(19)
(11)EP 3 425 647 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
25.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/13

(21)Application number: 18188465.1

(22)Date of filing:  25.05.2012
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01F 7/02(2006.01)
H01F 7/04(2006.01)

(54)

MAGNETIC FIXINGS AND CONNECTORS

MAGNETISCHE BEFESTIGUNGEN UND VERBINDER

FIXATIONS ET CONNECTEURS MAGNÉTIQUES


(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: 26.05.2011 GB 201108886
11.12.2011 GB 201121222
30.01.2012 GB 201201493

(43)Date of publication of application:
09.01.2019 Bulletin 2019/02

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
12727114.6 / 2715748

(73)Proprietor: Inelxia Limited
Oxfordshire OX14 5RW (GB)

(72)Inventor:
  • CHAIZY, Patrick André
    Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 5RW (GB)

(74)Representative: Lind, Robert 
Marks & Clerk LLP Fletcher House Heatley Road The Oxford Science Park
Oxford OX4 4GE
Oxford OX4 4GE (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-02/41788
US-A1- 2010 171 578
US-A1- 2011 018 661
US-A1- 2009 043 324
US-A1- 2010 308 605
  
      
    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 magnet fixings and connectors.

    Background



    [0002] Various magnetic fixing arrangements are described in the following documents: US2011/001025, US2011/0068885, US5367891, US2010/0171578, US2009/0273422, DE145325. WO02/41788 describes a mechanism for imparting simultaneous rotary and longitudinal oscillation to a work piece, but does not describe coupling means comprising a hinge coupling two linear guides in a position in which the guides are out of alignment or a magnetic component which is movable around one of the guides to an unlocking position which allows for relative movement of parts of the guide about the hinge

    Summary



    [0003] According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided an assembly as defined in claim 1. Also described herein is a mechanism for fixing together first and second parts and comprising:

    first and second guides provided respectively in or attached to the first and second parts; and

    first and second magnetic components coupled respectively to the first and second guides such that the first magnetic component is rotatable with the first guide and with the first part and the second magnetic component cannot rotate relative to the second guide, the magnetic components being moveable axially and rotationally with respect to each other and having magnetic poles oriented such that rotation of said first magnetic component causes relative axial movement of the magnetic components between a locking position in which one of the magnetic components straddles the two guides and an unlocking position in which it does not straddle the two guides.



    [0004] Other aspects of the present invention are set out in the appended claims.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0005] 

    Figure 1 to 3 illustrate the general principle of push-pulls fixing mechanisms;

    Figures 4 to 6 illustrate various fixing mechanisms, showing internal components;

    Figure 7 illustrates a toilet roll holder comprising a pair of push-pull fixing mechanisms;

    Figure 8 illustrates a jewellery box comprising a push-pull fixing mechanism;

    Figure 9 to 11 illustrate a drawer arrangement including a fixing mechanism;

    Figures 12 and 13 illustrate respective push-pull fixing mechanisms;

    Figure 14 illustrates a bar having a two-point fixing mechanism;

    Figure 15 illustrates a fixing mechanism configured to allow two parts to pivot relative to one another according to an embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 16 illustrates a further fixing mechanism;

    Figure 17 illustrates a fixing mechanism having a mixed guide arrangement;

    Figure 18 illustrates the case when a magnetic component can rotate only over an angular range of rotation of the guide;

    Figure 19 to Figure 21 illustrate the case when one or more additional guides are added to two initial internal and/or external guides;

    Figure 22 illustrates a further fixing mechanism

    Figures 23 to 28 illustrate possible alternative fixing mechanisms;

    Figure 29 to Figure 36 further illustrate the concept of a multiple push-pull.


    Detailed Description



    [0006] Hereafter, a "push-pull" designates a device that is made of first and second magnetic components moveable axially and rotationally with respect to each other, and having magnetic poles orientated such that relative rotation causes one of the magnetic components, hereafter called the first component, to move between a locking position in which that magnetic component straddles two guides, made of antimagnetic material (i.e. made of a material that is magnetically neutral such as plastic, wood, aluminium etc...), and an unlocking position in which that does not straddle the two guides. The straddling will prevent mechanically the two guides to move in a sheer or folding motion.

    [0007] Such push-pulls offer various advantages such as aesthetics (e.g. the mechanisms can be totally hidden from view), haptic, rapidity/simplicity of use, safety, cost reduction (e.g. by reducing structure assembling/disassembling times), entertainment, novelty/fashion, improve quality, etc... The trade domains that can benefit from such push-pulls devices include toys, furniture, bathroom equipment, boxes (e.g. jewellery cases), bags, clasps, scaffolding, building frames, panel frames, item holders, fastening devices, lifting or pulling mechanisms etc...

    [0008] The higher the number of available functionalities, the higher the number of trade domains that can benefit from such push-pulls and the higher the number of applications that can either be developed or benefit from the push-pulls. Thus, the purpose of this document is to provide a list of such push-pull devices that offers various functionalities.

    [0009] All push-pulls described in this document can be manufactured first and then integrated (e.g. screwed, glued etc...) in other parts second; they can be bespoke or standardised and potentially sold in shops as stand alone products. They can also be manufactured at the same time as the other parts so that no later integration is required; this can be for various reasons such as technical or financial.

    [0010] In most of the examples a rotation of 180° of the magnetic components relatively to each other is required to switch from a maximum attraction force to a maximum repulsion force between the components. This is for simplicity only. Other rotational angles could have been used.

    [0011] The mechanical strength that prevents the guides to move relatively to each others, in a sheer or folding motion, is a function of the material that is used to straddle the guides. This material can be the material that is used to make the magnet. It can also be the one that is attached to the magnets (e.g. to wrap the magnets) and that moves with the magnets. Thus "magnetic component" designates both the magnet(s) and their surrounding material.

    [0012] In all the figures of this document, the curved arrow represents the rotational axis of the magnetic components relatively to each others. When it is black, its orientation is aligned with the sliding axis of the first component (1); it is white otherwise.

    [0013] Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 illustrate the general principle of push-pulls described in this document. All these figures represent a cross section of the device that contains the sliding axis of the first component (1). All these figures only show aligned rotational axis; however, as discussed further down (e.g. see Figure 26), non-aligned rotational axes are possible as well. In Figure 1 the first component (1) slides only inside external guides (3) and (4). By definition an external guide acts on the external edges of the magnets. In practice, an external guide is typically a case in which the first magnet can slide and, if required, rotate. In Figure 2 the first component (1) slides only around internal guides (5) and (6). By definition an internal guide goes through the magnets and acts on the internal edges of the magnets. In practice, an internal guide is typically a shaft around which the first magnet slide and, if required, rotate. In Figure 3 the first component (1) slides along internal and external guides. In all cases, a relative rotation of the magnetic components reverses the direction of the magnetic forces acting on the components. However, the straddling can take place when the magnetic force is repulsive, as illustrated in Figure 1, or when it is attractive, as illustrated in Figure 2 and Figure 3. Hereafter, the former and latter types of push-pulls are called, respectively, inverted and right push-pulls. In addition, for right push-pulls, a mechanism can be added to prevent the first component to slide along the guide it is in or around when it does not straddle the guides, without preventing the first component from sliding when under the magnetic influence of the second component. This is to prevent some unwanted sliding that may prevent some application to work properly. Such mechanism could be some slightly ferromagnetic material located along the guide that creates a force that can attract enough the first magnet and that can be easily overwhelmed by the magnetic force generated by the second component.

    [0014] Figure 4 to Figure 6 illustrate the case when the first component (1) is rotatable by a guide while the second component (2) cannot rotate relatively to the other guide. In these figures, the first component (1) slides inside external guides (3) and (4). It could have slide around internal guides. One of the advantages of such an approach is that the straddling/un-straddling mechanism can be totally hidden from the view.

    [0015] The first component (1) slides only if the two magnetic components are orientated appropriately. In Figure 4 the guide (3) must be rotated relatively to the guide (4) so that the magnetic force becomes attractive. On the contrary, in Figure 5, it does need to be rotated. This is due to the fact that the ability of the first component (1) to rotate relatively to its guide is a function of its linear position along that guide. Such functionality can simplify the procedure required by the users to trigger the motion of the first component.

    [0016] In Figure 5, guide (3) is made of four sections. The cross sections of sections (7) and (9) are circular. It is non-circular for section (8). The diameter of section (7) is larger than the one of section (9). The first component (1) is made of two parts, both with non-circular cross section. However, one of the two cross sections is smaller than the other one. The larger section (10) is called the non-circular head and can rotate in section (7) but not in (8). It cannot enter section (9). The smaller section (11) can rotate in all sections (7), (8) and (9). The magnetic component (2) cannot rotate in guide (4). In the top figure, the non-circular head (10) of the first component (1) is in the cylindrical section (7) of guide (3) and can freely rotate in section (7). The guides are not straddled. The first component (1) will rotate spontaneously relatively to component (2) so that both components attract each others. In the middle figure, the non-circular head (10) of the first component (1) is in the cylindrical section (7) of guide (3) but is not necessarily aligned with the non-circular section (8). The guides are partially straddled. At this stage, guides (3) and (4) can rotate relatively to each others till the non-circular head (10) is aligned with the non-circular section (8). When the non-circular head (10) is aligned with section (8) it can go into it. As a result, the first component (1) will be fully inside guide (4). During such a rotation, the magnetic pull should prevent the two components to rotate relatively to each others if the friction between the first component (1) and guide (3) is weak enough. In the bottom figure, the non-circular head (10) of the first component is inside the non-circular section (8) and cannot freely rotate relatively to guide (3). The guides are fully straddled. Now, rotating guide (3) relatively to guide (4) will induce a relative rotation of the two magnetic components and, ultimately, the un-straddling of the guides. However, as soon as the first component can rotate again in guide (3) it will rotate and move back toward the second magnetic component; in other words the un-straddling is not stable. To prevent this, an additional mechanism is required. This mechanism needs to block the rotation of the first component (1) relatively to guide (3) when it straddles fully the two guides and to release such blocking only when the two guides are disconnected. An example of such a mechanism is illustrated in Figure 6.

    [0017] Figure 6 is a cross section of Figure 5 along the sliding axis. When the two guides are away from each other pin (12) moves vertically and is pushed inside guide (3) by spring(s) (13) and pin (14) moves horizontally and is pulled away from the edge of guide (3) by another spring (15). When the guides are fully straddled (left figure), magnet (16) pulls pin (12) up inside a groove (18) in first component (1) and compresses the spring(s) (13). At least when the magnetic force repulses the two components, a second magnet (17) in guide (4) pulls pin (14) underneath pin (12) and extends spring (15). Pin (12) cannot go down as long as magnet (17) pull pin (14). The first component (1) can now be pushed back inside guide (3) without being able to rotate; the un-straddling is stable. When the guides are disconnected (right figure), pin (12) and pin (14) are moved back to their positions by, respectively, springs (13) and (15). The first component is free again to rotate when the head (10) is inside section (7).

    [0018] If the head (10) is non-circular and non-symmetrical (e.g. a trapezoid) then the orientation of the first component (1) relatively to section (9) will always be the same and only one mechanism described in Figure 6 will be required.

    [0019] Figure 7 and Figure 8 are examples of applications of the types of push-pulls illustrated in Figure 4 to Figure 6 where a first part is attached to a second part, the second part being attachable to the first part at two fixing points such that the second part is rotatable with respect to the first part about an axis extending between the two fixing points. At least one of the fixing points is provided by the push-pulls. External, internal or mixed push-pulls can be used at the fixing points. However, the Figure 7 and Figure 8 applications use the devices illustrated in Figure 4 to Figure 6; i.e. push-pulls with external guides.

    [0020] Figure 7 is a see through top down view of a classical toilet roll holder. The push-pull is fixed on both ends of the removable bar. When the bar is inserted the first component (1) automatically slides and blocks the bar between the arms of the frame (4). When it is rotated, the guides are un-straddled and the bar can be removed. Same principle for Figure 8 except that the device is used to connect rotating drawers of what could be a jewellery box. The component at the top of guide (19) is the first component; the second component will be above and located in the frame of the box. This is the opposite for the push-pull at the bottom of guide (19) merely to prevent the first component to pop-out of guide (19) when the drawer is removed.

    [0021] Figure 9 to Figure 11 illustrate the case when the first component (1) can rotate relatively to guide (3) while the second component (2) cannot rotate relatively to guide (4). In these figures, the first component (1) slides inside external guides (3) and (4). It could have slide around internal guides.

    [0022] Figure 10 illustrates the fact that a head can be added at one of the extremities of the first component (1) (or of the internal guides, if internal guides were used). Such a head can be added, for instance, to facilitate the manual rotation of the first component (10), to couple the two guides together and/or to prevent the guide (3) to fall out of the first component (10). Figure 11 illustrates a possible application of such a device. It represents a piece of furniture that could be, typically, a shoe cabinet with pivoting doors (20). The device is used as a pivot around which the doors (20) can rotate.

    [0023] Figure 12 to Figure 14 illustrate the case when the first component (1) is rotatable both by guide (3) and guide (21) while the second component (2) can rotate relatively to guide (3) and guide (21) but cannot rotate relatively to guide (4). When guides (3), (21) and (4) are straddled, the first component (1) cannot rotate in guides (3) and (21) thus preventing these two guides from rotating relatively to each other. However, rotating guide (4) relatively to guides (3) and (21) will reverse the magnetic force direction. In these figures, the first component (1) slides inside external guides. It could have slide around internal guides.

    [0024] In Figure 12 guide (3) must be first rotated relatively to guide (21) and to guide (4) so that the magnetic force is attractive and that the first component (1) can slide in the non-circular cross-sections of both guide (3) and guide (21). On the contrary, in Figure 13, such a relative orientation is not needed. This is due to two features. First, as for Figure 5 the ability of the first component (1) to rotate relatively to its guide (3) is a function of its linear position along that guide (3). Such a feature will make the first component (1) to rotate spontaneously so that the magnetic force becomes attractive; if left free to rotate the second component (2) can also rotate. Second, the head of the extremity of the first component (23) and the cross-section of guide (21) are shaped so that the first component (1) can penetrate guide (21) even if the non-circular cross-sections of the first component (11) and of guide (21) are not orientated appropriately, for section (11) to slide inside guide (21), and that it forces the first component (1) to rotate relatively to guide (21) so that both non-circular cross sections of (11) and (21) become orientated appropriately. In Figure 12 the head (23) is a pentahedron. This is for illustration purpose only. Other shapes are possible. Once section (11) is inside (21), the first component (1) can still rotate inside guide (3). However, it cannot rotate inside guide (21). Rotating guides (21) relatively to guide (3) will rotate the first component (1) inside guide (3) till the non-circular head of the first component (10) is inside the non-circular section of guide (8). At this point the first component (1) will slide further inside the guides (21) and (4) and will not be able to rotate in guides (3) and (21). Note that (2) and (1) being magnetically coupled, (4) will rotate with (21). In addition, guide (3) is identical to the one described in Figure 5. Therefore, a mechanism such as the one described in Figure 6 is required.

    [0025] Figure 14 illustrates a possible application of such a device. It represents a safety bar (24) that can be easily installed and removed between a fixed frame (25). Such safety bar could be installed, for instance, in bathrooms for people with reduced mobility. In Figure 14, the device, made of guides (21) and (4) is installed at both extremities of the bar (24). It could have been installed on one extremity only. The first component (1) is fully hidden from view. However, unlike the toilet roll holder, the actuating mechanism of the second component, i.e. guide (4), must be accessible and cannot be fully hidden.

    [0026] In Figure 14 there are two actuators (4) that are activated independently. An alternative example could consider only one actuator acting on the two second components so that only one actuation is enough to unlock both sides simultaneously. Accidental rotation of the actuators can be made more difficult. For instance, the access to the actuators can be made difficult (e.g. by giving them a smaller diameter). The moving bar hosts the second components (2). It could have hosted the first component (1). One or both sides of the bar can be fitted with a push-pull device. Cross section perpendicular to the sliding path of the first component of the first magnet can be arranged so that the relative orientation of the two guides is controlled (e.g. a trapezoid shape for a unique orientation, or an oval shape for two acceptable orientations).

    [0027] Figure 15, Figure 16 and Figure 17 illustrate the use of internal and mixed guides as well as the fact that internal or external guides can be attached by a hinge.

    [0028] An embodiment of the present invention is shown in Figure 15, which is a perspective view of a push-pull that illustrates two internal guides attached by a hinge. Guide (5) goes through the second component (1) and is explicitly represented. Guide (6) goes through the first component (2) and is implicit. When components are aligned the second component (1) will spontaneously rotate to be attracted by the first component (2). In the left figure the two guides are straddled. In the middle figure, the second component (1) is rotated. The two components repulse each other. In the right figure, the two guides can be folded around the hinge (26). In addition, the directions of the dipole axes are represented and are illustrated by straight arrows. With this specific polarisation (other polarisations are possible, e.g. see Figure 23 to Figure 28) the second component (1) is attracted upward by the magnetic field at the bottom of the first component (2) thus magnetically locking the two guides in the folded position. Such device could represent, for instance, one of the two arms of a folding table attached to a wall.

    [0029] Figure 16 illustrates a coupling device (discussed in Figure 22) between two internal guides that are not attached by a hinge. The internal guides could be pipes in which liquid could circulate. The first component (1) rotates around guide (6). It may or may not rotate relatively to guide (5).

    [0030] Figure 17 illustrates an example of mixed guiding. The first component (1) cannot rotate around the internal guide (5) but can rotate in the external guide (4). The internal guide (5) and the first component (1) are located inside a case (27) in which they can rotate. The second component (2) cannot rotate in guide (4). Thus, rotating the internal guide (5) relatively to a case (27) that is prevented from rotating relatively to the external guide (4) will trigger a magnetic attraction or repulsion as illustrated, respectively, in the top left and right figures of Figure 17. Once detached, the external guide (4) and the case/internal guide (27) can be either separated or folded, if joint by a hinge (26) (implicitly represented), as illustrated, respectively, in the bottom left and right figures of Figure 17. A hinge can attach internal guides or external guide/cases.

    [0031] Figure 18 illustrates the case when a magnetic component can rotate only over an angular range of rotation of the guide. This is illustrated in. Figure 18 is a cross section of an external (28) and internal (29) component, perpendicular to the sliding axis of the external component (28) relatively to the internal one (29). The external and internal components can be, respectively, a guide or a magnetic component; or vice versa.

    [0032] In Figure 18, from left to right the internal component has rotated relatively to the external component by 180° and 120° for, respectively, the top and bottom rows; these angular values of 180° and 120° are arbitrary, i.e. other values could have been used. In addition, the top and bottom rows illustrate, respectively, a single and multiple (i.e. double in this case) blocking system.

    [0033] Figure 19 and Figure 21 illustrate the case when one or more additional guides are added to the two initial internal and/or external guides. In addition, they also illustrate the case when the guides are either all straddled or all un-straddled. It does not have to be the case as illustrated in Figure 21. In all figures only one additional guide is represented; more additional guides are possible. In addition, the guides go from straddled to un-straddled from left to right.

    [0034] Figure 19 illustrates the case for a device using either external only (top row) or internal only (bottom row) guides. Figure 20 illustrates the case for mixed guides. In row 1, the first component (1) is mounted around an internal (5) guide and the additional guide (31) is internal. In row 2, the first component (1) is mounted around an internal guide (5) and the additional guide (30) is external. In row 3, the first component (1) is mounted inside an external guide (3) and the additional guide (31) is internal. In row 4, the first component (1) is mounted inside an external guide (3) and the additional guide (30) is external.

    [0035] Figure 21 illustrates the case when the guides that are straddled vary with the relative position of the first (1) and second (2) components as well as the combination of an inverted push-pull with additional guides. In the figure, the guides are external. They could have been internal. There are three guides: (3), (4) and the additional guide (30). The first component (1) does not rotate in guide (3) or (30). It can rotate inside guide (4). The second component (2) cannot rotate in guide (4). Guide (4) can rotate relatively to guides (3) and (30). Thus any rotation of guide (4) relatively to guides (3) or (30) will reverse the magnetic force direction between the first and second component (1) and (2). In addition, the magnets can be configured so that there are three possible stable positions of the first component relatively to guide (4). In the top and bottom figures the first component (1) straddles only two guides. In the middle figures it straddles three guides.

    [0036] Figure 22 illustrates how the first component (1) can be used to couple the guides. It is a cross section of the first component straddling two guides. In the top and bottom row of the figure the guides are, respectively, external and internal. The conic shape of the internal component, i.e. the first component (1) in the top row and the guide (5) in the bottom row, does not allow the latter to pop-out of the guide (3) in the top row and of the first component (1) in the bottom row, when the first component (1) straddles the guides. The left and right columns show the push-pull, respectively, before and after the straddling. The white arrows represent the relative motion of the internal and external components. Note that the conic shape is for illustration. Other shapes could have been used with identical results.

    [0037] In addition, when straddling the guide, the first component can be mechanically prevented by mechanical forces that can be released by relative rotation of the magnets and/or of the guides (e.g. hooks) to detach from the second component under the influence of external forces.

    [0038] Figure 23 to Figure 28 illustrate some of the many possible arrangements of the magnets inside each of the two magnetic components that can be implemented to reverse the magnetic force direction between the two magnetic components by relative rotation of the latter. The white straight arrow represents the direction of motion of the right magnetic component relatively to the other one. It is aligned with the sliding axis of the first component in the push-pulls. The black straight arrows represent the direction of the magnetic dipole axes polarity (i.e. south to north poles). The first and second components can be, respectively, the right and left set of magnets or the opposite. The outcome of the rotation showed in each top figure is shown on the figure immediately underneath. The magnetic force is attractive and repulsive in, respectively, the top and bottom row.

    [0039] The alignment of the axis of rotation relatively to the sliding path of the first component varies with the figures. For Figure 23, Figure 24 and Figure 25 there is only one axis of rotation and the later is aligned. For Figure 26, there is only one axis of rotation and the latter is not aligned. For Figure 27 and Figure 28, there are two axes of rotation; one is aligned the other one is not.

    [0040] The dipole axes are all aligned with the sliding path of the first component including during the rotation for Figure 23 and Figure 25 but not for one of the magnetic component during the rotation for Figure 27. They are not aligned for Figure 24, Figure 28 and for one of the two magnetic components of Figure 26.

    [0041] For Figure 23 and Figure 24 the rotation required to reverse the magnetic attraction is equal to 180° and 90° in, respectively, the left and right column (other angles would have been possible). When the magnets are joined, the aligned polarisation (Figure 23) is very likely to offer a magnetic pull that is significantly higher than the non aligned one (Figure 24). However, the maximum distance of repulsion/attraction between the two sets of magnets is very likely to be significantly higher for non-aligned magnets than for aligned magnets. This offers a possible trade-off depending on the applications.

    [0042] Figure 25 is similar to Figure 23. The difference is that the first component (1) slides inside the second component (2). The first component (1) cannot rotate in guide (3) but can rotate in guide (4). The second component (2) cannot rotate in guide (4). It is illustrated for external guides only. Internal and mixed guides could have been used as well. In that example, the orientations of the dipole axes are all parallel and aligned with the sliding path of the first component; they could have been not all aligned and not all parallel. With the specific magnetic configuration showed in Figure 25, a potential barrier will prevent the first component (1) to enter guide (4). An additional force is required. It is provided by a spring (32) in this example. The rounded head of the first component will help the edges of guide (4) to push the latter inside guide (3) if the two guides are aligned in a sheer motion only; sheer motion only are illustrated, for instance, in Figure 7 or Figure 8. As soon as the head is pushed inside guide (4) by spring (32) the first component (1) will spontaneously move inside the guide (4).

    [0043] Figure 29 to Figure 36 illustrate the concept of multiple push-pull. A multiple push-pull is made of several single push-pulls that share one of the magnetic components; i.e. at least 3 magnetic components and 3 guides are involved. The figures below only deal with multiple push-pulls that share their second magnetic component. However, multiple push-pulls can also share their first component. Multiple push-pulls can typically be used to assemble 2 and/or 3 dimensional structures. They can link together external guides only, internal guides only or mixed guides.

    [0044] For a given multiple push-pull that shares the second component, the directions of the magnetic forces that act on the non-shared components can be all reversed simultaneously only, can be all reversed individually only, or can be both reversed simultaneously (for some or all of the first components) and individually.

    [0045] Figure 31 illustrates the case when the reversion is individual only. A reversion that is simultaneous only would use, for instance, a magnetic configuration as described in Figure 26. In that latter case, the shared magnet would be the cylindrical one on the left of Figure 26 and the first components would be like the rectangular magnet on the right. All other figures illustrate the case when the reversion can be both simultaneous and individual. Figure 29 and Figure 30 illustrate a simultaneous reversion by rotation. Figure 33 and above illustrate a simultaneous reversion by linear motion.

    [0046] Figure 29 is a cross section of one single push-pull with external guides and of one single push-pull with internal guide. The shared component (2) is the circular magnet of Figure 26. The first component (1) is made of a set of two magnets as described in Figure 23. Other magnetic configuration could have been used, such as the one described in Figure 28. In that latter case, one of the first components would have been a mono-polar magnet, as the right magnet in Figure 28 while the other one would have been a multi-polar magnet as the ones described in the left column of Figure 23 (to attach on top of the double magnet of Figure 28).

    [0047] In Figure 29 the top figures indicates the relative positions of all the components before the rotation and the rotation that is executed. The result of each rotation is provided in the figures immediately underneath. For the left column, the axis of rotation is perpendicular to the page (simultaneous reversion) as indicated by the white circle arrow. It is parallel for the other two columns (individual reversions).

    [0048] Figure 30 and Figure 31 illustrate the case when numerous push-pulls can be assembled together. A total of 8 single push-pulls can be assembled: 6 in the plan of the page and 2 perpendicularly to the page (for the 2 perpendicular to the page, the polarisation is similar to the one described in the right column of Figure 24 - i.e. with 6 magnetic sectors instead of 4); these latter two first components are not represented. The figure is a top down view of the magnetic components only; for simplicity the guides have not been represented. In that specific configuration all magnetic forces are simultaneously reversed for all single push-pulls each time there is a rotation of 60° along an axis that is perpendicular to the page. However, a rotation of 180° and 60° are required for, respectively, the 6 first components that are in the plan of the page and the 2 first components that are perpendicular to the page to reverse individually their associated magnetic force direction.

    [0049] Figure 32 is a perspective view of the shared magnet of Figure 31. The shared magnet of Figure 30 would only differ by its cylindrical shape. It shows two different types of polarisation. The polarisation of the right figure is the one used in Figure 31. It goes through the vertexes of the hexagon. The polarisation on the left goes through the sides of the hexagon.

    [0050] Figure 33 is a cross section along the AA line of Figure 35 of the first (1) and second components (2) and associated guides of a multiple push-pulls with. Any rotation along the black curved arrows is individual. The shared component has a cubic shape; hence, there are six single push-pulls (one per face of the cube). In the left figure, at least 3 guides are straddled. In the right figure, another cube (33), identical to the shared one (2) but with opposite polarisations is inserted into guide (4). It pushes the initial cube (2) and the horizontal first components (34) to the left of the figure. As a result, the horizontal guide (35) and guide (4) are un-straddled. In addition, all the other first components (1) are pushed back inside their respective guides (3); because of the inverted polarisation. Thus, all the guides have been un-straddled simultaneously by linear motion.

    [0051] Figure 34 illustrates in more details the possible directions of the dipole axes of the cube. The orientations are all perpendicular to the cube faces in the left figure and go through the vertexes of the cube in the right figure. With such polarisations any rotation of 90° of the cube along any of the 3 axes of rotations that are perpendicular to the faces of the cube will automatically reverse the direction of the dipole axes.

    [0052] Figure 35 is a perspective view of guide (4) as well as the motion of the two cubic components (2) and (33) relatively to guide (4).

    [0053] Figure 36 is merely a perspective view of Figure 33. One of the guides (3) needs to be removed to introduce the second cubic shared component (33) inside guide (4).


    Claims

    1. An assembly comprising first and second parts each of which defines a linear guide ( 6, 5), and a hinge (26) located between the linear guides (6, 5) to hingeably couple the linear guides (6, 5) together and thereby couple the first and second parts together to allow these parts to be moved relative to each other between a first position in which the guides are in alignment and a second position in which the guides are out of alignment, the assembly further comprising a first magnetic component (2) provided by or with said first guide (6) and a second magnetic component (1) moveable around and along said second guide (5), the magnetic components being moveable axially and rotationally with respect to each other and having magnetic poles oriented to allow the second magnetic component to be moved between a locking position in which the two guides (6, 5) extend through and are straddled by the second magnetic component (1) and an unlocking position in which that magnetic component does not straddle the two guides, wherein said unlocking position allows for relative movement of the parts about said hinge.
     
    2. An assembly according to claim 1 and being configured to allow alignment of the poles of the first (2) and second (1) magnetic components by rotation of one of the magnetic components about an axis of its linear guide (6, 5), whereby alignment of the poles in a first configuration causes repulsion of the magnetic components (2, 1) to move them into said unlocking position and alignment of the poles in a second configuration causes attraction of the magnetic components (2, 1) to move them into said locking position.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Baugruppe, die einen ersten und einen zweiten Teil umfasst, von denen jeder eine Linearführung (6, 5) und ein zwischen den Linearführungen (6, 5) angeordnetes Scharnier (26) definiert, um die Linearführungen (6, 5) gelenkig miteinander zu verbinden, wodurch der erste und der zweite Teil miteinander verbunden werden, um zu ermöglichen, dass diese Teile in Bezug zueinander zwischen einer ersten Position, in der die Führungen ausgerichtet sind, und einer zweiten Position, in der die Führungen nicht ausgerichtet sind, bewegt werden, wobei die Anordnung ferner eine erste magnetische Komponente (2), die von der ersten Führung (6) bereitgestellt wird oder mit dieser versehen ist und eine zweite magnetische Komponente (1), die um und entlang der zweiten Führung (5) bewegt werden kann, umfasst, wobei die magnetischen Komponenten axial und rotatorisch in Bezug zueinander bewegt werden können und magnetische Pole aufweisen, die ausgerichtet sind, um zu ermöglichen, dass die zweite magnetische Komponente zwischen einer Verriegelungsposition, in der sich die beiden Führungen (6, 5) durch die zweite magnetische Komponente (1) erstrecken und von dieser überspannt werden, und einer Entriegelungsposition, in der diese magnetische Komponente die beiden Führungen nicht überspannt, bewegt wird, wobei die Entriegelungsposition eine relative Bewegung der Teile um das Scharnier ermöglicht.
     
    2. Baugruppe nach Anspruch 1, und die konfiguriert ist, um die Ausrichtung der Pole der ersten (2) und zweiten (1) magnetischen Komponente durch Drehung einer der magnetischen Komponenten um eine Achse ihrer Linearführung (6, 5) zu ermöglichen, wobei die Ausrichtung der Pole in einer ersten Konfiguration bewirkt, dass die magnetischen Komponenten (2, 1) abgestoßen werden, um sie in die Entriegelungsposition zu bewegen, und die Ausrichtung der Pole in einer zweiten Konfiguration bewirkt, dass die magnetischen Komponenten (2, 1) angezogen werden, um sie in die Verriegelungsposition zu bewegen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble comprenant des première et deuxième parties définissant chacune un guide linéaire (6, 5) et une charnière (26) située entre les guides linéaires (6, 5) pour coupler de manière articulée les guides linéaires (6, 5) ensemble et coupler ainsi les première et deuxième parties ensemble pour permettre à ces parties d'être déplacées l'une par rapport à l'autre entre une première position dans laquelle les guides sont alignés et une seconde position dans laquelle les guides sont désalignés, l'ensemble comprenant en outre un premier composant magnétique (2) fourni par ou avec ledit premier guide (6) et un deuxième composant magnétique (1) mobile autour et le long dudit second guide (5), les composants magnétiques étant mobiles axialement et en rotation l'un par rapport à l'autre et ayant des pôles magnétiques orientés pour permettre au deuxième composant magnétique d'être déplacé entre une position de verrouillage dans laquelle les deux guides (6, 5) s'étendent à travers et chevauchent le deuxième composant magnétique (1) et une position de déverrouillage dans laquelle ce composant magnétique ne chevauche pas les deux guides, dans lequel ladite position de déverrouillage permet un mouvement relatif des parties autour de ladite charnière.
     
    2. Ensemble selon la revendication 1 et configuré pour permettre l'alignement des pôles des premier (2) et second (1) composants magnétiques par rotation de l'un des composants magnétiques autour d'un axe de son guide linéaire (6, 5), l'alignement des pôles dans une première configuration provoquant la répulsion des composants magnétiques (2, 1) pour les déplacer dans ladite position de déverrouillage et l'alignement des pôles dans une seconde configuration provoquant l'attraction des composants magnétiques (2, 1) pour les déplacer dans ladite position de verrouillage.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description