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Title:
WHEEL ARCH LINER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/153168
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a moulded wheel arch liner 10 of motor vehicles comprising integrally moulded protrusions 31, 32 for fastening a sound- insulating material 20. Said protrusions comprise substantially linear protrusions 31, which may have a pointed extremity to facilitate the introduction of the sound-insulating plaques 20, or may have a cross-shaped cross section in which case may have larger width than height. Said protrusions comprise hook-shaped protrusions 32, which may also be "L"-shaped protrusions 32. The wheel arch liner 10 may comprise one or more linear protrusions 31 for insertion in openings at or near a first end of a sound-insulating material plaque 20 and one or more hook-shaped protrusions 32 for insertion in openings at or near a second end of said plaque 20.

Inventors:
RODRIGUES DA COSTA CARLOS MANUEL (PT)
ALVES R A CARDOSO PEDRO MANUEL (PT)
Application Number:
IB2011/055908
Publication Date:
November 15, 2012
Filing Date:
December 22, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SIMOLDES PLASTICOS SA (PT)
RODRIGUES DA COSTA CARLOS MANUEL (PT)
ALVES R A CARDOSO PEDRO MANUEL (PT)
International Classes:
B62D25/18
Foreign References:
EP1712453A22006-10-18
US20090256345A12009-10-15
US6349987B12002-02-26
US20030066698A12003-04-10
US20060214474A12006-09-28
US20030062738A12003-04-03
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VIEIRA PEREIRA FERREIRA, Maria Silvina (Clarke, Modet & Co.Rua Castilh, 50-9º -163 Lisboa, P-1269, PT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. Wheel arch liner (10) for motor vehicles comprising a plurality of protrusions (30) for fastening one or more sound-insulating material plaques (20) through openings (20a, b, c, d) in said plaques (20), wherein the wheel arch liner (10) and the protrusions (30) are integrally moulded.

2. Wheel arch liner (10) according to claim 1 wherein said protrusions comprise substantially linear protrusions (31 ).

3. Wheel arch liner (10) according to the previous claim wherein one or more of said linear protrusions (31 b) have a pointed extremity to facilitate the introduction of the sound-insulating plaques 20.

4. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any of the claims 2 - 3 wherein one or more of said linear protrusions (31a, b, c) have a cross-shaped cross section.

5. Wheel arch liner (10) according to the previous claim wherein one or more of said linear protrusions (31c) with a cross-shaped cross section have larger width than height.

6. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim wherein said protrusions comprise hook-shaped protrusions (32).

7. Wheel arch liner (10) according to the previous claim wherein said hook- shaped protrusions comprise "L"-shaped protrusions (32).

8. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any claim 1 - 7 comprising one or more linear protrusions (31 ) for insertion in openings (20a, b, c, d) at or near a first end of a sound-insulating material plaque (20) and one or more hook- shaped protrusions (32) for insertion in openings (20a, b, c, d) at or near a second end of said plaque (20).

9. Wheel arch liner (10) according to claims 1 - 7 comprising one or more linear protrusions (31) for insertion in openings (20a, b, c, d) at or near the centre of a sound-insulating material plaque (20) and one or more hook- shaped protrusions (32) for insertion in openings (20a, b, c, d) at, or near, two or more ends of said plaque (20).

10. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim wherein said protrusions (30, 31 , 32) are positioned and aligned such that they have substantially the same mould extraction direction as of the arch liner (10).

11. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim wherein the wheel arch liner (10) and the sound-insulating material plaques (20) are of plastic materials suitable to be recycled together.

12. Wheel arch liner (10) according to the previous claim wherein the wheel arch liner (10) and the sound-insulating material plaques (20) are of polypropylene.

13. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim wherein the wheel arch liner (10) comprises additional protrusions to further guide the insertion of the sound-insulating plaque 20, protrusions which are fin-like, for inserting into openings in the sound-insulating plaques 20, or for guiding the edges of the sound-insulating plaques 20, or for both.

14. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim wherein the openings of the sound-insulating material plaques (20) are straight (a), cross-shaped (b), "U"-shaped (c), or circular (d) cuttings, or combinations thereof.

15. Wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim further comprising one or more of said sound-insulating material plaques (20) fastened to the liner (10) through said protrusions (30, 31 , 32).

16. Motor vehicle comprising the wheel arch liner (10) according to any previous claim.

17. Mould for the wheel arch liner (10) according to any claim 1 - 15.

18. Manufacturing process for a wheel arch liner (10) comprising the step of moulding an arch liner (10) as described in any claim 1 - 15.

Description:
D E S C R I P T I O N

"WHEEL ARCH LINER"

Technical field

[0001] The present invention relates to a moulded wheel arch liner of motor vehicles comprising protrusions for fastening a sound-insulating material.

Summary

[0002] The present invention relates to a moulded wheel arch liner 10 of motor vehicles comprising integrally moulded protrusions 30 for fastening a sound- insulating material 20.

[0003] Said protrusions comprise substantially linear protrusions 31 , which may have a pointed extremity to facilitate the introduction of the sound-insulating plaques 20, or may have a cross-shaped cross section in which case may have larger width than height.

[0004] Said protrusions also comprise hook-shaped protrusions, which may also be "L"-shaped protrusions 32.

[0005] The wheel arch liner 10 may comprise one or more linear protrusions 31 for insertion in openings at or near a first end of a sound-insulating material plaque 20 and one or more hook-shaped protrusions 32 for insertion in openings at or near a second end of said plaque 20.

[0006] The wheel arch liner 10 may comprising one or more linear protrusions 31 for insertion in openings at or near the centre of a sound-insulating material plaque 20 and one or more hook-shaped protrusions 32 for insertion in openings at, or near, two or more ends of said plaque 20.

[0007] The wheel arch liner 10 may have said protrusions 30, 31, 32 positioned and aligned such that they have substantially the same mould extraction direction as of the arch liner 10.

Background Art

[0008] The present invention relates to the wheel arch liner of motor vehicles comprising fixation of a sound-insulating material.

[0009] The inclusion of a sound-insulating material in the wheel arch liners of a motor vehicle is advantageous, as it avoids the sound communication of the many noises involved in the ground contact of the wheel - for example, the spattering of small materials by the moving wheel against the arch liner creates particularly strong and annoying noises.

[0010] Various sound-insulating materials exist and are suitable to this purpose, namely those of substantially flat structure, which are fixed as a plaque or plaques to the relevant surfaces of the wheel arch liner. These materials are typically flexible and somewhat extendible such they are able to sufficiently follow the surface of the wheel arch liner. Normally, these materials are fixed to the inside surface of the wheel arch liner, that is the surface of the arch wheel liner on the opposite side of the wheel, such that the sound-insulating material is preserved from water or physical abrasion from the outside.

[0011] Current fixing methods for these sound-insulating plaques include gluing, soldering, stapling.

[0012] These, however, are fraught with assembly issues as will be described below, but, more importantly, the recyclability of motor vehicle parts cannot be easily achieved if the part contains secondary materials like glues or resins, or has thermal damage, or if it contains pieces of stapling material which are burdensome and very labour intensive to remove.

[0013] Also, these fixation methods are fairly aggressive to the parts themselves and a mistake in the fixing operation by the factory worker, usually involves disposing the damaged sound-insulating plaque, e.g. which might have glue or a staple in a wrong manner or place, and, wastefully, starting again with a new plaque.

[0014] These operations are also particularly slow and difficult to be carried out consistently. For example, the stapling operation, being highly manual, usually means that the tension used in fixing the plaque (or, in other words, the amount of extension applied to the sound-insulating material when stapling) is very variable. If the tension is too much, the material risks damage, for example tearing, during the vehicle lifecycle. If the tension is too little, the material may, during the vehicle lifecycle, detach or "flap" against the surface of the wheel arch liner thus creating undesired noises.

[0015] Sometimes, the used staples are metallic which have additional problems with corrosion and recyclability.

[0016] It is then clear that the existing fixation solutions have shortcomings the present invention addresses.

Disclosure of the Invention

[0017] The present invention relates to a moulded wheel arch liner 10 of motor vehicles comprising protrusions 30 for fastening a sound-insulating material 20.

[0018] The present invention discloses the use of protrusions 30 in the wheel arch liner 10, said protrusions 30 being used to fastening the sound-insulating plaques 20 by way of openings previously made in the plaques, wherein the protrusions 30 are integrally moulded with the liner 10.

[0019] Because the wheel arch liner 10 can be easily separated from the sound- insulating material 20, simply by "un-hooking", and because the sound- insulating material is free from resins, glues or staples, the recyclability of the part is much increased. Thus any suitable shape for fastening a sound- insulating material plaque 20 can be used for the protrusions 30. [0020] Preferably, if the base material is the same, e.g. polypropylene, then both liner 10 and plaque 20 can be recycled simultaneously.

[0021] This fastening operation is fast, produces consistent repeatable results, and, as mentioned, further fixing components are avoided.

[0022] As can be seen from fig. 1 or fig. 2 these protrusions 31 , 32 can also be linear or "L"-shaped. The skilled person will understand from figs. 1 and 2 that the actual shape of the "L"-shaped protrusion 32 can vary, the effect required being simply a hook effect. These are usually known in the art as "crochets".

[0023] The linear protrusion 31 implies choosing an adequate angle towards the sound-insulating plaque 20 such the fastening is achieved - as easily understood from figs. 1 or 2, a small angle against the stretching effort of the plaque 20 results in a force bringing the plaque 20 into contact with the liner 10. Even if the linear protrusion 31 is substantially perpendicular to the liner 10 surface, still a significant fastening effect can be achieved by the angle provided by the actual curvature of the liner 10. The angle of the linear protrusion 31 vs. the arch liner 10 surface is thus preferably 30° to 90°, more preferably 30° to 60°, more preferably 40° to 50°, more preferably approximately 45°, wherein the linear protrusion 31 is tilted in the direction against the stretching effort of the sound-insulating plaque 20.

[0024] The skilled person will understand from figs. 1 and 2 that any suitable combination of protrusions 30 can be used - linear or hook-shaped or "L"- shaped, such as the embodiment of Fig. 3 (which also shows a representation of the vehicle wheel).

[0025] A preferred embodiment has a combination of linear protrusions 31 and hook-shaped protrusions 32 such that a manual operation can be done in a very straightforward way - by using the linear protrusions 31 as guides for inserting the plaques on a first end and then extending the plaque 20 and hooking it on the hook-shaped protrusions 32 on a second end, such as the embodiments of Figs. 1 , 2 and 4.

[0026] Another preferred embodiment is a slight variation of this previous one. The linear protrusions 31 may be positioned to firstly guide the insertion of the plaque 20 at or near its centre, and then the hook-shaped protrusions 32 are positioned to secondly hook the plaque 20 at two or more of its ends, such as the embodiment of 5.

[0027] In a preferred embodiment "L"-shaped protrusions 32 are used as a specific case of a hook-shaped protrusion 32, being as effective as, for example, circular "traditional" hooks, to fasten the sound-insulating plaques 20, with the advantage of there being known in the art relatively simple techniques for moulding such "L" -shapes.

[0028] In a preferred embodiment, a combination of linear 31 and L-shaped 32 protrusions is used as already described, but the shapes are substantially positioned and oriented such that they have substantially the same mould extraction direction as of the arch liner 10, such as the embodiments of figs. 1 , 2, 6 or 7.

[0029] In a more preferred embodiment, considering that:

- the wheel liner 10 is a part with a very significant curvature;

- the linear protrusion 31 may be easily pointed to the extraction direction, being linear;

- there are known mouldings for the "L"-shaped protrusion 32 such that mould extraction occurs in the direction parallel to the top segment of the "L" -shape (the base side of the "L"-shape, in contact with the liner 10 surface, is usually hollow in these cases);

one then can easily notice (see figs.1 and 2) how the linear protrusions 31 and the top segment of the "L" -shape protrusion 32 result in being substantially parallel, such that both kinds of protrusions can have substantially the same mould extraction direction as the wheel arch liner 10 itself.

[0030] Having common mould extraction directions has the advantage of then providing a much cheaper and simpler mould construction. A single mould for this kind of parts is usually specified for a million part extractions and may easily reach 20 or more tons, such that any simplification of the mould, or inversely any complication, has tremendous implications in the manufacture of these parts. [0031] Figures 8 and 9 show preferred embodiments for the hook-shaped protrusion 32 namely being "L"-shaped, whether the base segment is hollow in the direction of the mould extraction (Fig. 8) or solid (Fig. 9), this preferably depending on the mould extraction direction being considered for the wheel arch liner 10 or the complexity of the mould. The first segment of the "L"-shaped protrusion 32 may extend 2 - 20 mm from the arch liner 10 for receiving the thickness of sound-insulating material plaque 20. The second segment of the "L" -shaped protrusion 32 may extend 5 - 15 mm from the first segment. The thickness of the "L"-shaped protrusion 32 may vary between 3 and 9 mm.

[0032] As can be observed in the figures, namely in Figs. 1 and 2, the linear protrusion 31 only needs to be substantially linear in the direction of insertion of the sound-insulating plaque 20, and it may have various suitable cross-sections. Also preferably, for the linear protrusion 31 may be longer than wider, in order to facilitate insertion in the sound-insulating material. The linear protrusion 31 may have 3 - 20 mm of width and 10 - 50 mm of height.

[0033] A cross-shaped cross section has the advantages of being robust and relatively simple and inexpensive to mould, and is a preferred embodiment (see also Fig. 10a). In another preferred embodiment, the extremity of the protrusions 31 is pointed as such to facilitate the introduction of the sound- insulating plaques 20 (see also Fig. 10b). [0034] In a preferred embodiment for larger plaques 20, the linear protrusion 31 with cross-shaped cross section may have a larger cross section (protrusion width) than the actual length of the linear protrusion 31 (protrusion height), which has the advantages of being even more robust and also making it easier to manually position the larger plaques 20 (see also Fig. 10c). The linear protrusion 31 may then have 20 - 50 mm of width and 10 - 30 mm of height.

[0035] Another preferred embodiment, for all plaques 20, includes having one or more fin-like guiding protrusions to guide the plaque 20, whether through holes in the plaque 20 as already described, whether at its sides with no hole being necessary in this case.

[0036] Preferably, the through holes in the sound-insulating plaques 20 are simply cuts in the material with such width that the protrusion 30-32 may pass through plaques (see also Fig. 11a).

[0037] Preferably, the cut for a cross-shaped cross-section linear protrusion 31 is two cuts forming a cross shape, which has the advantage of being obtained by a very simple operation (see also Fig. 11 b).

[0038] Preferably, the cut for the hook or "L"-shaped protrusions 32 is a "U"- shaped cut, such that the hooking effort is carried out along the vertical direction of the "U" letter - this shape has the advantages of being obtained in a very simple operation, being easier for manually inserting into these cuts the "L-" shaped protrusions 32 (see also Fig. 11c), and also being more resistant than other shapes to tearing. The cuttings may be 5 - 15 mm in size.

[0039] Preferably, the cut for all types of protrusions can also simply be circular, or substantially circular (see Fig. 11d), this having the advantages of being simple to obtain, easy to insert into the protrusions and also fairly resistant to tear.

[0040] The sound-insulating material plaque may have recesses or holes for receiving outcroppings form the wheel arch liner 10 or to receive other vehicle parts that may attach to the wheel arch liner.

[0041] The above described embodiments are obviously combinable.

[0042] The attached claims set out particular embodiments of the invention.

Brief Description of Drawings

[0043] The following figures provide preferred embodiments for illustrating the description and should not be seen as limiting the scope of invention.

[0044] Figure 1 : Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment where: (10) represents the arch liner,

(20) represents a plaque of sound-insulating material,

(31) represents a linear protrusion integrally moulded with the arch liner, and (32) represents an "L"-shaped protrusion integrally moulded with the arch liner.

[0045] Figure 2: Schematic representation of transversal cross-section of the previous preferred embodiment.

[0046] Figure 3: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment, with protrusions 30 of any kind suitable to fasten the plaque of sound-insulating material 20, where:

(10) represents the arch liner,

(20) represents a plaque of sound-insulating material, and

(30) represents a protrusion integrally moulded with the arch liner.

[0047] Figure 4: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment with linear protrusion(s) 31 on one end of the plaque of sound-insulating material 20, and, in the other end, "L"-shaped protrusion(s) 32, being all protrusions integrally moulded with the arch liner 10.

[0048] Figure 5: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment with linear protrusion(s) 31 on approximately the centre of the plaque of sound-insulating material 20, and, in the ends of said plaque, "L"-shaped protrusions 32, being all protrusions integrally moulded with the arch liner 10. [0049] Figure 6: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment with wherein the protrusions 31 , 32 are aligned to the same mould extraction direction, assuming in this figure the mould extraction of the arch liner 10 is towards its top ("up" in the figure).

[0050] Figure 7: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment with linear protrusion(s) 31 on approximately the centre of the plaque of sound-insulating material 20, and, in the ends of said plaque, "L"-shaped protrusions 32, being all protrusions integrally moulded with the arch liner 10, and wherein the protrusions 31 , 32 are aligned to the same mould extraction direction, assuming in this figure the arch liner 10 mould extraction is towards its top ("up" in the figure).

[0051] Figure 8: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment of the "L"- shaped protrusion 32.

[0052] Figure 9: Schematic representation of a preferred embodiment of the "L"- shaped protrusion 32. [0053] Figure 10: Schematic representation of preferred embodiments of the linear shaped protrusion 31.

[0054] Figure 10: Schematic representation of preferred embodiments of the openings (cuttings) in a portion of sound-insulating plaque 20 for receiving the protrusions 30-32.