US 3768185 A
Recording apparatus for affixing registration and other data to the body of an automobile. There is a removable cover element for said data mounted on a bracket element. Special matched displaced sliding surfaces are provided at at least some of the intersections of the flat prismatic faces of the inside of the cover element and at the outside of the bracket element, which matching surfaces provide a snug fit and are more closely spaced than are the adjacent prismatic faces of the cover and bracket elements, thereby providing space for metal inwardly displaced during an indenting process performed on the outside of the cover element to record the data. In said indenting process the cover is mounted on a mandrel having a similar configuration to that of the bracket.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
tlinited States Patent 1 Sternberg [111 mamas Get. 30, R973 1 VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION APPARATUS AND INDENTING METHOD AND MANDREL  Inventor: Herbert B. Sternberg, New York,
 Assignee: Automated Reference Corporation,
'. New York, NY.
22 Filed: May 10, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 252,065
 US. Cl 40/2.2, 220/8, 292/306 [5 1] Int. Cl. G09f 3/02  Field of Search 40/22, 10, l9, 10 A;
Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-wenceslao J. Contreras Attorney-S. Delvalle Goldsmith et al.
 ABSTRACT Recording apparatus for affixing registration and other data to the body of an automobile. There is a removable cover element for said data mounted on a bracket element. Special matched displaced sliding surfaces are provided at at least some of the intersections of the flat prismatic faces of the inside of the cover element and at the outside of the bracket element, which matching surfaces provide a snug fit and are more closely spaced than are the adjacent prismatic faces of the cover and bracket elements, thereby providing space for metal inwardly displaced during an indenting process performed on the outside of the cover element to record the data. In said indenting process the cover is mounted on a mandrel having a similar configura' tion to that of the bracket.
16 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures memes PATENTEDnbrao ms SHEET 2 BF 2 VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION APPARATUS AND INDENTING METHOD AND MANDREL This invention relates to a novel system for permanently recording the history of a vehicle or other type of apparatus. More particularly, the invention is especially concerned with apparatus providing a permanent record of information identifying the vehicle or other type of machinery.
This invention is an improvement over the inventions disclosed and claimed in my U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,973,596; 3,006,092 and 3,416,247.
As is known from the aforementioned patents, the apparatus for providing the permanent information record generally includes a bracket adapted to be fixed to and project from a part of the vehicle or machinery, a cover removably engaged over the bracket and fabricated of imprintable material capable of being imprinted with identifying indicia, and a seal element to prevent tampering or removal of the cover from the bracket. The above patents teach printing on the cover member by means of an embossing member or die holder. Usually the cover member is placed on a substantially rigid reinforcing member and the embossing member moves into imprinting relation with respect to a selected face or panel of the cover so as to imprint si multaneously the identifying data, which appear as raised letters on the panel as a consequence of embossing.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a vehicle recording apparatus in which the cover member can be printed by indenting, particularly with an electronic indenting machine in which the letters are sequentially and individually printed on the face of the cover member, whereby the material of the cover member becomes displaced inwardly of the inside face of the cover member, in other words, in the manner of a typewriter printing on a piece of paper. The individual and sequential indenting of the letters or other characters on the cover member permits the printing to be controlled and actuated more readily by a computerized system in which informationis supplied to the electronic indenting apparatus. In this way the invention can be utilized more readily by themotor vehicle department ofa particular state or country, which has a computerized record storage system.
It is also an object of the invention to maintain the cover member in snug contact with the bracket member and to make it as difficult aspossible, if not impossible, to counterfeit the cover member by virtue of a special inner contour necessary for fitting on the bracket member. It is particularly desirable that such a snug fit, which eliminates undesirablerattling when the vehicle is in motion, still enables the cover member to be readily slipped 'over the bracket member and sealed thereon despite the metal displaced inwardly of the interior of the cover member by the indenting process.
In accordance with the present invention, one pro= vides specially designed sliding surfaces adjacent at least some of the longitudinally extending intersections of the adjacent inner faces of the cover member and adjacent the matching intersections of the outer faces of the bracketmember, which matching sliding surfaces are displaced from what would be the intersections of projections of the faces of said bracket and cover elements. The clearance between said matching displaced sliding surfaces on the cover element and bracket element respectively is less than the clearance between at least the inner face of the cover element to be imprinted (with the resulting inner displacement of material of said cover element) and the opposing outer face of the bracket element. In the usual embodiment this closer spacing applies to all of the special displaced sliding surfaces as compared to all of the opposing faces of the bracket and cover elements. In the usual practice of the invention the clearance between the matched displaced sliding surfaces is 0.001 or 0.005 inches and the clearance between the inner face of the cover element to be indented and the opposing face of the bracket element is at least 0.015 inches. The usual material of both elements is an aluminum alloy.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification and referring to the accompanying drawings which forms part of the present disclosure wherein: 7
FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a recording apparatus according to the present invention as assembled and installed in a vehicle or other type of machinery;
'FIG. 2 is a partial perspective view of the bracket and cover separated from each other with a different view from FIG. I to show the end which is fastened to the wall of the vehicle, and showing the seal element prior to insertion, as well as a suitable fastener for attaching the bracket element to the wall of the vehicle, and with a portion of the cover element cut away;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken in the direction of section lines IIIIII of FIG. 1 and showing the seal element in sealed condition, and with the thickness of the snap elements exaggerated for the sake of illustration;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal cross-section of the assem bled cover and bracket elements mounted to the firewall of a vehicle and showing only the planar sections taken along section line IVIV of FIG. 5;
FIG. 5 is a transverse cross-section taken in the direction of section line VV in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the cover element mounted on a mandrel for imprinting by an electronic indenting machine. I
Referring particularly to FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the drawings, there is shown a structural part of a vehicle, namely firewall 12, which separates the engine com partment from the drivers compartment of an automobile, to which is affixed the bracket element 14 having mounted thereon cover element 16. In the typical embodiment bracket 14 is about 3 inches long and cover element 16 is about 5% inches long. The bracket ele-.
ment 14 is affixed to the firewall 12 by a blind fastener 15 comprising an expa'ndible portion 17 and a screw portion 18 having a shank portion 19 with screw threads 21. The shank will cause expansion of theepxandible portion 17 after shank portion 19 has been inserted and screwed into the inner threaded bore of part 17. The face 20 of bracket 14 contacting the firewall 12 has a recessed annular portion 22 for receiving a neoprene rubber washer or gasket 24.
The ring or gasket 24 has a thickness greater than that of recessed annular portion 22 of bracket 14. In this way, bracket 14 becomes spaced from the firewall l2 and can be rotated so as to provide for more ready inspection of the cover element 16 as sealed to the bracket element 14. The head portion 26 of expandible portion 17 is a self-tapping variety. Instead of the blind fastener with parts 17 and 18, the bracket element 14 could be rotatably mounted to a back plate which is welded to the firewall 12, for example, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,973,596.
Bracket element 14 and cover 16 are of prismatic shape, each with a plurality, preferably an odd number, specifically seven, of flat faces 26 and 28, respectively. The outer faces 28 of cover 16 are substantially flat and join at straightline longitudinal intersections, or edge portions 30. The substantially flat outer faces 26 of bracket element 14 meet at intersection edges 32. The inner flat surfaces 44 of cover 16 meet in straight line intersections 31 except where special sliding surfaces 33, 34, 36, 38 are provided. These special sliding surfaces may be of the same or varying cross-section. As shown, displaced sliding surface 34 is in the form of a rib of arcuate cross-section. Sliding surface 33 is in the form of a rib of multi-rectilinear cross-section, namely three sides of a rectangle. Sliding surface 38 is also in the form of a rib of arcuate cross-section. Sliding surface 36 is substantially flat. However, it differs from the other inner flat surfaces 44 by having a transverse width less than about one-third the width of adjacent inner faces 44. As best shown in FIG. 5, the sliding surface 38 is said to be displaced from the intersection of extensions of the planar faces 44, as indicated by dashed lines 35. Sliding surfaces 33, 34, 36 and 38 meet in close or snug engagement with matching displaced sliding surfaces 40, 41, 42, 43, which have matching complementary contours. Sliding surfaces 40, 41, 43 are recessed whereas sliding surface 42 is flat.
In accordance with the invention there is a closer spacing between the matching displaced sliding surfaces 33, 34, 36 and 38 and the surfaces 40, 41, 42 and 43 than the spacing between the flat surfaces 26 of bracket element 14 and the inner faces 44 of cover 16 so as to provide space for inner displacement of indented cover material, as will be later described. In addition, so as further to make it difficult or impossible to produce counterfeit cover elements 16, one or more of the displaced sliding surfaces 40, 41, 42 and 43 extend for only a portion of the length of the bracket element 14 from the free end thereof, that is, the end not mounted to the firewall 12. In the embodiment described, all of said displaced sliding surfaces extend for only a portion of the length of the bracket for different respective distances. As best shown in FIG. 4, the flat sliding surface 42 of bracket 14 terminates in an abutment 70 which joins flat sliding surface 42 with the remainder of intersection or edge 32. Therefore, the face of abutment 70 is in the form of a triangle with its longest dimension corresponding to the width of sliding surface 42 and with its other two sides lying on adjacent faces 26 and joining at a point lying on intermediate intersection 32. The corresponding filled-in portion of cover 16, providing sliding surface 36, commences in a complementary abutment 72. The abutment 72 is spaced rearwardly from the open end of cover 16. Therefore, the region of close fit for each of the sliding surfaces extends from the terminal outer end of bracket 14 to the abutment face 70, which'terminates the sliding surface in its displaced position from what would otherwise be the intersection of the flat surfaces 26 of the bracket element. It is thus substantially only between the displaced sliding surfaces 33, 34, 36, 38 and the matching sliding surfaces 40, 41, 42, 43 of bracket 14 that the frictional sliding fit between the cover 16 and bracket 14 occurs. In this way a close fit minimizing possible rattling that may occur between the elements l4 and 16 because of the vibrations of the vehicle is provided while said close fit only occurs between a relatively small percentage of the total surface area of the faces of the bracket element and the inner faces of the cover element. In the embodiment illustrated, the wall thickness for both the cover element 16 and bracket element 14 is about 0.030 inches whereas the clearance between the matching displaced sliding surfaces 33, 34, 36 and 38 and sliding surfaces 40, 41, 42 and 43 respectively, is 0.0010 or 0.0005 inches whereas the minimum clearance between the flat surfaces 26 of bracket element 14 and the inner flat surfaces 44 of cover 16 is about 0.015 inches. The relative spacing between said sliding surfaces and between said flat surfaces has been exaggerated in FIG. 5 to illustrate the above.
FIG. 6 shows the cover element 16 mounted on a suitable mandrel 74 of indenting machine 76, which has an indenting head 78 activated electronically so as to impress letters or other characters into the cover 16.
The indenting machine 76 and indenting head 78 do not form part of the present invention. The indenting could also be carried out manually by hammering a die into the cover member 18 mounted on a mandrel 74, as described below. A typical indenting machine 76 has a number of spring-loaded solenoid-operated character assemblies mounted to a fiat plate comprising indenting head 78. These character assemblies are struck, from above, by a solenoid-driven punch. The indenting is accomplished to a depth of about 0.0008 to 0.01 1 inches and the rate of indenting is capable of being 300 characters per minute. In accordance with this aspect of the invention the cover 18 is mounted on a mandrel 74, which is usually of hard steel and has an external crosssection corresponding substantially to that of the cover element, as shown in FIG. 5, in that portion of the bracket element having all of sliding surfaces 40, 41, 42, 43. Usually the sliding surfaces of the mandrel extend the entire length of the mandrel but in any event must commence in the free end of the mandrel onto which the cover is mounted. In order to support sub stantially the entire length of the cover element 16, the mandrel 74 has a length of about 5% inches, that is, about one-half inch shorter than the cover element 16. In other words, the mandrel 74 has outer, longitudinally extending surfaces corresponding to those shown for bracket 14, as particularly illustrated in FIG. 4 with the exception that mandrel 74 extends as far as shown with dashed lines 74 in FIG. 4. The thickness of the mandrel 74, can be substantially the same as bracket 14 as shown in dashed lines 74" but usually has a thickness of one-half inch. It can also have a solid core. Since mandrel 74 usually has the same contour as bracket 14, the inner surfaces 44 of cover 16 become slightly spaced from the outer flat surfaces of mandrel 74, corresponding to surfaces"26 of bracket 14. In fact the outer flat surfaces of mandrel 74 can be disposed to be further spaced from the inner surfaces 44 of cover 16 than are the outer surfaces 16 of the bracket 14. In either case mandrel 74 permits displacement of the material of the cover 16 inwardly when the cover is indented. Indenting machine 76 is actuated in response to input information supplied by a computer. The carriage 78 for the mandrel 74 moves in the manner of a typewriter so that letters are sequentially impressed into the cover 16, as the carriage moves longitudinally with the mandrel 74. The mandrel 74 can also be automatically rotated, in the manner of a typewriter, so as to permit the imprinting of different longitudinal lines on a particular flat surface 28 of the cover element or to change from one flat surface 28 to another.
As further described in our application, Ser. No. 252,066, filed simultaneously herewith, a seal 50 in the form of an elongated flat metal strip is provided to pass through aligned rectangular holes 52 and 54 in cover element 16 and bracket element 14, respectively. The long dimensions or lengths of holes 52 and 54 extend transversely of bracket 14 and cover 16. The width of r seal 50 is less than the length of'aligned holes 52 and 54. The seal 50 has a head portion 56, which is separated from the remainder of the elongated strip by a neck portion 5 8-of reduced width. However, the length of said neck portion is greater than the assembled thicknesses of the walls of cover element 16 and bracket element 14. The head portion 56 of seal 50 can then be inserted through the aligned holes 52 and 54 and then rotated clockwise about its longitudinal axis 90 as shown in FIG. 2, whereby said head portion 56 becomes engaged with the interior wall of bracket element 14, as shown in FIG. 3.
Longitudinally spaced on seal 50 are transversely extending serrations 60, which are so spaced as to overlie the outer edges 30 of cover 16. These serrations extend about one-half the thickness of the strip 50 and permit the strip to lie closely adjacent all of the outer faces 28 of cover 16 and thus to obviate the need for a recessed portion in the cover element and yet have the seal 50 substantially flush with the outer surface of cover 16. Preferably the serrations 60 face the outer surfaces of cover 16.
Male snap element 62 and female snap element 64, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,416,247, are arranged on seal 50, facing opposite sides of the seal 50, so that the strap in its engaged position, as shown in FIG. 3,
can extend about the complete circumference of cover element 16 with said strap overlapping where male element 62 engages female snap element 64, so as to com-- plete the seal. As described in US. Pat. No. 3,416,247, the male element 62 has rearwardly extending barbs which are received within the inwardly extending hole in female receptacle 64. After such engagement, any attempt to separate the snap elements 62 and 64 results in a destruction of the snap elements, thereby providing an indication of any tampering with the seal. Other onetime sealing male and female snap elements could be used. v I g The bracket 14 and cover 16 elements are made of metal, preferably aluminum alloy (llOO-F). They are conveniently produced by impact extension technique. The sealv 50 is made of flexible metal strip material.
Typical dimensions for the bracket 14 are a length of about 3 inches with surface 42 having a length of about 1 7/8 inches, surface 43 having a length of about seveneighths inches, surface 40 having a length of 1% inches and surface 41 having a length of 1 9/16 inches.
There are generally between three and nine faces in the bracket and corresponding cover elements, preferably 7, and preferably an odd number of faces, which increases the difficulty in counterfeiting the cover element. In order for the cover element to slide most efficiently on the bracket element, it is preferred that the majority of the intersections formed by the flat faces of the cover and bracket elements be provided with the matching displaced sliding surfaces, as discussed above. Preferably these matched displacing sliding surfaces extend for only a portion of the length of the intersections although it is possible for one or more sliding surfaces to extend the entire length of the intersection. The cross-sectional contours of the respective sliding surfaces of either the cover or bracket element can be the same or different although it is preferred that the contours of at least two of the sliding surfaces of a particular element be differentto make counterfeiting more difficult. Preferably the matching sliding surfaces of the cover and bracket elements are inwardly displaced from intersections of extensions of the adjacent planar faces, at least one of the abutments of the filled-in portions providing the sliding surfaces of the cover element commencing rearwardly of the open end of said cover element. 7 The sequential order of the different sliding surfaces 33, 34, 36 and 38 and 40, 41, 42 and 43, respectively, can proceed in a clockwise direction from slot 52 rather than in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 5 although any sequence is possible. The mean di ameter of cover 16 is about 1% inch, and the sliding surfaces have a width between about one-sixteenth and one-eighth inch. In the preferred embodiment of the invention the flat face 28 of cover element 16 on which the identifying data are indented has the greatest width of seven flat faces 28 and conveniently contains hole 54. In a typical embodiment said latter face, as shown in FIG. 5, subtends an angle of 72 from the central axis of the' cover element whereas the remaining faces each subtends an angle of 48. Inorder to maintain the cover and bracket elements in a balanced relationship at the matching sliding surfaces, i.e., where the sliding contact occurs, matching sliding surfaces 38, 43 and 33, 40 are adjacent the longitudinal edges of the face 28 which is indented, and remaining pairs of matching sliding surfaces 36, 42 and 34, 41 are also substantially symmetrically disposed on the cover and bracket elements. The remaining pairs of sliding surfaces alternate with intersections 30 and 31 of the faces 28 and 26, respectively, having no matching sliding surfaces. This arrangement is particularly feasible when there is an odd number of faces 26, 28.
1. A vehicle recording apparatus adapted to be fixed to a part of a vehicle or other type of machinery, said apparatus comprising a-generally prismatic bracket ele ment having one end adapted to be affixed to the vehicle or other machinery, a generally prismatic cover element removably and conformably engaged over said bracket element and fabricated of imprintable material to be imprinted on at least one face with identifying data, said imprinting resulting in a displacement of the material of the cover element inwardly of the underlying inner face of the cover element, the inner faces of the cover element and the outer faces of the bracket element meeting in opposing pairs of longitudinally extending intersections, matching sliding surfaces being provided for at least a portion of the length of at least some of said opposedpairs of intersections, said matching sliding surfaces being provided on opposing inter,- sections of the cover and bracket elements respectively, and being displaced from what would be intersections of projections of the adjacent faces, the clearance between said opposing matching displaced sliding surfaces being less than the clearance between at least the inner face of the cover element to be imprinted with said inner displacement of material and the opposing outer face of the bracket element.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, in which the displaced sliding surface or surfaces of the bracket element extend from the end of said bracket element remote from its end to be affixed to the vehicle or other machinery, said displaced sliding surface having a substantially constant cross-sectional contour throughout its length, an abutment defining the other end of said displaced sliding surface.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the majority of the intersections of the faces of the cover element or bracket element are provided with the displaced sliding surfaces.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the cover and bracket elements have seven faces, the displaced sliding surfaces being provided adjacent four of the intersections.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the material of the cover element is metal.
6. Apparatus according to claim 5, in which the metal of the cover element is an aluminum alloy.
7. Apparatus according to claim 5, in which the bracket and cover elements are both of aluminum alloy.
8. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the clearance between the matched displaced sliding surfaces is 0.001 or 0.0005 inches and the clearance between at least the imprintable inner face of the cover element and the matching face of the bracket element is at least 0.015 inches.
9. Apparatus according to claim 8, in which the cover element is about 0.03 inches in wall thickness.
10. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein all the inner faces of the cover element are spaced from the adjacent outer faces of the bracket element a greater distance than the spacing between the opposed displaced sliding surfaces.
11. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the matched displaced sliding surfaces are arcuate in crosssection, so as to form a matching groove and rib.
12. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the flat.
13. Apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the flat displaced sliding surfaces have a transverse width not more than one-third the width of an adjacent face of the bracket or cover element.
14. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the matched displaced sliding surfaces are multi-rectilinear in cross-section.
15. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein at least one pair of matched displaced sliding surfaces are displaced inwardly from the intersection of projections of the adjacent outer faces of the bracket element and adjacent inner faces of the cover element.
16. A vehicle recording apparatus adapted to be affixed to a part of a vehicle or other type of machinery, said apparatus comprising a generally prismatic bracket element having one end adapted to be affixed to the vehicle or other macinery, a generally prismatic cover element removably and conformably engaged over said bracket element and fabricated of imprintable material to be imprinted ,by indenting on at least one of its faces, said cover element having substantially flat outer faces and substantially flat inner faces intersecting in lines extending longitudinally of said cover element, and said bracket element having substantially flat faces whose projections intersect in longitudinally extending lines opposing the intersections of the cover element, said bracket element having inwardly displaced sliding surfaces of substantially constant contour extending longitudinally adjacent at least some of said intersections from the end of said cover element opposite the end for attachment to the vehicle and terminating at abutments, said cover element having matching inwardly displaced sliding surfaces commencing at abutments, at least one of said lastmentioned abutments being spaced rearwardly from the open end of said cover element engageable with the outer end of the bracket element, and aligned openings in the cover element and bracket element, respectively, for receiving a seal to prevent disassembly of said elements after they are assembled, the spacing between .opposed matching displaced sliding surfaces of the cover element and bracket element, respectively, being closer than the spacing between remaining opposed inner faces of the cover element and outer faces of the bracket element.