This invention concerns a board which can be positioned in a means
of transport and equipped with a shock-absorbing safety device.
More specifically, this invention refers to a board, which can be
positioned in a means of transport on wheels, such as a railway coach, and which
is constructed in such a way as to become deformed, absorbing shocks against the
passengers as a result of accidents occurring to the means of transport.
It is known that vehicles designed for the transport of several passengers,
such as, for example, railway coaches, coaches or camper vans, have spaces that
can be occupied by tables or shelves in general which are useful to passengers
for placing objects on them and also for carrying out activities that make their
journey more pleasant and agreeable.
In the majority of cases these tables are the foldaway type, rotating
on a pin or a hinge from a rest position to a position suitable for their use.
Passengers normally sit around the table which usually extends at
right angles to the vehicle's direction of travel, with one of its sides attached
to an inside wall of the means of transport.
This arrangement is particularly advantageous especially if the table
is in correspondence with a window of the vehicle, thus allowing the passengers
a good view outside as well as ensuring good natural lighting of the inside of
the means of transport.
For example FR-A-2548981 describes a group of chairs for means of
transport particularly for motor vehicles. Said group of chairs is furnished with
a table which can be placed inside a means of transport and attached to it by
means of rigid support frame, said table comprising a shock-absorbing element.
Furthermore DE-A-3234828 describes a table for small rooms in which
the top of the table is movable in a horizontal plane allowing to gain space in
said small rooms for example for the sit or the stand up of its users.
One drawback of this kind of tables is that, in the event of a sudden
stop of the vehicle as a result of an accident, the inertial effect felt by the
passengers not wearing seat belts is such as to cause a devastating impact of
the edges of the table against the abdominal area of the occupants of the means
To date various solutions have been proposed which foresee the construction
of tables with very rounded edges and made from materials which are to a certain
extent deformable and able to absorb shock effects.
However, the results of crash-tests carried out on known types of
tables are not particularly reassuring. In all cases, in fact, the maximum admissible
perforation for an abdominal cell (40 millimetres) is exceeded by shocks created
at a speed of 30 km/h.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The aim of this invention is to provide a safety device for a table
or board to be positioned inside a means of transport, capable of ensuring the
safety or the least damage possible for the passengers seated at the table.
This invention also aims to provide a safety device with features
that do not reduce the stability of the table when it is being used.
Another aim of this invention is to provide a safety device that
can be applied to any type of shelf or table which has a rigid frame that can be
attached to one or more walls of the means of transport.
This is achieved by means of a safety device for a table that can
be positioned inside a means of transport and having the features described in
the main claim.
The dependent claims describe advantageous embodiments of the invention.
The safety device according to the present invention comprises a
fixed rigid frame which supports and guides at least one slide which is firmly
constrained to it and designed to support a relatively deformable table, being
housed inside it.
According to an advantageous form of embodiment of the invention
said slide, which presents its longitudinal axis essentially parallel to the direction
of travel of the means of transport inside which the table is positioned, is equipped,
in correspondence with each longitudinal side, with a wedge-shaped element designed,
in the event of a violent impact of the table with another body, to partially
telescope said table.
The table is fitted with a pair of parallel plates, in correspondence
with each slide, positioned at the side of the respective slide and for the majority
of its length in order to guide it in the partial telescoping of said table.
The table can comprise a panel consisting of honeycomb reticular
material which, becoming deformed as a result of a knock against a passenger close
to the table, tends to be telescoped by the slide guided by the plates; in this
way, the safety device ensures excellent absorption of the variation of the amount
of movement, considerably limiting the impulse of the impact force in order to
limit the damage to the passenger.
ILLUSTRATION OF DRAWINGS
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent
on reading the following description of one form of embodiment of the invention,
given as a nonlimiting example, with the help of the enclosed drawings, in which:
DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT
- figure 1 is a plan view of the device according to the invention;
- figure 2 is a partial cross-section view along the line II-II of figure 1;
- figure 3 is a reduced scale side view, of figure 1;
- figure 4 is a cross-section view along the line IV-IV of figure 1;
- figure 5 is an enlarged plan view of a plate; and
- figure 6 is a side view of figure 5.
In the figures, reference sign 10 generally indicates a safety device,
in particular a safety device for a table that can be positioned inside a means
The shelf or table 11 consists of a rigid outer edge 12 (figure 2)
presenting a pair of tabs 13 designed to contain a panel 14 made from material
which is relatively deformable in directions parallel to the surface of the table.
Between the panel 14 and each respective tab 13 is a sheet of metallic
material 15 while the visible outer surface of the table 11 can be coated with
a protective layer 16 for example of plastic laminate such as formica.
With reference to figure 3, it can be seen that in the working position
table 11 is supported by a fixed rigid frame 18 consisting of a peripheral upright
19 which can be attached to the wall of the vehicle, a central upright 20 which
can be rested on the floor of the vehicle, a crosspiece 21, connecting the two
uprights 19 and 20, positioned essentially in correspondence with the longitudinal
axis of the table 11.
Rigid metallic slides 23 with their longitudinal axis essentially
at right angles to that of the table and parallel to the direction of travel of
the vehicle are fixed to the crosspiece 21, for example by means of screws 22
Each slide 23 is housed in a cavity 24, accessible from the underside
of the table 11, in the panel 14 and can comprise, in correspondence with each
longitudinal end 25, a wedge-shaped element 26.
The wedge-shaped element 26 can comprise a triangular or tapered
configuration, for example semi-elliptical.
As can be seen in figure 2, in correspondence with each slide 23,
a pair of plates 27 are fixed, for example by means of rivets 28, to the not-visible
sheet 15 of the table 11.
The plates 27, parallel to each other, are positioned at the sides
of the respective cavity 24 and are laterally adjacent to the slide 23 for a good
part of its length in order to guide it in the partial telescoping of the table
With reference to figures 5 and 6, it can be seen that each plate
comprises a base 29 in which a series of through holes 30 are arranged longitudinally
and equidistant and designed to accept respective rivets 28.
One longitudinal side of each plate 27 comprises a strip 31, protruding
from the base 29, designed to engage against the entry of the cavity 24 while the
base 29 rests against the sheet 15 of the underside of the table 11.
Each longitudinal end of the strip 31 has a bevelled section 32 designed
to facilitate the movement of the slide 23 and prevent sticking.
Each longitudinal edge 12a of the table 11 can comprise an undulating
configuration, albeit on the same plane as panel 14, with convex sections 33 near
the corners of the table and a concave section 34 in the central part of the table
In this way the configuration of table 11 will absorb any shocks
caused by external bodies thanks to the deformability of the central concave section
The surface of the slide 23 which faces towards the exterior of the
panel 14 may comprise a spacer (not shown in the drawings) to prevent direct contact
with the crosspiece 21 of the frame 18.
In accordance with a particularly advantageous embodiment of the
invention, each metallic element of the safety device 10 and the table 11 is made
of aluminium to avoid corrosive phenomena due to different values of the electrochemical
potential which would give rise to galvanic type corrosive phenomena.
According to a preferred form of embodiment, the panel 14 has an
aluminium cell honeycomb conformation with density equal to 82 kg per cubic metre
and cells measuring 6.4 millimetres.
The cell cavity axis is essentially at right angles to the surface
of the table 11 in order to ensure good deformability relative to sliding in directions
on the same plane as the panel 14 together with good compression resistance in
a direction at right angles to the surface of the panel 14.
The metallic sheets 15 can be made of aluminium with a thickness
of one millimetre, while the plastic laminate may be 0.6 millimetres thick.
In overall terms, the panel 14 may, for example, be 20 millimetres
Sudden decelerations and consequent stopping of the vehicle can cause
violent impacts of the abdominal area of the passengers against the longitudinal
edge 12a of the table 11.
As a result of the shock, panel 14 tends to be partially telescoped
by the slides 23 blocked by the frame 18.
The movement of the slides 23 is made easier by the presence of the
respective wedge-shaped elements 26 and guided by the respective plates 27.
Crash tests carried out by the applicant have shown that, thanks
to this invention, a large amount of energy of the impact is absorbed by the deformation
of the panel 14, which gives way as a result of the shock and moves in the same
direction as the passenger, avoiding causing the serious abdominal trauma that
is provoked by the tables of the known type which, although made from materials
that are deformable to a limited degree, are always rigidly fixed to the support
The invention has been described with reference to a preferred form
of embodiment of the same; it is, however, clear that the invention is susceptible
to numerous variations which are included in its aims, within the framework of
By way of example, the invention can be applied to any other type
of table for a means of transport, for example for tables equipped with fold-down
hinges positioned parallel to the longitudinal or the transverse axis of the table.
In such cases, the table 11 comprises, for example, a side edge 17
which can be hinged to a wall of the means of transport so that it can be lifted
to a working position or folded down to a rest position.