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Title:
AIR VENT FOR A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/165018
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An air vent for a vehicle, including a housing, an air channel, which is bounded by the housing and has an air-inlet end and an air-outlet end, wherein an air stream flowing through the air channel can flow along a flow direction from the air-inlet end to the air-outlet end, and an air-conducting device, which is arranged in the air channel and has a plurality of air-conducting elements (18, 30), which form an air- conducting assembly, wherein at least some of the air-conducting elements (18, 30) can be displaced relative to one another in order to conduct the air stream, wherein at least one of the air-conducting elements (18, 30) is a light-transmitting air-conducting element (18, 30) consisting at least to some extent of a light-transmitting material, and wherein at least one light source (32) is provided, the light from said at least one light source (32) being coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (18, 30).

Inventors:
PACHER, Thomas (155 Harlem AvenueGlenview, IL, 60025, US)
Application Number:
US2019/018868
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
February 21, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC. (155 Harlem Avenue, Glenview, IL, 60025, US)
International Classes:
B60H1/34; F24F13/078; F24F13/12
Foreign References:
JP2014043220A2014-03-13
JP2010143338A2010-07-01
JP2010137816A2010-06-24
DE29916755U11999-12-09
DE29917713U11999-12-23
EP0455566A11991-11-06
DE102017118450A12019-02-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIEBERDING, Michael, J. et al. (Thompson Hine LLP, 10050 Innovation Drive Suite 40, Dayton OH, 45342-4934, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An air vent for a vehicle, comprising

- a housing,

- an air channel, which is bounded by the housing and has an air-inlet end and an air- outlet end (12), wherein an air stream flowing through the air channel can flow along a flow direction from the air-inlet end to the air-outlet end (12), and

- an air-conducting device, which is arranged in the air channel and has a plurality of air-conducting elements (18, 30), which form an air-conducting assembly, wherein at least some of the air-conducting elements (18, 30) can be displaced relative to one another in order to conduct the air stream,

wherein

- at least one of the air-conducting elements (18, 30) is a light-transmitting air conducting element (30) consisting at least to some extent of a light-transmitting material, and wherein at least one light source (32) is provided, the light from said light source being coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30).

2. The air vent as claimed in claim 1, wherein the air-conducting assembly is a lattice assembly, wherein the air-conducting elements (18, 30) are air-conducting lattices (18, 30) of the lattice assembly.

3. The air vent as claimed in claim 2, wherein lattice openings at least of the light- transmitting air-conducting lattice (18, 30) have a rounded contour.

4. The air vent as claimed in one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the at least one light- transmitting air-conducting element (30) is the air-conducting element (30) which is furthest away from the air-outlet end (12) or is a central air-conducting element of the air-conducting assembly.

5. The air vent as claimed in one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the at least one light- transmitting air-conducting element (30) is the air-conducting element which is closest to the air-outlet end (12).

6. The air vent as claimed in claim 5, wherein the at least one light-transmitting air conducting element (30) has a surface which is at most partially transparent for light from the at least one light source (32).

7. The air vent as claimed in either of claims 5 and 6, wherein the at least one light- transmitting air-conducting element (30) is a two-part component, wherein at least one part is at most partially transparent for light from the at least one light source (32).

8. The air vent as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein at least one surface of the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30) has, at least to some extent, a rib structure (40), in particular a surface-toothing formation (40).

9. The air vent as claimed in claim 8, wherein the rib structure (40) is irregular.

10. The air vent as claimed in either of claims 8 and 9, wherein the rib height and/or rib width of the rib structure (40) increases in the direction of propagation of the light coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30) from the at least one light source (32).

11. The air vent as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the thickness of the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30) decreases in the direction of propagation of the light coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30) from the at least one light source (32).

12. The air vent as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein there is a spacing (42) between the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30) and at least one adjacent air-conducting element (18) in the air-conducting assembly.

13. The air vent as claimed in claim 12, wherein there is at least one spacer (44), in particular at least one sliding surface, at least one sliding rib and/or at least one sliding protuberance (44), provided between the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element (30) and the at least one adjacent air-conducting element (18) in the air conducting assembly.

14. The air vent as claimed in one of the preceding claims, which comprises the provision of a synchronizing device which synchronizes relative displacements of the air conducting elements (18, 30).

15. An air vent for a vehicle, comprising

- a housing,

- an air channel, which is bounded by the housing and has an air-inlet end and an air- outlet end (12), wherein an air stream flowing through the air channel can flow along a flow direction from the air-inlet end to the air-outlet end (12), and

- an air-conducting device, which is arranged in the air channel and has a plurality of air-conducting elements (18, 30), which form an air-conducting assembly, wherein at least some of the air-conducting elements (18, 30) can be displaced relative to one another in order to conduct the air stream,

wherein

- at least one of the air-conducting elements (18, 30) is a light-transmitting air conducting element (30) formed at least to some extent of a light-transmitting material, and wherein at least one light source (32) is provided, the light from said light source being coupled into a side edge of the at least one light-transmitting air conducting element (30).

Description:
AIR VENT FOR A VEHICLE

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The invention relates to an air vent for a vehicle, comprising a housing, an air channel, which is bounded by the housing and has an air-inlet end and an air-outlet end, wherein an air stream flowing through the air channel can flow along a flow direction from the air-inlet end to the air-outlet end, and an air-conducting device, which is arranged in the air channel and has a plurality of air-conducting elements, which form an air-conducting assembly, wherein at least some of the air-conducting elements can be displaced relative to one another in order to conduct the air stream.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Air vents of the above-mentioned type are used to conduct fresh air into the interior of a vehicle, such as a passenger vehicle or truck. The air vents in question here are air vents in which displacement of surface-covering air-conducting elements, for example air-conducting lattices, which are located one above the other can adjust the flow direction of the fresh air conducted into the vehicle interior. There is usually a synchronizing device provided, which allows the surface-covering air-conducting elements to be displaced relative to one another in a coupled state. Such air vents are, for example, described in EP 0 455 566 Bl or in the not-yet-published German patent application 10 2017 118 450.3 belonging to the present applicant. It is also the case that such air vents are known in practice to a person skilled in the art.

[0003] For design-related reasons, there is an increasing desire for it to be possible to provide flexible illumination for components and operating elements in the vehicle interior. As far as conventional air vents having pivotable air-conducting lamellae for conducting the air stream are concerned, illuminating solutions have already been proposed for example for operating knobs. However, as far as design is concerned, these cannot be transferred to air vents having air-conducting lattices arranged in the form of a lattice assembly, or the transfer can only be achieved with a high level of outlay in terms of design and installation. Furthermore, the known solutions provide only limited functionality and a limited light design. SUMMARY

[0004] Proceeding from the prior art explained above, it is the object of the invention to provide an air vent of the type mentioned in the introduction for which illumination can be realized in a straightforward manner in terms of design and with a high level of flexibility as far as functionality and the light design are concerned.

[0005] The invention achieves the object by way of the subject matter of claim 1.

Advantageous configurations can be found in the dependent claims, the description and the figures.

[0006] For an air vent of the type mentioned in the introduction, the object is achieved by the invention in that at least one of the air-conducting elements is a light-transmitting air conducting element consisting at least to some extent of a light-transmitting material, and in that at least one light source is provided, the light from said light source being coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element.

[0007] The air vent according to the invention serves, in a manner known per se, to conduct fresh air into the interior of the vehicle, such as a passenger vehicle or truck. A plurality of air-conducting elements, which form an air-conducting assembly, are provided here, wherein at least some of the air-conducting elements can be displaced relative to one another in order to conduct the air stream. The air-conducting elements are arranged one behind the other, as seen in the flow direction. They form an assembly of air-conducting elements located one above the other (one behind the other in the flow direction). It is possible for the air-conducting elements to butt directly against one another or to have a small spacing between them. The air-conducting elements each form a layer of the air conducting assembly. The air-conducting elements have, in particular, an extent which covers a surface area. The air-conducting elements extend, in particular, essentially perpendicularly to the flow direction. A normal to the surface defined in each case by the air-conducting elements can thus run in particular through the housing of the air vent in the air-flow direction. At least some of the air-conducting elements can be displaced in the surface defined by the surface-area-covering extent of said elements. Depending on the geometry of the air-conducting elements, said surface can be curved. However, it can also be in the form of a single plane. In particular, the air-conducting elements can be displaced parallel relative to one another. A plurality of air-conducting elements located one above the other together form one or more air-conducting channels for air flowing through the housing. Displacement of the air-conducting elements relative to one another alters the orientation of the air-conducting channels. This makes it possible for the air flowing through the housing to be deflected in the desired direction and conducted correspondingly into the vehicle interior. An inner air-conducting element can be fixed and the rest of the air-conducting elements can be adjusted (synchronously). It would also be, for example, possible for an outer air-conducting element to be fixed and for the rest of the air conducting elements to be adjusted (synchronously).

[0008] The air vent can have an operating element for (manual) adjustment of the air conducting elements, wherein the operating element can be displaceable in a surface which extends parallel to a surface over which at least one of the air-conducting elements extends. It is also conceivable for the air-conducting elements to be displaced by manual

displacement of an air-conducting element which is closest to the air-outlet end or of an air-vent lattice which forms the air-outlet end. In this case, there is therefore no need for a separate operating element.

[0009] As already mentioned, a vent lattice can be arranged at the air-outlet end, and thus behind the air-conducting device, as seen in the flow direction, wherein the vent lattice has a grid pattern of openings with lattice openings spaced apart from one another by crosspieces. The lattice openings can be, for example, in honeycomb form. The openings of the vent lattice can, for example, each have an opening surface area ranging from 1 mm 2 to 200 mm 2 . The air-conducting channels formed by the air-conducting elements can have a larger cross section than the air-conducting openings of the air-conducting elements. As already explained, the vent lattice itself can form an operating element. It would also be conceivable for an operating element to be provided on the vent lattice. In addition, it is possible to provide a transmission element which is coupled to the operating element and/or the vent lattice, extends through the vent lattice and the air-conducting assembly and acts, for example, on the inner air-conducting assembly or on an adjustment element for the air-conducting lamellae. Displacement of the vent lattice and/or of the operating element gives rise, by way of the transmission element, to the desired displacement of the air conducting elements of the air-conducting assembly. This is known per se. [0010] According to the invention, at least one of the air-conducting elements is a light- transmitting air-conducting element consisting at least to some extent, for example completely, of a light-transmitting material. Light from a light source is coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element, propagates therein and exits again at defined exit surfaces, for example a surface of the light-transmitting air-conducting element which is directed towards the air-outlet end and/or a surface of the light-transmitting air conducting element which is directed away from the air-outlet end and/or side surfaces of the light-transmitting air-conducting element which bound the air-conducting openings. Of course, it is also possible to provide a plurality of light-transmitting air-conducting elements. Possible light-transmitting material is, for example, polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMA) or transparent silicone. The light source provided can be, for example, at least one light-emitting diode (LED). The light can be coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element via the outer contour of the light- transmitting element, over a surface area by way of a printed circuit board (PCB), which can be rigid or flexible, or via an additional light conductor, forming a distributor which can be fitted onto the light-transmitting air-conducting element, for example by means of a latching connection. Light can be introduced from one or more sides of the air-conducting element. The light distribution within the light-transmitting air-conducting element can be assisted further by a semitransparent material, for example with reflective particles.

[0011] By virtue of the light conductor being integrated according to the invention in the form of an air-conducting functional part of the air vent, a wide variety of different illuminating effects can be flexibly realized in a straightforward manner in terms of design and installation. Beyond those components of the air vent which are present in any case, there are no other components necessary for the illumination in addition to the light source and any parts provided for coupling-in purposes. The amount of installation space necessary is minimized. Moreover, the air stream is not disrupted by the air vent as a result of any parts additionally provided for illuminating purposes. At the same time, the wide variety of options can be reduced in that at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element can be installed even for non-illuminated air vents, in which case all that is then necessary is for the light source to be omitted. Using a functional part of the air vent, in particular a surface-covering air-conducting element, for illuminating purposes renders possible a myriad of design variants as far as illumination is concerned. For example, suitable configuration of the surface of the light-transmitting air-conducting element, in particular by specifically certain regions of the surface being of transparent configuration and other regions of the surface being of non-transparent configuration, makes it possible for symbols or logos to be displayed in illuminated form. It is also possible, for the purpose of displaying certain symbols, for corresponding reflection ribs to be fitted onto the light- transmitting air-conducting element in accordance with the symbol shape.

[0012] In order to increase the wide variety of options, it is further possible for at least one air-conducting element and at least one further air-conducting element and/or at least one portion of the housing to be of different colors, for example white and some other color. Additional light effects can be generated by such colored parts. For example, white parts result in increased light reflection. It is also possible for colored parts to be arranged such that they are illuminated specifically by the light-transmitting air-conducting element.

[0013] In a particularly practical manner, the air-conducting assembly can be a lattice assembly, wherein the air-conducting elements are air-conducting lattices of the lattice assembly. Such air-conducting lattices are known per se. The individual air-conducting elements here are designed in lattice form, for example with a grid pattern of openings which is formed by longitudinal crosspieces and transverse crosspieces. Lattice openings located one above the other together form a respective air-conducting channel for the air flowing through the housing. By virtue of the relative displacement of the air-conducting lattices which is explained in the introduction, the orientation of the air-conducting channels, which are formed by the air-conducting lattices, can be altered in a desirable manner.

[0014] According to a further configuration, lattice openings at least of the light- transmitting air-conducting lattice can have a rounded contour. This improves the effect of light transmission through the air-conducting lattices. Undesirable lateral light losses are avoided. Suitable radii for the rounded contour can be, for example, around approximately 1 mm .

[0015] According to a further configuration, the at least one light-transmitting air conducting element can be the air-conducting element which is furthest away from the air- outlet end or a central air-conducting element of the air-conducting assembly. A central air- conducting element in this context means any of the air-conducting elements located between the outermost air-conducting elements. Providing the light-transmitting air conducting element in a central position of the air-conducting assembly means that light is blocked off by the air-conducting elements located respectively above and beneath. The light emission is thus restricted to the air-conducting openings, that is to say the air conducting channels. This gives the impression of illuminated air-conducting channels. If the light-transmitting air-conducting element provided is the air-conducting element which is furthest away from the air-outlet end, that is to say is the innermost air-conducting element, the direct visibility of the light exiting therefrom is further reduced. However, the air vent is then illuminated from the inside out, that is to say it is backlit, which can be visually desirable.

[0016] It is also possible for the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element to be the air-conducting element which is closest to the air-outlet end, that is to say the outermost air-conducting element. In this case, allowing for a vent lattice possibly still being arranged in front of said air-conducting element, it is possible for light to exit from the air-conducting element, in principle, directly into the vehicle interior. In order to avoid a glare, provision can be made for the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element to have a surface which is at most partially transparent for light from the light source. For example, the entire surface be partially transparent for the exiting light, and therefore uniformly surface-covering light emission is achieved. It would, of course, also be conceivable for that entire surface of said air-conducting element which is directed toward the vehicle interior to be non-transparent for the light, and therefore, in this case too, the light emission is restricted to the air-conducting openings of the air-conducting element. This can be achieved, for example, by hot stamping of the surface of the air-conducting element or also by pad printing. It is also possible to have other surface coatings of the air conducting element, for example PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coatings, which can be used to generate for example partially light-permeable surfaces, which then also allow for a uniform surface-covering light emission.

[0017] According to a further configuration, the at least one light-transmitting air conducting element can be a two-part component, wherein at least one part is at most partially transparent for light from the at least one light source. This configuration is, once again, particularly suitable when the light-transmitting air-conducting element is the air- conducting element which is closest to the air-outlet end. A possible two-part component is, for example, a two-part silicone component. It would be possible here to make use, for example on the surface, of a transparent or partially transparent silicone and, as the main body of the air-conducting element, of a colored silicone material, for example a silver or white silicone material, so as to improve the light reflection and to influence the luminous color and/or the luminous intensity. It is basically the case that using silicone can improve the haptics and operating capability for parts which are actuated manually by a vehicle occupant.

[0018] In a further configuration, at least one surface of the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element can have, at least to some extent, a rib structure, in particular a surface-toothing formation. This promotes uniform light distribution in the light- transmitting air-conducting element, and thus uniform light emission. The rib structure can be of regular or irregular configuration. The rib structure can be formed on a surface of the light-transmitting air-conducting element which is directed toward the vehicle interior. However, it is also conceivable for the rib structure, as an alternative or in addition, to be fitted on a surface which is directed away from the vehicle interior. In particular when direct visibility of the rib structure is undesirable, this configuration is recommended for light-transmitting air-conducting elements which do not form the layer closest to the outlet end.

[0019] As already explained, the rib structure can be of irregular design. Suitable adaptation of the rib structure means that the light distribution in the air-conducting element, and thus the light emission, can be influenced in a specific manner. For example, the rib height and/or the rib width of the rib structure can increase in the direction of propagation of the light coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element from the at least one light source. The ribs or teeth thus become greater as the distance from the location at which the light source is coupled in increases. The direction of propagation here means the direction of propagation which is present when the light is coupled in. For example, when the light is coupled into the air-conducting element from one side, the direction of propagation runs in the direction of the opposite side of the air conducting element. The configuration of the rib structure or of the toothing formation explained above can compensate for otherwise non-uniform illumination when the light is coupled in from just one side. [0020] According to a further configuration, the thickness of the at least one light- transmitting air-conducting element decreases in the direction of propagation of the light coupled into the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element from the at least one light source. In this configuration, starting from the location at which the light source is coupled in, the light-transmitting air-conducting element is for example wedge-shaped, wherein the wedge thickness decreases as the spacing from the location at which the light source is coupled in increases. This configuration is possible as an alternative, or in addition, to the non-uniform ribs explained above. It is possible, in particular, in the case of an air-conducting element which is not the air-conducting element closest to the air-outlet end. For example, for kinematic reasons, this configuration can be used for the air conducting element which is furthest away from the air-outlet end. The direction of propagation means, once again, the direction of propagation which is present when the light is coupled in. It is also the case that the wedge-shaped configuration can compensate for otherwise non-uniform illumination when light is coupled in laterally. If light is coupled into an air-conducting element from both sides, a thickness which tapers in wedge form to the center of the air-conducting element can be provided in each case from both sides.

[0021] There can be a spacing between the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element and at least one adjacent air-conducting element in the air-conducting assembly. Such a spacing reduces light loss in air-conducting elements which are adjacent to the light-transmitting air-conducting element. An air gap between the adjacent air-conducting elements achieves maximum light reflection at the component boundaries. It is also the case that light losses which can arise as a result of interacting frictional surfaces of the adjacent air-conducting elements being roughened are minimized.

[0022] For example, at least one spacer, in particular at least one sliding surface, at least one sliding rib and/or at least one sliding protuberance, can be provided between the at least one light-transmitting air-conducting element and at least one adjacent air-conducting element in the air-conducting assembly. Such spacers ensure that the light-transmitting air conducting element is not in large-surface-area contact with adjacent air-conducting elements. The at least one spacer can be formed on the light-transmitting air-conducting element and/or the at least one adjacent air-conducting element in the air-conducting assembly. When materials are being selected for the spacer, good sliding properties should be ensured, so that the displaceability of the air-conducting elements relative to one another is not impaired.

[0023] As already mentioned, it is possible to provide a synchronizing device which synchronizes relative displacements of the air-conducting elements. This is known per se to a person skilled in the art. Such a synchronizing device can have, for example, at least one transmission element coupled to the air-conducting elements. For example, it is possible to provide two transmission elements, one transmission element synchronizing transverse displacement and the other transmission element synchronizing longitudinal displacement. The kinematics for adjusting such air-conducting assemblies, for example air-conducting lattices, are known per se. Adjustment can take place, for example, as described in EP 0 455 566 Bl or as explained in German patent application 10 2017 118 450.3 belonging to the present applicant.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] An exemplary embodiment of the invention will be explained in more detail hereinbelow with reference to figures, in which, schematically:

[0025] Figure 1 shows a front view of an air vent according to the invention,

[0026] Figure 2 shows a perspective front view of the air vent from figure 1, without a housing,

[0027] Figure 3 shows a perspective rear view of the illustration from figure 2,

[0028] Figure 4 shows a side view of the illustration from figure 3,

[0029] Figure 5 shows an enlarged illustration of the detail A from figure 4, and

[0030] Figure 6 shows a sectional illustration of a detail of the illustration shown in figure 4.

[0031] ETnless stated to the contrary, like reference signs denote like objects in the figures. DET AILED DESCRIPTION

[0032] The air vent according to the invention shown in figure 1 has a housing, of which only a cover panel 10 can be seen in figure 1. The housing bounds an air channel having an air-inlet end arranged on the rear side, which cannot be seen in figure 1, and an air-outlet end 12 formed by the opening of the cover panel 10. In the example shown, the air-outlet end 12 is provided with a vent lattice 14, which has a multiplicity of honeycomb-form air- exit openings 16 bounded by crosspieces. The air vent is installed in a vehicle, for example a passenger vehicle or truck, in order to conduct fresh air through the air-outlet end 12 into the vehicle interior.

[0033] For illustrative purposes, figures 2 and 3 do not illustrate the housing with the cover panel 10. It can be seen in particular in figure 3 that an air-conducting assembly formed from a plurality of air-conducting elements 18 is provided behind the vent lattice 14. In the example shown, the air-conducting elements 18 are air-conducting lattices 18 and, correspondingly, form a lattice assembly. As can be seen to good effect in figure 3, the individual air-conducting elements 18 have an extent which covers a surface area, and each have a plurality of air-conducting openings 20 formed by longitudinal crosspieces and transverse crosspieces. The air-conducting elements 18 located one above the other form, with their air-conducting openings 20, corresponding air-conducting channels 22. In the example shown, the air-conducting element 30 which is the uppermost one in figure 3, and is furthest away from the air-outlet end 12, is fixed. The rest of the air-conducting elements 18 can be displaced parallel relative to one another and relative to the uppermost air conducting element 13 in figure 3, to the left and right, and upward and downward, in the example shown in figure 3. This alters the orientation of the air-conducting channels 22, which are formed by the air-conducting openings 20, and thus the direction of the air stream deflected into the vehicle interior. In the example shown, the fixed air-conducting element 30 is latched on the housing of the air vent via latching portions 31.

[0034] It should be pointed out that the exemplary embodiment shown in the figures can also be used, in principle, for other air vents having an air-conducting assembly in which for example the air-conducting element which is furthest away from the air-outlet end is not fixed. [0035] In the case of the example shown in figures 2 and 3, a first guide runner 24 is arranged on the fixed air-conducting element 30. A first guide carriage, which is not illustrated specifically in figure 3, can be displaced upward and downward with guidance on the first guide runner 24. The first guide runner 24 can form a second guide runner, which is arranged perpendicularly to the displacement direction of the first guide runner and on which a second guide carriage (not illustrated either) is mounted such that it can be displaced perpendicularly to the displacement direction of the first guide runner 24. The second guide carriage can be coupled via guide arms to the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end. Displacement of the second guide carriage on the first guide carriage in a direction perpendicular to the displacement direction of the first guide carriage, that is to say to the left or to the right in figure 3, then results in a corresponding displacement of the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end.

Correspondingly, displacement of the first guide carriage on the first guide runner 24, that is to say upward or downward in figure 3, and a resulting displacement of the second guide carriage in the same direction, result in the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end being displaced upward and downward. In this way, displacement of the second guide carriage upward or downward or to the left or to the right can achieve a corresponding displacement movement of the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end 12.

[0036] Transmission elements 28 are guided in guide slots 26 running in the longitudinal direction and in the transverse direction through side portions of the air-conducting elements 18, 30, and said transmission elements synchronize movements of the air conducting elements 18 relative to one another. In particular, the action of the air conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end 12 being displaced in the longitudinal direction or in the transverse direction of the air vent is transmitted by the transmission elements 28 to the other movably mounted air-conducting elements 18, and this results in a synchronous displacement movement, and thus corresponding orientation, of the air-conducting channels 22.

[0037] For the, for example, manual displacement of the second guide carriage, it is possible to provide an operating element which transmits its own displacement movement to the second guide carriage via a suitable coupling, for example a coupling element engaging through the lattice assembly. As an alternative, it would also be conceivable for the vent lattice 14 to be manually displaceable in the longitudinal and transverse directions of the air vent, wherein the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end is coupled to the vent lattice such that the displacement movement of the vent lattice is transmitted correspondingly to the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air- outlet end, and thus to the other movably mounted air-conducting elements 18. It would also be conceivable for the air vent to have no vent lattice 14 at the air-outlet end 12. In this case, for example the air-conducting element 18 which is closest to the air-outlet end 12 can be manually displaced in the longitudinal and transverse directions of the air vent, said displacement movement being transmitted to the other air-conducting elements 18 by means of the transmission element 28.

[0038] It should also be pointed out that the exemplary embodiment according to the invention can be used, in principle, for any desired kinematics for the displacement of the air-conducting elements 18. For example, the exemplary embodiment according to the invention could also make use of the kinematics known from EP 0 455 566 Bl.

[0039] Figure 3 shows light sources 32, in this case formed by two light-emitting diodes 32 (LEDs), which are arranged on printed circuit boards 34 (PCBs). The light sources 32 are supplied with electricity via plugs 36 and electrical conductors 38. In the example illustrated, light emitted from the light sources 32 is introduced into the air-conducting element 30 which is furthest away from the air-outlet end 12, via the printed circuit boards 34, from the right-hand transverse side in figure 3. In the example shown, this air conducting element 30 is designed in the form of a light-transmitting element for the light from the light sources 32. For example, the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 can consist of PC or PMMA or silicone. In the enlarged side view of figure 4, and in particular in the enlarged detail of figure 5 (figure 4 does not illustrate the light sources 32, including the printed circuit boards 34, or the plug 36 and electrical conductor 38), it can be seen that the surface of the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 has a rib structure 40, in the present case a surface-toothing formation 40. The rib structure 40 results in the light which is introduced into the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 exiting uniformly. The rib structure 40 can also be seen to good effect in the detail-specific section illustration of figure 6. [0040] It can also be seen, in particular in figures 4 and 6, that the thickness of the light- transmitting air-conducting element 30 in figures 4 and 6 decreases in wedge form in a direction from right to left. In these figures, the light from the light sources 32 is introduced into the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 from the right-hand side. Despite the introduction of light taking place just from one side, the wedge-form configuration of the air-conducting element 30 can achieve uniform illumination. In the example illustrated, the light exiting from the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 illuminates the air conducting channels 22 from the rear side, and this gives the impression, from the vehicle interior, of backlighting.

[0041] It can also be seen in figures 5 and 6 that there is a spacing 42, in particular an air gap 42, between the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 and the air-conducting element 18 adjacent thereto. In the example shown, this spacing 42 is created by sliding protuberances 44, which are formed on the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30.

As an alternative, or in addition, however, other spacers, for example sliding surfaces and/or sliding ribs, are also possible. This spacing minimizes light losses at the boundary surfaces between the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 and the adjacent air conducting element 18 and maximizes reflections.

[0042] From the above, it can be seen that the light-transmitting air-conducting element 30 is generally planar in configuration, with the lattice structure running along the plane to define the lattice openings generally perpendicular or otherwise transverse to the plane.

The light source 32 shines in a side edge of the light-transmitting air conducting element 30, and the light then traverses through the light-transmitting air conducting element 30 generally laterally along its plane as some light exits from the rear surface with the rib structure 40. The spacing or air gap 42 is provided so that light that exits from the forward surface of the light-transmitting air conducting element 30 can pass through the gap to provide some illumination to enhance the above-mentioned backlighting effect. Some light also exits the light-transmitting air conducting element 30 via side edges that define the lattice openings. List of reference signs

10 Cover panel

12 Air-outlet end

14 Vent lattice

16 Air-exit openings

18 Air-conducting elements/air-conducting lattices

20 Air-conducting openings

22 Air-conducting channels

24 First guide runner

26 Guide slots

28 Transmission elements

30 Light-transmitting air-conducting element

31 Latching portions

32 Light sources/light emitting diodes

34 Printed circuit boards

36 Plugs

38 Electrical conductors

40 Rib structure/surf ace-toothing formation

42 Spacing/air gap

44 Sliding protuberances