(19)
(11)EP 3 203 100 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/45

(21)Application number: 15846137.6

(22)Date of filing:  09.09.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F16C 41/00(2006.01)
B60G 17/019(2006.01)
G01L 5/00(2006.01)
F16C 19/10(2006.01)
F16C 17/24(2006.01)
B60G 15/06(2006.01)
F16F 9/54(2006.01)
F16C 17/04(2006.01)
F16C 19/52(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2015/075545
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/052106 (07.04.2016 Gazette  2016/14)

(54)

THRUST BEARING FOR VEHICLE

AXIALLAGER FÜR EIN FAHRZEUG

PALIER DE BUTÉE POUR VÉHICULE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 29.09.2014 JP 2014198896

(43)Date of publication of application:
09.08.2017 Bulletin 2017/32

(73)Proprietors:
  • Oiles Corporation
    Tokyo 108-0075 (JP)
  • Oiles Deutschland GmbH
    61239 Ober-Moerlen (DE)

(72)Inventors:
  • HAMRODI, Robert
    61239 Ober-Moerlen (DE)
  • METZLER, Kai
    61239 Ober-Moerlen (DE)
  • NAGASHIMA, Tsuyoshi
    61239 Ober-Moerlen (DE)
  • KUROSE, Kohei
    Fujisawa-shi Kanagawa 252-0811 (JP)

(74)Representative: Schlief, Thomas P. 
Canzler & Bergmeier Patentanwälte Partnerschaft mbB Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 84
85055 Ingolstadt
85055 Ingolstadt (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- H0 961 268
JP-A- H09 142 123
JP-A- 2004 177 411
JP-A- 2006 170 352
JP-A- 2010 085 215
JP-U- H0 443 088
JP-A- H08 132 840
JP-A- 2004 034 865
JP-A- 2005 090 525
JP-A- 2009 216 664
JP-A- 2013 076 573
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present invention relates to a thrust bearing for a vehicle, comprising an upper case and a lower case that are rotatable with respect to each other. Particularly, the present invention relates to a thrust bearing incorporated into a four-wheeled vehicle as a thrust bearing of a strut-type (McPherson) suspension of a front wheel of the vehicle.

    BACKGROUND ART



    [0002] A strut-type suspension used for a front wheel of a four-wheeled vehicle generally includes a strut assembly combined with a coil spring. The strut assembly has an external cylinder that is integrated with a main shaft and in which a hydraulic/gas shock absorber is incorporated.

    [0003] Strut-type suspensions can be classified based on whether a piston rod of the strut assembly rotates or not when the strut assembly rotates with the coil spring under steering operation. In either case, a thrust bearing is used between an attachment mechanism of the strut assembly for attaching to the vehicle and an upper end portion of the coil spring for allowing smooth rotation of the strut assembly.

    [0004] Conventionally, there is a suspension control apparatus that includes, as a strut bearing for a vehicle, a top cup into which an upper end portion of a piston rod used in a shock absorber of a strut-type suspension is inserted, a bottom cup on which the top cup is provided so that the bottom cup is rotatable with respect to the top cup about an axial center of the piston rod, a rotating member that is provided in an annular space formed between a fixed top race connected to the top cup and a rotating bottom race connected to the bottom cup for receiving a thrust load of the piston rod, a coder that is rotatably attached to the rotating bottom race and generates a pulse, and a sensor that is fixed to the coder and detects a pulse for measuring a rotating angle of the rotating bottom race (See Patent Literature 1).

    [0005] Also, there is another suspension control apparatus that includes, as a strut bearing for a vehicle, a top cup into which an upper end portion of a piston rod used in a shock absorber of a strut-type suspension is inserted, a bottom cup on which the top cup is provided so that the bottom cup is rotatable with respect to the top cup about an axial center of the piston rod, a rotating member that is provided in an annular space formed between a fixed top race connected to the top cup and a rotating bottom race connected to the bottom cup for receiving a thrust load of the piston rod, and a deformation sensor that is connected to the top cup and the bottom cup, which are fixed members, and measures the amount of deformation of the fixed members due to a force acting on a wheel (See Patent Literature 2).

    [0006] Similarly, Patent Literature 3 features a strut-type suspension with a deformation sensor for indirect measurement of the load on the suspension. Here, the deformation sensor is fixed to a plate connecting the lower side of a resin bearing and the upper side of a spring interface.

    CITATION LIST


    PATENT LITERATURE



    [0007] 

    Patent Literature 1 Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 2004-182223

    Patent Literature 2 Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 2004-177411

    Patent Literature 3 Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 2010-085215


    SUMMARY OF INVENTION


    TECHNICAL PROBLEM



    [0008] However, the former of the aforementioned conventional suspension control apparatuses calculates a vertical force by measuring the rotating angle of the bottom race with respect to the top race by the sensor. Thus, it is difficult to precisely measure a load vertically acting on the suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0009] Also, the second of the aforementioned conventional suspension control apparatuses indirectly calculates a vertical force by continuously measuring the amount of deformation of the top cup and the bottom cup, which are fixed members, by the deformation sensor. Thus, it is difficult to precisely measure a load vertically acting on the suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0010] It is thus an object of the present invention, which has been achieved for addressing the aforementioned problems of the prior art, to provide a thrust bearing for a vehicle, the thrust bearing being capable of precisely measuring a load vertically acting on the suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    SOLUTION TO PROBLEM



    [0011] In order to address the above-described problems, a first aspect of the present invention provides a thrust bearing for a vehicle, the thrust bearing including an upper case that abuts against a vehicle body-side attaching portion and a lower case on which the upper case is provided so that the lower case is rotatable with respect to the upper case about an axial center of a piston rod used in a shock absorber of a suspension of the vehicle, wherein the thrust bearing further includes a load sensor for measuring a load vertically acting on the suspension.

    [0012] A second aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the first aspect of the present invention, wherein an annular bearing piece for receiving a thrust load acting on the thrust bearing is disposed in an annular space formed between the upper case and the lower case.

    [0013] A third aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the second aspect of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is provided in either the upper case, the bearing piece, or the lower case.

    [0014] A fourth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to third aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is a hydraulic load sensor for measuring the load.

    [0015] A fifth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the fourth aspect of the present invention, wherein the hydraulic load sensor includes an annular liquid inclusion body for receiving the load vertically acting on the suspension and a pressure/signal converter connected to the annular liquid inclusion body for converting the pressure of a liquid within the annular liquid inclusion body to a signal, and the annular liquid inclusion body is arranged concentrically with respect to an axial center of the thrust bearing.

    [0016] A sixth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the fifth aspect of the present invention, wherein the annular liquid inclusion body is mounted in an annular concave portion provided on a case top surface of the upper case, and a load receiving surface is formed at an upper end of the annular liquid inclusion body so as to upwardly project from the case top surface of the upper case, the load receiving surface being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion for receiving a load.

    [0017] A seventh aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to third aspects of the present invention, wherein the load censor is a film-type load sensor for measuring the load.

    [0018] An eighth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the seventh aspect of the present invention, wherein the film-type load sensor includes a film layer that deforms in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension, and an electric resistance of the film layer varies in accordance with the amount of the deformation due to the load vertically acting on the suspension.

    [0019] A ninth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the eighth aspect of the present invention, wherein the film layer is arranged on a bottom of a concave portion provided on a case top surface of the upper case, and a spacing member is provided on the film layer in the concave portion, at least a part of the spacing member on a top surface side thereof upwardly projecting from the case top surface of the upper case and being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion.

    [0020] A tenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the eighth or ninth aspect of the present invention, wherein a plurality of the film layers are arranged in a circumferential direction of the piston rod, and the total electric resistance of the plurality of the film layers is used as a value of the load vertically acting on the suspension.

    [0021] An eleventh aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to third aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is an optical fiber-type load sensor for measuring the load.

    [0022] A twelfth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the eleventh aspect of the present invention, wherein the optical fiber-type load sensor includes a light emitting portion that emits light, an optical fiber that guides the light from the light emitting part and deforms in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension, and a light receiving portion that receives the light propagated through the optical fiber and measures a phase of the light, and a phase of a waveform propagated through the optical fiber varies in accordance with the amount of deformation of the optical fiber due to the load vertically acting on the suspension.

    [0023] A thirteenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to the twelfth aspect of the present invention, wherein the optical fiber is arranged on a bottom of a concave portion provided on a case top surface of the uppercase, and a spacing member is provided on the optical fiber in the concave portion, at least a part of the spacing member on a top surface side thereof upwardly projecting from the case top surface of the upper case and being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion.

    [0024] A fourteenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to thirteenth aspects of the present invention, wherein the suspension is a strut-type suspension.

    [0025] A fifteenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to fourteenth aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is connected to a controller that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the load sensor, and the controller controls a braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of load vertically acting on the suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake.

    [0026] A sixteen aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to fourteenth aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is connected via a communication circuit to a load amount manager that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the load sensor, and the load amount manager manages the load amount of each vehicle online.

    [0027] A seventeenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to fourteenth aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is connected to a controller that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the load sensor, and the controller controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of load vertically acting on the suspension.

    [0028] An eighteenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to fourteenth aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is connected to a controller that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the load sensor to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle, and the controller controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting load measured by each suspension of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced.

    [0029] A nineteenth aspect of the present invention further addresses the above-described problems by providing the thrust bearing for a vehicle according to any one of the first to fourteenth aspects of the present invention, wherein the load sensor is connected to a controller that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the load sensor to monitor an input load from a tire.

    ADVANTAGEOUS EFFECTS OF INVENTION



    [0030] Because the thrust bearing of the present invention includes an upper case that abuts against a vehicle body-side attaching portion and a lower case on which the upper case is provided so that the lower case is rotatable with respect to the upper case about an axial center of a piston rod used in a shock absorber of a suspension of the vehicle, not only the upper case and the lower case can rotate smoothly with respect to each other but also the following unique effects can be achieved.

    [0031] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the first aspect of the present invention, because the thrust bearing further includes a load sensor for measuring a load vertically acting on the suspension, a load acts on the load sensor of the suspension of each wheel of the vehicle, such as an automobile or a truck, while the vehicle is running. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure a load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0032] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the second aspect of the present invention, because an annular bearing piece for receiving a thrust load acting on the thrust bearing is disposed in an annular space formed between the upper case and the lower case, the frictional resistance between the upper case and the lower case is reduced. Thus, the upper case and the lower case can rotate more smoothly with respect to each other.

    [0033] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the third aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is provided in either the upper case, the bearing piece, or the lower case, a load acts on the load sensor more reliably. Thus, it is possible to more precisely measure a load vertically acting on the suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0034] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the fourth aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is a hydraulic load sensor for measuring the load, it is possible to precisely measure the load.

    [0035] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the fifth aspect of the present invention, because the hydraulic load sensor includes an annular liquid inclusion body for receiving the load vertically acting on the suspension and a pressure/signal converter connected to the annular liquid inclusion body for converting the pressure of a liquid within the annular liquid inclusion body to a signal, and the annular liquid inclusion body is arranged concentrically with respect to an axial center of the thrust bearing, the pressure of the liquid in the annular liquid inclusion body acts evenly on the entire annular liquid inclusion body even if a load vertically acts on the suspension in a regionally biased manner around the axial center of the thrust bearing while the vehicle is running. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure the load.

    [0036] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the sixth aspect of the present invention, because the annular liquid inclusion body is mounted in an annular concave portion provided on a case top surface of the upper case, and a load receiving surface is formed at an upper end of the annular liquid inclusion body so as to upwardly project from the case top surface of the upper case to come into contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion for receiving a load, the load receiving surface is displaced by receiving a load from the vehicle body-side attaching portion on the whole surface thereof in an unbiased manner without being in contact with peripheral members. Thus, it is possible to more precisely measure a load vertically acting on each suspension.

    [0037] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the seventh aspect of the present invention, because the load censor is a film-type load sensor for measuring the load, it is possible to precisely measure the load.

    [0038] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the eighth aspect of the present invention, because the film-type load sensor includes a film layer that deforms in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension, and an electric resistance of the film layer varies in accordance with the amount of deformation due to the load vertically acting on the suspension, the value of electric current flowing through the film layer varies in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure the load by simply measuring the value of electric current.

    [0039] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the ninth aspect of the present invention, because the film layer is arranged on a bottom of a concave portion provided on a case top surface of the upper case, and a spacing member is provided on the film layer in the concave portion, at least a part of the spacing member on a top surface side thereof upwardly projecting from the case top surface of the upper case and being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion, a load of the vehicle acts on the film layer by way of the spacing member with little interference from other members. Thus, it is possible to more precisely measure the load of the vehicle acting on each suspension.

    [0040] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the tenth aspect of the present invention, because a plurality of the film layers are arranged in a circumferential direction of the piston rod, and the total electric resistance of the plurality of the film layers is used as a value of the load vertically acting on the suspension, the bias of the load in the circumferential direction does not affect the value of the load. Thus, it is possible to more precisely measure the load of the vehicle acting on each suspension.

    [0041] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the eleventh aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is an optical fiber-type load sensor for measuring the load, it is possible to precisely measure the load.

    [0042] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the twelfth aspect of the present invention, because the optical fiber-type load sensor includes a light emitting portion that emits light, an optical fiber that guides the light from the light emitting portion and deforms in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension, and a light receiving portion that receives the light propagated through the optical fiber and measures a phase of the light, and a phase of a waveform propagated through the optical fiber varies in accordance with the amount of deformation of the optical fiber due to the load vertically acting on the suspension, the phase of the waveform varies in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure the load by simply measuring the phase of the waveform.

    [0043] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the thirteenth aspect of the present invention, because the optical fiber is arranged on a bottom of a concave portion provided on a case top surface of the uppercase, and a spacing member is provided on the optical fiber in the concave portion, at least a part of the spacing member on a top surface side thereof upwardly projecting from the case top surface of the upper case and being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion, a load of the vehicle acts on the optical fiber via the spacing member with little interference from other members. Thus, it is possible to more precisely measure the load of the vehicle acting on each suspension.

    [0044] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the fourteenth aspect of the present invention, because the suspension is a strut-type suspension, a strut assembly rotates with a coil spring under steering operation to generate a turning force. Thus, it is possible to allow smooth rotation of the strut assembly.

    [0045] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the fifteenth aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is connected to a controller that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the load sensor, and the controller controls a braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of load vertically acting on the suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake, the braking force of the brake can be made larger as the load acting on the suspension becomes larger, for example. Thus, it is possible to stably decelerate the vehicle even when a load amount of the vehicle changes and to reduce the difference of a braking distance between various load amounts.

    [0046] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the sixteenth aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is connected via a communication circuit to a load amount manager that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the load sensor, and the load amount manager manages the load amount of each vehicle online, information about the load amount of each vehicle is gathered in an control center of a carrying company, for example. Thus, the control center of the carrying company can comprehend the current load amount of each vehicle to efficiently give each vehicle an instruction for collecting goods.

    [0047] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the seventeenth aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is connected to a controller that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the load sensor, and the controller controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of load vertically acting on the suspension, the damping force or the spring rate can be increased as the amount of the load increases, for example, for receiving the increase of the load. Thus, it is possible to ensure the running stability of the vehicle even when the load amount of the vehicle changes.

    [0048] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the eighteenth aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is connected to a controller that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the load sensor to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle, and the controller controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting load measured by each suspension of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced, the damping force or the spring rate can be increased in a left, right, front, or rear type suspension that is burdened with a larger movable load to reduce the tilt of the vehicle, for example. Thus, it is possible to ensure the running stability of the vehicle by controlling the posture of the vehicle even when the center of gravity of the movable load deviates from the center of the vehicle.

    [0049] According to the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the nineteenth aspect of the present invention, because the load sensor is connected to a controller that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the load sensor to monitor an input load from a tire, the damping force can be reduced when the vehicle enters a rough load, for example, for receiving an input load in a temporally distributed manner. Thus, it is possible to ensure the running stability of the vehicle.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



    [0050] 
    FIG. 1
    Figs. 1(A) and 1(B) are top and side views of a thrust bearing for a vehicle as a first embodiment of the present invention.
    FIG. 2
    Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional view as seen along line 2-2 illustrated in Fig. 1(A).
    FIG. 3
    Fig. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the first embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a strut-type suspension.
    FIG. 4
    Fig. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the portion represented with reference numeral 4 in Fig. 2.
    FIG. 5
    Figs. 5(A) and 5(B) are top and side views of a thrust bearing for a vehicle as a second embodiment of the present invention.
    FIG. 6
    Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view as seen along line 6-6 illustrated in Fig. 1(A).
    FIG. 7
    Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the second embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a strut-type suspension.
    FIG. 8
    Fig. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the portion represented with reference numeral 8 in Fig. 6.
    FIG. 9
    Figs. 9(A) and 9(B) are top and side views of a thrust bearing for a vehicle as a third embodiment of the present invention.
    FIG. 10
    Fig. 10 is a cross-sectional view as seen along line 10-10 illustrated in Fig. 9(A).
    FIG. 11
    Fig. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the thrust bearing for a vehicle of the third embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a strut-type suspension.
    FIG. 12
    Fig. 12 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the portion represented with reference numeral 12 in Fig. 10.
    FIG. 13
    Figs. 13(A) and 13(B) are diagrams illustrating the principle of operation of an optical fiber-type load sensor.

    DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



    [0051] The specific embodiment of the present invention may be anything as long as the thrust bearing of the present invention includes an upper case that abuts against a vehicle body-side attaching portion and a lower case on which the upper case is provided so that the lower case is rotatable with respect to the upper case about an axial center of a piston rod used in a shock absorber of a suspension of the vehicle, wherein the thrust bearing further includes a load sensor for measuring a load vertically acting on the suspension, enabling precise measurement of the load vertically acting on the suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0052] For example, the thrust bearing may include a bearing piece existing in an annular space formed between the upper case and the lower case for receiving a thrust load acting from a tire side, or the upper case and the lower case may directly slide with respect to each other without using the bearing piece.

    [0053] If the thrust bearing includes the bearing piece, the bearing piece may be a sliding bearing that slides with respect to the upper case or the lower case, or may be a rolling bearing that rotatably holds a rolling element such as a ball.

    [0054] The load sensor may be any type such as a hydraulic sensor, a film-type sensor, or an optical fiber-type sensor as long as the load sensor is capable of measuring a load vertically acting on a suspension.

    [0055] The suspension of the vehicle may be any type as long as a thrust load acts on the suspension from a tire side.

    [0056] The upper case is only required to abut against the vehicle body-side attachment portion. The strut-type suspension as one example of the suspension may be one type in which the upper end portion of the piston rod of the shock absorber fits into the vehicle body-side attachment portion, or another type in which the upper end portion of the piston rod of the shock absorber fits into the upper case.

    EMBODIMENT 1



    [0057] A thrust bearing 100 as a thrust bearing for a vehicle of the first embodiment of the present invention will now be described in accordance with Figs. 1 to 4.

    [0058] Fig. 1(A) is a top view of the thrust bearing 100 for a vehicle as the first embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 1(B) is a side view as seen in a direction represented with reference numeral 1B in Fig. 1(A). Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional view as seen along line 2-2 illustrated in Fig. 1(A). Fig. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the thrust bearing 100 for a vehicle as the first embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a strut-type suspension. Fig. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the portion represented with reference numeral 4 in Fig. 2.

    [0059] As shown in Figs. 1(A) to 4, the thrust bearing 100 for a vehicle as the first embodiment of the present invention includes an upper case 110 made of synthetic resin, a lower case 120 made of synthetic resin, and a sliding bearing piece 130 as a bearing piece made of synthetic resin.

    [0060] The upper case 110 is configured to abut against a vehicle-side attaching member VA, or a vehicle body-side attaching portion.

    [0061] In the present embodiment, the upper case 110 integrally includes an annular upper case base 111 that is mounted on the vehicle and forms an annular upper case top surface 111a and an annular upper case bottom surface 111b along an axial direction Y of a piston rod, an inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 112 that downwardly extends from an inner circumferential end in a radial direction X of the upper case base 111, and an outer circumferential cylindrical portion 113 that downwardly extends from an outer circumferential end in the radial direction X of the upper case base 111.

    [0062] An annular concavity 111aa as an annular concave portion is formed on the upper case top surface 111a of the upper case base 111. An annular oil inclusion body 141 and a pressure/signal converter 142 of a hydraulic load sensor 140, which will be described later, are provided in the annular concavity 111aa.

    [0063] The upper case 110 is provided on the lower case 120 so that the lower case 120 is rotatable with respect to the upper case 110 about an axial center AX of the piston rod.

    [0064] In the present embodiment, the lower case 120 integrally includes an annular lower case base 121 on which the upper case 110 is provided so that the lower case base 121 is rotatable with respect to the upper case 110 about the axial center AX, and an inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 122 that downwardly extends from a radial inner side of the lower case base 121.

    [0065] An inner annular engaging claw 121a is formed on a radial outer side of the lower case base 121. The inner annular engaging claw 121a engages with an outer annular engaging claw 113a formed on an outer circumference-side cylindrical portion 113 of the upper case 110 so as to be rotatable in a circumferential direction R.

    [0066] An outer annular engaging groove 121b is formed radially inward of the inner annular engaging claw 121a of the lower case base 121. The outer annular engaging groove 121b engages, via a small gap, with an outer annular engaging ridge 111ba formed on the upper case bottom surface 111b of the upper case base 111.

    [0067] This prevents an extraneous substance from entering an annular space formed between the upper case 110 and the lower case 120 from radial outside of the annular space.

    [0068] An inner annular engaging ridge 122a is formed inward of the inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 122 of the lower case 120. The inner annular engaging ridge 122a engages, via small gap, with an inner annular engaging groove 112a formed on a lower end of the inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 112 of the upper case 110.

    [0069] This prevents an extraneous substance from entering the annular space formed between the upper case 110 and the lower case 120 from radial inside of the annular space.

    [0070] The sliding bearing piece 130 exists in the annular space formed between the upper case 110 and the lower case 120 for receiving thrust and radial loads acting from a tire side.

    [0071] In the present embodiment, the sliding bearing piece 130 is arranged in an annular space between the upper case bottom surface 111b of the upper case base 111 and the lower case top surface 121c of the lower case base 121 and in an annular space between an outer circumferential surface 112b of the inner circumference-side cylindrical portion 112 and an inner circumferential surface 121d of the lower case base 121.

    [0072] The sliding bearing piece 130 includes an annular thrust sliding bearing piece portion 131, a cylindrical radial sliding bearing piece portion 132, and an anti-rotation convex portion 133 downwardly projecting from the thrust sliding bearing piece portion 131.

    [0073] The thrust sliding bearing piece portion 131 includes a bearing top surface 131a that slidably contacts with the upper case bottom surface 111b of the upper case base 111, and a bearing bottom surface 131b that contacts with the lower case top surface 121c of the lower case base 121 of the lower case 120.

    [0074] On the other hand, the radial sliding bearing piece portion 132 includes a bearing inner circumferential surface 132a that slidably contacts with the outer circumferential surface 112b of the inner circumference-side cylindrical portion 112 of the upper case 110, and an outer circumferential surface 132b that contacts with the inner circumferential surface 121d of the lower case base 121 of the lower case 120.

    [0075] The anti-rotation convex portion 133 engages with an anti-rotation concave portion 123 formed on the lower case top surface 121c of the lower case 120 to restrict the rotation of the sliding bearing piece 130 with respect to the lower case 120.

    [0076] In the present embodiment, as one example, the anti-rotation convex portion 133 and the anti-rotation concave portion 123 are provided to prevent the sliding bearing piece 130 from rotating with respect to the lower case 120. Alternatively, the anti-rotation convex portion 133 and the anti-rotation concave portion 123 may not be provided so that the sliding bearing piece 130 can rotate with respect to the lower case 120.

    [0077] As shown in Fig. 3, a spring pad SP made of rubber in an annular shape is provided on a lower case bottom surface 121e of the lower case base 121.

    [0078] The thrust bearing 100 is incorporated into a strut-type (McPherson) suspension so as to be arranged between a vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA and a coil spring SS, wherein a load receiving surface 141a of the annular oil inclusion body 141 of the hydraulic load sensor 140 provided in the annular concavity 111aa of the upper case 110 abuts against the vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA, as described later, and the spring pad SP abuts against an upper end portion of the coil spring SS.

    [0079] In the present embodiment, the hydraulic load sensor 140, which is a hydraulic load sensor for measuring a movable load, or a load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension, is provided in the annular concavity 111aa of the upper case 110, for example. Alternatively, the hydraulic load sensor 140 may be provided in the lower case 120.

    [0080] With this configuration, a movable load acts on the hydraulic load sensor 140 in each strut-type suspension mounted on a vehicle such as an automobile and a truck.

    [0081] Specifically, the hydraulic load sensor 140 includes the annular oil inclusion body 141 that receives a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension and a pressure/signal converter 142 that is connected to the annular oil inclusion body 141 and converts the pressure of oil OL in the annular oil inclusion body 141 to a signal.

    [0082] Furthermore, the annular oil inclusion body 141 is arranged concentrically with respect to the axial center AX of the piston rod.

    [0083] With this configuration, the pressure of the oil OL in the annular oil inclusion body 141 acts evenly on the entire annular oil inclusion body 141 even if a movable load vertically acts on the strut-type suspension in a regionally biased manner around the axial center AX of the piston rod while the vehicle is running.

    [0084] Furthermore, the load receiving surface 141a in an annular convex shape is formed on the upper end of the annular oil inclusion body 141 so as to upwardly project from the upper case top surface 111a of the upper case 110 to come into contact with the vehicle-side attaching member VA for receiving a movable load.

    [0085] With this configuration, the load receiving surface 141a is displaced by receiving a movable load from the vehicle-side attaching member VA on the whole surface in an unbiased manner thereof without being in contact with peripheral members.

    [0086] Also, in the present embodiment, the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected via a connector 143 to a controller CT that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140.

    [0087] The controller CT is configured, for example, to increase the braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of a movable load that vertically acts on the strut-type suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake.

    [0088] With this configuration, the braking force of the brake manipulated by the driver is made larger as the movable load acting on the strut-type suspension becomes larger.

    [0089] The controller CT includes an arithmetic unit such as a CPU, and may be integrated with the hydraulic load sensor 140 at the interior of the upper case 110.

    [0090] Also, in the present embodiment, the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected via a communication circuit to a load amount manager AD that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140.

    [0091] The load amount manager AD is configured to manage the load amount of each vehicle online.

    [0092] With this configuration, information about the load amount of each vehicle is gathered in a control center of a carrying company, for example.

    [0093] Also, in the present embodiment, the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected via the connector 143 to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140.

    [0094] The controller CT is configured, for example, to increase at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0095] With this configuration, the damping force or the spring rate is increased as the amount of a movable load increases for receiving the increase of the movable load.

    [0096] Also, in the present embodiment, the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected via the connector 143 to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140 to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle.

    [0097] The controller CT is configured to increase at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting movable load measured by each strut-type suspension of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced. For example, the controller CT increases the damping force or the spring rate in a left, right, front, or rear strut-type suspension that is burdened with a larger movable load.

    [0098] With this configuration, the tilt of the vehicle is reduced.

    [0099] When the lateral or longitudinal difference between the amounts of the movable loads measured by four hydraulic load sensors 140 corresponding to four wheels of the vehicle exceeds a predetermined allowable value, then an alert may be displayed on a display panel in a cockpit of the vehicle or an alarm may be rung for notifying the driver of the vehicle that the loading positions of goods should be changed.

    [0100] In this case, if the notification is given so as to instruct the driver to move a part or the whole of the goods from a position where the largest amount of the movable load is detected to a position where the smallest amount of the movable load is detected, then the driver can easily balance the movable load longitudinally and laterally.

    [0101] Also, in the present embodiment, the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected via the connector 143 to the controller CT that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140 to monitor an input load from a tire (suspension).

    [0102] With this configuration, the damping force can be reduced when the vehicle exits a paved road and enters a rough load such as an unpaved road, for example, to receive the input load in a temporally distributed manner.

    [0103] The hydraulic load sensor may have any shape, as long as a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension can be precisely measured.

    [0104] Also, the hydraulic load sensor may be any type, such as a semiconductor piezoresistance diffusion pressure sensor and a capacitance pressure sensor, as long as the hydraulic load sensor measures a pressure of liquid with a pressure-sensitive element via a diaphragm (such as a stainless diaphragm and a silicon diaphragm), converts the pressure to an electric signal, and outputs the electric signal.

    [0105] A semiconductor piezoresistance diffusion pressure sensor has a semiconductor strain gage formed on the surface of the diaphragm and converts a change in electric resistance caused by a piezoresistance effect created by deformation of the diaphragm due to an external force (pressure) to an electric signal.

    [0106] A capacitance-type pressure sensor forms a capacitor by opposing a glass fixed electrode to a silicon movable electrode and converts a change in capacitance caused by deformation of the movable electrode due to an external force (pressure) to an electric signal.

    [0107] The liquid as a pressure detection medium of the hydraulic load sensor may be anything, such as oil and water, as long as the liquid enables precise measurement of the load.

    [0108] As described above, the thrust bearing 100 as a thrust bearing for a vehicle of the first embodiment of the present invention includes the hydraulic load sensor 140 as a hydraulic load sensor for measuring a movable load, or a load vertically acting on a strut-type suspension. The hydraulic load sensor 140 may be provided in the upper case 110, the lower case 120, or the sliding bearing piece 130, and is provided in the upper case 110 in this particular case. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0109] Also, because the hydraulic load sensor 140 includes the annular oil inclusion body 141 as an annular liquid inclusion body that receives a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension and the pressure/signal converter 142 that is connected to the annular oil inclusion body 141 and converts the pressure of the oil OL in the annular oil inclusion body 141 to a signal, and the annular oil inclusion body 141 is arranged concentrically with respect to the axial center AX of the piston rod, which is concentric with the axial center of the thrust bearing 100, it is possible to precisely measure the load.

    [0110] Also, because the annular oil inclusion body 141 is mounted in the annular concavity 111aa, or an annular concave portion provided on the upper case top surface 111a of the upper case 110, and the load receiving surface 141a is formed at the upper end of the annular oil inclusion body 141 so as to upwardly project from the upper case top surface 111a of the upper case 110 to come into contact with the vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA, or a vehicle body-side attaching portion, for receiving a movable load, it is possible to more precisely measure a movable load vertically acting on each strut-type suspension.

    [0111] Also, because the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected to the controller CT that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140, and the controller CT controls a braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of a movable load that vertically acts on the strut-type suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake, it is possible to stably decelerate the vehicle even when the load amount of the vehicle changes and to reduce the difference of a braking distance between various load amounts of the vehicle.

    [0112] Also, because the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected via a communication circuit to the load amount manager AD that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140, and the load amount manager AD manages the load amount of each vehicle online, the control center of the carrying company can comprehend the current load amount of each vehicle, for example, to efficiently give each vehicle an instruction for collecting goods.

    [0113] Also, because the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140, and the controller CT controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of a movable load, it is possible, for example, to increase the damping force or the spring rate as the amount of the movable load increases to ensure the running stability of the vehicle even when the load amount of the vehicle changes.

    [0114] Also, because the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140 to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle, and the controller CT controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting movable load measured by each strut-type suspensions of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced, the damping force or the spring rate can be increased in a left, right, front, or rear strut-type suspension that is burdened with a larger movable load, for example, to control the posture of the vehicle even when the center of gravity of the movable load deviates from the center of the vehicle to ensure the running stability of the vehicle.

    [0115] Also, because the hydraulic load sensor 140 is connected to a controller CT that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the hydraulic load sensor 140 to monitor an input load from a tire, the damping force can be reduced when the vehicle enters a rough load, for example, to ensure the running stability of the vehicle.

    SECOND EMBODIMENT



    [0116] A thrust bearing 200 as a thrust bearing for a vehicle of the second embodiment of the present invention will now be described in accordance with Figs. 5 to 8.

    [0117] Fig. 5(A) is a top view of the thrust bearing 200 for a vehicle as the second embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 5(B) is a side view as seen in a direction represented with reference numeral 5B in Fig. 5(A). Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view as seen along line 6-6 illustrated in Fig. 5(A). Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the thrust bearing 200 for a vehicle as the second embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a strut-type suspension. Fig. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the portion represented with reference numeral 8 in Fig. 6.

    [0118] As shown in Figs. 5(A) to 8, the thrust bearing 200 for a vehicle as the second embodiment of the present invention includes an upper case 210 made of synthetic resin, a lower case 220 made of synthetic resin, and a sliding bearing piece 230 as a bearing piece made of synthetic resin. The upper case 210 is configured to abut against a vehicle-side attaching member VA, or a vehicle body-side attaching portion.

    [0119] In the present embodiment, the upper case 210 integrally includes an annular upper case base 211 that is mounted on the vehicle and forms an annular upper case top surface 211a and an annular upper case bottom surface 211b along an axial direction Y of a piston rod, an inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 212 that downwardly extends from an inner circumferential end in a radial direction X of the upper case base 211, and an outer circumferential cylindrical portion 213 that downwardly extends from an outer circumferential end in the radial direction X of the upper case base 211.

    [0120] An annular concavity 211aa as a concave portion is formed on the upper case top surface 211a of the upper case base 211. A film layer 241 of a film-type load sensor 240, which will be described later, is arranged on the bottom of the annular concavity 211aa.

    [0121] Also, a spacing member 250 is provided on top of the film layer 241 in the annular concavity 211aa.

    [0122] The upper case 210 is provided on the lower case 220 so that the lower case 220 is rotatable with respect to the upper case 210 about an axial center AX of the piston rod.

    [0123] In the present embodiment, the lower case 220 integrally includes an annular lower case base 221 on which the upper case 210 is provided so that the lower case base 221 is rotatable with respect to the upper case 210 about the axial center AX, and an inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 222 that downwardly extends from a radial inner side of the lower case base 221.

    [0124] An inner annular engaging claw 221a is formed on a radial outer side of the lower case base 221. The inner annular engaging claw 221a engages with an outer annular engaging claw 213a formed on an outer circumference-side cylindrical portion 213 of the upper case 210 so as to be rotatable in a circumferential direction R.

    [0125] An outer annular engaging groove 221b is formed radially inward of the inner annular engaging claw 221a of the lower case base 221. The outer annular engaging groove 221b engages, via a small gap, with an outer annular engaging ridge 211ba formed on the upper case bottom surface 211b of the upper case base 211.

    [0126] This prevents an extraneous substance from entering an annular space formed between the upper case 210 and the lower case 220 from radial outside of the annular space.

    [0127] An inner annular engaging ridge 222a is formed inward of the inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 222 of the lower case 220. The inner annular engaging ridge 222a engages, via small gap, with an inner annular engaging groove 212a formed on a lower end of the inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 212 of the upper case 210.

    [0128] This prevents an extraneous substance from entering the annular space formed between the upper case 210 and the lower case 220 from radial inside of the annular space.

    [0129] The sliding bearing piece 230 exists in the annular space formed between the upper case 210 and the lower case 220 for receiving a thrust load of the piston rod.

    [0130] In the present embodiment, the sliding bearing piece 230 is arranged in an annular space between the upper case bottom surface 211b of the upper case base 211 and the lower case top surface 221c of the lower case base 221 and in an annular space between an outer circumferential surface 212b of the inner circumference-side cylindrical portion 212 and an inner circumferential surface 221d of the lower case base 221.

    [0131] The sliding bearing piece 230 includes an annular thrust sliding bearing piece portion 231, a cylindrical radial sliding bearing piece portion 232, and an anti-rotation convex portion 233 downwardly projecting from the thrust sliding bearing piece portion 231.

    [0132] The thrust sliding bearing piece portion 231 includes a bearing top surface 231a that slidably contacts with the upper case bottom surface 211b of the upper case base 211, and a bearing bottom surface 231b that contacts with the lower case top surface 221c of the lower case base 221 of the lower case 220.

    [0133] On the other hand, the radial sliding bearing piece portion 232 includes a bearing inner circumferential surface 232a that slidably contacts with the outer circumferential surface 212b of the inner circumference-side cylindrical portion 212 of the upper case 210, and an outer circumferential surface 232b that contacts with the inner circumferential surface 221d of the lower case base 221 of the lower case 220.

    [0134] The anti-rotation convex portion 233 engages with an anti-rotation concave portion 223 formed on the lower case top surface 221c of the lower case 220 to restrict the rotation of the sliding bearing piece 230 with respect to the lower case 220.

    [0135] In the present embodiment, as one example, the anti-rotation convex portion 233 and the anti-rotation concave portion 223 are provided to prevent the sliding bearing piece 230 from rotating with respect to the lower case 220. Alternatively, the anti-rotation convex portion 233 and the anti-rotation concave portion 223 may not be provided so that the sliding bearing piece 230 can rotate with respect to the lower case 220.

    [0136] As shown in Fig. 7, a spring pad SP made of rubber in an annular shape is provided on a lower case bottom surface 221e of the lower case base 221.

    [0137] The thrust bearing 200 is incorporated into a strut-type (McPherson) suspension so as to be arranged between a vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA and a coil spring SS, wherein a spacing member top surface 251, which is at least a part of the spacing member 250 on a top surface side thereof provided in the annular concavity 211aa of the upper case 210, abuts against the vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA, as described later, and the spring pad SP abuts against an upper end portion of the coil spring SS.

    [0138] In the present embodiment, a film-type load sensor 240 for measuring a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension is provided in the annular concavity 211aa of the upper case 210, for example. Alternatively, the film-type load sensor 240 may be provided in the lower case 220.

    [0139] With this configuration, a movable load acts on the film-type load sensor 240 in each strut-type suspension mounted on a vehicle such as an automobile and a truck.

    [0140] Specifically, the film-type load sensor 240 includes a film layer 241 that deforms in accordance with the amount of a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0141] Furthermore, the electric resistance of the film layer 241 varies in accordance with the amount of the deformation due to the movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0142] With this configuration, the value of electric current flowing through the film layer 241 varies in accordance with the amount of the movable load vertically acting on the suspension.

    [0143] Also, in the present embodiment, the film layer 241 is arranged on the bottom of the annular concavity 211aa provided as a concave portion on the upper case top surface 211a of the upper case 210.

    [0144] Furthermore, a space member 250 is provided on top of the film layer 241 in the annular concavity 211aa.

    [0145] The spacing member top surface 251, which is at least a part of the spacing member 250 on a top surface side thereof, upwardly projects from the upper case top surface 211a of the upper case 210 to come into contact with the vehicle-side attaching member VA.

    [0146] With this configuration, a movable load of the vehicle acts on the film layer 241 via the spacing member 250 with little interference from other members.

    [0147] Also, in the present embodiment, a plurality of the film layers 241 are arranged in a circumferential direction of the piston rod.

    [0148] The total electric resistance of the plurality of the film layers 241 is used as a value of the movable load vertically acting on the strut-suspension.

    [0149] With this configuration, the bias of the movable load in the circumferential direction does not affect the value of the movable load.

    [0150] Also, in the present embodiment, the film-type load sensor 240 is connected via a connector 242 to a controller CT that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240.

    [0151] The controller CT is configured, for example, to increase the braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of a movable load that vertically acts on the strut-type suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake.

    [0152] With this configuration, the braking force of the brake manipulated by the driver is made larger as the movable load acting on the strut-type suspension becomes larger.

    [0153] The controller CT includes an arithmetic unit such as a CPU, and may be integrated with the film-type load sensor 240 at the interior of the upper case 210.

    [0154] Also, in the present embodiment, the film-type load sensor 240 is connected via a communication circuit to a load amount manager AD that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240.

    [0155] The load amount manager AD is configured to manage the load amount of each vehicle online.

    [0156] With this configuration, information about the load amount of each vehicle is gathered in a control center of a carrying company, for example.

    [0157] Also, in the present embodiment, the film-type load sensor 240 is connected via the connector 242 to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240.

    [0158] The controller CT is configured, for example, to increase at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0159] With this configuration, the damping force or the spring rate is increased as the amount of the movable load increases for receiving the increase of the movable load.

    [0160] Also, in the present embodiment, the film-type load sensor 240 is connected via the connector 242 to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240 to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle.

    [0161] The controller CT is configured to increase at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting movable load measured by each strut-type suspension of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced. For example, the controller CT increases the damping force or the spring rate in a left, right, front, or rear strut-type suspension that is burdened with a larger movable load.

    [0162] With this configuration, the tilt of the vehicle is reduced.

    [0163] When the lateral or longitudinal difference between the amounts of the movable loads measured by four film-type load sensors 240 corresponding to four wheels of the vehicle exceeds a predetermined allowable value, then an alert may be displayed on a display panel in a cockpit of the vehicle or an alarm may be rung for notifying the driver of the vehicle that the loading positions of goods should be changed.

    [0164] In this case, if the notification is given so as to instruct the driver to move a part or the whole of the goods from a position where the largest amount of the movable load is detected to a position where the smallest amount of the movable load is detected, then the driver can easily balance the movable load longitudinally and laterally.

    [0165] Also, in the present embodiment, the film-type load sensor 240 is connected via the connector 242 to the controller CT that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240 to monitor an input load from a tire (suspension).

    [0166] With this configuration, the damping force can be reduced when the vehicle exits a paved road and enters a rough load such as an unpaved road, for example, to receive the input load in a temporally distributed manner.

    [0167] The film-type load sensor may have any shape, as long as a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension can be precisely measured.

    [0168] Also, the film-type load sensor may be any type, such as an electrode resistance sensor, a piezofilm sensor, and a variable capacitance sensor, as long as the film layer deforms due to an external force (pressure) and the electric resistance and voltage of the film layer thus varies.

    [0169] The electric resistance or voltage may be configured to either increase or decrease as the pressure becomes larger, as long as the correspondence relationship between the amount of the pressure and the amount of the electric resistance or voltage is unambiguously defined.

    [0170] The electrode resistance sensor includes an electrode and a carbon sheet, for example, such that a gap is created between the electrode and the carbon sheet. When a pressure is applied, the electrode comes into contact with the carbon sheet and the electric resistance thus changes. As the pressure changes, the electric resistance also changes because the area of contact between the electrode and the carbon sheet changes.

    [0171] Alternatively, the electrode resistance sensor may include two films on which rows and columns of silver electrodes are respectively arranged and covered with pressure-sensitive conductive ink for detecting not only the amount of pressure but also the distribution of pressure.

    [0172] The piezofilm sensor has a configuration in which a piezo in the film layer deforms due to a pressure to convert the pressure to voltage, which varies in accordance with a change in the pressure.

    [0173] The variable capacitance sensor has two electrodes that confront each other and form a capacitor in the film layer such that the electric resistance varies as the distance between the two electrodes changes due to the fluctuation of a pressure.

    [0174] As described above, the thrust bearing 200 as a thrust bearing for a vehicle of the second embodiment of the present invention includes the film-type load sensor 240 for measuring a movable load vertically acting on a strut-type suspension, the film-type load sensor 240 being provided in the upper case 210, the lower case 220, or the sliding bearing piece 230. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0175] Also, because the film-type load sensor 240 includes the film layer 241 that receives a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension and the electric resistance of the film layer 241 varies in accordance with the amount of the deformation due to the movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension, it is possible to precisely measure the movable load by simply measuring the value of electric current flowing through the film layer 241.

    [0176] Also, because the film layer 241 is arranged on the bottom of the annular concavity 211aa as a concave portion provided on the upper case top surface 211a of the upper case 210, and the spacing member top surface 251, which is at least a part of the spacing member 250 on a top surface side thereof, upwardly projects from the upper case top surface 211a of the upper case 210 to come into contact with the vehicle-side attaching member VA, or a vehicle body-side attaching portion, it is possible to more precisely measure a movable load vertically acting on each suspension.

    [0177] Also, because a plurality of the film layers 241 are arranged in the circumferential direction of the piston rod, and the total electric resistance of the plurality of the film layers 241 is used as a value of the movable load vertically acting on the strut-suspension, it is possible to more precisely measure the movable load of the vehicle acting on each strut-type suspension.

    [0178] Also, because the film-type load sensor 240 is connected to the controller CT that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240, and the controller CT controls a braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of a movable load that vertically acts on the strut-type suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake, it is possible to stably decelerate the vehicle even when the load amount of the vehicle changes and to reduce the difference of a braking distance between various load amounts of the vehicle.

    [0179] Also, because the film-type load sensor 240 is connected via a communication circuit to the load amount manager AD that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the film-type load sensor 240, and the load amount manager AD manages the load amount of each vehicle online, the control center of the carrying company can comprehend the current load amount of each vehicle, for example, to efficiently give each vehicle an instruction for collecting goods.

    THIRD EMBODIMENT



    [0180] A thrust bearing 300 as a thrust bearing for a vehicle of the third embodiment of the present invention will now be described in accordance with Figs. 9 to 13.

    [0181] Fig. 9(A) is a top view of the thrust bearing 300 for a vehicle as the third embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 9(B) is a side view as seen in a direction represented with reference numeral 9B in Fig. 9(A). Fig. 10 is a cross-sectional view as seen along line 10-10 illustrated in Fig. 9(A). Fig. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the thrust bearing 300 for a vehicle as the third embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a strut-type suspension. Fig. 12 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the portion represented with reference numeral 12 in Fig. 10. Fig. 13(A) is a diagram illustrating the principle of operation of an optical fiber-type load sensor 340 when no or a small amount of a movable load is acting. Fig. 13(B) is a diagram illustrating the principle of operation of the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 when a large amount of a movable load is acting.

    [0182] As shown in Figs. 9(A) to 12, the thrust bearing 300 for a vehicle as the third embodiment of the present invention includes an upper case 310 made of synthetic resin, a lower case 320 made of synthetic resin, and a sliding bearing piece 330 as a bearing piece made of synthetic resin.

    [0183] The upper case 310 is configured to abut against a vehicle-side attaching member VA, or a vehicle body-side attaching portion.

    [0184] In the present embodiment, the upper case 310 integrally includes an annular upper case base 311 that is mounted on the vehicle and forms an annular upper case top surface 311a and an annular upper case bottom surface 311b along an axial direction Y of a piston rod, an inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 312 that downwardly extends from an inner circumferential end in a radial direction X of the upper case base 311, and an outer circumferential cylindrical portion 313 that downwardly extends from an outer circumferential end in the radial direction X of the upper case base 311.

    [0185] An annular concavity 311aa as a concave portion is formed on the upper case top surface 311a of the upper case base 311.

    [0186] An annular optical fiber 341 as an optical fiber of an optical fiber-type load sensor 340, which will be described later, is arranged in an upper case-side optical fiber engaging groove 311ab formed on the bottom of the annular concavity 311aa.

    [0187] Also, a spacing member 350 is provided on top of the annular optical fiber 341 in the annular concavity 311aa.

    [0188] A spacing member-side optical fiber engaging groove 352a is formed on a spacing member bottom surface 352 of the spacing member 350.

    [0189] About an upper half of the annular optical fiber 341 engages with the spacing member-side optical fiber engaging groove 352a, and about a lower half of the annular optical fiber 341 engages with the upper case-side optical fiber engaging groove 311ab.

    [0190] A small gap is created between the spacing member bottom surface 352 and the bottom of the annular concavity 311aa so that a movable load can act on the annular optical fiber 341.

    [0191] The upper case 310 is provided on the lower case 320 so that the lower case 320 is rotatable with respect to the upper case 310 about an axial center AX of the piston rod.

    [0192] In the present embodiment, the lower case 320 integrally includes an annular lower case base 321 on which the upper case 310 is provided so that the lower case base 321 is rotatable with respect to the upper case 310 about the axial center AX, and an inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 322 that downwardly extends from a radial inner side of the lower case base 321.

    [0193] An inner annular engaging claw 321a is formed on a radial outer side of the lower case base 321. The inner annular engaging claw 321a engages with an outer annular engaging claw 313a formed on an outer circumference-side cylindrical portion 313 of the upper case 310 so as to be rotatable in a circumferential direction R.

    [0194] An outer annular engaging groove 321b is formed radially inward of the inner annular engaging claw 321a of the lower case base 321. The outer annular engaging groove 321b engages, via a small gap, with an outer annular engaging ridge 311ba formed on the upper case bottom surface 311b of the upper case base 311.

    [0195] This prevents an extraneous substance from entering an annular space formed between the upper case 310 and the lower case 320 from radial outside of the annular space.

    [0196] An inner annular engaging ridge 322a is formed inward of the inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 322 of the lower case 320. The inner annular engaging ridge 322a engages, via small gap, with an inner annular engaging groove 312a formed on a lower end of the inner circumferential-side cylindrical portion 312 of the upper case 310.

    [0197] This prevents an extraneous substance from entering the annular space formed between the upper case 310 and the lower case 320 from radial inside of the annular space.

    [0198] The sliding bearing piece 330 exists in the annular space formed between the upper case 310 and the lower case 320 for receiving a thrust load of the piston rod.

    [0199] In the present embodiment, the sliding bearing piece 330 is arranged in an annular space between the upper case bottom surface 311b of the upper case base 311 and the lower case top surface 321c of the lower case base 321 and in an annular space between an outer circumferential surface 312b of the inner circumference-side cylindrical portion 312 and an inner circumferential surface 321d of the lower case base 321.

    [0200] The sliding bearing piece 330 includes an annular thrust sliding bearing piece portion 331, a cylindrical radial sliding bearing piece portion 332, and an anti-rotation convex portion 333 downwardly projecting from the thrust sliding bearing piece portion 331.

    [0201] The thrust sliding bearing piece portion 331 includes a bearing top surface 331a that slidably contacts with the upper case bottom surface 311b of the upper case base 311, and a bearing bottom surface 331b that contacts with the lower case top surface 321c of the lower case base 321 of the lower case 320.

    [0202] On the other hand, the radial sliding bearing piece portion 332 includes a bearing inner circumferential surface 332a that slidably contacts with the outer circumferential surface 312b of the inner circumference-side cylindrical portion 312 of the upper case 310, and an outer circumferential surface 332b that contacts with the inner circumferential surface 321d of the lower case base 321 of the lower case 320.

    [0203] The anti-rotation convex portion 333 engages with an anti-rotation concave portion 323 formed on the lower case top surface 321c of the lower case 320 to restrict the rotation of the sliding bearing piece 330 with respect to the lower case 320.

    [0204] In the present embodiment, as one example, the anti-rotation convex portion 333 and the anti-rotation concave portion 323 are provided to prevent the sliding bearing piece 330 from rotating with respect to the lower case 320. Alternatively, the anti-rotation convex portion 333 and the anti-rotation concave portion 323 may not be provided so that the sliding bearing piece 330 can rotate with respect to the lower case 320.

    [0205] As shown in Fig. 11, a spring pad SP made of rubber in an annular shape is provided on a lower case bottom surface 321e of the lower case base 321.

    [0206] The thrust bearing 300 is incorporated into a strut-type (McPherson) suspension so as to be arranged between a vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA and a coil spring SS, wherein a spacing member top surface 351, which is at least a part of the spacing member 350 on a top surface side thereof provided in the annular concavity 311aa of the upper case 310, abuts against the vehicle-side sitting surface VA1 of the vehicle-side attaching member VA, as described later, and the spring pad SP abuts against an upper end portion of the coil spring SS.

    [0207] In the present embodiment, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 for measuring a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension is provided in the annular concavity 311aa of the upper case 310, for example. Alternatively, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 may be provided in the lower case 320.

    [0208] With this configuration, a movable load acts on the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 in each strut-type suspension mounted on a vehicle such as an automobile and a truck.

    [0209] Specifically, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 includes a light emitting/receiving portion 342 that integrally forms a light emitting part 342a as a light emitting portion and a light receiving part 342b as a light receiving portion, for example, and the annular optical fiber 341.

    [0210] The light emitting part 342a is provided at one end in a circumferential direction of the light emitting/receiving portion 342 and is configured to emit light.

    [0211] The light receiving part 342b is provided at the other end in the circumferential direction of the light emitting/receiving portion 342 and is configured to receive light propagated through the annular optical fiber 341 and measure the phase of the light.

    [0212] The annular optical fiber 341 is configured to guide light from the light emitting part 342a and to deform in accordance with the amount of a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0213] For example, the annular optical fiber 341 deforms from the state illustrated in Fig. 13(A) to the state illustrated in Fig. 13(B) in accordance with the amount of a movable load.

    [0214] Thus, the phase or propagation path of a waveform of light W propagated through the annular optical fiber 341 varies in accordance with the deformation of the annular optical fiber 341 due to a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0215] In order to increase the amount of the deformation of the annular optical fiber 341 in accordance with the amount of the movable load, projecting portions that vertically project or inclined portions that are inclined with respect to the circumferential direction of the annular optical fiber 341 may be provided in the upper case-side optical fiber engaging groove 311ab or the spacing member-side optical fiber engaging groove 352a.

    [0216] When the amount of the movable load decreases, the amount of the deformation of the annular optical fiber 341 also decreases.

    [0217] Also, in the present embodiment, the annular optical fiber 341 is arranged on the bottom of the annular concavity 311aa provided as a concave portion on the upper case top surface 311a of the upper case 310.

    [0218] Furthermore, the space member 350 is provided on top of the annular optical fiber 341 in the annular concavity 311aa.

    [0219] The spacing member top surface 351, which is at least a part of the spacing member 350 on a top surface side thereof, upwardly projects from the upper case top surface 311a of the upper case 310 to come into contact with the vehicle-side attaching member VA.

    [0220] With this configuration, a movable load of the vehicle acts on the annular optical fiber 341 via the spacing member 350 with little interference from other members.

    [0221] Also, in the present embodiment, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected via a connector 343 to a controller CT that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340.

    [0222] The controller CT is configured, for example, to increase the braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of a movable load that vertically acts on the strut-type suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake.

    [0223] With this configuration, the braking force of the brake manipulated by the driver is made larger as the movable load acting on the strut-type suspension becomes larger.

    [0224] The controller CT includes an arithmetic unit such as a CPU, and may be integrated with the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 at the interior of the upper case 310.

    [0225] Also, in the present embodiment, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected via a communication circuit to a load amount manager AD that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340.

    [0226] The load amount manager AD is configured to manage the load amount of each vehicle online.

    [0227] With this configuration, information about the load amount of each vehicle is gathered in a control center of a carrying company, for example.

    [0228] Also, in the present embodiment, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected via the connector 343 to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340.

    [0229] The controller CT is configured, for example, to increase at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension.

    [0230] With this configuration, the damping force or the spring rate is increased as the amount of the movable load increases for receiving the increase of the movable load.

    [0231] Also, in the present embodiment, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected via the connector 343 to the controller CT that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle.

    [0232] The controller CT is configured to increase at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting movable load measured by each strut-type suspension of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced. For example, the controller CT increases the damping force or the spring rate in a left, right, front, or rear strut-type suspension that is burdened with a larger movable load.

    [0233] With this configuration, the tilt of the vehicle is reduced.

    [0234] When the lateral or longitudinal difference between the amounts of the movable loads measured by four optical fiber-type load sensors 340 corresponding to four wheels of the vehicle exceeds a predetermined allowable value, then an alert may be displayed on a display panel in a cockpit of the vehicle or an alarm may be rung for notifying the driver of the vehicle that the loading positions of goods should be changed.

    [0235] In this case, if the notification is given so as to instruct the driver to move a part or the whole of the goods from a position where the largest amount of the movable load is detected to a position where the smallest amount of the movable load is detected, then the driver can easily balance the movable load longitudinally and laterally.

    [0236] Also, in the present embodiment, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected via the connector 343 to the controller CT that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 to monitor an input load from a tire (suspension).

    [0237] With this configuration, the damping force can be reduced when the vehicle exits a paved road and enters a rough load such as an unpaved road, for example, to receive the input load in a temporally distributed manner.

    [0238] The optical fiber-type load sensor may have any shape, as long as a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension can be precisely measured.

    [0239] Also, the optical fiber-type load sensor may be any type, such as an FBG (Fiber Bragg Granting) sensor, a scattered light (distribution) sensor, a phase change detection sensor, and a propagation path change detection sensor, as long as an optical fiber is used for measuring a movable load.

    [0240] The FBG (Fiber Bragg Granting) sensor is a sensor that is microfabricated within an optical fiber. The sensor includes a plurality of layers that have different refractive indices and work as diffraction gratings. The sensor reflects particular wavelengths of light and transmits all others for measuring a stress, distortion, pressure, or the like.

    [0241] The scattered light (distribution) sensor uses the optical fiber itself as a sensor and measures a longitudinal distortion and the like by detecting the scattered light in the optical fiber.

    [0242] The phase change detection sensor measures a stress, distortion, pressure, or the like by detecting the change of a phase of a light wavelength, the change being caused by the deformation of the optical fiber due to an external force (pressure).

    [0243] It does not matter which direction the light wavelength changes in accordance with the amount of the deformation of the optical fiber due to the pressure, as long as the correspondence relationship between the amount of the pressure and the amount of the change of the phase of the light wavelength from a reference position is unambiguously defined.

    [0244] The propagation path change detection sensor measures a stress, distortion, pressure, or the like by detecting the change of a propagation path of the light propagated through the optical fiber, the change being caused by the deformation of the optical fiber due to an external force (pressure).

    [0245] As described above, the thrust bearing 300 as a thrust bearing for a vehicle of the third embodiment of the present invention includes the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 for measuring a movable load vertically acting on a strut-type suspension, the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 being provided in the upper case 310, the lower case 320, or the sliding bearing piece 330. Thus, it is possible to precisely measure the movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension of each wheel while the vehicle is running.

    [0246] Also, because the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 includes the light emitting part 342a as a light emitting portion, the annular optical fiber 341 as an optical fiber that receives light from the light emitting part 342a and deforms in accordance with the amount of a movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension, and the light receiving part 342b as a light receiving portion that receives the light propagated through the annular optical fiber 341 and measures the phase of the light, and the phase of a waveform of the light propagated through the annular optical fiber 341 changes in accordance with the amount of deformation of the annular optical fiber 341 due to the movable load vertically acting on the strut-type suspension, it is possible to precisely measure the movable load by simply measuring the phase of the waveform.

    [0247] Also, because the annular optical fiber 341 is arranged on the bottom of the annular concavity 311aa as a concave portion provided on the upper case top surface 311a of the upper case 310, and the spacing member top surface 351, which is at least a part of the spacing member 350 on a top surface side thereof, upwardly projects from the upper case top surface 311a of the upper case 310 to come into contact with the vehicle-side attaching member VA, or a vehicle body-side attaching portion, it is possible to more precisely measure a movable load vertically acting on each strut-type suspension.

    [0248] Also, because the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected to the controller CT that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340, and the controller CT controls a braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of a movable load that vertically acts on the strut-type suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake, it is possible to stably decelerate the vehicle even when the load amount of the vehicle changes and to reduce the difference of a braking distance between various load amounts of the vehicle.

    [0249] Also, because the optical fiber-type load sensor 340 is connected via a communication circuit to the load amount manager AD that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the optical fiber-type load sensor 340, and the load amount manager AD manages the load amount of each vehicle online, the control center of the carrying company can comprehend the current load amount of each vehicle, for example, to efficiently give each vehicle an instruction for collecting goods.

    REFERENCE SIGNS LIST



    [0250] 
    100, 200, 300
    thrust bearing for vehicle
    110, 210, 310
    uppercase
    111, 211, 311
    upper case base
    111a, 211a, 311a
    upper case top surface
    111aa, 211aa, 311aa
    annular concavity (annular concave portion)
    311ab
    upper case-side optical fiber engaging groove
    111b, 211b, 311b
    upper case bottom surface
    111ba, 211ba, 311ba
    outer annular engaging ridge
    112, 212, 312
    inner circumference-side cylindrical portion
    112a, 212a, 312a
    inner annular engaging groove
    112b, 212b, 312b
    outer circumferential surface
    112, 213, 313
    outer circumference-side cylindrical portion
    113a, 213a, 313a
    outer annular engaging claw
    120, 220, 320
    lower case
    121, 221, 321
    lower case base
    121a, 221a, 321a
    inner annular engaging claw
    121b, 221b, 321b
    outer annular engaging groove
    121c, 221c, 321c
    lower case top surface
    121d, 221d, 321d
    inner circumferential surface
    121e, 221e, 321e
    lower case bottom surface
    122, 223, 323
    inner circumference-side cylindrical portion
    122a, 222a, 322a
    inner annular engaging ridge
    123, 223, 323
    anti-rotation concave portion
    130, 230, 330
    sliding bearing piece (bearing piece)
    131, 231, 331
    thrust sliding bearing piece portion
    131a, 231a, 331a
    bearing top surface
    131b, 231b, 331b
    bearing bottom surface
    132, 232, 332
    radial sliding bearing piece portion
    132a, 232a, 332a
    bearing inner circumferential surface
    132b, 232b, 332b
    bearing outer circumferential surface
    133, 233, 333
    anti-rotation convex portion
    140
    hydraulic load sensor
    141
    annular oil inclusion body (annular liquid inclusion body)
    141a
    load receiving surface
    142
    pressure/signal converter
    143
    connector
    240
    film-type load sensor
    241
    film layer
    242
    connector
    250
    spacing member
    251
    spacing member top surface
    340
    optical fiber-type load sensor
    341
    annular optical fiber
    342
    light emitting/receiving portion
    342a
    light emitting part
    342b
    light receiving part
    343
    connector
    350
    spacing member
    351
    spacing member top surface
    352
    spacing member bottom surface
    352a
    spacing member-side optical fiber engaging groove
    AD
    load amount manager
    AX
    axial center of piston rod
    CT
    controller
    R
    circumferential direction
    SS
    coil spring
    SP
    spring pad
    VA
    vehicle-side attaching member (vehicle body-side attaching portion)
    VA1
    vehicle-side sitting surface
    X
    radial direction
    Y
    axial direction

    Figures



    [0251] 

    FIG. 2

    AD
    LOAD AMOUNT MANAGER
    CT
    CONTROLLER

    FIG. 6

    AD
    LOAD AMOUNT MANAGER
    CT
    CONTROLLER

    FIG. 10

    AD
    LOAD AMOUNT MANAGER
    CT
    CONTROLLER




    Claims

    1. A thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle, comprising: an upper case (110; 210; 310) that abuts against a vehicle body-side attaching portion (VA); and a lower case (120; 220; 320) on which the upper case (110; 210; 310) is provided so that the lower case (120; 220; 320) is rotatable with respect to the upper case (110; 210; 310) about an axial center of a piston rod (AX) used in a shock absorber of a suspension of the vehicle, characterized in that
    the thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) further comprises a load sensor (140; 240; 340) for measuring a load vertically acting on the suspension.
     
    2. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 1, characterized in that an annular bearing piece (130; 230; 330) for receiving a thrust load acting on the thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) is disposed in an annular space formed between the upper case (110; 210; 310) and the lower case (120; 220; 320).
     
    3. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 2, characterized in that the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is provided in either the upper case (110; 210; 310), the bearing piece (130; 230; 330), or the lower case (120; 220; 320).
     
    4. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is a hydraulic load sensor (140) for measuring the load.
     
    5. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 4, characterized in that

    the hydraulic load sensor (140) includes: an annular liquid inclusion body (141) for receiving the load vertically acting on the suspension; and a pressure/signal converter (142) connected to the annular liquid inclusion body (141) for converting the pressure of a liquid within the annular liquid inclusion body (141) to a signal, and

    the annular liquid inclusion body (141) is arranged concentrically with respect to an axial center of the thrust bearing.


     
    6. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 5, characterized in that

    the annular liquid inclusion body (141) is mounted in an annular concave portion (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) provided on a case top surface (111a; 211a; 311a) of the upper case (110; 210; 310), and

    a load receiving surface (141a) is formed at an upper end of the annular liquid inclusion body (141) so as to upwardly project from the case top surface (111a; 211a; 311a) of the upper case (110; 210; 310), the load receiving surface (141a) being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion (VA) for receiving a load.


     
    7. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is a film-type load sensor (240) for measuring the load.
     
    8. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 7, characterized in that

    the film-type load sensor (240) includes a film layer (241) that deforms in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension, and

    an electric resistance of the film layer (241) varies in accordance with the amount of deformation due to the load vertically acting on the suspension.


     
    9. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 8, characterized in that

    the film layer (241) is arranged on a bottom of a concave portion (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) provided on a case top surface (111a; 211a; 311a) of the upper case (110; 210; 310), and

    a spacing member (250) is provided on the film layer (241) in the concave portion (111aa; 211aa; 311aa), at least a part of the spacing member (250) on a top surface side (251) thereof upwardly projecting from the case top surface (111a; 211a; 311a) of the upper case (110; 210; 310) and being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion (VA).


     
    10. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 8 or 9, characterized in that

    a plurality of the film layers (241) are arranged in a circumferential direction (R) of the piston rod, and

    the total electric resistance of the plurality of the film layers (241) is used as a value of the load vertically acting on the suspension.


     
    11. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is an optical fiber-type load sensor (340) for measuring the load.
     
    12. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 11, characterized in that

    the optical fiber-type load sensor (340) includes: a light emitting portion (342) that emits light; an optical fiber (341) that guides the light from the light emitting portion (342) and deforms in accordance with the amount of the load vertically acting on the suspension; and a light receiving portion (342) that receives the light propagated through the optical fiber (341) and measures a phase of the light, and

    a phase of a waveform propagated through the optical fiber(341) varies in accordance with the amount of deformation of the optical fiber (341) due to the load vertically acting on the suspension.


     
    13. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to claim 12, characterized in that

    the optical fiber (341) is arranged on a bottom of a concave portion (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) provided on a case top surface (111a; 211a; 311a) of the upper case (110; 210; 310), and

    a spacing member (350) is provided on the optical fiber (341) in the concave portion (111aa; 211aa; 311aa), at least a part of the spacing member (350) on a top surface (351) side thereof upwardly projecting from the case top surface (111a; 211a; 311a) of the upper case (110; 210; 310) and being in contact with the vehicle body-side attaching portion (VA).


     
    14. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 13, characterized in that the suspension is a strut-type suspension.
     
    15. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 14, characterized in that

    the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is connected to a controller (CT) that controls a brake of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the load sensor (140; 240; 340), and

    the controller (CT) controls a braking force of the brake in accordance with the amount of load vertically acting on the suspension when a driver of the vehicle manipulates the brake.


     
    16. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 14, characterized in that

    the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is connected via a communication circuit to a load amount manager (AD) that manages a load amount of the vehicle by receiving an output signal from the load sensor (140; 240; 340), and

    the load amount manager (AD) manages the load amount of each vehicle online.


     
    17. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 14, characterized in that

    the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is connected to a controller (CT) that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the load sensor (140; 240; 340), and

    the controller (CT) controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with the amount of load vertically acting on the suspension.


     
    18. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 14, characterized in that

    the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is connected to a controller (CT) that controls at least either a damping force of the shock absorber or a spring rate of an air suspension by receiving an output signal from the load sensor (140; 240; 340) to monitor longitudinal and lateral balances of the vehicle, and

    the controller (CT) controls at least either the damping force or the spring rate in accordance with longitudinal and lateral differences between the amounts of a vertically acting load measured by each suspension of the vehicle so that the tilt of the vehicle is reduced.


     
    19. The thrust bearing (100; 200; 300) for a vehicle according to any one of claims 1 to 14, characterized in that
    the load sensor (140; 240; 340) is connected to a controller (CT) that actively controls a damping force of the shock absorber by receiving an output signal from the load sensor (140; 240; 340) to monitor an input load from a tire.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug, umfassend: ein Obergehäuse (110; 210; 310), das an einem fahrzeugkarosserieseitigen Anbringungsteil (VA) anliegt; und ein Untergehäuse (120; 220; 320), auf dem das Obergehäuse (110; 210; 310) so vorgesehen ist, dass das Untergehäuse (120; 220; 320) bezüglich des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) um eine Mittelachse einer in einem Stoßdämpfer einer Aufhängung des Fahrzeugs benutzten Kolbenstange (AX) drehbar ist, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    das Axiallager (100; 200; 300) weiter einen Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) zum Messen einer Last umfasst, die vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkt.
     
    2. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein ringförmiges Lagerteil (130; 230; 330) zum Aufnehmen einer auf das Axiallager (100; 200; 300) wirkenden Axiallast in einem ringförmigen Raum angeordnet ist, der zwischen dem Obergehäuse (110; 210; 310) und dem Untergehäuse (120; 220; 320) gebildet ist.
     
    3. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) entweder im Obergehäuse (110; 210; 310), im Lagerteil (130; 230; 330) oder im Untergehäuse (120; 220; 320) vorgesehen ist.
     
    4. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) ein hydraulischer Lastsensor (140) zum Messen der Last ist.
     
    5. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der hydraulische Lastsensor (140) enthält: ein ringförmiges Flüssigkeitseinschlusselement (141) zum Aufnehmen der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last; und einen Druck-/Signalwandler (142), verbunden mit dem ringförmigen Flüssigkeitseinschlusselement (141), zum Umwandeln des Drucks einer Flüssigkeit in dem ringförmigen Flüssigkeitseinschlusselement (141) in ein Signal, und

    das ringförmige Flüssigkeitseinschlusselement (141) konzentrisch bezüglich einer Mittelachse des Axiallagers angeordnet ist.


     
    6. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 5, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    das ringförmige Flüssigkeitseinschlusselement (141) in einem ringförmigen konkaven Bereich (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) montiert ist, der auf einer oberen Gehäusefläche (111a; 211a; 311a) des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) vorgesehen ist, und

    eine Lastaufnahmefläche (141a) so an einem oberen Ende des ringförmigen Flüssigkeitseinschlusselements (141) ausgebildet ist, dass sie von der oberen Gehäusefläche (111a; 211a; 311a) des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) nach oben ragt, wobei die Lastaufnahmefläche (141a) zum Aufnehmen einer Last mit dem fahrzeugkarosserieseitigen Anbringungsteil (VA) in Kontakt steht.


     
    7. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) ein Folien-Lastsensor (240) zum Messen der Last ist.
     
    8. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Folien-Lastsensor (240) eine Folienschicht (241) enthält, die sich gemäß dem Betrag der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last verformt, und

    sich ein elektrischer Widerstand der Folienschicht (241) gemäß dem Betrag der Verformung aufgrund der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last ändert.


     
    9. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 8, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    die Folienschicht (241) auf einem Boden eines konkaven Bereichs (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) angeordnet ist, der auf einer oberen Gehäusefläche (111a; 211a; 311a) des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) vorgesehen ist, und

    ein Abstandselement (250) auf der Folienschicht (241) in dem konkaven Bereich (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) vorgesehen ist, wobei zumindest ein Teil des Abstandselements (250) auf einer Seite dessen oberer Fläche (251) von der oberen Gehäusefläche (111a; 211a; 311a) des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) nach oben ragt und mit dem fahrzeugkarosserieseitigen Anbringungsteil (VA) in Kontakt steht.


     
    10. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 8 oder 9, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    eine Vielzahl von Folienschichten (241) in einer umlaufenden Richtung (R) der Kolbenstange angeordnet ist, und

    der gesamte elektrische Widerstand der Vielzahl von Folienschichten (241) als Wert der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last benutzt wird.


     
    11. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) ein Lichtleitfaser-Lastsensor (340) zum Messen der Last ist.
     
    12. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 11, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Lichtleitfaser-Lastsensor (340) enthält: einen Lichtsendeteil (342), der Licht aussendet; eine Lichtleitfaser (341), die das Licht von Lichtsendeteil (342) leitet und sich gemäß dem Betrag der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last verformt; und einen Lichtempfangsteil (342), der das durch die Lichtleitfaser (341) fortgepflanzte Licht empfängt und eine Phase des Lichts misst, und

    sich eine Phase der durch die Lichtleitfaser (341) fortgepflanzten Wellenform gemäß dem Betrag der Verformung der Lichtleitfaser (341) aufgrund der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last ändert.


     
    13. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach Anspruch 12, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    die Lichtleitfaser (341) auf einem Boden eines konkaven Bereichs (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) angeordnet ist, der auf einer oberen Gehäusefläche (111a; 211a; 311a) des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) vorgesehen ist, und

    ein Abstandselement (350) auf der Lichtleitfaser (341) in dem konkaven Bereich (111aa; 211aa; 311aa) vorgesehen ist, wobei zumindest ein Teil des Abstandselements (350) auf einer Seite dessen oberer Fläche (351) von der oberen Gehäusefläche (111a; 211a; 311a) des Obergehäuses (110; 210; 310) nach oben ragt und mit dem fahrzeugkarosserieseitigen Anbringungsteil (VA) in Kontakt steht.


     
    14. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 13, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Aufhängung eine Federbeinaufhängung ist.
     
    15. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) mit einer Steuerung (CT) verbunden ist, die eine Bremse des Fahrzeugs durch ein Empfangen eines Ausgangssignals vom Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) steuert, und

    die Steuerung (CT) eine Bremskraft der Bremse gemäß dem Betrag der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last steuert, wenn ein Fahrer des Fahrzeugs die Bremse betätigt.


     
    16. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) über einen Kommunikationskreis mit einer Lastbetragsverwaltungseinheit (AD) verbunden ist, die einen Lastbetrag des Fahrzeugs durch ein Empfangen eines Ausgangssignals vom Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) verwaltet, und

    die Lastbetragsverwaltungseinheit (AD) den Lastbetrag jedes Fahrzeugs online verwaltet.


     
    17. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) mit einer Steuerung (CT) verbunden ist, die mindestens entweder eine Dämpfungskraft des Stoßdämpfers oder eine Federrate einer Luftfederung durch ein Empfangen eines Ausgangssignals vom Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) steuert, und

    die Steuerung (CT) mindestens entweder die Dämpfungskraft oder die Federrate gemäß dem Betrag der vertikal auf die Aufhängung wirkenden Last steuert.


     
    18. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) mit einer Steuerung (CT) verbunden ist, die mindestens entweder eine Dämpfungskraft des Stoßdämpfers oder eine Federrate einer Luftfederung durch ein Empfangen eines Ausgangssignals vom Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) steuert, um den Längs- und den Seitenausgleich des Fahrzeugs zu überwachen, und

    die Steuerung (CT) mindestens entweder die Dämpfungskraft des Stoßdämpfers oder die Federrate gemäß den Längs- und Seitenunterschieden zwischen den Beträgen einer vertikal wirkenden Last steuert, die durch jede Aufhängung des Fahrzeugs gemessen wird, sodass die Neigung des Fahrzeugs reduziert wird.


     
    19. Axiallager (100; 200; 300) für ein Fahrzeug nach einem beliebigen der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    der Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) mit einer Steuerung (CT) verbunden ist, die eine Dämpfungskraft des Stoßdämpfers durch ein Empfangen eines Ausgangssignals vom Lastsensor (140; 240; 340) aktiv steuert, um eine eingegebene Last von einem Reifen zu überwachen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule, comprenant : un carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310) qui vient en butée contre une partie de fixation (VA) du côté carrosserie du véhicule ; et un carter inférieur (120 ; 220 ; 320) sur lequel le carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310) est prévu de sorte que le carter inférieur (120 ; 220 ; 320) puisse tourner par rapport au carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310) autour d'un centre axial d'une tige de piston (AX) utilisée dans un amortisseur de chocs d'une suspension du véhicule, caractérisé en ce que
    le palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) comprend en outre un capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) pour mesurer une charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension.
     
    2. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce qu'une pièce de palier annulaire (130 ; 230 ; 330) pour recevoir une poussée axiale agissant sur le palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) est disposée dans un espace annulaire formé entre le carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310) et le carter inférieur (120 ; 220 ; 320).
     
    3. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est prévu soit dans le carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310), soit dans la pièce de palier (130 ; 230 ; 330), soit dans le carter inférieur (120 ; 220 ; 320).
     
    4. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, caractérisé en ce que le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est un capteur de charge hydraulique (140) pour mesurer la charge.
     
    5. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 4, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge hydraulique (140) comprend : un corps annulaire (141) d'inclusion de liquide pour recevoir la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension ; et un convertisseur pression/signal (142) connecté au corps annulaire (141) d'inclusion de liquide pour convertir la pression d'un liquide à l'intérieur du corps annulaire (141) d'inclusion de liquide en un signal, et

    le corps annulaire (141) d'inclusion de liquide est disposé de manière concentrique par rapport à un centre axial du palier de poussée.


     
    6. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 5, caractérisé en ce que

    le corps annulaire (141) d'inclusion de liquide est monté dans une partie concave annulaire (111aa ; 211aa ; 311aa) prévue sur une surface supérieure (111a ; 211a ; 311a) du carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310), et

    une surface réceptrice de charge (141a) est formée à une extrémité supérieure du corps annulaire (141) d'inclusion de liquide de manière à faire saillie vers le haut depuis la surface supérieure (111a ; 211a ; 311a) du carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310), la surface réceptrice de charge (141a) étant en contact avec la partie de fixation (VA) du côté carrosserie du véhicule pour recevoir une charge.


     
    7. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, caractérisé en ce que le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est un capteur de charge de type-film (240) pour mesurer la charge.
     
    8. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 7, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge de type-film (240) comprend une couche de film (241) qui se déforme en fonction de la quantité de la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension, et

    une résistance électrique de la couche de film (241) varie en fonction de la quantité de déformation due à la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension.


     
    9. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 8, caractérisé en ce que

    la couche de film (241) est disposée sur un fond d'une partie concave (111aa ; 211aa ; 311aa) prévue sur une surface supérieure (111a ; 211a ; 311a) du carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310), et

    un élément d'espacement (250) est prévu sur la couche de film (241) dans la partie concave (111aa ; 211aa ; 311aa), au moins une partie de l'élément d'espacement (250) sur un côté (251) de surface supérieure de celui-ci faisant saillie vers le haut depuis la surface supérieure (111a ; 211a ; 311a) du carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310) et étant en contact avec la partie de fixation (VA) du côté carrosserie du véhicule.


     
    10. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 8 ou 9, caractérisé en ce que

    une pluralité de couches de film (241) sont disposées dans une direction circonférentielle (R) de la tige de piston, et

    la résistance électrique totale de la pluralité de couches de film (241) est utilisée en tant qu'une valeur de la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension.


     
    11. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, caractérisé en ce que le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est un capteur de charge (340) de type à fibres optiques pour mesurer la charge.
     
    12. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 11, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge (340) de type à fibres optiques comprend : une partie électroluminescente (342) qui émet de la lumière ; une fibre optique (341) qui guide la lumière depuis la partie électroluminescente (342) et se déforme en fonction de la quantité de la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension ; et une partie réceptrice de lumière (342) qui reçoit la lumière propagée à travers la fibre optique (341) et mesure une phase de la lumière, et

    une phase d'une forme d'onde propagée à travers la fibre optique (341) varie en fonction de la quantité de déformation de la fibre optique (341) due à la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension.


     
    13. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon la revendication 12, caractérisé en ce que

    la fibre optique (341) est disposée sur un fond d'une partie concave (111aa ; 211aa ; 311aa) prévue sur une surface supérieure (111a ; 211a ; 311a) du carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310), et

    un élément d'espacement (350) est prévu sur la fibre optique (341) dans la partie concave (111aa ; 211aa ; 311aa), au moins une partie de l'élément d'espacement (350) sur un côté de surface supérieure (351) de celui-ci faisant saillie vers le haut depuis la surface supérieure (111a ; 211a ; 311a) du carter supérieur (110 ; 210 ; 310) et étant en contact avec la partie de fixation (VA) du côté carrosserie du véhicule.


     
    14. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 13, caractérisé en ce que la suspension est une suspension de type à jambe de force.
     
    15. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est connecté à une commande (CT) qui commande un frein du véhicule en recevant un signal de sortie depuis le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340), et

    la commande (CT) commande une force de freinage du frein en fonction de la quantité de la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension lorsqu'un conducteur du véhicule manie le frein.


     
    16. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est connecté via un circuit de communication à un gestionnaire (AD) de quantité de charge qui gère une quantité de charge du véhicule en recevant un signal de sortie depuis le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340), et

    le gestionnaire (AD) de quantité de charge gère en ligne la quantité de charge de chaque véhicule.


     
    17. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est connecté à une commande (CT) qui commande au moins au moins soit une force d'amortissement de l'amortisseur de chocs, soit une raideur d'une suspension pneumatique en recevant un signal de sortie depuis le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340), et

    la commande (CT) commande au moins soit la force d'amortissement, soit la raideur en fonction de la quantité de la charge agissant verticalement sur la suspension.


     
    18. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, caractérisé en ce que

    le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est connecté à une commande (CT) qui commande au moins soit une force d'amortissement de l'amortisseur de chocs, soit une raideur d'une suspension pneumatique en recevant un signal de sortie depuis le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) afin de surveiller les équilibres longitudinaux et latéraux du véhicule, et

    la commande (CT) commande au moins soit la force d'amortissement, soit la raideur en fonction de différences longitudinales et latérales entre les quantités d'une charge agissant verticalement mesurée par chaque suspension du véhicule de manière à ce que l'inclinaison du véhicule soit réduite.


     
    19. Palier de butée (100 ; 200 ; 300) pour un véhicule selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, caractérisé en ce que
    le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) est connecté à une commande (CT) qui commande activement une force d'amortissement de l'amortisseur de chocs en recevant un signal de sortie depuis le capteur de charge (140 ; 240 ; 340) pour surveiller une charge d'entrée depuis un pneu.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description