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Title:
FIBRE LIGHT MODULE FOR VEHICLE SIGNALLING LIGHT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/201849
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention describes a fibre light module (100) comprising at least two light distribution fibres (16), wherein each light distribution fibre (16) is enclosed in a corresponding fibre guiding tube (14), wherein the fibre guiding tubes (14) are at least partly translucent and mechanically coupled by a stabilisation structure (12), wherein the fibre light module (100) further comprises a guiding structure (18) mechanically coupled to the stabilisation structure (12) by means of a mechanical coupling interface (19), wherein the guiding structure (18) is arranged to preserve a spatial arrangement of the stabilisation structure (12) along the mechanical coupling interface (19). The invention further describes a vehicle signalling light assembly comprising such a fibre light module (100) and a vehicle signalling light (200) which comprises such a vehicle signalling light assembly or fibre light module (100).

Inventors:
BENTER, Nils (Intellectual PropertyPhilipsstr. 8, Aachen, 52068, DE)
KUNZ, Sergej (Intellectual PropertyPhilipsstr. 8, Aachen, 52068, DE)
Application Number:
EP2019/059652
Publication Date:
October 24, 2019
Filing Date:
April 15, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LUMILEDS HOLDING B.V. (The Base, Tower B5 unit 107Evert van de Beekstraat 1, 1118 CL Schiphol, 1118 CL, NL)
International Classes:
F21V8/00; B60Q1/00; F21S43/14; F21S43/20; F21S43/236; F21S43/237; F21S43/245; F21S43/27
Foreign References:
US20110103757A12011-05-05
US20060198587A12006-09-07
US20060203508A12006-09-14
EP2216587A12010-08-11
US20110103757A12011-05-05
US20060198587A12006-09-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TER HEEGDE, Paul (Lumileds Germany GmbH, Philipsstraße 8, Aachen, 52068, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A fibre light module (100) comprising at least two light distribution fibres (16), wherein each light distribution fibre (16) is enclosed in a corresponding fibre guiding tube (14), wherein the fibre guiding tubes (14) are at least partly translucent and mechanically coupled by a stabilisation structure (12), wherein the fibre light module (100) further comprises a guiding structure (18) mechanically coupled to the stabilisation structure (12) by means of a mechanical coupling interface (19), wherein the guiding structure (18) is arranged to preserve a spatial arrangement of the stabilisation structure (12) along the mechanical coupling interface (19).

2. The fibre light module (100) according to claim 1, wherein the stabilisation structure (12) is arranged to define a maximum distance between the light distribution fibres (16) in a direction perpendicular to a longitudinal extension of the light distribution fibres (16).

3. The fibre light module (100) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the

stabilisation structure (12) comprises a bendable foil.

4. The fibre light module (100) according to claim 3, wherein the stabilisation structure (12) is arranged to provide a continuous mechanical coupling to the mechanical coupling interface (19) of the guiding structure (18) along a longitudinal extension of the guiding structure (18).

5. The fibre light module (100) according to any one of claims 1-3, wherein the stabilisation structure (12) is arranged to provide a discontinuous mechanical coupling to the mechanical coupling interface (19) of the guiding structure (18) along the longitudinal extension of the guiding structure (18).

6. The fibre light module (100) according to claim 5, wherein the stabilisation structure (12) comprises a multitude of coupling elements arranged at predefined distances along a longitudinal extension of the guiding structure (18).

7. The fibre light module (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the stabilisation structure (12) comprises a stabilisation material characterized by a Young’s modulus of at least 0.3 GPa, preferably of at least 0.5 GPa and most preferably of at least 1 GPa, wherein the stabilisation material rules the mechanical properties of the stabilisation structure (12).

8. The fibre light module (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the guiding structure (18) comprises a guiding material characterized by a Young’s modulus of at least 30 GPa, preferably at least 50 GPa, wherein the stabilisation material rules the mechanical properties of the guiding structure (18).

9. The fibre light module (100) according to claim 8, wherein the guiding structure (18) comprises a bendable metal wire.

10. The fibre light module (100) according to any one of claims 8 or 9, wherein the guiding material is enclosed in a flexible cladding bonded to the stabilisation structure (12).

11. The fibre light module (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the fibre guiding tubes (14) comprises a transparent plastic material bonded to the stabilisation structure (12).

12. The fibre light module (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein at least one of the fibre guiding tubes (14) comprises at least one light manipulation structure (22) arranged to locally change light outcoupling of light guided by means of the enclosed light distribution fibre (16).

13. A vehicle signalling light assembly comprising the fibre light module (100) according to anyone of the preceding claims and at least one light source (120), wherein the at least one light source (120) is arranged to couple in light in a lateral end surface of the light distribution fibre (16).

14. A vehicle signalling light (200) comprising at least one fibre light module (100) according to anyone of claims 1-12, at least one light source (120) and an electrical interface (110), wherein the electrical interface (110) is arranged to transfer electrical signals to the at least one light source (120)

15. The vehicle signalling light (200) according to claim 14 further comprising at least one fixture (132), wherein the at least one fixture (132) is arranged to

mechanically couple the fibre light module (100) to the vehicle signalling light (200) in accordance with a predefined shape.

Description:
FIBRE LIGHT MODULE LOR VEHICLE SIGNALLING LIGHT

LIELD OL THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a fibre light module for a vehicle signalling light.

The invention further relates to a vehicle signalling light assembly comprising the fibre light module, and a vehicle signalling light comprising the vehicle signalling light assembly. BACKGROUND OL THE INVENTION

Latest lighting designs of concept cars show the trend to very thin illuminated lines. The integration of such light guiding and emitting fibres into the vehicle and especially car lamps and/or body is challenging because each mechanical touch/contact point to the fibre surface frustrates Total Internal Reflection (TIR) resulting in light leakage and hot spot generation. Mechanical touch/contact points therefore create an inhomogeneity and losing of light. Assembly of light assemblies comprising such light guides is currently complex and cost intensive.

US 2011/0103757 Al refers to a side-emitting step index fibre comprising a light-guiding core made from glass and a transparent and/or translucent cladding.

US 2006/0198587 Al relates to assemblies of luminous ornaments having optical fibre cables arranged in parallel, each formed by luminous optical fibres sheathed with a transparent tube.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to enable a flexible and cost-effective design of vehicle signalling lights, especially vehicle signalling lights comprising semiconductor light sources like LEDs or lasers.

The invention is defined by the independent claims. The dependent claims define advantageous embodiments.

According to a first aspect a fibre light module comprising at least two light distribution fibres is provided. Each light distribution fibre is enclosed in a corresponding fibre guiding tube. The fibre guiding tubes are at least partly translucent and mechanically coupled by a stabilisation structure. The fibre light module further comprises a guiding structure mechanically coupled to the stabilisation structure by means of a mechanical coupling interface. The guiding structure is arranged to preserve a spatial arrangement of the stabilisation structure along the mechanical coupling interface. The stabilization structure is arranged to provide a mechanical interface to a fixture of a vehicle signalling light.

The light distribution fibres and the fibre guiding tubes are flexible such that the fibre light module can be adapted to essentially any luminaire geometry. The guiding structure stabilizes in combination with the fibre guiding tube spatial arrangement of the fibre light module and especially the thin light distribution fibres in accordance with the intended shape, especially three-dimensional shape, of the fibre light module. The stabilization structure coupled to the fibre guiding tubes and the guiding structure provides a defined spatial relation between the fibre guiding tubes and thus the light distribution fibres. The fibre guiding tubes are in tight physical contact with the light distribution fibres such that unwanted variations of the light outcoupling along the extension of the light distribution fibres are avoided. The fibre guiding tubes fix the fibre mechanically with minimized surface touch which minimizes light losses and inhomogeneity. Homogeneity of light emission may therefore be improved.

There may alternatively be an optical coupling material which is arranged between the light distribution fibres and the fibre guiding tubes (e.g. optical coupling gel which is characterized by a refractive index higher than the refractive index of the fibre guiding tube). The optical coupling material is arranged to provide a defined boundary between the light distribution fibre and the fibre guiding tube.

The light distribution fibres are arranged to distribute light received via a light in-coupling surface across the linear extension of the flexible light distribution fibre. Material properties may therefore be arranged in accordance with the intended light distribution and the intended path of the flexible light distribution fibre. The flexible light distribution fibre may, for example, comprise materials selected out of the group plastic materials, silicones or glass. The properties of the material or material composition may vary along the extension of the flexible light distribution fibre. The properties of the material or material composition may especially be arranged to enable a defined light distribution along the extension of the flexible light distribution fibre if the light source with a predefined intensity is coupled to a light in-coupling surface. The material or material composition may, for example, comprise scattering particles which are distributed within the material of the material composition to provide the intended lighting effect (e.g. homogeneous light emission along the linear extension of the light distribution fibre). The material or the material composition of the light distribution fibre may be doped with light converting particles. The light converting particles may be arranged to locally convert light of a first wavelength range to light of a second wavelength range, wherein the second wavelength range is in a longer wavelength range than the first wavelength range. The light in-coupling surface may be one end surface of the light distribution fibre. Alternatively, a light in-coupling structure may be provided at both end surfaces.

The light distribution fibre may have a cross section with an area between 0.5 mm 2 and 20 mm 2 , preferably between 1.50 mm 2 and 10 mm 2 and most preferably between 3 mm 2 and 7 mm 2 . A cross-section of the light distribution fibre may be arranged to provide a predefined lighting effect. The cross-section of the flexible light distribution fibre may vary along the extension of the light distribution fibre. The light distribution fibre may, for example, have a circular cross-section with a diameter between 0.5 mm and 5 mm, preferably between 1 mm and 4 mm and most preferably between 2 mm and 3 mm. The light distribution fibre may alternatively have a non circular cross-section (e.g. triangular, rectangular etc.).

The fibre guiding tube may alternatively or in addition be arranged to modify light distribution provided by the light distribution fibre. At least one of the fibre guiding tubes may, for example, comprise at least one light manipulation structure arranged to locally change, for example, light outcoupling of light guided by means of the enclosed light distribution fibre.

The guiding structure may comprise any material which can be deformed, and which preferably keeps the shape after deformation. The guiding structure may comprise a guiding material characterized by a Young’s modulus of at least 30 GPa, preferably at least 50 GPa. The stabilisation material rules the mechanical properties of the guiding structure. The guiding structure may, for example, comprise a bendable metal wire (e.g. aluminium, copper, steel and the like). The guiding structure may alternatively comprise a plastic material which can be deformed e.g. during application of an elevated temperature. The shape of the guiding structure may be defined during assembly in the vehicle signalling light or maybe pre-shaped. The guiding material may be enclosed in a flexible cladding bonded to the stabilisation structure.

The stabilisation structure may be arranged to define a maximum distance between the light distribution fibres in a direction perpendicular to a longitudinal extension of the light distribution fibres. The defined maximum distance between the light distribution fibres supports the defined spatial relationship between the light distribution fibres.

The stabilisation structure may, for example, comprise a bendable foil. The bendable foil may comprise materials like plastic, metals and the like. The bendable foil may, for example, be transparent in the visual wavelength range such that additional light sources can emit light through the stabilization structure.

The stabilisation structure may, for example, be arranged to provide a continuous mechanical coupling to the mechanical coupling interface of the guiding structure along a longitudinal extension of the guiding structure.

The stabilisation structure may comprise a stabilisation material characterized by a Young’s modulus of at least 0.3 GPa, preferably of at least 0.5 GPa and most preferably of at least 1 GPa. The stabilisation material rules the mechanical properties of the stabilisation structure. Plastic materials like PET may be used to arrange the fibre light module and especially the light distribution fibres in accordance with the mechanical boundaries given by the respective vehicle signalling light.

The stabilisation structure may alternatively be arranged to provide a discontinuous mechanical coupling to the mechanical coupling interface of the guiding structure along the longitudinal extension of the guiding structure. The stabilization structure may, for example, comprise a multitude of coupling elements arranged at predefined distances along a longitudinal extension of the guiding structure. The coupling elements may comprise or consist of a material with rather low Young’s modulus like PET as described above. The coupling elements may alternatively comprise or consist of a rather stiff material which provides a locally predefined mechanical coupling between the guiding structure and the fibre guiding tubes. The coupling elements may, for example, comprise stiff plastic or metal braces.

The fibre guiding tubes may comprise a transparent plastic material bonded to the stabilisation structure. The fibre guiding tubes may, for example, be adhered to the stabilization structure or may be integrated in the stabilization structure (e.g.

transparent plastic foil with tubes in which the light distribution fibres can be introduced).

The fibre light module avoids complex and time intensive integration of lighting fibres into luminaires without losing light amount or homogeneity. The fibre light module further enables equidistance and symmetrical bending angle opening reproducible and predictable light pattern designs in automated manufacturing processes. Finally, the optical concept remains flexible and can be adapted to essentially any luminaire geometry.

According to a second aspect a vehicle signalling light assembly is provided. The vehicle signalling light assembly comprises a fibre light module according to any embodiment described above and at least one light source. The at least one light source (e.g. LED or laser) is arranged to couple in light in a lateral end surface (e.g. via an in-coupling facet) of the light distribution fibre.

According to a third aspect a vehicle signalling light is provided. The vehicle signalling light comprises a fibre light module according to any embodiment described above and at least one light source or at least one vehicle signalling light assembly in accordance with any embodiment described above. The vehicle signalling light further comprises an electrical interface. The electrical interface is arranged to transfer electrical signals to the at least one light source. The electrical signals may comprise an electrical drive current to drive the light source or light sources and control signals to control light emission of the light source(s).

The vehicle signalling light may further comprise an electrical driver for electrically driving the at least one light source.

The vehicle signalling light may further comprise at least one fixture. The at least one fixture is arranged to mechanically couple the fibre light module to the vehicle signalling light in accordance with a predefined spatial shape. The fixture may, for example, be a clamp which is arranged to provide continues clamping around the extension of the fibre light module. The vehicle signalling light may alternatively comprise a multitude of fixtures which are arranged to provide local mechanical interfaces between the vehicle signalling light and the fibre light module, especially the stabilization structure. The fixture or fixtures may be arranged such that the shape of the fibre light module is provided during assembly of the fibre light module or the vehicle light assembly in the vehicle signalling light. The vehicle signalling light may further comprise one or more support structures supporting the stabilization structure between the fibre guiding tubes. The support structures may, for example, be arranged to form the guiding structures during assembly of the vehicle signalling light. The fixture and/or the support structure may be arranged such that there is no direct contact to the light distribution fibres or the fibre guiding tubes. The fixture and/or the support structure or structures may alternatively or in addition be arranged such that there is a local interaction with the light distribution fibre or the fibre guiding tube to enable local manipulation of the light emitted by the respective light guiding structure.

The light source may be arranged to emit light in the visible spectrum and outside the visible spectrum (especially infrared). Optionally light sources with different emission spectrum may be coupled to one or both end surface.

It shall be understood that a preferred embodiment of the invention can also be any combination of the dependent claims with the respective independent claim.

Further advantageous embodiments are defined below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

The invention will now be described, by way of example, based on embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings:

Fig. 1 shows a principal sketch of a perspective view of a first

embodiment of the fibre light module

Fig. 2 shows a principal sketch of a cross-section of the first embodiment of the fibre light module along line A-A in Fig. 1 Fig. 3 shows a principal sketch of a cross-section of a second embodiment of the fibre light module corresponding to line A-A in Fig. 1

Fig. 4 shows a principal sketch of a perspective view of a third

embodiment of the fibre light module

Fig. 5 shows a principal sketch of a first vehicle signalling light

Fig. 6 shows a principal sketch of a second vehicle signalling light

In the Figures, like numbers refer to like objects throughout. Objects in the Figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Various embodiments of the invention will now be described by means of the Figures.

Fig. 1 shows a principal sketch of a perspective view of a first embodiment of the fibre light module 100. The fibre light module 100 comprises two light distribution fibres 16 which consist in this embodiment of glass. The two light distribution fibres 16 are embedded in two corresponding fibre guiding tubes 14 which consist of plastic material. The fibre guiding tubes 14 are bonded to a stabilization structure 12 which consists of a flexible plastic foil. A guiding structure 18 is embedded in the stabilization structure 12 to provide a mechanical coupling interface between the guiding structure 18 and the stabilization structure 12 which extends along the longitudinal extension of the guiding structure 18. The guiding structure 18 consist of a metal wire which enables shaping of the fibre light module 100 in accordance with essentially each three-dimensional shape. The fibre light module 100 can be pre-shaped by means of the guiding structure 18 wherein the stabilization structure 12 provides a defined spatial relation between the fibre guiding tubes 14 and therefore the light distribution fibres 16. The mechanical coupling interface provides in combination with the bendable stabilization structure 12 a kind of hinge which enables local bending of the fibre light module 100 in accordance with the flexibility of the chosen materials.

Fig. 2 shows a principal sketch of a cross-section of the first embodiment of the fibre light module 100 along line A-A shown in Fig. 1. The flexible light distribution fibres 16 are enclosed by the fibre guiding tubes 14. The guiding structure 18 is enclosed by the mechanical coupling interface 19. The guiding structure 18 and the light distribution fibres 16 are mechanically coupled by means of the stabilization structure 12. The fibre guiding tubes 14, the mechanical coupling interface 19 and the stabilization structure 12 consists of the same plastic material and are manufactured in one processing step. The guiding structure 18 and the light distribution fibres 16 may be embedded during production of the stabilization structure 12, the fibre guiding tubes 14 and the mechanical coupling interface 19. The guiding structure 18 and the light distribution fibres 16 may alternatively be inserted after production of the stabilization structure 12, the fibre guiding tubes 14 and the mechanical coupling interface 19. The stabilization structure 12, the fibre guiding tubes 14 and the mechanical coupling interface 19 may, for example, consist of a material which can be at elevated

temperatures such that there is a tight mechanical coupling between the material and the inserted guiding structure 18 and light distribution fibres 16.

Fig. 3 shows a principal sketch of a cross-section of a second embodiment of the fibre light module 100 corresponding to line A-A in Fig. 1. The light distribution fibres 16 are embedded in corresponding fibre guiding tubes 14 and subsequently glued to the stabilization structure. The guiding structure 18 consists of a deformable plastic material which may be glued to the stabilization structure 12 in the same process step as the fibre guiding tubes 14. The stabilization structure 12 consists of a thin metal foil which provides mechanical coupling between the light distribution fibres 16 and the guiding structure 18 via the glue. The fibre guiding tubes 14 comprise local light manipulation structures 22 which are arranged to locally change the appearance of the light emitted by means of the fibre light module 100.

Fig. 4 shows a principal sketch of a perspective view of a third embodiment of the fibre light module 100. Two light distribution fibres 16 are embedded in corresponding fibre guiding tubes 14. The light distribution fibres 16 and the guiding structure 18 are bonded to a stabilization structure 12 which comprises several coupling elements or braces which provide a local mechanical coupling between the guiding structure 18 and the fibre guiding tubes 14. The mechanical coupling surface is in this embodiment restricted to the longitudinal extension of the coupling elements or braces (e.g. bonding surface). These braces consist of stiff material such that the spatial relationship between the guiding structure 18 and the fibre guiding tubes 14 is essentially fixed at the local position of the respective brace. The braces can be turned with respect to each other to enable a multitude of possible three-dimensional shapes of the light distribution fibres 16. Number and distance as well as individual size and shape of the braces may be adapted to the intended shape of the fibre light module 100.

Fig. 5 shows a principal sketch of a first vehicle signalling light 200. The vehicle signalling light comprises a vehicle signalling light assembly comprising a fibre light module 100 and corresponding light sources 120. The fibre light module 100 is very similar as the fibre light module 100 discussed with respect to Fig. 1. The main difference is that the fibre light module 100 comprises three light distribution fibres 16 and corresponding fibre guiding tubes 14. Two guiding structures 18 are arranged between two light distribution fibres 16. Each light distribution fibre 16 is coupled to a corresponding light source 120 (e.g. LED) by means of one light in-coupling facet. The light sources 120 are integrated in an electrical interface 110. The fibre light module 100 is mounted within a cover 130 by means of a multitude of fixtures 132. The fixtures 132 are arranged to fix the stabilization structure 12 at the outer rim of the fibre light module 100. The vehicle signalling light 200 further comprises in this embodiment an extended fixture 134 which extends across the whole stabilization structure 12 essentially perpendicular to the light distribution fibres 16 at the position of the extended fixture 134. Such extended fixtures 134 may be used to enable a precise definition of the three-dimensional arrangement of the light distribution fibres 16 within the boundaries given by the stabilization structure 12. The extended fixture 134 comprises in this embodiment three light outcoupling structures 135 which are optically coupled to the respective light distribution fibre 16. The light outcoupling structures 135 enable manipulation of the light output of the light distribution fibre 16 coupled to the light outcoupling structure 135. The light outcoupling structures 135 may be arranged to manipulate the light distribution, colour of the light and the like. The fixtures 132 and the extended fixture 134 with light outcoupling structures 135 define the three-dimensional shape of the light distribution fibres 16 within the cover 130.

Fig. 6 shows a principal sketch of a cross-section of a second vehicle signalling light 200. The fibre light module 100 is similar as the fibre or light module discussed with respect to Fig. 2. Each fibre guiding tube 14 is in this embodiment arranged between two guiding structures 18. The guiding structures 18 at the outer rim of the fibre light module 100 may support assembly of the second vehicle signalling light 200. The second vehicle signalling light 200 comprises a cover 130 which consists of two parts. The cover 130 can be opened such that the fibre light module 100 can be positioned on fixtures 132 which are in this embodiment arranged continuously along the rim of the stabilization structure 12. The fibre light module 100 is further supported by a support structure 136 which is arranged underneath the guiding structure 18 when the fibre light module 100 is placed on the lower part of the cover 130. The fibre light module is fixed by means of the upper part of the cover 130 which clamps the fibre light module 100, and especially the stabilization structure 12, by means of fixtures 132 and a support structure 136 which correspond to the fixtures 132 and support structure

136 of the lower part of the cover 130. Each flexible light distribution fibre 16 is therefore arranged in a defined position within the cover 130. Each light distribution fibre 16 is in this embodiment surrounded by a cavity. The cavity may be shaped to support the light distribution. Two or more light distribution fibres 16 may be surrounded by common cavity in alternative embodiments. The vehicle signalling light may further comprise localized light sources which may be arranged to provide light spots. The local light source or sources may, for example be arranged to emit light through the stabilization structure 12 (e.g. arranged in one of the support structures 136 or fixtures 132).

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and the foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplary and not restrictive. From reading the present disclosure, other modifications will be apparent to persons skilled in the art. Such modifications may involve other features which are already known in the art and which may be used instead of or in addition to features already described herein.

Variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure and the appended claims. In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a” or "an" does not exclude a plurality of elements or steps. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope thereof.

REFERENCE SIGNS:

12 stabilization structure

14 fibre guiding tube

16 light distribution fibre

18 guiding structure

19 mechanical coupling interface 22 light manipulation structure 100 fibre light module

110 electrical interface

120 light source

130 cover

132 fixture

134 extended fixture

135 light outcoupling structure

136 support structure

200 vehicle signalling light




 
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