Rear Mounted Vehicle Seat Suspension
A seat suspension system for a vehicle comprising a system frame, an elongated seat bracket having one end pivotably mounted to said system frame and the opposite end adapted to support a seat, and a dampening device attached between said system frame and a location on said seat bracket between said one end and said opposite end thereof.
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The present disclosure relates to suspension systems for vehicle seats, particularly suited for tractors and other off-road equipment.
Certain vehicles, and particularly off-road equipment, often utilize seat suspensions to provide a comfortable ride for the operators of such vehicles. In an effort to reduce the stress and fatigue on the operator and to provide comfort to the operator of such vehicles, suspension systems are employed to reduce vibration and limit vertical acceleration experienced by the operators. These suspension systems must be configured to account for many factors such as the wide range of vibration and movements induced by different terrains, varying operator masses and even the seating position and orientation of the operator. A suspension system that can reduce vibration and vibration acceleration over various terrains for a range of operators is very desirable, particularly where the operator must be seated within the vehicle for long periods of time.
Many of these vehicles have relatively small cabins for housing the operator and operator controls. As such, the seats are often straddle mounted over the transmission of the vehicle. This straddle-mount position limits the space or envelop available for the more typical suspension system located under the seat. Consequently, the suspension system is often rear mounted, that is located behind the seat. A typical behind-the-seat suspension system uses springs attached to the operator seat to soften rebounds and absorb vibration caused by the terrain.
Traditionally, behind-the-seat suspension systems affix one end of one or more springs to a frame and the other end directly to the seat back. The placement of the springs in this manner typically creates a 1:1 ratio between the compression/extension of the spring and the vertical translation of the operator's seat. That is, if the seat moves down an inch, the springs also extend downwardly approximately an inch. Many of these systems also employ a dampening device or shock absorber that also has an approximate 1:1 ratio with the movement of the seat. Seats with a 1:1 ratio between the seat and suspension spring movements tend to have ride performance characteristics that underperform, particularly in certain governmental certification testing programs. Additionally, the springs in such systems tend to undergo significant wear thereby requiring frequent repair and replacement of the suspension components. These problems with prior rear mounted suspension systems are further aggravated as the mass of the vehicle operator increases.
There is a need therefore, for a rear mounted or behind-the-seat suspension system that can accommodate a range of operator masses and that can reduce vibration and vibration acceleration for a wide range of terrains.SUMMARY
In one aspect, a suspension system comprises a system frame and an elongated bracket mounted to the system frame at one end and adapted to support a seat at the opposite end. The suspension system also includes a dampening device attached between the system frame and the bracket at a place on the bracket between the end mounted to the system frame and the opposite end which is adapted to support a seat. In one embodiment, the dampening device includes a shock absorber. In another embodiment, the dampening device may be a spring or multiple springs. In a further embodiment, the dampening device may include both a spring and a shock absorber. In yet another embodiment, the dampening device is attached to the seat bracket at a location that is nearer to the end of the bracket that is mounted to the seat frame than to the opposite end. In one aspect, the suspension system has a suspension rate of approximately 19.3 pounds per inch. In other embodiments, the suspension rate is between 10 and 25 pounds per inch but can also be between 5 and 50 pounds per inch.
The above-described features and advantages, as well as others, will become more readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art by reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings. While it would be desirable to provide a suspension system that includes one or more of these advantageous features, the teachings disclosed herein extend to those embodiments which fall within the scope of the appended claims, regardless of whether they accomplish one or more of the above-mentioned advantages.
For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and described in the following written specification. It is understood that no limitation to the scope of the invention is thereby intended. It is further understood that the present invention includes any alterations and modifications to the illustrated embodiments and includes further applications of the principles of the invention as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains.
One type of seat suspension system according to the present disclosure is shown in
As can be seen in
Referring now to
A shock absorber 42 or other dampening device may also be incorporated in the suspension system described in this disclosure. One end 42a of the shock absorber can be mounted to the center of the mounting rod while the opposite end 42b is mounted to a damper mount 44 that is fastened to the upper frame 16. Unlike the spring carrier, the damper mount 44 is at a fixed vertical location on the upper frame. The ends 42a, 42b of the shock absorber are pivotably mounted at each end to accommodate rotation. The damper is used to help provide comfort to the operator by diminishing vibration and vibration acceleration. In this disclosure the shock absorber is passive in nature, but other types of shock absorbers are contemplated including active and semi-active.
A seat pivot rod 46 is fastened to the free end of the lever bracket 38 distal from the pivot rod 40. The seat pivot rod is configured to be rotatably fastened to the seat frame 48 as seen in
Referring now to
As an operator prepares to utilize the seat suspension system, the knob 34 will be turned to preload the springs 30, 32 according to the operators mass. If the operator is heavier in nature, the springs will be stretched and preloaded. As an operator sits on the seat bottom 51, a downward force is exerted on the seat bottom 51. The initial extension/contraction of the springs is done to place the seat with the operator seated on it in the middle of the range of travel of the suspension system.
Referring now to
It can be appreciated that since the springs are not mounted directly to the seat frame that this disclosure contemplates a system that decreases the vibration and vibration acceleration experienced by the operator upon turbulence of the vehicle. The employment of a lever bracket and the indirect attachment of the springs to such bracket at a point near the fulcrum of the lever arm reduce the overall translation of the seat during such turbulence.
The foregoing detailed description of one or more embodiments of the suspension system has been presented herein by way of example and not limitation. It will be recognized that there are advantages to certain individual features and functions described herein. Moreover, it will be recognized that various alternatives, modifications, variations, or improvements of the above-disclosed embodiments and other features and functions, or alternatives thereof, may be desirably combined into many other different embodiments, systems or applications. Presently unforeseen or unanticipated alternatives, modifications, variations, or improvements therein may be subsequently made by those skilled in the art which are also intended to be encompassed by the appended claims.
1. A seat suspension system comprising:
- a system frame;
- an elongated seat bracket having one end pivotably mounted to said system frame and the opposite end adapted to support a seat;
- a dampening device connected to said system frame at one end and to the said seat bracket at the other end, wherein the dampening device is attached to the seat bracket between said one end and said opposite end thereof.
2. The suspension system of claim 1, wherein the dampening device is comprised of at least one spring.
3. The suspension system of claim 2, wherein the dampening device is further comprised of at least one shock absorber.
4. The suspension system of claim 1, wherein said dampening device is attached to said seat bracket at a location that is nearer to said one end than to said opposite end.
5. The seat suspension system of claim 4, wherein said dampening device is attached to said seat bracket at such a location that a force ranging between 5 and 50 pounds applied to said opposite end of the seat bracket causes an extension of the dampening device of approximately one inch.
6. The seat suspension system of claim 5, wherein a force between 10 and 25 pounds applied at said opposite end of the seat bracket causes approximately a one-inch extension of the dampening device.
7. The seat suspension system of claim 1, wherein the system frame further includes a channel and wherein a seat frame mounted to said seat bracket is slidably engaged to the system frame using rollers engaged in the channel.
8. The seat suspension system of claim 1, wherein the dampening device further includes a spring carrier, wherein the dampening device is attached to the system frame by the spring carrier and wherein the position of the spring carrier can be adjusted relative to the system frame such that the dampening device can be preloaded to accommodate force applied to the opposite end of the seat bracket.
International Classification: B60N 2/50 (20060101); B60N 2/54 (20060101); B60N 2/52 (20060101);