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Publication numberUS20020007539 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/752,816
Publication dateJan 24, 2002
Filing dateJan 3, 2001
Priority dateJan 3, 2000
Publication number09752816, 752816, US 2002/0007539 A1, US 2002/007539 A1, US 20020007539 A1, US 20020007539A1, US 2002007539 A1, US 2002007539A1, US-A1-20020007539, US-A1-2002007539, US2002/0007539A1, US2002/007539A1, US20020007539 A1, US20020007539A1, US2002007539 A1, US2002007539A1
InventorsJames Sack, Arthur Gehr, Glenn Gehr
Original AssigneeLoretech, Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Three-point buckle
US 20020007539 A1
Abstract
A multi-point buckle including a buckle body, one or more attachment tongues and a floating latch, wherein during operation the buckle body is not subjected to tensile or compressive forces. Conventional straps can be attached to the body and the tongues. In a preferred embodiment, the tongues are inserted into the body, wherein locking prongs on the tongues attach to latch surfaces on the floating latch. When a pulling force is exerted on the tongues only a tensile force is transferred between the tongues and the floating latch. The buckle body is not subjected to any type of tensile or compressive forces. A preferred embodiment of the tongue includes a webbing lock. When used with a conventional strap, a webbing lock allows for ease of adjustment and also creates a wedging action on the strap when a pulling force is exerted. When placed under force the webbing lock provides a greater ability to hold the tongue in a substantially fixed position relative to the strap.
Images(39)
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Claims(17)
What is claimed is:
1. A multi-point buckle assembly having improved strength comprising:
a body including a plurality of openings;
a release button disposed within one of the openings in the body;
a spring mechanism for biasing the release button; and
a tongue adapted to fit and move within a second opening in the body and adapted to engage with the release button;
2. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the spring mechanism is integrally disposed within the body.
3. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the spring mechanism is disposed on the release button.
4. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the spring mechanism is integrally disposed in the release button.
5. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the tongue further comprises a webbing attachment assembly and a plurality of substantially parallel arms having a locking prong disposed on an end.
6. The multi-point buckle of claim 5, wherein the webbing attachment assembly comprises three parallel ribs forming two parallel openings extending substantially the width of the tongue.
7. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the tongue further comprises a plurality of substantially parallel arms each having a first and second end with a locking prong disposed on each of the first ends, and a mating surface disposed between the arms at the second ends.
8. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the tongue further comprises:
a webbing attachment body including a substantially rectangular opening disposed therein, with first and second internal faces;
a webbing lock slidably disposed on the first and second internal faces.
9. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the release button further comprises an attachment assembly adapted to engage with the tongue.
10. The multi-point buckle of claim 9, wherein the attachment assembly further comprises:
a ramped surface for deflecting the release button during insertion of the tongue; and
a latch wall for engaging with the tongue.
11. The multi-point buckle of claim 9, wherein the release button further comprises a plurality of extension arms having the attachment assembly disposed thereon.
12. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the release button is adapted to release the tongue for removal from the body.
13. The multi-point buckle of claim 7, wherein the release button further comprises a tongue release spring extending from the release button for engaging with the mating surface.
14. The multi-point buckle of claim 4, wherein the spring mechanism includes a ramped surface.
15. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the body includes a tongue guide disposed therein.
16. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the body further comprises a crossbar extending substantially the width of the body forming a single opening.
17. The multi-point buckle of claim 1, wherein the body further comprises two parallel crossbars extending substantially the width of the body forming two parallel openings.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a three-point buckle, and more particularly to a buckle with a floating Jatch, where the buckle is adapted to receive two tongues and may be used with a multi-point restraint system. Two alternate embodiments of the present invention also relate to a three-point buckle with a floating latch, where the buckle is similarly adapted to receive two tongues and may be used with a multi-point restraint system. The present invention additionally provides for a ladder lock and a webbing lock feature on the tongues to facilitate grasping of a strap used with the multi-point restraint system.

[0003]2. Discussion of the Related Art

[0004] A number of conventional buckle designs are known in the prior art. These designs generally suffer from problems and deficiencies relating to operability and reliability. Also, such conventional buckles are often expensive and difficult to manufacture and assemble.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

[0006]FIG. 1 shows an isometric exploded view of a first embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly of the present invention;

[0007]FIG. 2 shows an isometric view of the first embodiment of the buckle body top cover;

[0008]FIG. 3 shows an isometric section view of the first embodiment of the buckle body with the top cover removed;

[0009]FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of the first embodiment of the buckle body bottom cover;

[0010]FIG. 5 shows an isometric section view of the first embodiment of the buckle body to illustrate the configuration of the buckle body cross-bar onto which a strap can be attached;

[0011]FIG. 6 shows an isometric view of the first embodiment of the release button from the top;

[0012]FIG. 7 shows an isometric view of the first embodiment of the release button from the bottom;

[0013]FIG. 8 shows an isometric section view of the first embodiment of the release button to illustrate the latch members;

[0014]FIG. 9 shows an isometric view of the first embodiment of a tongue from above;

[0015]FIG. 10 shows an isometric view of the first embodiment of a tongue from below;

[0016]FIG. 11 shows a section view of the first embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly with the top cover of the buckle body member removed, an isometric section view of the release button, and one tongue member, to illustrate assembly of the components;

[0017]FIG. 12 shows a section view of the first embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly showing the release button resting on the spring member of the buckle body;

[0018]FIG. 13 shows an isometric exploded view of the second embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly of the present invention;

[0019]FIG. 14 shows an isometric view of the second embodiment of the buckle body top cover;

[0020]FIG. 15 shows an isometric view of the second embodiment of the buckle body bottom cover;

[0021]FIG. 16 shows an isometric section view of the second embodiment of the buckle body with the top cover removed;

[0022]FIG. 17 shows an isometric section view of the second embodiment of the buckle body to illustrate the configuration of the buckle body cross-bar onto which a strap can be attached;

[0023]FIG. 18 shows an isometric view of the second embodiment of the release button from the top;

[0024]FIG. 19 shows an isometric view of the second embodiment of the release button from the bottom;

[0025]FIG. 20 shows an isometric view of the second embodiment of a tongue from above;

[0026]FIG. 21 shows an isometric view of the second embodiment of a tongue from below;

[0027]FIG. 22 shows a section view of the second embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly with the top cover of the buckle body member removed, an isometric section view of the release button. and one tongue member, to illustrate assembly of the components;

[0028]FIG. 23 shows an isometric exploded view of the third embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly of the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 24 shows an isometric view of the third embodiment of the buckle body top cover;

[0030]FIG. 25 shows an isometric section view of the third embodiment of the buckle body with the top cover removed;

[0031]FIG. 26 shows an isometric view of the third embodiment of the buckle body bottom cover;

[0032]FIG. 27 shows an isometric section view of the third embodiment of the buckle body to illustrate the configuration of the buckle body ladder-lock onto which a strap can be attached;

[0033]FIG. 28 shows an isometric view of the third embodiment of the release button from the top;

[0034]FIG. 29 shows an isometric view of the third embodiment of the release button from the bottom;

[0035]FIG. 30 shows an isometric section view of the third embodiment of the release button;

[0036]FIG. 31 shows an isometric view of the third embodiment of the tongue from above;

[0037]FIG. 32 shows an isometric view of the third embodiment of the tongue from below;

[0038]FIG. 33 shows a section view of the third embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly with the top cover of the buckle body member removed, an isometric section view of the release button, and one tongue member, to illustrate assembly of the components;

[0039]FIG. 34 shows an isometric exploded view of the fourth embodiment of a tongue and a webbing lock assembly of the present invention;

[0040]FIG. 35 shows an isometric view of the fourth embodiment of the tongue of FIG. 34;

[0041]FIG. 36 shows an isometric view of the fourth embodiment of the tongue of FIG. 34 from the bottom;

[0042]FIG. 37 shows an isometric view of the webbing lock;

[0043]FIG. 38 shows an isometric view of the webbing lock from the back; and

[0044]FIG. 39 shows an isometric section view of the fourth embodiment of the tongue and a webbing lock;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0045] Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the drawings.

[0046]FIG. 1 shows an isometric exploded view of the first embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly 10. The three-point buckle assembly 10 preferably includes the following components; a buckle body 20, a release button 30 and two mirror image tongues 40.

[0047] Each of the components will now be explained in detail.

[0048] FIGS. 2-5 show isometric views of the first embodiment of the buckle body 20. The buckle body 20 includes a top cover 2100, a bottom cover 2200, a spring member 2300, a crossbar 2400, a top opening 2500 for access to release button 30, and side openings 2601 and 2602 for insertion of tongues 40. The buckle body 20, along with top cover 2100 and the bottom cover 2200, functions as a housing for release button 30 and tongues 40 as shown in FIG. 11 (only one tongue 40 is shown). The buckle body 20 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the buckle body 20 is constructed of acetal.

[0049] FIGS. 6-8 show views of the first embodiment of the release button 30. The release button 30 includes a contoured top surface 3100, a flat bottom surface 3200, two side latch walls 3301 and 3302, two side latches 3303 and 3304, four tongue restraining latches 3401, 3402, 3403 and 3404, four ramps 3405, 3406, 3407 and 3408, four latch walls 3409, 3410, 3411 and 3412, and two reinforcement ribs 3501 and 3502. The release button 30 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the release button 30 is constructed of Nylon.

[0050]FIGS. 9 and 10 show isometric views of the first embodiment of the tongue 40. The tongue 40 includes three ribs 4101, 4102 and 4103, two arms 4201 and 4202, and two locking prongs 4301 and 4302. The tongue 40 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the tongue 40 is constructed of Nylon.

[0051] The construction and operation of the first embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly will now be described in detail.

[0052] Referring to FIGS. 1-12, for assembly and operation, first the release button 30 is snap fit into the buckle body 20. The snap fit is accomplished by means of physically pushing the release button 30 through top opening 2500 in the buckle body 20 (in the direction shown in FIG. 1), whereby side latches 3303 and 3304 elastically deform the top opening 2500. Once inserted into the buckle body 20, the top opening 2500 returns to its original shape and the latch walls 3301 and 3302 prevent the release button 30 from being removed from the buckle body 20. Once inside the buckle body 20, the bottom surface 3200 of the release button 30 rests on the top of spring 2300. As shown in FIG. 12, the spring 2300 acts as a pivoting mechanism to allow the release button to “rock” back and forth as a tongue 40 is inserted.

[0053] After insertion of the release button 30 into the buckle body 20, as shown in FIG. 11, a tongue 40 can be inserted into the buckle body 20 through the side opening 2602 (hidden) as shown in FIG. 2. As the tongue 40 is inserted into buckle body 20, the locking prongs 4301 and 4302 on arms 4201 and 4202, respectively, slide on ramps 3407 and 3406, respectively, of release button 30, at which time the release button 30 pivots towards the respective tongue 40 being inserted. As the tongue 40 is further inserted, the locking prongs 4301 and 4302 engage latch walls 3410 and 3409, respectively, of release button 30. Thus the tongue 40 is locked into place by means of the mating engagement with release button 30. It can be appreciated that the other mirror image tongue 40 can be engaged with release button 30 through opening 2601 of buckle body 20, by means of an identical mirror operation as described above.

[0054] In order to release tongue 40 from engagement with release button 30, the release button 30 is simply depressed against the upwards bias of spring 2300, whereby the tongue 40 can simply be pulled out through the respective opening 2601 or 2602 of buckle body 20.

[0055] In operation, a conventional strap (not shown) can be attached to cross-bar 2400 of buckle body 20, which has the release button 30 pre-inserted. Similarly, a conventional strap (not shown) can be attached to rib 4102 of each of the respective tongues 40. As shown in FIG. 11, each of tongues 40 can be inserted into buckle body 20 through the respective openings 2601 or 2602 to engage with the respective latch walls of the release button 30. For releasing the tongues 40, as mentioned above, the release button is simply depressed against the upwards bias of spring 2300, and the tongues 40 can be pulled out of the respective openings 2601 or 2602 of the buckle body 20.

[0056] It will be appreciated that the three-point buckle design of the present invention only places a tensile force on the prongs 4301 and 4302 of the tongue 40, and the latch members 3403 and 3402 of the release button, respectively. Similarly, for the other mirror tongue 40, the prongs 4301 and 4302 of the tongue 40, and the latch members 3401 and 3404 of the release button 30, respectively, are only placed under a tensile force. Thus the buckle body 20 is not subjected to any type of tensile or compressive forces during operation, as compared to conventional buckle designs.

[0057] Next, the second embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly of the present invention will be described in detail.

[0058]FIG. 13 shows an isometric exploded view of the second embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly 50. The three-point buckle assembly 50 preferably includes the following components; a buckle body 60, a release button 70, and two mirror image tongues 80.

[0059] Each of the components will now be explained in detail.

[0060] FIGS. 14-17 show isometric views of the second embodiment of the buckle body 60. The buckle body 60 includes a top cover 6100, a bottom cover 6200, an opening 6300 for access to release button 70, two cross-bars 6401 and 6402, four locking ribs 6501, 6502, 6503 and 6504, locking rib end walls 6505 and 6506, and two openings 6601 and 6602 for insertion of release button 70 and tongues 80. The buckle body 60, along with top cover 6100 and the bottom cover 6200, functions as a housing for release button 70 and tongues 80 as shown in FIG. 22 (only one tongue 80 is shown). The buckle body 60 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the buckle body 60 is constructed of acetal.

[0061]FIGS. 18 and 19 show views of the second embodiment of the release button 70. The release button 70 includes a contoured top surface 7100, a flat bottom surface 7200, two arms 7301 and 7302, four tongue restraining latches 7401, 7402, 7403 and 7404, four latch top surfaces 7405, 7406, 7407 and 7408, four latch walls 7409, 7410, 7411, and 7412, two ramps 7413 and 7414, a rib 7500, a spring 7501, three inner walls 7601, 7602 and 7603, cavity 7700, and cavity end surfaces 7801 and 7802 (hidden). The release button 70 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the release button 70 is constructed of Nylon.

[0062]FIGS. 20 and 21 show isometric views of the second embodiment of the tongue 80. The tongue 80 includes three ribs 8101, 8102 and 8103, two arms 8201 and 8202, and two locking prongs 8301 and 8302. The tongue 80 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the tongue 80 is constructed of Nylon.

[0063] The construction and operation of the second embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly will now be described in detail.

[0064] Referring to FIGS. 14-22, for assembly and operation, first the release button 70 is snap fit into the buckle body 60. The snap fit is accomplished by means of physically pushing the release button 70 through opening 6601 (opening 6602 can be used as well) in the buckle body 60, whereby the cavity 7700 of release button 70 travels on inclined locking rib 6502 till the cavity end surface 7802 (hidden) of the release button 70 engages locking rib end wall 6506 of inclined locking rib 6502. During insertion, the top and bottom surfaces 6100 and 6200 of buckle body 60 flex to allow release button 70 to be inserted into buckle body 60. Similarly, the opposite locking rib end wall 6505 of the inclined locking rib 6501 prevents the release button from being removed from the buckle body 70. The locking ribs 6503 and 6504 simply maintain the release button 70 at the required position within the buckle body 70. Once inside the buckle body 70, the bottom surface 7200 of the release button 70 rests flatly on the inside surface of bottom cover 6200 of buckle body 60.

[0065] After insertion of the release button 70 into the buckle body 60, as shown in FIG. 22, a tongue 80 can be inserted into the buckle body 60 through the side opening 6602 (hidden) as shown in FIG. 14. As the tongue 80 is inserted into buckle body 60, the locking prongs 8301 and 8302 on arms 8201 and 8202, respectively, slide on ramp 7414 of release button 70. As the tongue 80 is further inserted, the locking prongs 8301 and 8302 engage latch walls 7410 and 7409 of release button 70, respectively. Thus the tongue 80 is locked into place by means of the mating engagement with release button 70. It can be appreciated that the other mirror tongue 80 can be engaged with release button 70 through opening 6601 of buckle body 60, by means of an identical mirror operation as described above.

[0066] In order to release tongue 80 from engagement with release button 70, the release button 70 is simply depressed. As shown in FIG. 19, spring 7501 mounted on rib 7500 acts on release button 70 to bias top surface 7100 through opening 6300 in buckle body 60.

[0067] In operation, a conventional strap (not shown) can be attached to cross-bars 6401 and 6402 of buckle body 60, which has the release button 70 pre-inserted. Similarly, a conventional strap (not shown) can be attached to rib 8102 of each of the respective tongues 80. As shown in FIG. 22, each of tongues 80 can be inserted into buckle body 60 through the respective openings 6601 or 6602, to engage with the respective latch walls of the release button 70. For releasing the tongues 80, as mentioned above, the release button is simply depressed against the upwards bias of the spring 7501, and the tongues 80 can be pulled out of the respective openings 6601 or 6602 of the buckle body 60.

[0068] It will be appreciated that the three-point buckle design of the present invention only places a tensile force on the prongs 8301 and 8302 of the tongue 80, and the latch members 7403 and 7402 of the release button, respectively. Similarly, for the other mirror tongue 80, the prongs 8301 and 8302 of the tongue 80, and the latch members 7401 and 7404 of the release button 70, respectively, are only placed under a tensile force. Thus the buckle body 60 is not subjected to any type of tensile or compressive forces during operation, as compared to conventional buckle designs.

[0069] Next, the third embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly of the present invention will be described in detail.

[0070]FIG. 23 shows an isometric exploded view of the third embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly 90. The three-point buckle assembly 90 preferably includes the following components; a buckle body 91, a release button 93 and two mirror image tongues 92 (only one tongue 92 shown).

[0071] Each of the components will now be explained in detail.

[0072] FIGS. 24-27 show isometric views of the third embodiment of the buckle body 91. The buckle body 91 includes a top cover 9100, a bottom cover 9101, side openings 9102 and 9103 for insertion of tongues 92, two indentations 9104 and 9105, two guide tracks 9106 and 9107, a top opening 9108 for access to release button 93, a cross-bar 9109, a strap bar 9110 and teeth 9111. The buckle body 91, along with top cover 9100 and the bottom cover 9101, functions as a housing for release button 93 and tongues 92 as shown in FIG. 33 (only one tongue 92 is shown). The buckle body 91 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the buckle body 91 is constructed of high-impact acetal.

[0073] FIGS. 28-30 show views of the third embodiment of the release button 93. The release button 93 includes a contoured top surface 9300, a flat bottom surface 9319, two tongue release springs 9301 and 9302, two release button biasing springs 9303 and 9304, two ramp surfaces 9305 and 9306, four reinforcement indents (9307-9310), four tongue retaining latches (93119314), and four reinforcement ribs (9315-9318). The contoured top surface 9300 of release button 93 can be provided with various textures, logos, or contours. A tooling insert may be used to facilitate manufacture of the contoured top surface 9300 of the release button 93. The release button 93 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the release button 93 is constructed of acetal.

[0074]FIGS. 31 and 32 show isometric views of the third embodiment of the tongue 92. The tongue 92 includes two arms 9200 and 9201, two locking prongs 9202 and 9203, three ribs 9204, 9205 and 9206, teeth 9207, a tongue release spring mating surface 9208, a recess 9209, and two channels 9210 and 9211. The tongue 92 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the tongue 92 is constructed of Nylon.

[0075] The construction and operation of the third embodiment of the three-point buckle assembly will now be described in detail.

[0076] Referring to FIGS. 23-33, for assembly and operation, first the release button 93 is slid into the buckle body 91 through one of the buckle body side openings 9102 or 9103 (see arrow shown in FIG. 23). During insertion, the top and bottom surfaces 9100 and 9101 of buckle body 91 as well as the release button biasing springs 9303 and 9304 flex to allow release button 93 to be inserted into buckle body 91. Once inserted, the release button biasing springs 9303 and 9304 bias the top surface 9300 of release button 93 through top opening 9108 of buckle body 91. After insertion of the release button 93 into the buckle body 91, as shown in FIG. 33, a tongue 92 can be inserted into the buckle body 91 through the side opening 9102 or 9103. The tongue 92 is guided into opening 9102 or 9103 of buckle body 91 by means of the sliding engagement between channels 9210 and 9211 on tongue 92 and guide tracks 9106 and 9107 on buckle body 91, respectively. As the tongue 92 is inserted into buckle body 91, the locking prongs 9202 and 9203 on arms 9200 and 9201, respectively, slide on ramp surfaces 9305 or 9306, respectively, of release button 93. As the tongue 92 is further inserted, as shown in FIG. 33, the tongue release spring mating surface 9208 on each respective tongue is slid between the respective tongue release springs 9301 or 9302, and the respective ramp surfaces 9305 or 9306 on release button 93. As the tongue 92 is fully inserted into buckle body 91, the respective indentations 9104 or 9105 on buckle body 91 come into mating engagement with the recess 9209 on tongue 92. At this point, the locking prongs 9202 and 9203 on tongue 92 engage the respective tongue retaining latches (9311-9314) on the release button 93. Thus the tongue 92 is locked into place by means of the mating engagement with release button 93. It can be appreciated that the other mirror image tongue 92 can be engaged with release button 93, by means of an identical mirror operation as described above.

[0077] In order to release tongues 92 from engagement with release button 93, the release button 93 is simply depressed against the upwards bias of release button biasing springs 9303 and 9304. Once the release button 93 is depressed, the tongue release springs 9301 and 9302 also aid in ejection of tongues 92 by providing an outward biasing force in the direction opposite to the insertion direction of tongues 92.

[0078] In operation, a conventional strap (not shown) can be attached to strap bar 9110 of buckle body 91, which has the release button 93 pre-inserted. Similarly, a conventional strap (not shown) can be attached to rib 9206 of each of the respective tongues 92. As shown in FIG. 33, each of tongues 92 can be inserted into buckle body 91 through the respective openings 9102 or 9103 to engage with the respective tongue retaining latches of the release button 93. For releasing the tongues 92, as mentioned above, the release button is simply depressed against the upwards bias of release button biasing springs 9303 and 9304, and the tongues 92 are released from the respective openings 9102 or 9103 of the buckle body 91. The teeth 9111 for buckle body 91, and 9207 for tongues 92 provide a means of preventing unnecessary movements of the respective straps attached to the buckle body 91 and the tongues 92.

[0079] It will be appreciated that the three-point buckle design of the present invention only places a tensile force on the locking prongs 9202 and 9203 of the tongues 92, and the tongue retaining latches (9311-9314) of the release button 93, respectively. Thus the buckle body 91 is not subjected to any type of tensile or compressive forces during operation, as compared to conventional buckle designs.

[0080] Next, a fourth embodiment of the tongue with a webbing lock for the three-point buckle assembly of the present invention will be described in detail.

[0081]FIG. 34 shows an isometric exploded view of the fourth embodiment of a tongue 95 with a webbing lock 96. The tongue 95 can be used in place of the tongue 92 of the third embodiment.

[0082] Each of the components will now be explained in detail.

[0083]FIGS. 35 and 36 show isometric views of the fourth embodiment of the tongue 95. The tongue 95 includes two arms 9500 and 9501, two locking prongs 9502 and 9503, a rib 9504, two webbing tracks 9505 and 9506, two channels 9507 and 9508, and an opening 9509. The tongue 95 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the tongue 95 is constructed of Nylon.

[0084]FIGS. 37 and 38 show isometric views of the webbing lock 96. The webbing lock 96 includes two channels 9601 and 9602, a cavity 9603 for reducing material for manufacturing, and a top surface 9604. The webbing lock 96 may be constructed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, Nylon, acetal, polypropylene, metals, or like materials with similar desired properties. Preferably, the webbing lock 96 is constructed of Nylon.

[0085] The construction and operation of the fourth embodiment of the tongue and the webbing lock will now be described in detail.

[0086] Referring to FIGS. 34 - 39, for assembly and operation, first the webbing lock 96 is mounted onto tongue 95 by means of the mating engagement between webbing tracks 9505 and 9506 on tongue 95 and channels 9602 and 9601 on webbing lock 96, respectively. A strap (not shown) is then inserted from the bottom through the opening 9509 of tongue 95. The strap (not shown) is wrapped around top surface 9604 of webbing lock 96 and re-inserted from the top through opening 9509 of tongue 95. It can be seen that any “pulling” force on the strap(not shown) will act to wedge the strap between webbing lock 96 and rib 9504 on tongue 95. Similarly, for adjusting the strap, the webbing lock can be shifted on webbing guides 9505 and 9506 in the direction of the arms 9500 and 9501 of tongue 95, and the strap can be adjusted as needed. The locking prongs 9502 and 9503 on tongue 95 function as described earlier for the previous embodiments of the three-point buckle assembly.

[0087] While the inventions have been illustrated in detail and with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. Thus, it is intended that the present inventions cover the modifications and variations of these inventions as would be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7669298 *Jun 30, 2006Mar 2, 2010Wonderland Nurserygoods Co., Ltd.Buckle assembly
US7849571Mar 27, 2007Dec 14, 2010Wonderland Nurserygoods Co., Ltd.Buckle device
EP1884170A1Mar 27, 2007Feb 6, 2008Wonderland Nurserygoods Co., Ltd.Buckle device
EP2047764A2 *Jul 10, 2008Apr 15, 2009Ford Global Technologies, LLCBuckle-Tongue Arrangement for Seat Belt System
Classifications
U.S. Classification24/614
International ClassificationA44B11/26
Cooperative ClassificationA44B11/263
European ClassificationA44B11/26B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 14, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: WONDERLAND NURSEY GOODS CO., LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LORETECH, LTD.;REEL/FRAME:012368/0439
Effective date: 20011203
Aug 27, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: LORETECH, LTD., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SACK, JAMES A.;GEHR, GLENN E.;GEHR, ARTHUR L. JR.;REEL/FRAME:012111/0797;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010709 TO 20010710