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Patent Analysis of

Limited slip differential assembly

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10001202

Application Number

US15/058588

Application Date

02 March 2016

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

EATON INTELLIGENT POWER LIMITED

Original Assignee (Applicant)

EATON CORPORATION

International Classification

F16H48/22,B60K17/16,F16H48/38,F16H48/08,F16H48/32

Cooperative Classification

F16H48/22,B60K17/20,F16H48/38,F16H48/08,F16H48/32

Inventor

OESCH, JEFFREY A.,FOX, MATTHEW G.

Patent Images

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

US10001202 Limited slip differential assembly 1 US10001202 Limited slip differential assembly 2 US10001202 Limited slip differential assembly 3
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Abstract

A limited slip differential assembly can include a sleeve, a support shaft, and a clutch assembly. The sleeve can have a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis. The sleeve can also have a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture. The sleeve can be operable to engage an axle through the first set of splines. The support shaft can have an outer surface, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and a second set of splines projecting from the outer surface. The support shaft can be adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and be operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle. The clutch assembly can be operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft.

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Claims

1. A limited slip differential assembly comprising: a differential housing having differential splines extending therefrom; a sleeve having a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis, and also having a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture, the sleeve operable to engage a second set of splines projecting from an axle through the first set of splines; a support shaft having first and second support shaft splines extending therefrom, the first support shaft splines meshed for rotation with the differential splines, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, the support shaft positioned adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle; and a clutch assembly operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft, the clutch assembly having a clutch basket that at least partially encircles the sleeve, the clutch basket fixed for rotation with the support shaft by the second support shaft splines and clutch basket splines defined on the clutch basket.

2. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 1 further comprising: a housing defining an interior cavity containing at least a portion of the clutch assembly, wherein the interior cavity is eccentric with respect to the sleeve aperture and the support shaft aperture.

3. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 1 wherein the clutch assembly further comprises: a clutch pack including a first subset of plates fixed for rotation with the sleeve and a second subset of plates fixed for rotation with the clutch basket.

4. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 3 wherein the clutch assembly further comprises: a piston positioned adjacent to a first end of the clutch pack; and a fluid delivery system operable to direct fluid against the piston whereby the piston is urged to press the clutch pack against a portion of the clutch basket.

5. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 1 wherein the first and second set of splines of the support shaft are spaced from one another along the axis.

6. A limited slip differential assembly comprising: a differential assembly having a first housing that includes differential splines thereon, a plurality of pinion gears positioned in the first housing and driven in rotation by the first housing, at least one side gear meshed with at least some of the pinion gears, and at least one axle extending along an axis and fixed to the at least one side gear for concurrent rotation about the axis; a second housing enclosing the first housing, the plurality of pinion gears, and the at least one side gear, wherein the axle extends from a first end inside both of the first housing and the second housing to a second end spaced from an interior cavity of the second housing; a sleeve having a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and also having a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture and engaging the axle through a second set of splines projecting from the axle; a support shaft projecting into the second housing and having an outer surface, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and a first set of support shaft splines projecting from the outer surface, the support shaft positioned adjacent to the sleeve along an axis and operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle, the first set of splines engaging the first housing through the differential splines; a clutch assembly operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft; a third housing encircling at least a portion of the clutch assembly and eccentric with respect to the axis; and a fourth housing encircling at least a portion of the support shaft and interconnecting the second and third housings.

7. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 6 wherein the second housing further comprises a seal boss and the fourth housing includes a first portion that abuts the seal boss and a second portion that at least partially surrounds the seal boss.

8. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 7 wherein the clutch assembly further comprises: a clutch pack including a first subset of plates fixed for rotation with the sleeve and a second subset of plates fixed for rotation with the support shaft; a piston; and a fluid delivery system operable to direct fluid against the piston whereby the piston is urged to press the clutch pack and thereby interlock the axle and the first housing, the fluid delivery system including a pump mounted in a well integrally-formed in the third housing.

9. A limited slip differential assembly comprising: a differential assembly having a first housing, a plurality of pinion gears positioned in the first housing and at least one side gear meshed with at least some of the pinion gears; an axle meshed for rotation with the at least one side gear; a sleeve having a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis, and also having a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture, the sleeve operable to engage a second set of splines projecting from the axle through the first set of splines; a support shaft meshed for rotation with the differential, the support shaft positioned adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle; and a clutch assembly operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft, the clutch assembly having a clutch basket that at least partially encircles the sleeve, the clutch basket meshed for rotation with the support shaft.

10. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 9, further comprising: a second housing enclosing the first housing, the plurality of pinion gears, and the at least one side gear, wherein the axle extends from a first end inside both of the first housing and the second housing to a second end spaced from an interior cavity of the second housing.

11. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 9 wherein the clutch assembly further comprises: a clutch pack including a first subset of plates fixed for rotation with the sleeve and a second subset of plates fixed for rotation with the clutch basket.

12. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 11 wherein the clutch assembly further comprises: a piston positioned adjacent to a first end of the clutch pack; and a fluid delivery system operable to direct fluid against the piston whereby the piston is urged to press the clutch pack against a portion of the clutch basket.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A limited slip differential assembly comprising:
    • a differential housing having differential splines extending therefrom
    • a sleeve having a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis, and also having a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture, the sleeve operable to engage a second set of splines projecting from an axle through the first set of splines
    • a support shaft having first and second support shaft splines extending therefrom, the first support shaft splines meshed for rotation with the differential splines, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, the support shaft positioned adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle
    • and a clutch assembly operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft, the clutch assembly having a clutch basket that at least partially encircles the sleeve, the clutch basket fixed for rotation with the support shaft by the second support shaft splines and clutch basket splines defined on the clutch basket.
    • 2. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 1 further comprising:
      • a housing defining an interior cavity containing at least a portion of the clutch assembly, wherein the interior cavity is eccentric with respect to the sleeve aperture and the support shaft aperture.
    • 3. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 1 wherein
      • the clutch assembly further comprises:
    • 5. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 1 wherein
      • the first and second set of splines of the support shaft are spaced from one another along the axis.
  • 6
    6. A limited slip differential assembly comprising:
    • a differential assembly having a first housing that includes differential splines thereon, a plurality of pinion gears positioned in the first housing and driven in rotation by the first housing, at least one side gear meshed with at least some of the pinion gears, and at least one axle extending along an axis and fixed to the at least one side gear for concurrent rotation about the axis
    • a second housing enclosing the first housing, the plurality of pinion gears, and the at least one side gear, wherein the axle extends from a first end inside both of the first housing and the second housing to a second end spaced from an interior cavity of the second housing
    • a sleeve having a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and also having a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture and engaging the axle through a second set of splines projecting from the axle
    • a support shaft projecting into the second housing and having an outer surface, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and a first set of support shaft splines projecting from the outer surface, the support shaft positioned adjacent to the sleeve along an axis and operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle, the first set of splines engaging the first housing through the differential splines
    • a clutch assembly operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft
    • a third housing encircling at least a portion of the clutch assembly and eccentric with respect to the axis
    • and a fourth housing encircling at least a portion of the support shaft and interconnecting the second and third housings.
    • 7. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 6 wherein
      • the second housing further comprises
  • 9
    9. A limited slip differential assembly comprising:
    • a differential assembly having a first housing, a plurality of pinion gears positioned in the first housing and at least one side gear meshed with at least some of the pinion gears
    • an axle meshed for rotation with the at least one side gear
    • a sleeve having a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis, and also having a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture, the sleeve operable to engage a second set of splines projecting from the axle through the first set of splines
    • a support shaft meshed for rotation with the differential, the support shaft positioned adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle
    • and a clutch assembly operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft, the clutch assembly having a clutch basket that at least partially encircles the sleeve, the clutch basket meshed for rotation with the support shaft.
    • 10. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 9, further comprising:
      • a second housing enclosing the first housing, the plurality of pinion gears, and the at least one side gear, wherein the axle extends from a first end inside both of the first housing and the second housing to a second end spaced from an interior cavity of the second housing.
    • 11. The limited slip differential assembly of claim 9 wherein
      • the clutch assembly further comprises:
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Description

FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to differential assemblies and, more particularly, to a bolt-on configuration of a front wheel drive electronic limited slip differential.

BACKGROUND

Differentials are provided on vehicles to permit an outer drive wheel to rotate faster than an inner drive wheel during cornering as both drive wheels continue to receive power from the engine. While differentials are useful in cornering, they can allow vehicles to lose traction, for example, in snow or mud or other slick mediums. If either of the drive wheels loses traction, it will spin at a high rate of speed and the other wheel may not spin at all. To overcome this situation, limited-slip differentials were developed to shift power from the drive wheel that has lost traction and is spinning, to the drive wheel that is not spinning.

A driveshaft can drive the differential through the use of a bevel gear that meshes with a ring gear mounted to a housing or case of the differential. The gear arrangement can also include a pair of side gears that are mounted for rotation with the respective output shafts. A series of cross pins or pinion gear shafts are fixedly mounted to the housing for rotation therewith. Pinion gears are individually mounted for rotation on the pinion gear shafts and are each in a meshing relationship with one of the side gears.

Some differential gear mechanisms include traction modifying differentials. Typically, a clutch pack can be disposed between one of the side gears and an adjacent surface of the differential case. The clutch pack or locking mechanism is operable to limit relative rotation between the gear case and the one side gear. In such differentials, engaging the clutch pack or locking mechanism (retarding differentiation) is achieved by one of several different approaches. Some configurations include a piston that actuates to cause the clutch pack to move between open, locked, and partially locked conditions. In some examples it can be challenging to provide a simple arrangement to deliver hydraulic fluid to the piston without substantial modification of existing hardware.

The background description provided herein is for the purpose of generally presenting the context of the disclosure. Work of the presently named Inventors, to the extent it is described in this background section, as well as aspects of the description that may not otherwise qualify as prior art at the time of filing, are neither expressly nor impliedly admitted as prior art against the present disclosure.

SUMMARY

A limited slip differential assembly can include a sleeve, a support shaft, and a clutch assembly. The sleeve can have a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis. The sleeve can also have a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture. The sleeve can be operable to engage an axle through the first set of splines. The support shaft can have an outer surface, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and a second set of splines projecting from the outer surface. The support shaft can be adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and be operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle. The clutch assembly can be operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft.

According to additional features, the limited slip differential assembly can also include a housing defining an interior cavity containing at least a portion of the clutch assembly. The interior cavity can be eccentric with respect to the sleeve aperture and the support shaft aperture. The clutch assembly can include a clutch basket fixed for rotation with the support shaft and at least partially encircling the sleeve. The clutch assembly can also have a clutch pack including a first subset of plates fixed for rotation with the sleeve and a second subset of plates fixed for rotation with the clutch basket. The clutch assembly can also include a piston positioned adjacent to a first end of the clutch pack and a fluid delivery system operable to direct fluid against the piston whereby the piston is urged to press the clutch pack against a portion of the clutch basket. The clutch basket and the support shaft can be interconnected through a third set of splines defined by the clutch basket and a fourth set of splines defined by the support shaft. The second set of splines and the fourth set of splines of the support shaft can be spaced from one another along the axis.

A method of providing limited slip in a differential assembly can include interconnecting an axle and a differential assembly through a first linkage being slippable. The method can also include coupling the axle and the differential assembly through a second linkage being operable to selectively and positively lock the axle and a portion of the differential assembly together. The method can also include connecting the second linkage to the axle at a position spaced from the differential assembly.

According to additional features, the method can also include incorporating a clutch assembly in the second linkage. The method can also include positioning the first linkage within a first housing and positioning the clutch assembly outside of the first housing. The method can also include positioning the clutch assembly within a second housing and linking the first housing and the second housing through a third housing. The method can also include positioning the first linkage within a housing and projecting less than all of the second linkage into the housing. The method can also include enclosing at least a portion of the second linkage in a housing and shaping the housing to be eccentric relative to the second linkage.

According to other features, interconnecting the axle and the differential assembly through a first linkage can include driving the axle in rotation with a first housing of the differential assembly operable to be driven in rotation by the ring gear, a plurality of pinion gears of the differential assembly positioned in the first housing can be driven in rotation by the first housing, and a side gear can be fixed to the axle and meshed with at least some of the pinion gears. The axle can be operable to slip relative to the first housing. Interconnecting the axle and the differential assembly through a first linkage can also include enclosing the first housing, the plurality of pinion gears, and the side gear within a second housing, wherein the axle extends from a first end positioned within both of the first housing and the second housing to a second end positioned outside of both of the first housing and the second housing.

In other features, coupling the axle and the differential assembly through a second linkage can include positioning a sleeve on the axle wherein the sleeve has a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along an axis and also has a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture. The first set of splines can engage a second set of splines on the axle. Coupling the axle and the differential assembly through a second linkage can also include encircling the axle with a support shaft wherein the support shaft includes an outer surface, a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis, and a third set of splines projecting from the outer surface. Coupling the axle and the differential assembly through a second linkage can also include positioning a clutch assembly to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft.

A limited slip differential assembly can include a differential assembly, a second housing, a sleeve, a support shaft, and a clutch assembly. The differential assembly can have a first housing or case, a plurality of pinion gears, at least one side gear, and at least one axle. The first housing can be operable to mesh with a ring gear for concurrent rotation. The plurality of pinion gears can be positioned in the first housing and be driven in rotation by the first housing. The at least one side gear can be meshed with at least some of the pinion gears. The at least one axle can extend along the axis and be fixed to the at least one side gear for concurrent rotation about the axis. The second housing can enclose the first housing, the plurality of pinion gears, and the side gear. The axle can extend from a first end inside both of the first housing and the second housing to a second end spaced from an interior cavity of the second housing. The sleeve can have a sleeve aperture centered on and extending along the axis. The sleeve can also have a first set of splines projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture and engaging the axle through a second set of splines projecting from the axle. The support shaft can project into the second housing and have an outer surface. The support shaft can also have a support shaft aperture centered on and extending along the axis. The support shaft can also have a third set of splines projecting from the outer surface. The support shaft can be adjacent to the sleeve along the axis and be operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle. The third set of splines can engage the first housing through a fourth set of splines projecting from the first housing. The clutch assembly can be operable to selectively interlock the sleeve and the support shaft.

According to additional features, the limited slip differential assembly can also include a third housing encircling at least a portion of the clutch assembly and can be eccentric with respect to the axis. The limited slip differential assembly can also include a fourth housing encircling at least a portion of the support shaft and interconnecting the second and third housings. The second housing can include a seal boss. The fourth housing can include a first portion that abuts the seal boss and a second portion that at least partially surrounds the seal boss.

According to other features, the clutch pack can include a first subset of plates fixed for rotation with the sleeve and a second subset of plates fixed for rotation with the support shaft. The clutch pack can also include a piston. The clutch pack can also include a fluid delivery system operable to direct fluid against the piston. The piston can be urged to press the clutch pack and thereby interlock the axle and the first housing. The fluid delivery system can include a pump mounted in a well integrally-formed in the third housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present disclosure will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a first front perspective view of a bolt-on electronic limited slip differential assembly constructed in accordance with an example of the present disclosure and shown on a front wheel drive transaxle;

FIG. 2 is a second front perspective view of a portion of the limited slip differential assembly shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a magnified portion of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a partial cross-section taken through section lines 4-4 in FIG. 3

FIG. 5 is a first rear perspective view of a portion of a limited slip differential assembly constructed in accordance with an example of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the structures shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a cross-section taken through section lines 7-7 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of a piston constructed in accordance with an example of the present disclosure;

FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of the piston shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a cross-section taken in plane containing a central axis of the piston shown in FIGS. 8-9 and also containing a central axis of an orifice mounted in the piston; and

FIG. 11 is a cross-section taken through section lines 11-11 in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A plurality of different embodiments of the present disclosure is shown in the Figures of the application. Similar features are shown in the various embodiments of the present disclosure. Similar features have been numbered with a common reference numeral and have been differentiated by an alphabetic suffix. Also, to enhance consistency, the structures in any particular drawing share the same alphabetic suffix even if a particular feature is shown in less than all embodiments. Similar features can be structured similarly, operate similarly, and/or have the same function unless otherwise indicated by the drawings or this specification. Furthermore, particular features of one embodiment can replace corresponding features in another embodiment or can supplement other embodiments unless otherwise indicated by the drawings or this specification.

With initial reference to FIGS. 1-3, an exemplary vehicle driveline is shown and generally identified with reference numeral 10. The exemplary vehicle driveline 10 described herein is for a front wheel drive vehicle having a transversely mounted engine 12 (shown only as a partial engine block in FIG. 1), although other configurations can be utilized with the present disclosure. The engine 12 can provide a rotary output to a transmission 14. The transmission 14 can provide a rotary output to a differential assembly 16. The differential assembly 16 can be positioned below an exhaust manifold 18. The exhaust manifold 18 has been omitted from FIGS. 2-3. The differential assembly 16 can drive a pair of axle shafts 20 and 22 that are connected to front drive wheels (not specifically shown).

A limited slip differential assembly 24 can include the differential assembly 16 and a slip limiting arrangement 26. In general, the limited slip differential assembly 24 can function as a traditional open differential during normal operating conditions through the differential assembly 16. When an event occurs in which a bias torque is required, such as when a loss in traction at one of the wheels connected with the axles 20, 22 is detected or anticipated, the slip limiting arrangement 26 can be selectively actuated in order to generate the optimum bias ratio for the situation.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the differential assembly 16 can include a ring gear (not shown), a first housing 30, a plurality of pinion gears 32, and at least one side gear 34. The first housing 30 can be rotatable about an axis 36. Rotary output from the transmission 14 (referenced in FIG. 1) can be transmitted to the ring gear through the vehicle's drive shaft and a bevel gear. The first housing 30, or crank case, can be meshed with the ring gear for concurrent rotation. The plurality of pinion gears 32 can be positioned in the first housing 30 and can be driven in rotation by the first housing 30. Each of the plurality of pinion gears 32 can be mounted on posts fixed to the first housing 30. The at least one side gear 34 can be meshed with at least some of the pinion gears 32. The axle 22 can extend along the axis 36 and can be fixed to the at least one side gear 34 for concurrent rotation about the axis 36.

The limited slip differential assembly 24 can also include a second housing 38 enclosing the first housing 30, the plurality of pinion gears 32, and the at least one side gear 34. The axle 22 can extend from a first end 40 inside both of the first housing 30 and the second housing 38 to a second end 42 (shown in FIG. 1) spaced from an interior cavity of the second housing 38.

With continuing reference to FIG. 4, the slip limiting arrangement 26 can include a sleeve 44, a support shaft 46, and a clutch assembly 48. The sleeve 44 can have a sleeve aperture 50 centered on and extending along the axis 36. The sleeve 44 can also have a first set of splines 52 projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture 50. The first set of splines 52 can engage the axle 22 through a second set of splines 54 projecting from the axle 22. The sleeve 44 and the axle 22 can thus be fixed for rotation together.

The support shaft 46 can project into the second housing 38 and have an outer surface 56. The support shaft 46 can also have a support shaft aperture 58 centered on and extending along the axis 36. The support shaft 46 can also have a third set of splines 60 projecting from the outer surface 56. The support shaft 46 can be adjacent to the sleeve 44 along the axis 36 and be operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle 22. The third set of splines 60 can engage the first housing 30 through a fourth set of splines 62 projecting from the first housing 30.

The clutch assembly 48 can be operable to selectively interlock the sleeve 44 and the support shaft 46. The clutch assembly 48 can include a clutch basket 64 fixed for rotation with the support shaft 46. The clutch basket 64 can at least partially encircle the sleeve 44. The clutch assembly 48 can also include a clutch pack 66. The clutch pack 66 can include a first subset of plates 68 fixed for rotation with the sleeve 44 and a second subset of plates 70 fixed for rotation with the clutch basket 64 and the support shaft 46. The plates 68, 70 can be coated in friction material or plates of friction material can be positioned adjacent plates 68, 70. The clutch basket 64 and the support shaft 46 can be interconnected through a fifth set of splines 72 defined by the clutch basket 64 and a sixth set of splines 74 defined by the support shaft 46. The third set of splines 60 and the sixth set of splines 74 of the support shaft 46 are spaced from one another along the axis 36.

A housing 76 defining an interior cavity 78 can contain at least a portion of the clutch assembly 48. The interior cavity 78 can be eccentric with respect to the sleeve aperture 50 and the support shaft aperture 58. This eccentricity is shown in FIG. 4 by the difference in the gap between the clutch basket 64 and the inner surface of the housing 76 between the top and bottom portions in FIG. 4.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-4, the clutch assembly 48 can also include a piston 80 and a fluid delivery system 82. The piston 80 can be positioned adjacent to a first end of the clutch pack 66. The clutch pack 66 can be positioned between the piston 80 and a portion of the clutch basket 64. The fluid delivery system 82 can include a pump 84 mounted in a well integrally-formed in a boss 86 of the housing. The fluid delivery system 82 can be operable to direct fluid against the piston 80 whereby the piston 80 is urged to press the clutch pack 66 against the clutch basket 64. This also urges the first subset of plates 68, the second subset of plates 70, and any friction plates together and interlocks the sleeve 44 and the support shaft 46. This also interlocks the axle 22 and the first housing 30.

The axle 22 and the differential assembly 16 can be interconnected through a first linkage being slippable. The first linkage can be defined by the first housing 30, the pinion gears 32, and the side gear 34. The axle 22 and the differential assembly 16 can also be coupled through a second linkage being operable to selectively and positively lock the axle 22 and a portion of the differential assembly 16 together. The second linkage can be defined by the sleeve 44, the support shaft 46, and the clutch assembly 48. The second linkage can be connected to the axle 22 at a position spaced from the differential assembly.

The first linkage can thus be positioned within the second housing 38, and the clutch assembly 48 can be positioned outside of the second housing 38. The clutch assembly 48 can be positioned within the housing 76, and a housing 88 can link the second housing 38 and the housing 76. The second housing 38 can include a seal boss 90. The housing 88 can include a first portion 92 that abuts the seal boss 90 and a second portion 94 that at least partially surrounds the seal boss 90. In the exemplary embodiment, less than all of the second linkage projects into the second housing 38. A portion of the support shaft 46 can project into the second housing 38. At least a portion of the second linkage can be enclosed in the housing 76, and the housing 76 can be shaped to be eccentric relative to the second linkage.

A second exemplary slip limiting arrangement 26a is disclosed in FIGS. 5-11. As best shown in FIG. 7, the slip limiting arrangement 26a can include a sleeve 44a, a support shaft 46a, and a clutch assembly 48a. The sleeve 44a can have a sleeve aperture 50a centered on and extending along an axis 36a. The sleeve 44a can also have a first set of splines 52a projecting inwardly from the sleeve aperture 50a. The first set of splines 52a can engage an axle 22a (shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 11) through a second set of splines 54a projecting from the axle 22a. The sleeve 44a and the axle 22a can thus be fixed for rotation together.

The support shaft 46a can project into a second housing, such as second housing 38, and can have a support shaft aperture 58a centered on and extending along the axis 36a. The support shaft 46a can also have a third set of splines 60a projecting from the support shaft aperture 58a. The support shaft 46a can be adjacent to the sleeve 44a along the axis 36a and be operable to encircle and freely rotate relative to the axle 22a. The third set of splines 60a can engage a first housing of a differential, such as the first housing 30 of differential 16, through a fourth set of splines projecting from the first housing.

The clutch assembly 48a can be operable to selectively interlock the sleeve 44a and the support shaft 46a. The clutch assembly 48a can include a clutch basket 64a fixed for rotation with the support shaft 46a. The clutch basket 64a can at least partially encircle the sleeve 44a. The clutch assembly 48a can also include a clutch pack 66a. The clutch pack 66a can include a first subset of plates 68a fixed for rotation with the sleeve 44a and a second subset of plates 70a fixed for rotation with the clutch basket 64a and the support shaft 46a. The clutch basket 64a and the support shaft 46a can be interconnected through a fifth set of splines 72a defined by the clutch basket 64a and a sixth set of splines 74a defined by the support shaft 46a.

A housing 76a defining an interior cavity 78a can contain at least a portion of the clutch assembly 48a. A housing 88a can link the housing 76a to a second housing, such as second housing 38. A mounting bracket 110a can affix the housing 76a to a vehicle or a component of a vehicle such as an engine. The interior cavity 78a can be eccentric with respect to the sleeve aperture 50a and the support shaft aperture 58a. This eccentricity is shown in FIG. 11 by the difference in the gap between the clutch basket 64a and the inner surface of the housing 76a between the left and right sides in FIG. 4.

The clutch assembly 48a can also include a piston 80a and a fluid delivery system 82a. The piston 80a can be positioned adjacent to a first end of the clutch pack 66a. The clutch pack 66a can be positioned between the piston 80a and a portion of the clutch basket 64a. The fluid delivery system 82a can include a pump 84a mounted in a well integrally-formed in a boss 86a of the housing. The fluid delivery system 82a can be operable to direct fluid against the piston 80a whereby the piston 80a is urged to press the clutch pack 66a against the clutch basket 64a. This also urges the first subset of plates 68a, the second subset of plates 70a, and any friction plates together and interlocks the sleeve 44a and the support shaft 46a. This also interlocks the axle 22a and a first housing.

Fluid passageways of the fluid delivery system 82a can be defined within the housing 76a. As shown in FIG. 7, a delivery passageway 96a can extend through the housing 76a from the pump 84a to an outlet 98a. Fluid can be directed through the delivery passageway 96a and out of the outlet 98a by the pump 84a. The pressurized fluid can act on the piston 80a. As shown in FIG. 11, a pump intake passageway 100a can extend through the housing 76a from an inlet 102a to the pump 84a.

As shown in FIGS. 8-10, the piston 80a can include an orifice 104a. The orifice 104a can selectively communicate fluid between a rear face 106a of the piston 80a and a front face 108a. Pressurized fluid is directed to the rear face 106a. The orifice 104a can be tuned such that when fluid pressure acting on the rear face 106a reaches or surpasses a predetermined level, the orifice 104a can open to allow the passage of fluid and reduce the fluid pressure acting on the rear face 106a.

The axle 22a and a differential assembly can be coupled through a second linkage being operable to selectively and positively lock the axle 22a and a portion of the differential assembly together. The second linkage can be defined by the sleeve 44a, the support shaft 46a, and the clutch assembly 48a. The second linkage can be connected to the axle 22a at a position spaced from the differential assembly.

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.

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Patent Valuation

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22.94/100 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.

54.0/100 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.

72.32/100 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.

70.0/100 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.

16.96/100 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
Fahrzeugachse ZF FRIEDRICHSHAFEN AG 02 March 2000 06 September 2001
Differential mechanism AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY 22 November 1933 06 November 1934
Improvements in axles for motor road vehicles KIRKSTALL FORGE ENGINEERING LIMITED 27 June 1968 03 March 1971
Torque-coupling device for front-wheel-drive transaxle unit DANA AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS GROUP, LLC. 18 March 2005 21 September 2006
Differential transmission device in particular for a motor vehicle GKN VISCODRIVE GMBH 17 September 1987 06 June 1989
See full citation <>

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