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Publication numberUS3262169 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 26, 1966
Filing dateJan 21, 1965
Priority dateJan 21, 1965
Publication numberUS 3262169 A, US 3262169A, US-A-3262169, US3262169 A, US3262169A
InventorsGeorge Jantzen
Original AssigneeSteinthal & Co Inc M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Buckle assembly
US 3262169 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

G. JANTZEN July 26, 1966 BUCKLE ASSEMBLY 2 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Jan. 2l, 1965 INVENTOR. GEORGE JANTZEN ATTORNEY July 26, 1966 G. JANTZEN 3,252,169

BUCKLE ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 2l, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. GEORGE JANTZEN A TTORNEY United States Patent lifice @,Zbzd@ Patented July Z6, i966 3,262,169 BUCKLE ASSEMBLY George Jantzen, New York, NY., assigner to M. Steinthal da Co., lne., New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Jan. 21, 1965, Ser. No. 427,049 13 Claims. (Cl. 24-77) This invention relates to |buckles and more particularly to buckles capable of withstanding large stresses while exhibiting characteristics of ease of operation and attractive design.

Buckles of the type used for seat belts are generally of two basic types: metal-to-fabric buckling and metalto-metal buckling. Metal-to-fabric buckling involves gripping the belt between a serrated metal camming surface and a second metal surface. Metal-to-metal buckling involves engaging one metal buckle member by another metal buckle member.

In a metal-to-metal buckle, an advantageous feature is a means for easy engagement of one buckle member to the other. A complementary feature is the easy disengagement of the buckle members. The design of the locking portions of the buckle members is important in providing the ease of engagement and disengagement. In addition, such design should provide a very strong connection-through for the belt halves so as to withstand the greatest shock forces which mighe be expected to be applied to the buckle when in use. Moreover each of these characteristics in a good design should be realized without employing buckle members of large size and weight. In fact, it is also a very desirable characteristic, from both the point of view of convenience and good looks, to provide a buckle embodying all of the above described characteristics which is light and thin.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a metal-to-metal buckle for seat belts having the charac,- teristics of very easy engagement and disengagement, both in terms of release force and travel of the release lever.

It is another object of this invention to provide a seat belt buckle of thinness and light weight which can withstand the maximum stress anticipated under extreme load conditions.

Another object of the invention is to provide a seat belt buckle which .is easily snugged-up about the wearer and which is easily adjusted for dii'rerent belt lengths.

Another object of this invention is to provide a buckle which maximizes the load carrying capacity of the belt.

Many of the metal-to-metal buckles in use today ernploy an overhead cam locking arrangement for retaining one buckle plate at on top of another *buckle plate. The two buckle plates have mating parts such as bosses and indents which prevent their relative Isliding movement when pressed flat one upon the other. This arrangement has several major disadvantages. Firstly, the overhead cam lock generally requires that one buckle member be fairly thick since the cam must be suspended at a distance over the buckle plate to pivot vertically thereover the buckle plates. Secondly, the plates are not positive locked one to the other. Under heavy load conditions, the forces on the buckle plates may cause the plates to separate and be pulled apart. To overcome the tendency for separation of the buckle plates, the mating portions such as the bosses and indents are exaggerated dimension- `ally. However, this requires a large angular swing of the overhead cam to release the mating portions.

I have invented a Ibuckle assembly which overcomes all of the aforementioned disadvantages, and in addition, maximizes the load carrying capacity of the belt.

In the present invention, a flat plate of one buckle member is gripped for positive locking by locking members which rotate parallel and very closely to the plate of the second buckle member. The locking mechanism does not depend upon maintaining the buckle plates flat upon one another and the overhead cam lock is eliminated. The buckle can be made very thin without sacrificing strength. Moreover, the horizontal positive locking in the present invention provides a more direct and very strong centerline connection-through.

The two horizontal locking members are biased into a locked position by a spring |bias which provides full time locking, but which permits easy insertion of the iirst buckle member into the open end of the second buckle member. The locking members open out towards the mouth of the second buckle member with smooth surfaces. Smooth surfaces on the end portion of the rst buckle member slide upon the smooth surfaces of the two locking members and swing them apart into open position to admit the first buckle member.

Moreover, in my invention, the maximum strength of the beit webbing is utilized. Without necessarily ascribing to one or another explanation, I have observed that if the pressure surface which cooperates with the snubber in the belt engaging and adjusting mechanism is made to bend somewhat when it is heavily loaded by the belt, the belt will withstand greater loads than otherwise. In my invention this is accomplished by a pressure member which is positioned over `an underlying edge which has a high point at about its mid point. Under heavy load the pressure member is pressed to bend about the high point. As a result, the belt which is gripped between the pressure member and the snubber, will itself withstand greater loads before failing.

One explanation for this result is that the load tends to concentrate towards the edges and the full width of the belt is not being effectively utilized to bear the load. It has 'been observed that in fact the belt often fails near its edges. According to this explanation, by bending the surface of the pressure member convexly under load, the full width of the web bears the load more evenly. The belt therefore withstands a greater load than otherwise.

These and other features and `advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description of the particular embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In the drawings,

FIGURE l represents a perspective view of a preferred form of this invention, showing the buckle members unlocked and in position to be engaged.

FIGURE 2 is a section through the central por-tion of the assembly shown in FIGURE 3.

FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the buckle assembly with the buckle members locked and with the top of the cover lever and rear -cover and a portion of the buckle structure cut away to show the locking members.

FIGURE 4 is a section taken in plane 4-4 of FIG- URE 3.

FIGURE 5 shows the cover lever in perspective from its underside.

FIGURE 6 shows the rear cover in perspective from its underside.

FIGURE 7 is a plan view of the buckle assembly with the buckle members unlocked, and with the top of the cover lever and rear cover and a portion of the buckle' structure cut away to show the locking members.

FIGURE S is an enlargement of part of FIGURE 7.

FIGURE 9 is a section taken in plane 9-9 of FIG- URE 3.

Turning now to the figures, FIGURE l shows the coupling member It) in position for insertion into the mouth of the coupling member generally designated 1I. Coupling member Il has a cover lever l2 and a rear cover 13 mounted on a base plate 2t?. A simple insertion of the forward end of coupling member 10 into the mouth of coupling member 1I will secure the members together in locking engagement. To release the coupling members, the cover lever 12 is tilted upward at its nger tip portion 15, with light force.

In FIGURES 2, 3 and 4, the coupling members 10 and 11 are shown in locking engagement. Coupling member 11 has a pair of locking dogs 16 and 17 which pivot on high shear strength pins 18 and 19 to rotate on the surface of the base plate 20 of the coupling member 11. Side walls 21 and 22 extend along the sides of base plate 20 and overhanging plates 23 and 24 extend from the side walls over the base plate 26 and are parallel thereto and spaced therefrom. The pins 1S and 19 are anchored at one end in the base plate 2th and at the other end in overhanging plates 23 and 24. The locking dogs 16 and 17 rotate in the space between the base plate 20 and the overhanging plates 23 and 24. Headed pins 25 and 26 are anchored in the base plate between the locking dogs. Spring 27 is wound around each of the pins 25 and 26 and each of the spring ends Contact actuating arms 50 and 51 on locking dogs 16 and 17 so as to urge the locking portions 52 and 53 of the locking dogs towards each other to engage and lock the coupling member between them at locking notches 23 and 29 along both sides of the coupling member near its forward end.

The cover lever 12 has a driving ar-m 30 which extends towards the base plate to contact smooth curved surfaces on the actuating arms 51 and 52 of the locking dogs 16 and 17. The cover lever 12 is pivotably connected to overhanging plates 23 and 24 by tabs 31 and 32 which extend downward from cover plate 12 and into receiving slots 33 and 34 in the overhanging plates 23 and 24. Aiding in retaining the cover lever 12 to the coupling member 11 are tabs 35 and 36 which extend at the rear of the cover plate and are jogged down to fit beneath rear cover 13.

FIGURE 5 shows the cover lever 12 and the arrangement of tabs. The arrangement of the aforementioned tabs prevent the cover lever 12 from becoming disengaged from the coupling member 11 While enabling the cover lever to pivot on the overhanging plates. With the cover lever 12 at on the overhanging plates 23 and 24, the jogged tabs 35 and 36 are retained under the rear cover 13 and the cover lever cannot become disengaged. As the cover plate is tilted upward, the tabs 31 and 32 swing under the overhanging plates 23 and 24 through slots 34 and 33. At any position of the cover lever between lat and fully tilted, the pairs of tabs will be prevented from being extracted from either the slots 33 and 34 or the forward end of the rear cover 13.

The rear cover 13 is itself retained in place on the coupling member 11 by tabs 45 and 46 at its forward end which are bent under the base plate 20 and pressed into indents, one of which is shown at 37. FIGURE 6 shows the rear cover 13 and the arrangement of tabs 45 and 46.

The belt engaging and adjustment portion of the coupling member 11 comprises a snubber bar 40 which cooperates with a pressure member 41 to press the web of the belt between them. FIGURE 9 shows the mounting of the snubber bar 40. The snubber bar 40 rides on its groove along the opposite short sides of rectangular slot 42 in the rear portion of base plate 20. Pressure member 41 is pressed over the rear long side of slot 42 towards which the snubber slides for belt engagement. The belt is threaded as shown in FIGURE 2. The adjusting end of the belt passes through slot 43 at the rear of the rear cover, and rests upon the tensioned portion of the belt for convenient access.

FIGURE 8 shows an enlarged detail of the pressure member 41 and the long side of rectangular slot 42 over which it is pressed. This long side of slot 42 is formed with a high point at its middle by the convergence of slot edges 44 and 46. Pressure member 41 is a channeled bar which runs almost the length of the long side of slot 42 and has a at serrated face 48 parallel to the serrated face 49 on snubber bar 40. When under tension, the belt forces the serrated face 49 of snubber bar 40 towards the serrated face 48 of pressure member 41. These serrated faces 49 and 48 grip the belt web between them so that the greater the tension force on the belt, the greater the grip on the belt by these elements. The pressure member 41 is pressed over the slot edges 44 and 46 along its channel 47. The channel bottom just touches the high point formed by converging edges 44 and 46. The press of the channeled bar 41 over these edges is such that the bar is capable of being bent to slide further over these edges on both sides of the lhigh point formed by their convergence when a predetermined sucient force is applied to the serrated face 48.

In FIGURES 2 and 8, the operation and effect of the belt and the pressure member 41 are described as follows: Initially, the serrated gripping faces 48 and 49 of these elements are essentially straight and parallel. When the belt is tensioned under heavy load, the snubber bar 40 is forced towards the pressure member 41. The load on the belt web is anchored between these serrated gripping faces. At the same time the load on the belt causes the snubber bar 40 to press the belt against the face 48 of the pressure member 41 with considerable force. It has been observed that when the force on the belt at the gripping faces 48 and 49 and the force on the face 48 reach suicient proportions, the pressure member 41 will bend on both sides of the high point formed by edges 44 and 46. The gripping face 48 of pressure member 41 becomes essentially curved. It has further been observed that as a result of the bending of the pressure bar, the belt web (as distinguished from the buckle) will withstand greater loads before failure. In some tests, the increase in load carrying capacity has been as much as 2,500 lbs. on a belt of standard dimensions. The best results have been obtained when the edges 44 and 46 are each angled at about 3 degrees from what would otherwise be a flat edge.

Reference to FIGURES 2, 3 and 7 will best explain the operation of the locking portions of the buckle. In the locked position, the cover lever 12 rests flat on the overhanging plates 23 and 24 of the buckle member 11. In this position the driving portion 30 of the cover lever 12 acts as a stop for the actuating arms 51 and 52 of the locking dogs 16 and 17 when the buckle member 10 is not engaged. The dogs 16 and 17 are biased by spring 27. The locking portions 52 and 53 of the dogs 16 yand 17 are at their closest positions relative to each other. At or near this position the dogs will engage the locking notches 28 and 29 on buckle member 10. The buckle members 10 and 11 are positive locked for substantially direct center line loading, through the buckle member 10, through the locking dogs 16 and 17, through the high shear pivot pins 18 and 19 which are anchored at top and bottoms (for double shear strength) and through the rear portion of the base plate 20. This arrangement for compact locking and center line loading provides a buckle of very high strength characteristics. Tests on steel buckles have shown that the buckle will withstand forces in excess of 7,500 lbs.

To release the buckle member 10 from buckle member 11, the cover lever 12 is lifted at its tip portion 1S. Because very thin buckles are obtainable with the horizontal locking mechanism of this invention, the driving portion 30 of the cover lever can get down in a very short distance to the actuating arms 50 and 51 of locking dogs 16 and 17. This provides a high mechanical advantage for the lever. Mechanical advantages of 7:1 and 8:1 are realized. As a result, a small release force is required at the tip portion 15. Release forces in the range of 8 lbs. are sufficient whereas the average for most buckles is considerably higher. When the cover lever 12 is tilted upward, the driving portion 30 pivots against the actuating arms 50 and 51 of dogs 16 and 17 and causes the dogs to rotate so that their locking portions 52 and 53 increase in distance from each other. At a predetermined point, this distance exceeds the largest transverse dimension of the end portion of buckle member lfl and the buckle member is released.

The elements opening onto the mouth of buckle member 11, into which buckle member 'is inserted, are arranged to lead the end portion of buckle member 10 into the space between locking dogs 16 and 17. The tip portion and the ends 14 of overhanging plates 23 and 24 are angled towards the locking space. The forward surface portion of the dogs 16 and 17 and the forward surface portion of buckle member 10 are angled and curved respectively to aid lead in. Furthermore, these surfaces 'are smooth to slide Iagainst each other and cooperate upon insertion of buckle member 10 to force the locking portions 52 and 53 of the dogs 16 and 17 further apart to permit the forward end of buckle member 10 to enter the space therebetween for positive locking. Shoulders 54 and 55 of buckle member 10 butt up against the side walls 22 and 21 of buckle member 11 and keep the buckle member 11 from racking and prematurely disengaging.

Although the invention has been described herein with reference to specific embodiments, ma-ny modifications and variations therein will occur readily to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, such variations and modifications are included within the intended scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

I claim:

1. A buckle comprising separable first and second belt engaging coupling members, said first coupling member having a base plate, a pair of pivot members extending from said base plate, a pair of locking members rotatably mounted on said pivot members and having locking portions adapted to move relative to each other between respective locking and releasing positions for said second coupling member, bias means engaging said locking members for biasing said locking portions towards the said locking position, and a plate-like lever member pivotably connected to said first coupling member and positioned outside said first coupling member and having a fiat driving portion extending into the interior of said first coupling member and disposed to engage and induce rotation of said locking members to move said locking portions towards said releasing position in opposition to said bias and said second coupling member having a portion thereof adapted for locking engagement with said locking portions.

2. A buckle comprising separable first and second belt engaging buckle members, said first buckle member having a base plate, a pair of locking members mounted to rotate substantially parallel to said base plate and having locking portions thereon adapted to move relative to each other between positions for respectively locking and releasing said second buckle member, bias means engaging said locking members for biasing said locking portions thereon towards said locking position, and platelike lever positioned to over-lie said base plate and connected to pivot on said first buckle member and having flat driving means thereon which extends into the interior of said first buckle member and is disposed to engage said locking member and induce rotation of said locking portions thereon towards said releasing position, said second buckle member being adapted for locking engagement with said locking portions.

3. A seat belt including belt portions and a buckle for connecting said belt portions, -said buckle comprising first and second belt engaging buckle members, said first buckle member comprising a base plate, a pair of locking members mounted to rotate substantially parallel to said base plate and close thereto, said locking members each having a locking portion thereon which move towards and away from each other dependent upon the rotation of said locking members for respectively locking and releasing said second buckle member; bias means engaging said locking members to bias said locking portions towards each other for engaging said second buckle member therebetween and a plate-like lever member pivotably attached to said first buckle member and positioned to over-lie said base plate and having driving means which extend into the interior of said first buckle member and disposed to engage and induce rotation of said locking member to move said locking portions away from each other for releasing said second buckle member, said second buckle member having a portion adapted to induce movement of said locking portions away from each other to permit entry therebetween of said portion and for locking engagement along its sides by said locking portions.

4. A seat belt according to claim 2 in which the belt engaging portion of at least one buckle member comprises a snubber member slidable in a slot in said buckle member, said beltV passing through said slot, the edge of said slot towards which said snubber member slides for belt engagement having a high part on the mid portion thereof, a pressure member positioned over said edge including said high part and adapted to bend about said high part when under load.

5. A buckle according to claim 1 in which said lever member includes a first plurality of tabs angularly extending from the pivot end thereof into receiving places in said first coupling member, and a second plurality of tabs extending from said pivot end at a lesser angle into receiving places in said first coupling member, said tabs cooperating with said receiving places to hold said lever member to said first coupling member at any pivot position.

6. A seat belt according to claim 1 in which said locking members have smooth surfaces thereon adapted and disposed for leading said portion of said second coupling member into entry between said locking portions, and said second coupling member having smooth surfaces thereon adapted and disposed to cooperate with said smooth surfaces for lead in.

7. A buckle comprising a first buckle member adapted for locking engagement with a second buckle member, said first buckle -member comprising a base plate having a substantially flat portion thereon, a pair of pivot members extending substantially normally from said fiat portion, a pair of locking members mounted on said pivot members to rotate substantially parallel to said flat portion, each of said locking members comprising a dog arm and an actuating arm, said dog arms being disposed opposite each other; bias means engaging said locking members for urging rotation of said dog arms towards each other and a plate-like lever member pivotably connected to said first buckle member and positioned outside said first buckle member and having a fiat driving portion extending into the interior of said first buckle member and disposed to contact and induce rotation of said actuating arms to rotate said dog arms away from each other, said second buckle member having notched places along the sides thereof for locking engagement With said dog arms.

8. A buckle comprising a first buckle member adapted for locking engagement with a second buckle member, said first buckle member comprising a base plate having a substantially fiat portion thereon, a pair of locking members mounted to rotate substantially parallel and close to said fiat portion, each of said locking members comprising a dog arm and an actuating arm, said dog 'arms being disposed opposite each other; bias means engaging said locking members for urging rotation of said dog arms into locking engagement with said second buckle member, and a plate-like lever member pivotab-ly attached to said first buckle member and positioned to over-lie said base plate and having fiat driving means extending into the interior of said first buckle member and disposed to contact and induce rotation of said actuating arms in opposition to said bias for releasing said second buckle member from locking engagement, said second buckle member having a portion thereof of a design adapted for locking engagement with said dog arms.

9. A buckle according to claim 7 in which said first buckle member has opposed side walls along said flat portion, said plate-like lever member extending over said at portion between each of said side walls, each of said pivot members extending between said flat portion and said lever member, each of said locking members being positioned near respective ones of said side walls and between said lat portion and said lever member.

10. A belt, a buckle for said belt comprising separable buckle members, belt engaging means on at least one of said buckle members comprising a snubber bar positioned transverse to the web face of said belt and slidable in a slot in said buckle member, said belt passing through said slot, the edge of said slot transverse to said web face towards which said snubber bar slides for belt engagement having a high part on the intermediate portion thereof, a channeled pressure member positioned over said edge including said high part and adapted t0 bend about said high part when under load.

11. In a buckle, belt engaging means comprising a snubber member slidable in a slot in said buckle, said belt passing through said slot, the edge of said slot towards which said snubber member slides for belt engagement having a high part on the mid portion thereof, a pressure member positioned over said edge including said high part and adapted to bend about said high part when loaded along its length.

12. A buckle comprising separable first and second belt engaging buckle members, said rst buckle member having a base plate, a pair of locking members mounted to rotate substantially parallel to said base plate and having locking portions thereon adapted to move relative to each other between positions for respectively locking and releasing said second buckle member, bias means engaging said locking members for biasing said locking portions thereon towards said locking position, and lever means connected to pivot on said rst buckle member and having a driving portion thereon disposed to engage said locking members and induce rotation of said locking portions thereon towards said releasing position, said second buckle member being adapted for locking engagement with said locking portions, said belt engaging portion of at least one buckle member comprises a snubber member slidable in a slot in said buckle member, said belt passing through said slot, the edge of said slot towards which said snubber member slides for belt engagement having a high part on the mid portion thereof, a pressure member positioned over said edge including said high part and adapted to bend about said high part when under load.

13. A buckle comprising separable first and second belt engaging coupling members, said rst coupling member having a base plate, a pair of pivot members extending from said base plate, a pair of locking members rotatably mounted on said pivot members and having locking portions adapted to move relative to each other between respective locking 'and releasing positions for said second coupling member, bias means engaging said locking members for biasing said locking portions towards the said locking position, and a lever member pivotably connected to said rst coupling member and having a driving portion disposed to engage and induce rotation of said locking members to move said locking portions towards said releasing position in opposition to said bias and said second coupling member having a portion thereof adapted for locking engagement with said locking portions, said lever member includes a rst plurality 0f tabs angularly extending from the pivot end thereof into receiving places in said rst buckle member, and a second plurality of tabs extending from said pivot end at a lesser angle into receiving places in said first buckle member, said tabs cooperating with said receiving places to hold said lever member to said rst buckle member at any pivot position.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 509,304 11/ 1893 Forbes 292-27 1,252,776 1/ 1918 Camper 292-27 3,103,048 9/ 1963 Johansson.

3,152,827 10/1964 Shebanow 294-116 X 3,157,929 11/1964 Warner 24-196 BERNARD A. GELAK, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US3152827 *Jun 1, 1962Oct 13, 1964Sperry Rand CorpManual gripping tool
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3340578 *Feb 14, 1966Sep 12, 1967Vogt Mfg CorpSafety belt buckle
US3473201 *Jan 3, 1967Oct 21, 1969Robbins Seat Belt CoSeat belt buckle
US3523342 *Nov 29, 1968Aug 11, 1970John P SpiresSeat belt buckle latch
US3648333 *Oct 20, 1969Mar 14, 1972Robbins Seat Belt CoSeat belt buckle assembly
US3649999 *May 22, 1969Mar 21, 1972Robbins Seat Belt CoReflex seat belt buckle
US3798711 *Jun 26, 1972Mar 26, 1974Cousins SSeparable fastener
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US7373701 *Sep 8, 2004May 20, 2008Garrison Tool & Die Ltd.Quick release buckle
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US8303043Sep 29, 2009Nov 6, 2012Amsafe, Inc. (Phoenix Group)Tensioning apparatuses for occupant restraint systems and associated systems and methods
US8327513Sep 21, 2009Dec 11, 2012Amsafe, Inc.Buckle assembly having single release for multiple belt connectors
US8393645Nov 2, 2010Mar 12, 2013Amsafe Commercial Products, Inc.Devices for adjusting tension in seat belts and other restraint system webs, and associated methods
US8567022Jun 8, 2012Oct 29, 2013Amsafe, Inc.Buckle assembly having single release for multiple belt connectors
US8627554Apr 29, 2011Jan 14, 2014Amsafe, Inc. (Phoenix Group)Buckle assemblies with swivel and dual release features and associated methods of use and manufacture
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US8683666Nov 4, 2010Apr 1, 2014Amsafe Commercial Products, Inc.Restraint system buckle components having tactile surfaces, and associated methods of use and manufacture
DE3542428A1 *Nov 30, 1985Jul 30, 1987Autoflug GmbhSelf-clamping locking tongue for a safety-belt lock
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Classifications
U.S. Classification24/323, 24/196, 24/634
International ClassificationA44B11/25
Cooperative ClassificationA44B11/2526, A44B11/2557
European ClassificationA44B11/25B3, A44B11/25B8C2