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Title:
POLYMER HATCH DOOR FOR A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/203009
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a hatch with a polymer door, whereby the polymer door comprises a polymer front panel; and a reinforced polymer back panel, whereby the back panel and the front panel are joined together and the reinforced polymer back panel 5 comprises reinforcing elements. The invention further relates to a vehicle comprising such a hatch, wherein the front panel of the door faces an exterior of the vehicle and the back panel faces an interior of the vehicle.

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Inventors:
KUMAR RN ASHWIN (NL)
ZAMEER ROSHAN (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2017/062695
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 24, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SABIC GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES BV (NL)
International Classes:
B62D25/10; B60J5/04
Foreign References:
DE102007025683A12008-12-04
US20020053811A12002-05-09
AU2012100697B42012-10-25
DE10259981A12004-07-08
US6079766A2000-06-27
DE3423827A11985-02-14
DE102015008261A12015-12-17
DE102012018801A12013-03-21
US4300315A1981-11-17
DE2934278A11981-03-26
DE102006005076A12007-08-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SABIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP (6160 GA GELEEN, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A hatch with a polymer door, whereby the polymer door comprises:

- a polymer front panel; and

- a reinforced polymer back panel,

wherein the back panel and the front panel are joined together and the reinforced polymer back panel comprises reinforcing elements.

2. A hatch according to claim 1, further comprising a frame made of polymer.

3. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, whereby the polymer used is at least one polyolefin.

4. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, whereby the polymer used is free of any filler and/or reinforcing filler material.

5. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, whereby the front panel and the back panel of the polymer door are made of and/or comprise different or the same

polymer(s).

6. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, whereby the front and back panels of the door are fixed together in an inseparable way.

7. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, whereby the polymer front panel comprises reinforcing elements.

8. A hatch according to claim 1, whereby the reinforcing elements are formed as an integral part of the panel. 9. A hatch according to any of the preceding claim 1, wherein the reinforcing elements are formed through thermoforming of the back panel and/or the front panel.

10. A hatch according to claim 1, whereby the reinforcing elements extend in a parallel and/or a perpendicular direction to the edges of the panel, along at least part of the edges.

11. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the reinforcing elements extend in a diagonal direction, thereby including an angle different from 0 or 180 degrees with at least one of a side edge or longitudinal edge of the door. 12. A hatch according to claim 10 or 11, wherein the reinforcing elements form a grid like pattern or a cross shape on the panel.

13. A hatch according to any of the preceding claims, whereby the hatch is a vehicle hatch or a bus hatch.

14. A vehicle comprising a hatch according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the front panel of the door faces an exterior of the vehicle and the back panel faces an interior of the vehicle. 15. Vehicle according to claim 14, comprising exterior paneling to form the outer shape of the vehicle, and wherein the front panel is delimited by a peripheral edge and at least part of the peripheral edge of the front panel is flush with a neighboring edge of the exterior paneling of the vehicle.

Description:
POLYMER HATCH DOOR FOR A VEHICLE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention related to a hatch and a hatch door for example for a vehicle. For sundry storage, for access to items situated behind a cab wall of a vehicle and/or for access to luggage storage space, hatches are provided in a vehicle cab wall and/or for example on the side and/or at the back of a vehicles, especially for example buses like coaches or tourbuses. Description of the Related Art

A hatch door can be used to close off a space, either a luggage storage space or an engine space. The hatch swings outwards to allow access to what lies behind. Bus hatch doors are usually made of a metallic material for reasons of strength and stiffness reasons. To reduce the weight of the hatch door, aluminium or fiber reinforced material can be used. Hatches are thereby mainly made out of aluminum. Another reason to use aluminium is to get a Class A surface appearance for aesthetical reasons.

DE 102006005076A 1 for example describes a hatch with a supporting structure in the form of a closed frame and made of light metal and/or plastic for strength and an outer panel made out of sheet metal, which is glued to the supporting structure, and which carries the contour of the vehicle outer skin further. The frame is constructed from castings and profile parts, the functional surfaces being provided on the casting parts.

A problem with the hatch of the abovementioned kinds is their weight, their complexity and their limited durability. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the aforementioned problems by providing a hatch with a polymer door, wherein the polymer door comprises a polymer front panel and a reinforced polymer back panel, wherein further both panels of the door are joined together and the reinforced polymer back panel comprises reinforcing elements.

The hatch according to the invention allows to reduce deformation in case of impact, for example by stones or other external elements, and/or to reduce deformation due to thermal expansion, especially compared to a door with no reinforced back panel. The hatch according to the invention may thereby allow to reach deformation levels similar or lower than when using light metal, such as aluminum. The back panel and the front panel may be delimited by a respective peripheral edge forming a perimeter of the respective panel. The panels may be joined together at their respective perimeters, partly or fully, for instance along the peripheral edge or along a peripheral joining zone extending from the peripheral edge and along the perimeter of the panel, or at any other suitable location on facing surfaces of the panels, or combinations thereof. The back panel is a reinforced with reinforcing elements to add strength and rigidity to the polymer door.

That the door comprises two panels may contribute to suitable mechanical properties, especially for example to increase stiffness and/or impact resistance as well as to reduce deformation due to thermal expansion.

The hatch according to the invention can for example especially be a vehicle hatch or bus hatch.

The hatch according to the present invention can further comprise a frame made of polymer and/or metal, especially light metal such as aluminum. The reduction of the use of metal may thereby for example reduce weight as well as complexity and problems related to deformation due to thermal expansion because of different coefficients of thermal expansion, especially when the hatch may heat up in sunny conditions. The frame may be comprised between the front and back panel. The frame may function as a joining element to join the back and front panels together. Whereas the frame may comprise metal or another material other than a polymer, the front and back panel are preferably free from metal, i.e. the front and back panel preferably do not contain any metal.

A polymer used according to the present invention may be a thermoplastic material, for instance a polyolefin such as PE or PP; polybutylene terephthalate (PBT); acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene (ABS); acrylic- styrene-acrylonitrile (ASA); polycarbonate;

polycarbonate/PET blends; polycarbonate/ ABS blends; polycarbonate/ASA blends;

copolycarbonate-polyesters; acrylonitrile-(ethylene-polypropylene diamine modified) -styrene (AES); phenylene ether resins (PPO); PPO/PS blends; blends of polyphenylene

ether/polyamide; polyamides; phenylene sulfide resins; polyvinyl chloride (PVC); high impact polystyrene (HIPS); low/high density polyethylene (L/HDPE); polypropylene (PP); expanded polypropylene (EPP); poly(methyl methacrylate); and thermoplastic olefins (TPO). The polymers may be linear polymers or branched polymers or combinations thereof. The plastic can optionally be reinforced, e.g., with fibers, particles, flakes, as well as

combinations comprising at least one of the foregoing, such as especially for example long glass fibers, short glass fibers, glass beads, talc, mica, inorganic fillers, natural fibers, conductive fillers and/or carbon fibers. For example, the thermoplastic second component can be formed from STAMAX® materials, a long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene commercially available from SABIC. The plastic hatch door can also be made from combinations comprising at least one of any of the above-described materials and/or reinforcements. The panels may be coated with a transparent or opaque coating to improve the scratch resistance, weathering, and/or for improved aesthetics for living up to Class A standards.

The polymer used according to the present invention may preferably be free of any filler and/or reinforcing filler material, i.e. do not contain any filler and/or reinforcing filler material. According to the invention, suitable mechanical properties, especially sufficient stiffness and/or impact resistance and/or reduction of deformation due to thermal expansion can advantageously be obtained even with polymers that do not contain any filler and/or reinforcing filler.

At least one of the front and/or back panel, preferable for example the front panel, of the door may be a flat panel, or may have a slight curvature, i.e. have a convex shape. At least one of the front and/or back panel of the door may have a three dimensional shape, which may be obtained especially for example by thermoforming. The R-value for Curvature for the front panel may be about R10,000 +/- 3000 mm. The curvature may be applied to the full area of the front panel, or only to a part of the front panel, for instance the portion adjacent to the edge where the opening for the locking element is provided and/or the edge opposite the hinge. The front panel may be slightly larger than the back panel, such that the back panel is fully covered by the front panel. This enhances the aesthetics of the hatch door when in use. For this purpose, the front panel (or its peripheral edge) may extend 5 to 100 mm from the peripheral edge of the back panel. Preferably, the front panel extends 10 to 100 mm from a bottom edge of the back panel, and 5 to 15 mm from side edges and top edge of the back panel. The bottom edge of the back panel may be taken to be the side closest to the location of the locking element opening. The top edge may be taken to be the edge opposite the bottom edge. The side edges may be taken to be the edges between and connecting the top and bottom edge.

The front panel and the back panel of the polymer door can be made of and/or comprise different or the same polymer(s). The front panel and the back panel may be made of the same polymer material, or comprise at least the same polymer material. Alternatively, the back panel and the front panel are made of different or dissimilar polymer material, or at least comprise a different or dissimilar polymer material. The front panel of the door may be made of and/or comprise a polymer free of any filler and/or reinforcing filler. On the other hand, the back panel may be made of or comprise either a polymer that comprises at least one filler and/or at least one reinforcing filler or a polymer that does not comprise any filler and/or does not comprise any reinforcing filler.

The front and back panels of the door can be fixed together, preferably in an inseparable way, for example by mechanical interlocking through corresponding parts of both panels, by gluing or through other fixing means such as for example screws. Fixed in an inseparable way according to the invention may thereby mean for example that once fixed they cannot be separated again from one another without permanent damage to at least one of the panels. This may contribute to suitable mechanical properties, especially for example to increase stiffness and/or impact resistance as well as to reduce deformation due to thermal expansion.

The reinforced polymer back panel comprises reinforcing elements. Additionally to the back panel, the front panel may comprise reinforcing elements to reinforce the front panel and further reinforce the hatch door. Reinforcing elements according to the invention may preferably form an integral part of the back panel and/or of the front panel of the door.

Reinforcing elements according to the invention may preferably be an integral part of the back panel of the door. This may mean for example that the reinforcing elements are formed by and within the back panel of the door itself, rather than added or attached onto it. This may especially reduce complexity and contribute to improve stiffness. Reinforcing elements according to the invention may preferably be formed as an integral part of the back panel and/or the front panel of the door. Integrally forming the reinforcement elements with the panel may be done through thermoforming of the corresponding panel, or by injection moulding wherein the panel with the reinforcement elements is moulded in suitable tooling. The thermoforming may be done with an extruded or moulded blank sheet that is placed in a mould and heated to a pliable forming temperature to be formed to the specific shape of the mould and afterwards cooled down so the sheet retains the specific shape. Profile extrusion may also be used during the manufacturing of the hatch door.

Reinforcing elements according to the invention may for example be protruding elements, such as especially ribs, ridges, bars or bridges, and/or corresponding grooves or channels. The reinforcing element may extend from a base of the panel. The channel or groove comprises at least two extending and/or upstanding walls joined to the base of the panel at one end. The extending walls can either be joined at their respective opposite ends to form a V-shaped channel, or be joined with a third wall that connects the opposite ends of the extending walls to form a U-shaped channel. The channel may be open or closed, i.e. the base of the panel covers the channel shaped reinforcement to form a closed channel. The channels may extend away from the front panel, or towards the front panel.

According to an embodiment, the reinforcing elements extend in a parallel and/or a perpendicular direction to the edges of the panel, along at least part of the edges. Each of the panels may be delimited by a peripheral edge, for example formed by multiple adjacent side edges. Reinforcing elements according to the invention may for example be parallel and/or perpendicular to at least one and/or all side edges or the peripheral edge of the door. The reinforcing elements according to the invention may for example along the diagonals of the door or of one or more subdivision(s) of the door. Reinforcing elements may run along the whole length and/or width and/or diagonal of the door or of a subdivision of the door.

Alternatively or in addition thereto, reinforcing elements may only run along a part of the length and/or width and/or diagonal of the door or of a subdivision of the door.

According to an embodiment, the reinforcing elements extend in a diagonal direction, thereby including an angle different from 0 or 180 degrees with at least one of a side edge or longitudinal edge of the door.

At least two reinforcing elements may thereby for example also cross each other and/or join each other. In such a case, the reinforcing elements may form a grid like pattern or a cross shape on the panel.

Reinforcing elements may for example run parallel to all edges of the door, wherein especially between 1 to 8, preferably between 2 to 4, further preferred 3, reinforcing elements run along a lengthwise direction, preferably for example at regular intervals, and/or between 1 to 8, preferably between 2 to 6, further preferred 4, reinforcing elements run along the width direction of the door, preferably for example at regular intervals.

Moreover, for example, 1, 2 or 3, preferably 1 reinforcing element(s) may for example run parallel to all edges of the door, preferably for example with at least 4 reinforcing element in their vicinity, while further reinforcing elements may run along the diagonals of for example between 2 to 8, preferably between 2 to 4, further preferred 2, square and/or rectangular subdivisions of the door, so as to have pairs crossing each other.

That a reinforcing element is located/arranged or runs in the vicinity of an edge may thereby for example mean that no other reinforcing element is located/arranged or runs between that edge and that respective reinforcing element.

Alternatively or additionally, between 1 and 4, preferably 2 or 3, further preferred 2, reinforcing elements may for example run parallel to all edges of the door, for example with at least 4 reinforcing elements in their vicinity, while 2 further reinforcing element run along the diagonals of the door, so as to cross each other. In addition, at least two or four of the reinforcing elements running parallel to width of the door as well as at least two or four reinforcing elements are arranged parallel to length of the door may form at least one or two rectangle(s) superimposed on the cross formed by the reinforcing ribs running along the diagonals. In addition, between one and four, preferably one or two, reinforcing elements may for example run parallel to all edges of the door, for example with at least four reinforcing elements in their vicinity, while further at least two reinforcing ribs run along the diagonals of the door, so as to cross each other.

The reinforcing elements according to the invention may contribute for example to increase stiffness as well as resistance to impact and/or to reduce deformation due to thermal expansion.

The hatch door and/or both panels according to the invention may comprise at least one opening, recess or receiving portion, for example for receiving a handle or hinge.

The invention furthermore relates to a vehicle comprising a hatch as described above, wherein the front panel of the door faces an exterior of the vehicle and the back panel faces an interior of the vehicle. The hatch is a vehicle hatch or a bus hatch. The vehicle may be a coach or bus, a truck or a passenger car.

The vehicle may comprise exterior paneling to form the outer shape or exterior of the vehicle and wherein the front panel may be delimited by a peripheral edge and at least part of the peripheral edge of the front panel may be flush with a neighboring edge of the exterior paneling of the vehicle.

The exterior of a vehicle is often times covered with exterior paneling to shield the body in white or any other structural frame from the elements. The exterior paneling may be adjacent to the hatch door at at least one side edge, or surround the hatch door at three or more side edges, depending on the location of the hatch door in the exterior. In order to have the hatch door form a part of a smooth exterior of the vehicle, the transition between the exterior paneling and the front panel should be flush. For this, at least the peripheral edge of the front panel should be flush with a neighboring edge of the surrounding exterior paneling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the invention will be further appreciated upon reference to the following drawings of a number of exemplary embodiments, in which: Figure 1 shows a coach bus with the hatch door according to the invention.

Figures 2-8 each show an example of the hatch door according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

In Figure 1, a coach bus 100 is shown. The coach bus 100 has an exterior 101, usually made of panels 102, forming an exterior paneling. The coach bus 100 also has a plurality of storage spaces 103, used for either luggage and/or travel provision, that can be accessed from the exterior of the bus. Each of the storage spaces 103 are closed off by means of a hatch door 1. The hatch door 1 is hingedly connected to the coach bus 100, so it can be moved to open or close the storage space 103. The hatch door 1 is provided with hinges (not shown) and a locking element 104 to lock the hatch door 1 when closing the storage space 103. The hatch door 1 comprises a polymer front panel 2 and a polymer back panel 20, each delimited by a peripheral edge 3, 23. The back panel 20 has reinforcement elements 21. The front panel 2 and the back panel 20 are joined together at at least their peripheral edges 3, 23.

Figure 2 shows a first example of the back panel 20 comprising reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 may be in a same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20, as shown in figures 3 to 8. Fig. 2 shows the base 24 being offset from the peripheral zone 25. The peripheral zone 25 includes the peripheral edge 23 and extends inwardly from the peripheral edge 23, forming a peripheral border along the periphery of the back panel 20. The peripheral zone 25 is used to connect the back panel 20 and the front panel (not shown) to each other.

The channels 22 comprise two upstanding walls 26 that are joined to the base 24 at one end. The upstanding walls 26 are joined together by a third connecting wall 27 to form the U-shape of the channel 22. A first set of multiple reinforcement elements 21, or channels 22, run parallel along a width direction W of the panel at regular intervals, and a second set of multiple reinforcement elements 21 run parallel to a length direction L of the panel at regular intervals. The first and second sets cross each other and form a grid like pattern of reinforcement elements 21 on the back panel 20. The first set of reinforcement elements 21 are shaped intermittently and have a recess 27 that is flush with the base 24 of the back panel 20. One of these recesses 27 provides space to the opening 28 for receiving the locking element (not shown).

Figure 3 shows a second example of the back panel 20 comprising reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are again shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 is in the same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20. The first set of channels 22 run parallel along a width direction W of the panel at regular intervals, and a second set of multiple reinforcement elements 21 run parallel to a length direction L of the panel at regular intervals. The first and second sets cross each other and form a grid like pattern of reinforcement elements 21 on the back panel 20, forming square subdivisions in the back panel, but only in a first part A of the back panel 20. A second part B of the back panel 20 does not have a grid like pattern of reinforcement elements 21 or a square subdivision, and gives space to the opening 104 for the locking element (not shown).

Figure 4 shows a third example of the back panel 20 comprising reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are again shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 is in the same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20. The first set of channels 22 run parallel along a width direction W of the panel at regular intervals, and a second set of multiple reinforcement elements 21 run parallel to a length direction L of the panel at regular intervals. The first and second sets cross each other and form a grid like pattern of reinforcement elements 21 on the back panel 20, forming square subdivisions in the back panel.

Figure 5 shows a fourth example of the back panel 20 comprising reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are again shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 is in the same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20. The first set of channels 22 run parallel along a length direction L of the panel at regular intervals. A second set of channels run parallel to the width direction W of the panel, but are intermittently offset from each other, i.e. the channels 22 are not aligned over their full length. The pattern thus formed by the reinforcement elements 21 resembles a brick wall.

Figure 6 shows a fifth example of the back panel 20 for the hatch door 1. The back panel 20 comprises reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are again shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 is in the same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20. A first set of channels 22 are arranged parallel to the peripheral edge 23 of the back panel 20, forming a reinforcement element 21 along the full perimeter of the back panel 20 and forming a rectangular shape. A second set of channels 22 extend diagonally from the first set of channels 22. The channels 22 in the second set of channels are parallel to each other. A third set of channels 22 also extend diagonally from the first set of channels 22, and are parallel to each other. The channels 22 of the second and third sets intersect and thus form two crosses that extend from the base 24 of the back panel 20.

Figure 7 shows a sixth example of the back panel 20 for the hatch door 1. The back panel 20 comprises reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are again shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 is in the same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20. A first set of channels 22 is arranged parallel to the peripheral edge 23 of the back panel 20, i.e. parallel to all edges of the back panel, forming an outer reinforcement element 21 along the full perimeter of the back panel 20 and forming a rectangular shape. A second set of channels 22 is arranged parallel to the peripheral edge 23 and to the first set of channels 22, and located within the first set of channels 22, thus forming an inner rectangular shaped reinforcement element 21. A third set of channels 22 runs diagonally with respect to the peripheral edge and forms a cross-shaped reinforcement element 21. The third set of channels intersects with the first and second sets of channels 22 at corners of the inner and outer rectangles.

Figure 8 shows a seventh example of the back panel 20 for the hatch door 1. The back panel 20 comprises reinforcement elements 21. Reinforcement elements 21 are again shaped as channels 22 that extend from a base 24 of the back panel 20, away from the front panel (not shown). The base 24 is in the same plane as a peripheral zone 25 of the back panel 20. A first set of channels 22 is arranged parallel to the peripheral edge 23 of the back panel 20, forming an outer reinforcement element 21 along the full perimeter of the back panel 20 and forming a rectangular shape. A second set of channels 22 runs diagonally with respect to the peripheral edge and forms a cross-shaped reinforcement element 21. The third set of channels intersects with the first rectangular shaped set of channels 22 at its corners.

Table 1 shows the deflection and stiffness of the back panel compared for several thicknesses, when subject to a torsional loading of 1 newton (N), for the examples as described in Figs. 2-6. The thickness influences the torsion stiffness and the deflection under a torsional loading, as the deflection decreases and the torsional stiffness increases with increasing thickness for each design. Table 1 also shows that the design of the back panel, i.e. the location and shape of the reinforcement elements, influences these properties as well. The back panel may have a sheet thickness of 2.0 to 4.5 mm, preferably 3.5 mm. The thickness may be taken to be the thickness of the base and/or peripheral zone of the back panel, or of the blank sheet that is used to thermoform the back panel. Table 1

Table 2 shows the torsional stiffness, the deflection upward and downward under deformation through thermal expansion (CTE Deformation), and the load at which the back panel starts to deform plastically (Maximum Load), for a back panel with a thickness of 3.5 mm, for the examples as described in Figs. 2-8. Table 2 shows that especially the third and fifth example of Fig. 4 and 6, respectively, allow for a substantial further reduction of deformation by impact and/or due to thermal expansion, even beyond the reduction already achieved by the sixth and seventh examples of Fig. 7 and 8, respectively.

Table 2

While particular embodiments have been described, alternatives, modifications, variations, improvements, and substantial equivalents that are or may be presently unforeseen may arise to applicants or others skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims as filed and as they may be amended are intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications variations, improvements, and substantial equivalents.

LIST OF PARTS

1. Hatch door

2. Front panel

3. Peripheral edge

20. Back panel

21. Reinforcement element

22. Channel

23. Peripheral edge

24. Base

25. Peripheral zone

26. Upstanding wall

27. Connecting wall

28. Opening for locking element

100. Coach bus

101. Exterior

102. Panel

103. Storage space

104. Locking element




 
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