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Title:
CANCEL CAM INTERFACE RING FOR A STEERING COLUMN ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/064090
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An interface ring (14) for a steering column assembly, including two or more body sections (23), where two or more body sections terminate at discrete free ends (22), where the free ends engage with each other to form a complete ring. The interface ring also includes a hinge portion (21) bridging the two or more body sections and to provide flexibility to the interface ring. The interface ring may be adapted to be secured around a steering shaft (10) of a steering column assembly and interface with a cancel cam for cancelling a turn signal of a vehicle after a turn has been completed.

Inventors:
READ, Simon (6860 N. Meadows Pass, Dexter, MI, 48130, US)
MARTINEZ, Victor, Corona (3494 Burbank Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105, US)
Application Number:
US2017/053586
Publication Date:
April 05, 2018
Filing Date:
September 27, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NSK AMERICAS, INC. (4200 Goss Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105, US)
International Classes:
B60Q1/42; B62D1/16
Foreign References:
US2611047A1952-09-16
US2611046A1952-09-16
US2542242A1951-02-20
FR623018A1927-06-14
US1840078A1932-01-05
GB887397A1962-01-17
US2446337A1948-08-03
FR2648407A11990-12-21
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PACYNSKI, Katherine, M. et al. (The Dobrusin Law Firm, PC29 W. Lawrence Street, Suite 21, Pontiac MI, 48342, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An interface ring comprising:

a. two or more body sections, wherein two of the body sections terminate at a discrete free end, wherein the free ends engage with each other to form a complete ring; and

b. a hinge portion bridging the two or more body sections to provide flexibility to the interface ring;

wherein the interface ring is adapted to be secured around a steering shaft of a steering column assembly and interface with a cancel cam.

2. The interface ring of claim 1 , wherein the interface ring includes a notch in one or more of the body sections adapted to contact a portion of the cancel cam.

3. The interface ring of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the interface ring includes a post that engages with an opening of the steering shaft for torque transmission.

4. The interface ring of claim 3, wherein the post is press fit into the opening of the steering shaft.

5. The interface ring of any of the preceding claims, wherein the interface ring includes one or more features for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft.

6. The interface ring of claim 5, wherein the one or more features include one or more ribs adapted to secure the interface ring to a radial groove of the steering shaft.

7. The interface ring of any of the preceding claims, wherein the free ends of the body sections engage with each other via interlocking hooks or barbs.

8. A steering column assembly comprising:

a. a steering shaft adapted to support a steering wheel;

b. a cancel cam; and c. an interface ring secured to the steering shaft and interfacing with the cancel cam,

wherein the interface ring transmits a rotation signal from the steering shaft to the cancel cam, and

wherein the interface ring includes two or more body sections, wherein two of the body sections terminate at a discrete free end, wherein the free ends engage with each other to form a complete ring.

9. The steering column assembly of claim 8, wherein the steering shaft is free of a slot formed or machined in the steering shaft for installing the interface ring on the steering shaft.

10. The steering column assembly of claim 8 or 9, wherein the interface ring includes a notch in one or more of the body sections that contacts a portion of the cancel cam.

1 1. The steering column assembly of any of claims 8 to 10, wherein the interface ring

includes one or more features for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft.

12. The steering column assembly of claim 1 1 , wherein the steering shaft includes one or more radial grooves, and wherein the one or more features include one or more ribs received within the one or more radial grooves of the steering shaft.

13. The steering column assembly of any of claims 8 to 12, wherein the steering shaft

includes an opening therein, and wherein the interface ring includes a post or projection that engages with the opening of the steering shaft for torque transmission.

14. The steering column assembly of claim 13, wherein the post or projection is press fit into the opening of the steering shaft.

15. The steering column assembly of any of claims 8 to 14, wherein the free ends of the body sections engage with each other via interlocking hooks or barbs.

16. The steering column assembly of any of claims 8 to 15, wherein the assembly is free of a separate retaining ring for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft.

Description:
CANCEL CAM INTERFACE RING FOR A STEERING COLUMN ASSEMBLY

FIELD

[0001] In general, the present teachings relate to an improved ring that interfaces with a cancel cam. More particularly, the present teachings pertain to a cancel cam interface ring that transmits the rotation signal from the steering shaft to the turn signal cancel cam .

BACKGROUND

[0002] In an automotive vehicle assembly, when a driver signals that he or she intends to turn, the driver moves a lever on the left side of the steering column to activate a flashing light to indicate to other motorists the direction of the upcoming turn. Upon completion of the turn, when the steering wheel returns to the center position, a cancel cam on the steering column contacts the turn lever inside the column housing. The cancel cam presses on the lever and returns the lever to its original position, thereby also deactivating the flashing light, or turn signal.

[0003] During assembly of a steering column within an automotive vehicle, a ring can be slipped over the steering shaft, which supports the steering column. The ring interfaces with the cancel cam. However, for this ring to be used, modifications must be made to the steering shaft and additional parts may be required to hold the ring in place.

[0004] Notwithstanding efforts to improve steering column assemblies, there remains a need for alternative assemblies and components, particularly those that ease installation of parts, reduce the number of modifications that must be made to other parts of the assembly (e.g., modifications to the steering shaft), and reduce the number of parts needed.

SUMMARY

[0005] The present teachings make use of a simple, yet elegant, construction approach by which relatively few components can be employed for transmitting a rotation signal from a steering shaft of a steering column assembly to a turn signal cancel cam (which may be part of a multi-function switch).

[0006] The teachings generally contemplate an interface ring. The interface ring may include two or more body sections. Two of the body sections may each terminate at a discrete free end. The free ends may engage with each other to form a complete ring. The two or more body portions may be bridged by a hinge portion, which provides flexibility to the interface ring. The interface ring may be adapted to be secured around a steering shaft of a steering column assembly. The interface ring may be adapted to interface with a cancel cam (i.e., by transmitting a rotation signal from the steering shaft to the turn signal cancel cam). The interface ring may include one or more features (e.g., a notch) in one or more of the body sections that are adapted to contact a portion of the cancel cam. The interface ring may include a post or other projection that engages with an opening of the steering shaft for torque transmission (e.g., as the steering shaft, and therefore the interface ring, rotate due to a driver turning the steering wheel). The post or other projection may be press fit within the opening of the steering shaft. The interface ring may include one or more features, which may be instead of or in addition to the post or other projection, for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft. The one or more features may include ribs adapted to secure the interface to a radial groove of the steering shaft. The free ends of the body sections may engage with each other via interlocking hooks or barbs.

[0007] The present teachings also include a steering column assembly. The steering column assembly may include a steering shaft adapted to support a steering wheel, a cancel cam (e.g., for cancelling a turn signal once the steering wheel returns to center position), and an interface ring secured to the steering shaft and interfacing with the cancel cam. The interface ring may transmit a rotation signal from the steering shaft to the cancel cam. The interface ring may include two or more body sections. Two of the body sections may terminate at a discrete free end, and the free ends may engage with each other to form a complete ring. The steering shaft of the steering column assembly may be free of a slot formed or machined therein for installing the interface ring on the steering shaft. The interface ring may include a feature, such as a notch, in one or more of the body sections that is adapted to receive or contact a portion of the cancel cam. The interface ring may include one or more features for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft. The one or more features may include one or more ribs adapted to secure the interface ring to one or more radial grooves of the steering shaft. The steering shaft may include an opening therein, and the interface ring may include a post or a projection that engages with the opening of the steering shaft (e.g. , for torque transmission, for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft, or both). The post or projection may be press fit into the opening of the steering shaft. The free ends of the body sections may engage with each other via interlocking hooks or barbs. The steering column assembly may be free of a separate retaining ring for securing the interface ring to the steering shaft. [0008] As can be seen, it is thus possible to realize a unique assembly (and associated methods) that allows for transmission of a rotation signal from a steering shaft to a turn signal cancel cam via a cancel cam interface ring of the present teachings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is an illustration of an existing ring and steering shaft.

[00010] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an interface ring in accordance with the present teachings.

[00011] FIG. 3 illustrates an interface ring prior to being secured on a steering shaft in accordance with the present teachings.

[00012] FIG. 4 illustrates an interface ring secured on a steering shaft in accordance with the present teachings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[00013] As required, detailed embodiments of the present teachings are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the teachings that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale; some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present teachings.

[00014] In a very general sense, the teachings herein relate to an improved cancel cam interface ring that clips around a steering shaft of a steering column assembly. The teachings herein also relate to an improved steering column assembly including a cancel cam and a cancel cam interface ring secured to the steering shaft within the steering column assembly.

[00015] In an assembled vehicle, a multi-function switch may be employed, which may provide a driver with control over multiple functions of the vehicle. For example, the multifunction switch may provide control over headlights, high beams, emergency flashers, windshield wipers, washer fluid dispensation, the turn signal, the like, or a combination thereof. The multi-function switch may include, or be joined to, a cancel cam that is supported by a steering shaft of the steering column assembly. The cancel cam, therefore, may assist in cancelling the turn signal after a turn.

[00016] The cancel cam must receive a rotation signal from the steering shaft. A cancel cam interface ring may be secured to the steering shaft to transmit this rotation signal. The cancel cam interface ring may rotate as the steering shaft rotates and may include a portion for engaging or interfacing with the cancel cam so the turn signal can be cancelled via the cancel cam.

[00017] The interface ring of the present teachings may be a split ring (e.g., a discontinuous ring). The interface ring may include two or more body portions. For example, the interface ring may include two body portions bridged together by a hinge portion. Two or more body portions may include a free end so the body portions are able to be pulled apart from each other (thereby increasing the size of the gap between the free ends) to accommodate the steering shaft. The flexibility of the interface ring may allow the ring to be snapped onto a steering shaft.

[00018] As mentioned, the interface ring may include two or more free ends. The free ends may be positioned on the ring to be adjacent to each other and may be adapted to engage with each other to form a continuous ring. The free ends may include one or more features for securing the free ends together to secure the interface ring around a steering shaft. For example, the free ends may include interlocking hooks or barbs that engage with each other when the interface ring is installed on the steering shaft. The free ends may include a mating arrangement, such as a male and female mating arrangement, where one free end has a male component and one free end has a female component to be received within the opposing free end. The free ends may be pushed together and secured with a mechanical fastener, such as a screw, clip or rivet. The free ends may be joined together via an adhesive.

[00019] The interface ring may include an area that provides additional flexibility to the interface ring, such as a hinged portion. For example, a thinned portion of the ring bridging the two or more body portions may act as a hinge or a spring, which may allow the free ends to be separated from each other so the interface ring may be snapped onto the steering shaft or so that the post or other projection of the ring can be press fit into the opening in the steering shaft before the free ends are engaged with each other to form a complete ring.

[00020] The interface ring, may include a notch or other feature (e.g., a groove or opening) for receiving a part of, or contacting a portion of the cancel cam. The notch or other feature may be located on one or more of the body portions. The notch or other feature may be formed on the outer portion of the ring (e.g., opposite the portion of the ring that contacts the steering shaft).

[00021] The interface ring may include one or more features for engaging with the steering shaft. These features may function to secure the interface ring in proper position on the steering shaft. The features may ensure that the interface ring rotates with the steering shaft (e.g., when the steering wheel is turned by a driver), thereby transmitting a rotation signal from the steering shaft to the cancel cam. The interface ring may include one or more ribs on the inner portion of the ring (e.g., the portion of the interface ring that contacts the steering shaft). The ribs may be received within or engage with a groove or channel radially formed in the steering shaft. In the alternative, or in addition, the steering shaft may include one or more projections or ribs that are received within one or more channels or grooves formed in the inner portion of the interface ring (e.g., in the one or more body portions). The ribs may retain the interface ring in position and prevent the ring from sliding along the steering shaft. The interface ring may include one or more posts or projections that are adapted to be press fit into an opening in the steering shaft. The post or projection may serve to transmit torque, as it is secured within the steering shaft, which rotates as a result of a driver turning the steering wheel.

[00022] The interface ring may be formed of any material capable of being flexed and withstanding forces applied thereto during use. The interface ring may be formed of a polymeric material, elastomeric material, metallic material, or a combination thereof. The interface ring may be formed by one or more molding operations. The interface ring may be integrally formed. The interface ring may be formed from one or more pieces. The interface ring may be formed of multiple materials. For example, the hinge portion may be formed from a different material from the body portions.

[00023] The present teachings also contemplate a steering column assembly employing the cancel cam interface ring as disclosed herein. The steering column assembly may include a steering shaft. The steering shaft may have a rearward end portion adapted to receive a steering wheel (not shown). The steering shaft may have a forward end portion that penetrates through and may be supported by a bearing, a key lock collar, or both. The steering shaft may be supported for rotation at least in part by a column tube. The steering shaft may also have a longitudinal axis that may be generally coaxially aligned with the longitudinal axis of the column tube.

[00024] The steering shaft may include one or more features for supporting and engaging a cancel cam interface ring. For example, the steering shaft may include one or more radial grooves adapted to receive and engage with one or more ribs of the cancel cam interface ring. Alternatively, or in addition, the steering shaft may have one or more ribs received within one or more grooves of the interface ring. The steering shaft may include an opening for receiving a post or projection of the interface ring (e.g., via press fit). The post located within the opening may provide for torque transmission as the steering shaft is rotated. The steering shaft may include one or more projections or pegs which may engage with an opening in the interface ring. The steering shaft and the interface ring may both have an opening for receiving a fastener, such as a pin, screw, or rivet, to attach the interface ring to the steering shaft.

[00025] The features of the cancel cam interface ring as disclosed herein may eliminate the need for a long slot machined or formed in the steering shaft. The features of the cancel cam interface ring as disclosed herein may eliminate the need for a snap ring to retain the interface ring in place on the steering shaft. Therefore, the steering column assembly may be free of one or more retaining rings. The steering shaft may be free of a slot formed or machined therein.

[00026] Turning now to the figures, Figure 1 illustrates a current assembly, including a steering shaft 10 with a long slot 12 formed or machined therein. The long slot 12 allows a ring 14 to be slipped over the steering shaft 10. The ring 14 includes a notch 16 for interfacing with a cancel cam (not shown). To secure the ring 14, a retaining ring 18 is also installed and supported by the steering shaft 10. This assembly therefore requires machining or forming the slot in the steering shaft and additional parts (i.e., the retaining ring) to retain the ring 14 in position.

[00027] Figure 2 illustrates a cancel cam interface ring 20 in accordance with the present teachings. The interface ring 20 includes two free ends 22 having a locking feature (shown as interlocking barbs). The interface ring 20 is split (i.e., having the two free ends 22), and includes a hinge portion 21 bridging two body portions 23 of the interface ring. The hinge portion 21 allows the interface ring 20 to be flexible and to snap onto a steering shaft 10 (see Figs. 3 and 4) without the need for a slot machined in the steering shaft, as is shown in Fig. 1. The interface ring 20 further includes a notch or opening 24 for interfacing with a cancel cam (not shown). The interface ring 20 includes a post 26 formed and extending from the inner portion of the interface ring, and the post 26 is configured to be received within an opening of the steering shaft (see Fig. 3). The interface ring 20 further includes one or more ribs 28 extending radially around the inner portion of the interface ring, where the ribs 28 are configured to be received within a radial groove 34 formed and extending at least partially around the outer diameter of the steering shaft (see Fig. 3). [00028] Figure 3 illustrates a steering column assembly 30 prior to securing the cancel cam interface ring 20 thereto. The steering column assembly 30 includes a steering shaft 32, which supports a steering wheel (not shown). The steering shaft 32 includes a radial groove 34 adapted for engaging with the one or more ribs 28 of the interface ring 20. The steering shaft further includes an opening 36, which is adapted for receiving the post 26 of the interface ring 20.

[00029] Figure 4 illustrates the cancel cam interface ring 20 installed within the steering column assembly 30. The interface ring 20 is secured to the steering shaft 32, and the free ends 22 of the interface ring 20 are in locking engagement with each other. The interface ring 20 includes the notch 24 for interfacing with the cancel cam (not shown).

[00030] While exemplary embodiments are described above, it is not intended that these embodiments describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, the features of various implementing embodiments may be combined to form further embodiments of the invention.

[00031] Any numerical values recited herein include all values from the lower value to the upper value in increments of one unit provided that there is a separation of at least 2 units between any lower value and any higher value. As an example, if it is stated that the amount of a component or a value of a process variable such as, for example, temperature, pressure, time and the like is, for example, from 1 to 90, preferably from 20 to 80, more preferably from 30 to 70, it is intended that values such as 15 to 85, 22 to 68, 43 to 51 , 30 to 32 etc. are expressly enumerated in this specification. For values which are less than one, one unit is considered to be 0.0001 , 0.001 , 0.01 or 0.1 as appropriate. These are only examples of what is specifically intended and all possible combinations of numerical values between the lowest value and the highest value enumerated are to be considered to be expressly stated in this application in a similar manner.

[00032] Unless otherwise stated, all ranges include both endpoints and all numbers between the endpoints. The use of "about" or "approximately" in connection with a range applies to both ends of the range. Thus, "about 20 to 30" is intended to cover "about 20 to about 30", inclusive of at least the specified endpoints.

[00033] The disclosures of all articles and references, including patent applications and publications, are incorporated by reference for all purposes. The term "consisting essentially of" to describe a combination shall include the elements, ingredients, components or steps identified, and such other elements ingredients, components or steps that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristics of the combination. The use of the terms "comprising" or "including" to describe combinations of elements, ingredients, components or steps herein also contemplates embodiments that consist essentially of, or even consisting of, the elements, ingredients, components or steps.

[00034] Plural elements, ingredients, components or steps can be provided by a single integrated element, ingredient, component or step. Alternatively, a single integrated element, ingredient, component or step might be divided into separate plural elements, ingredients, components or steps. The disclosure of "a" or "one" to describe an element, ingredient, component or step is not intended to foreclose additional elements, ingredients, components or steps.

[00035] Relative positional relationships of elements depicted in the drawings are part of the teachings herein, even if not verbally described. Further, geometries shown in the drawings (though not intended to be limiting) are also within the scope of the teachings, even if not verbally described.