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Title:
A WHEEL AND AN ASSEMBLY METHOD FOR THE SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/052284
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vehicle wheel is disclosed, the vehicle wheel including a first cast portion comprising a hub and a first tyre bead seat, and a second portion comprising a second tyre bead seat, which is forged or manufactured from wrought material. In one aspec: the two wheel portions are connected by separate fasteners, and in another aspect they are fused together, Related methods for manufacturing and assembling wheels of this type are also disclosed.

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Inventors:
WALKER, Peter (60-62 Kinkaid Avenue, North Plympton, South Australia 5037, AU)
DRAGE, Kevin, Linane (33 Ayton Avenue, Fulham, South Australia 5024, AU)
Application Number:
AU2007/001682
Publication Date:
May 08, 2008
Filing Date:
November 02, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PERFORMANCE WHEEL NOMINEES PTY LTD (60-62 Kinkaid Avenue, North Plympton, South Australia 5037, AU)
WALKER, Peter (60-62 Kinkaid Avenue, North Plympton, South Australia 5037, AU)
DRAGE, Kevin, Linane (33 Ayton Avenue, Fulham, South Australia 5024, AU)
International Classes:
B60B23/06; B60B1/06; B60B3/04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLLISON & CO (117 King William Street, Adelaide, S.A. 5000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A vehicle wheel including a first portion comprising a hub and a first tyre bead seat, a second, portion comprising a second tyre bead seat, the second portion being secured to the first portion by separate fasteners, wherein the first wheel portion has a first, front or outer side that constitutes the face of the wheel, and a second back side, and where each fastener passes through a hole in the second wheel portion into a hole in the back side of the first wheel portion.

2. The. vehicle wheel as in the preceding claim, wherein the second wheel portion is an annular rim portion having a flange, through which the fastener receiving holes pass.

3. The vehicle wheel of claim 2, wherein the flange is directed inwardly toward the centre of the wheel.

4. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the separate fasteners are bolts or screws.

5. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first wheel portion further includes an annular rim portion, and structure extending from the hυb to the rim portion.

6. The vehicle wheel as in claim 5, wherein the structure extending from the hub to the rim portion includes a plurality of spokes.

7. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein there is a sealing means positioned in between contacting portions of the first and second portions of the wheel assembly, so as to create a substantially hermetic seal.

8. The vehicle wheel as in claim 7, wherein said sealing means is an o-ring.

9. The vehicle wheel as in claim 8, wherein said o-ring is made from an elastomeric material.

10. The vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 8 or 9, wherein the o-ring is nested in an annular groove.

11. The vehicle wheel as in claim 10, wherein the annular groove is machined into the backside of the first portion of the wheel.

12. The vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 10 or 11 , wherein the depth of the groove is less than the thickness of the o-ring in cross-section.

13. The vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 8 through 12, wherein the groove is otherwise sized and adapted to nest the o-ring.

14. The vehicle whee/ as in any one of claims 8 through 13, wherein the diameter of the o-ring and annular groove are greater than that of the pitch circle diameter (PCD) of the fastener pattern for the fasteners connecting the first and second wheel portions.

15. A method of manufacturing and assembling a vehicle wheel as disclosed in any one of claims 1 through 14, the method including the steps of forming the first portion, forming the second portion, and securing these two portions together using the separate fasteners.

16. A vehicle wheel including a first portion having a first, outer side that constitutes the face of the wheel, the first portion further including a hub and a flange which is directed inwardly, away from the face of the wheel, and which extends around the circumference of the wheel, the flange providing a first tyre bead seat, wherein the flange and therefore first wheel portion are, at a position at or near the end of the flange, adapted to be fused to a second wheel portion by a single circumferential weld.

17. The vehicle wheel of claim 16, wherein the flange is adapted to be fused to a second wheel portion by a machined spigot diameter.

18. The vehicle wheel as in either one of claims 16 or 17, wherein the first wheel portion includes a portion of the wheel rim, and the flange extends from this wheel rim portion of the first wheel portion.

19. The vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 16 through 18, wherein the first and second wheel portions are fused together by welding.

20. The vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 16 through 19, wherein the first and second wheel portions are fused together by friction stir welding.

21. The vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 16 through 18, wherein the first and second wheel portions are fused together by an adhesive.

22. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first wheel portion is cast.

23. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second wheel portion is forged, press-formed or manufactured from wrought material.

24. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second wheel portion includes a tyre mounting well.

25. The vehicle wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first portion is made from a lightweight material.

26. The vehicle wheel as in claim 25,. wherein the lightweight material is or includes an aluminium or magnesium alloy.

27. Tha vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 16 through 26, wherein wherein the second wheel portion is an annular rim portion including a second tyre bead seat.

28. A method for manufacturing and assembling a vehicle wheel as in any one of claims 16 through 27, the method including the steps of machining a concentrically located spigot diameter including a shoulder into the flange; locating the second portion against the shoulder; and welding the two portions with a single circumferential weld around the spigot diameter.

29. A vehicle wheel as described in the specification, with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying representations.

30. A method for manufacturing and assembling a vehicle wheel as described in the specification, with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying representations.

Description:

A WHEEL AND AN ASSEMBLY METHOD FOR THE SAME

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to a vehicle wheel, and a method of manufacturing and assembling the same. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a vehicle wheel made, at least in part, from an alloy.

BACKGRQUND ART

In this specification unless the contrary is expressly stated, where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or discussed, this reference or discussion is not to be construed as an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date, publicly available, known to the public, part of common general knowledge; or known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.

Alloy wheels are now commonplace on vehicles; they are generally lighter than equivalent steel wheels thereby reducing unsprung weight and improving vehicle ride and handling; alloy wheels better dissipate brake heat, and they are popular because they can be highly stylised.

Alloy wheels can be made as a one piece by casting, but these wheels have limited versatility, and the tooling required to produce them is large and costly. By limited versatility, we mean that in order to produce a similar wheel incorporating a minor variation (such as a minor change in width, or style) a completely different casting tool is required.

There are several types of multi piece alloy wheels where the wheel comprises a wheel center that is attached to a wheel rim. These wheels can have either multi-

piece or one-piece rim constructions, where the rims have bolt holes through a flanged region, and the wheel center and rim{s) are fastened together with screws/bolts and nuts, or similar function rivets. Such wheels are labour intensive, costly to make, relatively heavy, the fasteners are conspicuous and many consider them unsightly.

It is an object of the present invention therefore to provide a wheel that substantially ameliorates the aforementioned shortcomings of the wheels of the prior art, or at the least, provide a useful alternative to these wheels.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed.

For the purpose of this specification the word "comprising" means "including but not limited to", and the word 'comprises 1 has a corresponding meaning.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present disclosure includes a wheel assembly including a first portion comprising a hub and a first tyre bead seat, and a second portion comprising-a second tyre bead seat.

Preferably, the first portion is cast.

Preferably, the second portion is forged, press-formed or manufactured from wrought material.

Preferably, the first portion further includes a portion of the rim, and structure extending from the hub to the rim.

Preferably, the structure extending from the hub to the rim includes a plurality of spokes.

Preferably, the second portion includes a tyre mounting well.

Preferably, the first portion is made from a lightweight material.

Preferably, the lightweight material is or includes an aluminium or magnesium alloy.

Preferably, the first and second portions are screwed or bolted together.

Preferably, the first portion has a first side that constitutes the face of the wheel, and a second backside.

Another aspect of the present disclosure then includes a vehicle wheel including a first portion comprising a hub and a first tyre bead seat, a second portion comprising a second tyre bead seat, the second portion being secured to the first portion by separate fasteners, wherein the first wheel portion has a first, front or outer side that constitutes the face of the wheel, and a second back side, and where each fastener passes through a hole in the second wheel portion into a hole in the back side of the first wheel portion.

Preferably, each screw or bolt passes through a hole in the second portion of the wheel, and into a blind threaded hole in the back of the first portion.

Preferably, the hole in the second portion of the wheel passes through a flange.

Preferably, in one alternative, the first and second portions are welded together.

Preferably, in one alternative, the first and second portions are bonded together using an adhesive.

Preferably, in one alternative, there is a sealing means positioned in between contacting portions of the first and second portions of the wheel assembly, so as to create a substantially hermetic seal.

Preferably, said sealing means is an o-ring.

Preferably, said o-ring is made from an elastomeric material.

Preferably, the o-ring is nested in an annular groove.

Preferably, the annular groove is a machined into the back of the first portion of the wheel assembly.

Preferably, the depth of the groove is less than the thickness of the o-ring in cross-section.

Preferably, the grove is otherwise sized and adapted to nest the o-ring.

Preferably, the o-ring seal is used in conjunction with the bolted wheel assembly.

Preferably, the diameter of the o-ring and annular groove are greater than that of the pitch circle diameter (PCD) of the fastener pattern for the fasteners connecting the first and second wheel portions.

Another aspect of the present disclosure includes a wheel including a first portion comprising a hub, a portion of the rim and a first tyre bead seat, and a second portion comprising a second tyre bead seat, wherein the first and second portions are bolted together.

Another aspect of the present disclosure includes a method of manufacturing and assembling the above-mentioned wheel, including the steps of forming the first portion, forming the second portion, and bolting these two portions together.

Another aspect of the present disclosure includes a method of forming the above- mentioned wheel, including the steps of forming the first portion, forming the second portion, and welding or bonding these two portions together.

Another asoect of the present disclosure includes a vehicle wheel including a first portion having a first, outer side that constitutes the face of the wheel, the first portion further including a hub and a flange which is directed inwardly, away from the face of the wheel, and which extends around the circumference of the wheel, the flange providing a first tyre bead seat, wherein the flange and therefore first wheel portion are, at a position at or near the end of the flange, adapted to be fused to a second wheel portion by a single circumferential weld.

Preferably, the flange is adapted to be connected by a machined spigot diameter.

Preferably, the first wheel portion includes a portion of the wheel rim.

Preferably, the flange extends from the wheel rim portion of the first wheel portion.

Preferably, the weld is a friction stir weld.

Preferably, the second wheel portion includes a tyre mounting well.

The second wheel portion includes a second tyre bead seat.

Another aspect of the present disclosure includes a method for manufacturing a wheel as in any one of the preceding claims, the method including the steps of:

1. Machining a concentrically located spigot diameter including a shoulder into the flange;

2. Locating the second portion against the shoulder; and

3. Welding the two portions with a single circumferential weld around the spigot diameter.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawing. The invention is capable of embodiments in addition to those described and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not oe regarded as limiting.

The accomoanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate certain embodiments of the invention, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilised as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, to recognise that the claims should be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of this disclosure it will now be described with respect to one or more exemplary embodiments, which shall be described herein with the assistance of drawings wherein:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary wheel;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the wheel in Figure 1 , disassembled;

Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view through the wheel in Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a detailed perspective of the first portion of the wheel in Figure 1 ;

Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view through the mould used to cast the first portion of the wheel;

Figure 6 is a cross-sectionai view through a wheel according to a second exemplary aspect of the present disclosure; and

Figure 7 is a partial, detailed cross-sectional view through a wheel according to a third exemplary aspect of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to Figure 1 , an exemplary embodiment of a vehicle wheel 1 is illustrated, the wheel being constructed from two separately formed portions 2 and 4.

There is a first, outboard portion 2 that is cast from an aluminium or magnesium alloy, and which includes a hub 6, a portion of the rim 8 including a tyre bread seat 10, and a plurality of spokes 12 extending from the hub 6 to the rim 8.

Referring now to Figure 3, the first portion 2 has a first, outboard side 2a that constitutes the stylised face of the wheel, and a second back (or inboard) side 2b, which is adapted to be bolted to a vehicle hub.

This backside 2b of the first wheel portion 2 then includes a centre bore 14 into which a vehicle hub is to be nested. A plurality of bolt holes 16 pass through the hub 6 of the first portion 2 so as to facilitate the bolting of the wheel 1 to the vehicle hub.

The second wheel portion 4 is formed from wrought aluminium so as to form the inboard portion of the wheel rim. This second portion comprises a second tyre bead seat 20 and a tyre mounting well 22 that is positioned toward the inboard edge of the rim near the second tyre bead seat 20.

The first 2 and second 4 portions of the wheel 1 are adapted to be screwed or bolted together. Optionally rivets may be used.

A series of threaded blind holes 24 are formed or machined into the back side 2b of the rim S of the first portion 2.

The second portion 4 includes an inwardly (directed toward the wheel centre) folded flange 30 that extends around the circumference of the outboard edge of the second portion 4. There are a matching number of holes passing through this flange 30.

The backside 2b of the rim 8 of the first portion 2 is outwardly stepped (the step being formed by machining), so that the inwardly folded flange 30 of the second portion 4 will nest in this step.

A screw or bolt 40 is passed through each hole in the inwardly folded flange 30 of second portion 4, and screwed into a blind hole 24 in the back of the rim of the first portion, securing the two portions together so that they form a completed wheel 1.

Referring now to Figure 5, where there is illustrated the casting mould 60 in which the first portion 2 may be cast. It would be readily apparent to a person skilled in the relevant art that this is a much smaller and less costly tool that which would be required to cast a one-piece wheel. The fact that the cast part is smaller and has less mass also means that solidification times are shorter* and casting productivity is increased.

Advantages of this wheel and wheel construction include:

> Reduced likely hood of damaging the wheel face during tyre fitment. With the tyre fitment well located to the rear of the inboard side of the second portion of the rim, the tyre is fitted from the rear of the wheel. This thereby avoids possible damage to the front styling face, which sometimes happens when the tyre well is located on the outboard side of the rim and the tyre is fitted from the front of the wheel.

> Nuts for the bolts are made redundant, thereby saving cost and weight;

> The bolts are hidden from the styling face;

> Bolts are also redundant in the case of a bonded or welded wheel, thereby further saving cost and weight;

> With the tyre well located in the inboard rim portion, this then enables the front styling face to have larger window vent areas between any spokes. This materially assists brake ventilation and cooling;

> This form of wheel construction is approximately 10 to 20 per cent lighter than an equivalent size single-piece or three piece wheel; and

> The styling face is fully integrated into the outboard portion of the rim, so that there are no join lines visible on the stylised face of the wheel.

Yet a further advantage is the flexibility of the wheel; wheels of different widths are produced by making the second portion 4 wider. Jn order to produce a new wheel style, it is only necessary to design and cast a new front portion 1.

Referring now to Figure 6, where a wheel 100 according to a further aspect is illustrated. Here, the first 102 and second portions 104 are welded or bonded together around the outer circumference of the wheel along the edge 110 where these two portions meet.

The first wheel portion 102 includes a first, outer side that constitutes the face of the wheel, and a flange 105 which is directed inwardly, away from the face of the wheel, and which extends around the circumference of the wheel. This flange provides a first tyre bead seat 107, and is adapted at a position at or near its end to be fused to the second wheel portion 104 by a single circumferential weld.

In this instance, the second portion 104 of the wheel 100 is concentrically located on a machined spigot diameter 108 in the first portion 102. The second portion 104 is also outted against a shoulder 110 in the first portion of the rim so as to form a lap joint that ensures lateral location.

Once assembled in this fashion, the two wheel portions 102 and 104 may be welded together by friction stir welding. In preference, this weld does not penetrate through the full depth of the thickness of the rim at this point, but merely deep enough that the mating surfaces of the lap joint are fused together.

When the Tiction stir tool is lifted from the work piece at the conclusion of the welding operation, this leaves a hole that may be utilised for a tyre valve.

Referring now to Figure 7, where there is a wheel 200 having a bolted construction akin to that discussed above and illustrated in Figures 1 through 5, this wheel incorporating a hermetic seal posrtioned between the two wheel portions 202 and 204.

Sealing the components of a wheel assembly is critical where a tubeless tyre is to be mounted on the wheel. Hitherto it has been known to create a seal between wheel comoonents by smearing a sealant on the contacting surfaces of the components, but this is generally considered labour intensive. Moreover quality control in sealant application is problematic, with sealant thickness often varying around the circumference of the wheel.

The seal in this instance however is an elastomeric o-ring 206 nested in an annular groove 208 machined into the back 202b of the first portion 202 of the bolted wheel assembly 200. The groove 208 is sized and adapted so as to snugly nest the o-ring 206, and the depth of the groove is less than the thickness of the o-ring in cross-section, so that the o-ring can be compressed when the bolts 210 are uniformly tightened in order to achieve a seal right around the wheel.

The diameter of the o-ring 206 and annular groove 208 are greater than that of the pitch circle diameter (PCD) of the bolt 210 pattern for the bolts connecting the first and second wheel portions, as this is the pressure side of joint.

Although the invention has been herein shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures can be made within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details described herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the appended claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices and apparatus.