Title:
Modular seat assembly and method of installation thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular seat assembly, comprising at least two support units at least one backrest unit connected to the at least two support units; and at least one seat bottom unit; wherein the seat bottom unit connects to the at least two support units and to the backrest unit into a locking engagement.



Inventors:
Belair, Luc (Drummondville, CA)
Cossette, Pierre (Drummondville, CA)
Jobidon, Richard (Wickham, CA)
Ampleman, Alain (Drummondville, CA)
Pinard, Sylvain (Sherbrooke, CA)
Valois, Richard (Drummondville, CA)
Application Number:
11/393441
Publication Date:
12/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/30/2006
Assignee:
Multina Inc. (Drummondville, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/452.18
International Classes:
A47C15/00; B60N2/90
View Patent Images:
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20070246927Seatbelt device and vehicleOctober, 2007Okada
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20090218863Furniture Member Lumbar Support SystemSeptember, 2009Lapointe et al.
20070018488Vehicle Seat Assembly SystemJanuary, 2007Hein et al.
20060163933ADJUSTABLE VEHICLE ARMRESTJuly, 2006Radu et al.
20020101099Chair apparatusAugust, 2002Hughes



Primary Examiner:
BROWN, PETER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKERMAN LLP (WEST PALM BEACH, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A modular seat assembly, comprising: at least two support units; at least one backrest unit connected to said at least two support units; and at least one seat bottom unit; wherein said seat bottom unit connects to the support units and to the backrest unit into a locking engagement.

2. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, further comprising a seat belt beam.

3. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein said support units comprise at least one of a pedestal unit, a wall bracket unit and a backrest connection.

4. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein said support units comprise at least a connecting slider and a seat support part.

5. The modular seat assembly of claim 4, wherein said support units further comprise a backrest connecting tube.

6. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein said backrest unit comprises a frame provided with connecting anchors.

7. The modular seat assembly of claim 6, wherein said backrest unit comprises a removable backrest cover securing a backrest molded foam.

8. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein said seat bottom unit comprises a frame provided with locking members.

9. The modular seat assembly of claim 8, wherein said seat bottom unit comprises a molded foam secured to the seat frame by a seat cushion cover.

10. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein said backrest unit and said seat bottom unit comprise a support member located between side arms of thereof.

11. The modular seat assembly of claim 2, wherein said seat belt beam is one of: i) a square tube, ii) a round tube, ii) an angle, iv) an elongated member, extending across a width of said seat bottom unit and said backrest set unit.

12. The modular seat assembly of claim 4, wherein said support units comprise an attaching part to one of: i) a floor surface and ii) a wall surface.

13. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein each one of said units is one of: i) an assembly of subunits and ii) a one-piece unit.

14. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein at least two of said units are pre-assembled together.

15. The modular seat assembly of claim 2, wherein said seat belt beam is pre-assembled with at least one of said units.

16. The modular seat assembly of claim 1, wherein each one of said units is made in at least of: i) composites, ii) steel, iii) metals, iv) magnesium and v) plastics.

17. A method for installing a modular seat, comprising the steps of: positioning at least two support units; connecting a backrest unit to the at least two support units; engaging a seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit.

18. The method of claim 17, said step of positioning at least two support units comprising positioning at least two support units selected in the group consisting of pedestal units, wall bracket units and backrest connections.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising positioning a seat belt beam supported by said at least two support units, said step of engaging a seat bottom unit comprising engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units, the backrest unit and the seat belt beam.

20. The method of claim 17, said step of connecting the backrest unit to the at least two support units comprising inserting connecting anchors of the backrest unit into backrest connecting tubes of each support units.

21. The method of claim 17, said step of engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising driving a first bolt through a perforation in a backrest connecting tube of a first one of the support units and through a corresponding perforation in a first connecting anchor of the backrest unit inserted in the backrest connecting tube of the first one of the support units, and into a first locking member of the seat bottom unit; and driving a second bolt through a perforation in a backrest connecting tube of a second one of the support units and through a corresponding perforation in a second connecting anchor of the backrest unit inserted in the backrest connecting tube of a second one of the support units, and into a second locking member of the seat bottom unit.

22. The method of claim 17, the seat bottom unit having locking members with a spring fastened to an end thereof, said step engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising inserting the locking members of the seat bottom unit into an aperture of connecting sliders of the supports units and through a perforation provided in backrest connecting tubes of the support units and a corresponding perforation provided in connecting anchors of the backrest unit located in the backrest connecting tubes of the support units respectively; whereby a force directed to a back of the seat assembly pushes backwards the seat bottom unit hard enough to compress the springs against an rear inside wall of the backrest connecting tubes so as to engage a hooks provided under the seat bottom unit.

23. The method of claim 17, said step engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising inserting locking members of the seat bottom unit into an aperture of connecting sliders of the supports units and through a perforation provided in backrest connecting tubes of the support units and a corresponding perforation provided in connecting anchors of the backrest unit located in the backrest connecting tubes of the support units; whereby a tightening action of screws between angles and the seat bottom unit pushes ends of the locking member of the seat bottom unit towards a rear inside wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit, thereby squeezing the connecting anchors of the backrest unit between the seat bottom unit and the backrest connecting tubes of the support units.

24. The method of claim 17, the seat bottom unit having locking members with a “v”-shaped end, a rod being located across connecting anchors of the backrest unit, said step engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising inserting the locking members of the seat bottom unit into an aperture of connecting sliders of the support units and through a perforation provided in backrest connecting tubes of the support units and a corresponding perforation provided in the connecting anchors of the backrest unit inserted in the backrest connecting tubes of the support units respectively; whereby the “v”-shaped ends of the locking members engages the rod; a tightening action between angles and the seat bottom unit pushing the connecting anchors of the backrest unit against a rear inside wall of the backrest connecting tubes of the support units.

25. The method of claim 17, the seat bottom unit having locking members with a hook-shape end, a rod being located across connecting anchors of the backrest unit, said step engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising i) inserting the locking members through corresponding slots provided in a front wall of backrest connecting tubes of the support units and in a front wall of connecting anchors of the backrest unit, whereby the hook of the hook-shape end of the locking members engages the rod; ii) revolving the seat bottom unit around the rod down to a final horizontal position thereof, whereby a surface of the locking members comes in abutment with a rear inside wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit.

26. The method of claim 25, further comprising fastening a front part of the seat bottom unit using one of a screw, a bolt, a latch, a captive screw, a quarter-turn fastener, a hook, and a spring clip.

27. The method of claim 25, wherein the surface of the locking members that comes in abutment with the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit is provided with teeth, whereby, when the seat bottom unit revolves around the rod down to its final horizontal position, the teeth grip onto the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit.

28. The method of claim 17, the seat bottom unit having locking members with a hook-shape end, said step engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising i) inserting the locking members at an angle through corresponding slots provided in a front wall of backrest connecting tubes of the support units and in a front wall of connecting anchors of the backrest unit; ii) bringing the seat bottom unit down to a final horizontal position thereof, whereby a tip of the locking members contacts an inner surface of the front wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit.

29. The method of claim 28, further comprising fastening a front part of the seat bottom unit by using one of a screw, a bolt, a latch, a captive screw, a quarter-turn fastener, a hook, and a spring clip, thereby generating a pressure at a contact surface between the tip of the locking members and the inner surface of the front wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit and forcing the connecting anchors of the backrest unit against the backrest connecting tubes of the support units, holding the hook shape of the locking members against the front wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit against vibration.

30. The method of claim 17, the seat bottom unit having locking members, ends of the locking members having a teeth shape, said step engaging the seat bottom unit in locking engagement with the at least two support units and the backrest unit comprising inserting the locking members of the seat bottom unit into an aperture of connecting sliders of the supports units and through a perforation provided in backrest connecting tubes of the support units and a corresponding perforation provided in connecting anchors of the backrest unit located in the backrest connecting tubes of the support units; whereby lateral teeth of the ends of the locking members engage apertures provided in a rear inside wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit and corresponding apertures provided in a rear inside wall of the backrest connecting tube of the support means, a tightening action of a screw between angles and the seat bottom unit pushes the lateral teeth inside these apertures while a bridging part therebetween is blocked by a surface of the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors of the backrest unit.

31. The method of claim 17, comprising providing a backrest unit comprising a frame made of a first tube inserted into second tubes, the first and second tubes being of different diameters and thicknesses, the first tube forming a shape of the backrest unit, the tubes, at a beginning of an impact, slide one against the other.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority on Canadian application No. CA 2,510,843 filed on Jun. 22, 2005 and Canadian application filed on Mar. 23, 2006 (number not yet assigned). All documents above are herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to seats. More specifically, the present invention is concerned with modular seat assemblies and method of installation thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A number of seats models are known, for use in vehicles such as school buses for example, of a variety of sizes (45 inches, 39 inches, 34 inches, 30 inches, 26 inches and 18 inches) and heights (high backrest and low backrest) to accommodate a range of vehicle configuration.

The present description refers to a number of documents, the content of which is herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

More specifically, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a modular seat assembly, comprising at least two support units; at least one backrest unit connected to the at least two support units; and at least one seat bottom unit; wherein the seat bottom unit connects to the at least two support units and to the backrest unit into a locking engagement.

Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of specific embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the appended drawings:

FIG. 1 is a general view of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of a first aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 are perspective views of pedestal units used in the modular seat assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a backrest unit in the modular seat assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates a backrest cover of the backrest unit of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5a is a top view of a seat bottom unit of the modular seat assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5b illustrates a seat cover of the seat bottom unit of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a wall bracket unit of the modular seat assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 illustrate a first attachment of the units of the modular seat assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 shows a second attachment of the units of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 shows a third attachment of the units of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 shows a fourth attachment of the units of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 shows a fifth attachment of the units of the modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 shows a sixth attachment of the units of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 shows a seventh attachment of the units of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 shows a eight attachment of the units of a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 15a to 15k illustrate seat assemblies according to various modular embodiments of the present invention; and

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a support unit used in FIGS. 15b, 15c, 15g, 15h, 15i, 15j and 15k.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is illustrated in further details by the following non-limiting examples.

As illustrated in FIG. 1 of the appended drawings, a modular seat assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises support units 12, a backrest unit 16 and a seat bottom unit 14.

The modular seat assembly may comprise a seat belt beam 60, as will be described further hereinbelow.

The support units 12 comprise at least one of a pedestal unit 12a or 12d illustrated for example in FIG. 2, of a wall bracket unit 12b illustrated for example in FIG. 6 and of a backrest connection 12c illustrated for example in FIG. 16. The support units 12 may comprise at least one of metal, plastics and composites for example.

As shown in FIG. 2b, a pedestal unit 12d generally comprises an attaching part 18d, a connecting slider 26d and a front leg 22. Additionally, as shown in FIG. 2a, a pedestal unit 12a may comprise a backrest connecting tube 20a and a seat support part 24a, in addition to an attaching part 18a, a connecting slider 26a and a front leg 22.

The backrest connecting tube 20a and the front leg 22 may be round tubes or square tubes for example. The seat support part 24a and the connecting slider 26a may be folded pieces or square or round tubes for example.

A wall bracket unit 12b illustrated in FIG. 6 generally comprises a backrest connecting tube 20b, an attaching part 18b, a seat support part 24b and a connecting slider 26b.

The backrest connection 12c illustrated in FIG. 16 essentially comprises at least one backrest connecting tube 20c, which may or may not extend all the way down to the floor, and a connecting slider 26c. A backrest connection 12c may replace a pedestal unit 12a or a wall bracket unit 12b to support the backrest unit 16, as will be explained hereinbelow in relation to FIGS. 15b, 15c, 15g, 15h, 15i, 15j and 15k for example.

A backrest unit 16 as illustrated in FIG. 3 comprises a frame 30 provided with connecting anchors 62 and 64, and a support member 32 supporting a backrest plate 34.

A backrest cover 40 may be put on the backrest unit 16 over a backrest molded foam supported by the support member 32. The backrest molded foam may comprise a rear molded foam 40a and a front molded foam 40b assembled together by the backrest cover 40.

As best seen in FIG. 4, the backrest cover 40 may be upholstered to the backrest unit 16 by using a plastic strip inserted in a plastic hook 41 sown on the backrest cover 40 for example. The cover 40 may be removed without being damaged by simply pulling on the strip.

As illustrated in FIG. 5a, a seat bottom unit 14 generally comprises a frame 44 provided with locking members 50 and 51 and a support member 46. A seat plate 48, which may take the form of a full board, a plywood board, a net of small boards, or of a suspension or of a rod mat as known in the art, is secured over the tubular frame 44.

As shown in FIG. 5b, a molded foam 52 may be directly secured to the seat frame 44, here illustrated as a channel 54, by a seat cushion cover 53 attached to the frame 44 and to the support member 46 for example.

The locking members 50 and 51 may be integrally formed with the frame 44 or separate members.

The support member 32 of the backrest unit 16 and the support member 46 of the seat bottom unit 14, located between side arms of the frame 30 of the backrest unit 16 and side arms of the frame 44 of the seat bottom unit 14, rigidify the frames 30 and 44 respectively.

The seat belt beam 60 is used for attaching seat belts. Depending on the type of seat belts needed, abdominal seat belts or three points seat belts, the seat belt beam 60 may be a square tube, a round tube or an angle for example, made in plastic, metal or composite for example, so as to achieve a desired resistance, as people in the art will appreciate. The seat belt beam 60 generally engages the connecting sliders 26a, 26b, 26c of the support means 12a, 12b, 12c—as will be described with more details hereinafter.

FIGS. 15a-15k illustrate modular seat assemblies obtained by assembling the support means 12, the seat bottom unit 14 and the backrest unit 16 described hereinabove.

In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 15a-15k, the seat assembly comprises seat belt beams 60, in the form of members extending across a width of the seat bottom unit and provided with perforations.

In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 15a-15k, the attaching part 18a of the pedestal unit 12a is shown in the form of a plate for illustration purposes only, since obviously other forms are possible, as people in the art will appreciate. The attaching part 18b of the wall bracket unit 12b is illustrated under a form appropriate for fixation to a string course of a wall of a vehicle, although it could be designed for attachment to a vertical surface.

Moreover, in the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 15a-15k the frame 30 of the backrest unit 16 is shown as comprising tube 30b inserted into tubes 30, i.e. tubes of different diameters and thicknesses assembled one inside the other, an inner tube 30b on the inside forming the shape of the backrest unit 16, while tubes 30a on the outside are sufficiently rigid to satisfy requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 222 (49 CFR 571.222) for example. The upper end of the tubes on the outside 30a may be welded for example, or otherwise secured to, to the tube 30b on the inside so that, upon impact, the tubes are subjected to a force that bends them plastically towards the front, and, as only one end of the tubes is fastened, both tubes can, at the beginning of the impact, slide one against the other. After a certain time following the impact, the bending of the tubes is such that they are no longer able to slide one against the other. At that moment, an increase in energy is required to bend the tubes further. This variation in energy required to bend the backrest unit allows controlling the passenger's deceleration when hitting the backrest during impact. By adjusting the dimension and the thickness of the tubes, it is therefore possible to meet with the standards required by FMVSS 222.

The frame 30 may also be formed of a single tube shaped into the desired shape, extremities thereof playing the role of the connecting anchors 62 and 64. However, using different tubes may be decided in order to have distinct mechanical properties in distinct regions of the frame 30, as people in the art will appreciate, and/or to optimise the weight of the overall frame 30.

As people in the art will appreciate, other configurations for the frame 30 are possible, as known in the art.

In FIG. 15a, the seat assembly comprises a pedestal unit 12a to be fixed to the floor of a vehicle for example (not shown) through the attaching part 18a, and a wall bracket unit 12b fixed to the string course of a wall of the vehicle for example (not shown) through the attaching part 18b. The pedestal unit 12a is positioned at an extremity of the seat assembly at a position symmetric to that of the wall bracket unit 12b. In this case, the pedestal unit 12a comprises a backrest connecting tube 20a and a seat support part 24a (not seen in FIG. 15a). The connecting anchors 62 and 64 of the backrest unit 16 are received in the backrest connecting tube 20a of the pedestal 12a and the backrest connecting tube 20b of the wall bracket unit 12b respectively. The seat bottom unit 14 is assembled to the seat assembly through its locking members 50 and 51, as will be described with more details hereinafter.

In FIG. 15b, the seat assembly comprises two seat bottom units 14a and 14b, two backrest units 16a and 16b.

The seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 15c also comprises a wall bracket unit 12b fixed to the string course of a wall of the vehicle for example (not shown) through the attaching part 18b. However, another support means used is a pedestal unit 12d (as illustrated in detail in FIG. 2b) displaced from the extremity of the seat assembly towards an inner position along the width of the seat assembly, by sliding the connecting slider 26d over the seat belt beam 60.

In FIG. 15d, the seat assembly is supported by two pedestal units 12a positioned at extremities thereof.

In FIG. 15e, the seat assembly is supported by a first pedestal unit located at a first extremity, a second pedestal unit 12d located at an inner position along the width of the seat assembly as seen in FIG. 15c, and a wall bracket unit 12b at a second extremity, while in FIG. 15f, the wall bracket unit 12b at the second extremity is replaced by a third pedestal unit.

The seat assembly of FIG. 15g is a variation of the seat assembly illustrated in FIG. 15b using a pedestal unit 12d located at an inner position along the width of the seat assembly instead of a pedestal unit located at an extremity, and FIG. 15h is a further variation using two pedestal units at each extremity and a backrest connection 12c with two connecting tubes. In FIGS. 15i and 15j, the seat assembly of FIG. 15b uses an extra pedestal unit located at an inner position along the width of the seat bottom unit. FIG. 15k shows a further variation.

In FIGS. 15b, 15c, 15g, 15h, 15i, 15j, and 15k, backrest connections 12c are used at some positions of the connecting anchors 62 and 64 of the frame 30 of the backrest unit 16, instead of a pedestal unit 12a or a wall bracket unit 12b, in cases when support to the floor or to the wall is provided at locations different from these positions.

The different units of the seat assembly according to the present assembly generally have functional parts. These parts may take the form of distinct members, the corresponding unit resulting from the assembly of each individual member, or from the assembly of any number of these members pre-assembled together or fabricated together as a subunit.

For example, the attaching part 18b and the seat support part 24b of a wall bracket unit 12b may be molded as a one-piece member.

Any of the attaching part 18a, the connecting slider 26a, the front leg 22, the backrest connecting tube 20a and the seat support part 24a of the pedestal unit 12a may be pre-assembled in sub-units so that the pedestal unit 12a be made of 4 or 5 separate sub-units. Alternatively, the pedestal unit 12a may be a one-piece molded unit.

Moreover, the different units of the seat assembly themselves may be pre-assembled. For example, it may contemplated to pre-assemble a pedestal unit and a seat belt beam or a seat belt beam and a wall bracket unit, by welding or by using a bolt for example, or even a pedestal unit, a seat belt beam and a wall bracket unit in the cases of seat assemblies of the type illustrated in FIG. 15a for example, or to pre-assemble a backrest unit and a seat bottom unit, or a pedestal unit, a seat belt beam, a seat bottom unit and a wall bracket unit. A pre-assembly of a seat belt beam, a seat bottom unit, a backrest unit and a wall bracket unit may be favored for transportation purposes for example, since such pre-assemblies are stackable in a reduced space, the pedestal units being transported separately.

Interestingly, the units of the present invention are standard units, which may be mass fabricated, while allowing a flexibility of a final assembly at a controlled cost. Indeed, basically, the support means are identical for any kind of desired seat assemblies, considering that they include left and right wall brackets units, left, right and symmetric (in the case of a pedestal unit located at an inner position along the width of the seat assembly instead of a pedestal unit located at an extremity as illustrated hereinabove) pedestal units for example. The seat bottom units and the backrest units, as well as the seat belt beams, have also a basically fixed structure, although they may vary in width (of the seat bottom unit and correspondingly of the backrest unit) and length (of the seat belt beam).

In the context of storage and speed of delivery optimization, it may thus be contemplated having a number of standard units fabricated and ready so as to be ready to fabricate specific variations of these other units that may be ordered with different geometrical characteristics (width of the seat bottom unit and correspondingly of the backrest unit, and length of the seat belt beam).

The functional parts of each unit being defined, the modularity of the present invention allows tailoring any specific seat assembly according to target local properties, since each different unit or sub-unit may be made in a different material, including composites, steel, metals, magnesium, plastics etc. . . . depending of a desired strength and resistance and other mechanical properties for example and/or to optimise the weight of the overall assembly, which may be a critical concern in the context of vehicles equipment for example.

People in the art will further appreciate that the modularity of the present invention allows having the units fabricated in different factories, even in different parts of the world, according to different skills required, costs involved etc. . . .

It is to be noted that the connecting sliders 26a, 26b of the support means, may be located above the seat support parts 24a, 24b as illustrated for example in FIGS. 1, 2, 6 and 7-12 for example, or bellow, which is an option selected in FIGS. 13, 14 and 15a to 15k. A lower position of the connecting sliders 26a, 26b may allow an easier installation of the molded foam 52 and its cushion cover on the seat bottom unit 14, as well as resulting in an improved outline and visual appearance.

Methods for installation of a present modular seat assembly will now be described.

Basically, a method according to a second aspect of the present invention comprises positioning at least two support units 12 (step 100); connecting a backrest unit to the at least two support means (step 200); and connecting a seat bottom unit to the backrest unit and the support means (step 300).

In step 100, depending on where the seat assembly is to be installed and on the type of seat assembly desired, as mentioned hereinabove, one of the following may be done, for example:

    • a wall bracket unit 12b may be attached to a wall and a pedestal unit 12a positioned on the floor at a distance from the wall bracket unit 12b corresponding to the width of the seat assembly;
    • a first wall bracket unit 12b may be attached to a first wall and a second wall bracket unit 12b may be attached to an opposite wall;
    • two pedestal units 12a may be positioned and separated by a distance corresponding to the width of the seat assembly (two pedestal units located at the extremities);
    • a first support units 12 is positioned, a seat belt beam 60 is position in the cavity formed by the connecting slider thereof; and a pedestal units 12a of the type located at an inner position along the width of the seat assembly is slid over the seat belt beam 60 through the cavity formed by the connecting slider thereof;
    • etc. . . .

A wall bracket unit 12b may be fastened to a sidewall of the vehicle (not shown) by a nut and bolt system through the attaching part 18b using pre-drilled holes in the wall, for example. In the case when a seat belt beam 60 is not pre-assembled with the wall bracket unit 12b, an extremity of a seat belt beam 60 is inserted into the cavity formed by the connecting slider 26b of the wall bracket unit 12b, and secured thereto by a spring clip or a bolt for example. At this point, a pedestal unit 12a may be already installed in the case when the seat belt beam 60 is also pre-assembled with pedestal unit 12a. Then the pedestal unit 12a only needs to be secured to the floor of the vehicle, using holes drilled in the floor of the vehicle by using the pedestal unit 12a as a template and fastening the pedestal unit 12a using nuts and bolts to the floor through the attaching part 18a thereof for example.

Otherwise, in the case when the pedestal unit 12a is not-pre-assembled with a seat belt beam 60, the pedestal unit 12a may be slid over the seat belt beam 60 through connecting slider 26b and secured thereto by one a spring clip or a bolt for example.

In step 200, the connecting anchors 62 and 64 of the backrest unit 16 are inserted into the backrest connecting tubes 20a, 20b of two support units 12 separated by a distance corresponding to a width of the backrest unit (see FIG. 15a, 15d, 15e, 15f), or in a first support means 12a or 12b and a support means 12c respectively (see FIGS. 15b, 15c, 15g, 15h, 15i, 15j, 15k).

In step 300, a seat bottom unit 14 is then assembled and the overall assembly locked into a rigid assembly by the locking members 50 and 51.

The locking mechanism may take a number of forms, and may need intervention from the back of the assembly (see for example embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7) or from the front thereof (see for example embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 8 to 14).

In FIG. 7, For example, the locking members 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14 are inserted into an aperture of the seat belt beam 60 housed in the connecting slider 26a, 26b, which have a corresponding aperture, and through a perforation provided in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the pedestal unit 12 and a corresponding perforation provided in the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 located in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b respectively.

As best seen in FIG. 7a, a first bolt 100 is driven through a perforation in the backrest connecting tube 20a of the pedestal unit 12a and inserts itself into the locking member 50 of the seat bottom unit 14. As shown in FIG. 7b, a second bolt 110 is driven through a perforation in the backrest connecting tube 20b and inserts itself into the locking member 51 of the seat bottom unit 14.

Alternatively, in FIG. 8, a spring 130 is fastened to the end of the locking members 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14. The locking members 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14 are inserted into an aperture of the seat belt beam 60 housed in the connecting slider 26a, 26b, which have a corresponding aperture, and through a perforation provided in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the pedestal unit 12 and a corresponding perforation provided in the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 located in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b respectively. A force directed to the back of the seat assembly (see arrow A) allows pushing backwards the seat bottom unit 14 hard enough to compress the spring 130 against an rear inside wall of the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b, so as to engage a hook 120 provided under the seat bottom unit 14 within a hole in the seat support part 24a, 24b. Once the hook 120 is in place, the force may be released to let the spring 130 releases the seat bottom unit 14 forward in locked relationship with the seat support part 24a, 24b through the front hook 120 (see arrow B). The pressure then provided by the spring 130 is sufficient to maintain the locking action of the hook 120 and to avoiding vibrations of the seat bottom unit 14 and the backrest unit 16.

As shown in FIG. 9, the spring 130 may be a stamped spring instead of the compression spring illustrated in FIG. 8. The stamped spring 130 may be welded or clamped to the inside wall of the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 for example.

Still alternatively, as shown in FIG. 10, the locking member 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14 are inserted into an aperture of the seat belt beam 60 housed in the connecting slider 26a, 26b, which has a corresponding aperture, and through a perforation provided in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 and a corresponding perforation provided in the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 located in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 respectively. The tightening action of a screw 134 between an angle 135 and the seat support part 24a, 24b, pushes the ends of the locking member 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14 towards the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16, thereby squeezing the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 between the seat bottom unit and the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support means 12.

In FIG. 11, the locking members 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14 have a “v”-shaped end. A rod 140 is inserted across the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16. The locking member 50, 51 of the seat bottom unit 14 are inserted into an aperture of the seat belt beam 60 housed in the connecting slider 26a, 26b with a corresponding aperture and through a perforation provided in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 and a corresponding perforation provided in the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 located in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 respectively. The “v” shape of the end of the locking member 50, 51 engages the rod 140. Once a screw 134 between an angle 135 and the seat support part 24a, 24b as used in the embodiment of FIG. 10 is tightened, the pressure pushes the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 against the rear inside wall of the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support means 12. Since the ends of the locking member 50, 51 are pushed against the rod 140, the backrest unit 16 is locked into place.

In FIG. 12, the end of the locking member 50, 51 have a teeth shape. The lateral teeth engages apertures provided in the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 and corresponding apertures provided in the rear inside wall of the in the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support means 12. Once the screw 134 is tightened, the lateral teeth are pushed inside these apertures while the bridging part there between is blocked by the surface of the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16, creating a pressure pushing the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 against the rear inside wall of the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support means 12, thereby locking the backrest unit 16 in place.

Still alternatively, as shown in FIG. 13, the connecting sliders 26a, 26b have a lower position in relation to the seat support part 24a, 24b. To avoid rattles, stamped springs may be used inside the cavity formed by the connecting sliders 26a, 26b to apply pressure on the sides of the seat belt beam 60. The end of the locking member 50, 51 have a hook shape. As in FIG. 11, a rod 140 is inserted across the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16. The seat bottom unit 14 is assembled by inserting the locking member 50, 51 at an angle (from above in the illustrated configuration) through corresponding slots provided in the front wall of the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 and in the front wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16, so that the hook of the end of the locking member 50, 51 engages the rod 140. The seat bottom unit 14 is then able to revolve around the rod 140 down to its final horizontal position, in which a surface 150 of the locking member 50, 51 comes in abutment with the rear inside wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16, thereby, creating a pressure sufficient to hold the backrest unit 16 in place. The seat bottom unit 14 may be further fastened to the seat support part 24a, 24b using, for example, a screw or a bolt, a latch, a captive screw, a quarter-turn fastener, a hook, or a spring clip. To increase the pressure against rear inside wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16, teeth maybe cut on the surface 150, so that, when the seat bottom unit 14 revolves around the rod 140 down to its final horizontal position, the teeth grip onto rear inside wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16, thereby further securing these elements together.

In FIG. 14, the end of the locking member 50, 51 have a hook shape. As in FIG. 13, the seat bottom unit 14 is assembled by inserting the locking member 50, 51 at an angle (from above in the illustrated configuration) through corresponding slots provided in the front wall of the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support units 12 and in the front wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16. As the seat bottom unit 14 is brought downwards to its final horizontal position, a tip 154 of the locking member 50, 51 contacts the front inner wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16. When the seat bottom unit 14 is further fastened to the seat support part 24a, 24b by the using one of a screw 152 or a bolt, a latch, a captive screw, a quarter-turn fastener, a hook, or a spring clip, for example, the pressure applied at a contact surface between the tip 154 of the locking member 50, 51 and the front inner wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 forces the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit against the backrest connecting tube 20a, 20b of the support means 12, holding the hook shape of the locking member 50, 51 against the front wall of the connecting anchors 62, 64 of the backrest unit 16 against vibration.

In embodiments where the connecting sliders 26a, 26b of the support means are located bellow the seat support parts 24a, 24b, such as in FIGS. 13, 14 and 15a to 15k for example, locking of the seat bottom unit 14 if further achieved by engagement of a protrusion 160 of the seat frame 44 or of the locking member 50, 51, into an aperture in the seat support parts 24a, 24b corresponding to an aperture in the seat belt beam 60, as shown in FIGS. 13, and 14.





 
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