Title:
Seating apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is based on a seating apparatus with a settable supporting unit which is provided for integration in a seat component and has at least one pneumatic supporting means and at least one adjustable, mechanical supporting means. The pneumatic supporting means is coupled to the mechanical supporting means for actuation of the mechanical supporting means.



Inventors:
Schurg, Hartmut (Schwabisch Hall, DE)
Fakler, Lena (Tettnang, DE)
Forgatsch, Oliver (Meersburg, DE)
Application Number:
11/723775
Publication Date:
10/04/2007
Filing Date:
03/22/2007
Assignee:
RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG (Schwabisch Hall, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/46
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WHITE, RODNEY BARNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POSZ LAW GROUP, PLC (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
What we claim is:

1. A seating apparatus with a settable supporting unit which is provided for integration in a seat component and has at least one pneumatic supporting means, wherein the supporting unit has at least one adjustable, mechanical supporting means.

2. A seating apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the mechanical supporting means is formed by a pivotably mounted flap.

3. A seating apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the pneumatic supporting means is coupled to the mechanical supporting means and is provided for actuation of the mechanical supporting means.

4. A seating apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the mechanical supporting means has a changing rigidity in the direction of at least one surface extent.

5. A seating apparatus with a settable supporting unit which is provided for integration in a seat component and has at least one adjustable, mechanical supporting means, wherein by a setting unit which is provided for setting the supporting unit in an at least partially automated manner as a function of at least one characteristic variable.

6. A seating apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the setting unit is provided for setting the supporting unit at least as a function of a position of the seat component.

7. A seating apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the setting unit is provided for setting the supporting unit as a function of a position of the backrest.

8. A seating apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the supporting unit forms a settable lordosis support.

9. A seating apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a setting unit for setting the supporting unit in an at least partially automated manner as a function of at least one characteristic variable, the supporting unit having at least two pneumatic supporting means for obtaining different settings.

10. A seating apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the pneumatic supporting means have coupling points to the mechanical supporting means, which coupling points are spaced apart at different distances from a pivot axis of the mechanical supporting means.

11. A seating apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the setting unit comprises a valve unit.

12. A seating apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the setting unit is provided for venting at least one pneumatic supporting means from a certain position of the seat component.

13. A method for setting a supporting unit which is provided for integration in a seat component and has at least one mechanical supporting means, wherein the supporting unit is set as a function of at least one characteristic variable.

14. A method according to claim 13, wherein the supporting unit is set as a function of a position of the seat component.

15. A seating apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the pneumatic supporting means have coupling points to the mechanical supporting means, the coupling points being spaced apart at different distances from a pivot axis of the mechanical supporting means.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is based on, claims priority from, and incorporates by reference German Patent Application No. DE 10 2006 015 523.8.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates generally to seating apparatuses, and specifically to a seating apparatus with a settable supporting unit that is provided for integration in a seat component.

BACKGROUND

A seating apparatus with a settable supporting unit, which is provided for integration in a seat component formed by a backrest and which includes a pneumatic, inflatable supporting means, is known.

However, there is a need for a seating apparatus with a settable supporting unit that is integrated in a seat component and that has at least one pneumatic supporting means and at least one mechanical supporting means, with the pneumatic supporting means being coupled to the mechanical supporting means for actuation of the mechanical supporting means.

SUMMARY

In view of the above, a seating apparatus is provided with a settable supporting unit that is integrated in a seat component and that has at least one pneumatic supporting means and at least one mechanical supporting means. The pneumatic supporting means is coupled to the mechanical supporting means and is provided for actuation of the mechanical supporting means.

According to another exemplary embodiment, a seating apparatus is provided with a settable supporting unit for integration in a seat component. The settable supporting unit has at least one adjustable, mechanical supporting means. A setting unit is provided for setting the supporting unit in an at least partially automated manner as a function of at least one characteristic variable.

Another exemplary embodiment includes a method for setting a supporting unit that is provided for integration in a seat component and that has at least one mechanical supporting means. According to the method, the supporting unit is set as a function of at least one characteristic variable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further advantages emerge from the following description of the drawings. The drawings illustrate exemplary embodiments of the invention and, together with the description and the claims, contain numerous features in combination. One skilled in the art will also consider the features individually and put them together to form meaningful further combinations.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows an aircraft seat in a first position of the backrest with a deactivated supporting unit,

FIG. 2 shows a cutout of the aircraft seat in the lower region of a backrest without the fabric upholstery in a greater degree of detail,

FIG. 3 shows the lower region of the backrest with the mechanical supporting means illustrated transparently, in a front view,

FIG. 4 shows the aircraft seat in the first position of the backrest with the supporting unit activated, and

FIG. 5 shows the aircraft seat in a second position of the backrest with the supporting unit activated.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals reference like parts, FIG. 1 shows an aircraft seat with a seating apparatus that has a supporting unit 12. The supporting unit 12 is integrated in a seat component 10, which is formed by a backrest, and is designed as a lordosis support. The supporting unit 12, which is arranged in the lower region of the backrest below an upholstery 34 of the backrest, has three pneumatic supporting means 14, 16, 18 (FIG. 2) formed by airbags, and an adjustable, mechanical supporting means 20, which is formed by an individual flap mounted pivotably and is produced from a carbon fiber composite material. The mechanical supporting means 20 extends virtually over the entire width of the backrest, is mounted on a backrest frame 28 in a manner such that it can pivot about a pivot axis 26 in its upper edge region or its edge region facing away from a seat base 36 and, for this purpose, has wings 30 extending laterally over frame elements of the backrest frame 28 (FIG. 2).

As used throughout, “mechanical supporting means” is to be understood, in particular, as meaning a means which is formed by a body and, in particular in comparison to a flexurally soft component, such as a flexurally soft casing of a pneumatic supporting means and a flexurally soft fabric upholstery, is suitable and, in particular, also provided for the purpose of transmitting functional forces transversely with respect to a surface extent. In this case, the means which is formed by the body is advantageously designed such that it is flexurally rigid transversely with respect to its surface extent and/or, particularly preferably, such that it is elastically deformable, in particular by more than one millimeter by the weight of a passenger in the use situation. An elastic deformability enables advantageous adaptations and transitions to be achieved.

The mechanical supporting means here can be produced from various materials appearing expedient to a person skilled in the art, such as, in particular, from composite materials, such as carbon fiber materials, glass fiber materials, and/or also from one or more plastics, for example by it being produced by multi-component injection molding, etc. Furthermore, “provided” is to be understood as meaning specially equipped and/or designed.

By means of a corresponding configuration according to the invention, large adjustments can be realized in a simple manner using small quantities of air, to be precise, in particular if the mechanical supporting means is formed by a pivotably mounted flap. Advantageous adaptations can be realized with little expenditure of energy, within short periods of time. Furthermore, the pivotable mounting enables advantageous transitions to be achieved. In principle, however, mechanical supporting means guided movably in an at least partially translatory manner would also be conceivable.

The mechanical supporting means can be designed such that they can be set manually and/or via additional actuators. However, the pneumatic supporting means is particularly advantageously coupled to the mechanical supporting means and is provided for actuation of the mechanical supporting means, as a result of which additional, in particular heavy actuators can be avoided.

In a further refinement, the mechanical supporting means may have a changing rigidity, in particular flexural rigidity, in the direction of at least one surface extent, thus enabling different supporting effects to be obtained in a specific manner over the surface extents.

Furthermore, a seating apparatus may comprise a settable supporting unit which is provided for integration in a seat component and comprises at least one adjustable mechanical supporting means, the seating apparatus having a setting unit which is provided for setting the supporting unit in an at least partially automated manner as a function of a characteristic variable. As a function of the characteristic variable, an advantageous setting can be realized and the comfort can be increased. By means of the combination of at least one mechanical supporting means and at least one pneumatic supporting means, various supporting effects can advantageously be obtained, and, in particular, an advantageously large setting range can be achieved, and therefore various settings can advantageously be realized as a function of at least one characteristic variable.

In this case, the setting unit can set the supporting unit as a function of various characteristic variables appearing expedient to a person skilled in the art, but, particularly advantageously, as a function of a position of the seat component and, in particular, as a function of a position of the backrest. Substantially changing demands imposed on the supporting unit can therefore advantageously be taken into account by changing a position of a seat component and, in particular, the position of a backrest.

The supporting unit preferably forms a settable lordosis support such that an advantageously large setting range, in particular a setting range dependent on a characteristic variable, can be achieved, in particular in the lower region of a backrest.

In a further refinement, the supporting unit may have at least two pneumatic supporting means for obtaining different settings, thus making it possible, in a structurally simple manner, to obtain different supporting effects, to be precise, in particular if the pneumatic supporting means have coupling points to the mechanical supporting means, which coupling points are spaced apart at different distances from a pivot axis of the mechanical supporting means.

Furthermore, the setting unit may comprise a valve unit, thus making it possible, via the control and/or regulation of a quantity of air in a pneumatic supporting means, to realize an adjustment in a simple manner, to be precise, by air being supplied via the valve unit and/or, in particular, by air being let out via the valve unit from a certain position of the seat component or by a pneumatic supporting means being vented.

Referring again to FIG. 1, a mechanical supporting means 20 which ends essentially directly above the seat base 36 is of curved design about a longitudinal axis 38 of the backrest and about a transverse axis 40 of the backrest, to be precise, the mechanical supporting means 20 is designed such that it bulges about the transverse axis 40 in the direction facing away from a backrest fabric 32 arranged in the backrest frame 28 and is designed such that it bulges about the longitudinal axis 38 in the direction of the backrest fabric 32, as a result of which an advantageous, ergonomic adaptation is achieved (FIGS. 2 and 3).

The three pneumatic supporting means 14, 16, 18 are arranged between the backrest fabric 32 and the mechanical supporting means 20, are coupled to the mechanical supporting means 20 via a respective coupling point and are provided for actuation of the mechanical supporting means 20 (FIGS. 2 to 5). The pneumatic supporting means 14, which is of tubular design, is arranged in the upper region, i.e. in the region of the pivot axis 26, extends parallel to the pivot axis 26 and, just below the pivot axis 26, has a coupling point to the mechanical supporting means 20, which coupling point extends parallel to the pivot axis 26.

The pneumatic supporting means 16, 18, which are of kidney-shaped design, are arranged in a left and right region of the backrest below the pneumatic supporting means 14, i.e. on a side thereof which faces away from the pivot axis 26, and are coupled in the lower region of the mechanical supporting means 20 to the same via coupling points. The coupling points of the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 are therefore spaced apart further from the pivot axis 26 than the coupling point of the pneumatic supporting means 14.

The mechanical supporting means 20 can be deformed elastically transversely with respect to its main surface extent and, in its surface extent 22, i.e. in the direction of the longitudinal axis 38 of the backrest, has a continuously changing flexural rigidity, to be precise, the flexural rigidity increases continuously from the upper region of the mechanical supporting means 20 in the direction of the lower region of the mechanical supporting means 20, which region faces the seat base 36. For this purpose, the mechanical supporting means 20 is designed to be thinner-walled in the upper region or in the region of the pivot axis 26 and therefore to have a lower flexural rigidity and to be thicker-walled in the lower region or in the region facing away from the pivot axis 26 and therefore to have greater flexural rigidity, as a result of which particularly advantageous adaptability can be achieved in the upper region of the mechanical supporting means 20 and an advantageous transmission of force can be achieved in the lower region of the supporting means 20.

Furthermore, the seating apparatus has a setting unit 24 with a valve unit 46 which is provided to set the supporting unit 12 in a partially automated manner as a function of a position of the backrest.

If the backrest is in its upright position or in a position associated with starting and landing of an aircraft, the pneumatic supporting means 14 can be filled and also emptied by a passenger via an operating unit (not illustrated specifically) by means of an electric pump 42 via the valve unit 46 of the setting unit 24, and therefore the mechanical supporting means 20 can be actuated (FIG. 4). Instead of or in addition to the electric pump 42, a hand pump is also conceivable which may be integrated, for example as a unit, in particular as a lever unit 48, in the region of the seat base 36 or else may be designed as a simple hand bellows 50, as indicated by dashed lines in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5.

The relatively low inherent rigidity of the mechanical supporting means 20 in the upper region means that, in the upper region of the same, an advantageously extensive support of the lordosis of the passenger is brought about. The pneumatic supporting means 14 is coupled in a relatively flexurally soft region to the mechanical supporting means 20 such that the latter can advantageously be deformed elastically about the pneumatic supporting means 14, as indicated by dashed lines in FIG. 4 and advantageously maintains a seat reference point.

In the upright position of the backrest, a connection between the pump 42 and the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 is prevented via the valve unit 46 of the setting unit 24, and the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 are vented via the valve unit 46.

If the backrest is brought into an inclined position, a connection between the pump 42 and the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 is produced via the valve unit 46 of the setting unit 24 and a connection between the pump 42 and the pneumatic supporting means 14 is interrupted. Furthermore, the pneumatic supporting means 14 is vented. The pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 can now be filled and emptied by the passenger (FIG. 5). If the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 are filled, they press the mechanical supporting means 20 in the direction of the passenger and support the passenger in his pelvic region, and therefore a pleasant reclining position can be assumed. The position of the backrest is sensed via a mechanical unit 44 of the setting unit 24, and a setting movement is transmitted from the backrest via the mechanical unit 44 to the valve unit 46 of the setting unit 24. The mechanical sensing and the mechanical transmission of the setting movement by the backrest by means of the mechanical unit 44 to the valve unit 46 make it possible to save on additional actuators. In principle, however, it would also be conceivable for the position of the backrest to be detected electronically and/or for a setting movement to be generated by means of an additional actuator.

If the backrest is brought again into its upright position by the passenger, a setting movement is transmitted by the backrest to the valve unit 46 of the setting unit 24 by means of a mechanical unit 44, and the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 are vented or air is let out of the pneumatic supporting means 16, 18, thus ensuring that a seat reference point is maintained. In addition, the pump 42 is connected again to the pneumatic supporting means 14. The pneumatic supporting means 16, 18 are therefore associated exclusively with inclined positions of the backrest while the pneumatic supporting means 14 is exclusively associated with an upright position, as a result of which only small quantities of air are ever required. In principle, however, other associations appearing expedient to a person skilled in the art are also conceivable; in particular, the supporting means 14 could be designed such that it can be inflated even in an inclined position of the backrest, for example in order to obtain an additional supporting effect.

The aforementioned exemplary embodiments are applicable for use in all seats, such as in seats for long-distance coaches, ferries, halls, convention halls, as well as in vehicle seats and, particularly advantageously, in aircraft seats.

The invention is described herein in detail with particular reference to presently preferred exemplary embodiments. However, it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the scope and spirit of the invention.