Title:
CHAIR FOR A CHAIR LIFT AND CHAIR LIFT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In order to prod passengers, and children in particular, to sit down on a seat in such a manner that a securing part can be positioned between the thighs, the seat part of the seat has, in the region of the front edge thereof, a central region which differs with regard to its graphical design from the regions that are arranged laterally adjacent thereto and on which the thighs are intended to be positioned.



Inventors:
Sutterlüty, Andreas (Egg, AT)
Application Number:
12/572617
Publication Date:
04/15/2010
Filing Date:
10/02/2009
Assignee:
INNOVA PATENT GMBH (Wolfurt, AT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/423.1, 297/452.1, 297/232
International Classes:
B61B12/00; B61B11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SMITH, JASON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER GREENBERG STEMER LLP (HOLLYWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A chair of a chair lift, comprising: at least one seat having a seat part and a backrest, said seat part having a rear edge associated with said backrest and a front edge opposite said rear edge; said seat part having, at said front edge thereof, a central region formed with a graphical design different from regions laterally adjacent to the central region; and a safety bar pivotally mounted between an open position and a closed position.

2. The chair according to claim 1, which comprises a securing part disposed on said safety bar.

3. The chair according to claim 1, wherein the central region of said seat part carries a graphic at or in a vicinity of the front edge thereof.

4. The chair according to claim 1, wherein the graphic is selected from the group consisting of a picture, a pattern, and a marking.

5. The chair according to claim 3, wherein the graphic is disposed on a support and said support is releasably or nonreleasably connected to said seat part.

6. The chair according to claim 3, wherein the graphic is formed by said seat part.

7. The chair according to claim 1, wherein said safety bar has at least one graphics region with a graphical design differing from regions laterally adjacent thereto.

8. The chair according to claim 7, wherein the graphics region is arranged on said safety bar such that, in the closed position of said safety bar, the graphics region is disposed above the central region of a corresponding said seat part in the region of said front edge thereof.

9. The chair according to claim 8, wherein a graphical region of the safety bar and the central region of the corresponding seat part in the region of the front edge thereof are capable of being related to one another.

10. The chair according to claim 2, wherein, in the closed position of said safety bar, said securing part is disposed at said central region of said seat part in the region of said front edge thereof.

11. The chair according to claim 10, wherein said securing part is a protective panel.

12. The chair according to claim 10, wherein a width of said central region of said seat part is equal in size or larger, as measured parallel to said front edge, than a width of said securing part.

13. The chair according to claim 1, which further comprises a footrest mounted to said safety bar by way of a support tube, said support tube extending in said central region, forward of said seat, and downwards from said safety bar to said footrest.

14. The chair according to claim 1, wherein said seat part is one of a plurality of seat parts and the chair further comprises separating elements between said seat parts and protruding over an upper side of said seat parts.

15. A chair lift, comprising: a valley station and a mountain station; a traction cable circulating between said valley station and said mountain station; and a plurality of chairs, each according to claim 1, permanently connected to or couplable with said traction cable for transporting passengers between said valley station to said mountain station.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. §119, of Austrian patent application A 1591/2008, filed Oct. 9, 2008; the prior application is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a chair of a chair lift. The chair has at least one seat with a seat part and a backrest. The seat part has a rear edge associated with the backrest and a front edge opposite the rear edge. A safety bar, in particular with a securing part arranged thereon, can be pivoted from an open position into a closed position.

Furthermore, the invention relates to a chair lift with a valley station and a mountain station, a traction cable circulating between the valley station and the mountain station and with chairs which are connected permanently or which can be coupled to the traction cable and are intended for transporting people from the valley station to the mountain station and, if appropriate, back.

Chairs of the type in question are known, for example, from commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 6,691,624 B2 and its counterpart Austrian patent AT 411 523 B and from Austrian patent AT 411 046 B.

Chairs for chair lifts have at least one seat, generally up to eight or more, for example ten, seats located next to one another. In order to prevent the passengers from falling out from or slipping off the chair, the chairs have safety bars which extend across the entire width of the chair. The safety bars can be pivoted from a position in which they are located above the passengers (open position) into a position in which a crossbar extends in front of the passengers over the thighs thereof (closed position). Furthermore, footrests are frequently also provided on the closing bars.

Shorter people, in particular children, are frequently not capable of taking up the correct sitting position, in which the whole back is supported against the backrest, and therefore, as a result, they hold onto the safety bar, in particular onto the crossbar, thus causing their bottom to come into the region of the front edge of the seat surface. Since the distance between the crossbar and seat surface is dimensioned in accordance with the regulations in such a manner that tall passengers having longer legs also comfortably find room under the crossbar, the distance is generally too large for shorter people, thus making it possible for the shorter people to slip through under the crossbar, in particular if, because of their shorter legs, they are not capable of supporting their feet on the footrests.

In order to reduce this risk for shorter people of slipping through, it is known to provide a securing part, such as a protective cam or panel or the like. The securing part is arranged on the safety bar, it being assigned, after the safety bar has been pivoted into its closed position, to the central region of a seat part in the region of the front edge thereof and being located between a chair passenger's thighs. One problem which may occur in the case of configurations of this type is that, when the safety bar is closed, the securing part presses onto a passenger's thigh if a passenger's thigh is located in the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof. A further problem resides in the risk of the securing part, when the safety bar is closed, not being arranged between a passenger's thighs if the passenger, for example, is sitting on the transition region from one seat to another seat. In addition, irrespective of whether a securing part is or is not present, there is the risk of a passenger sitting on the transition region from one seat to another and his leg then possibly being pinched by a support tube of a footrest, the support tube extending downwards between a passenger's legs or between two seats.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a chairlift chair and a chairlift with such chairs, which overcome the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type and which prompt children in particular to sit down on the seat in such a manner that a securing part, for example a protective panel, or a support tube of a footrest, can be positioned between the thighs.

With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, a chair of a chair lift, comprising:

at least one seat having a seat part and a backrest, the seat part having a rear edge associated with the backrest and a front edge opposite the rear edge;

the seat part having, at the front edge thereof, a central region formed with a graphical design different from regions laterally adjacent to the central region; and

a safety bar pivotally mounted between an open position and a closed position. The safety bar may be provided with a securing part, such as a protective panel or a cam.

There is also provided, in accordance with the invention, a chair lift with a valley station and a mountain station; a traction cable circulating between the valley station and the mountain station; and a plurality of chairs, each as outline above, permanently connected to or couplable with the traction cable for transporting passengers between the valley station to the mountain station.

The chair according to the invention is characterized in that the seat part has, in the region of the front edge thereof, a central region which differs with regard to its graphical design from the regions arranged laterally next thereto. The central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof serves as an indication that the region of the seat part is intended to remain free. A thigh should not rest on the region in the sitting position of the passengers, so as to ensure that the securing parts, in particular protective panels, or support tubes of footrests, can be arranged correctly when the safety bar is closed without a passenger being pinched.

If the chair according to the invention is provided with separating elements between the seat parts and, if appropriate, on the outer edge of an external seat, the separating elements protruding over the upper side of the seat parts, the graphical identification of the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof affords the further advantage that a collision with the separating elements can be avoided even as a person sits down on a seat.

Within the context of the invention, “the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof” is understood in general as meaning that region of the seat part which is located at the front in the direction of travel of the chair. The region may also extend, for example, to up to half of the seat surface. The invention can also be implemented in the case of chairs with seat parts which do not have any edge per se.

Within the context of the invention, the width, as measured parallel to the front edge, of the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof is equal in size to or greater than the width of the securing part, such as, for example, a protective panel. It is therefore ensured that, when the safety bar is closed, there is sufficient room between the thighs for the securing part if the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof is visible.

If the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof is visible between the passengers' legs in the sitting position of same, at least in the entry region in a station, and in particular during the closing of the safety bar, this also means that the passenger is actually and correctly sitting on the seat surface provided by the manufacturer and not, for example, on the transition region from one seat to another. This is a highly useful advantage in practice which is of great importance in particular when transporting children.

Within the context of the invention, the central region of the seat part is, in the region of the front edge thereof, a graphic, in particular a picture, a pattern, a marking, a logo, such as, for example, a company logo, or the like. In a simple embodiment of the invention, the graphic can depict a more or less simple geometrical figure (for example circle, cross, triangle, square or line) which already per se identifies the region to be left free. Within the context of the invention, the graphic may also be, for example, a picture of a comic figure or of a mascot in order to motivate children in particular to leave the region free by their attention being directed to the picture at least as they enter the chair.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, regions differing with regard to their graphic design from those regions of the crossbar which are arranged laterally next thereto are likewise provided on the crossbar of the safety bar. The graphical regions of the crossbar are arranged in such a manner that, in the closed state of the safety bar, they are arranged above a central region of a corresponding seat part.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, a graphical region of the crossbar and the central region of the corresponding seat part in the region of the front edge thereof can be related to each other. For example, identical or similar or matching graphics, such as pictures, symbols, patterns or the like, are provided on the seat part and on the corresponding section of the crossbar. Matching graphics which are neither identical nor similar may be, for example, two comic figures which, although differing visually, are associated with each other.

The interaction of the central region of the seat surface with a visually and locally corresponding region on the crossbar provides the possibility of being able to relate the regions unambiguously graphically. The effect therefore achieved in particular in the case of children is that the central region of the front edge of the seat part is visible and is therefore left free upon entry into the chair, in particular when closing the safety bar, because of the active relationship between the two corresponding graphics. The passenger, in particular the child, then sits automatically on the seat surface provided for this purpose and not inadvertently on the transition region from one seat to another. The correct alignment of the passenger on the chair is an important aspect for the safety during the closing of the safety bar and during the entire journey from one station to another, since the safety measures provided by the manufacturer are directed toward a correct sitting position and are at their most effective when the sitting position is correct.

A further particularly advantageous effect of the chair according to the invention is that passengers, in particular children, slide their bottom into the region of the rear edge of the seat part in order to be able to better see the graphic in the central region of the seat part in the region of the front edge thereof. Passengers therefore come automatically and irrespective of their height and sitting position on the chair into a deeper, stable back position, thus opposing slipping in the direction of the front edge of the seat and therefore slipping through between the seat surface and crossbar.

A region, such as, for example, a graphic, differing with regard to its graphical design from the regions arranged laterally next thereto can be arranged on a support which is connected, for example adhesively bonded, releasably or nonreleasably to the seat part or to the safety bar. As an alternative thereto, such a region may also be formed directly by the seat part or the safety bar, for example by a surface structure which recognizably differs from the surface structure of the regions arranged next thereto.

The chair according to the invention may be designed with or without a protective hood.

With the chair according to the invention, children can be safely transported without an escorting (adult) chaperone.

Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in a chair for a chair lift and chair lift, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a side view of a chair of a chair lift;

FIG. 2 is a partial front view of a first embodiment of a chair according to the invention;

FIG. 3 is a partial front view of a further embodiment of the chair according to the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a partial side view of the chair from FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail and first, particularly, to FIG. 1 thereof, there is illustrated a chair 1 of a chair lift with a safety bar 2, also referred to as a closure bar, and a protective hood 3, which chair can be designed per se as customary in the prior art. The safety bar 2 is arranged on a frame 4 which is connected via a joint 5 to a supporting rod 6. A clamping device 7 is mounted to the upper end of the supporting rod 6 for fastening the chair 1 to a traction cable 8. The invention can also be used independently thereof for other designs of chairs, in particular chairs which can be coupled. The safety bar 2 can close automatically or manually and can have various additional securing means. The safety bar 2 can be closed and opened either automatically with the aid of a mechanism 21 which interacts with a device that is provided in the stations, or manually by the passengers.

Furthermore, it is mentioned in general that the chair 1 has at least one seat 9 having a seat part 10 and a backrest 11, wherein the seat part 10 has a rear edge 12 assigned to the backrest 11 and a front edge 13 opposite the rear edge 12.

With the aid of a closed and encircling traction cable 8, the chairs 1 are conveyed from a valley station (not illustrated in the drawings), if appropriate via one or more intermediate stations, to a mountain station and back again. The chairs 1 can either be decoupled from the traction cable 8 and coupled thereto again in the stations by a clamping device 7, or else it is possible to clamp the chairs 1 fixedly to the traction cable 8.

FIG. 2 shows a cutout of an embodiment of a chair 1 according to the invention. The safety bar 2, shown in a position in which it is not completely closed, has two side parts 14 (only one side part 14 is visible in FIG. 2) and a crossbar 15 which, in the closed position of the safety bar 2, extends in front of the passengers over and across their thighs 16. Furthermore, protective panels are arranged on the crossbar 15, said protective panels, in the closed position of the safety bar 2, each being assigned to a central region 18 of a seat part 10 in the region of the front edge 13 thereof and being located between the thighs 16 of a corresponding passenger in the chair 1. The protective panels therefore act as securing parts 17 which reduce the risk of in particular shorter people from slipping through under the crossbar 15.

In order to prompt children in particular to sit down on a seat 9 in such a manner that a securing part 17 can be positioned between the thighs 16, the seat part 10 has, in the region of the front edge 13 thereof, a central region 18 which differs with regard to its graphical design from the regions which are arranged laterally next thereto and on which the thighs 16 are intended to be positioned. In the embodiment shown, the central region 18 of the seat part 10 in the region of the front edge 13 thereof is simply a dotted graphic.

To further assist a correct sitting position, separating elements 19 are arranged between the seat parts 10. The separating elements 19 protrude over the upper side of the seat parts 10 in FIG. 3. They therefore not only visually separate the seat parts 10 from one another but also have the effect that a passenger notices if he/she is sitting on a transition region from one seat 9 to another.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 3 substantially corresponds to the embodiment shown in FIG. 2. One difference is that, in FIG. 3, regions 20 with a graphical design differing from the regions arranged laterally next thereto are additionally provided on the crossbar 15. Although, for the reasons of clarity, the graphical regions 20 of the crossbar 15 are illustrated on that side of the crossbar 15 which faces forward in the direction of travel, it is preferred within the context of the invention for the graphical regions 20 of the crossbar to be provided on that side thereof which points to the rear in the direction of travel, i.e. on the side facing the passengers (FIG. 4).

As is apparent from the overall view of FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, the graphical regions 20 of the crossbar 15 are arranged above a central region 18 of a corresponding seat part 10 in the region of the front edge 13 thereof and are identical in terms of their graphical design.

In summary, an exemplary embodiment of the invention can be described as follows:

In order to prompt children in particular to sit down on a seat 9 in such a manner that a securing part 17 can be positioned between the thighs 16, the seat part 10 of the seat 9 has, in the region of the front edge 13 thereof, a central region 18 which differs with regard to its graphical design from the regions which are arranged laterally next thereto and on which the thighs 16 are intended to be positioned.