(19)
(11)EP 3 306 143 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
02.09.2020 Bulletin 2020/36

(21)Application number: 16382454.3

(22)Date of filing:  04.10.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F16H 59/02(2006.01)
F16H 61/24(2006.01)

(54)

GEAR SHIFT DEVICE FOR MOTOR VEHICLES

SCHALTHEBELVORRICHTUNG FÜR MOTORFAHRZEUGE

DISPOSITIF DE CHANGEMENT DE VITESSE POUR VÉHICULES À MOTEUR


(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

(43)Date of publication of application:
11.04.2018 Bulletin 2018/15

(73)Proprietor: Fico Triad, S.A.
08028 Barcelona (ES)

(72)Inventors:
  • MORENO COLOM, Javier
    08232 Viladecavalls (ES)
  • ANTONI COTS, Marc
    08192 Sant Quirze del Vallès (ES)

(74)Representative: ZBM Patents - Zea, Barlocci & Markvardsen 
Rambla Catalunya, 123
08008 Barcelona
08008 Barcelona (ES)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 1 892 437
JP-A- 2001 080 378
JP-A- 2008 006 958
DE-A1- 4 242 455
JP-A- 2005 125 811
  
      
    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


    [0001] The present invention relates to a gear shift device for controlling the transmission of a motor vehicle. More particularly, the present invention relates to a gear shift device that includes a gear shift lever pivotally mounted to a fixed part of the motor vehicle through a ball and socket joint.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Ball and socket gear shift devices for controlling vehicle transmissions are known in the art. In such devices, the gear shift lever has a spherical projection that is received inside a corresponding socket formed in a fixed part of the motor vehicle so that it can slide therein. This forms a ball and socket joint through which the gear shift lever can be actuated by a user according to a side-to-side and forward-to-backward movement for controlling the vehicle transmission, that is, for performing gear selection.

    [0003] It is also known in the art to provide stop means for limiting the movement of the gear shift lever, for example around a longitudinal axis thereof.

    [0004] Document DE4242455 discloses a gear shift device for motor vehicles of the above mentioned type. The gear shift lever includes a spherical projection formed therein that can be moved freely inside a socket as the gear shift lever is pivoted about a first axis for selecting a gear-shift channel and about a second pivot axis for shifting gears. The spherical projection of the gear shift lever has opposite channels for receiving corresponding protrusions formed in a fixed part of the motor vehicle that includes said socket where the spherical projection of the gear shift lever is received. The combination of channels and protrusions prevents the gear shift lever from being rotated around a vertical axis.

    [0005] US4519268 also discloses a gear shift device for motor vehicles of the ball and socket type. It comprises a gear shift lever provided with a spherical projection to be received inside a socket. Protrusions are provided passing through a cylindrical side wall of the socket at opposite portions to be inserted into vertical grooves formed in the spherical projection of the gear shift lever preventing the lever from being rotated.

    [0006] JP2005125811 discloses shift lever device comprising a base bracket to which a shift lever is mounted, and a retaining bracket for rotatably supporting the shift lever. Between the base and retaining brackets a push-pull mechanism is arranged to be interlocked with the shift lever. Retaining means are provided comprising spherical bearings supporting a pivot ball and pivot pins engaged with pivot holes formed in a pivot block fitted in the retaining bracket.

    [0007] JP2008006958 discloses a shift lever device comprising a shift lever provided with a spherical pivot shaft acting as a center for swinging the shift lever, and a base plate that rotatably supports the pivot shaft having irregular walls. A shaft rotatably supporting the shift lever is provided on the base plate, inserted in the pivot shaft. An irregular hole allowing shift lever inclination is provided.

    [0008] JP2001080378 discloses a device for supporting a shift lever. The shift lever has a ball supported on a holding member. The ball has a pair of guiding grooves formed of inclined surfaces. The ball is arranged between a holding member and an elastic member attached to an opening frame portion of the ball. A rotation control pin is supported on an urging member that is attached to said frame portion.

    [0009] EP1892437 refers to a shift lever comprising a select return mechanism having a spherical portion at the shift lever. Guiding surfaces are provided inclined at different angles defining a grove where a shift lever ball is allowed to slide.

    [0010] The main disadvantage of such known ball and socket gear shift devices is that they high friction torque is involved. As the gear shift lever is pivoted, the protrusions slide on the corresponding grooves performing a sweeping motion. The surrounding parts, such as the spherical projection of the gear shift lever, should be therefore oversized in order to accommodate such sweeping motion. The fact that said surrounding parts should be designed according both to this sweeping motion and to their specific mechanical function results in undesirably bulky assemblies.

    [0011] A need therefore exists for improved ball and socket gear shift devices where the size that is required for the ball and socket joint is reduced while providing high rigidity and strength.

    [0012] The present gear shift device according to the independent claims has been found to meet the above need and to provide further advantages according to the dependent claims as it will be clear hereinbelow.

    SUMMARY



    [0013] A gear shift device for controlling a vehicle transmission is provided herein. The present gear shift device is of the above mentioned ball and socket type where a gear shift lever is pivotally mounted to a fixed part of a motor vehicle with means for retaining the shift lever to prevent it from being rotated in a given direction.

    [0014] Specifically, the present gear shift device comprises a hollow, at least partially spherical, retaining housing, e.g. a retaining housing having an at least partially spherical interior. The retaining housing may be fixed to a motor vehicle or may be part of or be attached to a part that is fixed to a motor vehicle. Said retaining housing may be, for example, a casing or any housing-like element. A bezel may be provided above the housing. The bezel may comprise a fixed portion suitable for acting as a cover surface provided with an opening, and a movable portion that is adapted for concealing said opening.

    [0015] A gear shift lever is provided to be actuated, i.e. pivoted, by a user for driving a motor vehicle transmission. The gear shift lever may be at least partially received inside the retaining housing passing through the above mentioned opening of the bezel. A longitudinal axis is defined along the length of the gear shift lever. The gear shift lever has an at least partially spherical projection, e.g. a projection having an at least partially spherical shape, for example spherical or semi-spherical. Said projection is formed at one joint section of the shift lever, that is, the location where the gear shift lever is pivoted to the retaining housing. The at least partially spherical projection may be formed integral with the gear shift lever or it may be a separate part attached to it by any suitable means. The at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever is configured to be at least partially received in slidable contact within the above mentioned retaining housing.

    [0016] Retaining means are also provided. Such retaining means are designed for retaining the gear shift lever properly against rotation around the above mentioned longitudinal axis of the gear shift lever.

    [0017] In a first aspect, the retaining means comprise grooves formed in the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever for engaging corresponding protrusions formed in the retaining housing

    [0018] In a second aspect, the retaining means comprise protrusions formed in in the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever for engaging corresponding grooves formed in the retaining housing.

    [0019] The protrusions may be, for example, elongated ribs projecting from at least one of the retaining housing and the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever into the other of the retaining housing and the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever.

    [0020] The grooves formed in the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever may include a curved protruding portion suitable to be contacted by a corresponding front surface or edge of the protrusions or elongated ribs as they move thereon.

    [0021] In one specific example, the retaining means may comprise opposite symmetrical grooves. In this case, for example, the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever may have grooves formed in two symmetric positions. Other configurations for the retaining means are also possible as long as the gear shift lever is prevented from being rotated around its longitudinal axis.

    [0022] In a more specific example, the retaining means may comprise one, two or more protrusions formed projecting from the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever into a wall of the retaining housing or the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever. This configuration is adapted to prevent the gear shift lever from being rotated by the user around its longitudinal axis.

    [0023] In the present gear shift device according to the first or the second aspect above, the grooves or the protrusions of the retaining means are formed in the shape of two opposite cones. Specifically, at least one groove of the retaining means, which may be formed in the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever and/or the retaining housing, as stated above, may be formed in the shape of two opposite cones. Additionally or alternatively, at least one protrusion, which may be formed in the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever and/or the retaining housing, as stated above, may be formed in the shape of two opposite cones.

    [0024] A longitudinal axis is defined in said grooves and protrusions. Such longitudinal axis may be is arranged at least substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the gear shift lever.

    [0025] The provision of retaining means formed in the shape of two opposite cones provide high robustness and stiffness specially when the gear shift lever is under torsional stress. The two opposite conical configuration of the retaining means provide more strength in areas with greatest stress. In addition, the parallel arrangement of the retaining means allows to provide high mechanical strength in the ball and socket joint.

    [0026] The cross-section of at least some of the protrusions is shaped to correspond to the above mentioned double cone configuration of the retaining means, that is, the double cone configuration of the grooves where they are to be received.

    [0027] The double cone configuration of the retaining means is thus given by the particular shape of the protrusions and according to the kinematic features of the gear shift device.

    [0028] It is to be noted that in the present gear shift device, the protrusions are not cylindrical but having an elongated cross-section. In particular, the cross-section of the protrusions is elongated according to an axial direction along the longitudinal axis of the gear shift lever.

    [0029] The above described configuration of protrusions with elongated cross-section provides an advantage over prior art ball and socket gear shift devices with spherical projections. For the same width of one protrusion, torsion on the lever is strengthened in the present configuration. If torsional strength in prior art ball and socket gear shift devices with spherical projections would be required to be increased, the spherical projection diameter should be increased. This has the disadvantage that the size of the joint section of the shift lever is also increased and therefore that of the whole assembly and packaging thereof, which is not desired. On the other hand, when the spherical projection diameter is increased but not that of the ball and socket radius, as forces in the direction of the projections are applied, the resulting ball and socked would require larger grooves resulting in a much more inefficient assembly with the lever requiring a larger lever displacement to achieve the desired plunger displacement or a suitable displacement of the joint section of the lever with the gearbox control cable.

    [0030] A socket member is provided suitably configured to have an at least partially spherical inner receiving portion, e.g. a receiving portion whose interior is at least partially spherical in shape such as for example spherical or semi-spherical. The interior of the receiving portion is configured to at least partially receive the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever in slidable contact therein. A ball and socket joint is thus formed by the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever and the socket member with the retaining housing.

    [0031] Where a socket member is provided, the socket member is retained by the retaining housing. For this purpose, the socket member may have radially extending coupling flanges adapted to fit inside of corresponding coupling recesses formed in an inner surface of the retaining housing. According to this configuration, a quick coupling is provided by means of which the socket member is retained in the retaining housing.

    [0032] In this example, at least one of said grooves and protrusions of the retaining means may be formed in the socket member, instead of or in addition to the retaining housing, to engage the grooves and protrusions formed in the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever.

    [0033] The socket member has inwardly projecting protrusions that are fixed to the at least partially spherical projection of the shift lever. This avoids direct contact between the protrusions of the retaining housing and the at least partially spherical projection of the shift lever. In general, the retaining means are configured such that the retaining housing and the at least partially spherical projection of the gear shift lever are not in direct contact in use.

    [0034] Strength of the assembly is provided by the housing so it is made from a resistant material. Advantageously, lower quantity of material is required as compared with other parts.

    [0035] The design of the socket member also allows axial attachment of the gear shift lever, that is, along its longitudinal axis, relative to the retaining housing. Specifically, the socket member is configured to retain the gear shift lever mainly in a direction along its longitudinal axis.

    [0036] On the other hand, the present gear shift device allows friction torque involved and thus wear of the joint section of the ball and socket to be advantageously reduced.

    [0037] The double cone geometry of the retaining means may be thus applied to the grooves formed in at least one of the retaining housing, the at least partially spherical projection of the shift lever and the socket member. However, such double conical geometry of the retaining means might be of course applied, additionally or alternatively, to the protrusions formed in at least one of the retaining housing, the at least partially spherical projection of the shift lever and the socket member.

    [0038] With this configuration, the gear shift lever is allowed to be pivoted relative to the retaining housing or the socket member but it is not allowed to be rotated around the longitudinal axis of the gear shift lever.

    [0039] It may be convenient to provide a spring. The spring may be arranged in the gear shift lever to urge a lower portion or plunger against a feeling surface to provide a gear shift feeling to the user as the gear shift lever is actuated.

    [0040] The object of reducing the volume necessary for the ball and socket joint is thus advantageously met by the above described gear shift device. With the present ball and socket gear shift device, the at least partially spherical projection of the shift lever is very reduced in size. A very compact gear shift device is obtained while robustness, rigidity and strength of the assembly are advantageously increased.

    [0041] In addition, as a result of the above described configuration for the retaining means, the joint section of the gear shift lever can be located very close to the bezel. As a result, a shorter displacement has to be travelled by the gear shift lever and therefore the opening of the bezel may be smaller in size as compared with known ball and socket gear shift devices.

    [0042] Additional objects, advantages and features of examples of the present gear shift device will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the description, or may be learned by practice thereof.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0043] A particular embodiment of the present gear shift device will be described in the following by way of a non-limiting example with reference to the appended drawings.

    [0044] In the drawings:

    Figure 1 is a general isometric perspective view of one example of the present gear shift device;

    Figures 2, 4-5 are elevational sectional views taken along line A-A in figure 7 where the gear shift lever is illustrated in different pivotal positions, with figures 3 and 6 being represented rotated 90° relative to figures 2, 4-5 and showing the bezel fitted on the upper housing, with the lever shown in different positions in different planes relative to each other and relative to figures 2 and 3;

    Figure 7 is a top plan view of the gear shift device shown in figures 1-6;

    Figure 8 is an isometric perspective view of one example of a socket member;

    Figure 9a is an isometric perspective view of one example of the upper housing of the retaining housing where the protrusions are formed in the shape of two opposite cones;

    Figure 9b is an isometric perspective view of a further example of the upper housing of the retaining housing where the protrusions are formed with two inclined front planes;

    Figure 10a is an isometric perspective view of a first example of the retaining means in the spherical projection of the gear shift lever; and

    Figure 10b is an isometric perspective view of a second example of the retaining means in the spherical projection of the gearshift lever.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLES



    [0045] The gear shift device 100 that is shown in the example illustrated in the figures of the drawings includes a retaining housing 110 comprising a lower housing 104 and an upper housing 105. The lower housing 104 includes two opposite pairs of mounting portions 106 adapted for attaching the gear shift device 100 to a suitable fixed location of a motor vehicle, such as for example through the use of screws or the like. A bezel 107 is provided above the upper housing 105, as shown in figures 3 and 6. The bezel 107 comprises a fixed portion 107a that is a cover surface having an opening 108, and a movable portion 107b that is adapted for concealing said opening 108, as shown in figures 3 and 6. The upper housing 105 further includes upper housing attaching portions 109a adapted for coupling to corresponding lower housing attaching portions 109b formed in the lower housing 104.

    [0046] A gear shift lever 120 is provided comprising a cylindrical portion as shown in in figure 10 and figure 11 of the drawings. The gear shift lever 120 is partially received in the retaining housing 110 such that its cylindrical portion passes through the opening 108 of the bezel 107. The opening 108 of the bezel 107 is sized to allow the gear shift lever 120 to be pivoted in different directions as it is actuated by a user. The cylindrical portion of the gear shift lever 120 has an upper end that is adapted to receive a knob, not shown in the drawings. The cylindrical portion of the gear shift lever 120 also has a lower end that is received inside the lower housing 104.

    [0047] A spring 180 is provided in the gear shift device 100. As shown in figures 3 and 6 of the drawings, the spring 180 is arranged in the gear shift lever 120 to urge a plunger 190 therein against a feeling surface 200 to provide a gear shift feeling to the user as the gear shift lever 120 is actuated.

    [0048] The lever 120 has an at least partially spherical projection 130. In the example, the spherical projection 130 is a ball formed at one joint section of the gear shift lever 120 where it is pivoted to the retaining housing 110, as shown in detail in the drawings. The at least partially spherical projection 130 is received in slidable contact within the above mentioned retaining housing 110. The at least partially spherical projection 130 of the gear shift lever 120 serves the purpose of allowing the gear shift lever 120 to be pivoted relative to the lower and upper housings 104, 105, that is, relative to the retaining housing 110 as it is actuated by a user for driving a motor vehicle transmission.

    [0049] In the example shown in the drawings, a socket member 170 is also provided. The socket member 170 is illustrated in detail in figure 8. In use, the socket member 170 is retained in the upper housing 105 of the retaining housing 110 by means of radially extending coupling flanges 172. The coupling flanges 172 are adapted to fit inside corresponding coupling recesses 172' that are formed in an inner surface of the upper housing 105, as shown in figures 9a, 9b of the drawings.

    [0050] As illustrated in figure 8, the socket member 170 has an at least partially spherical inner receiving portion 175 adapted for receiving at least partially spherical projection 130 of the gear shift lever 120 in slidable contact therein. The at least partially spherical projection 130 of the gear shift lever 120 and the socket member 170 both define a ball and socket joint for the pivotal movement of the gear shift lever 120.

    [0051] Referring again to figure 8, the socket member 170 has two symmetrical grooves 150 adapted to receive two corresponding symmetrical protrusions in the form of elongated ribs 160 formed in the upper housing 105 of the retaining housing 110. The ribs 160 have an elongated cross-section according to an axial direction, that is, along the longitudinal axis 125 of the gear shift lever 120. The elongated ribs 160 are formed in the same plane.

    [0052] More specifically, the elongated ribs 160 are arranged projecting from the interior of the upper housing 105 of the retaining housing 110. The elongated ribs 160 are arranged so as to radially extend into grooves 150' formed in the at least partially spherical projection 130 of the gear shift lever 120. The elongated ribs 160 are also arranged so as to radially extend into the grooves 150 formed in the socket member 170.

    [0053] The grooves 150 of the socket member 170 have substantially parallel walls 173 projecting inwardly to avoid friction of ribs 160 and grooves 150' since direct contact is avoided between the at least partially spherical projection 130 of the gear shift lever 120 and the upper housing 105. A cost effective suitable material may be thus used only for the socket member 170, thereby reducing costs.

    [0054] In use, the elongated ribs 160 of the retaining housing 110 are received inside the symmetrical grooves 150 of the socket member 170 and, in turn, inside the above mentioned grooves 150' formed in the at least partially spherical projection 130 of the gear shift lever 120 as it can be seen in figures 9a,b and 10a,b of the drawings.

    [0055] As shown in figures 3, 6 and 10a, 10b of the drawings, the grooves 150' of the at least partially spherical projections 130 include a curved protruding portion 135. In the example shown in said figures, the protruding portion 135 is spherical in shape but other geometries such as cylindrical may be used. The curved protruding portions 135 are intended to be contacted by a corresponding front surface or edge of the elongated ribs 160 as they move thereon.

    [0056] Figures 9a and 9b show two different examples of the geometry of the ribs 160. In a first example shown in figure 9a, the ribs 160 are shaped in the form of two opposite cones, that is, with side walls each defined with inclined planes 160a, 160b. In said first example shown in figure 9a, the ribs 160 are configured to be received in grooves 150' formed in the at least partially spherical projection 130 of the shift lever 120, with said grooves 150' formed by at least substantially parallel side walls as shown in figure 10a. In a second example shown in figure 9b, the ribs 160 are shaped with inclined front walls 160c and flat side walls arranged substantially parallel to each other. In this specific example shown in figure 9b, the ribs 160 are configured to be received in corresponding grooves 150' formed in the at least partially spherical projection 130 of the shift lever 120, with said grooves 150' formed in the shape of two opposite cones as shown in figure 10b.

    [0057] The grooves 150, 150' of the socket member 170 and those of the at least partially spherical projection 130 of the shift lever 120, together with the elongated ribs 160 of the retaining housing 110, all define retaining means 140. The retaining means 140 are best shown in figures 2-10a,b of the drawings. The retaining means 140 are configured to retain the gear shift lever against rotation around a longitudinal axis 125 that is defined along the length of the gear shift lever 120 as shown in figures 1-5.

    [0058] For mounting the gear shift device 100, socket member 170 is first fitted in the gear shift lever 120 and then, the gear shift lever 120 is inserted in the upper housing 105. The assembly is then closed by the lower housing 104.

    [0059] In general, at least one of the grooves 150, 150' and/or at least one of the protrusions or elongated ribs 160 may be provided with any suitable double opposite tapered configuration. In any case, in such geometrical configuration a longitudinal axis is defined, arranged at least substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis 125 of the gear shift lever 120, as shown in figures of the drawings.

    [0060] It is important to note that the protrusions, i.e. the elongated ribs 160 formed in the shape of two opposite cones to be received into corresponding grooves 150' formed with parallel walls (example in figures 9a, 10a) and the elongated ribs 160 formed with parallel walls to be received into corresponding grooves 150' formed in the shape of two opposite cones (example in figures 9b, 10b) both share the feature that the elongated rib-groove interface is formed with two inclined planes or two inclined curved surfaces.

    [0061] The example of the gear shift device 100 described has been found to be very robust and stiff, as well as compact in size, as a result of which the joint section of the gear shift lever 120 can be located very close to the bezel 107.

    [0062] The scope of the present invention should not be limited by particular examples, but should be determined only by the claims that follow.

    [0063] Reference signs related to drawings and placed in parentheses in a claim are solely for attempting to increase the intelligibility of the claim, and shall not be construed as limiting the scope of the claim.


    Claims

    1. A gear shift device (100) for controlling a vehicle transmission, the gear shift device (100) comprising:

    - a hollow, at least partially spherical retaining housing (110);

    - a gear shift lever (120) whose length defines a longitudinal axis (125), the gear shift lever (120) having an at least partially spherical projection (130) formed at one joint section of the gear shift lever (120) to be at least partially received in slidable contact within the retaining housing (110);

    - retaining means (140) for retaining the gear shift lever (120) against rotation around the longitudinal axis (125) of the gear shift lever (120), the retaining means (140) comprising grooves (150') for engaging corresponding protrusions (160), the grooves (150') being formed in the at least partially spherical projection (130) of the gear shift lever (120), and the protrusions (160) being formed in the retaining housing (110); and

    - an at least partially spherical socket member (170) to be retained in the retaining housing (110) and adapted to at least partially receive the at least partially spherical projection (130) of the gear shift lever (120) in slidable contact therein,

    wherein said grooves (150') and/or said protrusions (160) of the retaining means (140) are formed in the shape of two opposite cones such that an interface is formed therebetween with two inclined planes;
    grooves (150') and protrusions (160) each having a longitudinal axis, said protrusions (160) having a cross-section elongated according to an axial direction along said longitudinal axis.
     
    2. A gear shift device (100) for controlling a vehicle transmission, the gear shift device (100) comprising:

    - a hollow, at least partially spherical retaining housing (110);

    - a gear shift lever (120) whose length defines a longitudinal axis (125), the gear shift lever (120) having an at least partially spherical projection (130) formed at one joint section of the gear shift lever (120) to be at least partially received in slidable contact within the retaining housing (110);

    - retaining means (140) for retaining the gear shift lever (120) against rotation around the longitudinal axis (125) of the gear shift lever (120), the retaining means (140) comprising protrusions (160) for engaging corresponding grooves (150'), the protrusions (160) being formed in the at least partially spherical projection (130) of the gear shift lever (120), and grooves (150'), being formed in the retaining housing (110); and

    - an at least partially spherical socket member (170) to be retained in the retaining housing (110) and adapted to at least partially receive the at least partially spherical projection (130) of the gear shift lever (120) in slidable contact therein,

    wherein said protrusions (160) and/or said grooves (150') of the retaining means (140) are formed in the shape of two opposite cones such that an interface is formed therebetween with two inclined planes;
    protrusions (160) and grooves (150') each having a longitudinal axis, said protrusions (160) having a cross-section elongated according to an axial direction along said longitudinal axis.
     
    3. -The device (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein at least one of said grooves (150) and protrusions (160) are formed in the socket member (170).
     
    4. The device (100) of claim 3, wherein a cylindrical portion of the gear shift lever (120) passes through an opening (108) formed in a bezel (107) provided on the retaining housing (110), said opening (108) being sized to allow the gear shift lever (120) to be pivoted in different directions as it is actuated by a user.
     
    5. The device (100) of claim 4, wherein the bezel (107) comprises a fixed portion (107a) having an opening (108), and a movable portion (107b) that is adapted for concealing said opening (108).
     
    6. -The device (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the retaining means (140) comprise opposite symmetrical grooves (150, 150').
     
    7. -The device (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein it further comprises a spring (180) arranged in the gear shift lever (120) to urge a plunger (190) against a feeling surface (200) to provide a gear shift feeling to the user as the gear shift lever (120) is actuated.
     
    8. -The device (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the cross-section of at least some of the protrusions (160) is shaped to correspond to the two opposite cone configuration of the retaining means (140).
     
    9. -The device (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the retaining means (140) are configured such that the retaining housing (110) and the at least partially spherical projection (130) of the gear shift lever (120) are not in direct contact in use.
     
    10. -The device (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the socket member (170) includes radially extending coupling flanges (172) adapted to fit inside of corresponding coupling recesses (172') formed in an inner surface of the retaining housing (110) for retaining the socket member (170) in the retaining housing (110).
     
    11. The device (100) of any of the claims 1 or 3-10 when referring to claim 1, wherein the grooves (150') of the at least partially spherical projections (130) include a curved protruding portion (135).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Eine Schalthebelvorrichtung (100) zur Kontrolle von einem Fahrzeuggetriebe, wobei die Schalthebelvorrichtung (100) folgendes umfasst:

    - ein hohles, mindestens teilweise kugelförmiges Haltegehäuse (110);

    - einen Gangschalthebel (120), deren Länge eine Längsachse (125) definiert, wobei der Gangschalthebel (120) einen mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprung (130) hat, der an einem Gelenkabschnitt des Gangschalthebels (120) gebildet ist, der mindestens teilweise in verschiebbarer Verbindung innerhalb des Haltegehäuses (110) aufzunehmen ist;

    - ein Haltemittel (140) zur Rückhalterung des Gangschalthebels (120) hinsichtlich der Drehung um die Längsachse (125) des Gangschalthebels (120), wobei das Haltemittel (140) Nuten (150') zur Einrückung von entsprechenden Vorsprüngen (160) umfasst, wobei die Nuten (150') in dem mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprung (130) des Gangschalthebels (120) gebildet sind, und wobei die Vorsprünge (160) im Haltegehäuse (110) gebildet sind; und

    - ein mindestens teilweise kugelförmiges Sockelelement (170), das im Haltegehäuse (110) zu halten ist und das angepasst ist, um mindestens teilweise den mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprung (130) des Gangschalthebels (120) in verschiebbarer Verbindung darin aufzunehmen,

    wobei die Nuten (150') und/oder die Vorsprünge (160) des Haltemittels (140) in der Form von zwei gegenüberliegenden Kegeln gebildet sind, so dass eine Schnittstelle dazwischen mit zwei geneigten Ebenen gebildet ist;
    wobei die Nuten (150') und die Vorsprünge (160) jeweils eine Längsachse haben, wobei die Vorsprünge (160) einen Querschnitt haben, der gemäß einer axialen Richtung entlang der Längsachse länglich ist.
     
    2. Eine Schalthebelvorrichtung (100) zur Kontrolle von einem Fahrzeuggetriebe, wobei die Schalthebelvorrichtung (100) folgendes umfasst:

    - ein hohles, mindestens teilweise kugelförmiges Haltegehäuse (110);

    - einen Gangschalthebel (120), deren Länge eine Längsachse (125) definiert, wobei der Gangschalthebel (120) einen mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprung (130) hat, der an einem Gelenkabschnitt des Gangschalthebels (120) gebildet ist, der mindestens teilweise in verschiebbarer Verbindung innerhalb des Haltegehäuses (110) aufzunehmen ist;

    - ein Haltemittel (140) zur Rückhalterung des Gangschalthebels (120) hinsichtlich der Drehung um die Längsachse (125) des Gangschalthebels (120), wobei das Haltemittel (140) Vorsprünge (160) zur Einrückung von entsprechenden Nuten (150') umfasst, wobei die Vorsprünge (160) in dem mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprung (130) des Gangschalthebels (120) gebildet sind, und wobei Nuten (150') im Haltegehäuse (110) gebildet sind; und

    - ein mindestens teilweise kugelförmiges Sockelelement (170), das im Haltegehäuse (110) zu halten ist und das angepasst ist, um mindestens teilweise den mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprung (130) des Gangschalthebels (120) in verschiebbarer Verbindung darin aufzunehmen,

    wobei die Vorsprünge (160) und/oder die Nuten (150') des Haltemittels (140) in der Form von zwei gegenüberliegenden Kegeln gebildet sind, so dass eine Schnittstelle dazwischen mit zwei geneigten Ebenen gebildet ist;
    wobei die Vorsprünge (160) und die Nuten (150') jeweils eine Längsachse haben, wobei die Vorsprünge (160) einen Querschnitt haben, der gemäß einer axialen Richtung entlang der Längsachse länglich ist.
     
    3. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei mindestens eine von den Nuten (150) und Vorsprüngen (160) im Sockelelement (170) gebildet sind.
     
    4. Die Vorrichtung (100) des Anspruchs 3, wobei ein zylindrischer Teil des Gangschalthebels (120) eine Öffnung (108) durchgeht, die in einer auf dem Haltegehäuse (110) bereitgestellten Abschrägungsfläche (107) gebildet ist, wobei die Größe der Öffnung (108) eine Drehung des Gangschalthebels (120) bei einer Betätigung durch einen Benutzer in verschiedenen Richtungen ermöglicht.
     
    5. Die Vorrichtung (100) des Anspruchs 4, wobei die Abschrägungsfläche (107) einen fixierten Teil (107a) umfasst, der eine Öffnung (108) aufweist, und einen beweglichen Teil (107b) umfasst, der angepasst ist, um die Öffnung (108) zu verdecken.
     
    6. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Haltemittel (140) gegenüberliegende symmetrische Nuten (150, 150') umfasst.
     
    7. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei sie weiterhin eine Feder (180) umfasst, die im Gangschalthebel (120) angeordnet ist, um einen Kolben (190) gegen eine Fühlfläche (200) zu drücken, um dem Benutzer ein Schaltgefühl zu verleihen, wenn der Gangschalthebel (120) betätigt wird.
     
    8. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Form des Querschnitts von mindestens manchen Vorsprüngen (160) gestaltet ist, um der Konfiguration der zwei gegenüberliegenden Kegel des Haltemittels (140) zu entsprechen.
     
    9. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Haltemittel (140) so konfiguriert ist, dass das Haltegehäuse (110) und der mindestens teilweise kugelförmige Vorsprung (130) des Gangschalthebels (120) im Einsatz nicht in unmittelbaren Kontakt stehen.
     
    10. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Sockelelement (170) Kupplungsflanche (172) umfasst, die sich in einer radialen Richtung erstrecken, die angepasst sind, um in entsprechende Kupplungsvertiefungen (172') einzupassen, die in einer inneren Fläche des Haltegehäuses (110) gebildet sind, um das Sockelelement (170) im Haltegehäuse (110) zu halten.
     
    11. Die Vorrichtung (100) von einem der Ansprüche 1 oder 3-10, wenn sie auf Anspruch 1 bezogen sind, wobei die Nuten (150') von den mindestens teilweise kugelförmigen Vorsprüngen (130) einen gekrümmten hervorstehenden Teil (135) umfassen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Un dispositif de changement de vitesse (100) pour contrôler une boîte de vitesses d'un véhicule, le dispositif de changement de vitesse (100) comprenant:

    - un boîtier de retenue (110) creux, au moins partiellement sphérique ;

    - un levier de changement de vitesse (120) dont la longueur définit un axe longitudinal (125), le levier de changement de vitesse (120) ayant une saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique formée dans une section de joint du levier de changement de vitesse (120) devant être au moins partiellement reçue en contact coulissant dans le boîtier de retenue (110) ;

    - un moyen de retenue (140) pour retenir le levier de changement de vitesse (120) par rapport à la rotation autour de l'axe longitudinal (125) du levier de changement de vitesse (120), le moyen de retenue (140) comprenant des rainures (150') destinées à venir en prise avec des saillies (160) correspondantes, les rainures (150') étant formées dans la saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique du levier de changement de vitesse (120), et les saillies (160) étant formées dans le boîtier de retenue (110) ; et

    - un élément de socle (170) au moins partiellement sphérique destiné à être retenu dans le boîtier de retenue (110) et adapté pour recevoir au moins partiellement la saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique du levier de changement de vitesse (120) en contact coulissant dans celui-ci,

    dans lequel lesdites rainures (150') et/ou lesdites saillies (160) du moyen de retenue (140) sont configurées en forme de deux cônes opposés de façon qu'une interface est formée entre ceux-ci avec deux plans inclinés ;
    les rainures (150') et les saillies (160) ayant chacune un axe longitudinal, lesdites saillies (160) ayant une section transversale allongée selon une direction axiale le long dudit axe longitudinal.
     
    2. Un dispositif de changement de vitesse (100) pour contrôler une boîte de vitesses d'un véhicule, le dispositif de changement de vitesse (100) comprenant:

    - un boîtier de retenue (110) creux, au moins partiellement sphérique ;

    - un levier de changement de vitesse (120) dont la longueur définit un axe longitudinal (125), le levier de changement de vitesse (120) ayant une saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique formée dans une section de joint du levier de changement de vitesse (120) devant être au moins partiellement reçue en contact coulissant dans le boîtier de retenue (110) ;

    - un moyen de retenue (140) pour retenir le levier de changement de vitesse (120) par rapport à la rotation autour de l'axe longitudinal (125) du levier de changement de vitesse (120), le moyen de retenue (140) comprenant des saillies (160) destinées à venir en prise avec des rainures (150') correspondantes, les saillies (160) étant formées dans la saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique du levier de changement de vitesse (120), et des rainures (150'), étant formées dans le boîtier de retenue (110) ; et

    - un élément de socle (170) au moins partiellement sphérique destiné à être retenu dans le boîtier de retenue (110) et adapté pour recevoir au moins partiellement la saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique du levier de changement de vitesse (120) en contact coulissant dans celui-ci,

    dans lequel lesdites saillies (160) et/ou lesdites rainures (150') du moyen de retenue (140) sont configurées en forme de deux cônes opposés de façon qu'une interface est formée entre ceux-ci avec deux plans inclinés ;
    des saillies (160) et des rainures (150') ayant chacune un axe longitudinal, lesdites saillies (160) ayant une section transversale allongée selon une direction axiale le long dudit axe longitudinal.
     
    3. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel au moins une desdites rainures (150) et saillies (160) sont formées dans l'élément de socle (170).
     
    4. Le dispositif (100) de la revendication 3, dans lequel une partie cylindrique du levier de changement de vitesse (120) passe à travers une ouverture (108) formée dans un chanfrein (107) fourni dans le boîtier de retenue (110), ladite ouverture (108) étant dimensionnée de manière à permettre la rotation du levier de changement de vitesse (120) en différentes directions lorsqu'il est actionné par un utilisateur.
     
    5. Le dispositif (100) de la revendication 4, dans lequel le chanfrein (107) comprend une partie fixe (107a) ayant une ouverture (108), et une partie mobile (107b) qui est adaptée pour couvrir ladite ouverture (108).
     
    6. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le moyen de retenue (140) comprend des rainures (150, 150') symétriques opposées.
     
    7. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre un ressort (180) disposé dans le levier de changement de vitesse (120) pour pousser un piston (190) contre une surface sensible (200) pour fournir à l'utilisateur une sensation perceptible lorsque le levier de changement de vitesse (120) est actionné.
     
    8. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la forme de la section transversale d'au moins quelques saillies (160) est configurée de manière à correspondre à la configuration des deux cônes opposés du moyen de retenue (140).
     
    9. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le moyen de retenue (140) est configuré de manière que le boîtier de retenue (110) et la saillie (130) au moins partiellement sphérique du levier de changement de vitesse (120) ne sont pas en contact direct lors du fonctionnement.
     
    10. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'élément de socle (170) inclut des flancs (172) de couplage s'étendant radialement adaptés pour être ajustés dans des correspondantes encoches (172') de couplage formées dans une surface intérieure du boîtier de retenue (110) pour retenir l'élément de socle (170) dans le boîtier de retenue (110).
     
    11. Le dispositif (100) de l'une quelconque des revendications 1 ou 3-10, lorsqu'elles font référence à la revendication 1, dans lequel les rainures (150') des saillies au moins partiellement sphériques (130) incluent une partie courbe faisant saillie (135).
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description