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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  Tokyo  >  Nippon Sheet Glass Company, Limited    5202   JP3686800008

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Nippon Sheet Glass : Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Windshield", for Approval (USPTO 20170341491)

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12/14/2017 | 07:36pm CET

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor NAKAGAWA, Masafumi (Tokyo, JP), filed on August 30, 2015, was made available online on December 7, 2017.

The patent's assignee is Nippon Sheet Glass Company Limited.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In recent years, safety performance of automobiles has dramatically improved. In order to avoid a collision with a preceding vehicle, for example, a safety system is proposed in which the distance to the preceding vehicle and the speed of the preceding vehicle are detected and a brake automatically engages in an abnormal approach to the preceding vehicle. In such a system, the distance to the preceding vehicle and the like are measured using a laser radar or a camera. In general, an information acquisition device such as a laser radar or a camera is arranged on the inner side of a windshield, and the measurements are performed by emitting infrared rays ahead.

"In order to conceal such an information acquisition device from the outside, a mask layer is formed on the inner surface of a glass sheet by applying dark-colored ceramic, and the information acquisition device is arranged on the mask layer. Such a mask layer is formed at the peripheral edge of the glass sheet and near the center of the upper portion of the glass sheet. At this time, an opening is formed in the mask layer, and a laser beam emitted and received by the laser radar, infrared rays received by the camera, and the like are emitted and received through this opening. In general, such an information acquisition device is not directly fixed to the mask layer, but is fixed to the mask layer via an attachment member such as a bracket. That is, after the attachment member is fixed to the mask layer with an adhesive or the like, the information acquisition device is attached to this attachment member. Then, a cover is attached to the attachment member from a vehicle interior side, and thus the information acquisition device is arranged in a space closed by the glass sheet, the bracket, and the cover."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Technical Problem

"In the attachment member as mentioned above, the entirety of a portion that is in contact with the mask layer is not fixed to the mask layer using a fixing material such as an adhesive or a double-sided adhesive tape, but only a portion thereof is fixed thereto. This is because it is sufficient that the attachment member is fixed thereto to an extent that the attachment member does not come off of the mask layer. Therefore, there is a risk that light will enter the inner space surrounded by the attachment member from the outside through a portion in which the fixing material is not provided. In particular, since the windshield is curved, a gap is likely to be formed between the attachment member and the windshield, thus making it likely that light will enter. Such entry of light may affect the reception and emission of light by the information acquisition device, and there is a risk that this will cause measurement errors. In particular, a recessed portion for forming a path serving as a path of light between the opening in the mask layer and the attachment member is formed in the attachment member, and the entry of light from the outside near this recessed portion causes measurement errors. It should be noted that there is a case where such a recessed portion is formed not in the attachment member but in the information acquisition device, but in this case, a problem may arise in that light enters the recessed portion.

"The present invention was made in order to solve the foregoing problems, and it is an object thereof to provide a windshield in which the information acquisition device is attached to the mask layer via the attachment member and light can be prevented from entering the inside of the attachment member from the outside.

"Solution to Problem

"Specifically, invention 1 provides an invention with the following aspects.

"Invention 1

"Aspect 1 is a windshield on which an information acquisition device that emits and/or receives light to acquire information from an outside of a vehicle can be arranged, the windshield including:

"a glass sheet in which at least a portion is curved and on which a mask layer that blocks a field of vision from the outside of the vehicle is laminated, at least one opening being formed in the mask layer;

"an attachment member in which at least a portion is fixed at a position corresponding to the mask layer on the glass sheet and to which the information acquisition device can be attached; and

"a path member having a recessed portion for forming a path through which the information acquisition device emits and/or receives light between the path member and the glass sheet when the attachment member is fixed to the mask layer,

"wherein the information acquisition device is arranged on a surface on a vehicle interior side of the glass sheet so as to be capable of acquiring information through the opening,

"the attachment member includes a fixed portion in which at least a portion is fixed at a position corresponding to the mask layer, and

"in the attachment member, at least a portion of the fixed portion that is arranged around the recessed portion of the path member is fixed to the mask layer via a light shielding member.

"Aspect 2 is the windshield according to aspect 1, wherein the path member is integrally fixed to the attachment member.

"Aspect 3 is the windshield according to aspect 1, wherein the path member is provided in the information acquisition device.

"Aspect 4 is the windshield according to aspect 2,

"wherein a first opening through which light that travels from the outside of the glass sheet toward the information acquisition device and that is received by the information acquisition device passes, and a second opening through which light that is emitted by the information acquisition device toward the glass sheet passes are formed in the attachment member,

"the second opening is in communication with the recessed portion, and

"a portion of the fixed portion is configured to separate the first opening and the second opening, and at least a portion of the fixed portion is fixed to the mask layer via the light shielding member.

"Aspect 5 is the windshield according to aspect 4,

"wherein the attachment member is formed in a rectangular frame shape having a first side, a second side, a third side, and a fourth side in a plan view and includes a pair of supporting portions that support the information acquisition device,

"the first side is arranged on an upper side of the glass sheet and the third side is arranged on a lower side of the glass sheet,

"the supporting portions are respectively arranged on the second side and the fourth side,

"the first opening is arranged close to the first side,

"the second opening is arranged close to the third side, and

"the recessed portion is arranged along the third side and is in communication with the second opening.

"Aspect 6 is the windshield according to aspect 5, wherein at least a portion of the fixed portion arranged on the first side is fixed to the mask layer via the light shielding member.

"Aspect 7 is the windshield according to anyone of claims 1 to 6,

"wherein the fixed portion arranged around the recessed portion is provided with:

"a lateral light shielding member that extends from one end portion to the other end portion in a lateral direction of the recessed portion; and

"a pair of side light shielding members that are arranged on both sides of the lateral light shielding member.

"Aspect 8 is the windshield according to any one of aspects 1 to 7, wherein the light shielding member is constituted by an adhesive or a double-sided adhesive tape.

"Aspect 9 is the windshield according to aspect 8, wherein the light shielding member is an epoxy resin-based adhesive.

"Aspect 10 is the windshield according to any one of aspects 1 to 7,

"wherein the mask layer is configured such that the opening is not closed at a portion of a peripheral edge and is open to an outside, and

"the fixed portion of the attachment member is fixed to the glass sheet at the open portion using the light shielding member constituted by a double-sided adhesive tape.

"Aspect 11 is the windshield according to aspect 8 or 10, wherein the light shielding member is constituted by a double-sided adhesive tape, and the double-sided adhesive tape has a thickness of 0.2 to 0.8 mm.

"Aspect 12 is the windshield according to any one of aspects 1 to 11, wherein the information acquisition device includes a camera, and the camera is configured to acquire information through the opening.

"Invention 2

"In general, a rearview mirror is attached to the inner side of a windshield of an automobile in addition to the information acquisition device as mentioned above. This rearview mirror is attached at substantially the same position as the position of the information acquisition device, that is, attached to a base member that is provided at the center of the upper portion of the windshield and fixed to the mask layer.

"Incidentally, the base member for the rearview mirror and the attachment member for the information acquisition device can be attached using various fixing materials such as an adhesive and a double-sided adhesive tape. However, the base member and the attachment member are attached at substantially the same position on the windshield, and therefore, using the different fixing materials causes a problem in that a manufacturing process becomes complex.

"Invention 2 was made in order to solve this problem, and it is an object thereof to provide a windshield in which the base member for the rearview mirror and the attachment member for the information acquisition device are attached to the mask layer and that can be easily manufactured. Specifically, invention 2 provides an invention with the following aspects.

"Aspect 1 is a windshield on which an information acquisition device that emits and/or receives light to acquire information from an outside of a vehicle can be arranged, the windshield including:

"a glass sheet on which a mask layer that blocks a field of vision from the outside of the vehicle is laminated, at least one opening being formed in the mask layer;

"an attachment member that is fixed to the mask layer on the glass sheet and to which the information acquisition device can be attached; and

"a base member that is fixed to the mask layer and to which a rearview mirror can be attached,

"wherein the attachment member and the base member are fixed to the mask layer using the same fixing material.

"Aspect 2 is the windshield according to aspect 1, wherein the fixing material is an adhesive.

"Aspect 3 is the windshield according to aspect 2, wherein the adhesive is an epoxy resin-based adhesive.

"Aspect 4 is the windshield according to aspect 1, wherein the fixing material is a double-sided adhesive tape.

"Invention 3

"When the information acquisition device is arranged on the mask layer as mentioned above, there is a risk that a problem as described below may arise. The windshield as mentioned above is manufactured by heating a glass sheet to which a mask region has been applied and molding it into a curved shape. At this time, the mask layer has a dark color such as black and thus absorbs a larger amount of heat in the glass sheet compared with the region in which the mask region is not formed such as the opening through which light passes. Therefore, the region in which the mask layer has been formed has large residual stress during molding, and distortion occurs in the vicinities of the boundary with the opening in the glass sheet. As a result, when a laser beam is emitted and received, there is a risk that light cannot be accurately emitted or received due to light being refracted by the distortion. Accordingly, there is also a risk that the distance between vehicles and the like are not accurately calculated.

"Such a problem may arise not only in devices for measuring a distance between vehicles but also in information acquisition devices in general that acquire information from the outside of a vehicle by receiving light emitted by optical beacons, for example. Therefore, invention 3 was made in order to solve the foregoing problems, and it is an object thereof to provide a windshield to which the information acquisition device that emits and/or receives light through the opening in the mask region can be attached, and in which light can be accurately emitted or received and information can be accurately processed. Specifically, invention 3 provides an invention with the following aspects.

"Aspect 1 is a windshield on which an information acquisition device that emits and/or receives light to acquire information from an outside of a vehicle can be arranged, the windshield including:

"a windowpane on which a mask layer that blocks a field of vision from the outside of the vehicle is laminated, at least one opening being formed in the mask layer; and

"an attachment member that is fixed to the mask layer on the windowpane and to which the information acquisition device can be attached,

"wherein the windowpane and a mask material constituting the mask layer have different thermal expansion rates and are formed together through heating,

"the information acquisition device is arranged on a surface on a vehicle interior side of the windowpane so as to be capable of acquiring information through the opening, and

"the attachment member has a configuration to which the information acquisition device can be attached such that a passage path of the light emitted and/or received is spaced apart from a peripheral edge of the opening in the mask layer by at least 4 mm.

"Aspect 2 is the windshield according to aspect 1, wherein the mask region is black.

"Invention 4

"In general, the windshield to which the information acquisition device is to be attached is formed in a curved shape, and therefore, it is not easy to fix the attachment member thereto. That is, in general, the fixed surface of the attachment member is formed in a flat shape, and therefore, when an attempt is made to attach this attachment member to the curved windshield, there is a possibility that strength with which the attachment member is fixed to the windshield may be reduced or positional shift may occur. Invention 4 was made in order to solve such a problem, and it is an object thereof to provide a windshield to which the attachment member to which the information acquisition device is to be attached can be accurately and firmly fixed. Specifically, invention 4 provides an invention with the following aspects.

"Aspect 1 is a windshield on which an information acquisition device that emits and/or receives light to acquire information from an outside of a vehicle can be arranged, the windshield including:

"a windowpane in which at least a portion is curved and on which a mask layer that blocks a field of vision from the outside of the vehicle is laminated, at least one opening being formed in the mask layer; and

"an attachment member that is fixed at a position corresponding to the mask layer on the windowpane and to which the information acquisition device can be attached,

"wherein the information acquisition device is arranged on a surface on a vehicle interior side of the windowpane so as to be capable of acquiring information through the opening,

"the attachment member includes a fixed portion in which at least a portion is fixed at a position corresponding to the mask layer, and a supporting portion that is coupled to the fixed portion and supports the information acquisition device, and

"the fixed portion includes a first region that is located at a position corresponding to the supporting portion, and at least one second region for fixing the attachment member at the position corresponding to the mask layer.

"Aspect 2 is the windshield according to aspect 1, wherein the second region has a lower rigidity than that of the first region.

"Aspect 3 is the windshield according to aspect 2, wherein the second region has a smaller thickness than that of the first region.

"Aspect 4 is the windshield according to aspect 2, wherein the second region has a smaller width than that of the first region.

"Aspect 5 is the windshield according to aspect 2, wherein the second region is made of a material having a lower rigidity than the rigidity of a material of the first region.

"Invention 5

"Various methods can be used to mold a glass sheet to be included in the windshield, and examples thereof include a method in which a glass sheet is curved by being pressed with a mold, and a method in which a glass sheet is curved under its own weight. In the latter method, a frame-shaped mold is used, and a glass sheet is placed on this mold such that only the peripheral edge of the glass sheet is supported, and then heated. Thus, inside the frame of the mold, the glass sheet curves downward under its own weight, and curved surfaces are molded.

"However, in this method, distortion occurs at the boundary between the peripheral edge of the glass sheet that is supported by the mold and a region on the inner side with respect to the peripheral edge. Therefore, when the attachment member is attached to such a portion in which distortion occurs, there is a risk that the attachment accuracy is reduced or the attachment strength is reduced.

"Invention 5 was made in order to solve such a problem, and it is an object thereof to provide a windshield that is curved under its own weight and to which the attachment member to which the information acquisition device is to be attached can be accurately and firmly fixed. Specifically, invention 5 provides an invention with the following aspects.

"Aspect 1 is a windshield on which an information acquisition device that emits and/or receives light to acquire information from an outside of a vehicle can be arranged, the windshield including:

"a windowpane on which a mask layer that blocks a field of vision from the outside of the vehicle is laminated, at least one opening being formed in the mask layer; and

"an attachment member that is fixed at a position corresponding to the mask layer on the windowpane and to which the information acquisition device can be attached,

"wherein the information acquisition device is arranged on a surface on a vehicle interior side of the windowpane so as to be capable of acquiring information through the opening,

"the windowpane curves downward under its own weight by being heated in a state in which the windowpane is placed on a frame-shaped mold and a peripheral edge is supported,

"the windowpane is curved so as to have a bent portion along the peripheral edge on an inner side with respect to the peripheral edge, and

"the attachment member is attached to a position on an inner side with respect to the bent portion.

"Aspect 2 is the windshield according to aspect 1 or 2, wherein the window glass sheet includes a first glass sheet, a second glass sheet that is arranged opposite to the first glass sheet, and an interlayer sandwiched between the two glass sheets.

"Advantageous Effects of the Invention

"With invention 1, in a windshield in which an information acquisition device is attached to a mask layer via an attachment member, light can be prevented from entering the inside of the attachment member from the outside."

For additional information on this patent application, see: NAKAGAWA, Masafumi. Windshield. Filed August 30, 2015 and posted December 7, 2017. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220170341491%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20170341491&RS=DN/20170341491

Keywords for this news article include: Nippon Sheet Glass Company Limited.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2017, NewsRx LLC

(c) 2017 NewsRx LLC, source Government & Education Newsletters

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