July 7, 2016 - 2:51 PM EDT
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Patent Issued for Spring Element (USPTO 9377077)

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Fitterling, Gerhard (Missen-Wilhams, DE); Intelmann, Hans Christian (Weissach, DE), filed on November 20, 2014, was published online on June 28, 2016.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 9377077, is Hahn Gasfedem GmbH (Waldstra.beta.e, Aichwald, DE).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Gas springs are used as spring elements in various fields, including in vehicles and in furniture. They provide a force that varies, within narrow limits, with the movement of the structures to which they are attached as those structures moves along a defined path. For example, gas springs may be used to support the weight of a flap or a valve or an other object, or to close doors, or to carry out similar functions.

"When gas springs are used as spring elements on a sliding door, for encouraging the door to close, for example, the sliding door must be coupled to the gas spring before the door reaches the end of its closing path. To the extent possible this coupling should occur without impact and without producing a jolt/tug/jerk. In addition, the sliding door should first be gently slowed down and thereafter be slowly moved independently into its final position. For this reason, shock absorption systems are needed when a gas spring is used to guide a component like a sliding door into a final position."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to gas springs that address the foregoing problems.

"A braked spring element according to the disclosure includes two springs or spring means which are disposed at mutually opposing ends of a damper assembly. As used herein, a 'spring' or 'spring means' may comprise a physical spring, such as a coil spring, or a quantity of gas that is compressed by a piston in a cylinder and that absorbs and releases energy in a manner generally similar to a spring. The spring means can be formed by for example by mechanical springs, resilient gas cushions, or similar devices. Furthermore, the spring means can be housed individually or integrated together with a damping assembly in a cylinder tube, or be disposed completely or partially outside the cylinder tube. The damping assembly held between the two spring means can be coupled to a moving element, e.g. a sliding door, in a low-noise and relatively-jerk-free manner.

"At least one, and optionally two, spring means can be provided to pressurize the fluid in the damper assembly in order to preload or pretension a damper piston and associated piston rod in a desired initial position. However, the damper assembly can also be formed such that it does not include any pressurized components. Furthermore, it is possible to provide a separate (third) spring means for pressurizing the damping assembly.

"Two gas spaces that act as springs, and/or mechanical compression springs, can be provided, one at either end of the damping assembly for axially resilient suspension of the damper assembly. The gas spring may include a cylinder tube, and the piston rod can extend through an end of the cylinder tube and optionally through a separating piston in the cylinder tube into an oil space where it connects to a damper piston. A liquid, preferably oil, is disposed in the oil space, and this liquid inhibits the movement of the damper piston in the oil space and thus the movement of the piston rod. The overpressure in the gas spaces and/or the mechanical springs can put the oil space under pressure by way of at least one separating piston. The spring element therefore has the force on its separating piston resulting from the product of the cross-section of the separating piston and the spring force. The oil space and the separating piston act as energy storage; the oil space and the damper piston act as a damping device; the gas spaces or the mechanical springs act as resilient-compliant/resiliently yielding centering and as a power source for the spring element.

"The inventive spring element is explained below in the example of a gas spring. However, the description also applies to an inventive spring element which includes mechanical springs instead of the gas cushions.

"The maximum achievable speed of the piston rod relative to the separating piston is limited by the configuration of the damper piston. Faster movements effect a compression of one of the gas spaces and are thus resiliently resisted. In this way moving objects which are to be transferred smoothly to a final position, can be coupled to the braked gas spring in a substantially shock-free manner without the use of an additional damper.

"A resilient stop results from the arrangement of gas cushions on both sides of the oil space. Avoiding hard stops at the ends of the movement path of the piston rod can also lead to significant design simplifications in systems in which the braked gas spring is used.

"The volume enclosed between both separating pistons is preferably filled with oil without bubbles. In all installation positions this results in uniform, jolt-free movement of the piston rod.

"The gas spaces between the ends of the cylinder tube and the separating pistons are preferably filled with an inert gas, such as, for example, nitrogen. This inert gas is under excess pressure relative to the ambient atmosphere surrounding the gas spring, and the force of the gas spring and the range of travel of the springs at the two ends of the gas spring can be set as desired by the amount of the pressure and the amount of gas in the two gas spaces. For this purpose a fill valve is provided at least at the end of the cylinder tube farthest away from the piston rod. If desired, it is also possible to attach a further fill valve at the piston-rod-side end of the cylinder tube.

"The damper piston defines at least one transfer path for the oil, so that the oil can move from one side of the damper piston to the other side of the damper piston. The transfer path can pass through the damper piston or pass around the damper piston. It is preferred to introduce one or more restrictions/restrictor bores/throttle bores in the damper piston, which extend through the damper piston and restrict the flow of oil.

"A valve or valve means can be disposed in the transfer path to provide different flow resistances for fluid flowing in opposite directions along the transfer path. The valve means can, for example, be an axially movable seal ring which opens or closes a channel depending on the position of the seal ring relative to the piston.

"The transfer path can also be formed by a channel having a restriction or restrictor bore. The channel can have symmetric flow properties, i.e. generate the same flow resistance with both forward and rearward flow. As indicated above, however, one or more channels can also be provided with a valve in order to achieve different flow resistance and thus different damping properties in different directions."

For more information, see this patent: Fitterling, Gerhard; Intelmann, Hans Christian. Spring Element. U.S. Patent Number 9377077, filed November 20, 2014, and published online on June 28, 2016. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9377077.PN.&OS=PN/9377077RS=PN/9377077

Keywords for this news article include: Hahn Gasfedem GmbH.

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