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Patent Analysis of

Damper with integrated electronics

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10000104

Application Number

US15/218501

Application Date

25 July 2016

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

TENNECO AUTOMOTIVE OPERATING COMPANY INC.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

TENNECO AUTOMOTIVE OPERATING COMPANY INC.

International Classification

F16F9/46,F16F9/32,B60G13/00,B60G17/015,B60G17/019

Cooperative Classification

B60G17/08,B60G13/00,B60G13/08,B60G17/015,B60G17/019

Inventor

BLANKENSHIP, DAVID R.,KAZMIRSKI, KARL C.,DUNAWAY, SCOTT S.,PAENHUYSEN, JEROEN K.,ROESSLE, MATTHEW L.,SCHELOSKY, MATTHEW R.

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10000104 Damper integrated electronics 1 US10000104 Damper integrated electronics 2 US10000104 Damper integrated electronics 3
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Abstract

The present disclosure relates to a damper system for a vehicle. The damper system may have an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a rod guide assembly, a pressure tube, a reserve tube and an electromechanical valve. The electromechanical valve may be disposed in a valve cavity within the shock absorber. An integrated electronic system may be included which has a power drive electronics. The power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the electromechanical valve. The integrated electronic system is disposed along an axis parallel to a longitudinal axis of the pressure tube, and at a location radially outwardly of the pressure tube adjacent the rod guide assembly.

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Claims

1. A damper system for a vehicle, the damper system comprising: an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a rod, a rod guide assembly, a pressure tube, a reserve tube and an electromechanical valve; the electromechanical valve being disposed in a valve cavity within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber; and an integrated electronic system having power drive electronics, wherein the power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the electromechanical valve, and the integrated electronic system is disposed perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the pressure tube, and at a location external to the pressure tube, the rod guide including a hollow cylindrical wall through which the rod extends, the cylindrical wall being positioned between the integrated electronic system and the rod.

2. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the integrated electronic system is disposed at least partially within the rod guide assembly.

3. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the electromechanical valve includes a plurality of electromechanical valves.

4. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the electromechanical valve includes a plurality of electromechanical valves, and the valve cavity comprises a plurality of valve cavities, and wherein each one of the plurality of electromechanical valves is disposed in a respective one of the plurality of valve cavities in a circumferentially spaced apart configuration.

5. The damper system of claim 3, wherein the electromechanical valves are disposed in a circumferential arrangement within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber.

6. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the integrated electronic system is disposed along an external surface of the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber.

7. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the electromechanical valve comprises a digital valve.

8. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber further comprises a lead frame for electrically coupling the integrated electronic system to the electromechanical valve.

9. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the integrated electronic system comprises a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA).

10. The damper system of claim 9, wherein the PCBA comprises a ring-shaped structure which enables a portion of a piston rod of the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber to pass therethrough.

11. The damper system of claim 1, wherein the integrated electronic system is bounded on at least two sides by the rod guide assembly.

12. A damper system for a vehicle, the damper system comprising: an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a piston, a piston rod for supporting the piston for reciprocating linear movement, a rod guide for guiding axial movement of the piston rod, and a plurality of electromechanical valves; the plurality of electromechanical valves being disposed in a corresponding plurality of valve cavities within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber; and an integrated electronic system having power drive electronics; wherein the power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the plurality of electromechanical valves; the rod guide including a hollow cylindrical wall through which the rod extends, the cylindrical wall being positioned between the integrated electronic system and the rod.

13. The damper system of claim 12, wherein the integrated electronic system is disposed adjacent to an exterior surface of the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber.

14. The damper system of claim 12, wherein the integrated electronic system is disposed in a housing that prevents hydraulic fluid from contacting the integrated electronic system.

15. The damper system of claim 12, wherein the integrated electronic system is disposed in a housing that protects the integrated electronic system from environmental elements.

16. The damper system of claim 12, wherein the plurality of electromechanical valves comprise a plurality of digital valves.

17. The damper system of claim 16, wherein the plurality of digital valves are arranged circumferentially and radially outwardly from the piston rod.

18. The damper system of claim 12, wherein the integrated electronic system comprises a ring-shaped structure which enables a portion of the piston rod to pass therethrough.

19. The damper system of claim 12, wherein the integrated electronic system is bounded on at least two sides by the rod guide.

20. An electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber, the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber comprising: a piston rod; a piston supported from the piston rod; a rod guide assembly; a plurality of digital valves; a printed circuit board assembly having power drive electronics and electrically coupled to the plurality of digital valves; wherein the printed circuit board assembly has a ring-shaped structure which enables a portion of the piston rod to pass therethrough, the rod guide including a hollow cylindrical wall through which the rod extends, the cylindrical wall being positioned between the integrated electronic system and the rod.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A damper system for a vehicle, the damper system comprising:
    • an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a rod, a rod guide assembly, a pressure tube, a reserve tube and an electromechanical valve
    • the electromechanical valve being disposed in a valve cavity within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber
    • and an integrated electronic system having power drive electronics, wherein the power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the electromechanical valve, and the integrated electronic system is disposed perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the pressure tube, and at a location external to the pressure tube, the rod guide including a hollow cylindrical wall through which the rod extends, the cylindrical wall being positioned between the integrated electronic system and the rod.
    • 2. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is disposed at least partially within the rod guide assembly.
    • 3. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the electromechanical valve includes a plurality of electromechanical valves.
    • 4. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the electromechanical valve includes a plurality of electromechanical valves, and the valve cavity comprises
    • 6. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is disposed along an external surface of the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber.
    • 7. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the electromechanical valve comprises
    • 8. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber further comprises
    • 9. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system comprises
    • 11. The damper system of claim 1, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is bounded on at least two sides by the rod guide assembly.
  • 12
    12. A damper system for a vehicle, the damper system comprising:
    • an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a piston, a piston rod for supporting the piston for reciprocating linear movement, a rod guide for guiding axial movement of the piston rod, and a plurality of electromechanical valves
    • the plurality of electromechanical valves being disposed in a corresponding plurality of valve cavities within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber
    • and an integrated electronic system having power drive electronics
    • wherein the power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the plurality of electromechanical valves
    • the rod guide including a hollow cylindrical wall through which the rod extends, the cylindrical wall being positioned between the integrated electronic system and the rod.
    • 13. The damper system of claim 12, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is disposed adjacent to an exterior surface of the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber.
    • 14. The damper system of claim 12, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is disposed in a housing that prevents hydraulic fluid from contacting the integrated electronic system.
    • 15. The damper system of claim 12, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is disposed in a housing that protects the integrated electronic system from environmental elements.
    • 16. The damper system of claim 12, wherein
      • the plurality of electromechanical valves comprise
    • 18. The damper system of claim 12, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system comprises
    • 19. The damper system of claim 12, wherein
      • the integrated electronic system is bounded on at least two sides by the rod guide.
  • 20
    20. An electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber, the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber comprising:
    • a piston rod
    • a piston supported from the piston rod
    • a rod guide assembly
    • a plurality of digital valves
    • a printed circuit board assembly having power drive electronics and electrically coupled to the plurality of digital valves
    • wherein the printed circuit board assembly has a ring-shaped structure which enables a portion of the piston rod to pass therethrough, the rod guide including a hollow cylindrical wall through which the rod extends, the cylindrical wall being positioned between the integrated electronic system and the rod.
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Description

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to a hydraulic damper or shock absorber for use in a suspension system of a vehicle. More particularly, to a damper having an integrated electronic system.

BACKGROUND

This section provides background information related to the present disclosure which is not necessarily prior art.

Shock absorbers are used in conjunction with automotive suspension systems to absorb unwanted vibrations which occur during driving. To absorb the unwanted vibrations, shock absorbers are generally connected between the sprung portion (body) and the unsprung portion (suspension) of the automobile.

In recent years, vehicles may be equipped with an electrically adjustable damping system that includes an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber. Such adjustable shock absorbers may include an electromechanical valve/actuator disposed therein. A main control unit disposed within the vehicle is used to control the damping state of each of the adjustable shock absorber by controlling the actuation of the electromechanical valve.

SUMMARY

This section provides a general summary of the disclosure, and is not a comprehensive disclosure of its full scope or all of its features.

In one aspect the present disclosure relates to a damper system for a vehicle. The damper system may comprise an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a rod guide assembly, a pressure tube, a reserve tube and an electromechanical valve. The electromechanical valve may be disposed in a valve cavity within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber. An integrated electronic system may be included which has a power drive electronics. The power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the electromechanical valve. The integrated electronic system is disposed along an axis parallel to a longitudinal axis of the pressure tube, and at a location radially outwardly of the pressure tube adjacent the rod guide assembly.

In another aspect the present disclosure relates to a damper system for a vehicle. The damper system may comprise an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber including a piston, a piston rod for supporting the piston for reciprocating linear movement, a rod guide for guiding axial movement of the piston rod, and a plurality of electromechanical valves. The plurality of electromechanical valves may be disposed in a valve cavity within the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber. An integrated electronic system having power drive electronics may also be included. The power drive electronics is electrically coupled to the plurality of electromechanical valves.

In still another aspect the present disclosure relates to a damper system for a vehicle which may comprise a plurality of digital valves, an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber, and a printed circuit board assembly. The printed circuit board assembly may have power drive electronics and is electrically coupled to the plurality of digital valves.

Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected embodiments and not all possible implementations, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a vehicle having a damper system which incorporates an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber and a damper module in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an example of the damper system;

FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shock absorber of the damper system;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of a housing which houses an integrated electronic system;

FIG. 5 is an example functional block diagram of the damper module;

FIG. 6 illustrates a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) disposed within the shock absorber;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the damper system with an enlarged view of a rod guide assembly having the PCBA;

FIG. 8 is an example block diagram of the PCBA;

FIG. 9 illustrates an internal annular arrangement of the PCBA;

FIG. 10 illustrates an internal vertical arrangement of the PCBA;

FIG. 11 illustrates an inverted-wet arrangement of the PCBA;

FIG. 12 illustrates an external arrangement of the PCBA; and

FIG. 13 illustrates a cap arrangement of the PCBA.

Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings. With reference to FIG. 1, an example of a vehicle 10 incorporating a suspension system having dampers with an integrated electronic system is now presented. The vehicle 10 includes a rear suspension 12, a front suspension 14, and a body 16. The rear suspension 12 has a transversely extending rear axle assembly (not shown) adapted to operatively support a pair of rear wheels 18. The rear axle assembly is attached to the body 16 by means of a pair of damper systems 20 and by a pair of springs 22. Similarly, the front suspension 14 includes a transversely extending front axle assembly (not shown) to operatively support a pair of front wheels 24. The front axle assembly is attached to the body 16 by means of a pair of the damper systems 20 and by a pair of springs 26.

The damper systems 20 serve to dampen the relative motion of the unsprung portion (i.e., front and rear suspensions 12, 14) with respect to the sprung portion (i.e., body 16) of vehicle 10. While the vehicle 10 has been depicted as a passenger car having front and rear axle assemblies, the damper system 20 may be used with other types of vehicles or in other types of applications including, but not limited to, vehicles incorporating non-independent front and/or non-independent rear suspensions, vehicles incorporating independent front and/or independent rear suspensions or other suspension systems known in the art. In addition, the damper system 20 may also be used on all wheeled and/or tracked vehicles. For example the damper system 20 may be used on two and/or three wheels type of vehicles, such as motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-3, an example of the damper system 20 is shown in greater detail. The damper system 20 includes an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber 30 (“shock absorber 30” hereinafter) and a damper module (DM) 32. As shown in FIG. 3, the shock absorber 30 may have a twin tube configuration. The shock absorber 30 may include a pressure tube 36; a piston assembly 38, a piston rod 39, a reserve tube 40 and a base valve assembly 42.

In the example embodiment described herein, the damper system 20 is described and depicted as including a twin tube electrically adjustable shock absorber. It is readily understood that the damper system 20 may include other types of electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber and is not limited to the shock absorber described herein. For example, the damper system 20 may include an electrically adjustable shock absorber having a mono-tube configuration, a triple-tube configuration, or any other suitable shock absorber design known in the art. Furthermore, in the following description, the shock absorber is connected to the sprung and unsprung portions of the vehicle as a non-inverted shock absorber. It is readily understood that the present disclosure is further applicable to inverted shock absorbers, which differ in the manner in which it is connected to the sprung and unsprung portions of vehicle.

The pressure tube 36 defines a working chamber 44. The piston assembly 38 is slidably disposed within the pressure tube 36 and divides the working chamber 44 into an upper working chamber 46 and a lower working chamber 48.

The piston rod 39 is attached to the piston assembly 38 and extends through the upper working chamber 46 and through a rod guide assembly 50 which closes the upper end of the pressure tube 36. The end of the piston rod 39 opposite to the piston assembly 38 is adapted to be secured to the sprung mass of the vehicle 10.

Valving within the piston assembly 38 controls the movement of fluid between the upper working chamber 46 and the lower working chamber 48 during movement of the piston assembly 38 within the pressure tube 36. Since the piston rod 39 extends through the upper working chamber 46 and not the lower working chamber 48, movement of the piston assembly 38 with respect to the pressure tube 36 causes a difference in the amount of fluid displaced in the upper working chamber 46 and the amount of fluid displaced in the lower working chamber 48. The fluid displaced may flow through the base valve assembly 42, the piston assembly 38, or a combination thereof.

The reserve tube 40 surrounds the pressure tube 36 to define a fluid reservoir chamber 52 located between tubes 40 and 36. The bottom end of the reserve tube 40 is closed by a base cup 54 which can be connected to the unsprung mass of vehicle 10. The upper end of reserve tube 40 is attached to the rod guide assembly 50. The base valve assembly 42 is disposed between the lower working chamber 48 and the reservoir chamber 52 to control the flow of fluid between chambers 48 and 52. When the shock absorber 30 extends in length, an additional volume of fluid is needed in the lower working chamber 48. Thus, fluid may flow from the reservoir chamber 52 to the lower working chamber 48 through, for example, the base valve assembly 42. When the shock absorber 30 compresses in length, an excess of fluid must be removed from the lower working chamber 48, and therefore, fluid may flow from the lower working chamber 48 to the reservoir chamber 52 through the base valve assembly 42, the piston assembly 38, or a combination thereof.

The shock absorber 30 may include one or more electromechanical valves 34. The electromechanical valve 34 may be a digital valve, a variable state valve, or other suitable electromechanical valves. The electromechanical valve 34 may include a coil that controls the actuation of the electromechanical valve 34. More particularly, when power is supplied to the electromechanical valve 34, the coil creates a magnet field that actuates the electromechanical valve 34. The actuation of the electromechanical valve 34 controls the flow of fluid within the shock absorber 30. For example, the electromechanical valve 34 may control the flow of fluid between the upper working chamber 46 and the reservoir chamber 52.

While in the example embodiment the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber is provided as having an electromechanical valve 34, the present disclosure is also applicable to electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers that do not require an electromechanical valve. For example, the present disclosure is applicable to an electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber that uses magneto-rheological and electro-rheological damping technologies.

With reference to FIGS. 4-5, an example of the DM 32 is presented. The DM 32 is disposed at the shock absorber 30 in a housing 100. The DM 32 controls the damping characteristics of the shock absorber. For example, in the example embodiment, the DM 32 may control the damping characteristics of the shock absorber 30 by controlling the actuation of the electromechanical valve 34 disposed within the shock absorber 30. Accordingly, each damper system 20 includes a DM that controls the operation of the shock absorber 30, as described in further detail below.

The DM 32 may receive a damper setting from a master module 90 disposed in the vehicle 10. More particularly, the DM 32 is communicably coupled to the master module 90 via a communication network. The master module 90 transmits data as an electronic signal via the communication network. The electronic signal may be an analog signal, a pulse width modulated (PWM) signal, CAN, LIN, or other type of signal/digital signal protocol known in the art. Based on the damper setting, the DM 32 controls the electromechanical valve(s) 34 disposed within the shock absorber 30, such that the shock absorber 30 operates at a target damping state.

With reference to FIG. 5, an example of the DM 32 is now presented. The DM 32 includes a signal module 102, a damping state module 104, a coil activation module 106, and a diagnostic module 108. The signal module 102 decodes the electronic signal received from a device external of the DM 32, such as the master module 90. For example, the signal module 102 receives the damper setting from the master module 90. The signal module 102 may also transmit data to the device external of the DM. For example, the signal module 102 may transmit data regarding a fault detected by the diagnostic module 108. It is readily understood that the signal module 102 may receive an electronic signal from other devices external of the DM 32, such as a switch, and is not limited to the master module 90.

The damping state module 104 determines a control operation for operating the shock absorber 30 at the target damping state based on the data received from the signal module 102. For example, based on the damper setting, the damping state module 104 determines a damping state of the shock absorber 30 and then controls actuation of the electromechanical valve 34 to operate the shock absorber 30 at the damping state determined. Similarly, if multiple electromechanical valves are disposed within the shock absorber 30, the damping state module 104 determines the appropriate activation/deactivation of each of the valves 34.

The damping state module 104 provides a control signal to the coil activation module 106 which in return controls the electrical power provided to a coil of the electromechanical valve 34. More particularly, the coil activation module 106 determines the inputs for a coil drive, as discussed below.

The diagnostic module 108 monitors the operation of the coil activation module 106 and the electromechanical valve 34 for any faults/failures. If a fault is detected the diagnostic module 108 may notify the damping state module 104. The damping state module 104 may then control the shock absorber 30 to a predetermined operation state.

As provided above, information regarding the fault may also be transmitted to a device external of the DM 32. For example, the diagnostic module 108 may transmit data regarding the fault to the signal module 102 which transmits the data to the master module 90.

In operation, the DM 32 controls the damping state of the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber 30. The DM 32 is disposed within the housing 100 as an integrated electronic system. Specifically, as shown in FIGS. 6-7, the shock absorber 30 includes a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) 200. The PCBA 200 is disposed at the shock absorber 30, and can be disposed within the housing 100. In the example embodiment the PCBA 200 is disposed within the rod guide assembly 50. The PCBA 200 is an integrated electronic system that electrically powers coil(s) via coil drivers to create a magnetic field. The magnetic field actuates the electromechanical valve 34 (i.e., a hydraulic valve), thereby adjusting the damping characteristic of the shock absorber 30.

With reference to FIG. 8, an example block diagram of the PCBA 200 is shown. It is readily understood that the PCBA may include other components, and is therefore not limited to the components and/or configuration depicted. The PCBA 200 includes a microcontroller 202, coil drivers 204A, 204B, 204C, and 204D (hereinafter “coil drivers 204A-204D”), and a transceiver 206. The microcontroller 202 performs the functions of the DM 32. Specifically, microcontroller 202 performs the operation of the signal module 102, the damping state module 104, the coil activation module 106, and the diagnostic module 108.

As the coil activation module 106, the microcontroller 202 determines an input for each of the coil drivers 204A-204D. As power drive electronics, the coil drivers 204A-204D control current to, for example, the electromechanical valves based on the input (i.e., signal) from the microcontroller 202. While in the example embodiment four coil drivers are shown, it is readily understood that one or more coil drivers may be used based on the number of electromechanical valves/coils disposed within the shock absorber 30. Specifically, each electromechanical valve has a dedicated coil driver.

As the diagnostic module 108, the microcontroller 202 may monitor the electrical current powering each electromechanical valve 34 as it responds to a command to change the damper setting. Accordingly, the microcontroller 202 can monitor the electrical current levels to insure that the electrical components, such as the coil drivers 204A-204D and electromechanical valve coils, are working properly. Comparing the electrical current level to predetermined limits ensures coil drivers 204A-204D (i.e., the power drive electronics) are not experiencing a fault such as a short circuit, open circuit, temperature extreme, or other fault.

Additionally, with additional logic, the transient current profile, when recorded over time, can indicate the mechanical state of the electromechanical valve. As the electromechanical valve moves from the energized state to the unenergized state and vice versa, changes in the inductance of the electromechanical valve affect the electrical current. Inspection of this electrical current profile can, thus, determine the mechanical state of the electromechanical valve 34 as well as the electrical state.

The transceiver 206 may be provided as a LIN transceiver. The transceiver communicably couples the PCBA 200 to the communication bus provided as the communication link between the DM 32 and devices external of the DM 32, such as the master module 90. The communication bus may be a LIN bus 209 which is external of the PCBA 200.

The PCBA 200 may also include a high side driver 208, a PWM input 210, a timer 212, a voltage regulator 214, a protection circuit 216, and a temperature sensor 218. The high side driver 208 is electrically coupled to each of the coil drivers 204A-204D. The high side driver 208 acts like a master switch for controlling the power supply to each of the coil drivers 204A-204D. The PWM input 210 may be provided as an alternative communication link (reference number 222 in FIG. 8) for receiving an electronic signal from sensors/modules disposed external of the PCBA 200. The timer 212 may be a watchdog timer that monitors the operation of the microcontroller 202 and resets the microcontroller 202 if needed.

The temperature sensor 218 detects the ambient temperature of the PCBA 200. The temperature sensor 218 provides the information to the microcontroller 202. The microcontroller 202 may then determine the proper operation of the damper system 20 based on the temperature detected. Accordingly, the components disposed on the PCBA 200 are protected from extreme temperatures.

The PCBA 200 receives power from a vehicle battery. The voltage regulator 214 conditions the electrical power from the vehicle battery to a voltage level suitable for the components on the PCBA 200. The protection circuit 216 may be provided as a battery line load dump transient and reverse voltage protection circuit. The protection circuit protects the components of the PCBA 200 from electrical transients which could damage or disrupt proper operation of the components on the PCBA 200.

The PCBA 200 may couple to the power supply and the communication bus via a connector 202 (FIG. 2). The connector 202 may be configured to both electrically and communicably couple the PCBA 200 to the power supply and the communication bus, respectively. Alternatively, the PCBA 200 may be coupled via two separate connectors. One for coupling to the power supply and the other to couple to the communication bus.

With reference to FIGS. 9-13, example methods of integrating the PCBA 200 with the shock absorber 30 are presented. It is readily understood that the present disclosure is not limited to the configuration shown in FIGS. 9-13, and that other suitable configurations may be employed for integrating the PCBA 200 with the shock absorber 30.

With reference to FIG. 9, an internal annular arrangement 300 is presented. In such an arrangement, the PCBA 200 is disposed within the rod guide assembly 50. Specifically the PCBA 200 has a ring-like structure, such that the piston rod 39 (not shown) may extend through the PCBA 200. The annular arrangement is also represented in FIGS. 6 and 7. In such a configuration, the PCBA 200 is directly coupled to the electromagnetic valve 34. Specifically, the coil driver disposed on the PCBA 200 is directly connected to the electromagnetic valve 34, thereby eliminating the need of an electrical connector.

With reference to FIG. 10, an internal vertical arrangement 320 is presented. The PCBA 200 is arranged vertically (i.e., parallel with the piston rod 39) and within the rod guide assembly 50. By arranging the PCBA 200 along a side surface of the rod guide assembly 50, the PCBA 200 is no longer limited to the annular shape. Specifically, the PCBA 200 may have a rectangular or square-like shape. A lead frame 250 provides an electrical connection between the coil drivers disposed on the PCBA 200 and the electromagnetic valve 34. Therefore, the PCBA 200 is connected to the electromagnetic valve 34 by way of the lead frame 250.

With reference to FIG. 11, an inverted-wet arrangement 340 is presented. The PCBA 200 is arranged between the pressure tube 36 and the reserve tube 40. Specifically, in the twin tube type shock absorber, the PCBA 200 may be disposed in the reservoir chamber 52. Such a configuration is provided as “wet” since the PCBA 200 is in contact with hydraulic fluid. For purposes of clarity, the pressure tube 36 and the reserve tube 40 are not shown in FIG. 11. While not shown in the figure, it is readily understood that the PCBA 200 is disposed in a housing that prevents the hydraulic fluid from entering the PCBA 200.

The lead frame 250 couples the PCBA 200 to the electromechanical valve. For example, the lead frame 250 couples the coil driver disposed on the PCBA 200 to an end of the electromagnetic valve 34 that is farthest from the rod guide assembly 50. Thus, the configuration has an inverted arrangement.

With reference to FIG. 12, an external arrangement 360 is presented. The PCBA 200 is arranged along an external surface of the shock absorber 30. The PCBA 200 can be disposed in a housing that protects the PCBA 200 from the environmental elements such as rain, humidity, debris, etc. The PCBA 200 is then coupled to the electromechanical valve 34 via a lead frame 254.

With reference to FIG. 13, a cap arrangement 380 is presented. The PCBA 200 is disposed within a cap 382. The cap 382 is positioned external to the shock absorber 30. More particularly, the cap 382 is attached to an end of the shock absorber 30. The PCBA 200 is disposed in a gap 385 defined between the cap 382 and the shock absorber 30. Specifically, the PCBA 200 can be disposed between the cap, the rod guide 384, and the reserve tube 40.

The cap 382 may or may not be a load bearing structure. Specifically the PCBA 200 has a ring like structure, such that the piston rod 39 (not shown) may extend through both the PCBA 200 and the cap 382. Furthermore, the PCBA 200 is electrically coupled to an electromechanical valve disposed within a valve cavity 386. Based on the distance between the PCBA 200 and the electromechanical valve, the PCBA 200 may be directly connected to the electromechanical valve or may be indirectly connected via, for example, a lead frame.

As provided above, the present disclosure is also applicable to electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers that do not include an electromagnetic valve. For example, if the shock absorber utilizes magneto-rheological and electro-rheological damping technologies, the damping module may operate the shock absorber using known methods that utilize the magneto-rheological and electro-rheological damping technologies. Accordingly, instead of the electromechanical valve, the PCBA 200 controls the current supplied to a coil disposed within the shock absorber.

As provided above, the PCBA 200 is an integrated electronic system that electrically powers coil(s) to create a magnetic field. The magnetic field actuates the electromechanical valve (i.e., a hydraulic valve), thereby adjusting the damping characteristic of the shock absorber. By integrating an electronics system with the electrically adjustable hydraulic shock absorber, the complexity of a vehicle damping system/suspension system is reduced. In essence, each damper system 20 includes its own power drive electronics for controlling the damping state of the shock absorber 30.

The foregoing description of the embodiments has been provided for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure. Individual elements or features of a particular embodiment are generally not limited to that particular embodiment, but, where applicable, are interchangeable and can be used in a selected embodiment, even if not specifically shown or described. The same may also be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the disclosure, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the disclosure.

In this application, including the definitions below, the term module may be replaced with the term circuit. The term module may refer to, be part of, or include an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC); a digital, analog, or mixed analog/digital discrete circuit; a digital, analog, or mixed analog/digital integrated circuit; a combinational logic circuit; a field programmable gate array (FPGA); a processor (shared, dedicated, or group) that executes code; memory (shared, dedicated, or group) that stores code executed by a processor; other suitable hardware components that provide the described functionality; or a combination of some or all of the above, such as in a system-on-chip.

Example embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough, and will fully convey the scope to those who are skilled in the art. Numerous specific details are set forth such as examples of specific components, devices, and methods, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present disclosure. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that specific details need not be employed, that example embodiments may be embodied in many different forms and that neither should be construed to limit the scope of the disclosure. In some example embodiments, well-known processes, well-known device structures, and well-known technologies are not described in detail.

The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular example embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting. As used herein, the singular forms “a,”“an,” and “the” may be intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. The terms “comprises,”“comprising,”“including,” and “having,” are inclusive and therefore specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

When an element is referred to as being “on,”“engaged to,”“connected to,” or “coupled to” another element, it may be directly on, engaged, connected or coupled to the other element, or intervening elements may be present. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being “directly on,”“directly engaged to,”“directly connected to,” or “directly coupled to” another element, there may be no intervening elements present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., “between” versus “directly between,”“adjacent” versus “directly adjacent,” etc.). As used herein, the term “and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

Although the terms first, second, third, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements and/or components, these elements and/or components should not be limited by these terms. These terms may be only used to distinguish one element or component from another. Terms such as “first,”“second,” and other numerical terms when used herein do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context. Thus, a first element or component discussed could be termed a second element or component without departing from the teachings of the example embodiments.

Spatially relative terms, such as “inner,”“outer,”“beneath,”“below,”“lower,”“above,”“upper,” and the like, may be used herein for ease of description to describe one element or feature's relationship to another element(s) or feature(s) as illustrated in the figures. Spatially relative terms may be intended to encompass different orientations of the device in use or operation in addition to the orientation depicted in the figures. For example, if the device in the figures is turned over, elements described as “below” or “beneath” other elements or features would then be oriented “above” the other elements or features. Thus, the example term “below” can encompass both an orientation of above and below. The device may be otherwise oriented (rotated 90 degrees or at other orientations) and the spatially relative descriptors used herein interpreted accordingly.

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Patent Valuation

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Reveal the value <>

19.19/100 Score

Market Attractiveness

It shows from an IP point of view how many competitors are active and innovations are made in the different technical fields of the company. On a company level, the market attractiveness is often also an indicator of how diversified a company is. Here we look into the commercial relevance of the market.

80.0/100 Score

Market Coverage

It shows the sizes of the market that is covered with the IP and in how many countries the IP guarantees protection. It reflects a market size that is potentially addressable with the invented technology/formulation with a legal protection which also includes a freedom to operate. Here we look into the size of the impacted market.

72.68/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

56.72/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

21.65/100 Score

Legal Score

It shows the legal strength of IP in terms of its degree of protecting effect. Here we look into claim scope, claim breadth, claim quality, stability and priority.

Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
具有液压阻尼的机械操作致动器 梅西耶-布加蒂-道提公司 11 June 2010 22 December 2010
具有可变阻尼力的阻尼器中的电磁阀组件及其安装方法 株式会社万都 12 February 2009 19 August 2009
电控减振器 深圳市德平国瀚汽车电子科技有限公司 29 December 2009 29 June 2011
用于减震器阀的压力调节装置 奥林斯赛车公司 23 June 2009 25 May 2011
半主动减震器的液压回路 KYB株式会社 30 September 2009 27 April 2011
See full citation <>

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