Method for manufacturing a reinforced structural component, and article manufactured thereby
A reinforced structural component is manufactured by forming an intermediate structural member which defines a channel extending along at least a portion of its length. A support member is disposed in the channel and affixed to the intermediate structural member. A second forming operation is carried out on the combination of the intermediate structural member and support member so as to partially enclose and fixedly retain the support member therein. The method may be applied to metallic and nonmetallic structures, and may be utilized in conjunction with high speed metal forming processes such as roll forming. Disclosed herein are structures made according to the method as well as use of the method in the manufacture of structural components for motor vehicles.
This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/586,009 filed Jul. 7, 2004, entitled “Method of Inserting Structural Support Member in Roll-Formed Part” and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/588,118 filed Jul. 14, 2004, entitled “Reinforcement for a B-Pillar of an Automotive Vehicle.”FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to the manufacture of reinforced structural components such as frame members for motor vehicles. More specifically, the invention relates to a method for incorporating a support member in such a component. In particular, the invention relates to a process for incorporating a reinforcing support member in a roll-formed component.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The structural integrity of the passenger and cargo compartments of a motor vehicle relies upon the use of support pillars and other frame members. These structural components require a combination of high strength and light weight. Furthermore, in order to provide for the dissipation of energy in the event of a crash, these components should exhibit controlled and reliable deformation properties. The prior art originally utilized pillars and other structural components which comprise tubular or channel-like members of various cross-sectional configurations. However, the art subsequently turned to structural components having separate support members, also referred to reinforcement inserts, disposed therein. In some instances, these support members were inserted into pillars and the like after fabrication. For example, prior art U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,219,197 and 6,406,077 show methods wherein a support is inserted into the interior of a fabricated beam. Another approach is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,375 wherein a body of foamable polymeric material is injected into the interior volume of a beam and permitted to expand to form a polymeric insert. In another approach shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,733,040, a two-piece beam is utilized, and an insert is placed therein and the two separate beam portions are then joined together.
These prior art approaches are difficult to implement since they require that an insert be placed into the interior of a closed beam, or they require that an insert be installed into a two-part beam which process requires subsequent joining of the beam components. Such processes are not compatible with high speed, and in some instances, continuous, manufacturing processes which are generally favored for the fabrication of such components. Therefore, there is a need for a method for manufacturing reinforced pillars, frame members, and other structures, which method is simple to implement and compatible with high-speed fabrication processes such as roll forming.
As will be explained in detail hereinbelow, the present invention provides a method for the fabrication of reinforced structures such as beams, pillars, and the like. The method of the present invention does not require that an insert be placed into a closed profile of a finished beam, nor does it require the use of multipart beams. As will be explained in detail hereinbelow, the present invention temporarily affixes a reinforcing support member to a body of material at an intermediate stage in its processing, and this combination is subsequently subjected to further processing to form a single part beam member having a reinforcing support member fixedly retained thereby. The method of the present invention may be readily implemented in conjunction with a high speed, preferably continuous, roll-forming process. These and other advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the drawings, discussion and description which follow.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Disclosed herein is a method for manufacturing a reinforced structural component. In a first step of the method a body of sheet material, such as a body of sheet steel, is subjected to a first forming operation which shapes it into an intermediate structural member. The intermediate structural member defines a channel which extends along at least a portion of its length. In a separate step, a reinforcing insert or other such support member is provided. This support member is disposed in the channel of the intermediate structural member and affixed thereto so that it is retained in said channel. In a subsequent step, a second forming operation is carried out on the intermediate structural member having the support member retained therein. The second forming operation at least partially encloses and fixedly retains the support member within the channel. In particular instances, at least one of the first and second forming operations are a roll-forming operation.
In particular instances, the step of affixing the support member to the intermediate structural member comprises a mechanical affixation step which may employ tabs, toggles, piercings, deformations and the like so as to secure the support member. In other instances, the support member may be adhered by adhesives, or by welding or brazing.
In some instances, all or part of the structural component may be subjected to a further processing step, and this processing step may take place before or after the second forming operation. Such further processing steps may include sweeping, bending, die forming, welding, cutting, crushing, heating and/or quenching.
The method of the present invention is compatible with continuous, roll-forming processing, and in some instances, an additional cutting step may be implemented either before or after the first or second forming operation.
Also disclosed herein are articles made according to the process of the present invention.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is directed to a method for manufacturing a reinforced structural component, such as a pillar, frame or other structural member for a motor vehicle, a building structure, or the like. While the present invention will have utility in the fabrication of metallic and nonmetallic components, it will find particular advantage in fabrication of structural components which include metallic portions. In particular, the present invention is readily adapted for use in high speed metal forming operations such as roll forming.
The present invention will be explained with reference to
In any instance, the body of sheet material 10 is subjected to a first forming operation which alters at least the cross-sectional profile of the body of material 10 so as to form an intermediate structural member 12 as is shown in
As is shown in
In a subsequent step of the present invention, as is shown in
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now back to
In some instances, the finished component, or members comprising it, may be subjected to further processing. For example, as is shown in
Other modifications and variations of the general process presented herein will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art. While
While the support member has been shown as having a relatively simple hat profile, it is to be understood that numerous other embodiments of support member may be utilized in the practice of the present invention. Such support members may comprise metallic as well as nonmetallic components, and as noted above, in some instances, may comprise foamed or foamable polymeric bodies as well as composite materials. Also, the support members may have cross sections which vary along their length, or are otherwise irregular, depending upon particular applications. Also, the intermediate structural member may be variously configured as discussed above. In some instances, the support member may be a body of a self-adhesive polymeric material, such as a foamable or non-foamable adhesive; in such instances the step of disposing the support member in the intermediate structural member and the step of affixing the support member may be carried out simultaneously.
Yet other embodiments may be implemented in accord with the present invention. For example,
The present invention may be implemented in yet other configurations and embodiments. The process of the present invention is readily adapted for high speed manufacturing processes, and is particularly adaptable to processes utilizing sheet steel. Structures of the present invention are simple to manufacture, and have very high strength owing to the reinforced structure thereof. Through the use of lightweight hardenable steels, in conjunction with heat treating or other post forming hardening processes, lightweight, high-strength members such as motor vehicle pillar assemblies, bumper bars, intrusion beams, and the like may be readily fabricated. While this invention has been described primarily with reference to components of motor vehicles, it may likewise be employed to fabricate other structures such as buildings, and other articles of manufacture in which structural components having high strength and light weight are desired.
The foregoing drawings, discussion and description are illustrative of some specific embodiments of the present invention, but are not meant to be limitations upon the practice thereof. Yet other modifications and variations thereof will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art. It is the following claims, including all equivalents, which define the scope of the invention.
1. A method for manufacturing a reinforced structural component, said method comprising the steps of:
- providing a body of sheet material;
- carrying out a first forming operation on said body of sheet material so as to form an intermediate structural member which defines a channel extending along at least a portion of the length thereof;
- providing a support member;
- disposing said support member in said channel;
- affixing said support member to said intermediate structural member so that it is retained in said channel; and
- carrying out a second forming operation on said intermediate structural member having said support member retained therein, so as to at least partially enclose, and fixedly retain, said structural member within said channel.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein at least one of said first forming operation and said second forming operation is a roll-forming operation.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said first forming operation and said second forming operation are both roll-forming operations.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said step of affixing said support member to said intermediate structural member comprises mechanically affixing said support member.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein said step of mechanically affixing comprises affixing said support member by a mechanical structure selected from the group consisting of: a tab, a toggle, a piercing, a deformation, and combinations thereof.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein said step of affixing said support member to said intermediate structural member comprises affixing said member through the use of: adhesive, a weld, a brazed joint, solder and combinations thereof.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of providing a support member comprises providing a roll-formed support member.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of providing a body of sheet material comprises providing an elongated web of sheet material.
9. The method of claim 1, including the further step of cutting said intermediate structural member prior to the step of carrying out said second forming operation.
10. The method of claim 1, including the further step of cutting said intermediate structural member after the step of carrying out said second forming operation.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein said body of sheet material comprises steel.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein said support member is fabricated from a material selected from the group consisting of ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, polymers, and combinations thereof.
13. The method of claim 1, including the step of carrying out a further processing operation on said intermediate structural member.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein said further processing operation is selected from the group consisting of: sweeping, bending, die forming, twisting, welding, cutting, drilling, crushing, heating, quenching, and combinations thereof.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein said further processing operation is carried out before the support member is fixedly retained in said intermediate structural member.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein said further processing operation is carried out after the support member is fixedly retained in said intermediate structural member.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein said further processing operation is carried out after the implementation of said second forming operation.
18. A reinforced structural member made according to the method of claim 1.
Filed: Jul 6, 2005
Publication Date: Jan 26, 2006
Inventors: Jeffrey Bladow (West Bloomfield, MI), Walter Jaeger (Lake Angelus, MI), Greg Filipek (Royal Oak, MI), Major Murray (Oxford, MI), Ron Baker (North Branch, MI), Gopi Kalyan Kancherla (Rochester Hills, MI), Himat Taank (Troy, MI)
Application Number: 11/175,484
International Classification: B21D 47/00 (20060101);