Dorman Products has been granted a patent for a ball joint assembly that includes a stud member and a cup member. The cup member is a two-piece cup with castle teeth, and the stud member has a ball portion. The assembly allows for adjustment of the tightness of the ball and cup and locks the ball into position. GlobalData’s report on Dorman Products gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData, Dorman Products's grant share as of September 2023 was 79%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Ball joint assembly with adjustable tightness and locking mechanism

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Dorman Products Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11773897B1) describes a ball joint assembly for vehicle suspension components. The assembly includes a stud member and a cup member that allow the stud ball to rotate within the cup without translation. The cup member consists of a cup base and a cup cap, with the base having a first spherical surface and interior threads, and the cap having a second spherical surface and exterior threads that mate with the interior threads of the base. This configuration holds the stud ball securely between the two surfaces when the cap is threaded into the base.

To prevent the cup cap from unthreading from the cup base and to lock the ball into position, the cup base includes upwardly-extending castle teeth. The assembly also includes one or more threaded fasteners that interlock with the castle teeth, providing additional security. The cup cap has threaded holes that facilitate the use of the threaded fasteners to adjust the tightness of the ball and cup and lock the ball into position.

The assembly further includes a first nut that secures the cup portions of the assembly to a vehicle suspension component. A socket cup with exterior threads cooperates with the first nut to attach the assembly to a vehicle suspension component. Additionally, a second nut secures the shank portion of the assembly to a vehicle suspension component.

To protect the assembly, a boot is provided that substantially covers and protects it. The threaded fasteners used in the assembly can be set screws.

The patent also describes a method for maintaining the ball joint on a vehicle. The method involves tightening the cup base and cup cap around the stud ball to secure it in the cup, and locking the cup cap in position by tightening the set screws to block the castle teeth from rotational movement. If the connection between the ball and the cup loosens over time, the set screws are loosened to unblock the castle teeth, allowing for retightening of the cup base and cap to resecure the ball in the cup.

Overall, this patented ball joint assembly and maintenance method provide a secure and adjustable connection between vehicle suspension components, ensuring proper functionality and longevity.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.