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Publication numberUS20010049323 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/779,975
Publication dateDec 6, 2001
Filing dateFeb 9, 2001
Priority dateFeb 10, 2000
Publication number09779975, 779975, US 2001/0049323 A1, US 2001/049323 A1, US 20010049323 A1, US 20010049323A1, US 2001049323 A1, US 2001049323A1, US-A1-20010049323, US-A1-2001049323, US2001/0049323A1, US2001/049323A1, US20010049323 A1, US20010049323A1, US2001049323 A1, US2001049323A1
InventorsGary Fox
Original AssigneeFox Gary T.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Treadmill
US 20010049323 A1
Abstract
A treadmill is provided that includes an upright assembly, a frame deck for supporting a conveyor, and an incline assembly for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck. The incline assembly adjusts the inclination of the frame deck by rotating the frame deck relative to the upright assembly. The incline assembly also adjusts the inclination of the frame deck by increasing the elevation of the end of the frame deck adjacent to the upright assembly. The frame deck can also be folded upwardly towards the upright assembly. The frame deck also includes structural reinforcement to prevent flexing of the conveyor during use.
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Claims(36)
What is claimed is:
1. A treadmill, comprising:
an upright assembly;
a frame deck supporting a conveyor belt; and
an incline assembly pivotally coupled to the upright assembly and the frame deck for controllably adjusting the inclination of the frame deck.
2. The treadmill of
claim 1
, wherein the upright assembly includes:
a base; and
a pair of uprights coupled to the base.
3. The treadmill of
claim 2
, wherein the incline assembly is pivotally coupled to the uprights.
4. The treadmill of
claim 1
, wherein the frame deck includes:
a pair of side deck frame members;
a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members;
a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members;
a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member; and
a tie brace coupled to the front deck frame member and the cross brace.
5. The treadmill of
claim 4
, wherein the incline assembly is pivotally coupled to the cross brace.
6. The treadmill of
claim 4
, further including one or more frame pivot brackets coupled to the cross brace member.
7. The treadmill of
claim 4
, further including a trunnion.
8. The treadmill of
claim 4
, wherein the tie brace is approximately J shaped.
9. The treadmill of
claim 4
, wherein the incline assembly includes:
a swing arm cross member;
a pair of swing arms coupled to the swing arm cross member and pivotally coupled to the upright assembly;
one or more swing arm pivot brackets coupled to the swing arm cross member and pivotally coupled to the cross brace; and
an actuator pivotally coupled to the front deck frame member and the swing arm cross member for actuating the swing arm cross member.
10. The treadmill of
claim 2
, wherein the incline assembly includes:
a swing arm cross member;
a pair of swing arms coupled to the swing arm cross member and pivotally coupled to the pair of uprights;
one or more swing arm pivot brackets coupled to the swing arm cross member and pivotally coupled to the frame deck; and
an actuator pivotally coupled to the frame deck and the swing arm cross member for actuating the swing arm cross member.
11. The treadmill of
claim 10
, wherein the frame deck includes:
a pair of side deck frame members;
a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members;
a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members and pivotally coupled to the actuator;
a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member and pivotally coupled to the swing arm pivot brackets; and
a tie brace coupled to the front deck frame member and the cross brace.
12. The treadmill of
claim 11
, wherein the tie brace is approximately J shaped.
13. The treadmill of
claim 1
, wherein the incline assembly includes:
a swing arm cross member;
a pair of swing arms pivotally coupled to the upright assembly;
one or more swing arm pivot brackets coupled to the swing arm cross member and pivotally coupled to the frame deck; and
an actuator pivotally coupled to the frame deck and the swing arm cross member for actuating the swing arm cross member.
14. The treadmill of
claim 1
, wherein the incline assembly is adapted to controllably elevate an end of the frame deck adjacent to the upright assembly.
15. The treadmill of
claim 1
, wherein the incline assembly is adapted to permit the frame deck to be folded toward the upright assembly.
16. A treadmill, comprising:
an upright assembly;
a frame deck pivotally coupled to the upright assembly; and
means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck.
17. The treadmill of
claim 16
, further including:
means for folding the frame deck towards the upright assembly.
18. The treadmill of
claim 16
, wherein the means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck includes means for rotating the frame deck about a first and a second axis of rotation.
19. The treadmill of
claim 16
, wherein the means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck includes:
means for pivoting the frame deck relative to the upright assembly.
20. The treadmill of
claim 19
, wherein the means for pivoting the frame deck relative to the upright assembly includes a linear actuator.
21. The treadmill of
claim 16
, wherein the means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck includes means for elevating an end portion of the frame deck adjacent to the upright assembly.
22. A treadmill, comprising:
an upright assembly; and
a frame deck coupled to the upright assembly supporting a conveyor belt, including:
a pair of side deck frame members;
a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members;
a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members;
a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member; and
a tie brace coupled to the front deck frame member and the cross brace.
23. An incline assembly for controllably adjusting an end portion of a frame deck for a conveyor belt for a treadmill having an upright assembly, comprising:
a swing arm cross member;
a pair of swing arms extending from the swing arm cross member adapted to be pivotally coupled to the upright assembly;
one or more swing arm pivot brackets extending from the swing arm cross member and adapted to be pivotally coupled to the frame deck; and
an actuator adapted to be pivotally coupled to the frame deck and pivotally coupled to the swing arm cross member for actuating the swing arm cross member.
24. An incline assembly for controllably adjusting an end portion of a frame deck for a conveyor belt for a treadmill having an upright assembly, comprising:
means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck; and
means for actuating the means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck.
25. The incline assembly of
claim 24
, further including:
means for folding the frame deck toward the upright assembly.
26. The incline assembly of
claim 24
, further including:
means for elevating an end portion of the frame deck adjacent to the upright assembly.
27. A deck frame for supporting a conveyor for a treadmill, comprising:
a pair of side deck frame members;
a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members;
a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members;
a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member; and
a tie brace coupled to the front deck frame member and the cross brace.
28. The deck frame of
claim 27
, further including one or more frame pivot brackets coupled to the cross brace member.
29. The deck frame of
claim 27
, further including a trunnion coupled to the front deck frame member.
30. The deck frame of
claim 27
, wherein the tie brace is approximately J shaped.
31. A deck frame for supporting a conveyor for a treadmill, comprising:
a pair of side deck frame members;
a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members;
a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members;
a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member; and
means for transmitting tensile loads between the front deck frame member and the cross brace.
32. A method of operating a treadmill including an upright assembly and a frame deck for supporting a conveyor, comprising:
adjusting the inclination of the frame deck by pivoting the frame deck relative to the upright assembly.
33. The method of
claim 32
, further including:
elevating an end portion of the frame deck that is adjacent to the upright assembly.
34. The method of
claim 32
, further including:
folding the frame deck towards the upright assembly.
35. A method of reinforcing a frame deck for supporting a conveyor for a treadmill, the frame deck including a pair of side deck frame members positioned in opposing relation, a rear deck frame member for connecting the rear ends of the side deck frame members, a front deck frame member for connecting the front ends of the side deck frame members and positioned in opposing relation to the rear deck frame member, and a cross brace member spaced apart from the front deck frame member and connecting the side deck frame members, comprising:
transmitting tensile loads between the front deck frame member and the cross brace member.
36. A method of coupling a frame deck to an upright assembly in a treadmill, comprising:
pivotally coupling frame deck to the upright assembly using a plurality of axes of rotation.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. provisional patent application serial No. 060/181,700, filed on Feb. 10, 2000, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

[0002] This invention generally relates to exercise equipment, and, more particularly, to treadmills.

[0003] Exercise enthusiasts use treadmills to convey, on an endless track, a walking or running surface upon which the user may run, jog or walk in place. Because treadmills must provide a surface having a length that is greater than the stride of a user, and having a width that exceeds the stance of the user, treadmills have historically required a significant amount of floor space for both operation and storage. Recently, however, the industry has produced a variety of treadmills in which the user may fold up the conveyor portion of the treadmill, including the supporting structure, into a vertical position for storage. This has substantially reduced the amount of floor space which the user must set aside for the treadmill when he or she is not using it.

[0004] A common problem experienced in many foldable treadmills, however, is a lack of strength near the front end of the conveyor. This lack of strength creates excess flex or play in the conveyor while in use. This excess flex causes the user to be less steady while running on the treadmill and can lead to the user losing his or her balance. What is needed is a means of strengthening the front end of the conveyor without greatly increasing the cost and weight of the materials used and while still enabling the conveyor frame to fold.

[0005] Conventional treadmills also typically include an incline mechanism that enables the incline angle of the conveyor to be varied to simulate running over terrain and to enable the user to vary their exercise level. Although various lift mechanisms have been designed, there is a need for a simplified system to enable folding treadmills to elevate at their front end.

[0006] The present invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the limitations of existing treadmills.

SUMMARY

[0007] According to one embodiment of the present invention, a treadmill is provided that includes an upright assembly, a frame deck supporting a conveyor belt, and an incline assembly pivotally coupled to the upright assembly and the frame deck for controllably adjusting the inclination of the frame deck.

[0008] According to another embodiment of the invention, a treadmill is provided that includes an upright assembly, a frame deck pivotally coupled to the upright assembly, and means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck.

[0009] According to another embodiment of the invention, a treadmill is provided that includes an upright assembly and a frame deck coupled to the upright assembly supporting a conveyor belt. The frame deck includes a pair of side deck frame members, a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members, a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members, a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member, and a tie brace coupled to the front deck frame member and the cross brace.

[0010] According to another embodiment of the invention, an incline assembly for controllably adjusting an end portion of a frame deck for a conveyor belt for a treadmill having an upright assembly is provided that includes a swing arm cross member, a pair of swing arms extending from the swing arm cross member adapted to be pivotally coupled to the upright assembly, one or more swing arm pivot brackets extending from the swing arm cross member and adapted to be pivotally coupled to the frame deck, and an actuator adapted to be pivotally coupled to the frame deck and pivotally coupled to the swing arm cross member for actuating the swing arm cross member.

[0011] According to another embodiment of the invention, an incline assembly for controllably adjusting an end portion of a frame deck for a conveyor belt for a treadmill having an upright assembly is provided that includes means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck, and means for actuating the means for adjusting the inclination of the frame deck.

[0012] According to another embodiment of the invention, a deck frame for supporting a conveyor for a treadmill is provided that includes a pair of side deck frame members, a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members, a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members, a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member, and a tie brace coupled to the front deck frame member and the cross brace.

[0013] According to another embodiment of the invention, a deck frame for supporting a conveyor for a treadmill is provided that includes a pair of side deck frame members, a rear deck frame member coupled to the rear ends of the side deck frame members, a front deck frame member coupled to the front ends of the side deck frame members, a cross brace coupled to the side deck members and spaced apart from the front deck frame member, and means for transmitting tensile loads between the front deck frame member and the cross brace.

[0014] According to another embodiment of the invention, a method of operating a treadmill including an upright assembly and a frame deck for supporting a conveyor is provided that includes adjusting the inclination of the frame deck by pivoting the frame deck relative to the upright assembly.

[0015] According to another embodiment of the invention, a method of reinforcing a frame deck for supporting a conveyor for a treadmill, the frame deck including a pair of side deck frame members positioned in opposing relation, a rear deck frame member for connecting the rear ends of the side deck frame members, a front deck frame member for connecting the front ends of the side deck frame members and positioned in opposing relation to the rear deck frame member, and a cross brace member spaced apart from the front deck frame member and connecting the side deck frame members, is provided that includes transmitting tensile loads between the front deck frame member and the cross brace member.

[0016] According to another embodiment of the invention, a method of coupling a frame deck to an upright assembly in a treadmill is provided that includes pivotally coupling frame deck to the upright assembly using a plurality of axes of rotation.

[0017] The present embodiments of the invention provide a treadmill having an incline assembly for controllably adjusting the inclination of the frame deck that is highly efficient and compact. Furthermore, the incline assembly elevates the front end of the frame track thereby providing enhanced stability. In addition, the incline assembly also permits the frame deck to be folded upwardly towards the upright assembly thereby minimizing the use of floor space when the treadmill is not being used. In addition, the frame deck includes structural reinforcement to prevent flexing of the conveyor during use. Thus, the present embodiments of the invention provide a number of significant advantages that provide a treadmill having superior operational capabilities.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a foldable treadmill in the operating position with the incline mechanism in its lowest position.

[0019]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the treadmill of FIG. 1 in a folded position.

[0020]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the treadmill of FIG. 1 in the operating position with the incline mechanism in its raised position.

[0021]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the upright assembly of the treadmill of FIG. 1.

[0022]FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the deck frame assembly of the treadmill of FIG. 1.

[0023]FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the incline mechanism of the treadmill of FIG. 1.

[0024]FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the treadmill of FIG. 1 with the conveyor and housing removed.

[0025]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the treadmill of FIG. 3 with the conveyor and housing removed.

[0026]FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the deck frame and incline mechanism of the treadmill of FIG. 3 with the conveyor and housing removed.

[0027]FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the deck frame and incline mechanism of the treadmill of FIG. 1 with the conveyor and housing removed.

[0028]FIG. 11 is a top view of the treadmill of FIG. 7 without the upright assembly.

[0029]FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the treadmill of FIG. 2 with the conveyor and housing removed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] Referring to FIGS. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 of the drawings, the reference numeral 10 refers, in general, to a treadmill according to an embodiment of the invention including an upright assembly 12, a deck frame 14 pivotally coupled to the upright assembly 12, and an incline mechanism 16 for adjusting the incline of the deck frame 14. The upright assembly 12 includes two upright portions 18 a and 18 b having lower ends attached to a base 20 that is supported on the floor. A cross member 22 connects the upper ends of the upright portions 18 a and 18 b. A pair of handles or grips 24 a and 24 b are attached to the upper ends of the upright portions 18 a and 18 b, respectively, to provide support to a user of the treadmill 10. A control panel support 26 is attached to a central portion of the cross member 22 for supporting a control panel 28 for controlling the operation of the treadmill 10. A pair of swing arm pivot mounting brackets 30 a and 30 b are attached to the lower ends of the upright portions 18 a and 18 b, respectively, for pivotally supporting the incline mechanism 16.

[0031] The deck frame 14 supports a conventional conveyer assembly 32 including conventional conveyor drive components that are controlled by the control panel 28 in a conventional manner. The deck frame 14 includes a pair of side deck frame members 34 a and 34 b that include corresponding rear wheel brackets 36 a and 36 b for attaching rear wheels 38 a and 38 b, respectively, for supporting the rear portion of the deck frame 14. A rear deck frame member 40 connects the rear ends of the side deck frame members 34 a and 34 b, and a front deck frame member 42 connects the front ends of the side deck frame members 34 a and 34 b. A cross brace member 44 spaced apart from the front deck frame member 42 also connects the side deck frame members 34 a and 34 b. A J shaped tie brace 46 connects the front deck frame member 42 to the cross brace member 44. The tie brace 46 acts as a tensile strength member and provides the treadmill 10 with increased strength in the front end to minimize flex in the conveyor assembly 32. It should be understood that instead of a single tie brace, a plurality of tie braces could be connected in between the front deck frame member 42 and the cross brace 44 to provided additional strength. The cross brace member 44 includes frame pivot brackets 48 a, 48 b, 48 c, and 48 d for pivotally supporting the incline mechanism 16. The front deck frame member 42 includes a trunnion bracket 50 for pivotally supporting a conventional linear actuator 52 and drive motor 54 for controlling the operation of the incline mechanism 16. As will be recognized by persons having ordinary skill in the art, a linear actuator is an actuator that changes its length in order to actuate another member. The J shape of the tie brace 46 provides clearance for the linear actuator 52. The linear actuator 52 and motor 54 are in turn controlled by the control panel 28 in a conventional manner. The linear actuator 52 is preferably a 400 lb lift, 2 and a half inch stroke linear actuator.

[0032] The incline mechanism 16 includes a pair of swing arms 56 a and 56 b that are pivotally coupled to the swing arm pivot mounting brackets 30 a and 30 b, respectively, by conventional pinned connections. A swing arm cross tube 58 connects the swing arms 56 a and 56 b and is pivotally connected to an end of the linear actuator 52 for actuating the incline mechanism 16. Swing arm pivot brackets 60 a, 60 b, 60 c, and 60 d are connected to the swing arm cross tube 58 for pivotally coupling the incline mechanism 16 to the frame pivot brackets 48 a, 48 b, 48 c, and 48 d, respectively, using conventional pinned connections. The incline mechanism 16, the linear actuator 52, and the drive motor 54 are contained within a housing 62. The housing 62 further contains the bottom portion of the conveyor assembly 32.

[0033] As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 12, the deck frame 14 may be folded up towards the upright assembly 12 by pivoting the incline mechanism 16 relative to the upright assembly 12. In particular, because the deck frame 14 is pivotally coupled to the upright assembly 12 by the swing arms 56 a and 56 b of the incline mechanism 16, upward rotation of the incline mechanism 16 relative to the upright assembly 12 also rotates the deck frame 14 upwardly toward the upright assembly 12. In this manner, the deck frame 14 may be folded upwardly from a substantially horizontal position to a substantially vertical position by the user when the treadmill 10 is not in use. As a result, the amount of floor space used by the treadmill 10 may be dramatically reduced when not in actual use.

[0034] As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, and 10, during operation of the treadmill 10, the user can adjust the inclination of the deck frame 14 and conveyor assembly 32 by controlling the position of the incline mechanism 16 using the control panel 28. The control panel 28 in turn generates control signals in a conventional manner for controlling the operation of the linear actuator 52.

[0035] In particular, the inclination of the deck frame 14 is increased by increasing the length of the linear actuator 52. Increasing the length of the linear actuator 52 pushes and pivots the incline mechanism 16 about a pivot axis 64 and away from the cross brace 44. Increasing the length of the linear actuator 52 further causes the incline mechanism 16 to pivot upwardly relative to the upright assembly 12. As a result, the elevation of the front end of the deck frame 14 is increased as illustrated in FIGS. 3, 8, and 9.

[0036] The inclination of the deck frame 14 is decreased by decreasing the length of the linear actuator 52. Decreasing the length of the linear actuator 52 pulls and pivots the incline mechanism 16 about the pivot axis 64 and towards the cross brace 44. Decreasing the length of the linear actuator 52 further causes the incline mechanism 16 to pivot downwardly relative to the upright assembly 12. As a result, the elevation of the front end of the deck frame 14 is decreased as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 7 and 10.

[0037] In an exemplary embodiment, the inclination of the deck frame 14 can be adjusted to any position between 0 and 10 degrees of inclination.

[0038] Furthermore, during operation of the treadmill 10, because the swing arm cross tube 58 is offset from the cross brace 44, any lateral movement of the deck frame 14 caused by the activation of the linear actuator 52 is minimized, and the lifting motion of the front end of the deck frame 14 is substantially vertical rather than in an arc. In an exemplary embodiment, the amount of lateral movement of the deck frame 14 during the entire 10 percent grade range of inclination of the deck frame 14 is about one inch.

[0039] The treadmill of the present disclosure provides a number of advantages. For example, the treadmill includes an incline assembly for controllably adjusting the inclination of the frame deck that is highly efficient and compact. Furthermore, the incline assembly also elevates the front end of the frame track. In this manner, the frame track is extremely stable through the inclination adjustment process. In addition, the incline assembly permits the frame track to be folded upwardly towards the upright assembly thereby minimizing the amount of floor space used by the treadmill when not in use. Finally, the frame track includes structural reinforcement for minimizing flexing of the conveyor during use.

[0040] Although an illustrative embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, other modifications, changes, and substitutions are intended in the foregoing disclosure. For example, the linear actuator 52 could be replaced or supplemented by gas springs, hydraulic actuators, or other conventional actuators. Furthermore, the use of the incline mechanism 16 is not limited to use in folding treadmills. For example, in a non-folding treadmill where the uprights are integrally connected to the deck frame, the swing arms could be disposed toward the floor to lift the deck frame and elevate the front end of the treadmill.

[0041] Although illustrative embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, a wide range of modification, changes and substitution is contemplated in the foregoing disclosure. In some instances, some features of the present invention may be employed without a corresponding use of the other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7357758Aug 8, 2002Apr 15, 2008Polk Iii Louis FTreadmill
US7736280Aug 16, 2005Jun 15, 2010Nautilus, Inc.Treadmill deck locking mechanism
US7914421Jun 15, 2010Mar 29, 2011Nautilus, Inc.Treadmill deck locking mechanism
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/54
International ClassificationA63B22/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B22/0023, A63B2210/50, A63B22/0235
European ClassificationA63B22/00B4, A63B22/02B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 9, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: JP KFP ACQUISITION, LLC, NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:KEYS FITNESS PRODUCTS, LP, A TEXAS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP;REEL/FRAME:020343/0824
Effective date: 20080104
Jan 7, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: KEYS FITNESS PRODUCTS, LP, A TEXAS LIMITED PARTNER
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KEYS FITNESS PRODUCTS, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:020327/0688
Effective date: 20080104
Jan 4, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: KEYS FITNESS PRODUCTS, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATIO
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:KEYS FITNESS PRODUCTS, INC., A TEXAS CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:020317/0330
Effective date: 19961230
Apr 23, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: KEYS FITNESS PRODUCTS, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FOX, GARY T.;REEL/FRAME:011738/0093
Effective date: 20010214