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Publication numberUS3592041 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 13, 1971
Filing dateOct 25, 1968
Priority dateOct 25, 1968
Publication numberUS 3592041 A, US 3592041A, US-A-3592041, US3592041 A, US3592041A
InventorsWilliam H Spencer
Original AssigneeBurris Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Chair-testing apparatus
US 3592041 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] inventor William U.Speneer Vale, N.C. 2| AppLNo. 770,590 [22] Filed 0ct.25,1968 [45] Patented July 13,1971

Burris Manufacturing Compnay Lincolnton, N.C.

[731 Assignee [54] C HAIR-TESTING APPARATUS 11 Claims, 7 Drawing figs.

[52] U.S. Cl ..73/7, 73/94, 73/161, 73/432 [.51] 1nt.C1 .1 G0ln 3/56, GOlm 19/00 [50] Field of Search 73/432, 7, 94, 161, 172

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,811,285 6/1931 Stevens 73/7 2,859,621 11/1958 Knopfet al. 73/432 3,427,859 2/1969 Taub 73/7 FOREIGN PATENTS 778,222 7/1957 Great Britain..... .4 7317 6,406,271 12/ l 965 Netherlands 73/7 Primary ExaminerJames J. Gill Atmrney- Parrott, Bell, Seltzer, Park & Gibson ABSTRACT: A chair-testing apparatus for testing the operability and/or durability of the elements and construction of a reclining chair, including means for applying forces to movable seat, back and leg rest portions of a chair under test and thereby simulating use of the chair by an occupant be causing the movable portions to cycle between a generally upright seating position and a generally inclined reclining position and further including means for engaging occupant-supporting surfaces of a chair under test to simulate wear imposed thereon by an occupant seating himself in the chair and arising from the chair. Testing sequences are under the control of a control means governing the cycling of forces applied to portions of the chair under test in such a manner as to permit full simulation of use of the chair by an occupant or suspension of certain test functions as may be desired.

PATENTEU JUL 1 3 I97! 3592,0 11

sum 1 [1F 4 1 P84 J INVENTOR \m LLIAM H. SPENCER x ATTORNEYS PATENIEnJuuslen 3.592.041

sum 2 or 4 INVENTOR.

ATTORNEYS CHAIR-TESTING APPARATUS In recent years, a large and growing portion of business in the furniture industry has involved chairs of a type known as reclining chairs or recliners. Reclining chairs may be characterized as having movable seat, back and leg rest portions mounted upon a frame for movement relative thereto between a seating position wherein an occupant of the chair is in a generally upright seated position and a reclining position wherein the occupant of the chair is supported in a more nearly horizontal or inclined position. As the volume of sale of such chairs has increased, it has become of increasing importance to manufacturers of such chairs that control be exercised over the quality of the finished product and of the component parts which are assembled into that product, including the linkage mechanism which operatively connects the movable portions of the reclining chair with the frame, cushioning materials, and upholstery materials.

Heretofore, while the necessity for quality control over the final product and as to the components thereof has been recognized, the means of obtaining basic information as to the durability of the chairs and elements thereof for such quality control has not been readily available to reclining chair manufacturers. In particular, a means has not been available for readily testing an assembled chair in full simulation of the use of a chair by a consumer. More specifically, any test cycling of a reclining chair through a sequence of movements between seating and reclining positions has heretofore been accomplished manually and, while perhaps somewhat satisfactory in simple testing of operability of reclining chairs, has not been appropriate for testing the durability of the chairs. Further, it is recognized that availability of capabilities for testing all of the elements incorporated into a chair necessarily requires the capability of testing the durability of cushioning and upholstery materials used on the occupant-supporting portions of the chair.

It is accordingly a principal object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for testing a reclining chair of the type described by full simulation of the use of the chair by a consumer.

A more specific object of the present invention is to provide chair-testing apparatus operable to cycle movable portions of a reclining chair between seating and reclining positions in a manner substantially the same as that typical during use of the chair by an occupant and in controlled sequence for determination of the operability and/or durability of the finished chair and its components.

A further specific object of the present invention is to provide a chair-testing apparatus operable for imposing wear on occupant-supporting surfaces of a chair under test in simulation of frictional sliding and weight loading on cushioning and upholstery materials which occur as an occupant seats himself in the chair and arises from the chair.

Some of the objects and advantages of the invention having been stated, others will appear as the description proceeds, when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of the apparatus of the present invention, illustrating a reclining chair under test;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the apparatus of FIG. I, in partial section, taken generally along the line 2-2 in that FIG.;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view, in partial section, through the apparatus of FIG. 1 and a chair under test, showing the chair in the inclined position;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, showing the apparatus as disposed with the chair under test in the seating position;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a pressure fluid flow circuit included in a control means arrangement for the apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 4;

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of an electrical circuit included in the control means arrangement for the apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 4; and

FIG. 7 is an enlarged elevation of the face of the control panel for the control arrangement of FIGS. 5 and 6.

Referring now more particularly to the drawings, an apparatus in accordance with the present invention for testing the operability and/or durability of elements of a reclining chair in full simulation of use by a consumer is there indicated by the reference character 10. Apparatus 10 is illustrated in connection with a chair C of the type known as a reclining chair, which includes a back portion B, a seat portion S and a leg rest portion L which are mounted on a frame F and operatively connected together for movement relative thereto between a generally upright seating position (as shown in FIG. 4) and a generally inclined reclining position (as shown in FIG. 3).

In the specific embodiment illustrated, a mechanical linkage arrangement operatively connects the leg rest L, the frame F, and the seat portion S for moving the leg rest portion L between an extended position while the chair is in a reclining position and a retracted position disposed beneath the seat portion S while the chair is in the seating position. Further, in the illustrated embodiment, the seat portion S and the back portion B are pivotally mounted on the frame F, but do not move one relative to the other during the cycle of movement of the movable portions of the chair between the seating and reclining positions.

While the chair C used in illustrating the present subject invention is thus one of the several types of reclining chairs known and commercially available, specifically being that type known as a two-way" chair, it is to be understood that the apparatus of the present invention is contemplated as being equally useful with the other types of reclining chairs, such as those wherein the seat portion and back portion do move one relative to the other during the cycle of the movable portions of the chair (known as threeway chairs), those wherein extending movement of the leg rest portion is accomplished in a different manner, and those wherein movement of the leg rest portion is accomplished independently of movement of the seat portion or back portion.

Apparatus 10 includes a base means for receiving and supporting a chair to be tested, and preferably, the base means is in the form of a platform 11 which, for convenience, is preferably mounted upon a plurality of casters 12 to permit readily moving the apparatus 10 about from point to point within a plant, as may be required. The upper surface of the platform 11 provides a supporting floor or surface on which a chair C under test may be received and supported.

To insure that the chair C is properly positioned for the testing procedures which are described hereinafter, the base means includes a plurality of clamping devices 14, 15, I6 and 17 mounted upon the floor surface of the platform 11 for clamping engagement with the legs 19 of the frame of the chair C. As best shown in FIG. 2, the end portions of the clamp means 14, 15, 16 and 17 which engage with the legs 19 preferably are forked or cut to provide an angle for engaging the legs 19 and securely locking the chair C in a desired position. Also, clamp means 14-117 are adjustably mounted on platform 11 for accommodating different sizes of chairs.

In order to retain the chair C in the desired position during the testing procedure, holddown means (FIG. 1) are provided for engaging a portion of the frame of the chair and, as illustrated, comprise a pair of cable members 20 and 21, each being connected to platform ll by a corresponding one of two eyes 22 and 23 and a corresponding one of two turnbuckles 25 and 26. By tightening the cable members 20 and 21 through use of the turnbuckles 25 and 26, a downward force may be applied to the frame of the chair C to firmly secure the same in place in the desired position on the supporting floor provided by the platform 11.

The apparatus 10 of the present invention further includes motive means supported in predetermined relation to the platform 11 for applying to portions of the chair C forces which fully simulate wear imposed on the chair when a consumer causes the seat S, back B and leg rest L portions of the chair C to cycle between the seating and reclining positions. In particular, the motive means includes means adapted to engage the occupant-supporting surfaces of a chair under test and means adapted to engage at least the back portion of a reclining chair for moving the movable portions. Preferably, these means include at least first, second and third pushing devices 30, 31 and 32.

Of these three pushing devices, the first and second devices 30 and 311 are arranged for movement between withdrawn and supporting-surface-engaging positions and to act downwardly on the back and seat portions of the chair C. Particularly, the firs and second pushing devices 30 and 31 are supported by a pair of vertically uprising standards 34 and 35 rising from the platform 11 and a crossbeam 36 extending horizontally between the standards 34 and 35 above the chair C. The crossbeam 36 additionally supports other components of the apparatus as discussed more fully hereinafter.

The third pushing device 32 is mounted directly on the floor surface provided by the platform lll, for acting against the back portion B of the chair C and exerting thereon forces for moving the movable portions of the chair.

Preferably, each of the pushing devices 30, 31 and 32 is a double-acting, pressure-fluid-actuated, extensible and retractable device, comprising an elongate cylinder, a piston movable within the cylinder (not shown in the drawings) and a piston rod extensible relative to the cylinder with movement of the piston therewithin. ln mounting each of the devices, pivotal connections are made between the opposite ends of the cylinder and the piston rod and the other structural elements which support the jack device and engage the chair C under test. More specifically, referring now to the first pushing device 30 as an example, that device includes a cylinder 38 and a piston rod 39 extensible relative to the cylinder. The end of the cylinder 38 remote from the piston rod 39 is pivotally connected to a mounting plate 40, which is in turn secured to and extends upwardly from the crossbeam 36 (see FIGS. 1, 3 and 4). The free end of the piston rod 39 is pivotally connected to a pushing pad 41, particularly adapted for engagement with the occupant supporting surface of the back portion B of the chair C. By means of these pivotal connections, angular movement between the back portion B of the chair C and the support plate 10 is accommodated (as seen by comparing the positions of the members in FIG. 3 with the position of the members in FIG. 4).

As to the second pushing device 31, the cylinder 42 and piston rod 43 thereof are respectively pivotally connected to the crossbeam 36 and to a pushing pad 44 particularly adapted for engagement with the occupant-supporting surface of the seat portion S of the chair C. The seat portion pushing pad 44 (as shown in FlGS. 3 and 4) preferably includes a hook portion 45 for engagement with the forward side edge of the sea portion S.

In similar fashion, the third pushing device 32 includes a cylinder 48 and piston rod 49, respectively pivotally connected to a mounting plate 50 and a pushing bar 51 adapted to be bolted to or otherwise be connected to the back portion B of the chair C. Positioning of the third pushing device 32 for cooperation with the other elements of the apparatus 10 in cycling the movable portions of the chair C is accommodated by the mounting plate 50 to which the cylinder 48 is pivotally connected being received within a trackway means 52 mounted on the platform ill. for adjustment of the mounting plate 50 therealong.

As to certain types of reclining chairs, the application of a downward force on the leg rest portion of the chair is necessary in order to initate movement from the reclining position to the upright seating position. In order to adapt the apparatus 10 of the present invention to testing a reclining chair of this type, the motive means of the apparatus it) further include a fourth extensible and retractable device 33 mounted on the platform 11 adjacent the trackway 52 on which the third device 32 is mounted. Preferably, the fourth device is also a pressure fluid device including a cylinder 53 and a piston rod 53, and has connected thereto an elongate cable 55 guided along the platform 11 and terminating at an attachment plate 56 particularly adapted for connection to the leg rest portion of a chair under test. When so connected, the piston rod 34 of the fourth device 33 is extended as the chair is positioned in the reclined position (similar to the position of FIG. 3). Upon initiation of movement of the elements of the chair from the reclining position toward the seating position, the piston rod 54 of the fourth device 33 is withdrawn, pulling on the cable 55 and retracting the leg rest portion of the chair under test.

In the illustrated embodiment, the four devices 30-33 which are employed to apply forces to elements of the chair C under test are preferably pneumatically actuated cylinder devices, to facilitate adjustment of the forces applied against the portions of the chair C during testing procedures. Where the pushing pads 41 and M are constructed to have predetermined areas for engagement with the upholstery and cushion of the chair C, and are surfaced with a suitable material, the total force imposed on and movement relative to elements of the chair C during testing procedures may be adjusted to simulate the forces and wear resulting from a user being seated in the chair and leaning against the back portion thereof through adjustment of the air pressure applied to the first and second cylinders 30 and 311.

The application of forces to the movable portions of the chair C under test is governed, in the apparatus 10 of the present invention, by control means operatively connected to the various chain-engaging means discussed above. In particular, the control means are connected to the devices 30, 31, 32 and 33, for governing the movements thereof relative to stationary elements of the apparatus 10 and thereby governing the sequencing of movement of the piston rods thereof and of the chair under test where the test sequence used involves movement. As preferably arranged, the control means in a preferred mode of operation causes the chair-engaging means to apply forces to the back portion B, the seat portion S, and the leg rest portion L of the chair under test which cause the movable portions of the chair to repeatedly cycle between the upright seating position of H0. 4 and the generally inclined reclining position of FIG. 3, in simulation of use of the chair by a consumer. By the inclusion in the control means of appropriate timing devices, as discussed more fully hereinafter,

the repeated cycling of the chair may be continued for controlled intervals of time in order to determine the effect of such usage upon the durability and operability of the chair. Further, by the inclusion ofa mode selector, the repeated cycling of selected ones of the chair-engaging means may be individually suspended to select particular forces to be applied to the chair under test.

A specific arrangement of control means for the illustrated embodiment of the apparatus 10 is best understood by a discussion with reference to the schematic diagrams of FIGS. 5 and 6. As therein shown, each of the pneumatically actuated devices 30, 31, 32 and 33 has an associated pneumatic control valve means, respectively identified by the reference characters 60, 61, 62 and 63. Each of the control valves is preferably of the well-known type wherein a spool moving within a valve body is shifted to control operative communication between a pair of exhaust ports, a pressure input port, and an associated cylinder device. In the form illustrated, movement of the spools within the valve devices 60, 611, 62 and 63 is in response to the energization of first and second solenoid coils operatively associated with the valve spools of each of the valve devices and respectively identified by the addition of the postscripts A and B to the reference character identifying the particular valve. As an operational example, energization of the first solenoid coil 60A (FIG. 5) of valve 60 shifts the spool thereof to the left, opening operative communication between a source of pneumatic pressure and the cylinder 38, to cause extension of the piston rod 39 thereof. Energization of the corresponding second solenoid coil 608 reverses the operative communication, to cause retraction of the associated piston rod 39. Similar energization of the other solenoid coils 61A and 6113; 62A and 62B; and 63A and 638 causes similar extension and retraction of the corresponding piston rods.

BEST AVAILABLE CGP' in order to govern the energization of the solenoids of the valves 60, 61, 62 and 63, and thereby govern operative communication between a source of air under pressure and the extensible devices, the control means of the present invention further includes electrical circuitry (FIG. 6) for controllably energizing the solenoids. An important feature of the circuitry is the inclusion therein of a mode switch 65 arranged to vary the electrical connection of the solenoids of the valves 60 through 63 and thereby permit selection of a particular mode of operation for the apparatus 10 of the present invention as discussed more fully hereinafter. The mode switch 65 preferably is a multideck rotational switch of the multiposition type, including seven switch wafers identified by the reference characters SW-l through SW-7.

Electrically connectable by manipulation of the mode switch 65 are a plurality of control relays, identified by the reference characters CR-1, CR-2 and CR-3; a time delay relay identified by legend, and a plurality of limit switches LS-l, LS- 2, LS-3 and LS-4 which function as reversing means for controlling the directions of forces imposed on the chair under test. The limit switches are mounted adjacent certain of the pushing devices 30, 31 and 32, to be actuated by movement of the piston rods thereof indicative of movement of the chair under test and control the energization of the solenoids of the valves 60, 61, 62 and 63 in response to completion of certain movements. In order to provide a relatively low voltage level, such as l0 volts, for operation of the solenoids 60A and 603 through 63A and 638, the circuitry includes a transformer T to which an appropriate line voltage such as 1 l0 volts may be applied and which in turn supplies the required lower control voltage.

With the mode switch 65 in a selected first position, wherein the electrical switching arrangements provided on the seven switching wafers thereof, SW-l through SW-7, are all in the open circuit position, manual control may be exercised over the movements of the piston rods of the cylinder devices 33. More particularly, manual actuation of low voltage pushbuttons PB-l, PB-2, PB-3 and PB-4 provides control over the extending and retracting movements of the second, third and fourth cylinders 31, 32 and 33. This manual control will facilitate insuring that the chair C under test is properly positioned for test procedures to follow. While it has thus far been found that adjustment of the position of a chair C with reference to these three cylinders will insure proper cooperation between the chair and the pushing pad 41 operated by the first cylinder device 30, it is additionally contemplated that manual control pushbutton switches may be added to the circuitry to provide manual control over the first cylinder device 30 if so desired.

Turning now to the full automatic sequence which exposes a chair C under test to a full simulation of the occupation and use of the chair by a person, the mode switch 65 when placed in switching position for full automatic operation establishes connection which places the energization of the solenoids of the valves 60-63 under the control of the limit switches LS-l through LS4, the control relays CR-l through CR-3, and a time delay relay. More particularly, a circuit is completed through normally closed contacts of a hand auto switch 66 which permits energization of the winding of the third control relay CR-3 upon closure either of a limit switch LS-1 associated with the third cylinder device 32 or by a cycle start pushbutton 68. Upon energization of the third control relay CR-3 by closure of either of these two switches, closure of a first associated contact set 69 completes a circuit energizing solenoid coils 60A and 61A to result in extension of the piston rods of the first and second cylinder devices 30 and 31. Another contact set 70 of the third control relay CR-3 completes a circuit energizing the first control relay CR-l, and resulting in closure of a pair of contact sets 71 and 72 associated therewith. Of these contact sets, one contact set 7 completes a circuit in parallel with the contact set 70 of the third control relay, through a normally closed contact set 73A of a time delay relay. This holding circuit maintains the coil of the first control relay CR-l energized for sufficient period of time for energization of the time delay relay tooccur, upon closure of thesecond contact set 72 of the first control relay.

On energization of the soleniid coils A and 61A governing extension of the piston rods of the first and second cylinder devices 30 and 31, air is admitted thereto under pressures determined by associated adjustable pressure-regulating valves (FIG. 5) set to cause the forces exerted on the areas of the pads 41 and 44 to simulate the weight and backward bias of an occupant of the chair under test. As the pads are moved from the withdrawn position (H6. 4) to the extended position in engagement with the occupant-supporting surfaces of the chair, sliding motion of the pads on the surfaces of the chair simulates the friction occurring as such an occupant seats himself.

Energization of the time delay relay provides a controlled period of hesitation or waiting between the instant of such energization and the closure of a normally open contact set 738 thereof to complete a circuit energizing the second control relay CR-2, and thus simulates an occupant hesitating before moving the chair toward the reclining position. At the end of a preset timing period established by a dashpot or similar timing device in the time delay relay, such as l0 seconds, the normally closed contacts 73A thereof open and the normally open contacts 73B thereof are closed, energizing the second control relay CR-2. Energization of the second control relay results in closure of an associated contact set 74 which is placed, by contact through switch wafers SW-4 and SW-7 of the mode switch 65, into a circuit controlling solenoids 62A and 63A. Thus, at a predetermined short interval after weight is imposed on the back B and seat S portions of the chair C undergoing test, the chair is pulled from the upright seating position toward the inclined reclining position by retraction of the piston rod of the third cylinder device 32. During movement of the chair from the seated to the reclining position, weight continues to be imposed thereon by the first and second cylinder devices 30 and 31, in continued simulation of use of the chair by an occupant.

With the retraction of the piston rod of the third cylinder device 32 to such a point that the linkage mechanism of the chair is in the fully opened position (with the chair in the fully reclining position), a limit switch LS-4 positioned adjacent the cylinder device 32 is engaged by an abutment member 75 moving with the piston rod 49 thereof and closed to initiate movement returning the chair to the upright seating position. This movement is initiated by energization of the solenoids 62B and 63B controlling admission of air to the third and fourth cylinder devices 32 and 33 so as to cause extension of the piston rod 49 of the third cylinder device to move the back portion B of the chair C under test upwardly and the exertion of a pulling force downwardly on the leg re t ort on L of the chair C where the fourth cylinder device 33 is being employed. At the same time, by an appropriate connection between the solenoid coil 60B of control valve 60 and the limit switch LS4 through a switch wafer SW-6 of the mode switch 65, retracting movement of the piston rod 39 of the first cylinder device 30 is begun. Retracting movement of the piston rod of the second cylinder device 31 is placed under the control of a limit switch LS-3 positioned for actuation by an abutment member 76 moving with the piston rod 49 of the third cylinder device 32 and electrically connected to the solenoid 618 through a switch wafer SW-3 of the mode switch 65. Upon return of the piston rods of the cylinder devices 30-33 to their respective starting positions, be they retracted or extended, the limit switches [.84 and LS-2 are closed by abutment members 77 and 78 moving with the piston rods 39 and 43 of the first and second cylinder devices 30 and 31 and the next succeeding cycle of operation is initiated.

The present invention contemplates that the switch wafers SW-l through SW-7 of the mode switch may be arranged to interponnect the various elements of the control circuitry in several @manners, in order to provide various controlled testing sequences as needed to test the elements of the chair C. in

particular. it is contemplated that test sequences and electrical interconnections as set forth in table I may be employed.

simulating the weight of an occupant of the chair, said pad means comprising means engaging a portion of the TABLE 1.-TESTING MODES AND CIRCUIT INTERCONNECIIONS Mode SW-l SW-2 SW-3 SW4 SW-ii SW-6 SW-7 :t3 i%ane:::::::i:::i:;;: fis ieannent ante; iia: gas-.1 fifiiatsnanew ine iia: s ita'stinnasasjjiiiJ 8535a. Cycle cylinder 30 LS- to hand-auto switch Open. Open. 052:8 ..do Contact set 74 to solenoid Open. Cycle cylinder 32. to hand-auto switch Closed. ..do.. (Jtirzilgact set 74 to solenoid Open. 0325. Do. Cycle cylinders 30, 32.... to hand-auto switch ...do. ..do ..do Closed.- cgg t act set 74 to solenoid Do.

While the mode switch 65 as thus arranged provides a testing operator with the choice of suspending the operation of various ones of the cylinder devices 30, 31, 32 and 33, it is contemplated that the choices open to the testing operator may be enlarged by providing more positions for the mode switch. in particular, individual cycling operations for each of the three primary pushing-pulling devices 30, 31 and 32 may be provided i so desired, with such a range of capability permitting use of the apparatus it) in testing either complete chairs or any component of those chairs prior to completion of the chair.

Recognizing that continuous and repeated cycling of the cylinder devices 30, 31 and 32 will not necessarily fully simulate the wear imposed on a chair under test by an occupant, inasmuch as a user of a chair does not normally repeatedly cycle the chair in that manner, the apparatus of the present invention further includes timers 80 and 81 incorporated in the control means for determining the intervals of testing. in particular, one timer 80 is an on cycle timer, which determined the duration of an interval during which the testing procedure cycles go on repeatedly. The other timer 811 is an off cycle timer, which determines a rest interval alternating with test intervals as determined by the one timer 80. in operation, upon initiation of the testing procedure the one timer 80 begins running for a predetermined time period, preferably within the range of to 30 minutes. Upon the testing procedure having run for the number of minutes set on the one timer 80, as for example 25 minutes, the interval of testing is interrupted by an interval of rest determined by the other timer 81, as within the range of from 0 to 120 seconds. Upon the conclusion of the interval of rest, as after 100 seconds during which no testing movements are carried out, an interval of testing begins again under the control of the one timer 80.

From the above discussion, it is to be noted that the apparatus 10 of the present invention provides quality control personnel supervising the quality of reclining chairs with capabilities of testing all elements incorporated into such a chair, and that such testing may proceed either with a completely finished sample of the chair being produced, or with various elements which are incorporated into such a finished chair.

The testing procedures may have as their object determining the durability of all the elements incorporated within the chair or of only certain elements, such as the linkage mechanism, cushioning materials, or upholstery covering material.

in the drawings and specification, there has been set forth a preferred embodiment of the invention, and although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the chair for limiting the extent of sliding movement, and

control means operatively connected to said chair-engaging means for controlling the operation thereof to repeatedly cycle said engaging means between the withdrawn and engaging positions and thereby test the durability of at least the cushioning and upholstery elements of the seat portion of the chair.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said control means includes adjustable means governing the imposition of force by said chair-engaging means on the occupant-supporting surfaces of the chair under test for accommodating adjustment of such force and thereby facilitating simulation of the varying weights of a plurality of potential occupants of the chair.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said chair-engaging means is adapted to engage the occupant-supporting surfaces of both the seat and back portions for sliding movement relative thereto and imposition of forces thereon.

4. Apparatus for testing the durability of elements and construction of a reclining chair having upholstered occupantsupporting seat, back and leg rest portions mounted on a frame and operatively interconnected by a linkage mechanism for movement between a seating position and a reclining position, the testing apparatus simulating the wear imposed by an occupant on supporting elements of the chair and comprising means adapted to engage the back portion of the chair for moving the movable portions between the seating and reclining positions,

means movable between withdrawn and supporting-surfaceengaging positions and adapted to engage occupant-supporting surfaces of the seat and back portions of the chair for sliding movement relative thereto and imposition thereon of forces simulating the weight and backward bias of an occupant of the chair, and control means operatively connected to said chair-engaging means for controlling the operation thereof to repeatedly cycle said chair-moving means to move the movable portions of the chair between the seating and reclining positions while simultaneously repeatedly cycling said surface-engaging means between the withdrawn and engaging positions, whereby the actions of an occupant seating himself in the chair, reclining in the chair, returning to a generally upright seating position and arising from the chair are simulated. v

5. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said chair-engaging means comprises a plurality of double-acting, extensible and retractable devices mounted in predetermined relation to each other.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said devices are pressure-fluid-actuated cylinder devices and further wherein said control means includes fluid flow control valves operatively connected to said cylinder devices, each of said flow control valves governing the flow of actuating fluid to a corresponding one of said jack devices.

7. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said devices are air-pressure-actuated cylinder devices and further wherein said control means comprises adjustable ainpressure-regulating means operatively connected to said cylinder devices for governing the pressure of actuating air supplied thereto and thereby governing the forces imposed on portions of the chair under test.-

8. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said chair-engaging means comprises first, second and third extensible and retractable devices, said first and second devices being arranged to provide motive force for said surface-engaging means and mounted in predetermined relation one to the other for exerting force respectively on the occupant-supporting surface of the back portion of the chair under test and on the occupant-supporting surface of the seat portion of the chair under test, said third device being arranged to provide motive force for said moving means and mounted in relation to said first and second devices for exerting force on the back portion of the chair under test, and further wherein said control means includes operational mode selection means for varying operative interconnections among said first, second and third devices and thereby permitting selective suspension of the testing functions performed thereby,

9. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said control means further includes hesitation timing means for delaying actuation of said third device relative to actuation of said first and second devices in such a manner as to simulate the hesitation of an occupant of the chair between seating in the chair and reclining in the chair.

10. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said chair-engaging means further comprises a fourth pushing-pulling device mounted in predetermined relation to said third device and arranged for exerting a downward pulling force on the leg rest portion of the chair under test in coordination with exertion of force by said third device for moving the movable portions of the chair under test from the reclining toward the seating position.

11. Apparatus for testing the operability and/or durability of elements of a reclining chair, these elements including occupant-supporting seat, back and leg rest portions mounted on a frame and operatively interconnected by a linkage mechanism for movement between a seating position and a reclining position, and for simulating the wear imposed by an occupant on the cushioning and upholstery materials on the occupant-supporting seat and back portions of the chair under test, the testing apparatus comprising:

means adapted 'to engage at least the back portion of a reclining chair for moving the movable portions of the chair between the seating and reclining positions, including pad means movable between withdrawn and supporb ing-surface-engaging positions and adapted to engage the occupant-supporting surface of at least one of the seat and back portions of the chair for sliding movement relative thereto and imposition thereon of forces simulating the weight and backward bias of an occupant of the chair, and

control means operatively connected to said chair-engaging means for controlling the operation thereof to repeatedly cycle the pad means between withdrawn and engaging positions and the movable portions of the chair under test between the seating and reclining positions and thereby test the operability and/or durability of the linkage mechanism cushioning materials and upholstery of the chair.

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Referenced by
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US5379646 *Sep 20, 1993Jan 10, 1995General Motors CorporationSeatback load applying device
US5641917 *Dec 1, 1995Jun 24, 1997Tachi-S Engineering, U.S.A., Inc.Multi-axis seat durability test machine
US5641918 *Jan 11, 1996Jun 24, 1997Chrysler CorporationTest fixture for vehicle door locks
US5703303 *Dec 19, 1996Dec 30, 1997Lear CorporationMethod and system for wear testing a seat by simulating human seating activity and robotic human body simulator for use therein
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Classifications
U.S. Classification73/7, 73/819, 73/161, 73/865.9, 73/816
International ClassificationG01M99/00
Cooperative ClassificationG01M99/001
European ClassificationG01M99/00A