Schaeffler has been granted a patent for a hydrodynamic torque converter and torsional vibration damper. The invention includes an intermediate flange that limits the rotation angle counter to the effect of the spring devices, protecting them without affecting the installation space. The intermediate flange is formed from two interconnected lateral parts and engages with torsional play on the output hub. GlobalData’s report on Schaeffler gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Schaeffler, crankshaft ball bearings was a key innovation area identified from patents. Schaeffler's grant share as of September 2023 was 31%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Hydrodynamic torque converter with limited rotation of intermediate flange

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Schaeffler AG

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11773952B2) describes a hydrodynamic torque converter with improved torsional vibration damping. The torque converter includes a pump wheel connected to a drive side and a turbine wheel driven by the pump wheel. Between the housing of the torque converter and the output hub, a torsional vibration damper and an output part are provided. The torsional vibration damper has an input part that can be connected to the housing by a converter lock-up clutch, and the output part is connected to the output hub.

To enhance the torsional vibration damping, the patent introduces an intermediate flange between the input part and the output part. The intermediate flange is formed from two axially spaced, interconnected lateral parts that receive the input part and the output part. The angle of rotation of the intermediate flange is limited radially inside the spring devices, which are linearly designed helical compression springs distributed over a circumference. These spring devices effectively counteract torsional vibrations.

The patent also describes the arrangement of the lateral parts and their engagement with other components. One of the lateral parts engages in an axially opposite opening of the output part of the converter lock-up clutch using at least one axially flared tab. The output hub has radially widened cams distributed over its circumference, which engage with torsional play in recesses on the inner circumference of the other lateral part.

Additionally, the patent includes a torsional vibration damper specifically designed for the hydrodynamic torque converter. The damper consists of an input part, an output part, and an intermediate flange. The input part, intermediate flange, and output part are arranged in series by spring devices effective in a circumferential direction. One of the lateral parts engages in an axially opposite opening of the output part of the converter lock-up clutch using at least one axially flared tab. The spring devices in this damper are helical compression springs arranged alternately over a circumference.

Overall, this patent presents an innovative design for a hydrodynamic torque converter with improved torsional vibration damping. The inclusion of an intermediate flange and the specific arrangement of components contribute to enhanced performance and reduced vibrations. This technology has the potential to improve the efficiency and durability of torque converters used in various applications, such as automotive transmissions.

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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.