|Publication number||US20060032168 A1|
|Application number||US 10/537,539|
|Publication date||Feb 16, 2006|
|Filing date||Dec 18, 2003|
|Priority date||Jan 8, 2003|
|Also published as||EP1583875A1, WO2004063491A1|
|Publication number||10537539, 537539, PCT/2003/14548, PCT/EP/2003/014548, PCT/EP/2003/14548, PCT/EP/3/014548, PCT/EP/3/14548, PCT/EP2003/014548, PCT/EP2003/14548, PCT/EP2003014548, PCT/EP200314548, PCT/EP3/014548, PCT/EP3/14548, PCT/EP3014548, PCT/EP314548, US 2006/0032168 A1, US 2006/032168 A1, US 20060032168 A1, US 20060032168A1, US 2006032168 A1, US 2006032168A1, US-A1-20060032168, US-A1-2006032168, US2006/0032168A1, US2006/032168A1, US20060032168 A1, US20060032168A1, US2006032168 A1, US2006032168A1|
|Inventors||Bernard Thiers, Lode Hubert Moorsledge, Luc Vanhastel|
|Original Assignee||Thiers Bernard P J, Moorsledge Lode Hubert L, Vanhastel Luc D D|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (21), Referenced by (68), Classifications (12), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit under 35 USC 119(e) of U.S. provisional application No. 60/438,777 filed on 9 Jan. 2003.
This invention relates to a floor covering and a floor panel for forming such floor covering. Furthermore, the present invention also relates to methods for laying and manufacturing such floor panels.
In particular, the invention is intended for being applied with floor panels with a layered structure, however, in general it can also be applied with other floor panels.
By floor panels with a layered structure, in the first place traditional laminated panels are meant, which, as known, comprise at least one core layer and a top layer, whereby the core layer, for example, consists of MDF, HDF, particle board, so-called compact laminate or the like, whereas the top layer, for example, consists of different sheets of material pressed on top of each other, such as paper layers soaked in resin, amongst which a printed decorative layer. However, floor panels with another layered structure are not excluded, whereby, for example, the top layer consists of cork, veneer, a relatively thick layer of wood, and so on.
It is known that when installing massive parquetry, different patterns can be formed by means of the composing wooden floor parts. Hereby, it is also known to make use of relatively small strips which are provided on the subfloor according to a so-called herringbone pattern. Realizing a parquetry floor with a herringbone pattern of massive wooden strips, however, shows various disadvantages. For example, the manufacture of such small, very precisely finished strips is time-consuming. Moreover, the installation of massive parquetry in a herringbone pattern requires a good knowledge of the art. As a consequence, such parquetry is rather expensive.
It is also known that massive parquetry can be imitated by using rectangular floor panels upon which a parquetry pattern is represented, which floor panels simply can be provided on the subfloor in rows. Possibly, also a herringbone pattern might be represented on such floor panels. A disadvantage thereof is that, when the obtained floor panels are installed, seams are created which are very noticeable because they extend transversely through the actual composing parts of the herringbone pattern, which is experienced as very annoying and renders a very artificial impression.
The present invention aims at a floor covering whereby said disadvantages are excluded.
To this aim, it relates to a floor covering of the type consisting of hard floor panels which are made of a plate material, whether multi-layered or consisting of several parts or not, and which, at least at a number of sides, are provided with coupling parts, with the characteristic that the floor panels are configured such that, in joined condition, they represent a herringbone pattern, whereby the sides of the floor panels coincide with transition edges of the herringbone pattern. As the sides of the floor panels themselves coincide with transition edges of the herringbone pattern, the disadvantage of annoying seams is excluded. Also, such floor panels, as they are made of a plate material, can be realized as a mass product in a simple manner, at an economically advantageous cost price. Moreover, due to the presence of coupling means, the floor panels are easy to install.
Preferably, the floor panels are provided with coupling parts on all sides. More particularly, it is preferred that these coupling parts are configured such that they provide for a locking in vertical as well as horizontal directions on all sides of the floor panels. By “vertical direction”, hereby a direction perpendicular to the plane of the floor covering is meant. By “horizontal direction”, hereby a direction perpendicular to the respective coupled sides of two floor panels and parallel to the plane of the floor covering is meant.
According to a preferred form of embodiment, use shall be made of at least two series of different floor panels, as a result of which advantageous coupling possibilities are created, which also open a broad range of possibilities for realizing different variants. Hereby, the floor panels of one of said two series preferably form those parts of the herringbone pattern which extend in a first characteristic direction thereof, whereas the floor panels of the second series then preferably form those parts of the herringbone pattern which extend in the second characteristic direction.
In the most preferred form of embodiment, each floor panel coincides with one part of the herringbone pattern, more particularly with one strip thereof. The upper side of such floor panel then preferably shows one continuous wood pattern extending over the entire surface of the floor panel, which is obtained either by a wood imitation, or by real wood, for example, in the form of veneer.
According to a variant, each floor panel also may coincide with a multiple of strip-shaped parts of the herringbone pattern.
Preferably, the floor panels of the invention are provided with coupling parts which mutually lock the floor panels free of play, preferably with a pretension. Examples of coupling parts which lock free of play as well as allow for a locking with a pretension, are known, for example, from WO 97/47834. Other forms of coupling parts allowing a locking free of play, whether with pretension or not, are of course also possible.
In particular when relatively small floor panels are used for realizing a herringbone pattern, the use of coupling parts performing a locking free of play, possibly combined with a pretension, is very important, as then, when joining the floor panels, these latter automatically will settle in the right position. As a result, a herringbone pattern can be realized without having any knowledge of the art, without the risk of having cumulating deviations. Thus, this also allows to make the floor panels relatively small, without any risk of problems occurring when those floor panels are installed. Preferably, the floor panels then also are made as strip-shaped parts, whereby the longest sides of the floor panels are shorter than 50 cm, and both longest sides are situated at a distance from each other which is smaller than 15 cm.
Of course, larger embodiments are not excluded.
Preferably, the floor panels and the coupling parts are realized in one piece, from a plate, said plate having a multi-layered structure or not.
Of course, the invention also relates to a floor panel which is configured such that therewith, in combination with other floor panels, whether of another shape or not, a floor covering according to the invention can be realized. Further, the invention also relates to methods for laying and manufacturing floor panels for realizing a herringbone pattern, as will be explained in the following detailed description. Further, the invention also relates to sets of flooring panels packaged in a special manner, as will become clear from the detailed description too.
With the intention of better showing the characteristics of the invention, hereafter, as an example without any limitative character, several preferred forms of embodiment are described, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGS. 8 to 13 represent six variants of a floor covering according to the invention;
FIGS. 14 to 17 represent some further variants of the invention;
As represented in
Preferably, said coupling parts 12 to 19 are configured such that they perform at all sides of the floor panels 2-3 a locking in vertical as well as horizontal directions. Such coupling parts are known in themselves in different forms, and hereby coupling parts can be concerned which allow a joining of the floor panels 2-3 according to different possibilities, for example, by shifting the floor panels 2-3 towards each other, whereby these coupling parts engage into each other by means of a snap-effect, by turning the floor panels 2-3 into each other or by joining them vertically. In the following, a non-restrictive number of possible forms of embodiment of coupling parts will be illustrated by means of FIGS. 2 to 7.
In the example of
As schematically indicated in
The coupling parts 12 and 13 are complementary to each other. Also, the coupling parts 16 and 17 are complementary to each other. Further, the coupling parts 14 are complementary to the coupling parts 17 and the coupling parts 15 are complementary to the coupling parts 16. Also, the coupling parts 19 are complementary to the coupling parts 13 and the coupling parts 18 are complementary to the coupling parts 12.
By “complementary” is meant that they can cooperate with each other. However, to this end, the complementary coupling parts do not necessarily have to have perfectly complementary forms.
The coupling parts 12, 14, 16 and 19 can have, for example, a shape as represented in
As represented in FIGS. 2 to 5, preferably use shall be made of coupling parts in the form of a tongue 20 and a groove 21 with locking parts 22 and 23, which offer a locking in horizontal direction.
Other possibilities, however, are not excluded, as becomes clear from the variant illustrated in
The above-said makes clear that all combinations of using different coupling parts at different sides of the panels are possible, as long as they allow that the panels can be joined in herringbone pattern. However, in a preferred form of embodiment, the coupling parts at the long sides will be of such a nature that they can be coupled to adjacent panels by means of shifting the panels towards each other and/or by angling them in, whereas the coupling parts at the short sides are of such a nature that the panels can be coupled to adjacent panels be means of shifting the panels towards each other. In another preferred form of embodiment, the coupling parts at the long sides will be of such a nature that the panels can be coupled to adjacent panels by means of shifting the panels towards each other and/or by angling them into each other, whereas the coupling parts at the short sides are of a nature as shown in
In general, it can be an advantage that the coupling parts at one or more sides of the panel are of the type that allows a coupling by a downward movement, more particularly a dropping-in movement, irrespective the type of coupling parts applied at the remaining sides.
In the embodiment of
In the example of
The floor panels 2 of
In this case, too, coupling means can be applied of the type, as, for example, represented in
Preferably, each floor panel 2, 3, respectively, coincides with one part of the traditional herringbone pattern. This means that on each floor panel 2, 3, respectively, one continuous wood pattern shall be shown, in other words, that each floor panel imitates or represents only one strip of the herringbone pattern.
When laying the floor panels 2-3, according to the invention different methods can be applied. A practical method consists in that, as indicated in several of the figures, the floor panels 2 and 3 are installed row per row, more particularly by laying alternately a row of floor panels 2 according to arrow A and a row of floor panels 3 according to arrow B. Each floor panel to be laid can, for example, be shifted or turned with its long side into the preceding floor panel, after which it is coupled at one short side to an adjacent floor panel by shifting.
Preferably, the floor panels 2-3 shall be realized from larger plates, which are sawn to form floor panels 2-3, whereby subsequently the respective coupling parts are provided at the edges, for example, are milled out of the material of the plate applied.
In FIGS. 2 to 7, a traditional construction, consisting of a core 29 of MDF, HDF, particle board or the like is represented, said construction being provided with a top layer 30 and a backing layer 31. The top layer 30 consists of several layers of paper soaked in resin or the like, amongst which a printed decorative layer. Of course, the invention is not restricted to floor panels 2-3 with such construction.
E.g., the core may consist of another material, for example, so-called engineered wood, and/or the top layer 30 may consist of only one resin-based layer, or even another material, which is applied directly or indirectly to the core. The core may also be composed of different layers, in which layers may be included for particular purposes, such as for sound-dampening.
This means that, as shown in
The embodiments of
Another advantage consists in that, when the surface of the panels of each series shows a different appearance, for example, surfaces with a dark colour and a light colour, or with different colours, special effects can be created as shown in
A further advantage consists in the fact that the panels 2-3 of
It is clear that floor panels 2-3 according to the invention can also be installed in groups, which groups are arranged according to a herringbone pattern, for example, two by two, as shown in
Further, it is also clear that the panels 2-3 of the invention at each of their edges or sides preferably are provided with only one type of coupling part, as this allows a smooth production, this contrary to embodiments in which for example a portion of one edge is provided with a tongue-like coupling part, whereas the remainder of the same edge is provided with a groove-like coupling part, as disclosed in WO 98/38401.
In a particular embodiment, the dimensions of the floor panels allowing to form a herringbone pattern, more particularly the ratio between length and width of the panels, will be chosen such that the same panels can be used to form other patterns, preferably of the type as shown in
It is clear that the panels 2-3 according to the invention can be manufactured by first cutting, more particularly sawing, the plate-like material from which they have to be realized, into panels and subsequently providing coupling parts at the respective sides or edges by means of cutting tools. To this end, the coupling parts at two opposite sides are preferably realized in a first machining cycle, whereas the coupling parts at the remaining opposite sides are realized in a second machining cycle.
When realizing panels in which each pair of opposite sides is provided with complementary coupling parts, e.g. as in
Preferably, the panels 2 of the first series are turned over an angle of 90 degrees in one direction, whereas the panels 3 of the second series are turned over an angle of 90 degrees in the other direction. In this way, it is possible to first guide all panels through the first set of tools to form the coupling parts at the long sides, and subsequently turn half of the number of panels over 90 degrees to the right and half of the number of panels over 90 degrees to the left, before guiding them through the second set of tools. In other words, there is no straight movement of any of the panels in which the panels from the conveyor by which they are guided through the first set of tools are disposed directly on a sideward moving second conveyer, as for example known from WO 03/025307.
The above-explained method is schematically illustrated in
An advantage of this method consists in that there is no need of turning any of the panels over half a turn, and that the required rotational movements can be equally divided over both series of panels. In this manner a more regular process can be guaranteed.
In the most preferred embodiment, the rotation of the panels is done by means of a robot. However guiding means which automatically urge the panels 2 and 3 in the right position can also be used.
The panels 2-3 having coupling parts which are arranged around the periphery in a manner as shown in
The second and third set of tools can be arranged along different conveyor lines, whereby the panels for forming the first series of panels 2 run along the first conveyor line, whereas the panels for forming the second series of panels 3 run along the second conveyor line. This is schematically represented in
Preferably, panels 2 of the first series and panels 3 of the second series are manufactured in such a manner that at the end of the manufacturing process, they are presented in an alternating manner before being packaged.
According to a further particular aspect of the invention, the panels of both series are packaged in a mixed manner, whereby preferably each package, more particularly box, comprises a same number of panels 2 as panels 3. Contrary to systems in which the panels 2-3 of both series are packaged in separate boxes, this offers several advantages. On the one hand, the storage and handling of the panels is facilitated, as all packages have the same content. On the other hand, for the same reason, the customers automatically receive panels of the one series and of the other series in the correct ratio.
The present invention is in no way limited to the forms of embodiment described as an example and represented in the figures, however, such floor covering, as well as the floor panels applied therewith, can be realized according to different variants, without leaving the scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||52/390, 52/592.1|
|International Classification||E04F15/04, E04B2/18|
|Cooperative Classification||E04F2201/023, E04F2201/0115, E04F15/04, E04F2201/0153, E04F15/02, E04F2201/0138|
|European Classification||E04F15/04, E04F15/02|
|Feb 28, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: FLOORING INDUSTRIES LTD., IRELAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:THIERS, BERNARD PAUL JOSEPH;DE BOE, LODE HUBERT LIEVEN;VANHASTEL, LUC DIRK DANIEL;REEL/FRAME:017298/0757;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050509 TO 20050511