Vermont Patent of the Month – August 2022

With automatic transmissions becoming the more common option, most people fail to see the true complexity in a transmission’s engineering. Automatic transmissions still have clutches which engage the transmission and channel the engine’s power but these assemblies are, ofcourse, automatic. While these automatic clutch hub assemblies may make driving simpler for many of us, they are not without pain points. In many designs, the lubricating and cooling oil does not reliably reach the friction clutch plates or discs and the clutch hubs are prone to overheating and damage.

Sonnax Transmission Company, the world’s largest full-line supplier of torque converter parts, has tackled this particular pain point in an effort to achieve improved oil flow. Their improved design uses a clutch hub with a multitude of oil holes along the radial wall. An oil dam projects inwards allowing an oil flow path to be reliably tracked.

This oil flow path extends radially outward from the clutch hub ensuring the oil may flow through the entire assembly. The oil dam ensures the oil cannot flow around the restricted inner radial wall. A second oil flow path is implemented and ensures the oil properly passes through the clutch dampener through the grooves of the bonded friction material. Between these two oil paths, the clutch hub assembly remains sufficiently lubricated and cooled.

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