Ford Global Technologies, LLC (Dearborn, MI)

A body structure reinforcement includes an reinforcement body as well as a connecting flange integral with the reinforcement body. Body structures comprising one or more shell structures, and the reinforcement of the body structure are described together with methods of making the body structure reinforcement and the body structure.

The goal of vehicle body design for motor and autonomous vehicles is lightweightyet robust bodies. This goal is achieved by many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). They utilize similar manufacturing and design processes and methods that combine diverse materials. The materials, especially steel and aluminum are usually formed by stamping. They are then joined mechanically to create loads bearing structures. Automotive OEMs have mastered the art through the use of this process and resulting geometry to construct the appropriate body structure.

There are physical geometric and packaging limitations and constraints which hinder and limit an efficient outcome. Consider, for instance, the design of a typical B-pillar for cars that has two panels of stamped outer and inner that arejoined together to complete and create a geometric section. The pillar must be reinforced internally. These reinforcements inside are usually restrictive stampings that are then sub-assembled into the outer and inner panels.

The resulting pillar system can be used to handle the loads. However, in order to create a proper structure, the design teams must balance overall pillar size and using the traditional stamped structure technique could restrict this but still meet performance standards. To reduce the overall component number, it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to join several stamped panels or components. Additionally, using a stamped construction, where multipleparts/stampings must come together to form structural joints, the design is restricted through this geometry and part stamping stack up. Because of forming and joining limitations, the joints have to have overlaps and notches to help respective parts tonest and generally have to be more than 90 degrees. This results in a less efficient design.

This document relates to a new and improved body structure reinforcement as well as to a new and improved body structure incorporating that new and improved body structure reinforcement that are adapted to address and overcome the aforementionedchallenges and limitations to body structural development for autonomous and motor vehicles.

Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.


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