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Title:
RELEASABLE ANCHOR FASTENING DEVICE FOR AUTOMOTIVE FINISHING ELEMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/105062
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device including a cup-shaped bushing (2) insertable in a seat (3) of a bodywork element (4), and a fastening element (5) mounted on the bushing mobile between an extracted position and a retracted position and including an anchor (6) for receiving in a first end (7) a fastening member of a finishing element and a pair of oscillating arms (10) elastically and deformably constrained to opposite sides of the anchor, each at an intermediate portion provided with a locking tooth (13) snapping engaging, in retracted position, a side slot (14) of the bushing; the oscillating arms being mobile between a home position, in which their first ends (16) overhangingly protruding from the anchor are spread and their second ends are accommodated adjacently within the anchor, at a predetermined distance from the first end, to intercept a fastening end of the fastening member; and a deformed position, with the arms essentially parallel to allow the passage of the fastening end and the locking teeth (13) disengaged from the slots of the bushing.

Inventors:
YON FULVIO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2007/000570
Publication Date:
September 20, 2007
Filing Date:
March 09, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ITW AUTOMOTIVE ITALIA S R L CO (IT)
YON FULVIO (IT)
International Classes:
F16B21/07
Foreign References:
US20020050551A12002-05-02
JP2003222114A2003-08-08
Other References:
None
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A fastening device comprising a cup-shaped bushing insertable in a through seat of a support, in particular a vehicle bodywork element, and a fastening element mounted on the bushing mobile in an direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat, between a position extracted from the bushing and a position retracted in the bushing, characterized in that the fastening element comprises: a hollow anchor shaped for receiving in its first end, facing the bushing, and through a second end, open and opposite the first, a fastening member to the support, in particular a fastening member of a vehicle finishing element; and a pair of oscillating arms elastically and deformably constrained to opposite side walls of the anchor, each at an intermediate position thereof provided, towards the bushing, with a locking tooth adapted to snappingly engage, in said retracted position, a corresponding side slot of the bushing and, through the slot, said seat for the bushing for locking the bushing in its seat; the oscillating arms being mobile between a first home position in which the first ends of the arms facing the bushing are maintained adjacent, accommodated within the anchor at a predetermined distance from said first end of the same, for intercepting in use one fastening end of said fastening member; and a second elastically deformed position, in which the arms lay essentially parallel to said direction of insertion to allow the passage of the fastening end to and from said first end of the anchor; and in which said locking teeth cannot engage said lateral slots.

2. A device according to claim 1, characterized in that in said extracted position of the fastening element, said locking teeth lay abuttingly against a lead-in edge of the bushing; said locking teeth being however shaped such that, in the second position of said arms, the teeth are incapable of engaging said lead-in edge of the bushing.

3. A device (1) according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that said anchor is cup-shaped, said first end of the same defining a blank end, preferably ogive-shaped, adapted to house said fastening end of the fastening member.

4. A device (1) according to one of the claims 2 or 3, characterized in that said anchor and said bushing both present prismatic shape or the like to prevent the relative rotation of the same in both of said directions, respectively extracted and retracted, of the fastening element on the bushing.

5. A device (1) according to claims from 2 to 4, characterized in that said arms are made integrally with said opposite side walls of the anchor so as to each overhangingly protrude within a longitudinal perforation through the respective said side wall of the anchor, said arms • being connected to said opposite lateral walls of the anchor only through elastically deformable portions of the walls themselves delimited between a lead-in edge of the anchor, facing the same side as said lead-in edge of the bushing, and an end of the respective longitudinal

perforation of each said side wall of the anchor, immediately adjacent to said lead-in edge of the same.

6. A device (1) according to claim 5, characterized in that said intermediate portions of said arms are arranged immediately upstream, with respect to said direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat, of said elastically deformable portions of the opposite side walls of the anchor which elastically constrain in an oscillating manner said arms to the anchor itself.

7. A device (1) according to claim 6, characterized in that said arms present respective second ends, opposite to the first, overhangingly protruding from said lead-in edge of the anchor on opposite side to the bushing and immediately adjacent to said intermediate portions of the arms provided with said locking teeth; said second ends, in said first position of the arms, are arranged reciprocally spread by a predetermined quantity so as to determine a radial interference between said locking teeth and said lead-in edge of the bushing.

8. A device (1) according to claim 7, characterized in that said second arm ends are shaped so as to be adapted to receive in use a pressure transversal to said direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat in direction so as to determine the rotation of the arms towards said second elastically deformed position.

9. A device (1) according to claim 8, characterized in that said second arm ends are provided, towards the inside of the anchor, with longitudinal

stiffener ribs which essentially extend for the entire length of the arms and present a radial extension progressively decreasing towards said first end of the anchor; said ribs being adapted to cooperate in use with said fastening end of the fastening member to determine the elastic rotation of said arms from said first to said second position.

10. A device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said locking teeth are wedge-shaped so as to taper down towards said bushing in a transversal direction to said direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat.

11. A device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said bushing is provided with elastically deformable fastening elements adapted to withhold said anchor led into said bushing, in said extracted position of the fastening element.

Description:

RELEASABLE ANCHOR FASTENING DEVICE FOR AUTOMOTIVE

FINISHING ELEMENTS

TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates to an anchor fastening device for automotive finishing elements, of releasable type, i.e. adapted to allow repeated assembly and disassembly of the finishing element without being damaged.

BACKGROUND ART

It is known that finishing elements, such as door panels or profiles are assembled onto the bodywork of a vehicle by means of fastening devices, usually of the snapping type, which are arranged and pre-mounted in specific seats of the vehicle bodywork to receive in use, at the time of assembly of the finishing elements, corresponding fastening ends of fastening members integrally carried by the finishing elements. The known fastening devices, however, do not normally allow an easy disassembly of the finishing element, for example to perform maintenance interventions or repairs on the vehicle, after assembly; furthermore, in order to perform such disassembly the fastening device must generally be broken, and must thus be replaced.

Furthermore, also the fastening members of the finishing elements may be damaged during the disassembly from the vehicle, which sometimes obliges to replace the entire finishing element, if the fastening members, as often occurs, are embedded and co-moulded in the finishing element.

Finally, in general, the known fastening devices are not always reliable, presenting assembly loads not very different from the extraction loads (i.e. from the load that the device is capable of withstanding before causing the release of the fastening member) and, specifically if designed to the purpose of at least promoting disassembly in case of need, display large dimensions and high costs.

DISCLOSURE QF INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to overcome such drawbacks by realizing a fastening device for finishing elements on vehicle bodywork displaying at the same time high efficiency and small dimensions, and further displaying high reliability, low manufacturing cost and high assembly and disassembly ease, ensuring in both cases the essential absence of dangers of breakage or deformation of both the device itself, and above all of the fastening members integral to the finishing elements to be assembled.

The present invention thus relates to a- fastening device as defined in claim 1.

Specifically the fastening device of the invention comprises a cup-shaped bushing insertable in a through seat of a support, specifically a vehicle bodywork element, and a fastening element mounted on the bushing mobile in an direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat, between a position extracted from the bushing and a position retracted in the bushing. The fastening element comprises, in turn: a hollow anchor shaped for receiving in its first end, facing the

bushing and through a second end, open and opposite the first, a fastening member to the support, specifically a fastening member of a vehicle finishing element to be assembled; and a pair of oscillating arms elastically and deformably constrained to opposite side walls of the anchor, each at an intermediate position provided, towards the bushing, with a locking tooth adapted to snappingly engage, in retracted position, a corresponding side slot of the bushing and, in extracted position, to abuttingly rest against a lead-in edge of the bushing.

The oscillating arms are mobile between a first position of rest, in which first ends of the arms face the bushing, are maintained adjacent, accommodated within the anchor at a predetermined distance from said first end of the same, for intercepting in use one fastening end of the fastening member; and a second elastically deformed position, in which the arms lay essentially parallel to said direction of insertion to allow the passage of the fastening end to and from said first end of the anchor; and in which the locking teeth can engage neither the side slots nor the lead-in edge of the bushing.

Furthermore, the intermediate portions of the arms are arranged immediately upstream, with respect to the direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat, of said elastically deformable portions of the opposite side walls of the anchor which elastically constrain in an oscillating manner said arms to the anchor itself; the arms display corresponding second ends, opposite to the first, overhangingly protruding from said lead-in edge of the anchor on opposite side to the bushing and

immediately adjacent to said intermediate portions of the arms arranged, in the first position of the arms, reciprocally spread by a predetermined quantity so as to determine a radial interference between the locking teeth and the lead-in edge of the bushing.

Finally, the second ends of the arms are preferably shaped so as to be adapted to receive in use a transversal pressure to the direction of insertion of the bushing in the seat to turn the arms into the second position.

In this manner, when a fastening member of the finishing element to be mounted is inserted in the device, preassembled with the bushing accommodated in the bodywork seat, the fastening end of the fastening member pushes against the first ends of the arms spreading them and causing in such a manner the elastic rotation of the arms from the first to the second position. This causes the release of the fastening teeth from the lead-in edge of the bushing allowing the fastening member to push the entire fastening element of the device of the invention, anchor and corresponding arms, into the retracted position in the bushing; as soon as this is reached, the fastening end of the fastening member reaches the first end of the anchor, in which it is accommodated, overcoming and abandoning the first ends of the arms, which consequently close again due to the elastic rotation of the arms, no longer pushed by the fastening member, towards the first position, locking the fastening member within the anchor; at the same time, the locking teeth align with the side slots of the bushing, which they engage as soon as the arms return to the first

position, consequently locking the anchor in the bushing; the same teeth further engage the accommodation seat of the bushing in the bodywork, locking the bushing onto the bodywork itself. If disassembly is required, by acting on the second ends of the arms it is however possible to produce from the outside of the device a rotation of the arms into the second position, producing the release of the fastening teeth from both the seat in the bodywork and from the bushing and of the second ends of the arms from the fastening member, thus allowing the extraction of the anchor from the bushing and of the fastening member from the anchor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent in the description that follows of a non-limitative embodiment thereof, with reference to the figures of the accompanying drawings, in which: figure 1 shows a perspective three-quarters front view of a fastening device according to the invention;

- figures 2 and 3 respectively show an elevation side view and a section view taken along a plane III-III of the device of figure 1; and figures 4a,b,c and 5a,b,c schematically show corresponding different operating positions of the device of figure 1.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

With specific reference to the figures from 1 to 3, reference number 1 indicates as a whole a fastening device of the type comprising a cup-shaped bushing 2 insertable in a through seat 3 of a support 4, in the case in point a known vehicle bodywork element, shown only in part for the sake of simplicity, and a fastening element 5 mounted on bushing 2 mobile in a direction of insertion A (indicated by the arrow and by the dash-and- dotted axis in figure 1) of bushing 2 in seat 3, between a position extracted from bushing 2, shown in figures 1- 3, and a position retracted in bushing 2, shown in figures 4c and 5c. Fastening element 5, as clearly shown in detail in the section view of figure 3, comprises a hollow anchor 6 shaped to receive within a first end 7 (figure 3) , facing towards bushing 2, and through a second end 8, open and opposite the first, a fastening member 9 to support 4, in the case in point a known fastening member 9 of a finishing element of the vehicle, known and not shown for the sake of simplicity; fastening member 9 non- limitatively shown is of the type defined by a U-shaped eyelet, but may consists of any other known type of fastening member defining an undercut, for example by a mushroom-shaped head pin.

Fastening element 5 further comprises a pair of oscillating arms 10 elastically and deformably constrained to opposite walls 11, 12 of anchor 6, each at an intermediate position provided, towards bushing 2, with a fastening tooth 13 adapted to snappingly engage,

in the retracted position, a corresponding side slot 14 of bushing 2 and, through slot 14, seat 3 of bushing 2 (figure 4c) to lock in use bushing 2 into seat 3 itself.

Oscillating arms 10 are mobile between a first home position, shown in figures 3 and 4, and a second elastically deformed position, shown in figures 5b and 5c. In the first position, arms 10 are arranged obliquely, with first ends 16 facing in use towards bushing 2 maintained reciprocally adjacent and accommodated within bushing 6 at a predetermined distance from end 7 of the same, to intercept in use, as shown, a fastening end 19 of fastening member 9; in the second position arms 10 on the other hand, lay essentially parallel to each other and to direction of insertion A so as to allow the free passage of fastening end 19 to and from end 7 of anchor 6.

Fastening teeth 13 are dimensioned and positioned so that, in the mentioned second position of arms 10, they can engage neither side slots 14 of bushing 2, nor the peripheral edge of seat 3, therefore anchor 6 is free to move axially in direction A relatively to both bushing 2 and support 4.

On the other hand, in the extracted position of fastening element 5, locking teeth 13 rest normally, with arms 10 arranged in the mentioned first position, externally and abuttingly (figures 1 and 4a) against a lead-in edge 20 of bushing 2, because the intermediate portions of arms 10 provided with teeth 13 are reciprocally spread in a predetermined manner. Fastening teeth 10 are further shaped so that, in the mentioned second position of arms 10, teeth 13 cannot

engage lead-in edge 20 of bushing 2, but may on the other hand receive from edge 20, in consequence of an axial push exerted for example by a fastening member 9 along direction A, a push perpendicular to direction A so as to induce the intermediate portions of arms 10 to reciprocally approach each other and thus allow anchor 6 to slide within bushing 2; for this purpose, teeth 13 are wedge-shaped so as to taper down towards bushing 2 in a direction transversal to direction of insertion A of bushing 2 in seat 3.

Anchor 6 is cup-shaped and its first end 7 defines a blank end, preferably ogive-shaped, dimensioned so as to be adapted to accommodate fastening end 19 of fastening member 9. Furthermore, anchor 6 and bushing 2 both display a prismatic shape or however such to prevent in consequence of their reciprocal coupling the relative rotation between the same in either of the directions assumable by fastening element 5, respectively extracted and retracted, on bushing 2. According to a non secondary feature of the invention, arms 10 are integrally obtained with side walls 11,12 of anchor 6 so as to each protrudingly extend within a respective longitudinal perforation 22 (figure 3) obtained passing through corresponding side wall 11 and 12, respectively, of anchor 6.

Specifically, arms 10 are connected respectively one to wall 11 and the other to wall 12 only by means of elastically deformable portions 23,24 of walls 11,12 delimited between a lead-in edge 25 of anchor 6, facing the same side as lead-in edge 20 of bushing 2, and one end 26 (figure 5a) of corresponding longitudinal

perforation 22 of each corresponding side wall 11,12 of anchor 6, immediately adjacent to lead-in edge 25 of the same.

The intermediate portions of arms 10 provided with teeth 13 are arranged immediately upstream, with respect to direction of insertion A of bushing 2 in seat 3, of elastically deformable portions 23,24 of the opposite side walls 11,12 of anchor 6 elastically constraining in an oscillating manner arms 10 to anchor 6 itself. Therefore, they are approached one to the other when arms

10 turn to allow ends 16 to move away from each other and vice versa.

Arms 10 are further shaped so as to display corresponding ends 28, opposite ends 16, overhangingly protruding from lead-in edge 25 on opposite side to bushing 2 and arranged immediately adjacent to the intermediate portions of arms 10 provided with teeth 13.

Ends 28, in the first mention position of arms 10, and with fastening element 5 in the extracted position, are arranged reciprocally spread by a predetermined quantity and so as to determine radial interference (i.e. in transversal direction to direction A) between fastening teeth 13 and lead-in edge 20 of bushing 2.

Ends 28 of arms 10 are further shaped so as to be adapted to receive in use a transversal pressure

(indicated by the arrows in figure 5c) with respect to the direction of insertion A of bushing 2 in seat 3 in a way so as to determine the rotation of arms 10 from the first and towards the second, elastically deformed position. For example, ends 28 are grip-shaped, so as to be pressed one towards the other by the fingers of an

operator or by means of a tool, for example pliers.

Ends 28 are also provided towards the inside of anchor 5, with longitudinal stiffening ribs 30 which extend essentially for the entire length of arms 10 and display a progressively decreasing radial extension towards end 7 of anchor 6. In this manner, ribs 30 are adapted to cooperate in use with fastening end 19 of fastening member 9 to determine the elastic rotation of arms 10 from the first to the second position following the axial insertion, in direction A, of end 19 within anchor 6, through the lead-in defined by edge 25.

In order to facilitate the supply of device 1 in preassembled configuration, bushing 2 is provided with elastically deformable snapping fastening elements 32, of the known type, adapted to withhold anchor 6 (and along with it entire fastening element 5) led into bushing 2, in extracted position, with teeth 13 abutting against edge 25.

With specific reference to figures 4 and 5, device 1 in the preassembled and supply configuration, shown in figure 1, is approached in use to a seat 3 and inserted in the sense of the arrow along direction A (figure 4a) until bushing 2 is accommodated in seat 3 of support 4 (figure 5a) ; bushing 2 is radially provided on the outside with an elastically deformable tapered flange 40, adapted in use to abut against support 4, peripherally on the external edge of seat 3 and which, by deforming, allows bushing 2 to couple with seat 3 in axially floating manner, so as to recover possible misalignments due to machining tolerances, which may occur after assembly (position in figure 5a) between slots 14 and the

edge of seat 3, which in such position must be arranged one over the other.

Subsequently, fastening member 9 is introduced along direction A in anchor 6 (figure 4b) , for the purpose of assembling and fixing a finishing element, not shown, integral in use with member 9, to support 4, for example constituted by the bodywork of a motor vehicle. End 19, being arms 10 arranged in converging manner one towards the other, is intercepted by ribs 30 and produces, due to the inclined plane shape of the same, a transversal stress on arms 10 which tends to "open" the same, deforming portions 23,24 which connect arms 10 to anchor 6, making ends 16 spread (figure 5b) .

In such turned position of arms 10 teeth 13, continuing the insertion of member 9 on anchor 6, cooperating with edge 25 further stress arms 10 to continue the rotation, allowing teeth 13 to overcome edge

25 to snappingly engage slots 14; when this occurs end 19 has in the meantime overcome ends 16 of arms 10 (figure 4c) , therefore these remain free to return to the starting position, by effect of the elastic recovery of the deformation received on portions 23,24, locking end

19 in the seat defined by end 7 of anchor 6; at the same time, teeth 13 further engage, through slots 14, the edge of seat 3, locking onto support 4 bushing 2 and, consequently, entire device 1 and member 9.

In order to possibly remove device 1 or simply to release member 9 it is sufficient to exert a pressure on ends 28 in the direction of the arrows (figure 5c) to make arms 10 turn again into the second position, spreading ends 16; at this point, fastening member 9 may

be easily removed by exerting a simple traction in the direction and sense of the arrow, damaging neither device 1, nor member 9, nor support 4.

The objects of the invention are thus fully reached, including a high assembly and disassembly ease, consequent to the simplicity of the necessary movements (for which assembly may occur automatically) , both due to the reduced insertion load needed (equal only to the axial load needed to reproduce the rotation of arms 10, very small because it is translated due to the described geometry into a high twisting stress on the portions 23,24) .

The resistance offered by device 1 against the accidental removal of member 9 is on the other hand high and corresponds in essence to the deforming peak load of arms 10.