Patents Assigned to TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
  • Patent number: 7380820
    Abstract: An inflator (40) for inflating an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes structure that defines a chamber (220) and inflation fluid stored in the chamber. The inflation fluid includes in mixture a fuel gas, an oxidizer gas, and an inert gas mixture. The inflator (40) also includes an actuator for initiating a combustion reaction between the fuel gas and the oxidizer gas. The inert gas mixture includes at least two different inert gases and has a composition selected to produce desired performance characteristics of the inflator (40).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 3, 2008
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John P. O'Loughlin, Halley O. Stevens
  • Patent number: 7377546
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10d) includes an inflatable occupant protection device (300) and a support member (316). A vent opening (350) extends through the support member (316). A vent member (360) is associated with the vent opening (350). The vent member (360) initially closes the vent opening (350). Inflation fluid moves the vent member (360) relative to the support member (316) for enabling a flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (350). A tether (386) extends between the inflatable occupant protection device (300) and the vent member (360). The tether (386) is responsive to inflation of the inflatable occupant protection device (300) away from the support member (316) by more than a predetermined distance for moving the vent member (360) relative to the support member (316) for reducing the flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (350).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2008
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, William P. Braun, Alex G. Meduvsky, John P. Wallner, Joseph J. Zwolinski
  • Patent number: 7364192
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10) includes an inflatable occupant protection device (12) and a support member (40) having a vent opening (50) through which inflation fluid may flow. The apparatus (10) also includes a mechanism (58) for controlling a flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (50). Inflation fluid pressure within the inflatable occupant protection device (12) tends to move the mechanism (58) for increasing a flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (50). The mechanism (58) is responsive to inflation of the inflatable occupant protection device (12) beyond a predetermined distance for restricting the flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (50). The apparatus (10) further includes a locking member (96) for blocking the mechanism (58) from increasing the flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (50) after the inflatable occupant protection device (12) has inflated beyond the predetermined distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2008
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: William P. Braun, Kurt F. Fischer, Charles E. Steffens, Jr., Alex G. Meduvsky, John N. Clark, Joseph J. Zwolinski, Matthew C. Frank
  • Patent number: 7350804
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a side structure (16) and a roof (18). The apparatus (10) includes a first portion (80) including at least one inflatable chamber (114). The first portion (80) is inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and a vehicle occupant (20). The apparatus (10) also includes a second portion (100, 102) that includes at least one inflatable chamber. The second portion (100, 102) is inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and a vehicle occupant (20). The second portion (100, 102) when inflated extends below the first portion (80) and adjacent a thorax (152) of a vehicle occupant (20) when inflated. Fluid communication between the chambers of the first portion (80) and second portion (100, 102) is substantially blocked.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 8, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2008
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ali Emam Bakhsh, Ayad G. Nayef, John A. LaFond, John D. Vaughn
  • Patent number: 7334814
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14). An inflation fluid source (18) is actuatable to provide inflation fluid for inflating an inflatable volume (16) of the protection device (14). The apparatus (10) also includes a reaction plate (20) that includes at least one vent opening (40) and a retainer (60) that is connectable with the reaction plate (20). A vent part (80) has a first condition blocking inflation fluid flow through the at least one vent opening (40) and a second condition permitting inflation fluid flow through the at least one vent opening. The apparatus (10) further includes an actuator (120) for moving the vent part (80) from one of the first and second conditions to the other of the first and second conditions. The vent part (80) has a portion (104) that maintains the vent part in the other of the first and second conditions when moved to the other of the first and second conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2008
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Annmarie McMillan, Charles S. Pillsbury, IV, Ramakrishnan Srinivasan, Milind T. Gawas, Neal H. Delventhal
  • Patent number: 7322601
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a roof (18), a side structure (16), and a trim piece (310) overlying the side structure. The apparatus (10) includes an inflatable curtain (14) inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) to a position adjacent the side structure (16). The apparatus (10) also includes a deployment ramp (160) having a deployment position in which the deployment ramp directs the inflatable curtain (14) to deploy inboard of the trim piece (310). The deployment ramp (160) is configured and arranged to deflect away from the deployment position in order to absorb forces from occupant impacts with the deployment ramp. Preferably, the deployment ramp (160) is also configured and arranged to return to the deployment position after absorbing forces from occupant impacts with the deployment ramp when the inflatable curtain (14) is not inflated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2008
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Rico Scott Bertossi
  • Patent number: 7296822
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable windshield curtain (14) inflatable away from the vehicle roof (40) to a position between the windshield (50) and a vehicle occupant. The windshield curtain (14) includes overlying panels (80 and 82) interconnected to define an inflatable volume (110) of the windshield curtain. The windshield curtain (14) includes a pleated portion in which at least one of the panels (80 and 82) has portions folded over to form at least one pleat (150) in the panel. In one embodiment, the windshield curtain (14) includes connections (154 and 180) that interconnect overlying folded portions of the at least one panel (80 and 82) along the at least one pleat (150). Portions of the at least one pleat between the connections (150 and 180) are unfoldable to allow expansion of the pleated portion upon inflation of the windshield curtain (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ali Emam Bakhsh, Al A. Saberan, Ayad E. Nayef, Suk J. Ham, Rico Scott Bertossi
  • Patent number: 7275761
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (800) includes an inflatable occupant protection device (802) and a vent opening (876) through which inflation fluid may flow. The vehicle occupant protection apparatus (800) also includes a retainer (910) to which the protection device (802) is secured. A vent member (890) is movable relative to the vent opening (876) for controlling a flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening (876). A tether (990) is movable in response to inflation of the protection device (802) beyond a predetermined distance for moving the vent member (824). A tether guide member (940) is located on the retainer (910) for guiding the tether (990).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Douglas M. Gould, Chris Purcell, Michael J. Loyd, Kurt F. Fischer
  • Patent number: 7240917
    Abstract: An actuatable fastener (50) includes a body (80) including a head (82) and a shank (84). The body (80) includes an interior chamber (120) partially defined by a side wall (132) extending from the head (82) into the shank (84) and an end wall (138) positioned in the shank. A member (140) is disposed in the chamber (120). An initiator (160) is actuatable to produce combustion products in the chamber (120) that act on the member (140) to move the member in a first direction in the chamber to strike the end wall (138). The member (140) strikes the end wall (138) creating a fracture (222) in the shank (84) separating at least a portion of the shank from a remainder (220) of the shank. The combustion products moving the member (150) beyond the fracture (222) at least a predetermined distance (226) to move the portion of the shank (84) at least the predetermined distance from the remainder (220) of the shank.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Homer W. Fogle, Jr., Eric R. Mcfarland, Robert R. Debbs, Craig M. Fischer, John P. O'Loughlin, Halley O. Stevens, Keven D. Thomas
  • Patent number: 7216557
    Abstract: A method and apparatus (40) for testing an occupant position sensing system (12) of a vehicle (10) includes a motor (42) having a stationary portion (44) and a movable portion (46). A test object (90) is fixed relative to the movable portion (46) of the motor (42). A motor position sensor (64) senses a position of the movable portion (46) of the motor (42) relative to the stationary portion (44) and for providing a motor position signal indicative thereof. Motor drive electronics (58) are responsive to the motor position signal for controlling the motor (42) for moving the test object (90). A data recorder (80) is adapted to receive and record data from the occupant position sensing system (12) and is adapted to receive and record the motor position signal provided by the motor position sensor (64).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2007
    Assignees: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc., TRW Automotive U.S. LLC
    Inventors: Raymond J. David, Jon K. Wallace, Charles E. Steffens, Jr.
  • Patent number: 7201399
    Abstract: An occupant restraint system (30) includes first and second lap belts (32 and 34) for collectively extending across a lap of the occupant (22). First and second shoulder belts (36 and 38) extend over the shoulders of the occupant (22). A buckle assembly (58) interconnects the lap belts (32 and 34) and the shoulder belts (36 and 38). The occupant restraint system (30) also includes first and second buckle-lowering belts (94 and 96) attached to the buckle assembly (58) for creating a downwardly acting biasing force on the buckle assembly (58) so as to move the buckle assembly (58) downwardly relative to the seat (10) and towards the lap of the occupant (22).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Matthew C. Frank, Alex G. Meduvsky
  • Patent number: 7185913
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable windshield curtain (14). The windshield curtain (14) is inflatable away from a roof (40) of the vehicle to a position between a windshield (50) of the vehicle and a vehicle occupant. The windshield curtain (14) includes an inflatable upper portion (190) and an inflatable lower portion (192). The upper portion (190) is inflatable between the roof (40) and an instrument panel (64) of the vehicle (12) and between the windshield (50) and a vehicle occupant. The lower portion (192) is bifurcated and includes a first chamber (194) inflatable against a surface (222) of the instrument panel (64) presented generally toward the vehicle occupant. The lower portion (192) also includes a second chamber (196) inflatable against the windshield (50) and a surface (220) of the instrument panel (64) adjacent the windshield.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ali Emam Bakhsh, Ayad Nayef, Chang H. Lee
  • Patent number: 7182366
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a roof (18), a side structure (16), and a trim piece (310, 312) overlying the side structure. The apparatus (10) includes an inflatable curtain (14) that is inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) to a position adjacent the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12). A deployment ramp (180, 270) is movable from a stored position to a deployed position for directing the inflatable curtain (14) to deploy inboard of the trim piece (310, 312). The deployment ramp (180, 270) has a construction that is sufficiently resilient and rigid to direct the inflatable curtain (14) to deploy inboard of the trim piece (310, 312). A connector piece (162, 252) connects the deployment ramp (180, 270) to the vehicle (12). The connector piece (162, 252) has a first portion (174, 264) secured to the deployment ramp (180, 270) and a second portion (168, 258) connectable to the vehicle (12).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Adan Beltran Enriquez
  • Patent number: 7175196
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a roof (18), a side structure (16), and a trim piece (220) overlying the side structure. The apparatus (10) includes an inflatable curtain (14) inflatable away from the roof (18) to a position adjacent the side structure (16). An inflation fluid source (24) provides inflation fluid for inflating the inflatable curtain (14). A fill tube (22) directs inflation fluid from the inflation fluid source (24) into the inflatable curtain (14). A bracket (120) connects the fill tube (22) to the vehicle (12). The bracket (120) includes a fill tube support portion (140) connectable with the fill tube (22). A connecting portion (130) is connectable with the vehicle (12). A deployment portion (150) directs the inflatable curtain (14) to deploy inboard of the trim piece (220).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2007
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Kevin J. Boxey
  • Patent number: 7140638
    Abstract: An inflator (14) includes a structure (50, 70, 90) that helps define a chamber (42) from which inflation fluid flows. The structure (50, 70, 90) includes an end cap (90) having a side wall (92). A closure member (104) is rupturable to release inflation fluid from the chamber (42). An initiator (230) is actuatable to rupture the closure member (104). A filter retainer (170) includes a side wall (172) that defines a cavity (176). The side wall (172) of the filter retainer (170) includes a rim portion (196) that forms a terminal end of the side wall. A filter assembly (120) is positioned in the cavity (176) of the filter retainer (170). First segments (260) of the rim portion (196) are deformed to clamp the filter assembly (120) to the filter retainer (170). Non-deformed second segments (262) of the rim portion (196) engage an inner surface (264) of the side wall (92) of the end cap (90). The second segments (262) help position the end cap (90) and the filter retainer (170) coaxially with each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Czeslaw C. Falkowski, Ahmad K. Al-Amin
  • Patent number: 7131663
    Abstract: An inflator (22) for providing inflation fluid ( ) to inflate an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes a container (30) storing the inflation fluid under pressure. The container (30) has an outlet passage (80) through which the inflation fluid flows from the container. A rupturable closure member (92) fixed to the container (30) blocks flow of inflation fluid through the passage (80). A support (100) for the rupturable closure member (92) defines a chamber (110) adjacent the rupturable closure member (92). The rupturable closure member (92) has a first portion (122) deformed into the chamber (110) by the pressure of the inflation fluid and a second ring-shaped portion (124) encircling the first portion (122). An initiator (98) ruptures the closure member (92) when actuated by shearing the first portion (122) from the second portion (124).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Douglas P. Campbell, Ahmad K. Al-Amin, Timothy A. Swann, Roy D. Van Wynsberghe, Jess A. Cuevas, Dean M. Esterberg, Bryan W. Shirk
  • Patent number: 7121582
    Abstract: An inflator (22) for providing inflation fluid ( ) to inflate an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes a container (30) storing the inflation fluid under pressure. The container (30) has an outlet passage (80) through which the inflation fluid flows from the container. A rupturable closure member (92) fixed to the container (30) blocks flow of inflation fluid through the passage (80). A support (100) for the rupturable closure member (92) defines a chamber (110) adjacent the rupturable closure member (92). The rupturable closure member (92) has a first portion (122) deformed into the chamber (110) by the pressure of the inflation fluid and a second ring-shaped portion (124) encircling the first portion (122). An initiator (98) ruptures the closure member (92) when actuated by shearing the first portion (122) from the second portion (124).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2005
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Douglas P. Campbell, Ahmad K. Al-Amin, Timothy A. Swann, Roy D. Van Wynsberghe, Jess A. Cuevas, Dean M. Esterberg, Bryan W. Shirk
  • Patent number: 7114590
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection system (10) includes seat belt webbing (18) and a device (64) coupled to the seat belt webbing (18) for sensing tension in the seat belt webbing (18). The device (64) is decoupled from the seat belt webbing (18) in response to the tension in the seat belt webbing (18) exceeding a predetermined threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Bob L. McFalls, Neal H. Delventhal, Keith R. Ball
  • Patent number: 7108281
    Abstract: An inflator (12) includes structure (40, 50, 82) defining a chamber (130). First and second passages (92 and 116) extend through the structure (40, 50, 82). A burst disk (120) closes the first passage (116). A valve housing (142) is received in the second passage (92) and defines a fill passage (154). A fluid (186) is stored under pressure in the chamber (130). An igniter (70) is actuatable for opening the burst disk (120) for enabling the fluid (186) to flow out of the chamber (130) through the first passage (116). A valve member (144) enables flow of the fluid (186) through the fill passage (154) of the valve housing (142) into the chamber (130) and prevents flow out of the chamber (130) through the fill passage (154).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 22, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: William B. Butler, Jeffery A. Lafranier, Christopher J. Ruf, James S. Dahl
  • Patent number: 7108277
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (12). An inflator (14) provides inflation fluid for inflating the protection device (12). A vent member (30) includes at least one vent opening (62) for venting the inflation fluid. A vent cover (100) has a closed condition for blocking fluid flow through the at least one vent opening (62) and an open condition for permitting fluid flow through the at least one vent opening. The vent cover (100) includes a side wall (110) that has at least one portion (134, 372) that projects from the side wall into the vent member (30) to help maintain the vent cover in the closed condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Wael S. Elqadah, David G. Magoteaux, Frank Paul Leonelli, Jr., Arnold M. Stephens, Robert R. Debbs