/cartridge be made simple and cost-effective to make it easily available at affordable prices. Moreover, it is important that such simple and cost effective system of monitoring filter status/end of life be operable through battery power so as to extend its use in remote locations/rural areas where electrical power may not be readily available but there is obvious need for safe drinking water.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
Thus the .basic object of the present invention is directed to provide for a simple and cost effective water purification svstem having novel, simple and cost effective water flow sensing means for monitoring status/end of life of the cartridge/filtration means and/or aspects of related filtration based on volume of water flow through the system.
Another object of the present invention is directed to provide simple storage type cartridge filter with means for monitoring the cartridge status/end of life which can be located anywhere and would not involve complex installation requirements and expensive gadgets and would thus be simple to obtain and use and also cost-effective.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide for simple and cost effective means system for monitoring status/end of life of cartridge in storage filters based on volume of water flow and providing visual/audio indications on the current status as well as the end of life of the filter cartridge/related aspects of filtration.
Yet further object of the present invention is to provide for a storage type filter having means for monitoring status/end of life of filter cartridge which should be compact, easy to install and use would also be attractive and eye-appealing.
Yet further object of the present invention is directed to provide for a life panel meter of filter cartridge which can be adapted for use in any variety of storage type water filter.
Yet further object of the present invention is directed to provide for a statusi/end of life indicator for filter cartridge of storage filter based on flow of water thrdugh thesfilter device which would be cost effective and at the same time ensure that the volume flow is monitored only when water actually flows out of the filter outlet and not otherwise thereby avoiding problems of wrongful indications of status/end of life of fiartridqe experienced in known devices.
Yet further object is directed to provide for simple and cost effective system for monitoring status/end of life of filter cartridge in storage filters which would enable replacement of cartridge at the right moment and effective monitoring and use of the filter.
Yet further object of the present invention is directed to provide for means for record and storage of data related to the flow to be monitored through the filtration unit to favour use, maintenance and servicing of the unit.
Yet further object is directed to provide a system for using in any filtering/purification units and the like which would provide for an effective sensing of the flow of water through the unit and favour generating indication/data on status of the filter, volume of flow, no. of uses of the outlet, volume of water discharged during each use and all other related attributes of water filter to render it more user friendly and favour proper maintenance.
Yet further object is directed to provide for a battery operated electronic panel meter for indicating the status/end of life of filter especially for use in storage filter which can be used even in remote locations where there is no power source.
Yet another object is to provide for a simple and cost effective electronic panel meter for indicating status/end of life of cartridge filter which would not require replacement after every successive change of the cartridge and which would be operative upon change of
a cartridge for further monitoring by simply resetting of the meter after installation of fresh cartridge.
Yet another object is directed to a simple and cost effective electronic panel meter for use with storage filter having non-erasable/erasable memory unit for storing relevant data on operation of filtration means/cartridge based on its volume/capacity flow and comparator means to compare such set data with actual data to generate status signals from time to time.
Yet further object of the invention is directed to provide a storage filter unit having such status/end of life of cartridge monitoring means in a modular construction simple to install and maintain.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus according to the present invention there is provided a water-filtration/purification system comprising at least one filtration means, an outlet means adapted to open and close discharge of filtered water and means for sensing flow of water through said outlet means, said means for sensing the flow of water comprising a first sensor positioned ahead of the entry of the filtered water in said outlet means and a second sensor positioned at the outer end of outlet means, said first and second sensors operatively connected to an electronic control panel such that when said outlet means is opened and water flows there through and therebetween the said sensors the said sensors get electrically connected to said electronic control panel which is adapted to sense the water flow based on time during which said electrical connection is established for monitoring the volume flow and determine status/end of life of filtration means and/or other related aspects of filtration/system.
In accordance with a preferred aspect of the invention, the filtration/system comprise a conventional storage filter and said filtration means comprise of any filter cartridge while said outlet means comprise of a tap operatively connected to said storage filter to
discharge purified water wherein said first sensor is positioned ahead of the entry of said purified water in said tap while said second sensor is positioned at the outer end said tap such that when said tap is opened and said water flows therebetween said first and second sensor the electrical connection between said sensor and said "electronic control panel is completed to sense flow of water there through the tap and generate status/end of life indications of the filter cartridge.
The sensor used in the above system can be any conducting unit such as pin or electrode or metal wire as may be applicable which can establish electrical contact between said sensors and the electronic control panel by the water flow through said sensors. Location of the sensor in the outlet/tap is critical such that only when the filter water actually flows out of the tap that the electronic circuit is operative to monitor the volume flow based on time during which the water flow takes place and the electrical contact between the sensors and the electronic control panel is established. Thus as distinct from earlier known methods of establishing water flow based on mechanical operation of the tap which may or may not be associated with water flow or very complex and cost extensive systems of monitoring water flow, the system of the invention achieves the purpose of monitoring water flowing by way of a simple and cost effective system. For such monitoring of water flow in the system of the invention the first sensor is located ahead of the entry of the water from the filter unit to the tap and second sensor is located at the outlet of the tap to ensure that the electronic control panel is operative only when there is water flow from the storage device through the outlet of the tap and not otherwise.
The system of monitoring of water flow of the invention can be easily applied to any filtration unit having atleast one filtration means and an outlet for filtered water. The electronic control panel which is resettable can be either permanently fitted on the filter unit or releasably fixed to the" unit. The electronic control panel is operative on battery power and this can be used in remote locations where there is no power source.
In the above system of the invention, the amount of purified water discharged thorough the tap is directly monitored by the electronic panel and as soon as the" water flow is sensed by opening of the tap, the control circuit keeps a cumulative tota of the time during which such water flow takes place and is sensed. A memory uhit in the control panel is provided with preset values of maximum amount that the cartrillge can process and based on the cumulative value from time to time, the indication panel oflhe electronic control unit would display the status of the cartridge designatingby display of green light that the cartridge is within a predetermined/preset life span, a yellow light designating the cartridge has passed its safe life span say 60% and a red light indicating the end of life the cartridge requiring its immediate replacement. The colour of the lights can be changed, though the colours as mentioned above is conventionally used in water filters. Importantly, in the above system of the invention, the sensing of the water flow is effected only when there is actual water flow through the unit and not merely based on opening of the tap which may or may not discharge water and hence can lead to erroneous indications.
The electronic control panel is basically a battery operable microprocessor based circuit with memory unit which can be fed with set data on desired capacity of a filter cartridge, number of uses in a single cartridge desired etc. and the same compared with actual values sensed to generate status signals. In particular, the electronic panel can display the following conditions:
a) Water flow through the tap.
b) Status of the total quantity of water consumed when it is approaching the EOL.
c) Status of total water through the cartridge when it exceeds the EOL.
d) Status of battery power source inside the panel meter when the voltage goes low.
The microprocessor circuit is also adapted to retain the data in the event of replacement of the battery.
Importantly, as a further advantageous features of the system of the invention, the, electronic control panel is adapted to reset after every replacement ,of exhausted cartridge by a fresh one. This would avoid the problem of dispensing with the control unit every time the cartridge life is exhausted as experienced in some known systems.
Preferably the data storage capabilities of life panel meter can be based on the following parameter:-
a. Total water consumed through the filter at any point of time.
b. The number of resets carried out till date.
c. Display of unique Serial No. assigned to the water filter forjractability.
The electronic control panel for the purpose of indications of status/end of life of cartridge is preferably provided with a visually display monitor, however, alternatively or additionally audio signal indicating means can also be provided.
In accordance with further aspect of the invention the same provide the electronic control panel operative by battery power such that it can be used in even remote locations where suitable power source is not available. Importantly, in accordance with the further aspect the system involves additional indicator for indicating status of the battery used in the system and also indicates the situations when the battery power is exhausted and replacement is necessary.
Importantly, the outlet means/tap used in the system of the invention is dual purpose outlet/tap which on hand allows user to take out purified water and at the same time send signals to the electronic control panel to monitor status and end of the life of the filter, filter cartridge based on the volume flow of water.
The control panel meter monitors water flow throughout cartridge at any point of time and indicates end of life/status by visual indications on the display panel.
Importantly, the gravity feed system of filtration used in storage filter and the simple system for monitoring/sensing of the cartridge status/end of life together -make the system of the invention cost-effective, easily affordable and simple to use. Advantageously, there is no mechanical sensing that is done in the system of invention and the sensing of flow is based on the actual water flow and hence the device is more reliable and consistent as a life panel meter adapted for use in any storage type water filter
The details of the invention its objects and advantages are explained hereunder in greater detail in relation to non-limiting exemplary illustrations. In particular a storage filter with cartridge having the means for monitoring the status/end of life of cartridge obtained in accordance with the invention is discussed in relation to the accompanying figures wherein:
Figure 1 is a front view of the filter in accordance with the present invention;
Figure 2 is a front view only of the tap (outlet) used in the filter of the invention;
Figure 3 is a side sectional view of the tap (outlet) used in the filter of the invention;
Figure 4 is an exploded view illustrating the connection of the electronic control unit
having indicator panel and tap of the filtration unit of the invention;
Figure 5 is an elevational view of the tap with the indicator panel mounted thereon in
accordance with the invention for indication of the variable status/end of life of the
cartridge as well as the status of the battery used to operate the system.
Figure 6a, 6b and 6c are side sectional views illustrating disposition of the sensors
used to sense the flow of water through the tap for monitoring status/end of life of
cartridge based on volume flow of the water.
Reference is first invited to Figure 1 which illustrates the storage filter system of the invention comprising first chamber (FC1) having at its base (B) means for supporting filter cartridge (FC2) the later extending into the second chamber (SC). An outlet means/tap (TP) communicates with said second chamber (SC) for supply of purified water. As usual in case of storage filters, the water to be purified is fed into the first
chamber (FC1) at the top by removing the lid (LD). Thereafter, the water processed through the filter cartridge (FC2) accumulates in the second chamber (SC) as filter water which is discharged through the outlet taps (TP) as and when requiredi The electronic control panel (EC) having the indicative panel (IP) is shown mounted on the tap (TP).
Reference is now invited to Figures 2 and 3 which illustrate in greater detail the tap, (TP). As shown in said figures, the tap (TP) has a head portion (HP) which operatively connected to the second chamber (SC) of the filter (not shown) via tubular means (TM) and gasket and nut (GN) connection. The head portion (HP) has an outlet (OT) which is spring loaded (SL) in the usual condition to maintain the tap outlet closed. When required for discharge of the water through the tap, the mechanical lever (ML) is activated in the direction of arrow "A" whereby the nozzle head works against the spring to move and thereby open the tap outlet for discharge of water. As soon as such discharge of water is effected, the water flow through the tap establishes the electrical connection between the sensors and the electronic control panel to monitor the status/end of life of cartridge based on volume of flow water through the tap during the time water flow between the sensors continue and the electronic control panel monitors such flow.
Figures 4 illustrates the press fit male and female connection of the electronic control panel and the tap head portion. While this illustration shows a releasable connection of the tap and the electronic control panel, it is also possible to have a tap with an integral electronic control panel for use in filter units in accordance with the present invention as the electronic control panel of the invention is resetable and need not be replaced each time the cartridge is charged.
Reference is now invited to accompanying figures 5 and 6 which show the tap and electronic control panel and importantly, the disposition of the sensors which serve the basic purpose of the invention to monitor the water flow volume only when there is actual flow of water and not otherwise. Figure 5 shows an elevational view of the tap
with the indicator panel mounted thereon, said indicator panel having a green light (G) which indicates that the cartridge (FC2) is within its life span, an orange light (0) indicating that the cartridge is nearing the end of its life span and a red" light ( R) indicating that the life span of the cartridge is over. A battery low indicator (BL) indicating that the battery needs to be replaced is also provided for.
Reference is invited to figures 6a, 6b, 6c which shows the disposition of the sensors to co-operate with the water flow through the tap to establish electric connectiori' between the sensors and the electronic control panel thereby monitor the status/end of life of the cartridge. Importantly, in accordance with the invention in order to avoid any false sensing of water flow, the sensors are positioned such that it is only when the water actually flows through the tap that the electronic control panel is activated to maintain the flow characteristics. For the purpose, the first sensor (FS) is positioned in the tubular member (TM) connecting the tap (TP) to the second chamber (SC) and which usually always remains in water. The second sensor (SS) is positioned at the outlet of the tap such that only when the tap is opened and water flows from the tubular member (TM) and out of the tap outlet (OT) that the first and second sensors are electrically connected through water flow line to in turn establish operatively connection with the electronic control panel (ECP) to carry out the monitoring of status/end of life based on volume flow through the tap. Figures 6a, 6b, 6c show that the disposition of the sensors with respect to the ECP is immaterial.
Therefore, the amount of purified water delivered by the tap is directly a function of how long the sensors (first and second) are in electrical connection by the water flowing therebetween. Each time such sensor connection is established by the flow of water, the electronic control panel which is a microprocessor based circuit keeps a cumulative total of the valve on time and based on the cumulative value from time to time, the indication panel of the electronic control unit would display the status of the cartridge designating by display of green light that the cartridge is within a predetermined/preset life span, an orange light designating the cartridge has passed its safe life span say 60% and a red light indicating the end of life the cartridge requiring its immediate
replacement. The data recording the accumulated water flow through tap is stored/updated in the memory of the control circuit. After the cartridge is exhausted and a replacement is done, the electronic panel is simply reset to once again start monitoring the volume flow and related characteristics for the fresh cartridge and the electronic control panel need not be replaced.
Also, as shown in Figure 5, the electronic control panel is further provided with ah indicator means to indicate the status of battery for possible replacement as and when required.
It is thus possibly by way of the present invention to provide a system for monitoring status/end of life of filter media of filter units based on volume flow by way of a simple and cost effective device. The system of monitor/end of life can be used on any purification system especially in storage filter.
Thus by way of the present system all desired parameters such as:
a)Water flow through the tap; b) status of the total quantity of water consumed when it is approaching the EOL; c) status of total water through the cartridge when it exceeds the EOL; d) status of power source inside the panel meter when the voltage goes low; e) the ability of the microprocessor circuit to retain the data in the event of replacement of battery can be maintained; f) total water consumed through the filter at any point of time; g) the no. of resets carried out till date; h) display of unique Serial No. assigned to the water filter for traceability which make it highly effective and at the same time simple and cost effective.
Advantageously ,the possible modular construction of the system of the invention offer flexibility and serve to meet the long felt requirement of simple filter/purification units having means for monitoring status/end of life of filter and/or related aspects of water filtration.
WE CLAIM :
1. A filter cartridge based water purification system comprising at least one filter
cartridge, a discharge outlet adapted to discharge filtered water, and a flow
sensor arrangement adapted to sense the flow of water through the discharge
which flow sensor arrangement comprises a first sensor positioned ahead of the entry of the filtered water into the discharge outlet and a second sensor positioned at the outer end of the discharge outlet downstream of the first
the first and second sensors being operatively connected to an electronic control panel, so that when the discharge outlet is opened and water flows through the outlet and between the sensors, the sensors become electrically connected to the electronic control panel and the water flow can be measured based on the time during which the electrical connection is established and the status of the system can be monitored based on the measured water flow.
2. A water purification system as claimed in claim 1, which is in the form of a storage filter.
3. A water purification system as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the electronic control panel is a battery operable microprocessor based circuit with a memory unit.
Dated this 3rd day of October 2002
Dr .Sanchita Ganguli
|Indian Patent Application Number||968/MUM/2001|
|PG Journal Number||40/2008|
|Date of Filing||05-Oct-2001|
|Name of Patentee||HINDUSTAN LEVER LIMITED|
|Applicant Address||HINDUSTAN LEVER HOUSE, 165/166, BACKBAY RECLAMATION, MUMBAI -400 020,|
|PCT International Classification Number||B 01 D 35/143|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|