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Title:
A LATCH AND/OR LOCK ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/033147
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a latch and/or lock assembly for operative engagement with a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle. The latch and/or lock assembly comprises: a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective or complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess. The retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that pivots about a retractor axis to move the bolt to the retracted position and a force receiving part for receiving input force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis. The force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is configured to engage with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a single or unique posture.

Inventors:
GREENBURY, David (31-33 Alfred Street, Blackburn, VIC 3130, AU)
LAMBROU, Harris (31-33 Alfred Street, Blackburn, VIC 3130, AU)
WILLIAMSON, Geoff (31-33 Alfred Street, Blackburn, VIC 3130, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/000140
Publication Date:
February 21, 2019
Filing Date:
August 17, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GAINBOROUGH HARDWARE INDUSTRIES LIMITED (31-33 Alfred Street, Blackburn, VIC 3130, AU)
International Classes:
E05B15/00; E05B1/00; E05B7/00; E05B55/12; E05C1/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012100292A12012-08-02
Foreign References:
GB2291112A1996-01-17
US20090314043A12009-12-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SPRUSON & FERGUSON (GPO Box 3898, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A lock assembly for operative connection or engagement with a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle, the lock assembly comprising:

a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess;

wherein the retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that pivots about a retractor axis to move the bolt to the retracted position and a force receiving part for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis; and

wherein the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is configured to engage with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a single or unique posture.

2. A lock assembly according to claim 1 , wherein the bolt and at least part of the bolt retractor mechanism are provided in a lock body unit which is configured as an independent or separate unit of the assembly.

3. A lock assembly according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the retractor axis is arranged to be substantially parallel to the handle axis, and wherein the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is configured for operative engagement with the force providing part of the handle mechanism between the handle axis and the retractor axis.

4. A lock assembly according to any one the preceding claims, wherein the lock assembly includes the handle mechanism with the handle that is manually movable about the handle axis and the force providing part that is operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle

5. A lock assembly comprising:

a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective recess;

a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess, wherein the bolt retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that is arranged to pivot about a retractor axis for moving the bolt to the retracted position, and a force receiving part for receiving input force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis; and

a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle, the force providing part of the handle mechanism being configured for operative engagement with the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism in a single or unique posture.

6. A lock assembly according to any one the preceding claims, wherein the force providing part of the handle mechanism has a first mating member and the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism has a second mating member, with the first and the second mating members being configured for mating engagement with one another in the single or unique posture.

7. A lock assembly according to claim 6, wherein at least one, and preferably both, of the first mating member and the second mating member is/are elongate in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis, and the mating engagement occurs in this axial direction.

8. A lock assembly according to claim 6 or claim 7, wherein the relative positions of the first and second mating members in the single or unique posture are adjustable in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis.

9. A lock assembly according to claim 8, wherein at least one, and preferably both, of the first mating member and the second mating member has an extent in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis which is approximately equal to a width dimension of a lock body unit comprising the bolt and the bolt retractor mechanism.

10. A lock assembly according to any one of claims 6 to 9, wherein one of the first and the second mating members may comprise a keyway or slot and the other of the first and the second mating members may comprise a complementary key, peg or projection configured to be received within the keyway or slot.

1 1 . A lock assembly according to any one the preceding claims, wherein the handle mechanism includes a drive gear that is rigidly or fixedly connected with the handle for driving the movement of the force providing part in response to movement of the handle; wherein the force providing part of the handle mechanism is arranged to pivot about the retractor axis in response to movement of the handle about the handle axis, and wherein the force providing part includes gear teeth which mesh with the drive gear.

12. A lock assembly according to claim 11, wherein the force providing part is formed as an integral or unitary component, wherein the mating member of the force providing part is integrally formed or unitarily formed with the gear teeth of the force providing part which mesh with the drive gear of the handle mechanism.

13. A lock assembly according to any one the preceding claims, wherein the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is integrally or unitarily formed with the retractor member, and wherein force transmitted from the force providing part of the handle mechanism is directly imparted to the retractor member via the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism.

14. A method of installing a lock assembly providing operative connection with a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle; the lock assembly comprising: a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess, wherein the retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that can pivot about a retractor axis to move the bolt to the retracted position and a force receiving part for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis; the method comprising:

engaging the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a single available posture.

15. A method according to claim 14, comprising matingly engaging the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in the single available posture in a direction substantially parallel to a pivot axis of the retractor member and/or to the handle axis.

16. A method according to claim 14 or claim 15, comprising adjusting relative positions of the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism and the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis in the said single available posture.

Description:
A LATCH AND/OR LOCK ASSEMBLY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a latch assembly or lock assembly, as well as to a method of installing such a latch assembly or lock assembly.

[0002] The present invention has particular application to a lock assembly which is able to operate in different modes. In the case of the lock assembly being employed on a door, the modes of operation will typically include a latching mode or passage mode in which the turning of a door-handle can move a locking bolt of the lock assembly between an extended position for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess provided in a frame of the doorway, and a retracted position for disengagement from that recess. The modes of operation may also include a privacy mode that prevents retraction of the bolt by a door-handle on the outer side of the door. It will be convenient to describe the invention with reference to such an embodiment, although it will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the invention is not limited to this particular context.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Locks that are able to function in multiple modes are known. Indeed, the present applicant already markets lock assemblies that are configured to operate in any one of a passage or latching mode, a deadlock mode, and/or a privacy mode. As noted above, in the passage mode, the turning of either door-handle withdraws the lock bolt from a first extended position to a retracted position to enable the door to be opened. In the privacy mode, which may be activated by a button or snib provided on an inner side of the door, retraction of the bolt by a door-handle on the outer side of the door is prevented. Turning the inner door-handle disables the privacy function, permitting the door to be opened. In a deadlock mode, a key can be used to throw the bolt to a further extended position to lock the door securely and make forced entry more difficult.

[0004] It has been found that conventional lock assemblies have problems with their installation or assembly. In particular, it has been found that parts of the lock assembly can be installed or combined such that, despite appearing to be in their correct positions, the parts may nevertheless be incorrectly combined. Such an incorrect installation or assembly may, in turn, result in damage to, or failure of, the lock assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is an object of the invention to provide a new latch assembly or lock assembly that may substantially overcome or at least ameliorate one or more of the above disadvantages.

[0006] According to a first aspect, the present invention provides a latch and/or lock assembly for operative connection or engagement with a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle. The latch/lock assembly includes: a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective or complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess. The retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that pivots about a retractor axis to move the bolt to the retracted position and a force receiving part for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis. The force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is configured to engage with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a single or unique posture.

[0007] In this way, the latch/lock assembly can be configured such that the bolt retractor mechanism is able to be operatively connected with the handle mechanism in a straight-forward and unmistakable manner. That is, by designing the single or unique posture to be immediately apparent to a technician, the chances or prospects of the lock assembly being installed or assembled incorrectly can be substantially reduced or even eliminated. For convenience, the latch and/or lock assembly will be referred to herein simply as a "lock assembly", as it will typically include or provide a locking function.

[0008] In a preferred embodiment, the bolt and at least part of the bolt retractor mechanism are integrated or incorporated in a lock body unit which is configured as an independent or separate unit of the assembly. Accordingly, the lock body unit may be quickly and simply combined with other parts of the assembly by operatively interconnecting the bolt retractor mechanism with the handle mechanism via the single or unique engagement posture. [0009] In a preferred embodiment, the retractor axis is arranged to be substantially parallel to the handle axis. Furthermore, the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is configured for operative engagement with the force providing part of the handle mechanism between the handle axis and the retractor axis.

[0010] In at least one embodiment, the lock assembly may include the handle mechanism with the handle that is manually movable about the handle axis and the force providing part that is operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle. In this way, the handle mechanism, the bolt retractor mechanism, and the bolt may be combined in an integrated lock assembly for installation in a door, gate, window, or any such similar portal.

[001 1] According to another aspect, therefore, the present invention provides a lock assembly comprising a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective recess; a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess; and a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle. The bolt retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that is arranged to pivot about a retractor axis for moving the bolt to the retracted position, and a force receiving part for receiving input force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis. The force providing part of the handle mechanism is configured for operative engagement with the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism in a single or unique posture.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment, the force providing part of the handle mechanism is configured for mating engagement with the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism in the said single or unique posture. To this end, the force providing part of the handle mechanism has a first mating member and the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism has a second mating member, with the first and the second mating members being configured for mating engagement with one another in the single or unique posture. In this regard, at least one, and preferably both, of the first mating member and the second mating member is/are elongate in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis, and the mating engagement occurs in this axial direction. In this way, the installation or interconnection of the retractor mechanism and the handle mechanism occurs by effecting their mating engagement in this axial direction. [0013] In a preferred embodiment, the relative positions of the first and second mating members in the single or unique posture are adjustable in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis. In this context, at least one, and preferably both, of the first mating member and the second mating member has an extent in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis which is approximately equal to a width dimension of a lock body unit comprising the bolt and the bolt retractor mechanism. For example, one of the first and the second mating members may comprise a keyway or slot and the other of the first and the second mating members may comprise a complementary key, peg or projection configured to be received within the keyway or slot. By providing for adjustment of the relative positions of the first and second mating members in the axial direction when engaged in the single or unique posture, the assembly can be adjusted to suit different door widths or thicknesses. This provides flexibility during installation enabling the assembly to be adjusted to a range of different doors.

[0014] In a preferred embodiment, the handle mechanism includes a drive gear which is rigidly or fixedly connected with the handle for driving the movement of the force providing part in response to movement of the handle. The force providing part of the handle mechanism is preferably arranged to pivot about the retractor axis in response to movement of the handle about the handle axis, and the force providing part preferably includes gear teeth which mesh with the drive gear. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the force providing part is formed as an integral or unitary component. As such, the mating member of the force providing part may be integrally formed or unitarily formed with the gear teeth of the force providing part which mesh with the drive gear of the handle mechanism.

[0015] In a preferred embodiment, the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is integrally or unitarily formed with the retractor member. In this way, the force transmitted from the force providing part of the handle mechanism is able to be directly imparted to the retractor member via the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism.

[0016] According to a further aspect, the present invention provides a method of installing a lock assembly providing operative connection with a handle mechanism having a handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a force providing part operatively associated with the handle for movement in response to movement of the handle. The lock assembly comprises: a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess. The retractor mechanism includes a retractor member that can pivot about a retractor axis to move the bolt to the retracted position and a force receiving part for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis. The method comprises engaging the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a single or unique posture.

[0017] In a preferred embodiment, the method comprises matingly engaging the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism with the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a single or unique posture in a direction substantially parallel to a pivot axis of the retractor member and/or to the handle axis.

[0018] In a preferred embodiment, the method comprises adjusting relative positions of the force receiving part of the retractor mechanism and the force providing part of the handle mechanism in a direction substantially parallel to the retractor axis and/or to the handle axis in the said single or unique posture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] For a more complete understanding of the invention and the advantages thereof, exemplary embodiments of the invention are explained in more detail in the following detailed description with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference signs designate like parts and in which:

[0020] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a lock assembly according to a preferred embodiment showing the lock assembly in a not yet fully installed state in a door;

[0021] Fig. 2 is an exploded perspective view of part of the lock assembly in Fig. 1 ;

[0022] Fig. 3 is a perspective view of the lock assembly according to a preferred embodiment and substantially as shown in Fig. 1 , in the privacy mode;

[0023] Fig. 4 is a perspective view of the lock assembly according to a preferred embodiment and substantially as shown in Fig. I, in the passage mode or latching mode; [0024] Fig. 5 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 4, in the passage mode or latching mode, with the interior handle turned; and

[0025] Fig. 6a is a side view of the lock assembly of Fig. 1 arranged for a thick door width;

[0026] Fig. 6b is a side view of the lock assembly of Fig. 1 arranged for a thin door width;

[0027] Fig. 7a is a perspective detail of the lock assembly of Fig. 6a for a thick door width; and

[0028] Fig. 7b is a perspective detail of the lock assembly of Fig. 6b for a thin door width.

[0029] The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the present invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate particular embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. Other embodiments of the invention and many of the attendant advantages of the invention will be readily appreciated as they become better understood with reference to the following detailed description.

[0030] It will be appreciated that common and/or well understood elements that may be useful or necessary in a commercially feasible embodiment are not necessarily depicted in order to facilitate a more abstracted view of the embodiments. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily illustrated to scale relative to each other. It will also be understood that certain actions and/or steps in an embodiment of a method may be described or depicted in a particular order of occurrences while those skilled in the art will understand that such specificity with respect to sequence is not actually required.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0031] With reference firstly to Figs. 1 to 3 of the drawings, a preferred embodiment of a lock assembly 100 for installation in a door D is shown. The lock assembly 100 comprises a housing 10 upon and/or within which a handle mechanism 20 and a lock body unit 50 of the lock assembly 100 are mounted and supported. The housing 10 comprises two plate members 1 1 , 12 for covering a cavity C formed in the door D in which various components of the handle mechanism 20 and the lock body unit 50 are held. The plate members 11, 12 are fixed via screws 13 on an inner side Si and an outer side So of the door D, respectively, such that they cover and securely enclose components of the handle mechanism 20 and the lock body unit 50 in the cavity C. The inner plate member 1 1 has an inwardly projecting or upstanding rim 14 which surrounds or circumscribes a space for housing the components of the handle mechanism 20 and the lock body unit 50, and this inwardly projecting rim 14 is sized and shaped to substantially match and to be received within the cavity C formed in the door D.

[0032] The handle mechanism 20 comprises an inner handle 21 on the inner side Si of the door D and an outer handle 22 on the outer side So of the door D, each of which handles 21 , 22 is mounted and supported on a respective one of the inner and outer plate members 11, 12 of the housing 10 for manual movement or rotation about a handle axis 23. To this end, each of the handles 21 , 22 has a stub shaft 24 which is received and seats within a respective aperture 15 formed in each plate member 1 1 , 12. As can be seen in Fig. 2 of the drawings, the handle mechanism 20 includes a torsion spring 25 inside the housing 10 for resiliently biasing the inner handle 21 about the handle axis 23 to the neutral or non-rotated position. That is, when the inner handle 21 is manually turned about the axis 23, it is turned against the bias of the torsion spring 25, which acts to return the handle 21 when released. Further, the handle mechanism 20 comprises a hub member 26 having an integrally formed drive gear 27 that is non-rotatably fixedly to the stub shaft 24 by means of an arrangement of a washer 28 and a circlip 29 specifically designed for this purpose. The washer 28 includes two opposed, inwardly directed rectangular tongue-elements 30 which are received and engage in complementary slots 31 formed in the stub shaft 24. The washer 28 also has a lateral projection 32 which seats and bears against a respective shoulder 33 on a facing side of the hub member 26. When the circlip 29 is then set in a groove 34 at an end of the stub shaft 24, the washer 28 is locked against the hub member 26 such that the drive gear 27 is fixedly connected to the stub shaft 24 for rotation therewith.

[0033] In this embodiment, it will be appreciated from Figs. 1 to 3 that the lock assembly 100 of this embodiment includes a privacy mode sub-assembly 60 in the housing 10 adjacent the inner plate member 1 1 . This privacy mode sub-assembly 60 includes a button 61 which seats within and projects through a rectangular opening 16 in the plate member 1 1 for operation by a user. The privacy mode sub-assembly 60 further includes a latch plate 62 having a downwardly projecting nose 63, which latch plate 62 is vertically movable under spring bias provided by two leaf spring elements 64 between an upward, retracted position and a downward, engaging position. With reference again to Fig.1 , it will be noted that the outer handle 22 on the outer side So of the door D includes a hub member 35, a stem 36 of which is non-rotatably received within the stub shaft 24 of the outer handle 22. In this way, the integrally formed plate 37 of the hub member 35 is also rotationally fixed with respect to the outer handle 22. It will be noted that the plate 37 of the hub member 35 includes integral projections (not shown) on the side facing the hub member 26 of inner handle 21 that are configured to engage the hub member 26 and thereby transfer torque to the drive gear 27 upon turning of the outer handle 22. When the button 61 of the privacy mode sub-assembly 60 is actuated or pressed, the latch plate 62 is moved vertically down under the bias of the spring elements 64 from the retracted position to the engaging position in which the projecting nose 63 is received in and latches with a complementary recess 38 in the edge of the plate 37 of hub member 35. In this way, the latch plate 62 via the projecting nose 63 engages with the hub member 35 and interrupts or prevents turning of the outer door handle 22, as the stem 36 is non-rotatably received in the shaft 24 of the outer door handle 22. Turning the inner door handle 21, however, operates to disable this privacy function by moving the latch plate 62 vertically up again to the retracted position under the bias of spring elements 64, thereby permitting the door D to be opened by the outer door handle 22 again.

[0034] With reference now also to Figs. 4 and 5 of the drawings, it will be seen that the lock body unit 50 is formed as a separate or independent sub-assembly or unit of lock assembly 100 and includes a casing 51 and a sleeve or tube 52 that extends from the casing 51 to an end plate 53 that is configured to be fastened via a fascia plate P and screws S at an edge of the door D. The lock body unit 50 has a key barrel 54 that projects through a correspondingly shaped opening 17 in each of the inner and outer plate members 11, 12 of the housing 10 and is operable from both sides of the door D by a key (not shown) inserted into the key barrel 54. In particular, by turning the key in the key barrel 54, a cam (not shown) located in the casing 51 and operatively associated with the key barrel turns with the key. The lock body unit 50 further includes a bolt 55 configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess (not shown) which is provided in a door frame for alignment with the bolt 55 when the door D is closed. The bolt 55 is accommodated within the sleeve or tube 52 for generally linear movement in or along an axial direction of sleeve or tube 52. In this embodiment, the bolt 55 is designed for movement at least between a first extended position as shown in Figs. 1, 3 and 4, and a retracted position as shown in Fig. 5 so that the lock assembly 100 is able to operate in a passage or latching mode. In the passage mode or latching mode, the turning of the key (not shown) or the turning of either of the door handles 21 , 22 operates to withdraw or retract the bolt 55 from the first extended position (Figs. 3 and 4) where it is positioned for latching engagement in a recess (not shown) in a door frame, to the retracted position (Fig. 5) such that the bolt 55 disengages the recess to enable the door to be opened. The lock assembly 100 of this embodiment may optionally also be configured for movement of the bolt 55 to a second, more extended position in response to turning of the key (i.e., in response to movement of the cam) for operation in a deadlock mode. This aspect of the lock assembly 100 will not be further described here in detail, however.

[0035] The lock body unit 50 includes a bolt retractor mechanism 56 for moving the bolt 55 from the extended position (in Figs. 3 and 4) into the sleeve or tube 52 to the retracted position (in Fig. 5). The retractor mechanism 56 includes a drive shaft 57 for pivoting or turning about an axis X and a force receiving member 58 provided on and integrally formed with the drive shaft 57 via which torque from turning either of the door handles 21 , 22 is then transmitted to the lock body unit 50 for moving the bolt 55 in the passage mode or latching mode. The retractor mechanism 56 further includes a retractor member 59 (seen in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4) which is integrally formed with, or rigidly connected to, the drive shaft 57 and extends radially away from the retractor axis X of the drive shaft 57 into the casing 51 of the lock body unit 50 and ends in a curved nose (not shown) which abuts and engages a bolt drive member (not shown) within the casing 51 for moving or retracting the bolt 55.

[0036] With reference to drawing Figs. 1 to 5, it will be seen that the handle mechanism 20 of the lock assembly 100 includes a force providing part 40 that is operatively connected with the drive gear 27 for movement in response to pivoting movement of the handles 21, 22. The force providing part 40 of the handle mechanism 20 comprises a ring-shaped hub 41 and gear teeth 42 around a periphery of the hub 41 which are configured to mesh with the teeth of the drive gear 27 on the hub member 26. Further, the ring-shaped hub 41 of the force providing part 40 is arranged on a stub shaft 18 projecting from the plate member 1 1 in the housing 10 for pivoting movement about an axis generally coaxial with the retractor axis X in response to movement of either of the handles 21, 22 about the handle axis 23. In this embodiment, the force providing part 40 is formed as an integral or unitary component and is typically fabricated from steel, or some other similarly robust and durable material. The force providing part 40 of the handle mechanism includes a portion 43 which extends from the ring-shaped hub 41 generally parallel to the axis X and includes the gear teeth 42 along an outer periphery thereof. This portion 43 of the force providing part 40 has an elongate channel, slot or keyway 44 which is configured for accommodating the force receiving member 58 of the retractor mechanism 56 in mating engagement. To this end, the force receiving member 58 is desirably configured as an elongate peg or key having a profile or cross-section complementary to the shape of the elongate channel, slot or keyway 44. In this way, the interconnection of the retractor mechanism 56 and the handle mechanism 20 occurs by effecting mating engagement of the force providing part 40 and force receiving member 58 in the axial direction. As the force providing part 40 in this embodiment has a single channel or keyway 44 and the force receiving member 58 is formed as just a single complementary peg or key, the mating engagement can be effected in a straight-forward and unmistakable manner that will be immediately apparent to a technician installing the lock assembly 100. Because lock body unit 50 is configured as a separate or independent subassembly or unit of lock assembly 100, the lock body unit 50 may be quickly and simply combined with the other parts of the assembly 100 by operatively interconnecting the bolt retractor mechanism 56 with the force providing part 40 of handle mechanism 20 in a single or unique engagement posture. This way, the chances or prospects of the lock assembly being installed or assembled incorrectly can be reduced or even eliminated.

[0037] From the position shown in Fig. 4, when the inner door handle 21 is turned or rotated in a clockwise direction through an angle of about 45° to the position shown in Fig. 5, the drive gear 27 on the hub member 26 which is fixedly connected with the handle 21 is also turned or rotated. Because the teeth of the drive gear 27 are in mesh with the teeth 42 of the force providing part 40, the turning or rotating of the drive gear 27 correspondingly drives the movement of the force providing part 40 about the axis X of the stub shaft 18. The mating engagement between the portion 43 of the force providing part 40 and the force receiving member 48 of the bolt retractor mechanism 56, in turn, transmits force to the drive shaft 57 of the lock body unit 50 for moving the bolt 55 to the retracted position in Fig. 5.

[0038] With reference now to Figs. 6a-6b and 7a-7b, it will be apparent that the relative positions of the force receiving member 48 of the bolt retractor mechanism 56 and the channel, slot or keyway 44 of the force providing part 40 can be adjusted in a direction parallel to the retractor axis X and/or to the handle axis 23. By providing for adjustment this way in the axial direction when engaged, the lock assembly 100 can be adapted during installation to suit different door thicknesses, thereby providing flexibility enabling the assembly to be adjusted to a range of different doors D. In this regard, Figs. 6a and 7a illustrate the lock assembly 100 adjusted to installation in a door D of greater thickness, whereas Figs. 6b and 7b illustrate the lock assembly 100 adjusted to installation in a door D of lesser thickness. [0039] Although specific embodiments of the invention are illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a variety of alternative and/or equivalent implementations exist. It should be appreciated that the exemplary embodiment or exemplary embodiments are examples only and are not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration in any way. Rather, the foregoing summary and detailed description will provide those skilled in the art with a convenient road map for implementing at least one exemplary embodiment, it being understood that various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements described in an exemplary embodiment without departing from the scope as set forth in the appended claims and their legal equivalents. Generally, this application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the specific embodiments discussed herein.

[0040] It will also be appreciated that in this document the terms "comprise", "comprising", "include", "including", "contain", "containing", "have", "having", and any variations thereof, are intended to be understood in an inclusive (i.e. non-exclusive) sense, such that the process, method, device, apparatus or system described herein is not limited to those features or parts or elements or steps recited but may include other elements, features, parts or steps not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Furthermore, the terms "a" and "an" used herein are intended to be understood as meaning one or more unless explicitly stated otherwise. Moreover, the terms "first", "second", "third", etc. are used merely as labels, and are not intended to impose numerical requirements on or to establish a certain ranking of importance of their objects.

LIST OF REFERENCE SIGNS

100 lock assembly 40 force providing part

10 housing 41 ring-shaped hub

11 plate member 42 gear teeth

12 plate member 43 portion

13 screw 44 elongate channel, slot or keyway

14 projecting rim 50 lock body unit

15 aperture 51 casing

16 opening 52 sleeve or tube

17 opening 53 end plate

18 stub shaft 54 key barrel

20 handle mechanism 55 bolt

21 inner handle 56 retractor mechanism

22 outer handle 57 drive shaft

23 handle axis 58 force receiving member

24 stub shaft 59 retractor member

25 torsion spring 60 privacy sub-assembly

26 hub member 61 button

27 drive gear 62 latch plate

28 washer 63 projecting nose

29 circlip 64 spring element

30 tongue element D door

31 slot C cavity

32 lateral projection Si inner side

33 shoulder So outer side

34 groove P fascia plate

35 hub member s screw

36 stem X drive shaft axis

37 plate

38 recess