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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1603777 19.01.2006
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001603777
Titel VORRICHTUNG ZUR ÜBERWACHUNG VON AIRBAGENTFALTUNG
Anmelder KEY SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC., Sterling Heights, Mich., US
Erfinder HUSBY, S., Harald, Lakeland, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, RO, SE, SI
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 17.12.2003
EP-Aktenzeichen 037970316
WO-Anmeldetag 17.12.2003
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/US03/40009
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0004094202
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 04.11.2004
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 14.12.2005
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 19.01.2006
IPC-Hauptklasse B60R 21/32(2000.01)A, F, I, ,  ,  ,   

Beschreibung[en]

The present invention relates to airbag sensors that monitor the deployment sequence of an airbag with a tape that is pulled out of a cartridge by an end of the tape which is attached to the inside surface of the airbag.

Various systems have been developed to detect an "out of position" vehicle occupant. Sensor systems designed to detect the vehicle occupant's position often require constant monitoring so that in the event of a crash the vehicle occupant's position is known.

A sensor taught in EP 0990567A1 employs a plurality of tapes that extend between the front of an airbag and a tape dispensing cartridge mounted on an airbag housing. Tape extraction sensors within the cartridge monitor the rate at which tape is withdrawn from the cartridge and thus can detect airbag impact with a vehicle occupant by a decrease in airbag velocity. Improvements are needed to the known tape cartridges to facilitate installing the cartridges in an airbag module without allowing the tape to be prematurely drawn out of the cartridge.

US 6 129 379 A discloses a device according to the preamble of claim 1.

The airbag deployment sensor of the present invention has a cartridge which stores a quantity of tape that is drawn out of the cartridge during airbag deployment by one end of the tape which is attached to the inside surface of the airbag. In order to facilitate assembly of the cartridge into an airbag system, the cartridge is designed with a means for preventing tape from being prematurely extracted from the cartridge during the assembly process. The cartridge is used in combination with a mounting bracket designed to assure that the tape is free to be extracted from the cartridge once the cartridge is mounted to the bracket. A first embodiment employs a screw or key, which biases a brake member within the cartridge against the tape to prevent it from being extracted. The first embodiment can be used with a mounting bracket that will not allow the cartridge to be mounted so long as the screw or key, which functions to lock the tape within the cartridge, is in its locking position. A second approach is to use a spring biased locking member that biases a brake member within the cartridge against the tape to prevent the tape from being extracted. The second embodiment is used in conjunction with a mounting structure which engages the locking member so as to release the locking member, rendering it inoperative when the cartridge is installed to the mounting structure. A third approach employs the same principle as the first approach but is used with a cartridge that contains a spool on which the tape is wound. A key locks the spool against rotation so preventing tape from being prematurely drawn from the cartridge. Again the cartridge can be used with a mounting structure or bracket which prevents the cartridge from being mounted if the key is in the locking position. A fourth approach, which is similar to the second approach, uses a spring biased member that is biased to a position which prevents a spool from rotating. When the cartridge is installed the mounting structure compresses the biasing spring so that the spring no longer prevents rotation of the spool.

Brief Description of the Drawings

  • FIG. 1 is a schematic cross sectional view of an undeployed airbag showing the arrangement of a tape cartridge according to the present invention and its mounting bracket.
  • FIG. 2 is an exploded isometric view of the tape dispensing cartridge.
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a locking mechanism of an alternative embodiment tape dispensing cartridge according to the present invention, shown with the tape locked in position.
  • FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the locking mechanism of FIG. 3 mounted to a bracket such that tape can be withdrawn from the tape dispensing cartridge.
  • FIG. 5 is an exploded isometric view of tape dispensing cartridge of FIG. 3
  • FIG. 6 is a top plan view, partially cut away in section of a further alternative embodiment of the tape dispensing cartridge of this invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a side elevational cross-sectional view of the tape dispensing cartridge of FIG. 6 taken along section line 7-7
  • FIG. 7A is a side elevational cross-sectional view of the tape dispensing cartridge of FIG. 7 shown installed on a bracket.
  • FIG. 8 is an exploded isometric cross-sectional view, partially cut away in section of yet another tape dispensing cartridge of this invention, wherein a tape spool is locked against rotation.
  • FIG. 9 is an isometric cross-sectional view of the tape dispensing cartridge of FIG. 8 wherein the tape spool is free to rotate.

Detailed Description of the Invention

Referring to FIGS. 1-9 wherein like numbers refer to similar parts, an airbag module 20 is shown in FIG. 1. The airbag module 20 has a folded airbag 22 mounted to the airbag housing 24, and an inflator 26 for causing inflation of the airbag. The inflator 26 incorporates a pressure relief valve formed by an actuator 28 and a connected flap 29 which allows the inflation of the airbag 22 to be terminated in response to information provided by airbag deployment sensor cartridges 30. Each deployment cartridge 30 contains a quantity of tape 32. A first end 34 of the tape 32 is attached to the inside surface 36 of the airbag 22 during assembly of the airbag module 20. The tape cartridge 30 is then mounted to a bracket 38, as shown in FIG. 2.

To prevent the tape 32 from being pulled out of the cartridge 30 during assembly, a threaded key 40 which forms a selectively engageable structure, extends through a first wall 41 of the body 42 of the cartridge 30 to bias a braking member 44 against a braking surface 46, to thereby clamp the tape 32 against movement. The bracket 38 has a protruding flange 48 which projects perpendicularly to the mounting plate 39 of the bracket. The flange 48 extends generally parallel to the cartridge first wall 41. The first wall 41 lies adjacent the flange 48, mounting holes 50 in the bracket mounting plate 39 are in alignment with mounting holes 52 in the cartridge 30. The presence of the key 40, protruding from the first wall towards the bracket flange 48, prevents the cartridge 30 from being positioned so that mounting holes 50 on the bracket 38 line up with the mounting holes 52 of the cartridge 30. Thus the key 40 prevents tape from being extracted during the assembly process and the bracket 38 and attached flange 48 prevent the key 40 from being inadvertently left in place after assembly. If the key were to remain in place in the assembled the cartridge would not allow tape 32 to be extracted from the cartridge when the airbag 22 is deployed. With the key 40 removed, the first wall 41 may be brought up against the flange 48, and the cartridge properly mounted to the bracket 38. For clarity in illustration the cover of the cartridge 30 is not shown.

An alternative tape cartridge 54, shown in FIGS. 3-5, is similar to the cartridge 30, except that a different mechanism is employed to prevent inadvertent locking of the tape when installed in an airbag system. The cartridge 54 has a braking member 56 that travels within a slot 57 and in use is urged by a spring 76 towards the tape 32 to engage the tape against a braking surface 58 of the cartridge. The braking member 56 has a central opening 59 that receives a cam 60 therethrough.

Prior to assembly, the braking member 56 is held biased against the tape 32 and the braking surface 58 by the cam 60. The cam 60 that forms a selectively engageable structure, may be a plastic element that travels perpendicular to the motion of the braking member within a recess 61 formed in the slot 57. The cam 60 is biased upwardly towards the braking member 56 by a spring 62 positioned within the recess 61. The cam 60 has an upwardly facing inclined cam surface 64 which engages a complementary downwardly facing inclined surface 66 on the braking member 56. When the cam 60 is urged upwardly by the spring 62, the tape 32 is clamped between the braking member 56 and the braking surface 58.

The cam 60 has an upwardly extending post 68 that protrudes through the opening 59 in the braking member 56. The cartridge 54 has a cover 72 with a small opening 70 therein which overlies the cam 60 and through which the cam post 68 protrudes. As shown in FIG. 4, when the cartridge 54 is assembled to a mounting bracket 74, the post 68 is depressed downwardly which causes the cam surface 64 to disengage from the complementary surface 66 on the braking member.

When the cam 60 is disengaged, the braking member 56 may then move within the slot 57, with only the force of the brake spring 76 urging the braking member 56 against the tape 32. In accordance with the principal of an inclined plane, the angle of the cam surface 64 with respect to the direction of the locking force supplied by the spring 62 is such as to provide mechanical advantage providing several times the locking force against the tape 32 compared to the strength of the spring 62.

When the tape cartridge 54 is mounted to the mounting bracket 74, the mounting bracket depresses the cam post 68 and causes the cam 60, which serves as a locking means during transit, to disengage without removing the cam from the tape cartridge 54. With the cam 60 disengaged, the tape 32 can be withdrawn from the cartridge 54 when the airbag 22 is deployed. The tape 32 may be marked with dark bands 78 so a sensor 80 and a light source 82 can be used to detect the rate at which tape 32 is withdrawn from the cartridge 54.

Another alternative tape cartridge 84 configuration is shown in FIGS. 6-7A. The tape cartridge 84 has a body 86 and a cover 88. A spool 90 is located within the body 86, and a quantity of tape 32 is wound around the spool. A shaft 92 protrudes from the spool 90, and the spool rotates about the shaft. The shaft 92 is held for rotation in a first bearing 94 formed by portions of the body 86 and a second bearing 96 formed by portions of the cover 88. Portions 98 of the shaft 92 extend upwardly through an opening 100 in the cover 88. The upwardly extending portions 98 form a hexagonal socket 102. A wrench (not shown) can be placed in the socket 102 to rewind tape 32 onto the spool 90. A locking key 104 that forms a selectively engageable structure has portion 106 which engage the hexagonal socket 102. The locking key has a square flange 108 that sits in a complementary square depression 110 on an outer portion of the cover 88. The locking key 104 interfits with the square depression 110 and the hexagonal slot 102 which locks the spool 90 against rotation with respect to the square depression 110 and thus the cover 88 and the body 86 of the tape cartridge 84. A mounting flange 112 to which the cartridge 84 is mounted by screws 114 interferes with a protruding portion 116 of the key 104 as shown in FIG. 7 and thus the cartridge 84 cannot be mounted to the flange 112, as shown in FIG. 7A, while the key 104 is in place.

A further alternative tape cartridge 118 is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The tape cartridge 118 contains a spool 120 about which a quantity of tape 32 is wrapped. The spool 120 has a central shaft 122 which has lower bearing portions 124 which engage lower bearing portions 126 on the housing 128 of the cartridge 118. The spool 120 has upper bearing portions 130 that engage upper bearing portions 132 of the housing 128.

A stub shaft extends from the upper bearing portions 130 that terminates in a square key 136. A wave spring 138 with a complementary square hole 140 is positioned so that in its relaxed position the square hole 140 in the spring is positioned about the square key 136 of the stub shaft 134. The spring 138 is held in a depression 139 in the upper surface of the housing 128 by tabs 141 that allow some movement of the spring 138 in the depression 139.

The complementary square hole 140 in the spring 138 prevents the rotation of the square key 136 and thereby prevents the rotation of the central shaft 122 and the spool 120 on which the tape 32 is wrapped. When the tape cartridge 118 is mounted to a mounting bracket 142, however, a central hole 144 in the mounting bracket sits over the square key 136 which terminates the stub shaft 134. The central hole 144 is sufficiently large so that the square key 136 may freely rotate within the central hole 144. When the bracket 142 is in place, portions 146 of the bracket, spaced from the central hole 144, compress the wave spring 138 and thereby push the complementary hole 140 in the spring downwardly away from the square key 136 to be positioned about the smaller circular stub shaft 134. Thus, when the tape cartridge 118 is installed on the bracket 142, the wave spring 138 that forms a selectively engageable structure is compressed so as to allow free rotation of the spool 120 about the central shaft 122.

It should be understood that the invention is not limited to the particular mechanisms illustrated and described, but is directed broadly to the use of a removable key which, when the key is installed, blocks the extraction of tape from the tape cartridge. Additional advantage is achieved if the removable key is used with a bracket which prevents the key from being inadvertently left installed when the tape cartridge is in its final installed position on the bracket. Alternatively the invention is directed to a key which locks a tape cartridge against the withdrawal of tape, but is not removable but rather can be moved to a non-blocking position. Again, a mounting bracket may be used with the tape cartridge to assure that the key is in the non-blocking position when the tape cartridge is installed in its final location.

It should be understood that when a tape is described, the tape could be a plastic film, a metal strip, a woven material, a monofilament line, or a string composed of several fibers or filaments. Generally, tape should be understood to refer to any material connection between the inside surface of the airbag and a cartridge containing a sensor for detecting the rate at which the tape is withdrawn from the cartridge.


Anspruch[de]
Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung, die aufweist: einen Einsatz (30), die ein Band (32) enthält, das innerhalb des Einsatzes gespeichert wird; einen Airbag (22), wobei das Band (32) ein erstes Ende (34) aufweist, das am Airbag befestigt ist, so dass die Entfaltung des Airbags (22) Band von dem innerhalb des Einsatzes (30) gespeicherten Band (32) herauszieht; eine selektiv eingreifbare Struktur (40; 104; 136), die an dem Einsatz (30) befestigt ist, wobei die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur das Herausziehen des Bandes in einer ersten Position verhindert und das Herausziehen des Bandes in einer zweiten Position gestattet; und gekennzeichnet durch: eine Montagehalterung (74; 142), an der der Einsatz (30) erst montiert werden kann, wenn die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur (40; 104; 136) in der zweiten Position ist. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 1, bei der die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur ein Schlüssel (40; 104; 136) ist, der aus dem Einsatz (30) vorsteht, und der mittels Gewindegängen an dem Einsatz befestigt wird, um ein Bremselement gegen einen Abschnitt des Bandes (32) vorzuspannen, um das Herausziehen des Bandes zu verhindern, und bei der, wenn sich der Schlüssel in der zweiten Position befindet, er von dem Einsatz (30) getrennt ist. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 2, bei der die Montagehalterung (74; 142) einen Abschnitt aufweist, der mit dem Einsatz (30) in Eingriff kommt, wo der Schlüssel (40; 104; 136) vorsteht, so dass der Einsatz nicht an der Halterung montiert werden kann, wenn der Schlüssel vorsteht. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 1, bei der die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur mittels einer Feder in die erste Position vorgespannt wird und außerdem ein vorstehendes Element aufweist, das niedergedrückt werden kann, um zu veranlassen, dass sich die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur in die zweite Position bewegt, und bei der die Montagehalterung (74; 142) einen Abschnitt aufweist, der das vorstehende Element niederdrückt, wenn der Einsatz (30) an der Montagehalterung montiert ist. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 4, bei der die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur Abschnitte aufweist, die einen Nocken definieren, der mit einer komplementären Nockenfläche auf einem Bremselement in der ersten Position in Eingriff kommt, um mit Hebelübersetzung ein Bremselement gegen einen Abschnitt des Bandes (32) vorzuspannen. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 1, bei der das Band (32) innerhalb des Einsatzes (30) um eine Spule gewickelt gespeichert wird, und bei der die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur die Spule mit dem Einsatz in der ersten Position verbindet, um eine Drehung der Spule zu verhindern, um das Herausziehen des Bandes zu verhindern. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 6, bei der die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur aus dem Einsatz (30) vorsteht, wenn sie in der ersten Position ist, so dass der Einsatz nicht an die Montagehalterung (74; 142) montiert werden kann. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 6, bei der die Spule montiert ist, um sich um eine Welle zu drehen, und bei der ein Abschnitt der Welle eine Innenaussparung bereitstellt, die gestattet, dass die Spule gedreht wird, um das Band (32) auf die Spule aufzuwickeln. Vorrichtung zur Überwachung der Airbagentfaltung nach Anspruch 1, bei der die selektiv eingreifbare Struktur eine Feder ist, die sich in der ersten Position mit der Drehung einer Welle behindert, die ein Teil einer Spule bildet, um die das Band (32) gewickelt wird, wobei die Feder in der ersten Position aus dem Einsatz (30) vorsteht und die Feder in der zweiten Position die Drehung der Welle gestattet und nicht aus dem Einsatz vorsteht, so dass der Einsatz mit der Montagehalterung (74; 142) verbunden werden kann.
Anspruch[en]
A device for monitoring airbag deployment comprising: a cartridge (30) containing a tape (32) stored within the cartridge; an airbag (22), the tape (32) having a first end (34) attached to the airbag, such that deployment of the airbag (22) draws tape out of the tape (32) stored within the cartridge (30); a selectively engageable structure (40; 104; 136) fixed to the cartridge (30), the selectively engageable structure preventing tape withdrawal in a first position, and allowing tape withdrawal in a second position; and characterised by: a mounting bracket (74; 142) to which the cartridge (30) can be mounted only when the selectively engageable structure (40; 104; 136) is in the second position. The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 1 wherein the selectively engageable structure is a key (40; 104; 136) that protrudes from the cartridge (30) and which is attached by threads to the cartridge to bias a brake member against a portion of the tape (32) to prevent the tape from being withdrawn, and wherein when the key is in the second position it is separated from the cartridge (30). The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 2 wherein the mounting bracket (74; 142) has a portion which engages the cartridge (30) where the key (40; 104; 136) protrudes so that the cartridge cannot be mounted to the bracket when the key is protruding. The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 1 wherein the selectively engageable structure is biased by a spring to the first position, and further has a protruding member which can be depressed to cause the selectively engageable structure to move to the second position, and wherein the mounting bracket (74; 142) has a portion that depresses the protruding member when the cartridge (30) is mounted to the mounting bracket. The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 4 wherein the selectively engageable structure has portions defining a cam which engages a complementary cam surface on a brake member in the first position to bias with mechanical advantage a brake member against a portion of the tape (32). The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 1 wherein the tape (32) is stored within the cartridge (30) wound about a spool, and wherein the selectively engageable structure connects the spool to the cartridge, in the first position, to prevent rotation of the spool to prevent withdrawal of tape. The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 6 wherein the selectively engageable structure protrudes from the cartridge (30) when it is in the first position, so the cartridge cannot be mounted to the mounting bracket (74; 142). The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 6 wherein the spool is mounted to rotate about a shaft and wherein a portion of the shaft provides a socket that allows the spool to be rotated to wind tape (32) onto the spool. The device for monitoring airbag deployment of claim 1 wherein the selectively engageable structure is a spring which in the first position interferes with rotation of a shaft forming part of a spool about which the tape (32) is wound, the spring in the first position protruding from the cartridge (30) , and the spring in the second position allowing rotation of the shaft, and not protruding from the cartridge so the cartridge may be connected to the mounting bracket (74; 142).
Anspruch[fr]
Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air, comprenant : une cartouche (30) contenant une bande (32) stockée dans la cartouche ; un coussin d'air (22), la bande (32) comportant une première extrémité (34) fixée sur le coussin d'air, de sorte que le déploiement du coussin d'air (22) entraîne l'extraction de la bande (32) stockée dans la cartouche (30) ; une structure à engagement sélectif (40 ; 104 ; 136) fixée sur la cartouche (30), la structure à engagement sélectif empêchant un retrait de la bande dans une première position, et permettant le retrait de la bande dans une deuxième position ; et caractérisé par : une console de montage (74 ; 142) sur laquelle la cartouche (30) peut être montée uniquement lorsque la structure à engagement sélectif (40 ; 104 ; 136) se trouve dans la deuxième position. Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la structure à engagement sélectif est constituée par une clavette (40 ; 104 ; 136) débordant de la cartouche (30) et fixée par des filets sur la cartouche pour pousser un élément de frein contre une partie de la bande (32) pour empêcher un retrait de la bande, et assurant la séparation de la cartouche (30) lorsque la clavette se trouve dans la deuxième position. Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la console de montage (74 ; 142) comporte une partie s'engageant dans la cartouche (30) lorsque la clavette (40 ; 104 ; 136) déborde, de sorte que la cartouche ne peut pas être montée sur la console lorsque la clavette déborde. Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la structure à engagement sélectif est poussée par un ressort vers la première position, et comportant en outre un élément en saillie pouvant être comprimé pour entraîner le déplacement de la structure à engagement sélectif vers la deuxième position, la console de montage (74 ; 112) comportant une partie comprimant l'élément en saillie lorsque la cartouche (30) est montée sur la console de montage. Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 4, dans lequel la structure à engagement sélectif comporte des parties définissant une came s'engageant dans une surface à came complémentaire sur un élément de frein dans la première position, pour pousser par effet de levier un élément de frein contre une partie de la bande (32). Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la bande (32) est stockée dans la cartouche (30) et enroulée autour d'une bobine, la structure à engagement sélectif connectant la bobine à la cartouche, dans la première position, pour empêcher la rotation de la bobine afin d'empêcher le retrait de la bande. Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la structure à engagement sélectif déborde de la cartouche (30) lorsqu'elle se trouve dans la première position, la cartouche ne pouvant ainsi pas être montée sur la console de montage (74 ; 142). Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la bobine est montée de sorte à tourner autour d'un arbre, une partie de l'arbre établissant un manchon permettant la rotation de la bobine pour enrouler la bande (32) sur la bobine. Dispositif de surveillance du déploiement d'un coussin d'air selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la structure à engagement sélectif est constituée par un ressort, empêchant dans la première position la rotation d'une arbre faisant partie d'une bobine autour de laquelle la bande (32) est enroulée, le ressort débordant dans la première position de la cartouche (30) et le ressort permettant dans la deuxième position la rotation de l'arbre et ne débordant pas de la cartouche, de sorte que la cartouche peut être connectée sur la console de montage (74 ; 142).






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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