(19)
(11)EP 3 922 445 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
15.12.2021 Bulletin 2021/50

(21)Application number: 21179072.0

(22)Date of filing:  11.06.2021
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B29D 30/06(2006.01)
B29C 33/20(2006.01)
B29C 33/10(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
B29C 33/0038; B29D 2030/0618; B29D 30/0629; B29C 33/10
(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

(30)Priority: 12.06.2020 US 202016899615

(71)Applicant: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Akron, OH 44316 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • AGBOOLA, Babatunde Omogbolahan
    Uniontown, 44685 (US)
  • HAYDU, William Andrew
    Copley, 44321 (US)
  • SAMANTA, Deep
    Copley, 44321 (US)

(74)Representative: Goodyear IP Law 
Goodyear S.A. Patent Department Avenue Gordon Smith
7750 Colmar-Berg
7750 Colmar-Berg (LU)


(56)References cited: : 
  
      


    (54)ACTUATING RING FOR TIRE MOLD ASSEMBLY


    (57) An actuating ring (320) for a tire mold (10) is disclosed. The actuating ring (320) has a plurality of axially upper slots (324, 325) and a plurality of axially lower slots (322, 323) that are axially offset from the axially upper slots (324, 325). Also, a tire mold assembly (10) comprising one or more radially moveable tread mold portions (16) operable with an axially upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) and an axially lower mold sidewall portion or assembly (14) to define a tire mold cavity (18) in a closed position of the tire mold assembly (10) and such an actuating ring (320) is disclosed.




    Description

    Field of the Invention



    [0001] This present invention relates to molds for curing/producing tires and, more particularly, to an actuating ring for a tire mold assembly.

    Background of the Invention



    [0002] Tires have long been manufactured by vulcanization within a tire mold. For example, a conventional two-piece tire mold may include various seals and pressurized compartments. Another conventional two-piece tire mold may utilize a vacuum. Still another conventional tire mold may be a segmented tire mold.

    [0003] Typical tire molds may have small holes or vents to allow air trapped within the mold to escape. When a tire is vulcanized/cured and removed from the mold, rubber that has been vulcanized within the vents in the mold may extend outwardly from the surface of the tire in the form of burrs or extensions. These burrs may detract from the tire's appearance and may be shaved from the tire as a final finishing step in a tire manufacturing process. These extension burrs are a waste of rubber create an undesirable source of scrap material which must be collected and properly disposed of. Further, removal of the burrs may require an extra step in the tire manufacturing process, thus raising the cost and complexity of manufacturing the tire due to the extra space, labor, and/or equipment required. As a result, conventional ventless tire molds have become most used.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0004] The invention relates to an actuating ring in accordance with claim 1 and to a tire mold assembly in accordance with claim 7.

    [0005] Dependent claims refer to preferred embodiments of the invention.

    [0006] In a preferred aspect, an actuating ring assembly for a tire mold and a respective tire mold assembly includes a radially moveable tread mold portion operable with an upper sidewall portion or assembly and a lower sidewall portion or assembly to define a tire mold cavity in a closed position of the tire mold, and an actuating ring slidably engaging the upper sidewall portion or assembly and the lower sidewall portion or assembly to provide radial and axial movement of the actuating ring relative to the upper sidewall portion or assembly and the lower sidewall portion or assembly. The actuating ring has axially upper slots and axially lower slots axially offset from the axially upper slots.

    [0007] According to another preferred aspect, the upper sidewall portion has a radially outer cylindrical surface, and the actuating ring has a radially inner cylindrical surface in alignment with the outer cylindrical surface of the upper sidewall portion or assembly, and a sealing means is disposed between the outer cylindrical surface of the upper sidewall portion or assembly and the inner cylindrical surface of the actuating ring.

    [0008] According to still another preferred aspect, a sealing means includes a sealing member disposed in a circumferential groove in the outer cylindrical surface of the upper sidewall portion or assembly for sealing engagement with the inner cylindrical surface of the actuating ring during closing of the tire mold.

    [0009] According to yet another preferred aspect, the tire mold assembly is connected to the upper sidewall portion or assembly by support means permitting radial movement of the tire mold assembly in response to vertical movement of the actuating ring relative to the tire mold assembly, and the support means is covered to maintain the integrity of a location for application of a vacuum.

    [0010] In a preferred aspect of the invention, the actuating ring has a conical shape.

    [0011] According to still another preferred aspect, a support means comprises pocket type slots closed at the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly and retainer tee members on the tire mold assembly for sliding engagement in the pocket type slots.

    [0012] According to yet another preferred aspect, a support means comprises pocket type slots open at the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly, retainer tee members on the tire mold assembly for sliding engagement in the pocket type slots, and cover members fastened to the tire mold assembly over the pocket type slots.

    [0013] According to still another preferred, pocket type slots include supporting plate members fastened to a lower face of the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly under the pocket type slots.

    [0014] According to yet another preferred aspect, supporting plate members are fastened to the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly by screws.

    [0015] According to still another preferred aspect, a sealing means comprises a bladder ring having a radially inner edge fastened to the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly and a radially outer edge fastened to the actuating ring.

    [0016] According to yet another preferred aspect, a bladder ring is disposed under a circular shield fastened to the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly to protect the bladder ring.

    [0017] According to still another preferred aspect, the upper mold sidewall portion comprises an integral upper sidewall mold member and an O-ring on the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly.

    [0018] In a preferred aspect, an actuating ring for a tire mold includes an upper sidewall portion or assembly and a lower sidewall portion or assembly providing radial and axial movement of the actuating ring relative to the upper sidewall portion and the lower sidewall portion. The actuating ring has axially upper, circumferentially extending slots and axially lower, circumferentially extending slots axially offset from the axially upper, circumferentially extending slots.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0019] The present invention will be described below, by way of example with, and with reference to, the accompanying drawings, in which:

    FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of an actuating ring in accordance with the present invention;

    FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-sectional view of one half of a ventless segmented tire mold for use with the present invention;

    FIG. 3 is a is a schematic cross-sectional view taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2, illustrating one of the retainer tees;

    FIG. 4 a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating a first step in a method of installing a tire mold for use with the present invention;

    FIG. 5 a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating a second step in a method of installing a tire mold for use with the present invention;

    FIG. 6 a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating a third step in a method of installing a tire mold for use with the present invention;

    FIG. 7 a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating a fourth step in a method of installing a tire mold for use with the present invention;

    FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of part of a method of dissembling a tire mold for use with the present invention;

    FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of another part of the method of dissembling a tire mold of FIG. 8;

    FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of another part of the method of dissembling a tire mold of FIGS. 8-9;

    FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of still another part of the method of dissembling a tire mold of FIGS. 8-10;

    FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of yet another part of the method of dissembling a tire mold of FIGS. 8-11; and

    FIG. 13 is a schematic perspective view of a conventional actuating ring.


    Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments of the Present Invention



    [0020] Referring now to FIGS. 2-12, the showings are for purposes of illustrating an assembly for use with the present invention. FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a segmented tire mold assembly 10 for use with the present invention. Primary elements of the mold assembly 10 include an upper sidewall mold assembly 12 and a lower sidewall mold assembly 14. The upper sidewall mold assembly 12 includes an upper sidewall mold plate 52. The lower sidewall assembly 14 includes a lower sidewall mold plate 56. The mold 10 further includes tread mold segments 16. A plurality of tread mold segments 16 is moveable radially to assemble or disassemble the segmented tire mold 10 about the unvulcanized green tire. The operation of segmented tire molds is well-known in the art and will not be discussed further here.

    [0021] The upper sidewall mold assembly 12 may include two members, an upper sidewall mold plate 52 and an O-ring 36. The upper sidewall mold plate 52 may be one piece and thereby impervious to air. Therefore, when coupled with the O-ring 36, the upper sidewall mold plate 52 may provide an air barrier when a vacuum is drawn on the tire mold cavity 18. The upper and lower sidewall mold assemblies 12, 14 and tread mold segments 16 together define the tire mold cavity 18 within the tire mold 10. The tread mold segments 16 are radially moveable, inwardly or outwardly, along a sloped slide 22 in response to vertical movement (i.e., a movement parallel to the axial direction of the mold assembly 10) by a preferably conical actuating ring 20. The actuating ring 20 may be axially moveable relative to a tire within the tire mold assembly 10, or vertically with reference to FIG. 2.

    [0022] With continuing reference to FIG. 2, a first sealing means is provided to seal a gap between the actuating ring 20 and a lower mold member 24. The first sealing means may include another O-ring 30 and an abutting bronze cylindrical surface 32 on the actuating ring 20. The abutting bronze cylindrical surface 32 is preferably fixed to the actuating ring 20 and preferably abuts the lower mold member 14.

    [0023] A second sealing means is provided to may seal a gap between the actuating ring 20 and the upper sidewall mold plate 52. The second sealing means may include the O-ring 36, which radially abuts an inner cylindrical surface 38. The upper sidewall mold plate 52 may have a radially outer cylindrical surface 42 aligned with the radially inner cylindrical surface 38 of the actuating ring 20. The inner cylindrical surface 38 may be bronze or other suitable bearing material. The O-ring 36 is preferably disposed in a circumferential groove 48 in the outer cylindrical surface 42 of the upper sidewall mold plate 52 and is provided to seal with the inner cylindrical surface 38 of the actuating member 20 when the tire mold 10 is closed.

    [0024] With reference to FIGS. 2-3, the tread mold segments 16 are preferably connected to the upper sidewall mold member 52 by pocket type slots 58, which are closed at the top in the upper sidewall mold plate 52 and retainer tee members 62 on the tread mold segments 16 for sliding engagement in the pocket type slots. With reference to FIGS. 4-7, the tread mold segments 16 may be assembled into slide blocks and arranged on a table 80. The table 80 may have a lubricated surface so that the segments 16 may be easily arranged in their appropriate positions. The retainer tee members 62 may be inserted into the pocket type slots 58. The O-ring 36 is preferably inserted into the circumferential groove 48 in the upper sidewall mold plate 52. The upper sidewall mold plate 52 may be suspended in a raised position while the tread mold segments 16 and retainer tee members 62 are slid in place.

    [0025] With reference to FIG. 5, when all the tread mold segments 16 are in proper position in a tread segment and the upper sidewall mold plate 52, the upper sidewall mold plate 52 may clamp on to the table 80 with a wooden clamp bar 90 by a clamping rod 93. In some applications, clamping may not be necessary, if the weight of the parts sufficiently keeps them in place.

    [0026] The actuating ring 20 may be fitted with the O-ring 30 and lowered over the upper sidewall mold plate 52. Stop bolts 94 (FIG. 7) may then be installed. The wooden clamp 90 on the upper sidewall mold plate 52 may be removed by removing the clamping rod 93.

    [0027] With reference to FIG. 7, the upper sidewall mold plate 52 and the actuating ring 20 may now be positioned over the lower sidewall mold plate 56, which has been previously secured to a separate table 100 and clamped with another wooden clamp 102. The suspended upper sidewall mold plate 52 and actuating ring 20 may be lowered onto the lower sidewall mold plate 56 so that the tire mold 10 is fully closed. At this time, shipping straps may be installed and the tire mold 10 may be moved and installed in a tire curing press (not shown). As part of a procedure for mounting the tire mold assembly 10 into a tire curing press, the tire mold assembly 10 may be set in position in the press. Two temporary hold-down clamps may be installed in platen slots located at 180 degrees from each other. The tire mold assembly 10 may then be bolted to the top of the press. After the tire mold assembly 10 is opened, a sealant or seal, such as a gasket, may be applied to shoulders of the bolts for sealing. Next, the bolts may be threaded through the lower sidewall mold plate 56 into the press platen. The temporary clamps 94 and 102 may then be removed.

    [0028] The above procedure may enable the tire mold assembly 10 to be installed into a tire press with O-rings 30, 36 in place. The O-rings 30, 36 may be lubricated with an appropriate lubricant when installed and when the tire mold assembly 10 is cleaned. At every cleaning cycle, the O-rings 30, 36 may be inspected for excessive wear or fraying and may be replaced when worn or damaged. With reference to FIGS. 8-12, disassembly of the tire mold assembly 10 may be achieved by removing the tire mold assembly 10 from the press and set on a table 110 and shipping straps (not shown). The lower sidewall mold plate 56 may be clamped to a table 110 with a wooden clamp bar 102.

    [0029] With reference to FIGS. 9-10, eye bolts 114 may be installed in the actuating ring 20 to lift the balance of the assembly and place it on another table 116 with a lubricated surface 118. Next, the upper sidewall mold plate 52 may be clamped to the table 116 with the wooden clamp bar 90. The stop bolts 94 may be removed. With reference to FIG. 11, the actuating ring 20 may be lifted via the eye bolts 114. With reference to FIGS. 11-12, the wooden clamp bar 90 may now be removed from the upper sidewall mold plate 52. Other eye bolts 122 may be installed in the upper sidewall mold plate 52. The upper sidewall mold plate 52 may thus be suspended to release weight from the slide blocks 65. If necessary, for disassembly, tee handles 126 may be screwed into retraction tee holes in the slide blocks 65 and may be used to pull the side blocks radially outwardly so that the retainer tee members 62 clear the pocket type slots 58 in the upper sidewall mold plate 52. The tire mold assembly 10 may now be ready for cleaning or lubricating.

    [0030] FIG. 13 shows an example of a conventional actuating ring 220, similar to the actuating ring 20.

    [0031] FIG. 1 shows an example actuating 320 in accordance with the present invention. This actuating ring 320 includes axially upper slots 324, 325 and axially lower slots 322, 323 axially offset from the axially upper slots 324, 325. The upper slots 324, 325 include first upper slots 324 and second upper slots 325 circumferentially shorter than the first upper slots 324. The axially lower slots 322, 323 include first lower slots 322 and second lower slots 323 circumferentially shorter than the first lower slots 322.

    [0032] Preferably, the axially upper slots 324, 325 are arranged in a first circle around the actuating ring 320 and the plurality of axially lower slots 322, 323 are arranged in a second circle around the actuating ring 320, the radius of the first circle being preferably larger than the radius of the second circle.

    [0033] Preferably, the axially upper slots 324, 325 include first upper slots 324 and second upper slots 325, the second upper slots 325 being circumferentially shorter than the first upper slots 324. Preferably, the first lower slots 324 and the second lower slots 325 alternate around the circumference of the actuating ring 320.

    [0034] Preferably, the axially lower slots 322, 323 include first lower slots 322 and second upper slots 323, the second lower slots 323 being circumferentially shorter than the first lower slots 322. Preferably, the first upper slots 324 and the second upper slots 325 alternate around the circumference of the actuating ring 320.

    [0035] Preferably, the axially upper slots 324, 325 and the axially lower slots 322, 323 extend in the radial direction of the actuating ring 320 from the radially outer side of the actuating ring 320 through the actuating ring 320 to the radially inner side of the actuating ring 320.

    [0036] Preferably, the actuating ring 320 comprises of from 4 to 16, more preferably of from 6 to 10, of the axially upper slots 324, 325 and/or from 4 to 16, more preferably of from 6 to 10, of the axially lower slots 322, 323.

    [0037] The slots 322, 323, 324, 325 advantageously lowers the weight of the actuating ring 320 while maintaining appropriate structural and thermal strength characteristics. They also allow an easier holding and gripping of the actuating ring 320.

    [0038] This reduces cost and allows an easier handling of the actuating rings 320 and the respective tire mold assembly 10 comprising such a ring 320.


    Claims

    1. An actuating ring for a tire mold (10), the actuating ring (320) having a plurality of axially upper slots (324, 325) and a plurality of axially lower slots (322, 323) that are axially offset from the axially upper slots (324, 325).
     
    2. The actuating ring of claim 1 wherein the plurality of axially upper slots (324, 325) is arranged in a first circle around the actuating ring (320) and wherein the plurality of axially lower slots (322, 323) is arranged in a second circle around the actuating ring (320), the radius of the first circle being preferably larger than the radius of the second circle.
     
    3. The actuating ring of at least one of the previous claims wherein the axially upper slots (324, 325) include first upper slots (324) and second upper slots (325), the second upper slots (325) being circumferentially shorter than the first upper slots (324); and/or wherein the axially lower slots (322, 323) include first lower slots (322) and second upper slots (323), the second lower slots (323) being circumferentially shorter than the first lower slots (322).
     
    4. The actuating ring of claim 3 wherein the first upper slots (324) and the second upper slots (325) alternate around the circumference of the actuating ring (320) and/or wherein the first lower slots (324) and the second lower slots (325) alternate around the circumference of the actuating ring (320).
     
    5. The actuating ring of at least one of the previous claims wherein the axially upper slots (324, 325) and the axially lower slots (322, 323) extend in the radial direction of the actuating ring (320) from the radially outer side of the actuating ring (320) through the actuating ring (320) to the radially inner side of the actuating ring (320).
     
    6. The actuating ring of at least one of the previous claims wherein the actuating ring (320) comprises of from 4 to 16, preferably of from 6 to 10, of said axially upper slots (324, 325) and from 4 to 16, preferably of from 6 to 10, of said axially lower slots (322, 323).
     
    7. A tire mold assembly (10) comprising one or more radially moveable tread mold portions (16) operable with an axially upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) and an axially lower mold sidewall portion or assembly (14) to define a tire mold cavity (18) in a closed position of the tire mold assembly (10) and an actuating ring (320) in accordance with at least one of the previous claims.
     
    8. The tire mold assembly of claim 7, wherein the actuating ring (320) is configured for slidably engaging the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) and the lower mold sidewall portion or assembly (14).
     
    9. The tire mold assembly of claim 7 or 8 wherein a movement of the actuating ring (320) provides a radial and axial movement of the actuating ring (320) relative to the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) and the lower mold sidewall portion or assembly (14).
     
    10. The tire mold assembly of at least one of the previous claims 7 to 9 wherein the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) has a radially outer cylindrical surface (42) and the actuating ring (320) has a radially inner cylindrical surface (38) in alignment with the outer cylindrical surface (42) of the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12), and, preferably, wherein a sealing means (36) is disposed between the outer cylindrical surface (42) of the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) and the inner cylindrical surface (38) of the actuating ring (320).
     
    11. The tire mold assembly of at least one of the previous claims 7 to 10 wherein a sealing means includes a sealing member (36) disposed in a circumferential groove (48) in the outer cylindrical surface (42) of the upper mold sidewall portion or assembly (12) for sealing engagement with the inner cylindrical surface (38) of the actuating ring (320) during a closing of the tire mold assembly (10).
     
    12. The tire mold assembly of at least one of the previous claims 7 to 11 wherein the tire mold assembly (10) comprises or is connected to support means permitting a radial movement of the tire mold assembly (10) in response to an axial or vertical movement of the actuating ring (320) relative to the tire mold assembly (10).
     
    13. The tire mold assembly of claim 12 wherein the support means is configured to maintain an integrity of a location for application of a vacuum.
     
    14. The tire mold assembly of at least one of the previous claims 7 to 13 wherein a support means comprises pocket type slots (58) closed at the upper mold sidewall portion and retainer tee members (62) on the tire mold assembly (10) for sliding engagement in the pocket type slots (58).
     
    15. The tire mold assembly of at least one of the previous claims 7 to 13 wherein a support means comprises pocket type slots (58) open at the upper mold sidewall portion, retainer tee members (62) on the tire mold assembly (10) for sliding engagement in the pocket type slots (58), and cover members fastened to the tire mold assembly (10) over the pocket type slots (58).
     




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