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Title:
VEHICLE CHASSIS HAVING TWIN WALLED BEAMS WITH SUSPENSION MOUNTING STRUCTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/216478
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vehicle chassis (1) comprises a pair of beams (2), each beam having generally parallel side plates (3) extending in height and length dimensions He, Lc of the chassis and joined by one or more webs (4, 5) extending between the side plates (3) in the width dimension Wc, which together form its principal loadbearing elements. At least one of the beams includes at least one suspension mount (10) which extends between the side plates (3) and connects the side plates (3) together.

Inventors:
CADBURY-ALLEN JOEL KENNETH (GB)
Application Number:
EP2020/050401
Publication Date:
October 29, 2020
Filing Date:
January 09, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CATERPILLAR SARL (CH)
International Classes:
B62D21/02; B60G7/00; B62D21/11
Foreign References:
US20050205324A12005-09-22
US20180334004A12018-11-22
US20170370451A12017-12-28
US20140232144A12014-08-21
US20030034643A12003-02-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BALSTERS, Robert (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A chassis (1) for a vehicle (100), the chassis (1) having a major, length dimension (Lc) and minor, width (Wc) and height (He) dimensions, and including

a pair of beams (2) spaced apart in the width dimension (Wc) of the chassis (1), each beam (2) extending in a length dimension (Lb) of the beam (2) for at least most of the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis (1);

each beam (2) including a pair of side plates (3) spaced apart in the width dimension (Wc) of the chassis (1) and connected together by at least one web (4, 5), the at least one web (4, 5) extending between the side plates (3) in the length and width dimensions (Lc, Wc) of the chassis (1);

each side plate (3) having a major, length dimension (Lp) in the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis (1), a minor, height dimension (Hp) in the height dimension (He) of the chassis (1), and a thickness (Tp) in the width dimension (Wc) of the chassis (1), the length dimension (Lp) of each side plate (3) extending for the full length dimension (Lb) of the beam (2);

the side plates (3) and the at least one web (4, 5) together being configured to transmit along the beam (2) in the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis (1) at least most of a bending moment applied by a load (M) to the beam (2) in the height dimension (He) of the chassis (1);

at least one said beam (2) further including at least one suspension mount (10) configured for connecting the beam (2) to a suspension member (101) of the vehicle (100) to transfer loads to the suspension member (101);

wherein the suspension mount (10) extends between the side plates (3) of the respective beam (2) and connects the side plates (3) together.

2. A chassis (1) according to claim 1, wherein a lower portion (31) of each side plate (3) of said respective beam (2) extends downwardly in the height dimension (He) of the chassis (1) below the at least one web (4, 5), and the suspension mount (10) is arranged below the at least one web (4, 5) and between the lower portions (31) of the side plates (3) of the respective beam (2).

3. A chassis according to claim 2, wherein the at least one web (4,5) of each beam (2) includes an upper web (4) and a lower web (5) spaced apart in the height dimension (He) of the chassis (1).

4. A chassis (1) according to claim 2, wherein a height dimension (H31) of the lower portion (31) of each side plate (3) of said respective beam (2) between the at least one web (5) and a lower margin (32) of the side plate (3) in the height dimension (He) of the chassis (1) reduces progressively away from the suspension mount (10) in the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis (1).

5. A chassis (1) according to claim 4, wherein the lower margin (32) of each side plate (3) of said respective beam (2) proximate the suspension mount (10) is curved in the height dimension (He) of the chassis (1).

6. A chassis (1) according to claim 1 and further including a crossmember (40), the crossmember (40) extending between the beams (2) of the chassis (1) and connected to a respective one of the side plates (3) of said respective beam

(2) proximate the suspension mount (10).

7. A chassis (1) according to claim 1, wherein the suspension mount (10) includes first and second mount bodies (11) spaced apart in the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis (1), each mount body (11) extending between the side plates

(3) of said respective beam (2) in the height and width dimensions (He, Wc) of the chassis (1).

8. A chassis (1) according to claim 6, wherein the crossmember (40) includes first and second crossmember plates (4G, 41”) extending in the width and height dimensions (Wc, He) of the chassis (1) and spaced apart in the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis (1);

and the suspension mount (10) includes first and second mount bodies (1 G, 11”) spaced apart in the length dimension (Lc) of the chassis ( 1 ), each mount body (1 G, 11”) extending between the side plates (3) of said respective beam (2) in the height and width dimensions (He, Wc) of the chassis (1);

and the first crossmember plate (41’) is connected to said respective one of the side plates (3) of said respective beam (2) proximate the first mount body (P’),

and the second crossmember plate (41”) is connected to said respective one of the side plates (3) of said respective beam (2) proximate the second mount body (11”).

9. A chassis according to claim 1, wherein each side plate (3) consists of a single, shaped portion of a single piece of steel which was solidified from a molten condition to form said single piece of steel.

10. A vehicle (100) having a chassis (1) according to claim 1.

Description:
Description

Vehicle chassis having twin walled beams with suspension mounting structure

Technical Field

[0001] This disclosure relates to chassis for vehicles comprising a pair of rails or beams extending in spaced relation along the length of the vehicle, wherein each beam comprises two principal walls or side plates extending in the length and height dimensions and arranged in spaced, generally parallel relation, for example, as a box section. In particular, the disclosure relates to the arrangement in such chassis of a suspension mounting structure for connecting the chassis to a suspension member such as a Panhard rod.

Background

[0002] Typically in such chassis the suspension mounting structures, generally referred to herein as suspension mounts, are configured as brackets which are attached (e.g. welded) to the beams to extend away from the beams in the width and/or height dimension of the chassis. The brackets allow the beams to be connected to suspension members such as one or more Panhard rods or spring packs which extend away from the chassis to transfer static or dynamic loads between the chassis and the axle assembly.

[0003] The suspension brackets are subjected to large forces and moments which may act about multiple axes, and so are typically of a heavy construction. This adds weight to the vehicle and can result in an abrupt change in stiffness and consequently a stress concentration at the bracket connection. The design of the suspension brackets may significantly influence the vehicle lifespan and capital and running costs, especially in trucks and other heavy duty applications. Summary

[0004] In accordance with the present disclosure there is provided a chassis for a vehicle. In a related aspect, the disclosure provides a vehicle having said chassis.

[0005] The chassis has a major, length dimension and minor, width and height dimensions, and includes a pair of beams spaced apart in the width dimension of the chassis, each beam extending in a length dimension of the beam for at least most of the length dimension of the chassis.

[0006] Each beam includes a pair of side plates spaced apart in the width dimension of the chassis and connected together by at least one plate, wall or web, referred to hereinafter as a web, the at least one web extending between the side plates in the length and width dimensions of the chassis.

[0007] Each side plate has a major, length dimension in the length dimension of the chassis, a minor, height dimension in the height dimension of the chassis, and a thickness in the width dimension of the chassis. The length dimension of each side plate extends for the full length dimension of the beam.

[0008| The side plates are configured to transmit along the beam in the length dimension of the chassis at least most of a load applied to the beam in the height dimension of the chassis.

[0009] At least one said beam further includes at least one suspension mount configured for connecting the beam to a suspension member of the vehicle to transfer loads to the suspension member. The suspension mount extends between the side plates of the respective beam and connects the side plates together (which is to say, it connects them to each other).

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0010] Further features and advantages will be evident from the following illustrative embodiment which will now be described, purely by way of example and without limitation to the scope of the claims, and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a top view of a chassis in accordance with a first embodiment; Fig. 2 is a side view of the chassis showing the left-hand beam;

Figs. 3 and 4 are enlarged views of one suspension mount provided on the left-hand beam of the chassis as shown in Fig. 2, seen respectively from the inwardly and outwardly facing sides of the beam;

Fig. 5 and 6 are partial sections through the suspension mount, taken just inwardly of the outer side plate at V - V of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 7 is another section taken through the suspension mount and the crossmember at Vll - VII of Figs. 1 and 2;

Fig. 8 shows a vehicle equipped with the chassis;

Fig. 9 is an enlarged view of the suspension mount as shown in Fig. 8; and

Figs. 10 and 1 1 are further views of the suspension mount as shown in Figs. 8 and 9, seen respectively from the outwardly and inwardly facing sides of the beam.

[0011 ] Reference numerals and characters appearing in more than one of the figures indicate the same or corresponding parts in each of them.

Detailed Description

[0012] Referring to Figs. 1 and 2, a chassis 1 for a vehicle 100 may be fabricated for example from steel or other suitable metal, and has a major, length dimension Lc and minor, width We and height He dimensions (which is to say, the width and height dimensions are smaller than the length dimension).

[0013] The chassis includes a pair of first (left-hand) and second (right-hand) beams 2, which is to say, the principal longitudinal elements of the chassis, often referred to as rails. The first and second beams 2 may be arranged in parallel relation or approximately parallel relation and are spaced apart in the width dimension Wc of the chassis, each beam extending in a length dimension Lb of the beam for at least most of the length dimension Lc of the chassis. The beams 2 may be connected together by a plurality of crossmembers 40, 50. The spacing between the beams 2 may be constant as illustrated, or may vary along the length dimension Lc to suit the configuration of the vehicle body and suspension as well known in the art.

[0014] Referring also to Figs. 3 - 7, each beam 2 includes a pair of first and second side plates 3 spaced apart in the width dimension Wc of the chassis. The side plates may be arranged in generally parallel relation.

[0015] Each side plate may consist of a single, shaped portion of a single piece of steel which was solidified from a molten condition to form said single piece of steel. That is to say, each side plate 3 may be formed from a single piece of steel rather than fabricated from two or more pieces which are joined together, e.g. by welding. It will be understood that, irrespective of whether each side plate 3 is formed from a single piece of steel, or fabricated from two or more pieces, each side plate may be locally reinforced by one or more stiffening plates 7 which may be welded to the side plate 3, e.g. as illustrated.

[0016] The first and second side plates 3 are connected together by at least one web, which, as illustrated, may include an upper web 4 and a lower web 5 spaced apart in the height dimension He of the chassis.

[0017] Each side plate 3 has a length dimension Lp and extends in its length dimension Lp for the full length dimension Lb of the beam 2. Thus, it will be understood that each side plate extends continuously between the opposite ends of the beam 2. The at least one web 4, 5 (or either or each of the upper and lower webs 4, 5) may also extend for most or all of the length dimension Lb of the beam 2. Thus, the length Lb of the beam 2 may be defined by the length Lp of the side plates 3, or the length of the side plates 3 and the upper and/or lower web 4, 5, as illustrated. The side plates and at least one web together are configured to transmit along the beam in the length dimension Lc of the chassis at least most of a bending moment applied by a load M to the beam 2 in the height dimension He of the chassis; which is to say, the side plates and at least one web together are the principal loadbearing elements of the chassis. [0018] in the illustrated example, the side plates 3 are locally stiffened by stiffening plates 7 welded to the side plate on the outwardly facing side of each beam.

[0019] The upper and lower webs 4, 5 may be generally mutually parallel for all or, as shown, for only part of the length of the chassis. Alternatively or additionally, the spacing between them may vary along the length dimension Lc, for example, in regions of the chassis where the height dimension Hp of the plates 3 varies along their length dimension Lp, as best seen in Fig. 6.

[0020] Both the upper web 4 and the lower web 5 may be welded to the side plates 3. The upper web 4 may extend beyond the side plates 3 in the width dimension Wc of the chassis while the lower web 5 is contained between the side plates, as shown.

[0021] Each beam 2 may define a hollow or box section between the parallel side plates 3 and upper and lower webs 4, 5 as illustrated.

[0022] The at least one web (or as illustrated, each of the upper and lower webs 4, 5) has a minor, thickness dimension Tw in the height dimension FIc of the chassis, and extends between the side plates 3 in the length dimension Lc of the chassis, and in its width dimension Ww in the width dimension Wc of the chassis 1.

[0023] Each side plate 3 has a major, length dimension Lp in the length dimension Lc of the chassis, a minor, height dimension FIp in the height dimension FIc of the chassis, and a thickness Tp in the width dimension Wc of the chassis. The thickness of course is much smaller than the length and width.

[0024] At least one of the beams 2 further includes at least one suspension mount 10 configured for connecting the respective beam 2 to a suspension member 101 of the vehicle 100 to transfer loads to the suspension member.

(0025] By suspension member is meant any member that transfers static or dynamic loads from the chassis 1 directly or indirectly to a supporting or ground engaging (e.g. road wheel and axle) assembly 103 of the vehicle, which is movable relative to the chassis to absorb dynamic forces. In particular, the suspension member 101 may be configured to transfer dynamic loads acting in the width dimension Wc of the chassis. In use, the at least one suspension mount 10 may transfer loads from the chassis to the suspension member and from the suspension member to the chassis; for convenience, the action and reaction of the load transfer via the suspension mount is referred to herein simply as transferring loads to the suspension member.

[0026] Referring also to Figs. 8 - 11, typically the suspension system includes resilient elements 1 10 for absorbing dynamic forces and supporting the vertical load M applied by the mass of the vehicle body 102, as well as one or more Panhard rods 101 or other elements for transferring lateral loads acting generally in the width dimension Wc of the chassis between the chassis and the axle assembly 103. In the illustrated example each beam 2 includes a pivot 1 1 1 for transferring the load M via a walking beam suspension assembly 112 including resilient elements 110 to a pair of centre and rear axle assemblies 103 which transfer the vertical load M via the wheels to the ground.

[0027] In the illustrated example, the suspension member 101 comprises a rigid tie-bar or Panhard rod which is pivotably connected to the suspension mount 10 and to the centre axle assembly 103 to react lateral forces applied between the chassis and the centre axle assembly of the vehicle, as shown in Figs. 8 - 11. One or more additional suspension mounts of the same construction as suspension mount 10 may be provided on one or both beams 2. In the illustrated example a rear suspension mount 113 of different construction is also provided for connecting another Panhard rod to the rear axle assembly 103.

[0028] As best seen in Figs. 3 - 7, the suspension mount 10 is integrated into the primary structure of the beam 2 so that it extends between the side plates 3 and connects the side plates 3 together, for example, being welded to the side plates 3 and/or the lower web 5.

[0029] The suspension mount 10 may include at least one mount body or, as illustrated, two (first and second) mount bodies 1 , 11” spaced apart in the length dimension Lc of the chassis, wherein the or each mount body 1 G, 11” extends between the side plates 3 in the height and width dimensions He, Wc of the chassis. Each mount body 1 G, 11” may be welded to the side plates 3 (e.g. to the facing surfaces of the side plates 3), as shown. Each mount body 1 G, 1 1” may also be welded to the lower web 5, as shown. Each mount body 1 G, 11” may comprise a connection means such as a through-hole 12 to receive bolts 13 for connecting the suspension member 101 to the mount.

[0030] Each mount body 1 G, 11” may comprise an upper portion formed as a plate which is substantially contained between the side plates 3 as shown and connects the side plates together. The upper portion of the mount body may thus connect the mount body to the side plates and to the lower web 5, e.g. by welds. The connection means, e.g. through-hole 12, may be formed as shown in a lower portion of the respective mount body which may be welded to the upper portion and may extend in the width dimension Wc of the chassis somewhat beyond or through the thickness of the side plates.

[0031 ] The suspension member 101 may be received between the mount bodies 1 G, 11”. Each side plate 3 may define a recess 6 between the mount bodies 11’, 11” and opening at a lower margin 32 of the side plate to

accommodate an end region of the suspension member 101, which may comprise a tie-bar 104 and a bushing or pivot assembly 105 which is arranged between the mount bodies 1 G, 11” to provide a movement or shock-absorbing or pivotal connection between the mount 10 and the tie-bar 104, as shown. Assembly 105 may comprise for example an elastomeric straddle bushing.

[0032] Optionally as shown, the pivot assembly 105 may include a fixed connector or pivot axle 106 which is fixedly attached to the mount bodies 11’, 11” to extend between the mount bodies 1 G, 1 1”, wherein the tie-bar 104 is accommodated in the recess 6 and is movable or pivotable about the pivot axle 106.

[0033] As best seen in Figs. 5 and 6, a lower portion 31 of each side plate 3 of the respective beam 2 on which the suspension mount 10 is arranged (or of each beam 2) may extend downwardly in the height dimension He of the chassis 1 below the at least one web (so, where upper and lower webs 4, 5 are provided, below the lower web 5). The suspension mount 10 may be arranged below the at least one web or lower web 5 and between the lower portions 31 of the side plates 3 of the respective beam 2.

[0034] As shown in Fig. 6, a height dimension H31 of the lower portion 31 of each side plate 3 of the respective beam 2 on which the mount 10 is arranged, between the at least one web (so, the lower web 5 in the illustrated embodiment) and a lower margin 32 of the side plate in the height dimension He of the chassis, may reduce progressively away from the suspension mount 10 in the length dimension Lc of the chassis, in either or both of the forward and rearward directions of the chassis. Optionally, as can also be seen in Fig. 6, the lower margin 32 of each side plate 3 proximate the suspension mount 10 may be curved in the height dimension He of the chassis. For example, the lower margin 32 of the plate proximate the mount 10 may be curved with constant radius or may have an elliptical curvature, either forward or rearward of the mount 10 or (as shown) both forward and rearward of the mount with respect to the length direction of the chassis.

[0035] Optionally as shown, a crossmember 40 may be arranged to extend between the beams 2 of the chassis and connected at a first one of its ends to a respective one of the side plates 3 of the respective beam 2 on which the suspension mount 10 is arranged, proximate the suspension mount 10. The crossmember may be connected at its other (second) end to the corresponding one of the side plates 3 of the opposite beam 2, so that it extends as shown in Fig.

1 between the opposed side plates 3 of the two beams 2.

[0036] If more than one suspension mount 10 is provided, each may be supported by a crossmember 40 as shown. Alternatively, the or each suspension mount 10 may be arranged without a crossmember 40.

[0037] As best seen in Figs. 3, 4 and 7, the crossmember 40 may include first and second crossmember plates 4G, 41” extending in the width and height dimensions Wc, He of the chassis and spaced apart in the length dimension Lc of the chassis.

[0038] The first and second crossmember plates 4 G, 4 G’ may be connected together by one or, as illustrated, two, upper and lower crossmember webs 42, 43. As illustrated, the plates 4G, 41” may be arranged in mutually parallel relation, and the webs 42, 43 may also be arranged in mutually parallel relation for all or, as shown, part of the length of the crossmember in the width dimension Wc of the chassis.. Alternatively or additionally, the spacing between the webs 42, 43 may vary along the width dimension Wc of the chassis, for example, where the upper or lower margin of the crossmember plates 41 41” is profiled along the width dimension Wc of the chassis as shown.

[0039] As illustrated, the first crossmember plate 4G may be connected to the respective one of the side plates 3 of the respective beam 2 on which the suspension mount is arranged, and proximate the first mount body 11’ of the suspension mount 10. The second crossmember plate 41” may be connected to that same respective one of the side plates 3 of that same respective beam 2 on which the suspension mount is arranged, proximate the second mount body 11” of the suspension mount 10. In this way the two crossmember plates 41’ , 4 G’ may stiffen the beam and side plates, and in particular may stiffen the lower portion 31 of the same respective side plate 3 of the beam 2 on which the suspension mount is arranged, proximate the two mount bodies 11’, 11”.

[0040] As best seen in Figs. 5 - 7, a stiffening channel or insert 114 may be arranged within the box section formed between the side plates 3 and upper and lower webs 4, 5 of the beam. Conveniently, an aperture 115 may be formed in one of the side plates 3 to facilitate assembly. The stiffening insert 114 may then be welded to one (e.g. the inward one, as shown) of the side plates 3 and to the upper and/or lower webs 4, 5 in a first operation, before the remaining side plate 3 is added to close the box section. In a second operation, a face of the stiffening insert 114 can then be welded at the margin of the aperture to the remaining side plate 3 (in the illustrated example, the outer one of the side plates 3) to complete the assembly, as best seen in Fig. 7.

[0041] In summary, a vehicle chassis 1 comprises a pair of beams 2, each beam having generally parallel side plates 3 extending in height and length dimensions He, Lc of the chassis and joined by one or more webs 4, 5 extending between the side plates 3 in the width dimension Wc, which together form its principal loadbearing elements. At least one of the beams includes at least one suspension mount 10 which extends between the side plates 3 and connects the side plates 3 together.

Industrial Applicability

[0042] The arrangement of the suspension mount 10 between the side plates 3 of the chassis beam 2 may reduce stress concentrations by providing a more gradual change in stiffness along the length of the beam 2. This can be enhanced by a progressive reduction in height H31 of the lower portion 31 of the side plate 3, particularly where the lower margin 32 of the side plate 3 is curved. The more gradual change in stiffness may reduce stress concentrations which in turn allows the overall weight of the beams to be reduced, with concomitant improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency, without reducing the durability of the chassis 1.

[0043] By forming each side plate 3 as a unitary piece of steel rather than a fabricated assembly, the fatigue properties of the chassis in the region of the suspension mount 10 are governed by the parent material of the side plate 3 rather than by the limitations of the welding or other fabrication technique used to attach the prior art mount, and so may be further improved.

[0044] The provision of a crossmember or crossmembers 40 can further enhance the strength-to-weight ratio of the beam 2 in the region of the mount 10, particularly where the two plates 4 G, 41” of the crossmember 40 are connected proximate the two mount bodies 11’,. 11” to provide stiffness out of the plane of the side plates 3 of the beam 2.

[0045] The novel chassis 1 may be used on vehicles including wheeled road vehicles 100 (which is to say, vehicles running on wheels that can be steered over a paved road or other ground surface). In particular, the novel chassis 1 may provide improved lifespan or reduced costs in heavy vehicles, for example, trucks (including the tractor or trailer units of articulated trucks) or other road vehicles that have a gross weight, for example, of 10 tonnes or more.

[0046] Many further adaptations are possible within the scope of the claims. [0047] In the claims, reference numerals and characters are provided in parentheses, purely for ease of reference, and are not to be construed as limiting features.

LIST OF ELEMENTS

TITLE:

Vehicle chassis having twin walled beams with suspension mounting structure

FILE: 18-1391-70822

1 chassis

2 beams

3 side plate

4 upper web

5 lower web

6 recess

7 stiffening plates

10 suspension mount

1 1’ first mount body

11” second mount body

12 through-hole

13 bolt

31 lower portion

32 lower margin

40 crossmember

41’ first crossmember plate

41” second crossmember plate

42 upper crossmember web

43 lower crossmember web

50 crossmember

100 vehicle

101 suspension member 102 vehicle body

103 axle assembly

104 tie-bar

105 pivot assembly

106 fixed connector or pivot axle

1 10 resilient elements

111 pivot

112 walking beam suspension assembly

113 rear suspension mount

114 stiffening insert

115 aperture

H31 height dimension of lower portion

He height dimension of chassis

Hp height dimension of side plates

Lc length dimension of chassis

Lb length dimension of beam

Lp length dimension of side plates

M load

Tp thickness dimension of side plates

Tw thickness dimension of webs

Wc width dimension of chassis

Ww width dimension of webs