Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020067028 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/216,123
Publication dateJun 6, 2002
Filing dateDec 18, 1998
Priority dateDec 18, 1998
Also published asDE69913381D1, EP1140571A1, EP1140571B1, US6422589, WO2000035720A1
Publication number09216123, 216123, US 2002/0067028 A1, US 2002/067028 A1, US 20020067028 A1, US 20020067028A1, US 2002067028 A1, US 2002067028A1, US-A1-20020067028, US-A1-2002067028, US2002/0067028A1, US2002/067028A1, US20020067028 A1, US20020067028A1, US2002067028 A1, US2002067028A1
InventorsFolkert J. Ostermann, Detlev Wilhelm Guthke, Jens Hannemann, Udo Jacobs, Jeffrey Alan Shepherd, Traci Carol Lamar
Original AssigneeFolkert J. Ostermann, Detlev Wilhelm Guthke, Jens Hannemann, Udo Jacobs, Jeffrey Alan Shepherd, Traci Carol Lamar
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Recyclable airbag module housing
US 20020067028 A1
Abstract
A air bag module comprises an inflater, a unitary polymeric housing, and an air bag retainer of the same or similar material. The housing has integral walls forming an inflater chamber which include an inflater mounting stud aperture, a plurality of integral supports for the inflater, an integral peripheral rim forming an airbag chamber, and an integral upper wall having inflater gas diffuser apertures. An inflater stud fastener secures the inflater to the housing. The retainer and housing have integral cooperating fasteners for securing the retainer to the housing. A polymeric cover closes the retainer and confines the attached air bag. The housing and retainer are formed of the same recyclable material such that the air bag assembly can be recycled by simply removing only the stud fastener and the inflater. Several embodiments of the housing, retainer and fasteners are disclosed. In one embodiment, an inflater gas diffuser that is integral with the housing.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(8)
I claim:
1. A housing assembly for an airbag comprising an inflator housing and an air bag retainer, characterized by
the inflator housing being a unitary structure made of a recyclable plastic which incorporates integral supports for an inflator, and
the air bag retainer being made of the same recyclable plastic, and including cooperating fasteners formed on the housing and the retainer for securing the retainer to the housing, such that the housing and retainer can be recycled together without disassembly.
2. The housing assembly of claim 1, further characterized by the housing including an integral inflator gas diffuser.
3. The housing assembly of claim 2, further characterized by the housing including spaced side walls and connecting end walls, one of the end walls having a mounting slot for receiving an inflator mounting stud.
4. The housing assembly of claim 3, further characterized by the housing including an upper wall which cooperates with the side and end walls to define an inflator cavity, the upper wall including spaced inflator gas diffusing apertures which comprise the integral gas diffuser.
5. The housing assembly of claim 4, further characterized by the housing including a peripheral flange extending outwardly from the inflator discharge passage and incorporating the housing fasteners, and by the air bag retainer having a mating mounting surface of a shape complementary to said peripheral flange and having the retainer fasteners.
6. The housing assembly of claim 5, further characterized by the housing fasteners comprising a plurality of spaced apertures formed in said flange, and the retainer fasteners comprising a plurality of spaced posts receivable in the holes to mount the retainer to the housing.
7. The housing assembly of claim 5, further characterized by the housing fasteners comprising a plurality of spaced slots formed in the housing and the retainer fasteners comprising a plurality of arms with terminal tangs receivable through the slots to secure the retainer to the housing.
8. A recyclable air bag assembly comprising
an inflator,
a unitary housing having integral walls forming an inflator chamber including an inflator mounting stud aperture, a plurality of integral supports for the inflator, an integral peripheral rim forming an airbag chamber, an integral upper wall having inflator gas diffuser apertures formed therein,
an inflator stud fastener for securing the inflator to the housing,
an air bag retainer, and
cooperating fasteners on the housing and on the retainer for securing the retainer to the housing, wherein
the housing and retainer are formed of the same recyclable material such that the air bag assembly can be recycled after removing only the inflator and stud fastener.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to airbag modules and, more particularly, to an airbag module housing that is recyclable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Manufacturers are continually looking for ways to increase the recyclability of components. In some countries, an ever-increasing content of automobiles has been mandated to be recyclable by the automobile or component manufacturer.

[0003] Air bag modules are currently composed of metal and plastic parts that must be disassembled for recycling of its separate different parts. The housing is made of aluminum or steel. Recycling of parts of different compositions is costly, requiring disassembly, segregation of the parts and multiple recycling processes. This variety of materials used and the use of metallic components exacerbates the recycling problem.

[0004] It would be desirable to reduce the cost and complexity of recycling air bag modules by providing an air bag assembly that can be recycled without disassembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an air bag assembly that can be recycled without disassembly.

[0006] In one aspect this invention features a housing assembly for an airbag which comprises an inflator housing and an air bag retainer, in which the inflator housing is a unitary structure made of a recyclable plastic which incorporates integral supports for an inflator. The air bag retainer is made of the same recyclable plastic, and cooperating fasteners formed on the housing and the retainer secure the retainer to the housing, such that the housing and retainer can be recycled together without disassembly. Preferably, the housing includes an integral inflator gas diffuser.

[0007] In another aspect, the housing includes an upper wall which cooperates with the side and end walls to define an inflator cavity, the upper wall including spaced inflator gas diffusing apertures which comprise the integral gas diffuser.

[0008] In a further aspect, this invention features an inflator, a unitary housing having integral walls forming an inflator chamber including an inflator mounting stud aperture, a plurality of integral supports for the inflator, an integral peripheral rim forming an airbag chamber, an integral upper wall having inflator gas diffuser apertures, an inflator stud fastener for securing the inflator to the housing, an air bag retainer, and cooperating fasteners on the housing and on the retainer for securing the retainer to the housing. The housing and retainer are formed of the same recyclable material such that the air bag assembly can be recycled after removing only the inflator and stud fastener.

[0009] These and other objects and features of this invention will become readily apparent upon reference to the following detailed description of this invention, as illustrated in the attached drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010]FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of one embodiment of recyclable air bag assembly according to this invention;

[0011]FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of another embodiment of recyclable air bag assembly according to this invention;

[0012]FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of yet another embodiment of recyclable air bag assembly according to this invention;

[0013]FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional view of the recyclable air bag assembly of FIG. 3; and

[0014]FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view of the recyclable air bag assembly of FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0015]FIG. 1 shows an air bag module 10 comprising a housing 12, an air bag retainer 14 and an inflator 16. Housing 12 is generally U-shaped, having one end wall 18 formed with an inflator locating collar 20 and a stud aperture 22. The opposing end wall 24 includes a circular opening 26 for admitting inflator 16 into housing 12, where it is laterally confined by ribs 28 formed in side walls 30 and 32. The walls of housing 12 terminate in a peripheral flange 34 that includes a plurality of spaced holes 36.

[0016] Air bag retainer 14 has peripheral segments 38, 40, 42 and 44 which each have depending rods 46 which each align with one of the housing holes 36. Both housing 12 and retainer 14 are preferably made of the same polymeric material, preferably being a nylon or polyester material. An air bag (not illustrated) is preferably sewn in a well-known manner to retainer 14 which is assembled to housing 12 by inserting rods 46 into holes 36. Thereafter, the ends of rods 46 can be heat staked to secure retainer 14 to housing 12. Alternatively, rods 46 can be threaded, and plastic nuts (not illustrated) can be screwed onto the threads rods to secure retainer 14 to housing 12. After assembly, a polymeric cover 48 is snapped over retainer 14 to complete the assembly.

[0017] Housing 12 and retainer 14 are both unitary members and they and cover 48 ideally are made of the same polymeric material, such as nylon or polyester for ease in recycling. Module 10 is easily recycled by merely removing an inflator stud retention nut 50 from inflator stud 52, inflator 16 is slid out of housing 12 through opening 26, and the housing 12 and retainer 14 (and cover 48 and the air bag, if still attached) can be recycled together.

[0018] Another embodiment of air bag module 60 is shown in FIG. 2 as comprising a unitary housing 62, a retainer 64 and an inflator 66. Here, again housing 62 and retainer 64 are preferably made of the same or similar polymeric material, such as nylon. As can be seen, the housing 62 has a different shape and the means of fastening retainer 64 to housing 62 is different. Housing 62 has ledges 68 and 70 extending from the inflator receiving chamber 72, flanked by upstanding peripheral front and rear walls 74, 76 and side walls 78 and 80.

[0019] The side walls include identical slots 82 (only one visible), while rear ledge 68 has identical side slots 84 (only one visible) and a pair of central slots 86, 87. Front ledge 70 has identical side slots 88 (only one visible) and a pair of central slots 90, 91. Retainer 64 has depending flexible footed legs or snaps 92, 93 on each end (only one end visible) and three flexible spaced footed snaps 94, 96, 98 on each side (only one side visible).

[0020] After inflator 66 is installed in housing chamber 72 by securing stud nut 100 onto inflator mounting stud 102, retainer 64 (with an air bag conventionally sewn thereto, not illustrated) is placed on housing 62 and forced downward. This will cause snaps 92, 93 to enter slots 90, 91 and 86, 87, and cause snaps 94, 96, 98 to enter slots 84, 82, 88, where the snap feet will snap under the adjacent housing surfaces to secure retainer 64 to housing 62.

[0021] Another embodiment of air bag module 110 is shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 as comprising a unitary inflator housing 112, an air bag retainer 114 having a cover 116 and an inflator 118. Housing 112 includes an integral inflator cradle 120 and an integral inflator gas diffuser 122, which comprises an upper wall 124 and spaced strengthening ribs 126 spaced between diffuser holes 128. Retainer 114 includes depending footed snaps 130 (not all shown) which cooperate with slots 132 (not all shown) in housing 112 to secure retainer 114 to housing 112, much as in the FIG. 2 embodiment.

[0022] Thus, instead of utilizing a metal gas diffuser insert, which would have to be disassembled for recycling as is usual, this embodiment provides an air bag module that has an integral diffuser which simplifies the recycling process. All embodiments of this invention provide an air bag module that requires only removal of the inflator for recycling.

[0023] While only three embodiments have been shown and described, other modifications are contemplated within the scope of this invention and the attached claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7270344 *Jun 3, 2005Sep 18, 2007Key Safety Systems, Inc.Airbag module
US7293794Mar 31, 2005Nov 13, 2007Tk Holdings Inc.Cover attachment
US7374198Mar 28, 2005May 20, 2008Toyoda Gosei Co., LtdAirbag module canister
US7431327 *Aug 10, 2005Oct 7, 2008Takata-Petri AgFront-passenger airbag module
US8052167 *Jun 19, 2008Nov 8, 2011Tk Holdings Inc.Airbag assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification280/728.2, 280/728.3, 280/728.1
International ClassificationB60R21/217, B60R21/20
Cooperative ClassificationB60R21/2171
European ClassificationB60R21/217D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 9, 2014FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20140723
Jul 23, 2014LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Feb 28, 2014REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Feb 15, 2011ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:025792/0576
Owner name: AUTOLIV DEVELOPMENT AB, SWEDEN
Effective date: 20100702
Dec 23, 2009FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Dec 30, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Apr 2, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:OSTERMANN, FOLKERT J.;GUTHKE, DETLEV WILHELM;HANNEMANN, JENS;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:011696/0853;SIGNING DATES FROM 20000710 TO 20010124
Owner name: DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC. LEGAL STAFF - MAIL CODE:
Owner name: DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC. LEGAL STAFF - MAIL CODE:
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:OSTERMANN, FOLKERT J. /AR;REEL/FRAME:011696/0853;SIGNINGDATES FROM 20000710 TO 20010124