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Publication numberUS20060048924 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/006,228
Publication dateMar 9, 2006
Filing dateDec 7, 2004
Priority dateAug 31, 2004
Publication number006228, 11006228, US 2006/0048924 A1, US 2006/048924 A1, US 20060048924 A1, US 20060048924A1, US 2006048924 A1, US 2006048924A1, US-A1-20060048924, US-A1-2006048924, US2006/0048924A1, US2006/048924A1, US20060048924 A1, US20060048924A1, US2006048924 A1, US2006048924A1
InventorsSameer Desai
Original AssigneeValeo, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fluid reservoir for modular systems
US 20060048924 A1
Abstract
A module, particularly on motorized or automotive vehicles, comprising parts such as a housing and/or shrouds or the like and fluid reservoirs containing fluids, such as heat exchange fluids and the like, is provided. Advantageously, the reservoir comprises one or more leak proof flow through holes or openings. The module has a first part or a carrier or shroud, that, when properly aligned or positioned relative to a second part or fluid reservoir, provides for a through flow of air from the front to the back of the first part and second part aligned combination.
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Claims(17)
1. A module particularly for motorized or automotive vehicles having an element for providing efficient heat exchange for the vehicle comprising:
a housing;
at least one fluid reservoir for an automotive fluid;
at least one fluid communication point on or adjacent to the at least one fluid reservoir;
at least one hole or opening in the housing through which air can flow;
at least one slot in the fluid reservoir through which air can flow;
wherein the at least one hole or opening in the housing is at least partially aligned with the at least one slot in the fluid reservoir so that air can flow through both the housing and the fluid reservoir.
2. A module, according to claim 1, wherein the housing is positioned such that air flows through it prior to flowing through the fluid reservoir.
3. A module according to claim 1, wherein the housing is positioned such that air flows through it after flowing through the reservoir.
4. A module according to claim 1, wherein the fluid reservoir has a closing means.
5. A module according to claim 1, wherein the point of fluid communication is port, hose or connector.
6. A module according to claim 1, further comprising a fan and a shroud.
7. A module according to claim 6, wherein the shroud is a fan shroud and wherein at least part of the air flow through the housing and fluid reservoir is drawn or blown through the at least one opening and at least one slot.
8. A module according to claim 7, wherein the at least one slot of the at least one fluid reservoir is placed away from and not in the line of direct air flow with the air flow coming through the module to or from the fan through the fan shroud.
9. A module of a vehicle, and, particularly a motorized or automotive vehicle, having an element for providing efficient heat exchange for the vehicle comprising:
a front end carrier or bolster;
a least one fluid reservoir for an automotive fluid;
a means for providing fluid to the fluid reservoir;
at least one hole or opening in the front end carrier or bolster through which air can flow;
at least one slot in the fluid reservoir through which air can flow;
wherein the at least one hole or opening in the front end carrier or bolster is at least partially aligned with the at least one slot in the fluid reservoir so that air can flow through both the front end carrier or bolster and the fluid reservoir.
10. A module as in claim 9, wherein the at least one hole or opening in the front end carrier or bolster is completely or almost completely aligned with the at least one slot in the fluid reservoir.
11. A modules as in claim 10, wherein the carrier or bolster and fluid reservoir is directly or indirectly attached or molded to one another.
12. A module as in claim 11, wherein there are at least two holes or openings in the front end carrier or bolster.
13. A module as in claim 8, wherein the fluid reservoir is blow molded.
14. A module as in claim 12, wherein the fluid reservoir is blow molded.
15. A module as in claim 1 wherein the housing is a one part housing.
16. A module as in claim 1 wherein the housing is comprised of more than one part.
17. A module for use in environments requiring efficient heat exchange comprising:
a first part wherein no fluid capable of heat exchange is stored or flows;
a second part wherein a fluid capable of heat exchange is stored or flows;
a means for providing fluid to the second part;
at least one flow through hole or opening in the first part through which air can flow;
at least one flow through hole or opening in the second part through which air can flow;
wherein the at least one flow through hole or opening in the first part is at least partially aligned with the at least one flow through hole or opening in the second part so that air can flow through both the first part and the second part reservoir.
Description

This application claims priority of provisional application U.S. Ser. No. 60/605,806 filed Aug. 31, 2004

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to cooling systems, and, in particular, to automotive cooling systems, wherein coolant expansion changes need to be managed efficiently. It further relates to motorized or automotive modules, and, in particular, modules that comprise heat exchangers and fluid reservoirs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In modern day motorized or automotive cooling systems, coolant expansion changes must be efficiently managed for overall effective functioning of such systems. Expansion changes have often been managed by use of reserve bottles or reservoirs or the like. The prior art has often provided for the use of such reservoirs as a separate part attached in the engine compartment to an engine cooling module or to other vehicle components or structure.

Vehicle modules, and, in particular, modules comprising heat exchangers and some sort of fluid chamber or reservoir are known in the art. U.S. Pat. No. 3,692,004, Tangue, et al, issued Sep. 19, 1972, discloses a fan shroud and fluid storage chamber arrangement wherein radiator fluid and windshield washer fluid chambers are provided integrally molded on opposite side surfaces of the cylindrical wall surrounding the air flow opening. Other patents, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,649,587, Plant, issued Jul. 22, 1997, disclose fan shroud and receptacle arrangements in which there is a shaped hollow body. Oppositely disposed recesses are formed in a front and rear face of the fan shroud to form a wall for dividing the hollow body into two or more internal fluid storage chambers.

Modern engine design often now includes a plurality of chambers for engine coolant fluid. The fluid must circulate through the radiator core for the usual cooling process. The cooling process is often supplemented by addition of a fan, such as an independently driven electric fan from the engine or driven by a belt by a crank shaft on the engine itself.

Such aids are necessary, of course, due to the fact that there is an ever present need to have more efficient heat exchange in the area of the radiator and accompanying components in a cooling system, and, therefore, new and/or improved means to increase cooling are desirable in motor vehicle applications.

Several attempts have been made to integrate parts, such as cooing system reservoirs, into other parts, such as radiator fan shrouds. In general, overall approaches to reservoir placement and/or integration, as seen in the prior art, have focused on: 1) providing for a separate bottle on the shroud; 2) providing for a bottle integrated in the shroud by a blow molding process; or 3) providing for a part of a bottle to be integrated in to the fan shroud by an injection molding process. Typically, a fan shroud is a shroud useful for placing in front of or in back of a fan, depending of its orientation, wherethrough air flows through the shroud prior to or after being pulled, pushed or otherwise directed by the fan.

W00139949, published Jun. 7, 2001, to Mccord Winn Textron, provides for a reservoir included in the many different configurations by blow molding. U.S. Pat. No. 6,041,744, issued Mar. 28, 2000, to Oota et al., provides for coolant use solutions whereby part of a reservoir body is injection molded as an integral part of the radiator fan shroud structure. These general approaches, however, have yielded highly undesirable affects—they, in most cases, end up having reservoirs or bottles that eventually block the air flow path so desired for efficient cooling of modern automotive heat exchangers and cooling systems. In virtually all of the above-mentioned solutions, blockage or diversion of air or ‘air paths’ so critical for efficient cooling of modern day systems, occurs, as the bottles or reservoirs are often placed, for example, either directly or indirectly in front of, or in back of, the automotive fan should.

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,971,062, issued Oct. 26, 1999, to Sadr et al, a fan shroud comprising a housing provide with an opening for permitting air flow through the front and rear walls, the walls being described as coextensive, substantially continuous surfaces defining therebetween uniform molded fluid storage thickness. The housing has at least two molded fluid storage chambers comprising a one piece housing comprised of the front and back walls, and, at least one molded fluid storage chamber comprising a plurality of individual storage modules with interconnections. However, this arrangement does not acknowledge or attempt to solve the problem of placement of such components in efficient engine cooling modules or systems. The placement of such a storage chamber ‘behind’ or aligned with a through hole in the housing or shroud, is not described.

The need, therefore, that developed out of modern engine cooling system requirements, still exists for a vehicle, and, in particular a vehicle such as an automotive vehicle with a module or modular fluid system, that not only serves a storage function, but ideally aids in the achievement of higher and/or more efficient levels of heat exchange and cost effective. Such a need, particularly exists to handle the requirements of modern automotive engine cooling demands. The present invention addresses this need, while, at the same time providing a heretofore unrecognized use of a reservoir as part of a module with the added effect of not only having decreased, or reduced costs, but also, potentially, an increased thermal exchange.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to modules, such as modules with elements or components used in heat exchange, particularly for vehicles, such as motorized or automotive vehicles. So called ‘engine cooling’ modules or ‘front end modules’ or carriers or bolsters, in accordance with the present invention, further comprise elements or components, often used in assemblies useful for efficient heat exchange, particularly suited for automotive or motorized vehicle fluid or liquid circulating or cooling systems. In preferred aspects of the present invention, a bottle or reservoir is provided that has, as a dual function, storage of a liquid or fluid and, in particular, a fluid capable of heat exchange (fluid reservoir), while allowing improved overall or more efficient cooling by the module or assembly. Also this invention covers the scenario where more than one fluid are handled through reservoirs which are separately integrated or made of multiple separated chambers of the reservoir. The present invention, by providing for both functions in a single module or assembly, leads to cost benefits over prior art bottle and shroud or similar combinations.

In preferred aspects of the present invention, a reservoir, chamber, bottle or the like (fluid reservoir) is provided as an integrated or separate part of an assembly and/or module, such as an engine cooling or front end module or bolster. Preferably the fluid reservoir has at least one opening (slot). The fluid reservoir maintains its fluid(s) within its confines or walls. In the present invention, an area or zone of the walls of the fluid reservoir is constructed so as to form at least one passageway or opening in the fluid reservoir (slot) where air can pass through the fluid reservoir without contacting the fluid therein. Preferably, the fluid reservoir has two or more slots at areas or zones where the reservoir is exposed to the exterior environment or outside air at the exterior surface of the reservoir and exposed to the fluid inside on the interior surface of the reservoir. Preferably, at least one or two or more holes or opening(s) (slot(s)) is a through slot, i.e., the slot allows for air to pass or flow from the front or initial air flow contact area of the fluid reservoir to the opposite, back or posterior side of the fluid reservoir, front and back being determined by the placement of the fluid reservoir in the module and the direction of air flow in the normal environment of the engine cooling module or system. In preferred embodiments, since the air normally passes or flows over or is pushed or pulled through from the anterior or front end of the automobile to the posterior or back end of the vehicle, the fluid reservoir is placed such that the air can pass or flow, be pushed or pulled through the slot or slots in the fluid reservoir under normal vehicle operation conditions, from one side to the other of the reservoir in such as fashion that the fluid reservoir preserves the function of bottle as a reservoir (maintaining fluids within without leakage or outside contact) while also allowing for improved cooling. By providing for through slots through the fluid reservoir for air passage, air flow that normally would be blocked or stopped by certain elements associated with other modules or assemblies of the vehicle, such as, for example, bolsters, shrouds or the like in a fan assembly in a vehicle, is no longer blocked and can pass or flow over or ‘through’ areas or zones of the fluid reservoir previously inaccessible in prior art vehicles. The present invention provides, therefore, for air to pass or flow through areas wherein previously inefficient, practically inexistent or inappropriate heat exchange could occur or dead zones, thereby increasing the heat exchange capacity of the entire module.

In particularly preferred embodiments, the presence of such through slots, and, in particular, slots formed by partitions or divisions in the fluid reservoir forming chambers or sections, in the fluid reservoirs can be especially important. For example, preferred embodiments of the present invention allow for air to get through to areas where efficient heat exchange can occur, particularly when the vehicle is moving at high speeds, that would not be achievable due to conditions such as fan ‘block’; minimalized passage due to reservoir ‘block’ wherein there are no through slots or openings; or wherein the fan output cannot keep up with the desired exchange of air over the heat exchange surface of the heat exchanger alone due to the increase volume and/or velocity of air passage. By having the reservoir, and, in particular, one or more slots of the reservoir, partially aligned, or, preferably, in at least 50% alignment, with and, even more preferably, at least between 70-100% aligned with at least one opening in the shroud or other modular part, simplicity, lower cost and improved system performance and competitiveness occur over current solutions. The slot or, preferably, slots, can be of practically any shape, such as round, square, oval, rectangular, triangular or any other shape or modification of one of the basic shapes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a prior art shroud with major part of the reservoir injection molded and with one opening for fan;

FIG. 2 is a front view of a prior art where injection molded shroud have two openings for fans where blow molded fluid reservoir is attached to the shroud mechanically;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a prior art blow molded shroud on the top section having two separate chambers for two different fluids and bottom section is injection molded;

FIG. 4 a is a front view of shroud and reservoir with at least one opening to allow air passage and at least one slot bearing fluid reservoir, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 b is a front view of the shroud only showing the openings;

FIG. 4 c is a front view of a reservoir bearing at least one slot in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 5 a and 5 b are front and rear views, respectfully, of a shroud with reservoir having at least one opening and one slot in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of shroud plus fluid reservoir showing detailed features in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 7 a is a partial section view of along line 960-960 of FIG. 6;

FIGS. 7 b and 7 c show prior art without through holes or slots along partial section view;

FIG. 8 is front view of a blow molded shroud with at least one opening therethrough, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 9 and 10 are alternative views of fluid reservoirs and openings or slots, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, FIG. 9 having more than one slot, FIG. 10 having one slot.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a module comprising a housing or shroud, or, preferably, a housing and shroud, the housing, shroud or housing and shroud having, preferably, front and rear walls and top and bottom walls or structures. The housing or shroud or housing and shroud has or defines at least one hole or opening, and, preferably, two or more holes or openings, to permit air flow through the front and back walls or structures of the housing, shroud or housing and shroud. The at least one hole or opening is a through hole or opening. The present invention also provides for at least one fluid reservoir, and, in particular, a fluid reservoir, that may contain fluids useful for heat exchange applications. The at least one fluid reservoir has at least on one hole or opening (slot), and, preferably, two or more holes or openings (slots), to permit air flow through externally through the slot or slots, from the front to the back of the reservoir. At least one of the at least one fluid reservoirs is partially, more preferably, fully aligned with at least one hole or opening of the housing, shroud or housing and shroud such that the air flows through the front and back walls or structures of the housing, shroud or housing and shroud, and at least partially, and preferably, more than 50%, more preferably, up to about 100% of the air flow that flows through the front and back walls or structures of the housing, shroud or housing and shroud at the hole or opening flows through at least one fluid reservoir through the slot or slots of the fluid reservoir.

The fluid reservoir can be made of various materials, including metal or metallic materials or alloys, preferably steel or alloys.

In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the fluid reservoir is made of a resin or resin like material. Most preferred materials are filled or unfilled plastic or plastic like materials.

As described above, prior art techniques included having a blow molded bottle attached to a shroud, often integrated into the blow molded shroud or, in certain cases, injection molded, having a part of the bottle body with separate cover, or in some cases, an integral or integrated cover included as a part of the shroud. The present invention, in preferred embodiments, provides for an assembly or ‘module’ or assembly having a carrier or ‘bolster’, particularly for use in motorized or automobile cooling systems, having, a fluid reservoir either positioned to be free standing, or as an integrated part of a module or attached thereto.

The module or bolster may be produced by a variety of methods such as molding. Particularly preferred are modules that include a shroud, such as a fan shroud, that can be molded. Also preferred are modules that have blown or injection molded features. More preferred are modules that include structural features that have openings therein to provide for air passage from the front to the back, or back to the front end of a module, in particular, a front end module. Also more preferred are modules that include structural features that have openings therein, and a fluid reservoir placed in front of or behind the openings. Even more preferred are modules that have reservoirs that have slots therein that correspond directly with or are aligned with the openings of the modules. Also even more preferred are modules that have at least one shroud, such as a fan shroud, the fan shroud having, at least, one opening for the fan, as well as, in preferred embodiments, at least one additional opening in the shroud for air passage from the front to the back end of the shroud (shroud opening), and a fluid reservoir, wherein the fluid reservoir has at least one slot whereby air can pass from the front to the back of the reservoir, and wherein the at least one slot is placed behind or downstream of the at least one opening, or, preferably, one additional opening in the shroud, and the at least one slot on the fluid reservoir is at least partially aligned, more preferred almost directly aligned, with the opening in the shroud, so that a substantial amount, and, preferably, a majority of the air flow that passes through the shroud opening subsequently passes through the slot of the reservoir.

In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the shroud or bolster, and, most preferably, the shroud, is a blow or injection molded shroud although other shaping methods can be used to form the shroud or front end carrier or ‘bolsters’. In more preferred embodiments of the present invention wherein the reservoir or reservoirs are injection molded, the fluid reservoir has partitions or divisions which create the at least one slot within the fluid reservoir, while allowing the reservoir to remain leak-free. In preferred embodiments with reservoirs with partitions or divisions, chambers or sections are also created by the partitions or divisions form to form separate parts or areas in the fluid reservoir.

In other preferred embodiments of the present invention, a shroud is provided. The reservoir, in more preferred embodiments, is blow molded and is a separate element or part attached to or fixed on or against the shroud or between the shroud and other elements or parts of the module. In other more preferred embodiments, the shroud is blow molded, and the reservoir (or reservoirs) is integrated via the blow molding process, into the shroud.

In the modules of the present invention, other parts than reservoirs and shrouds, can also be integrated or attached to or as part of the module. In preferred embodiments, for example, a line or ‘hose’ can be integrated into the module in an area, such as particularly, a shroud, and, in particular, a fan shroud. The line or hose is, therefore, integrated into the module at an area such as the shroud.

In addition, also in preferred embodiments of the present invention, a means, such as a reservoir filling or relief means such as a fluid communication point, is, provided. A fluid communication point as described herein, is a means for allowing ingress or egress of fluid from the fluid reservoir. A fluid communication point can, therefore, can consist of a single hole, slot or channel, port, hose, connector or the like that allows for fluid communication either into or out of the reservoir. Said reservoir filling or relief means can be of the form of an opening, preferably an opening with cap or top which covers part of the reservoir wherein filling with fluid or relief of pressure can occur, as well as a sealing area where the cap or top and the fluid reservoir meet. Such reservoir filling means may be made of a number of materials. Preferably, said filling or relief means is made of a material capable of being deformable to form a seal at the seal area. More preferred materials are plastic or plastic like or resin or resin like material. In more preferred embodiments the top or cap can be integrated in design with the reservoir itself or another part, more preferably with the reservoir itself, and comprise a means, such as a hinging means or ‘living hinge design’ which allows the manufacture of integrated cap. As recognized in the industry, the living hinge allows a joint between two parts which is flexible to allow movement between components, specifically for assembly and disassembly. In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the living hinge, therefore, can open and close the cap for filling and sealing the fluid.

In preferred embodiments of the present invention, a fluid reservoir with at least one slot or opening, and, preferably, at least two ‘through holes’ or ‘through openings’, (through slots) is provided. The through slots can be of any size or shape desired. Preferably, the through slots can be aerodynamically designed to allow smooth air flow. The fluid reservoir can consist of single or multiple chambers or compartments to hold different fluids. In preferred embodiments, the fluid reservoir can have channels (interior) or grooves (exterior) on the surfaces. Preferably, the external grooves allow for additional air to be directed towards a through slot or opening, depending on the orientation of the fluid reservoir. The fluid reservoir may also have partitions, tabs or walls on the interior of the reservoir. The partitions, tabs or walls on the interior of the fluid reservoir can act as either structural supports for the fluid reservoir or as features to reduce ‘buoyancy’ or extreme fluid movements within the reservoir that may be influenced or influence the effect of the through passage of the air or the overall performance of the heat exchange of the fluid. By partitions, tabs or walls it is understood that these are projections, either completely from the interior of one part of the reservoir to the interior of another part of the fluid reservoir, or incompletely, extending from the interior of one part of the reservoir towards the interior of the reservoir, and can be formed either internally, externally, or through other means that cause the reservoir to have projections or other structures that influence the distribution or flow of fluid through the reservoir. The fluid reservoir can be made out of almost any material capable of being formed or molded for use in automotive or motorized module or assemblies, particularly heat exchange or engine cooling modules or assemblies, more particularly fan and shroud type assemblies, and more particularly front end module type assembly or ‘bolsters’.

Preferably the fluid reservoir is made of plastic or plastic like or resin or resin-type materials. Also the reservoir can be made of transparent, semi-transparent or opaque material to allow fluid visibility for service and fill. Also the reservoir can have local areas formed which are transparent, semi-transparent or opaque where color matching is needed. Where color matching is needed dip sticks are provided to measure the level of fluid within the reservoir.

The fluid reservoir of various aspects of the present invention may extend partially or fully across the surface of a bolster, housing, shroud or housing and shroud. The fluid reservoir may further comprise an expansion tank for use with various fluids. Other embodiments of the present invention include direct connections via tubes, hoses or the like, between fluid reservoir and heat exchange devices, e.g. radiators.

The present invention provides for the flow through of air from the ‘front’ to the ‘back’ of a module, including its constituent parts, at specific areas of the module. In preferred embodiments, air flow passes not only through openings in parts such as the shroud, but also through the fluid reservoir itself, at particularly desired locations. In preferred embodiments of the present invention, a shroud having at least one through hole or opening and a fluid reservoir having at least one slot is provided, the at least one through slot of the reservoir at least partially aligned, and, more preferably, fully aligned (to provide for maximum air flow through), with the at least one through hole or opening of the shroud, and attached or fitted in such a manner that the at least one through slot of the reservoir and the at least one through hole of the shroud remain in at least partial alignment while the vehicle is in operation.

By providing for a reservoir or reservoir sections with a slot or slots at locations that either partially or fully align with housing, housing and shroud or other module parts to provide through-flow of air from the front to the back of the module, the placement of the holes or openings at the desired locations lead to improve air passage providing higher heat exchange and thus more efficient systems.

In other preferred embodiments of the present invention, a shroud or front end carrier or bolster is provided. The shroud or front end carrier is, preferably, molded, more preferably, injection molded or blow molded or rotational molded, though it may be made from sheet metal or magnesium, casted or compression molded or resin casted or hollow molded, lost core molded, insert molded or overmolded, etc. In preferred embodiments, the injection molded shroud or front end carrier is produced to have an integrated, (i.e. one piece design or totally incorporated/integrated design), with the at least one fluid reservoir and slots are provided at the desired location to allow air to pass through from the front to the back of the shroud with integrated fluid reservoir. In other preferred embodiments, the shroud is injection molded or front end carrier or bolster is injection molded. In more preferred embodiments, the injection molded shroud or carrier has a two or more piece or part design or a non-totally incorporated or non-integrated design. In these more preferred embodiments, the pieces or parts have at least one opening, and, if more than one opening, preferably, the majority of openings, more preferably, all openings, aligned with slots and each other such that when they are joined by any liquid tight operation (i.e. when the parts are fixed or attached to each other without allowing for a reservoir breech or leak area to occur) they provide openings and slot combinations for air to pass through from the front to the back of the shroud plus additional piece or part of the fluid reservoir. These opening or slots can also have flaps or covers. Though flaps or covers in areas away from the reservoir are known, the use of flaps or covers for slots as in the present invention have the advantage of being controlled to adapt to the needs of the vehicle when air is needed the most; for example the flaps will open at high speeds where fan becomes a blockage and cooling system needs more air.

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, prior art designs are shown of shrouds, a prior art injection molded shroud with mechanically attached blow molded bottle; and a prior art blow molded shroud.

FIG. 1 shows the prior art configuration (100) where shroud body (101) is injection molded which has an opening for fan (104), additional openings for air passage (103), partially integrated bottle body (102) and a cap with necessary interfaces (105).

FIG. 2 shows the prior art configuration (200) where injection molded shroud body (201) has openings for fans (203 & 204), has separate reservoir (202) with interface feature (205) which is mechanically attached at three points (206, 207) and (208).

FIG. 3 shows the prior art configuration (300) where top section (302) of the shroud is blow molded having two separate chambers (303) and (304) for two different fluids, has opening for fan to pull air (305), has interface for each fluids (306) and (307), has blocked area (308) and reservoir sections, has bottom section (301) injection molded and attached to top section (302) through mechanical means at (309) and (310).

FIGS. 4 a and 4 b illustrate an embodiment in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. Plastic reservoir part (400) is shaped to provide walls (407, 409) which provide openings which align completely or almost completely with opening (510, 509) of the shroud. (504, 503) are area for placement of the fan in the shroud where no reservoir is found. FIG. 4 c shows a reservoir as a separate part (600) with holes or openings (610, 609) for alignment with housing, shroud or housing and shroud, closing means or cap wherein a connection such as an elbow connection (605) is shown, (606, 607) and (608) are mechanical attachment means provided to attach to shroud or other components of the module.

FIG. 4 a illustrates contrastively the present invention over prior art such as that referenced in FIG. 2. (400) has injection molded shroud body (401) and reservoir (402) mechanically attached to shroud body (401) through (406,407) and (408). The assembly has slots (409) and (410) for air to pass through. The reservoir (402) has interface for fluid communication connection (405). The assembly has openings for fan (403) and (404).

FIG. 4 b illustrates shroud body (501) showing the details of the openings (509) and (510).

FIG. 4 c shows the inventions and improvement specific to reservoir body (600) showing the details of the slots (609) and (610).

FIG. 5 a and b shroud (701) body is shown, with flow through hole or openings (810) (811) in the shroud body and flow through hole in reservoir body (709) (710). Fluid reservoir (702) is molded as a separate part and joined to shroud at joint (706) forming a chamber, cavity or space (712) for retaining fluid.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show an injection molded shroud with separate parts, put together by joining technologies such as bonding, welding, hollow molding, or the like. Preferred is plastic welding or adhesive bonding, also preferred is hollow molding and the like. Sealing features (912), closing means or cap (705, 905) wherein a connection such as an elbow connection (not shown) can be positioned, as well as a line/hose connection for return. Plastic reservoir part (702) is shaped to provide slots (709,710) which align completely or almost completely with opening (809, 810) of the shroud as well as a line/hose connection (706) for return.

In FIG. 5 is shown an injection molded fluid reservoir as a separate part used in combination with the shroud. Reservoir (702) with slots (709) and (710) is aligned with shroud holes (809) and (810) to allow air to pass through and allow the heat exchanger area to be increased, thereby leading to higher heat exchange capacity and/or heat exchanger efficiency, especially at high speeds.

FIG. 5 a comparatively, shows advantages over prior art reference FIG. 1 of the present invention in frontal isometric view. (700) has injection molded shroud body (701) and part of the reservoir body (702) joined with fluid tight operation to seal parting line (712) between shroud and reservoir body. The openings in the shroud and reservoir body for air passages are illustrated as (709) and (710) respectively. Reservoir body or shroud body can have other parts integral or separate such as fluid interface (706) and (705) for required fluid communication. Also shroud body in the non-reservoir area has air passage openings (711) and opening for fan (714).

FIG. 5 b shows a rear isometric view of FIG. 5 a. (800) shows slots (809) and

    • (810), as well as openings for air passage in the non-reservoir section (811) and opening for fan (804).

FIG. 6 illustrates an embodiment in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. (906) provides for fluid communication between reservoir and the external components.

FIG. 6 illustrates in more detail, an embodiment similar to that described in FIGS. 5 a and 5 b. (900) shows the details of openings (909) and (910), the partial body of fluid reservoir (902) joined at parting section (a plane or area where two parts are joined) (912) to the shroud or carrier body (901). The fluid interface or communication features means are illustrated as (905) and (906) on the reservoir side of the body (902) although it could alternatively be on shroud side if the parting section or joint plane is changed such that the section ‘moves’ on shroud body (901). Two part construction (not shown) and multiple parting sections, may also be used. Slots (909, 910) are illustrated, as well as shroud non-reservoir openings (911). The fluid communication means allows fluid movement to occur between a tube or tubes (not shown) that can be connected, for example, at port 906 or at a reservoir filling area such as an opening port shown here preferably with a cap or top. Optional flap 913 to cover or close slot is also illustrated.

FIG. 7 a illustrates an embodiment in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. Shroud body (1001) is shown with hole or openings (1010) and (1009). The shroud is part of the body of the reservoir, with the separated molded part (1002) joined to the shroud to form a space (1013) for retaining fluid. Optional flap (1011) that can be in variable open or closed positions over a slot or slots of the reservoir is also illustrated. FIGS. 7 b and 7 c, show the prior art where two parts are joined, with no openings or holes for air passage.

FIG. 7 a shows the section view (1000) which is section (960) as shown in FIG. 6. Here shroud (1001) forms part of the reservoir body and rest of the body of the reservoir is formed by (1002) and when joined at (1012) forms body of the reservoir (1013) with air slots (1009) and (1010). Section (1000) also illustrates one of the fluid communication path (1006). Not illustrated here is that many different joints can be envisioned which can allow more than one reservoirs formed.

FIG. 7 b shows prior art where the section shows no provision for air passages. The wall 18 meets or joined to wall 20 extending to form 50(a), 52 and 50 b and 60 a representing the reservoir areas.

FIG. 7 c shows prior art where the section again shows no provision for air passages such as in FIG. 7 a, as wall 18 extending the height and wall (20) extends to form chambers or reservoirs (52) and (62), thereby not allowing passage of air through the joined component.

FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. The shroud blocks heat exchanger surface openings except where provided for at (1108). FIG. 8 further illustrates the present invention and improvement over for example prior art referenced in the FIG. 3 in frontal view. (1100) has shroud made in two parts (1101) and (1102); which can be made in one part if needed. The air opening for fan to push or pull air is illustrated at (1105). An electrically or hydraulically driven fan, if needed, can be provided with a separate fan mounting structure can be added to (100) (not shown). The top section of shroud (1102) is blow molded to have two separate sections (1103) and (1104) for two different fluids. Separate sections can have fluid communication means such as shown as examples at (1111) and (1112). Also provided for are fluid fill and service interfaces (1106) or (1007). Such reservoirs can carry pumps and sensors (not shown) to satisfy system needs. Sections (1101) and (1102) are joined mechanically at (1109) and (1110, 1100) has openings in reservoir areas at location (1108). One or ordinary skill in the art can envision embodiments in different areas of reservoir, depending on the need for air based on the requirements of the specific system. Also as described previously the reservoir slots through which air passes can be equipped with flaps or covers to manage the air flow.

As described in above figures it is envisioned similar improvements on shrouds and front end carriers or bolsters.

FIG. 9 shows fluid communication paths to and or from the reservoir. Slot (1209) and (1210) are created in the assembly (1200) as described previously in fluid reservoir (1202) and shroud (1201). Opening (1211) in shroud (1201) is shown in a non-reservoir area. The reservoir is shown with section (1213) a more transparent section compared to the remaining assembly. The small transparent section allows higher transparency even when the other part of the assembly is not transparent enough to allow one to see the level of the fluid; or section (1213) is made transparent enough to allow one to see the level of the fluid in the reservoir. This difference in transparency can be achieved by many different means such as by using completely different material for section (1213) compared to reservoir body material or creating a thinner wall section in the area needed for fluid level visibility in reservoir or shroud which allows improved visibility. Alternatively, if section (1213) is not present, the entire reservoir may be made out of higher transparency material.

FIG. 10 illustrates a fluid reservoir configuration (1300) with fluid path (1305, 1309) to and or from the reservoir (1301), with one though slot (1302). One or more opening in the shroud or housing (not shown) are in at least partial, and, preferably a majority of an opening or openings, in complete alignment with the slot.

The reservoirs described in the preferred aspects of the present invention can be built to be used for fluids provided in pressurized environments or more hostile conditions of temperature and pressure, or for fluids used in more normal atmospheric and other conditions, or for both, depending on the fluid needs of the vehicle (automotives fluids). Examples of automotive fluids that can be used in the present invention include without limitations radiator coolant, windshield washer fluid, automotive oils such as transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid etc. Within the reservoirs, the holes or opening provide a lower inertia when fluid is in motion when higher vibration conditions are encountered during working vehicle conditions. The optional ‘overflow’ or ‘expansion’ bottles or chambers that may be directly or indirectly connected to the fluid reservoir, are placed at a level superior to the heat exchanger, such as the radiator, itself, in its normal working orientation. More preferably, the automotive fluids are radiators fluid or coolants.

Unless stated otherwise, dimensions and geometries of the various structures depicted herein are not intended to be restrictive of the invention, and other dimensions or geometries are possible. Plural structural components can be provided by a single integrated structure. Alternatively, a single integrated structure might be divided into separate plural components. In addition, while a feature of the present invention may have been described in the context of only one of the illustrated embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of other embodiments, for any given application. It will also be appreciated from the above that the fabrication of the unique structures herein and the operation thereof also constitute methods in accordance with the present invention.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed. A person of ordinary skill in the art would realize however, that certain modifications would come within the teachings of this invention. Therefore, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7350609 *Jun 13, 2005Apr 1, 2008Daikyonishikawa CorporationVehicle front end structure
US8646555Nov 15, 2010Feb 11, 2014Honda Motor Company, Ltd.Cooling system apparatus for a vehicle
US20110284107 *May 24, 2010Nov 24, 2011Mann+Hummel GmbhMulti-chamber fluid reservoir
Classifications
U.S. Classification165/148
International ClassificationF28D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationF01P2005/025, F01P11/029, F01P5/06
European ClassificationF01P11/02E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 7, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: VALEO, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DESAI, SAMEER;REEL/FRAME:016065/0736
Effective date: 20041129