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Title:
Antitheft protection sleeve for a flexible member of a capstan mechanism for retaining spare wheels of vehicles
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/042220
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Antitheft protection sleeve (33) for a flexible member of a capstan mechanism for retaining spare wheels of vehicles, comprising a first spirally wound band (35), characterized in that it comprises at least one second spirally wound band (36), the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) being mutually coupled so as to define a wall (37) of the sleeve (33), and in that, when the sleeve (33) is at rest, the windings (38i) of the first band (35) are in contact with the windings (39i) of the at least one second band (36) so that said wall (37) has no openings between the windings (38i, 39i).

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Inventors:
GROPPO, Lazzaro (Via Alcide De Gasperi 16, Sanfre', 12040, IT)
GROPPO, Matteo (Via Alcide De Gasperi 16, Sanfre', 12040, IT)
Application Number:
IB2016/055148
Publication Date:
March 08, 2018
Filing Date:
August 29, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GROPPO, Lazzaro (Via Alcide De Gasperi 16, Sanfre', 12040, IT)
GROPPO, Matteo (Via Alcide De Gasperi 16, Sanfre', 12040, IT)
International Classes:
B62D43/00; F16F1/04; F16F3/06; F16F3/087
Foreign References:
DE488258C1929-12-21
US8714419B22014-05-06
DE645058C1937-05-20
JP2012033791A2012-02-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBBA, Pierpaolo et al. (Interpatent Srl, Via Caboto 35, Torino, 10129, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Antitheft protection sleeve (33) for a flexible member (15) of a capstan mechanism (11) for retaining spare wheels (27) of vehicles, comprising a first spirally wound band (35), characterized in that it comprises at least one second spirally wound band (36), the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) being mutually coupled so as to define a wall (37) of the sleeve (33), and in that, when the sleeve (33) is at rest, the windings (38i) of the first band (35) are in contact with the windings (39i) of the at least one second band (36) so that said wall (37) has no openings between the windings (38i, 39i). 2. Sleeve according to claim 1, wherein, when the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) are not mutually coupled and are at rest, the respective windings (38i, 39i) are in a distal configuration so that a gap (41) is defined between successive windings of each band (35, 36) for inserting the flexible member (15) into each band (35, 36). 3. Sleeve according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the wall (37) of the sleeve extends over a cylindrical or frustoconical surface.

4. Sleeve according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) comprise respective cross-sections having a circular or square or rectangular shape.

5. Sleeve according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) comprise respective asymmetrical cross-sections in which respective male edges (35a, 36a) and female edges (35b, 36b) complementary to each other are defined, whereby, when the sleeve (33) is at rest, the windings (38i) of the first band

(35) are at least partially engaged with the windings (39i) of the at least one second band

(36) .

6. Sleeve according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) comprise a plurality of references or markings (43), indicating the zone where the first and the at least one second band (35, 36) are to be cut for obtaining a sleeve of a desired length.

7. Sleeve according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) comprise a plurality of cuts or notches (45) defining as many easy-breaking zones of the material of the first and the at least one second band (35, 36) for obtaining a sleeve of a desired length. 8. Sleeve according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first and the at least one second band (35, 36) are made of spring steel.

9. Sleeve according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first and the at least one second band (35, 36) are made of a deformable non-elastic material.

10. Capstan mechanism for retaining a spare wheel of a vehicle, comprising:

- a capstan (13) provided with a control pin (21),

- a flexible member (15),

- a yoke or anchor (17) firmly fixed to the free end of the flexible member (15) and adapted to be engaged into the rim (25) of a vehicle spare wheel (27), characterized in that it includes an antitheft sleeve (33) made in accordance with any one of claims 1 to 9 and connected to the flexible member (15).

11. Use of an antitheft sleeve (33) made in accordance with any one of claims 1 to 9 for preventing cutting of the flexible member (15) of a capstan mechanism (11) for retaining a spare wheel (27) of a vehicle.

12. Method of assembling a sleeve (33) around a flexible member (15) of a capstan mechanism (11) for retaining a spare wheel of a vehicle, said method comprising the steps of:

- providing a first spirally wound band (35) and a second spirally wound band (36);

- passing a section of the flexible member (15) through a first portion of a gap (41) defined between windings (38i) of the first band (35);

- passing the flexible member (15) through successive portions of the gap (41) of the first band (35) so as to obtain insertion of the flexible member (15) into the first band (35);

- passing a section of the flexible member (15) through a portion of a gap (41) defined between the windings (39i) of the at least one second band (36);

- passing the flexible member (15) through successive portions of the gap (41) of the at least one second band (36) so as to obtain insertion of the flexible member (15) into the at least one second band (36);

- coupling the first band (35) and the at least one second band (36) by screwing them to each other until obtaining the sleeve (33) with the flexible member (15) arranged therein.

Description:
Antitheft protection sleeve for a flexible member of a capstan mechanism for retaining spare wheels of vehicles.

DESCRIPTION

Technical Field

The present invention relates to an antitheft protection sleeve for a flexible member of a capstan mechanism for retaining spare wheels of vehicles. More precisely, the invention relates to an antitheft protection sleeve adapted to prevent fraudulent cutting off of the flexible member incorporated in a capstan mechanism for retaining vehicle spare wheels. Prior Art

Within the field of vehicles it is known to use capstan mechanisms for retaining spare wheels. These mechanisms comprise a capstan on which a flexible member, usually consisting of a cable or a chain, is wound. The free end of the cable is engaged with the spare wheel rim, for example by means of an anchor or a yoke. The wheel is firmly held against the chassis or the body of the vehicle by turning the capstan for winding the cable by means of the control pin. The rotation of the control pin in the opposite direction causes unwinding of the cable and consequent disengagement of the spare wheel. One of the problems encountered in using capstan mechanisms for retaining the spare wheel of a vehicle is how to prevent the flexible member from being cut off in a fraudulent way.

This problem has been so far solved by equipping the capstan mechanism with tube portions surrounding the portion of the flexible member that remains exposed to burglary attempts when the wheel is retained by the capstan mechanism.

US 8714419 describes some examples of embodiment of these known solutions. For obvious practical reasons, the tube portion must be able to be inserted onto the mechanisms, when these are already fitted on the vehicles and without removing the anchor or the yoke arranged at the end of the flexible member. In order to do so, according to prior art, the tube portion is made in two half-shell-shaped parts. The flexible member is passed inside the tube before these half-shells are firmly associated to each other by means of screws and nuts. One of the embodiment examples described in the cited prior art document comprises a coil spring. The spring has the advantage of being able to be placed around the flexible member and making the flexible member pass little by little through the spaces existing between the windings and imparting an oscillatory movement to the spring. When the capstan mechanism is operated for bringing the spare wheel in the configuration in which it is secured against the chassis or body of the vehicle, the spring is compressed and the windings get close to one another, thus closing the spaces between the windings. This solution, however, has the drawback of being not very safe, as it may leave uncovered a part of the flexible member when the spring does not have the appropriate length and is therefore not fully compressed when the wheel is in its secured configuration. Moreover, this solution has the drawback of not allowing proper securing of the spare wheel when the spring is too long when fully compressed

A main object of the invention is to solve the aforesaid problem of how to prevent part of the flexible member from being left uncovered or to prevent the spare wheel from not being brought to the correct secured position.

A further object of the invention is to provide a protection sleeve of the aforementioned type that can be industrially produced at low cost.

A not least object of the invention is to provide a protection sleeve that can be easily mounted manually even by an individual who is not expert and has no specific tools.

These and other objects are achieved with the anti theft protection sleeve as claimed in the appended claims.

Disclosure of the Invention

The antitheft protection sleeve for the flexible member of a capstan mechanism for retaining spare wheels according to the invention comprises a first spirally wound band and at least one second spirally wound band that are mutually coupled so as to define the wall of the sleeve. The sleeve preferably has a cylindrical or frustoconical shape. When the sleeve is at rest, i.e. when no forces except for the gravitational force are applied thereto, the windings of the first band are in contact with the windings of the at least one second band. In this configuration, the wall of the sleeve is closed and substantially without openings between the windings. According to the invention, the bands, prior to being coupled to each other to form the sleeve, are, in their rest condition, in a distal configuration, i.e. a configuration in which a gap is defined between the windings of each band, this gap, too, having a spiral shape. The gap of each band has such a size as to easily allow the passage of the flexible member therethrough and thus the insertion of the flexible member into each band.

The bands forming the sleeve are advantageously made of a high-strength material, typically steel, capable of conferring, preferably, elasticity to at least one of the two bands so as to allow the windings to be moved apart from or brought close to each other. According to the invention, the cross-section of the bands can have any suitable shape, and in particular a rectangular, square, circular, oval shape. According to a particular embodiment of the invention, the bands have asymmetrical cross-sections having respective male edges and female edges. Advantageously, according to this particular embodiment of the invention, when the sleeve is at rest, the windings are at least partially in mutual engagement so as to make any burglary attempt more difficult.

According to a particular embodiment of the invention, the bands forming the sleeve comprise a plurality of references indicating the zone where the bands are to be cut for obtaining a sleeve of a desired length. Said references can be applied to the bands by means of adhesives, paints or other known means suitable for the purpose. In addition, each of said references can bear a serial number indicating the length of the sleeve or, for example, a code referring to the vehicle model for which the corresponding sleeve length is intended.

Still according to the invention, the bands can preferably comprise a plurality of cuts defining as many easy-breaking zones of the material of the bands, for obtaining a sleeve of a desired length. The cuts can be combined with the references applied to the bands.

According to the invention, the bands are preferably made of spring steel. In an embodiment variant, the bands are made of a deformable inelastic material.

According to the invention, the sleeve is mounted around the flexible member of the capstan mechanism for retaining spare wheels of vehicle by inserting the flexible member into each of the spirally wound bands, through their respective gaps, when the bands are not yet coupled to each other, and by coupling the bands to each other by screwing so as to form the sleeve.

Advantageously, the sleeve according to the invention can be incorporated in capstan mechanisms having a flexible member comprising a cable or chain or the like.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Some preferred embodiments of the invention given by way of non-limiting examples will be described with reference to the annexed figures, in which:

- Fig. 1 shows an overall view of a capstan mechanism intended for vehicle spare wheels and equipped with the protection sleeve in a first embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 2 shows a perspective view of the sleeve of Fig. 1 at rest, mounted around the flexible member of the capstan mechanism;

Fig. 3 shows a longitudinal section of the sleeve of Fig.1;

- Fig. 4 shows a longitudinal section of one of the bands at rest included in the sleeve of Fig. 1;

Fig. 5 shows a longitudinal section of the sleeve at rest in a second embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 6 shows a longitudinal section of the sleeve at rest in a third embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 7 shows a longitudinal section of the sleeve at rest in a fourth embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 8 shows a longitudinal section of one of the bands at rest included in the sleeve of Fig. 7;

Figs. 9a-9d show the sequence of assembly of the sleeve around the flexible member of the capstan mechanism.

In all the Figures, the same reference numerals have been used for denoting same or functionally equivalent parts.

Description of Some Preferred Embodiments of the Invention

Referring to Fig. 1, there is illustrated the arrangement of a generic capstan mechanism known per se for vehicle spare wheels. The mechanism has been generally indicated by the reference 11. It mainly comprises a capstan 13, a flexible member 15 and a yoke or anchor 17. The capstan 13 is housed in a casing 19 and is provided with a control pin 21. The control pin 21 protrudes from the casing 19 for being rotated by means of an appropriate tool that is usually part of the vehicle equipment. In the illustrated embodiment, the flexible member 15 comprises a cable 23. In other embodiments of the mechanism 11, the flexible member 15 may comprise a chain. The flexible member 15 is generally made of high-strength steel. The yoke 17 is firmly attached to the free end of the cable 23 and can be engaged in the rim 25 of the spare wheel 27. The capstan 13 allows to wind and unwind the cable 23 on a spool contained in the casing 19. When the cable 23 is wound by the capstan 13, the spare wheel 27 is brought against the base of a housing provided in the chassis or body of the vehicle. A guide duct 29, open to the base of said housing, is often provided in order to guide the cable 23 along the desired path. In this arrangement, the spare wheel 27 can be licitly separated from the vehicle only by acting on the capstan 13 for unwinding the cable 23. However, those who may want to take possession of the spare wheel 27 in a fraudulent way, could try to cut off the cable 23. This fraudulent operation is made possible by the fact that a space sufficient for the passage of a cutter often remains between the wheel 27 and the base of the housing provided in the vehicle. On the other hand, the deformability of the tire 31 makes it difficult to completely eliminate the possibility to open a passage between the wheel 27 and the chassis or body of the vehicle. According to the invention, in order to prevent cutting off of the cable 23, the portion of the cable 23 remaining exposed to cutting-off attempts is protected by means of a sleeve 33.

Referring to Figs. 2 e 3, the features of the sleeve 33 can be better appreciated therefrom. Said sleeve 33 substantially comprises a first band 35 and a second band 36 that are spirally wound and are mutually coupled so as to define the wall 37 of the sleeve 33. In the illustrated embodiment, the sleeve 33 has a cylindrical shape, but it is also possible to make it with frustoconical shape or other shapes suitable for the purpose. When the sleeve 33 is at rest, i.e. when no outer forces except for the gravitational force are applied thereto, the windings 38i of the first band 35 are in contact with the winding 39i of the second band 36. In this configuration, the wall 37 of the sleeve 33 is closed and substantially without openings between the windings 38i, 39i.

Referring to Fig. 4, according to the invention, the bands 35, 36, prior to being coupled to each other for forming the sleeve 33, are, in their rest condition, in a distal configuration, i.e. a configuration in which a gap 41 is defined between the windings of each band, this gap, too, having a spiral shape. The gap 41 has a length L preferably equal to or larger than the section of the flexible member 15, so as to easily allow the passage of the flexible member 15 through the gap 41 and thus the insertion of the flexible member 15 into each band, as will be illustrated below.

In addition, according to the invention, the bands 35, 36 are made of a high-strength material capable of conferring, preferably, elasticity to at least one of the two bands so as to allow the windings 38i, 39i of the first and/or second band to be moved apart from or brought close to each other. This effect, as will be illustrated below, is of advantage for the mounting of the sleeve 33 and the sealing of the coupling between the bands 35, 36 and can be obtained, for instance, when a torque of forces with opposite components in a longitudinal or transverse plane of the sleeve is applied to the windings 38i e/o 39i.

In the embodiment illustrated in Figs. 2-4, the bands 35, 36 have rectangular cross- sections, in which the shorter sides are parallel to the generatrices of the cylindrical sleeve defined by the spirally wound bands 35, 36 coupled to each other. However, it is also possible to provide bands 35, 36 with rectangular cross-sections in which the longer sides are parallel to said generatrices.

Referring to Fig. 5, there is illustrated a second embodiment of the invention, wherein the bands 35, 36 have circular cross-sections.

Referring to Fig. 6, there is illustrated a third embodiment of the invention, wherein the bands 35, 36 have a rectangular cross-sections in which the longer sides parallel to the generatrices of the cylindrical sleeve have different lengths LI, L2.

Referring to Fig. 7, there is illustrated a fourth embodiment of the invention, wherein the bands 35, 36 have asymmetrical cross-sections. According to this embodiment of the invention, respective male edges 35a, 36a and female edges 35b, 36b are therefore defined in the first band 35 and in the second band 36. The male edges 35a, 36a of the one band are complementary to the female edges 35b, 36b of the other band, whereby, when the sleeve 33 is at rest and the windings 38i of the first band 35 are in contact with the windings 39i of the second band 36, the windings 38i of the first band are at least partially engaged with the windings 39i of the second band 36 by virtue of the fact that the male edges 35a, 36a of the one band penetrate into the female edges 35b, 36b of the other band. Advantageously, thanks to this measure, the sleeve 33 is particularly resistant to burglary attempts.

Referring to Fig. 8, according to the fourth embodiment of the invention, the bands 35, 36, prior to being coupled to each other, are, in their rest condition, in a distal configuration so that a gap 41 is defined between the windings 38i, 39i of each band, said gap having a length L

so as to allow progressive introduction of the flexible member 15 into each band.

Referring again to Fig. 2, in a particular embodiment of the invention, the bands 35, 36 comprise a plurality of references or markings 43, for example obtained by painting or coining, indicating the zone where the bands 35, 36 are to be cut for obtaining a sleeve of a desired length. In addition, the bands 35, 36 may comprise a plurality of cuts or notches 45 defining as many easy-breaking zones of the material of the bands 35, 36 for easily obtaining a sleeve 33 of a desired length even without using specific tools.

According to further embodiments of the invention, the sleeve comprises more than two spirally wound bands mutually coupled so as to define the wall of the sleeve.

Referring to Figs. 9a-9d there is illustrated a method of assembling a sleeve 33 around a flexible member 15 of a capstan mechanism 11. The method of assembly comprises the steps of:

a) providing a first spirally wound band 35 and a second spirally wound band 36; b) passing a section of the flexible member 15 through a first portion of a gap 41 of the first band 35;

c) passing the flexible member 15, by advancing it little by little, through successive portions of the gap 41 of the first band 35 so as to obtain insertion of the flexible member 15 into the first band 35 (Figs. 9a and 9b);

d) passing a section of the flexible member 15 through a portion of a gap 41 of the second band 36;

e) passing the flexible member 15, by advancing it little by little, through successive portions of the gap 41 of the second band 36 so as to obtain insertion of the flexible member 15 into the second band 36;

f) coupling, either simultaneously with or subsequently to the previous step, the first and the second band to each other, by screwing them to each other starting from ends thereof (Fig. 9c);

g) obtaining the sleeve 33 with the flexible member 15 arranged therein (Fig. 9d). The method of assembly illustrated above is also applicable to those embodiments which provide for more than two bands, by repeating, mutatis mutandis, the steps d-f for each further bands besides the second one.

According to the present invention, the spirally wound bands 35, 36, prior to being coupled to each other, have, in their rest condition, substantially the same pitch, defined in known manner as the distance between a point in the transverse section of any winding and the corresponding point in the successive winding, or different pitches. In the case where the bands have different pitches, in order to make it possible to couple the bands to each other, at least one of the bands will have to exhibit a degree of elasticity such as to adapt to the pitch of the other band. Providing bands with a certain degree of elasticity advantageously allows to compensate for possible constructive tolerances between the two bands as well as to guarantee a stronger sealing performance of the coupling between the bands.

The sleeve as described and illustrated is susceptible to several variations and modifications, all of them falling within the same inventive principle.