Title:
Vehicle seat, in particular a sports seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In the case of a vehicle seat, in particular a sports seat, with at least one seat component (4), a frame shell (10) is provided as the supporting structure thereof, the frame shell integrating the shape of a frame and the function of an adapter for optionally receiving/attaching a comfort-enhancing additional subassembly into a single shell of integral design.



Inventors:
Kespohl, Horst (Aichelberg, DE)
Application Number:
11/638733
Publication Date:
06/21/2007
Filing Date:
12/14/2006
Assignee:
RECARO GmbH & Co. KG
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/02; B60N2/90
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON (US) LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
That which is claimed:

1. A vehicle seat that is for being sat in by an occupant and that can optionally include at least one additional subassembly for enhancing comfort, safety or any combination thereof, the vehicle seat comprising: at least one seat component, wherein the seat component comprises a supporting structure that is an integrally formed single shell; the shell includes a first plurality of regions and a second plurality of regions, the first and second plurality of regions differ from one another and are arranged so that the second plurality of regions is frame-shaped, and the frame-shaped second plurality of regions is an integral part of the shell, whereby the shell is a frame shell; and the frame shell is at least configured for receiving and attaching the optional additional subassembly.

2. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein the frame shell comprises an externally visible covering that is an integral part of the frame shell, and the visible covering is integrated into the frame shell on a side of the frame shell which faces away from the occupant while the occupant is sitting in the vehicle seat.

3. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein regions of the first plurality of regions are: regions that are thinner than regions of the second plurality of regions, cut-outs, or any combination thereof.

4. The vehicle seat according to claim 2, wherein: the first plurality of regions includes at least one cut-out, the covering is proximate the at least one cut-out, and the covering covers the at least one cut-out.

5. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein the frame shell has at least one receiving point that is for receiving and attaching the optional additional subassembly.

6. The vehicle seat according claim 1, wherein the frame shell is manufactured from fiber-reinforced plastic, fabric-reinforced plastic, or any combination thereof.

7. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein the seat component together with the frame shell is a backrest.

8. The vehicle seat according to claim 2, wherein regions of the first plurality of regions are: regions that are thinner than regions of the second plurality of regions, cut-outs, or any combination thereof.

9. The vehicle seat according to claim 3, wherein the frame shell has at least one receiving point that is for receiving and attaching the optional additional subassembly.

10. The vehicle seat according claim 2, wherein the frame shell is manufactured from fiber-reinforced plastic, fabric-reinforced plastic, or any combination thereof.

11. The vehicle seat according claim 3, wherein the frame shell is manufactured from fiber-reinforced plastic, fabric-reinforced plastic, or any combination thereof.

12. The vehicle seat according claim 4, wherein the frame shell is manufactured from fiber-reinforced plastic, fabric-reinforced plastic, or any combination thereof.

13. The vehicle seat according claim 5, wherein the frame shell is manufactured from fiber-reinforced plastic, fabric-reinforced plastic, or any combination thereof.

14. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein regions of the first plurality of regions comprise regions that are thinner than regions of the second plurality of regions.

15. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein regions of the first plurality of regions comprise cut-outs.

16. The vehicle seat according to claim 1, wherein regions of the first plurality of regions comprise holes.

17. The vehicle seat according to claim 16, wherein: the frame shell comprises an externally visible covering that is an integral part of the frame shell, the visible covering is integrated into the frame shell on a side of the frame shell which faces away from the occupant while the occupant is sitting in the vehicle seat, the covering is proximate at least one of the holes, and the covering covers the at least one of the holes.

18. The vehicle seat according to claim 1 in combination with the additional subassembly, wherein the additional subassembly is mounted to the frame shell.

19. The vehicle seat according to claim 3 in combination with the additional subassembly, wherein the additional subassembly is mounted to the frame shell.

20. A vehicle seat, comprising: at least one seat component, wherein the seat component comprises a supporting structure that is an integrally formed single shell, the shell includes a first plurality of regions and a second plurality of regions, the first and second plurality of regions differ from one another and are arranged so that the second plurality of regions is frame-shaped, and the frame-shaped second plurality of regions is an integral part of the shell; and at least one comfort-enhancing subassembly mounted to the shell.

21. The vehicle seat according to claim 20, wherein regions of the first plurality of regions are: regions that are thinner than regions of the second plurality of regions, cut-outs, or any combination thereof.

22. The vehicle seat according to claim 21, wherein the shell is manufactured from fiber-reinforced plastic, fabric-reinforced plastic, or any combination thereof.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims priority to DE 10 2005 059 854.4, which was filed Dec. 15, 2005. The entire disclosure of DE 10 2005 059 854.4 is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a vehicle seat, in particular a sports seat, having at least one seat component that has a supporting structure and an adapter for optionally receiving/attaching a comfort-enhancing additional subassembly With regard to the supporting structure of the seat components in vehicle seats, structures with frames and structures with shells are known. A shell is to be understood as meaning a supporting structural element which, by itself, fills the surface region intended for it and can thus remain visible on the rear side (in the event of being assigned to the backrest) or lower side (in the event of being assigned to the seat part) and generally also remains without requiring a facing or the like there. These unfaced, unupholstered and uncovered sides are preferably also designed specially as visible surfaces. However, a facing is also conceivable for design reasons. The shell is generally produced integrally from plastic or plastic composite materials. In contrast thereto, a frame is to be understood as meaning a supporting structural element which only partially fills the surface region intended for it, and thus the open regions of the frame require a facing. The frame generally comprises a plurality of, in particular, metallic parts which are connected to one another and laterally enclose the open region, for example a central opening.

Vehicle seats with shells are of a more sporty design whereas vehicle seats with frames are more configured with regard to comfort. EP 1 110 809 A2 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,554,365 disclose a vehicle seat of the type mentioned above, in which a basic module is attached to a standard seat frame and/or backrest frame by means of an adapter in the form of a shackle or wire—without changing the structure—the basic module optionally carrying comfort-enhancing additional subassemblies, such as lordosis supports, side cheeks, supporting brackets, shoulder supports, ventilators or seat air-conditioning systems. A further vehicle seat of this type is described in DE 10 2004 018 001 A1, in which the seat frame and/or backrest frame is/are supplemented by a rigid foam adapter to which the comfort-enhancing additional subassemblies are optionally fastened.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF SOME ASPECTS OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention is the provision of improvements to a vehicle seat of the type mentioned above. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a vehicle seat, in particular sports seat, is for being sat in by an occupant and can optionally include an additional subassembly. The vehicle seat includes at least one seat component, and the seat component can comprise a supporting structure that is an integrally formed single shell. The shell can include a first plurality of regions and a second plurality of regions. The first and second plurality of regions can differ from one another and be arranged so that the second plurality of regions is frame-shaped, with the frame-shaped second plurality of regions being an integral part of the shell, whereby the shell is a frame shell. The frame shell can at least be configured for receiving and attaching the optional additional subassembly. The optional additional subassembly can be for enhancing comfort and/or safety of the occupant of the vehicle seat.

Because a frame shell is provided as the supporting structure, with the frame shell integrating the shape of a frame and the function of an adapter for optionally receiving/attaching a comfort-enhancing (and possibly safety-enhancing) additional subassembly into a single shell of integral design, the advantages of frame, shell, adapter, preferably also of a rear side covering, are combined in a single component with a significant reduction in the complexity. This measure results in a simplification of production, installation, manufacturing logistics and repair, which reduces the production costs. With the additional subassemblies which are arranged on, integrated in, adapted to, mounted on the frame shell and received or attached in some other way, the vehicle seat can be upgraded in a sporty, functional and comfort respect to form a sport seat.

During the production of the frame shell, unloaded regions are preferably reduced or recessed in their material thickness and receiving points for the additional subassemblies are preferably integrated into the frame shell. As in the case of a conventional shell, the manufacturing of the frame shell preferably takes place from fiber- and/or fabric-reinforced plastic, which, in particular, simplifies the integration of the receiving points.

Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is explained in more detail below with reference to an exemplary embodiment illustrated in the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the frame shell obliquely from the front, and

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the exemplary embodiment obliquely from the rear.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT

A vehicle seat 1 of the exemplary embodiment of the present invention is designed as a sports seat for a motor vehicle, can be adjusted longitudinally by way of conventional pairs of relatively movable runners/rails, and has a first seat component 3 that serves as the seat part and a second seat component 4 that serves as the backrest. The second seat component 4 can be pivoted, and more specifically it preferably can be adjusted in inclination and can be pivoted freely, relative to the first seat component 3. According to the exemplary embodiment of the invention, one or both seat components 3 or 4, in the present case the second seat component 4, is or are designed with respect to its/their supporting structure.

The second seat component 4 namely has a component that functions as its supporting structure and is referred to in short as the frame shell 10. In the case of this frame shell 10, the shape of a frame and the function of an adapter for optionally receiving/attaching comfort-enhancing and/or safety-enhancing additional subassemblies are integrated into a single shell of integral design. The function of a backrest rear side covering is preferably also integrated into the frame shell 10.

To construct a frame shell 10 of this type, taking the external shape of a frame as the starting point, a shell is formed which is reduced in its material thickness or even has cut-outs 12 (e.g., holes) in regions which, with respect to the absorption of force, are not greatly stressed. The production of the frame shell 10 takes place as for a shell by means of plastic injection molding with a multilayer insert of fibers and fabrics. If the function of a backrest rear side covering is integrated into the frame shell 6, the cut-outs 12 (e.g., holes) are in turn covered by an externally visible covering 14 (visible panel) as the outermost layer of the frame shell 10 on that side of the frame shell 10 which faces away from the occupant. In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention and one acceptable example of describing it, the frame shell 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 can be characterized as including a plurality of first and second regions, with the first regions being the uncovered cut-outs 12 and/or the cut-outs 12 that are covered by/in combination with the covering 14, the second regions being the regions without/not associated with cut-outs, and the differences between the first and second regions and their arrangements being such that the shape of the frame is integrated into the single shell of integral design (e.g., the plurality of second regions is frame-shaped).

During the production of the frame shell 10, receiving points 16 are also constructed for fittings (for connection to the first seat component 3), for a head restraint 18 (if not integrated into the frame shell 10), if appropriate also for upholstery 20, and for additional subassemblies such as the previously mentioned comfort-enhancing additional subassemblies. The comfort-enhancing additional subassemblies are, for example, side cheeks and the adjusters thereof, supporting brackets, shoulder supports, lordosis supports, ventilators, seat air-conditioning systems, control devices and/or—in the case of the first seat component 3—seat surface extensions. The receiving points 16 may be, for example, openings, clips, hooks and/or adhesive fastenings.

After receiving or attaching the desired additional subassemblies, the frame shell 10 is padded in a suitable manner and covered with the upholstery 20—at least on the side facing the occupant. The upholstery 20 may be fitted onto a bent-over edge, as in the case of a known shell, or may be attached to receiving points 16 provided specifically for this purpose.

As best understood with reference to FIG. 1, the frame shell 10 of the exemplary embodiment is a single piece that is contoured so that the frame shell includes at least an upper pair of side cheek supports that are integral parts of the frame shell and extend outwardly at respective opposite sides of the frame shell, and a lower pair of side cheek supports that are integral parts of the frame shell and extend outwardly at the respective opposite sides of the frame shell. The upper pair of side cheek supports are typically for supporting the shoulders of a user, whereas the lower pair of side cheek supports are typically for supporting the user's torso/pelvis. The lower pair of side cheek supports is typically shaped at least a little bit differently than the upper pair of side cheek supports.

Further referring to FIG. 1 and in accordance with one acceptable example, a portion of a comfort-enhancing additional subassembly (e.g., a lordosis support, which may be conventional) is schematically illustrated by a pair of parallel dashed lines (which are arranged on opposite sides of the centrally located receiving point 16) as being mounted to the frame shell 10 (e.g., the subject subassembly is attached to the frame shell 10 by way of at least the central receiving point 16). In accordance with this schematically illustrated example, the frame shell 10 is configured for receiving and attaching the subassembly that is schematically illustrated by the pair of parallel dashed lines.

Additionally referring to FIG. 1 and in accordance with an acceptable example, the receiving points 16 at the lower ends of the lower pair of side cheek supports are shown as being circular openings (e.g., holes) that extend completely through the lower side cheek supports (although other configurations, shapes and locations can be acceptable), these circular openings can receive fittings for connecting the first seat component 3 to the second seat component 4, and these fittings may operate in a conventional manner to allow selective pivoting of the second seat component 4 relative to the first seat component 3. In accordance with this example, a portion of one of these fittings, which may be conventional, is schematically illustrated by dashed lines/a dashed circle in FIG. 1 as being mounted to the frame shell 10 (e.g., the schematically illustrated fitting/dashed circle is positioned in a respective receiving point 16 that is in the form of a circular opening at the lower end of the respective lower side cheek support). In accordance with this schematically illustrated example, the frame shell 10 is configured for receiving and attaching the fitting that is schematically illustrated by the dashed circle.

The entire disclosure of each of the following is incorporated herein by reference: U.S. Pat. No. 6,554,365, U.S. Pat. No. 7,131,697, and U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 11/520,557 and 11/546,086.

It will be understood by those skilled in the art that while the present invention has been discussed above with reference to an exemplary embodiment, various additions, modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.