Title:
Fully-Metal Heat Exchanger And Method For Its Production
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a fully-metal heat exchanger comprising flat tubes (1), which have two narrow sides and two wide sides (2, 3), and comprising fins (4) which form a block together with the flat tubes, and comprising either at least one tube plate (5) and one collecting tank (6), with edges (10) of the collecting tank (6) being connected, for example soldered, to edges (20) of the tube plate (5), or at least one collecting tank (6) which contains the tube plate, and having projections (11) which are arranged at intervals. The invention leads to a heat exchanger which has a small installation space requirement while having comparatively good thermal properties in that, according to the invention, the projections (11) engage in the ends of the flat tubes (1) in the region of the narrow sides (2). The production method according to the invention accordingly provides that the projections (11) are inserted into the ends of the flat tubes (1) approximately in the region of the narrow sides (2).



Inventors:
Roll, Helmut (Bad Urach, DE)
Application Number:
11/916459
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
02/18/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/890.03
International Classes:
F28F9/02; B21D53/02
View Patent Images:
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20080093063Heat Exchanger for an Air Heating Device and Method for Producing a Heat ExchangerApril, 2008Ludwig
20090200004SUPPORT FOR A TUBE BUNDLEAugust, 2009Johnston et al.



Primary Examiner:
SOULE, IAN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A fully-metal heat exchanger, comprising: a plurality of flat tubes each having two narrow and two wide sides, fins which, together with the flat tubes, form a core, a header and a collecting tank connected to the header, and projections arranged at intervals, wherein the intervals of the projections correspond to the intervals of the flat tubes, so that the projections engage the narrow sides and extend into the ends of the flat tubes to connect the tubes to at least one of the header and the collecting tank.

2. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the flat tubes protrude with their narrow sides beyond the width of the header, and in the protruding region, the projections engage into the ends of the flat tubes.

3. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein a header width protrudes beyond the narrow sides of the flat tubes, and in the protruding region, the projections engage into the ends of the flat tubes.

4. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the projections contact the narrow sides of the flat tubes from the inside, and are soldered there.

5. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the projections are arranged at the longitudinal edges of the collecting tank.

6. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the header has edges, which are bent in at opposite longitudinal sides, and openings for receiving in each case one flat tube end, and wherein the openings extending into the bent longitudinal edges.

7. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the headers have edges bent only at the two longitudinal sides, so that said headers can be produced from one sheet-metal strip of any desired length.

8. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the collecting tank has open ends.

9. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 8, wherein the heat exchanger has side parts which extend over the length of the flat tubes and close the open ends of the collecting tanks.

10. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the projections are arranged on one of the header and a frame adjacent to the header.

11. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the projections are formed on an additional part which extends along a wall of the collecting tank and is connected thereto.

12. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the header is integrally formed with the collecting tank, and wherein the collecting tank has two walls which are bent away from the header.

13. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 12, wherein the receiving openings extend into the walls of the collecting tank.

14. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 11, wherein the additional part bears externally approximately flat against the wall of the collecting tank.

15. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 11, wherein the additional part is provided with retaining functions for accessories.

16. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 11, wherein the additional part is provided with a contour which corresponds to the contour of the wall of the collecting tank.

17. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 11, wherein the projections are first projections, with the additional part having second projections between the first projections.

18. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 11, wherein the additional part is formed at the end with a hook or the like which is suitable for engaging a side part of the heat exchanger.

19. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the projections are contoured to assist their insertion into the ends of the flat tubes.

20. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the projections are formed in the manner of incisors.

21. The fully-metal heat exchanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the heat exchanger is an air-cooled charge air cooler.

22. A method for producing a fully-metal heat exchanger, the method comprising the acts of: forming a core from a plurality of flat tubes and fins; connecting headers to the ends of the flat tubes; connecting edges of the collecting tanks to edges of the headers, and inserting projections arranged on a component along narrow sides of ends of the flat tubes.

23. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein the projections extend outwardly from one, of the collecting tank and the header.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to a fully-metal heat exchanger, composed of flat tubes having two narrow and two wide sides and of fins which, together with the flat tubes, form a block, and which fully-metal heat exchanger has either at least one tube base and a collecting tank, with edges of the collecting tank being connected, for example soldered, to edges of the tube base, or at least one collecting tank which contains the tube base, and having projections which are arranged at intervals. The invention also relates to a production method for heat exchangers.

PRIOR ART

The heat exchanger described above is known, for example, from DE 198 19 247 A1. The projections therein correspond to openings in the tube bases. In this way, it is provided that the individual parts are provisionally held together before the soldering process is carried out. The expenditure for auxiliary soldering aids can be considerably reduced. A certain disadvantage of the known heat exchanger is that the tube base still protrudes a considerable distance beyond the fin/flat-tube block, which could be considered to be an unnecessary spatial requirement. In addition, the ratio of the cross sections taken up by the flat tubes in relation to the overall cross section of the heat exchanger or of its tube bases is not optimal, so that improvements are possible with regard to an efficient heat exchanger.

ILLUSTRATION OF THE INVENTION

The object of the invention is that of providing a heat exchanger which, while providing comparatively good thermotechnical values, has a low spatial requirement.

It is possible as a side effect to expect a production-friendly, in particular also flexible design.

The object is achieved according to the invention with regard to the fully-metal heat exchanger by using the features of claim 1. The production method according to the invention is the subject matter of claim 22. It is provided that the projections engage in the region of the narrow sides into the ends of the flat tubes. The projections are preferably situated at the opposite longitudinal edges of the collecting tank.

Preferably means in this case that embodiments may be provided in which the projections are arranged at the longitudinal edges of the tube base, possibly associated with the disadvantage that the tube bases become more complex and some other advantages are not provided. Another possible design is to provide a metallic, frame-like additional part which has the projections.

The production method leads to several advantages. The projections, which are inserted into the flat tube ends, at the two opposite edges of the collecting tank hold the flat tubes under tension during the subsequent soldering process, so that the risk of a so-called “falling in” of the flat tubes, with the result of inadequate soldered connections to the tube base, is significantly reduced. The invention therefore also permits the use of flat tubes whose wide sides can have relatively large dimensions, and accordingly avoids the use, which is complex in production terms, of a plurality of flat tube rows in the direction of the depth of the flat-tube/fin block. In other words, it is possible by means of the invention to provide heat exchangers over a significantly wider power spectrum with significantly less variation expenditure.

In addition, the abovementioned advantages of the prior art are maintained, that is to say in particular the expenditure for auxiliary soldering aids is considerably reduced, since the inserted projections assist in holding together the assembled individual parts of the heat exchanger.

Because the flat tubes extend over the entire depth of the tube base—and preferably even beyond this—there is practically no space which would not be available for the purpose of heat transfer. In other words, that cross-sectional area of the flat tubes through which flow passes is in a favorable ratio to the entire area covered by the tube base, which is in turn approximately the same as the area in this regard which is covered by the entire heat exchanger.

In addition, the proposed heat exchanger has a higher degree of process reliability during production than heat exchangers which do not have tube bases but have, instead of the tube bases, widened flat tube ends, as are known for example from DE 195 43 986 A1 or from even much earlier documents.

It is the case either that the flat tubes protrude with their narrow sides beyond the width of the tube base, and in the protruding region, the projections engage into the ends of the flat tubes, or that the tube base width protrudes beyond the narrow sides of the flat tubes, and in the protruding region, the projections engage into the ends of the flat tubes.

The first of said alternatives is, as mentioned, preferable, because it better prevents the previously mentioned “falling in” of the flat tubes, since in this case the edge of the collecting tanks with the projections bear from the outside against the edge of the tube base, and because, as a result, the projections are particularly resistant to forces which act in the direction of the wide side, that is to say transversely with respect to the longitudinal direction of the flat tubes. In addition, said alternative also appears to be more favorable with regard to producing sealed connections.

The projections in each case make contact with the narrow sides of the flat tubes from the inside, and are preferably soldered there.

The tube base preferably has edges, which are bent in a way known per se, and openings for receiving in each case one flat tube end. According to the proposal, however, the openings extend into the bent edges.

The tube bases have edges bent only at the two longitudinal sides, so that said tube bases can be produced from one sheet-metal strip of any desired length. The tooling costs for changing over to different heat exchanger sizes are considerably reduced as a result.

The collecting tank has end-side openings. Each collecting tank is therefore constituted by only one metal sheet with two bends, which is likewise advantageous in production terms.

The end-side openings of the collecting tank are closed off by means of side parts, which are known per se, which extend over the length of the flat tubes.

The projections are expediently shaped in such a way as to assist their insertion into the ends of the flat tubes. One advantageous refinement provides forming the projections in the manner of incisors. Said design makes it possible to better compensate length tolerances in the flat tubes. Despite the unavoidable length tolerances, it is possible to produce sealed connections between the projections and the flat tube ends.

The fully-metal heat exchanger can, in the widest sense, be used to advantage anywhere where there is a requirement for good heat transfer efficiency with a simultaneously low spatial requirement. The inventor envisages using heat exchangers of said type specifically as air-cooled charge-air coolers in motor vehicles, but without thereby excluding any other possible application, especially in the field of motor vehicles.

A fully-metal heat exchanger should be a heat exchanger whose constituent parts, which are specified in the claims, are composed of metal, preferably of aluminum, regardless of whether or not other, non-metal parts which could belong to the system are subsequently fastened to said heat exchanger. For example, comparatively complex accessories are to be attached and securely fastened to fully-metal heat exchangers which are produced from shaped metal sheets.

The projections, which are provided on a comb-like additional part such as a sheet metal strip or the like which is connected to the wall of the collecting tank, which sit in the flat tube ends hold the flat tubes under tension during the subsequent soldering process, so that the risk of the abovementioned “falling in” of the flat tubes, with the result of inadequate soldered connections in the receiving openings, is also significantly reduced by the provision of the additional part. In addition, the advantages of the prior art are maintained, that is to say in particular the expenditure for auxiliary soldering aids is considerably reduced, since the strips (additional parts) have hooks on the ends which assist in holding the assembled individual parts of the heat exchanger together by engaging over the side parts.

The collecting tanks can be of single-part or multi-part design. A prominent feature is a part which has a U-shaped cross section, with the base section being provided with receiving openings for the tube ends, and the two limbs forming the two walls of the collecting tank. If the walls are shaped and joined together to form a space, then single-part collecting tanks are formed. If the walls remain substantially planar, a second part is required for forming the closed space, resulting then in two-part collecting tanks being formed. The receiving openings extend at least into the walls of the collecting tank.

Said projections are also expediently shaped so as to assist their insertion into the ends of the flat tubes.

The additional part is a chamber-like sheet-metal strip which in shaping terms is easy to process in order to form the additional part. Within the context of the present invention, the term “strip” encompasses all possible physical embodiments, so that an additional part can be generally referred to thereby. Said projections on the strip or additional parts can be first projections for the case that second projections are provided on the strip. The second projections are then arranged between the first projections. The second projections improve the assembly or the preparation of the heat exchanger for the following soldering process.

The method according to the invention for producing a fully-metal heat exchanger, with flat tubes and fins being placed together to form a flat-tube/fin block, whereafter tube bases are placed on the ends of the flat tubes and finally collecting tanks are placed with their edges on the edges of the tube bases, is characterized in that projections which are arranged on a component are inserted, in the region of the narrow sides of the flat tubes, into the ends thereof.

The longitudinal edges of the collecting tank preferably bear against the longitudinal edges of the tube base from the outside. The narrow sides of the flat tubes protrude beyond the longitudinal edges, so that projections situated at the longitudinal edges of the collecting tank can be inserted into the protruding flat tube regions. In this way, the projections hold the flat tubes in a tensioned state.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described in the following in two exemplary embodiments with reference to the appended drawings.

FIG. 1 shows an exploded illustration of the heat exchanger according to the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a front view;

FIG. 3 shows a plan view;

FIGS. 4 and 5 show perspective views of a part of a heat exchanger;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective overall view of the heat exchanger;

FIG. 7 shows a detail of the flat tube;

FIGS. 8 and 9 show an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 10 shows an exploded illustration of the heat exchanger according to the invention.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show perspective views of the fully-produced heat exchanger.

FIGS. 13 and 14 show perspective views of a part of the heat exchanger in an assembly situation.

FIG. 15 shows an advantageous design of the projections.

DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

All of the illustrated individual parts of the heat exchanger are composed of metal, preferably of aluminum or aluminum alloys, which is expediently coated with a solder layer. The individual parts, such as flat tubes 1, fins 4, tube bases 5, collecting tanks 6 and side parts 30, are produced from metal sheets, though it is not excluded that for example the flat tubes 1 could also be produced as drawn tubes. The flat tubes 1 have an approximately rectangular cross section, it however being possible for the narrow sides 2 to also be arched outward slightly. In the embodiment shown, the inner inserts are situated in the flat tubes 1. The flat tubes 1 are then stacked with fins 4 in order to form a flat-tube/fin block. Tube bases 5 are placed on the ends of the flat tubes 1, with the ends of the flat tubes 1 being situated in openings 21 of the tube bases 5, where a sealed soldered connection is later formed. The collecting tanks 6 are then placed on, specifically, as can be seen in particular from FIG. 4, with the projections 11 at the edges 10 of the collecting tanks 6 thereby being inserted into those edge regions of the flat tubes 1 which are formed by the narrow sides 2, which protrude slightly beyond the edges 20 of the tube base 5, of the flat tubes 1. Preferably situated at the edge of the openings 21 in the tube bases 5 are rim holes (not illustrated) which preferably point away from the collecting tank 6, so that the flat tube ends do not protrude inward in order to ensure a low loss of pressure of the medium flowing into the flat tubes 1. Webs 22 are provided between the openings 21 in the tube bases 5. The webs 22 can be of profiled design in order to increase their stiffness. Finally, the side parts 30 are placed on, which side parts 30 at the same time close off the end-side openings 60 of the collecting tanks 6. For this purpose, the side parts 30 have, at their ends, in each case one cup-shaped closure piece which fits into the opening 60. The side parts 30 are provisionally fixed, and hold the individual parts of the heat exchanger together, by means of deformable retaining elements 61 which engage into a slot 62 of the side parts. In said form, the heat exchanger is substantially prepared for carrying out the CAB hard soldering process. All the connections are produced in one working operation in the soldering furnace.

The shape of the projections 11 is expediently matched to the contour of the flat tubes 1 which is provided in the region of the narrow sides 2, so that both the insertion is facilitated and also sealed soldered connections are provided. Certain production tolerances are also absorbed in this way. The spacing of the projections 11 at the edge of the collecting tanks 6 corresponds to the spacing of the flat tubes 1 in the row or with the height of the fins 4 arranged between the flat tubes 1. Here, certain tolerances must be permissible which can however be compensated by the expedient shape of the projections 11 (see the description of FIGS. 15 and 16 further below).

The collecting tanks 6 are of particularly production-friendly, simple configuration. Only two bends are necessary in order to form the two longitudinal walls and a transverse wall. Connecting pipes 70, for example, can be easily produced by means of shaping processes.

Particularly production-friendly tube bases 5 are also to be used, which are manufactured from endless band and need merely be cut to the appropriate length, because said tube bases do not have any bent edges at their end sides. Accordingly, no expensive drawing tools are required. It is expedient to make reference here to FIGS. 4 and 5. It can be seen in said figures that a lug 100, which is comparable to the projections 11, is provided at the edge 10 of the collecting tank 6. Said lug 100 interacts with the corresponding cut-out 101 at the edge 20 of the tube base 5 and ensures sealed soldered connections there. It can also be seen from FIG. 5 that the openings 21 in the tube base 5 extend into the edge 20, as indicated by the reference symbol 22. The tube bases 5 can therefore, during assembly, also be pushed transversely with respect to their longitudinal direction, or in the direction of the wide sides 3 of the flat tube ends, onto said flat tube ends. In the prior art, a movement in the longitudinal direction of the flat tubes is required for this purpose. This is referred to as “drawing on” the tube bases.

FIGS. 3 and 6 in particular show, in a view of one of the side parts 30, that there are no lateral protrusions of the tube bases 5 beyond the flat-tube/fin block. The width of the side parts 30 corresponds approximately to the dimension of the wide sides 3 of the flat tubes 1.

It is also to be pointed out that the heat exchanger according to the invention permits relatively easy access from the outside to connections which are critical in soldering terms. Critical connections of said type are the flat-tube/tube-base connections. Should leakages be present there after the soldering process is carried out, the corresponding points can, by virtue of being largely accessible, be easily aftertreated and eliminated in a second soldering process. In heat exchangers of the prior art, it is often not possible to do this, resulting in high rejection rates.

FIG. 7 schematically shows one individual flat tube 1, specifically in a view of the flat tube end. Flat tubes 1 of said type are provided in desired numbers in the heat exchanger. Two projections 11 extend into each flat tube 1. The penetration depth need only be a few millimeters; 10-15 mm is more than enough. It would practically be even less. It is self-evident that the one projection 11 is situated on the one edge of the collecting tank 6 and the other projection 11 is situated on the opposite, other edge 10 of the collecting tank 6. The projections 11 bear tightly from the inside against the narrow sides 2 of the flat tubes 1. Situated in the flat tubes 1 is an inner insert 80, as is typical in particular for charge air coolers which are impinged on by cooling air. In other applications, an inner insert is dispensed with entirely. It is practically often difficult to insert the inner inserts 80 into the flat tubes 1 in such a way that the least possible bypass is generated in the region of the narrow sides 2 for the charge air flowing through, which has an adverse effect on the heat transfer. As shown in FIG. 7, the projections 11 have a favorable effect on the reduction of the disadvantageous bypass, which is a further advantage of the invention. The small gaps in the corners of the flat tubes 1 are caused by the illustration. They are in practice not present or are securely closed off in the soldering process. Said gaps will also level out as the projections 11 are inserted, since the projections 11 hold the two wide sides 3 under a certain tension in the direction of the arrow.

FIGS. 8 and 9 now show an alternative design in which the projections 11 are arranged on the tube bases 5. In said case, the tube bases 5 must be drawn on in the tube longitudinal direction, with the projections 11 simultaneously being inserted into the flat tube ends 1. Thereafter, the collecting tanks 6 and the side parts 30 are placed on and mounted.

Single-part collecting tanks 6 have been provided at least in the exemplary embodiment which is shown in FIGS. 10-14. It is however provided in any case that the collecting tanks 6 also comprise the tube bases 5, so that therefore no classic tube bases are provided as separate parts, as can be gathered from said figures. The collecting tank 6 has a base section 106 from which extend two bent walls 107 of the collecting tank 6. The walls 107 are shaped and can be connected by means of a longitudinal weld seam (not shown) in order to form the collecting tank 6. Provided in the base section 106 are receiving openings 21 for the flat tube ends, wherein the spacings of the flat tubes 1 should accordingly correspond to the spacings of the receiving openings 21. A very prominent feature is that the receiving openings 21 extend into the walls 107, that is to say they extend slightly beyond the bent edge of the walls 107 on the base section 106, as can be seen sufficiently clearly from FIG. 14 at reference symbol 22. In the exemplary embodiments shown, in each case one strip (additional part) 110 is situated on all the walls 107 of the two collecting tanks 6. At the walls 107 of the one collecting tank 6, the strips 110 have been formed with additional functions such as for example with retaining functions 90 for accessories (not illustrated). It is not strictly necessary to provide strips 110 on all the walls 107. It is advantageous to provide a trip 110 in particular whenever additional functions 70 are to be carried out. In the present exemplary embodiment, it would be fundamentally entirely possible to dispense with those narrow strips 110 at the walls 107 of the left-hand collecting tank 6 which do not provide any additional function, and for this purpose to provide there the solution described above, that is to say, there, the projections 11 would be arranged directly on the walls 107 of the collecting tank 6, and tube bases would be provided as individual parts, as shown in the figures.

A further advantage of the strip 110 can be gathered from FIG. 12. It can be seen in said figure that the strip 110, which is formed with the stated additional functions, can also contribute to the strength of the collecting tank 6. It can be seen in FIG. 12 that the strip 110 extends over a considerable part of the wall 107 of the collecting tank and is soldered to said wall 107.

It is possible from FIGS. 13 and 14 to more clearly see the design of the strip 110 with regard to the projections 11 which are arranged thereon at intervals. The projections 11 can be provided with a contour which serves to facilitate the sliding of said projections 11 into the flat tubes 1. Between the projections 11, which are first projections 11, are situated in each case second projections 12. As can be seen, in each case one second projection 12 has been arranged between two first projections 11. The second projections 12 cause a counteracting moment of the strip 110 which could otherwise, when the first projections 11 are situated in the flat tube ends, seek to stick out away from the wall 107, which is undesirable. Since the second projections 12 bear in each case against the fins 4 from the outside, this is prevented or at least counteracted.

It can also be seen from FIGS. 13 and 14 that it is advantageous to form a hook 13 at the ends of the strip 110, which hook 13 is suitable to fixedly hold the side part 30 against the outer fin 4. This assists in holding the entire heat exchanger together before soldering. In addition, this also suppresses the abovementioned “sticking out” of the strip 110 from the wall 107. In addition, it is also possible in this way to dispense with the brackets, shown in FIG. 1 at positions 61 and 62, which are intended to retain the side parts 30 in the end-side openings 60 of the collecting tank 6, which is also advantageous in production terms.

FIG. 15 shows a detail with only one projection 11. The projections 11 have been designed in the manner of incisors 111. Length tolerances in the flat tubes which are in the range from +/−1.0 mm can be better absorbed in this way. Sharp edges 112 have been formed on said projections 11, which sharp edges 112 also extend in the radii, that is to say in the region of the transition from the projection 11 into the wall of the collecting tank 6 or of the additional part or of the tube base. As the projections 11 are inserted into the flat tube ends, the sharp edges 112 cut said ends of those flat tubes which are in the upper length tolerance range open slightly and “crumple” said ends around slightly. This can be clearly seen in FIG. 16 at k. The central tube there is slightly longer than the two other tubes. The sharp edge of the projection 11 is produced for example by means of cold shaping. The thickness difference between the projections 11 and the wall of the flat tubes assists said process. The wall of the collecting tank 6, from which the projections 11 are for example formed, can be approximately 1.0-2.0 mm thick, while the thickness of the wall of the flat tubes can be in the range from 0.05-0.25 mm.

Overall, the invention accordingly provides an innovative product which, compared to the prior art, leaves little to be desired.