Title:
Modular system for assembling electromechanically adjustable supporting devices for upholstery of furniture for sitting or reclining
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Modular system for assembling electromechanically adjustable supporting devices for upholstery of furniture for sitting or lying upon, particularly for bed mattresses. The supporting devices, when assembled, have at least two supporting parts, which can be displaced relative to one another and which serve to support the upholstery. Modular system includes first and second longitudinal member subassemblies joined together, forming a base body of supporting device. Modular system includes an electromechanical drive for displacing the supporting parts relative to one another, and a control device for controlling the electromechanical drive. First and second electromechanical drive units are assigned to respective first and second longitudinal member subassemblies, and the first and second electromechanical drive units are usable together and brought into active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device for displacing it, and the control device synchronously controls the first and second electromechanical drive units.



Inventors:
Dewert, Eckhart (Zurich, CH)
Schneider, Johannes (Kirchlengern, DE)
Application Number:
11/529588
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/29/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B7/02; A47C1/024; A47C19/00; A47C19/04; A47C20/04; A47C20/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHLESINGER, ARKWRIGHT & GARVEY LLP (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Modular system for the assembly of an electromechanically adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon, the modular system, when assembled, in use, with the supporting device, comprising: a) at least two supporting parts for supporting the upholstery and that can be adjusted relative to one another; b) a first longitudinal member subassembly; c) second longitudinal member subassembly; d) the first and second longitudinal member subassemblies being connectable together, laterally spaced apart, by a connecting element to form a base body for the supporting device; e) an electromechanical drive device for adjusting the supporting parts relative to one another; f) a control device for actuating the electromechanical drive device; g) the electromechanical drive device including first and second electromechanical drive units; h) the first electromechanical drive unit being assigned to the first longitudinal member subassembly, and the second electromechanical drive unit being assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly; i) the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit are placeable in active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device for adjusting the same; and j) the control device including an electric control circuit for the substantially synchronous actuation of the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit.

2. Modular system according to claim 1, wherein: a) the first electromechanical drive unit is placeable in active connection with a first pivoting shaft assigned to the first longitudinal member subassembly; and b) the second electromechanical drive unit is placeable in active connection with a second pivoting shaft assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly; c) the first pivoting shaft and the second pivoting shaft are placeable in active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device for the purpose of adjusting the same; and d) the control circuit actuates the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit such that the first pivoting shaft and the second pivoting shaft pivot substantially synchronously with one another.

3. Modular system according to claim 1, wherein: a) the control circuit has a memory device for storing a respective position of adjustment of the supporting part which has been adjusted using the first and second electromechanical drive units.

4. Modular system according to one claim 1, wherein: a) the control circuit has a programmable circuit.

5. Modular system according to claim 1, wherein: a) the first electromechanical drive unit is arranged n the first longitudinal member subassembly and the second electromechanical drive unit is arranged on the second longitudinal member subassembly.

6. Electromechanically adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon, the supporting device, comprising: a) at least two supporting parts for supporting the upholstery and that can be adjusted relative to one another; b) a first longitudinal member subassembly; c) second longitudinal member subassembly; d) the first and second longitudinal member subassemblies being connectable together, laterally spaced apart, by a connecting element to form a base body for the supporting device; e) an electromechanical drive device for adjusting the supporting parts relative to one another; f) a control device for actuating the electromechanical drive device; g) the electromechanical drive device including first and second electromechanical drive units; h) the first electromechanical drive unit being assigned to the first longitudinal member subassembly, and the second electromechanical drive unit being assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly; i) the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit are in active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device for adjusting the same; and j) the control device including an electric control circuit for the substantially synchronous actuation of the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit.

7. Supporting device according to claim 6, wherein: a) the first electromechanical drive unit is in active connection with a first pivoting shaft assigned to the first longitudinal member subassembly; b) the second electromechanical drive unit is in active connection with a second pivoting shaft assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly; c) the first pivoting shaft and the second pivoting shaft are in active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device for the purpose of adjusting the same; and d) the control circuit actuates the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit such that the first pivoting shaft and the second pivoting shaft pivot substantially synchronously with one another.

8. Supporting device according to claim 6, wherein: a) the control circuit has a memory device for storing a respective position of adjustment of the supporting part which has been adjusted using the first and second electromechanical drive units.

9. Supporting device according to one of claim 6, wherein: a) the control circuit has a programmable circuit.

10. Supporting device according to one of claim 6, wherein: a) the first electromechanical drive unit is arranged on the first longitudinal member subassembly and the second electromechanical drive unit is arranged on the second longitudinal member subassembly.

11. Supporting device according to claim 10, a) the first and second electromechanical drive units are connected in one of a fixed and separable manner to the respective first and second longitudinal member subassembly.

12. Supporting device according to claim 8, a) the memory device includes a permanent memory unit.

13. Supporting device according to claim 6, wherein: a) the adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon is configured as a bed mattress.

14. Supporting device according to claim 6, wherein: a) the electric control circuit includes an electronic control circuit.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of application no. PCT/EP2005/002043, filed 26 Feb. 2005, which claims priority of German application no. 10 2004 016 048.1, filed 1 Apr. 2004, and which claims priority of German application no. 20 2004 018 913.5, filed 6 Dec. 2004, and each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a modular system for the assembly of an electromechanically adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon. The invention further relates to an electromechanically adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Electromechanically adjustable supporting devices for upholstery of items of furniture for sitting and/or lying upon are generally known, for example, in the form of slatted frames, for example from DE 0 372 032 B2, DE 38 42 078 C2, DE 199 62 541 C3, DE 100 46 751 A1, DE 100 62 538 A1, and DE 100 46 751 A1.

A submattress is known from EP 0 445 325 B1, and a physiotherapeutic table is known from DE 32 16 559 A1.

Electromechanically adjustable supporting devices for upholstery of furniture for sitting and/or lying upon are further known from EP 778 016 A2, WO 96/29970, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,357,065 B1.

From EP 0 642 753 A1 a modular system of the relevant type is known, which comprises a first longitudinal member subassembly and a second longitudinal member subassembly, which can be connected to one another, laterally interspaced, via connecting elements to form a base body of the supporting device. The modular system known from the publication further comprises electromechanical drive elements, which can be placed in active connection with supporting parts of the supporting device for the purpose of adjusting the same. Further, the known modular system in the publication has control elements that are not described in detail, designed for actuating the electromechanical drive elements. In the known modular system, a dual-arm control lever is pivotably mounted on each of the longitudinal member subassemblies, with the assigned supporting part, for example an upper body supporting part, being movably supported on one end of the lever. The other end of the control lever is in active connection with the electromechanical drive elements. In addition, the ends of the control lever (which is allocated to one supporting part such as the upper body supporting part) that are closest to the electromechanical drive elements are connected to one another via a rod that extends transversely relative to the longitudinal direction of the supporting device, with a push element lying adjacent to the rod, which is linearly adjustable via a spindle actuator with a spindle nut. The spindle of the spindle actuator can be rotary actuated via an electric motor, which is mounted between the longitudinal member subassemblies. To adjust, for example, the upper body supporting part, the electric motor actuates the threaded spindle such that the spindle nut presses via the push element against the rod that connects the ends of the control lever, so that the control levers pivot around their pivoting axis, thereby raising the upper body supporting part.

One disadvantage of the known modular system consists in the fact that, because of the mechanics required to produce an introduction of force into the respective supporting part that is symmetrical relative the longitudinal center plane of the supporting device, the system is very costly and thus expensive to produce.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the invention is to provide a modular system for the assembly of an electromechanically adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon that does not have the disadvantages, as described above, and that thus can be more simply and cost-effectively produced.

This object is achieved by the teachings set forth below.

This object is also achieved by an embodiment of the invention which includes a modular system for the assembly of an electromechanically adjustable supporting device for upholstery of furniture for one of sitting and lying upon, which modular system, when assembled, in use, with the supporting device, includes at least two supporting parts for supporting the upholstery and that can be adjusted relative to one another. There is likewise a first longitudinal member subassembly and a second longitudinal member subassembly, the first and second longitudinal member subassemblies being connectable together, laterally spaced apart, by a connecting device to form a base body for the supporting device. An electromechanical drive device for adjusting the supporting parts relative to one another is provided, and a control device for actuating the electromechanical drive device is likewise provided. The electromechanical drive device includes first and second electromechanical drive units, the first electromechanical drive unit being assigned to the first longitudinal member subassembly, and the second electromechanical drive unit being assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly. The first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit are placeable in active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device for adjusting the same, and the control device includes an electric or electronic control circuit for the substantially synchronous actuation of the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit.

The basic idea of the teaching of the invention includes allocating two drive units to one of the supporting parts to be adjusted, which are in active connection with this supporting part for the purpose of adjusting the same. In this manner, a first electromechanical drive unit is assigned to and preferably arranged on a first longitudinal member subassembly and a second electromechanical drive unit is allocated to and preferably arranged on the second longitudinal member subassembly, so that the drive force of the first electromechanical drive unit is introduced into a part of the supporting part to be adjusted that is adjacent to the first longitudinal member subassembly, and the drive force of the second electromechanical drive unit is introduced into the part of the supporting part to be adjusted that is adjacent to the second longitudinal member subassembly. In this manner, without costly mechanics, an introduction of force into the supporting part to be adjusted that is symmetrical in relation to the longitudinal center plane of the supporting device is enabled, so that during adjustment of the same, twisting, distortion, or the like can be prevented.

The electric or electronic control circuit that is provided according to the invention effects a synchronous or essentially synchronous actuation of the electromechanical drive units. In this manner it is ensured that the electromechanical drive units, which preferably have the same construction, can be placed in operation synchronously to adjust a supporting part, and operate synchronously, for example in such a way that the output elements or devices of the electromechanical drive units execute the same adjusting movement. If the output elements of the electromechanical drive units are, for example, spindle nuts, then, on the basis of the synchronized actuation of the drive units, the spindle nuts travel the same path along their linear axis of motion per unit of time. If the output elements of the electromechanical drive units are, for example, pivoting shafts, then the two pivoting shafts pivot synchronously with one another by the same pivoting angle.

In this manner, an introduction of force into the supporting parts to be adjusted that is symmetrical in relation to the longitudinal center plane is achieved with a very small number of mechanical components, so that the modular system according to the invention can be produced especially simply and thus cost-effectively. Furthermore, due to the reduced number of mechanical components the assembly of the modular system according to the invention is facilitated.

One particularly advantageous further development of the teaching of the invention provides that the first electromechanical drive unit can be placed in active connection with a first pivoting shaft that is assigned to the first longitudinal member subassembly, and the second electromechanical drive unit can be placed in active connection with a second pivoting shaft that is assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly, wherein the first pivoting shaft and the second pivoting shaft can be placed in active connection with the same supporting part of the supporting device to allow adjustment of the same, wherein the control circuit actuates the first electromechanical drive unit and the second electromechanical drive unit such that the first pivoting shaft and the second pivoting shaft pivot essentially synchronously with one another. With this embodiment, a particularly simple, sturdy and cost-effective construction results. The pivoting shafts can be especially and for example non-rotatably connected to pivoting levers, on which the supporting part to be adjusted is movably supported, or which form a component of the supporting part to be adjusted.

Another advantageous further development of the teaching of the invention provides that the control circuit has a memory unit, especially a permanent memory unit, for storing the respective position of adjustment of the supporting parts that have been adjusted by means of the electromechanical drive units. By using a permanent memory unit it is ensured that the drive units can be placed in operation in a manner that corresponds to the respective control commands, even in the event of a loss of power.

Expediently, according to the invention the control circuit can have a programmable circuit. Programmable circuits of this type are available as simple and cost-effective standard components.

Another advantageous further development of the teaching of the invention provides that the first electromechanical drive unit is arranged on the first longitudinal member subassembly and the second electromechanical drive unit is arranged on the second longitudinal member subassembly. In this manner the drive units are preassembled on the longitudinal member subassemblies, so that the number of components required for the assembly of a supporting device using the modular system of the invention is further reduced. In addition, according to the invention at least one of the longitudinal member subassemblies can be configured as a preferably closed hollow profiled section or a hollow profiled section that is open on one side, with the respective drive unit being completely or at least partially accommodated within the hollow profiled section. For example, a spindle actuator of the respective electromechanical drive unit, including a reduction gear, can be accommodated in the hollow profiled section, while the electric motor is arranged outside the hollow profiled section and can be in drive connection with parts of the drive unit that are arranged in the interior of the longitudinal member subassembly through a recess in the hollow profiled section.

A supporting device according to the invention is likewise disclosed herein. Advantageous and expedient further developments and embodiments of the supporting device according to the invention are disclosed throughout.

Below, the invention is described in greater detail with reference to the attached set of drawings, in which an exemplary embodiment of a modular system according to the invention is represented. In this, all characterizing features of the invention that are described or represented in the drawing define and achieve the objects of the invention, alone or in any combination, are as described herein, and are independent of their formulation or representation in the description or in the drawings.

Relative terms such as left, right, up, and down are for convenience only and are not intended to be limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of components of an exemplary embodiment of a modular system according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a first longitudinal member subassembly of the modular system according to FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section through the longitudinal member subassembly according to FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a part of a longitudinal section through an exemplary embodiment of a supporting device according to the invention, assembled using the modular system according to the invention;

FIG. 5 is a functional block diagram of control device for actuating electromechanical drive devices of the supporting device according to FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the supporting device according to FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In FIG. 1, components of a modular system 2 according to the invention are illustrated, which in this exemplary embodiment includes a first longitudinal member subassembly 4 and a second longitudinal member subassembly 6, which can be detachably connected to one another via connecting elements that are not shown in FIG. 1, to form a base body for a supporting device 8, the supporting device 8 in this exemplary embodiment being configured as a slatted frame. The connecting elements for connecting the longitudinal member subassemblies 4, 6 can be formed, for example, by cross rails that connect the longitudinal member subassemblies 4, 6 and extend transversely to the longitudinal direction of the supporting device 8.

In this exemplary embodiment, the first longitudinal member subassembly 4 has a center supporting section 10, with which an upper body supporting section 12 is connected such that it can pivot around a horizontal pivoting axis; and a headrest section 14 is pivotably connected to the supporting section at its end that faces away from the center supporting section 10, such that it can pivot around a horizontal pivoting axis. A leg supporting section 16 is pivotably connected to the end of the center supporting section 10 that is opposite the upper body supporting section 12, such that it can pivot around a horizontal pivoting axis, and a calf supporting section 18 is pivotably connected to its end that is opposite the center supporting section 10 such that it can pivot around a horizontal pivoting axis.

The second longitudinal member subassembly 6 is constructed in a corresponding manner, and its components are provided with reference symbols which are analogous to the reference symbols of the first longitudinal member subassembly 4.

Slat mounts or supports for resilient slats that are not shown in FIG. 1 are connected to the upper surface of the supporting sections 10 through 18, or 10′ through 18′ , of the longitudinal member subassemblies 4, 6, wherein in FIG. 1 in each case only one slat support is indicated by the reference symbols 20 or 20′.

When the supporting device is assembled, in each case the center supporting sections 10, 10′ together form a center supporting part 10″, the upper body supporting sections 12, 12′ form an upper body supporting part 12″, the headrest or head supporting sections 14, 14′ form a headrest part 14″, the leg supporting sections 16, 16′ form a leg supporting part 16″, and the calf supporting sections 18, 18′ form a calf supporting part 18″of the supporting device 8. The supporting parts 10″ through 18″ formed in this manner can be adjusted between an adjustment position that corresponds to a sitting position of the supporting device 8 and a lying position not shown in the drawing, in which the supporting parts 10″ through 18″ span an essentially horizontal support plane.

FIG. 2 shows the first longitudinal member subassembly 4, the center supporting section 10 which in this exemplary embodiment is configured as a closed hollow profiled section and as a housing configured to accommodate parts of a first drive unit 22. The first drive unit 22 in this exemplary embodiment has a first electric motor 24, which in this exemplary embodiment is in drive connection with a pivoting shaft 26 that is pivotably mounted on the first longitudinal member subassembly 4. The first pivoting shaft 26 is non-rotatably connected, in a manner described further below in reference to FIG. 3, to the upper body supporting section 12 of the first longitudinal member subassembly 4, so that when the pivoting shaft 26 is pivoted by means of the electric motor 24, the upper body supporting section 12, and thereby the upper body supporting part 12″, is pivoted.

Next to the first drive unit 22, an additional drive unit 28 with an additional electric motor 29 is arranged on the first longitudinal member subassembly 4, which motor serves to pivot the leg supporting section 16 and the calf supporting section 18 relative to the center supporting section 10. The additional drive unit 28 is configured in a manner that corresponds to the first drive unit 26 and is not described in further detail here.

FIG. 3 shows a longitudinal section through the first longitudinal member subassembly 4 and serves to illustrate the construction of the first drive unit 22. The first drive unit 22 has an electric motor that is arranged outside of the center supporting section 10 of the first longitudinal member subassembly 4, the output shaft 32 of which is configured as a worm and is in engagement with a worm gear 34 that is rotatably mounted in the interior of the center supporting section 10 of the first longitudinal member subassembly 4, and a threaded spindle 36, which is rotatably mounted in the interior of the center supporting section 10, is non-rotatably engaged with the worm gear. A spindle nut 38 with internal threading that is mounted in a manner fixed against rotation in the first longitudinal member subassembly 4 is arranged on the threaded spindle 36. One end of an actuator arm 42 is connected to the spindle nut 38 via a disengagement device 40 that is of no further interest here. The other end of the actuator arm 42 is eccentrically connected to an articulated lever 46, which is non-rotatably connected to the first pivoting shaft 26, by a pivoting axis 44, and around which the first pivoting shaft 26 is pivotably mounted on the first longitudinal member subassembly 4.

A pivoting lever 48 is non-rotatably connected to the first pivoting shaft 26, and which is a part of the upper body supporting section 10. When the electric motor 22 of the first drive unit 32 actuates the threaded spindle 36 such that the spindle nut 38 in FIG. 3 moves toward the right, the spindle nut 38 moves the actuator arm 42 along with it, so that given the connection of the actuator arm 42 to the articulated lever 46, the connection being eccentric relative to the pivoting axis 44, the first pivoting shaft 26 in FIG. 3 is pivoted clockwise, so that the pivoting lever 48, and thereby the upper body supporting section 12, is also pivoted clockwise in FIG. 3.

FIG. 4 shows a part of a cross-section through the first longitudinal member subassembly 4. As is apparent from FIG. 4, the pivoting lever 48 is non-rotatably connected to a lever extension 50, which in turn is provided with a facing 52 that holds the slat supports 20. Thus the pivoting lever 48 together with the lever extension 50, the facing 52, the slat supports 20 and the slats, which are not illustrated here, form a part of the upper body supporting part 12″ of the supporting device 8.

FIG. 5 shows a functional block diagram of control device 54 for actuating the drive units 22, 30. The control device can be actuated, for example, via a manual switch 56, and has an electric or electronic control circuit 58 for the essentially synchronous actuation of the first drive unit 22 and the second drive unit 30. In this exemplary embodiment the control circuit 58 has a permanent memory unit 60 for storing the respective position of adjustment of the upper body support part 12 achieved by means of the drive units 22, 30.

The manner of operation of the supporting device 8 of the invention is as follows:

When a user actuates the manual switch 56 in order, for example, to adjust the upper body supporting part 12″ of the supporting device 8 from an essentially horizontal position of adjustment to the position of adjustment shown in FIG. 1, the control circuit 58 generates control signals for the synchronous actuation of the drive units 22, 30. These control signals are sent to the drive units 22, 30 via control cables 62, 64.

On the basis of the synchronous actuation with the control signals, the first drive unit 22 starts up and pivots the first pivoting shaft 26 in FIG. 4 clockwise, so that the upper body supporting section 12 in FIG. 4 is also pivoted clockwise. At the same time and synchronously the second pivoting shaft 26′, which is assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly 6, is also pivoted clockwise in FIG. 4 by the second drive unit 30, so that the upper body supporting section 12 is also pivoted clockwise. Because the drive units 22, 30 are synchronously actuated by the control circuit 58, the upper body supporting section 12 pivots synchronously with the upper body supporting section 12′, so that during pivoting, twisting/distortion of the upper body supporting part 12″, which is formed by the upper body supporting sections 12, 12′, is reliably prevented.

Because of the control-based synchronization of the drive units 22, 30 achieved by means of the electric or electronic control circuit 58, mechanical synchronization devices in principle are unnecessary. However, if desired on the basis of relevant requirements, the pivoting shafts 26, 26′ can also be non-rotatably connected to one another via a connecting shaft.

FIG. 6 shows the supporting device 8 that is assembled using the modular system 2 of the invention. In this exemplary embodiment the connecting elements configured to effect the separable connection of the longitudinal member subassemblies 4, 6 are formed by crossbars 66, 68, which are connected to longitudinal bars 70, 72 of an exterior frame 74 of the supporting device 8, with which longitudinal bars the longitudinal member subassemblies 6, 4 are separably connected via screws.

In FIG. 6, an additional electric motor 29′ for an additional drive unit 28′ assigned to the second longitudinal member subassembly 6 is illustrated. By means of the additional drive units 28, 28′ the leg supporting part 16″ together with the calf supporting part 18″ can be adjusted, wherein the additional drive units 28, 28′ can be synchronously actuated via the control circuit, in the manner already described in relation to the drive units 22, 22′. The construction of the additional drive units 28, 28′ corresponds essentially to that of the drive units 22, 22′ and thus will not be described in further detail here.

While this invention has been described as having a preferred design, it is understood that it is capable of further modifications, and uses and/or adaptations of the invention and following in general the principle of the invention and including such departures from the present disclosure as come within the known or customary practice in the art to which the invention pertains, and as may be applied to the central features hereinbefore set forth, and fall within the scope of the invention or limits of the claims appended hereto.