Patents Examined by Peter English
  • Patent number: 6419272
    Abstract: Disclosed is a seat belt pretensioner device for moving a moveably supported seat belt buckle in a direction to increase the tension of a seat belt with a power generating device so as to automatically increase the tension of the seat belt in case of an impact situation. such as a vehicle crash. The power generator comprises a bladder-like member that can be pressurized for expansion, and a chamber defined for guiding the direction of the expansion of the bladder-like member. The buckle of the seat belt can be moved in the direction to increase the tension of the seat belt by pushing a member supporting the buckle with the bladder-like member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2002
    Assignee: NHK Spring Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Hiroyoshi Yamaguchi, Eiji Shimizu
  • Patent number: 6406055
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10) comprises an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (12) and an actuatable inflator (14). A retainer (40) is connected with the protection device (12). The retainer (40) has a fixed portion (46) and a movable portion (48). The movable portion (48) is movable between a first condition and a second condition to vent inflation fluid from the protection device (12). The apparatus (10) includes an electrically energizable mechanism (80) to release the movable portion (48) of the retainer (40) for movement from the first condition to the second condition. The apparatus (10) also includes vehicle electric circuitry (120) including a sensor (132) for sensing at least one occupant condition or vehicle condition and a controller (130) responsive to the sensor for controlling the electrically energizable mechanism (80).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2002
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ernst M. Faigle, Tracy S. Sparks
  • Patent number: 6402192
    Abstract: A safety device for a motor vehicle which has a door frame and a door contained within the door frame includes: a gas generator; a sensor for sensing at least one of a side impact and a roll-over for activating the gas generator; and an inflatable element connected to the gas generator for being inflated with gas from the gas generator upon activation of the gas generator. The inflatable element can thus assume a non-inflated mode and an inflated mode and can further be positioned adjacent the door in an inflated-mode thereof. The inflatable element is further made of fabric and includes: a first fabric layer defining a front part thereof; a second fabric layer defining a back part thereof, selected parts of the first fabric layer and second fabric layer being interconnected for defining one of linear and point shaped links where the first fabric layer and the second fabric layer are directly secured together.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2002
    Assignee: Autoliv Development AB
    Inventors: Yngve Håland, Lars-Erik Florberger, Sture Andersson, Simomn Valkenburg, I. Jörgen Svensson
  • Patent number: 6394217
    Abstract: A dual draw and return fuel manifold with an integral mounting bracket for use on a mobile vehicle containing at least two fuel tanks such as a heavy duty truck. The invention overcomes problems associated with assembling several fittings to a bracket and reduces the opportunities for leaks to develop in a vehicle fuel system by incorporating the fittings and mounting apparatus into a one piece design. There is a manifold which contains two three way tees integrated onto a mounting bracket or body. The mounting bracket has two engagement legs for engagement to a chassis mounted component or to a vehicle drive train component. In a preferred embodiment these engagement legs will be engaged on either side of a transmission of the vehicle. The return and supply manifolds are located one on top of another on the manifold such that they may be easily connected to the high pressure tubing of the fuel system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2002
    Assignee: International Truck Intellectual Property Company, L.L.C.
    Inventor: Curt J. Studebaker
  • Patent number: 6332629
    Abstract: Provided is a seatbelt device capable of realizing a comfortable seatbelt-wearing environment as well as appropriately securing and protecting a passenger. The seatbelt device is further capable of realizing an immediate escape or rescue of a passenger after a vehicle accident, thereby providing extra safety and a swift escape by protracting the webbing in accordance with the state of the vehicle accident. This seatbelt device is provided with a retractor which uses a motor for retracting and protracting the webbing that secures a passenger to his/her seat, and a controller for rotating the motor and at least retracting the webbing. The controller is capable of altering the protraction mode of the webbing in accordance with the state of the webbing fastened by the passenger.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2001
    Assignee: NSK, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yukinori Midorikawa, Katsuyasu Ono, Masuo Matsuki
  • Patent number: 6299209
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a protective device, preferably an airbag device, disposed in a panel of a vehicle, and preferably to a knee airbag housed in the vehicle instrument panel. The invention comprises an expanding protective device which is secured in an interior panel (1) or part of said panel in vehicle compartments, said device comprising an expansion means (5) housed behind an opening in said panel, and a surface cover (3) secured in front of said opening. The surface cover has a larger extension than said opening and is also secured to the surrounding panel. In addition, the surface cover (3) is adapted to cover substantially the whole of the expansion means (5) towards the compartment space, also in the expanded condition of said means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2001
    Assignee: Lear Corporation
    Inventors: Jim Ankersson, Bengt Sätterman
  • Patent number: 6213510
    Abstract: When an impact energy absorbing mechanism on a vehicle is in operation, a paid-out length of a seat belt is detected by a displacement sensor, and a paid-out speed of the seat belt is calculated by a paid-out speed calculating unit. Based on speed information from a speed sensor, a vehicle speed detecting unit calculates a speed of the vehicle with respect to a ground surface on which the vehicle runs. Then, an occupant acceleration calculating unit calculates an acceleration of an occupant with respect to the ground surface from the calculated paid-out speed and the calculated speed of the vehicle. Impact forces applied to the occupant can be reduced simply and highly accurately irrespectively of the weight of the occupant and whether an air bag is installed in the vehicle or not.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2001
    Assignee: Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Kouichi Suyama
  • Patent number: 6199905
    Abstract: The present invention is directed to a high thermal efficiency inflator having a thermal efficiency of greater than about 90 percent, to passive restraint systems utilizing the high thermal efficiency inflator of the invention, and to a method of inflating inflatable objects. The high thermal efficiency inflator has a housing having an inner surface, and defining an interior volume. The housing contains a pressurized gas at a first pressure in the interior volume; and a pyrotechnic material for producing heat upon combustion. The pyrotechnic material has a burn rate that is accelerated at the first pressure, and is subjected to the first pressure of the pyrotechnic material within the housing. In addition, the pyrotechnic material is substantially free of thermal contact with the housing, and is stored within the interior volume of the housing at a distance from the inner surface of the housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2001
    Assignee: Universal Propulsion Company, Inc.
    Inventor: Donald J. Lewis
  • Patent number: 6168204
    Abstract: A vehicular body and frame assembly includes a pair of side rails, wherein one or both of the side rails has an integral support surface formed therein to facilitate the mounting of various components on the vehicle frame assembly. Each of the side rails is formed from a closed channel structural member having a desired cross sectional shape. A portion of each side rail is further formed having a cross sectional shape that is substantially similar to, but rotationally offset from, the cross sectional shape of the remainder of the side rail. The transitions from the side rails to the rotationally offset portions and from the rotationally offset portions back to the side rails are preferably smooth and continuous. The rotationally offset portions may extend throughout any desired portion or portions of the side rails, and may further vary in the amount of rotational offset if desired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2001
    Assignee: Dana Corporation
    Inventor: John A. Beckman
  • Patent number: 6135491
    Abstract: A vehicular roof headlining includes an integrated head protection restraining apparatus in the form of several inflatable gas bags which are stowed folded in a trough-shaped receiving body 18 in the border region of the headlining and form, together with the headlining, a preassembled module.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2000
    Assignee: TRW Occupant Restraint Systems GmbH & Co. KG
    Inventors: Mark Olson, Michael Stutz, Heinz Eyrainer
  • Patent number: 5474315
    Abstract: A rear suspension device for a ride-on mower that includes a pivoting assembly coupled to the ride-on mower. The pivoting assembly is coupled to a torsion bar and the torsion bar is coupled to a rear portion of the ride-on mower. The coupling to the rear portion is accomplished by insertion of a portion of the torsion bar that is substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the ride-on mower into an aperture coupled to the rear portion. The device is callable of transferring weight from one portion of the: ride-on mower to another portion of the ride-on mower, thereby enhancing stability.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 12, 1995
    Assignee: Simplicity Manufacturing
    Inventors: Kenneth H. Klas, Edward Freier, Jr., Michael P. Schemelin, Daniel W. Schaefer, Gary A. Hays
  • Patent number: 5431437
    Abstract: A steering wheel (12) incorporates an air bag unit (22). The air bag unit has a cover door (30) that has a bladder (38) with an air chamber (39) in communication with a pressure sensor (40). The pressure sensor is incorporated in an electrical circuit (42) that is actuated when the pressure sensor senses pressure within the bladder to be above a predetermined value. The electrical circuit is connected to a horn (44) such that when the bladder is pressed, the horn is actuated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 1992
    Date of Patent: July 11, 1995
    Assignee: Davidson Textron Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence R. Nichols, Bruce Woodward, William C. Delatore
  • Patent number: 5405160
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for attaching a trailer to a vehicle. An apparatus is provided having a winch attached to the trailer for pulling the trailer to the vehicle, a substantially flat strap connected to the winch at one end and having a flat attachment member with an aperture therethrough at the other end for placement over the ball portion of a hitch at the other end for connecting the trailer to the vehicle, and a multi-position arm attached to the trailer forward of the winch for lifting the receiver portion up and over the ball portion of the hitch when the strap is effectively shortened by winding it up on the winch. The arm is pivotally attached at one end by a block on the underside of the tongue of the trailer. A bearing member is disposed at the other end of the arm. The arm may be moved backward to a first-position and pinned in place so that it is tucked underneath the tongue for storage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 1992
    Date of Patent: April 11, 1995
    Inventor: David A. Weaver
  • Patent number: 5375872
    Abstract: In a suspension control device, vertical acceleration detecting means detects an acceleration of a vehicle body in a vertical direction. A spring constant and damping force changing means for the suspensions of the vehicle body is provided. A vertical acceleration differential value measuring means measures the differential value of an output signal of the vertical acceleration detecting means which is larger than a predetermined level. A vertical acceleration period measuring means measures the magnitude and period of vibration of the output signal of the vertical acceleration detecting means. A first damping force and spring constant holding and setting means estimates a frequency of vibration of the vehicle body from the output signal of the vertical acceleration differential value measuring means, operating on the frequency thus estimated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1992
    Date of Patent: December 27, 1994
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Shigeki Ohtagaki, Kazunori Miura
  • Patent number: 5372215
    Abstract: A driving arrangement for driving a snowmobile having an improved power transmission system that is comprised of a split engine having two cylinder blocks each containing at least a pair of cylinders with their output shafts connected to each other. A belt drive shaft is journaled by the engine assembly and is driven off the output shafts at the point where they are joined together. The belt drive shaft drives the drive belt of the snowmobile through a variable pulley transmission. Several embodiments of driving connections between the output shafts and the belt drive shaft that accommodate angular motion while transmitting large driving forces are disclosed. These include both splined connections and/or connections including flexible couplings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 13, 1994
    Assignee: Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Kazutaka Fukuda
  • Patent number: 5360222
    Abstract: A ridable toy wagon is disclosed. The wagon has a body member that has a first hauling capacity and rotatable wheels attached thereto for movably supporting the body member on a surface. A seat member is pivotally attached to the body member and is pivotal between a first occupant supporting position wherein an opening in the bottom of the body member is exposed and a second position wherein the opening is covered and the body member's hauling capacity is increased. An extendable handle is pivotally attached to the body member to enable the wagon to be pulled thereby.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 1993
    Date of Patent: November 1, 1994
    Assignee: Today'Kids, Inc.
    Inventors: Jay M. Bro, Philip M. Baerenwald
  • Patent number: 5356173
    Abstract: A steering wheel unit is provided which includes an air bag module and a steering wheel having a metal core, and in which the rigidity of the posterior spoke portions is not reinforced because the module is fastened to the anterior spoke portions of the core. The steering wheel unit W according to the present invention includes a steering wheel 1 having three or more spokes S, and an air bag module M fastened to the fastening parts 8 of the right and left anterior spoke portions 3s(f) of the core and disposed over the boss B of the wheel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 1992
    Date of Patent: October 18, 1994
    Assignee: Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Suzuaki Hongou, Shinichi Goto
  • Patent number: 5354089
    Abstract: The mobile carrier for an augmentative communication device of the present invention encompasses an apparatus enabling the carried augmentative communication device and carrier to be pushed or pulled to accommodate users preference for walking and their disability. The handle of the carrier is adjustable, to accommodate different people of different heights, as well as to adapt to individual needs of users depending upon the severity of their handicap, and the carrier is foldable to a cane configuration for instances where there is insufficient space to allow the carrier to be used in its rolling configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 1993
    Date of Patent: October 11, 1994
    Inventors: Thomas M. Sohrt, Carrie A. Sohrt, James E. Holliday
  • Patent number: 5351981
    Abstract: The present invention is directed to a kickstand attachment which provides a substantially increased weight bearing surface area. The present invention permits the bicycle to remain in an upright position on soft surfaces or on a particulate surface without the kickstand penetrating the surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 1993
    Date of Patent: October 4, 1994
    Assignee: Janko U.S.A.
    Inventor: Jan B. Thomas
  • Patent number: 5350186
    Abstract: A towline apparatus adapted to be used with a square tubular receiver mounted to a frame of a towing vehicle consisting of a housing which contains a flat coiled spring surrounding a rotatable shaft with the shaft also supporting a flexible, extendable strap which is always in a tensioned position and which can be pulled out of the housing and be attached to an object to be towed. Also, automatic stop means are provided and a locking pin if desired and may also include a hinge in the connection member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 1992
    Date of Patent: September 27, 1994
    Inventors: Harold L. Hull, Dick Hammer, C. Park Bechdolt