Title of Invention

CONNECTING DEVICE BETWEEN THE STEERING COLUMN AND THE BODY OF A MOTOR VEHICLE

Abstract The inventive connecting device between a steering column (1) for a motor vehicle and a crossbar (5) fixed to the body thereof comprises a steering column support (3) which is connected to said column (1) and fixed to a rigid arm (4) rigidly connected to the crossbar (5), wherein the connection between the arm (4) and the column support (3) is deformable by a front impact action produced on the crossbar (5) and is characterized in that the deformation is carried out by folding the sheet of said support (3).
Full Text

Connecting device between the steering column and the body
of a motor vehicle
The present invention relates to a connecting device between a steering column of a motor vehicle and a cross member fixedly joined to the vehicle body, the device being of the type comprising a steering column support fixedly joined to the column and secured to a rigid arm rigidly connected to the cross member, the connection between the arm and the column support being deformable under the effect of a front impact exerted on the cross member, such as described, for example, in US 4,943,028.
It is known that, for the safety and protection of persons installed in a motor vehicle, the passenger space thereof must, in the event of a collision, remain as rigid as possible while the front or rear exterior portions are deformed in order to absorb the kinetic energy.
A particular element of the passenger space is the steering column. The steering column involves particular constraints associated with its functions and with its positioning since a major portion thereof extends into the deformable front portion of the vehicle. Owing to the fact that the steering wheel is an element close to the driver's body, it is particularly important that it, and therefore the upper portion of the steering column, does not move backwards into the passenger space.
However, automobile manufacturers also seek to improve the comfort of their vehicles. An important element in this

improvement is the reduction, and even suppression, of vibration.
With regard to the steering column, a well-known means of reducing this vibration is to secure it rigidly, by means of an intermediate member, to the Basic Lower Cross Member. This cross member, which contributes to the rigidity of the vehicle, is located between the engine region and the passenger space, at the front and parallel with the dashboard.
This cross member forms part of the deformation elements of the vehicle. It is therefore provided that this cross member can move back by 80 mm in the event of a front impact of 60 km/h.
The rigid connection between this cross member and the steering column propagates almost all of this displacement to the steering wheel. Therefore, by departing from the authorized deformation range, the steering wheel no longer conforms to safety standards.
The object of the invention is therefore to overcome this disadvantage by means of a device which has a particularly simple and economical structure and which ensures both comfort by reducing vibration and safety by a limited displacement of the steering wheel in the event of impact.
The invention therefore relates to a connecting device of the above-mentioned type, characterized in that the deformation is produced by the folding of a metal sheet of the said support.

Other features of the invention are:
the support comprises a metal sheet, an end portion of which is folded beforehand and secured to the arm;
the folding is effected about an axis which is substantially perpendicular to the direction of deformation;
the support also comprises, on each side of the said end portion, longitudinal flanges that are oriented substantially vertically;
the flanges are obtained by folding the metal sheet; and
the support also comprises, on each side of the said end portion, tongues that are folded about an oblique axis forming an angle greater than 3 0° relative to the folding axis of the end.
The invention will be better understood in the light of the following description which is given purely by way of example and with reference to the appended drawings in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic side view of the device; Figure 2 is a perspective view of the front end of the
device;
Figures 3A and 3B are schematic views of the device
before and after a front impacts-Figure 4 is a perspective view of a variant of the
device.

In the following, the terms "front", "rear", "upper", "lower", etc. are considered in relation to a vehicle.
A steering column 1 is shown in Figure 1. It comprises a steering wheel 2 at its rear end. This steering column 1 is fixedly joined to a support 3 which holds it in place. The support 3 is secured by means of a rigid arm 4 to a cross member 5 which is fixedly joined to the vehicle body.
The rigid arm 4 is secured by welding or bolting to the cross member 5 and to the support 3.
In a conventional manner, the support 3 is also secured to a rigid cross member 6 of the instrument panel.
The lower end of the rigid arm 4 is secured to an end portion 7 of the support 3, which end portion 7 is formed by folding upwards through 90° a metal sheet constituting the support 3, about an axis X-X which is substantially perpendicular to the axis of the steering column, Figure 2.
The functioning of the device will now be explained in relation to Figures 3A and 3B.
Figure 3A shows the device before deformation. The steering wheel 2 is thus located in a region 10 representing the maximum displacement limits permitted in the event of impact in order to comply with safety rules.
In the event of a front impact on the vehicle, Figure 3B, the impact is passed on, in part, to the cross member 5 and therefore pushes the latter towards the rear. On the other

hand, the cross member 6 is not substantially displaced towards the rear and therefore constitutes a bearing point for the support 3.
Since the metal sheet of the support 3 has been folded beforehand about the axis X-X, the bending resistance of the support is reduced along that folding axis. Consequently, the end 7 of the support accompanies the arm 4 in closing the folding angle.
Therefore, the steering column 1 moves back only slightly into the passenger space, enabling the steering wheel 2 to remain inside the region 10 of the maximum displacement limits.
During normal operation of the vehicle, that is to say, apart from a collision, the steering support 3 and the arm 4 also have the function of reducing vibration on the steering column 1, in particular vertical vibration.
To that end, the support 3 must offer good rigidity. This rigidity is achieved, Figure 2, by the creation of longitudinal flanges 8, 9 that are oriented substantially vertically. The flanges may be formed by folding the metal sheet of the support 3 or by providing members that are secured rigidly, preferably by welding.
In a variant of the device, Figure 4, the support 3 comprises, on each side of the end 7 for the attachment of the arm, tongues 11, 12 folded about a respective oblique axis Y-Y forming an angle greater than 30° relative to the folding axis X-X of the end 6. The tongues 11, 12

contribute to the rigidity of the support 3 in addition to the flanges 8, 9.
In the drawings, the attachment end 7 as well as the flanges 8, 9 and the tongues 11, 12 have been shown folded upwards.
The person skilled in the art will appreciate that the device described also functions when folding is effected downwards.









CLAIMS
1. Connecting device between a steering column of a motor
vehicle and a cross member fixedly joined to the vehicle
body, the device being of the type comprising a steering
column support fixedly joined to the column and secured to
a rigid arm rigidly connected to the cross member, the connection between the arm and the column support being deformable under the effect of a front impact exerted on the cross member, characterized in that the deformation is produced by the folding of a metal sheet of the support.
2. Connecting device according to claim 1, characterized in that the support comprises a metal sheet, an end portion of which is folded beforehand and secured to the arm.
3. Connecting device according to claim 2, characterized in that the folding is effected about an axis which is substantially perpendicular to the direction of deformation.
4. Connecting device according to claim 2 or 3, characterized in that the support also comprises, on each side of the said end portion, longitudinal flanges that are oriented substantially vertically.
5. Connecting device according to claim 4, characterized in that the flanges are obtained by folding the metal sheet.

6. Connecting device according to claims 2 to 5, characterized in that the support also comprises, on each side of the said end portion, tongues that are folded about an oblique axis forming an angle greater than 30° relative to the folding axis of the said end portion.


Documents:

1793-CHENP-2007 AMENDED CLAIMS 07-01-2011.pdf

1793-chenp-2007 power of attorney 13-01-2011.pdf

1793-CHENP-2007 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 03-03-2010.pdf

1793-chenp-2007 correspondence others 13-01-2011.pdf

1793-CHENP-2007 EXAMINATION REPORT REPLY RECIEVED 07-01-2011.pdf

1793-chenp-2007 form-3 07-01-2011.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-abstract.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-claims.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-correspondnece-others.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-description(complete).pdf

1793-chenp-2007-drawings.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-form 1.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-form 18.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-form 3.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-form 5.pdf

1793-chenp-2007-pct.pdf


Patent Number 245620
Indian Patent Application Number 1793/CHENP/2007
PG Journal Number 04/2011
Publication Date 28-Jan-2011
Grant Date 27-Jan-2011
Date of Filing 30-Apr-2007
Name of Patentee FAURECIA INTERIEUR INDUSTRIE
Applicant Address 2,RUE HENNAPE, 92000 NANTERRE, FRANCE
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 BAUDART, LAURENT, 14 BIS, RUE DU BOUT SEC, 60530 FRESNOY EN THELLE, FRANCE
PCT International Classification Number B62D 1/19
PCT International Application Number PCT/FR05/02687
PCT International Filing date 2005-10-26
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 0411555 2004-10-28 France