BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an assembly for active control of automotive
Manufacturers have employed active and passive methods to reduce engine
noise within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Such noise frequently
emanates from the engine, travels through the air induction system and emanates
out of the mouth of the air intake into the passenger compartment. Efforts have
been made to reduce the amount of engine noise traveling through the air induction
system. These efforts include the use of both passive devices such as expansion
chambers and Helmholtz resonators and active devices involving anti-noise generators.
Active noise attenuation systems use a speaker to create a sound that
attenuates engine noise. The sound created is out of phase with the engine noise
and combines with the engine noise to result in its reduction. Generally, this sound
is generated in proximity to the air induction system. In one such system, the speaker
is placed in the mouth of air intake duct.
Typically, the speaker and other components of the active noise attenuation
system are brought together with the components of the air induction system during
vehicle assembly operations. However, separately assembling the noise attenuation
system from the air induction system involves additional time-consuming steps. Such
steps are undesirable during vehicle production.
An active noise attenuation system is described in EP 0 884 471.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to the present invention there is provided a modular air
induction assembly comprising: an air induction body; an air filter operatively
attached to said air induction body; a speaker operatively attached to said air
induction body; at least one air inlet formed between said speaker and said air
induction body; and at least one channel between said air inlet and said air filter
to permit air flow to said air filter, characterized in that said air filter is
downstream from said speaker.
According to the present invention there is also provided a method
of assembling an air induction system comprising; providing an air flow body; attaching
a speaker to the air flow body; attaching an air filter to the air flow body downstream
of the speaker to form a modular combination; and then assembling the modular combination
of air flow body, speaker, and air filter into a vehicle.
In a disclosed embodiment of this invention, the components of the
noise attenuation system and the air induction system are combined into a modular
unit for quick assembly into a vehicle. The modular assembly includes an air induction
body on which components of each system are attached. The air induction body may
then be inserted into the remaining components of the air induction system, thereby
avoiding additional assembly steps during vehicle production.
The modular assembly comprises an air induction body with an attached
air filter from the air induction system as well as a speaker from the noise attenuation
system. An air inlet is formed between the speaker and the air induction body to
permit air flow into the air induction system. A channel directs air from the air
inlet to the air filter. This channel may be partially formed by a channel body,
which may be a speaker housing or the air filter itself.
A control unit is in communication with the speaker and controls the
speaker in a manner known in the art to attenuate engine noise. A sensor may supply
data to the control unit for noise attenuation purposes. The air flow body may comprise
a first portion and a second portion that are connected to each other to permit
access to attached components for service.
With this assembly, a single modular unit is provided. The air flow
body has elements of the air induction system and elements of the noise attenuation
system all residing on the same body. This modular combination may then be quickly
assembled into a vehicle during vehicle assembly operations. There is no longer
a need to assemble the attached components at a point in production inconvenient
to the automotive manufacturer. Moreover, following vehicle production and during
the life of the vehicle, this combination may be removed and disassembled easily
for quick service of the attached air induction and noise attenuation components.
In this manner, the invention reduces the number of production steps and thereby
simplifies and reduces the costs of vehicle production.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The various features and advantages of this invention will become
apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of
the currently preferred embodiment. The drawings that accompany the detailed description
can be briefly described as follows:
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
- Figure 1 shows an embodiment of the invention, including air flow body, speaker,
and air filter.
- Figure 2 shows the embodiment of Figure 1 in relation to a vehicle throttle
body and engine.
Figure 1 illustrates an embodiment of the invention, a modular air
induction assembly, comprising air induction body 10, air filter 14, and speaker
18. As shown, air filter 14 and speaker 18 are operatively attached to air induction
body 10. Here, in this particular embodiment, air filter 14 is a radial filter directly
supported by air induction body 10. The combination of air induction body 10, air
filter 14, and speaker 14 are modular to permit easy installation as part of a vehicle's
air induction system.
Speaker 18 is of the type well known and used for noise attenuation
systems and is supported by speaker housing 22. Speaker housing 22 may be mounted
by struts 26 and attached to air induction body 10. At least one air inlet 30 may
be formed between speaker 18 and air induction body 10 to permit air flow to air
filter 14. Air passes air inlet 30 through channel 34, which is between air inlet
30 and air filter 14. Channel 34 may be at least partially formed by channel body,
such as speaker housing 22 or air filter 14 as shown, or separately formed as part
of the molding of air induction body 10.
Housed and supported by speaker housing 22 may be control unit 38,
which is in communication with speaker 18 and controls speaker output as known in
the art in a manner to attenuate engine noise. Control unit 38 may comprise a processor
and audio amplifier as known. Sensors 42 and 46 may also be in communication with
control unit 38. Sensor 42 is an error microphone while sensor 46 may be an engine
speed sensor, such as a tachometer. Both sensors are commonly used and known in
noise attenuation systems.
As a consequence of this modular assembly, air filter 14, speaker
18, and control unit 38 are easily installed as part of an air induction system
during vehicle production. Figure 2 illustrates the invention in its environment.
Shown schematically are throttle body 64 and engine 68. In production sleeve 72
or other connection means known in the art receives the entire unit, including air
induction body, speaker 18, control unit 38, and filter 14. The unit of Figure 1
may be simply inserted into sleeve 72.
Additionally, air induction body 10 may comprise at least first portion
50 and second portion 54 and connection 60, which selectively permits disassembly
of air induction body 10 into separate portions as known. Air filter 14, speaker
18, control unit 38 and other internal elements of air flow body 10 are then accessible.
Accordingly, not only does the modular assembly permit its easy installation on
the vehicle but allows for service of air filter 14, speaker 18, and control unit
38 following initial installation.