US20060225843A1 - Locking end cap for a roller shade - Google Patents

Locking end cap for a roller shade Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060225843A1
US20060225843A1 US11/378,547 US37854706A US2006225843A1 US 20060225843 A1 US20060225843 A1 US 20060225843A1 US 37854706 A US37854706 A US 37854706A US 2006225843 A1 US2006225843 A1 US 2006225843A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
cap
roller
flange
assembly
vehicle
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11/378,547
Inventor
Lawrence Shell
Bryan Busha
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Irvin Automotive Products Inc
Original Assignee
Irvin Automotive Products Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US28257701P priority Critical
Priority to US10/119,221 priority patent/US20020144791A1/en
Application filed by Irvin Automotive Products Inc filed Critical Irvin Automotive Products Inc
Priority to US11/378,547 priority patent/US20060225843A1/en
Assigned to IRVIN AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS, INC. reassignment IRVIN AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BUSHA, BRYAN, SHELL, LAWRENCE
Publication of US20060225843A1 publication Critical patent/US20060225843A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E06DOORS, WINDOWS, SHUTTERS, OR ROLLER BLINDS IN GENERAL; LADDERS
    • E06BFIXED OR MOVABLE CLOSURES FOR OPENINGS IN BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, FENCES OR LIKE ENCLOSURES IN GENERAL, e.g. DOORS, WINDOWS, BLINDS, GATES
    • E06B9/00Screening or protective devices for wall or similar openings, with or without operating or securing mechanisms; Closures of similar construction
    • E06B9/24Screens or other constructions affording protection against light, especially against sunshine; Similar screens for privacy or appearance; Slat blinds
    • E06B9/40Roller blinds
    • E06B9/42Parts or details of roller blinds, e.g. suspension devices, blind boxes
    • E06B9/50Bearings specially adapted therefor

Abstract

An endcap for a vehicle shade roller assembly is provided. The end cap includes a cap body having an end face, the cap body being axially reciprocable among a plurality of positions relative to a shade spindle. A knob is fixed to the endcap and protrudes from the end face, and has at least one flange extending substantially parallel to the cap body end face. The knob is extendible into a vehicle trim panel, thereby positioning the at least one flange adjacent a substantially complementary structure in the trim panel such that an axial rotation of the end cap engages the flange with the substantially complementary structure to secure the endcap and its associated roller shade assembly.

Description

  • This application is a divisional of patent application Ser. No. 10/119,221, filed Apr. 9, 2002 which is a continuation in part of Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/282,577
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates generally to vehicle roller shade assemblies, and more particularly to such an assembly having a locking end cap.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Rollers for security shades for covering rear compartments of SUV's or hatchback vehicles, or for shades for covering automobile windows, or rollers for barrier nets, have long been used in the art. While these rollers are valuable accessories to most consumers, it is often desirable to remove the roller from the vehicle, thus making ease of installation and removal from the vehicle a key feature of the device.
  • Another key criteria with respect to such rollers is their ability to accommodate variations in the build of multiple numbers of a single model vehicle. For example, security shades are typically mounted into brackets between the interior trim panels inside the vehicle. If the distance between the two trim panels varies between cars of the same production by tenths of inches, the roller must still be able to fit between the panels and not rattle back and forth.
  • A preferred approach to holding the roller in place is to utilize end caps at the ends of the rollers, one or both of which are spring loaded. To install the rollers, the end caps are compressed to fit the roller into the brackets, and, when released, the spring or springs in the end caps exert an axially outward force against the brackets on the trim panels, keeping the roller in place. See for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,464,052, issued to the assignee of this application. This spring loaded design also provides a self-centering action, while allowing for easy installation or removal, even with one hand.
  • There have been various attempts to even further secure the roller within the brackets, which have met with relative amounts of success. These devices typically add weight and/or cost to the shade, or limit the advantages of the floating endcaps, or make the shade significantly more difficult to install or remove. For example, one device requires pushing a button to release a lock, which mandates the use of two hands for removal. Another device utilizes a “click-pen” type of locking mechanism, which is also somewhat cumbersome and which detracts from the stabilizing effects of the spring loaded endcaps.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one aspect, the present invention provides an endcap for a vehicle shade roller assembly. The end cap includes a cap body having an exterior surface and an end face substantially perpendicular to the exterior surface. A knob extends from the end face and has a shaft portion and at least one flange extending in a substantially perpendicular direction from the shaft portion. The cap body is engageable with a bracket in a vehicle interior, the bracket having a slot substantially complementary with the at least one flange, and matable therewith by twisting the cap body relative to the bracket, thereby locking the cap body and its associated shade assembly.
  • In another aspect, the present invention provides a locking assembly for a vehicle roller shade. The locking assembly includes a cap body having a continuous exterior lateral surface and an end surface. a locking member protrudes from the end surface, and has a shaft and at least one flange disposed proximate an end of the shaft. The flange extends from the shaft in a direction substantially parallel to the end surface. A bracket is provided, and is attached to a vehicle trim panel, the bracket being adapted to receive the locking member and including a slot that engages the at least one flange in a complementary fashion. The flange is engageable with the slot by axially rotating the cap member relative to the bracket.
  • In yet another aspect, a vehicle roller shade assembly is provided. The roller shade assembly includes a windable shade roller member having an attached flexible shade panel. At least one end cap is provided, and is attached to the roller member. The end cap includes a cap body with a locking knob member extending in an axial direction from an end face, and having at least one flange. The end cap is reciprocable in an axial direction relative to the roller member. A bracket is also provided having a region substantially complementary to the at least one flange. The flange is engageable with the region by inserting the locking knob member into an aperture in the bracket and axially rotating the cap body relative to the bracket.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an assembly drawing of endcaps for a shade roller assembly (not shown) in combination with brackets for mounting the roller assembly into a motor vehicle.
  • FIG. 2 is a detail drawing of an endcap according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an endcap according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an endcap mounted into a bracket according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring to FIG. 3, there is shown a perspective view of an end cap 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. End cap 10 has a slotted face 12, an end face 11, and a locking knob 14 protruding from end face 11. End cap 1 is preferably a hollow plastic body formed by injection molding or some other suitable process, although it should be appreciated that it might instead be formed or stamped metal. In a preferred embodiment, end cap 10 is mounted at one or both ends of a conventional roller shade apparatus (not shown) for use in a vehicle storage compartment. End cap 10 preferably positions and secures the roller shade apparatus for deployment of a flexible shade panel over the vehicle cargo area. The slot 13 in slotted face 12 receives an edge of the flexible shade panel so that the winding and unwinding shade panel can pass therethrough, and allows end cap 10 to be axially compressed without disturbing the shade panel. In a preferred embodiment, end cap 10 is fixed to the roller shade apparatus, yet reciprocable between a retracted and an extended position, being biased by a biasing member (not shown) toward its extended position. It should be appreciated, however, that the biasing member is not critical, and embodiments are contemplated in which end cap 10 is not biased.
  • At the axial outer face of the end cap 10 is the protruding locking knob 14. Locking knob 14 preferably includes a pair of locking flanges 16 that extend outwardly from a shaft 17 of the knob. In a preferred embodiment, the flanges 16 are substantially flat and extend parallel to end face 11, and are positioned on opposite sides of shaft 17. Thus, knob 14 is preferably symmetrical in an end view. Alternative embodiments are contemplated, however, in which knob 14 has flanges positioned at a right angle, and even a version having only a single flange. Referring now in addition to FIG. 4, installation of end cap 10 (and its associated shade roller assembly) begins by securing a first end of the shade roller to a vehicle interior trim panel 18, then compressing the opposite end cap 10 toward the first end. Axial compression of end cap 10 preferably retracts knob 14 to provide the clearance necessary to position the locking knob 14 in a bracket on an opposite trim panel. In a preferred embodiment, an end cap 10 is mounted to each end of the roller shade assembly; however, a single end cap may be used if desired. Where only a single end cap 10 according to the present invention is used, the end of the roller shade assembly without the end cap may be secured to the trim panel by other means, for example with a hook. When the compressed end cap 10 is released, the biasing members (preferably at both ends) urge the end caps outward, extending knob 14 into a substantially complementary aperture in the trim panel. In addition, the outward bias on the end caps centers the roller assembly in the cargo compartment and prevents its shifting or rattling during vehicle operation. Because the end caps are preferably spring loaded, they can move axially automatically to accommodate variations in internal widths among different individual vehicles. In an embodiment without biased end caps, the end caps may be moved manually to fit a particular vehicle interior width.
  • Once the roller is positioned accordingly, i.e. with knob 14 positioned in the aperture in the mounting bracket, the assembly can be rotated to bring the flanges of the locking knob(s) into engagement with substantially mating vertical slots disposed internally in the trim panels (not shown). The engagement of the flanges with the mating slots locks the assembly in place, and prevents dislodging during shade deployment or vehicle operation. In a preferred embodiment, the slots for receipt of the flanges should be dimensioned to receive the flanges with a relatively snug fit, though not so tight as to make engagement and disengagement difficult. The slots might also be configured to have a tapered internal diameter, allowing the flanges to be brought into gradually tightening engagement therein. Although a preferred embodiment contemplates two flanges symmetrically positioned on opposite sides of the knob 14, alternative constructions are contemplated. For instance, rather than employing opposing flanges, a single flange might be used. In this embodiment, a trim panel aperture for receiving knob 14 can be shaped such that it can insertably receive the knob only when the knob and flange are oriented in a particular way. Similarly, flanges positioned on the shaft 17 at right angles to one another could only be inserted into the trim panel aperture if appropriately oriented with respect to the aperture. Stated another way, the trim panel aperture may be fashioned substantially complementary to the flanges. The end cap must be axially rotated to the proper position before initial insertion into the aperture. It should be appreciated that separate bracket members may be mounted to the vehicle trim panels; alternatively, the brackets for receipt of the locking knobs may be formed integrally with the trim panel to enhance the appearance of the vehicle when the roller is not installed. Yet another embodiment is contemplated in which the brackets themselves may be rotated to engage the flanges with their respective slots.
  • Thus, in the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the roller shade assembly having end cap 10 is initially positioned in a vehicle with its slot 13 facing an upward direction, and its flanges 16 extending in a horizontal direction relative to the vehicle trim panel. Once the end caps are axially compressed, and inserted into the trim panel, the entire assembly is preferably rotated approximately ¼ turn, securing the assembly in place, and rotating slot 13 to face a substantially rearward direction in the vehicle. Thenceforth, the shade can be pulled and retracted from the assembly in a conventional manner. Alternatively, installation might proceed by initially positioning the assembly with slot 13 facing a downward direction, then rotating the assembly to bring the slot upward to face a rearward direction in the vehicle. In either of these techniques, an approximately 180° rotation would bring the slots back into alignment with the insertion aperture, and allow disengagement of the knob. Stated another way, there are two possible axial positions of the knob, separated by 180°, at which it may be inserted or removed from the mounting bracket. So long as the flanges are not aligned with the insertion slot, the assembly is secured. Because this configuration allows removal at two separate positions, it is preferred in applications where the roller shade will be frequently installed and removed. In the aforementioned embodiments in which only one insertion orientation of the knob is possible, less flexibility exists in the possible orientation of the knob for installation and removal. Once installed, however, the assembly (and thus the end cap and knob) may be axially rotated with less risk of bringing the knob back into a position at which it can dislodge from the aperture. Similarly, in this embodiment, during normal vehicle operation there is a lesser chance that the shade assembly will inadvertently rotation to an orientation where it will dislodge.
  • The present invention represents a relatively simple design for rapid installation and removal of a conventional roller shade assembly from a vehicle. Additionally, the use of axially movable end caps facilitates application of the assembly to vehicle models having non-uniform interior dimensions. The present description is intended for illustrative purposes only, and should not be construed to limit the breadth of the present invention in any way. Thus, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications might be made to the presently disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Other aspects, features, and advantages will be apparent upon an examination of the attached drawing figures and appended claims.

Claims (11)

1. A locking assembly for a vehicle roller comprising:
a cap body having a lateral surface and an end surface lying in a plane oriented substantially perpendicular to said lateral surface, said lateral surface having a slot therein;
a locking member protruding from said end surface, said locking member having a shaft and at least one flange disposed proximate an end of said shaft opposite said end surface, said flange extending from said shaft in a direction substantially parallel to said end surface;
a bracket adapted to receive said locking member including an aperture for receiving said at least one flange and securely holding said roller in place when said cap body is rotated relative to said bracket.
2. The end cap of claim 1 wherein said locking member has two flanges.
3. The end cap of claim 2 wherein said two flanges are oriented approximately 90° relative to each other.
4. The end cap of claim 2 wherein said two flanges are oriented approximately 180° relative to one another.
5. The end cap of claim 4 wherein said aperture is adapted to receive said locking member in a plurality of radial orientations.
6. A vehicle roller assembly comprising:
a windable roller member with a flexible panel attached thereto;
at least one end cap attached to said roller member, said end cap including a cap body with a locking knob member extending in an axial direction from an end face and having at least one flange extending from an end of said locking knob member, said at least one flange extending in a direction substantially parallel to said end face, said end cap being axially reciprocable relative to said roller member; and
a bracket having an aperture for receiving said at least one flange and securing said flange when said cap body is rotated relative to said bracket.
7. The vehicle roller shade assembly of claim 6 wherein said assembly comprises two end caps, each of said end caps being biased toward an extended position automatically centering said roller member relative to brackets adapted to be secured in an interior of a vehicle.
8. The vehicle roller assembly of claim 7 wherein said brackets are adapted to secure to interior trim panels for a vehicle.
9. The vehicle roller assembly of claim 6 wherein said assembly includes a single flange.
10. The vehicle roller assembly of claim 6 wherein at least a portion of said bracket is rotatable to engage said flange.
11. A mounting assembly for a vehicle roller shade comprising:
a mounting bracket comprising a cavity having a non-continuous interior bearing surface;
an end cap having a slot therein, said end cap adapted to support an end of a windable roller shaft, said end cap having a substantially planar end face and an engagement portion extending from said end face in an axial direction, wherein said engagement portion is insertable past said non-continuous bearing surface;
said engagement portion comprising a spacer and at least one flange extending from an end of said spacer and having an axially inward bearing surface spaced axially outward of said end face and substantially parallel thereto, said bearing surface of said flange engaging said mounting bracket bearing surface.
US11/378,547 2001-04-09 2006-03-18 Locking end cap for a roller shade Abandoned US20060225843A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US28257701P true 2001-04-09 2001-04-09
US10/119,221 US20020144791A1 (en) 2001-04-09 2002-04-09 Locking end cap for roller shade
US11/378,547 US20060225843A1 (en) 2001-04-09 2006-03-18 Locking end cap for a roller shade

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/378,547 US20060225843A1 (en) 2001-04-09 2006-03-18 Locking end cap for a roller shade

Related Parent Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US10/119,221 Division US20020144791A1 (en) 2001-04-09 2002-04-09 Locking end cap for roller shade

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US20060225843A1 true US20060225843A1 (en) 2006-10-12

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US11/378,547 Abandoned US20060225843A1 (en) 2001-04-09 2006-03-18 Locking end cap for a roller shade

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20080163987A1 (en) * 2007-01-10 2008-07-10 Bryan Busha Folding end cap

Families Citing this family (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US8770256B2 (en) * 2005-09-07 2014-07-08 Irvin Automotive Products, Inc. Fixed motor spring shade
US9702188B2 (en) * 2005-09-07 2017-07-11 Irvin Automotive Products, LLC Fixed motor spring shade

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US226453A (en) * 1880-04-13 Car-wheel
US765225A (en) * 1904-03-18 1904-07-19 Louis B Colin Hose-coupling.
US1716285A (en) * 1926-05-06 1929-06-04 Szako John Rolling screen
US1762776A (en) * 1927-12-22 1930-06-10 Charles W Gardner Furniture leg
US2379984A (en) * 1943-07-16 1945-07-10 Wright Aeronautical Corp Simplified drive for cutting tools
US3235219A (en) * 1962-11-07 1966-02-15 United Carr Inc Detachably mountable article support
US3180606A (en) * 1962-12-04 1965-04-27 Byron J Sabin Wedge locking bracket
US4139231A (en) * 1978-05-08 1979-02-13 Irvin Industries Inc. Automobile rear compartment cover
US4220367A (en) * 1979-02-26 1980-09-02 Chrysler Corporation Vehicle removable security curtain
US4215895A (en) * 1979-03-19 1980-08-05 Philips Albert J Safety barrier for recreational vehicle doorway
US4343245A (en) * 1980-06-02 1982-08-10 Edwards Alwilda N Support unit for shelving system
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US5054837A (en) * 1990-03-15 1991-10-08 Chapman Dorothy L Vehicular child divider apparatus
US5105871A (en) * 1990-09-17 1992-04-21 Somfy Tubular motor winding device for blinds, roller shutters or the like
US5437474A (en) * 1993-08-26 1995-08-01 Baumeister + Ostler Gmbh & Co. Safety-net construction, particularly for use in motor vehicles
US5551726A (en) * 1993-10-25 1996-09-03 Baumeister +Ostler Gmbh & Co. Safety net system for a motor vehicle to separate a cargo compartment from a passenger compartment
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US5813449A (en) * 1997-03-19 1998-09-29 Irvin Automotive Products, Inc. Vehicle security shade with telescoping end pieces
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US20030077117A1 (en) * 2000-06-19 2003-04-24 Yasukazu Kanatani Vehicle window glass holder
US20040126183A1 (en) * 2002-12-18 2004-07-01 Bobst Sa Assembly member for flat tools
US20040161295A1 (en) * 2003-01-23 2004-08-19 Thomas & Betts International, Inc. Button fastening device

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20080163987A1 (en) * 2007-01-10 2008-07-10 Bryan Busha Folding end cap
US8672016B2 (en) * 2007-01-10 2014-03-18 Irvin Automotive Products, Inc. Folding end cap

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AS Assignment

Owner name: IRVIN AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS, INC., MICHIGAN

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SHELL, LAWRENCE;BUSHA, BRYAN;REEL/FRAME:017688/0326

Effective date: 20010618

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION