(19)
(11)EP 3 647 654 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 18382774.0

(22)Date of filing:  31.10.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F21S 43/237  (2018.01)
F21S 45/47  (2018.01)
F21S 43/249  (2018.01)
F21S 43/14  (2018.01)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: VALEO ILUMINACION, S.A.
23600 Martos (ES)

(72)Inventors:
  • CALAVIA, Antonio
    23600 MARTOS (ES)
  • VALDIVIELSO, Juan Eugenio
    23600 MARTOS (ES)
  • BUENO, Macarena
    23600 MARTOS (ES)
  • GOMEZ RUIZ, Carlos
    23600 MARTOS (ES)
  • BARRAGAN, Mari-Angeles
    23600 MARTOS (ES)
  • TALLON, Jesus
    23600 MARTOS (ES)

(74)Representative: Valeo Vision 
IP Department 34, rue Saint André
93012 Bobigny
93012 Bobigny (FR)

  


(54)AUTOMOTIVE LIGHTING DEVICE


(57) This invention provides an automotive lighting device (1) comprising a plurality of solid-state light sources (2) and a light guide (4). The solid-state light sources (2) are configured to emit light according to a light direction (d), each one having a light source centre (20) and each one defining a light source plane (21), which is a plane perpendicular to the light direction (d) which contains the corresponding light source centre (20). The light guide (4) has a reception inlet (40) which projects an optical profile (41) on the closest light source plane (21) according to the light direction (d), the optical profile (41) having an optical centre (42). The light sources (2) are arranged to project light beams to the reception inlet (40) of the light guide (4) in such a way that at least 70% of the light source centres (20) are closer to the optical profile (41) than to the optical centre (42).




Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] This invention is related to the field of light sources comprised in automotive lighting devices, and more particularly, with their grouping arrangement.

STATE OF THE ART



[0002] Some lighting functionalities make use of a group of light sources to provide a flux high enough to fulfil the lighting requirements.

[0003] Some light sources, such as LEDs, generate a great amount of heat during their operation. This heat is related with the current that passes through them and may involve serious damage to the light source if not properly dissipated.

[0004] As a consequence, current is usually chosen so that the heat produced by the light sources is not so high that cannot be dissipated.

[0005] This problem is particularly serious when a big amount of light sources is demanded to provide a flux high enough in a small portion of the lighting device.

[0006] A solution to the aforementioned problem is therefore sought.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0007] The invention provides an alternative solution for improving the replacement of a leveller by an automotive lighting device according to claim 1. Preferred embodiments of the invention are defined in dependent claims.

[0008] Unless otherwise defined, all terms (including technical and scientific terms) used herein are to be interpreted as is customary in the art. It will be further understood that terms in common usage should also be interpreted as is customary in the relevant art and not in an idealised or overly formal sense unless expressly so defined herein.

[0009] In this text, the term "comprises" and its derivations (such as "comprising", etc.) should not be understood in an excluding sense, that is, these terms should not be interpreted as excluding the possibility that what is described and defined may include further elements, steps, etc.

[0010] In a first inventive aspect, the invention provides an automotive lighting device comprising

a plurality of solid-state light sources configured to emit light according to a light direction, each one having a light source centre and each one defining a light source plane, which is a plane perpendicular to the light direction which contains the corresponding light source centre; and

a light guide with a reception inlet which projects an optical profile on the closest light source plane according to the light direction, the optical profile having an optical centre; wherein the light sources are arranged to project light beams to the reception inlet of the light guide in such a way that at least 70% of the centres of the light sources are closer to the optical profile than to the optical centre.



[0011] The term "solid state" refers to light emitted by solid-state electroluminescence, which uses semiconductors to convert electricity into light. Compared to incandescent lighting, solid state lighting creates visible light with reduced heat generation and less energy dissipation. The typically small mass of a solid-state electronic lighting device provides for greater resistance to shock and vibration compared to brittle glass tubes/bulbs and long, thin filament wires. They also eliminate filament evaporation, potentially increasing the life span of the illumination device. Some examples of these types of lighting comprise semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), or polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED) as sources of illumination rather than electrical filaments, plasma or gas.

[0012] This automotive lighting device comprises a plurality of solid-state light sources which are arranged closest to the periphery of the optical profile than to the centre, thus generating some additional space between them, which is greater than the minimum distance which is recommended by the light source manufacturer. This distance is important because it allows a better heat dissipation, so that the light source may be fed by a greater current and therefore provide a more powerful flux without being damaged by generated heat.

[0013] For the purpose of the invention, the term "centre" is considered as the geometric centre of the light source. Light sources are usually enclosed in parallelepiped cases, so the centre is very easy to define for the person skilled in the art. In the event the case has not a regular geometry, the centre of mass of the corresponding case will be considered as the centre of the light source.

[0014] This invention is particularly advantageous when the optical element is a light guide, since a light guide usually has a relatively small cross section and requires a high flux to perform the lighting functionalities, so the plurality of light sources are usually very close to each other in the lighting devices known in the state of the art, trying to obtain the greater density possible of light sources per surface.

[0015] In some particular embodiments, at least 80% of the centres of the light sources are closer to the optical profile than to the optical centre.

[0016] The higher the proportion of light sources closest to the periphery, the higher additional space is created between them.

[0017] In some particular embodiments, the light source comprises a case which has a case surface between 1 mm2 and 3 mm2 the distance between the two closest light source centres is greater than 1.25 times the square root of the case surface of the light sources comprising these two closest light source centres.

[0018] In these embodiments, a particular additional space is ensured.

[0019] In some particular embodiments, the light cases comprise straight sides, and the sides of the light cases of at least one pair of light sources are not parallel.

[0020] The fact that the orientations are different also contributes in generating more additional space between the light sources.

[0021] In some particular embodiments, each light source has a total copper area around it which is greater than 3 times the case surface, wherein the copper area may be divided into several copper area portions.

[0022] Light sources are arranged in such a way that the additional space creates a copper area high enough. The copper area is key for a proper dissipation of the heat which is generated in the light source. Increasing this copper area makes that more heat is dissipated, thus improving the working conditions of the light source.

[0023] In some particular embodiments, the light sources are located in a plane surface, so that the light source centres are arranged in the same plane.

[0024] The light emission of the solid-state light sources is more controlled when all of them are placed in a plane support, such as a plane printed circuit board.

[0025] In some particular embodiments, the light guide comprises a circular section defining a light guide radius.

[0026] Circular guidelights are very common in automotive applications, and this invention is particularly adapted to this shape.

[0027] In some particular embodiments, at least the 70% of the light source centres are contained in a circular crown defined by a greater radius and a lower radius, wherein the lower radius is at least 80% of the greater radius and the greater radius is at least 80% of the light guide radius.

[0028] When a circular guidelight is used, an advantageous arrangement include most of the light sources in a circular crown which is close to the periphery of the guidelight, where there is a greater area and the light sources may have additional space between them, so that the thermal behaviour is improved.

[0029] In some particular embodiments, the light sources perform at least one of a turning indicator or a day running light.

[0030] These particular examples employ a guide light for performing the lighting functionality. As a consequence, they are particularly suitable for this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0031] To complete the description and in order to provide for a better understanding of the invention, a set of drawings is provided. Said drawings form an integral part of the description and illustrate an embodiment of the invention, which should not be interpreted as restricting the scope of the invention, but just as an example of how the invention can be carried out. The drawings comprise the following figures:

Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a particular example of part of an automotive lighting device according to the invention.

Figure 2 shows a view of the printed circuit board to show the arrangement of the LEDs with respect to the optical profile.

Figure 3 shows an automotive lighting device according to the invention installed in an automotive vehicle.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0032] The example embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those of ordinary skill in the art to embody and implement the systems and processes herein described. It is important to understand that embodiments can be provided in many alternate forms and should not be construed as limited to the examples set forth herein.

[0033] Accordingly, while embodiment can be modified in various ways and take on various alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof are shown in the drawings and described in detail below as examples. There is no intent to limit to the particular forms disclosed. On the contrary, all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the appended claims should be included. Elements of the example embodiments are consistently denoted by the same reference numerals throughout the drawings and detailed description where appropriate.

[0034] Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a particular example of part of an automotive lighting device 1 according to the invention.

[0035] This lighting device 1 comprises a plurality of LEDs 2 configured to emit light according to a light direction d. Each LED 2 has a LED centre 20, which is considered as the geometric centre of the LED structure. In the particular embodiment shown in this figure, the LEDs 2 are located in a plane printed circuit board 3, so that the LED centres 20 are arranged in the same plane 21. This plane 21 is perpendicular to the light direction d, since all the LEDs emit light in the same direction.

[0036] This lighting device 1 also comprises a light guide 4 with a reception inlet 40 which projects an optical profile 41 on the plane 21 containing the LED centres 20 according to the light direction d. In this case, since the light guide 4 has a circular section, the optical profile 41 is a circle with an optical centre 42.

[0037] Figure 2 shows a view of the printed circuit board 3 to show the arrangement of the LEDs 2 with respect to the optical profile 41.

[0038] As may be seen in this figure, 8 out of 9 LED centres 20 are closer to the optical profile 41 than to the optical centre 42. In fact, a circular crown is also represented in this picture, with a greater radius r1 and a lower radius r2, wherein the lower radius r2 is 80% of the greater radius and the greater radius is 80% of the light guide radius r0. As stated before, 8 out of 9 LED centres 20 are inside this circular crown.

[0039] In this particular case, the cases of the LEDs 2 have a square profile with a side of 1.6 mm. Since these LEDs are not arranged in a square array, but have an additional distance between them, the distance between any pair of LED centres 20 is at least 2 mm.

[0040] Further, these light cases comprise straight sides 22. Although in this embodiment the sides 22 are parallel, in other advantageous embodiments, the sides of the light cases are not parallel, which contributes to create the additional space between them.

[0041] Since the LEDs 2 are arranged in a printed circuit board 3, each LED 2 is surrounded by a copper area 5. This copper area is defined as the surface of copper which is in contact with a particular LED.

[0042] As may be seen in this figure, each LED 2 is surrounded by a copper area 5. The LEDs which are not surrounded by many other LEDs have a great copper area, so their thermal behaviour is good. However, regarding the LEDs which are surrounded by many other LEDs in the devices from the state of art, the closeness of the rest of the LEDs makes it difficult for the surrounded LED to have a high copper area.

[0043] In this case, even the LEDs which are surrounded by many other LEDs have a high copper area, since the rest of the LEDs are far enough to leave the surrounded LED a copper area which is more than 3 times the case surface. In this example, the case surface is 2.56 mm2, since the case is a square with a side of 1.6 mm. The copper area surrounding the central LED 20c, which is the LED with the lowest copper area, is 8 mm2, which is far more than the surrounded LEDs present in lighting devices known in the state of the art. In this case, this copper area is divided into two copper area portions 51, 52. This high value of copper area is very important for a good thermal behaviour of the LED.

[0044] As a consequence, since all the LEDs 2 are properly cooled by the corresponding copper area, its current value may be increased and therefore, the same flux value may be obtained with a smaller number of LEDs, thus reducing the cost and manufacturing time.

[0045] Figure 3 shows an automotive lighting device 1 according to the invention installed in an automotive vehicle 100, wherein the light sources provide light to a light guide 4 to perform both a turning indicator functionality and a day running light functionality.


Claims

1. Automotive lighting device (1) comprising

a plurality of solid-state light sources (2) configured to emit light according to a light direction (d), each one having a light source centre (20) and each one defining a light source plane (21), which is a plane perpendicular to the light direction (d) which contains the corresponding light source centre (20); and

a light guide (4) with a reception inlet (40) which projects an optical profile (41) on the closest light source plane (21) according to the light direction (d), the optical profile (41) having an optical centre (42);

wherein the light sources (2) are arranged to project light beams to the reception inlet (40) of the light guide (4) in such a way that at least 70% of the light source centres (20) are closer to the optical profile (41) than to the optical centre (42).
 
2. Automotive lighting device (1) according to claim 1, wherein at least 80% of the light source centres (20) are closer to the optical profile (41) than to the optical centre (42).
 
3. Automotive lighting device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein each light source (2) comprises a case which has a case surface between 1 mm2 and 3 mm2 the distance between the two closest light source centres (20) is greater than 1.25 times the square root of the case surface of the light sources (2) comprising these two closest light source centres (20).
 
4. Automotive lighting device (1) according to claim 3, wherein the light cases comprise straight sides, and the sides of the light cases of at least one pair of light sources are not parallel.
 
5. Automotive lighting device (1) according to any of claims or 4, wherein each light source has a total copper area (5) around it which is greater than 3 times the case surface, wherein the copper area may be divided into several copper area portions.
 
6. Automotive lighting device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the light sources are located in a plane surface, so that the light source centres are arranged in the same plane.
 
7. Automotive lighting device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the light guide comprises a circular section defining a light guide radius.
 
8. Automotive lighting device (1) according to claim 7, wherein at least the 70% of the light source centres are contained in a circular crown defined by a greater radius and a lower radius, wherein the lower radius is at least 80% of the greater radius and the greater radius is at least 80% of the light guide radius.
 
9. Automotive lighting device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the light sources perform at least one of a turning indicator or a day running light.
 




Drawing