Patents Assigned to TRW Inc.
  • Patent number: 6711510
    Abstract: A method and device to protect a drive circuit of a power assist motor from an over-current condition. A sensor takes instantaneous measurements of the current provided to the motor. A charge accumulation determining function determines charge accumulation from the instantaneous current samples. When the current provided to the motor exceeds a threshold value and the determined charge accumulation exceeds a threshold charge accumulation, the current provided to the motor is decreased. When the current provided to the motor is less than the threshold current value for more than a predetermined period, the determined charge accumulation is reduced by a predetermined factor. After the charge accumulation has been reduced below a predetermined threshold, the current provided to the motor is increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: David G. Van Reenen
  • Publication number: 20040053517
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) includes a vehicle steering wheel (14), a device (220) mountable on the steering wheel, a rear cover (60) that at least partially covers the steering wheel, a rotary connector (100) including a housing (110) for providing an electrical connection with the device. A first electrical connector (210) includes a first connector piece (212) and a second connector piece (214). The first connector piece (212), housing (110) and rear cover (60) are molded as a single piece of plastic material. The second connector piece (214) is guided to interconnect with the first connector piece (212) when the device (220) is installed on the steering wheel (14). The first and second connector pieces (212 and 214) when interconnected provide, an electrical connection between the device (220) and a cable (150) of the rotary connector (100).
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 13, 2002
    Publication date: March 18, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel J. DuRocher, Stephen J. Horner, Kevin P. Jokipii
  • Publication number: 20040050201
    Abstract: A steering column (10) includes a support (24) through which a steering column member (12) extends connected with a mounting bracket (68). A locking mechanism (130) locks the support (24) in any one of a plurality of positions relative to the mounting bracket (68). The locking mechanism (130) has a locking shaft (200) extending through first and second cams (148, 132) and the mounting bracket (68). The first cam (148) is rotatable relative to the locking shaft (200) and the second cam (132) and has a first cam surface (150). The second cam (132) has a second cam surface (134) facing the first cam surface (150). A bearing (166) includes a flexible cage (168) and a plurality of bearing members (170) rotatable relative to the cage engaging the first and second cam surfaces (150, 134). The locking mechanism (130) clamps the support (24) to the mounting bracket (68) when the first cam (148) is in a first position relative to the second cam (132).
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 17, 2002
    Publication date: March 18, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Mark A. Cartwright, Greg B. Livengood
  • Publication number: 20040046382
    Abstract: A seat belt pretensioner mechanism (40) includes a part (36) for attachment to the seat belt (20). A strap (50) is connected to the part (36). A piston (78) and piston rod (58) are movable in a first direction to move the strap (50) and the part (36) to tension the seat belt (20). A pivot connection (59, 62) between the piston rod (58) and the strap (50) causes the strap to move with the piston rod. A cam (70) pivots the strap (50) about the pivot connection (59, 62) and effects movement of the part (36) toward the piston rod (58) as the piston (78) and the piston rod move in the first direction.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 10, 2002
    Publication date: March 11, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc. and TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Keith R. Ball, Clare R. Cunningham, Robert P. Ellis
  • Publication number: 20040046112
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) includes a first data ring (72) rotatable about an axis (30) with a member (24). The first data ring (72) includes binary bit indicators (76) for indicating an absolute angular position of the member (24). Sensors (100, 102) read the binary bit indicators (76) of the first data ring,(72) and provide a first signal, having a first resolution, indicative of the absolute angular position of the member (24). A second data ring (74) is rotatable about the axis (30) with the member (24). The second data ring (74) includes binary bit indicators (76) for indicating incremental changes in the angular position of the member (24). Sensors (104 and 106) read the binary bit indicators (76) of the second data ring (74) and provide a second signal, having about twice the resolution of the first signal, indicative of incremental changes in angular position of the member (24).
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 10, 2002
    Publication date: March 11, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel J. Durocher
  • Patent number: 6702403
    Abstract: An assembly (20) is used with an anti-lock braking system (10) and an associated method. The assembly (20) includes a circuit board (30), a motor (40), a hydromechanical block (50), a lead frame (60), and a plurality of solenoid coils (70). The circuit board (30) integrates the electronics of the anti-lock braking system (10). The motor (40) provides pressurized fluid to the anti-lock braking system (10). The motor (40) is connected to the circuit board (30). The hydromechanical block (50) has a through bore (52). The lead frame (60) has a built-in connector (61) extending through the through bore (52) to the circuit board (30). The plurality of solenoid coils (70) controls flow of the pressurized fluid through the hydromechanical block (50). Each of the plurality of solenoid coils (70) is connected to the lead frame (60) such that the plurality of solenoid coils (70) is electrically connected to the circuit board (30) by the built-in connector (61) of the lead frame (60).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 9, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Mark D. Haller
  • Patent number: 6701849
    Abstract: An inflator (10) for inflating an inflatable device includes a housing (20). A primary propellant (240) in a primary chamber (200) in the housing (20) is ignitable to provide inflation fluid to inflate the inflatable device. A secondary propellant (250) in a secondary chamber (180) in the housing (20) is ignitable to provide inflation fluid to inflate the inflatable device. The inflator (10) includes initiator means (130, 154) for selectively igniting either the primary propellant (240) alone or both of the primary and secondary propellants (240, 250). The inflator (10) also includes a secondary propellant cap (260) for closing the secondary chamber (180) and for maintaining the secondary propellant (250) in the secondary chamber. The secondary propellant cap (260) has a first position blocking flow of combustion products of the first propellant (240) into the secondary chamber (180) when only the primary propellant is ignited.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 9, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Eric R. McFarland, Darin P. Mika
  • Patent number: 6702323
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10) comprises an inflatable device (12) and an inflator (14) having a housing (20). The inflator (14) is actuatable to provide inflation fluid for inflating the inflatable device (14). The housing (20) has a fluid flow area (52, 55) for directing flow of inflation fluid out of the housing to the inflatable device (12). The apparatus (10) also comprises a retainer (16) for retaining the protection device (12) in position relative to the housing (20). The retainer (16) has a portion (274, 282) at least partially blocking the fluid flow area (52, 55) when the inflator (14) is unactuated. The retainer portion (274, 282) moves due to the pressure of inflation fluid acting on the retainer portion (274, 282) upon actuation of the inflator (14) to increase the fluid flow area (52, 55).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 9, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: George W. Goetz
  • Publication number: 20040040780
    Abstract: A steering apparatus (10) for turning steerable wheels of a vehicle having first and second sets (14 and 16) of steerable wheels comprises a first steering gear (22) actuatable, in response to rotation of a handwheel (110), to effect turning of the first set (14) of steerable wheels. The steering apparatus (10) also comprises second and third steering gears (24 and 26), each of which is independently actuatable to effect turning of the second set (16) of steerable wheels and thereby providing redundancy for turning of the second set (16) of steerable wheels. A sensor (112) senses a steering position of the first set (14) of steerable wheels and provides a steering signal indicative of the sensed steering position. A controller (114) receives the steering signal and, in response to the steering signal, controls actuation of the second and third steering gears (24 and 26).
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 27, 2002
    Publication date: March 4, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: William A. Szabela, Daniel E. Williams, Kenneth A. Sherwin
  • Publication number: 20040035613
    Abstract: An assembly (10) is used in a vehicle having a seat (2) for a vehicle occupant and a vehicle floor pan (4) for supporting the vehicle seat (2). The assembly (10) includes a vehicle seat frame (20) for supporting a load of the vehicle occupant in the vehicle seat (2), a sensor (79) for sensing the load of the vehicle occupant, and a housing (100) for transmitting the load of the vehicle occupant to the vehicle floor pan (4). The sensor (79) provides an output signal indicative of the amount of the load of the vehicle occupant. The housing (100) encloses the sensor (79) to protect the sensor (79).
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 21, 2002
    Publication date: February 26, 2004
    Applicants: TRW Inc., TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc, Johnson Controls Technology Company
    Inventors: George B. Wolfe, Charles E. Steffens, Nick Smith, Donald J. Chomic, Todd R. Elkins-Trottier
  • Publication number: 20040036589
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) comprises a controller (82) for receiving a control parameter. At least one tire condition sensor (26-32) senses a tire condition and transmits a tire condition signal (34) indicative of the sensed tire condition. A receiver (78) receives the tire condition signal (34) and compares the received tire condition signal (34) to a changeable threshold to output a digital signal indicative of the received tire condition signal (34). The changeable threshold changes at time intervals determined by a time constant of the receiver (78). The time constant of the receiver (78) is variable. The controller (82) is operatively connected to the receiver (78) and varies the time constant of the receiver (78) in response to the received control parameter.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2002
    Publication date: February 26, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Xing Ping Lin
  • Patent number: 6695091
    Abstract: A vehicle steering system (10) includes a pinion (30) and a steering member (14) movable axially to turn steerable wheels. The steering member (14) has a rack portion (34) in engagement with the pinion (30) and a screw portion (38). An electric motor (130) includes a rotor (134) and a stator (132). The screw thread portion (38) extends axially through the motor (130). A ball nut (116) rotatable with the rotor (134) is associated with the screw thread portion (38) for effecting axial movement of the steering member (14) in response to rotation of the rotor. An electronic control unit (148) for the motor (130) includes a circuit board (150) and a plurality of electronic components mounted on the circuit board. The circuit board (150) has a non-planar configuration and at least partially encircles a portion of the steering member (14) at a location spaced axially from the electric motor (130).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt Achenbach, Phil McCune
  • Publication number: 20040031641
    Abstract: A method for controlling an electric assist motor (50) for providing steering assist in response to a sensed torque signal (&tgr;s) includes the step of filtering the sensed torque signal to provide a low frequency torque signal (&tgr;sL) and a high frequency torque signal (&tgr;sH). A low frequency assist torque signal (&tgr;assistLF) is determined as a function of the low frequency torque signal (&tgr;sL). A high frequency assist gain signal (Kmax) is determined as a function of the sensed torque signal (&tgr;s) and a sensed vehicle speed (&ngr;).
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 14, 2002
    Publication date: February 19, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Kevin M. McLaughlin
  • Publication number: 20040031461
    Abstract: A valve (10) for use in an internal combustion engine comprises a base metal. The base metal is covered with a thin, dense chromium coating.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 19, 2002
    Publication date: February 19, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Frank J. Savel, Robert C. McLaren, Doug Mellema
  • Patent number: 6684727
    Abstract: A method for forming a helical pinion gear (12) for a rack and pinion steering apparatus (10) comprises the steps of: providing a cylindrical first blank (60) made of a deformable material and having an outer surface (68); providing a cylindrical second blank (100) made of a deformable material and having an outer surface (108); forming a bore (116) extending at least partially through the second blank (100); forming helical teeth (52) on the outer surface (108) of the second blank; and interconnecting the second blank (100) with the first blank (60) to form the helical pinion (12). The helical teeth (52) on the pinion (12) mesh with rack teeth (44) on a rack (16) in a rack and pinion steering apparatus (10).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 3, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Jeffery Krause
  • Patent number: 6681885
    Abstract: A rack and pinion steering apparatus (10) comprises a housing (12). Helical teeth (60) of a pinion gear (54) meshingly engage teeth of a rack bar (42) and, during rotation of the pinion gear (54), result in an axial force. A shaft (86) connects with the pinion gear (54). Rotation of the shaft (86) effects rotation of the pinion gear (54). An assembly is interposed between the shaft (86) and the housing (12). The assembly comprises a first snap ring (142) that is attached to the shaft (86) and a second snap ring (144) that is attached to the housing (12). Interposed between the first and second snap rings (142 and 144) are only a fluid tight seal (146) for blocking fluid leakage from the housing (12) and a bushing (108) for enabling rotation of the shaft (86) relative to the housing (12) and for engaging the first snap ring (142) to block axial displacement of the pinion gear (54) due to the axial force acting on the pinion gear (54).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Dennis F. Harer
  • Patent number: 6680497
    Abstract: A heterojunction bipolar transistor is doped in the sub-collector layer (20) with phosphorus (24). The presence of the phosphorus causes any interstitial gallium (22) to be bonded (26) to the phosphorus (24) and move to a lattice site. The result is that the interstitial gallium does not diffuse to the base layer and thus does not cause the beryllium to be displaced and diffused. Instead of doping with phosphorus, a layer including phosphorus can also be utilized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: January 20, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Patrick T. Chin, Augusto L. Gutierrez-Aitken, Eric N. Kaneshiro
  • Publication number: 20040007858
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for damping vibration of a vehicle part, such as a steering wheel or an electric motor, is provided. According to one embodiment, an apparatus (26) for damping vibration of a vehicle part (12) includes at least one container (50) having a chamber (56) defined by at least one interior wall (58). The container (50) is associated with the vehicle part (12). A plurality of particles (52) is disposed in the chamber (56). The particles (52), when at rest, occupy a first portion (82) of the chamber (56) and define an unoccupied second portion (84) of the chamber. The particles (52) move back and forth between the first and second portions (82 and 84) of the chamber (56) in response to vibration of the vehicle part (12) and collide with each other and with the interior wall (58) defining the chamber to damp the vibration of the vehicle part.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 15, 2002
    Publication date: January 15, 2004
    Applicants: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc., TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Stepan S. Simonian, Charles S. Pillsbury, William P. Braun, A. Dale Parker
  • Patent number: 6667687
    Abstract: A tire condition communication system (10) is intended for incorporation into a vehicle (12). A tire condition sensing unit (e.g., 18A) of the system (10) is operable to sense a tire condition and to transmit a signal (e.g., 24A) indicative of the sensed condition. A vehicle-based unit (28) of the system (10) receives the condition indicative signal (e.g., 24A). A communication arrangement (e.g., 42A and 48A) of the system (10) has a first portion (e.g., 40A) associated with the vehicle-based unit (28) and a second portion (e.g., 48A) associated with the tire condition sensing unit (e.g., 18A). The communication arrangement conveys a control signal (e.g., 44A) from the vehicle-based unit (28) to the tire condition sensing unit (e.g., 18A) that causes the tire condition sensing unit to continue operation during conveyance of the control signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2003
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Timothy DeZorzi
  • Patent number: 6666934
    Abstract: A gas generating material (52) for use in a vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10) comprises a particulate oxidizer, a hydroxy terminated polybutadiene, a diisocyanate cross-linking agent, and a plasticizer. The diisocyanate cross-linking agent cross-links the hydroxy terminated polybutadiene to form an elastomeric binder that contains the particulate oxidizer. The ratio of hydroxyl groups of the hydroxy terminated polybutadiene to isocyanate groups of the diisocyanate cross-linking agent is at least about 0.95.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2003
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Abdelkader M. Helmy, William P. Sampson