US20100207443A1 - Vehicle seat cushion with inflatable air bladder - Google Patents

Vehicle seat cushion with inflatable air bladder Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100207443A1
US20100207443A1 US12388650 US38865009A US2010207443A1 US 20100207443 A1 US20100207443 A1 US 20100207443A1 US 12388650 US12388650 US 12388650 US 38865009 A US38865009 A US 38865009A US 2010207443 A1 US2010207443 A1 US 2010207443A1
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Prior art keywords
air
bladder
monolithic
sheet
inflatable
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Abandoned
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US12388650
Inventor
Gregory Brncick
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Faurecia Automotive Seating Inc
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Faurecia Automotive Seating Inc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles
    • B60N2/64Back-rests or cushions
    • B60N2/66Lumbar supports
    • B60N2/665Lumbar supports using inflatable bladders
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles
    • B60N2/68Seat frames
    • B60N2/686Panel like structures
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles
    • B60N2/90Details or parts not otherwise provided for
    • B60N2/914Hydro-pneumatic adjustments of the shape

Abstract

A cushion is adapted to set on a seat pan included in a vehicle seat. The cushion includes an inflatable air bag in, for example, a lumbar-support device.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • The present disclosure relates to a vehicle seat, and particularly to a seat including an expandable and contractable portion. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a vehicle seat including a cushion having a variable shape.
  • SUMMARY
  • According to the present disclosure, a vehicle seat includes an occupant-support base. The occupant-support base could be either a seat bottom or a seat back. The occupant-support base includes a seat pan mounted on a seat-pan support frame and a cushion coupled to the seat pan.
  • In illustrative embodiments, the cushion includes a deformable elastic bed made of an elastomeric material and one or more inflatable air bladders made of the elastomeric material and coupled to the deformable elastic bed. Each inflatable air bladder is formed to include an air chamber and a companion air-intake port opening into the air chamber. An air-inlet conduit is provided for each inflatable air bladder. In some illustrative embodiments, the air-inlet conduit is arranged to extend through a neighboring portion of the deformable elastic bed and into a companion air-intake port to deliver pressurized air into the air chamber associated with that companion air-intake port.
  • In illustrative embodiments, the cushion comprises a monolithic first sheet made of the elastomeric material and formed to include outer portions of the deformable elastic bed and each of the inflatable air bladders and a monolithic second sheet made of the elastic material and formed to include complementary inner portions of the deformable elastic bed and each of the inflatable air bladders. When the monolithic first sheet is mated to the monolithic second sheet, the deformable elastic bed and each of the inflatable air bladders is formed.
  • Additional features of the present disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of illustrative embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the disclosure as presently perceived.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vehicle seat including a seat bottom and a seat back comprising a cushion including a deformable elastic bed surrounding an inflatable air bladder (shown in phantom) that may be inflated by an air pump to expand the size of the inflatable air bladder relative to the deformable elastic bed as suggested in FIGS. 2 and 7 to support the lower back of a person seated on the vehicle seat;
  • FIG. 1 a is an enlarged perspective view of the vehicle seat of FIG. 1 showing (in phantom) diagrammatic illustrations of various inflatable air bladders that can be included in a seat back cushion and a seat bottom cushion in accordance with the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial perspective and diagrammatic view of the seat back of FIG. 1, with portions broken away, showing use of an air pump to inflate the inflatable air bladder to provide a pneumatic two-way lumbar-support system in the cushion, with portions of the deformable elastic bed broken away to reveal an air-inlet conduit coupled to an air-inlet port formed in a right-side edge of the inflatable air bladder;
  • FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective assembly view of the seat back of FIG. 1, showing that the seat back includes, from left to right, a cushion cover, a cushion including a multi-chamber deformable elastic bed formed to include a bladder-receiving cavity containing a single inflatable air bladder and a seat pan configured to couple to a seat-pan support frame and to mate with a pad comprising the cushion and the cushion cover;
  • FIG. 3 a is an exploded perspective assembly view of the cushion of FIG. 3 showing that the cushion includes a monolithic first sheet, a monolithic second sheet, and an air-inlet conduit that is configured to be mounted between the monolithic first and second sheets to provide a passageway for air to travel into the inflatable air bladder formed in the cushion;
  • FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial perspective view similar to FIG. 2 showing that the inflatable air bladder is in a deflated state;
  • FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4, with portions broken away, showing the inflatable air bladder in the deflated state on a portion of the underlying seat pan and showing in phantom lines an outer portion of the inflatable air bladder after it has been inflated as suggested in FIGS. 6 and 7;
  • FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 4, with portions broken away, showing the inflatable air bladder in the inflated state;
  • FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIGS. 1 and 6;
  • FIG. 8 is an enlarged exploded assembly view of the components included in the cushion shown in FIGS. 2-7 showing a monolithic first sheet made of an elastomeric material separated from a companion monolithic second sheet made of the elastomeric material before the two sheets are moved toward one another along the illustrated dotted lines to mate and join together to form the cushion shown in FIG. 3;
  • FIGS. 9-11 are a series of sectional views showing three illustrative embodiments of a cushion in accordance with the present disclosure wherein the cushion is formed to include an inflatable air bladder and is coupled to a seat pan in a vehicle seat;
  • FIG. 9 is a sectional view of a cushion in accordance with a first embodiment, as suggested in FIGS. 1-7, showing the use of two sheets that are joined together to form the cushion and showing that an inflatable air bladder is formed when the monolithic first and second sheets are joined together as shown in FIG. 8;
  • FIG. 9 a is a sectional view of another illustrative cushion that is similar to the cushion shown in FIG. 9 except that one of the sheets included in the cushion is formed to include an air-intake port (for an air-inlet conduit) that is arranged to communicate with an air chamber formed in the cushion and to extend downwardly through an aperture formed in the seat pan supporting the cushion;
  • FIG. 9 b is a view similar to FIG. 8 showing the two sheets that cooperate to form the cushion shown in section in FIG. 9 a;
  • FIG. 10 is a sectional view of a cushion in accordance with a second embodiment of the present disclosure showing the cushion resting on an underlying seat pan and showing that the cushion includes, from top to bottom, a flat first sheet, a second sheet formed to include a shell that cooperates with the flat first sheet to form an inflatable air bladder therebetween, and a third sheet formed to include multiple spaced-apart domes;
  • FIG. 10 a is a sectional view of another illustrative cushion that is similar to the cushion shown in FIG. 10 except that a first of the two sheets included in the cushion is formed to include an air-intake port (for an air-inlet conduit) that is arranged to communicate with an air chamber formed in the cushion and to extend downwardly through an aperture formed in a second of the two sheets included in the cushion and through an aperture in the seat pan supporting the cushion;
  • FIG. 11 is a sectional view of a cushion in accordance with a third embodiment of the present disclosure showing the cushion resting on an underlying seat pan and showing that the cushion includes, from top to bottom, a first sheet formed to include multiple spaced-apart domes, a second sheet formed to include a shell, and a flat third sheet that cooperates with the shell in the second sheet to form an inflatable air bladder therebetween;
  • FIG. 11 a is a sectional view of another illustrative cushion that is similar to the cushion shown in FIG. 11 except that a third sheet placed on the seat pan is formed to include an air-intake port (for an air-inlet conduit) that is arranged to communicate with an air chamber formed in the cushion and to extend downwardly through an aperture formed in the seat pan;
  • FIG. 12 is a partial perspective and diagrammatic view, with portions broken away, of a cushion made in accordance with another embodiment of the present disclosure to be included in a seat back of a vehicle seat and showing that the cushion includes a deformable elastic bed formed to include a bladder-receiving cavity containing three separate inflatable air bladders and that each inflatable air bladder is formed to include an air chamber coupled to a manifold by a companion air-inlet conduit and suggesting that the three inflatable air bladders cooperate to form a pneumatic four-way lumbar-support system in the bladder-receiving cavity formed in the deformable elastic bed;
  • FIG. 13 is an exploded perspective assembly view of the components included in the cushion of FIG. 12 showing three air-inlet conduits and a monolithic first sheet made of an elastomeric material separated from a monolithic second sheet made of the elastomeric material before the two sheets are moved toward one another along the illustrated dotted lines to mate and join together to form the cushion provided with three separate inflatable air bladders shown in FIG. 12;
  • FIG. 14 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 14-14 of FIG. 12 when the first (lower), second (middle), and third (upper) air bladders are arranged in overlapping shingled relation one to another and each of the air bladders is in a deflated state;
  • FIG. 15 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 14 showing each of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders in an inflated state;
  • FIG. 16 is a sectional view similar to FIGS. 14 and 15 showing the second inflatable air bladder in an inflated state and each of the first and third inflatable air bladders in a deflated state;
  • FIG. 17 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of a cushion in accordance with the present disclosure showing that the cushion includes an inflatable air bladder formed by joining two sheets together and showing that an air-inlet conduit extends through an edge of the cushion into an air chamber formed within the inflatable air bladder;
  • FIG. 18 is an enlarged perspective view of the air-inlet conduit of FIG. 17 showing that the air-inlet conduit includes a football-shaped mount flange, an inner air-conducting tube appended to the football-shaped mount flange and arranged to extend into the inflatable air bladder, an outer air-conducting tube appended to the football-shaped mount flange and arranged to extend away from the inflatable air bladder, an air-conducting passageway defined by the inner and outer air-conducting tubes and configured to allow air to communicate with the inflatable air bladder, and a series of hose-retention barbs appended to the outer air-conducting tube;
  • FIG. 19 is an enlarged partial sectional view taken about line 19-19 of FIG. 17 showing the first and second sheets joined together to form the inflatable air bladder; and
  • FIG. 20 is an enlarged partial sectional view taken about line 20-20 of FIG. 17 showing that the first sheet has been joined to the top surface of the football-shaped flange and the second sheet has joined to the bottom surface of the football-shaped flange thereby coupling the air-inlet conduit between the first and second sheets.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • A vehicle seat 10 includes one occupant-support base 11 configured to provide a seat bottom and another occupant-support base 12 configured to provide a seat back arranged to extend upwardly from the seat bottom as shown in FIG. 1. In an illustrative embodiment, seat back 12 includes a cushion 14 including a deformable elastic bed 16 made of an elastomeric material and an adjustable single-bladder pneumatic passenger-support module 18 made of the same elastomeric material as suggested in FIGS. 1 and 3. Illustrative single-bladder designs are shown in FIGS. 9-11.
  • Although pneumatic passenger-support module 18 is configured to provide a two-way lumbar-support system in seat back 12 in FIGS. 2-11, such a module 18 could be deployed in other suitable locations in seat bottom 11 and seat back 12 to provide comfort adjustment options to a seat passenger as suggested in FIG. 1 a. It is also within the scope of this disclosure to provide an adjustable multi-bladder pneumatic passenger-support module 418 made of the same elastomeric material as a surrounding deformable elastic bed 416 as suggested in FIGS. 12-16 to provide, for example, a four-way lumbar-support system as shown.
  • Deformable elastic bed 16 and the single inflatable air bladder included in pneumatic passenger-support module 18 are made of the same elastomeric material in accordance with the present disclosure. In illustrative embodiments, an elastomeric material such as a thermoplastics polyurethane (TPU) material is used. Deformable elastic bed 16 is configured to support a portion of an occupant seated on cushion 14 in seat back 12. Inflatable air bladder 18 can be inflated using pressurized air to expand outwardly in outward directions 19 from a deflated state shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 to an inflated state shown in FIGS. 2, 6, and 7 to provide adjustable lumbar support for a passenger seated in vehicle seat 10.
  • Single or multiple inflatable air bladders located elsewhere in vehicle seat 10 can be used to provide adjustable support for other portions of a passenger seated in vehicle seat 10 as suggested in FIG. 1 a. Vehicle seat 10 can be configured to contain one or more of pneumatic modules 101-107 as suggested in FIG. 1 a and described herein. Upper back module 101 is configured to inflate and deflate to provide upper back support and could be linked to lumbar-support module 18 for air transfer in accordance with the present disclosure. Left and right backrest bolster modules 102, 103 could be inflated and deflated simultaneously for increased lateral support or could be regulated independently for dynamic bolstering in accordance with the present disclosure. Lower back module 104 is inflatable and deflatable to provide pelvis and lower lumbar support when slouching. Left and right bolsters 105, 106 could be inflated and deflated simultaneously for increased lateral support or could be regulated independently for dynamic bolstering in accordance with the present disclosure. Thigh extension module 107 could be inflated and deflated to adjust the amount of thigh support in accordance with the present disclosure. Left and right inserts could be inflated continuously (and deflated as needed) to adjust pelvic angle subtly, allowing better blood flow over long trips.
  • Seat back 12 includes a cushion cover 20, cushion 14, and a seat pan 22 in an illustrative embodiment as shown, for example, in FIG. 3 and suggested in FIGS. 2 and 4-7. A seat-pan support frame 24 can also be included in vehicle seat 10 to support a seat pan included in seat back 12 or seat bottom 11 as suggested in FIGS. 1 and 3. Cushion 14 is anchored to underlying seat pan 22 using any suitable means and cushion cover 20 is coupled to cushion 14 and/or seat pan 22 using any suitable means and arranged to cover deformable elastic bed 16 and inflatable air bladder 18 as suggested in FIGS. 1-3.
  • In use, a pump controller 24 is used by a vehicle passenger to actuate a source of pressurized air such as pump 26 to generate a stream 28 of pressurized air that is conducted through a hose 30 and then through an air-inlet conduit 34 into an air chamber 36 formed in inflatable air bladder 18 as suggested in FIG. 2. This causes inflatable air bladder 18 to expand outwardly and assume its inflated state as suggested in FIGS. 2, 6, and 7. It is within the scope of the present disclosure to use any suitable inflation system to inflate and deflate inflatable air bladder 18.
  • As suggested in FIGS. 3 a and 8, cushion 14 comprises a monolithic first sheet 31 made of an elastomeric material such as TPU and a monolithic second sheet 32 made of the same elastomeric material. These sheets 31, 32 are mated as suggested in FIGS. 3 a and 8 to form deformable elastic bed 16 and inflatable air bladder 18 shown in FIG. 3. Deformable elastic bed 16 is formed to include a bladder-receiving cavity 15 and inflatable air bladder 18 is arranged to lie in bladder-receiving cavity 15 as suggested in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5.
  • Monolithic first sheet 31 includes a first web 41 that is configured to form an outer portion of deformable elastic bed 16 and a first shell 51 that is configured to form an outer portion of inflatable air bladder 18 as suggested in FIG. 8. Similarly, monolithic second sheet 32 includes a second web 42 that is configured to form an inner portion of deformable elastic bed 16 and a second shell 52 that is configured to form an inner portion of inflatable air bladder 18 as also suggested in FIG. 8.
  • First shell 51 is formed to include a first basin 61 and second shell 52 is formed to include a second basin 62 opening toward first basin 61 a suggested in FIGS. 4-8. First and second shells 51, 52 are sealingly coupled to one another to cause first and second basins 61, 62 to communicate with one another to form air chamber 36 between first and second shells 51, 52 as suggested in FIGS. 5, 7, and 9.
  • Inflatable air bladder 18 is also formed to include an air-intake port 44 opening into air chamber 36 and mating with air-inlet conduit 34 as suggested in FIGS. 5 and 7. First and second shells 51, 52 mate with one another along a shell interface 53 and cooperate to form first air-intake port 44 therebetween along shell interface 53. First shell 51 includes a continuous sealing edge 51 s interrupted by a port-forming edge 51 pf as shown in FIG. 8. Similarly, second shell 52 includes a continuous sealing edge 52s interrupted by a port-forming edge 52 pf as shown in FIG. 8. When monolithic first sheet 31 is mated to monolithic second sheet 32, sealing edge 51 s of first shell 51 is sealingly coupled to sealing edge 52 s of second shell 52 to form air chamber 36 and port-forming edge 51 pf of first shell 51 is arranged to lie in stationary confronting relation to port-forming edge 52 pf of second shell 52 to form air-intake port 44 therebetween as suggested in FIGS. 4 and 5.
  • Air-inlet conduit 34 is arranged to extend into first air-intake port 44 and formed to include a passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source 26 of pressurized air into air chamber 36 to change the inflatable air bladder 18 from the deflated state shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 to the inflated state shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. In an illustrative embodiment, air-inlet conduit 34 is arranged to extend away from inflatable air bladder 18 and through a portion 16 p of deformable elastic bed 16 as suggested in FIGS. 4 and 5.
  • First web 41 of monolithic first sheet 31 includes a first plate 71 and a series of spaced-apart downwardly projecting domes 72. Each downwardly projecting dome 72 has a first base 73 coupled to first plate 71 and a first tip 74 coupled to first base 73 and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to first plate 71. As suggested in FIG. 8, domes 72 can be formed to have any suitable shape and frustoconical and frustopyramidal shapes are shown, for example.
  • Second web 42 of monolithic second sheet 32 includes a second plate 81 arranged to mate with first plate 71 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 and a series of spaced-apart upwardly projecting domes 82 as shown best in FIG. 8. Each upwardly projecting dome 82 has a second base 83 coupled to second plate 81 and a second tip 84 coupled to second base 83 and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to second plate 81. As suggested in FIG. 8, domes 82 can be formed to have any suitable shape and frustoconical and frustopyramidal shapes are shown, for example. Second tip 84 is coupled to first tip 74 to cause each companion pair of mating downwardly and upwardly projecting domes 72, 82 to form a resilient deformable post 43 included in deformable elastic bed 16 and arranged to extend between first and second plates 71, 81 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 4 and 6.
  • Once monolithic first and second sheets 31, 32 are formed of an elastomeric material and mated (e.g., joined and welded) during a cushion-manufacturing process, an inflatable air bladder 18 is formed in a bladder-receiving cavity 15 formed in deformable elastic bed 16. It is within the scope of this disclosure to locate bladder-receiving cavity 15 in an interior region of deformable elastic bed 16 so that inflatable air bladder 18 is surrounded on all sides by portions of deformable elastic bed 16. It is also within the scope of this disclosure to form a bladder-receiving cavity along a perimeter edge of a cushion so that the companion inflatable air bladder is surrounded partly by portions of the companion deformable elastic bed.
  • As suggested in FIGS. 9 a and 9 b, cushion 14 can be varied slightly to produce a cushion 14′ having an elongated downwardly extending air-inlet port 44′ formed in second sheet 32′. Air-inlet port 44′ replaces air-inlet port 44 shown, for example, in FIGS. 6 and 7. Air-inlet port 44′ is formed to include a passageway 44′P opening into air chamber 36 and receiving air-inlet conduit 34. Air-inlet port 44′ is formed in second shell 52′ and arranged to extend downwardly away from first shell 51 and air chamber 36 through an aperture 22′A formed in seat pan 22′ as suggested in FIG. 9 a. Cushion 14′ is included in occupant-support base 12′.
  • Alternative adjustable single-bladder pneumatic passenger-support modules 218, 318 within the scope of the present disclosure are shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. Module 218 is included in cushion 214 and module 318 is included in cushion 314.
  • As suggested in FIG. 10, a seat pan 22 is arranged to underlie and support cushion 214 to produce an occupant-support base 212. Cushion 214 includes a monolithic first sheet 231, a monolithic second sheet 232, and a third (auxiliary) sheet 233. First and second sheets 231, 232 cooperate to form a deformable elastic bed 216. First and third sheets 231, 233 cooperate to form inflatable air bladder 218.
  • Inflatable air bladder 218 includes a shell 251 formed to include a basin 261 that is arranged to open toward overlying third sheet 233. When third sheet 233 is sealingly mated to first sheet 231 as suggested in FIG. 10, basin 261 is closed to form an air chamber 236. Pressurized air can be supplied to air chamber 236 to inflate inflatable air bladder 218 and move a basin cover 235 of third sheet 233 outwardly in outward direction 219 relative to seat pan 22. In the illustrated embodiment, second sheet 232 is formed to include a series of domes 237 arranged to lie between and act against each of seat pan 22 and shell 251 of first sheet 231 to support shell 251 during outward movement of basin cover 235 away from shell 251 as inflatable air bladder 218 is inflated.
  • Deformable elastic bed 216 includes a first web 241 and a mating second web 242 as suggested in FIG. 10. First web 241 is included in first sheet 231 and can be similar to first web 41. Second web 242 is included in second sheet 232 and can be similar to second web 42.
  • As suggested in FIG. 10 a, cushion 214 can be varied slightly to produce a cushion 214′ having an elongated downwardly extending air-inlet port 244′ formed in first sheet 231′. Air-inlet port 244′ is formed to include a passageway 244′P opening into air chamber 236 and receiving air-inlet conduit 34. Air-inlet port 244′ is formed in first shell 251′ and arranged to extend downwardly away from third sheet 233 and air chamber 236 through an aperture 232′A formed in second sheet 232′ and through an aperture 22′A formed in seat pan 22′ as suggested in FIG. 10 a. Cushion 214′ is included in occupant-support base 212′.
  • As suggested in FIG. 11, a seat pan 22 is arranged to underlie and support cushion 314 to produce an occupant-support base 312. Cushion 314 includes a monolithic first sheet 331, a monolithic second sheet 332, and a third (auxiliary) sheet 333. First and second sheets 331, 332 cooperate to form deformable elastic bed 316. Second and third sheets 332, 333 cooperate to form inflatable air bladder 318.
  • Inflatable air bladder 318 includes a shell 351 formed to include a basin 361 that is arranged to open toward underlying third sheet 333. When third sheet 333 is sealingly mated to second sheet 332 as suggested in FIG. 11, basin 361 is closed to form an air chamber 336. Pressurized air can be supplied to air chamber 336 to inflate inflatable air bladder 318 and move shell 351 outwardly in outward direction 319 against a portion 335 of first sheet 331 arranged to overlie shell 351. In the illustrated embodiment, portion 335 of first sheet 331 is formed to include a series of domes 337 arranged to lie against an outer surface of shell 351.
  • Deformable elastic bed 316 includes a first web 341 and a mating second web 342 as suggested in FIG. 11. First web 341 is included in first sheet 331 and can be similar to first web 41. Second web 342 is included in second sheet 332 and can be similar to second web 42.
  • As suggested in FIG. 11 a, cushion 314 can be varied slightly to produce a cushion 314′ having an elongated downwardly extending air-inlet port 34′ formed in third sheet 333′. Air-inlet port 344′ is formed to include a passageway 344′P opening into air chamber 336 and receiving air-inlet conduit 34. Air-inlet port 344′ is arranged to extend downwardly away from first shell 351′ and air chamber 336 through an aperture 22′A formed in seat pan 22′ as suggested in FIG. 11 a. Cushion 314′ is included in occupant-support base 312′.
  • In another illustrative embodiment of the present disclosure, as suggested in FIGS. 12-16, a cushion 414 in an occupant-support base 412 such as a seat back (or alternatively a seat bottom) includes a deformable elastic bed 16 formed to include a bladder-receiving cavity 15 containing an adjustable multi-bladder pneumatic passenger-support module 418 comprising at least two and illustratively three separate inflatable air bladders 418L (lower), 418M (middle), and 418U (upper). Each inflatable air bladder 418L, 418M, and 418U is formed to include, respectively, an air chamber 436L, 436M, and 436U coupled to a manifold 400 by a companion air-inlet conduit 434L, 434M, and 436U and companion hoses 430L, 430M, and 430U as suggested in FIG. 12. Manifold 400 is coupled to a source of pressurized air such as pump 426 and to a pump/manifold controller 424. As suggested in FIG. 12, inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U cooperate to form a pneumatic four-way lumbar-support system in bladder-receiving cavity 15 formed in deformable elastic bed 16 of cushion 414.
  • As shown in FIG. 13, a monolithic first sheet 431 made of an elastomeric material such as, for example, thermoplastics polyurethane (TPU) is provided alongside a monolithic second sheet 432 made of the same elastomeric material. During a cushion-manufacturing process in accordance with the present disclosure, sheets 431, 432 are moved toward one another along the illustrated dotted lines to mate (using any suitable technique) to form a cushion 414 including deformable elastic bed 16 and three separate and independently sealed inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U. The process further includes the illustrative step of mating one of the air-inlet conduits 434 to a companion one of the inflatable air bladders 418 at an air-inlet port formed in each of the inflatable air bladders 418.
  • As suggested in FIG. 13, in an illustrative embodiment, monolithic first sheet 431 is formed to include outer portions of each of deformable elastic bed 16 and first, second, and third air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U. Lower first shell 451L is formed to provide the outer portion of first (lower) air bladder 418L and to include a lower first basin 461L. Middle first shell 451M is formed to provide the outer portion of second (middle) air bladder 418M and to include a middle first basin 461M. Upper first shell 451U is formed to provide the outer portion of third (upper) air bladder 418U and to include an upper first basin 461U.
  • Monolithic first sheet 431 also includes a continuous sealing edge 431 s interrupted by a port-forming edge for each of the three inflatable air bladders. A portion of continuous sealing edge 431 s is included in each of first shells 451L, 451M, and 451U. Lower first shell 451L includes port-forming edge 451Lpf, middle first shell 451M includes port-forming edge 451Mpf, and upper first shell 451U includes port-forming edge 451Upf. First sheet 431 also includes laterally extending first and second partition sealing edges 431 a, 431 b. First partition sealing edge 431 a mates at opposite ends thereof with continuous sealing edge 431 s to form a partition between lower and middle first basins 461L, 461M. Second partition sealing edge 431 b mates at opposite ends thereof with continuous sealing edge 431 s to form a partition between middle and upper first basins 461M, 461U.
  • As also suggested in FIG. 13, in an illustrative embodiment, monolithic second sheet 432 is formed to include inner portions of each of deformable elastic bed 416 and first, second, and third air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U. Lower second shell 452L is formed to provide the inner portion of first (lower) air bladder 418L and to include a lower second basin 462L. Middle second shell 452M is formed to provide the inner portion of the second (middle) air bladder 418M and to include a middle second basin 462M. Upper second shell 452U is formed to provide the inner portion of third (upper) air bladder 418U and to include an upper second basin 462U.
  • Monolithic second sheet 432 also includes a continuous sealing edge 432 s interrupted by a port-forming edge for each of the three inflatable air bladders. A portion of continuous sealing edge 432 s is included in each of second shells 452L, 452M, and 452U. Lower second shell 452L includes port-forming edge 452Lpf, middle second shell 452M includes port-forming edge 452Mpf, and upper second shell 452U includes port-forming edge 452Upf. Second sheet 432 also includes laterally extending first and second partition sealing edges 432 a, 432 b. First partition sealing edge 432 a mates at opposite ends thereof with continuous sealing edge 432 s to form a partition between lower and middle second basins 462L, 462M. Second partition sealing edge 432 b mates at opposite ends thereof with continuous sealing edge 432 s to form a partition between middle and upper second basins 462M, 462U.
  • First (lower) inflatable air bladder 418L includes lower first shell 451L sealingly coupled to lower second shell 452L as suggested in FIG. 12 to cause lower first and second basins 461L, 462L to communicate with one another to form lower chamber 436L between lower first and second shells 451L, 452L. As suggested in FIG. 13, lower first shell 451L is coupled to first web 41 in first sheet 431 and lower second shell 452L is coupled to second web 42 in second sheet 432.
  • Second (middle) inflatable air bladder 418M includes middle first shell 451M sealingly coupled to middle second shell 452M as suggested in FIG. 12 to cause middle first and second basins 461M, 462M to communicate with one another to form middle air chamber 436M between middle first and second shells 451M, 452M. As suggested in FIG. 13, middle first shell 451M is coupled to first web 41 in first sheet 431 and middle second shell 452M is coupled to second web 42 in second sheet 432.
  • Third (upper) inflatable air bladder 418U includes upper first shell 451U sealingly coupled to upper second shell 452U as suggested in FIG. 12 to cause upper first and second basins 461U, 462U to communicate with one another to form upper air chamber 436U between upper first and second shells 451U, 452U. As suggested in FIG. 13, upper first shell 451U is coupled to first web 41 in first sheet 431 and upper second shell 452U is coupled to second web 42 in second sheet 432.
  • The outer and inner portions 451L, 452L of first inflatable air bladder 418L cooperate to form a first air-intake port 444L therebetween. First air-inlet conduit 434L is arranged to extend through a space 16P defined between monolithic first sheet 431 and monolithic second sheet 432 to mate with first air-intake port 444L and formed to include a first passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source 426 of pressurized air into first air chamber 436L to change first inflatable air bladder 418L from the deflated state shown in FIGS. 12 and 14 to an inflated state shown, for example, in FIG. 15.
  • The outer and inner portions 451M, 452M of second inflatable air bladder 418M cooperate to form a second air-intake port 444M therebetween. Second air-inlet conduit 434M is arranged to extend through a space 16P defined between monolithic first sheet 431 and monolithic second sheet 432 to mate with second air-intake port 444M and formed to include a second passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source 426 of pressurized air into second air chamber 436M to change second inflatable air bladder 418M from the deflated state shown in FIGS. 12 and 14 to an inflated state shown, for example, in FIGS. 15 and 16.
  • The outer and inner portions 451U, 452U of third inflatable air bladder 418U cooperate to form a third air-intake port 444U therebetween. A third air-inlet conduit 434U is arranged to extend through a space 16P defined between monolithic first sheet 431 and monolithic second sheet 432 to mate with third air-intake port 444U and formed to include a third passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source 426 of pressurized air into third air chamber 436U to change third inflatable air bladder 418U from the deflated state shown in FIGS. 12 and 14 to the inflated state shown, for example, in FIG. 15.
  • As suggested in FIG. 12, first inflatable air bladder 418L is made of the elastomeric material and is coupled to deformable elastic bed 16. Second inflatable air bladder 418M is made of the elastomeric material and is coupled to deformable elastic bed 16 to lie alongside first inflatable air bladder 418L. Third inflatable air bladder 418U is made of the elastomeric material and is coupled to deformable elastic bed 16. Third inflatable air bladder 418U is arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to first inflatable air bladder 418L to locate the second inflatable air bladder 418M therebetween as suggested in FIGS. 12 and 14-16.
  • Deformable elastic bed 16 included in cushion 414 is formed to include a perimeter edge and a bladder-receiving cavity 15 containing the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U therein as suggested in FIG. 12. Bladder-receiving cavity 15 lies in spaced-apart relation to the perimeter edge to cause a perimeter portion of deformable elastic bed 16 to surround first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U as suggested in FIG. 12. First air-inlet conduit 434L is arranged to extend through perimeter portion 16P of deformable elastic bed 16 and mate with first air-intake port 444L and formed to include a first passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source 426 of pressurized air into first air chamber 436L to change first inflatable air bladder 418L from the deflated state to the inflated state.
  • Second inflatable air bladder 418M is formed to include a second air chamber 436M and a second air-intake port 444M opening into second air chamber 436M and lying in side-by-side spaced-apart relation to first air-intake port 444L formed in first inflatable air bladder 418L as suggested in FIG. 12. First and second air-intake ports 444L, 444M are arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the perimeter edge of deformable elastic bed 16. Second air-inlet conduit 434M is arranged to extend through perimeter portion 16P of deformable elastic bed 16 and mate with second air-intake port 444M and formed to include a second passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from the sources of pressurized air into second air chamber 436M to change second inflatable air bladder 418M from a deflated state to an inflated state.
  • Cushion 414 further includes a third inflatable air bladder 418U made of the elastomeric material and coupled to deformable elastic bed 16 as suggested in FIG. 12. Third inflatable air bladder 418U is arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to first inflatable air bladder 418L to locate second inflatable air bladder 418M therebetween. First, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U are mounted in overlapping shingled relation one to another as suggested, for example, in FIGS. 12 and 14-16 to provide lumbar-support means in bladder-receiving cavity 15 for establishing a four-way lumbar adjustment system using pressurized air from a source 426 of pressurized air to inflate first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U separately and in a coordinated simultaneous manner so that each of first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U is arranged to be inflated and deflated to cause outer surfaces of first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U to move (1) outwardly in an outward first direction 401 (see FIGS. 15 and 16) away from a seat pan 22 underlying and supporting deformable elastic bed 16 and each of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U; (2) inwardly in an inward second direction 402 toward seat pan 22; (3) upwardly in an upward third direction 403 extending from first inflatable air bladder 418L toward third inflatable air bladder 418U, and (4) downwardly in an opposite downward fourth direction 404 extending from third inflatable air bladder 418U toward first inflatable air bladder 418L.
  • Seat pan 22 is arranged to underlie and support deformable elastic bed 16 and each of first, second, and third inflatable air bladder 418L, 418M, and 418U as suggested in FIGS. 12 and 14-16. Cushion 414 comprises monolithic first sheet 431 configured to include outer portions of each of deformable elastic bed 16 and first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U wherein the outer portions are arranged to lie in a spaced-apart relation to seat pan 22 as suggested in FIG. 14. Cushion 414 also comprises monolithic second sheet 432 configured to include inner portions of each of deformable elastic bed 16 and first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U arranged to lie between the outer portions and seat pan 22 as also suggested in FIG. 14. First monolithic sheet 431 is arranged to mate with monolithic second sheet 432 to cause the outer and inner portions of first inflatable air bladder 418L to mate in sealing relation to one another to form first air chamber 436L therebetween as suggested in FIGS. 12 and 14.
  • First (lower), second (middle), and third (upper) inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U are arranged in overlapping shingled relation one to another and each of the air bladders is in a deflated state as suggested in FIG. 14. Each of first, second, and third inflatable air bladders 418L, 418M, and 418U are shown in an inflated state in FIG. 15. Second inflatable air bladder 418M is shown in an inflated state and each of first and third inflatable air bladders 418L and 418U are shown in a deflated state in FIG. 16.
  • An air-inlet conduit 34 extends through an edge of a deformable elastic bed 14 in cushion 12 into an air chamber 36 formed within inflatable air bladder 18 as shown, for example, in FIG. 17. Air-inlet conduit 34 includes a football-shaped mount flange 200, an inner air-conducting tube 201 appended to football-shaped mount flange 200 and arranged to extend into inflatable air bladder 18, an outer air-conducting tube 202 appended to football-shaped mount flange 200 and arranged to extend away from inflatable air bladder 18, an air-conducting passageway 203 defined by inner and outer air-conducting tubes 201, 202, and configured to allow air to communicate with inflatable air bladder 18. A series of hose-retention barbs 204 is appended to outer air-conducting tube 202 as shown in FIG. 18.
  • First and second sheets 31, 32 are joined together to form inflatable air bladder 18 as shown in FIG. 19. First sheet 31 has been joined to a top surface 205 of football-shaped flange 200 and second sheet 32 has joined to a bottom surface 206 of football-shaped flange 200, thereby coupling air-inlet conduit 34 between first and second sheets 31, 32 as shown in FIG. 20.
  • In accordance with the present disclosure, each inflatable air bladder included in a cushion of a vehicle seat is arranged to lie in close proximity to an outer surface of a cushion cover coupled to the cushion. Such inflatable air bladders in accordance with the present disclosure function to move that outer surface more in response to less bladder movement relative to a seat pan supporting the cushion. This feature enhances bladder efficiency.

Claims (33)

  1. 1. An occupant-support base for a vehicle seat, the occupant-support base comprising
    a cushion including a deformable elastic bed made of an elastomeric material and adapted to support a portion of an occupant seated on the cushion and a first inflatable air bladder coupled to the deformable elastic bed and formed to include a first air chamber and a first air-intake port opening into the first air chamber, wherein the first inflatable air bladder is made of the elastomeric material and configured to expand from a deflated state characterized by a first volume of air in the first air chamber to an inflated state characterized by a relatively greater second volume of air in the first air chamber in response to admission of pressurized air into the first air chamber through the first air-intake port.
  2. 2. The occupant-support base of claim 1, wherein the cushion comprises a monolithic first sheet made of the elastomeric material and configured to include outer portions of each of the deformable elastic bed and the first inflatable air bladder and a monolithic second sheet made of the elastomeric material and configured to include inner portions of each of the deformable elastic bed and the first inflatable air bladder and wherein the monolithic first sheet is arranged to mate with the monolithic second sheet to cause outer and inner portions of the first inflatable bladder to mate in sealing relation to form the first air chamber therebetween and to cause outer and inner portions of the deformable elastic bed to mate to form a bladder-receiving cavity containing the first inflatable air bladder.
  3. 3. The occupant-support base of claim 2, wherein the outer and inner portions of the first inflatable bladder cooperate to form the first air-intake port therebetween.
  4. 4. The occupant-support base of claim 3, further comprising a first air-inlet conduit arranged to extend through a space defined between the monolithic first sheet and the monolithic second sheet to mate with the first air-intake port and formed to include a first passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source of pressurized air into the first air chamber to change the first inflatable bladder from the deflated state to the inflated state.
  5. 5. The occupant-support base of claim 1, wherein the cushion further includes a second inflatable air bladder made of the elastomeric material and coupled to the deformable elastic bed to lie alongside the first inflatable air bladder.
  6. 6. The occupant-support base of claim 5, wherein the cushion further includes a third inflatable air bladder made of the elastomeric material and coupled to the deformable elastic bed and the third inflatable air bladder is arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the first inflatable air bladder to locate the second inflatable air bladder therebetween.
  7. 7. The occupant-support base of claim 5, wherein the deformable elastic bed is formed to include a perimeter edge and a bladder-receiving cavity containing the first and second inflatable air bladders therein and lying in spaced-apart relation to the perimeter edge to cause a perimeter portion of the deformable elastic bed to surround the first and second inflatable air bladders.
  8. 8. The occupant-support base of claim 7, wherein the second inflatable air bladder is formed to include a second air chamber and a second air-intake port opening into the second air chamber and lying in side-by-side spaced-apart relation to the first air-intake port formed in the first inflatable air bladder and the first and second air-intake ports are arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the perimeter edge of the deformable elastic bed.
  9. 9. The occupant-support base of claim 8, further comprising a first air-inlet conduit arranged to extend through the perimeter portion of the deformable elastic bed and mate with the first air-intake port and formed to include a first passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source of pressurized air into the first air chamber to change the first inflatable air bladder from the deflated state to the inflated state and a second air-inlet conduit arranged to extend through the perimeter portion of the deformable elastic bed and mate with the second air-intake port and formed to include a second passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from the sources of pressurized air into the second air chamber to change the second inflatable air bladder from a deflated state to an inflated state.
  10. 10. The occupant-support base of claim 7, wherein the cushion further includes a third inflatable air bladder made of the elastomeric material and coupled to the deformable elastic bed and the third inflatable air bladder is arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the first inflatable air bladder to locate the second inflatable air bladder therebetween, the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders are mounted in overlapping shingled relation one to another to provide lumbar-support means in the bladder-receiving cavity for establishing a four-way lumbar adjustment system using pressurized air from a source of pressurized air to inflate the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders separately and in a coordinated simultaneous manner so that each of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders is arranged to be inflated and deflated to cause outer surfaces of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders to move in an outward first direction away from a seat pan underlying and supporting the deformable elastic bed and each of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders, to move in an inward second direction toward the seat pan, and to move upwardly in an upward third direction extending from the first inflatable air bladder toward the third inflatable air bladder and downwardly in an opposite downward fourth direction extending from the third inflatable air bladder toward the first inflatable air bladder.
  11. 11. The occupant-support base of claim 10, further comprising a seat pan arranged to underlie and support the deformable elastic bed and each of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders and wherein the cushion comprises a monolithic first sheet configured to include outer portions of each of the deformable elastic bed and the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders, the outer portions being arranged to lie in a spaced-apart relation to the seat pan, and a monolithic second sheet configured to include inner portions of each of the deformable elastic bed and the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders arranged to lie between the outer portions and the seat pan, and the first monolithic sheet is arranged to mate with the monolithic second sheet to cause the outer and inner portions of the first inflatable air bladder to mate in sealing relation to one another to form the first air chamber therebetween.
  12. 12. The occupant-support base of claim 5, wherein the cushion comprises a monolithic first sheet made of the elastomeric material and configured to include outer portions of each of the deformable elastic bed and the first and second inflatable air bladders and a monolithic second sheet made of the elastomeric material and configured to include inner portions of each of the deformable elastic bed and the first and second inflatable air bladders and wherein the monolithic first sheet is arranged to mate with the monolithic second sheet to cause the outer and inner portions of the first inflatable air bladder to mate in sealing relation to one another to form the first air chamber therebetween and to cause the outer and inner portions of the second inflatable air bladder to mate in sealing relation to one another to form a second air chamber therebetween.
  13. 13. The occupant-support base of claim 12, wherein the outer and inner portions of the first inflatable air bladder cooperate to form the first air-intake port therebetween.
  14. 14. The occupant-support base of claim 13, further comprising a first air-inlet conduit arranged to extend through a space defined between the monolithic first sheet and the monolithic second sheet to mate with the first air-intake port and formed to include a first passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source of pressurized air into the first air chamber to change the first inflatable air bladder from the deflated state to the inflated state.
  15. 15. The occupant-support base of claim 13, wherein the outer portion of the deformable elastic bed includes a first plate and a series of spaced-apart downwardly projecting domes, each downwardly projecting dome has a first base coupled to the first plate and a first tip coupled to the first base, and the inner portion of the deformable elastic bed includes a second plate arranged to mate with the first plate and a series of spaced-apart upwardly projecting domes, each upwardly projecting dome has a second base coupled to the second plate and a second tip coupled to the second base and to the first tip to cause each companion pair of mating downwardly and upwardly projecting domes to form a resilient deformable post included in the deformable elastic bed and arranged to extend between the first and second plates.
  16. 16. The occupant-support base of claim 1, wherein the deformable elastic bed includes a first web and a second web mated to the first web to establish a border arranged to extend along at least a portion of a perimeter edge of the first inflatable air bladder, the first inflatable air bladder includes a first shell coupled to the first web at the border and formed to include a first basin and a second shell coupled to the second web at the border and formed to include a second basin opening toward and communicating with the first basin of the first shell, and the first shell is sealingly coupled to the second shell to establish the first inflatable air bladder and cause the first and second basins to communicate with one another to form the first air chamber between the first and second shells.
  17. 17. The occupant-support base of claim 16, wherein the first web of the deformable elastic bed and the first shell of the first inflatable air bladder cooperate to establish a monolithic first sheet made of the elastomeric material.
  18. 18. The occupant-support base of claim 17, wherein the second web of the deformable elastic bed and the second shell of the first inflatable air bladder cooperate to establish a monolithic second sheet made of the elastomeric material and the monolithic second sheet is mated to the monolithic first sheet to align the first and second basins in registry with one another to form the first air chamber between the first and second shells.
  19. 19. The occupant-support base of claim 18, wherein the first web includes a first plate and a series of spaced-apart downwardly projecting domes, each downwardly projecting dome has a first base coupled to the first plate and a first tip coupled to the first base and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the first plate, the second web includes a second plate arranged to mate with the first plate and a series of spaced-apart upwardly projecting domes, each upwardly projecting dome has a second base coupled to the second plate and a second tip coupled to the second base and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the second plate, and the second tip is coupled to the first tip to cause each companion pair of mating downwardly and upwardly projecting domes to form a resilient deformable post included in the deformable elastic bed and arranged to extend between the first and second plates.
  20. 20. The occupant-support base of claim 1, wherein the first inflatable air bladder includes a first shell formed to include a first basin and a second shell formed to include a second shell formed to include a second basin opening toward the first basin and the first and second shells are sealingly coupled to one another to cause the first and second basins to communicate with one another to form the first air chamber between the first and second shells.
  21. 21. The occupant-support base of claim 20, wherein the first and second shells mate with one another along a shell interface and cooperate to form the first air-intake port therebetween along the shell interface.
  22. 22. The occupant-support base of claim 21, further comprising an air-inlet conduit arranged to extend into the first air-intake port and formed to include a passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source of pressurized air into the first air chamber to change the first inflatable air bladder from the deflated state to the inflated state.
  23. 23. The occupant-support base of claim 22, wherein the air-inlet conduit is arranged to extend away from the first inflatable air bladder and through a portion of the deformable elastic bed.
  24. 24. The occupant-support base of claim 20, wherein the deformable elastic bed is formed to include a bladder-receiving cavity and the first inflatable air bladder is arranged to lie in the bladder-receiving cavity.
  25. 25. The occupant-support base of claim 1, further comprising a seat pan arranged to underlie and support the cushion and wherein the deformable elastic bed includes a first web and a second web mated to the first web to establish a border arranged to extend along at least a portion of a perimeter edge of the first inflatable air bladder and arranged to lie in a position between the first web and the seat pan, the first inflatable air bladder includes a shell coupled to the first web and formed to include a basin and an auxiliary sheet sealingly coupled to the shell to close an opening into the basin to cause the basin to provide the first air chamber and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the seat pan to locate the shell therebetween.
  26. 26. The occupant-support base of claim 1, further comprising a seat pan arranged to underlie and support the cushion and wherein the deformable elastic bed includes a first web and a second web mated to the first web to establish a border arranged to extend along at least a portion of a perimeter edge of the first inflatable air bladder and arranged to lie in a position between the second web and the seat pan, the first inflatable air bladder includes a shell coupled to the second web and formed to include a basin and an auxiliary sheet sealingly coupled to the shell to close an opening into the basin to cause the basin to provide the first air chamber and arranged to lie in a position between the seat pan and the shell.
  27. 27. The occupant-support base of claim 1, further comprising a first air-inlet conduit arranged to mate with the first air-intake port and formed to include a mount flange located in the first air-intake port, an inner air-conducting tube coupled to the mount flange and located inside of the first air chamber, and an outer air-conducting tube coupled to the mount flange and located outside of the first air chamber, and wherein the mount flange and the inner and outer air-conducting tubes are formed to define a first passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source of pressurized air into the first air chamber to change the first inflatable bladder from the deflated state to the inflated state.
  28. 28. An occupant-support base for a vehicle seat, the occupant-support base comprising
    a seat pan and
    a cushion coupled to the seat pan, the cushion including a monolithic first sheet made of an elastomeric material and mounted on the seat pan and a monolithic second sheet made of the elastomeric material and mated to the monolithic first sheet to trap the monolithic second sheet between the monolithic first sheet and the seat pan, and wherein the first and second monolithic sheets cooperate to form a deformable elastic bed and the monolithic first sheet mates with the monolithic second sheet to form a first inflatable air bladder defining a first air chamber located between the monolithic first and second sheets.
  29. 29. The occupant-support base of claim 28, wherein the monolithic first sheet includes a first web coupled to the first inflatable air bladder, the monolithic second sheet includes a second web coupled to the first inflatable air bladder, the first and second webs cooperate to define a deformable elastic bad and to define a bladder-receiving cavity, and the first inflatable air bladder is located in the bladder-receiving cavity.
  30. 30. An occupant-support base for a vehicle seat, the occupant-support base comprising
    a cushion including a monolithic first sheet made of an elastomeric material and a monolithic second sheet made of an elastomeric material, wherein the monolithic first sheet includes a first web having an outer first edge defining a perimeter edge of the monolithic first sheet and an inner first edge lying in spaced-apart relation to the outer first edge, the monolithic second sheet includes a second web having an outer second edge defining a perimeter edge of the monolithic second sheet and an inner second edge lying in spaced-apart relation to the outer second edge and cooperating with the inner first edge to form a border defining a bladder-receiving cavity, the monolithic first sheet includes a lower first shell coupled to the inner first edge of the first web, an upper first shell coupled to the inner first edge of the first web and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the lower first shell, and a middle first shell coupled to the inner first edge of the first web, located in a space provided between the lower and upper first shells, and coupled to each of the lower and upper first shells, the monolithic second sheet includes a lower second shell coupled to the inner second edge of the second web, an upper second shell coupled to the inner second edge of the second web and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to the lower second shell, and a middle second shell coupled to the inner second edge of the second web, located in a space provided between the lower and upper second shells, and coupled to each of the lower and upper second shells, the lower first and second shells mate and cooperate to form a first inflatable air bladder formed to include a first air chamber, the middle first and second shells mate and cooperate to form a second inflatable air bladder formed to include a second air chamber, the upper first and second shells mate and cooperate to form a third inflatable air bladder formed to include a third air chamber, and each of the first, second, and third inflatable air bladders are arranged to lie in the bladder-receiving cavity.
  31. 31. The occupant-support base of claim 30, wherein the lower first and second shells mate with one another along a shell interface and cooperate to form a first air-intake port opening into the first air chamber and extending along the shell interface.
  32. 32. The occupant-support base of claim 31, further comprising a first air-inlet conduit arranged to extend into the first air-intake port and formed to include a passageway configured to provide means for conducting pressurized air from a source of pressurized air into the first air chamber to change the first inflatable air bladder from a deflated state to an inflated state.
  33. 33. The occupant-support base of claim 32, wherein the first air-intake conduit is arranged to extend through a space defined between the first and second webs and located between the inner and outer first edges of the first web.
US12388650 2009-02-19 2009-02-19 Vehicle seat cushion with inflatable air bladder Abandoned US20100207443A1 (en)

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