Title:
Method of heating the seat and/or backrest of a chair of a cableway system, and chair that is suitable for the purpose
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lift chair of a cableway system is heated by heating the seat and/or the backrest upholstery of the chair while the lift chair is present in a lift station. The seat and/or backrest is heated with an electric heating device integrated into the seat and/or the backrest upholstery.



Inventors:
Seibt, Manfred (Fussach, AT)
Application Number:
10/985482
Publication Date:
08/04/2005
Filing Date:
11/10/2004
Assignee:
Innova Patent GmbH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/74; B61B11/00; B61B12/00; (IPC1-7): A63G9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER GREENBERG STEMER LLP (HOLLYWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A method of heating a seat and/or a backrest of a chair in a cableway system, which comprises: providing at least one of a seat and/or a backrest of a chair in a cableway system with an electric heating device integrated therein; and heating the seat and/or the backrest while the chair is in a station of the cableway system.

2. The method according to claim 1, which comprises supplying the heating device with power for a given period of time.

3. The method according to claim 1, which comprises controlling at least one of a duration and an intensity of a power supply in dependence on an ambient temperature.

4. The method according to claim 1, which comprises interrupting a power supply to the heating device as soon as a temperature of the seat and/or the backrest has reached a predetermined maximum temperature value.

5. The method according to claim 1, which comprises interrupting a power supply to the heating device when the cableway system is at a standstill.

6. In a cableway system with a conveying or haulage cable, a lift chair assembly, comprising: a suspension mechanism holding a chair and a clamping body for coupling said suspension mechanism to the conveying or haulage cable, and an electrically operated heating device disposed to heat said chair.

7. The chair assembly according to claim 6, wherein said chair includes a seat rest and a backrest, and said heating device is disposed in at least one of said seat rest and said backrest of said chair.

8. The chair assembly according to claim 6, which comprises at least one current collector disposed at said clamping body or said suspension mechanism and electrically connected to said heating device, said current collector being configured to interacts with at least one contact device disposed in a station of the cableway system.

9. The chair assembly according to claim 6, wherein said current collector comprises roller contacts.

10. The chair assembly according to claim 6, wherein said current collector comprises sliding contacts.

11. The chair assembly according to claim 6, wherein the contact device has a conductor rail disposed along the conveying or haulage cable.

12. The chair assembly according to claim 6, wherein said current collector and the contact device are part of a device for inductive power transmission.

13. The chair assembly according to claim 6, wherein said heating device includes a heating mat and a fuse in a supply circuit of each said heating mat.

14. The chair assembly according to claim 6, which comprises a temperature sensor disposed to sense a temperature at the chair.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This is a continuing application, under 35 U.S.C. § 120, of copending international application No. PCT/AT2004/000075, filed Mar. 8, 2004, which designated the United States; this application also claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. § 119, of Austrian application No. GM 157/2003, filed Mar. 10, 2003; the prior applications are herewith incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a method of heating the seat and/or the backrest of a chair of a cableway system. The invention also relates to a chair for a cableway system.

Cableway systems such as chair lifts are well known. A multiplicity of suspension-gear mechanisms are supported on a conveying cable and each bear a chair for transporting one or more persons.

Unlike cable cars, wherein the passengers reside in a compartment that is protected against wind and bad weather, chair lifts do not typically provide any great level of comfort. This is particularly in very cold weather. In the case of low temperatures, in particular the seat and backrests of the chairs cool down to a considerable extent, with the result that it is often unpleasant for the passenger to use the chair. This has been remedied, up until now, by the cableway staff covering the cold seat and/or backrests with covers or the like prior to the passengers boarding. However, the tasks of supplying covers for the seat and/or backrests of the chairs and removing them again are onerous ones and do not fully satisfy the users' requirements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a method of heating the seat and/or backrest of a lift chair and a corresponding chair assembly which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type and which improves the comfort of sitting on chairs of a chair lift to a noticeable degree.

With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, a method of heating a seat and/or a backrest of a chair in a cableway system, which comprises:

  • providing at least one of a seat and/or a backrest of a chair in a cableway system with an electric heating device integrated therein; and
  • heating the seat and/or the backrest while the chair is in a station of the cableway system.

In other words, the objects of the invention are achieved in that the seat and/or backrest is heated, while the chair is in a station of the cableway system, by an electric heating device integrated in the chair and/or backrest. Further, each chair of the cableway system has an electrically operated heating device which is operated while the chair is in the cableway station.

It is thus possible for the temperature of the seat and/or backrest to be adjusted to a temperature which the passenger finds pleasant, before the passenger boards. The advantage of this method is that the seat and/or backrests of the chair are heated automatically, this doing away with any additional work for the lift staff.

An advantageous configuration of the method provides that the heating device is only supplied with power for a certain period of time, during which the chair is located within a cableway station. In particular the duration and/or the intensity of the power supply is regulated in dependence on the local outside temperature. This means that the colder the temperature, the greater the level to which the seat and/or backrests of the chair are heated.

The power supply to the heating device is interrupted as soon as the temperature of the seat and/or backrest reaches a predetermined maximum temperature value. This maximum temperature value may likewise be defined in dependence on the local outside temperature.

As has already been mentioned, an appropriate heating device is preferably arranged in the seat rest and in the backrest of each chair. This heating device is connected to current collectors which are arranged on the clamping body or the suspension-gear mechanism of each chair. Upon entry into a cableway station, the current collector comes into contact with a contact device provided on the cableway system, with the result that current can flow through the heating device and heats the seat and/or backrests.

The current collector may comprise both roller-type contacts and sliding contacts, which interact with a correspondingly configured contact device in each case. This contact device is preferably designed as a conductor rail which is arranged along the conveying or haulage cable of the cableway system.

In an advantageous configuration, provision is made for the power to be transmitted in a contactless manner in the form of an inductive coupling. In this case, a corresponding device builds up an alternating electric field along the haulage cable, this electric field being picked up by a corresponding device of the chair and serving for operating the heating device.

Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in a method of heating the seat and/or backrest of a chair of a cableway system, and chair which is suitable for this purpose, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic, perspective view of a lift chair of a cableway system fastened to a haulage cable;

FIG. 2 is a partly sectional, perspective view of a seat rest of a chair according to the invention; and

FIG. 3 is a schematic plan view of a deflecting wheel or drive wheel of a cableway system.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail and first, particularly, to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown a typical suspension mechanism 1, which is connected to a conveying cable 6 via a clamping body 2. A chair for several persons is fastened on the suspension mechanism 1. The chair comprises a seat rest 4 and a backrest 5.

While the exemplary embodiment is illustrated with a permanently connected clamping body 2, the invention is equally suited for a coupling mechanism and system wherein the chairs are uncoupled from the haulage cable during their travel through the boarding stations. Upon leaving the boarding station, the chairs are accelerated to the faster travel speed and once more clamped to the haulage cable. For additional information see, by way of example, the commonly assigned patent application publication U.S. 2004/0041541 A1, which is herewith incorporated by reference.

As illustrated schematically in FIG. 2, the seat rest 4 comprises an integrated electrically operated heating mat 7, with electrical connections 8, which are preferably guided into the region of the clamping body 2 of the suspension-gear mechanism 1. The heating mat 7 is enclosed by padding 9 which, in turn, has a covering 10, for example made of imitation leather.

FIG. 3 illustrates a deflecting or drive wheel 12 in a cableway station. The running direction 11 of the conveying cable 6 is correspondingly reversed by the deflecting or drive wheel 12. As can be seen at the upper right corner of FIG. 3, the clamping body 2, with the suspension-gear mechanism 1 arranged thereon, comprises a current collector, illustrated by a positive and a negative supply terminal. The power supply to the heating mat 7 is preferably effected via low-voltage direct current. Of course, it is also possible, correspondingly, to use alternating current. When the chair enters into the cableway station, the current collectors 13 come into contact with a conductor rail 14, to which a low-voltage d.c. potential is correspondingly applied. The direct voltage then passes via the current collector 13 and the supply terminals 8 to the heating mat 7 and heats the latter until the suspension-gear mechanism 1 has run around the deflecting or drive wheel 12 and leaves the region of the conductor rail 14. During this period of time, the seat and/or backrest 4, 5 of the chair is/are heated to a predetermined temperature value.

Each individual heating mat is provided with a fuse, in particular an over-temperature and/or over-current fuse. The drawing FIG. 2 shows a schematic illustration of a fuse 7a, a thermal cutout device 7b, and a thermistor 7c as three exemplary such devices.

The intensity of the current and the duration of the flow of current can be regulated in accordance with the local outside temperature, with the result that a predetermined temperature value is always achieved for the seat and/or backrest 4, 5.

Once the seat and backrest 4, 5 have been heated, the passenger can board.