(19)
(11)EP 3 249 254 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.05.2019 Bulletin 2019/18

(21)Application number: 17170510.6

(22)Date of filing:  10.05.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F16D 3/38  (2006.01)
F16D 3/32  (2006.01)
F16C 11/12  (2006.01)
F16D 3/28  (2006.01)
F01C 1/063  (2006.01)
F16F 1/04  (2006.01)

(54)

MECHANICAL LINK

MECHANISCHE VERBINDUNG

LIAISON MÉCANIQUE


(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: 27.05.2016 GB 201609381

(43)Date of publication of application:
29.11.2017 Bulletin 2017/48

(73)Proprietor: Ultra Electronics Limited
Greenford, Middlesex UB6 8UA (GB)

(72)Inventor:
  • KEEN,, Phil
    Greenford, Middlesex UB6 8UA (GB)

(74)Representative: Wardle, Callum Tarn et al
Withers & Rogers LLP 4 More London Riverside
London SE1 2AU
London SE1 2AU (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-U1-202004 020 194
US-A1- 2002 129 945
  
      
    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 application relates to a mechanical link for guiding and protecting a flexible member such as a conductor, cable, hose or the like.

    Background to the Invention



    [0002] There are numerous applications in which it is necessary to guide a flexible member such as an electrical conductor or cable, hydraulic hose or the like between two structures, where one structure is moveable relative to the other. For example, in the aerospace industry it is a common requirement for an electrical cable to provide power to components on moveable control surfaces, whilst in the automotive industry electrical conductors are commonly required to provide power to components in doors, wing mirrors and the like. In all of these applications the conductor must be able to withstand repeated movement of the structure to which it is connected without damage, whilst at the same time minimising the amount of conductor used, to minimise weight and cost.

    [0003] Solutions have been developed which house conductors within moveable joints, thereby accommodating the required range of movement whilst also protecting the conductor from damage from objects outside the joint. However, these solutions typically only accommodate movement about one axis at a time. Thus, where simultaneous movement about multiple axes is required, multiple separate joints are required, which increases complexity, cost and weight, whilst also reducing design flexibility.

    [0004] Accordingly, a need exists for some means of guiding and protecting flexible members such as conductors that must accommodate movement between two structures about multiple axes simultaneously.

    [0005] DE 20 2004 020 194 U1 discloses a universal joint including a spider and two joint forks. Each joint fork is pivotally mounted to the spider. A passage is provided through the joint for at least one elastic, rope-shaped, spring part.

    Summary of Invention



    [0006] According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a mechanical link, the mechanical link comprising a first arm, a second arm and an interconnection member, wherein: the first arm is rotatable about a first axis of the interconnection member; the second arm is rotatable about a second axis of the interconnection member, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis; and wherein: the flexible member extends along the first and second arms and is adapted to accommodate rotation of the arms about the first and second axes, the flexible member having a single coiled portion which is received within the interconnection member such that the coiled portion can coil and uncoil to accommodate rotation of the first arm, wherein the coiled portion is further configured to twist about an axis of the flexible member to accommodate rotation of the second arm.

    [0007] The mechanical link of the present invention is capable of guiding and protecting a flexible member such as a conductor, hose or the like as the arms rotate about mutually orthogonal first and second axes simultaneously. Thus, the mechanical link permits complex three dimensional movement of interconnected structures, whilst protecting and guiding the flexible member. The coiled portion of the flexible member permits the flexible member to coil and uncoil in order to accommodate rotation about the first axis, and to twist in order to accommodate rotation about the second axis. Thus, the mechanical link provides a robust and cost effective solution to the problem of guiding a flexible member between structures that are required to perform complex three dimensional movements relative to each other.

    [0008] The first arm may engage with a through pin that extends through the interconnection member along the first axis of the interconnection member to permit rotation of the first arm about the first axis.

    [0009] The second arm may engage with first and second posts that are received in the interconnection member along the second axis of the interconnection member to permit rotation of the second arm about the second axis.

    [0010] The through pin may be provided with a slot for receiving a portion of the flexible member.

    [0011] The slot may extend through a full diameter of the through pin.

    [0012] The through pin may comprise a solid end portion, and the slot may begin partway along the through pin from the solid end portion.

    [0013] The through pin may further comprise a further slot for receiving a further portion of the flexible member.

    [0014] The through pin may be provided with a channel for receiving the flexible member and guiding the flexible member towards the first arm.

    [0015] The channel may be angled.

    [0016] The first post may be provided with a channel for receiving the flexible member and guiding the flexible member towards the second arm.

    [0017] The channel may be angled.

    [0018] The first and second arms may each comprise a channel for receiving the flexible member.

    [0019] The channel of the first arm may be aligned with the channel of the through pin.

    [0020] The channel of the second arm may be aligned with the channel of the first post.

    [0021] The mechanical link may be configured as a universal joint.

    [0022] The flexible member may be a generally flat, elongate flexible electrical conductor.

    [0023] The flexible electrical conductor may be a single continuous conductor

    [0024] Alternatively, the flexible member may comprise a cable or hose.

    [0025] The first and second arms and the interconnection member may be of metal.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0026] Embodiments of the invention will now be described, strictly by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

    Figure 1 is a schematic perspective representation of a mechanical link having first and second arms and an interconnection member which connects the first arm to the second arm;

    Figure 2 is a schematic cutaway view of a mechanical link of Figure 1, showing an interior of the interconnection member and an interior of each of the first and second arms;

    Figure 3 is a further schematic cutaway view of the mechanical link illustrated in Figure 1, showing the interior of the interconnection member and the interior of each of the first and second arms from a different angle from that of Figure 2;

    Figure 4 is a schematic perspective view of a portion of a flexible conductor for use with the mechanical link illustrated in Figures 1 to 3; and

    Figure 5 is a cutaway view of the interconnection member of the mechanical link of Figures 1 to 3, with the flexible conductor of Figure 4 installed.


    Description of the Embodiments



    [0027] Referring first to Figure 1, a mechanical link is shown generally at 100. In the example described below and illustrated in the accompanying Figures the mechanical link 100 guides and protects a flexible conductor, but it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the principles described herein can be applied to other types of flexible members, including, for example, cables, pneumatic and hydraulic hoses, fibre optic cables and the like.

    [0028] The mechanical link 100 is configured as a universal joint, and comprises a first arm 120, a second arm 140 and an interconnection member 160. The first arm 120 takes the form of a generally hollow shaft 122 which terminates in a first open yoke 124. The second arm 140 takes the form of a generally hollow shaft 142 which terminates in a second open yoke 144. The interconnection member 160 is received between the first and second yokes 124, 144 so as to link the first arm 120 to the second arm 140.

    [0029] Generally circular apertures 126, 128 (aperture 128 not visible in Figure 1) are provided in opposed first and second sides 130, 132 of the yoke 124 of the first arm 120. A through pin 134 is received in the apertures 126, 128, and extends between the first side 130 of the yoke 124 and the second side 132 of yoke 124. The through pin 134, in the illustrated example, is fixedly received in the apertures 126, 128, such that the first arm 120 moves with the through pin 134. When the link 100 is assembled, the through pin 134 is rotatably received within the interconnection member 160, such that the interconnection member 160 is able to rotate about the through pin 134, in the directions indicated by the arrow 135. Alternatively, the through pin 134 may be rotatably received in the apertures 126, 128 and fixedly received within the interconnection member 160, such that the first arm 120 is able to rotate about the through pin 134 in the directions indicated by the arrow 135.

    [0030] Generally circular apertures 146, 148 (aperture 148 not visible in Figure 1) are also provided in opposed first and second sides 150, 152 of the yoke 144 of the second arm 140. A first post 154 is fixedly received in the aperture 146, and a second post 156 (not visible in Figure 1) is fixedly received in the aperture 148, coaxially with the first post 154. In this way, the second arm 140 moves with the first and second posts 154, 156. When the link 100 is assembled, the first and second posts 154, 156 are rotatably received within the interconnection member 160, such that the first and second posts 154, 156 are able to rotate within the interconnection member 160, in the directions indicated by the arrow 155. Alternatively, the first and second posts 154, 156 may be rotatably received in the apertures 146, 148 and fixedly received within the interconnection member 160, such that the second arm 140 is able to rotate about the first and second posts 154, 156 in the directions indicated by the arrow 155.

    [0031] The interconnection member 160 comprises a generally hollow housing 162 having a first generally circular aperture 164 (shown in Figure 5) provided in a central portion of a first side of the housing 162, and a second generally circular aperture 166 (again, shown in Figure 5) provided in a central portion of a second side of the housing 162, which second side is opposed to the first side. The first and second apertures 166, 168 are aligned with each other such that when the link 100 is assembled, with the through pin 134 received in the first and second apertures 164, 166, a longitudinal axis of the through pin 134 passes through a centre of the interconnection member 160.

    [0032] The interconnection member 160 is further provided with a third generally circular aperture 168 (again, shown in Figure 5) provided in a central portion of a third side of the housing 162, and a fourth generally circular aperture 170 (again, shown in Figure 5) provided in a central portion of a fourth side of the housing 162, which fourth side is opposed to the third side. The first and second sides of the housing 162 are substantially orthogonal to the third and fourth sides of the housing 162. The third and fourth apertures 168, 170 are aligned with one another, such that when the link 100 is assembled, with the first and second posts 154, 156 received in the third and fourth apertures 168, 170 respectively, a longitudinal axis of the (coaxially arranged) first and second posts 154, 156 passes through the centre of the interconnection member 162, orthogonally to the longitudinal axis of the through pin 134. Thus, as can be seen from Figure 1, when the link 100 is assembled the first and second arms 120, 140 are rotatable about mutually orthogonal axes in the directions indicated by arrows 135, 155.

    [0033] Figure 2 is a schematic cutaway view of the link 100 shown in Figure 1, showing an interior of the interconnection member 160, as well as an interior of each of the first and second arms 120, 140.

    [0034] Figure 3 is a further schematic cutaway view of the link 100 shown in Figure 1, showing the interior of the interconnection member 160 and the interior of each of the first and second arms 120, 140 from a different angle from that of Figure 2.

    [0035] As can be seen from Figures 2 and 3, the through pin 134 is provided with first and second slots 300, 302 which, as shown in Figures 2 and 3, receive portions of a flexible conductor. As is most clearly shown in Figure 3, the first slot 300 is formed as an aperture in a first portion 304 of the through pin 134, which first portion extends between first and second ends 306, 308 of the through pin 134. The second slot 302 is formed between the first portion 304 of the through pin 134 and a second portion 310 of the through pin 134, which second portion 310 extends from the first end 306 of the through pin 134 partway towards the second end 308 of the through pin 134.

    [0036] As can be seen most clearly in Figure 3, the second slot 302 terminates in an angled channel 312 which turns through an angle of approximately 90 degrees as it extends through an interior of the through pin 134. The angled channel 312 aligns with an elongate channel 314 that extends through the second side 132 of the yoke 124 of the first arm 120 and along the interior of the shaft 122 of the first arm 120. The purpose of the angled channel 312 and the elongate channel 314 is to receive and guide a flexible conductor, as will be explained in more detail below.

    [0037] As can be seen most clearly in Figure 2, the first post 154 is also provided with an angled channel 320 which turns through approximately 90 degrees as it extends through an interior of the first post 154. The angled channel 320 aligns with an elongate channel 322 that extends through the first side 250 of the yoke 244 of the second arm 140 and opens into the interior of the shaft 142 of the second arm 140.

    [0038] Figure 4 is a schematic perspective view of a portion of a flexible conductor for use with the mechanical link illustrated in Figure 1, whilst Figure 5 is a cutaway view showing the flexible conductor installed within the interconnection member 160.

    [0039] The flexible conductor, shown generally at 400 in Figure 4, is a generally flat, elongate conductor for carrying one or more electrical signals. The flexible conductor 400 may be, for example, a ribbon cable or flexible PCB.

    [0040] The flexible conductor 400 is configured to be received within the mechanical link 100, and comprises a first elongate portion 410 (which, for clarity, is shown truncated in Figures 4 and 5), a second elongate portion 420 (which is again shown truncated in Figures 4 and 5), a central portion 430, a coiled portion 440, and first and second intermediate portions 450, 460. It is to be understood that, although the flexible conductor 400 is described here as a number of "portions" for ease of understanding, in practice the "portions" make up a single continuous conductor.

    [0041] The first elongate portion 410 is a generally flat, straight portion of the conductor 400, which is linked to the central portion 430 by the first intermediate portion 450. The first intermediate portion 450 forms a bend in the conductor 400 of approximately 90 degrees, to allow the flexible conductor 400 to be received in and to follow the shape of the angled channel 312 in the second end portion 308 of the pin 234.

    [0042] The central portion 430 is also a generally flat, straight portion of the conductor 400 which, when the mechanical link 100 is assembled, is received in the second slot 302 of the through pin 134, as shown in Figures 2 and 5. To this end, a distal end 432 of the central portion 430 includes a diagonally folded portion 434 which develops into an upstanding portion 436 that is parallel to the central portion 430, and whose edges are generally orthogonal to the edges of the central portion 430. The upstanding portion 436 terminates in a 180 degree bend 438, which in turn develops into a straight portion 439 which connects to an inner end 442 of the coiled portion 440.

    [0043] As can be seen in Figures 2 and 5, when the conductor 400 is installed in the link 100, the central portion 430 is received between the first and second portions 304, 310 of the through pin 134. The diagonally folded portion 434 extends over a free end of the second portion 310 such that the upstanding portion 436 lies adjacent an outer edge of the second portion 310 of the through pin 134. The 180 degree bend 438 extends around free ends of the first and second portions 304, 310 of the through pin 134, and the straight portion 439 is received in the first slot 300, between the first and second portions 304, 310 of the through pin 134.

    [0044] The coiled portion 440 enables the flexible conductor 400 to accommodate movement of the arms 120, 140 about their respective axes of rotation. To this end, when the central portion 430 is received in the second slot 302 of the through pin 134, the coiled portion 440 forms a loose coil arrangement around the first and second portions 304, 310 of the through pin 134 comprising, in the illustrated example, approximately one and a half coil turns, with the coil turns being spaced apart and substantially parallel to each other. It will be appreciated that more or fewer coil turns may be provided, as required by the particular application of the link 100.

    [0045] This loose coil arrangement can be coiled or uncoiled as required to accommodate rotation of the first arm 120 in the directions indicated by the arrow 135 in Figure 1. Thus, when the first arm 120 rotates, the coiled portion 440 coils or uncoils depending upon the direction of rotation, in order to accommodate the rotation.

    [0046] The loose coil arrangement also permits the flexible conductor 400 to twist about a central longitudinal axis of the flexible conductor 400 in order to accommodate rotation of the second arm 140 in the directions indicated by the arrow 155 in Figure 1. Thus, when the second arm 140 rotates, the coiled portion 440 of the flexible conductor 400 twists about the central longitudinal axis of the flexible conductor 400, such that the spacing between the coil turns of the coiled portion 440 is reduced. At the extremes of the rotational movement of the first arm 120 the coil turns of the coiled portion may come into contact with one another as a result of the twisting of the coiled portion 440 of the conductor 400

    [0047] The use of a single coiled portion 440 in the single continuous flexible conductor 400 to accommodate rotation about two orthogonal axes simplifies the design and construction of the link 100, and reduces the risk of failure of the conductor 400, since the single continuous flexible conductor 400 includes no joints or connections that could fail under stress.

    [0048] The second elongate portion 420 is a generally flat, straight portion of the conductor, which is linked to an outer end 444 of the coiled portion by the second intermediate portion 460. The second intermediate portion 460 includes a pair of opposed bends 462, 464 in the conductor 400, which are linked by a central straight portion 466 of the second intermediate portion 460. The bends 462, 464 and the straight portion permit the conductor 400 to be received in and to follow the shape of the angled channel 320 in the first post 154.

    [0049] As shown in Figure 5, when the flexible conductor 400 is installed in the mechanical link 100, the first elongate portion 410 extends out of the angled channel 312 in the second end portion 308 of the pin 234, and is received in the channel 314 that extends through the interior of the second side 132 of the yoke 124 of the first arm 120 and along the interior of the shaft 122 of the first arm 120.

    [0050] Similarly, when the flexible conductor 400 is installed in the mechanical link 100, the second elongate portion 420 extends out of the angled channel 320 of the post 154, and is received in the channel 322 that extends through the interior of the first side 150 of the yoke 144 of the second arm 140.

    [0051] As discussed above, when the flexible conductor 400 is installed in the mechanical link 100, the central portion 430 of the flexible conductor 400 is received in the second slot 302 and the straight portion 439 is received in the first slot 300 of the through pin 134, the coiled portion 440 coils loosely around the through pin 134. The positioning of the central portion 430 and the straight portion 439 within the second and first slots 302, 300 respectively anchors the conductor 400 within the slots, thus ensuring that the coiled portion 440 coils and uncoils when the first arm 120 moves, rather than moving freely within the housing 162, and ensuring that the coiled portion 440 twists when the second arm 140 moves, rather than moving or extending along the through pin 134.

    [0052] The first intermediate portion 450 of the conductor 400 is received in the angled channel 312, whilst the second intermediate portion 460 is received in the angled channel 320. The positioning of the intermediate portions 450, 460 within the angled channels 312, 320 helps to retain the coiled portion 440 of the conductor 400 in position within the housing 160, restricting movement of the conductor 400 during movement of the second arm 140, thereby ensuring that the coil turns of the coiled portion 440 twist to accommodate the movement of the second arm 140. To secure and stabilise the coiled portion 440 further, thereby ensuring correct twisting of the coiled portion 440, the outer end 444 of the coiled portion 440 may be received in a guide or slot 480 that is connected to or integral with the post 154.

    [0053] As indicated above, although in the examples described and illustrated herein the mechanical link 100 guides and protects a flexible conductor, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the principles described can be applied to other types of flexible members, including, for example, cables, pneumatic and hydraulic hoses, fibre optic cables and the like, even where those flexible members are not flat. The only requirement is that there is sufficient space within the interconnection member to accommodate a coiled portion of the flexible member.


    Claims

    1. A mechanical link (100), the mechanical link comprising a first arm (120), a second arm (140), an interconnection member (160), and a flexible member (400), wherein:

    the first arm is rotatable about a first axis of the interconnection member;

    the second arm is rotatable about a second axis of the interconnection member, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis; and

    the flexible member extends along the first and second arms and is adapted to accommodate rotation of the arms about the first and second axes, and characterised by the flexible member having a single coiled portion (440) which is received within the interconnection member such that the coiled portion can coil and uncoil to accommodate rotation of the first arm, wherein the coiled portion is further configured to twist about an axis of the flexible member to accommodate rotation of the second arm.


     
    2. A mechanical link according to claim 1 wherein the first arm engages with a through pin (134) that extends through the interconnection member along the first axis of the interconnection member to permit rotation of the first arm about the first axis.
     
    3. A mechanical link according to claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the second arm engages with first and second posts (154, 156) that are received in the interconnection member along the second axis of the interconnection member to permit rotation of the second arm about the second axis.
     
    4. A mechanical link according to claim 2 wherein the through pin is provided with a slot (302) for receiving a portion of the flexible member.
     
    5. A mechanical link according to claim 4 wherein the slot extends through a full diameter of the through pin.
     
    6. A mechanical link according to claim 4 or claim 5 wherein the through pin comprises a solid end portion and the slot begins partway along the through pin from the solid end portion.
     
    7. A mechanical link according to any one of claims 4 to 6 wherein the through pin further comprises a further slot (300) for receiving further portion of the flexible member.
     
    8. A mechanical link according to any one of claims 4 to 7 wherein the through pin is provided with a channel (312) for receiving the flexible member and guiding the flexible member towards the first arm.
     
    9. A mechanical link according to claim 8 wherein the channel is angled.
     
    10. A mechanical link according to any one of claims 3 to 9 wherein the first post is provided with a channel (320) for receiving the flexible member and guiding the flexible member towards the second arm.
     
    11. A mechanical link according to claim 10 wherein the channel is angled.
     
    12. A mechanical link according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first and second arms each comprise a channel (314, 322) for receiving the flexible member.
     
    13. A mechanical link according to claim 12, where dependent upon claim 8, wherein the channel (314) of the first arm is aligned with the channel (312) of the through pin.
     
    14. A mechanical link according to claim 12, where dependent upon claim 10, wherein the channel (322) of the second arm is aligned with the channel (320) of the first post.
     
    15. A mechanical link according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the mechanical link is configured as a universal joint.
     
    16. A mechanical link according to any one of the claims wherein the flexible member is a generally flat, elongate flexible electrical conductor.
     
    17. A mechanical link according to claim 16 wherein the flexible electrical conductor is a single continuous conductor
     
    18. A mechanical link according to any one of claims 1 to 15 wherein the flexible member comprises a cable or hose.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Mechanische Verbindung (100), wobei die mechanische Verbindung einen ersten Arm (120), einen zweiten Arm (140), ein Zwischenverbindungselement (160) und ein flexibles Element (400) umfasst, wobei:

    der erste Arm um eine erste Achse des Zwischenverbindungselements drehbar ist;

    der zweite Arm um eine zweite Achse des Zwischenverbindungselements drehbar ist, wobei die zweite Achse orthogonal zur ersten Achse ist; und

    das flexible Element sich entlang des ersten und des zweiten Arms erstreckt und ausgebildet ist zum Aufnehmen der Drehung der Arme um die erste und die zweite Achse, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das flexible Element einen einzelnen gewickelten Abschnitt (440) aufweist, der in dem Zwischenverbindungselement derart aufgenommen ist, dass sich der gewickelte Abschnitt zum Aufnehmen der Drehung des ersten Arms aufwickeln und abwickeln kann, wobei der gewickelte Abschnitt ferner derart konfiguriert ist, dass dieser sich um eine Achse des flexiblen Elements herumdrehen kann, um die Drehung des zweiten Arms aufzunehmen.


     
    2. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der erste Arm mit einem Durchsteckbolzen (134) in Eingriff ist, der sich entlang der ersten Achse des Zwischenverbindungselements durch das Zwischenverbindungselement erstreckt, um eine Drehung des ersten Arms um die erste Achse zu ermöglichen.
     
    3. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2, wobei der zweite Arm mit einer ersten und einer zweiten Stütze (154, 156) im Eingriff ist, die entlang der zweiten Achse des Zwischenverbindungselements in dem Zwischenverbindungselement aufgenommen sind, um eine Drehung des zweiten Arms um die zweite Achse zu ermöglichen.
     
    4. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 2, wobei der Durchsteckbolzen mit einem Schlitz (302) für die Aufnahme eines Abschnitts des flexiblen Elements versehen ist.
     
    5. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 4, wobei sich der Schlitz über einen vollen Durchmesser des Durchsteckbolzens erstreckt.
     
    6. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 4 oder Anspruch 5, wobei der Durchsteckbolzen einen massiven Endbereich hat und der Schlitz ausgehend von dem massiven Endbereich auf halbem Weg entlang des Durchsteckbolzens beginnt.
     
    7. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der Ansprüche 4 bis 6, wobei der Durchsteckbolzen ferner einen Schlitz (300) für die Aufnahme eines weiteren Abschnitts des flexiblen Elements aufweist.
     
    8. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der Ansprüche 4 bis 7, wobei der Durchsteckbolzen mit einem Kanal (312) zum Aufnehmen des flexiblen Elements und zum Führen des flexiblen Elements in Richtung auf den ersten Arm versehen ist.
     
    9. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 8, wobei der Kanal abgewinkelt ist.
     
    10. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der Ansprüche 3 bis 9, wobei die erste Stütze mit einem Kanal (320) zum Aufnehmen des flexiblen Elements und zum Führen des flexiblen Elements in Richtung auf den zweiten Arm versehen ist.
     
    11. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 10, wobei der Kanal abgewinkelt ist.
     
    12. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der erste und der zweite Arm jeweils einen Kanal (314, 322) zum Aufnehmen des flexiblen Elements aufweisen.
     
    13. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 12, soweit abhängig von Anspruch 8, wobei der Kanal (314) des ersten Arms mit dem Kanal (312) des Durchsteckbolzens fluchtet.
     
    14. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 12, soweit abhängig von Anspruch 8, wobei der Kanal (322) des zweiten Arms mit dem Kanal (320) der ersten Stütze fluchtet.
     
    15. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die mechanische Verbindung als Universalgelenk konfiguriert ist.
     
    16. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der Ansprüche, wobei das flexible Element ein allgemein flacher, länglicher, flexibler elektrischer Leiter ist.
     
    17. Mechanische Verbindung nach Anspruch 16, wobei der flexible elektrische Leiter ein einzelner durchgehender Leiter ist.
     
    18. Mechanische Verbindung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 15, wobei das flexible Element ein Kabel oder einen Schlauch umfasst.
     


    Revendications

    1. Liaison mécanique (100) comprenant un premier bras (120) un second bras (140) un élément d'interconnexion (160) et un élément flexible (400), dans laquelle :

    le premier bras est mobile en rotation autour d'un premier axe de l'élément d'interconnexion,

    le second bras est mobile en rotation autour d'un second axe de l'élément d'interconnexion, le second axe étant perpendiculaire au premier axe, et

    l'élément flexible s'étend le long du premier bras et du second bras et est susceptible de s'adapter à la rotation des bras autour du premier axe et du second axe,

    caractérisé en ce que

    l'élément flexible a une partie enroulée unique (440) qui est logée dans l'élément d'interconnexion de sorte que la partie enroulée puisse s'enrouler et se dérouler pour s'adapter à la rotation du premier bras, la partie enroulée étant en outre conformée pour pouvoir subir une torsion autour de l'axe de l'élément flexible pour s'adapter à la rotation du second bras.


     
    2. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 1,
    dans laquelle
    le premier bras vient en prise avec une broche traversante (134) qui s'étend au travers de l'élément d'interconnexion le long du premier axe de cet élément d'interconnexion pour permettre la rotation du premier bras autour du premier axe.
     
    3. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2,
    dans laquelle
    le second bras vient en prise avec une première colonnette et une seconde colonnette (154, 156) qui sont logées dans l'élément d'interconnexion le long du second axe de cet élément d'interconnexion pour permettre la rotation du second bras autour du second axe.
     
    4. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 2,
    dans laquelle
    la broche traversante est équipée d'une fente (302) destinée à recevoir une partie de l'élément flexible.
     
    5. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 4,
    dans laquelle
    la fente s'étend sur la totalité du diamètre de la broche traversante.
     
    6. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 4 ou 5,
    dans laquelle
    la broche traversante comporte une partie d'extrémité rigide et la fente débute à mi-chemin le long de la broche traversante à partir de la partie d'extrémité rigide.
     
    7. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications 4 à 6,
    dans laquelle
    la broche traversante comporte en outre une autre fente (300) destinée à recevoir une autre partie de l'élément flexible.
     
    8. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications 4 à 7,
    dans laquelle
    la broche traversante est équipée d'un canal (312) destiné à recevoir l'élément flexible et à guider cet élément flexible vers le premier bras.
     
    9. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 8,
    dans laquelle
    le canal est coudé.
     
    10. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 9,
    dans laquelle
    la première colonnette est équipée d'un canal (320) destiné à recevoir l'élément flexible et à guider cet élément flexible vers le second bras.
     
    11. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 10,
    dans laquelle
    le canal est coudé.
     
    12. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes,
    dans laquelle
    le premier bras et le second bras comprennent chacun un canal (314, 322) destiné à recevoir l'élément flexible.
     
    13. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 12, dans la mesure où elle dépend de la revendication 8,
    dans laquelle
    le canal (314) du premier bras est aligné avec le canal (312) de la broche traversante.
     
    14. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 12, dans la mesure où elle dépend de la revendication 10,
    dans laquelle
    le canal (322) du second bras est aligné avec le canal (320) de la première colonnette.
     
    15. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, réalisée sous la forme d'un joint universel.
     
    16. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes,
    dans laquelle
    l'élément flexible est un conducteur électrique flexible allongé essentiellement plat.
     
    17. Liaison mécanique conforme à la revendication 16,
    dans laquelle
    le conducteur électrique flexible est un conducteur continu unique.
     
    18. Liaison mécanique conforme à l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 15,
    dans laquelle
    l'élément flexible comprend un câble ou un tuyau flexible.
     




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    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