Title:
AUTOMOTIVE SEAT CUSHION PAN
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In at least one embodiment, the present invention relates to an automotive seat cushion pan comprising a cushion pan portion having a cushion receiving surface and a side shield portion integral with the cushion pan portion, the cushion pan portion and the integral side shield portion being made of plastic.



Inventors:
Adragna, Vincent (New Hudson, MI, US)
Beaulieu, Eric (Farmington Hills, MI, US)
Greiner, Gary (Chesterfield Township, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/419845
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/23/2006
Assignee:
LEAR CORPORATION (Southfield, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/02; B60N2/90
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GARRETT, ERIKA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BROOKS KUSHMAN P.C. / LEAR CORPORATION (SOUTHFIELD, MI, US)
Claims:
1. An automotive seat cushion pan comprising: a cushion pan portion having a cushion receiving surface and a plurality of rim portions at least partially transverse to the cushion receiving surface; and a side shield portion distinct from the plurality of rim portions and formed integrally with the cushion pan portion, the side shield portion being substantially adjacent at least one of the rim portions, the cushion pan portion and the integral side shield portion being made of a material comprising plastic.

2. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the plurality of rim portions comprise a first elongated rim portion integral with the cushion pan portion and a second elongated rim portion integral with the cushion pan portion and wherein the first and second rim portions are positioned on opposite sides of the cushion receiving surface of the cushion pan portion.

3. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 2 wherein the first rim portion and the second rim portion have portions that extend longitudinally beyond the cushion receiving surface.

4. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 3 wherein the portions of the first and second rim portions that extend beyond the cushion receiving surface are adapted to be attached to an automotive seat frame.

5. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 3 wherein the side shield portion is substantially adjacent to at least one of the rim portions and wherein the side shield portion extends along the cushion pan portion for a length that is at least a substantial portion of the length of the substantially adjacent rim portion.

6. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 5 wherein the length of the side shield portion is greater than the length of the substantially adjacent rim portion.

7. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 5 wherein the side shield portion extends around a portion of a front edge of the cushion pan portion.

8. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the plastic comprises a glass filled polypropylene.

9. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the cushion pan portion is adapted to receive at least one control component.

10. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 9 wherein the cushion pan portion further comprises a bracket to receive the at least one control component.

11. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the side shield portion is adapted to receive at least one control component.

12. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 11 wherein the side shield portion comprises an opening that permits a control component to protrude through the side shield.

13. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the cushion pan portion is adapted to receive at least one control component and the side shield portion is adapted to receive at least one control component.

14. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the side shield portion is adapted to bear a load of at least 200 lbs.

15. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 14 wherein the side shield portion comprises integrally molded ribs.

16. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 1 wherein the automotive seat cushion pan is adapted to receive upholstery.

17. An automotive seat cushion pan comprising: a cushion pan portion having a cushion receiving surface; a side shield portion integral with the cushion pan portion, the cushion pan portion and the integral side shield portion being made of a material comprising plastic; and an elongated bridge for receiving upholstery, the elongated bridge extending between and connecting the cushion pan portion and the side shield portion, the bridge having a key way for receiving and retaining a portion of the upholstery.

18. The automotive seat cushion of claim 17 wherein the key way is adapted to receive a wire attached to the upholstery.

19. (canceled)

20. An automotive seat assembly comprising: a seat back frame; a seat back cushion disposed on the seat back frame; a seat back cover covering the seat back cushion and the seat back frame; a seat bottom frame; a seat bottom cushion disposed on the seat bottom frame; and a seat bottom cover covering the seat bottom cushion and the seat bottom frame; wherein the seat back frame is connected to the seat bottom frame; and wherein the seat bottom frame includes a plastic automotive seat cushion pan comprising a cushion receiving surface, a plurality of rim portions transverse to the cushion receiving surface, and a plastic side shield portion distinct from the plurality of rim portions and formed integrally with the cushion pan portion, the side shield portion being disposed substantially adjacent at least one of the rim portions.

21. The automotive seat cushion pan of claim 17 wherein key way extends throughout substantially an entire length of the bridge.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an automotive seat cushion pan having an integral side shield.

2. Background Art

Examples of seats having cushion pans and/or side shields are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,643,474; 4,993,778; 4,998,772; and 5,988,757.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with at least one aspect of the present invention, an automotive seat cushion pan is provided. In at least one embodiment, the automotive seat pan comprises a cushion pan portion having a cushion receiving surface and a side shield portion integral with the cushion pan portion, the cushion pan portion and the integral side shield portion being made of plastic.

In at least another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan of the present invention, the cushion pan portion comprises a first elongated rim portion integral with the cushion pan portion and a second elongated rim portion integral with the cushion pan portion wherein the first and second rim portions are positioned on opposite sides of the cushion receiving surface of the cushion pan portion. In at least another embodiment, the first rim portion and the second rim portion extend longitudinally beyond the cushion receiving surface. In another embodiment, a portion of the first rim portion and a portion of the second rim portion that extend beyond the cushion receiving surface are adapted to be attached to an automotive seat frame.

In at least another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan of the present invention, the side shield portion is substantially adjacent to at least one of the rim portions and wherein the side shield portion extends along the cushion pan portion for a length that is at least a substantial portion of the length of the substantially adjacent rim portion. In at least another embodiment, the length of the side shield portion is greater than the length of the rim portion that the side shield portion is adjacent to. In yet another embodiment, the side shield portion extends around a portion of a front edge of the cushion pan portion.

In another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan, the plastic used to make the automotive seat cushion pan is a glass filled polypropylene.

In another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan, the cushion pan portion is adapted to receive at least one control component. In at least another embodiment, the cushion pan portion further comprises a bracket to receive at least one control component.

In yet another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan, the side shield portion is adapted to receive at least one control component. In still another embodiment, the side shield portion comprises an opening that permits a control component to protrude through the side shield.

In still another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan, the cushion pan portion is adapted to receive at least one control component and the side shield portion is adapted to receive at least one control component.

In another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan, the side shield portion is adapted to bear a load of at least 200 lbs. In yet another embodiment, the side shield portion comprises integrally molded ribs.

In still another embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan of the present invention, the automotive seat cushion pan is adapted to receive upholstery.

In another embodiment, the automotive seat cushion pan further comprises an elongated bridge extending between and connecting the cushion pan portion and the side shield portion, the bridge having a key way for receiving and retaining a portion of the upholstery. In yet another embodiment, the key way is adapted to receive a wire attached to the upholstery.

In accordance with at least another aspect of the present invention, an automotive seat frame is provided. In at least one embodiment, the automotive seat frame comprises a seat back frame connected to a seat bottom frame, wherein the seat bottom frame includes an automotive seat cushion pan comprising a plastic cushion pan portion having a cushion receiving surface and a plastic side shield portion integral with the cushion pan portion.

In accordance with at least one other aspect of the present invention, an automotive seat assembly is provided. In at least one embodiment, the automotive seat assembly comprises a seat back frame, a seat back cushion disposed on the seat back frame, a seat back cover covering the seat back cushion and the seat back frame, a seat bottom frame, a seat bottom cushion, a seat bottom cover covering the seat bottom cushion and the seat bottom frame, wherein the seat back frame is connected to the seat bottom frame and wherein the seat bottom frame includes an automotive seat cushion pan comprising a plastic cushion pan portion having a cushion receiving surface and a plastic side shield portion integral with the cushion pan portion.

While exemplary embodiments in accordance with the invention are illustrated and disclosed, such disclosures should not be construed to limit the claims. It is anticipated that various modifications and alternative designs may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an automotive seat assembly showing an automotive seat frame and a seat cushion pan made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an automotive seat cushion pan made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the automotive seat cushion pan illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the automotive seat cushion pan illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a bottom elevational view of the automotive seat cushion pan illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a fragmented cross-sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of the automotive seat cushion pan illustrated in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of the automotive seat cushion pan illustrated in FIG. 4 with a seat bottom cushion and seat bottom upholstery added.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the upholstery of the seat bottom cushion shown in FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

The following descriptions are merely exemplary in nature and are in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or its uses.

Reference will now be made in detail to presently preferred compositions, embodiments, and methods of the present invention, which constitute the best modes of practicing the invention presently known to the inventors. The figures are not necessarily to scale. However, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. Therefore, specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for any aspect of the invention and/or as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, an automotive seat cushion pan 5 is illustrated in an anticipated environment, an automotive seat assembly 1. In at least one embodiment, the automotive seat assembly 1 includes a seat bottom frame 2, a seat cushion 3 disposed on the seat bottom frame 2, a seat bottom cover 4 covering the seat bottom cushion 3, a seat back frame 6, a seat back cushion 7 disposed on the seat back frame 6, and a seat back cover 8 covering the seat back cushion 7. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the seat bottom frame 2 includes an embodiment of the automotive seat cushion pan 5 of the present invention.

The automotive seat cushion pan of the present invention combines the automotive seat cushion pan and the automotive seat side shield into a single, unitary structure having a seat cushion pan portion and a side shield potion. It can be constructed of plastic and can be manufactured using any conventional method of manufacturing plastic components including injection molding.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2-5, in at least one embodiment, the automotive seat cushion pan includes a plastic cushion pan portion 10 and a plastic side shield portion 15, integrally constructed to form the automotive seat cushion pan 5. As best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the seat cushion pan portion 10 and the side shield portion 15 have been molded together as a unitary component.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the cushion pan portion 10 includes a cushion receiving surface 12, a first elongated rim portion 13 and a second elongated rim portion 14. The first elongated rim portion 13 and the second elongated rim 14 can extend longitudinally beyond the cushion receiving surface 12 and can have adaptations 17 which permit the automotive seat cushion pan 5 to be attached to an automotive seat frame assembly 1 and to automotive seat assemblies.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, the side shield portion 15 is substantially adjacent to the first rim portion 13. It should be understood that the side shield portion 15 could alternatively be positioned substantially adjacent to the second rim portion 14.

As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the side shield portion 15 extends longitudinally for a length greater than the length of adjacent rim portion 13. It should be understood that the length of the side shield portion 15 need not be longer than adjacent rim portion 13. Rather, the side shield portion 15 need only longitudinally extend for a length that is a substantial portion of the length of the adjacent rim portion 13. In at least one embodiment, the term “a substantial portion” means at least approximately one quarter of the length of the rim portion. In at least other embodiments, the term “a substantial portion” means at least approximately one third of the length of the rim portion. In other embodiments, at least approximately one-half of the length of the rim portion, and in yet, at least other embodiments, at least approximately three fourths of the length of the rim portion.

As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the side shield portion 15 can extend around a portion of a front edge of the seat cushion pan portion 10. As best shown in FIG. 5, the side shield portion 15 comprises a parallel portion 21 which is substantially parallel to the adjacent rim portion 13, a transverse portion 23 which is substantially perpendicular to the adjacent rim portion 13 and a curved portion 22 extending between the parallel portion 21 and the transverse portion 23. It should be understood that, under the present invention, the side shield portion 10 need not have a transverse portion 23 or a curved portion 22 that extends around the front edge of the seat cushion pan portion 10.

Under the present invention, the automotive seat side shield portion 15 and the automotive seat cushion pan 10 are conjoined along a plane of connection. This construction provides a sufficiently strong side shield portion 15 that can support a significant load such as 200 lbs.

The unitary construction of the seat cushion pan 5 helps automotive seat assembly manufacturers increase the load bearing ability of the side shield. The integrated side shield portion's 15 ability to bear a load can be further enhanced by incorporating ribs 25 into the side shield portion 15 (see FIG. 5). In at least one embodiment, a seat cushion pan made in accordance with the present invention can bear a load of 200 pounds, and in other embodiments, a load of 250 lbs. The unitary construction of the cushion pan portion 10 and the side shield portion 15 of the present invention provides an automotive seat side shield having a substantial load bearing capability.

The plastic used to manufacture the automotive seat cushion pan 5 can impact its strength. Though any suitable plastic can be utilized in the manufacture of the automotive seat cushion pan 5, applicants have found that the use of a glass filled polypropylene provides a desirable level of strength for both the cushion pan portion 10 and side shield portion 15.

An additional advantage of making the automotive seat cushion pan 5 out of plastic is the ability to mold structures directly into the surface of the seat cushion pan 5 which enable it to receive various control components such as motors, fans, switches or the like. This eliminates the need for additional attachment components such as brackets which would increase both the cost and the complexity of manufacture. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, a hole 16 has been molded directly into the side shield portion 15 of the automotive seat cushion pan 5 to secure a control component to control seat movement or other seat functions. As shown in FIG. 1, a switch 9 protrudes through the side shield portion to allow a seat occupant to control seat movement. It should be understood that other adaptations can be employed to attach control components to the side shield portion 15. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, brackets 11 have been molded into the underside of the cushion pan portion 10 to secure components such as a motor or a fan which may be used to move or cool the seat. Again, it should be understood that other adaptations can be employed to attach control components to the cushion pan portion 10.

Current automotive seat bottom upholstery, suitable for upholstering current automotive seat bottoms equipped with separate seat cushion pan and side shields may not compatible with an automotive seat assembly equipped with the seat cushion pan 5 of the present invention. To accommodate the need to upholster an automotive seat bottom equipped with the seat cushion pan 5, in at least one embodiment, a keyway 20 is provided in an elongated bridge 19 extending between and connecting the cushion pan portion 10 and the side shield portion 15. This keyway 20 can receive and secure the seat bottom upholstery 4. This is illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. As shown in FIG. 7, the upholstery terminates on at least one end in a circular head 28. This head 28 can be inserted and retained within the keyway 20. As can best be seen in FIG. 6, the keyway 20 is formed in the bridge 19. The keyway 20 in the illustrated embodiment includes a cylindrical slot 26 and a rectangular channel 27 communicating between the upper surface of bridge 19 and cylindrical slot 26. FIG. 6 represents a fragmented cross-sectional view of the automotive seat cushion pan 5 taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, the cross-sectional view shown in FIG. 6 reveals that the keyway 20 is a generally cylindrical slot 26 recessed within a top surface of the elongated bridge 19 connecting the side shield portion 15 to the cushion pan portion 10. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7, keyway 20 receives a wire 30 that has been sewn into the edge of seat bottom upholstery 4 for the purpose of holding seat bottom upholstery 4 in position over seat bottom cushion 3 and in close proximity to the automotive seat cushion pan 5.

FIG. 8 shows the fabric terminus 28 of the seat bottom upholstery 4 of FIG. 7. The fabric terminus 28 can be inserted into, and cooperate with keyway 20 to secure the seat bottom upholstery 4. As shown in FIG. 8, seat bottom upholstery 4 wraps around the wire 30 to form the fabric terminus 28. After seat bottom upholstery 4 is wrapped around wire 30, it can be secured using any conventional means including gluing or stitching.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.