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Title:
VENTILATION UNIT AND MANUFACTURING PROCESS OF ELECTRICAL CONNECTION UNIT OF VENTILATION UNIT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/028403
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a ventilation unit (1), including a shroud (3) having an opening in which a fan (5) is arranged, an electric motor (EM), and an electrical connection unit (7) configured for receiving a power supply. The electrical connection unit (7) includes a wire container (13) corresponding to the opening in an axial direction of the fan (5) and having a first end (13A) and a second end (13B). A plurality of conductive wires (17) are housed inside the wire container (13) and arranged to be spaced from each other; the first portions (17A) of the conductive wires (17) are connected to corresponding first electric terminals (Tl) of the electric motor (EM); and a connector (C) is arranged at the second end (13B) and comprises a plurality of second electrical terminals (T2), respectively connected to the second portions (17B). A manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit (7) of the ventilation unit (1) is also provided.

Inventors:
MORRA GIUSEPPE (CN)
NUZZO GIONATAN (CN)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2020/072430
Publication Date:
February 18, 2021
Filing Date:
August 10, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
JOHNSON ELECTRIC ASTI S R L (IT)
International Classes:
H02G3/04; F24F11/88; H01R12/50; H01R12/51; H02K5/22
Foreign References:
US20180351273A12018-12-06
US20080020698A12008-01-24
US20180112885A12018-04-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOHERTY, William et al. (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A ventilation unit (1), comprising: a shroud (3) having an opening in which a fan (5) is arranged; an electric motor (EM) supported by the shroud (3) and configured to rotate the fan (5); and an electrical connection unit (7) configured for receiving a power supply; characterized in that, the electrical connection unit (7) comprises a wire container (13) made of non- deformable material which is electrically insulating, corresponding to the opening of the fan (5) in an axial direction and comprising a first end (13A) and a second end (13B), a plurality of conductive wires (17) are housed inside the wire container (13) and arranged to be spaced from each other, a first portion (17A) of each conductive wire (17) protruding to an outside of the first end (13A) and a second portion (17B) of each conductive wire (17) protruding to an outside of the second end (13B); the first portions (17A) of the conductive wires (17) are connected to corresponding first electric terminals (Tl) of the electric motor (EM); and a connector (C) is arranged at the second end (13B) of the wire container (13), and comprises a plurality of second electrical terminals (T2), respectively connected to the second portions (17B) of the conductive wires (17).

2. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the first end (13A) of the wire container (13) comprises a mounting portion configued to be coupled to a connector housing of the electric motor.

3. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 2, wherein the mounting portion is slidably mounted to the connector housing.

4. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the connector (C) has a main frame (21), the second end (13B) of the wire container (13) being coupled to or integrally formed with the main frame (21).

5. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the wire container (13) is over-molded to the conductive wires (17), so that the conductive wires (17) are embedded in the wire container (13).

6. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the conductive wires (17) comprises at least one signal wire for transmiting control signals and power wires for receiving the power supply.

7. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the wire container (13) comprises a housing (23) with a plurality of seats (15) respectively to house the conductive wires (17), and a cover (25) mounted to the housing (23).

8. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the electric motor (EM) is arranged at the center of the opening of the shroud (3), and the wire container (13) extends from the electric motor (EM) to an external ring (12) of the fan (5).

9. The ventilation unit (1) according to claim 1, wherein the shroud (3) is substantialy rectangular, and the wire container (13) extends curvilinearly and comprises a first portion extending radially outward from the electric motor (EM) and a second portion extending towards a short side of the rectangular shroud (3).

10. A manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit (7) of the ventilation unit according to claim 1, comprising the steps of: a) arranging the conductive wires (17) on a mold; b) molding the wire container (13) to the conductive wires (17), first portions (17A) of the conductive wires (17) protruding to an outside of the first end (13A) of the wire container (13), and second portions (17B) of the conductive wires (17) protruding to an outside of the second end (13B) of the wire container (13); and c) connecting the second portions (17B) of the conductive wires (17) to corresponding electrical terminals (T2) of the connector (C).

11. A manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit (7) of the ventilation unit according to claim 1, comprising the steps of: a) forming a housing (23) with a plurality of seats (15); b) assembling the conductive wires (17) in the seats (15), the first portions (17A) of the conductive wires (17) protruding to an outside of the first end (13A) of the housing (23) and the second portions (17B) of the conductive wires (17) protruding to an outside of the second end (13B) of the housing (23); c) assembling a cover (25) to the housing (23); and d) connecting the second portions (17B) of the electrical conductive wires (17) to corresponding electrical terminals (T2) of the connector (C).

Description:
VENTILATION UNIT AND MANUFACTURING PROCESS OF ELECTRICAL CONNECTION UNIT OF VENTILATION UNIT

The invention relates to a ventilation unit, in particular, to a cooling fan module for a heat exchanger, such as a radiator of a vehicle, and further relates to a manufacturing method of an electrical connection unit of the ventilation unit.

A known ventilation unit includes a shroud, an electric motor supported by the shroud and designed to rotate a fan connected to it. In addition, the ventilation unit includes an electrical connection unit for powering the electric motor.

The electrical connection unit includes a plurality of conductive wires covered by a flexible plastic sheath. First ends of the conductive wires are connected to a connector and second ends of the conductive wires are connected to respective terminals of the electric motor.

However, since the plastic sheath is flexible, the conductive wires are flexible. The flexible conductive wires complicate, and in some cases prevent, the automatic installation of the electrical connection unit to the ventilation unit, for example by means of robotic and highly automatic process. Therefore, the cost for the installation of the electrical connection unit is high.

It is the object of the present invention to provide a ventilation unit which allows an automatic installation of an electrical connection unit, and thus reducing the cost for its installation.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a ventilation unit is provided, comprising a shroud having an opening in which a fan is arranged; an electric motor supported by the shroud and configured to rotate the fan; and an electrical connection unit configured for receiving a power supply; the electrical connection unit comprises a wire container made of non-deformable material which is electrically insulating, corresponding to the opening of the fan in an axial direction and comprising a first end and a second end, a plurality of conductive wires are housed inside the wire container and arranged to be spaced from each other, a first portion of each conductive wire protruding to an outside of the first end and a second portion of each conductive wire protruding to an outside of the second end; the first portions of the conductive wires are connected to corresponding first electric terminals of the electric motor; and a connector is arranged at the second end of the wire container, and comprises a plurality of second electrical terminals, respectively connected to the second portions of the conductive wires.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit of the ventilation unit is provided, comprising the steps of: a) arranging the conductive wires on a mold; b) molding the wire container to the conductive wires, first portions of the conductive wires protruding to an outside of the first end of the wire container, and second portions of the conductive wires protruding to an outside of the second end of the wire container; and c) connecting the second portions of the conductive wires to corresponding electrical terminals of the connector.

According to still another aspect of the present invention, a manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit of the ventilation unit is provided, comprising the steps of: a) forming a housing with a plurality of seats; b) assembling the conductive wires in the seats, the first portions of the conductive wires protruding to an outside of the first end of the housing and the second portions of the conductive wires protruding to an outside of the second end of the housing; c) assembling a cover to the housing; and d) connecting the second portions of the electrical conductive wires to corresponding electrical terminals of the connector.

Compared to the existing ventilation unit, the present invention provides a ventilation unit which allows an automatic installation of the electrical connection unit to the ventilation unit, and thus reducing the costs for its installation.

A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to figures of the accompanying drawings. In the figures, identical structures, elements or parts that appear in more than one figure are generally labeled with a same reference numeral in all the figures in which they appear. Dimensions of components and features shown in the figures are generally chosen for convenience and clarity of presentation and are not necessarily shown to scale. The figures are listed below.

Figure 1 illustrates a ventilation unit according to a preferable embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 illustrates a top view of an electrical connection unit of the ventilation unit of Figure 1;

Figure 3 illustrates a top view of the electrical connection unit of Figure 2, with a connector coupled to the electrical connection unit;

Figure 4 shows an electrical connection between the motor terminals and the electrical connection unit of Figure 2;

Figure 5 shows an alternate electrical connection between the motor terminals and the electrical connection unit according to some embodiments of the present invention;

Figure 6 shows an alternate electrical connection between the motor terminals and the electrical connection unit according to some embodiments of the present invention; and

Figure 7 illustrates an explode view of an electrical connection unit according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

The subject matter will be described in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and the preferred embodiments. The described embodiments are only a few and not all of the embodiments of the present disclosure. All other embodiments obtained by those ordinarily skilled in the art based on the embodiments of the present disclosure without any creative efforts fall within the protection scope of the present disclosure. It is to be understood that, the drawings are provided for reference only and are not intended to be limiting of the invention. The dimensions shown in the drawings are only for convenience of illustration and are not intended to be limiting.

Referring to Figure 1, a ventilation unit 1 includes a shroud 3 which includes an opening in which a fan 5 is arranged. The ventilation unit 1 further includes an electric motor EM supported by the shroud 3 and arranged to rotate the fan 5. Still further, the ventilation unit 1 includes an electrical connection unit 7 configured to receive a power supply for the electric motor EM. For example, the electrical connection unit receives the power supply from a vehicle battery. The electrical connection unit 7 may be further configured receive control signals from an Electronic Control Unit (ECU).

Referring to Figures 2 to 4, the electrical connection unit 7 includes a wire container 13, made of non-deformable material which is electrically insulating. The container 13 is configured to house a plurality of conductive wires 17.

The wire container 13 includes a first end 13A and a second end 13B. A first portion 17A of each conductive wire 17 protrudes to an outside of the first end 13 of the wire container 13 and a second portion 17B of each conductive wire 17 protrudes to an outside of the second end 13B of the wire container 13. The wire container 13 may have a substantially tubular or rectangular section. The wire container 13 may be over-molded to the conductive wires 17, so that the conductive wires 17 are embedded in the wire container 13.

The first portions 17A of the conductive wires 17 are respectively connected to the first electric terminals T1 of the electric motor EM. For example, the first portion 17A of each conductive wire 17 can be connected to the corresponding first electric terminal T1 of the electric motor EM by welding.

The electrical connection unit 7 further includes a connector C, which is arranged to connect the second end 13B of the wire container 13. This connector C includes a plurality of second electrical terminals T2, respectively connected with the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17. For example, the second portion 17B of each conductive wire 17 can be connected to the corresponding second electrical terminal T2 of the connector C by welding.

The conductive wire 17 is preferably a single conductor. For example, as shown in the Figures, the conductive wires 17 may be solid conductive wires. The conductive wires 17 include two power wires for receiving the power supply and may further include at least one singal wire for transmiting control signals. The power wires may have a larger diameter than the at least one singal wire.

The conductive wires 17 are housed inside the wire container 13 and arranged to be spaced from each other, so as to be electrically isolated from each other. The first end 13 A of the wire container 13 may include a mounting portion arranged to be coupled to a connector housing of the electric motor EM, so that the first portions 17A of the conductive wires 17 are aligned with the first electrical terminals Tl. Preferably, the mounting portion is slidably mounted to the connector housing of the electric motor EM.

The mounting portion may be plate-shaped and have two guide grooves 18 on the two opposite edges of the mounting portion. The guide grooves 18 are configured to receive corresponding guide rails formed on two edges of the connector housing of the electric motor EM, so that the mounting portion can be sliably mounted to the connector housing.

Referring to Figure 3, the connector C has a main frame 21 with a hollow portion 21a, two covers (not shown) fixed to two opposite sides of the main frame 21 to cover the main frame 21, and an inserting portion for engaging with a mating connector. The main frame 21 has a first side and a second side opposite to the first side in an extending direction of the connector C. The first side has an opening 19. The second end 13B of the wire container 13 has an engaging portion 14, which is coupled to the opening 19 of the first side of the main frame 21. The second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 and the second electrical terminals T2 of the connector C are connected in the hollow portion 21a, which is preferably sealed with resin material.

Preferably, the first side of the main frame 21 is formed with a guide rail or guide groove, and the engaging portion 14 is formed with a corresponding guide groove or guide rail, so that the engagement portion 14 can be slidably mounted to the opening 19 of the first side.

In the embodiment, the main frame 21 is substantially rectangular. The main frame 21 also has an accommodation 21b adjacent to the hollow portion 21a. The accommodation 21b has a bottom and is separated from the hollow portion 21a by a dividing wall 21c. The dividing wall 21c has a plurality of grooves for guiding the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17. A top cover is configured to cover the hollow portion 21a and the accommodation 21b on one side of the main frame 21, and a bottom cover is configured to cover the hollow portion 21a on an opposite side of the main frame 21. In an alternative embodiment, the main frame 21 of the connector C and the wire container 13 may be molded integrally and simultaneously on the second electrical terminals T2 and the conductive wires 17 which have been connected together or have not been connected yet.

Preferably, a filter element 22, for example a capacitor, is electrically connected to the second portions 17B of two of the conductive wires 17 and housed in the main frame 21.

Referring to Figures 4, 5 and 6, the first portion 17A of each conductive wire 17 is connected to the first electric terminal T1 of different shapes.

In the embodiment shown in Figure 4, each first terminal T1 has a substantially horizontal connection surface, which is substantially perpendicular to a rotation axis of the electric motor EM. The first portion 17A of the conductive wire 17 may be welded to the horizontal connection surface of the corresponding first terminal Tl.

In the embodiment shown in Figure 5, each first terminal Tl has two protrusions extending along the rotation axis of the electric motor EM, for clamping the first portion 17A of the corresponding conductive wire 17.

In the embodiment shown in Figure 6, each first terminal Tl has a substantially vertical connection surface which is substantially parallel to the rotor axis of the electric motor EM. The first portion 17A of the conductive wire 17 may be welded to the vertical connection surface of the corresponding first terminal Tl.

Referring to Figure 7, in an alternative embodiment, the wire container 13 may include a housing 23 with a plurality of seats 15 for housing the conductive wires 17, and a cover 25 mounted to the housing 23.

The cover 25 is removable to allow a user to access the housing 23. A user may wish to have access to the inside of the wire container 13 to check, for example, the integrity of the conductive wires 17.

Preferably, the wire container 13 is made of polymeric material, for example an electrically insulating plastic material.

Referring to the Figure 1 again, the electric motor EM is arranged in the center of the opening of the shroud 3, and the wire container 13 is arranged corresponding to the opening in an axial direction of the fan. The wire container 13 may extend from the electric motor EM to an external ring 12 of the fan. Preferably, the shroud 3 is substantialy rectangular, and the wire container 13 extends curvilinearly and includes a first portion 13c extending radially outward from the electric motor EM and a second portion 13d extending towards a short side 3a of the rectangular shroud 3.

The present invention further provides a manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit 7 of the ventilation unit, which includes the following steps: a) arranging the conductive wires 17 on a mold; b) molding the wire container 13 to the conductive wires 17, the first portions 17A of the conductive wires 17 protruding to an outside of the first end 13 A of the wire container 13, and the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 protruding to an outside of the second end 13B of the wire container 13; and c) connecting the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 to the corresponding electrical terminals T2 of the connector C.

Preferably, the step b) further includes forming the mounting portion at the first end 13A of the wire container 13, which is configured to be coupled to the connector housing of the electric motor EM.

Preferably, the step b) further includes forming the engaging portion at the second end 13B of the wire container 13, which is configured to be coupled to the main frame 21 of the connector C.

Preferably, the step c) further includes mounting the engaging portion of the wire container 13 to the main frame 21 of the connector C, before connecting the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 to the electrical terminals T2.

An alternative manufacturing method of the electrical connection unit 7 of the ventilation unit, includes the following steps: a) forming the housing 23 of the wire container 13, which has a plurality of seats 15; b) assembling the conductive wires 17 in the seats 15, the first portions 17A of the conductive wires 17 protruding to an outside of the first end 13 A of the housing 23 and the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 protruding to an outside of the second end 13B of the housing 23; c) assembling the cover 25 to the housing 23; and d) connecting the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 to the corresponding electrical terminals T2 of the connector C.

Preferably, the step a) further includes forming the mounting portion at the first end 13A of the housing 23, which is configured to be coupled to the connector housing of the electric motor EM, and/or forming the engaging portion at the second end 13B of the housing 23, which is configured to be coupled to the main frame 21 of the connector C.

Preferably, the step d) further includes mounting the engaging portion of the housing 23 to the main frame 21 of the connector C, before connecting the second portions 17B of the conductive wires 17 and the electrical terminals T2.

In the present invention, the first portions 17A of the conductive wires 17 can be placed in contact with the corresponding first electric terminals T1 of the electric motor EM by a robotic arm. For example, the robotic arm may be a mechanical arm having a certain degree of freedom, capable of grasping and moving small objects and which can be controlled by an operator or pre-programmed to perform certain operating cycles.

The advantage thus obtained is that of providing a ventilation unit which allows an automatic installation of an electrical connection unit to a ventilation unit, and thus reducing the costs for its installation. Since the conductive wires 17 are not be free to move, the automatic robot will be able to automatically locate the electrical connection unit 7 at the correct position of the ventilation unit, an activity according to the prior art have to be carried out manually by an operator.

Although certain inventive embodiments of the present disclosure have been specifically described, the present disclosure is not to be construed as being limited thereto. Various changes or modifications may be made to the present disclosure without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure.