Illinois Patent of the Month – December 2021

Mechanical pressure relief valves are one of the most common tools in fluid systems, as they effectively relieve overpressure in a simplistic way. While they work effectively, they lack the needed identification abilities. These mechanical pressure relief valves simply relieve pressure and move on. When an overpressure event occurs, there are no indications as to what may have caused that overpressure. But if there are routine overpressure events, this could be indicative of serious problems which need to be addressed. These systems are also normally designed with a single pressure setting which the valve returns the pressure to. This requires the manual input of the desired pressure setting for each machine and deviations can lead to further complications.

Intellihot, Inc. is an Illinois-based technology company focused on making boiler rooms smarter. As part of this mission, they have designed a smart pressure relief valve. This valve uses sensors to monitor the pressure of a fluid system, tracking the ebb and flow of pressure level. The device receives these pressure signals and monitors it over a period of time to identify the normal pressure level for the specific machine or system. If the pressure surpasses this normal pressure, it can trigger a pressure release event by opening the valve and returning pressure to normal levels.

The constant tracking also allows the system to have a set of pressure information leading up to the overpressure and pressure relief events, providing insight into the cause of the rise in pressure. The rate of pressure increase, and how often it happens, can indicate potential causes. Increasing the visibility into pressure data can contribute to better system maintenance, safety, and ultimately better efficiency.

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