|Publication number||US20020000072 A1|
|Application number||US 09/939,016|
|Publication date||Jan 3, 2002|
|Filing date||Aug 24, 2001|
|Priority date||Dec 11, 1998|
|Also published as||CA2352381A1, US6199328, US6389759, WO2000034669A1|
|Publication number||09939016, 939016, US 2002/0000072 A1, US 2002/000072 A1, US 20020000072 A1, US 20020000072A1, US 2002000072 A1, US 2002000072A1, US-A1-20020000072, US-A1-2002000072, US2002/0000072A1, US2002/000072A1, US20020000072 A1, US20020000072A1, US2002000072 A1, US2002000072A1|
|Inventors||Ralph McGrath, Frank O'Brien-Bernini|
|Original Assignee||Mcgrath Ralph D., O'brien-Bernini Frank C.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (8), Classifications (15), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 The invention is directed toward a clamping assembly, and more particularly toward a clamping assembly for attaching panels to a substrate such as a wall.
 For some rooms in a building, it is desirable to control sound transmission. Such rooms include home theaters, recording studios and offices in which confidential conversations take place. In such an office, the control of sound transmission takes the form of sound proofing to prevent the escape of intelligible conversation from the room. This is true to a lesser extent with the home theater or recording studio, where the emphasis is on controlling the sonic quality inside the room.
 An approach to control sound transmission is to attach acoustically significant panels, be they absorbers or diffusers, to the room's surfaces. Examples of such acoustically significant panels are disclosed in copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/871,021, filed Jun. 6, 1997, on behalf of McGrath et al. and entitled “Acoustical Room Paneling and Method of Installation,” the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
 To initially tune a home theater or a recording studio, the walls and/or ceiling must, at first, be covered by the panels. Then, it is usually necessary to change at least a few panels from being acoustical absorbers to acoustical dispersers/diffusers and/or vice-versa. This requires removing the fasteners from the first panel and reinstalling them through either the first panel after it has been reversed or an entirely different second panel.
 Typically, the panels are attached using conventional fasteners, e.g., drywall screws in rooms having walls formed of drywall attached to studs. Drilling pilot holes in the panels for such screws or screwing through the panels causes minor damage to the panels. Screwing, unscrewing and rescrewing panels is time consuming and protracts the process of tuning a room.
 Nor is this the last time that such an attaching/detaching process is likely to be required. If someone changes the furniture and/or window treatments in the home theatre, the room should be retuned. Such redecoration is likely to occur a only few times, at most. In a recording studio, however, the need for retuning can arise daily, and possibly more frequently. For example, if a recording studio is tuned for vocal sessions on Monday, then it should be retuned for string sessions on Tuesday, retuned for percussion sessions on Wednesday, etc.
 Not all recording studios are permanently constructed. Temporary recording studios are becoming more prevalent. A musical group might wish to record in an ancient castle or at a remote location because of the location's ambience. A temporary recording studio can significantly improve the quality of the recording. Important to the success of a temporary recording studio is its ease of assembly/disassembly. The need for easy attachment/detachment of panels, as discussed above, contributes greatly to the ease of the temporary recording studio's assembly/disassembly. Moreover, a temporary recording studio, once assembled, is as likely to be reconfigured to accommodate different recording sessions as a permanently constructed recording studio.
 The invention, among other things, represents a recognition that a better technology for attaching/detaching panels to substrates (such as walls) is needed.
 The invention, among other things, represents a recognition that quick and easy reconfiguration of panels on walls can be provided by a clamp assembly for attaching the panels to the walls.
 The first and second embodiments of the invention, among other things, provide a clamp assembly including a base, a receptacle attached to the base and a clasp that fits into and attaches to the receptacle. The clasp has resilient arms and a head. Insertion of the resilient arms of the clasp into the receptacle draws the head towards the base, which produces a clamping action.
 A third embodiment of the invention, among other things, provides a channel having sidewalls attached to a base and at least one fastener having a blade-like shank and a head. The sidewalls converge so as to be more closely spaced together at the opening to of the channel than at its base. The at least one fastener appears T-shaped in cross section, and is sized such that insertion of the blade-like shank into the channel widens the opening.
 The fourth and fifth embodiments of the invention, among other things, provide a clamp assembly comprising a first clamping piece and a second clamping piece configured to cooperatively engage each other. The first clamping piece has a base plate, a first shank attached to extend perpendicularly to the base plate and a first member (of a reclosable fastener pair) attached to the first shank at an end distal to the base plate. The second clamping piece has a head plate, a second shank attached to extend perpendicularly to said head plate and a second member (of the reclosable fastener pair) attached to the second shank at an end distal to the head plate. The base plate and the head plate are parallel when the first member and second member are connected.
 In the fourth embodiment, each of the first member and second member is a strip of mushroom-shaped stems. In the fifth embodiment, the reclosable fastener pair is a hook and loop fastener pair.
 The foregoing and other objectives of the present invention will become more apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.
 The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus do not limit of the present invention and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a three-quarter perspective view of a first embodiment of a clamp assembly according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the receptacle and base according to the first embodiment;
FIG. 3 is a top view of the clasp according to the first embodiment;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a plurality of panels attached to the wall using the clamp assembly according to the first embodiment;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment, wherein the pull pin is retracted;
FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of the clasp according to the second embodiment, wherein the pull pin is extended;
FIG. 7 is a top view of the clasp according to the second embodiment;
FIG. 8 is a three-quarter perspective view of a third embodiment of a clamp assembly according to the invention;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of the channels, according to the third embodiment, attached to a wall;
FIG. 10 is a three-quarter perspective view of a plurality of panels attached to the wall using the clamp assembly according to the third embodiment; 5.
FIG. 11 is a plan view of a plurality of a first type of panels for use with the first and second embodiments;
FIG. 12 is a plan view of a plurality of a second type of panels for use with the first and second embodiments;
FIG. 13 is cross-sectional of channel having an alternative arrangement of the sidewalls;
FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional of channel having another alternative arrangement of the sidewalls;
FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view of a fourth embodiment, wherein the pull pin is retracted;
FIG. 16 is a top view of the fourth embodiment, as well as a fifth embodiment;
FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of the fifth embodiment, wherein the pull pin is retracted; and
FIG. 18 is partial plan view of a panel attached to the wall via a fastener according to the invention.
FIG. 1 is a three-quarter perspective view of a first embodiment of a clamp assembly 100 according to the invention, which includes a lower clamp structure 104 (represented by a base 110 and a receptacle 112) and a clasp 102 that interlock.
 The clasp 102 has resilient arms 106 and a head 108. In cross-section, the head 108 is preferably plano-convex. The resilient arms 106 attach to the planar side of the head 108. The head 108 preferably (but not necessarily) has a finger grip 120 in the form of a ridge. The cross-section of the ridge is a compromise between finger-tip-grippablility and smoothness of the upper surface of the head 108.
 The technology of the interlock between the receptacle 112 and the resilient arms 106 is generally known, for example as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,150,464 to Tracy et al., patented Apr. 24, 1979, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference. The resilient arms 106 have a raised locking tab 114. A leading edge 116 of the tab 114 is beveled to promote deflection of the arm 106 toward the other arm 106 upon (and in furtherance of) insertion of the clasp 102 into the receptacle 112. A trailing edge 118 of the tab 114 is beveled to promote deflection of the arm 106 toward the other arm 106 upon (and in furtherance of) withdrawal of the clasp 102 from the receptacle 112.
 The receptacle 112 has narrow sides 122 and wide sides 124. In each narrow side 122 is a slot 126. The locking tab 114 fits into the slot 126 upon full insertion of the clasp 102 into the receptacle 112.
 The head 108 of the clasp 102 and the base 110 are preferably circular, as emphasized in FIGS. 2 and 3, respectively. FIG. 2 is a top view of the base 110 and FIG. 3 is a top view of the head 108. Holes 202 are formed to facilitate attaching the base 110 to a substrate 510 (such as a wall) with typical fasteners, such as drywall screws or nails. FIG. 2 depicts two holes 202, with one hole on each side of the notch 206. The number and location of holes will depend on the application to which the clamp system 100 is put. Alternatively, the base 110 could be attached to the wall with an adhesive, or a type of reclosable fastener technology such as that discussed in more detail below.
 Where four panels meet, space must be made for the arms 106 and receptacle 112. This is accomplished by removing a triangular or cone shaped portion of the corner of each of panels 404. Four such triangles or cones define a square or circle of sufficient area to accommodate the arms 106 and the receptacle 112. FIG. 3 depicts cone-shaped corner portions of the panels 404 as having been removed. FIG. 2 depicts a similar implementation of the panels, albeit in dashed lines because the panels overlay the base 110. The area of the head 108 must be large enough to provide sufficient overlap of the arc-shaped corners 306 so that adequate clamping force is applied to the panels 404.
FIG. 11 is a plan view of a plurality of panels 1102 which have had cone-shaped corner portions 1104 removed. FIG. 12 is a plan view of a plurality of panels 1202 which have had triangular corner portions 1204 removed.
 Preferably, but not necessarily, the base 110 and the head 108 have a notch 206 and 302, respectively, that defines an axis of symmetry. The receptacle 112 is positioned entirely on one side of the axis of symmetry 206. Similarly, if the optional finger grip 120 is present, it is positioned entirely on one side of the axis of symmetry 302. The notches 206 and 302 promote the bending and snapping-off of the unused portions 208 and 304 of the base 110 and the head 108 along the axes of symmetry, respectively. This reduces the capacity of the clamp assembly from four to two panels, as will be discussed in regard to FIG. 4.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a paneled wall 402 formed of a plurality of panels 404 attached to a bare wall (not depicted in FIG. 4 because obscured by the panels 404 and the heads 102 and 406) using the clamp assembly 100. The full heads 108 are depicted where the corners of four panels 404 are adjacent. A half head 406, formed by snapping off the unused portion 208 of the full head 108, is depicted where only two panels are adjacent. If it were not possible to form a half-head 208 (and associated half-lower-clamp structure 104 (not depicted)), then a full head 108 (and associated lower clamp structure 104) would overhang the edge regions, as denoted by the dashed half circle 408 of FIG. 4.
 The clamp assembly 100 is preferably formed of a material that is rigid and that can be injection molded (so that the two pieces of the clamp assembly can be integrally formed). Such a material, e.g., is plastic such as nylon or delrin. If the panel presents an absorptive surface to the room, then a clamp assembly made of nylon or delrin will present a small area of diffusion. However, the area of the head 108 of the clasp 102 is typically a few square inches while the area of a typical 2 ft×4 ft acoustically-significant panel is 1152 square inches, i.e., a difference of three orders of magnitude. As such, the diffusion caused by the head 108 is considered negligible.
FIG. 5 is a side view of a second embodiment. The second embodiment differs from first embodiment by using a pull pin (or movable arm) 504 rather than a finger grip 120. For the clasp 502, the pull pin 504 is located entirely on one side of the axis of symmetry and is movable through the head 108 between a first position and a second position. The first position is the fully retracted position wherein the pull pin 504 extends from the head 108 towards the distal ends of the resilient arms 106. In FIG. 5, a first end 506 and a corresponding recess in the convex surface of the head 108 cooperate in a first detent arrangement to hold the pull pin 504 in the first position.
 The second position is the fully extended position wherein the pull pin extends from the head 108 in a direction opposite to the direction that the resilient arms 106 extend. In the first or fully retracted position, a second end 508 of the pull pin preferably hangs down inside the receptacle 112. In the second or fully extended position, the second end 508 of the pull pin 504 and a second recess cooperate in a second detent arrangement to hold the pull pin 504 in the second position. A user can move the pull pin 504 from the first position to the second position by prying the first end 506 out of the recess in the convex surface of the head 108.
FIG. 6 is a partial side view of the clasp 502 according to the second embodiment, wherein the pull pin 504 is in the second or extended position. A user can move the pull pin 504 from the second position to the first position pushing on the first end 506 until the second end 508 disengages from the recess in the planar surface of the head 108. FIG. 7 is a top view of the clasp 502 according to the second embodiment.
FIG. 8 is a three-quarter perspective view of a third embodiment of a clamp assembly according to the invention. The clamp assembly 800 includes at least one fastener 802 and a channel 804.
 The channel 804 has a base 810 and two sidewalls 812 that converge so that they are more closely spaced together at or near the opening to the channel than they are at the base 810. In cross-section, the base 810 is preferably plano-convex, with the sidewalls 812 extending from the convex surface of the base 810. The plano-convex cross section is preferred because it provides minimal separation between the panels 404 and the bare wall 510.
 In FIG. 8, the cross-section of the sidewalls 812 and the portion of the base 810 therebetween is trapezoidal. Alternatively, the cross-section of the sidewalls 1302 and the portion of the base 810 therebetween can be concave-concave, as in FIG. 13. Also alternatively, the cross-section of the sidewalls 1402 and the portion of the base 810 therebetween can be convex-convex, as in FIG. 14.
 The fastener 802 has a blade-like shank 806 and a head 808. In cross-section, the head 808 is plano-convex, with the shank 806 extending from the planar surface of the head 808 so that together the head 808 and the shank 806 appear T-shaped. The width of the blade-like shank 806 is slightly greater than the width of the opening of the channel 804 between the sidewalls 812 so that the blade-like shank 806 forces the sidewalls 812 apart slightly upon insertion, which causes the sidewalls 812 to grip the blade-like shank 806. To improve the grip on the blade-like shank 806 by the sidewalls 812, the surface of the shank 806 is non-smooth, e.g., ringed.
 The width of the head 108 must be large enough to provide sufficient overlap of the edges of the panels 404 so that that adequate clamping force is applied to the panels 404.
 Preferably, but not necessarily, the fastener 802 includes a finger grip flange 814 attached to the head 808. The flange 814 is preferably bulbous in cross-section, with the larger end of the bulb being disposed away from the convex surface of the head 808. As such, in cross-section, the fastener 802 having the flange 814 looks like a push-pin.
FIG. 9 is a plan view of a plurality of the channels 804 attached to the bare wall 510. The channels 804 are depicted as being attached to studs 910 within the wall 510 via typical fasteners 904, such as drywall screws or nails, e.g., with a fastener 904 located on either side of the channel 804, i.e., outside the sidewalls 812. The studs 910 are separated a uniform distance 916, typically 16 inches from center to center.
 The channels 810 are also uniformly space apart a distance 908, corresponding to a length or width of the panels 404. The channels 804 are mounted in essentially the same way as furring strips are mounted.
 Like the heads 108 of the first and second embodiments, the head 808 of the third embodiment presents a small area of diffusion, which can be inconsistent with a goal of attaching panels having an absorptive surface. Again, however, the area of the head 808 is much smaller than the area of a typically-sized panel 404, so that the diffusion caused by the head 808 is considered negligible.
FIG. 10 is a three-quarter perspective view of a plurality of panels 404 attached to a bare wall (not depicted in FIG. 10 because obscured by the panels 404 and the heads 808) using the clamp assembly 800 according to the third embodiment. Because it is not easy to form a half-head (as in the first and second embodiments), a full head 808 overhangs the edge regions, examples of which are denoted by arrows 1004. Examples of heads covering the corners of four panels are denoted by arrows 1002.
FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view of a fourth embodiment of a clamp assembly according to the invention. The fourth embodiment is similar to the first and second embodiments. In FIG. 15, the resilient arms 106 and the receptacle 112 of FIG. 1 have been replaced by a first part 1502 and a second part 1504. The first part 1502 includes a first shank 1506 connected to the planar side of the head 108. Attached to an end of the first shank 1506, that is distal to the head 108, is a strip 1508 of mushroom-shaped stems. The second part 1504 includes a second shank 1510 connected to the planar side of the base 110. Attached to an end of the second shank 1510, that is distal to the base 110, is another strip 1508 of mushroom-shaped stems. The first part 1502 and the second part 1504 can be split in half, e.g., like the first and second embodiments.
 The two strips 1508 of mushroom-shaped stems together form reclosable fastener pair. Such reclosable fastener technology is known, e.g., as marketed by the 3M Corporation under the trade name of the Dual Lock Industrial Fastener.
 The pair of mushroom-shaped stem strips provide a rigid, strong connection when the mushroom-shaped stems are pushed together to the point that they interlock. This connection also provides torsional stability. Thus, the fourth embodiment shares these qualities with the first to third embodiments. However, the fourth embodiment is slightly different in that it provides less alignment than is inherent to the first to third embodiments.
 In FIG. 15, the pull pin 504 is depicted as being retracted. FIG. 16 is a top view of the fourth embodiment, as well as a fifth embodiment. The retracted pull pin 504 fits into a void 1602 in the first shank 1506. The first shank 1506 (and therefore the second shank 1510) is depicted as being circular in cross-section, but any shape can be used.
FIG. 15 also depicts an alternative way to configure panels that are attached by the clamp systems according to the invention. In FIG. 16, only the panels 404 are notched. The panels 1604 do not need to be notched at the corners because the first shank 506 is formed to one side of the line 206 of symmetry.
FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of the fifth embodiment of a clamp assembly according to the invention. FIG. 17 is similar to FIG. 15, except that the strips 1508 of mushroom-shaped stems have been replaced by a hook and loop fastener pair 1706, which defines a new first part 1702 and a new second part 1704.
 The first part 1702 has a strip 1710 of loops attached to the end of the first shank 1506 that is distal to the head 108. The second part 1704 has a strip of hooks attached to the end of the second shank 1510. Such hook and loop reclosable fastener technology is known, e.g., as marketed by the 3M Corporation under the trade name of the Scotchmate Industrial Fastener.
 As in FIG. 15, the pull pin 504 is depicted in FIG. 17 as being retracted. As noted above, FIG. 16 is a top view of the first part 1702 of FIG. 17 as well as the first part 1502 of FIG. 15.
FIG. 18 is partial plan view of a panel attached in a different way to a wall via a fastener according to the invention. In FIG. 18, a panel 1804 is attached to a wall (not shown) via a clamp assembly, of which the head 1802 is depicted. Any of the clamp assemblies according to the invention can be used. The panel 1804 has an aperture 1808 through which can pass a portion 1806 (corresponding to a shank, blade-like shank, resilient arms, etc.). The aperture can be located anywhere in the panel 1804, e.g., in the center.
 Thus, the invention, among other things, provides a quick and easy technology for attaching, and facilitating reconfiguration (detaching and reattaching) of, panels to walls.
 The invention being thus described, it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and all such modifications as would be obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7392627 *||Jan 14, 2005||Jul 1, 2008||Hermann Friedrich Kuenne Gmbh & Co.||Profiled rail system for bridging floorcovering transitions|
|US7409802 *||Jan 5, 2007||Aug 12, 2008||Karl-Heinz Fiedler||Floor strip for bridging a join between two floor coverings|
|US7797899 *||Jul 3, 2008||Sep 21, 2010||Nox-Crete Products Group||Temporary floor joint filler|
|US7895802 *||Oct 14, 2005||Mar 1, 2011||Karl Pedross Ag||Profiled rail system for covering joints|
|US8099921 *||Jan 16, 2008||Jan 24, 2012||Proverum Ag||Profile strip system, especially for closing off edges and/or concealing joints, for a surface covering|
|US8132380 *||Oct 19, 2009||Mar 13, 2012||Wilkes Jr Robert David||Compliant trim for concrete slabs|
|US20050188628 *||Jan 14, 2005||Sep 1, 2005||Frank Sondermann||Profiled rail system for bridging floorcovering transitions|
|US20120144768 *||Jun 14, 2012||Pergo AG||Cover assembly|
|U.S. Classification||52/466, 52/465, 52/208, 52/396.04|
|International Classification||E04F13/08, F16B5/06|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S52/13, F16B5/0642, F16B5/0664, E04F13/0812, F16B5/0657|
|European Classification||F16B5/06B3J, F16B5/06B3H, F16B5/06B3D, E04F13/08B2C2|
|Nov 21, 2005||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Aug 9, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: OWENS CORNING INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL, LLC,OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OWENS-CORNING FIBERGLASS TECHNOLOGY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019795/0433
Effective date: 20070803
Owner name: OWENS CORNING INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL, LLC, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OWENS-CORNING FIBERGLAS TECHNOLOGY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019795/0433
Effective date: 20070803
|Dec 28, 2009||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|May 21, 2010||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jul 13, 2010||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20100521