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Tachi S : Patent Issued for Vehicle Seat (USPTO 9827880)

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12/07/2017 | 11:55pm CET

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- A patent by the inventors Fukutani, Minoru (Tokyo, JP); Akimoto, Norito (Tokyo, JP), filed on May 18, 2017, was published online on November 28, 2017, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 9827880 is assigned to Tachi-S Co. Ltd. (JP).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a vehicle seat of the type wherein its seat cushion and seat back are operatively interconnected via a linkage arranged among pivotal points associated with the seat cushion, the seat back and a floor of vehicle. The seat back can be folded onto the seat cushion, with the rear surface of the seat back being exposed upside, and thereafter, the seat cushion with the seat back folded thereon be displaced to a storage position, so that the rear surface of the seat back can be used as a loading area or baggage loading area in the vehicle including an automobile.

"One example of conventional vehicle seats of this kind is disclosed in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication 2005-067325 (JP 2006-067325 A1). As shown therein, four pivotal points are defined in the following fashion: i) a lower end portion of a seat back frame is pivotally connected to a seat slide device's upper rail fixed on a floor, thus providing a first pivotal point; ii) a rear end portion of a seat cushion frame is pivotally connected to the seat back frame, thus providing a second pivotal point; iii) a front link is at its upper end pivotally connected to a front end portion of the sea cushion frame, thus providing a third pivotal point; and iv) a lower end of the front link is pivotally secured to the floor, thus providing a fourth pivotal point.

"Due to such four pivotal points, a parallel linkage is established among the seat back frame, seat cushion frame, front link, and floor, so that, whenever the seat is folded and moved forwardly and rearwardly, the seat cushion frame and the floor are always maintained in parallel with each other, while the front link and the seat back frame's lower end portion are also always maintained in parallel with each other.

"In this sort of seat, however, it is required for a technical designer to set the front link or the afore-said fourth pivotal point within a limited range of positions in order to insure maintaining the parallel linkage described above. Further, the fact that the lower end of the front link has a fixed pivotal connection with the floor necessitates the designer to consider a degree of load that will be directly applied to the front link and adjustingly set a position of the front link's upper end to the seat cushion frame, depending on such degree of load, while insuring that the parallel linkage is maintained. As such, setting a position of the front link to the seat cushion frame and floor (i.e. the third and fourth pivotal points) is actually limited, which means a less freedom of setting the front link thereto, thus limiting a freedom of design for the seat. Moreover, the seat of this Japanese prior art requires forward and rearward sliding of the seat back via upper and lower rails, of the seat slide devices to permit forward folding of the seat back onto the seat cushion completely. Consequently, when the upper rail is locked to the lower rail, the seat back is thereby limited as to its forward folding and can be folded at a small angle of inclination, and therefore, under the locked state of seat slide devices, the seat back can not completely be folded down to the seat cushion."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In view of the afore-stated drawbacks, it is a primary purpose of the present invention to provide a vehicle seat of the type having a four-pivotal-point linkage, which makes it possible to increase a freedom of setting a leg element thereof to a seat cushion, thereby increasing a freedom of design for the seat.

"In order to achieve such purpose, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a vehicle seat for use with a vehicle having a floor therein, which basically comprises: a seat back frame provided in a seat back, the seat back frame being at a lower end thereof pivotally connected to the floor, thus defining a first pivotal point between the seat back frame and the floor; a seat cushion frame provided in a seat cushion, the seat cushion frame being at a rearwardly-facing end thereof pivotally connected to the seat back frame, thus defining a second pivotal point between the rearwardly-facing end of the seat cushion frame and the seat back frame; a leg element having an upper end pivotally connected to a forward portion of the seat cushion frame at a point anteriorly of the second pivotal point, thus defining a third pivotal point between the upper end of the leg element and the seat cushion frame; and a lock device fixedly disposed at the floor,

"wherein a lower end portion of the leg element is releasably engaged in the lock device, thereby being normally in a locked relation with the floor, thus defining a fourth pivotal point between the lower end portion of the leg element and the floor.

"In other words, the first, second, third and fourth pivotal points establish a four-pivotal-point linkage among the seat back frame, the seat cushion frame, the front leg element and the floor. This four-pivotal-point linkage is normally maintained, but, when the seat back frame is rotated forwardly and downwardly relative to the first pivotal point by an angle exceeding a predetermined angle, the lower end of the leg element is disengaged from the lock device, thereby destroying the four-pivotal-point linkage.

"Accordingly, the leg element, which restricts the design and actions of the seat having this kind of four-pivotal-point linkage, can be released from the fourth pivotal point, which destroys the four-pivotal-point linkage. This allows increasing of a freedom of setting the leg element to the seat cushion, thereby increasing a freedom of design for the seat, and further allows both seat cushion and seat back to be completely folded down towards the floor, irrespective of whether a seat slide device or other elements may be provided between the seat and floor.

"Preferably, the lock device may be so formed to include an engagement portion defined inside thereof and a resiliently biasing portion, with such an arrangement that the lower end portion of the front leg element is normally engaged in the engagement portion of the lock device and prevented by the resiliently biasing portion from being removed from the engagement portion and that the lock device permits the lower end portion of the front leg element to be drawn and disengaged from the engagement portion thereof against a biasing force of the resiliently biasing portion, while permitting the lower end portion to be inserted and engaged in the engagement portion thereof against the biasing force of the resiliently biasing portion.

"As one aspect of the invention, the seat may include an element with which a lower part of the front leg element near to the fourth pivotal point is to be contacted, thereby limiting movement of the front leg element at the element, wherein the element is defined at or adjacent to the floor and forms a fulcrum. Further, the third pivotal point may form a point of force application, to which a force is to be applied from the seat back frame, and the lower end portion of the front leg element may form a point of action against the lock device, whereupon a leverage is provided to the front leg element. When the seat back frame is rotated forwardly and downwardly relative to the first pivotal point by an angle exceeding a predetermined angle, the lower part of the front leg element comes into contact with the element, whereby the force applied from the seat back frame is amplified under the leverage to facilitate disengagement of the lower end portion of the front leg element from the lock device.

"Essentially, the above-described four-pivotal-point linkage may be arranged such that, letting a first distance to be set between the first and second pivotal points, letting a second distance to be set between the second and third pivotal points, letting a third distance to be set between the third and fourth pivotal points, and letting a fourth distance to be set between the fourth and first pivotal points, a sum of the first and second distances is not equal to or not smaller than a sum of the third and fourth distances.

"Preferably, a guide element may be disposed between the lock device and the floor, the guide element being so configured and sloped as to allow the end portion of the front leg element to be guided therealong in a direction from the lock device towards the floor. This d guide element includes: an upper end portion disposed adjacent to and anteriorly of the lock device; and a lower end portion extending downwardly and aslant towards the floor.

"As another aspect of the invention, an under cover may be provided between the seat cushion frame and the floor, the under cover including a guide portion disposed between the lock device and the floor, wherein the guide portion is so configured and sloped as to allow the end portion of the front leg element to be guided therealong in a direction from the lock device towards the floor. Such guide portion includes: an upper end portion disposed adjacent to and anteriorly of the lock device; and a lower end portion extending downwardly and aslant towards the floor.

"In addition, the under cover may be so formed to include a portion with which a lower part of the front leg element near to the fourth pivotal point is to be contacted, thereby limiting movement of the front leg element at the portion, wherein the portion forms a fulcrum. The third pivotal point forms a point of force application, to which a force is to be applied from the seat back frame. The lower end portion of the front leg element forms a point of action against the lock device. In that manner, a leverage is provided to the front leg element. When the seat back frame is rotated forwardly and downwardly relative to the first pivotal point by an angle exceeding a predetermined angle, the lower part of the front leg element comes into contact with the portion of the under cover, whereby the force applied from the seat back frame is amplified under the leverage to facilitate disengagement of the lower end portion of the front leg element from the lock device.

"Preferably, an auxiliary leg element may be provided to a bottom side of a forwardly-facing end portion of the seat cushion frame so as to be suspended therefrom.

"As still another aspect of the invention, a seat for use with a vehicle having a floor therein may be comprised of: a seat slide device operable for adjustment in position of the seat in forward and rearward directions of the seat, the seat slide device including: a lower rail element fixedly mounted on the floor; and an upper rail element slidably engaged with the lower rail element; a seat back frame provided in a seat back, the seat back frame being at a lower end thereof pivotally connected to the upper rail element of the seat slide device, thus defining a first pivotal point between the seat back frame and the upper rail element; a seat cushion frame provided in a seat cushion, the seat cushion frame being at a rearwardly-facing end thereof pivotally connected to the seat back frame, thus defining a second pivotal point between the seat cushion frame and the seat back frame; a leg element having an upper end pivotally connected to a forward portion of the seat cushion frame at a point anteriorly of the second pivotal point, thus defining a third pivotal point between the upper end of the leg element and the seat cushion frame; and a lock device fixedly disposed at a location substantially corresponding to the upper rail element; wherein a lower end of the leg element is releasably engaged in the lock device, thereby being normally in a locked relation with the upper rail element of the seat slide device, thus defining a fourth pivotal point between the lower end of the leg element and the upper rail element.

"This mode of seat incorporating the seat slide device may also be changed in its parts and elements in substantially the same way as described in the preceding modes.

"Other various features and advantages will become apparent from reading of the description, hereinafter, with reference to the accompanied drawings."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Fukutani, Minoru; Akimoto, Norito. Vehicle Seat. U.S. Patent Number 9827880, filed May 18, 2017, and published online on November 28, 2017. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9827880.PN.&OS=PN/9827880RS=PN/9827880

Keywords for this news article include: Tachi-S Co. Ltd.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2017, NewsRx LLC

(c) 2017 NewsRx LLC, source Science Newsletters

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