(19)
(11)EP 4 052 989 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
07.09.2022 Bulletin 2022/36

(21)Application number: 21712939.4

(22)Date of filing:  25.01.2021
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B61G 7/12(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/KR2021/000960
(87)International publication number:
WO 2022/158620 (28.07.2022 Gazette  2022/30)
(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: Korea Railroad Research Institute
Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do 16105 (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • KWON, Taesoo
    Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 16692 (KR)
  • JANG, Hong-Lae
    Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do 16083 (KR)
  • HWANG, Junhyeok
    Incheon 22521 (KR)
  • KIM, Jinsung
    Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do 13913 (KR)

(74)Representative: Petraz, Gilberto Luigi et al
GLP S.r.l.
Viale Europa Unita, 171 33100 Udine
Viale Europa Unita, 171 33100 Udine (IT)

  


(54)CENTERING DEVICE


(57) A centering device is proposed. More particularly, according to the centering device, although a coupler coupling railroad cars, which are arranged in a front-to-rear direction, to each other is rotated leftward and rightward, the coupler is rapidly restored to initial position thereof, and in the case of the application of external force of a predetermined strength or less to the coupler, the coupler is not rotated, so when coupling the front-to-rear cars to each other, the rotation of the coupler is prevented such that the front-to-rear railroad cars are stably coupled to each other.




Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to a centering device. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a centering device, by which although a coupler coupling railroad cars, which are arranged in a front-to-rear direction, to each other is rotated leftward and rightward, the coupler is rapidly restored to initial position thereof, and in the case of the application of external force of a predetermined strength or less to the coupler, the coupler is not rotated, so when coupling the front-to-rear cars to each other, the rotation of the coupler is prevented such that the front-to-rear railroad cars are stably coupled to each other.

Background Art



[0002] Railroad cars include couplers coupling adjacent railroad cars to each other to form the structure of a train, and each of the couplers is configured to rotate within a range of a predetermined angle in a horizontal direction to facilitate the coupling and movement of the railroad cars on a curved track.

[0003] That is, during the coupling of adjacent railroad cars to each other, the center of the coupler of each of the adjacent railroad cars is required to be arranged to be in alignment with the longitudinal axis of each of the railroad cars. Accordingly, when coupling the adjacent railroad cars to each other in a curved section of a railroad track, significant horizontal offsets exist between adjacent couplers in a lateral direction of each of the railroad cars, so the couplers are configured to rotate leftward and rightward as described above.

[0004] However, couplers are mostly coupled to each other on a straight track, and as described above, the couplers are configured to rotate leftward and rightward, so during the coupling of the railroad cars to each other, the couplers rotate leftward and rightward, and thus the railroad cars are not stably coupled to each other.

[0005] Accordingly, to solve this problem, a centering device is provided to prevent the random rotation of a railroad car coupler. Since such a conventional centering device maintains the centering of the coupler by using pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, the structure of the conventional centering device is very complicated and occupies much space, so the installation and maintenance of the centering device incurs much expense.

[0006] Furthermore, although the centering device is mounted to each of conventional couplers, the conventional couplers may be easily rotated leftward and rightward by external force, so it is difficult to couple the couplers to each other.

Disclosure


Technical Problem



[0007] The present disclosure has been made keeping in mind the above problems occurring in the prior art, and the present disclosure is intended to propose a centering device, which includes side-part support members supporting opposite sides of a coupler provided in a railroad car, and a centering part coupled to a lower-part support member supporting a lower part of the coupler, whereby when the coupler is rotated leftward and rightward by external force, the coupler is restored to an initial position thereof, so when coupling railroad cars to each other, even without separate control of the position of the coupler by a manager, the railroad cars are easily coupled to each other.

[0008] In addition, the present disclosure is intended to propose a centering device, in which a rubber unit is provided inside the centering part so as to provide elastic force to the coupler for restoring the coupler to an initial position thereof when the coupler is rotated, wherein the rubber unit includes: a body made of rubber; wing parts formed at opposite sides of the body; and a press member provided at the front part of the wing parts, the press member rotating according to the rotation of the coupler, wherein the press member is configured to have a width larger than the width of space between the wing parts, and thus the wing parts at the opposite sides are pressed, whereby only when external force larger than the elastic force of each of the wing parts is applied to the coupler, the coupler is rotated, so during the coupling of railroad cars to each other, despite the application of external force to the coupler, the center of the coupler can be stably maintained such that the railroad cars are stably coupled to each other.

Technical Solution



[0009] In order to accomplish the above objectives, according to the present disclosure,

[0010] a centering device mounted to a railroad car coupler and restoring the coupler to an initial position of the coupler includes: a pair of side-part support members supporting opposite sides of the coupler; a centering part restoring the coupler to the initial position of the coupler by rotating the side-part support members; a mounting bracket installed under a hinge part of the coupler, the centering part being installed at an end part of the mounting bracket.

[0011] Here, the centering part may include: a cover member configured to have a cylindrical shape having an open lower end part; a rubber unit provided inside the cover member and applying a restoring force to the cover member; and a coupling member having a first end part coupled to the cover member and having second end parts coupled to the side-part support members.

[0012] In addition, a lower part of the rubber unit may be fixed to an end part of the mounting bracket, a rotating shaft may be rotatably provided in a center part of the rubber unit by passing vertically therethrough, and an upper end of the rotating shaft may be mounted to a center part of the cover member.

[0013] In this case, the rubber unit may include: a center shaft having a lower end fixed to an end part of the mounting bracket; a body provided at an outside of the center shaft and made of rubber or synthetic rubber; wing parts formed at opposite sides of the body; and a reinforcing member installed at a side surface of each of the wing parts.

[0014] Here, a first spacing part and a second spacing part may be formed at a front part and a rear part, respectively, of the wing parts, and a press member may be fixed to a side of an inner circumferential surface of the cover member, the press member being inserted to the first spacing part.

[0015] Meanwhile, the press member may be formed to have a width larger than a width of the first spacing part, so an initial elastic force of the wing part may occur in a restoring direction of the coupling member.

[0016] In this case, the reinforcing member may be formed to protrude to upper and lower sides of the wing part, and a guide plate may be provided at each of upper and lower parts of the rubber unit, the guide plate having an outer diameter having the same size as a size of an inner diameter of the reinforcing member.

[0017] Here, an anti-rotation protrusion part may be formed at a side of the guide plate, the anti-rotation protrusion part being inserted to an upper or lower end of the first spacing part.

[0018] In addition, a lower-part support member supporting a lower part of the coupler may be provided between the side-part support members, wherein the lower-part support member may include: a lower plate member provided at lower ends of the side-part support members; a buffer member installed on the lower plate member; and a lower-part support plate installed on the buffer member and supporting the lower part of the coupler.

Advantageous Effects



[0019] According to the present disclosure having the above configuration, the centering device includes side-part support members supporting opposite sides of a coupler provided in a railroad car, and a centering part coupled to a lower-part support member supporting a lower part of the coupler, whereby when the coupler is rotated leftward and rightward by external force, the coupler is restored to an initial position thereof, so when coupling railroad cars to each other, even without separate control of the position of the coupler by a manager, the railroad cars are easily coupled to each other.

[0020] In addition, in the centering device of the present disclosure, the rubber unit is provided inside the centering part so as to provide elastic force to the coupler for restoring the coupler to an initial position thereof when the coupler is rotated, wherein the rubber unit includes: the body made of rubber; the wing parts formed at the opposite sides of the body; and the press member provided at the front part of the wing parts, the press member rotating according to the rotation of the coupler, wherein the press member is configured to have a width larger than the width of space between the wing parts, and thus the wing parts at the opposite sides are pressed, whereby only when external force larger than the elastic force of each of the wing parts is applied to the coupler, the coupler is rotated, so during the coupling of railroad cars to each other, despite the application of external force to the coupler, the center of the coupler can be stably maintained such that the railroad cars are stably coupled to each other.

Description of Drawings



[0021] 

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a railroad car coupler to which a centering device according to the present disclosure is mounted.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the centering device according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the centering device according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a centering part of the centering device according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the centering part of the centering device according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the centering part of the centering device according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 7 is a state view of a rubber unit of the centering device during the manufacturing of the rubber unit according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 8 is a state view of the rubber unit in which pretension is applied to the rubber unit of the centering device according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 9 is a state view of the rubber unit provided in the centering device according to the present disclosure when the coupler is rotated.


Best Mode



[0022] Hereinbelow, the exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. The same reference numerals are used for the same components in the drawings, and duplicate descriptions for the same components are omitted. Additionally, it should be understood that the present disclosure may be embodied in multiple different forms, and is not limited to the described embodiment.

[0023] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a railroad car coupler to which a centering device according to the present disclosure is mounted; FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the centering device according to the present disclosure; FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the centering device according to the present disclosure; FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a centering part of the centering device according to the present disclosure; FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the centering part of the centering device according to the present disclosure; FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the centering part of the centering device according to the present disclosure; FIG. 7 is a state view of a rubber unit of the centering device during the manufacturing of the rubber unit according to the present disclosure; FIG. 8 is a state view of the rubber unit in which pretension is applied to the rubber unit of the centering device according to the present disclosure; and FIG. 9 is a state view of the rubber unit provided in the centering device according to the present disclosure when the coupler is rotated.

[0024] The present disclosure relates to the centering device 200 which is mounted to the railroad car coupler and restores the coupler to an initial position thereof. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 9, the centering device 200 is configured by including a pair of side-part support members 500 supporting the opposite sides of the coupler 100 coupling railroad cars to each other; the centering part 400 restoring the coupler 100 to an initial position thereof by rotating each of the side-part support members 500; and a mounting bracket 300 installed under a hinge part 110 of the coupler 100, the centering part 400 being installed at an end part of the mounting bracket 300.

[0025] Accordingly, when the coupler 100 mounted to a railroad car is rotated relative to the hinge part 110 by external force, the coupler 100 is restored to the initial position thereof by the centering device 200 of the present disclosure. Accordingly, during the coupling of railroad cars to each other, the coupler is located at a normal position thereof even without the separate control of the coupler 100 by a manager, so the railroad cars can be stably coupled to each other.

[0026] In addition, the centering part 400 is configured by including: a cover member 410 configured to have a cylindrical shape having an open lower end part; the rubber unit 450 provided inside the cover member 410 and applying a restoring force to the cover member 410; and a coupling member 430 coupling the cover member 410 to the side-part support members 500.

[0027] Here, a central protrusion part 420 is formed at the center part of the upper surface of the cover member 410 by protruding upward therefrom. A first end part of the coupling member 430 is coupled integrally to a side of the central protrusion part 420. The coupling member 430 is formed to have a "V" shape, and the side-part support members 500 are coupled to second opposite end parts of the coupling member 430, respectively, so the cover member 410, the coupling member 430, and the side-part support members 500 are configured to simultaneously rotate.

[0028] Meanwhile, as described above, the lower end part of the cover member 410 is configured to be open, so the lower part of the rubber unit 450 provided inside the cover member 410 is exposed to the outside, wherein the lower part of the rubber unit 450 is mounted to the end part of the mounting bracket 300.

[0029] Here, the rubber unit 450 is made of a hard material such as synthetic resin or metal, and is configured by including a center shaft 451 provided at the center part of the rubber unit 450; a body 452 made of rubber or synthetic rubber and provided at the outside of the center shaft 451; wing parts 453 provided at the opposite sides of the body 452 and made of the same material as the material of the body 452; and a reinforcing member 454 provided at a side surface of each of the wing parts 453 and made of synthetic resin or metal.

[0030] In this case, shaft holes (not shown) are formed at predetermined intervals at the edge of the center shaft 451 by passing vertically therethrough, and shaft holes (not shown) are formed at the end part of the mounting bracket 300 such that the shaft holes of the mounting bracket correspond to the shaft holes of the center shaft. Shafts 310 are inserted to the shaft holes to hold the center shaft 451 such that the center shaft 451 is not rotated.

[0031] In addition, a center hole (not shown) is formed vertically through the center part of the rubber unit 450 and through the center part of the center shaft 451, and a rotating shaft 440 is provided in the center hole, wherein the upper end of the rotating shaft 440 is mounted to the center part of the cover member 410, so the cover member 410 is rotatably provided at the outside of the rubber unit 450.

[0032] Here, a first spacing part 455 and a second spacing part 456 are formed at a front part and a rear part, respectively, of each of the pair of the wing parts 453 formed at opposite sides of the body 452, and a press member 412 is installed at a side of the inner circumferential surface of the cover member 410, wherein the press member 412 is inserted to the first spacing part 455.

[0033] In this case, the cover member 410 coupled to the side-part support members 500 by the coupling member 430 is rotated at the same angle as an angle at which the coupler 100 is rotated when the coupler 100 is rotated by external force, and the press member 412 installed at the inner circumferential surface of the cover member 410 is also rotated and presses a wing part 453 of a side of the pair of wing parts 453, so the wing part 453 is transformed such that the wing part 453 is pushed rearward relative to the body 452.

[0034] Accordingly, as illustrated in FIG. 9, the shape of the rubber unit 450 is changed. Accordingly, due to elastic force of the wing part 453, a restoring force of the wing part 453 by which the transformed state of the wing part 453 is restored to the initial state thereof acts in the wing part 453 made of rubber or synthetic rubber. When the external force is released, the restoring force of the wing part 453 is applied to the press member 412, so the press member 412 is restored to the initial position of thereof.

[0035] Accordingly, as the press member 412 installed at the inner circumferential surface of the cover member 510 is restored, the cover member 410 and the side-part support members 500 are restored to initial positions thereof, and the coupler 100 is also restored to the initial position thereof by the side-part support members 500, whereby the coupler 100 is stably restored to the normal position thereof although a manager does not directly control the direction of the coupler 100.

[0036] Meanwhile, the press member 412 is formed to correspond to the shape of the first spacing part 455. The press member 412 is formed to have a side-to-side width larger than the side-to-side width of the first spacing part 455, so the press member 412 presses the wing parts 453 rearward.

[0037] That is, during the initial manufacturing of the rubber unit 450, the rubber unit 450 is formed as illustrated in FIG. 7. When the press member 412 is inserted to the first spacing part 455, the wing part 453 is transformed as illustrated in FIG. 8. Accordingly, due to the elastic force of the wing part 453, the restoring force of restoring the wing part 453 to an initial shape thereof occurs in the wing part 453.

[0038] Accordingly, due to the insertion of the press member 412 to the first spacing part 455, initial elastic force which didn't occur in the wing part 453 prior to the insertion of the press member 412 occurs in the wing part 453. Accordingly, when external force applied to the coupler 100 is smaller than the initial elastic force of the wing part 453, the coupler 100 is not rotated randomly. When the coupler 100 is required to be rotated, the external force applied to the coupler 100 is increased more than the initial elastic force of the wing part 453 to rotate the coupler 100.

[0039] Of course, it is natural that the initial elastic force is appropriately adjusted according to a situation of a railroad car to which the coupler 100 is mounted.

[0040] In addition, the reinforcing member 454 is made of a hard material such as synthetic resin or metal, and is formed to have an arc shape corresponding to the outer surface of the wing part 453 and is attached thereto. The reinforcing member 454 is formed to have vertical thickness larger than the vertical thickness of the wing part 453 such that the reinforcing member 454 protrudes to the upper and lower sides of the wing part 453.

[0041] Here, a guide plate 460 formed to have a shape of a circular plate is provided at each of the upper and lower parts of the rubber unit 450. The guide plate 460 is formed to have an outer diameter having the same size as the size of an inner diameter of the reinforcing member 454, so the guide plate 460 is located inside the reinforcing member 454 protruding vertically.

[0042] In this case, an anti-rotation protrusion part 461 inserted to the first spacing part 455 is provided at a side of the guide plate 460. The anti-rotation protrusion part 461 is formed to have an arc shape and to have length corresponding to a distance between the reinforcing members 454 which corresponds to the first spacing part 455.

[0043] Here, a central hole (not shown) is formed at the center part of the guide plate 460 such that the rotating shaft 440 passes vertically through the central hole, and shaft holes are formed at the outside of the central hole by passing vertically therethrough such that the shaft holes of the center part correspond to the shaft holes formed at the center shaft 451, so the guide plate 460 is also held by the above-mentioned shafts such that the guide plate 460 is not rotated.

[0044] Accordingly, the anti-rotation protrusion part 461 of the guide plate 460 is provided to be in contact with the inner circumferential surface of the reinforcing member 454 installed at the outside of the wing part 453, whereby when the reinforcing member 454 is pressed rearward by the press member 412 and the wing part 453 is transformed, the guide plate 460 prevents the wing part 453 from being pushed inward, so the wing part 453 is transformed in the direction of being pushed rearward along the outer circumferential surface of the guide plate 460.

[0045] Furthermore, the anti-rotation protrusion part 461 formed at a side of the guide plate 460 provided at each of the upper and lower parts of the rubber unit 450 is inserted to each of the upper and lower parts of the first spacing part 455, whereby when a wing part 453 at a second side is about to be rotated at the same direction as the rotation direction of a wing part 453 of a first side while the wing part 453 at the first side is pushed rearward by being pressed, the anti-rotation protrusion part 461 prevents the wing part 453 at the second side from being rotated at the same direction as the rotation direction of the wing part 453 of the first side, so due to the transformation of the wing part 453 at the first side, the elastic force of the wing part 453 at the first side is further increased, and thus the wing part 453 of the first side can be more rapidly restored to the initial position thereof.

[0046] Meanwhile, a receiving part (not shown) is formed at the center part of each of the upper and lower guide plates 460 such each of the upper and lower ends of the center shaft 451 is inserted to the receiving part so as to more facilitate the assembly of the guide plates 460 with the center shaft 451, and an inner receiving part (not shown) is formed even at the center part of the inner lower surface of the cover member 410 such that the receiving part protruding from the upper part of the guide plate 460 is received in the inner receiving part so as to facilitate the assembly of the guide plate with the cover member.

[0047] In this case, a central hole (not shown) is formed at the center part of the central protrusion part 420 formed at the center part of the upper surface of the cover member 410 such that the upper end of the rotating shaft 440 passes vertically through the central hole, and a through hole is formed horizontally through the central protrusion part 420, whereby a fixing pin 422 is inserted to the through hole so as to pass horizontally through the rotating shaft 440 located inside the central protrusion part 420 such that the rotating shaft 440 is held inside the central protrusion part 420.

[0048] In addition, a lower-part support member 600 is provided between the side-part support members 500. The lower-part support member 600 is composed of a lower plate member 610 provided at the lower ends of the side-part support members 500; a buffer member 620 installed on the lower plate member 610; and a lower-part support plate 630 installed on the buffer member 620 and supporting the lower part of the coupler 100.

[0049] Accordingly, the buffer member 620 can stably support the weight of the coupler 100 and absorb vertical vibration occurring during driving of a railroad car, thereby improving ride comfort.

[0050] Although the exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure has been described for illustrative purposes, the scope of the claims of the present disclosure is not limited thereto, but reaches up to what is within scope substantially equal to the embodiment of the present disclosure. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications are possible, without departing from the spirit of the present disclosure.


Claims

1. A centering device mounted to a railroad car coupler and restoring the coupler to an initial position of the coupler, the centering device comprising:

a pair of side-part support members supporting opposite sides of the coupler;

a centering part restoring the coupler to the initial position of the coupler by rotating the side-part support members;

a mounting bracket installed under a hinge part of the coupler, the centering part being installed at an end part of the mounting bracket.


 
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the centering part comprises:

a cover member configured to have a cylindrical shape having an open lower end part;

a rubber unit provided inside the cover member and applying a restoring force to the cover member; and

a coupling member having a first end part coupled to the cover member and having second end parts coupled to the side-part support members.


 
3. The device of claim 2, wherein a lower part of the rubber unit is fixed to an end part of the mounting bracket,

a rotating shaft is rotatably provided in a center part of the rubber unit by passing vertically therethrough, and

an upper end of the rotating shaft is mounted to a center part of the cover member.


 
4. The device of claim 3, wherein the rubber unit comprises:

a center shaft having a lower end fixed to an end part of the mounting bracket;

a body provided at an outside of the center shaft and made of rubber or synthetic rubber;

wing parts formed at opposite sides of the body; and

a reinforcing member installed at a side surface of each of the wing parts.


 
5. The device of claim 4, wherein a first spacing part and a second spacing part are formed at a front part and a rear part, respectively, of the wing parts, and
a press member is fixed to a side of an inner circumferential surface of the cover member, the press member being inserted to the first spacing part.
 
6. The device of claim 5, wherein the press member is formed to have a width larger than a width of the first spacing part, so an initial elastic force of the wing part occurs in a restoring direction of the coupling member.
 
7. The device of claim 6, wherein the reinforcing member is formed to protrude to upper and lower sides of the wing part, and
a guide plate is provided at each of upper and lower parts of the rubber unit, the guide plate having an outer diameter having the same size as a size of an inner diameter of the reinforcing member.
 
8. The device of claim 7, wherein an anti-rotation protrusion part is formed at a side of the guide plate, the anti-rotation protrusion part being inserted to an upper or lower end of the first spacing part.
 
9. The device of claim 1, wherein a lower-part support member supporting a lower part of the coupler is provided between the side-part support members,
wherein the lower-part support member comprises:

a lower plate member provided at lower ends of the side-part support members;

a buffer member installed on the lower plate member; and

a lower-part support plate installed on the buffer member and supporting the lower part of the coupler.


 




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