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Title:
ADJUSTMENT DEVICE, PARTICULARLY FOR SKI BINDINGS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/005909
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An adjustment device, particularly for ski bindings, comprising a first front plate and a second rear plate for supporting a toe unit and a heel unit. The device is constituted by a third plate which is interposed between the first and second plates and is centrally provided with a mechanism which actuates an opposite axial movement of the first and second plates by means of a flexible traction element which is guided on pulleys associated with the first and second plates. Elements for connection to the first and second plates are associated with the flexible traction element.

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Inventors:
Gorza, Roberto (Via C. Rizzarda, 15 Feltre, I-32032, IT)
Battistella, Mirco (Via Montello, 48/1 Spresiano, I-31027, IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2001/008014
Publication Date:
January 24, 2002
Filing Date:
July 11, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BENETTON GROUP S.P.A. (Via Villa Minelli, 1 Ponzano Veneto, I-31050, IT)
Gorza, Roberto (Via C. Rizzarda, 15 Feltre, I-32032, IT)
Battistella, Mirco (Via Montello, 48/1 Spresiano, I-31027, IT)
International Classes:
A63C9/00; (IPC1-7): A63C9/00
Foreign References:
US3747947A
DE20001929U1
US4522422A
DE4041402A1
EP0729770A2
DE2246668A1
ITTV000081A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Modiano, Guido (Modiano & Associati Via Meravigli, 16 Milano, I-20123, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. An adjustment device, particularly for ski bindings, comprising a first plate and a second plate for supporting a toe unit and a heel unit, respectively, characterized in that it comprises a third plate which is interposed between said first and second plates and has at least one mechanism which is adapted to actuate an opposite axial motion of said first and second plates by means of at least one flexible traction element which is associated with said first and second plates.
2. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that said at least one flexible traction element is guided on pulleys.
3. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first and second plates are telescopically associated with said third plate.
4. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first and second plates comprise means for connection to guiding means which are present in said third plate.
5. The device according to claim 4, characterized in that said first and second plates have a transverse crosssection shaped like an inverted U and in that said connection means are constituted by a first pair of wings and a second pair of wings which are mutually opposite, lie on a same plane and protrude from the free ends of said first and second plates.
6. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that said first and second plates are respectively and slidingly associable at said guiding means.
7. The device according to claim 6, characterized in that said guiding means are constituted by two underlying and complementarily shaped first and second ends of said third plate, said first and second pairs of wings being adapted to ensure guided mutual connection between said first and second plates and said first and second ends.
8. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the stroke of said first and second plates along said first and second ends of said third plate is limited by blocking means.
9. The device according to claim 8, characterized in that said blocking means is constituted by a first abutment surface and a second abutment surface, obtained by tapering said first and second ends with respect to the central part of said third plate.
10. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that said third plate has a single mechanism, arranged approximately centrally on said third plate, which is adapted to actuate an axial, opposite and simultaneous movement of said first and second plates with respect to said third plate.
11. The device according to claim 10, characterized in that a central body is connected to said third plate and is separate and distinct with respect to said third plate, said mechanism or components thereof being at least partially associated on said central body.
12. The device according to claim 11, characterized in that a gear is formed centrally on said central body and is part of said mechanism, constituted by a circular gear, from which a square element protrudes downwards and axially.
13. The device according to claim 12, characterized in that said ring can be engaged in a lower region by a first gear which is associated with said central body of said third plate.
14. The device according to claim 13, characterized in that it has, below said first gear, a cavity which accommodates a complementarily shaped first pulley which is associated with said square element.
15. The device according to claim 14, characterized in that a seat for a complementarily shaped bush is formed in the lower surface of said pulley.
16. The device according to claim 15, characterized in that said preferably square element of said ring is insertable in two complementarily shaped first and second holes, formed respectively in said first gear and said first pulley, having an internal complementary thread which is adapted for connection to a first threaded screw which can be inserted in a lower region at said bush.
17. The device according to claiml6, characterized in that an elastically deformable element, which acts between said bush and said first pulley, is arranged inside said seat for said bush.
18. The device according to claim 17, characterized in that said elastically deformable element, constituted by a cylindrical spring, is preloaded during the connection of said bush to said square element.
19. The device according to claim 18, characterized in that said elastically deformable element facilitates the mutual connection of said first gear and of a complementarily shaped second gear, formed below said ring, while contrasting the mutual uncoupling, achieved by virtue of the lifting of said ring, of said first and second gears.
20. The device according to claim 14, characterized in that the two ends of said flexible traction element, constituted by a cable, are connected to said first pulley at two separate seats which are provided in opposite positions.
21. The device according to claim 20, characterized in that said cable is guided on second and third pulleys which are freely pivoted below said first and second ends by a pair of pivots.
22. The device according to claim 20, characterized in that said elements for connection to said first and second plates are constituted by a first block and a second block which are shaped like parallelepipeds and are connected to said cable at two predefined positions which are mutually opposite with respect to said first pulley.
23. The device according to claim 21, characterized in that first and second cutouts are formed in said first and second ends at said first and second blocks, are arranged longitudinally to said first and second ends and have a width which allows the sliding of said first and second blocks along them.
24. The device according to claim 23, characterized in that said first and second blocks can be associated in an upward region with said first and second plates, by a mechanical connection means, such as a second screw and a third screw which pass respectively through a third hole and a fourth hole formed in said first and second plates.
25. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the actuation of said mechanism forces a rotation of said first pulley which determines a sliding of said flexible traction element, with a consequent mutually opposite and simultaneous movement of said connecting elements associated with a mutually opposite longitudinal movement of said first and second plates with respect to said third plate.
26. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said third pulley is freely pivoted in a lower region with respect to a cable tensioner, which is slidingly associated with said second end, by a fourth screw which can be secured in a slot formed in said cable tensioner, so as to allow adjustment in order to compensate for any plays due to assembly or slackening of said cable.
27. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises means for rapidly disengaging the connection between said ring and said first gear.
28. The device according to claim 27, characterized in that said means for rapidly disengaging the connection between said ring and said first gear are constituted by at least one button which is arranged at a complementarily shaped slot which is provided below said ring.
29. The device according to claim 28, characterized in that said button has, in an upper region, a first pair of mutually opposite inclined planes which are in contact with a second pair of complementarily shaped inclined planes formed transversely on said ring, thus being able to facilitate the lifting of said ring with respect to said first gear, acting in opposition to the return force of said cylindrical spring.
30. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said third plate is centrally provided with two mechanisms which are arranged longitudinally and actuate an axial motion of, respectively, said first and second plates by means of two flexible traction elements guided on pulleys, said elements for connection to said first and second plates being associated with said two flexible traction elements.
31. The device according to claim 30, characterized in that each of said two mechanisms is constituted by a first pulley with which one of said two flexible traction elements is associated.
32. The device according to claim 31, characterized in that each of said two flexible traction elements is constituted by a cable which is guided respectively on a second pulley or third pulley.
33. The device according to either claim 31 and 32, characterized in that it comprises means for rapidly disengaging the connection between said ring and said first gear.
34. The device according to claim 33, characterized in that said means for rapidly disengaging the connection between said ring and said first gear comprises two buttons which are slidingly associable with said two mechanisms at a complementarily shaped slot formed therein.
Description:
ADJUSTMENT DEVICE, PARTICULARLY FOR SKI BINDINGS Technical field The present invention relates to an adjustment device particularly for ski bindings.

Background art Conventional ski bindings are constituted by a toe unit and by a heel unit associated by means of screws, bolts, brackets or guides, with a ski or with engagement elements which are in turn associated with the ski.

The toe and heel units are constituted, for example, respectively by a front jaw and a rear jaw which, together with automatic devices, temporarily lock the tip and heel of the ski boot.

Such conventional ski bindings are adjustable according to the size of the shoe by generally moving the heel unit longitudinally with respect to the ski. That can be achieved by means of screw-and-rack adjustment devices, as shown for example in US-4, 522, 422, wherein the longitudinal motion of the heel unit is actuated by means of a screw which is arranged below the heel unit and engages a rack which is arranged on the top surface of the ski.

A continuous adjustment of the size is achieved with said device.

Another example of adjustment device, in this case a discrete adjustment device, is disclosed in DE-A-4041402, or in EP-A-0729770, where the adjustment is achieved by disengaging a pawl, which is rigidly coupled to the heel unit, from a rack which is rigidly coupled to the ski, by moving the heel unit longitudinally along guides, by repositioning the heel unit in the new position, and by reengaging the pawl with the rack in order to lock the heel unit in the new selected position.

Since those adjustments entail moving the heel unit with respect to the toe unit, which is fixed, they shift the center of gravity of the skier with respect to the position of the ski, consequently varying the balance of the skier during skiing.

All the skis, particularly recently designed ones, are provided so that they

must be used appropriately with a very specific position of the ski boot with respect to said ski.

Accordingly, the main drawback of said conventional types of adjustment devices is the fact that said adjustment must be limited to small displacements of the heel unit toward the tail of the ski, since an excessive displacement would cause an excessive displacement of the center of gravity of the user, with consequent difficulties in skiing and a reduction in safety conditions.

DE-2,246,668 partially solves to the above described drawbacks with a ski binding formed by a toe unit and a heel unit which are provided with a mechanism for the simultaneous adjustment of the longitudinal position of the toe unit and of the heel unit. Such mechanism comprises two connecting elements, a first one connected to the toe unit and a second one connected to the heel unit, which are in turn mutually connected by means of an adjustment device which is composed of a rack-and-pinion system.

The position of the toe unit and the heel unit is adjusted by actuation, on the part of the user, of the adjustment device, which moves the toe unit and the heel unit in mutually opposite directions by means of the pinion which acts simultaneously on the two racks.

During adjustment, said mechanisms transmit the longitudinal motion to the toe unit and to the heel unit according to a specific ratio which is substantially constant with respect to a reference plane which is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the ski.

A drawback of the above binding is that the adjustment mechanisms are not universally usable for any type of binding but can mount only dedicated bindings, interfaced with the adjustment mechanism.

Moreover, the use of rigid elements for the adjustment mechanism, particularly for the elements for connection to the toe unit and to the heel unit, can entail malfunctions or deformations thereof due to the ordinary flexural movements of the ski during skiing.

Disclosure of the Invention The aim of the present invention is therefore to solve the above noted technical problems, eliminating the drawbacks of the cited prior art and thus providing an invention which allows to easily, rapidly and continuously modify the position of the toe unit and of the heel unit of a ski binding without altering the position of the foot and of the body of the user with respect to the center of gravity of the ski.

Within the scope of the above aim, an important object is to provide an adjustment device which is compatible with any type of commercially available ski binding.

Another important object is to provide an invention which keeps the size adjustment device independent and isolated with respect to any function of the toe unit and of the heel unit.

Another object is to provide an adjustment device which is structurally simple and free from malfunctions or deformations and has low manufacturing costs.

This aim and these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by an. adjustment device, particularly for ski bindings, comprising a first plate and a second plate for supporting a toe unit and a heel unit, respectively, of the ski binding, characterized in that it comprises a third plate which is interposed between said first and second plates and has at least one mechanism which is adapted to actuate an opposite axial motion of said first and second plates by means of at least one flexible traction element which is associated with said first and second plates.

Brief description of the drawings Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the detailed description of a particular embodiment thereof, illustrated by way of non-limitative example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to a first aspect of the invention; Figure 2 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to a second aspect of the invention; Figure 3 is a side view of the device of Figure 2 ; Figure 4 is a top view of the second device of Figures 2 and 3; Figures 5 and 6 are two sectional views of a detail of the device of Figures 2-4; Figure 7 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to a third aspect of the invention.

Ways of camping out the Invention With reference to the figures, the numeral 1 designates an adjustment. device, particularly usable for ski bindings, which comprises a first front plate 2 and a second rear plate 3, which are advantageously rectangular, have a transverse cross-section shaped like an inverted U, and can be respectively slidingly associated at two underlying and complementarily shaped first and second ends, designated by the reference numerals 6a and 6b, of a third plate 7.

The first plate and the second plate in fact respectively have a first pair of mutually opposite wings 4a and 4b for said first plate 2 and a second pair of mutually opposite wings 5a and 5b for the second plate 3.

Said first and second pairs of wings 4a and 4b, 5a and Sb, which protrude below said first and second plates 2 and 3, are therefore suitable to ensure the guided mutual connection of said first and second plates 2 and 3 with the first and second ends of said third plate 7.

The first and second plates 2 act 3 act as supports respectively for a toe unit 8 and a heel unit 9, which are suitable to temporarily lock respectively the tip and the heel of a ski boot, not shown in the figures.

Said toe unit 8 and said heel unit 9 are constituted for example respectively by a front jaw 10, which is rotatably pivoted so as to allow, by

virtue of a lateral rotation, the release of the tip of the boot in the presence of excessive lateral forces, and by a rear lever 11, which allows to release the heel of the boot in the presence of excessive forces which are directed forwardly.

The stroke of said first and second plates 2 and 3 along said first and second ends 6a and 6b of said third plate 7 is delimited respectively by a first abutment surface 12a and by a second abutment surface 12b, that are obtained by tapering the first and second ends 6a and 6b with respect to a central body 13 of said third plate 7.

A mechanism is provided centrally on said central body 13 which comprises, in this embodiment, a ring, designated by the reference numeral 14, which is circular and from which a square element 15 protrudes downwards and axially.

Said ring 14 can engage, in a lower region, a first gear 16 which is associated with the central body 13 of said third plate 7.

A cavity is provided below said first gear 16 and accommodates a complementarily shaped first pulley 17, which is associated with the square element 15.

A seat 18, for a complementarily shaped bush 19, is provided in the lower surface of the first pulley 17.

The square element 15 of the ring 14 can be inserted in the complementarily shaped first and second holes, 20 and 21, which are formed respectively in said first gear 16 and in said first pulley 17, and advantageously has an internal complementary thread which is suitable for connection to a first threaded screw 22 which can be inserted in a lower region at said bush 19.

An elastically deformable element, such as a cylindrical spring 23, is arranged inside said seat 18, acts between said bush 19 and said first pulley 17, and is preloaded during the connection of said bush 19 to the cylindrical element 15.

Said cylindrical spring 23 facilitates the connection between the first gear 16 and a complementarily shaped second gear 24, which is formed below said ring 14, and instead contrasts the uncoupling of said first and second gears 16 and 24, which is obtained by lifting said ring 14.

The two ends of a traction element, for example a cable designated by the reference numeral 26, are connected to said pulley 17 at a pair of seats 25a and 25b formed in opposite positions.

Said cable 26 is guided on second and third pulleys, designated by the reference numerals 27a and 27b respectively, which are freely pivoted under said first and second ends 6a and 6b, by a pair of pivots 28a and 28b.

A first block 29a and a second block 29b, shaped like parallelepipeds, are connected to the cable 26 at two predefined positions which are opposite with respect to said first pulley 17.

A first cutout and a second cutout, designated by the reference numerals 30a and 30b and rectangular in shape, are provided at said positions in said first and second ends 6a and 6b of said third plate 7 longitudinally to said first and second ends.

Said first and second cutouts 30a and 30b have a width which allows the sliding of the respective first and second blocks 29a and 29b. The blocks can be associated, in an upper region, with said first and second plates 2 and 3, by means of mechanical connection means of a per se known type, such as second and third screws 31a and 31b which respectively pass through a third hole 32a and a fourth hole 32b formed in said first and second plates 2 and 3.

In this manner, a rotation of the first pulley 17 induces a sliding of the cable 26, entailing an opposite motion of the first and second blocks 29a and 29b and therefore a motion of the first and second plates 2 and 3.

In the embodiment illustrated here, the third pulley 27b is not pivoted directly to the second end 6b but rather to a cable tensioner 33 which is in turn slidingly associated with said second end 6b, by means of a fourth

screw 34 which can be secured in a slot 35.

By way of the motion of the fourth screw 34 inside the slot 35, the cable tensioner 33 compensates any assembly plays or slackening of the cable 26 caused by use over time.

Once said first and second plates 2 and 3 have been inserted, the first and second ends 6a and 6b are associated, at their free tip, respectively with a first front plate cover 36a and with a second rear plate cover 36b, by means of two pairs of screws, 37a and 37b.

In a second embodiment, shown in Figures 2 to 7, a button 50 is inserted below said ring 14 at a complementarily shaped slot 51.

Said button facilitates the lifting of the ring 14 with respect to the first gear 16, acting in contrast with the return force of the cylindrical spring 23, by means of the action of the first pair of inclined planes 52a and 52b on the second pair of inclined planes 53a and 53b, formed transversely on said ring 14.

The operation of the device is as follows: with reference to the above cited figures, in order to adjust the size of the ski binding one lifts the ring 14, acting on the button 50 if provided, thus contrasting the elastic force of the cylindrical spring 23.

This produces the mutual disengagement of the first and second gears 16 and 24, thus allowing the first pulley 17 to turn about itself.

Accordingly, a rotation of the first pulley 17 and of the associated ring 14 causes the cable 26 to slide around the second and third pulleys, with a consequent opposite movement of the first and second blocks 29a and 29b.

The first and second plates 2 and 3 are associated in an upper region with said first and second blocks 29a and 29b and are thus moved mutually closer or further apart according to the specific requirements according to a mutually opposite axial movement thereof.

Once the intended adjustment has been achieved, the ring 14 is lowered, mutually re-engaging the first gear 16 and the second gear 24 and thus

locking, also by virtue of the cylindrical spring 23, which performs a return action, the rotation of the first pulley 17.

The adjustment device according to the invention is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, within the scope of the appended claims.

Thus, for example, it is possible to provide, according to a third embodiment of the invention, the duplication of the adjustment device, so as to allow a separate adjustment of the toe unit 8 and of the heel unit 9.

Figure 8 illustrates said adjustment device, designated by the reference numeral 101, which comprises a first front plate and a second rear plate, designated by the reference numerals 102 and 103 respectively, which are rectangular, have a transverse cross-section shaped like an inverted U, and can be respectively slidingly associated at two underlying and complementarily shaped first and second ends, designated by the reference numerals 106a and 106b, of a third plate 107.

The first plate and the second plate in fact respectively have a first pair of mutually opposite wings 104a and 104b for said first plate 102 and a second pair of mutually opposite wings 105a and 105b for the second plate 103.

Said first and second pairs of wings 104a and 104b, 105a and 105b, which protrude below said first and second plates 102 and 103, are thus suitable to ensure the guided interconnection between said first and second plates 102 and 103 and the first and second ends of said third plate 107.

Said third plate 107 has a central body 113 on which two longitudinally arranged gears are provided centrally. The gears are constituted by two rings, 114a and 114b, which are circular and from which two square elements 115a and 115b protrude axially downwards.

Said rings 114a and 114b are rotatably associated in a lower region with respect to two first gears 116a and 116b, which are in turn rigidly coupled to the central body 113 of said third plate 107.

Two first pulleys 117a and 117b are arranged below said first gears 116a

and 116b, and a seat for the insertion of respective complementarily shaped bushes 119a and 119b is formed on the lower surface of each one of said pulleys.

Each one of the square elements 115a and 115b of the pair of rings 114a and 114b can be inserted through the respective first gear and first pulley so as to be associated, by means of a first screw 122a or 122b, with said bush 119a or 119b.

Two cylindrical springs 123a and 123b are arranged between said bushes 119a and 119b and said two first pulleys 117a and 117b and are preloaded during the connection of the bushes to the respective square element 115a or 115b.

Said two cylindrical springs 123a and 123b facilitate the connection between the first gears 116a and 116b and respective complementarily shaped second gears, 124a and 124b, formed below said rings 114a and 114b.

The ends of two cables 126a and 126b are connected to each of said two pulleys 117a and 117b and are guided respectively on a second pulley and a third pulley, 127a and 127b.

In this embodiment, the second pulley 127a is freely pivoted below the first end 106a, by means of a screw 128a. The third pulley 127b is instead freely pivoted below a cable tensioner 133, which in turn is slidingly associated with said second end 106b, by means of a fourth screw 134, which can be secured in a slot 135.

A first block and a second block 129a and 129b are shaped like a parallelepiped and are connected to the cables 126a and 126b respectively, at a first cutout and a second cutout 130a and 130b, which are rectangular and are formed longitudinally to said first and second ends.

Said first and second cutouts 130a and 130b have a width which allows the sliding of the respective first and second blocks 129a and 129b which are associable, in an upper region, with said first and second plates 102 and

103, by means of a second screw 131a and third screw 131b.

In this manner, a rotation of each of the first pulleys 117a and 117b induces a sliding of the respective cable 126a or 126b, entailing a motion of the first block 129a or of the second block 129b and therefore a movement of the first plate 102 or of the second plate 103.

This embodiment has two buttons 150a and 150b arranged below the respective rings 114a and 114b at a complementarily shaped slot 151a or 151b.

Said buttons facilitate the lifting of the respective ring with respect to the first gear 116a or 116b, acting in contrast to the return force of the cylindrical spring 123a or 123b.

It has thus been found that the invention has achieved the intended aim and objects, an adjustment device particularly usable with ski bindings having been devised which allows to modify easily and rapidly the position of the toe unit and of the heel unit of a ski binding without altering the position of the foot and the body of the user with respect to the center of gravity of the ski.

Furthermore, the adjustment device, by constituting essentially a supporting plate for the bindings, can be used for any type of commercially available binding without requiring any modification to said bindings or the need to provide specific models of binding which can be interfaced with the device.

This advantageous characteristic also allows to avoid modifying the functional performance of the toe unit and of the heel unit, since they are independent of the adjustment device.

Finally, the use of flexible traction elements for transmitting the movement to the front and rear plates allows to reduce considerably any malfunctions or deformations of the mechanism arising from the dynamic behavior of the ski, since the flexible element can follow the flexural deformations of the ski.

The materials used, as well as the dimensions that constitute the individual components of the invention, may of course be more pertinent according to the specific requirements.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application No. TV2000A000081 from which this application claims priority are incorporated herein by reference.