OBJECT OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to an auto-retractable side
table for folding seats, which table constitutes a desk support known as a "writing
tablet" type, which can be completely retracted automatically allowing the user
to choose to use it or not, remaining concealed if not in use and being incorporated
to the design of the assembly of the seat in which it is applied when it is in the
folded or closed position.
Another object of the invention is for the side table to
be of the type referred to as "anti-panic" tables, given that if the user gets out
of the seat quickly or suddenly, slightly pushing or pressing against the side table
assembly will automatically withdraw the table, allowing the user to get out of
the seat with no obstacles and with complete freedom.
Another object of the invention is to provide a side table
that is applicable to the most different seat systems, allowing any user or manufacturer
to benefit from it.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
It is known that folding seats or chairs which are foldable
when they are not being used, and that are used in certain places, such as classrooms,
conference halls, etc., incorporate on one of their sides or armrests a side table
as a support base for taking notes and to support a laptop computer or for any other
similar function, therefore constituting a side table of the seat or chair and being
built in the latter.
However, when the seats are folded, the options existing
in relation to the adaptability and incorporation of the side table are scarce,
if any, given that the drawbacks relating to the complete and automatic withdrawal
of the table, to the anti-panic function of the latter, to being able to access
the sitting area, to not invading the adjacent space, and in relation to other less
relevant drawbacks are not fully resolved.
However, some seats are known having the side table with
virtually all the previously mentioned functions but incorporated to the seat or
adapted thereto in a rather unorthodox manner, given that some times the aesthetic
appearance of the seat itself has been reduced, and most times it offers a function
which borders on ineffectiveness of the assembly.
It is obvious that said side tables must be associated
to mechanisms which allow maintaining and assuring a stable operative position both
due to the deposited objects and the normal stress and strain to which they are
subjected by the user during use, in turn they must assure the anti-panic effect
so the user does not feel trapped by having to release the system in order to get
out of the seat in moments of panic due to an emergency situation.
All these peculiarities and functions are not efficiently
met by side tables incorporated today in some types of folding seats.
Therefore it would be appropriate for the side table to
automatically retract with by slightly touching it, without invading the space of
the adjacent user, and which also complied with the fact that it could be restrained
in its withdrawal so as to reduce its inertia and prevent it from abruptly striking
against the structure or harm the user.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The side table which is proposed has been designed to solve
the drawbacks set forth above and to carry out the functions mentioned in the last
paragraph of the previous section, resulting in a low-cost, very simple, easy-to-adapt,
useful and easy-to-apply assembly, i.e. with the mechanism associated thereto, for
any type of seats and with no maintenance costs.
More specifically, the side table of the invention is assembled
on the end of a tubular arm which swivels up and down, such that inside said tubular
arm a shaft is assembled inside said tubular arm with axial and rotational movement
ability, which shaft extends at the front end beyond the arm to be integrally joined
to the side table itself, whereas close to the rear end said shaft is traversed
by a pin located in a triangular window made for that purpose in the tubular arm,
between the pin of which and front end of such tubular arm a spring is arranged
which constantly extends towards the rear position of the shaft to which the table
is integrally joined. Close to its rear end, the tubular arm has an outer roller
transverse thereto, as well as a short rotating shaft for the swiveling of such
arm, both the roller and the rotating shaft being arranged in a casing or main body
fixed between two side flat bars, and where respective interlockings have been provided,
an upper one and a lower one, one of them, the lower one, acting as a stop for a
spring arranged between the former and the support roller integrating it to the
tubular arm, whereas the upper interlock constitutes a stop for the end of the shaft
integral with the side table itself, thereby allowing keeping said side table stable
and horizontal or in the use position as the rear or inner end of the mentioned
shaft acts as a stop with the mentioned upper interlock, all this such that a slight
rotation of the side table against the spring located inside the tubular arm or
an outward axial movement of the side table implies a slight retraction in the mentioned
shaft and therefore the release with respect to the interlock, thereby allowing
the automatic retraction of such side table.
The assembly of the mechanism described for the side table
is complemented with a catch on which the rotating shaft of the tubular arm rests
during its swiveling movements, and which further constitutes a locking element
for the pin of the shaft which the side table is integrally joined to in order to
keep the latter in the inoperative or retraced position under the seat in which
the assembly is applied, it have been provided that said catch, constituted of a
flat bar with a front lower extension, can swivel outwardly against the action of
a transverse spring in order to accurately allow the unlocking of the transverse
pin which is positioned in the window of the tubular arm and implying the corresponding
swiveling movement in the operative position of the side table.
The described assembly can be applied to any type of folding
seat, such as those used in classrooms, conference halls, etc., and it can be applied
in correspondence with either of both sides of the seat or of the support arms thereof,
thereby enabling use for both right-handed and left-handed people.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
To complement the description being made and for the purpose
of aiding in better understanding the features of the invention according to a preferred
practical embodiment thereof, a set of drawings is attached as an integral part
of said description, in which the following has been represented with an illustrative
and non-limiting character.
Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a seat with the side
table of the invention in the use position.
Figure 2 shows a side elevational view of the assembly
shown in the previous figure.
Figure 3 shows an enlarged view of the set of elements
or mechanisms involved in the movements for positioning the side table in the use
or operative position or in the inoperative or retracted position under the sitting
area of the seat.
Figure 4 shows a perspective view of the folded position
of the seat and the retracted position of the side table of the invention.
Figure 5 shows a side elevational view of a folded seat
with the side table in the intermediate folding position.
Figure 6 finally shows an enlarged side elevational view
of the assembly of the mechanism in the position corresponding to the one shown
in the previous figure.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
In view of the figures described, the side table (1) of
the type referred to as a "writing tablet" can be seen in an application on a seat
(2) the sitting area (3) of which is folding.
The mentioned side table (1) is integrally joined to a
shaft (4) concentrically assembled on a tubular arm (5), which shaft (4) is able
to partially rotate inside said tubular arm (5) as well as move axially, logically
the table (1) also being able to carry out such movements as it is integrally joined
to the mentioned shaft (4).
A spring (6) is arranged inside the tubular arm (5) and
is linked to said shaft (4), such spring moving such that the table (1) occupies
an orthogonal position with respect to the general structure.
It has also been provided that the tubular arm (5) has
a window (7) in which an outwardly projecting pin (8) is arranged, which pin (8)
traverses the support shaft (4) of the table (1), the foregoing having the functions
that will be explained below.
The assembly further includes a general support (9) in
the shape of a casing open at the front part and on the underside, as can be seen
in Figure 3, which is fixed between two flat bars or side plates (10) through corresponding
transverse screws (11) between which an upper interlock (12) and a lower interlock
(13) have been provided.
The mechanism of the side table (1) also comprises a spring
(14) located between the lower interlock (13) and a roller (15) transversally integrally
joined to the outer side surface of the tubular arm (5), a rotating shaft (16) also
having been provided for swiveling the mentioned tubular arm (5), the latter being
tangentially integrally joined and transversally joined to said shaft (16) at its
The assembly is complemented with a catch (19) forming
part of a plate (20) located on the side and which can swivel against a pair of
springs (21) provided transversally to the plate (20), the plate being fixed by
means of corresponding screws (22).
On its lower end, the spring (14) is guided in a support
(23) while the shaft (4) for the integral joining to the side table (1) is assembled
on respective sleeves (24) provided concentrically between said shaft (4) and the
tubular arm (5).
Finally, it has been provided that on one side of the sitting
area (3), specifically on the side where the side table (1) is to be arranged, a
projection or cylindrical stop (25) is arranged, the function of which will be explained
According to the described features, the operation is as
In the normal operative or use position of the side table
(1), as shown in Figures 1 and 2, said side table (1) is arranged horizontally and
kept stable in this position due to fact that the rear or inner end of the shaft
(4) to which said table (1) is integrally joined abuts under the upper interlock
(12), as clearly shown in the detail in Figure 3.
From this position, if the user wants to get out of the
seat (2), he/she will retract said side table (1), and this operation can be done
in two ways: by means of pushing the table (1) forwards, causing the shaft (4) to
move and therefore releasing it from the interlock (12), making it possible to fold
it downwards, or by slightly rotating the shaft (4) and therefore the folding table
(1), which rotation can be done through the shaft (16), all this such that in the
swiveling position to fold the auxiliary table (1) and therefore the arm (5) downwards,
a progressive braking is caused by the spring (14) arranged between the roller (13)
or support (23) associated thereto and the upper roller (15), the latter integrally
joined to the tubular arm (5) as previously mentioned.
Therefore, the first function of the side table of the
invention is to achieve the automatic retraction or folding thereof, whether it
is intentionally by the user or accidentally by simply pushing it when attempting
to quickly get out of the seat, in which case, as previously mentioned, the side
table (1) can be involuntarily pushed forwards or rotated so that in either case
the shaft (4) is released from the upper interlock (12) and the automatic retraction
of the side table thus being obtained.
From the retraction position of the side table (1) and
from the folded position of the sitting area (3), as shown in Figure 4, when the
sitting area (3) is pushed down for unfolding, the arm (5) resting on the cylindrical
stop (25) provided on the side of the mentioned sitting area (3) is dragged or pushed
upwards, thereby beginning the unfolding towards the operative position of the side
table (1), but the side table can be maintained under the sitting area (3) unless
the user introduces his/her hand under the sitting area and, after slightly rotating
the side table (1) to release the transverse pin (3) from the catch (19), subsequently
swivels the arm (5) and therefore the side table (1) to the use or operative position
shown in Figures 1 and 2.
Obviously, the window (7) has been provided for the retracted
and unfolded positions of the side table (1), or in other words for locking and
releasing the latter from the catch (19), in which window the transverse locking
pin (8) is positioned, which pin functions in this window (7) in the swiveling movements
so as to allow the release from the catch (19) on one hand after pushing the plate
(20) outwardly against the springs (21), or to slide along the outer edge of said
catch (19) so as to lock the side table in the withdrawn or retracted position.