Title:
Handle and door with the handle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A handle includes movable flaps. The movement of one of the flaps in one direction moves another of the flaps in another direction. The distance between the flaps is constant along the flaps. A door can include the handle. Movement of the flaps in a manner similar to that of a pair of scissors can be prevented, preventing any risk of pinching when actuating the flaps.



Inventors:
Burkat, Frederic (Bouzy La Foret, FR)
Rhodes, Chris (Orleans, FR)
Application Number:
11/445502
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/752
International Classes:
B65D25/28; B65D25/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, WILLIAM L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLSON, GASKEY & OLDS, P.C. (BIRMINGHAM, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A handle comprising: movable flaps, wherein movement of one of the movable flaps in one direction moves another of the movable flaps in another direction, and a distance between the movable flaps is constant.

2. The handle according to claim 1, wherein the movable flaps have a first rest position in which the movable flaps are substantially in a common plane.

3. The handle according to claim 2, wherein the movable flaps have a second rest position in which the movable flaps are in different planes.

4. The handle according to claim 1, wherein the movable flaps are movable in translation.

5. The handle according to claim 1, further including a rocker that inverts movement of the movable flaps.

6. The handle according to claim 1, wherein the movable flaps are movable in rotation.

7. The handle according to claim 1, further including a motor for actuating the movable flaps.

8. A handle comprising: movable flaps, wherein movement of one of the movable flaps in one direction moves another of the movable flaps in another direction, and a distance between the movable flaps is constant; and a rocker that inverts movement of the movable flaps.

9. The handle according to claim 8, wherein the movable flaps have a first rest position in which the movable flaps are substantially in a common plane.

10. The handle according to claim 9, wherein the movable flaps have a second rest position in which the movable flaps are in different planes.

11. The handle according to claim 8, wherein the movable flaps are movable in translation.

12. The handle according to claim 8, wherein the movable flaps are movable in rotation.

13. The handle according to claim 8, further including a motor for actuating the movable flaps.

14. A door comprising: a handle including movable flaps, wherein movement of one of the movable flaps in one direction moves another of the movable flaps in another direction, and a distance between the movable flaps is constant.

15. The door according to claim 14, further including an electric lock and a sensor for detecting movement of the moveable flaps, wherein the sensor delivers a door opening signal to the electric lock.

16. The door according to claim 14, wherein the movable flaps have a first rest position in which the movable flaps are substantially in a common plane.

17. The door according to claim 16, wherein the moveable flaps have a second rest position in which the movable flaps are in different planes.

18. The door according to claim 14, wherein the movable flaps are movable in translation.

19. The door according to claim 14, further including a rocker that inverts movement of the movable flaps.

20. The door according to claim 14, wherein the movable flaps are movable in rotation.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to French Application FR 05 05 630 filed on Jun. 3, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a handle and a door with the handle.

To improve vehicle aerodynamics, doors of the vehicles may include flush handles that do not protrude from an outer skin of the door.

For example, document FR-A-2 840 341 describes such a handle and a mechanism for extracting the handle. The handle is housed inside a cavity formed on an outer face of the door and occupies a portion of a surface area of the cavity. The mechanism includes at least one flap which occupies a remaining surface area of the cavity. The handle and the flap are mounted to pivot independently of one another about a common axis from a rest position in which they together entirely cover an opening of the cavity. The mechanism includes a movement inverter mounted to pivot in the cavity behind the handle and the flap. The inverter is capable of pushing the handle out of the cavity when the flap is pushed into the cavity.

The disadvantage of the handle as explained in this document is that the flaps have a relative movement similar to that of a pair of scissors, and there is a risk of pinching the user's fingers.

There is therefore a need for a door handle that reduces any risk of pinching.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

For this, the invention proposes a handle including movable flaps. The movement of one flap in one direction moves another flap in another direction, and the distance between the flaps is constant along the flaps.

According to a variant, the flaps have a first rest position in which the flaps are substantially in the same plane. According to a variant, the flaps have a second rest position in which the flaps are in different planes. According to a variant, the flaps are movable in translation.

According to a variant, the handle includes a rocker that inverts the movement of the flaps. According to a variant, the flaps are movable in rotation. According to a variant, the handle includes a motor for actuating the flaps.

The invention also relates to a door including a handle as previously described.

According to a variant, the door further includes an electric lock and a sensor for detecting movement of the flaps. The sensor is suitable for delivering a door opening signal to the lock.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the invention will appear on reading the following detailed description of the embodiments of the invention, given only as an example and with reference to the drawings which show:

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a handle according to an example of the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a view in section of the handle along a line A-A of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates a view of the handle of FIG. 2 after the handle has been moved;

FIG. 4 illustrates a view in section of the handle according to another example of the invention; and

FIG. 5 illustrates a view of the handle of FIG. 4 after the handle has been moved.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The invention relates to a handle including movable flaps. The movement of one of the flaps in one direction moves another of the flaps in another direction. A distance between the flaps is constant along the flaps. This makes it possible to prevent the flaps from moving in a manner similar to that of a pair of scissors, preventing any risk of pinching when actuating the flaps.

FIG. 1 shows a handle 10 mounted on a door 11 of a vehicle. The handle 10 includes a plurality of flaps whose actuation activates a lock to allow the door 11 to be opened. Two flaps 12 and 14 are shown in FIG. 1. In particular, outer faces of the flaps 12 and 14 are visible. The flaps 12 and 14 form a face including a groove 9. On either side of the groove 9, the edges of the flaps 12 and 14 face one another. Each flap 12 and 14 includes a longitudinal edge 23 and 25, respectively. The flaps 12 and 14 are shown superposed, but could also be placed side by side in the direction of travel of the vehicle. The flaps 12 and 14 block off a cavity made in the door 11 in which the handle 10 is mounted. The groove 9 is across the cavity.

The flaps 12 and 14 can be moved, and the movement of one of the flaps 12 and 14 moves the other of the flaps 12 and 14. The movement of the handle 10 via the flaps 12 and 14 makes it possible to initiate a change of state (for example, from a locked state to an unlocked state) of a lock of the door and then to open the door 11. The connection between the handle 10 and the lock is not shown.

FIG. 2 shows a view in section of the handle 10 along a line A-A of FIG. 1. Also shown in section is an outer skin of the door 11. To the left of the outer skin in FIG. 2, there is the cavity and an inside of the door. In FIG. 2, the flaps 12 and 14 are in a rest position.

In FIG. 2, the flaps 12 and 14 are connected together by a rocker 16. The movement of one of the flaps 12 and 14 causes the movement of the other of the flaps 12 and 14 by the rocker 16. The rocker 16 is mounted in rotation relative to the door 11.

FIG. 3 shows a view of the handle 10 of FIG. 2 after the handle has been moved. In FIG. 3, the movement of the flap 12 in the direction of an arrow 20 (towards the vehicle) causes the other flap 14 to move in the direction of an arrow 24 (away from the vehicle). The flaps 12 and 14 are moved apart in parallel (from a common plane towards uncommon parallel planes). The distance between the flaps 12 and 14 is constant along the flaps 12 and 14 in the sense that, at a given moment in the movement of the flaps 12 and 14, the distance between the flaps 12 and 14 is even. Because the flaps 12 and 14 are each moved apart in one direction, the longitudinal edges 23 and 25 of the flaps 12 and 14 remain substantially parallel. In particular, the flaps 12 and 14 move apart by a distance, making it possible for a user to insert his fingers.

The flap 14 offers a handhold for the user to open the door 11.

According to FIG. 3, the flaps 12 and 14 are movable in planes that are parallel with one another, and which are common when the handle 10 is not moved. For example, the outer faces of the flaps 12 and 14 move in planes parallel with one another. The planes of the outer faces and the edges 23 and 25 are parallel with one another, leaving a free space between the flaps 12 and 14 in which the user inserts his fingers without the risk of being pinched.

In the example of FIGS. 2 and 3, the rocker 16 is a plate mounted in rotation about a pivot 18. When one end of the rocker 16 is moved towards the vehicle, the other end of the rocker 16 is moved away from the vehicle about the pivot 18. The rocker 16 therefore makes it possible to invert the direction of movement of the flaps 12 and 14. According to FIG. 2, an axis of rotation of the pivot 18 extends substantially perpendicular to the sectional plane of FIG. 2. In FIG. 1, the pivot 18 has an axis of rotation extending along the flaps 12 and 14. The flaps 12 and 14 are articulated relative to the plate that forms the rocker 16. The advantage of this embodiment is that only one pivot is needed, simplifying the construction of the handle 10. The arrangement of the axis of rotation could be different, for example vertical.

The flaps 12 and 14 may be movable in translation. In FIGS. 2 and 3, the flaps 12 and 14 are guided in translation by guides 30 and 32 relative to the door 11. The flaps 12 and 14 include link rods 13 and 15 that are guided by the guides 30 and 32. The link rods 13 and 15 connect the flaps 12 and 14 to the rocker 16. The link rods 13 and 15 are articulated on the rocker 16, which makes it possible to convert the rotary movement of the rocker 16 into a translation movement of the flaps 12 and 14. Thus, when the flap 12 is pushed in by the user, the flap 12 moves the link rod 13 in translation relative to the guide 30. The link rod 13 moves the rocker 16 by one end of the rocker 16. The rotary movement of the rocker 16 then pulls the other end of the rocker 16 away from the vehicle. The other end of the rocker 16 then moves the link rod 15 in translation relative to the guide 32 and the flap 14 in translation away from the vehicle. The flap 14 exits the plane of the skin of the door 11 in the manner of a drawer, thereby allowing the user to grasp the flap 14 to open the door.

The mechanism connecting the two flaps 12 and 14 may also be different. In one example, the elements are racks each connected to a flap 12 and 14, and a pinion is mounted on the shaft or the pivot 18. The movement of one rack in one direction moves the other rack in the other direction by the pinion.

FIG. 4 shows a view in section of the handle 10 according to another example of the invention. FIG. 4 shows the skin of the door 11 and the flaps 12 and 14 of the handle 10 at rest. The inside of the door 11 is to the left of the skin of the door 11 in FIG. 4. Also, the edges 23 and 25 of the facing flaps 12 and 14 are shown separated by the groove 9. The flaps 12 and 14 are mounted to move in rotation. The flaps 12 and 14 are each connected to a pivot or shaft 34 and 36. The flaps 12 and 14 in FIG. 4 are at rest.

FIG. 5 shows a view of the handle of FIG. 4 after it has been moved. As in FIG. 2, the flaps 12 and 14 are separated by a constant distance along the flaps 12 and 14. While the flaps 12 and 14 are separated, the longitudinal edges 23 and 25 of the flaps 12 and 14 are parallel. Concerning the separation of the flaps 12 and 14, the same comments as for FIG. 3 apply.

Unlike the embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3, each of the flaps 12 and 14 is mounted in rotation relative to the vehicle about the shaft 34 and 36, respectively. The flap 12 is mounted to rotate about the shaft 34, and the flap 14 is mounted to rotate about the shaft 36.

In FIG. 5, the user rotates the flap 12 in a direction according to an arrow 38 towards the inside of the vehicle. The other flap 14 is also rotated in another direction towards the outside of the vehicle in the direction of an arrow 40 by a mechanism not shown, but known to those skilled in the art. It may, for example, be a belt or an assembly with a pinion and toothed sectors. Thus, the flap 14 offers a handhold for the user to open the door 11. Since the edges 23 and 25 of the flaps 12 and 14 move while remaining parallel, the risks of pinching are eliminated.

Equally, and as in FIG. 3, the flaps 12 and 14 of FIG. 5 move in substantially parallel planes when being acted upon, which prevents the user's fingers being pinched like the pinching of scissors.

When the flaps 12 and 14 are not moved, the flaps 12 and 14 may occupy a rest position. According to one embodiment of the handle 10 in which the flaps 12 and 14 are superposed, the flaps 12 and 14 have facing edges. The top flap 12 has a bottom edge facing a top edge of the bottom flap 14. According to an example of the first rest position shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the flaps 12 and 14 are substantially in the same plane. In particular, the outer faces of the flaps 12 and 14 are in the same plane. In this position, the flaps 12 and 14 are in the same plane. The handle 10 is therefore flat in the rest position. The handle 10 thus limits turbulence when the vehicle is moving. Advantageously, the plane in which the flaps 12 and 14 are at rest is that of the door 11, in particular the plane of the outer skin of the door 11. In this position, the handle 10 is flush with the skin of the door 11. This makes it possible to help with the aerodynamics of the door 11. The cavity made in the skin of the door 11 is closed off by the handle 10 at rest.

According to an example of a second rest position, the flaps 12 and 14 are not in the same plane. There is an apparent gap between the flaps 12 and 14. In particular, the outer faces of the flaps 12 and 14 are offset. This makes it possible, for example, to indicate the position of the lock visually to the user. When the door 11 is closed and the flaps 12 and 14 have a gap, the user is shown that the lock is in an unlocked position, and the movement of a flap 12 and 14 makes it possible to open the lock and then the door 11. On the other hand, when the flaps 12 and 14 are in one and the same plane, the indication given to the user is that the lock is in a locked position and that the lock must be unlocked with a key or another means, such as a badge or a control inside the vehicle before the door 11 is opened by the handle 10. Indicating the state of the lock by the position of the flaps 12 and 14 makes it possible, for example, to replace a sill button. It is also possible that the flaps 12 and 14 are capable of occupying the above two rest positions. When the vehicle stops, the flaps 12 and 14 are in the second rest position to indicate the state of the lock, and when the vehicle is in motion, the flaps 12 and 14 are in the first rest position in which the aerodynamics of the vehicle are promoted. The handle 10 may, for example, be placed in the first position when the vehicle reaches a threshold speed.

Preferably, the flaps 12 and 14 are moved elastically towards their rest position. Thus, when the user releases the flaps 12 and 14, the flaps 12 and 14 return to their positions elastically, but without pinching the user's fingers because the flaps 12 and 14 move in parallel planes.

According to a variant, it is possible that the handle 10 is coupled to an electric lock 50. The handle 10 may be fitted with a sensor 52 detecting a movement of the flaps 12 and 14. When the sensor 52 delivers a signal indicating that the user is actuating the handle 10, the lock motor is activated and the lock changes state. In the event of an accident or a failure of the battery supplying the electric lock 50, a mechanical connection between the flaps 12 and 14 and the lock may take over to ensure that the electric lock 50 and the door 11 are opened.

It is also possible that the handle 10 includes a motor 54 for actuating the flaps 12 and 14. Thus, the movement of the flaps 12 and 14 is made easier by the motor 54. The handle 10 may include a sensor 52 detecting movement of the flaps 12 and 14. When the sensor 52 delivers a signal indicating that the user is actuating the handle 10, the motor 54 actuates the flaps 12 and 14. For example, the motor 54 actuates the pivot of the flaps 12 and 14. In FIGS. 2 and 3, the motor 54 promotes the rotation of the rocker 16 about the pivot 18. In FIGS. 4 and 5, the motor 54 promotes the rotation of the flaps 12 and 14 about the shafts 34 and 36.

Naturally, the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described as an example. Thus, it is possible that one flap moves in a translation movement according to FIGS. 2 and 3, and that the other flap moves in a rotary movement according to FIGS. 4 and 5. Furthermore, the user may also move the flap 14 rather than the flap 12 to actuate the electric lock 50 and open the door 11. In addition, the figures indicate a direction of movement of the flaps 12 and 14, making it possible for the user to grasp the handle 10. The flaps 12 and 14 may also move in an inverse direction, allowing the user to grasp the handle 10.

The foregoing description is only exemplary of the principles of the invention. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than using the example embodiments which have been specifically described. For that reason the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.