|Publication number||US3911236 A|
|Publication date||Oct 7, 1975|
|Filing date||Feb 12, 1974|
|Priority date||Feb 12, 1974|
|Also published as||CA1052073A, CA1052073A1|
|Publication number||US 3911236 A, US 3911236A, US-A-3911236, US3911236 A, US3911236A|
|Inventors||Poulsen Arden Ellis|
|Original Assignee||Allied Chem|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (7), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [191 Poulsen [451 Oct. 7, 1975 LAMINATED BUCKLE HOUSING  Inventor: Arden Ellis Poulsen, Mount Clemens, Mich.
 Assignee: Allied Chemical Corporation, New
 Filed: Feb. 12, 1974  Appl. No.: 441,912
 U.S. Cl 200/6158 B; 24/230 AL  Int. Cl. A44B 11/26; HOlH 3/16  Field of Search 24/230 A, 230 AU, 230 AL, 24/230 AK, 230 AM, 230 AN, 230 AP, 230
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS I 209,903 11/1878 Lane 24/230 A 2,847,748 8/1958 Robinton. 24/230 AT 3,473,201 lO/1969 Hopka 24/230 AK 3,555,632 l/l97l- Lindblad 24/230 AL 3,564,672 1 H1968 Mclntyre 24/230 AT 3,704,633 12/1972 lverson 24/230 AL 3,763,523 10/1973 Lindblad 24/230 AL 3,774,268 1 1/1973 Holmberg 24/230 A 3,790,994 2/1974 Jakob r 24/230 A 3,795,030 3/1974 Yates 24/230 AL Primary ExaminerBernard A. Gelak Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Ernest D. Buff; John P. Kirby, Jr.
[ ABSTRACT A safety belt buckle is provided with a housing formed of a plurality of laminated plates. At least one of the plates has an opening therein extending from an edge of the plate into the central portion thereof. The hous ing is small, light, strong, easy to manipulate, comfortable to wear and inexpensive to produce.
10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures US. Patent 0a. 7,1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,911,236
U.S. Patent Oct. 7,1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,911,236
FIG.2 46 44 40 g, Fl G. 5
LAMINATED BUCKLE HOUSING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to safety belt buckles for passengers in vehicles such as automobiles, and more particularly to an improved means for housing the components of the buckles.
2. Description of the Prior Art Safety belt buckles have been developed in order to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. Most of these buckles include, as major components, a unitary housing connected to a seat belt anchored to the vehicle body and a latching mechanism adapted to coact with the tongue of another seat belt similarly secured to the vehicle. The housing generally comprises a single flat metal plate wrapped into a channel-like member hav ing a substantially rectangular, enclosed crosssection. Examples of prior art housings of that type, hereinafter referred to as shell type housings, are shown in US. Pat. Nos. 2,995,792 and 3,203,065. Alternatively, the housing can be comprised of a unitary die-cast structure having an opening therein and provided with a cavity extending into the housing from the opening to a wall disposed opposite to the opening. Examples of prior art housing of that type, hereinafter referred to as die-cast cavity type housings, are shown in US. Pat. Nos. 3,522,640 and 3,760,467.
The tensile forces exerted on the buckle housing during collision of the vehicle are substantial as in the order up to 6,000 psi. or more. In order to provide such housings with sufficient structural capacity to withstand these forces it has heretofore been necessary to make them relatively large and heavy. Shell type housings also require forming and heat treatment operations and complex latching mechanisms which are difficult to assemble and costly to produce. The production and material costs required to die-cast cavity type housings are readily apparent. It would be particularly advantageous if a smaller, lighter buckle housing capable of withstanding the tensile forces exerted thereon during collision conditions were available, but up to the present time no satisfactory housing of this type has been produced. Despite the considerable effort spent to develop safety belt buckles which are small, light and strong, the housing of the buckle has a lower tensile strength than any of the other major components of the assembly. As a result, buckle housings of the type described presently form the weakest link in the buckle assembly, and result in larger, heavier buckles and higher production costs than are considered to be commercially acceptable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a safety belt buckle housing which is not only smaller, lighter and less expensive to manufacture than buckle housings of the type disclosed above, but which is so strong that its tensile strength exceeds that of any other major component in the buckle assembly. The housing has an opening therein from which a cavity extends to a wall opposite the opening. An inlet means of the housing communicates with the cavity for receiving the tongue of a seat belt. A connecting means is provided for connecting the housing to the seat belt. The housing is formed of a plurality of laminated plates. At least one of the plates has an opening therein extending from an edge of the plate into the central portion thereof, whereby each of the cavity and the inlet means is formed by the walls of the laminated plates.
The buckle housing of this invention has advantageous structural features. Each of the plates are easily fabricated and relatively strong. Thus, the housing is quickly and easily assembled at minimal cost to form a remarkably sturdy unit. Heat treatment procedures are eliminated and light weight, non-corrosive metals can be used instead of casting metals, which have relatively low tensile strengths and are much more expensive. As a result, safety belt buckles having the laminated housing of this invention are less expensive to produce, easier to manipulate, more comfortable to wear and afford greater protection to vehicle occupants than safety belt buckles wherein the housing is a non-laminated structure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be more fully understood and further advantages will become apparent when reference is made to the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a safety belt buckle, including the housing means of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal section taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section of an alternate embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a section taken along the line 44 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a plurality of plates adapted for assembly to form the housing of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the drawing there is illustrated a safety belt buckle including the housing of this invention. The housing, shown generally at 10, has an opening 12 therein from which a cavity 14 extends to a wall 16 of the housing 10 opposite the opening 12. Housing 10 is provided with an inlet means 18 which communicates with the cavity 14, for receiving the tongue 20 of a seat belt (not shown). The housing 10 has connecting means 22 for connecting the housing to the seat belt. Housing 10 is formed of a plurality of laminated plates, shown generally at 24. At least one of the plates (shown at 26 in FIG. 5) has an opening 28 therein extending from an edge 30 of the plate 26 into the central portion thereof, whereby cavity 14 and inlet means 18 are defined by the walls of the laminated plates.
The number of laminated plates employed can vary depending on the depth of the cavity and the type of material of the plates. Typically, the plates are diestamped from metal such as mild steel, aluminum or the like. Generally, the housing is comprised of three plates, the central plate 26 being provided with the opening 28. At least one of the other two plates and preferably each of them has an opening 34 in the central portion thereof. Thus, one or each of the other two plates may have the configuration of the plate 26 (FIG. 5). A housing wherein one of such other two plates has an opening 34 in the central portion thereof is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The embodiment of the housing wherein each of such other two plates has an opening in the central portion thereof is illustrated in FIG. 4.
Each of the plates 26 and 30 are die-stamped using convention equipment at very low cost. Thehousing is assembled by sandwiching bottom and top plates 32 about center plate 26 and fastening the assembled plates together by mechanical fastening means such as rivets 36. The plates can, alternatively, be spot welded or adhesively secured together using suitable epoxy resins or the like.
Referring to FIGS. l-4 of the drawings, a latching means and cover are shown in relation to the housing 10. The latching means shown generally at 38, includes a biasing means 40, a latch bar 42 having a raised portion 43 adapted to mate with opening 25 of tongue 20 when the latch is inserted into cavity 14 and a push button 44. The latch bar 42 has a plurality of arms 27 adapted to move within heat treated inserts 29 in cavity 14. These components are disposed in the cavity 14 with at least portions thereof positioned in serial overlapping relationship in the direction in which the cavity extends into the housing. Preferably, a cover, generally indicated at 46, is disposed about the housing 10. The cover 46 comprises a plurality of pieces 49 and 51 of light weight plastic or the like. Cover 46 does not add appreciably to the strength or weight of the assembly, but functions primarily to protect the components therein against contamination and accidental damage .due to tampering. The cover 46 has sufficient strength and rigidity to withstand forces generated during depression of the push button 44, and may therefore be used to support the biasing means 40.
A switch means, shown generally at 48, comprising a movable contact arm 50 connected to a source of electrical power and adapted to be moved into contact with a contact member 52 connected to starter engine interlock and/or alarm circuitry of the vehicle may also be associated with the housing 10. The switch means 48 is preferably disposed in a second cavity 54 of the housing so that arm 50 is pushed against the force of a spring (not shown) and into contact with contact member 52 by the tip 54 of tongue upon insertion of the tongue 20 into the housing 10.
In operation, the tongnue 20 is inserted into inlet means 18 and cavity 14, bringing opening above raised portion 43 of latch bar 42. The biasing means moves to raised portion 43 into locking engagement with opening 25 of tongue 20. Tip 54 of tongue 20 pushes arm of switch means 48 into contact member 52, whereby an electrical ignal is transmitted to circuitry for disabling the engine interlock and/or alarm means of the vehicle. To disengage the belt, push button 44 is depressed. Shoulders 33 of the button force latching means downward until the raised portion 43 is below the opening 25 of tongue 20.
Having thus described the invention in rather full detail, it will be understood that these details need not be strictly adhered to but that various changes and modifications may suggest themselves to one skilled in the art, all falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the subjoined claims.
1. In a safety belt buckle having a housing therein, said housing having an opening therein, a cavity extending from said opening to a wall of said housing opposite said opening, inlet means communicating with said cavity for receiving the tongue of a seat belt, movable latching means for engaging the tongue, connecting means for connecting the housing to the seat belt, and manually operable actuation means for actuating said latching means, the improvement wherein said housing is formed of at least three laminated plates in contact with one another and secured together, said laminated plates including a first plate, a second plate, and a third plate, said second plate disposed between said first plate and said third plate, each of said plates having an opening in the central portion thereof, said openings in substantial alignment with one another, and said second plate having a slot extending from an edge of said second plate into the central opening thereof for receiving said tongue, a portion of said latching means extending in and movable within said openings of at least said second plate and said third plate, a portion of said actuating means extending in and movable within said opening of at least said first plate.
2. A safety belt buckle as recited in claim 1, wherein said housing has a fastening means for fastening said plates together to form an integral laminated housing unit.
3. A safety belt buckle as recited in claim 2, wherein the number of plates is three.
4. A safety belt buckle having a housing therein, said housing having an opening therein and provided with a cavity extending from said opening to a wall of said housing opposite said opening, inlet means communicating with said cavity for receiving the tongue of a seat belt, connecting means for connecting the housing to the seat belt, movable latching means for engaging said tongue, and manually operable actuation means for actuating said latching means, said housing formed of at least three laminated plates in contact with one another and secured together, said laminated plates including a first plate, a second plate, and a third plate, said second plate disposed between said first plate and said third plate, each of said plates having an opening in the central portion thereof, said openings in substantial alignment with one another, a portion of said latching means extending in and movable within said openings of at least said second plate and said third plate, a portion of said actuating means extending in and movable within said opening of at least said first plate, at least said second plate having a slot therein extending from an edge of said second plate into the central opening thereof for receiving said tongue.
5. Safety belt buckle as recited in claim 4 wherein the number of plates is three.
6. Safety belt buckle as recited in claim 4, wherein said plates comprise a top plate, a center plate and a bottom plate, and said plate having an opening therein extending from a central portion to an edge thereof in said center plate.
7. Safety belt buckle as recited in claim 4 wherein said connecting means comprises a second opening provided in at least one of said plates.
8. A safety belt buckle as recited in claim 4 and further comprising a switch means disposed in said housing and adapted to indicate when the tongue has been properly engaged in said housing.
9. A safety belt buckle according to claim 8 wherein said switch means comprises:
a movable contact arm;
a contact member; and
said manually operable actuation means is a push button extending into said opening of said first plate and connected to said latch means, said push button being the sole mechanism for releasing said tongue from said buckle housing.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US209903 *||May 16, 1878||Nov 12, 1878||Improvement in safety attachments for hoisting-cages|
|US2847748 *||Apr 28, 1953||Aug 19, 1958||Robinton Frank A||Quick attach and release device|
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|US3555632 *||Sep 26, 1968||Jan 19, 1971||Lindblad Stig Martin||Safety belt clasp|
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4000385 *||Nov 6, 1975||Dec 28, 1976||Allied Chemical Corporation||Electric switch for safety belt buckle with wiping self cleaning contact structure|
|US4012612 *||Nov 6, 1975||Mar 15, 1977||Allied Chemical Corporation||Seat belt buckle switch assembly having self cleaning contacts|
|US4068354 *||Mar 1, 1976||Jan 17, 1978||Allied Chemical Corporation||Safety belt buckle|
|US4069557 *||Mar 1, 1976||Jan 24, 1978||Allied Chemical Corporation||Safety belt buckle|
|US4071929 *||Oct 14, 1975||Feb 7, 1978||Allied Chemical Corporation||Mounting for buckle|
|US4092767 *||Mar 1, 1976||Jun 6, 1978||Allied Chemical Corporation||Laminated buckle with no false latch|
|US4128924 *||Feb 17, 1977||Dec 12, 1978||Indiana Mills & Manufacturing Inc.||Laminated seat belt buckle|
|U.S. Classification||200/61.58B, 24/642|