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Title:
FOLDING MECHANISM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/038686
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Folding mechanism, characterized in that it contains a rail (4) which forms a guide for a series of runners (5) which are slideable in relation to each other on the rail (4), whereby each runner (5) or at least a part thereof is provided with a rib (6) which is attached hingeably on the runner (5) around a shaft (7) largely perpendicular to the longitudinal direction (X~X') of the rail (4) between an open position whereby the ribs (6) are turned away from the rail (4) and a closed position whereby the ribs (6) are turned towards the rail (4) and whereby at least some of the ribs (6) lying on the same side of the rail (4) are connected with each other using a transmission (8) which, when sliding the runners (5) towards or away from each other on the rail (4), makes the ribs (6) hinge on the runners (5).

Inventors:
TEBLICK LUC (BE)
Application Number:
IB2018/056347
Publication Date:
February 28, 2019
Filing Date:
August 22, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HEATSAIL BVBA (BE)
International Classes:
A45B23/00; A47G33/06; B63H9/06; A45B11/00; A45B25/02
Foreign References:
DE47479C
EP2815673A22014-12-24
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VAN HUNSEL, Lieven (BE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims ,

1.- Folding mechanism/ characterized in that it contains a rail (4) which forms a guide for a series of runners (5) which are slideafoie in relation to each other on the rail (4), whereby each runner (5) or at least a part of each runner is provided with a rib (6) which is attached hir.gea.bly on the runner (5) around a shaft (7) largely perpendicular to the longitudinal direction (Χ-Χ' ) of the rail ( 4 ) between an open position whereby the ribs (6) are turned away from the rail (4} and a closed position whereby the ribs (6) are turned towards the rail (4) and whereby at least some of the ribs (6) located on the same side of the rail (4) are connected with each other by means of a transmission. (8) which, when sliding the runners (5) towards or away from each other on the rail (4), makes the ribs (6} hinge on the runners (5), 2.- Folding mechanism according to claim. 1, characterized in that the transmissions (8) are such that they keep the ribs (6) parallel to each other while opening and closing the folding mechanism {1} . 3.- Folding mechanism according to claim 2, characterized in that a transmission (.8) is formed by an articulated connection {9} connecting two ribs (.6) with each other via a hinge connection (11) with each of the two ribs (6) around the longitudinal axis of the ribs (6), whereby the articulated connection (95 between the ribs (6) is provided with at least one articulation (10) witn a shaft that .runs parallel with the ribs (6) ,

4.~ Folding mechanism according to claim 3, characterized in that the articulated connection contains two articulated parts with a central articulation (10), whereby the shaft of this central articulation {10} runs parallel with the shafts of the hinge connections (11) with the ribs (6).

5.~ Folding mechanism according to claim 4, characterized in that the articulated connection {9} is composed of two articulated parts (9a and 9b) in the form of two slats which are connected with each other at one end by a said articulation {10}, the shaft of which is positioned at an angle in relation to the longitudinal direction of the slats (9a and 9b), and which are proyided with a said hinge connection ( .1.1 } with the ribs on their other end, whereby the hinge connections {11} with their shafts run parallel with and at the same orthogonal distance {8} from the shaft of the articulation (10) -

6.- Folding mechanism according to claim 4 or 5, characterized in that, when the folding mechanism (1) is open, the articulated parts (9a and 9b) of each transmission (9) lie in or almost in the continuation of each other and run parallel or practically parallel with the rail (4) .

7.- Folding: mechanism according to any one of the previous claims characterized in that the orthogonal distance between each pair of consecutive ribs (6) is the same.

8.~ Folding mechanism according to any one of the claims 3 to 7, characterized in that one or more additional intermediate ribs (12) are- provided, each in the eontinnation of or on the shaft, of an articulation. {10} of a transmission . θ. ~ Folding mechanism according to any one of the previous claims, characterised in that at least one rib (6) is of a different length compared to the other ribs (6) ,

10.~ Folding mechanism according to any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the folding mechanism (1) is provided with a drive to slide at least one of the runners

11. - Folding mechanism according to any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the folding mechanism (1): is provided with a drive to slide at least one of the runners (5) and that this at least one runner (5) is connected with, other runners via a sequential mechanism (15) to slide these runners (5} in a synchronised manner towards or away from each other on the rail (4) .

12.- Folding mechanism according to claim 11, characterised in that the drive to slide at least one of the runners (5) contains a motor.

13. - Folding mechanism according to any one of the claims 11 to 12, characterized in that the drive to slide at least one of the runners (5) contains a pulley system over which a cord is guided which is connected with this at least one driven runner (5) .

14. - Folding mechanism according to any one of the previous claims, characterised in that the runners (5) on both sides of the rail (4) are provided with ribs (6) which are attached hingeafoly thereon and are connected in pairs by means of a said transmission {8} .

15. ~ Folding mechanism according to any one of the previous claims, characterized in that it is provided with a cloth (3) that is fixed to one or more ribs (6) in such a way that, by opening and closing the folding mechanism (1) , the cloth (3) is folded open or shut.

16. - Folding mechanism according to claim 15, characterized in that it; is a folding mechanism (1) of a sunshade or a wind shield.

17. - Folding mechanism according to claira 15, characterized in that it is a folding mechanism il) for a sail on a sailing boat.

18. - Folding mechanism according to claim 15, characterized in that it is a folding mechanism (1) for a fo.ldab.le bed,

19. - Folding mechanism according to any one of the claims 1 to 14, characterized in that it is a folding mechanism (1) of an artificial tree (19) whose branches are formed by the ribs (6) of the folding mechanism (1).

Description:
Folding mechanism.

The present invention relates to a folding mechanism.

More particularly the invention relates to a folding mechanism with ribs which can be folded shut, in order to fold up the folding mechanism in a compact manner or be spread open in order to open the folding mechanism.

Such a folding mechanism is for example already known in the world of parasols whereby a cloth is attached to a construction of ribs which are fixed hingeabiy to the top of an upwardly pointing supporting pole and which can be pushed open from a folded position using spokes which are connected with a hub which can be moved up and down the supporting pole.

A disadvantage is that in order to open and close the parasol a large free area is required around the supporting pole under the opened parasol in order for the ribs to move freely without any obstacles from a closed to an open posit ion and vίce versa , Another disadvantage is that the opened parasol is mostly in the form of a round dome, which means that the design freedom for designers is significantly limited and also this is only applicable for a parasol. The purpose of the present invention is to provide a solution to any one of the aforementioned and other disadvantages, with a versatile folding mechanism that can be used in many domains and which allows shapes to be designed which, in their open state, are not 1 iraited to the round dome form.

To this end the invention relates to a folding mechanism that comprises a rail which forms a guide for a series of runners which are slideahle in relation to each other on the rail, whereby each runner or at least a part thereof is provided with a rib which is attached hingeably to the runner around a shaft largely perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the rail between an open position., whereby the ribs on the rail are turned away and a closed position, whereby the ribs are turned towards the rail and whereby at least some of the ribs are connected to each other by means of a transmission which, by sliding the runners towards or away from each other on the rail, makes the ribs hinge on the runners.

The ribs that are connected to each other by means of a transmission are preferably not located on opposite sides of the rail, and more preferably these ribs are located largely on ; the same side of the rail, by which is meant within the same segment of 150°, or preferably 120°, or preferably 90°, or preferably 60°, or preferably 45°, or preferably 30° or preferably 15° .

Preferably,' the transmission does not co-operate with the ribs on the opposite side of the rail. The transmission preferably provides a mechanical connection between ribs on the same side of the rail, and preferably between consecutive ribs each provided on consecutive or adjacent runners.

Preferably, the ribs are connected hingeably with the runner to which they are attached and extend from there towards their free end. In other words, preferably, the ribs don't extend in two directions, seen froro the hingeable connection with the runner on which they are attached. Any part of a rib that extends frosri the hingeable connection with the runner in the opposite direction to the main part of the rib is preferably free and therefore not mechanically connected to another rib.

Because the ribs hinge sideways around a shaft largely perpendicular to the rail, the folding mechanism requires only little room to -manoeuvre in order to open or close,

If, for example, a cloth is attached on or to the ribs of a folding mechanism according to the invention with a horizontal or fiat rail, the result is a parasol with ribs which, when opened or closed, move sideways in a plane and therefore require little free room under the parasol in order to open and close. In addition, by folding the ribs up against the supporting pole or up together, one obtains a compact unit that, for example, requires little storage space, yet in its open state can still span a large area in the case of a sunshade or canopy. ' In this way, in its open state a sunshade can, for: example, cover a useful length of over four metres, while the distance between the furthest runners in a folded up state, i.e. with the runners placed as close to each other as possible and preferabiy arranged against each other, takes up less than two metres.

In more general terms it can be concluded that in a folded up state, the distance between the furthest runners, amounts to less than 70%, or preferably less than half of the useful length of the folding mechanism.

In a closed state the runners are more specifically arranged close to each other such that the distance between the runners is no greater than twice the length of each runner measured along the rail, and more preferably such that the distance between the runners is no greater than the length of each runner measured along the rail. By useful length it is meant the distance measured along the rail between the runners that are furthest apart when in an open state.

In this way, a ratio of over 2.7 is achieved between the maximum useful usage length divided by the length taken up by the runners when these are arranged as close to each other as possible.

This is of great importance for this application given that this means significantly less impact from the wind- For long-term storage, the freely protruding part of the rail can be removed or hinged, at least if to this end the rail is provided with a removable part or respectively provided with a hinge.

It is clear that such a compact folded state is of crucial importance to a folding mechanism.

Think for example of the safe and tidy winter storage of a sunshade, or the compact storage of an artificial Christmas tree. It is often so that such objects spend most of their time in storage.

The width or span of a sunshade, or more generally of a folding mechanism according to the invention, is the distance between the free ends of the ribs and this is determined by the length of the ribs which can be chosen freely under the invention.

Note that the number of runners can change for the same rail.

The folding mechanism is easy to open and close by sliding the runners further apart, respectively closer together, whereby the ribs unfold automatically.

Preferably the transmissions are such that they hold the ribs parallel to each other when opening and closing the folding mechanism. In this way the ribs fold open or shut together: in a synchronised manner ,

According to a preferred embodiment the transmissions are formed with an articulated connection, which connects two ribs to each other via a hinge connection with each of the two ribs around or parallel to the longitudinal axis of the ribs, whereby the articulated connection between the ribs is provided with at least, one articulation with a shaft which runs parallel to the ribs.

Preferably the articulated connection comprises two articulated parts with a central articulation, whereby the shafts of ; both the hinge connections and the central articulation are parallel to each other.

According to a practical embodiment the articulated connection is composed, of two articulated parts in the form of two slats which are connected to each other with one end through a said articulation, the shaft of which is oriented at an angle in relation to the longitudinal direction of the slats, and which are provided with a said hinge connection with the ribs on their other end, whereby the hinge connections with their shafts run in parallel with and at the same orthogonal distance from the shaft of the articulation .

In doing so: the slats can be folded shut against each other whereby they take up little unused space and even allow the runners to foe arranged against each other, Thanks to this construction, when closing the folding mechanism the articulated connections fold up outside the plane in which the ribs fold up, whereby the articulated connections form no obstacle to fold shut the ribs in a compact manner against each other and against the rail.

One or more additional intermediate ribs may foe provided, each in the continuation of or parallel to the shaft of an articulation of a transmission. These ribs can ensure extra support for a cloth or suchlike and extra support for forming the folds in the cloth when folding it up.

As the ribs may differ in length, this gives additional design freedom to designers of, for example, a parasol to diverge from the traditional round form, whereby quirky shapes become possible without complicated structures for the folding mechanism.

The folding mechanism can be provided with a drive to slide at least one of the runners, whereby the drive comprises, for example, an electrical motor or suchlike or an operation involving a cord and pulley system, or suchlike, whereby at least one driven runner is connected with other runners via a sequential, mechanism in order for these runners to slide in a synchronised manner towards or away from each other. In this way, for example, only one motor is required to slide all runners in a synchronised, manner.

.According to one aspect of the invention the runners ' are provided with ribs on both sides of the rail which are attached hingeably thereto and which are connected in pairs through a said transmission, whereby the folding mechanism can unfold : on both sides of the supporting pole, offering even more design opportunities for forms which .may or may not be symmetrical compared to the beam.

The use of a folding raechanism according to the invention is not limited to a. sunshade or parasol, but can also be used in other applications in which a cloth is applied such as in vertical or horizontal sunshades, canopies, wind shields, sails on a sailing boat, a foldable bed and suchlike .

The use of i a folding mechanism according to the invention is not limited to applications with a cloth, but can also be used, for example, for a foldable artificial Christmas tree or other foldable trees or plants, whereby the ribs then form., for example, the branches or ramifications of the tree or plant in question, With the intention of better showing the characteristics of the invention, some preferred, embodiments of a folding mechanism according to the invention and its applications are described hereinafter, by way of an example without any limiting nature, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein: figure- 1 shows a perspective of a mechanism folded open on one side and used as a canopy or horizontal sunshade with a cloth;

figure 2 shows a. top view according to the arrow F2 in figure 1; figure 3 shows a side view according to the arrow F3 in figure 2;

figure 4 shows on a larger scale the part that is indicated in figure 1 by the frame F4;

figure 5 shows the folding mechanism from figure 1 without a cloth and in a folded-up state;

figure 6 shows a top view according to arrow F6 in figure 5;

figure 7 shows a side view according to arrow F? in figure 6;

figure 8 shows on a larger scale the part that is indicated in figure 5 by the frame F8;

figure 9 shows the sunshade from figure 8 in a partly fo1ded. state ;

figure 10 shows a folding mechanism such as the one in figure 1 but made double-sided as a horizontal sunshade supported by a supporting pole on a base and provided with a drive;

figure 11 shows a variant of the folding mechanism in. figure 10;

figure 12 illustrates an application of a folding mechanism in the embodiment of a foldafole artificial Christmas tree, The folding mechanism 1 shown as an example in figure 1 is a folding mechanism of a parasol 2 "with a cloth 3.

The folding mechanism 1 contains a rail 4 with longitudinal direction X-X' which forms a guide for a series of runners 5 that are slideable in relation to each other on the rail 4. Each runner 5 is provided on one side of the rail with a rib 6 which is attached hingeably on the runner 5 by means of a shaft 7 which extends t according to the longitudinal direction Υ-γ' perpendicularly to the longitudinal direction X-X' of the rail 5, between an open position, as shown in the figures 1 to <1 , whereby the ribs 6 in a plane on one side of the rail 5 are turned away from the rail 5, and a closed position, as shown in the figures 5 to 8, whereby the ribs 6 are turned towards the rail 5 and extend practically parallel with the rail 5 close to each other.

Adjacent ribs 6 are connected two by two with each other through a. transmission 8 which, when sliding the runners 5 towards or j away from each other on the rail 5, makes the ribs 6 automatically hinge around the shaft 7 on the runners 5 and which preferably keeps the ribs 6 parallel to each other When opening and closing the folding mechanism.

In doing so the ribs 6 always move in parallel to one another .

Each transmission 8 is formed by an articulated connection 9 with two articulated parts 9a and 9b in the form of two slats which are connected at one end to each other by means of an articulation with a geometric axis which extends according to the direction Z-Z' and which encloses an oblique angle A to the longitudinal direction of the slats 9a and. 9b as shown in figure 4. On their other end, the slats 9a and 9b are provided with a hinge connection 11 with the ribs 6, whose hinge axis in the continuation of the ribs 6 runs parallel with the axis Z-Z" of said articulation 10, whereby the hinge connections 11 are located at the same orthogonal distance 3 from the central articulation 10,

Preferably ail transmissions are identical to each other, so that all ribs 6 lie at the same distance C from each other.

When the folding mechanism, is an open position as shown in the figures 1 to 4, the articulated parts 9a and 9b of each transmission lie in or almost in the continuation of each other and run parallel or practically parallel with the rail 4.

In the continuation of the axes Z-Z' of the articulation 10 intermediate ribs 12 can be provided which may, for example, be shorter than the other ribs II.

The ribs 11 do not necessarily need to be of the same length. Operation of the folding mechanism 1 is simple and as follows .

Starting from the open state shown in the figures 1 to 4, runners 5 on. the rail 4 are slid to one end of the rail 4 as shown in the figures S to 8. In this way the runners 5 are slid closer together whereby the articulated connections 9 fold shut away from the rail 4, more specifically in the case of the figures 5 to 8 fold down and thus away from, in-between the ribs 6,

In this way the ribs 6 hinge on the runners 5 towards the rail 4 up to the position in the figures 5 to 8, whereby in the closed position they extend in parallel against or almost against each other beside the rail 4 in. a position that runs practically parallel with the longitudinal direction Χ-Χ'- of the rail. 4h

The axes Z-Z' of the articulations 10 and the intermediate ribs 12 extending in the continuation thereof have also turned parallel to each other towards the rail 4, given that shafts of the articulations 10 run parallel with the ribs 6 due to their construction.

The cloth 3 is suspended on the ribs 6 and folded up neatly when folding the folding mechanism 1 shut as shown in figure 9 with folds that extend downwards as from the ribs 6, the folds being kept in position by intermediate ribs 12 if any.

It is clear that the folding mechanism 1 can be reopened by sliding the runners 5 back out of each other until reaching the position in the figure 1.

Although not shown in the figures,, the folding mechanism 1 can be provided with a stop for the last runner 5 on the rail 4 in order to prevent the articulated connections 9 from, extending entireiy and in doing so folding shut in the wrong upwards direction whan closing.

The same effect can of course be achieved by ensuring that the cloth 3 is stretched tight before the articulated connections 9 have reached their extended state when folding open the folding raeehanism 1.

Figure 9 shows an application whereby the folding mechanism 1 is used to open and close a sunshade 2 , whereby in this case the rail is attached horizontal iy to a supporting pole .13 on a base 14.

In this case the runners 5 on both sides of the rail 5 are provided with ribs 6 which are connected to each other in pairs by means of articulated connections 6, so that the cloth 3 on the ribs 6 on both sides of the rail 4 can .be fixed in order to span a greater surface under the sunshade 2.

In this example in figure 9 the folding mechanism 1 is also provided with a drive not shown in the figures used to slide at least one of the runners 5, . for example the runner 5 which lies furthest from the supporting pole 13.

This drive can be realised in many different ways, for example by means of a chain drive, driven by a motor or crank mechanism, in the hollow rail 4 or suchlike. Furthermore the folding mechanism 1 is provided with a sequential mechanism. 15 that connects the driven runner 5 with the other runners 5 in order to slide all of these runners 5 in a. synchronised manner towards or away from each other. In the arrangement in figure 10 the sequential mechanism 15 is formed with rods 16 which are connected hingeably with each other at their ends 17 and which are each attached hingeably to a runner 5 by a central point 18. When the furthest driven runner 5 is moved towards the supporting pole 13 from the position in figure 10, the rods 16 between this runner 5 and the subsequent second runner 5 will be forced to rotate on the runners. Due to the rotation of the rod 16 on the second runner, the rod 16 is also turned on the third runner whereby the second and the third runner 5 are moved towards each other.

In this way all runners are pulled towards each other and towards the supporting pole .1.3 if the runner 5 which is closest to the supporting pole 13 is a fixed runner.

The alternative embodiment of figure 11 differs from the one in figure 11 by the fact that in figure 11 a sequential mechanism 15 is applied with a double-rod system, each runner 5 having two rods 16 lying cross-ways across each other, like the handles of a pair of scissors, each rod attached hingeably at a central point 18 to the appropriate runner 5. The rail 4 and the supporting pole 13 can be xnade hollow, for example to allow cables for lighting or heating to foe attached under the rail 4 or for the integration of the drive and/or a sequential mechanism or part thereof.

A folding mechanism 1 according to the invention can for example also be used to fold open and shut a foldable bed, whereby the rail 4 is then attached horizontally on a supporting frame and whereby the cloth 3 is supported by the ribs 6 and the intermediate ribs, if any. In. this case it is best for the runners 5 to be attached under the rail. 4 rather than above it as in the figures discussed.

The shape of the cloth 3 and the length of the ribs 6 can of course be adapted to obtain a rectangular bed, although other shapes are also imaginable .

It is clear that the rail 4 does not necessarily need to be set up horizontally but can. also be placed in. any direction, for example vertically in an application like a wind sail or as a sail on a sailing boat or suchlike.

In figure 12 an example is shown of a vertical arrangement for folding open an artificial foldable Christmas tree IS, whose branches are formed by the ribs 6 and intermediate ribs 12 upon which plastic needles 20 are attached.

Alternatively the folding mechanism I can be used to stretch open a cloth 3 with a silhouette of a Christmas tree as shown with a dotted line in figure 12. In order to obtain a three-dimensional form it is for example possible for the runners 5 to be provided with ribs which nnfoild In various planes, for example in two orthogonal planes with four ribs 6 per runner 5, whereby the runners 5 are then for exarapie made as sleeves that fit snugly around the rail 4..

The present invention is by no means limited to the embodiments described as an. example and shown in the drawings, but a folding mechanism according to the invention can be realised in ail kinds of forms, dimensions and applications without departing from the scope of the invention .