US 20090152251 A1
There is provided a system and method for quick identification and selection of torch processes based on a profile scheme. In an illustrated embodiment, a profile selectable via a one-click process may define operational parameters for one or more torch processes. Multiple profiles may be identified by corresponding labels that are visible on the face of the system. Furthermore, in an illustrated embodiment, the profiles and associated torch processes may be automatically stored in the system upon user configuration of the operational parameters. For example, in one embodiment, the user may select a profile and configure a welding process. Upon changing an operational parameter, it may be automatically saved to the selected profile and process. Reselection of that profile may recall the last used process and its associated parameters. The operational parameters of other configured processes may then be retrieved by selecting the desired process within the selected profile.
1. A torch system comprising:
a personalized interface, comprising:
a plurality of selectors corresponding to a plurality of configurable profiles, wherein each selector is configured to adjust operational parameters of the torch system upon selection.
2. The torch system of
3. The torch system of
4. The torch system of
5. The torch system of
6. The torch system of
7. The torch system of
8. The torch system of
9. The torch system of
10. The torch system of
11. The torch system of
12. The torch system of
13. A torch system, comprising:
a programmable controller, comprising:
a personalized user interface, wherein the personalized user interface comprises at least one quick selector configured to recall operational parameters of a torch process.
14. The torch system of
15. The torch system of
16. The torch system of
17. The torch system of
18. The torch system of
19. The torch system of
20. A torch system, comprising:
one or more tangible, machine-readable media comprising:
code executable to save operational parameters for a plurality of profiles automatically upon user selection of the operational parameters for each profile; or
code executable to recall the operational parameters for each profile to configure the torch system based on a one-click user selection of each profile; or
a combination thereof.
21. The torch system of
22. The torch system of
23. The torch system of
24. A method, comprising:
automatically saving a user profile to a profile selector based on one or more selections of operational parameters of a torch system via controls separate from the profile selector.
25. The method of
26. A method, comprising:
saving operational parameters of a torch system to a desired profile upon user selection of a save option and/or the desired profile; and
recalling the operational parameters upon a one-step selection of the desired profile.
27. The method of
28. A torch system, comprising:
a personalized interface, comprising:
a plurality of customizable profiles each having operational parameters for the torch system; and
a desired customizable profile is selectable without scrolling through a list of the plurality of customizable profiles.
29. The torch system of
This application is a Non-Provisional patent application of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/014,670, entitled “PERSONALIZED INTERFACE FOR TORCH SYSTEM AND METHOD”, filed Dec. 18, 2007, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The invention relates generally to a torch system and control of various features according to user preferences.
Torch systems generally support different types of processes, including metal inert gas (MIG) welding, tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, stick welding, air carbon arc cutting (CAC-A), plasma arc cutting, etc. Multi-process torch equipment may provide control for several processes in a single unit. A multi-process torch system may employ a relatively sophisticated user interface with controls, displays, etc. to setup and control the various processes for which it is designed. Depending on the specific application, an operator may be required to switch between welding and/or cutting processes on a regular basis to properly complete a job. Switching between processes may require the operator to select the new process to be used and to change the equipment settings to achieve optimal performance. This process is time consuming, impacts productivity, and requires the operator to remember the specific settings for each particular process. Furthermore, a single torch system is often used by multiple operators, and each operator may have personal preferences for a given type of process. Each operator may need to adjust the system before every use, which can become very time consuming.
A torch system, in one embodiment, may include a personalized interface having multiple selectors each corresponding to a configurable profile. Each selector may adjust operational parameters of the torch system upon selection. In another embodiment, a torch system may include a programmable controller having a personalized user interface. The personalized user interface may have at least one quick selector for recalling the operational parameters of a torch process. A torch system, in another embodiment, may include tangible, machine-readable media having code executable to save operational parameters for multiple profiles automatically upon user selection of the operational parameters for each profile and/or code executable to recall the operational parameters for each profile to configure the torch system based on a one-click user selection of each profile. In a further embodiment, a method includes automatically saving a user profile to a profile selector based on one or more selections of operational parameters of a torch system via controls separate from the profile selector. A further embodiment of a torch system may include a personalized interface having multiple customizable profiles, each having operational parameters for the torch system, wherein a desired customizable profile is selectable without scrolling through a list of the customizable profiles.
These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters represent like parts throughout the drawings, wherein:
One or more specific embodiments of the present invention will be described below. In an effort to provide a concise description of these embodiments, not all features of an actual implementation are described in the specification. It should be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, as in any engineering or design project, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which may vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it should be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of design, fabrication, and manufacture for those of ordinary skill having the benefit of this disclosure.
When introducing elements of various embodiments of the present invention, the articles “a,” “an,” “the,” and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements. The terms “comprising,” “including,” and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements other than the listed elements. Moreover, the use of “top,” “bottom,” “above,” “below,” and variations of these terms is made for convenience, but does not require any particular orientation of the components. Finally, in the illustrated embodiments, features may be referred to as “selectors,” “buttons,” “switches,” or “knobs,” however these elements are not intended to be limited to the specific terminology used. That is, a “button” may include, for example, a push-button, a toggle switch, a knob, or any similar device. Likewise, a “switch” is not limited to a single type of switch, such as a toggle, but may include a push-button or a knob, among other devices. A “knob” may be, for example, a quadrature encoder, a dial, a rotary switch, or a similar device.
A “quick selector,” as the term is used herein, may include any device that enables quick selection or deselection of an option. For example, a button may be considered a quick selector because an option may be selected or deselected merely by depression of the button. Likewise, a switch or a knob may be considered a quick selector. A scrolling device, on the other hand, would not be considered a quick selector as such a device requires scrolling through a list to select or deselect an option. Similarly, multi-step selection devices are not quick selectors.
The system 10 generally includes a power/control unit 12 having a power source 14 and a controller 16; right and left torches or guns 18 and 20, respectively; and a shielding gas source 22. The power/control unit 12 may be coupled to a wire feeder 24 configured to control the wire supply to the first and second guns 18 and 20. The controller 16 may include a power source interface 26 and a process control board (not shown). The power source interface 26 includes a process interface 28 for inputting operational parameters to the process control board and a profile interface 30 for selecting a desired profile. The process control board includes hardware and circuitry for storing programs (e.g., code on memory) to operate the torch system 10. Furthermore, the wire feeder 24 may include a wire feeder interface 32 coupled to the controller 16 such that operational parameters may be input to the process control board via the wire feeder interface 32. The power source interface 26 and the wire feeder interface 32 may control the same or different configuration settings.
An exemplary embodiment of the power source interface 26 with unique personalization control features is illustrated in
Each profile may correspond to one or more sets of operational parameters for the torch system 10 (
The illustrated exemplary power source interface 26 includes control settings for stick and TIG welding processes. A stick button 40 may initiate the stick welding process. The power source interface 26 may include indicators to notify the user which settings are selected. For example, selection of the stick button 40 may light up the “STICK” label or the button 40. An electrode switch 42 allows the user to select between multiple possible electrodes to use in the stick welding process. For example, the user may select between an E6010 and an E7018 electrode, depending on the process parameters. Other electrode types may be offered as options in addition to, or instead of, the E6010 and E7018 electrodes. The electrode switch 42 may be a toggle switch, and the selected electrode may be the one toward which the toggle is biased. In another embodiment, the electrode switch 42 may be a push button, and the label for the selected electrode may light up to indicate the selection. Finally, an amperage knob 44 enables the user to adjust the amperage supplied to the torch (e.g., welding gun) in the stick welding process. The amperage may be displayed on a display 46, such as, for example, an LED or a seven-segment display. As described in more detail below, after the user selects one of the profile selectors 36 and adjusts the settings for the stick welding process, the selected settings may be automatically saved to the selected profile. That is, the user may return at a later time and select the previously-used profile to enable the configured settings. In another embodiment, the user may adjust the settings for the stick welding process then save the settings to a particular profile. For example, the profile selector 36 corresponding to the desired profile may be depressed and held for several seconds to save the settings to that profile.
In addition to the stick welding process, the exemplary power source interface 26 includes control settings for a TIG welding process. A single profile may store several processes, including both stick welding parameters and TIG welding parameters. Parameters for additional processes may be stored in each profile and accessed via additional buttons. For example, a TIG button 48 may initiate the TIG welding process. As described above, selection of the TIG button 48 may light up the “TIG” label or the button 48. Parameters for both stick welding and TIG welding may be stored in a given profile and recalled upon depression of the stick button 40 or the TIG button 48, depending on the desired process. A start switch 50 enables the user to select whether to use a high frequency start method or a lift arc start method. The chosen start method may be indicated by a toggle switch or a lit label. The amperage knob 44 may be utilized to adjust amperage for the TIG welding process in addition to the stick welding process. Adjusting the amperage knob 44 changes the amperage setting only for the selected process. That is, if the TIG button 48 is depressed, rotating the amperage knob 44 adjusts only the amperage setting for the TIG welding process; the amperage setting for the stick welding process is not affected.
For each welding process, a base material for creating a weld, such as carbon steel or stainless steel in the illustrated embodiment, may be designated using a base material switch 54. A wire size switch 56 enables the user to specify the diameter (e.g., 0.035 or 0.045 inches) of the wire used in the welding process. For a MIG welding process, a MIG type switch 58 may be utilized to select the desired MIG welding process. For example, the user may designate a standard MIG process, a regulated metal deposition (RMD) process, or a pulsed MIG process via the switch 58.
In addition, a gas selection button 60 may enable the user to select a shielding gas for the MIG welding process. The gas selection button 60 may, for example, be pressed until the desired gas is illuminated on an adjacent display chart 62. The gas selection may be limited by the base material and MIG type selections, as indicated in the illustrated embodiment. For example, if the user has chosen carbon as the base material (switch 54) and pulse as the MIG type (switch 58), the gas selection may be limited to C8-C15 (i.e., a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide containing approximately 8-15% CO2) as this is the only option available in the Carbon Steel-Pulse column in display chart 62. On the other hand, if the user has chosen stainless steel as the base material (switch 54) and RMD as the MIG type (switch 58), the gas selection may include C2 (i.e., a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide containing approximately 2% CO2), 98/2 Ox (i.e., a mixture containing approximately 98% argon and 2% oxygen), TriH (i.e., a mixture containing approximately 90% helium, 7.5% argon, and 2.5% carbon dioxide), or others as indicated in the Stainless-MIG/RMD column. Selection of “others” may change the displayed options if more options are available than fit on the display 62. It should be understood that any appropriate gases may be utilized in the present system, and the display chart 62 may be updated accordingly.
Additionally, if a fixed torch is utilized in the designated welding process, the user may indicate this by depressing a fixed torch button 64. Finally, a trigger select button 66 may enable or disable the ability of the user to change profiles by clicking a trigger on the torch or gun.
In addition, a profile selection button 90 may be disposed on the wire feeder interface 32 to enable the user to easily switch between profiles without returning to the power/control unit 12 (
The user may select the desired profile 114 via the profile selectors 36 and 90. By programming operational parameters into the profiles 114, the desired parameters associated with each profile 114 may be recalled with a single push of a button (e.g., the profile selectors 36 and 90) without the trouble of manually adjusting each and every control on the system 10. For example, the profile 114 may correspond to a specific user and/or to a specific process. Within the profile 114, the user may select between a stick process 116, a TIG process 118, a left gun process 120, or a right gun process 122. The stick process 116 may include selection of either an E6010 electrode 124 or an E7018 electrode 126. For each electrode 124 and 126, amperage 128 and 130 may be set, respectively. Likewise, in the TIG process, an amperage 132 may be input, and a high frequency start 134 or a lift-arc start 136 may be selected. For the left gun 120, a MIG process 138 or a FCAW process 140 may be selected. A voltage 142 and a wire feed speed 144 may be adjusted for the MIG process 138, and a trigger hold option 146 may be selected. Likewise, for the FCAW process 140, a voltage 148 and a wire feed speed 150 may be input, and a trigger hold option 152 may be selected. As with the left gun process 120, the right gun process 122 may be a MIG process 154 or a FCAW process 156. For each of the MIG process 154 and the FCAW process 156, the user may select a voltage 158 and 160, a wire speed feed 162 and 164, and a trigger hold option 166 and 168, respectively. Other settings and processes may be specified based on the processes available on the given welding system 10. If multiple processes are defined in the desired profile 114, the user may also press a button (e.g., stick button 40, TIG button 48, left gun button 70, right gun button 72, etc.) to recall the operational parameters associated with the desired process 116, 118, 130, or 122 in the desired profile 114.
Furthermore, it may be desirable to set each profile 114 to a specific process having user-independent settings. For example, profile one may be set to automatically recall settings for the stick welding process 116, while profile two may automatically initialize the TIG welding process 118. Every user of the welding system 10 may then utilize the same process settings. This feature enables one-touch switching between processes by assigning a different process or different settings to each profile 114. One-touch recall of different process settings may be especially useful where certain welding processes are commonly used on the welding system 10 and the settings for each process do not change from user to user. The process specified for each profile 114 may be labeled on the display area 38 (
In addition, if the welding system 10 is used by different welders who have preferred settings for each welding process, each profile 114 may be assigned to a different user. The users' names may be displayed on the display areas 38 (
Another exemplary embodiment of the power source interface 26 with unique personalization control features is illustrated in
The power source interface 26 illustrated in
When a continuous wire process is selected, the MIG type switch 58 enables the user to select a continuous wire welding process type, such as, for example, a flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) process, a standard MIG welding process, a regulated metal deposition (RMD) process, or a pulsed MIG welding process. For the selected process, the base material may be selected or input via the base material switch 54, and the wire diameter may be selected or input via the wire size switch 56. In addition, the gas selection button 60 may enable the user to select a shielding gas for MIG welding processes, as described above. The selected gas may be displayed on the adjacent display chart 62. The trigger select button 66 may enable or disable the ability of the user to change profiles by clicking the trigger on the torch or gun (e.g., the right and left welding guns 18 and 20).
In addition to the process settings configurable at the power source interface 26, the left or right gun 18 or 20 (
The illustrated embodiment of the power source interface 26 may also include a memory interface 174. The memory interface 174 may enable communication with a portable memory unit, such as a flash memory card, a pen drive, or an external hard drive, on which profile information may be stored. In an exemplary embodiment, the memory interface 174 may have one or more memory card slots 175 to receive portable memory cards (e.g., Secure Digital, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, xD, PCMCIA, SmartMedia, etc.). In another embodiment, the memory interface 174 may include a port to which an external memory device may be coupled (e.g., USB or mini-USB device, external hard drive, FireWire device, eSATA drive, i.Link device, parallel SCSI device, etc.). A cover 176 may protect the memory interface 174 when not in use or when a memory card is inserted in the card slot 175. The cover may be rotatably coupled to the interface 26, e.g., via a hinge or pivot joints 177.
While the portable memory unit is coupled to the memory interface 174, information may be copied to and/or from the process control board (not shown). For example, by pressing a save button 178, the user may copy the settings from the power source interface 26 to the portable memory device. Similarly, the user may press a load button 180 to automatically implement settings stored on the portable memory device. In another embodiment, the memory interface 174 may automatically load information from the portable memory device upon coupling the memory device to the interface 26 (e.g., plug-and-play). To indicate that the portable memory device is being accessed, a busy indicator 182 may be illuminated and/or may flash on and off.
As described above, changes input to the torch system 10 (
Within each MIG welding process, the voltage parameters and/or arc length may be set using the voltage knob 78, and the wire speed may be set using the wire feed speed knob 80. The selected voltage and wire feed speed are displayed on the displays 82 and 84 adjacent the knobs 78 and 80, respectively. As described above, the jog button 92 may be depressed to thread wire through the welding gun 18 or 20 without activating the weld process. The trigger hold button 88 may enable the user to weld for an extended period of time without holding down the welding gun trigger. The purge button 94 may be depressed to purge shielding gas from the gun 18 or 20 without activating the welding process.
In addition, the profile selection button 90 may enable the user to easily switch between profiles without returning to the power/control unit 12 (
Within the profile 190, the user may select between a stick welding process 192, a TIG welding process 194, a left gun process 196, or a right gun process 198. Additionally, a trigger select option 200 may enable the profile 190 to be selected via the trigger on the torch or gun (e.g., the right and left welding guns 18 and 20). The stick welding process 192 may include selection of either an EXX10 electrode 202 or an EXX18 electrode 204. For each electrode 202 and 204, amperage 206 and 208 may be set, respectively. Likewise, in the TIG welding process, an amperage 210 may be input, and a high frequency start 212 or lift-arc start 214 may be selected.
If the left gun process 196 is selected, a MIG process type 216 may be chosen. In addition, a voltage 218, a wire feed speed 220, a base material 222, a wire diameter 224, and a gas type 226 may be selected. A trigger hold option 228, which allows the user to weld for an extended period of time without holding down the welding gun trigger, may also be enabled or disabled. Similarly, if the right gun process 198 is selected, a MIG process type 230 may be chosen. A voltage 232, a wire feed speed 234, a base material 236, a wire diameter 238, and a gas type 240 may also be selected. In addition, a trigger hold option 242 may be enabled or disabled.
Furthermore, the profile 190 may be enabled to permit automatic profile selection through actuation of the left or right gun trigger. Enabling the trigger select option 200 on two or more profiles allows the user to easily switch between the profiles in which trigger select is activated. For example, if profiles 1 and 3 have trigger select enabled, the weld operator may select between the two profiles by rapidly actuating the active gun trigger. Subsequent actuation of the active gun trigger will switch between profiles 1 and 3. If trigger select is enabled on more than two profiles, trigger actuation will sequentially toggle through the profiles.
Other settings and processes may be specified based on the processes available on the given welding system 10. If multiple processes are defined in the desired profile 190, the user may also press a button (e.g., the stick button 40, the TIG button 48, the side select button 172, the left gun button 70, the right gun button 72, etc.) to recall the operational parameters associated with the desired process 192, 194, 196, or 198 in the desired profile 190. Selection of various processes based on the process and/or the user may be programmed, as described above.
Furthermore, the process control model 250 may include a non-volatile memory 264. The non-volatile memory 264 may include, for example, a hard drive, a flash memory drive, a tape drive, ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, etc. The non-volatile memory 264 may be integral with or separate from the ROM 256. User/process profiles may be stored on the non-volatile memory 264, for example, in a look-up table, and recalled upon selection of the profile selectors 36 and 90. Default process settings may be initially stored on the non-volatile memory 264. In one embodiment, the user/process profiles may be updated automatically upon entering settings via the user input interface(s) 260. That is, as soon as a user changes a setting, such as adjusting the amperage knob 44 or pressing the left gun button 70, the active user/process profile may be updated to reflect the change. In another embodiment, the user/process profiles may be updated manually upon specific user input via the user input interface(s) 260. For example, after a user changes a setting, the user may select to save the settings to a specific user/process profile. If a different user/process profile is selected, the previous settings for that profile are recalled automatically from the non-volatile memory 264 and displayed on the display(s) 262.
In some embodiments, the non-volatile memory 264 may be portable and easily transferable to another system 10. For example, user/process profiles may be copied from a first system 10 to a flash memory drive and transported to another system 10, where the user/process profiles are loaded for use. The process control model 250 may contain both portable and fixed non-volatile memory 264, and transferring the user/process profiles may consist of copying the profiles between the portable and the fixed non-volatile memory 264. For example, user depression of the save button 178 (
While only certain features of the invention have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications and changes will occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.