Patent application title: Chair Guiding Device Comprising a Tilting Plate
Josef Trendelkamp (Nordwalde, DE)
IPC8 Class: AA47C300FI
Class name: Stand horizontally movable support surface on slide or guide
Publication date: 2013-07-25
Patent application number: 20130187021
A chair guiding device including: a rail guide that extends between a
starting and an end position of a chair receptacle; a carriage, which
carries the chair receptacle and is displaceably mounted on the rail
guide; and a housing, comprising a base body and a cover on which an
elongated hole is incorporated, in which the chair receptacle is arranged
so as to be movable back and forth. The rail guide is arranged pivotably
about a rotational axis. The rail guide is arranged on a tilting plate,
which is pivotably mounted on a revolute joint comprising the rotational
axis. The tilting plate, together with the rail guide, is surrounded at
least partially by the housing; and a means is provided that can pivot
the tilting plate by an angle (α) relative to the horizontal plane
1. A chair guiding device (100), comprising: a rail guide (6.1, 6.2),
which extends between a starting and an end position (A; E) of a chair
receptacle (4); a carriage (5), which carries the chair receptacle (4)
and is displaceably mounted on the rail guide (6.1, 6.2); and a housing
(10), comprising a base body (17) and a cover (11) on which an elongated
hole (3) is incorporated, in which the chair receptacle (4) is arranged
so as to be movable back and forth, characterized in that: the rail guide
(6.1, 6.2) is arranged pivotably about a rotational axis (24); the rail
guide (6.1, 6.2) is arranged on a tilting plate (20), which is pivotably
mounted on a revolute joint (22) comprising the rotational axis (24); the
tilting plate (20), together with the rail guide (6.1, 6.2), is
surrounded at least partially by the housing (10); and a means (23) is
provided that can pivot the tilting plate (20) by an angle (α)
relative to the horizontal plane (EB).
2. The chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the horizontal plane (EB) is defined by a bottom (12) of the base body (17) or by the cover (11).
3. The chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the means (23) is a spring element (23.1) or another means, for example an eccentric element.
4. The chair guiding device according to claim 3, characterized in that: the spring element (23.1) exerts a spring force (FK) that is greater than the weight acting on the spring as a result of the weight of the chair (1), tilting plate (20), and chair receptacle (4) so that the tilting plate (20) is pivoted by the angle (α) relative to the horizontal plane in any chair position when the chair is not occupied; the spring element is compressed in the loaded state of the tilting plate (20) so that the tilting plate (20) assumes a horizontal position (31) that is plane-parallel to the plane (EB); and the spring element pushes against the tilting plate (20) with a spring force (FK) that is directed substantially perpendicular to the tilting plate (20).
5. The chair guiding device according to claim 3, characterized in that the spring element (23.1) is a coil spring.
6. The chair guiding device according to claim 3, characterized in that the spring element (23.1) is a gas pressure spring.
7. The chair guiding device according to claim 3, characterized in that the spring element (23.1) is made of an elastomeric material.
8. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the spring element (23.1) is mounted on the bottom (12) of the housing (10).
9. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the sloped position (30) of the tilting plate (20) in the unloaded state corresponds to an angle of inclination (α) of 0.degree. to 15.degree., preferably 1.degree. to 3.degree..
10. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the tilting plate (20) is formed by the bottom (12).
11. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the housing (10) is cuboid.
12. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the housing (10) is suited for installation in a base plate of an office chair or of a relaxation armchair.
13. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the cover (11) of the housing (10) comprising an elongated hole (3) can be replaced with a cover having no elongated hole.
14. A chair guiding device according to claim 1, characterized in that the fastening elements used for fastening the chair receptacle (4) can be accessed from outside the housing (10).
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims the benefit of German patent application no. 10 2012 100 432.3, filed Jan. 19, 2012.
 The invention relates to chair guides and, more particularly, to a chair guiding device comprising:
 a rail guide, which extends between a starting position and an end position of a chair receptacle;
 a carriage, which carries the chair receptacle and is displaceably mounted on the rail guide; and
 a housing, comprising a base body and a cover on which an elongated hole is incorporated, in which the chair receptacle is arranged so as to be movable back and forth.
 A chair guiding device of the type mentioned above is disclosed in DE 10 2010 032 265 A1 by the applicant. The rail guide is arranged in a sloped plane, which has a constant angle of inclination relative to the bottom of the housing so that the chair receptacle, and thus the chair, is always located higher in the end position than in the starting position. Within the travel range, the position of the chair can be fixed by way of a retaining device holding the carriage. However, the chair guide itself is mounted rigidly in the sloped plane so that the displacement of the chair occupied by a person can also take place only along the sloped movement path thus defined.
 In addition, a chair guide comprising a rail guide that is mounted on a sloped plane is known from DE 20 2011 001 821 U1, in which the chair receptacle is associated with a braking device, which is used to hold the chair in a settable displacement position. In this device, the sloped movement path is also rigidly fixed. Moreover, the disclosed braking device is a complex assembly comprising sophisticated additional parts such as springs, cylinders, and magnets. In addition, the carriage cannot be displaced without resistance when the chair is occupied.
 Thus, the object of the invention is to develop a chair guiding device of the type in question without the use of a braking device, wherein the carriage carrying the chair receptacle not only automatically returns the unoccupied chair to a predetermined starting position, but it is also assured that a person sitting on the chair can move the chair back and forth, without having to overcome the grade resistance caused by a sloped chair guidance when pushing the chair upward, and can keep the chair at any point along the travel range without the user continually applying a force.
 Thus, the object of the invention is to develop a chair guiding device of the type in question, in which the carriage carrying the chair receptacle not only automatically returns the unoccupied chair to a predetermined starting position, but it is also assured that a person sitting on the chair can move the chair back and forth, without having to overcome the grade resistance caused by a sloped chair guidance when pushing the chair upward. Moreover, the user should be able to maintain the selected chair position at any point along the travel range, without having to permanently apply a counter force that is directed against the grade resistance or actuate a braking device.
 This object is achieved by a chair guiding device defined in the preamble by:
 arranging the rail guide pivotably about a rotational axis;
 arranging the rail guide on a tilting plate, which is pivotably mounted on a revolute joint comprising the rotational axis;
 surrounding the tilting plate, together with the rail guide, at least partially with the housing; and
 providing a means that can pivot the tilting plate by an angle (α) relative to the horizontal plane.
 Of course, the tilting plate can also be integrated in the housing or form the bottom of the housing. What is essential is that the rail guide is not rigidly arranged, but can be moved about a rotational axis. The rotational axis is preferably oriented perpendicularly to a travel range of the carriage defined by the starting and end positions.
 A spring element, which can have the broadest design possible, or another means, for example an eccentric element, can be used as the means for implementing the pivoting motion of the tilting plate. The eccentric element can be set in motion by a belt drive, for example.
 If the spring element is disposed relative to the pivot bearing on the side of the tilting plate on which also the rail guide is mounted, the spring element is preferably disposed as a compression spring between the tilting plate and the bottom. Provided the spring element cooperates with a tilting plate that is extended beyond the pivot bearing in an embodiment that is not shown, the spring element can also be disposed as a compression spring between the tilting plate extension and a housing cover or a support that is integrated in the housing.
 A tension spring may be used as an alternative to a compression spring, wherein in such an embodiment the spring stop points on the housing must be modified accordingly.
 The chair guiding device according to the new design principle allows almost resistance-free gliding of the chair under the load of the person sitting thereon, because no difference in height must be overcome. With this chair guiding device, the sitting person with his or her feet on the floor is not also required to be supported or to actuate an additional braking or retaining device so as to maintain the chair in the desired position.
 Preferably a mechanical spring, for example a coil or disk spring, is used as the spring element. However, other spring elements, such as gas springs, and any other resilient or setting elements are also conceivable. The preload of the spring can be set to the requirement by way of a setting device. The preload force is to be selected so that when the chair is not occupied, the tilting plate is raised in any position of the chair receptacle between the starting position and the end position, and the chair is displaced back into the starting position located at the low end of the travel range.
 The spring element can be mounted directly on the bottom of the housing or in an adapted seat. For example, the seat of the spring element can be a ring element that is provided on the bottom of the housing.
 The housing preferably has a cuboid and flattened design so that this can be installed in the floor like a building board.
 The housing can further be provided for installation in the base plate of an office chair or of a relaxation armchair.
 Securely and quickly fastening and removing a chair on the chair guiding device is facilitated by equipping the device with a chair receptacle, which is bolted to the carriage and can be detached without detaching the housing cover. After the chair receptacle is detached, the cover of the housing, which contains an elongated hole for allowing the chair receptacle to be displaced, can be removed and replaced with a different cover containing no elongated hole. As a result, the optional cover fits flush in the floor so that the space thus cleared has no uneven areas or depressions and can be used as a workstation by a person in a wheelchair, for example.
 The carriage guide is preferably equipped with a ball bearing, which reduces the frictional resistance.
 In a further embodiment, the chair guiding device is optionally provided with a locking mechanism, which can be triggered and can hold the carriage, and which can be used to fix the carriage in any arbitrarily selectable position within the travel range.
 For example, this can be at least one magnet, which is provided on the carriage, for example, and which cooperates with a magnet provided on the housing, whereby the carriage can be fixed. The magnetic retaining force is preferably transmitted without contact. In a preferred embodiment, a solenoid is provided so that the chairs, which may optionally have been fixed by way of a retaining device, can be centrally (manually or automatically, for example via a fire alarm system, or the like) released via a central switching unit, such as in an emergency in a conference room containing a large number of chairs according to the invention. All tilting plates then assume the sloped position so that the chairs move to the starting position thereby clearing the escape routes.
 The operational safety is further improved when the elongated hole cover covering the elongated hole in the housing cover is designed to be impenetrable. This is particularly advantageous, for example, when a heel, which is designed as a "stiletto heel" of a lady's shoe for example, comes in contact with the strap that closes the elongated hole and can be penetrated. For example, the impenetrable elongated hole cover can be designed in the manner of a rigid link chain made of metal or plastic links. The individual chain links, which have a substantially flat upper face, are connected via joints to the respective neighboring links and can be deflected about deflection rollers, analogous to the use of a belt. It shall also not be excluded that the strength of the strap for safe walking is produced in a different manner, for example by support elements, which not only support the strap from beneath in the region of the elongated hole but also yield when the chair is moved back and forth and the base of the chair moves inside the elongated hole. For example, the yielding of elements carrying the strap can be implemented in that the individual elements are laterally displaced by the chair base and returned to the starting positions thereof by a spring after passing the chair base.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The invention will be described in more detail in a preferred embodiment based on the drawings. In the drawings:
 FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a housing of the chair guiding device, wherein a chair receptacle that protrudes over an elongated hole is indicated;
 FIG. 2 shows a schematic side view of a chair guiding device, with a chair placed thereon;
 FIG. 3 is a top view onto the chair guiding device with an open cover;
 FIG. 4 shows a section A-A according to FIG. 3; and
 FIGS. 5a to 5d are schematic illustrations of sequences of motions of the chair receptacle.
 FIG. 1 shows a largely closed, cuboid housing 10 comprising a rectangular base body 17 and a removable cover 11. The base body 17 has a bottom 12 and four lateral walls 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4. An elongated hole 3, which preferably has a width of approximately 20 mm and from which a socket-shaped chair receptacle 4 protrudes, is cut into the cover 11. The chair receptacle is connected to the carriage 5 by way of fastening elements 18, which are preferably screws.
 The chair receptacle 4, and thus the entire chair, is detached by loosening the screws 18, which are accessible from outside the housing 10. Advantageously detachment of the carriage, or even of the rail guide, is not required to remove all elements that are located above a tread 9 and can thus form tripping hazards when the chair has been removed. The advantage of this design is that the customarily required specialty tools are not necessary to remove the chair leg from the cone. The carriage and rail guide thus remain in the adjusted positions thereof. If the chair guide and chair are reinstalled when needed, no readjustment of the carriage and chair guide is required. This is particularly advantageous because potential warranty claims by the user may be dependent on the preservation of factory-preset adjustments.
 As is apparent from FIG. 2, the housing 10 is installed in a floor 7 so that the cover 11 is flush with the tread 9 of the floor. The chair receptacle 4 is removably connected to a chair 1 so that the elongated hole 3 can be closed by a replacement cover, which is not shown and does not contain an elongated hole, after the chair receptacle 4 has been detached.
 It is apparent from FIGS. 3 and 4 that the chair receptacle 4 is arranged on a carriage 5, which in turn is displaceably mounted on a rail guide 6.1, 6.2. The carriage can be displaced from a starting position A to an end position E, thus creating a travel range V between these two positions. The rail guide 6.1, 6.2 designed as a double rail is arranged on the longitudinal sides of a tilting plate 20. The carriage 5 is preferably provided with a ball-mounted linear guide so that the rolling resistance is very low.
 If the rail guide is designed as a double rail, the attachment of the two rails is preferably designed as a fixed bearing, for example by way of a non-positive screw connection. One side of the carriage 5 is designed as a floating bearing and can thus compensate for stresses caused, for example, by the effects of temperature fluctuations on the expansion behavior of the materials that are used for the housing 10, rail guide 6.1, 6.2, and carriage 5.
 At the end and back faces, the carriage 5 carries two buffers 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, respectively, which dampen the impact against a stop 15 located inside the housing 10 when the respective end and starting positions are reached.
 The position of the stop 15 is designed so that a minor gap 26 (refer to FIG. 1) remains between the chair base and longitudinal hole end in the starting and end positions and so that the chair base does not strike against the longitudinal hole end.
 Belt deflection rollers 8.1, 8.2 are mounted inside the housing 10, which carry a strap 16 (shown schematically; FIG. 3). The strap 16 covers the elongated hole in every position of the carriage 5 along the elongated hole 3. The strap 16 is preferably produced from a non-elastic plastic web, wherein the two ends are connected to each other in the region of the "bottom strand." The strap 16 is tensioned by way of deflection rollers, which can be spring-mounted. On the upper web face, the strap 16 has an opening, which surrounds the chair receptacle 4. When the chair 1 is displaced, the strap 16, which is thus guided over said belt deflection rollers 8.1, 8.2, is moved together with the chair receptacle 4.
 At the one end 25.1, the tilting plate 20 is pivotably mounted on a revolute joint 22 (refer to FIGS. 3 and 4) and at the other end 25.2, which corresponds to the end position E of the chair receptacle 4, and rests on a spring element 23.1. The position of the spring element 23.1 can also be offset in the direction of the travel range. The background behind this is that a spring element 23.1 that is arranged close to the revolute joint 22 results in a short lever length. The spring force FK, however, must be sufficiently large to be able to pivot the tilting plate 20 together with the chair 1 by the angle α, even in this selected spring position. On the other hand, the weight applied by a person must be sufficient to push down the tilting plate 20, together with the chair 1, in the other extreme position, which is to say the starting position A.
 The rotational axis 24 of the revolute joint 22 is disposed perpendicularly to the longitudinal orientation of the rail guide 6.1, 6.2 or of the tilting plate 20.
 A coil spring is used as the spring element 23.1, which is disposed between the tilting plate 20 and the bottom 12 and pushes with a spring force FK (refer to FIG. 4) substantially perpendicularly against a lower face 21 of the tilting plate 20.
 The housing 10, together with the tilting plate 20, the spring element 23, and the chair receptacle 4 provided on the carriage 5, form a chair guiding device 100 shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4.
 FIGS. 5a to 5d are schematic illustrations of the sequences of motions of the chair receptacle 4, with and without a load from the chair user.
 FIG. 5a and FIGS. 2 and 4 correspond to the unloaded chair 1, in a forward chair position (starting position A of the chair receptacle 4). The tilting plate 20 is located in a sloped position 30 relative to the horizontal bottom 12, which corresponds to an angle of inclination α of preferably 1° to 3°. In this sloped position 30, the spring element 23.1 is held preloaded by the weight of the tilting plate 20, the rail guide 6.1, 6.2, and the chair 1 arranged thereon.
 In the forward sitting position (refer to FIG. 5b), the chair 1 is loaded by the sitting person. The spring element 23.1 is compressed by the tilting plate 20, which assumes a position 31 parallel to a horizontal plane EB.
 In a rear chair position (end position E of the chair receptacle 4; refer to FIG. 5c), the tilting plate 20 still remains in the horizontal position 31. The chair 1 is loaded by the sitting person and compressed by the spring element 23.1.
 FIG. 5d shows a restored position, in which the unloaded chair 1 allows the tilting plate 20 to pivot upward. The sloped position of the tilting plate 20 drives the chair 1 so as to travel back to the starting position. The carriage 5 travels back to the lower starting position A simply due to the action of gravity. This takes place because of the potential energy of the carriage 5 and chair 1 that is released.
 In all positions of the chair receptacle 4 shown in FIGS. 5a to 5d, the spring element 23.1 pushes with a spring force FK that is directed substantially perpendicular to the tilting plate 20 against the lower face 21 of the tilting plate. The value of the spring force FK changes depending on the load.
 Examples of various features/aspects/components/operations have been provided to facilitate understanding of the disclosed embodiments of the present invention. In addition, various preferences have been discussed to facilitate understanding of the disclosed embodiments of the present invention. It is to be understood that all examples and preferences disclosed herein are intended to be non-limiting.
 Although selected embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described individually, it is to be understood that at least aspects of the described embodiments may be combined.
 Although selected embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it is to be understood the present invention is not limited to the described embodiments. Instead, it is to be appreciated that changes may be made to these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined by the claims and the equivalents thereof.
TABLE-US-00001 List of reference numerals 1 chair 2 3 elongated hole 4 chair receptacle 5 carriage 6.1, 6.2 rail guide 7 floor 8.1, 8.2 belt deflection roller 9 tread 10 housing 11 cover 12 bottom 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4 buffer 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4 lateral wall (of 10) 15 stop 16 strap 17 base body 18 fastening elements 19 20 tilting plate 21 bottom face (of 20) 22 revolute joint 23 means 23.1 spring element 24 rotational axis 25.1, 25.2 end (of 20) 26 gap 30 sloped position 31 position V travel range A; E starting and end positions α angle of inclination EB plane FK spring force 24 rotational axis 25.1, 25.2 end (of 20) 26 gap 30 sloped position 31 position 100 chair guiding device
Patent applications in class On slide or guide
Patent applications in all subclasses On slide or guide