Patents Assigned to TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
  • Patent number: 8764058
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) having a deflated condition and an inflated condition. Tear stitching (200a) interconnects portions (220a, 230a) of the protection device (14). The tear stitching (200a) includes first and second stitch lines (300, 320) positioned next to each other. The first stitch line (300) is adapted to rupture in response to tension of a first magnitude exerted on the interconnected portions (220a, 230a) while inflating to an initially deployed condition. The second stitch line (320) is adapted to remain intact and being capable itself of maintaining the protection device in the initially deployed condition subsequent to rupture of the first stitch line (300) and throughout inflation and deployment of the protection device (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2014
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, John Klakulak, Heather R. Kramer, Alberto Rodriguez
  • Patent number: 8764055
    Abstract: An inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes at least one panel (212) of material that defines an inflatable volume (54) of the protection device. The at least one panel (212) has a portion presented toward the vehicle occupant when in an inflated and deployed condition. The protection device (14) includes at least one pleat (296, 316) formed in the at least one panel (212). The at least one pleat (296, 316) defines a cushioned portion (210) for receiving a portion of the occupant. The at least one pleat (296, 316) reduces fabric tension in the cushioned portion (210) to provide the cushioned portion with a degree of softness that is reduced over remaining areas of the protection device (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2014
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould, Patrick R. Landis, Paul M. Lange
  • Publication number: 20140145421
    Abstract: Apparatus for inflating an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device includes a primary housing, a primary inflation fluid source, a secondary housing, and a secondary inflation fluid source. The primary and secondary housings are constructed from sheet metal by stamping. The primary inflation fluid source is located in the primary housing. The primary inflation fluid source is actuatable to effect a primary flow of inflation fluid out of the primary housing to inflate the inflatable device. The secondary housing is disposed within the primary housing. The secondary inflation fluid source is located in the secondary housing. The secondary inflation fluid source is actuatable to affect a secondary flow of inflation fluid to supplement the primary flow of inflation fluid. The secondary housing has a first portion that moves at least partially out of engagement with a second portion of the secondary housing when the secondary inflation fluid source is actuated.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 16, 2013
    Publication date: May 29, 2014
    Applicant: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Eric R. McFarland
  • Patent number: 8696022
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) comprises an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) inflatable between a vehicle surface (36) and the vehicle occupant. A vent (160) releases inflation fluid from the protection device (14). The vent (160) includes a vent opening with a flow area that can be adjusted to throttle inflation fluid flow through the vent. A tether (150) has a first connection with the vent (160) and a second connection with the protection device (14). Tension on the tether (150) throttles the vent (160). The second connection of the tether is positioned on the protection device (14) such that deployment of the protection device throttles the vent (160) toward an actuated condition, and occupant (20) penetration into the protection device throttles the vent toward a non-actuated condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2014
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould, Daniele Aranzulla, Martin Burkhardtsmaier
  • Patent number: 8684407
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) having a deflated condition and an inflated condition. The protection device (14) includes a panel (74) having a portion presented toward the occupant (20) when the protection device is in the inflated condition. A tether (60) has a first connection (78) to a first portion (80) of the panel (74) and a second connection (72) to a second portion (76) of the panel. The tether (60) is operative to limit deployment of the second portion (76) of the panel (74) in response to unrestricted deployment of the first portion (80) of the panel. The tether (60) is also operative to permit further deployment of the second portion (76) of the panel (74) in response to occupant penetration into the first portion (80) of the panel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2014
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould
  • Patent number: 8684404
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) comprises an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) inflatable between a vehicle surface (36) and the vehicle occupant. A vent (160) releases inflation fluid from the protection device (14). The vent (160) has an actuated condition and a non-actuated condition. A tether (150) has a first connection with the vent (160) and a second connection with the protection device (14). Tension on the tether (150) actuates the vent (160). The vent (160) is initially in the non-actuated condition upon initial deployment of the protection device (14). Further deployment of the protection device (14) causes the tether (150) to place the vent (160) in the actuated condition. Occupant penetration into the protection device (14) causes the tether (150) to place the vent (160) in the non-actuated condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2014
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould, Daniele Aranzulla, Martin Burkhardtsmaier
  • Patent number: 8632095
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) having a deflated condition and an inflated condition. An anchor tether (102) is secured to the vehicle (12). A shaping tether (104) is secured to a first portion (116) of the protection device (14). A releasable connection (132) connects the anchor tether (102) and shaping tether (104). The shaping tether (104) secured to the vehicle (12) via the connection (132) with the anchor tether (102) restricting deployment of the first portion (116) of the protection device (14). The connection (132) is configured to withstand tension between the anchor tether (102) and shaping tether (104) when the protection device (14) is fully pressurized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2014
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould
  • Patent number: 8608193
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a side structure (16) and a roof (18) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) into a position between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and a vehicle occupant. The protection device (14) includes an inflatable main portion (62) having at least one inflatable primary chamber (110) and an inflatable secondary chamber (112). An inflation fluid source (30) is actuatable to provide inflation fluid for inflating the protection device (14). The inflation fluid source (30) when actuated directs inflation fluid into the main portion (62) to inflate the main portion (62). Inflation fluid inlets (152) of the primary chambers (110) direct inflation fluid from the inflation fluid source (30) into the primary chambers (110).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Greg A. Wysocki
  • Patent number: 8608199
    Abstract: An inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes a front panel (102) and a rear panel (122) that are interconnected to at least partially define an inflatable volume (54) of the protection device. The rear panel (122) has a conical configuration resulting from portions of the rear panel being interconnected with each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Daniele Aranzulla, Martin Burkhardtsmaier
  • Patent number: 8596673
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a side structure (16) and a window opening (28) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) inflatable to a deployed condition in which the protection device is positioned between the side structure (16) and the vehicle occupant and covers at least a portion of the window opening (28). The protection device (14) when in the deployed condition has a first edge portion (70) connected to an adjacent portion of the vehicle and an opposite second edge portion (76) that is free from connections to vehicle portions adjacent the second edge portion. At least one tether (100) has a first end connected to the vehicle proximate to the first end portion (70) of the protection device (14) and an opposite second end connected to the second edge portion (76) of the protection device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin L. Ruedisueli, Jay D. Blackson, Masood A. Mohammad
  • Patent number: 8562018
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a side structure (16) and a roof (18) includes an inflatable curtain (14) inflatable away from the roof adjacent the side structure of the vehicle. A pretensioner (150) connects the curtain (14) to the vehicle (12) and includes rotational element. The inflatable curtain (14) is connected to the rotational element and upon deployment applies a force to the rotational element that causes the rotational element to rotate. The rotational element is configured such that angular momentum causes the rotational element to continue to rotate and thereby tension the inflatable curtain (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Gregory A. Wantin
  • Patent number: 8544883
    Abstract: Tear stitching (100) for interconnecting portions (130, 140) of an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes first and second end portions (102, 104) having curled configurations and a central portion (110) extending between the end portions. The central portion (110) includes leg portions (112, 114) that converge at an angle and intersect a break point (116). The tear stitching (100) exhibits a comparatively high rupture strength in response to tension forces applied to the interconnected portions (130, 140) that act on the end portions (102, 104) of the tear stitching (100). The tear stitching (100) exhibits a comparatively low rupture strength in response to tension forces applied to the interconnected portions (130, 140) that act on the break point (116) of the tear stitching (100).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould
  • Patent number: 8534704
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) comprising a panel (114) that at least partially defines an inflatable volume (54) of the protection device. A vent (100) includes a sidewall that extends through the panel (114) and defines a passage (134) for venting inflation fluid from the inflatable volume (54). The vent (100) includes a first portion (102) extendable inside the inflatable volume (54) and an opposite second portion (104) extendable outside the inflatable volume. The vent (100) has an open condition in which the first portion (102) is maintained inside the inflatable volume (54) and thereby permits venting of inflation fluid through the passage (134), and a closed condition in which the first portion (102) is inverted and positioned in the second portion (104) thereby blocking inflation fluid from venting through the passage (134).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould, Roy C. Turnbull, John Klakulak
  • Patent number: 8444179
    Abstract: An apparatus (12) includes a primary housing (20) constructed from sheet metal by stamping, a primary inflation fluid source (100), a secondary housing (70) constructed from sheet metal by stamping, and a secondary inflation fluid source (200). The primary inflation fluid source (100) is located in the primary housing (20) and is actuatable to effect a primary flow of inflation fluid out of the primary housing to inflate the inflatable device (14). The secondary housing (70) is disposed within the primary housing (20). The secondary inflation fluid source (200) is located in the secondary housing (70) and is actuatable to affect a secondary flow of inflation fluid to supplement the primary flow of inflation fluid. The secondary housing (70) has a first portion (77) that moves at least partially out of engagement with a second portion (74) of the secondary housing (70) when the secondary inflation fluid source is actuated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2006
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Eric R. McFarland
  • Patent number: 8419058
    Abstract: An air bag module (30) includes an air bag (14) having a deflated condition and an inflated condition and a structure (34) for supporting the air bag. A first tether (106) has a first end connected to the structure via an actuatable fastener (122) and an opposite second end connected to the air bag (14). A second tether (104) having a first end secured to the first tether (106) by a releasable connection (132) at a location between the first and second ends of the first tether. The second tether has a second end connected to a deployable portion of the air bag (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Douglas M. Gould, Simon Kramer, Daniele Aranzulla, Martin Burkhardtsmaier, Jochen Weiss, Bernd Issler
  • Patent number: 8393644
    Abstract: A seat belt pretensioner for a belt retractor includes a member that rotates relative to a frame of the belt retractor in response to a vehicle condition to rotate a spool of the belt retractor relative to the frame. A drive device rotates the member in response to the vehicle condition. The drive device applies a first torque to the member during a first stage of rotation of the member and the spool and applies a second torque greater than the first torque during a second stage of rotation of the member and the spool. A flexible drive member rotates the member relative to the frame. The flexible drive member extends around an axis of the member more than 360° after activation of the pretensioner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2013
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: John A. Lee
  • Patent number: 8262130
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) having a deflated condition and an inflated condition. Tear stitching (200) interconnects portions (220 and 230) of the protection device (14) and is rupturable to permit the interconnected portions to move relative to each other. The tear stitching (200) includes a break point (210) and first and second segments (212) that extend away from the break point. The tear stitching (200) is arranged on the protection device (14) such that tension forces acting to rupture the tear stitching act primarily on the break point (210) so that the tear stitching ruptures first at the break point and then along the first and second segments (212) of the tear stitching.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2008
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2012
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, John Klakulak, Heather R. Kramer, Alberto Rodriguez
  • Patent number: 8205941
    Abstract: A head restraint (14) for helping to protect an occupant (60) of a vehicle seat (20) includes a base frame (150) connected to the vehicle seat. A cushion carrier (350) is supported on the base frame (150) by a track assembly (440) that facilitates movement of the cushion carrier (350) relative to the base frame (150) along a deployment axis (18) from a non-deployed condition to a deployed condition. The track assembly (440) includes a fixed track member (182) that forms a portion of the base frame (150). The fixed track member (182) includes spaced axially extending beam portions (190) with opposing surfaces (200) that define a channel (184) between the beam portions (190). The track assembly (440) also includes a sliding track member (370) that forms a portion of the cushion carrier (350).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2012
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Bob L. McFalls, Charles E. Steffens, Jr., James M. McGowan, Michael W. Jagenow, Matthew J. McCann, John P. Wallner
  • Patent number: 8193460
    Abstract: A horn switch (40) for a vehicle steering wheel (20) includes a frame (50) for mounting to the steering wheel (20). The frame (50) includes a horn switch housing (56). A plunger (80) is associated with the switch housing (56). The plunger (80) is movable relative to the switch housing (56) between a non-actuating position and an actuating position. An actuatable cable (150) has a portion positioned in the switch housing (56). The actuating cable (150) includes first and second conductors (156, 158) for electrical connection to a circuit that when closed actuates a vehicle horn (30). The actuatable cable (150) has an expanded condition in which the first and second conductors (156, 158) are insulated from each other when the plunger (80) is in the non-actuating position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2012
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: William P. Braun, Thomas J. Klena, II, Joseph J. Zwolinski, Gabriel Anaya
  • Patent number: 8186713
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps protect an occupant (20) of a vehicle (12). The apparatus (10) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) that includes panel (100) of material that helps define an inflatable volume (54) of the protection device. A vent opening (104) vents inflation fluid from the inflatable volume (54). A pleat (120) is folded in the panel (100). The pleat (120) is positioned against a vehicle surface (62) while the protection device (14) is in a normally deployed condition to help block inflation fluid from venting through the vent opening (104).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 2006
    Date of Patent: May 29, 2012
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Heather Kramer, Alberto Rodriguez, Amit Sharma, John Bauer