Title:
TWO PIECE CONSOLE AND SEAT ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An automotive seat assembly is provided including a driver side seat comprised of a driver seat back portion, a driver seat base portion, and a driver inboard mount assembly. The seat assembly further includes a passenger side seat comprised of a passenger seat back portion, a passenger seat base portion, and a passenger inboard mount assembly. A joining frame is mounted to the driver inboard mount assembly and the passenger inboard mount assembly to connect the driver side seat and the passenger side seat into a single installable seat component. A lower console base is mounted to the joining frame. The lower console base is comprised of a plurality of lower console base walls and an open lower console base top. The lower console base walls and the open lower console base top form a lower console base storage bin. An upper console base is comprised of a plurality of upper console base walls, an open upper console base top and an open upper console base bottom. The upper console base is rotatably attached to the lower console base such that the upper console base can be rotated between a pre-installation position and an installation position. The plurality of upper console base walls engage the plurality of lower console base walls to form an extended depth storage bin when the upper console base is in the installation position. A console lid is rotatably attached to the open upper console base top.



Inventors:
Morabito, Richard (Dearborn, MI, US)
Yatros, Jerry (St. Clair Shores, MI, US)
Cass, Michael W. (Lenox, MI, US)
Gresham, Timothy S. (Woophaven, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/707615
Publication Date:
07/07/2005
Filing Date:
12/24/2003
Assignee:
LEAR CORPORATION (21557 Telegraph Road, Southfield, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/62; B60N2/01; B60N2/015; B60N3/10; B60R7/04; (IPC1-7): A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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20020079730Fastening device for the fitting part of a fitting fixed to the seat part or seat frameJune, 2002Schuhmacher et al.
20060192418Roller guide for a vehicle-seat oscillation system having a scissor-type guideAugust, 2006Meyer
20040212242Vehicle seat with internal anchorsOctober, 2004Gryp et al.
20080258524JUVENILE VEHICLE SEAT WITH BACKWARD-FOLDING BACKRESTOctober, 2008Zink et al.
20030075967Raisable leg restApril, 2003Ciolfe et al.
20040041449Wheelchair slip coverMarch, 2004Bluhm
20100001566Rocker device for infant seatJanuary, 2010Yehuda



Primary Examiner:
ABRAHAM, TANIA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dickinson Wright PLLLC (38525 Woodward Avenue, Suite 2000, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304-5092, US)
Claims:
1. An automotive seat assembly comprising: a driver side seat comprised of a driver seat back portion and a driver seat base portion, said driver side seat including a driver inboard mount assembly; a passenger side seat comprised of a passenger seat back portion and a passenger seat base portion, said passenger side seat including a passenger inboard mount assembly; a joining frame mounted to said driver inboard mount assembly and said passenger inboard mount assembly, said joining frame connecting said driver side seat and said passenger side seat into a single installable seat component; a lower console base comprising a plurality of lower console base walls and an open lower console base top, said lower console base walls and said open lower console base top forming a lower console base storage bin, said lower console base mounted to said joining frame; an upper console base comprising a plurality of upper console base walls, an open upper console base top and an open upper console base bottom, said upper console base rotatably attached to said lower console base such that said upper console base can be rotated between a pre-installation position and an installation position, said plurality of upper console base walls engaging said plurality of lower console base walls to form an extended depth storage bin when said upper console base is in said installation position; and a console lid rotatably attached to said open upper console base top.

2. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, wherein: said lower console base is generally tangential with said driver seat base portion; said upper console base is generally tangential with said driver seat back portion when said upper console base is in said pre-installation position; and said upper console base is generally tangential with said driver seat base portion when said upper console base is in said installation position.

3. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, wherein: said plurality of upper console base walls lock to said plurality of lower console base walls when said upper console base is in said installation position.

4. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 3, further comprising: a plurality of locking tabs formed on said upper console base walls, said plurality of locking tabs engaging a plurality of locking slots formed in said lower console base walls.

5. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said plurality of upper base console walls comprise: a plurality of upper base outer walls; a plurality of upper base inner walls; and a engagement sleeve formed by said plurality of upper base outer walls and said plurality of upper base inner walls, said plurality of lower base console walls positioned within said engagement sleeve when said upper base console is in said installation position.

6. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said joining frame comprises a pan frame assembly.

7. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising: a padded arm rest portion in communication with said console lid.

8. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising: a tray assembly positioned within said extended depth storage bin, said tray assembly removably insertable into said extended depth storage bin to vertically divide said extended depth storage bin.

9. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising: at least one divider mounted within said lower console base storage bin.

10. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising: a flow through assembly mountable to said lower console base, said flow through assembly extending said lower console base forwards.

11. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 10, further comprising: at least one cup holder assembly incorporated into said flow through assembly.

12. An automotive seat assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising: an air duct assembly mounted to a rear face of said lower console base and said upper console base, said upper console base rotatable at a pivot position above said air duct assembly.

13. An automotive console assembly comprising: a lower console base comprising a plurality of lower console base walls and an open lower console base top, said lower console base walls and said open lower console base top forming a lower console base storage bin; an upper console base comprising a plurality of upper console base walls, an open upper console base top and an open upper console base bottom, said upper console base rotatably attached to said lower console base such that said upper console base can be rotated between a pre-installation position and an installation position, said plurality of upper console base walls engaging said plurality of lower console base walls to form an extended depth storage bin when said upper console base is in said installation position; and a console lid rotatably attached to said open upper console base top.

14. An automotive console assembly as described in claim 13, wherein: said plurality of upper console base walls lock to said plurality of lower console base walls when said upper console base is in said installation position.

15. An automotive console assembly as described in claim 13, wherein said plurality of upper base console walls comprise: a plurality of upper base outer walls; a plurality of upper base inner walls; and a engagement sleeve formed by said plurality of upper base outer walls and said plurality of upper base inner walls, said plurality of lower base console walls positioned within said engagement sleeve when said upper base console is in said installation position.

16. An automotive console assembly as described in claim 13, further comprising: a first side seat comprised of a first seat back portion and a first seat base portion, said first side seat including a first inboard mount assembly, said lower console base mounted to said first inboard mount assembly.

17. A method of installing a console assembly within a vehicle comprising: assembling a first seat assembly having a first seat back portion, a first seat base portion and a first inboard mount assembly; mounting a lower console base into communication with said first inboard mount assembly, said lower console base comprising a plurality of lower console base walls and an open lower console base top, said lower console base walls and said open lower console base top forming a lower console base storage bin; mounting an upper console base in rotational communication with said lower console base, said upper console base comprising a plurality of upper console base walls, an open upper console base top and an open upper console base bottom, said upper console base rotatably attached to said lower console base such that said upper console base can be rotated between a pre-installation position and an installation position, said plurality of upper console base walls engaging said plurality of lower console base walls to form an extended depth storage bin when said upper console base is in said installation position; installing said first seat assembly into a vehicle while said upper console base is in said pre-installation position; and rotating said upper console base into said installation position after installing said first seat assembly into said vehicle.

18. A method of installing a console assembly within a vehicle as described in claim 17, further comprising: assembling a second seat assembly having a second seat back portion, a second seat base portion and a second inboard mount assembly; and mounting said second seat assembly to said first seat assembly by way of mounting a joining frame to said first inboard mount assembly and to said second inboard mount assembly, said joining frame connecting said first side seat and said second side seat into a single installable seat component.

19. A method of installing a console assembly within a vehicle as described in claim 17, further comprising: attaching a flow through assembly to said lower console base after installing said first seat assembly into said vehicle.

20. A method of installing a console assembly within a vehicle as described in claim 17, further comprising: installing said first seat assembly using an installation tool securing said first seat assembly in between said first seat back portion and said first seat base portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a automotive console assembly and more particularly to a two piece console and seat assembly with improved packaging and pre-installation profile.

Automotive console assemblies play an important role in automobile design and functionality. Console assemblies are commonly positioned between individual seats to provide a wide variety of convenience features such as storage, a mounting surface for controls, and environmental controls and ports. Another common feature incorporated into these console assemblies is the ability to function as an armrest for one or more passengers within the vehicle. This requires the consoles, commonly mounted to the vehicle floor, to be designed with sufficient vertical height above the vehicle floor to properly function as arm rests.

It is precisely this vertical profile of current console assemblies that contributes to difficulties in manufacturing and assembly. Floor mounted console assemblies commonly must be installed into the vehicle prior to the vehicle seat installation. The pre-installed floor mounted consoles create a physical barrier that can interfere with automated seat installation techniques. Installation of a row of seats requires maneuvering to avoid the console. This may require specialized installation equipment or procedures and may even be unattainable due to space constraints. Post seat console installation may be constrained by functional space constraints generated by the pre-installed seat assemblies.

Installation of the console assembly in combination with a seat or seat assembly would therefore allow for a more efficient and simple automated installation. In addition, a combination console and seat assembly would provide a financial benefit to suppliers of seat assemblies by allowing the marketing and sale of a combination console and seat assembly part supply. Common center console designs as discussed, however, are commonly subject to vertical profile dimensions that introduce difficulties for pre-installation combination with seat assemblies. Often the pallet assemblies used to ship seat assemblies include a structural mount pole such that rear seats can be mounted above the front seats for shipping. This structural mount pole can interfere with standard center console profiles. In addition, tooling utilized for installation of the seat assemblies also can interfere with the vertical profile of a standard console. Therefore, the an improvement to the packaging and shipping profile of a console/seat assembly would allow for a seat assembly and console assembly to be supplied in a single installable component.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an automotive seat and console assembly with improved assembly characteristics. It is a further object of the present invention to provide an automotive seat and console assembly with improved shipping profile.

In accordance with the objects of the present invention an automotive seat assembly is provided. The seat assembly includes a driver side seat comprised of a driver seat back portion, a driver seat base portion, and a driver inboard mount assembly. The seat assembly further includes a passenger side seat comprised of a passenger seat back portion, a passenger seat base portion, and a passenger inboard mount assembly. A joining frame is mounted to the driver inboard mount assembly and the passenger inboard mount assembly to connect the driver side seat and the passenger side seat into a single installable seat component. A lower console base is mounted to the joining frame. The lower console base is comprised of a plurality of lower console base walls and an open lower console base top. The lower console base walls and the open lower console base top form a lower console base storage bin. An upper console base is comprised of a plurality of upper console base walls, an open upper console base top and an open upper console base bottom. The upper console base is rotatably attached to the lower console base such that the upper console base can be rotated between a pre-installation position and an installation position. The plurality of upper console base walls engage the plurality of lower console base walls to form an extended depth storage bin when the upper console base is in the installation position. A console lid is rotatably attached to the open upper console base top.

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the detailed description and preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the attached drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an automotive seat assembly in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of the automotive seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 1, the illustration illustrating a console assembly attached in the pre-installation position.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of the automotive seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 2, the seat assembly illustrated mounted on a shipping pallet.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of the automotive seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 2, the seat assembly illustrated approached by an installation tool.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the automotive seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 2, the seat assembly illustrated installed within a vehicle.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of the automotive seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 2, the seat assembly illustrated installed within a vehicle, the console assembly illustrated in the assembled position.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view illustration of the console assembly illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 8 is a detail illustration of a flow through assembly for use with the console assembly illustrated in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, which is an illustration of an automotive seat assembly 10 in accordance with the present invention. It should be understood that the seat assembly 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 is intended to be illustrative of a wide variety of seating designs. The seat assembly 10 includes a first (driver side) seat 12 and a second (passenger side) seat 14. The driver side seat 12 is comprised of a driver seat back portion 16 and a driver seat base portion 18. A driver inboard mount assembly 20 protrudes inboard from the driver side seat 12. Although a variety of driver inboard mount assemblies are contemplated, one embodiment contemplates the driver inboard mount assembly 20 being formed as an extension of the driver seat mounts 22. Similarly, the passenger side seat 14 is comprised of a passenger seat back portion 24, a passenger seat base portion 26, and a passenger inboard mount assembly 28.

A joining frame 30 is mounted to the driver inboard mount assembly 20 and the passenger inboard mount assembly 28 in order to connect the driver side seat 12 and the passenger side seat 14 into a single installable seat component 32. This allows manufacturers of automobiles to install the single installable seat component 32 into a vehicle in a single automated step. This, in turn, improves manufacturing cost and efficiency. It should be understood that the joining frame 30 may be formed in a wide variety of configurations such as the frame illustrated in FIG. 1 or the pan frame assembly 44 illustrated in FIG. 7. It would additionally be highly desirable to have a console assembly that could be mounted between the driver side seat 12 and the passenger side seat 14 prior to installation such that it too could be sold and shipped with the single installable seat component 32. Traditionally formed center consoles, however, commonly have vertical profiles that may interfere with shipping and installation procedures.

The present invention provides a novel approach to this design conflict by including a console assembly 34 comprised of a lower console base 36 (see FIG. 2). The lower console base 36 is formed from a plurality of lower console base walls 38 and an open lower console base top 40. The base walls 38 and open base top 40 serve to form a lower console base storage bin 42. The lower console base 36 is mounted to the joining frame 30 to become an integral part of the automotive seat assembly 10. The lower console base 36 preferably has a lower console base height 46 such that the lower console base protrusion 48, distance protruding over the seat base portion 18 can be minimized or kept below interference levels. The lower console base 36 is preferably orientated roughly tangential with the seat base portion 18.

The console assembly 34 further includes an upper console base 50 rotatably attached to the lower console base 36. The rotatable connection may be accomplished in a variety of fashions, although the use of a console hinge assembly 52 is contemplated. The upper console base 50 is comprised of a plurality of upper console base walls 54, an open upper console base top 56, and an open upper console base bottom 58. The upper console base 50 is rotatable between a pre-installation position 60 (see FIGS. 2-5) and an installation position 62 (see FIG. 6). When rotated into the installation position 62, the plurality of upper console base walls 54 engage the plurality of lower console base walls 38 to form an extended depth storage bin 64. The upper console base 50 is preferably orientated roughly tangential with the seat back portion 16. The upper console base 50 preferably has an upper console base height 66 such that the upper console base protrusion 68, distance protruding inwards from the seat back portion 16 can be minimized or kept below interference levels when in the pre-installation position 60.

The advantage of this arrangement can easily be seen in FIGS. 3 and 4. The automotive seat assembly 10 can be mounted on a pallet 70 having a structural mount assembly 72 passing over the seat assembly 10. By splitting the console base into a lower console base 38 and an upper console base 50 each tangential with the seat base 18 and back 16 respectively, a greater range of seat shipping configurations may be utilized without interference. Furthermore, as illustrated in FIG. 4, installation tooling 74 used to lift the seat assembly 10 by grabbing the seats between the seat base 18 and back 16 can do so without generating interference from the console assembly 34. Yet, when the upper console base 50 is rotated into the installation position 62 an extended depth storage bin 64 is generated that would normally generate significant interference if present in the pre-installation position 60.

The plurality of upper console base walls 54 engage the plurality of lower console base walls 38 to form the extended depth storage bin 64 when the upper console base 50 is moved into the installation position 62. This can be accomplished in a variety of fashions. In one embodiment, the plurality of upper console base walls 54 are comprised of a plurality of upper base outer walls 76 and a plurality of upper base inner walls 78 that are separated to form an engagement sleeve 80. The plurality of lower console base walls 38 slide into the engagement sleeve 80 as the upper console base 50 is moved into the installation position 62. It is contemplated that the upper console base 50 will lock into the installation position 62 once assembly is desired. Although this may be accomplished in a variety of fashions, one embodiment contemplates the use of locking tabs 82 formed on the upper console base walls 54 and locking slots 84 formed on the lower console base walls 38. The locking tabs 82 engage the locking slots 84 to secure the upper console base 50 to the lower console base 36.

The console assembly 34 can incorporate a wide variety of other features as well. A console lid 86 it preferably rotatably attached to the upper console base top 56 such that the extended depth storage bin 64 can be closed off or accessed by passengers after installation in the vehicle 88. The console lid 86 can include a padded armrest portion 90 such that the console assembly 34 can be utilized as an armrest in addition to its storage characteristics. A tray assembly 92 may be removably placed within the extended depth storage bin 64 in order to vertically divide it into one or more vertical sections. Similarly, dividers 94 such as flip-down dividers 94 may be mounted within the lower console base 36 in order to provide horizontal sections. Finally an air duct assembly 96 and a rear face 98 may be mounted to the rear of the console assembly 34 in order to pass environmental controls and air to the rear of the seat assembly 10. The upper console base 50 preferably rotates about a pivot position 100 above the air duct assembly 96 so as not to interfere with the air duct assembly 96.

The front face 102 of the lower console base 36 may be solid or installing a finishing end 104 may form it. In embodiments where a flow-through style assembly is desired (extending the console to the dashboard 106, see FIG. 8) a flow through assembly 108 may be used in place or in combination with the finishing end 104. The flow through assembly 108 may be assembled onto the front face 102 after installation in the vehicle. This allows the present invention to be utilized on a wide variety of vehicles and vehicle designs. The flow through assembly 108 may incorporate a wide variety of controls and features such as, but not limited to, cup holders 110.

While the invention has been described in connection with one or more embodiments, it is to be understood that the specific mechanisms and techniques which have been described are merely illustrative of the principles of the invention, numerous modifications may be made to the methods and apparatus described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.





 
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