Patents Assigned to TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
  • Patent number: 7104569
    Abstract: An inflator (14) for an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (12) has a housing (20). A propellant charge (240) in the housing (20) is actuatable to provide inflation fluid for inflating the device (12). The housing (20) has an end wall (42) and a side wall (44). The side wall (44) has a fluid passage (55) for directing flow of inflation fluid to the device (12). A flow control member (16) extends over the end wall (42) and the side wall (44) and has a movable portion (300) at least partially blocking the fluid passage (55). The control member (16) has an outlet opening (288) located over the end wall (42). The movable portion (300) moves as the pressure of inflation fluid acting on it increases upon inflator actuation to control the pressure in the housing (20) and to direct inflation fluid toward the outlet opening (288).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: George W. Goetz
  • Patent number: 7093852
    Abstract: An inflator (22) includes a structure (30, 32) that defines a first chamber (50) and a second chamber (80). The first chamber (50) contains a volume of fluid under pressure and the second chamber (80) is in fluid communication with an outlet passage (76). The inflator (22) also includes a closure member (90) openable to release the fluid to flow out of the first chamber (50). An initiator (100) is actuatable to open the closure member (90). The inflator (22) further includes a filter (130) disposed in the second chamber (80). The fluid is directed from the first chamber (50) into the second chamber (80) and through the filter (130) into the outlet passage (76) upon opening of the closure member (90).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Reed A. Inman, John S. Dunlop, Christopher J. Ruf
  • Patent number: 7093854
    Abstract: An air bag (12) includes at least one tether (44) and an inflation fluid source (14) having two modes of operation. In the first mode of operation, the inflation fluid source (14) is activated to provide a first inflation fluid pressure in the air bag (12). In the second mode of operation, the inflation fluid source (14) is activated to provide a second inflation fluid pressure in the air bag (12) higher than the first pressure. The tether (44), which helps to control the shape of the air bag (12), tears in response to the second inflation fluid pressure in the air bag.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Ken Taggart
  • Patent number: 7090304
    Abstract: A seat belt retractor (10) includes a spool (104) about which seat belt webbing (18) is wound. The spool (104) is supported for rotation in a belt withdrawal direction and in an opposite belt retraction direction. A vehicle sensitive sensor (180) is responsive to at least one sensed vehicle condition for preventing rotation of the spool (104) in the belt withdrawal direction. The retractor (10) also includes a mechanism (200) for controlling the vehicle sensitive sensor (180). The mechanism (200) includes a ring gear (212) and a control lever (246). The ring gear (212) has internal gear teeth (234) and an external surface (236) having a cam profile. The external surface (236) of the ring gear (212) actuates the control lever (246) to enable and disable the vehicle sensitive sensor (180).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2004
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Neal H. Delventhal, Edgar H. Schlaps
  • Patent number: 7090248
    Abstract: An inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (12) is located on a steering wheel (14) and includes a lower portion (28) and an upper portion (26). The upper portion (26) is rolled folded and the lower portion (28) is folded in a star pattern. The roll folded portion (26) has an outside surface formed by a front panel (30) of the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (12) that is intended to face the occupant when the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device is inflated. During inflation, the roll folded portion (26) unrolls such that at least a portion of the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device inflates forward of the steering wheel if the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device, while inflating, encounters an obstruction located too far forward relative to the steering wheel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2004
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Jeffrey A. Jenkins, Kurt F. Fischer, Ken Taggart
  • Patent number: 7083191
    Abstract: An air bag (12) is inflatable by inflation fluid. A support member (20) has a first vent opening (44) for enabling flow of inflation fluid away from the bag (12). A vent member (46) is movable relative to the first vent opening (44) between a first condition in which the vent member does not close the opening that enables flow of inflation fluid away from the bag (12) and a second condition in which the vent member at least partially blocks the flow of inflation fluid through the opening and away from the bag. A tether (50) has a first portion (52) connected for movement with the bag (12) as the bag is deployed. The tether (50) is associated with the vent member (46) and causes it to move relative to the opening (44) from the first condition to the second condition as the bag (12) is deployed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Kurt F. Fischer
  • Patent number: 7083192
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (12) and a vent opening (44) for directing flow of inflation fluid away from the protection device. A vent member (46) is movable between an open condition enabling flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening and a closed condition at least partially blocking flow of inflation fluid through the vent opening. A tether (50), when tensioned, moves the vent member (46) from the open condition to the closed condition. A latch (48) has a latched condition for maintaining the vent member (46) in the closed condition and an unlatched condition for enabling the vent member to move away from the closed condition. A controller (102) is operative to actuate the latch (48). selectively to the latched condition and the unlatched condition based on at least one sensed occupant condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Charles S. Pillsbury, IV, William P. Braun, Bruce R. Hill, Neal H. Delventhal
  • Patent number: 7077472
    Abstract: An apparatus (8) includes a seat (10) for an occupant (12) of a vehicle (14). The seat (10) includes a cushion portion (16) and a backrest portion (18). The apparatus (8) also includes an occupant protection device (70) that, when actuated, resists rearward movement of the backrest portion (18) of the seat (10) relative to the cushion portion (16) of the seat (10). A deflection mechanism (72) of the apparatus (8) is located in the backrest portion (18) of the seat (10) and is movable from a first position to a second position for actuating the occupant protection device (70). The deflection mechanism (72) is adapted to move from the first position to the second position without the backrest portion (18) moving significantly relative to cushion portion (16).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Charles E. Steffens, Jr.
  • Patent number: 7066489
    Abstract: 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). The inflatable curtain (14) is inflatable away from the roof (18) between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and a vehicle occupant. The inflatable curtain has an inflatable volume (28). An inflation fluid source (30) is actuatable to provide inflation fluid to the inflatable volume (28) to inflate the inflatable curtain (14). A fill tube (32) delivers the inflation fluid from the inflation fluid source (30) to the inflatable curtain (14). The apparatus (10) includes an actuatable apparatus (60) for providing an opening (72, 226) in at least one of the fill tube (32) and the inflatable curtain (14) for directing the inflation fluid from the inflatable volume (28) to deflate the inflatable curtain (14). The actuatable apparatus (60) is actuatable in response to actuation of the inflation fluid source (30).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kwen Hsu, William P. Braun, Charles S. Pillsbury, IV
  • Patent number: 7055852
    Abstract: A windshield curtain (14) is inflatable away from a roof (40) of a vehicle (12) to a position between a windshield (50) of the vehicle and a vehicle occupant and between an instrument panel (64) of the vehicle and the vehicle occupant. The windshield curtain (14) includes a center panel (102) that has a length and opposite first and second side portions (110 and 112) that extend along its length. The windshield curtain (14) also includes first and second side panels (230 and 240), each having a respective periphery (232 and 242). The periphery (232) of the first side panel (230) is interconnected with the center panel (102) along the first side portion (110) of the center panel. The periphery (242) of the second side panel (112) is interconnected with the center panel along the second side portion (112) of the center panel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 9, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 6, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ali Emam Bakhsh, Al A. Saberan, Ayad G. Nayef, Jay Blackson, Chang H. Lee
  • Patent number: 7029025
    Abstract: A rupturable cover (10) for an air bag module (22) comprises an inner cover (30) and an outer cover (80) overlying the inner cover. The inner cover (30) has a first tear seam (70) for enabling rupturing of the inner cover in response to inflation of an air bag (24). The outer cover (80) has a second tear seam (100) for enabling rupturing of the outer cover. The second tear seam (100) has a configuration different from the first tear seam (70). At least a portion of the second tear seam (100) overlies the first tear seam (70) when the outer cover (80) is adhered to the inner cover (30) in any one of a plurality of different positions of alignment. The second tear seam (100) may have a wavy configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 18, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Diane M. Schwark, Michael Dagosto, Juan C. Martinez
  • Patent number: 7017942
    Abstract: 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). The inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) is inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) into a position between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and a vehicle occupant. The apparatus (10) also includes a housing (26) for storing the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) in a stored position extending along the vehicle side structure (16) adjacent the vehicle roof (18). The housing (26) includes a portion that forms an interior trim piece (190) of the vehicle (12). The apparatus (10) also includes at least one grab handle (34) and at least one connector (200) that extends through the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14), the housing (26) and the grab handle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2006
    Assignees: TRW Inc., TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Wael S. Elqadah, Xingyuan Sun, Bruce R. Hill, John P. Wallner
  • Patent number: 7011341
    Abstract: A vehicle restraint system (30) comprises first and second lap belts (32 and 34), first and second shoulder belts (36 and 38), and a buckle assembly (90) for interconnecting the lap belts (32 and 34) and the shoulder belts (36 and 38). The vehicle restraint system (30) also comprises first and second lap belt retractors (46 and 104) for the first and second lap belts (32 and 34), respectively. A linking mechanism (218) connects the first and second lap belt retractors (46 and 104) and is adapted to transfer motion between the first and second lap belt retractors (46 and 104). As a result, the first and second lap belts (32 and 34) are retracted in unison and by equal amounts during retraction and are withdrawn in unison and by equal amounts during withdrawal from the first and second lap belt retractors (46 and 104).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Arnold J. Herberg, Joseph J. Zwolinski
  • Patent number: 7000945
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a windshield (70) and a roof (40) including a front header (54). The apparatus (10) includes an inflatable windshield curtain (80) inflatable away from the roof (40) to a position between the windshield (70) and a vehicle occupant. The windshield curtain (80) has a stored condition in which the windshield curtain is positioned in a recess (90) that extends into a forward facing surface (92) of the front header (54).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 10, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ali Emam Bakhsh, Al A. Saberan, Ayad G. Nayef
  • Patent number: 7000944
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) and an inflator (70). The protection device (14) is inflatable from a stored position along a forward edge (62) of a vehicle roof (40) to a deployed position overlying the windshield (50). The protection device (14) while in the deployed position covers the windshield (50) from an A pillar (30) on a driver side (20) of the vehicle (12) to an A pillar of a passenger side (22) of the vehicle and from an upper edge (56) of the windshield to a position near a lower edge (58) of the windshield. The protection device (14) while deployed also covers the driver and passenger side A pillars (30).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ali Emam Bakhsh, Al A. Saberan, Rico Scott Bertossi, Ayad E. Nayef
  • Patent number: 6986529
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10) comprises a seat belt system (50) having a buckled condition and an unbuckled condition, and a sensor (56) for determining the buckled condition of the seat belt system. An inflatable occupant protection device (12) has a deflated condition and an inflated condition. An inflator (32) is actuatable to provide inflation fluid to inflate the inflatable device (12). The protection apparatus (10) includes an electrically energizable mechanism (44) for venting inflation fluid from the protection apparatus (10). Electric circuitry (40) is responsive to a determination of the buckled condition of the seat belt system (50) and the inflated condition of the inflatable device (12), for actuating the electrically energizable mechanism (44) to vent inflation fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2006
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Kurt F. Fischer
  • Patent number: 6983955
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect a vehicle occupant includes an actuatable vehicle occupant protection device (12), and a microelectromechanical (MEMS) device (20) energizable to cause actuation of the protection device. In one embodiment, the MEMS device (20) is an energizable fluid source for emitting a primary fluid for actuating an inflatable protection device (12). The apparatus (10) may comprise a plurality of MEMS devices (20) individually actuatable to control inflation of the protection device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 10, 2006
    Assignees: TRW Inc., TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Lee D. Bergerson, Ivan L. Stonich, Douglas P. Campbell, Brian R. Pitstick, Paul A. Bowers, Ernst M. Faigle
  • Patent number: 6976700
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) includes an air bag (30) and an inflator (40) for inflating the air bag. The apparatus (10) also includes a bracket (120) having an elongated back plate portion (122), a first flange portion (130), and a second flange portion (150). The flange portions (130 and 150) extend transverse to the back plate portion (122). The inflator (40) is insertable into the bracket. A first end portion (80) of the inflator (40) engages the first flange portion (130) and a second end portion (90) of the inflator engages the second flange portion (150) while the inflator is inserted in the bracket (120). The inflator (40) urges the first and second flange portions (130 and 150) to deflect away from each other while the inflator is inserted in the bracket (120). The first and second flange portions (130 and 150) are urged toward each other by resilience of the bracket and exert a clamping force on the inflator (40) to retain the inflator in the bracket (120).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 20, 2005
    Assignees: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc., TRW Occupant Restraint Systems GmbH & Co. KG, TRW Automotive Safety Systems GmbH & Co. KG
    Inventors: Matthew J. McCann, Gabriel Anaya, Attila K. Dalkilic, Wolfgang O. Bareiss
  • Patent number: 6959945
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10c) has an inflatable occupant protection device (12c) and a support member (20c) having a vent opening (44c). A vent member (46c) is associated with the vent opening (44c). A tether (50c) extends between the protection device (12c) and the vent member (46c). The vent member (46c) is initially in a first condition closing the vent opening (44c). The vent member (46c) is moved to a second condition spaced apart from the vent opening (44c) and enabling fluid flow through the vent opening (44c) upon initial inflation of the protection device (12c). The vent member (46c) is moved from the second condition back toward the first condition by tension in the tether (50c) that results from inflation of the protection device (12c) away from the support member (20c) by more than a predetermined distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, Neal H. Delventhal
  • Patent number: 6926303
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) with an upper portion (38) and a lower portion (40) in an inflated condition in the vehicle. A fabric deflector tube (60) is located in the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) and has opposite first and second ends (62, 64). The first the end (62) is completely closed. The deflector tube has a first outlet (66, 68) adjacent the closed end (62) for directing a first amount of inflation fluid from an inflator (32) to the upper portion (38) of the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14). The second end (64) of the fabric deflector tube (60) is completely open and defines a second outlet for directing a second amount of inflation fluid, larger than the first amount of inflation fluid, from the inflator (32) to the lower portion (40) of the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 9, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt F. Fischer, AnnMarie McMillian