US 3491414 A
Descripción (El texto procesado por OCR puede contener errores)
Jan. 27, 1970 I R. w. STOFFEL 3,491,414
MULTITONGUE BUCKLE WITH SLIDABLY MOUNTED LATCH Filed April 24, 1967 I 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR $5.627 W. STaFFZ.
ATTORNEYS Jan. 27, 1970 R. w. STOFFEL MULTITONGUE BUCKLE WITH SLIDABLY MOUNTED LATCH 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 24, 1967 FIG-4 INVENTOR feat-27M STafFA-L BY /hm,
ATTO RNEYS United States Patent U.S. Cl. 24-205.17 12 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A seat-belt buckle having a pair of spaced apart overlapping locking plates and an opening for receiving a pair of apertured tongues intermediate the plates, each tongue being associated with a separate belt section. The tongues are inserted in a locking position in face-to-face relationship With the plates, each plate having a lug engageable with the aperture of only one of the tongues so that the tongues cannot be mismatched with the wrong locking plate. A slidably mounted latch is biased toward a latching position intermediate the tongues to prevent their disengagement. A pivotal latch supported between the locking plates has interference portions preventing the insertion of one of the tongues in its locking position unless the other tongue is in its locking position.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 606,991 for Seat-Belt Buckle filed Jan. 3, 1967, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention is related to safety seat belt buckle mechanisms and more specifically to a female buckle section apertured to receive a pair of complementary tongue sections with slidable latch means for coupling one or both of the tongues to thefemale section and pivotal latch means for preventing one of the tongue sections from being inserted in a locking position in the female section unless the second tongue section is in its locking position, the-second tongue section being independently engag'eable with the female section.
Description of the prior art Vehicle safety seat belts are becoming increasingly popular as a means for reducing the injury producing after eifects of vehicular collisions. A typical seat belt arrangement employs a lap section comprising a pair of belt halves each having their lower ends anchored to the floor or other relatively fixed vehicle section and their upper ends coupled together by a buckle and tongue arrangement. A third section of belt provides an upper torso restraint and extends from behind the occupant and over his shoulder and diagonally downwardly. The third belt carries a second tongue which is engageable with the female buckle section at a lateral position opposite to the restrained shoulder. This arrangement wherein one of the belt sections provides a common stress transfer section for both the lap and upper torso restraints has a number of advantages including the reduced number of buckle components, the fewer number of belt sections employed in the system and the improved restraint provided for the occupant.
There are two problems associated with conventional buckle mechanisms wherein a single female section is coupled with two tongues. The first problem is related "ice to the number of operative belt sections which are normally employed to provide a restraining force. Although normally, the three belt sections will be joined together to provide both a lap restraint and an upper torso restraint, there are situations wherein because of the physical configuration of the occupuant, it is desirable that the upper torso section remain uncoupled with the two lap sections providing the only restraining force. Although the two coupled lap sections provide certain safety advan tages, the possibility of only one lap section being joined to the upper torso section presents a distinct hazard in that the upper torso section does not provide a safe restraining force without a lap restraint.
This problem is solved by the present invention which contemplates a female buckle section carried by one lap section which may be coupled to a tongue carried by the opposite lap section either independently or in combination with the coupling of a tongue carried by the upper torso belt section. However, the female buckle section will not engage the tongue carried by the upper torso belt section unless the two lap sections have been joined together.
Another problem associated with a female buckle section intended to be coupled with a pair of tongues in individual guideways is the possibility of a mismatch with one or both of the tongues being engaged in the wrong guideways.
The second purpose of the present invention is to pro vide a buckle mechanism for coupling a pair of tongues to a female section having individual guideways associated with each of the tongues and including latch means which are inoperable to couple a tongue to the female buckle section unless the tongue is in its proper guideway.
SUMMARY The preferred embodiment of the present invention is described with respect to a female buckle section having a single tongue-receiving aperature for receiving a first and a second tongue. The female section comprises a housing having a pair of spaced apart overlapping locking plates including an upper plate and a lower plate. A guide roller member supported adjacent the tongue-receiving aperture and between the upper and lower plates is spaced from each of the plates to permit the insertion of the first tongue between the roller and the lower plate.
The upper locking plate has a pair of spaced apart abutments extending in a direction perpendicular to the upper plate and toward the lower plate. The first tongue has a pair of apertures which are receivable by the pair of abutments of the upper plate so that the first tongue and the upper plate can be arranged in a face-to-face relationship.
The second tongue has a single aperture engageable with a single abutment formed in the lower locking plate. The single abutment extends in a direction perpendicular to the lower plate and toward the upper plate. The characteristic arrangement of interengageable abutments and apertures of each set of locking lates and tongues prevents the first tongue from being disposed in a looking position with the lower plate and similarly the second tongue cannot be inserted in a locking position with the upper plate because the abutments will not register with the centrally located aperture.
A slide assembly supports a primary latch for movement between a latching position wherein the latch is disposed intermediate the locking positions of the first and second tongues and a release position where the latch is removed from between the tongues. In the latching position, the latch member prevents the disengagement of either tongue from its associated plate by a separating movement in a direction normal to its plate.
The slide assembly supporting the primary latch has a handle'extendin'g between an aperture in the upper plate so that an unlatching force can be applied by the fingers in a direction parallel to the locking plates.
A secondary latch is carried by the slide assembly with the primary latch and has a pair of arms each of which normally lies in an interference position to the insertion of the first and second tongues into the female section. When the first tongue is inserted. in the female coupling section toward its locking plate, and with the second tongue separated from its locking plate, the secondary latch prevents the first tongue from being fully inserted into a locking position. When the second tongue is in-' serted toward its locking position, the leading edge of i the second tongue engages one of the abutment arms of the secondary latch to pivot it to a position wherein the opposite abutment arm swings out of the path of the first tongue. Thus, the second tongue can be engaged with the lower locking plate and latched in position independently of whether or not the first tongue is engaged with the upper locking plate. On the other hand, the first tongue cannot be engaged with the female coupling unless the second tongue is in a locking position.
The first tongue is intended to be carried by the upper torso section of the seat belt assembly and the second tongue carried by a lap section of belting. This arrangement permits the lap sections of the preferred buckle to be joined together either independently or in combination with the upper torso section. However, the upper torso section cannot be joined to the buckle unless the tongue carried by the opposite lap portion has been coupled to the female buckle section.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a buckle mechanism for a safety seat belt assembly wherein a pair of tongues are lockingly engaged in individual guideways of a common female section with means for preventing either of the tongues from being engaged in the guideway associated with the opposite tongue.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a buckle mechanism for a vehicle safety seat belt assembly comprising a female buckle section engagable with a pair of tongues, and latch means carried by the female section which engages either one of the tongues or both of the tongues to provide an operative connection for the transfer of the belt forces.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a buckle assembly comprising a female coupling section apertured to receive a pair of tongues in latching engagement and with means permitting one of the tongues to be coupled to the female section indepenently of the condition of the opposite tongue, and wherein the opposite tongue cannot be coupled with the female coupling section unless the first tongue is in a locking position.
Still further objects and advantages of the present invention will readily occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention pertains upon reference to the following detailed description.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The description refers to the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a female coupling section joined to a pair of tongues and illustrating the preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal sectional view through the preferred female coupling section and illustrating the primary latch in a latching position with both of the tongues in their respective locking positions;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but with the lower tongue separated from the female coupling section and the secondary latch preventing insertion of the upper tongue;
FIG. 4 is a partially exploded view of the preferred buckle mechanism with parts in a section for purposes of clarity; and
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a female coupling section with parts in section to illustrate the spring bias means urging the primary latch toward its latching position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Now referring to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 4 illustrate a preferred buckle mechanism 10 for joining three belt sections 12, 14 and 16 in a common connection for the transfer of belt forces. For purposes of description, the belt sections 12 and 16 are associated with a lap restraint and the belt section 14 is associated with an upper torso restraint in a vehicle seat belt assembly.
The buckle mechanism 10 includes a female coupling section 18 carried by the belt section v12, a first tongue 20 carried by the belt section 14'and a second'tongue 22 carried by the belt section 16.
The female coupling section 18 preferably comprises a housing 24 stamped from a single sheet of metal and includes-what will'be referred to as a lower locking plate 26 and-an upper locking plate 28 arranged in spaced apart, parallel, overlapping relationship. The housing 24 has an open end 30 for receiving the first and second tongues be- 1 tween the upper and lower plates 26 and 28.
A guide roller 32 is mounted to the sidewalls of the housing 24 and adjacent the open end 30. The tongues 20 and 22are' preferably formed of a flat metal stock. The guide roller 32 has a diameter such that a clearance is provided between the roller 32 and the upper plate 28 to accommodate the thickness of the first tongue 20 and a clearance is provided between the roller 32 and the lower plate 26 to accommodate the thickness of the second 7 tongue 22 as can best be seen in FIG. 2.
The upper plate 28 has a pair of laterally spaced apart abutments 34 which preferably form an integral part of the upper plate 28 and extend in a direction perpendicular to the upper plate 28 and toward the lower plate 26. The tongue 20 has a pair of rectangular laterally spaced apart apertures 36 to receive the abutments 34 when the tongue 20 is in its locking positon. As can best be seen in FIG. 2, the tongue 20 is in a locking position when it is in face-to-face relationship with the upper plate 28.
The lower plate 26 has a centrally located abutment 38 which preferably forms an integral part of the lower plate 26 and is directed'upwardly and toward the upper plate 28. The tongue 22 which is associated with the lower plate 26 has a centrally located rectangular aperture 40 which is engageable with the abutment 38 when the tongue 22 is in its locking position illustrated in FIG. 2. The tongue 22 is in its locking position when it is in full face-to-face relationship with the lower plate 26.
It can be seen that the arrangement of apertures 36 and 40 of the tongues and the abutments 34 and 38 of the upper and lower plates 28 and 26 respectively permit the tongue 20 to be disposed in a locking position with respect to the upper locking plate but prevent the tongue 20 from being disposed in the locking position with the lower plate 26 because the apertures 36 will not register with the abutment 38. Similarly, the tongue 22 can be disposed in a locking position with respect to the lower plate 26, however, it cannot be inserted in a locking position with respect to the upper plate 28 because the aperture 40 is not wide enough to receive the abutments 34.
A slide member 42 is slidably disposed between the upper and lower locking plates 28 and 26 and has a handle section 44 extending through an elongated slot 46. Slot 46 extends in a direction parallel to the insertion of the tongues 20 and 22 into the housing 24.
The slide member 42 is slidably movable toward and away from the open end 30 and has a pair of flanges 46 which slide adjacent the sidewalls of the housing 24 and support a pin element 48 about an axis transverse to the insertion of the tongues 20 and 22 into the housing 24. A pair of roller latch members 50 are carried by the 48. Roller latch members 50 preferably have the same diameter as guide roller 32.
The slide member 42 is movable between a latching position illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the roller members 50 are disposed intermediate the locking position of the tongues 20 and 22 and a release position wherein the roller members 50 are spaced from the locking position of tongues 20 and 22 in a direction away from the open end 30.
The slide member 42 is biased toward the latching position by a spring member 52 disposed between the slide member 42 and a pair of inwardly directed flanges 54 formed at the end of the housing opposite the open end 30. The extreme end of travel of the slide member 42 toward the release position is defined by the handle section 44 moving into abutment with the end 56 of the slot 46.
Referring to FIG. 2, the roller members 50 have a diameter so that when the slide member 42 is in the latching position, the tongue 20 cannot be disengaged from the plate 28 because there is insufiicient clearance to permit the apertures 36 to be disengaged from the abutment 34 by a movement of the tongue in a direction perpendicular to the plate 28. Similarly when the slide member 42 is in the latching position, there is insufficient clearance to permit the tongue 22 to be separated from the lower plate 26 in a direction perpendicular to the plate so that the aperture 40 can clear the abutment 38. Thus, the spacing between the upper and lower plates 28 and 26 is less than the diameter of the roller 50 plus the combined thickness of the tongues 20 and 22 and the clearance distance of either of the tongues 20 or 22. The clearance distance is defined in terms of the space required to separate a tongue from its associated plate in a direction generally perpendicular to the plate so that its apertures clear its abutments.
A secondary latch 56 is supported on the pin 48 between the roller latches 50 and has a pair of abutment arms 58 and 60. The secondary latch 56 is pivotal around the pin 48 to a non-interference position illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the arm 58 does not interfere with the insertion of the tongue 20 into a locking position with the upper plate 28. A spring member 62 wrapped around the pin 48 and anchored to the handle section 44 biases the secondary latch to an interference position illustrated in FIG. 3 wherein the arm 60 abuts the lower plate 26 and the upper arm 58 lies in an interference position with respect to the tongue 20 so that the tongue 20 cannot be inserted sufficiently to permit the apertures 36 to register with the abutments 34. However, when the lower tongue 22 is inserted into its locking position, the leading edge of the tongue 22 comes into abutment with the lower arm 60 and pivots the secondary latch 56 in a clockwise direction so that the upper arm 48 moves to a noninterference position with respect to insertion of the upper tongue 20. Thus, it can be seen that the secondary latch 56 permits the tongue 22 to be disposed in a locking position with respect to the lower plate 26 independently of whether the tongue 20 is coupled with or separated from the female coupling section 18. However, the upper tongue 28 cannot be inserted into a locking position with the upper plate 28 unless the lower tongue 22 is in its locking position. This arrangement permits the belt sections 12 and 16 to be joined together in a force transmitting relationship either with or without the belt section 14 associated with the upper torso restraint.
However, the belt section 14 cannot be coupled to form a restraining connection with the belt section 12 unless the belt 16 and belt 12 are joined together.
A cover section 64 preferably formed of a suitable and attractive plastic is joined to the upper plate 28 by a pair of upturned tabs 66 formed adjacent the open end 30 and a pair of pins 68 received by sockets 70 in the upper plate 28. The cover 64 has an aperture 72 permitting the handle 44 to extend therethrough to provide a finger gripping section for the user to apply a release force on the slide member 42.
Although I have described but one embodiment of my invention, it is to be understood that various changes and revisions can be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention.
1. In a vehicle seat belt assembly, a buckle mechanism comprising:
(a) a first tongue having an aperture;
(b) a second tongue having an aperture;
(0) a female section having a first plate with an integral abutment extending in a direction perpendicular to said first plate, a second plate having an integral abutment extending in a direction perpendicular to said second plate, guideway means for receiving said first and second tongue into locking positions adjacent said first and second plate, the abutment of said first plate being engageable with the aperture of said first tongue by relative motion between them in a direction perpendicular to said first plate to permit said first plate to engage said first tongue in a face-to-face relationship, and the abutment of said first plate being formed such that it is not engageable with the aperture of said second tongue; and
(d) a latch member mounted on said female section and movable between a release position permitting relative movement between said first and second tongues and their respective locking positions, and a latching position in which it is operable to prevent relative movement between said first and second tongues and their respective locking positions.
2. The buckle mechanism as defined in claim 1, wherein said first and second plates are affiXed with respect to one another in spaced parallel relationship, and said latch member is movable in a plane parallel to said plates.
3. The buckle mechanism as defined in claim 2, wherein the apertures of said first and second tongues are disengageable from the abutments of their respective plates by a movement toward the plate associated with the opposite tongue, and said latch member is movable intermediatae said first and second tongues when said first and second tongues are in face-to-face relationship with their respective plates to its latching position in which it prevents relative movement of said first and second tongues in a direction perpendicular to their respective plates.
4. The buckle mechanism as defined in claim 2, wherein said first and second tongues are disengageable with their respective plates by a movement toward the plates associated with the opposite tongue, said latch member is movable intermediate said first and second tongues when they are in a face-to-face relationship with their respective plates, and the distance between said first and second plates is less than the combined thickness of said first and second tongues, the thickness of said latch member and the disengagement distance of the aperture and abutment of either of said tongues and their respective plates.
5. The buckle mechanism as defined in claim 4, wherein said female section has a common tongue-receiving aperture for receiving said first and second tongue sections.
6. A buckle mechanism comprising:
(a) a pair of tongues;
(b) a female section having a pair of spaced apart parallel plates open to a tongue-receiving aperture, each of said tongues being receivable by said female section in a locking position between said plates wherein said tongues are disposed in face-to-face relationship with said plates;
(-0) interengageable means on said tongues and said plates, said interengageable means being engageable in a direction generally perpendicular to said plates and preventing relative movement between said tongues and said plates in a direction parallel to said plates;
((1) guide means supported in said female section be-' tween said plates, said guide means having abutment portions spaced from each of said plates a suificient distance to permit the insertion of said tongues between said guide means and said plates; and (e) a latch mounted in said female section and movable toward and away from a latching position intermediate said plates, said latch and the abutment portions of said guide means preventing the displacement of a tongue from its locking position when said latch is in said latching position.
7. The buckle mechanism as defined in claim 6, wherein said interengageable means comprise abutmentsinterengageable along a line perpendicular to the axis of movement of said tongues in said female section, the abutment portions of said guide means abut said tongues in their locking positions at a point spaced axially from said abutments in a first direction and said latch engages said tongues at a point axially spaced from said abutments in a direction opposite to said first direction.
8. The buckle mechanism as defined in claim 7, wherein said interengageable abutments comprises apertures formed in each of said tongues and abutments, integral with said plates, and extending from each of said plates toward the opposite plates.
9. In a seat belt buckle assembly, the combination of:
a housing having a first tongue receiving recess and a second tongue receiving recess,
first tongue having a planar section to be received in said first tongue receiving recess, a second tongue having a planar section to be rec'eived in said second tongue receiving recess,
means for locking said first tongue to said housing upon insertion of said first tongue in said first tongue receiving recess,
means for locking said second tongue to said housing upon insertion of said second tongue into said second tongue receiving recess,
means releasably obstructing said second tongue receiving recess to preventsaid second tongue from being received by said second tongue receiving recess, and
means actuated by insertion of said first tongue into said first tongue receiving recess to move said obstructing means to a position permitting reception of said second tongue by said second tongue re ceiving recess. 10. The assembly as defined in claim 9 and including-means preventing said first tongue from being locked in said second tongue receiving recess.
11. The assembly as defined in claim 9 and including means preventing said second tongue from being locked in said first tongue receiving recess.
' 12. The assembly as defined in claim 9 and including means preventing said first tongue from being locked in said secondton'gue receiving means preventing said second tongue from being locked in said first tongue receiving recess.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS BERNARD A. GELAK,,Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 24230
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