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Title:
ELECTRONIC LOCK, PREFERABLY OF THE REPROGRAMMABLE TYPE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/004734
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A reprogrammable electronic lock comprises a holding body associable with a wing or a door, a block that can be configured in a clamping condition and a disengagement condition, and reversible locking/unlocking means acting in the block for implementing the clamping or disengagement conditions; the reversible locking/unlocking means comprises a plurality of modular locking/unlocking elements of identical shape with each other and susceptible of translation along a movement axis, said modular elements being able to be configured in a reversible manner between a free position and an engaging position; the reversible locking/unlocking means further comprises a slider axially movable within the block along an intervention axis and adapted to move the modular locking/unlocking elements through a portion thereof of varying section.

Inventors:
PAGNONCELLI, Marco (Via Lavoratori Autobianchi 1, Desio, I-20832, IT)
Application Number:
IB2011/052959
Publication Date:
January 12, 2012
Filing Date:
July 05, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GIUSSANI TECHNIQUES S.P.A. (Via Lavoratori Autobianchi 1, Desio, I-20832, IT)
PAGNONCELLI, Marco (Via Lavoratori Autobianchi 1, Desio, I-20832, IT)
International Classes:
E05B47/06; G07C9/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRASCA, Marco (C/O BUGNION S.p.A, Viale Lancetti 17, Milan, I-20158, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. An electronic lock, preferably of the reprogrammable type, comprising:

- a holding body (2) associable with a wing or a door, or a similar object;

- a block (3) that can be reversibly configured in a clamping condition in which it prevents opening of a door or wing associable with the lock (1), and a disengagement condition at which on the contrary said opening of a door or wing associable with the lock is allowed; and

reversible locking/unlocking means (4) operatively active in said block (3) for implementing said clamping condition or said disengagement condition,

characterised in that said reversible locking/unlocking means comprises:

- a plurality of modular locking/unlocking elements (5) of substantially identical shape and susceptible of translation along a movement axis (5a), said modular locking/unlocking elements (5) being able to be configured in a reversible manner between a free position at which said means does not generate a mechanical interference between the holding body (2) and the block (3) and an engaging position at which, on the contrary, said means generates a mechanical interference between the holding body (2) and the block ( 3 ) ; and

- a slider (6) axially movable within the block (3) along an intervention axis (6a) and adapted to move said plurality of modular locking/unlocking elements (5) through a portion thereof of varying section.

2. A lock as claimed in claim 1, wherein said intervention axis (6a) is parallel and preferably coincident with a longitudinal extension axis of the block (3), the movement axis (5a) being transverse and preferably perpendicular to the intervention axis (6a). 3. A lock as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the block (3) further comprises reading and decoding means (7) adapted to receive a safety code from a key (10) to be engaged in the lock (1) and being also adapted to generate an enable signal to locking and/or unlocking, as a function of the verification of an identity between a safety code previously stored and said safety code of the key (10) .

4. A lock as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the block (3) further comprises insertion means

(8) adapted to receive a key (10) in engagement, said insertion means (8) preferably comprising hollows and/or seats conforming in shape to the shape of an engagement head (10c) of said key (10) .

5. A lock as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the modular locking/unlocking elements (5) comprise a predetermined number of balls slidably in engagement in raceways internal to the block (3), said inner raceways being substantially coaxial with the movement axis (5a) .

6. A lock as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the slider (6) comprises a first portion of constant section and a second portion of constant section having an medium transverse size lower than an medium transverse size of said first portion of constant section, the portion of varying section (6b) being a prismatic body substantially shaped as a truncated cone axially included between said first and second portions of constant section, an angle of climb (6c) being substantially equal to an average inclination angle of a side surface of the portion of varying section (6b) relative to the intervention axis (6a), said angle of climb (6c) being inclined to the movement axis (5a) and to the intervention axis (6a) .

7. A lock as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the portion of varying section (6b) is a body having a cam-shaped transverse profile in rotational engagement around the intervention axis (6a) and interfacing with at least one ball, and preferably two balls ( 5 ) . 8. A lock as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims, wherein also present is servo-control means (9) adapted to move at least the portion of varying section (6b) of the slider (6), being preferably electrically powered by a source of electric energy (10a), said source of electric energy (10a) being more preferably housed in the key (10) .

9. A lock as claimed in claim 8, wherein said servo- control means (9) comprises an electric actuator adapted to rotate a body having a cam-shaped transverse profile in rotational engagement around the intervention axis (6a) and/or to cause translation of the slider (6) along the intervention axis (6a), said electric actuator preferably comprising an elastic shape-memory element and/or an electric motor and/or an inductive electromagnetic winding.

10. A key adapted to interface with at least one lock as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims, comprising: - a storage medium containing a safety code;

- a source of electric energy (10a);

- contact and transfer connections (lOd) connected to said storage medium and the electric energy source (10a) and able to be connected to the reading and decoding means (7) of the lock (1);

- an engagement head (10c) able to be connected to the insertion means (8) of the lock (1); and

- a holding shell (10b) adapted to contain the source of electric energy (10a), the engagement head (10c) and/or the contact and transfer connections (lOd) protruding from said holding shell (10b) .

Description:
ELECTRONIC LOCK, PREFERABLY OF THE REPROGRAMMABLE TYPE

Description The present invention relates to a so-called "electronic lock" i.e. in which opening and closure are controlled through encoded pulses of electronic nature; in accordance with the scope of the invention, a possible embodiment of this lock can be of the "reprogrammable" type, that is to say in which the lock is operable by a primary key having a predetermined unlocking code that in turn can be modified using a "supervision key". It is known that in electronic locks it is provided the functional coupling of a so-called "electronic key" carrying a predetermined safety code and being interfaced (both from the point of view of data exchange and from the tightly mechanical point of view) with a block coded in accordance with the key itself.

Rotation of the block of such a lock for carrying out opening and closure can only take place if the safety code transmitted by the key is "recognised" (through suitable electronic circuits) by the block itself.

Generally, driving in rotation of the block relies on the manual (usually torsional) effort of the user, as it happens for engagement and/or disengagement of the internal mechanisms of the block as well; however suitable servomechanisms can be used (electric micromotors or the like, for example) for actuating the internal members of the block. However, the known art briefly described above has some limits, with reference to the locking/unlocking mechanisms operating in the lock block for example.

In fact, it should be recognised that generally these mechanisms are based on a slider body moving forward and/or backward in the block that by so doing causes the displacement of locking teeth or bodies; such a slider generally has a cylindrical shape of constant section provided with end faces terminating with a 90° angle relative to the side surface of the cylinder itself and at the same time the locking bodies or teeth are interfaced by mechanical interference with this cylindrical body. For movement of the sliders of known type (as well as for mechanical interfacing of same with the locking bodies or teeth) important spaces inside the block are often required and, depending on the different sizes/construction versions of the block itself, sliders and/or locking bodies are needed that are very different from each other at least as regards their lengths; this fact results in a disadvantage in terms of operating flexibility which adversely affects the production costs and makes it necessary to have a very articulated range of products at one's disposal.

In addition, the conformation of the cylindrical slider and the locking bodies of known type can cause jamming in the opening or closing action, which in turn can lead to breaking of the key or the possible servo- control mechanism.

Accordingly, the main aim of the present invention is to devise an electronic lock of the reprogrammable type for example, capable of solving the above mentioned drawbacks .

In particular, the present invention aims at devising a lock in which the slider and locking bodies are structurally and operatively interfaced in such a manner as to minimise jamming and/or the actuating efforts, therefore making the locking/unlocking operations quick and light in terms of intensity of the applied forces.

In addition, the present invention aims at providing a lock having internal features that are as much as possible "modular", so that blocks of different shape and/or sizes can be equipped with the same type of mechanical pieces, without therefore being obliged to produce different components for as many differentiated locks .

Further features and advantages will become more apparent from the description of an embodiment given by way of non-limiting example of an electronic lock preferably of the reprogrammable type illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

- Fig. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the lock in accordance with the present invention;

- Figs. 2a and 2b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line II-II in Fig. 2a) respectively, of a first variant of the lock according to the invention in a first operating condition;

- Figs. 3a and 3b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line III-III of Fig. 3a) respectively, of the first variant of the lock of the invention in a second operating condition;

- Figs. 4a and 4b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line IV-IV of Fig. 4a) respectively, of a second variant of the lock of the invention in a first operating condition;

- Figs. 5a and 5b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line V-V of Fig. 5a) respectively, of the second variant of the lock of the invention in a second operating condition;

- Figs. 6a and 6b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line VI-VI of Fig. 6a) respectively, of a third variant of the lock of the invention in a first operating condition;

- Figs. 7a and 7b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line VII-VII of Fig. 7a) respectively, of the third variant of the lock of the invention in a second operating condition;

- Figs. 8a and 8b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line VIII-VIII of Fig. 8a) respectively, of a fourth variant of the lock of the invention in a first operating condition; and

- Figs. 9a and 9b show an axial-section view and a cross-section view (taken along line IX-IX of Fig. 9a) respectively, of the fourth variant of the lock of the invention in a second operating condition.

The protection device or lock according to the present invention is generally denoted by reference numeral 1 in the accompanying drawings and it mainly comprises a holding body 2 associated with a wing or a door or similar object, and a block 3 that can be configured, in a reversible manner, in a clamping condition in which it prevents opening of a door or wing associable with lock 1, and a disengagement condition in which, on the contrary, opening of a door or wing associable with lock 1 is allowed; also present is reversible locking/unlocking means 4 which operatively acts in the block 3 for implementing the aforesaid clamping and/or disengagement conditions.

Depending on current requirements, lock 1 according to the invention can be of the so-called "reprogrammable" type, which means that it can be used with at least two different keys (one of which is the key that is normally used for opening/closing a door and is linked to a predetermined locking/unlocking code, while the other is the management/programming key and is used if the locking/unlocking code is wished to be changed, therefore disabling the key normally used up to that moment ) .

Advantageously, the above mentioned reversible locking/unlocking means comprises a plurality of modular locking/unlocking elements 5 of substantially identical shape and susceptible of translation along a movement axis 5a; said modular locking/unlocking elements 5 can be configured in a reversible manner between a free position at which said means does not generate a mechanical interference between the holding body 2 and the block 3 and an engaging position at which, on the contrary, said means generates a mechanical interference between the holding body 2 and block 3.

At the same time, a slider 6 is present which is axially movable within the block 3 along an intervention axis 6a and is adapted to move said plurality of modular locking/unlocking elements 5 through a portion of varying section.

With reference to the accompanying drawings, it is possible to see that the intervention axis 6a is parallel to (and for instance can be coincident with) an axis of longitudinal extension of block 3, while the movement axis 5a is transverse (for instance, perpendicular) to the intervention axis 6a. In order to ensure operation of block 3 with use of the electronic keys, said block 3 further comprises reading and decoding means 7 adapted to receive a safety code from a key 10 to be engaged in lock 1; this reading and decoding means 7 is also adapted to generate an enable signal to locking and/or unlocking, as a function of the verification of an identity between a safety code previously stored and the safety code of key 10.

The structural and functional connection between block 3 and key 10 is also carried out by suitable insertion means 8 adapted to receive a key 10 in engagement (and more specifically an engagement head 10c thereof, as shown in Fig. 1); the shape of this insertion means 8 usually matches the shape of the engagement head 10a and, depending on requirements, can comprise hollows and/or seats or any other type of mechanical connection .

In greater detail, it should be noticed that the modular locking/unlocking elements 5 comprise a predetermined number of balls, which in turn are slidably in engagement in raceways internal to block 3, said inner raceways being substantially coaxial with the movement axis 5a.

As to slider 6, it can be made in a plurality of shapes, provided it is adapted to cause a "section variation" leading to a movement of balls 5; note in this regard that within the scope of the present invention the expression "of varying section" means both a body having a variation in its "static" transverse sizes along an extension axis (such as the slider represented in Figs. 1, 2a, 3a, 8a and 9a) and a body that, by effect of a variation in its partial configuration, "dynamically" varies the space it takes inside block 3 (such as the cam-shaped slider represented in Figs. 4a, 5a, 6a and 7a, for example) .

In a possible embodiment, slider 6 comprises a first portion of constant section and a second portion of constant section, each of which has a "transverse medium size" of its own (and wherein the second portion has a transverse medium size smaller than a transverse medium size of the first portion) ; in the middle of these constant-section portions there is the above mentioned portion of varying section 6b.

In other words, the portion of varying section 6b of slider 6 can be a prismatic body substantially shaped as a truncated cone (possibly with suitable angles at the lower and upper bases thereof) axially included between the first and second portions of constant section; in this case an angle of climb 6c can be conveniently defined as the angle of average inclination of a side surface of the varying-section portion 6b relative to the intervention axis 6a.

As shown in Fig. 3a, the angle of climb 6c is inclined to the movement axis 5a and to the intervention axis 6a; balls 5 are pushed away along the two ways of axis 5a by sliding/rolling on slider 6 at the side surface of the varying-section portion 6b, and the amount of movement of balls 5 is directly proportional to the value of the angle of climb 6c. Alternatively, the portion of varying section 6b can be a body having a cam-shaped transverse profile which is in rotational engagement around the intervention axis 6a and is interfaced with at least one ball 5 (and preferably two balls belonging to assemblies opposite to each other along axis 5a) .

In order to facilitate operation of the present invention, servo-control means 9 can be conveniently present, being adapted to move at least the portion of varying section 6b of slider 6.

The servo-control means 9 can be advantageously electrically powered by a source of electric energy 10a, which can be housed in key 10.

In the same manner as already seen for slider 6, the servo-control means 9 too can be made according to different variants: for instance, in Figs. 4b, 5b, 6b and 7b said means comprises an electric actuator adapted to rotate a body (having a cam-shaped transverse profile or, in other words, the section of which "dynamically" varies in terms of radius of curvature in the contact region between the slider body and balls 5, at least in the previously given interpretation) in rotational engagement around the intervention axis 6a and/or to cause translation of slider 6 (when it is shaped like an elongated cylindrical body along axis 6a) along the intervention axis 6a.

The aforesaid electric actuator can be of any type, for instance depending on the type of movement to be imparted to slider 6; for example, a linear electromagnetic actuator can be provided where a solenoid (or in other words, an inductive electromagnetic winding) is suitably electrically powered for inducing a magnetic field capable of causing translation of the slider along axis 6a, or provision can be made for an electric motor adapted to rotate an element having a cam-shaped profile.

Conveniently, if sizes and intervention times make it feasible, the servo-control means 9 in accordance with the present invention may comprise at least one shape- memory element, which is passed through by an electric current causing heating of same and therefore the relative change of configuration; in turn, this change of configuration imposes a translational and/or rotating movement to slider 6 (depending on the choice of the shape-memory element and its structural constraints with slider 6) .

Suitable return means can be also present and said means for instance comprises return springs or the like, that can counteract the servo-control means to cause reverse movements of slider 6 relative to those imposed thereto by said servo-control means 9. It is a further object of the present invention also a key adapted to be interfaced with at least one lock according to the above description and as hereinafter claimed. This key substantially comprises a storage medium containing a safety code; a source of electric energy 10a, suitable contact and transfer connections lOd connected to said storage medium and the electric energy source 10a and able to be connected to the reading and decoding means 7 of lock 1, an engagement head 10c able to be connected to the insertion means 8 of lock 1 and finally a holding shell 10b adapted to contain at least the source of electric energy 10a, and from which the engagement head 10c and/or the contact and transfer connections lOd protrude. The invention achieves interesting advantages.

First of all, it should be understood that the particular structural and functional combination of the elements acting within the block allows an operation devoid of jamming to be obtained, and more generally an operation without the occurrence of situations wherein an important "starting effort" is required; this greatly improves use and reliability of the lock (as well as its lifetime) .

It will be also appreciated that the features of the present invention enable it to easily suit different sizes of the block, since the "modular construction" of the locking/unlocking means allows different transverse lengths to be implemented by merely changing the number of the modular elements (that are always identical with each other) .

Finally, the present invention is adaptable to a great variety of types of servo-controls, which is advantageous in terms of operating flexibility and cheapness .