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Publication numberUS20030189370 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/117,286
Publication dateOct 9, 2003
Filing dateApr 5, 2002
Priority dateApr 5, 2002
Publication number10117286, 117286, US 2003/0189370 A1, US 2003/189370 A1, US 20030189370 A1, US 20030189370A1, US 2003189370 A1, US 2003189370A1, US-A1-20030189370, US-A1-2003189370, US2003/0189370A1, US2003/189370A1, US20030189370 A1, US20030189370A1, US2003189370 A1, US2003189370A1
InventorsNathan Hemmer, David Cox
Original AssigneeHemmer Nathan A., Cox David C.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable chair for vehicles
US 20030189370 A1
Abstract
A chair adjustment mechanism suitable for use in vehicles including aircraft. The mechanism allows the chair to be easily moved in a horizontal place and locked into any position within a boundary of this plane. This movement includes swivel movement in 360 degrees.
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Claims(21)
What is claimed is:
1. An adjustable chair comprising:
a base assembly;
a seat assembly moveably coupled to the base assembly;
a locking assembly coupled to the seat assembly;
a spindle assembly coupled to the locking assembly including an adjustment device to control a clamped dimension;
a disk assembly coupled to the spindle assembly and secured by the adjustment device; and
an actuator mechanism coupled to the housing to activate the locking assembly.
2. The adjustable chair of claim 1 wherein the locking assembly comprises:
a guide to allow a range of movement relative to the spindle assembly.
3. The adjustable chair of claim 2 wherein the locking assembly further comprises:
at least one spring coupled to the spindle assembly to bias the spindle assembly into a locked position.
4. The adjustable chair of claim 2 wherein the actuator mechanism comprises:
a cam coupled to the locking assembly to engage or disengage the locking assembly.
5. The adjustable chair of claim 1 wherein the locking assembly is configured to move the spindle assembly from a first position to a second position.
6. The adjustable chair of claim 3 wherein the locking assembly further comprises:
at least one glide block coupled to the cam and to the spindle assembly to engage or disengage the locking assembly.
7. The adjustable chair of claim 4 wherein the actuator mechanism further comprises:
a cable coupled to a handle.
8. The adjustable chair of claim 4 wherein the actuator mechanism further comprises:
an electronic device to actuate the locking assembly.
9. The adjustable chair of claim 1 wherein the spindle assembly further comprises:
a spring to move the spindle assembly to an unlocked position.
10. The adjustable chair of claim 2 wherein the adjustment device comprises:
at least one screw to maintain the position of the adjustment device relative to the spindle assembly and the disk assembly.
11. A mechanism comprising;
a housing;
a lock mechanism coupled to the housing, including an adjustment device to secure a clamped dimension;
a disk assembly coupled to the lock mechanism to apply a force to a surface.
12. The mechanism of claim 11 wherein the lock mechanism comprises:
a guide to allow a range of movement relative to a spindle assembly coupled to the disk assembly.
13. The mechanism of claim 12 wherein the lock mechanism further comprises:
at least one spring coupled to the housing to move the spindle assembly to a locked position.
14. The mechanism of claim 11 further comprising:
an actuator mechanism including a cam coupled to the lock mechanism and the housing to engage or disengage the lock mechanism.
15. The mechanism of claim 11 wherein the lock mechanism is configured to move a spindle assembly from a first position to a second position.
16. The mechanism of claim 13 wherein the lock mechanism further comprises:
at least one guide block coupled to the cam and to the spindle assembly to engage or disengage the locking mechanism.
17. The mechanism of claim 14 wherein the actuator mechanism further comprises:
a cable coupled to a handle.
18. The mechanism of claim 14 wherein the actuator mechanism further comprises:
an electronic device to actuate the lock mechanism.
19. The mechanism of claim 11 further comprising:
a spindle assembly including a spring to move the spindle assembly to an unlocked position.
20. The mechanism of claim 11 wherein the adjustment device comprises:
a dowel to maintain the position of the adjustment device in a guide.
21. An adjustment control mechanism comprising:
a housing;
a disk coupled to the housing;
a means for locking an object between the brake disk and housing; and
a means for adjusting a clamped dimension.
Description
BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field

[0002] This invention relates to the field of adjustable chairs for use in vehicles, and more particularly to a chair having a mechanism to control and facilitate lateral, longitudinal and swiveling movement.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Vehicles used in transportation including commercial and private aircraft are equipped with chairs for seating passengers for trips of varying length. A chair with a greater range of motion, such as forward and aft, lateral and swivel movement along with the capability of locking into the new positions provides greater comfort to the passenger especially over longer journeys. Chairs in this context can be subject to turbulent conditions. Many chairs used in these conditions use tracks to allow movement in conjunction with locking pins to maintain position. This configuration is inconvenient to adjust or requires complicated automation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] The invention is illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements. It should be noted that references to “an” or “one” embodiment in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references mean at least one.

[0006]FIG. 1 depicts a chair with an adjustment mechanism.

[0007]FIG. 2 depicts an adjustment mechanism.

[0008]FIG. 3 depicts the spindle assembly of an adjustment mechanism.

[0009]FIG. 4 depicts the brake assembly of an adjustment mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0010]FIG. 1 depicts one embodiment of the invention, wherein parts are indicated by reference numerals, showing an adjustable chair 20 that has a seat back 22 attached to a seat base 24 and seat support 26. The seat support structure 26 contains the seat pan which houses an adjustment mechanism. The seat support 26 rests over chair base 28. When the adjustment mechanism is in an unlocked position the seat support 26 can move forward, aft, and laterally in relation to the chair base 28. Movement of the seat support 26 is bounded because the spindle assembly of the adjustment mechanism is situated through the bottom of the seat pan and seat support 26 into the chair base 28. The spindle assembly includes a brake disk 30, a bottom assembly nut 32 and a brake pad 34.

[0011] In one embodiment, when the adjustment mechanism is in the locked position, the seat support 26 is unable to move in relation to the chair base 28. The adjustment mechanism clamps the seat support 26 and seat pan to the chair base 28. The seat support 26 is held in place by the frictional contact of the brake pad 34 with the underside of the top of the chair base 28.

[0012] In one embodiment, a handle mechanism 36 is housed in the seat base 24, an arm rest, or similar structure attached to the seat. The handle mechanism 36 is connected to a cam in the adjustment mechanism by a cable. In one embodiment, the cable is {fraction (3/16)} inch wire rope in a sheath of flexible material. A mechanical advantage may be incorporated into the handle mechanism to facilitate ease of use in actuating the adjustment mechanism by the user.

[0013] In another embodiment, an electronic controller is placed in the seat base, attached structure, or the like to control the adjustment mechanism. In one embodiment, the electronic controller activates motor to move the adjustment mechanism from a locked to an unlocked position.

[0014] In an exemplary embodiment, a microcontroller receives input from the seat user via a switch in the armrest. When the user switches to an unlock position, the microcontroller activates a stepper-motor attached to a spindle and brake assembly to lower the spindle and brake assembly. When the user switches to a lock position, the microcontroller activates the stepper-motor to raise the spindle and brake assembly. In one embodiment, the stepper-motor drives a cam or camshaft to lower and raise the spindle and brake assembly. This embodiment employs the mechanical advantage of the cam or camshaft to adjust the spindle and brake assembly allowing for a more energy efficient or less expensive stepper-motor to be used.

[0015] This embodiment of the invention allows a user to position the seat by moving the seat relative to the base in any horizontal direction while in the unlocked state within the boundary defined by the chair base 28 within which the spindle and brake disk 30 are confined.

[0016] When the chair is set in the lock state, the brake disk clamps the chair base 28 to the seat support 26 creating a friction lock. This provides a secure chair for use in transportation including for use in air transport.

[0017] It will be understood that the mechanical structures of the chair 20 have been shown without upholstery and similar components of the chair in order that the described components can be depicted with clarity.

[0018]FIG. 2 depicts an embodiment of the invention where a guide 103 is attached to seat pan 101 by bolts, screws, or the like. In another embodiment seat pan 101 is designed to incorporate structures equivalent to the guide 103. An adjustment nut 108 with dowels attached on opposite ends of the nut is placed within the guide 103 so that the dowels are slidably disposed in the cut outs of the guide 103. The guide 103 is attached to the seat pan 101 through a cut out in the bottom of the seat pan 101. Attached to the bottom of the guide 103 covering the cut out in the bottom of the seat pan 101 is a shaft (not shown).

[0019] In one embodiment, links 105 are attached via a socket to the dowels of top adjustment nut 108. The links 105 are also attached to glide blocks 106 by a male type attachment that rests in the hole in the upper section of the glide blocks 106. The glide blocks 106 are slidably disposed in a track formed in the seat pan 101. The glide blocks 106 have a range of motion on the track from a position approximately centered beneath the adjustment nut 108 dowels in the guide 103 to a position close to the camshaft 102.

[0020] In one embodiment, two torsional springs 104 are attached to the links 105 and the guide 103 so as to exert a force on the glide blocks 106 in the direction of the position near the camshaft. One torsional spring 104 is attached to each link 105 to provide a force against each glide block 106. In another embodiment the torsional spring 104 is connected directly to the glide block 106. It would be understood that other types of springs or like devices designed to exert a force against the glide blocks 106 toward their positions near the camshaft could be used in a variety of alternate embodiments of the invention. The force of spring mechanism 104 pushes the glide blocks 106 to their position near the camshaft which in turn applies force to the dowels of the adjustment nut 108 lowering the nut to the lower end of the cut out of the guide 103 thereby placing the adjustment nut 108 and the attached spindle and brake disk 30 in the unlocked position.

[0021] In another embodiment, the two torsional springs 104 are attached to the links 105 and the guide 103 so as to exert a force on the glide blocks 106 in the direction of their centered position. It would be understood that other types of springs or like devices could be used to exert a force on the glide blocks 106 toward their centered positions. The torsional springs 104 push glide blocks 104 to their centered position which lifts the top adjustment nut 108 to the upper end of the cutout of the guide 103, thereby placing the adjustment mechanism in the locked position.

[0022] In one embodiment, the adjustment device is moved to the unlocked state by movement of a handle 36 by a user. The handle 36 is attached by a cable 109 to a cam 107. The cam 107 is attached to the seat pan 101 and a camshaft 102 so that the cam 107 can rotate about an axis perpendicular to the movement of the glide blocks 106. The cam 107 is rotated away from the guide 103 by activation of the handle 36. This movement of the cam 107 turns the camshaft 102 in a proportionate manner. Attached to the camshaft 102 at each end are glide cables 110. The glide cables 110 are attached one to each glide block 106. When the camshaft 102 is turned by activation of the handle mechanism 36 glide cables 110 pull the glide blocks 106 from their center position to a position near the camshaft 102.

[0023] In one embodiment, movement of the camshaft releases the pull of the glide cables on the glide blocks 106 allowing a compression spring to push the top adjustment nut 108 and attached spindle to a higher position in the guide cutout where the brake disk 30 and brake pad 34 are in contact with the chair base 28 preventing the seat support 26 from moving in relation to the chair base 28. This results in the glide blocks 106 being in the centered position.

[0024] In another embodiment, placement of the handle 36 in the lock position releases pressure on the cam 107. The torsional springs 104 pull the guide blocks 106 to the centered position raising the adjustment nut 108 and attached spindle to the lock position. The glide cables 110 are pulled by the glide blocks 106 thereby turning the camshaft 102 and cam 107 to their respective locked positions. In this embodiment, placement of the handle 36 in the unlocked position rotates the cam 107 and the camshaft 102 which pulls glide blocks 106 toward the camshaft 102. This allows the compression spring to pull the top adjustment nut 108 and attached spindle to a lower position in the guide cutout where the brake disk 30 and brake pad 34 are not in contact with the chair base 28 allowing the seat support 26 to move in relation to the client base 28.

[0025] In one embodiment, the adjustment nut 108 is screwed to the top of a spindle. Adjustment screws 111 serve as a secondary means of locking the spindle into the top adjustment nut 108. The adjustment screws 111 maintain the position of this adjustment nut 108 in relation to the spindle thereby allowing the position of the brake disk 30 in relation to the seat pan 101 to be maintained even if the brake disk 30 or brake pad 34 is removed temporarily from the spindle assembly. Maintaining the position of the top adjustment nut 108 during the stress and vibration of travel and use of the chair is important to the function of locking the chair in a position. To lock a chair in a position, the brake assembly comes into contact with the chair base 28. In one embodiment, the distance between the bottom of the seat pan and the top of the brake disk 30 or brake pad 34 must be short enough to create contact when in the locked position but not in the unlocked position. The adjustment screws 111 prevent the top adjustment nut 108 from moving its position relative to the spindle thereby maintaining the distance between the top adjustment nut 108 and brake disk 30. This also preserves the clamped dimension, the necessary minimal distance between the top adjustment nut 108 and brake disk 30 or brake pad 34 to achieve a friction lock in the lock position. Also, the adjustment screws 111 ensure that the adjustment mechanism remains properly adjusted through vibration loads and stress typical in vehicles and during use of the chair.

[0026]FIG. 3 depicts one embodiment of a spindle assembly of the invention where a spindle 206 is placed within the shaft 208. The top of the spindle 206 is threaded to be screwed into a doweled adjustment nut 108. The inner circumference of the shaft 208 is wide enough to accommodate a compression spring 205 placed around the spindle 206 within the shaft 208 except near the bottom shaft opening where the inner circumference of the shaft 208 narrows to roughly match the outer circumference of the spindle 206. The compression spring 205 attaches at one end with the bottom of the shaft 208. At the other end, the spring 205 attaches to the top adjustment nut 108. The compression spring 205 is in a compressed position when the adjustment mechanism is in the unlocked position exerting an upward force on the top adjustment nut 108. When the mechanism is in the locked position, the compression spring 205 is expanded upward with the top adjustment nut 108.

[0027] In another embodiment, the compression spring 205 is in a rest position when the adjustment mechanism is in the unlocked position. When the adjustment mechanism is in the locked position, the compression spring 205 is stretched upward with the top adjustment nut 108, thereby exerting a downward force on the spindle 206 and top adjustment nut 108. Alternatively, when the adjustment mechanism is in the unlocked position, the compression spring 205 may be stretched to assert a downward force that is not able to overcome the upward force generated by the torsional spring 104.

[0028]FIG. 4 depicts an embodiment of the brake disk assembly of the invention where brake disk 30 is secured between bottom adjustment nut 32 and a middle portion 340 of the spindle 206. The bottom end 322 of the spindle 206 is threaded to accommodate a bottom assembly nut 32. The outer circumference of the bottom portion 322 of the spindle 206 including the threaded portion 324 and a small portion just below the threaded portion 324 including openings to channels for dowels 309 is narrower than the middle portion 340 of the spindle 206. The middle portion 340 of the spindle 206 has a greater exterior circumference than the bottom end portion 322. In one embodiment, the bottom assembly nut 32 has a set of channels running through the center of the nut wherein a removable dowel 309 can be placed. The spindle 206 has a complementary set of channels which open on opposite sides of the spindle 206 to allow the removable dowel 309 to pass through the spindle 206. The dowels 309 are placed through the nut 32 and spindle 206 to prevent the nut 32 from moving relative to the spindle 206 after it has been placed on the spindle 206. These dowels preserve the bottom assembly nut 32 position and thereby the place of the brake disk 30 relative to the top 344 of the spindle 206 by preventing the brake disk 30 from moving away from the top of the spindle during the stress and vibration of travel and use.

[0029] In one embodiment, the brake pad 34 is composed of a metal core structure covered by an abrasive material. In an exemplary embodiment, the metal core structure is an aluminum honeycomb structure. Suitable abrasive materials include rubber, neoprene rubber, cork or similar materials.

[0030] In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7059680Sep 23, 2004Jun 13, 2006Crown Equipment CorporationSeat repositioning device with release on control handle
US7533930 *Oct 24, 2007May 19, 2009Embraer - Empresa Brasileira De Aeronautica S.A.Convertible aircraft passenger seat and method
US7600732Jun 12, 2007Oct 13, 2009Ami Industries, Inc.Aircraft interior equipment support
US7837146Aug 16, 2007Nov 23, 2010Recaro Aircraft Seating Gmbh & Co. KgStructure frame
US7866751 *Oct 2, 2007Jan 11, 2011Brunswick CorporationApparatus and methods to integrally form lever operated cables with vehicle seats
US8042871 *Feb 19, 2009Oct 25, 2011Giant Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Chair mounting device for a motor-driven wheeled vehicle
US8376462 *Oct 9, 2009Feb 19, 2013PAC Seating Systems, Inc.Aircraft seat with adjustable armrests
US8641144 *Nov 12, 2010Feb 4, 2014Wendell R. Davis, Jr.Swiveling chair with electrical pass-through
US20110109135 *Nov 12, 2010May 12, 2011Davis Jr Wendell RSwiveling chair with electrical pass-through
US20120298798 *May 25, 2012Nov 29, 2012Henshaw Robert JSeating Arrangement
US20130241256 *Feb 19, 2013Sep 19, 2013PAC Seating Systems, Inc.Aircraft seat control input transfer and disconnect mechanism
EP1892185A1 *May 16, 2007Feb 27, 2008Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co.KG.Structural frame
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/344.11, 297/344.24, 297/344.22, 297/344.21
International ClassificationB64D11/06, A47C3/18, B60N2/02, B60N2/015
Cooperative ClassificationB64D11/06, B60N2/01566, B64D11/0696, A47C3/18, B60N2/0232
European ClassificationB60N2/02B4, B64D11/06D, B64D11/06, A47C3/18, B60N2/015B2K2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 2, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: CREDIT SUISSE, CAYMAN ISLANDS BRANCH, AS ADMINISTR
Free format text: GRANT OF PATENT SECURITY INTEREST (SECOND LIEN);ASSIGNOR:DECRANE AIRCRAFT SEATING COMPANY, INC. (FORMERLY ERDA, INC.);REEL/FRAME:016610/0649
Effective date: 20050923
Owner name: CREDIT SUISSE, CAYMAN ISLANDS BRANCH, AS FIRST LIE
Free format text: GRANT OF PATENT SECURITY INTEREST (FIRST LIEN);ASSIGNOR:DECRANE AIRCRAFT SEATING COMPANY, INC. (FORMERLY ERDA, INC.);REEL/FRAME:016610/0643
Effective date: 20050923
Jan 7, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: DECRANE AIRCRAFT SEATING COMPANY, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ERDA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:013634/0318
Effective date: 20020501
Apr 5, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: ERDA, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HEMMER, NATHAN A.;COX, DAVID C.;REEL/FRAME:012780/0311
Effective date: 20020405