(19)
(11)EP 3 556 252 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 18167704.8

(22)Date of filing:  17.04.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A47C 1/032  (2006.01)

(54)

TILT MECHANISM FOR A CHAIR AND CHAIR

NEIGUNGSMECHANISMUS FÜR EINEN STUHL UND STUHL

MÉCANISME D'INCLINAISON POUR CHAISE ET CHAISE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.10.2019 Bulletin 2019/43

(73)Proprietor: L&P Property Management Company
South Gate, CA 90280 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • SLONGO, Alessandro
    31021 Mogliano Veneto TV (IT)
  • COSTAGLIA, Massimo
    35010 Santa Giustina in Colle PD (IT)
  • FITZSIMMONDS, Nigel Charles
    Silsden, Yorkshire BD2 0LE (GB)

(74)Representative: Banzer, Hans-Jörg 
Kraus & Weisert Patentanwälte PartGmbB Thomas-Wimmer-Ring 15
80539 München
80539 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 608 700
WO-A1-86/02536
WO-A1-2015/072398
US-A- 5 340 194
EP-A1- 2 772 156
WO-A1-2010/103554
US-A- 5 228 748
US-B1- 7 614 697
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to a tilt mechanism for a chair. The present invention relates furthermore to a chair comprising the tilt mechanism.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Common adjustments for chairs, in particular office-type chairs, include a height adjustment of the chair seat, an adjustment of an inclination of the chair seat and the chair back as well as an arrangement of the chair seat with respect to the chair back. These chair adjustments allow users to change their sitting position in the chair as desired, such that fatigue may be minimised during long sitting periods.

    [0003] Chair configurations may implement a feature which allows a chair back and a chair seat to move simultaneously during a tilting or rearwardly inclining motion of the chair back. The chair seat may also tilt in this motion or may be displaced otherwise relative to the chair base or chair back. The combined movement of the chair back and the chair seat may simplify chair adjustment.

    [0004] Different types of chairs may impose different constraints on the adjustment mechanism. For example, the chair tilt mechanism should be able to move between a zero tilt and a full tilt position, while not moving the occupant's centre of gravity relative to a chair base assembly so much that an overbalancing or tipping occurs. The shift in centre of gravity which is acceptable depends on the configuration of the chair base assembly. It may be desirable to implement a chair tilt mechanism which can be easily adapted to different chair requirements.

    [0005] In this context, WO 2015/072398 A1 discloses a tilt mechanism according to the preamble of claim 1, which comprises a support base provided upon a leg-body, a seat disposed upon the support base, and seat forward-slanting means which performs tilting, between a standard posture and a forward-slanting posture, of a portion of the seat from the front end portion to the rear end portion integrally centered on the rear portion of the same.

    [0006] WO 86/02536 A1 relates to a seat support for rotating work-chairs comprising the following operating parts: a base element with a support attached at one end, a seat plate fixture and back rest support. The seat support has a connecting-piece attached to the operating parts, which is fixed to the back rest support and can be moved on the base element by means of a slide-type guide. To lock the movement of the operating parts, a setting means is attached to the connecting-piece, which is designed as a lamella package.

    [0007] US 5 340 194 A relates to a device for adjusting a seat frame and a back rest of a chair of a swivel type chair. A pedestal supported chair such as a swivel type chair in which a seat plate carrier pivoted to a base member fixed to the pedestal and having a back rest carrier is provided with adjustment means operable over range of user weights for adjusting a torsion spring mounted with its windings on the pivot by which the seat plate carrier is mounted to the base member. First legs of the spring member engage the seat plate carrier and second spring legs are connected to a holder supported from the base member. Rotation of a shaft passing through the holder moves the holder towards or away from the base member and results in greater or lesser tightening of the windings of the torsion spring.

    [0008] US 5 228 748 A relates to a seat carrier for chairs comprising a seat carrier, wherein into the slots in the legs of the back rest carrier, bushings are inserted which are shaped to match the slots in the front sector between the legs of the back rest carrier where a cross web is arranged, and in the rear sector, the legs of the back rest carrier are overlapped by a plate connected with the same.

    BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0009] There is a need in the art for a chair tilt mechanism and a chair which address some of the above needs. In particular, there is a need in the art for a chair tilt mechanism which is a simple and reliable construction and which provides easy adaption to different chair requirements.

    [0010] According to an embodiment, a tilt mechanism for a chair is provided. The tilt mechanism is configured to affect a coordinated movement of a chair seat and a chair back. The tilt mechanism comprises a base, a first support, a second support, and a link element. The first support is configured to support the chair seat and is mounted to the base. The first support may be indirectly mounted to the base, in particular via the link element. Furthermore, the first support may be connected to the base. For example, the first support may be mounted such to the base that it may be displaceable in a forward and backward manner as well as being tilted. The second support is configured to support the chair back and is pivotably coupled to the base about a first pivot axis. The link element is pivotably coupled to the second support such that it is pivotable about a second pivot axis. A shaft of the tilt mechanism is attached to the first support. A first guide slot is provided at the base and a second guide slot is provided at the link element. The shaft can slide whilst being supported in the first guide slot and the second guide slot such that pivoting the second support relative to the base causes the shaft to be displaced along the first guide slot and the second guide slot.

    [0011] The tilt mechanism may comprise a further shaft attached to the first support which can slide whilst being supported in a third guide slot at the base.

    [0012] The longitudinal direction of the further shaft may be parallel to a longitudinal direction of the shaft.

    [0013] In this tilt mechanism, a movement of the first support supporting the chair seat is coupled via the link element with a movement of the second support supporting the chair back. In other words, the link element is an independent element which is not part of the first support, the second support or the base. In particular, the link element is rotatable with respect to the second support via the second pivot axis, and the link element is rotatable and displaceable in the front-rear and up-down directions with respect to the first support and the base. Due to the link element, the trajectory of the movement of the first support may be designed independently from a trajectory of the second support. The trajectory of the first support may include displacing and tilting the first support. The trajectory of the first support may be defined by the first guide slot and the third guide slot in the base. This provides a certain degree of flexibility in defining the trajectory of the first support and thus the chair seat, while providing a simple construction of the coupling between the chair back and the chair seat. The characteristics of the displacement and tilt may be altered by appropriately selecting for example a slope of the first guide slot and the third guide slot during manufacture. In particular, the first and third guide slots may be directed upwardly when the chair back is inclined rearwardly such that the tilt mechanism provides self-weighing characteristics.

    [0014] A longitudinal direction of the shaft may be parallel to the first pivot axis.

    [0015] The second pivot axis may be different from the first pivot axis.

    [0016] The first pivot axis may be parallel to the second pivot axis.

    [0017] The first guide slot may comprise a first linear guide slot and the second guide slot may comprise a second linear guide slot.

    [0018] Furthermore, the first linear guide slot and the second linear guide slot may be arranged nonparallel such that, when the shaft is displaced along the first and second linear guide slots, an angle between a direction of the first linear guide slot and a direction of the second linear guide slot varies. In other words, when the first and second linear guide slots are arranged nonparallel, an unambiguous and therefore coordinated arrangement of the shaft with respect to the base depending on the inclination of the chair back can be achieved, which provides, due to the coupling of the shaft to the chair seat, an unambiguous and coordinated arrangement of the chair seat.

    [0019] The tilt mechanism furthermore comprises an energy storage mechanism, for example a spring, including a first end and second end. The first end is coupled to a first attachment structure provided at the link element and the second end is coupled to a second attachment structure provided at the base. An energy level stored in the energy storage mechanism depends on a distance between the first end and the second end.

    [0020] The tilt mechanism may be configured such that the distance between the first attachment structure and the second attachment structure varies upon pivoting the second support relative to the base.

    [0021] The first attachment structure is provided at the second pivot axis.

    [0022] The energy storage mechanism may comprise a single tension spring.

    [0023] The energy storage mechanism as defined and arranged as described above, may provide self-weighing characteristics when using the tilt mechanism by a user sitting on the chair seat.

    [0024] The second support supporting the chair back may comprise a U-shaped section forming a central section, a first arm and second arm. The central section may be coupled to the chair back. The first and second arm may extend from the central section in an essentially perpendicular direction. A pin may extend along the second pivot axis from the first arm to the second arm through an opening in the link element. For example, the first and second arm may extend in an essentially parallel manner with the link element arranged between the first and second arms. The pin may include a first end and a second end in its longitudinal direction. The first attachment structure may be arranged closer to the first end of the pin than to the second end of the pin. In other words, the energy storage mechanism is not coupled centric at the link element. Rather, the energy storage mechanism is coupled to the link element closer to the first end of the pin.

    [0025] The tilt mechanism may comprise a locking mechanism mounted at the base and configured to engage with a locking section provided at the link element for inhibiting a movement, e.g. a rotation of the link element upon actuating the locking mechanism.

    [0026] The locking section may be arranged closer to the second end of the pin than to the first end of the pin.

    [0027] By arranging the energy storage mechanism at one end of the pin and the locking mechanism at the other end of the pin, a compact arrangement may be achieved. According to another embodiment, a chair is provided. The chair comprises a chair base assembly, a chair seat, a chair back, and a tilt mechanism. The tilt mechanism is the tilt mechanism of any aspects or embodiments described above. The base of the tilt mechanism is attached to the chair base assembly, the chair seat is attached to the first support, and the chair back is attached to the second support.

    [0028] The tilt mechanism and the chair according to embodiments may be utilised for various applications in which a coordinated inclining motion of the chair back and a motion of the chair seat is desired. For example, the chair tilt mechanism may be utilised in an office chair.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0029] Embodiments of the invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

    Fig. 1 is a schematic view of a chair having a chair tilt mechanism according to an embodiment.

    Fig. 2 is a schematic perspective view of a chair tilt mechanism according to an embodiment.

    Fig. 3 is a schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 in a full-tilted position.

    Fig. 4 is a schematic partial perspective view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 in a partially tilted position.

    Fig. 5 is a schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 in a zero tilt position.

    Fig. 6 is a schematic partial perspective view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 in a zero tilt position.

    Fig. 7 is a further schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of

    Fig. 2 in a zero tilt position.

    Fig. 8 is a schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 in a full tilted position.

    Fig. 9 is a schematic partial cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of

    Fig. 2 showing an adjustment mechanism in more detail.

    Fig. 10 is a schematic partial perspective view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 in a partially tilted position.

    Fig. 11 is a further schematic partial perspective view of the chair tilt mechanism of

    Fig. 2 in a zero tilt position.

    Fig. 12 is a further schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of

    Fig. 2 showing a locking mechanism in more detail.

    Fig. 13 is yet a further schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 showing the locking mechanism in more detail.

    Fig. 14 is a schematic partial perspective view of the chair tilt mechanism of Fig. 2 showing the locking mechanism in more detail.

    Fig. 15 is a further schematic cross-sectional side view of the chair tilt mechanism of

    Fig. 2 showing some more details of the locking mechanism.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



    [0030] Exemplary embodiments of the invention will be described with reference to the drawings. While some embodiments will be described in the context of specific fields of application, such as in the context of an office type chair, the embodiments are not limited to this field of application. The features of the various embodiments may be combined with each other unless specifically noted otherwise. Same reference signs in the various drawings refer to similar or identical components.

    [0031] Fig. 1 shows a chair 101 which includes a tilt mechanism 100 of an embodiment. The chair 101 is illustrated to be an office-type chair having a chair base assembly 102 and a superstructure. The superstructure includes a chair seat 103, a chair back 104 and components to interconnect the seat 103 with the back 104. The components which will be described in more detail below, include a tilt mechanism 100 for effecting a coordinated motion of the back 104 and the seat 103. The base assembly 102 includes a pedestal column 107, a number of support legs 105 extending radially from the column 107 and a corresponding number of casters 106 supported on the outer ends of the support legs 105. Additionally, a gas cylinder 108 or other lifting mechanism may be supported by the column 107 to enable the height of the seat 103, and thus of the chair superstructure, to be adjusted by an occupant.

    [0032] It is to be understood that the terms "forward", "rearward" and "lateral", as used herein, each have a particular meaning that is defined in relation to a flat support surface beneath the chair 101 (for example parallel to a floor on which the casters 106 rest) and in relation to an occupant of the chair. For example, the term "forward" refers to a direction moving away from the back 104 and in front of a chair occupant along an axis which extends parallel to such a flat support surface, while the term "rearward" refers to a direction opposite to the forward direction. The term "lateral" refers to a generally horizontal direction perpendicular to both the forward and rearward direction and extending parallel to the aforementioned flat support surface. The tilt mechanism also defines a rearward direction, to which the second support extends, and an opposing forward direction. The attachment between a base of the tilt mechanism 100 and the chair base assembly 102 also defines which plane of the tilt mechanism will be oriented horizontally in the installed date of the tilt mechanism. The chair 101 includes the tilt mechanism 100. Generally, the tilt mechanism 100 is operated to implement a coordinated motion of the seat 103 and the back 104 when the back 104 is tilted. The tilt mechanism 100 includes a base 10 which, in the installed state of the tilt mechanism 100 in which the tilt mechanism 100 is incorporated into the chair 101 as illustrated in Fig. 1, is coupled to the pedestal column 107 via the lifting mechanism 108. The tilt mechanism 100 includes a seat support 11 which, in the installed state of the tilt mechanism 100, is directly coupled to the seat 103 and supports the seat 103 at a lower side thereof. The seat support 11 acts as first support which is connected to the base 10. The seat support 11 may be mounted to the base 10 such that it is displaceable with respect to the base 10. The seat 103 may be fixedly coupled to the seat support 11, such that a translational or rotational motion of the seat support 11 causes the seat 103 to move jointly with the seat support 11 in a translational or rotational manner. The tilt mechanism 100 includes a back support 12 which, in the installed state of the tilt mechanism 100, is coupled to the back 104. The back 104 may be attached to the back support 12 using suitable connecting members, such as a bar 109 fixed to the back support 12. The bar 109 may be directly and rigidly attached to the back support 12. The back support 12 acts as a second support.

    [0033] As will be described in more detail with reference to Figs. 2 to 15, the tilt mechanism 100 is configured such that the back support 12 is pivotably coupled to the base 10, allowing the back support 12 to pivot relatively to the base 10. The tilt mechanism 100 has a coupling mechanism coupling both the seat support 11 and the back support 12 to the base 10. The coupling mechanism includes a link element pivotably coupled to the back support 12, a first guide slot provided at the base 10, a second guide slot provided at the link element, and a shaft attached to the seat support 11 can slide whilst being supported in the first guide slot and the second guide slot.

    [0034] When the back 104 is tilted, the link element is moved in the rearward direction which drives the shaft along the second guide slot via a shear action. As the shaft is supported by the first and second guide slots, the shaft simultaneously moves along the first guide slot thus driving the seat support 11. When the back 104 is tilted, the seat support 11 is thereby displaced relative to the base 10 and, thus, relative to the chair base assembly 102.

    [0035] As used herein, the term "guide slot" refers to a slot which may be formed as a cutout, which means a through slot, or as a blind slot. The guide slots described herein may be linear guide slots, which means that the slots are extending in an essentially straight manner. The linear guide slot has a linear centre axis extending linearly from one end of the slot to the opposite end of the slot along the slot longitudinal axis.

    [0036] Figs. 2 and 3 show a perspective view and side view, respectively, of the tilt mechanism 100. The tilt mechanism 100 comprises a base 10, which may be coupled to the gas cylinder 108, a first support (seat support) 11 configured to support the chair seat 103 and connected to the base 10, a second support (back support) 12 configured to support the chair back 104 and pivotably coupled to the base 10 about a first pivot axis 13, a link element 14 pivotably coupled to the second support 12 about a second pivot axis 15, and a shaft 16 attached to the first support 11. A first guide slot 17 is provided at the base 10 and a second guide slot 18 is provided at the link element 14. The shaft 16 can slide whilst being supported in the first guide slot 17 and the second guide slot 18 such that pivoting the second support 12 relative to the base 10 causes the link element 14 to be moved in the rearward direction, which causes the shaft 16 to be displaced along the first guide slot 17 and the second guide slot 18.

    [0037] The link element 14 may comprise an individual element which is not part of the first support 11, the second support 12 or the base 10. The link element 14 may be rotatable with respect to the second support 12 about the second pivot axis 15. Further, the link element 14 may be rotatable and displaceable in the front-rear and up-down directions with respect to the first support 11 and the base 10.

    [0038] The tilt mechanism 100 may have a compact and simple construction, with the coupling between the first support 11 and the second support 12 implemented in a structure disposed below the chair seat. The tilt mechanism 100 may provide self-weighing characteristics.

    [0039] The tilt mechanism 100 may include a biasing mechanism to bias the tilt mechanism 100 into a position in which the back 104 is in its foremost position. The biasing mechanism may be implemented by a spring 21, for example a tension spring or a compression spring.

    [0040] The base 10 generally has a U-shaped cross section in a plane extending in the lateral direction of the tilt mechanism 100. The base 10 has a bottom wall, which may be coupled to the chair base assembly 102. From the bottom of the base 10 to side walls may extend in an upward and forward-backward direction of the tilt mechanism 100. Within this U-shaped cross section of the base 10, the link element 14 and the spring 21 as well as further components for controlling the tilt mechanism may be accommodated.

    [0041] The first support (seat support) 11 may comprise two L-shaped profiles laterally spaced apart, wherein one leg of each of the L-shaped profiles may be coupled to the chair seat 103 and the other leg of each of the L-shaped profiles is indirectly mounted to the base 10 and displaceable with respect to the base 10. However, although not shown in the figures, the first support 11 may comprise a single element, for example, the first support may comprise a U shaped profile with a central section coupled to the chair seat 103 and side walls extending downwards and mounted indirectly to the base 10 like the legs of the L-shaped profiles. The side walls may be connected to the base 10 such that they are displaceable with respect to the base 10.

    [0042] The second support (back support) 12 may have a U-shaped cross section forming a central section 27, a first arm 28 and a second arm 29 (see for example Fig. 10). The central section 27 may be coupled to the chair back 104. The first and second arms 28, 29 may be coupled pivotably to the side walls of the base 10 about the first pivot axis 13, for example via a pin extending along the first pivot axis 13 or via corresponding pivot bearings at each side wall of the base 10.

    [0043] The link element 14 is accommodated between the sidewalls of the base 10. The link element 14 is pivotably coupled to the second support 12 about the second pivot axis 15, for example via a pin extending from the first arm 28 to the second arm 29 through a matching opening in the link element 14. The first pivot axis 13 and the second pivot axis 15 are arranged in parallel and spaced apart from each other. Thus, the link element 14 is at least partially positively driven by a movement or rotation of the second support 12 when the chair back 104 is tilted.

    [0044] The first guide slot 17 is provided at each of the sidewalls of the base 10. In the sectional side view shown in Fig. 3, a side view of one of the sidewalls of the base 10 is shown with the corresponding first guide slot 17. The first guide slot 17 may comprise a linear guide slot. In the link element 14 a second guide slot 18 is provided. The second guide slot 18 may also comprise a linear guide slot. A shaft 16 is attached to the first support 11 and extends through the first guide slot 17 of one side wall of the base 10, next through the second guide slot 18 of the link element 14 and further through the first guide slot 17 of the other side wall of the base 10. Both ends of the shaft 16 may be mounted at the first support 11. As indicated in Fig. 3, a longitudinal direction of the first guide slot 17 and a longitudinal direction of the second guide slot 18 are not parallel, but arranged angular, such that a positively driven arrangement of the first guide slot 17, the second guide slot 18 and the shaft 16 may be achieved. As the shaft 16 is mounted at the rearward end of the first support 11, the rearward end of the first support 11 is also positively driven by the arrangement of the link element 14, the base 10 and the shaft 16. As the link element 14 is coupled to the second support 12 and driven by tilting the second support 12, a coordinated movement between the tilting of the second support 12 and a movement of the first support 11 can be achieved. At the forward end of the first support 11, a further shaft 39 may be provided extending in parallel to the shaft 16. Furthermore, a third guide slot 40 may be provided at each of the sidewalls of the base 10 in a front area of the base 10 such that the further shaft 39 is extending through the third guide slots 40 and positively drives the front end of the first support 11. The first guide slot 17 and the third guide slot 40 may have a different angle of inclination with respect to the bottom wall of the base 10. Therefore, when the first support 11 is moved driven by shaft 16 in the front-and rear direction, a change of the height of the front side of the first support 11 is different compared to a change of the height of the rear side of the first support 11. Thus, the first support 11 and consequently the chair seat 103 may not only be moved in the front-rear direction, but also tilted when the chair back 104 is tilted.

    [0045] At the base 10, a further shaft 19 may be provided which extends in parallel to the shaft 16. A fourth guide slot 20 may be provided in the link element 14 through which the further shaft 19 is extending. The further shaft 19 in combination with the fourth guide slot 20 provides a coordinated movement of the link element 14, when the link element 14 is driven via the second pivot axis 15 when the second support 12 is tilted.

    [0046] Fig. 2 shows furthermore a handle 41 which may be operated by an occupant and which may actuate a locking mechanism of the tilt mechanism 100. The locking mechanism locks and unlocks the coordinated movement of the first support 11 and the second support 12. In a locked state of the locking mechanism, the first support 11 and the second support 12 are maintained in a fixed position with respect to the base 10. In an unlocked state of the locking mechanism, the first support 11 and the second support 12 may be moved in a coordinated manner with respect to the base 10. Details on the locking mechanism will be described in connection with Figs. 10 to 15.

    [0047] Fig. 4 shows a schematic perspective partial sectional view of the tilt mechanism 100. In particular, Fig. 4 shows the arrangement of the link element 14 accommodated between the sidewalls of the base 10 and between the arms of the U-shaped second support 12.

    [0048] In the following, the coordinated movement between the first support 11 and the second support 12 will be described in more detail. The tilt mechanism 100 may enable to move the chair back 104 between a zero tilt and a full tilt position. In the zero tilt position, the chair back may be arranged in an essentially perpendicular direction with respect to the surface on which the chair 101 is provided. Consequently, the central section of the U shaped second support 12 may be arranged in the zero tilt position in an essentially perpendicular direction with respect to the surface on which the chair 101 is provided. In the full tilt position, the chair back 101 as well as the central section of the U-shaped second support 12 may be inclined in an angle from about 30° to about 50° from the zero tilt position. The full tilt position as well as the zero tilt position may be limited by the tilt mechanism 100. In the following, a position between the full tilt position and the zero tilt position will be called partially tilt position.

    [0049] Fig. 5 shows a sectional side view of the tilt mechanism 100 in the zero tilt position. The shaft 39 is located at the lowest and furthest forward position in the third guide slot 40. The shaft 16 is arranged at the uppermost position of the second guide slot 18 and at the furthest forward position of the first guide slot 17. The shaft 19 is arranged at the rearmost position of the fourth guide slot 20.

    [0050] Fig. 6 shows a perspective sectional view of the tilt mechanism 100 in this zero tilt position.

    [0051] Fig. 7 shows a further sectional side view of the tilt mechanism 100 in this zero tilt position. In particular, Fig. 7 shows the arrangement of the spring 21 in this zero tilt position. The spring 21 has a first end 22 and a second end 23. The spring 21 may comprise a source of stored energy such that it may provide a restoring force when the distance between the first end 22 and the second end 23 is enlarged. The first end 22 is coupled to a corresponding first spring attachment structure 24 at the link element 14. The second end 23 of the spring 21 is coupled to a second spring attachment structure 25 at the base 10.

    [0052] Fig. 8 shows the sectional side view of the tilt mechanism 100 of Fig. 7 in the full tilt position. The second support 12 is inclined into a backward direction by rotating about the first pivot axis 13 with respect to the base 10. Due to the rotating movement of the second support 12, the second pivot axis 15 is moved in a backward direction. Together with the pivot axis 15, the link element 14 is also moved in a backward direction urging the shaft 16 backwards. As the shaft 16 is coupled to the first support 11, the first support 11 is also moved backwards. Further, as the shaft 16 is also guided by the first guide slot 17 in the base 10, the shaft 16 is moved together with the rear part of the first support 11 in an upward direction. The shaft 39 is moved together with the first support 11 in a rearward and upward direction guided in the third guide slot 40. Thus, the first support 11 is moved as a whole together with the chair seat 103 in an upward and rearward direction and is tilted at the same time.

    [0053] The chair back 104 and thus the second support 12 may be inclined from the zero tilt position in the full tilt position or in any partially tilt position between the zero tilt position and the full tilt position by an occupant sitting on the chair seat 103 and leaning back against the chair back 104. When the link element 14 is moved in the rearward direction, the spring 21 is enlarged and tensioned. Thus, the spring 21 provides a restoring force urging the tilt mechanism 100 back in the zero tilt position when the occupant does not apply a back-leaning force to the chair back 104.

    [0054] Fig. 9 shows the second spring attachment structure 25 at the base 10 in more detail. The second spring attachment structure 25 may comprise an adjustment element 26, for example a screw, for adjusting a pre-tension of the spring 21. Thus, the restoring force of the spring 21 may be adjusted.

    [0055] The tilt mechanism 100 may comprise a locking mechanism for mechanically locking the tilt mechanism in certain positions, for example in the full tilt position, in the zero tilt position and in at least some partially tilted positions. As shown in Figs. 10 to 15, the locking mechanism may comprise a male lock plate 32, a female engage plate 33, a spring element 37, and a coupling element 38. The female engage plate 33 is mounted at the second support 12. Thus, the female engage plate 33 is moving together with the second support 12. The female engage plate 33 comprises a plurality of recesses into which the male lock plate 32 may engage. The male lock plate 32 is arranged in a guidance which is mounted at the base 10. The male lock plate 32 can slide in the forward and backward direction between a front position and a rear position. In the front position, the male lock plate 32 is disengaged from the female engage plate 33 such that the second support 12 can be freely moved and rotated around the first pivot axis 13. In the rear position, the male lock plate 32 is engaged with one of the recesses at the female engage plate 33. Therefore, in the rear position of the male lock plate 32, the second support 12 cannot rotate about the first pivot axis 13. Thus, in the front position of the male lock plate 32, the tilt mechanism 100 is in the unlocked state and can be freely adjusted, whereas in the rear position of the male lock plate 32, the tilt mechanism 100 is in the locked state and the second support 12 is locked in a certain position.

    [0056] Figs. 10 and 12 show the locked state of the tilt mechanism 100 in a partially tilted position in a perspective view and the side view, respectively.

    [0057] Figs. 11 and 13 show the locked state of the tilt mechanism 100 in the zero tilt position in a perspective view and a side view, respectively.

    [0058] The male lock plate 32 may be operated by the occupant with the handle 41. The handle 41 may be rotated around its longitudinal direction. For example, the handle 41 may be rotated in a clockwise direction for unlocking the tilt mechanism 100, and the handle 41 may be rotated in a counter-clockwise direction for locking the tilt mechanism 100.

    [0059] Figs. 14 and 15 show the elements for controlling the locking mechanism in more detail. The spring element 37 may be coupled to the handle 41 at a proximal end of the spring element 37 via a control element 35. The distal end of the spring element 37 may be engaged with the coupling element 38, which is coupled with the male lock plate 32.

    [0060] When the handle 41 is rotated in the clockwise direction, the distal end of the spring element 37 urges the coupling element 38 together with the male lock plate 32 in the forward direction, thus unlocking the tilt mechanism 100.

    [0061] When the handle 41 is rotated in the counter-clockwise direction, the distal end of the spring element 37 urges the coupling element 38 together with the male lock plate 32 in the rearward direction. When the male lock plate 32 is facing one of the recesses of the female engage plate 33, the spring element 37 moves the male lock plate 32 into this recess of the female engage plate 33. However, when the male lock plate 32 does not face one of the recesses of the female engage plate 33, the spring element urges the male lock plate 32 against one of the teeth between the recesses of the female engage plate 33. The second support 12 is still moveable. However, when the second support 12 is moved, the male lock plate 32 will engage with one of the recesses of the female engage plate 33 as soon as possible, thus locking the tilt mechanism 100.

    [0062] As further shown in figure Fig. 15, a detent element 36 may be provided at the handle 41 or the control element 35 for locking the handle 41 in the locking and unlocking position.

    [0063] In particular Figs. 10 and 11 show the arrangement of the locking mechanism in parallel to the spring 21 at the second support 12 and the link element 14, respectively. The second pivot axis 15 has a first end 31 and a second end 30. The spring 21 is mounted at the link element 14 near the first end 31, whereas the locking mechanism is arranged at the opposite side near the second and 30. This allows a compact design of the tilt mechanism 100.

    [0064] While the tilt mechanism 100 has been described with linear guide slots 17, 18, 20 and 40, these guide slots may be formed as arced guide slots. Furthermore, at least some of the guide slots 17, 18, 20 and 40 may also be formed as blind slots.

    [0065] Furthermore, the tilt mechanism 100 may comprise further components, for example two or more springs instead of the single spring 21, and a handle and a mechanism for the gas cylinder 108.

    [0066] While exemplary embodiments have been described in the context of office-type chairs, the tilt mechanism 100 and the chair 101 according to embodiments of the invention are not limited to this particular application. Rather, embodiments of the invention may be employed to effect a coordinated motion of a chair back and the chair seat in a wide variety of chairs.


    Claims

    1. A tilt mechanism for a chair, configured to affect a coordinated movement of a chair seat (103) and chair back (104), the tilt mechanism comprising (100):

    - a base (10),

    - a first support (11) configured to support the chair seat (103) and mounted to the base (10),

    - a second support (12) configured to support the chair back (104) and pivotably coupled to the base (10) about a first pivot axis (13),

    - a link element (14) pivotably coupled to the second support (12) about a second pivot axis (15),

    - a shaft (16) attached to the first support (11),

    wherein a first guide slot (17) is provided at the base (10) and a second guide slot (18) is provided at the link element (14), wherein the shaft (16) is supported in the first guide slot (17) and the second guide slot (18) such that pivoting the second support (12) relative to the base (10) causes the shaft (16) to be displaced along the first and second guide slots (17, 18), and

    - an energy storage mechanism (21) including a first end (22) and a second end (23), the first end (22) being coupled to a first attachment structure (24) provided at the link element (14) and the second end (21) being coupled to a second attachment structure (25) provided at the base (10), wherein an energy level stored in the energy storage mechanism (21) depends on a distance between the first end and the second end (22, 23),

    characterized in that
    the first attachment structure (24) is provided at the second pivot axis (15).
     
    2. The tilt mechanism according to claim 1, wherein a longitudinal direction of the shaft (16) is parallel to the first pivot axis (13).
     
    3. The tilt mechanism according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the second pivot axis (15) is different from the first pivot axis (13).
     
    4. The tilt mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first pivot axis (13) is parallel to the second pivot axis (15).
     
    5. The tilt mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first guide slot (17) comprises a first linear guide slot and the second guide slot (18) comprises a second linear guide slot.
     
    6. The tilt mechanism according to claim 5, wherein the first linear guide slot (17) and the second linear guide slot (18) are arranged nonparallel such that, when the shaft (16) is displaced along the first and second linear guide slots (17, 18), an angle between a direction of the first linear guide slot (17) and a direction of the second linear guide slot (18) varies.
     
    7. The tilt mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the tilt mechanism is configured such that a distance between the first attachment structure (24) and the second attachment structure (25) varies upon pivoting the second support (12) relative to the base (10).
     
    8. The tilt mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the energy storage mechanism (21) comprises a single tension spring.
     
    9. The tilt mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second support (12) comprises a U-shaped section forming a central section (27), a first arm (28) and a second arm (29), wherein a pin extends along the second pivot axis (15) from the first arm (28) to the second arm (29) through an opening in the link element (14), wherein the pin includes a first end (31) and a second end (30) in its longitudinal direction, wherein the first attachment structure (24) is arranged closer to the first end (31) of the pin than to the second end (30) of the pin.
     
    10. The tilt mechanism according to claim 9, comprising a locking mechanism (32) mounted at the base (10) and configured to engage with a locking section (33) provided at the link element (14) for inhibiting a movement of the link element (14) upon actuating the locking mechanism (32).
     
    11. The tilt mechanism according to claim 10, wherein the locking section (33) is arranged closer to the second end (30) of the pin than to the first end (31) of the pin.
     
    12. The tilt mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a further shaft (39) attached to the first support (11) and supported in a third guide slot (40) provided at the base (10).
     
    13. The tilt mechanism according to claim 12, wherein a longitudinal direction of the further shaft (39) is parallel to a longitudinal direction of the shaft (16).
     
    14. A chair, comprising
    a chair base assembly (102),
    a chair seat (103),
    a chair back (104), and
    a tilt mechanism (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, the base (10) of the tilt mechanism (100) being attached to the chair base assembly (102), the chair seat (103) being attached to the first support (11) of the tilt mechanism (100), and the chair back (104) being attached to the second support (12) of the tilt mechanism (100).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Neigungsmechanismus für einen Stuhl, welcher ausgestaltet ist, eine koordinierte Bewegung einer Stuhlsitzfläche (103) und einer Stuhllehne (104) zu bewirken, wobei der Neigungsmechanismus (100) umfasst:

    - eine Basis (10),

    - eine erste Halterung (11), welche ausgestaltet ist, die Stuhlsitzfläche (103) zu halten, und an der Basis (10) angebracht ist,

    - eine zweite Halterung (12), welche ausgestaltet ist, die Stuhllehne (104) zu halten, und um eine erste Drehachse (13) drehbar mit der Basis (10) gekoppelt ist,

    - ein Verbindungselement (14), welches um eine zweite Drehachse (15) drehbar mit der zweiten Halterung (12) gekoppelt ist,

    - eine Welle (16), welche an der ersten Halterung (11) befestigt ist,

    wobei ein erster Führungsschlitz (17) an der Basis (10) vorgesehen ist und ein zweiter Führungsschlitz (18) an dem Verbindungselement (14) vorgesehen ist, wobei die Welle (16) in dem ersten Führungsschlitz (17) und dem zweiten Führungsschlitz (18) derart gehalten wird, dass ein Drehen der zweiten Halterung (12) relativ zu der Basis (10) bewirkt, dass die Welle (16) entlang dem ersten und zweiten Führungsschlitz (17, 18) versetzt wird, und

    - einen Energiespeichermechanismus (21), welcher ein erstes Ende (22) und ein zweites Ende (23) aufweist, wobei das erste Ende (22) mit einer ersten Befestigungsstruktur (24), welche an dem Verbindungselement (14) vorgesehen ist, gekoppelt ist und das zweite Ende (21) mit einer zweiten Befestigungsstruktur (25), welche an der Basis (10) vorgesehen ist, gekoppelt ist, wobei ein in dem Energiespeichermechanismus (21) gespeicherter Energiepegel von einem Abstand zwischen dem ersten Ende und dem zweiten Ende (22, 23) abhängt,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    die erste Befestigungsstruktur (24) an der zweiten Drehachse (15) vorgesehen ist.
     
    2. Neigungsmechanismus nach Anspruch 1, wobei eine Längsrichtung der Welle (16) parallel zu der ersten Drehachse (13) ist.
     
    3. Neigungsmechanismus nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2, wobei sich die zweite Drehachse (15) von der ersten Drehachse (13) unterscheidet.
     
    4. Neigungsmechanismus nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die erste Drehachse (13) parallel zu der zweiten Drehachse (15) ist.
     
    5. Neigungsmechanismus nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der erste Führungsschlitz (17) einen ersten linearen Führungsschlitz umfasst und der zweite Führungsschlitz (18) einen zweiten linearen Führungsschlitz umfasst.
     
    6. Neigungsmechanismus nach Anspruch 5, wobei der erste lineare Führungsschlitz (17) und der zweite lineare Führungsschlitz (18) nicht parallel angeordnet sind, sodass sich, wenn die Welle (16) entlang dem ersten und zweiten linearen Führungsschlitz (17, 18) versetzt wird, ein Winkel zwischen einer Richtung des ersten linearen Führungsschlitzes (17) und einer Richtung des zweiten linearen Führungsschlitzes (18) ändert.
     
    7. Neigungsmechanismus nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Neigungsmechanismus derart ausgestaltet ist, dass sich ein Abstand zwischen der ersten Befestigungsstruktur (24) und der zweiten Befestigungsstruktur (25) nach einem Drehen der zweiten Halterung (12) relativ zu der Basis (10) ändert.
     
    8. Neigungsmechanismus nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Energiespeichermechanismus (21) eine einzelne Zugfeder umfasst.
     
    9. Neigungsmechanismus nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die zweite Halterung (12) einen U-förmigen Abschnitt umfasst, welcher einen mittleren Abschnitt (27), einen ersten Arm (28) und einen zweiten Arm (29) ausbildet, wobei sich ein Stift entlang der zweiten Drehachse (15) von dem ersten Arm (28) zu dem zweiten Arm (29) durch eine Öffnung in dem Verbindungselement (14) erstreckt, wobei der Stift ein erstes Ende (31) und ein zweites Ende (30) in seiner Längsrichtung aufweist, wobei die erste Befestigungsstruktur (24) näher an dem ersten Ende (31) des Stiftes als an dem zweiten Ende (30) des Stiftes angeordnet ist.
     
    10. Neigungsmechanismus nach Anspruch 9, umfassend einen Verriegelungsmechanismus (32), welcher an der Basis (10) angebracht ist und ausgestaltet ist, mit einem Verriegelungsabschnitt (33), welcher an dem Verbindungselement (14) vorgesehen ist, in Eingriff gebracht zu werden, um eine Bewegung des Verbindungselements (14) nach einer Betätigung des Verriegelungsmechanismus (32) zu verhindern.
     
    11. Neigungsmechanismus nach Anspruch 10, wobei der Verriegelungsabschnitt (33) näher an dem zweiten Ende (30) des Stiftes als an dem ersten Ende (31) des Stiftes angeordnet ist.
     
    12. Neigungsmechanismus nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, ferner umfassend eine weitere Welle (39), welche an der ersten Halterung (11) befestigt ist und in einem dritten Führungsschlitz (40), welcher an der Basis (10) vorgesehen ist, gehalten wird.
     
    13. Neigungsmechanismus nach Anspruch 12, wobei eine Längsrichtung der weiteren Welle (39) parallel zu einer Längsrichtung der Welle (16) ist.
     
    14. Stuhl umfassend
    eine Stuhlbasisanordnung (102),
    eine Stuhlsitzfläche (103),
    eine Stuhllehne (104) und
    einen Neigungsmechanismus (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Basis (10) des Neigungsmechanismus (100) an der Stuhlbasisanordnung (102) angebracht ist, wobei die Stuhlsitzfläche (103) an der ersten Halterung (11) des Neigungsmechanismus (100) angebracht ist, und wobei die Stuhllehne (104) an der zweiten Halterung (12) des Neigungsmechanismus (100) angebracht ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Mécanisme d'inclinaison pour chaise, configuré pour affecter un mouvement coordonné d'une assise de chaise (103) et d'un dossier de chaise (104), le mécanisme d'inclinaison comprenant (100) :

    - une base (10),

    - un premier support (11) configuré pour supporter l'assise de chaise (103) et monté sur la base (10),

    - un second support (12) configuré pour supporter le dossier de chaise (104) et couplé de manière pivotante à la base (10) autour d'un premier axe de pivotement (13),

    - un élément de liaison (14) couplé de manière pivotante au second support (12) autour d'un second axe de pivotement (15),

    - un arbre (16) fixé au premier support (11),

    dans lequel une première rainure de guidage (17) est prévue au niveau de la base (10) et une deuxième rainure de guidage (18) est prévue au niveau de l'élément de liaison (14), dans lequel l'arbre (16) est supporté dans la première rainure de guidage (17) et la deuxième rainure de guidage (18) de telle sorte que le pivotement du second support (12) par rapport à la base (10) amène l'arbre (16) à être déplacé le long des première et seconde rainures de guidage (17, 18), et

    - un mécanisme de stockage d'énergie (21) incluant une première extrémité (22) et une seconde extrémité (23), la première extrémité (22) étant couplée à une première structure de fixation (24) prévue au niveau de l'élément de liaison (14) et la seconde extrémité (21) étant couplée à une seconde structure de fixation (25) prévue au niveau de la base (10), dans lequel un niveau d'énergie stocké dans le mécanisme de stockage d'énergie (21) dépend d'une distance entre la première extrémité et la seconde extrémité (22, 23),

    caractérisé en ce que
    la première structure de fixation (24) est prévue au niveau du second axe de pivotement (15).
     
    2. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une direction longitudinale de l'arbre (16) est parallèle au premier axe de pivotement (13).
     
    3. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, dans lequel le second axe de pivotement (15) est différent du premier axe de pivotement (13).
     
    4. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le premier axe de pivotement (13) est parallèle au second axe de pivotement (15).
     
    5. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la première rainure de guidage (17) comprend une première rainure de guidage linéaire et la deuxième rainure de guidage (18) comprend une deuxième rainure de guidage linéaire.
     
    6. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la première rainure de guidage linéaire (17) et la deuxième rainure de guidage linéaire (18) sont agencées de manière non parallèle de telle sorte que, lorsque l'arbre (16) est déplacé le long des première et deuxième rainures de guidage linéaire (17, 18), un angle entre une direction de la première rainure de guidage linéaire (17) et une direction de la deuxième rainure de guidage linéaire (18) varie.
     
    7. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le mécanisme d'inclinaison est configuré de telle sorte qu'une distance entre la première structure de fixation (24) et la seconde structure de fixation (25) varie lors du pivotement du second support (12) par rapport à la base (10).
     
    8. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le mécanisme de stockage d'énergie (21) comprend un seul ressort de tension.
     
    9. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le second support (12) comprend une section en U formant une section centrale (27), un premier bras (28) et un second bras (29), dans lequel une tige s'étend le long du second axe de pivotement (15) du premier bras (28) vers le second bras (29) à travers une ouverture dans l'élément de liaison (14), dans lequel la tige inclut une première extrémité (31) et une seconde extrémité (30) dans sa direction longitudinale, dans lequel la première structure de fixation (24) est agencée plus près de la première extrémité (31) de la tige que de la seconde extrémité (30) de la tige.
     
    10. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon la revendication 9, comprenant un mécanisme de verrouillage (32) monté au niveau de la base (10) et configuré pour se mettre en prise avec une section de verrouillage (33) prévue au niveau de l'élément de liaison (14) pour inhiber un mouvement de l'élément de liaison (14) lors de l'actionnement du mécanisme de verrouillage (32).
     
    11. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon la revendication 10, dans lequel la section de verrouillage (33) est agencée plus près de la seconde extrémité (30) de la tige que de la première extrémité (31) de la tige.
     
    12. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre un arbre supplémentaire (39) fixé au premier support (11) et supporté dans une troisième rainure de guidage (40) prévue au niveau de la base (10).
     
    13. Mécanisme d'inclinaison selon la revendication 12, dans lequel une direction longitudinale de l'arbre supplémentaire (39) est parallèle à une direction longitudinale de l'arbre (16).
     
    14. Chaise, comprenant
    un ensemble base de chaise (102),
    une assise de chaise (103),
    un dossier de chaise (104), et
    un mécanisme d'inclinaison (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, la base (10) du mécanisme d'inclinaison (100) étant fixée à l'ensemble base de chaise (102), l'assise de chaise (103) étant fixée au premier support (11) du mécanisme d'inclinaison (100) et le dossier de chaise (104) étant fixé au second support (12) du mécanisme d'inclinaison (100).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description