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Title:
CONNECTOR FOR CONNECTING SHAFTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/175123
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A connector for connecting a drive shaft of an actuator to an actuation shaft of an actuation apparatus for actuating a component of a switchable valve train device of an internal combustion engine is disclosed. The connector comprises a first part comprising a first protrusion protruding along a first axis; and a second part defining a recess for receiving therein the first protrusion. In use when the first part and the second part are connected together the drive shaft and the actuation shaft are operatively connected together. The connector is arranged such that the first part and the second part are connectable together by inserting the first protrusion into the recess along the first axis and connectable together by inserting the first protrusion into the recess along a second axis different to the first axis. An actuation apparatus and a valve train assembly are also disclosed.

Inventors:
MYSAK, Yuriy (Via Monginevro 84, Italy Torino, Italy, IT)
ANDRISANI, Nicola (Strada Decima 66, Cumiana, 10040, IT)
KINDERMANN, Jan (Na Pisku 131, Prague 5, Prague, 15400, CZ)
GAUSCHINO, Mirko (Via F. Callori 6, Casale Monferrato, Italy, 15033, CZ)
Application Number:
EP2019/056060
Publication Date:
September 19, 2019
Filing Date:
March 11, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EATON INTELLIGENT POWER LIMITED (30 Pembroke Road, Dublin, 4, 4, IE)
International Classes:
F01L13/00; F01L1/18; F16D1/108
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017060496A12017-04-13
Foreign References:
DE202008017444U12009-08-27
JP2000346086A2000-12-12
US6416415B12002-07-09
EP3032224A22016-06-15
GB2526554A2015-12-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EATON IP GROUP EMEA (Route de la Longeraie 7, 1110 Morges, 1110, CH)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A connector (4) for connecting a drive shaft (10) of an actuator (6) to an actuation shaft (8) of an actuation apparatus (2), the actuation apparatus (2) being for actuating a component of a switchable valve train device of an internal combustion engine, the connector (4) comprising:

a first part (12) comprising a first protrusion (16) protruding along a first axis (A); and a second part (14) defining a recess (18) for receiving therein the first protrusion (16); wherein the first part (14) is for connection to one of the actuation shaft (8) and the drive shaft (10) and the second part (16) is for connection to the other one of the actuation shaft (8) and the drive shaft (10), such that in use when the first part (12) and the second part (14) are connected together the drive shaft (10) and the actuation shaft (8) are operatively connected together; and

wherein the connector (4) is arranged such that the first part (12) and the second part (14) are connectable together by inserting the first protrusion (16) into the recess (18) along the first axis (A) and connectable together by inserting the first protrusion (16) into the recess (18) along a second axis (B) different to the first axis (A).

2. The connector (4) according to claim 1, wherein the second axis (B) is substantially perpendicular to the first axis (A).

3. The connector according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the recess (18) has an opening comprising a first opening part (32) and a second opening part (34) substantially perpendicular to the first opening part (34), wherein the first part (12) and the second part the recess (18) through the first opening part (32) along the first axis (A), and connectable together by inserting the first protrusion (16) into the recess (18) through the second opening part (34) along the second axis (B).

4. The connector according to claim 3, wherein the recess comprises two said second opening parts (34) on opposite sides of the recess to one another, and wherein the first part (12) and the second part (14) of the connector (4) are connectable together by inserting the first protrusion (16) into the recess (18) through either one of the second opening parts (34) along the second axis (B)

5. The connector (4) according any one of claim 1 to claim 4, wherein the first protrusion (16) and the recess (18) define together a snap-fit connection along the first axis

(A).

6. The connector (4) according to any one of claim 1 to claim 5, wherein the first protrusion (16) comprises one or more second protrusions (20) protruding from the first protrusion (16) in a direction substantially perpendicular to the first axis (A), and wherein the second part (14) comprises a corresponding one or more lip portions (22) extending part way into the recess (18), wherein the connector (4) is arranged such that when the first part (12) and the second part (14) are connected together, the one or more second protrusions (20) abut the corresponding one or more lip portions (22) so as to prevent the first part (12) moving away from the second part (16) along the first axis (A).

7. The connector (4) according to any one of claim 1 to claim 6, wherein the first protrusion (16) defines a first surface (28), and the second part (14) defines a second surface (30) within the recess (18), wherein the connector (4) is arranged such that when the first part (12) and the second part (16) are connected together, the first surface (28) and the second surface (30) abut one another to prevent the first part (12) rotating about the first axis (A) relative to the second part (16).

8. The connector (4) according to any one of claim 1 to claim 7, wherein the recess (18) has a cross section that is substantially constant along the second axis (B) and the protrusion (16) is slidably receivable into the recess (18) along the second axis (B).

9. The connector (4) according to any one of claim 1 to claim 8, wherein the first protrusion (16) has a cross section that is substantially constant along the second axis (B).

10. The connector (4) according to claim 7 when dependant on claim 6 and claim 3, wherein the second surface (30) is further from the first opening (32) than are the one or more lip portions (22).

11. An actuation apparatus (2) for actuating a component of a switchable valve train device of an internal combustion engine, the actuation apparatus (2) comprising:

a drive shaft (10) of an actuator (2);

an actuation shaft (8); and

the connector (4) according to any one of claim 1 to claim 10,

wherein the first part (12) of the connector (4) is fixedly connected to one of the actuation shaft (8) and the drive shaft (10) and the second part (14) of the connector (4) is fixedly connected to the other of the drive shaft (10) and the actuation shaft (8) such that when the first part (12) and the second part (14) are connected together the drive shaft (10) and the actuation shaft (8) are operatively connected together.

12. The actuation apparatus (2) according to claim 11, wherein the apparatus (2) is arranged such that when the first part (12) and the second part (16) are connected together, the drive shaft (10) extends along the same axis as the actuation shaft (8).

13. The actuation apparatus (2) according to claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the apparatus (2) comprises the actuator (6) and wherein the actuator (6) comprises an electric motor arranged to rotate the drive shaft (10).

14. The actuation apparatus (2) according to any one of claim 1 to claim 13, wherein the actuation shaft (8) comprises a cam (40) for controlling the component of the said switchable valve train device, wherein the actuation apparatus (2) is arranged such that, in use, the connector (4) operatively connects the drive shaft (10 and the actuation shaft (8) together such that rotation of the drive shaft (10) by the actuator (6) causes rotation of the actuation shaft (8), thereby causing a change in the rotational orientation of the cam (40) with respect to the component so as to provide for control of the actuation of the component.

15. A valve train assembly (1) of an internal combustion engine, the valve train assembly comprising the actuation apparatus (2) according to any one of claim 11 to claim 14, and the switchable valve train device comprising the component.

Description:
CONNECTOR FOR CONNECTING SHAFTS

Technical Field

The present invention relates a connector for connecting a drive shaft of an actuator to an actuation shaft of an actuation apparatus for actuating a component of a switchable valve train device of an internal combustion engine.

Background

Internal combustion engines may comprise switchable engine or valve train devices. For example, valve train assemblies may comprise a switchable rocker arm to provide for control of valve openings by alternating between at least two or more modes of operation (e.g. valve-lift modes). Such rocker arms typically involve multiple bodies, such as an inner arm and an outer arm. These bodies are latched together to provide one mode of operation (e.g. a first valve-lift mode) and are unlatched, and hence can pivot with respect to each other, to provide a second mode of operation (e.g. a second valve-lift mode). Typically, a moveable latch pin is used and actuated and de-actuated to switch between the two modes of operation.

Actuation apparatus are known for causing actuation of the moveable latch pins. WO 2013/156610 Al [EATON] discloses a switchable rocker arm with a moveable latch pin. The default position of the latch pin is unlatched, and it is retained in this position using biasing means. When required, the latch pin is actuated to the latched position using an external actuation apparatus based on a leaf spring mounted on a rotatable shaft. When actuation is required, an actuator controls the shaft to rotate a certain amount so that the leaf spring engages with a roller of the latch pin, and hence pushes the latch pin into the latched position. In this way, the mode of operation that the switchable rocker arm provided for is controlled, for example, to provide for internal Exhaust Gas Recirculation. Assembly and/or installation of an actuation apparatus into an internal combustion engine can be difficult due to the light packaging constraints associated with internal combustion engines.

Summary

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided the connector according to claim 1.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided the actuation apparatus according to claim 11.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided the valve train assembly according to claim 15.

Further features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of examples of the invention which is made with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 illustrates schematically a perspective view of an actuation apparatus comprising a connector according to an example;

Figure 2 illustrates schematically a perspective view of the connector of Figure 1 in a different configuration;

Figure 3 illustrates schematically a side view of the connector of Figure 1 in a different configuration; and

Figure 4 illustrates schematically a side view of the connector of Figure 1. Detailed Description

Referring to Figure 1, a valve train assembly 1 of an internal combustion engine (not shown) comprises an actuation apparatus 2. The actuation apparatus 2 is arranged to actuate a component (not shown) of a switchable valve train device (not shown) of the valve train assembly 1. The switchable valve train device (not shown) may be a switchable rocker arm (not shown), and the component (not shown) of the switchable rocker arm (not shown) may be a moveable latching arrangement (not shown) of the rocker arm (not shown).

The switchable rocker arm (not shown) may be arranged to control opening and closing of a valve (not shown), for example an exhaust valve (not shown) or an intake valve (not shown), of a cylinder (not shown) of an overall internal combustion engine (not shown). The latching arrangement (not shown) may comprises a moveable latch pin (not shown) for latching an inner body (not shown) and an outer body (not shown) of the rocker arm (not shown) together.

Switchable rocker arms having moveable latch pins are known per se, see e.g. WO 2013/156610 Al [EATON SRL] The inner body (not shown) and the outer body (not shown) may be latched together by the moveable latch pin (not shown) to provide a first mode of operation (e.g. a first valve-lift mode) and unlatched, and hence can pivot with respect to each other, to provide a second mode of operation (e.g. a second valve-lift mode).

The rocker arm (not shown) may be any rocker arm comprising a plurality of bodies that move relative to one another, and which are latched together to provide one mode of operation (valve-lift mode) and are unlatched, and hence can move with respect to each other, to provide a second mode of operation (valve-lift mode). For example, rocker arm (not shown) may configurable to provide for internal Exhaust Gas Recirculation (iEGR), Cylinder Deactivation (CD A), Early Exhaust Valve Opening (EEVO), or the like operation modes.

The actuation apparatus 2 may be for actuating the latching arrangement (not shown) of the switchable rocker arm (not shown). For example, actuation of the latching arrangement (not shown) may be controlled when it is desired to change the mode of operation of the rocker arm, for example as described above.

The actuation apparatus 2 comprises an actuator 6. The actuator 6 is a rotary actuator 6. The actuator 6 may comprise an electric motor. The actuator 6 comprises a drive shaft 10 (also referred to in the Figures as an actuator rotor). The actuator 6 is controllable, for example by a control unit (not shown), to rotate the drive shaft 10.

The actuation apparatus comprises an actuation shaft 8 (also referred to in the Figures as an auxiliary shaft). The actuation shaft 8 is generally elongate and circular in cross section. The actuation shaft 8 comprises one or more cams 40 (two are shown in Figure 1). Each cam 40 is a cam for controlling a latching arrangement (not shown) of a respective switchable rocker arm (not shown). Each cam 40 has a lobed profile 44 and a base circle portion 42. When the actuation shaft 8 is rotated so that the lobed profile 44 is orientated towards the latching arrangement (not shown), the cam 40 may cause the latching arrangement (not shown) to actuate (e.g. from an unlatched position to a latched position), and when the actuation shaft 8 is orientated such that the base circle portion 42 is directed towards the latching arrangement (not shown), the cam 40 may allow for de-actuation of the latching arrangement (not shown) (e.g. from a latched position to an unlatched position), for example.

The actuation apparatus 2 comprises a connector 4. The connector 4 is illustrated in detail in the detail box of Figure 1, as well as in Figures 2 to 4.

Referring to Figures 1 to 4, the connector 4 comprises a first part 12 and a second part 14. The first part 12 is for connection to one of the actuation shaft 8 and the drive shaft 10 and the second part 14 is for connection to the other of the actuation shaft 8 and the drive shaft 10. In the illustrated example, the first part 12 is fixedly connected to the actuation shaft 8 and the second part 14 is fixedly connected to the drive shaft 10. The first part 12 comprises a first connection portion 24 for fixedly connecting the actuation shaft 8 to the first part 12, and the second part 14 comprises a second connection portion 26 for fixedly connecting the second part 16 to the drive shaft 10 of the actuator 6. More specifically, the first connection portion 24 and the second connection portion 26 each comprise bores into which the actuation shaft 8 and the drive shaft 10 are fixedly received, respectively. Any suitable fixing means may be used, for example one or more of friction fit, compression fit, adhesive, threads, or the like.

When the first part 12 and the second part 14 are connected together (as illustrated in Figures 1 and 4) the drive shaft 10 and the actuation shaft 8 are operatively connected together. More specifically, the first part 12 and the second part 14 operatively connect the drive shaft 10 to the actuation shaft 6, such that rotation of the drive shaft 10 by the actuator 6 causes rotation of the actuation shaft 8, thereby causing a change in the rotational orientation of each cam 40 with respect to the respective latching arrangement (not shown) so as to provide for control of the actuation of the latching arrangement (not shown), for example as described above.

The first part 12 comprises a first protrusion 16 protruding along a first axis A. The second part 14 defines a recess 18 for receiving therein the first protrusion 16. As perhaps best seen in Figures 2 and 3, the connector 4 is arranged such that the first part 12 and the second part 14 are connectable together by inserting (see e.g. arrows C and D in Figure 2) the first protrusion 16 into the recess 18 along the first axis A and connectable together by inserting (see e.g. arrows E and F in Figure 3) the first protrusion 16 into the recess 18 along a second axis B different to the first axis A. This may allow for more degrees of freedom for the actuation shaft 8 to be connected to the drive shaft 10 during assembly of the actuation apparatus 2 and/or installation of the actuation apparatus 2 onto or into the internal combustion engine. As perhaps best seen in Figure 3, in this example, the second axis B is substantially perpendicular to the first axis A. The first part 12 and the second part 14 are connectable together by bringing the parts 12, 14 together in a head-on configuration (see Figure 2) and are connectable together by bringing the parts 12, 14 together in a side-on configuration (see Figure 3). More specifically, an opening of the recess 18 comprises a first opening part 32 and a second opening part 34 substantially perpendicular to the first opening part 32. The first part 12 of the connector 4 and the second part 14 of the connector 4 are connectable together by inserting the first protrusion 16 into the recess 18 through the first opening part 32 along the first axis A (i.e. head-on, see e.g. Figure 2), and connectable together by inserting the first protrusion 16 into the recess 18 through the second opening part 34 along the second axis B (see e.g. Figure 3, i.e. side-by-side).

In the illustrated example, the recess 18 comprises two second opening parts 34, each perpendicular to the first opening part 34, and on opposite sides of the recess 18 to one another. The first part 12 and the second part 14 may be connectable together by inserting the first protrusion 16 into the recess 18 through the either one of the second opening parts 34 along the second axis B. This may allow for yet more degrees of freedom when connecting the first part 14 to the second part 16.

As perhaps best seen in Figure 4, when the first part 12 and the second part 14 are connected together, the first protrusion 16 and the recess 18 define together a snap-fit connection along the first axis A. The first part 12 is therefore snap-fit to the second part 14 along the first axis A when the first protrusion 16 is inserted into the recess 18 along the first axis A.

More specifically, the first protrusion 16 comprises one or more second protrusions 20 (two are shown in the Figures, one on an opposite side of the first protrusion 16 to the other) protruding from the first protrusion 16 in a direction substantially perpendicular to the first axis A. In this example, the second protrusions 20 each protrude from the first protrusion 16 in a direction perpendicular to both the first axis A and the second axis B. The second part 14 comprises a corresponding one or more lip portions 22 (two are shown in the Figures, one on an opposite side of the first opening part 32 to the other) extending part way into the recess 18. Again, the lip portions 22 each extend into the recess 18 in a direction perpendicular to both the first axis A and the second axis B. When the first part 12 and the second part 14 are connected together, the one or more second protrusions 20 abut the corresponding one or more lip portions 22 so as to prevent the first part 12 moving away from the second part 14 along the first axis A.

Each second protrusion 20 has a wedge shape. That is, the thickness of each second protrusion 20 increases with increasing distance from the end of the first protrusion 16 that is inserted into the recess 18. The lip portions 32 may be resilient. When the first protrusion 16 is inserted into the recess 18 through the first opening part 32, the wedge-shaped second protrusions 20 may bend the respective lip portions 22 away from the first protrusion 16 so as to allow the first protrusion 16 to be substantially fully inserted into the recess 18, but due to their resilience, when the first protrusion 16 is substantially fully inserted into the recess 18, the lip portions 22 may snap back into their original positions, now behind the respective second protrusions 20, so as to prevent the first part 12 moving away from the second part 14 along the first axis A.

The first protrusion 16 defines a first surface 28, and the second part 14 defines a second surface 30 within the recess 18. The first surface 28 and the second surface 30 are substantially flat. The second surface 30 is further from the first opening 32 than are the lip portions 22. The first surface 28 and the second surface 30 each lie in a plane parallel to the plane defined by the first axis A and the second axis B. When the first part 12 and the second part 16 are connected together, the first surface 28 and the second surface 30 abut one another to prevent the first part 12 from rotating about the first axis A relative to the second part 16.

As illustrated, the first protrusion 16 defines two first surfaces 28 on opposite sides of the first protrusion 16 to one another, and the second part 14 defines two second surfaces 30 on opposite sides of the recess 18 to one another. When the first part 12 and the second part 14 are connected together, each first surface 28 may abut a corresponding second surface 30 to prevent the first part 12 from rotating about the first axis A relative to the second part 16. This may increase the surface area over which the first and second surfaces abut each other, and may reduce a strain experienced by any one portion of the connector 4 when the actuator rotates the drive shaft 10.

As perhaps best seen in Figures 3 and 4, the first protrusion 14 is slidably receivable into the recess 18 along the second axis B (see arrows E and F of Figure 3). More specifically, the recess 18 has a cross section that is substantially constant along the second axis B. A cross section of the first protrusion 16 is substantially constant along the second axis B. These cross sections or at least a portion of these cross sections are similarly shaped so as to allow the first protrusion 16 to slide with a close fit into the recess 18 along the second axis B (i.e. through either one of the second opening parts 34).

It should be noted that, when the first protrusion 16 is inserted into the recess 18 along the second axis B, the snap-fit type connection along the first axis A described above is nonetheless provided for, as the second protrusions 20 nevertheless abut against the lip portions 22 to prevent the first part 12 moving away from the second part 16 along the first axis A. The actuation shaft 8 may be held in a support (not shown) that allows rotation but not radial translation of the actuation shaft 8, which may in turn prevent the first part 12 of the connector 4 from moving away from the second part 14 along the second axis B. When the first part 14 and the second part 16 are connected together, the drive shaft 10 extends along the same axis (in this example the first axis A) as the actuation shaft 8. The connector 4 therefore operatively connects the drive shaft 10 and the actuation shaft 8 so that rotation of the drive shaft 10 about an axis causes rotation (i.e. the same rotation) of the actuation shaft 8 about that same axis (in this example the first axis A). The connector therefore allows suitable operative connection of the drive shaft 10 the actuation shaft 8, and therefore for suitable control of the latching arrangements (not shown) by the actuator 6.

The connector 4 provides a locking connector 4, i.e. a connector that locks the drive shaft 10 to the actuation shaft 8. As described above, the connector 4 may be for an electro- mechanical valve train actuation system/apparatus 2. The connector 4 locks the drive shaft 10 of an electric motor 6 to the actuation shaft 8 of the actuation system/apparatus 2 both axially and rotationally. That is, when the first part 12 and the second part 14 are connected/locked together, the actuation shaft 8 is prevented from moving either axially or rotationally relative to the drive shaft 10. The connector 4 may therefore provide reliable constraint for both axial and rotational movement of the actuation shaft 8 relative to the drive shaft 10, and therefore allow for the actuation functionality as described above to be reliably provided.

The connector 4 may allow for connection of the actuation shaft 8 to the drive shaft 10 with a reduced or no need for other mechanical means to join the shafts 8,10 together, for example elastic pins, screws, or the like. This may reduce the number of parts, the part count, and/or the cost of the actuation apparatus 2, and/or may allow for more efficient and hence cheaper assembly of the actuation apparatus and/or installation of the actuation apparatus 2 onto or into an internal combustion engine.

As described above, the engagement/connection of the first part 12 with the second part 14 of the connector 4 may be done either axially (i.e. along the axis A), or sideways (i.e. along an axis different to, e.g. perpendicular to, the first axis A). This may allow for more degrees of freedom for the actuation shaft 8 to be connected to the drive shaft 10, for example as compared to an actuation apparatus where the drive shaft 10 and the actuation shaft 8 can only be connected together along one axis. The increase of degrees of installation and/or assembly freedom provided by the connector 4 may be useful given the tight packaging constraints associated with internal combustion engines. For example, this may allow for the actuation apparatus 2 to be more easily and efficiently assembled (either inside or outside an internal combustion engine), and/or allow for the actuation apparatus 2 to be more easily and efficiently installed onto or into an internal combustion engine.

All of the above examples are to be understood as illustrative examples only. It is to be understood that any feature described in relation to any one example may be used alone, or in combination with other features described, and may also be used in combination with one or more features of any other of the examples, or any combination of any other of the examples. Furthermore, equivalents and modifications not described above may also be employed without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined in the accompanying claims.

Reference Signs List

A first axis

B second axis

C, D, E, F arrows

1 valve train assembly

2 actuation apparatus

4 connector

6 actuator

8 actuation shaft

10 drive shaft

12 first part

14 second part first protrusion recess

second protrusion lip portion

first connection portion second connection portion first surface

second surface first opening part second opening part lobed cam

base circle portion lobed profile