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Patent Analysis of

Compressor

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10001141

Application Number

US14/268804

Application Date

02 May 2014

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

DYSON TECHNOLOGY LIMITED

Original Assignee (Applicant)

DYSON TECHNOLOGY LIMITED

International Classification

F04D29/00,F04D29/58,F04D29/059,F04D29/056

Cooperative Classification

F04D29/5853,F04D29/056,F04D29/059,F04D29/584

Inventor

KING, GARY,JACOB, PAUL ADRIAN GRAHAM

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10001141 Compressor 1 US10001141 Compressor 2 US10001141 Compressor 3
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Abstract

A compressor that includes a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly. The rotor assembly includes a bearing assembly to which the heat sink assembly is secured. The compressor is configured such that, during use, air is drawn through the interior of the frame. The heat sink assembly then extends radially from the bearing assembly into the air path through the frame such that the air flows over the heat sink assembly.

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Claims

1. A compressor comprising a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly to which the heat sink assembly is secured, wherein the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, wherein the heat sink assembly comprises a heat sink having a plurality of legs, wherein each leg of the plurality of legs includes a base and an end, wherein the base is disposed closer to the bearing assembly than the end such that the leg extends into an air path passing through the frame, and wherein a width of the base is greater than a width of the end such that air flows axially between one or more adjacent legs.

2. The compressor of claim 1, wherein the legs are spaced evenly around the bearing assembly.

3. The compressor of claim 1, wherein the heat sink assembly comprises a further heat sink that is disc shaped, and the air flows radially over the surface of the further heat sink.

4. The compressor of claim 3, wherein the rotor assembly comprises an impeller, the further heat sink is located beneath the impeller, and the air flows over the further heat sink in a radially inward direction.

5. The compressor of claim 3, wherein the further heat sink projects into the underside of the impeller.

6. The compressor of claim 1, wherein the heat sink is secured to a sleeve at one end, and a further heat sink is secured to the sleeve at an opposite end, the further heat sink is disc shaped, and the air flows radially over the surface of the further heat sink.

7. A compressor comprising a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly, the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, the heat sink assembly comprises a sleeve, a first heat sink and a second heat sink, wherein the first heat sink is secured to the sleeve at one end and the second heat sink is secured to the sleeve at the opposite end, the first heat sink is disc shaped, the second heat sink comprises a plurality of legs that extend radially outward, air flows radially over the surface of the first heat sink, air flows axially between adjacent legs of the second heat sink, and the sleeve is secured to the bearing assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises an impeller, the first heat sink is located beneath the impeller, and the air flows over the first heat sink in a radially inward direction, and wherein the first heat sink projects into the underside of the impeller.

8. The compressor of claim 7, wherein the legs are spaced evenly around the bearing assembly.

9. The compressor of claim 7, wherein the width of each leg tapers in a direction away from the bearing assembly.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A compressor comprising
    • a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly to which the heat sink assembly is secured, wherein the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, wherein the heat sink assembly comprises a heat sink having a plurality of legs, wherein each leg of the plurality of legs includes a base and an end, wherein the base is disposed closer to the bearing assembly than the end such that the leg extends into an air path passing through the frame, and wherein a width of the base is greater than a width of the end such that air flows axially between one or more adjacent legs.
    • 2. The compressor of claim 1, wherein
      • the legs are spaced evenly around the bearing assembly.
    • 3. The compressor of claim 1, wherein
      • the heat sink assembly comprises
    • 6. The compressor of claim 1, wherein
      • the heat sink is secured to a sleeve at one end, and a further heat sink is secured to the sleeve at an opposite end, the further heat sink is disc shaped, and the air flows radially over the surface of the further heat sink.
  • 7
    7. A compressor comprising
    • a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly, the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, the heat sink assembly comprises a sleeve, a first heat sink and a second heat sink, wherein the first heat sink is secured to the sleeve at one end and the second heat sink is secured to the sleeve at the opposite end, the first heat sink is disc shaped, the second heat sink comprises a plurality of legs that extend radially outward, air flows radially over the surface of the first heat sink, air flows axially between adjacent legs of the second heat sink, and the sleeve is secured to the bearing assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises an impeller, the first heat sink is located beneath the impeller, and the air flows over the first heat sink in a radially inward direction, and wherein the first heat sink projects into the underside of the impeller.
    • 8. The compressor of claim 7, wherein
      • the legs are spaced evenly around the bearing assembly.
    • 9. The compressor of claim 7, wherein
      • the width of each leg tapers in a direction away from the bearing assembly.
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Description

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of United Kingdom Application No. 1308092.4, filed May 3, 2013, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a compressor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Efforts are continually being made to design compressors of smaller size. A smaller compressor may be achieved by employing a smaller impeller. However, a smaller impeller is required to rotate at higher speeds in order to achieve the same mass flow rates. Higher rotational speeds typically reduce the lifespan of the bearings, which are often the first components of the compressor to fail. Consequently, efforts to design a smaller compressor are often beset with lifespan problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a compressor comprising a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly to which the heat sink assembly is secured, the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, the heat sink assembly comprises a heat sink having a plurality of legs, the legs extend radially from the bearing assembly into the air path through the frame, and air flows axially between adjacent legs.

The heat sink assembly acts to carry heat away from the bearing assembly. Since the heat sink assembly extends into the air path through the compressor, relatively good cooling of the heat sink assembly and bearing assembly may be achieved. As a result, the lifespan of the bearing assembly and thus the compressor may be prolonged.

The heat sink has a plurality of legs that extend radially from the bearing assembly, and air flows axially through spaces between adjacent legs. This then has the advantage that the heat sink projects directly into the air path without adversely restricting the flow of air through the frame. As a result, relatively good cooling of the bearing assembly may be achieved without adversely affecting the performance of the compressor.

The legs may be spaced evenly around the bearing assembly. As a result, heat may be more evenly transferred from the heat sink to the surrounding air. The heat sink assembly may be secured to the frame at the end of each leg. The heat sink assembly then acts to support the rotor assembly within the frame. By spacing the legs evenly around the bearing assembly, vibration of the rotor assembly is evenly distributed among the legs. As a result, vibration and the inherent noise that it produces is reduced.

The width of each leg may taper in a direction away from the bearing assembly. The temperature of each leg and thus the rate of heat transfer decreases as one moves away from the bearing assembly. Accordingly, by tapering the width of the legs the mass of the heat sink may be reduced without adversely affecting cooling. As a result, a lighter and cheaper compressor may be realised.

The heat sink assembly may comprise a further heat sink that is generally disc shaped, and the air may flow radially over the surface of the further heat sink. A disc-shaped heat sink has the advantage of providing a relatively large surface area over which heat may be transferred to the air.

The further heat sink may be located beneath the impeller and the air may flow over the further heat sink in a radially inward direction. In being located beneath the impeller, the further heat sink may serve as part of the compressor that contains the impeller. Relatively little air movement occurs beneath the impeller. However, by ensuring that the air exiting the impeller is returned so as to flow radially over the further heat sink, relatively good cooling of the further heat sink may be achieved. In this regard, it will be understood that the air flows radially over the surface of the further heat sink that is distal the impeller.

The further heat sink may project into the underside of the impeller. This then has the benefit of reducing the size of the cavity beneath the impeller. As a result, windage and/or other parasitic losses may be reduced.

The heat sink assembly may be formed of a metal. Metals typically have a relatively high structural strength and high thermal conductivity. Consequently, the heat sink assembly is able to provide relatively good opposition to movement of the rotor assembly, thereby reducing vibration and noise, as well as provide relatively good cooling of the bearing assembly.

The heat sink assembly may be formed of a material having a coefficient of thermal expansion that substantially matches that of the shaft. Consequently, uneven thermal expansion of the heat sink assembly and the shaft, which might otherwise lead to adverse changes in the loading of the bearing assembly, may be avoided.

The present invention also provides a compressor comprising a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly to which the heat sink assembly is secured, the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, the heat sink assembly comprises a heat sink that is generally disc shaped, the heat sink extends radially from the bearing assembly into the air path through the frame, and air flows radially over the surface of the heat sink.

The heat sink assembly acts to carry heat away from the bearing assembly. Since the heat sink assembly extends into the air path through the compressor, relatively good cooling of the heat sink assembly and bearing assembly may be achieved. As a result, the lifespan of the bearing assembly and thus the compressor may be prolonged.

The heat sink is generally disc shaped, which has the advantage of providing a relatively large surface area over which heat may be transferred to the surrounding air.

The heat sink may be located beneath the impeller and the air may flow over the heat sink in a radially inward direction. In being located beneath the impeller, the heat sink may serve as part of the compressor that contains the impeller. Relatively little air movement occurs beneath the impeller. However, by ensuring that the air exiting the impeller is returned so as to flow radially over the heat sink, relatively good cooling of the heat sink may be achieved. In this regard, it will be understood that the air flows radially over the surface of the heat sink that is distal the impeller.

The heat sink may project into the underside of the impeller. This then has the benefit of reducing the size of the cavity beneath the impeller. As a result, windage and/or other parasitic losses may be reduced.

The present invention further provides a compressor comprising a frame, a rotor assembly, and a heat sink assembly, wherein the rotor assembly comprises a bearing assembly to which the heat sink assembly is secured, the compressor is configured such that during use air is drawn through the interior of the frame, the heat sink assembly comprises a first heat sink and a second heat sink, the first heat sink is generally disc shaped, the second heat sink comprises a plurality of legs that extend radially outward, air flows radially over the surface of the first heat sink, and air flows axially between adjacent legs of the second heat sink.

The heat sink assembly acts to carry heat away from the bearing assembly. Since the heat sink assembly extends into the air path through the compressor, relatively good cooling of the heat sink assembly and bearing assembly may be achieved. As a result, the lifespan of the bearing assembly and thus the compressor may be prolonged.

The first heat sink is generally disc shaped, which has the advantage of providing a relatively large surface area over which heat may be transferred to the surrounding air. The second heat sink has a plurality of legs that extend radially into the air flow, and air flows axially through spaces between adjacent legs. This then has the advantage that the heat sink projects directly into the air path without adversely restricting the flow of air through the frame. As a result, relatively good cooling of the bearing assembly may be achieved without adversely affecting the performance of the compressor.

The first heat sink may be located beneath the impeller and the air may flow over the first heat sink in a radially inward direction. In being located beneath the impeller, the first heat sink may serve as part of the compressor that contains the impeller. Relatively little air movement occurs beneath the impeller. However, by ensuring that the air exiting the impeller is returned so as to flow radially over the first heat sink, relatively good cooling of the first heat sink may be achieved. In this regard, it will be understood that the air flows radially over the surface of the first heat sink that is distal the impeller.

The first heat sink may project into the underside of the impeller. This then has the benefit of reducing the size of the cavity beneath the impeller. As a result, windage and/or other parasitic losses may be reduced.

The legs of the second heat sink may be spaced evenly around the bearing assembly. As a result, heat may be more evenly transferred from the second heat sink to the surrounding air. The heat sink assembly may be secured to the frame at the end of each leg. The heat sink assembly then acts to support the rotor assembly within the frame. By spacing the legs evenly around the bearing assembly, vibration of the rotor assembly is evenly distributed among the legs. As a result, vibration and the inherent noise that it produces is reduced.

The width of each leg may taper in a direction away from the bearing assembly. The temperature of each leg and thus the rate of heat transfer decreases as one moves away from the bearing assembly. Accordingly, by tapering the width of the legs the mass of the second heat sink may be reduced without adversely affecting cooling. As a result, a lighter and cheaper compressor may be realised.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the present invention may be more readily understood, an embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an axonometric view of a compressor in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the compressor;

FIG. 3 is a first axonometric view of the frame of the compressor;

FIG. 4 is a second axonometric view of the frame of the compressor;

FIG. 5 is an axonometric section through the shroud of the compressor;

FIG. 6 is an axonometric view of the rotor assembly of the compressor;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the heat sink assembly of the compressor;

FIG. 8 is a first axonometric view of the heat sink assembly;

FIG. 9 is a second axonometric view of the heat sink assembly;

FIG. 10 is an axonometric view of the stator assembly of the compressor;

FIG. 11 is an axonometric view of a subassembly of the compressor;

FIG. 12 is an axonometric view of a product incorporating the compressor;

FIG. 13 is a section through part of the product housing the compressor; and

FIG. 14 is the same section as that of FIG. 13 highlighting the path taken by air flowing through the product.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The compressor 1 of FIGS. 1 to 11 comprises a frame 2, a shroud 3, a rotor assembly 4, a heat sink assembly 5, a stator assembly 6, and a circuit assembly 7.

The frame 2 is generally cylindrical in shape and comprises a side wall 20, an end wall 21, a plurality of inlet apertures 22 located around the side wall 20, a plurality of pockets 23 and a plurality of channels 24 located on the inside of the side wall 20, a central aperture 25 located in the end wall 21, and a plurality of diffuser vanes 26 located around the end wall 21. The pockets 23 and the channels 24 take the form of recesses that extend axially along the inside of the side wall 20. The recesses are open at one end (distal the end wall 21) and closed at the opposite end (proximal the end wall 21). The end wall 21 is located at one end of the side wall 20 and resembles an annulus around which the diffuser vanes 26 are located. The opposite end of the side wall 20 is open and terminates with a plurality of prongs 28.

The shroud 3 comprises an inlet 30, a flared inner section 31, a planar outer section 32 and a plurality of holes 33 that extend through the outer section 32. The inner section 31 covers the impeller 41 of the rotor assembly 4, and the outer section 32 covers the end wall 11 of the frame 2. Each of the diffuser vanes 26 includes a projection that extends through a respective hole 33 in the shroud 3. A ring of adhesive 34 then secures the shroud 3 to the vanes 26 and seals the holes 33. The shroud 3 and the end wall 21 thus define a diffuser 35 that surrounds the impeller 41.

The rotor assembly 4 comprises a shaft 40 to which an impeller 41, a bearing assembly 42, and a rotor core 43 are secured. The bearing assembly 42 is located between the impeller 41 and the rotor core 43 and comprises a pair of bearings 44,45 and a spring 46. The spring 46 is located between the two bearings 44,45 and applies a preload to each of the bearings 44,45.

The heat sink assembly 5 comprises a cylindrical sleeve 50, a first heat sink 51 secured to the sleeve 50 at one end, and a second heat sink 52 secured to the sleeve 50 at the opposite end. The first heat sink 51 is generally disc shaped and comprises a raised, dome-shaped centre 53 and a flat outer flange 54. The second heat sink52 resembles the rowel of a spur and comprises a central hub 55 from which a plurality of legs 56 extend radially outward. The legs 56 are spaced evenly around the hub 55. That is to say that the angle between adjacent legs 56 is the same for all legs 56 of the heat sink 52. In the present embodiment, the heat sink 52 has six legs 56 spaced apart by 60 degrees. The width of each leg 56 tapers (i.e. decreases gradually) in a direction away from the hub 55.

The heat sink assembly 5 is secured to the rotor assembly 4. More specifically, the sleeve 50 surrounds both bearings 44,45 and is secured to each of the bearings 44,45 by an adhesive. The underside of the impeller 41 is recessed, which helps reduce the mass of the impeller 41. The heat sink assembly 5 is then secured to the rotor assembly 4 such that the dome-shaped centre 53 of the first heat sink 51 projects into the underside of the impeller 41. This then reduces the size of the cavity beneath the impeller 41. As a result, windage and/or other parasitic losses are reduced.

The stator assembly 6 comprises a pair of stator cores 60,61, each stator core comprising a bobbin 62 around which electrical windings 63 are wound and a pair of terminal connectors 64 connected to the windings 63. The stator assembly 6 is secured to the heat sink assembly 5. Each bobbin 62 is secured to two legs 56 of the second heat sink 52 by an adhesive. The glue points of the bobbins 62 do not align perfectly with the legs 56 of the heat sink 52. Accordingly, each of the four legs 56 to which the stator assembly 6 is secured includes a small bump 57 which serves as an anchor for the adhesive between the bobbin 62 and the heat sink 52.

The subassembly 8 comprising the rotor assembly 4, the heat sink assembly 5 and the stator assembly 6 is secured within the frame 2. The outer flange 54 of the first heat sink 51 is secured to the end wall 21 of the frame 2 by a ring of adhesive. Each of the legs 56 of the second heat sink 52 is secured within a respective pocket 23 by beads of adhesive. Finally, the corners of the stator cores 60,61 are secured to the frame 2 by adhesive located within the channels 24. The subassembly 8 is therefore secured to the frame 2 around the outer flange 54 of the first heat sink 51, at the ends of the legs 56 of the second heat sink 52, and at the corners of the stator cores 60,61.

The circuit assembly 7 comprises a circuit board 70 on which electronic components 71 for controlling the operation of the compressor 1 are mounted. The circuit assembly 7 is secured to the frame 2 and to the stator assembly 6. More specifically, the circuit board 60 is secured to the prongs 28 of the frame 2 by an adhesive, and the terminal connectors 64 of the stator assembly 6 are soldered to the circuit board 70.

A method of assembling the compressor 1 will now be described.

The heat sink assembly 5 is first secured to the rotor assembly 4. This is achieved by applying a ring of adhesive around the bearing 44 proximal the impeller 41, applying a ring of activator around the inside of the sleeve 50 at the end adjacent the first heat sink 51, and applying a further ring of adhesive around the inside of the sleeve 50 at the end adjacent the second heat sink 52. The rotor assembly 4 is then inserted into the sleeve 50 until the sleeve 50 surrounds both bearings 44,45. The activator within the sleeve 50 causes the adhesive around the bearing 44 adjacent the impeller 41 to cure. UV light is then used to cure the adhesive around the bearing 45 adjacent the rotor core 43. The net result is that the sleeve 50 is adhered to both bearings 44,45.

The stator assembly 6 is then secured to the heat sink assembly 5. This is achieved by mounting the stator assembly 6 within one part of a jig, and mounting the rotor-heat sink assembly 4,5 in another part of the jig. The jig ensures relative alignment between the rotor assembly 4 and the stator assembly 6, and more specifically between the rotor core 43 and the stator cores 60,61. Two small beads of adhesive are then applied to each of the bobbins 62, and the two parts of the jig are brought together such that the bobbins 62 contacts the legs 56 of the second heat sink 52. The adhesive is then cured using UV light.

The subassembly 8 comprising the rotor assembly 4, the heat sink assembly 5 and the stator assembly 6 is then secured to the frame 2. The subassembly 8 is mounted within one part of a jig and the frame 2 is mounted in another part. The jig ensures relative alignment between the rotor assembly 4 and the frame 2, and more specifically between the impeller 41 and the end wall 21 on which the diffuser vanes 26 are located. A ring of heat-curable adhesive is then applied to the inner surface of the end wall 11 of the frame 2. Beads of heat-curable adhesive are also applied to each of the pockets 23 of the frame 2. The two parts of the jig are then brought together, causing the subassembly 8 to be inserted into the frame 2 via the open end. The outer diameter of the first heat sink 51 is greater than that of the impeller 41, and thus the outer flange 54 of the heat sink 51 extends radially beyond the impeller 41. The diameter of the central aperture 25 in the end wall 21 of the frame 2 is greater than that of the impeller 41 but smaller than that of the first heat sink 51. As the two parts of the jig are brought together, the impeller 41 passes through the central aperture 25. The outer flange 54 of the first heat sink 51 then contacts the ring of adhesive formed around the end wall 21. Additionally, each of the legs 56 of the second heat sink 52 slot into a respective pocket 23. UV-curable adhesive is then applied over the two legs 56 of the heat sink 52 that are not secured to the stator assembly 6. These two beads of adhesive are then cured to temporarily hold the subassembly 8 to the frame 2. Further heat-curable adhesive is then injected into the channels 24 of the frame 2, which act to secure the corners of stator cores 60,61 to the frame 2. The frame 2 and the subassembly 8 are then removed from the jig and placed in an oven to cure the heat-curable adhesive.

The shroud 3 is then secured to the frame 2. Again, the shroud 3 is mounted in one part of a jig and the frame 2 and subassembly 8 are mounted in another part of the jig. The jig ensures relative alignment between the shroud 3 and the rotor assembly 4, and more specifically between the shroud 4 and the impeller 41. The jig also ensures relative alignment between the holes 33 in the shroud 3 and the diffuser vanes 26 of the frame 2. The two parts of the jig are then brought together causing the shroud 3 to cover the impeller 41 and the end wall 21 of the frame 2. The outer section 32 of the shroud 3 contacts and rests on top of the diffuser vanes 26, and each projection protrudes through a respective hole 33. A ring of adhesive 34 is then applied around the shroud 3, which acts to secure the shroud 3 to the projections as well as to seal the holes 33. The adhesive is then allowed to cure in air.

Finally, the circuit assembly 7 is secured to the frame 2 and to the stator assembly 6. The circuit assembly 7 is mounted in one part of a jig and the shroud 3, frame 2 and subassembly 8 are mounted in another part of the jig. A few beads of adhesive are applied at points around the perimeter of the circuit board 70. The two parts of the jig are then brought together such that the terminal connectors 64 pass through holes in the circuit board 70, and the circuit board 70 contact the prongs 28 of the frame 2. The adhesive is then cured, and the terminal connectors 64 are soldered to the circuit board 70. The completed compressor 1 is then removed from the jig.

There are a couple of advantages associated with this method of assembly.

First, the rotor assembly 4 may be balanced as a complete unit before securing the rotor assembly 4 within the frame 2. This is made possible because the rotor assembly 4 is secured to the frame 2 by the heat sink assembly 5. Moreover, the first heat sink 51 has an outer diameter greater than that of the impeller 41, and the aperture 25 in the end wall 21 of the frame 2 has a diameter greater than the impeller 41 but smaller than the first heat sink 51. This then enables the rotor assembly 4 to be inserted and then secured with the frame 2 as a complete unit. With conventional compressors, it is often necessary to assemble the various components of the rotor assembly within the frame. Accordingly, whilst the individual components may be balanced, the completed rotor assembly is generally not.

Second, the rotor assembly 4 may be better aligned with the stator assembly 6, the diffuser 35, and the shroud 3. With a conventional compressor, the rotor assembly and the stator assembly are typically secured to the frame as separate assemblies. However, once the rotor assembly has been secured within the frame, it is generally difficult to secure the stator assembly within the frame whilst simultaneously aligning the stator assembly relative to the rotor assembly. As a result of the tolerances in the alignment of the rotor assembly and the stator assembly, a larger air gap is required between the rotor core and the stator cores in order to ensure that, at the tolerance limit, the rotor core is free to rotate without contacting the stator cores. However, a larger air gap has the disadvantage of increasing the magnetic reluctance. With the assembly method described above, the stator assembly 6 is first aligned relative to the rotor assembly 4 and then secured to the heat sink assembly 5. The subassembly 8 comprising the rotor assembly 4, the heat sink assembly 5 and the stator assembly 6 is then secured to the frame 2, during which time the rotor assembly 4 is aligned relative to the end wall 21 and the diffuser vanes 26. Since the heat sink assembly 5 is secured to both the rotor assembly 4 and the stator assembly 6, the heat sink assembly 5 maintains the relative alignment between the rotor assembly 4 and the stator assembly 6. Consequently, when the rotor assembly 4 is aligned relative to the frame 2, the alignment with the stator assembly 6 is maintained. A smaller air gap may therefore be employed between the rotor core 43 and the stator cores 60,61.

Operation of the compressor 1 will now be described with reference to the product 100 illustrated in FIGS. 12 to 14, which in this particular example is a handheld vacuum cleaner.

The product 100 comprises a housing 101 within which the compressor 1 is mounted by means of an axial mount 110 and a radial mount 120. Each of the mounts 110,120 is formed of an elastomeric material and acts to isolate the housing 101 from vibration generated by the compressor 1. The axial mount 110 is similar in shape to that of the shroud 3, and is secured to the top of the shroud 3. The radial mount 120 comprises a sleeve 121, a lip seal 122 located at one end of the sleeve 121, and a plurality of axial ribs 123 that extend along and are spaced around the sleeve 121. The radial mount 120 is secured around the frame 2 of the compressor 1. More specifically, the sleeve 121 surrounds the side wall 20 of the frame 2 such that the lip seal 122 is located below the inlet apertures 22 in the side wall 2.

The housing 101 comprises a front section 102 and a rear section 103, which together define a generally cylindrical recess 104 within which the compressor 1 is mounted. The front section 102 includes an inlet 105 through which air is admitted to compressor 1, and the rear section 103 comprises a plurality of exhaust apertures 106 through which air from the compressor 1 is exhausted. The axial mount 110 abuts an end wall 107 of the front section 102 to create a seal between the compressor 1 and the inlet 105. Additionally, the radial mount 120 abuts a side wall 108 of the front section 102 such that the lip seal 122 creates a seal between the compressor 1 and the side wall 108.

During operation, air enters the compressor 1 via the shroud inlet 30. The air is centrifuged outwards by the impeller 41 and flows through the diffuser 35 defined between the frame 2 and the shroud 3. The air then exits the compressor 1 via an annular opening 36 defined by the axial gap between the frame 2 and the shroud 3 at the periphery. On exiting the compressor 1, the air re-enters the compressor 1 via the inlet apertures 22 in the side wall 20 of the frame 2. The air then flows through the interior of the compressor 1, whereupon the air acts to cool the heat sink assembly 5. The air flows radially over the first heat sink 51 and flows axially over the sleeve 50 and the second heat sink 52. The legs 56 of the second heat sink 52 extend directly into the path taken by the air flowing through the compressor 1. As a result, cooling of the second heat sink 52 is particular effective. After passing through the legs 56 of the heat sink 52, the air flows over and cools the stator assembly 6. Finally, the air is redirected in a radial direction by the circuit assembly 7, whereupon the air exits the compressor 1 via the gaps 72 between the circuit board 70 and the side wall 20 of the frame 2. In flowing over the circuit assembly 7, the air cools the electrical components 71 of the circuit assembly 7. In particular, the circuit assembly 7 comprises power switches that are used to control the flow of current through the windings 63 of the stator assembly 6. Owing to the magnitude of the currents that are carried by the switches, the switches tend to generate relatively high levels of heat.

The heat sink assembly 5 provides at least three useful functions.

First, the heat sink assembly 5 supports the rotor assembly 4 within the frame 2. In this regard, it is to be noted that the rotor assembly 2 is not secured to the frame 2 by any other means. The provision of the heat sink assembly 5 enables the rotor assembly 2 to be balanced as a complete unit before being secured to the frame 2. Moreover, the heat sink assembly 5 simplifies the assembly of the compressor 1 whilst providing relatively good support to the rotor assembly 4. In this regard, it is to be noted that the rotor assembly 4 comprises a bearing assembly 42 located between the impeller 41 and the rotor core 43.

This has the advantage that a relatively short axial length may be achieved for the rotor assembly 4. Moreover, the bearing assembly 42 comprises two spaced-apart bearings 44,45. This then has the further advantage of increasing the stiffness of the rotor assembly 4 in comparison to, say, two bearings located at opposite ends of the shaft. If the heat sink assembly 5 were omitted and the rotor assembly 4 were secured directly to the frame 2, it would then be necessary to secure each of the bearings 44,45 to the frame 2. It might then prove difficult or indeed impossible to insert the rotor assembly 4 into the frame 2 as a complete unit.

The heat sink assembly 5 comprises two heat sinks 51,52 that are each secured to the frame 2. The heat sinks 51,52 are spaced axially and thus radial movement of the rotor assembly 4 relative to the frame 2 is opposed within two planes that are spaced axially. As a result, vibration of the rotor assembly 4 and the inherent noise that results are reduced. The legs 56 of the second heat sink 52 are spaced evenly around the sleeve 50. Consequently, vibration of the rotor assembly 5 is evenly distributed among the legs 56. This then avoids excessive vibration occurring in a particular direction. The first heat sink 51 is secured to the inside of the end wall 21 of the frame 2, and the second heat sink 52 is secured within the pockets 23 of the frame 2. Accordingly, in addition to opposing radial movement, the heat sink assembly 5 opposes axial thrust generated by the impeller 41.

Second, the heat sink assembly 5 carries heat away from the bearing assembly 42. As a result, the lifespan of the bearing assembly 42 and thus the compressor 1 is prolonged. The first heat sink 51 is disc shaped and thus provides a relatively large surface area over which heat may be transferred to the surrounding air. The second heat sink 52, on the other hand, comprises a plurality of legs 56. This then enables air to flow between the legs 56 of the heat sink 52. In the present embodiment, the legs 56 extend radially into the path of the air flowing axially through the compressor 1. As a result, relatively good heat transfer is achieved between the second heat sink 52 and the surrounding air. The legs 56 of the heat sink 52 create a restriction in the flow path. The size of the restriction influences the rate at which heat transfers from the heat sink assembly 5 to the air, as well as the performance of the compressor 1 (e.g. mass flow rate and/or efficiency). The number, size and arrangement of the legs 56 are therefore chosen so as to maximise cooling without adversely affecting the performance of the compressor 1. The legs 56 are spaced evenly around the sleeve 50, which helps ensure that heat is transferred more evenly from the heat sink 52 to the surrounding air. Additionally, the width of each leg 56 tapers in a direction away from the sleeve 50. The temperature of each leg 56 and thus the rate of heat transfer decreases as one moves away from the sleeve 50. By tapering the width of the legs 56, the mass of the heat sink 52 may be reduced without adversely affecting cooling of the bearing assembly 42. As a result, a lighter and cheaper compressor 1 may be realised.

Third, the heat sink assembly 5 maintains the alignment between the rotor assembly 4 and the stator assembly 6 when securing the subassembly 8 to the frame 2. As a result, the rotor assembly 4 may be aligned within the frame 2 whilst maintaining the alignment with the stator assembly 6. Relatively good alignment may therefore be achieved between the rotor assembly 4 and the stator assembly 6, and between the rotor assembly 4 and the diffuser 35 and shroud 3.

The heat sink assembly 5 is made of steel and was selected following a balance of different requirements: structural strength, thermal conductivity, thermal expansivity and cost. Since the heat sink assembly 5 is used to secure the rotor assembly 4 within the frame 2, the structural strength of the heat sink assembly 5 is important for minimising vibration of the rotor assembly 4. The thermal conductivity of the heat sink assembly 5 is clearly important for carrying heat away from the bearing assembly 42. The bearings 44,45 are secured to the shaft 40 and the sleeve 50 of the heat sink assembly 5. Consequently, uneven thermal expansion of the shaft 40 and the sleeve 50 may cause the inner race of each bearing 44,45 to move relative to the outer race. This in turn may lead to adverse changes in the preload of the bearings 44,45. Accordingly, the thermal expansivity of the heat sink assembly 5 may play an important role in determining the lifespan of the bearing assembly 42. For this reason, it is advantageous to form the heat sink assembly 5 from a material having a coefficient of thermal expansion closely matching that of the shaft 40. Whilst steel was employed in the present embodiment, other materials may be used that fulfil the particular design requirements of the compressor 1.

Whilst a particular embodiment has thus far been described, various modifications may be made, both to the compressor and its method of assembly, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims. For example, in the embodiment described above, the heat sink assembly is described as providing three useful functions. Conceivably, the compressor may comprise a heat sink assembly that provides only one or two of these functions. For example, rather than securing the stator assembly to the heat sink assembly, the stator assembly may be secured to the frame after the rotor-heat sink assembly has been secured to the frame. Moreover, whilst the heat sink assembly described above comprises two heat sinks, one or more of the aforementioned advantages may be achieved through the use of a single heat sink.

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26.0/100 Score

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100.0/100 Score

Market Coverage

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61.26/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

61.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

20.26/100 Score

Legal Score

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Elektrisch betriebener Strömungsverdichter mit Bypassfunktion ROBERT BOSCH GMBH 22 August 2002 11 March 2004
A rotor assembly including a bearing cartidge mounted to a shaft DYSON TECHNOLOGY LIMITED 24 February 2009 25 August 2010
電動送風機 MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP 07 April 1992 02 November 1993
全閉外扇形回転電機 FUJI ELECTRIC CO LTD 25 May 1993 02 December 1994
電動送風機 東芝テック株式会社 05 December 2003 23 June 2005
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