PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP2150421 28.04.2011
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0002150421
Titel FELGENSCHUTZ
Anmelder Rathbone, Christopher Leonard, Tamworth, Staffordshire, GB;
Rathbone, Curt John, Measham, GB
Erfinder Rathbone, Christopher Leonard, Tamworth Staffordshire B78 1QN, GB;
Rathbone, Curt John, 127 The Coach House Atherstone Road Measham DE12 7, GB
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 602008005575
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GR, HR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 23.05.2008
EP-Aktenzeichen 087506861
WO-Anmeldetag 23.05.2008
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/GB2008/001767
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 2008142422
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 27.11.2008
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 10.02.2010
EP date of grant 16.03.2011
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 28.04.2011
IPC-Hauptklasse B60B 7/01  (2006.01)  A,  F,  I,  20100115,  B,  H,  EP

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to a rim protector for vehicle wheels, particularly but not necessarily exclusively for alloy wheels for cars.

It is known to provide vehicles such as cars with alloy wheels. These wheels are generally made of an aluminium or magnesium alloy although the term is sometimes extended to include any non-steel wheel. Alloy wheels are generally lighter than the corresponding steel wheels, and are also considered to be more attractive.

However, alloy wheels are particularly prone to damage due to impacts with, for example, kerbs at the side of roads. This is because they are softer than steel wheels. Particularly damaging can be incidents where the vehicle wheel strikes a kerb whilst the vehicle is travelling at speed. This can easily scuff or chip the alloy wheels. The rim of the wheel is most as risk, given that it is the part of the wheel that protrudes furthest horizontally from the car.

We are aware of the UK Patent Application publication GB 2 393 940, which discloses a rim protector for an alloy wheel, which comprises an annular element with a portion trapped, in use, between the tyre and the wheel and a head portion that overlaps the rim of the wheel. The head extends further outwards from the axis of rotation of the wheel than inwards.

We are also aware of United States Patent Number 5 967 212, which discloses a rim protector according to the pre-characterising portion of claim 1. United Kingdom Patent Applications Numbers GB 2 403 696 and GB 2 397 561 disclose similar devices. According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a rim protector for a wheel of a vehicle, the rim protector being of the form of a generally circular annulus having an axis defining radial and axial directions, the rim protector comprising a tail portion, sized to fit in use between the wheel and a tyre fitted to the wheel, and a head portion, the head portion being wider than the tail portion, the tail portion extending away from the head portion, in which, when the rim protector is fitted to a wheel such that the tail portion is held between the wheel and the tyre and the head portion abuts a rim of the wheel, the head portion overlaps the rim and extends further radially over the rim than it does over the tyre.

This has been found to have several possible advantages over prior art devices, such as that disclosed in GB2 393 940. The inventors have appreciated that with prior art devices where the head portion extends further over the tyre than the rim, the tyre side of the protector will most likely come into contact with a kerb first as it is the outermost portion of the protector. The head portion will therefore act as a lever, pivoting about either the junction of the head portion with the tail or where the head portion engages the rim.

The further the head portion extends in the radial direction, the greater the moment applied by the head portion at its junction with the tail portion. Given that this point, where the width of the device changes, will inherently be a weak point, this magnification of forces can lead to the head of the protector tearing away from the tail portion, damaging the protector so that it requires replacement. By reducing the amount by which the head portion extends over the tyre, this magnification effect is reduced.

Furthermore, the inventors have realised that the relatively rigid rim of the wheel is more susceptible to impact damage than the relatively resilient tyre wall. The rim therefore requires greater protection than the tyre, which can be achieved by having the protector extending further over the rim than the tyre.

The head portion preferably has a tyre-engaging surface which, in use, engages the tyre and a rim-engaging surface which engages the rim of the wheel. The tyre-engaging surface may be shaped so that pressure from the tyre on that surface forces, in use, the rim-engaging surface against the rim. This ensures that the rim of the wheel is protected. Typically, the tyre-engaging surface will be curved, and may form part of the junction between the tail and the head portions.

The head portion may be provided with an impact surface, on the side that is radially outward in use. This impact surface may be sloped so that, when the rim protector is fitted between a tyre and a wheel, when moving radially inwards the impact surface slopes axially outwards away from the tyre. Preferably, this has the effect, in use, to deflect any impacts axially outwards away from the wheel. The head portion may also be provided with a rubbing surface, which lies in use generally in an axial plane over the rim. This surface may act as a "sacrificial" surface, which takes any abrasion which would otherwise scratch the rim.

The impact and rubbing surfaces may be shaped so that, in use, the radially outmost impact surface deflects any impacts axially outwards onto the rubbing surface. Typically, when fitted between the wheel and tyre, the impact surface will be on the part of the head portion over the tyre, whilst the rubbing surface will be over the rim. When fitted to a wheel, the head portion may be thicker axially over the rim at the rubbing portion than at the impact portion over the tyre.

The rim protector is preferably formed from a resilient material. This has been found to have good impact protection.

The tail portion may be provided with at least one ridge on the side that, in use, engages the tyre; the ridge may provide extra frictional engagement with the tyre.

Preferably, when the rim protector is fitted to a wheel, the axis is coaxial with the axis of rotation of the wheel.

The tail portion may be provided with a ridge on the side that, in use, engages the wheel at the end thereof that connects to the head portion. This ridge may be sized and positioned so as to define, in use, the edge of the contact between the tail portion and the wheel, and such that, when installed on the wheel there is a gap between the head portion and the rim of the wheel.

Such a gap means that dirt that works between the head portion and the rim will not generally be forced to abrade the rim of the wheel.

The rim protector may be provided with reference indicia indicating where a user should cut away an arc of the rim protector in order to fit the rim protector to wheels of different sizes. As such, whilst the circumference of the annulus rim protector may be continuous, in the alternative it is not. By breaking the rim protector, it can be installed on a tyre without removing it wholly from the wheel, making installation much simpler.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a vehicle wheel, fitted with a tyre and a rim protector according to the first aspect of the invention, wherein the tail portion of the rim protector is held between the tyre and the wheel and the head portion extends further radially over the rim of the wheel than it does over the tyre.

Preferably, the rim of the wheel has a maximum outer diameter which contacts the rim protector at a given point; where the rim protector is formed from a resilient material, the internal diameter of the rim protector at the given point when it is not fitted to the wheel is preferably smaller that the maximum outer diameter of the rim. This allows the rim protector to be held onto the wheel by elastic forces; the rim protector can be a stretch fit on the wheel. The difference in diameter may only be small; preferably, the internal diameter of the rim protector at the given point is between 6 and 10mm, 7 and 9mm or substantially 8mm less than the maximum outer diameter of the rim.

The wheel is preferably a wheel of a car, but may alternatively be the wheel of a motorbike, pedal bicycle, goods vehicle, bus, taxi or other rubber-wheeled vehicle. The rim protector may be substantially cylindrically symmetrical about the axis.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of installing the rim protector of the first aspect of the invention onto a vehicle wheel having a tyre installed thereon, comprising providing the rim protector having a non-continuous circumference, forcing one end of the rim protector between the tyre and the wheel, and then working the length of the rim protector between the tyre and the wheel.

Doing this does not require the entire tyre to be lifted off the wheel, and so can be carried out by an end user using little more than, say, a rubber mallet. It is also quicker than having to remove the tyre from the wheel.

The step of providing the rim protector may comprise cutting an arc out of the rim protector in order to provide a rim protector to fit a desired size of wheel. This is very useful, as it allows a single size of rim protector to be used on multiple different sizes of wheels. It is advantageously combined with the provision of indicia indicating where the arc should be cut out of the rim protector for the different sized wheels.

The method may also comprise the step of filling any gap between the ends of the rim protector with a sealing compound. This ensures dirt does not become trapped, and can provide a consistent cosmetic finish if the sealing compound is the same colour as at least a portion of the rim protector.

In the preferred embodiment, the method comprises the step of deflating the tyre, preferably fully, before forcing the first end of the rim protector onto the wheel. Similarly, the method may comprise the step of reinflating the tyre once the rim protector has been fully installed thereon.

There now follows by way of example only description of embodiments of the invention, described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • Figure 1 shows a cross-sectional view of a rim protector according to a first embodiment of the invention, fitted to the wheel of a car;
  • Figure 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the rim protector of Figure 1 before it is fitted to a wheel;
  • Figure 3 shows a cross-sectional view of a rim protector according to a second embodiment of the invention, fitted to the wheel of a car;
  • Figure 4 shows a cross-sectional view of the rim protector of Figure 3 before it is fitted to a wheel;
  • Figure 5 shows a cross-section view of the rim protector of Figure 3, showing a larger area of the tyre and wheel;.
  • Figure 6 shows a cross-sectional view of the rim protector of a third embodiment of the invention, fitted to a wheel;
  • Figure. 7 shows a cross-sectional of the rim protector of Figure 6, before it is fitted to a wheel;
  • Figure 8 shows the rim protector of Figure 6 depicted with different head portion shapes; and
  • Figure 9 shows a plan view of a rim protector of a fourth embodiment of the invention.

The accompanying drawings depict two embodiments of rim protectors according to the various aspects of the invention. It is to be noted that the items depicted - the wheel, tyre and rim protectors - all have cylindrical symmetry about the axis of rotation of the wheel 1, and so the view in cross section of one side is sufficient to determine the shape of the entire device, as the cross section is taken through the plane containing the axis 1. The axis 1 defines a radial direction, perpendicular to the axis, and an axial direction parallel to the axis.

The rim protector 10 according to a first embodiment of the invention is shown in Figures 1 and 2 of the accompanying drawings. The rim protector 10 comprises a head portion 11 and a tail portion 12 and is formed of a resilient, semi-rigid plastics material. The head portion 11 is of generally square outline in cross-section, with rounded edges. The tail portion 12 depends from the head portion 11 at a corner thereof; when the rim protector is not installed on a wheel as depicted in Figure 2 of the accompanying drawings it extends away from the head portion 11 forming a continuous extension to one of the sides. The width 13 of the head portion 11 is much greater than the width 14 of the tail portion 12.

In use, the rim protector 10 is installed between the tyre 2 and wheel 3 of a vehicle such as a car as shown in Figure 1 of the accompanying drawings. The tail portion 12 is stretched over the outside of the wheel 3, leaving the head overlapping the rim 4 of the wheel 3. The internal diameter 20 in the uninstalled state of the head portion at the point where it engages the rim 4 at the largest part of the wheel 3 is approximately 8mm smaller than the external diameter of the wheel 3 at that point; the resilient material from which the protector is formed therefore allows for a stretch fit.

The tyre 2 is fitted over the top of the tail portion 12, so that when the tyre 2 is inflated, the air pressure in the tyre pushes the wall of the tyre 2 against the tail portion 12, trapping it against the wheel 3. Ridges 15 on the side of the tail portion 12 facing the tyre 2 increase the frictional engagement of the tail portion 12 with the tyre 2.

Figure 1 also shows a centre line 16 extending axially outwards from a point equidistant from the rim 4 and the closest part of the tyre 2 to the rim. It can be seen from Figure 1 that the head portion 11 extends further radially inwards, over the rim 4, than it extends outwards over the tyre 2. In other words, distance 17 is greater than distance 18. As discussed above, this provides greater protection for the rim than otherwise and reduces the risk that an impact on the head portion from the outer side - the tyre side - of the protector 10 rips the protector at the junction between the head portion 11 and the tail portion 12.

Accordingly, in the case of the wheel scraping an object - such as if it were driven into a kerb - it is most likely that the initial impact will be on the outer side 19 of the head portion; the impacting object (e.g. the kerb) will move in a generally radially inwards direction. As this impact surface slopes axially outwards, it acts to deflect gentler impacts outwards. In any case, the rim protector will cover the rim 4 of the wheel 3, so as to protect it against abrasion from and impact by the incident object.

That distance 17 is greater than distance 18 provides greater protection for the rim than otherwise and reduces the risk that an impact on the head portion from the outer side - the tyre side - of the protector 10 rips the protector at the junction between the head portion 11 and the tail portion 12.

A second embodiment of the invention is depicted in Figures 3 to 5 of the accompanying drawings. This embodiment functions in a similar way to that of the first embodiment and corresponding features have been given corresponding reference indicia, raised by 20. Where a feature is not discussed below, it functions as for the first embodiment.

The main difference between this second embodiment and the first embodiment is the shape of the head portion. Whereas the head portion 11 of the first embodiment was generally square in cross section, the head portion 31 of the second embodiment is more lopsided, with the larger side being on the side that covers the rim 4. Thus, distance 37 is greater than distance 38 by more than the difference between distances 17 and 18. The advantages of having more of the head portion covering the rim are increased, whereas the disadvantages of having more of the head portion on the side covering the tyre are reduced.

The tyre-engaging portion 42 of the head portion 31 is curved, so that as the tyre is placed or inflated over the rim protector 30, the tyre pushed the head portion 30, and specifically the rim-engaging portion 43 against the rim 4. This helps ensure that the head portion 31 covers and so protects the rim 4 in the case of an impact.

As with the first embodiment, the impact surface 39 is sloped so as to deflect any impacts. In this case, the impacts are deflected onto a rubbing surface 44, which lies parallel to the edge of the rim 4 and the general direction of movement of the wheel (that is, radially). Any impacting objects will then rub against the rubbing surface 44, instead of the rim 4. The rubbing surface is effectively sacrificial, taking abrasion instead of the rim 4. As it is made from a relatively soft material, it can be cleaned of scratches by scraping the surface to reveal unscratched material below. In extreme cases, the protector may need to be replaced; however this is still likely to be cheaper than replacing an entire alloy wheel.

A third embodiment of the invention representing a modification of the above two embodiments is shown in Figures 6 to 8 of the accompanying drawings. In this embodiment the reference numerals used with respect to Figure 3 have been increased by 100.

This embodiment works in the same way as that of Figure 3, except that, at the point at which the tail portion 132 joins the head portion 130, a ridge is provided on the side adjacent the large portion of the head 131. This ridge 140 sits against the rim 4 of the wheel once the rim protector 130 is installed in place. It means that, one the rim protector 130 is installed, a gap 150 will be left between the head portion 131 and the rim 4. This prevents the head portion 131 rubbing against the rim 4.

Particularly if dirt becomes trapped between the head portion and the rim, if it is not for the gap then there is the possibility that the head portion will grind dirt against the rim, possibly abrading it and causing at least cosmetic damage. However, the head portion 131 can still come into contact with the rim 4 should it be required to protect the rim from impact; it is simply the case that unless forced, the head portion 131 will tend to leave the gap 150 between it and the rim 4.

Figure 8 depicts how this embodiment with the ridge 140 can be used with the head portion shapes of either of the first two embodiments.

A fourth embodiment of the invention is shown in Figure 9 of the accompanying drawings. This embodiment can extend any of the embodiments referred to above with respect to Figures 1 to 8 of the accompanying drawings.

In this embodiment, a rim protector 60 that can be according to either of the above embodiments is provided in a circular shape. It provided so as to be able to be cut to shape. In order to fit this embodiment to a wheel, a first cut is made at point 61; the rim protector can be supplied to an end user in this state, or the user can make the cut himself.

Graduations 62 are provided on the rim, with indices in units of inches (2.54 cm) in diameter of the wheel to which the rim protector is to be fitted. A user makes a second cut at the index graduation corresponding to the size of his wheel; in the example shown in Figure 8 a cut at point 63 corresponds to a 13 inch (33 cm) diameter wheel. The shorter section 64 remaining can then be discarded.

In order to fit the rim protector on the wheel, rather than deflating the tyre and lifting its edge off the wheel, it has been appreciated that with this ended version of the rim protector 60, the protector can simply be hammered into place. With the tyre preferably fully deflated, but still on the wheel, the user takes one end of the cut rim protector 60, and forces under the tyre in situ. Conveniently, a rubber mallet may be used. The user then continues around the tyre, forcing the length of the rim protector under the tyre until the other end is adjacent to the original end.

A sealing compound can then be applied to fill any minor gap that may be left, and to avoid the ingress of dirt and the like into the space. Even if this were not done, it is unlikely that a small gap between ends would lead to a significant loss of pressure in the tyre once inflated, as the bead of the tyre will be pressing down on the rim in that region. The sealing compound can be made to match the colour of the rim protector, which therefore gives a consistent cosmetic appearance to the fitted rim protector.

Finally, the tyre can be fully reinflated.

The method by which the rim protector of this embodiment can be installed is particularly convenient, because it does not require the tyre to be removed. As such, it does not require any equipment more specialised than a rubber mallet, whereas to install the uncut versions described above is likely to require specialised tyre-replacement machinery. As such, an end user is likely to be able to install this embodiment himself, rather than having to take his car to a tyre workshop.

The rim protector can be made any desired colour; as such, it may represent a possible customisation of the appearance of the vehicle's wheels to an image-conscious vehicle owner.

Whilst the embodiments have been described with reference to car alloy wheels, it is appreciated that invention has applications to any vehicle wheel where it is desired to protect particularly the rim from impact and abrasion damage.


Anspruch[de]
Felgenschutz (10) für ein Rad eines Fahrzeugs, wobei der Felgenschutz die Form eines allgemein kreisförmigen Rings hat, wobei eine Achse radiale und axiale Richtungen definiert und der Felgenschutz einen Endabschnitt (12) aufweist, der so bemessen ist, dass er bei der Verwendung zwischen das Rad (3) und einen auf dem Rad angebrachten Reifen (2) passt, sowie einen Kopfabschnitt (11), wobei der Endabschnitt (12) vom Kopfabschnitt (11) weg verläuft, wobei, wenn der Felgenschutz an einem Rad (3) angebracht ist, sodass der Endabschnitt (12) zwischen dem Rad (3) und dem Reifen (2) gehalten wird und der Kopfabschnitt (11) gegen eine Felge (4) des Rads (3) stößt, der Kopfabschnitt (11) die Felge (4) überlappt und in radialer Richtung weiter über die Felge (4) verläuft als über den Reifen (2), dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Kopfabschnitt (11) breiter als der Endabschnitt (12) ist. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Kopfabschnitt (11) eine Reifeneingriffsfläche aufweist, die bei der Verwendung mit dem Reifen (2) in Eingriff ist, sowie eine Felgeneingriffsfläche, die mit der Felge (4) des Rades (3) in Eingriff ist. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Reifeneingriffsfläche so geformt ist, dass bei der Verwendung der Druck des Reifens (2) auf diese Fläche die Felgeneingriffsfläche gegen die Felge (4) drückt. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Reifeneingriffsfläche gekrümmt ist und Bestandteil der Verbindung zwischen dem Endabschnitt (12) und dem Kopfabschnitt (11) ist. Felgenschutz nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Kopfabschnitt (11) mit einer seitlichen Stoßfläche (19) versehen ist, die bei der Verwendung in radialer Richtung nach außen verläuft. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Stoßfläche (19) so abgeschrägt ist, dass bei zwischen einem Reifen (2) und einem Rad (3) angebrachten Felgenschutz und bei radial nach innen gerichteter Bewegung die Stoßfläche (19) axial nach außen und vom Reifen (2) weg abgeschrägt ist. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 6, wobei der Kopfabschnitt (11) mit einer Abriebfläche (44) versehen ist, die bei der Verwendung allgemein in einer Axialebene über der Felge liegt, wobei die Stoßfläche (19) oder die Abriebfläche (44) oder beide Flächen so geformt sind, dass bei der Verwendung die in radialer Richtung am weitesten außen gelegene Stoßfläche Stöße in axialer Richtung nach außen auf die Abriebfläche umlenkt. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 7, wobei sich die Stoßfläche (19) bei zwischen einem Reifen (2) und einem Rad (3) angebrachten Felgenschutz auf dem Teil des Kopfabschnitts über dem Reifen befindet, während sich die Abriebfläche über der Felge befindet. Felgenschutz nach Anspruch 8, wobei der Kopfabschnitt (11) bei Anbringung an einem Rad über der Felge (4) am Abriebabschnitt in axialer Richtung dicker ist als der Stoßabschnitt (19) über dem Reifen. Felgenschutz nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Endabschnitt (12) mit einem seitlichen Wulst (140) versehen ist, der bei der Verwendung an dem Ende des Rades (3), der mit dem Kopfabschnitt (11) verbunden ist, mit dem Rad (3) in Eingriff ist, wobei der Wulst (140) so bemessen und positioniert ist, dass bei der Verwendung die Kante des Kontakts zwischen dem Kopfabschnitt (11) und dem Rad (3) definiert wird und dass bei Anbringung auf dem Rad ein Spalt (150) zwischen dem Kopfabschnitt (11) und der Felge (4) des Rades vorliegt. Felgenschutz nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, der mit Referenzzeichen (62) versehen ist, die angeben, wo ein Benutzer einen Bogen des Felgenschutzes wegschneiden soll, um den Felgenschutz an Räder unterschiedlicher Größen anzupassen. Fahrzeugrad (3) mit darauf angebrachtem Reifen (2), dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein Felgenschutz nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche angebracht ist, wobei der Endabschnitt (12) des Felgenschutzes zwischen dem Reifen (2) und dem Rad (3) gehalten wird und der Kopfabschnitt (11) in radialer Richtung weiter über die Felge (4) des Rades (3) als über den Reifen verläuft. Rad nach Anspruch 12, wobei eine Felge (4) des Rades (3) einen maximalen Außendurchmesser hat, der an einer vorgegebenen Stelle den Felgenschutz berührt, wobei der Felgenschutz aus einem federnden Material ausgebildet ist, und wobei der Innendurchmesser des Felgenschutzes, wenn die Anbringung am Rad nicht erfolgt, an der vorgegebenen Stelle kleiner ist als der maximale Außendurchmesser der Felge (4). Verfahren zur Anbringung des Felgenschutzes nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12 an einem Fahrzeugrad (3) mit einem darauf angebrachten Reifen (2), dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Verfahren die Bereitstellung des Felgenschutzes aufweist sowie das Eindrücken eines Endes des Felgenschutzes zwischen dem Reifen (2) und dem Rad (3) und das anschließende Bearbeiten der Länge des Felgenschutzes zwischen dem Reifen (2) und dem Rad (3). Verfahren nach Anspruch 14, wobei der Schritt der Bereitstellung des Felgenschutzes das Ausschneiden eines Bogens aus dem Felgenschutz aufweist, um einen Felgenschutz bereitzustellen, der an eine gewünschte Radgröße angepasst ist, sowie optional das Ausfüllen von Spalten zwischen den Enden des Felgenschutzes mit einer Abdichtverbindung.
Anspruch[en]
A rim protector (10) for a wheel of a vehicle, the rim protector being of the form of a generally circular annulus having an axis defining radial and axial directions, the rim protector comprising a tail portion (12), sized to fit in use between the wheel (3) and a tyre (2) fitted to the wheel, and a head portion (11), the tail portion (12) extending away from the head portion (11), in which, when the rim protector is fitted to a wheel (3) such that the tail portion (12) is held between the wheel (3) and the tyre (2) and the head portion (11) abuts a rim (4) of the wheel (3), the head portion (11) overlaps the rim (4) and extends further radially over the rim (4) than it does over the tyre (2), characterised in that the head portion (11) is wider than the tail portion (12). The rim protector of claim 1, in which the head portion (11) has a tyre-engaging surface which, in use, engages the tyre (2) and a rim-engaging surface which engages the rim (14) of the wheel (3). The rim protector of claim 2, in which the tyre-engaging surface is shaped so that pressure from the tyre (2) on that surface forces, in use, the rim-engaging surface against the rim (4). The rim protector of claim 3, in which the tyre-engaging surface is curved, and forms part of the junction between the tail (12) and the head (11) portions. The rim protector of any preceding claim, in which the head portion (11) is provided with an impact surface (19), on the side that is radially outward in use. The rim protector of claim 5, in which the impact surface (19) is sloped so that, when the rim protector is fitted between a tyre (2) and a wheel (3), when moving radially inwards the impact surface (19) slopes axially outwards away from the tyre (2). The rim protector of claim 6, in which the head portion (11) is provided with a rubbing surface (44), which lies in use generally in an axial plane over the rim, at least one of the impact (19) and rubbing surfaces (44) being shaped so that, in use, the radially outmost impact surface deflects any impacts axially outwards onto the rubbing surface. The rim protector of claim 7, in which, when fitted between the wheel (2) and tyre (2), the impact surface (19) will be on the part of the head portion over the tyre, whilst the rubbing surface will be over the rim. The rim protector of claim 8, in which, when fitted to a wheel, the head portion (11) is thicker axially over the rim (4) at the rubbing portion than at the impact portion (19) over the tyre (2). The rim protector of any preceding claim, in which the tail portion (12) is provided with a ridge (140) on the side that, in use, engages the wheel (3) at the end thereof that connects to the head portion (11), the ridge (140) being sized and positioned so as to define, in use, the edge of the contact between the tail portion (12) and the wheel (3), and such that, when installed on the wheel there is a gap (150) between the head portion (12) and the rim (4) of the wheel. The rim protector of any preceding claim, provided with reference indicia (62) indicating where a user should cut away an arc of the rim protector in order to fit the rim protector to wheels of different sizes. A vehicle wheel (3), fitted with a tyre (2) and characterised by being fitted with a rim protector according to any preceding claim, wherein the tail portion (12) of the rim protector is held between the tyre (2) and the wheel (3) and the head portion (11) extends further radially over the rim (4) of the wheel (3) than it does over the tyre. The wheel of claim 12, in which a rim (4) of the wheel (3) has a maximum outer diameter which contacts the rim protector at a given point; where the rim protector is formed from a resilient material, and the internal diameter of the rim protector at the given point when it is not fitted to the wheel is smaller that the maximum outer diameter of the rim (4). A method of installing the rim protector of any of claims 1 to 12 onto a vehicle wheel (3) having a tyre (2) installed thereon, characterised by comprising providing the rim protector, forcing one end of the rim protector between the tyre (2) and the wheel (3), and then working the length of the rim protector between the tyre (2) and the wheel (3). The method of claim 14, in which the step of providing the rim protector comprises cutting an arc out of the rim protector in order to provide a rim protector to fit a desired size of wheel and optionally filling any gap between the ends of the rim protector with a sealing compound.
Anspruch[fr]
Protecteur de jante (10) pour une roue d'un véhicule, le protecteur de jante se présentant sous la forme d'un anneau généralement circulaire ayant un axe définissant des directions radiale et axiale, le protecteur de jante comprenant une partie arrière (12), dimensionnée pour s'adapter, lors de l'utilisation, entre la roue (3) et un pneu (2) monté sur la roue, et une partie de tête (11), la partie arrière (12) s'étendant à l'opposé de la partie de tête (11), dans lequel, lorsque le protecteur de jante est adapté sur une roue (3) de telle sorte que la partie arrière (12) est maintenue entre la roue (3) et le pneu (2) et que la partie de tête (11) est en butée contre une jante (4) de la roue (3), la partie de tête (11) chevauche la jante (4) et s'étend davantage radialement au-dessus de la jante (4) qu'elle ne le fait au-dessus du pneu (2), caractérisé par le fait que la partie de tête (11) est plus large que la partie arrière (12). Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la partie de tête (11) a une surface de prise avec le pneu qui, lors de l'utilisation, vient en prise avec le pneu (2) et une surface de prise avec la jante qui vient en prise avec la jante (4) de la roue (3). Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la surface de prise avec le pneu est façonnée de telle sorte que la pression exercée par le pneu (2) sur cette surface force, lors de l'utilisation, la surface de prise avec la jante contre la jante (4). Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 3, dans lequel la surface de prise avec le pneu est cintrée et fait partie de la jonction entre les parties arrière (12) et de tête (11). Protecteur de jante selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la partie de tête (11) comporte une surface d'impact (19), sur le côté qui est tournée radialement vers l'extérieur lors de l'utilisation. Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la surface d'impact (19) est inclinée de telle sorte que, lorsque le protecteur de jante est adapté entre un pneu (2) et une roue (3), lors d'un déplacement radialement vers l' intérieur, la surface d'impact (19) s'incline axialement vers l'extérieur à l'opposé du pneu (2). Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la partie de tête (11) comporte une surface de frottement (44), qui repose lors de l'utilisation généralement dans un plan axial au-dessus de la jante, au moins l'une des surfaces d'impact (19) et de frottement (44) étant façonnée de telle sorte que, lors de l'utilisation, la surface d'impact la plus à l'extérieur radialement dévie tout impact axialement vers l'extérieur sur la surface de frottement. Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 7, dans lequel, lorsqu'il est adapté entre la roue (3) et le pneu (2), la surface d'impact (19) se trouvera sur la partie de la partie de tête au-dessus du pneu, tandis que la surface de frottement se trouvera au-dessus de la jante. Protecteur de jante selon la revendication 8, dans lequel, lorsqu'il est adapté sur une roue, la partie de tête (11) est plus épaisse axialement au-dessus de la jante (4) à la partie de frottement qu'à la partie d'impact (19) au-dessus du pneu (2). Protecteur de jante selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la partie arrière (12) comporte une arête (140) sur le côté qui, lors de l'utilisation, vient en prise avec la roue (3) à l'extrémité de la partie arrière qui est reliée à la partie de tête (11) , l'arête (140) étant dimensionnée et positionnée de façon à définir, lors de l'utilisation, le bord du contact entre la partie arrière (12) et la roue (3), et de telle sorte que, lorsque le protecteur de jante est installé sur la roue, un espace (150) est formé entre la partie de tête (12) et la jante (4) de la roue (3). Protecteur de jante selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comportant des indices de référence (62) indiquant l'endroit où un utilisateur devrait découper un arc du protecteur de jante afin d'adapter le protecteur de jante sur des roues de différentes tailles. Roue de véhicule (3), sur laquelle est montée un pneu (2) et caractérisée par le fait qu'est adapté sur celle-ci un protecteur de jante tel que défini à l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, la partie arrière (12) du protecteur de jante étant maintenue entre le pneu (2) et la roue (3) et la partie de tête (11) s'étendant davantage radialement au-dessus de la jante (4) de la roue (3) qu'elle ne le fait au-dessus du pneu. Roue selon la revendication 12, dans laquelle une jante (4) de la roue (3) a un diamètre externe maximal qui est en contact avec le protecteur de jante à un point donné ; le protecteur de jante étant formé d'un matériau élastique et le diamètre interne du protecteur de jante au point donné lorsqu'il n'est pas adapté sur la roue étant inférieur au diamètre externe maximal de la jante (4). Procédé d'installation du protecteur de jante tel que défini à l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12 sur une roue de véhicule (3) ayant un pneu (2) monté sur celle-ci, caractérisé par le fait qu'il comprend les étapes consistant à se procurer le protecteur de jante, forcer une extrémité du protecteur de jante entre le pneu (2) et la roue (3) puis faire entrer la longueur du protecteur de jante entre le pneu (2) et la roue (3). Procédé selon la revendication 14, dans lequel l'étape consistant à se procurer le protecteur de jante comprend la découpe d'un arc à partir du protecteur de jante afin d'obtenir un protecteur de jante qui s'adapte à une dimension souhaitée de roue et le remplissage facultatif d'un espace entre les extrémités du protecteur de jante par un composé d'étanchéité.






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G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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