By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors KUBOTA, Tatsuro (Shiki-gun, JP); SUGIURA, Tomonori (Yamatokoriyama-shi, JP); TAKAHASHI, Yuji (Obu-shi, JP); ISHIMURA, Shoji (Kashihara-shi, JP); HOSHINO, Shigeru (Toyota-shi, JP), filed on March 3, 2016, was made available online on September 22, 2016.
The assignee for this patent application is Jtekt Corporation.
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a steering apparatus.
"In Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2010-254204 (JP 2010-254204 A), a projection and a recess of an eccentric cam biased by a biasing spring constituted by a torsion coil spring so as to rotate about a support shaft mesh with an inner-column side, so that a telescopic lock is achieved. Further, when an adjusting lever and a release lever that rotates together with a fastening shaft in an integrated manner displace the eccentric cam so that the eccentric cam rotates in a release direction against the biasing spring, the telescopic lock is released.
"A case, in which the support shaft is constituted by a member (a resin member or the like) that can break at the time of a secondary collision, is assumed. In this case, in a normal time, the support shaft may be deformed due to a load at the time when an operating lever is operated, which may affect a rotational motion of a member supported by the support shaft. As a result, an operation force for the operating lever may vary, and a peak value of the operation force may increase, and thus, it may become difficult to operate (rotate) the operating lever."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention provides a steering apparatus in which deformation of a support shaft is suppressed so as to allow an operating lever to be easily operated to be rotated.
"An aspect of the invention relates to a steering apparatus including a steering shaft extendable in an axial direction; a column jacket extendable in the axial direction, the column jacket including an outer jacket including a slit and a pair of fastened portions provided on respective sides of the slit, and an inner jacket fitted to the outer jacket, the column jacket being configured to support the steering shaft such that the steering shaft is rotatable; a fastening mechanism including a fastening shaft passed through fastening shaft passing holes of the pair of fastened portions, and an operating lever that rotates the fastening shaft, the fastening mechanism being configured to cause the outer jacket to hold the inner jacket by fastening the pair of fastened portions via the fastening shaft; an engaged tooth formation member including at least one engaged tooth and fixed to the inner jacket; a support shaft including a pair of end portions supported by support holes of the pair of fastened portions, the support shaft being configured to break at a time of a secondary collision; a tubular reinforcing member fitted to an outer peripheral surface of the support shaft at a prescribed area between the pair of end portions; and an engaging tooth formation member including an engaging tooth that engages with any one of the at least one engaged tooth, the engaging tooth formation member being rotatably supported by the support shaft via the reinforcing member, and being configured to rotate in accordance with an operation of the operating lever such that the engaging tooth engages with or disengages from any one of the at least one engaged tooth.
"According to the above aspect, the support shaft reinforced by the reinforcing member is restrained from deforming due to a load applied from the engaging tooth formation member. Therefore, the engaging tooth formation member is smoothly rotated along with the operation of the operating lever. This makes it possible to operate the operating lever as easily as possible.
"In the above aspect, the support shaft may include a pair of to-be-broken portions disposed at positions on respective sides of the prescribed area of the support shaft, the pair of to-be-broken portions being configured to break at the time of the secondary collision.
"In the above configuration, in the support shaft, there is a strength difference between a part of the support shaft and the pair of to-be-broken portions on respective sides of the reinforcing member, the part of the support shaft being a part to which the reinforcing member is fitted. This promotes the breakage of the pair of to-be-broken portions at the time of the secondary collision.
"In the above aspect, the reinforcing member may have a strength higher than a strength of the support shaft.
"In the above configuration, in the support shaft, the strength difference between the prescribed area and the pair of to-be-broken portions on respective sides of the reinforcing member is increased, the prescribed area being reinforced by the reinforcing member having a high strength, which is fitted to the prescribed area. Accordingly, the to-be-broken portions reliably break at the time of the secondary collision.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Features, advantages, and technical and industrial significance of exemplary embodiments of the invention will be described below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals denote like elements, and wherein:
"FIG. 1 is a partially broken schematic side view illustrating a schematic configuration of a steering apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;
"FIG. 2 is a schematic perspective view of the steering apparatus;
"FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a main part of the steering apparatus and corresponds to a sectional view taken along a line III-III in FIG. 1;
"FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the main part of the steering apparatus and illustrates a locked state of a tooth lock mechanism;
"FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the main part of the steering apparatus and illustrates an unlocked state of the tooth lock mechanism; and
"FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the main part of the steering apparatus and illustrates a mechanism that supports an engaging tooth formation member of the tooth lock mechanism."
For more information, see this patent application: KUBOTA, Tatsuro; SUGIURA, Tomonori; TAKAHASHI, Yuji; ISHIMURA, Shoji; HOSHINO, Shigeru. Steering Apparatus. Filed March 3, 2016 and posted September 22, 2016. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=6116&p=123&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20160915.PD.&OS=PD/20160915&RS=PD/20160915
Keywords for this news article include: Jtekt Corporation.
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