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Publication numberUS20070035165 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/161,729
Publication dateFeb 15, 2007
Filing dateAug 15, 2005
Priority dateAug 15, 2005
Also published asDE102006023128A1
Publication number11161729, 161729, US 2007/0035165 A1, US 2007/035165 A1, US 20070035165 A1, US 20070035165A1, US 2007035165 A1, US 2007035165A1, US-A1-20070035165, US-A1-2007035165, US2007/0035165A1, US2007/035165A1, US20070035165 A1, US20070035165A1, US2007035165 A1, US2007035165A1
InventorsJaroslaw Zahel
Original AssigneeLear Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Seat trim cover attachment component and related method
US 20070035165 A1
Abstract
In at least one embodiment, the present invention relates to a seat component comprising a cushion, a trim cover having at least one seam, and a trim cover fastener for attaching the trim cover seam to the cushion. The trim cover fastener has a first end attached to the trim cover seam and a second end extending into at least a portion of, and attached to, the cushion.
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Claims(20)
1. A seat component comprising:
a cushion;
a trim cover adjacent the cushion, the trim cover having a seam;
a unitary trim cover fastener securing the trim cover to the cushion; and
the trim cover fastener having a first end attached to the trim cover seam and a second end extending into at least a portion of, and attached to, the cushion.
2. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the cushion has a first side and a second side spaced from the first side, the first end of the trim cover fastener being adjacent the first side of the cushion and the second end of the trim cover fastener being adjacent the second side of the cushion.
3. The seat component of claim 2, wherein the trim cover fastener further includes a connector portion extending between and connecting the first and second ends.
4. The seat component of claim 3, wherein the connector portion extends through the cushion between the first and second sides.
5. The seat component of claim 1, further comprising a tie-down portion having a first end attached to the trim cover seam and a second end attached to the first end of the trim cover fastener.
6. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the second end is made from a material that can be compressible.
7. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the cushion has a hole on at least the second side of the cushion having two dimensions, and a second end of the trim cover fastener having at least one dimension longer than at least one dimension of the hole.
8. The seat component of claim 1, wherein a plurality of trim cover fasteners secure the trim cover seam to the cushion.
9. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the trim cover fastener is made of thermoplastic polymer.
10. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the second end of the trim cover fastener contacts and is retained by the second side.
11. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the trim cover is a fabric cover suitable for seating in a motor-vehicle.
12. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the cushion includes a surface defining a trench, at least a portion of the trim cover seam being held in the trench of the cushion by the trim cover fastener.
13. The seat component of claim 1, wherein the cushion is a flexible foam used for seating in a motor-vehicle.
14. A method for securing a trim cover to a cushion, said method comprising:
securing a fist end of a unitary trim cover fastener to the trim cover;
inserting a second end of the trim cover fastener into at least a portion of the cushion; and
securing the second end of the trim cover fastener to the cushion.
15. The method of claim 14, comprising loading the second end of the trim cover fastener into a cut-through needle and inserting said second end through the cushion using the cut-through needle.
16. The method of claim 15, comprising releasing the second end of the trim cover fastener after the cut-through needle has penetrated through the cushion.
17. The method of claim 16, comprising retracting the cut-through needle back through the cushion after releasing the second end of the trim cover fastener.
18. The method of claim 15, comprising rotating the second end of the trim cover fastener 90 degrees after said second end is through the cushion.
19. A seat component comprising:
a cushion having a first side and a second side spaced from the first side;
a trim cover adjacent and secured to the cushion, the trim cover having a seam; and
a plastic trim cover fastener having a first end attached to the trim cover seam adjacent the first side of the cushion and a second end adjacent and secured to the second side of the cushion.
20. The seat component of claim 19, wherein the trim cover fastener is unitary and further includes a connector portion extending between and connecting the first and second ends.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a seat component with a trim cover fastener for attaching a trim cover to a cushion.

2. Background Art

Seat components typically include a trim cover, usually made of some type of flexible upholstery sheet such as fabric or synthetic leather, attached to a cushion. The cushion used for occupant seating is usually constructed with at least one trench or groove, and more typically with several trenches or grooves on its upper surface. Two ends of upholstery sheet are typically connected to each other to form a seam. Sewing the two ends of upholstery sheet together, or some other suitable attaching means typically holds the seam together. Typically, the seam fits into the trenches of the cushion and is attached such that the upholstery sheet is generally fixed in position.

Some current methods for attaching the seam to the cushion involve the use of hog rings. In those methods, the seam is typically attached to a series of hog rings, which are then attached to a metal wire that runs through the cushion generally parallel to the upper surface of the cushion. This process may be difficult to use because it requires inserting the wire through the cushion in order to provide the support needed for the hog rings. In addition, the process used for attaching the hog ring to the support wire may be cumbersome, and the materials used may be expensive compared to other alternatives.

Another method involves hooks and loops such as attaching a male strip of VelcroŽ to the seam, and attaching a female strip of VelcroŽ within the trenches in the cushion. The seam can then be secured within the trench by the VelcroŽ strip. A potential problem with this method is that because of the inherent readily releasable nature of VelcroŽ, the seam may become unintentionally detached from the cushion. Maintaining proper alignment of the seam may also be difficult when using VelcroŽ.

Yet another method involves using some form of adhesive to attach the upholstery sheet seam to the cushion within the trenches. But this technique can pose a relatively significant problem if the seat component needs to be reupholstered, as adhesives are intended to be permanent attachments. Maintaining proper alignment of the seam may be difficult with adhesives as well.

It would be desirable to develop a seat component with a trim cover fastener that is relatively easy to use, that provides a relatively secure manner of attaching a trim cover seam to a cushion, and that could be detached relatively easily to allow for reupholstering.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In at least one embodiment, the present invention provides a seat component comprising a cushion, a trim cover having at least one seam, and a unitary trim cover fastener for attaching the trim cover seam to the cushion. The trim cover fastener has a first end attached to the trim cover seam and a second end extending into at least a portion of, and attached to, the cushion.

In at least another embodiment, the present invention further provides a method for securing a trim cover to a cushion. The method comprises securing a first end of a unitary trim cover fastener to a trim cover, inserting a second end of the trim cover fastener into at least a portion of the cushion and securing the second end of the trim cover fastener to the cushion.

In at least another embodiment, the present invention further provides a seat component comprising a cushion having a first side spaced from a second side, a trim cover having at least one seam, and a plastic trim cover fastener for attaching the trim cover seam to the cushion. The trim cover fastener has a first end attached to the trim cover seam adjacent the first side of the cushion and a second end adjacent and secured to the second side of the cushion.

The above features, and other features and advantages of the present invention are readily apparent from the following detailed descriptions thereof when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in greater detail in the following way of example only and with reference to the attached drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary vehicle seat, in which the trim cover fastener of the present invention is useable with;

FIG. 2 is a side view of an embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a sectional side view along line 3-3 of FIG. 1 illustrating an embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention securing a trim cover to a cushion;

FIG. 4A is a view similar to FIG. 3 illustrating another embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention;

FIG. 4B is a close up side view of components illustrated in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5A is a view similar to FIG. 3 illustrating another embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention with the second end of the trim cover fastener in a compressed state;

FIG. 5B is a close up side view of an embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention secured to the cushion, with the second end of the trim cover fastener in an expanded state;

FIG. 5C is a perspective view of FIG. 5B;

FIG. 5D is a sectional side view along line 3-3 of FIG. 1 illustrating another embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention;

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of an embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of an embodiment the trim cover fastener of the present invention with the second end of the trim cover fastener in a compressed state; and

FIG. 6C is a perspective view of another embodiment of the trim cover fastener of the present invention with the second end of the trim cover fastener in a compressed state and oriented in a position perpendicular to the orientation of the second end of the trim cover fastener illustrated in FIG. 6B.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. However, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The Figures are not necessarily to scale, some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for the claims and/or as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, a vehicle seat 10 typically comprises a seat bottom, a backrest, and a head rest. The seat bottom comprises a cushion 8 covered by a trim cover 12 having at least one seam 14. The seat back and the head rest also typically comprise a cushion covered by a trim cover having at least on seam. The cushion 8 typically includes at least a first side 18 and a second side 20, opposite the first side. The first side 18 of the cushion 8 typically defines at least one trench 16, with at least a portion of the trim cover seam 14 being held in the trench 16. Although FIG. 1 shows the front seat of a vehicle, it should be understood that the present invention can be used with any cushion component of any seating assembly, such as rear vehicle seats.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of a trim cover fastener 22 having a first end 24 and a second end 26, with a connector portion 28 extending between and connecting the first 24 and second ends 26. The second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22, while being compressible, is shown in an expanded state in FIG. 2. The trim cover fastener 22 attaches the trim cover 12 to the cushion 8. Although FIG. 2 shows the fastener 22 attaching the seat bottom trim cover 12 to the seat bottom cushion 8, it should be understood that the fastener 22 of the present invention can be used to attach any trim cover to any cushion, such as a seat back cover to a seat back cushion.

While the trim cover fastener 22 may be made of any suitable material, in at least one embodiment, the trim cover fastener 22 is made of thermoplastic polymer. In at least one embodiment, the fastener 22 should be sufficiently configured and made of suitable material to withstand 1-100 pounds of tensile force, as measured by ASTM Test Method No. ASTM D638. In at least another embodiment, the fastener 22 should be sufficiently configured and made of suitable material to withstand 5-50 pounds of tensile force, as measured by ASTM Test Method No. ASTM D638. In at least another embodiment, the fastener 22 should be sufficiently configured and made of suitable material to withstand 10-25 pounds of tensile force, as measured by ASTM Test Method No. ASTM D638. The use of thermoplastic polymer for the trim cover fastener 22 is suitable because it enables the second end 26 to be compressible. As will be explained below, a compressible second end 26 facilitates attaching the trim cover 12 to the cushion 8.

Relatively low cost is also a beneficial property associated with thermoplastic polymers. In addition, the flexibility of thermoplastic polymers can provide greater comfort benefits, as the trim cover fasteners 22 will be relatively unfelt by a seat occupant. In at least one embodiment flexible plastic polypropylene or polyethylene is preferred. It is also important to note that different portions of the trim cover fastener 22 may be made from different materials. While the trim cover 12 may be made of any suitable material, in at least certain embodiments the trim cover 12 is made of a fabric or synthetic leather cover suitable for seating in a motor-vehicle. The cushion 8 may have any suitable configuration and may be made of any suitable material, such as molded polymeric material like polyurethane foam.

Referring again to FIG. 3, a sectional side view of an embodiment of the trim cover fastener 22 is shown securing the trim cover seam 14, and thus the trim cover 12, to the cushion 8. In this embodiment, the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 is attached to the trim cover seam 14. As shown in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the trim cover 12 and the trim cover seam 14 are adjacent to the first side 18 of the cushion 8. In this embodiment, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is adjacent to and secured to the second side 20 of the cushion 8. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, a hole 38 extends through the cushion 8 between the first 18 and second 20 sides.

The connector portion 28, which in this embodiment extends through the hole 38 in the cushion 8, extends between and connects the first 24 and second 26 ends of the trim cover fastener 22. As shown in FIG. 3, the trim cover seam 14 is attached to the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 such that the trim cover seam 14 is held adjacent a first side 18 of the cushion 8. In at least another embodiment, the trim cover 12 does not have to be directly adjacent the cushion 8, as other materials or fabrics may be placed between the trim cover 12 and the cushion 8. Typically, the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 is secured adjacent the first side 18 of the cushion 8 at a position located at or near the vertex of the cushion trench 16. It is also important to note that although FIG. 3 shows the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 attached below the trim cover seam 14, the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 may also be attached above the trim cover seam 14, such that the connector portion 28 has a portion that extends above the trim cover seam 14. For instance, in certain embodiments, the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 could be on the outer surface of the trim cover 12.

The trim cover fastener 22 can be secured to the trim cover 12 and the cushion 8 in any suitable manner. One suitable manner is to attach the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 to the trim cover seam 14 and then attach the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 to the second side 18 of the cushion 8, as shown in FIG. 3. One way of inserting the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 into at least a portion of the cushion 8 involves using a cut-through needle. In this embodiment, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is compressed into a scrolled state. FIGS. 6B and 6C show the trim cover fastener 22 with the second end 26 in a scrolled state in greater detail. The second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is then loaded into a cut-through needle. In at least one embodiment, the cut-through needle, loaded with the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22, is inserted all the way through the cushion 8. This can create the hole 38 through the cushion 8 that extends between the first 18 and second 20 sides, as shown in FIG. 3. When inserting the cut-through needle through the cushion, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is typically in a position such that the longest dimension 36 of the second end 26 is the dimension in the direction of motion 44 of the cut-through needle, as shown in FIG. 6C. The second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is typically released from the cut-through needle at the second side 20 of the cushion 8. In this embodiment, the cut-through needle retracts back through the cushion 8, leaving the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 adjacent the second side 20 of the cushion 8. In at least this embodiment, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 rotates 90 degrees such that the longest dimension 36 is positioned parallel to the second surface 20 of the cushion 8, as shown in FIG. 6B. Finally, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 typically expands such that it is in the expanded state shown in FIG. 6A. This process may then be repeated using one or more other trim cover fasteners 22 to secure one or more other parts of the trim cover seam 14 to the cushion 8 near the vertex of a trench 16.

In another embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the trim cover seam 14 may be attached to a tie-down portion 30. In this embodiment a first end 32 of the tie-down portion 30 is attached to the trim cover seam 14 and a second end 34 is attached to the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22. The trim cover seam 14 may be sewn to the first end 32 of the tie-down portion 30, or any other suitable attaching means may be used.

Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, the tie-down portion 30 and the attached trim cover seam 14 may be positioned in the cushion trench 16. In at least this embodiment, the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 is attached to the second end 34 of the tie-down portion 30. The first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 is typically secured adjacent the first side 18 of the cushion 8. The second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is then typically inserted into at least a portion of the cushion 8 and is secured to the cushion 8, such as at the second side 20 of the cushion 8.

Using the tie-down portion 30 helps keep the trim cover seam 14 together, which allows the trim cover fasteners 22 attaching the trim cover seam 14 to the cushion 8 to be spaced farther apart from each other. It also helps protect the upholstery material from being damaged during the attachment process, since only the tie-down portion 30 will be directly attached to the cushion 8. In addition, when removing the trim cover fasteners 22 for reupholstering purposes, the trim cover seam 14 remains intact if a tie-down portion 30 is used. The tie-down portion 30 will also help create an even seam and maintain proper alignment. Because the trim cover 12 is typically made of some type of fabric, the trim cover seam 14 may not be able to withstand pointed forces. Sewing a tie-down portion 30 along the trim cover seam 14 will help distribute the pointed forces associated with the attachment to the trim cover faster 22, along the length of the trim cover seam 14. And because the tie-down portion 30 is typically reinforced along the edge with a thermoplastic polymer, it will be able to withstand relatively greater pointed forces than the trim cover seam 14 alone.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 6A, the first end 24 and second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 are adjacent the first 18 and second 20 sides, respectively, of the cushion 8. The connector portion 28 typically extends through the cushion 8 between the first side 18 and the second side 20. The cushion 8 may have a hole 38 on at least the second side 20 of the cushion 8 having two dimensions. Typically, at least one dimension of the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is longer than at least one dimension of the hole 38. In at least the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2 and 6A, the first end 24 of the trim cover fastener 22 is in the shape of a solid cylinder. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2 and 6A, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is in the shape of a hollow half-pipe. However, the trim cover fastener 22 described in the present invention may have portions, such as the first and second ends 24 and 26, of any suitable shape and/or size.

In other embodiments, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 may be released within the cushion 8 before reaching the second side 20 of the cushion 8. In at least one embodiment, using the method involving the cut-through needle described above, the cut-through needle does not extend to the second side 20 of the cushion 8. Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B, the trim cover fastener 22 of the present invention is shown with the second end 26 extending into only a portion of, and attached to, the cushion 8 between the sides 18 and 20.

To make the attachment shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B relatively convenient to perform, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 may be made of a material that can be compressible, as mentioned above. This allows the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 to be compressed into a scrolled state, as further shown in FIG. 6B. Compressing the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 decreases the surface area of the second end 26 so that it may more easily be inserted into the cushion 8. Referring to FIGS. 5B and 6A, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 has at least one dimension 36 longer than at least one dimension of the hole 38. In this embodiment, the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 may be attached to the cushion 8. This attachment can typically be achieved by orienting the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 in such a way that it is prevented from moving through the hole 38 towards the first side 18 of the cushion 8. One approach is to provide a slot 40, which the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 fits into, as shown in FIG. 5C. Another approach is to provide the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 with compressible fins 42 that can extend into slots 40, as shown in FIG. 5D. The fins 42 are compressed during the insertion process, but can expand into the slots 40 when the second end 26 of the trim cover fastener 22 is in the appropriate position. Other appropriate means for attaching the second end 26 of the trim cover 22 to the cushion 8, such as adhesives, may also be used.

It is important to note that although only one trim cover fastener 22 is described as securing the trim cover seam 14 to the cushion 8, the present invention is not limited to one trim cover fastener 22. A plurality of trim cover fasteners 22 may be used to secure the trim cover seam 14 to the cushion 8.

One advantage of the present invention is that the trim cover fastener 22 may be relatively easily detached from the cushion 8. Because the trim cover fastener 22 is typically made from a thermoplastic polymer, it may be easily cut. This allows for relatively easy removal of the trim cover 12 to allow for reupholstering. Another advantage is the relatively low cost of manufacturing and materials typically used for the present invention. Also, although the trim cover fastener 22 may be relatively easily removed, it still provides a relatively strong attachment.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7296852 *May 11, 2005Nov 20, 2007Moeller Marine ProductsUpholstered seat
US8662560Jul 27, 2009Mar 4, 2014Lear CorporationVehicle seating attachment assembly
US8696067Jul 27, 2009Apr 15, 2014Lear CorporationVehicle seating frame, assembly, and method of making
WO2011102951A1 *Jan 28, 2011Aug 25, 2011Lear CorporationVehicle seat trim paddle attachment
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/228.11
International ClassificationA47C31/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60N2/5825
European ClassificationB60N2/58H2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 15, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: LEAR CORPORATION, MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ZAHEL, JAROSLAW;REEL/FRAME:016400/0815
Effective date: 20050812