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Title:
MOTOR OPERATED SNOW CHAIN SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/092366
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The object of this invention is to provide a motor-operated snow chain system for automobiles. This chain system is installed at a wheel of an automobile using the wheel locking bolts (16), and consists of a chain (1), a motor (11), an RF receiver (12) and a battery (13). The chain system is radio-controlled by a driver to wrap or remove the chain (1) on or from the tread of a tire to give increased traction on snow or a steep slope. That is, when it is desired to increase traction of the tires while driving the automobile on snow or a steep slope, the driver sitting in the driver's seat radio-controls the chain system without stopping the automobile. In such a case, the chain (1) of the system is automatically wrapped around the tread of the tire. The driver thus easily and quickly uses the chain system when necessary.

Inventors:
Yoon, Hyun-son (Ssangyong apartment house Imoon-dong Dongdaemoon-gu Seoul 130-765, 106-1701, KR)
Application Number:
PCT/KR2002/000877
Publication Date:
November 21, 2002
Filing Date:
May 10, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Moon, Yoon-ho (35-2, Kumkok-dong Seo-gu Inchon-shi404-330, KR)
Yoon, Hyun-son (Ssangyong apartment house Imoon-dong Dongdaemoon-gu Seoul 130-765, 106-1701, KR)
International Classes:
B60C27/14; (IPC1-7): B60C27/14
Foreign References:
KR970008511U1997-03-27
JPS59172609U1984-11-17
JPH09193632A1997-07-29
US4338988A1982-07-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kim, Dong-jin (9th Fl. Star Tower. 737 Yeoksam1-dong Gangnam-gu Seoul 135-984, KR)
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Claims:
Claims
1. A motoroperated snow chain system, comprising: a plurality of long guides (2) and short guides (3), the long and short guides guiding an antislip member, such as a wire chain (1), onto a tread of a rolling tire and locking the antislip member on the tread; a fixing plate (9) having a hub (8) including a motor (11), an RF receiver (12) and a battery (13) therein, a plurality of extension arms (9b) having a holder (9a) formed at the outside end of each extension arm (9b) so as to support to the long and short guides (2,3), and a plurality of fixing cylinders (10) formed on the fixing plate (9) so as to couple tightly the plate (9) to a wheel having the tire, some of the fixing cylinders (10) being bolted to the wheel using a wheel locking bolts (16), wherein the extension arms (9b) are bent toward the tire at an angle"b" relative to the plane of the plate (9), and the holder (9a) leans toward the tire at an angle"a"relative to the plane of the plate (9); a rotary disc (18) provided outside of the fixing plate (9) and connected to the motor (11); a plurality of springs (5) arranged around the rotary disc (18) in radial directions and coupled at inside ends thereof to an inner surface of the rotary disc (18); a plurality of links (6) coupled at both ends thereof to the outside end of each spring (5) through a first universal joint (7a), and to each of the short guides (3) through a second universal joint (7b), thus forming a link mechanism; and a disc cover (20) covering the elements of the snow chain system, thus protecting the elements from external impurities or external impact, the disc cover also forming a good appearance of the snow chain system.
2. The motoroperated snow chain system according to claim 1, wherein the long and short guides (2,3) is adjustable in a covering area thereof by controlling the angles"a"and"b"during a production process of the snow chain system, thus allowing the snow chain system to be used with a wide width tire as well as a standardsized tire.
3. The motoroperated snow chain system according to claim 1, wherein the hub (8) projects from the center of the fixing plate (9), and the fixing cylinders (10) are formed on the fixing plate (9) at positions opposite to the hub (8) so as to coupled tightly the fixing plate (9) to the wheel having the tire.
4. The motoroperated snow chain system according to claim 1, wherein the extension arms (9b) with the holder (9a) is formed around the hub (8) in the shape of an impeller or a sunflower.
5. The motoroperated snow chain system according to claim 1, wherein the rotary disc (18) consists of a cap portion and an edge portion surrounding the cap portion, wherein the cap portion has two wrench holes (19) and is constructed such that the cap portion surrounds the hub (8) of the fixing plate (9).
6. The motoroperated snow chain system according to claim 1, wherein the long guides (2) are provided with a plurality of frictional members (4), the frictional members (4) having functions of stably holding the wire chain (1) on the tread of the tire, and of preventing an undesired shaking of the long and short guides (2,3) during a rotation of the tire, and of acting as spikes.
7. The motoroperated snow chain system according to claim 1, wherein the disc cover (20) has a plurality of through holes and pin holes at positions corresponding to a plurality of screw holes and pin holes formed at a cap portion of the rotary disc (18), the disc cover (20) being thus locked to the rotary disc (18) using a plurality of disc locking bolts (17) and nuts (23).
Description:
MOTOR-OPERATED SNOW CHAIN SYSTEM Technical Field The present invention relates, in general, to a motor-operated snow chain system for automobile tires and, more particularly, to a motor-operated snow chain system by which an anti-slip member such as a wire chain is automatically wrapped on or removed from the tread of a tire while driving an automobile.

Background Art As well known to those skilled in the art, most conventional snow chains for automobiles are fabricated by a combination of wire chains, plastic bands and metal pieces, and are manually wrapped or removed on or from the tires of wheels by a driver while an automobile is stopped. So, the wrapping or removing of such conventional snow chains on or from the tires thus forces users to consume excessive labor and time, and is very inconvenient to the users, particularly, aged users and female users.

Since the wrapping or removing of such conventional snow chains on or from the tires is very inconvenient to the users as described above, most drivers driving automobiles with the snow chains wrapped on their tires tend to drive their automobiles without removing the chains from the tires even when their automobiles leave snowy road surfaces and reach road surfaces not having snow.

That is, even when an automobile with the conventional snow chains wrapped on the tires leaves a snowy road surface and reaches another road surface not having snow, the driver, in expectation of meeting of another snowy road, does not remove the snow chains from the tires. In such a case, excessive vibration generated by the repeated contact of the chains with the snow-free road surface is transmitted from the tires to the car body, thus damaging the car body and making passengers including the driver feel uncomfortable. In addition, the snow chains wrapped on the tires rolling on the snow-free road surface force the driver to drive

the automobile at a low speed.

When automobiles with the chains on the tires run on paved road surfaces not having snow, the chains repeatedly damage and scratch the road surfaces, thus shortening the life span of the paved roads and forcing the road managing departments to waste labor, time and excessive money for repairing, repaving and reconstructing the roads.

Accordingly, the present invention has been made keeping in mind the above problems occurring in the prior art, and an object of the present invention is to provide a motor-operated snow chain system for automobiles, which is controlled by a driver using a remote controller and a motor-operated mechanism while driving an automobile so as to automatically wrap or remove a chain around or from the tread of a tire without stopping the automobile, and which thus allows the driver to be free from the undesired consumption of labor and time experienced in the wrapping or removing of conventional snow chains around or from the tires, and which automatically removes the chain from the tire when the driver manipulates the remote controller in the automobile upon leaving a snowy road surface and reaching a road surface not having snow, thus preventing damage to the car body caused by vibration transmitted from the chained tires to the car body and preventing damage to the paved road surfaces.

Disclosure of the Invention In order to accomplish the above object, the present invention provides a motor-operated snow chain system, comprising: a plurality of long guides and short guides, the long and short guides guiding an anti-slip member, such as a wire chain, onto a tread of a rolling tire and locking the anti-slip member on the tread; a fixing plate having a hub including a motor, an RF receiver and a battery therein, a plurality of extension arms having a holder formed at the outside end of each extension arm so as to support to the long and short guides, and a plurality of fixing cylinders formed on the fixing plate so as to couple tightly the plate to a wheel having the tire, some of the fixing cylinders being bolted to the wheel using

a wheel locking bolts, wherein the extension arms are bent toward the tire at an angle"b"relative to the plane of the plate, and the holder leans toward the tire at an angle"a"relative to the plane of the plate; a rotary disc provided outside of the fixing plate and connected to the motor; a plurality of springs arranged around the rotary disc in radial directions and coupled at inside ends thereof to an inner surface of the rotary disc; a plurality of links coupled at both ends thereof to the outside end of each spring through a first universal joint, and to each of the short guides through a second universal joint, thus forming a link mechanism; and a disc cover covering the elements of the snow chain system, thus protecting the elements from external impurities or external impact, the disc cover also forming a good appearance of the snow chain system.

Brief Description of the Drawings Fig. 1 is a perspective view, showing a motor-operated snow chain system of the present invention that is collapsed by the long guides and short guides and set in the space defined by the inner surface of a disc cover.

Fig. 2 is a perspective view, showing the motor-operated snow chain system of the present invention, in which the wire chain is spread by the long and short guides to be wrapped on the tread of a tire, with the tire omitted from this drawing.

Fig. 3 is an exploded perspective view, showing the construction of the motor-operated snow chain system according to the present invention; Figs. 4A to 4D are front views, showing the operation of the motor- operated snow chain system of the present invention in four steps, with a disc cover omitted from these drawings.

Figs. SA to 5D are perspective view, showing the operation of the motor- operated snow chain system of the present invention in four steps, with the disc cover omitted from Figs. 5B and 5C.

Best Mode for Carrying Out the Invention The best mode for carrying out the invention will be described in detail hereinafter with reference to the drawings.

As shown in Fig. 1, the motor-operated snow chain system of this invention comprises an anti-slip member such as a wire chain 1 which is normally set in a space defined by the inner surface of a disc cover 20 while being collapsed by long and short guides 2 and 3.

As shown in Fig. 2, the long and short guides 2 and 3 of this snow chain system are operated through a link action in response to a control signal outputted from a remote controller manipulated by a user. By means of such a link action of the long and short guides 2 and 3, the wire chain 1 is spread from the space to be wrapped on the tread of the rolling tire, or is removed from the tread of the rolling tire to be collapsed and set into its original position in the chain seating space.

The construction of the motor-operated snow chain system of this invention will be described in more detail.

As shown in Fig. 3, the motor-operated snow chain system of this invention comprises a motor 11, an RF receiver 12 and a plurality of batteries 13, which are set in the hub 8 of a fixing plate 9. The batteries 13 are seated in a plurality of battery housings 14 and are in contact with the terminals of a circuit protective cover 15, respectively. The RF receiver 12 is electrically activated by the electricity of the batteries 13 in response to a radio-control signal outputted from the remote controller, and outputs a drive signal to the motor 11. In response to the drive signal from the RF receiver 12, the motor 11 rotates a rotary disc 18.

The hub 8 projects from the center of the fixing plate 9, with a plurality of fixing cylinders 10 regularly formed on the plate 9 at positions opposite to the hub 8 so as to be firmly fixed to a wheel having the tire. In such a case, some of the fixing cylinders 10 are bolted to the wheel using conventional wheel locking bolts 16.

The fixing plate 9 includes a plurality of extension arms 9b having a holder 9a formed at the outside end of each extension arm 9b in a shape of an impellor or a sunflower, wherein, as shown in Fig. 2, the extension arms 9b extend outward from the edge of the plate in radial directions and are bent toward the tire relative to the plane of the plate 9 at an angle of"b", and the holder 9a leans toward the tire relative to the plane of the plate 9 at an angle of"a".

The rotary disc 18 consists of a cap portion and an edge portion surrounding the cap portion. The cap portion of the rotary disc 18 having two wrench holes 19 is constructed such that it surrounds the hub 8 of the fixing plate 9.

The cap portion of the rotary disc 18 has a threaded center hole formed at the center and is connected to the rotary shaft of the motor 11 through a screw-type engagement. The cap portion of the rotary disc 18 also has a plurality of screw holes each receiving a disc locking bolt 17, and a plurality of pin holes each receiving a fixing pin 22. This rotary disc 18 is connected to the rotary shaft of the motor 11 at the threaded center hole through a screw type engagement, thus being rotated by the rotating force of the motor 11. A plurality of springs 5 are regularly arranged around the edge portion of the inner surface of the rotary disc 18 in radial directions. The inside ends of the springs 5 are fixed to the edge portion of the inner surface of the rotary disc 18.

Each of the above springs 5 is jointed at its outside end to a link 6 through a first universal joint 7a such that the springs 5 and the links 6 form a link mechanism.

Each of the links 6 is also jointed to an associated short guide 3 through a second universal joint 7b.

Each of the short and long guides 2 and 3 are formed in a single body by specifically bending a wire member. The short guides 3 are passed through the guide locking openings formed at the holders 9a of the fixing plate 9. Therefore, when a rotating force is transmitted from the rotary disc 18 to the short guides 3 through the links 6, the short guides 3 are rotated at the guide locking openings of the holders 9a and, at the same time, locate the outside ends of the long guides 2 at desired positions on the tread of the tire.

The outside ends of the long guides 2 are shaped in the form of a ring so as to be connected to the wire chain 1.

A plurality of frictional members 4 are welded to the end of each long guide 2, and have several functions. That is, the frictional members 4 have a first function of stably holding the chain 1 on the tread of a tire, a second function of preventing an undesired shaking of the guides 2 and 3 during a rotation of the tire, and a third function of acting as spikes.

The disc cover 20 has a plurality of through holes and pin holes at positions corresponding to the screw holes and pin holes of the rotary disc 18, and is locked to the rotary disc 18 by means of the disc locking bolts 17 and nuts 23.

The disc cover 20 covers the elements of the chain system, thus protecting the elements from external impurities, such as lumped snow, and from external impact.

This disc cover 20 is also used in place of a conventional wheel cover, so it is preferably designed such that it has a good appearance and provides a decoration effect.

The operation of the motor-operated snow chain system of this invention is described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

The operation of the chain system is shown in four steps in Figs. 4 wherein the disc cover 20 is omitted so as to more clearly show the operation of the motor- operated rotary disc 18 by means of the motor 11, resulting in operating springs 5, links 6, long guides 2 and short guides 3 when the system is spread to be wrapped on the tire.

Fig. 4A shows the state of the snow chain system before the motor 11 is operated. In such a case, the wire chain 1 and the guides 2 and 3 are seated in the space defined by the inner surface of the disc (20), thus being hidden by the disc cover 20.

At the step of Fig. 4B, the RF receiver 12 is electrically activated in response to a radio-control signal outputted from the remote controller, and outputs a drive signal to the motor 11. In response to the drive signal from the RF receiver 12, the motor 11 rotates the rotary disc 18. The rotation of the rotary disc 18 also causes a rotation of the springs 5, which are regularly arranged around

and fixed to the edge portion of the inner surface of the rotary disc 18 in the radial directions. Thus, the integrated long and short guides 2 and 3 connected to the springs 5 through the links 6 are rotated around the guide locking openings of the holders 9a of the fixing plate 9.

In such a case, the guides 2 and 3 are rotated at angles"a"and"b"relative to the plane of the fixing plate 9 as shown in Fig. 2. In the present invention, it is possible to adjust the covering area of the guides 2 and 3 by controlling the angles "a"and"b"during a production process of the snow chain systems. Therefore, the snow chain systems of this invention are used with standard-sized tires or wide width tires.

In a detailed description, the angle"a"is an angle at which each holder 9a of the fixing plate 9 leans toward the tire relative to the plane of the fixing plate 9, and the angle"b"is an angle at which each extension arm 9b of the fixing plate 9 is bent toward the tire relative to the plane of the fixing plate 9.

The angle"a"is designed in consideration of the side-bulged extent of the two edge junctions in junction with the tread of the tire by the pneumatical pressure such that it controls the positions of the guides 2 and 3 in contact with the tread of the tire. The angle"b"is designed such that it controls the rotations of the ends of the guides 2 and 3 in circumferential and width directions of the tread of the tire when the ends of the guides 2 and 3 are guided onto the tread.

In other words, the holders 9a of the fixing plate 9 further lean toward the tire in proportion to the angle"a". When the angle"a"is adjusted to be reduced, the holders 9a of the fixing plate 9 are positioned so that they are in the same plane as that of the plate 9. When the side-bulged extent of the two edge junctions of the tire is excessively higher during the use of the tires, the angle"a"is controlled to become reduced such that the holders 9a of the plate 9 move away from the edge junctions of the tire and, at the same time, the ends of the integrated guides 2 and 3 bent in V-shaped profiles are brought into stable contact with the tread of the tire. However, when the side-bulged extent of the two edge junctions of the tire is lower, the angle"a"is controlled to become increased such that the holders 9a of the plate 9 move toward the edge junctions of the tire and, at the same time, the

ends of the integrated guides 2 and 3 are brought into stable contact with the tread of the tire.

The extension arms 9b of the fixing plate 9 further are bent toward the tire in proportion to the angle"b". When the angle"b"is adjusted to be reduced, the extension arms 9b of the fixing plate 9 are positioned so that they are in the same plane as that of of the plate 9. When a tire having a large width, for example, a wide width tire is used, the angle"b"is controlled to become increased such that the extension arms 9b of the plate 9 are bent toward the edge junctions of the tire and, at the same time, the ends of the integrated guides 2 and 3 bent in the V- shaped profiles are brought into stable contact with the tread of the tire while being rotated from the circumferential direction toward the width direction of the tread.

However, when a tire having a small width, for example, a standard-sized tire is used, the angle"b"is controlled to become reduced such that the extension arms 9b of the plate 9 are positioned so that they are in the same plane as that of the plate 9 and, at the same time, the ends of the integrated guides 2 and 3 are brought into close contact with the tread of the tire while being rotated from the width direction toward the circumferential direction of the tread.

In such a case, it is preferable to arrange the ends of the integrated guides 2 and 3, brought into close contact with the tread of the tire, such that they are arranged on about the half of the entire width of the tread.

In addition, it is also preferable to install the motor-operated snow chain systems in the wheels after appropriately adjusting the angles"a"and"b"in consideration of both pneumatical pressures and widths of tires to be used with the chain systems.

When the guides 2 and 3 are rotated by the rotating force of the motor as described above, the wire chain 1 which is coupled to the ends of the guides 2 and 3 with a gap allowing the chain 1 to somewhat move relative to the guides, is slowly spread to cover the tread of the tire.

At the step of Fig. 4C, the wire chain 1 is spread to the maximum such that it expands larger than the diameter of the tire and covers the tread of the tire. In such a case, the guides 2 and 3 that are in contact with a road surface are not

rotated any more by the blocking action of the road surface, so the chain 1 may not be further spread. However, the springs 5, in the state of the guides 2 and 3 not rotated, absorb the rotating force of the rotary disc 18, and elastically rotate the guides 2 and 3 using the absorbed force when the guides 2 and 3 are moved away from the road surface due to a rolling of the tire on the road surface, thus allowing the chain 1 to be wrapped on the tread of the tire. As a result, the remaining part of the chain that is not in contact with the road surface immediately covers the tread of the tire. During this step, the short guides 3 are first seated on the tread of the tire, and thereafter the long guides 2 spread the wire chain 1 on the tread while tensioning the chain 1 so as to prevent a loosening of the chain 1.

Therefore, the wire chain 1 is firmly wrapped on the tread of the tire in the form of a zigzag pattern, thus increasing traction of treads of tires while driving an automobile on a snowy or ice road.

The process of removing the chain 1 from the tire is carried out through a progress inverted from that of wrapping the chain 1 on the tread. The chain 1 is smoothly removed from the tread due to elasticity of the springs 5 and the guides 2 and 3 while the automobile runs on a road without being stopped. In such a case, by using a motor 11 having a reduction gear, the wrapping or removing of the chain on or from the tread of a tire is smoothly and gradually accomplished within 10-20 seconds, thus minimizing vibration and impact transmitted from the tires to the car body during the wrapping or removing of the chains 1 on or from the tires. Due to the structural and operational characteristics of the snow chain system of this invention, it is more convenient and effective to operate the chain systems to wrap or remove the chains on or from tires while driving an automobile without stopping the automobile.

In the snow chain system, the long and short guides 2 and 3 are designed such that their rotating direction is opposite to the rolling direction of the tire, so the guides 2 and 3 are forced toward the tread of the tire during a rolling of the tire and brought into close contact with the tire. As a result, the chain 1 is prevented from being undesirably removed from the tread of the tire by centrifugal force.

During a rolling of the chained tire on a road, the springs 5 always tension the

guides 2 and 3. In addition, the rotating shaft of the fixing plate 9 is provided with a gap suitable for solving the problem caused by undesired deformation of the rolling tire, and suitable for allowing the chain 1 to firmly cover the tread of the tire.

Figs. 5 is perspective view, illustrating three-dimensionally the operation of the motor-operated snow chain system of the present invention as shown Fig. 4.

In the present invention, wrench holes 21, which receive wrenches such as motor- wrenches, are formed on the disc cover 20 at diametrically opposite positions corresponding to the positions of the two wrench holes 19 formed on the rotary disc 18, so as to attach or detach the chain system to or from the wheel of the tire.

When it is desired to further increase traction of the treads of the tires, for example, in the case of large-sized tires, such an increase in the traction is accomplished by increasing the number of the chain 1.

Industrial Applicability As described above, according to the present invention, this chain system is installed in a wheel of an automobile, and is radio-controlled by a driver using a remote controller while driving the automobile so as to automatically wrap a chain on the tread of a tire by means of a motor-operated mechanism without stopping the automobile, when the automobile reaches a snowy or ice road, or a steep slope.

The snow chain systems of this invention are thus easily, simply and quickly operated by users, particularly, aged users, female users and physically handicapped users. The chain of this system is also automatically removed from the tread of a tire when the system is radio-controlled by the driver using the remote controller at a time when the automobile leaves such a snowy or ice road, or such a steep slope. Therefore, the snow chain system does not cause damage to the road surfaces, thus lengthening the expected life span of the roads. In addition, this snow chain system does not damage the car body due to vibration, and does not make passengers including a driver feel uncomfortable.

Furthermore, when the snow chain systems of this invention are widely used, it is possible to reduce the use of snow removing chemicals, such as calcium chloride, thus preferably reducing environmental pollution caused by such snow removing chemicals.