Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3875892 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 8, 1975
Filing dateJan 14, 1974
Priority dateJan 14, 1974
Also published asCA1012347A, CA1012347A1
Publication numberUS 3875892 A, US 3875892A, US-A-3875892, US3875892 A, US3875892A
InventorsPaul S Gregg, Stanley L Bentley
Original AssigneeRansburg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for avoiding sparks in an electrostatic coating system
US 3875892 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Gregg et al.

[Ill 3,875,892

[ 1 Apr. 8, 1975 l l APPARATUS FOR AVOIDING SPARKS IN AN ELECTROSTATIC COATING SYSTEM [75] inventors: Paul S. Gregg; Stanley L. Bentley,

both of Indianapolis. Ind.

[73] Assignee: RansburgCorporation.Indianapolis.

Ind.

22 Filed: Jan. 14, 1974 211 Appl.No.:433,266

3.64l.97l 2/l972 Walherg llS/S Primary E.\'urm'm'rLouis K. Rimrodt Aiziii'mnl Emmr'nerLeo Millstein Almruvy. Agent. or FirmMerrill N. Johnson; David H. Badger l ABSTRACT This invention provides an electrostatic coating apparatus to avoid a disruptive electrical discharge from the high voltage electrode to an approaching grounded object. This apparatus employs the current of a high voltage electrostatic system to determine incipient grounding of the high voltage electrode and includes a fast-acting grounding device activated in anticipation of sparking conditions to connect the high voltage electrode to ground. The grounding device is held in the ungrounded position during operation of the electrostatic coating system. The electric current in the ground return of the high voltage source is sensed to provide a signal. All alternating current components of the signal above substantially pure direct current are removed to provide a resulting DC signal that increases as a grounded article approaches a charged electrode. The resultant DC signal is analyzed to determine the approach of a grounded article to the charged electrode. When the level of the signal indicates incipient grounding of the charged high voltage electrode, the grounding device is released from its ungroundecl position and quickly connects the high voltage electrode to ground.

9 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTED 9 877 .85?

SHEET 2 BF 3 3 2 ARTICLE I00 I0) I!) MOVEMENT l2 GROuND HIGH CHARGED GROUNDED) RETURN VOLTAGE ELECTRODE ARTICLE NETWORK sOuRCE TIME Low PASS 26a 26b OPERATIONA NETWORK 27 27b CLOCK g CIRCUIT GATED SAMPLING CIRCUIT 28 31 X INvERTING 1 GATED CIRCUIT 3H3 SAMPLING CIRCUIT 3| HOLDING a CIRCUIT 32b 32C? 290 suMMING F/g. 2 32 CIRCUIT 33b LEv'EL DETECTING CI RCuIT PATENTEDAPR 8 I975 T l I I i l l l I l .I

seaw3u o wmm mw IIIII I I I I I I II.

1 APPARATUS FOR AVOIDING SPARKS IN AN ELECTROSTATIC COATING SYSTEM This invention relates to an electrostatic coating apparatus for avoiding a disruptive electrical discharge from the high voltage electrode to an approaching grounded object in an electrostatic coating system.

In industrial electrostatic coating systems. electrical potentials are used which may be as high as 100.000 volts or more. Electrostatic coating systems use these high voltages in many different ways to accomplish deposition of coating materials. Several of these ways are disclosed in US. Pat. Nos. 2.893.893; 2.893.894. Re. 24.602; 3.048.498. 3.169.882 and 3.l69.883.

These systems include high voltage sources to provide such potentials. Customarily. one terminal of the high voltage source is electrically grounded or connected to earth and is at zero potential. A high voltage electrode or atomizer is commonly connected to the other terminal of the high voltage source. In most such industrial coating systems. the high voltage electrode has a portion with a very small radius of curvature which can he referred to as sharp. Such an electrode can he used to provide an electric charge on particles of coating material and move the coating material particles under the action of the imposed electric charge for deposition on an article to be coated.

The term electrostatic field is used to designate the condition in space existing in the region occupied by two spaced electrodes. An electrostatic field. in a sense. depicts the manner in which the energy stored in the high voltage electrostatic system is distributed throughout the region between the high voltage electrode and the grounded electrode or electrodes. Where the high voltage electrode is sharp. if the sharp portion is not shielded from the effect of the grounded electrodes. the energy ofthe electrostatic system is concen trated adjacent the sharp portion of the high voltage electrode. This concentration of energy is generally de scribed by stating that the electrostatic field has a high intensity in this region. The intensity of an electrostatic field is measured by potential gradient" to indicate how the energy of the field is distributed throughout the region between the electrodes, generally in such terms as kilovolts per centimeter.

Gases (including air which is a composite of many gases! may be ionized by the energy of an intense electrostatic field. If. for example. molecules of the gases forming air are exposed to an intense electrostatic field where the local potential gradient is about or above kilovolts per centimeter. electrons are torn from the molecules under the action of the intense field. the remaining portions of the molecules are thus ionized (that is. they have a net charge) and they move in response to the energy of the electrostatic field.

ln high voltage electrostatic coating systems. because of the intense electrostatic fields. that are used. ionization of the air can proceed under some conditions to a complete disruption ofthe space between the high voltage electrode and the grounded electrode. This disruptive electrical discharge is frequently in the form of sparksv Although local potential gradients on the order of 30 kilovolts per centimeter can exist closely adjacent the sharp portion of such an electrode without sparking. when the average potential gradient throughout the space between a high voltage electrode and a grounded electrode exceeds on the order of 1?. kilovolts per centimeter under such conditions. danger of sparking is great. Such sparking generally dissipates most of the energy stored in the high voltage electrode.

Such sparks can be dangerous. In automatic electrostatic coating installations. articles to be coated are frequently carried on a conveyor and are free to swing to and fro so that it may be possible for the interval be tween the high voltage electrode and the grounded article to be coated to be diminished below the distances at which sparking occurs. In addition. since human personnel hang the articles on the conveyor. it is possible for them to make mistakes and hang the articles in such a manner that the interval between the high voltage electrode and the article to be coated is below the spacing at which sparking occurs. Such spark discharges can ignite any flammable vapors of coating material.

In electrostatic coating systems. sparking is to be avoided. Some electrostatic coating systems. disclosed for example in US. Pat. No. 3.048.498. avoid disruptive discharges by maintaining the potential gradient of the electrostatic field at values consistent with high transfer efficiencies. but at values below potential gradients at which objectionable sparking occurs even down to spacings of less than an inch. Such systems control the intensity of the electrical discharge otained from the high voltage electrode and include selected high resistance in the electrostatic coating system adjacent a high voltage electrode. the size and shape of the electrode and the electrical conductivity of the material of which the electrode is composed providing the electrode with low effective capacity.

Such features are not incorporated in other electro static coating systems. Attempts to prevent sparking from high voltage electrodes in these other electrostatic coating systems have included efforts to develop a signal from the electrical current flowing from the high voltage electrode to ground and to turn off the high voltage source. These attempts have included the use of apparatus such as that disclosed in early US Pat. Nos. 2.509.277 and 2.650.329. Electrostatic coating systems using these inventions have even included oil-insulated. electrically operated shorting switches with contacts traveling several inches through the instlating oil to ground the high voltage electrode. Another patent showing an attempt to use a signal from the ground return current is US. Pat. No. 3.64l.97l.

High voltage relays are known and come in many configurations. Such relays use a high vacuum to provide insulation between the closely spaced contacts of the switch when they are in the open position. Examples of such relays are those manufactured by the Kilovac Corporation of Santa Barbara. Calif. and are shown in their catalog copyrighted in 1972. Although such relays have been frequently used in many applications. they have not been put into use in electrostatic coating systems.

Other efforts in electrostatic coating have attempted to control the voltage applied to the high voltage electrodes in response to the current flowing from that electrode. Such patents are US. Pat. No. 2.742.600 and US. Pat. No. 2.767.359.

These approaches to the solution of this problem in electrostatic coating have not been completely successful. even though they have put to use improvements in circuit design and components which have been developed since their innovation. These existing systems do not ground the high voltage electrode sufficiently in anticipation of incipient sparking conditions to prevent the formation ofa spark. The signal representing an approaching grounded object is a very small increase in the DC leakage current from the sharp high voltage electrode, on the order of a few microamperes. while the average DC load current on such systems can be as high as several milliamperes, and the AC current components can be as high as several milliamperes. Because of the variable effect of these currents and of transients, users of systems that employed electrostatic coating apparatus of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,509,277 and 2,650,329 would set their apparatus so that it would not sporadically turn off the voltage in response to such transients. So adjusted. their systems were frequently not capable of detecting incipient sparking in many practical industrial installations.

This invention provides apparatus employing the currents of a high voltage electrostatic system to determine incipient grounded conditions and to ground the high voltage electrode with a fast-acting high voltage relay prior to sparking from the high voltage electrodes. Specifically, this current is detected in between the ground terminal of the high voltage supply and ground, commonly referred to as the ground return". In this apparatus, the undesirable influences of the DC load currents and AC transients can be eliminated, and a reliable and fastacting grounding contact can be made between the high voltage electrode and ground.

FIG. I is a diagrammatic showing of the major components of the apparatus of this invention for determining incipient grounding ofthe high voltage electrostatic system.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic illustration showing the major circuit elements of this invention.

FIG. 3 is a more detailed circuit diagram of the apparatus.

FIG. I shows a hgh voltage electrostatic coating system of this invention in diagrammatic form. This system includes high voltage source It], a charged high voltage electrode 11, grounded article 12, and a high voltage grounding device [3. In the electrostatic coating system, the grounded article 12 is free to move in the direction of a charged high voltage electrode II, shown by arrow 12a. Movement ofthe grounded article I2 in the direction of the charged electrode II will result in an increased flow of electrical current across the space between the high voltage electrode 1] and the grounded article 12. This electric current will continue to increase until the space between the high voltage electrode and the grounded article breaks down and sparks are formed.

In such electrostatic systems, the high voltage electrode ll frequently includes an air motor in a metallic housing Ila driving a bell-shaped, or as shown, a disk atomizer 11b. The electric motor and atomizing electrode are insulated from ground by a post 14 of suitable dielectric material, such as nylon. and is reciprocated vertically to paint the grounded article 12. A high voltage cable 15 connects the motor and the atomizer with the high voltage source 10. The high voltage conductor is comprised of a metallic conductor surrounded by a heavy layer of polyethylene to provide insulation for the high voltage. To generate the high voltage, the high voltage source includes a step-up transfer a to provide AC voltage on the order of 60,000 to [00,000 volts, peak-to-peak. The secondary of high voltage transformer is connected into a half-wave doubler circuit with rectifiers and filter capacitors to provice a DC output voltage equal to the peak-to-peak voltage of the alternating current at the secondary of the transformer.

In the system of this invention, a high voltage ground ing device 13 is connected to the output of the high voltage doubler circuit through a high resistance 10b of. for example, about l0 megohms. This high voltage grounding device includes a normally-closed, singlepole, single throw switch 13a (shown in the open position in FIG. I) that is operated by an electromagnetic coil 13b. The switch is housed by a hermetically sealed enclosure 13:- mounted in an oil insulation. The coil 13!) is housed in a separable portion of switch 13. Enclosure 13c includes a high voltage connection 13d and a ground connection l3e to the contacts of switch 130. The high voltage connection 13d is connected with the high voltage electrode 11 and the high voltage cable 15. When the switch is in its normal position, the high voltage electrode and cable are connected to ground.

The space within enclosure 13c is adapted to provide insulation between the contacts of switch 13a when they are open, and the outer surface of the enclosure is adapted to provide insulation between the high voltage connection and ground connection when mounted in oil insulation. The device can be used to control 60,000 to [40,000 volts.

The switch contacts themselves are metallic. In their normal position. these contacts bear one against the other within enclosure 13c. The electromagnetic holding coil 13h pulls the contacts apart when energized by DC current. Connections 13f to coil 13!) are carried by the switch 13 at the end remote from high voltage connection 13d. Because the switch contacts are located within the hermetically sealed space defined by the enclosure, the device operates very fast in moving from the actuated to normally-closed positions, in the order of IS milliseconds. Resistance 10b protects the contacts of switch l3a from the high energy generated and stored in the high voltage source 10.

Thus. in the start-up sequence of the high voltage electrostatic system, current is applied to this coil 13b before high voltage is applied to the system. A typical high voltage control 17 includes on and off pushbuttons l8 and 19, respectively. In turning on the high voltage, pushbutton I8 is pressed, actuating the on/off relay 20. Normally-open contacts 200 of on/off relay 20 close around the normally-open pushbutton 18, holding relay 20in an actuated state. Normally-open contacts 20b of the on/off relay 20 close, applying AC power to the bridge rectifier network 16, actuating the holding coil 13b of the grounding device 13 and opening the contacts of switch 130. Normallyopen contacts 206 of the on/off relay 20 close, applying AC power to the control circuit 21. Control circuit 21 gradually applies AC power to the high voltage transformer 10a of the high voltage source 10 to prevent the starting transients that accompany the sudden application of AC power.

The ground-anticipating device 24 includes a ground return network 25, a circuit 22 for operating on the signai of the ground return network, and a relay 23.

In the event that the grounded article 12 moves in the direction 120, a signal will be developed in the ground return network 25. The circuit 22 will operate on this signal as explained later. Upon determining from the signal in ground return network 25 that the high voltage electrode 11 and the approaching grounded article 12 are reaching a condition where sparking may begin between them, the circuit 22 will actuate alarm relay 23, opening its normally-closed contacts 230 and 231). As normally-closed contacts 23a of the alarm relay 23 open, they interrupt the circuit holding the on/off relay 20 in actuation. Deactuation of on/off relay 20 opens its normally-open contacts 20a, 20b and 20c. Opening of contacts 20c removes power from the high voltage source and opening of contacts and 23h removes power from bridge rectifier l6 and the holding coil [3b of the grounding device. The contacts of switch 13a close, grounding the cable 15 and high voltage electrode 11.

In order to determine the incipient grounding of the high voltage electrostatic system. a ground return net work is connected between ground and the ground terminal 100 of the high voltage source 10. Current flowing from the charged electrode to the grounded article will be returned to the high voltage supply through ground and the ground return network 25. and a signal will be developed by the ground return network at its output 25a. Operation on this signal by circuit 22 is explained by referring to FIG. 2. The signal generated in the ground return network is complex, being comprised of a plurality of DC and AC components as illustrated in 25h (FIG. 2). The signal includes substantial 60- cycle portions including many higher harmonics. This complex signal is analyzed by circuit 22 to determine the signal component that represents an approaching grounded object. One example of such a circuit includes, for example, an operational network 26 comprised of the high gain DC amplifier and connected to transform the input signal 2512 with the transfer function HWo /S +aWoS+Wo The low pass operational network provides. for example, 20 db gain to DC signals and attenuates the AC components at 40 db per decade, being 3 db down at it) hertz and having zero gain at about hertz. Such a network effectively removes extraneous AC signals from the output of a low pass filter. Thus, in response to the approach of the grounded article 12 to the charged electrode [1, signal at the output 26a of the low pass operational network 26 is a signal which increases in value as the object approaches as shown at 26/1. The increasing DC signal at the output 260 of the low pass operational amplifier 26 is sampled to provide two successive signals in different intervals of time for comparison. The sampling rate is determined by a clock circuit 27, which provides a series of gating impulses in more-or-less square wave form at its output 270, as shown in 27/). The duration t" of each gate pulse, as shown in 27b. is selected to provide successive samples which occur rapidly enough so that comparison of these signals will provide a detectable increase in signal level under the most rapidly changing conditions to be anticipated.

The output of the clock circuit is applied to two gated sampling circuits 28 and 30. The first gated sampling circuit 28 is coupled to a holding circuit 29 and is gated by the clock circuit 27 during the first sampling interval tl. The signal 26/) from the low pass operational network 26 is passed by the gated sampling circuit 28 and retained in holding circuit 29. Thus, at the output of the holding circuit 29a, the signal 29b rises until the end of gate interval (1 in response to signal 26b. At the end of time interval 1, the gating signal is removed from the input of the first gated sampling circuit and is applied to the second gated sampling circuit 30 for the time interval [2. The signal 26b, during time interval 12, is passed through the gated sampling circuit 30 and inverted by inverting circuit 31. The signal 311) appearing at the output 310 of the second gated sampling circuit and inverting circuit is a negative pulse representing in amplitude the signal 26b, which occurs during the interval 12.

The output signal 29b of the holding circuit and 31b of the inverting circuit 31 represent those portions of the signal 26b which occur during the successive time intervals 11 and [2. These outputs are fed to a summing circuit 32. The instantaneous total or difference 32b at each instant of time of these signals 29b and 31b appears at the output of the summing circuit 32a but is inverted by the summing circuit 32. Signal 32b, corresponding to the output of the summing circuit, is applied to a level-detecting circuit 33. When the level of signal 32b reaches a level indicating that sparking may occur as shown at 32c. level-detecting circuit 33 produces a signal 331) at its output 31a that actuates the relay 23.

Thus, in the apparatus of FIG. 2 the electric current in the ground return to its high voltage electrostatic system is sensed to provide a signal. All alternating current components of the signal above substantially pure direct current are attenuated to provide a resulting DC signal that increases as a grounded article approaches a charged electrode. The resultant DC signal is sampled at a rate fast enough to anticipate the fastest expected approach of grounded article to the charged electrode. Every other sample is retained so that it may be compared with the sample immediately following it. The samples are compared in a summing circuit which provides a signal corresponding to the change in conditions in the ground return circuit. A level is selected corresponding to incipient grounding of the charged high voltage electrode. If a difference ofthe successive samples exceeds this level, high voltage is turned off and the high voltage electrode is grounded.

FIG. 3 shows the apparatus of FIG. 2 in greater detail. The elements of the ground return network are shown within the dashed block 25 and include between ground and the ground terminal [0c of the high voltage source 10, a fixed and a variable resistor, 34 and 35 respectivelyv The variable resistor 35 is used to adjust the level of the signal which is generated at output 250 of the ground return network. The ground return network also includes a fuse 36 and a current-limiting resistor 37 which functions with the input ofthe low pass operational network in the manner to be described.

The elements making up the low pass operational network include zener diode 38. This zener diode, operating in conjunction with the current-limiting resistor 37 and the other components of the ground return net work, prevents the signal applied at the input of the low pass operational network from exceeding a preselected voltage level, for example, t 12 volts. The low pass operational network uses an operational amplifier to transform the input signal in accordance with the transfer function set forth above. By operational amplifier", I mean, for example, a Signetic Corporation N574l type operational amplifier.

An active filter can be synthesized with the characteristics set forth above using operational amplifiers and design techniques known to those skilled in the art as, for example, taught in Operational Amplifiers Design & Application, Burr-Brown Research Corp. 1971 Library of Congress No. 74-16329). Such an active filter may use one or more operational amplifiers. An ac tive filter having the desired characteristics and using one operational amplifier 39 is shown in FIG. 3. The plurality of resistances and capacitances connected at the output and the input of the operational amplifier and numbered 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 generate from the terminal 38a to terminal the desired transfer function. in this case, the signal at the output 45 ofthe oper ational amplifier is without any significant AC component The signal at terminal 45 is a substantially total DC signal which will rise and fall as a grounded object 12 approaches, or retreats from the charged high voltage electrode 11 of the electrostatic system The typi cal values of such components which would provide the characteristics set forth above are resistor 40-l 1.3 Kohms capacitor -22 micro farads, resistor 42 l0.2 Kohms. resistor 43-l l3 Kohms and capacitor 44-1111 micro far-ads. The output of the active filter is amplified by operational amplifier 46 and resistances 47 and 48 and presented at the output 261i of the low pass operational network 26.

Sampling of the signal at the output 260 of the low pass operational network 26 is provided by the clock circuit shown within the dashed lines representing blocks 27. The clock circuit includes a transformer 50. The primary of the transformer 50a is connected to a 6U'cycle power source The secondary 50b is connected to ground at one side; the other side is coupled to an operational amplifier 5] through a resistor 52. Feedback from the output of the operational amplifier 51 to its input is effected by two diodes 53 and 54. Diodes 53 and 54 and operational amplifier 51 form. in the connection shown in FIG 3. a0 to +IS volt limiter circuit The positive half-cycle ofthe AC line is omitted and the negative half-cycle is clipped at 5 volts in verted by the operational amplifier and formed into a square pulse to yield a U to +5 volt pulse ofabout 8 milliseconds duration The output of operational amplifier 51 is connected through the resistor network, including resistors 55 and 56, and transistor 57 which is driven into saturation by this signal on alternative half-cycles of the 60 cycle input When transistor 57 is not driven into saturation by the gate signal of the clock transistor 58, by the action of the resistors 59 and 60. is in saturation effectively removing collector voltage from transistor 61 in the second gated sampling circuit within the dashed block 30. During this half-cycle of 60cycle input to the clock (which corresponds to the time interval I] as shown at 27b of FIG. 2), collector voltage is applied to transistor 62 of the first gated sampling circuit within the dashed block 28. The signal output of the low pass operational network 26, during this time interval 1, is applied to transistor 62 through resistor 63. This signal is amplifled by transistor 62 and is integrated and stored by the holding circuit within dashed block 29 which includes a resistor 64 and capacitor 66. A diode 65, inserted between the emitter of transistor 62 and the holding cir cuit 29 protects the transistor 62. The resistor 64 connected across capacitor 66 provides the apparatus with the ability to detect relatively stationary conditions cor responding to incipient grounding of the high voltage charged electrode in a manner that will be explained below In the alternate half-cycle of the 60-cycle input, cor responding to 12 at 27b of FIG. 2, transistor 57 is in saturation. removing collector voltage from transistor 62; however transistor 58 is not in saturation and collector voltage is applied to transistor 61 of the Second gated sampling circuit 30. During interval t2, the signal from the output 261: of the low pass operational amplifier 26 is applied through resistor 67 in the second gated sampling circuit and protective diode 68 to an inverter circuit shown connected with transistor 61. The signal is transmitted to the inverting circuit within the dashed box 31, comprised of an operational amplifier 69, connected with resistors 70. 71 to perform the inversionamplification function.

The signals at the outputs of the holding circuit 29a and of the inverting circuit 31a are fed to a summing circuit within the dashed box 32. The output of the holding circuit 29 passes through a variable resistor 72 to the operational amplifier 73. The output of the inverting circuit 31 is sent to the operational amplifier 73 through resistor 74. A feedback resistor 75, in conjunction with the variable resistor 72. resistor 74 and the operational amplifier 73, sums and provides the net difference of the retained signal from interval [1 which appears at the output 29a of the holding circuit 29 and the signal during the interval 12 which appears at the output 31a of the inverter circuit 31. The difference appears at the output 321.! of the summing circuit 32 but is inverted.

Leveldetecting circuit within the dashed lines 33 detects when the difference between the signals which occur during interval t] and which occur during 12 ex ceed a predetermined selected level that corresponds to incipient grounding of the high voltage electrostatic system. The leveldetecting system may be of any kind sufficient to reliably detect a signal level As shown in FIG. 3, level-detector circuit 33 includes zener diode 76 to hold the input to monostable multivibrator 79 within predetermined voltage limits, for example i 5 volts The monostable multivibrator 79 connected with resistor 77 and capacitor 78 will trigger if the level uppliled exceeds a predetermined preset value.

To provide an apparatus which Will detect slowly moving or stationary conditions suddenly imposed and representing incipient grounding of the high voltage electrostatic system, resistor 64 is connected across capacitor 66 in the holding circuit 29. During the interval 12, resistor 64 bleeds the stored charge from capacitor 66 that represents the integrated signals occurring during period 11. The charge bled through the resistor reduces, during time interval (2, the level of the signal at the output ofthe holding circuit 29a to be summed with the inverted signal appearing at the output 31a of the inverter circuit. and results in an increased difference at the output of the summing circuit 320. Thus, if incipient grounding of the high voltage electrostatic electrode is suddenly imposed by a very rapidly moving grounded object in a period less than the sampling interval (which in the device illustrated in FlG. 3 is one one hundred twentieth of a second) that subsequently remains relatively stationary a large difference signal will nevertheless be generated by the apparatus and actuate the level-detecting circuit and the relay 23.

This electrostatic coating system thus includes means to sense the electrical current returning from ground to the high voltage source and to develop a signal with a component related to an incipient grounding condition. This signal is split into two channels.

Two separate and independent signal channels are formed to perform independent operations in each channel and to develop different signal components at their outputs. These different signal components are combined to develop the component relating to an incipient grounding condition. The signal component corresponding to incipient grounding is detected from the level of this signal. Upon detection of incipient grounding. the grounding switch is deactuated.

The electrostatic coating apparatus described above is capable of use with either a disk or a bell atomizer made of metallic materials to avoid sparking from the atomizer to an approaching grounded article. The invention is capable of modification from the specific apparatus described above without departing from its scope as claimed below.

We claim:

1. In an electrostatic coating system including a high voltage source having a high voltage output and a ground return; a conveyor for transporting articles to be coated; means to spray a coating material. said high voltage output and ground return of the high voltage source being connected to create electrostatic deposi tion of sprayed coating material on the articles to be coated; and means connected to the ground return of the high voltage source to sense the electric current between the high voltage source and ground and to turn off the high voltage source. the improvement compris ing means to sense the electrical current returning from ground to the high voltage source and to develop a signal with a component related to an incipient grounding condition;

means to split the developed signal into two channels;

nteans forming two separate and independent signal channels and performing independent operations in each channel to develop different signal components at each channel output;

means to combine the different signal components to develop the component relating to an incipient grounding condition;

means to detect the level of the signal component corresponding to incipient grounding;

means including a hermetically sealed enclosure housing a normally-closed high voltage switch connected between the high voltage output of the high voltage source and ground. and an electromagnetic coil to open said switch; and

a control to operate said coil and high voltage source during electrostatic coating operations and to disconnect said coil and high voltage source in response to said means to detect the level of signal component corresponding to incipient grounding. said switch rapidly closing in the hermetically sealed space defined by the enclosure to ground the high voltage system.

2. The apparatus of claim I, wherein the means to sense the electrical circuit returning from ground to the high voltage source and to develop the signal includes an operational amplifier connected to transform the signal developed across resistance connected from ground to the ground return of the high voltage source by the transfer function *HWo /(S +aWoS-l-Wo the means to split the developed signal into two channels includes a clock circuit to create a series of successive time intervals and two gated sampling circuits triggered alternatively in successive time intervals thereby. the means forming two separate and independent signal channels includes a holding circuit to retain the developed signal from one time interval and an independent inverting circuit to invert the developed signal in the successive time intervals. and the means to combine the retained signal and the inverted signal includes a summing circuit 3. The apparatus of claim 1. wherein the means including a hermetically sealed enclosure housing the switch is insulated by oil at its outer surface and the high voltage source includes a multimegohm resistor.

4. In an electrostatic coating system including a high voltage supply having two terminals;

a conveyor for transporting grounded articles to be coated;

an electrostatic coating device connected with the one terminal of the high voltage supply to create electrostatic deposition of atomized coating material;

and means connected between the other terminal of the high voltage supply and ground to sense the electric current between the high voltage supply and ground. and to disconnect the high voltage supply from its energizing source. the improvement in which the means connected between the above terminal and ground includes an operational network to provide a signal with attenuation of all electrical current components significantly above direct current. while amplifying direct currents;

a clock to generate a sampling gate for the signal;

two gated sampling circuits to detect the direct current level of the signal when gated by the clock. one of the gated sampling circuits being connected to a holding circuit for the detected signal for one cycle of the gating signal. and the other gated sampling circuit being connected to an inverting circuit to invert the signal from the other gated sampling circuit;

a summer to determine the difference of the signal from the holding circuit and the inverted signal from the other gated sampling circuit;

a level detector to generate an operative signal in the event the level exceeds a predetermined level which represents incipient grounding of the high voltage electrode; and

a grounding device having a normally-closed switch connected between the one terminal of the high voltage supply and ground. and being held open by a control during normal operation of the electrostatic system and closed by the level-detector in the event of incipient grounding.

5. A system of claim 4. wherein the low pass operational network includes an active filter designed to transform the voltage input into an output by the transfer function HWo' /S -l-otWoS+Wo in which H equals 10. W0 equals l0 cycles per second, and (1 equals V for maximally flat butterworth response.

6. A system of claim 5 wherein the clock circuit provides gating pulses with a time interval of [20th of a second to apply to the gated sampling circuits.

7. A system of claim 4 wherein the first holding circuit includes means to subtract a signal from its output proportional to the magnitude of the output signal cluring the time interval generated by the clock.

8. In an electrostatic coating system including a source with a high voltage output, an electrostatic coating device including means to spray a coating material a high voltage electrode connected with the source of the high voltage output. said high voltage source being connected with ground to create electrostatic deposition of sprayed material on articles to be coated, a grounding device connected between the high voltage output and ground and an electrical circuit actuated by the electric current flowing from ground to the high voltage source and adapted to disconnect the source. the improvement comprising a normally-closed spring switch housed within a hermetically sealed nonconduc tive enclosure forming said grounding device, said enclosure defining a space being adapted to insulate said contacts when open and carrying connections to the switch. a holding coil to open said switch, a high voltage control to actuate the holding coil and to open the normally-closed switch. said circuit including means to attenuate all electrical components of the electrical current flowing from ground to the high voltage source above substantially pure direct current. and to provide a substantially pure DC signal portion that corresponds to incipient grounding of the high voltage electrode and to detect such incipient grounding. and means to deactivate the holding coil of the grounding means and thereby ground the high voltage output upon detection of incipient grounding.

9. A high voltage electrostatic coating system comprising means to clectrostatically deposit coating material on an article to be coated including means to spray a coating material, a charged high voltage electrode and a grounded electrode. said electrodes being free to move toward each other; means to supply high voltage to the charged high voltage electrode, said high voltage means being connected with ground to create electrostatic deposition of sprayed material on articles to be coated; means to ground the charged high voltage electrode; means to generate a signal including the current between the charged high voltage electrode and the grounded electrode; means to attenuate all electrical current components of said signal above substantially pure direct current and to provide the amplified DC portion of said signal; means to sample the amplified DC portion of said signal to provide samples from successive time intervals faster than the anticipated rate of approach of the grounded electrode to the high voltage electrode; means to compare the levels of the signals from successive time intervals; means to determine if the comparison of the signals from the successive time intervals indicate incipient grounding of the high voltage electrode; and means to actuate said means to ground the charged high voltage upon incipient grounding.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3356597 *Feb 18, 1965Dec 5, 1967Gen ElectricMethod and apparatus for measuring electrofinishing stresses
US3611982 *Aug 29, 1969Oct 12, 1971Xerox CorpDevelopment electrode control apparatus
US3641971 *Sep 1, 1967Feb 15, 1972Walberg Arvid CApparatus for preventing arcing in an electrostatic coating system
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4402030 *Feb 19, 1982Aug 30, 1983Champion Spark Plug CompanyElectrostatic voltage control circuit
US4688644 *Apr 14, 1986Aug 25, 1987Graco Inc.Ignition and fire suppressor
US4745520 *Oct 10, 1986May 17, 1988Ransburg CorporationPower supply
US4806584 *Dec 5, 1986Feb 21, 1989National Distillers And Chemical CorporationPhase transfer compounds as accelerators of soap/sulfur vulcanization
US4828407 *May 29, 1987May 9, 1989Sanders Associates, Inc.Circuit for improving the resolution in electrostatic printers
US4851253 *Mar 17, 1988Jul 25, 1989Behr Industrieanlagen Gmbh & Co.Operating-control method for an electrostatic coating installation
US5159544 *Oct 10, 1989Oct 27, 1992Ransburg CorporationHigh voltage power supply control system
US5566042 *Jun 2, 1995Oct 15, 1996Nordson CorporationSpray gun device with dynamic loadline manipulation power supply
US5603769 *Oct 27, 1994Feb 18, 1997Trinity Industrial CorporationConveyor device
US5863305 *May 3, 1996Jan 26, 1999Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyMethod and apparatus for manufacturing abrasive articles
US5978244 *Oct 16, 1997Nov 2, 1999Illinois Tool Works, Inc.Programmable logic control system for a HVDC power supply
US6007590 *May 3, 1996Dec 28, 19993M Innovative Properties CompanyMethod of making a foraminous abrasive article
US6017831 *May 3, 1996Jan 25, 20003M Innovative Properties CompanyNonwoven abrasive articles
US6144570 *Jun 22, 1999Nov 7, 2000Illinois Tool Works Inc.Control system for a HVDC power supply
US6274202Sep 15, 1997Aug 14, 2001Eurotec Surface Coating Systems, Ltd.Control systems for electrostatic powder spraying apparatus
US6423142Aug 19, 1999Jul 23, 2002Illinois Tool Works Inc.Power supply control system
US6508174 *Jul 28, 2000Jan 21, 2003Eltex-Elektrostatik GmbhElectrostatic printing aid
US6562137May 16, 2002May 13, 2003Illinois Tool Works IncPower supply control system
US7296756May 23, 2005Nov 20, 2007Illinois Tool Works Inc.Voltage block
US7455249Mar 28, 2006Nov 25, 2008Illinois Tool Works Inc.Combined direct and indirect charging system for electrostatically-aided coating system
US7460924Jun 16, 2005Dec 2, 2008Illinois Tool Works Inc.In-gun power supply control
US7520450Oct 10, 2006Apr 21, 2009Illinois Tool Works Inc.Electrical connections for coating material dispensing equipment
US7621471Dec 16, 2005Nov 24, 2009Illinois Tool Works Inc.High voltage module with gas dielectric medium or vacuum
US7757973Apr 4, 2005Jul 20, 2010Illinois Tool Works Inc.Hand-held coating dispensing device
US7815132Aug 12, 2008Oct 19, 2010Illinois Tool Works Inc.Method for preventing voltage from escaping fluid interface for water base gravity feed applicators
US8042488 *Jan 18, 2011Oct 25, 2011Abb K.K.Electrostatic coating apparatus
US8096264Nov 30, 2007Jan 17, 2012Illinois Tool Works Inc.Repulsion ring
US8104423Jul 10, 2007Jan 31, 2012Illinois Tool Works Inc.Coating material dispensing apparatus and method
US8382015Jul 19, 2010Feb 26, 2013Graco, Inc.Hand-held coating dispenser device
US8893991Jan 30, 2013Nov 25, 2014Finishing Brands Holdings Inc.Hand-held coating dispenser device
US20050136733 *Dec 22, 2003Jun 23, 2005Gorrell Brian E.Remote high voltage splitter block
US20050178578 *Apr 8, 2005Aug 18, 2005Gorrell Brian E.High voltage cable
US20060219824 *Apr 4, 2005Oct 5, 2006Alexander Kevin LHand-held coating dispensing device
US20060283386 *Jun 16, 2005Dec 21, 2006Alexander Kevin LIn-gun power supply control
US20070145167 *Dec 16, 2005Jun 28, 2007Howe Varce EHigh voltage module with gas dielectric medium or vacuum
US20080083846 *Oct 10, 2006Apr 10, 2008Cedoz Roger TElectrical connections for coating material dispensing equipment
US20080149026 *Jul 10, 2007Jun 26, 2008Illinois Tool Works Inc.Coating material dispensing apparatus and method
US20090140083 *Nov 30, 2007Jun 4, 2009Seitz David MRepulsion ring
US20100276523 *Jul 19, 2010Nov 4, 2010Alexander Kevin LHand-held coating dispenser device
US20110107966 *May 12, 2011Abb K.K.Electrostatic coating apparatus
CN101218038BMay 31, 2006Jul 17, 2013伊利诺斯工具制品有限公司Device for dispensing paint by electrostatic atomization and method for control of the device
DE3305058A1 *Feb 14, 1983Sep 1, 1983Champion Spark Plug CoSteuerschaltung
EP0991173A2Aug 24, 1999Apr 5, 2000Illinois Tool Works Inc.High magnitude potential supply
EP1060795A2 *May 12, 2000Dec 20, 2000Gema Volstatic AGSpray coating apparatus
WO1998010871A1 *Sep 15, 1997Mar 19, 1998David Hugh CampbellControl systems for electrostatic powder spraying apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification118/665, 118/629, 118/621, 118/627, 101/DIG.370
International ClassificationB05B5/10, B05B5/025, H02H7/00, H02H3/44, B05D1/04, H01T19/00, H02H5/12
Cooperative ClassificationY10S101/37, B05B5/10, H02H5/12, H02H7/003, H02H3/445
European ClassificationB05B5/10, H02H3/44B, H02H7/00D, H02H5/12
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 12, 1983AS09Assignment of a part of assignors interest
Owner name: EFFECTIVE DEC.1,1981
Effective date: 19830512
Owner name: RANSBURG CORPORATION
Owner name: RANSBURG MANUFACTURING CORP., RT#31, KM 2.6., NAGU
May 12, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: EFFECTIVE DEC.1,1981
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF A PART OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:RANSBURG CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004135/0242
Effective date: 19830512
Owner name: RANSBURG MANUFACTURING CORP., RT#31, KM 2.6., NAGU
Owner name: RANSBURG MANUFACTURING CORP., PUERTO RICO