Title:
Seat back panel having stowable utility support member
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A seat assembly for supporting a seat occupant in an automotive vehicle comprising a seat cushion for supporting the seat occupant on the seat assembly and a seat back extending longitudinally between a lower portion operatively coupled to the seat cushion and an upper portion. The seat back includes a front support surface for supporting the seat occupant in an upright position and a rear surface facing opposite the front support surface. A seat back panel is mounted to the rear surface of the seat back. A utility support member is operatively coupled to the seat back panel and moveable between a stowed position recessed against the rear surface of the seat back and a use position extending outwardly and cantilevered from the seat back panel for supporting a utility device thereon wherein said utility support member is rotatable about an axis generally perpendicular to the rear surface of the seat back for providing a plurality of use position within the vehicle. The support member includes a cross bar secured to one end of a support bar forming a T-shaped support member and a mounting plate secured to the opposite end of the support bar for rotatably and slidably mounting the support member to the seat back panel.



Inventors:
Jones, Micah R. (Ferndale, MI, US)
Application Number:
09/739934
Publication Date:
05/23/2002
Filing Date:
12/18/2000
Assignee:
JONES MICAH R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/62; B60N2/20; B60N3/00; B60R11/02; B60R11/00; (IPC1-7): A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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20070145798Adjustable chair coverJune, 2007Nadler-sachs
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Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CLARK HILL, P.C. (DETROIT, MI, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A seat assembly for supporting a seat occupant in an automotive vehicle comprising: a seat cushion for supporting the seat occupant on said seat assembly; a seat back extending longitudinally between a lower portion operatively coupled to said seat cushion and an upper portion, said seat back including a front support surface for supporting the seat occupant in an upright position and a rear surface facing opposite said front support surface; and a utility support member operatively coupled to said seat back and moveable between a stowed position recessed against said rear surface of said seat back and a use position extending outwardly and cantilevered from said seat back for supporting a utility device thereon wherein said utility support member is rotatable about an axis generally perpendicular to said rear surface of said seat back for providing a plurality of use position within the vehicle.

2. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 1 further including a seat back panel mounted to said rear surface of said seat back for slidably and rotatably supporting said utility support member between said stowed position and said plurality of use positions.

3. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein said seat back panel includes an elongated slot therein extending at least partially between said lower portion and said upper portion of said seat back for slidably guiding said utility support member between said stowed position and said plurality of use positions.

4. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein said utility support member includes an elongated support bar extending between first and second ends, a mounting plate secured to said first end and operatively coupled between said seat back panel and said rear surface of said seat back, and a cross bar mounted to said second end for supporting a utility device thereon.

5. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said mounting plate includes a generally disc-shaped plate and said support bar extending outwardly and generally perpendicular from said disc-shaped plate.

6. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 5 wherein said seat back panel includes a lower planar portion adjacent said lower portion of said seat back, an upper contoured portion adjacent said upper portion of said seat back, and a bulbous portion between said lower planar portion and said upper contoured portion defining a cavity between said seat back panel and said rear surface of said seat back.

7. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 6 wherein said elongated slot extends between an open end in said lower planer portion of said seat back panel adjacent said lower portion of said seat back and a closed end adjacent said bulbous portion.

8. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 7 further including a guide plate mounted between said rear surface of said seat back and said seat back panel, said guide plate spaced from said seat back panel to form a channel therebetween for slidably receiving and guiding said mounting plate of said support member between said first and second ends of said slot.

9. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 8 wherein said guide plate includes a first end adjacent said open end of said slot and a second end adjacent said closed end of said slot, said second end includes an inwardly projecting bend forming a cavity between said guide plate and said seat back panel disposed diagonally opposite said cavity formed by said bulbous portion of said seat back panel.

10. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 9 wherein said mounting plate of said utility support member is disposed within and between said cavity formed by said bend in said guide plate and said cavity formed by said bulbous portion of said seat back panel when said utility support member is in said stowed position.

11. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein said support bar of said utility support member is disposed within said slot of said seat back panel and said cross bar is recessed against said lower portion of said seat back when said utility support member is in said stowed position.

12. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 11 further including a resilient pad mounted to said cross bar for supporting a utility device thereon.

13. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 12 further including an attachment device operatively coupled to said utility support member for removably securing a utility device on said utility support member.

14. A seat assembly as set forth in claim 13 further including a pull tab mounted to said cross bar for pivoting said utility support member between said stowed position and said plurality of use positions.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to a seat assembly for use in an automotive vehicle, and more particularly to a seat assembly having a utility support member coupled to the seat assembly for supporting a utility device thereon.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Automotive vehicle typically include a front row of seat assemblies, that is, a driver's seat and a passenger seat, as well as a rear row of seat assemblies positioned behind the front row of seat assemblies. Each seat assembly comprises a generally horizontal seat cushion for supporting an occupant in the seat and a seat back extending from the seat cushion. The seat back is frequently pivotally coupled to the seat cushion by a recliner mechanism for providing reclining comfort adjustment of the seat back as well as forward pivotal dumping of the seat back on top of the seat cushion. The back side of the seat back is often used to support various articles thereon when pivotal forwardly onto the seat cushion.

[0005] It is also known to incorporate adjustable trays or tables into the back side of the seat back. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,619,395 discloses seat back having a table mounted thereto and movable between a closed position recessed and stowed within the seat back and an open position extending outwardly from the seat back forming a generally horizontal planar support surface. The table includes locking bolts which slide within channels in the seat back to guide the table between the closed and open positions and lock the table to the seat back in the open position. Further, a support rod extends between the seat back and the table for supporting the table in the open position projecting generally perpendicular from the seat back. However, the table is only functional in the open position when the seat back is in an upright seating position. Further, the table is only moveable between the two positions, open and closed.

[0006] It is desirable to provide a support device coupled to the back side of a seat back which is moveable between a stowed position and a plurality of use position when the seat back is pivotal forwardly onto the seat cushion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention relates to a seat assembly for supporting a seat occupant in an automotive vehicle comprising a seat cushion for supporting the seat occupant on the seat assembly and a seat back extending longitudinally between a lower portion operatively coupled to the seat cushion and an upper portion. The seat back includes a front support surface for supporting the seat occupant in an upright position and a rear surface facing opposite the front support surface. A utility support member is operatively coupled to the seat back and moveable between a stowed position recessed against the rear surface of the seat back and a use position extending outwardly and cantilevered from the seat back for supporting a utility device thereon wherein said utility support member is rotatable about an axis generally perpendicular to the rear surface of the seat back for providing a plurality of use position within the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a seat assembly having a utility support member in a use position according to the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a plan view of the seat assembly having a utility support member in a stowed position;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the utility support member shown as being moveable between the stowed position and the use position; and

[0012] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the utility support member coupled to a seat back panel of the seat assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0013] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a seat assembly is generally depicted at 10 for supporting a seat occupant in an automotive vehicle 12. The seat assembly 10 includes a generally horizontal seat cushion 14 for supporting the seat occupant on the seat assembly 10 and a seat back 16 extending longitudinally between a lower portion 18 operatively coupled to the seat cushion 14 and an upper portion 20. The seat back 16 further includes a contoured front support surface 22 extending longitudinally between the lower portion 18 and the upper portion 20 for supporting the seat occupant in an upright seated position and a rear surface 24 also extending longitudinally between the lower portion 18 and the upper portion 20 and facing opposite the front support surface 22.

[0014] As shown in FIG. 1, the lower portion 18 of the seat back 16 is operatively coupled to the seat cushion 14 by a recliner mechanism 26 as is commonly known in the art. The recliner mechanism 26 provides pivotal movement of the seat back 16 with respect to the seat cushion 14 between the upright seating position, a plurality of reclined positions for seat occupant comfort, and a forward dump position wherein the front support surface 22 is in mating engagement with the top surface of the seat cushion 14.

[0015] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the seat assembly 10 further includes a seat back panel 28 mounted to the rear surface 24 of the seat back 16. The seat back panel 28 extends between the lower portion 18 and the upper portion 20. The seat back panel 28 in the preferred embodiment is a plastic molded and contoured one piece panel mounted to the seat back 16 by fasteners, such as screws, rivets, adhesive, or the like. The seat back panel 28 includes a lower planar portion 30 extending from the lower portion 18 toward the upper portion 20 and an upper contoured portion 32 extending from the lower planar portion 30 to the upper portion 20 of the seat back 16. The upper contoured portion 32 includes a bulbous portion 34 adjacent the lower planar portion 30 defining a cavity 36 between the rear surface 24 of the seat back 16 and the seat back panel 28, as shown in FIG. 4. The upper contoured portion 32 further includes a pair of recessed wells 38 for containing articles such as paper clips, note pads, cellular phones, and the like when the seat back 16 is in the forward dump position, as shown in FIG. 1. The upper contoured portion 32 also includes a plurality of apertures 40 passing through the seat back panel 28 for receiving and retaining pens, pencils or other small cylindrical objects therein. Still further, the seat back panel 28 includes a power supply port 42 in the upper contoured portion 32 for providing power to devices such as radios, portable televisions, VCRs, or a laptop computer as depicted at 44. The lower planar portion 32 of the seat back panel 28 includes a generally rectangular shaped slot 46 extending longitudinally from an open end 48 adjacent the lower portion 18 to a closed end 50 adjacent the bulbous portion 34 of the seat back panel 28.

[0016] Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, a guide plate 52 in mounted to the seat back 16 between the rear surface 24 and the seat back panel 28 and extends between opposing sides of the slot 46 from a first end 54 adjacent the open end 48 to second end 56 adjacent the closed end 50. The guide plate 52 is spaced from the seat back panel 28 forming a track slot therebetween along opposing sides of the slot 46. The second end 56 of the guide plate 52 includes a triangular shaped bend 58 forming a cavity 60 diagonally opposite to the cavity 36.

[0017] The seat assembly 10 further includes a utility support member 62 operatively coupled to the seat back panel 28 and moveable between a stowed position, as shown in FIG. 2, recessed against the rear surface 24 of the seat back 16 and a use position, as shown in FIG. 1, extending outwardly and cantilevered from the seat back panel 28 for supporting a utility device, such as the laptop computer 44.

[0018] Referring to FIG. 3, the utility support member 62 includes an elongated, generally rectangular shaped, support bar 64 having a first end 66 coupled to the seat back panel 28 and a second end 68. The utility support member 62 further includes an elongated, generally rectangular shaped, cross bar 70 extending between a first end 72 and a second end 74 and attached to the second end 68 of the support bar 64 midway between the first 72 and second 74 ends to form a generally T-shaped utility support member 62. A resilient pad 76 is secured to an upper surface 78 of the cross bar 70 for supporting the laptop computer 44 or other utility device. Additionally, an attachment device, such as a hook and loop strap 79, is secured to the resilient pad 76 for securing the laptop computer 44, or other utility device, to the cross bar 70. It should be appreciated that the cross bar 70 may be any desired size or shape for supporting various utility devices on the support member 62.

[0019] A disc-shaped mounting plate 80 is secured to the first end 66 of the support bar 64 for slidably and rotatably coupling the utility support member 62 to the seat back 16. More specifically, referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the diameter of the mounting plate 80 is greater than the width of the slot 46 such that the outer edge portion of the mounting plate 80 is receiving between the guide plate 52 and the seat back panel 28 with the support bar 64 extending through the slot 46.

[0020] In operation, the utility support member 62 in shown in the stowed position in FIGS. 2 and 4. The disc-shaped mounting plate 80 extends transversely between and recessed within the cavity 36 of the seat back panel 28 and the cavity 60 of the guide plate 52. The support bar 64 is recessed in the slot 46 and aligned flush with the lower planar portion 30 of the seat back panel 28. The cross bar 70 is recessed below the lower portion 18 of the seat back 16. When it is desirable to utilize the utility support member 62, an occupant of the vehicle pivots the seat back 16 forwardly to the dump position as shown in FIG. 1. A pull tab 82 extending outwardly from the cross bar 70 is pulled to raise the cross bar 70, and thus the support bar 64 from the slot 46 in the seat back panel 28 toward a generally upright position. As shown in FIG. 4, the mounting plate 80 is withdrawn from the cavities 36, 60 and aligned along a plane parallel between the guide plate 52 and the seat back panel 28. The utility support member 62 is therefore supported and cantilevered from the seat back 16 by the mounting plate 80 being sandwiched between the seat back panel 28 and the guide plate 52. The utility support member 62 may now be positioned in a plurality of use positions, or utility support positions, by sliding the mounting plate 80 along the slot 46 between the open end 48 and closed end 50 as well as rotating the utility support member 62, and thus the mounting plate 80, about a 360 degree axis as shown in FIG. 3. The utility support member 62 may therefore be utilized by a passenger seated within the vehicle adjacent any side of the seat assembly.

[0021] The utility support member 62 is returned from the use position to the stowed position by sliding the mounting plate 80 to the closed end 50 of the slot 46 and lowering the support bar 64 until it is recessed with the slot 46 and with the cross bar 70 stowed below the lower portion 18 of the seat back 16.

[0022] The present invention has been described in an illustrative manner. It is to be understood that the terminology, which has been used, is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation.

[0023] Many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. Therefore, within the scope of the appended claims, the present invention may be practiced other than as specifically described.