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Publication numberUS20060150557 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/330,895
Publication dateJul 13, 2006
Filing dateJan 12, 2006
Priority dateJan 12, 2005
Also published asDE102005001629A1, WO2006074635A1
Publication number11330895, 330895, US 2006/0150557 A1, US 2006/150557 A1, US 20060150557 A1, US 20060150557A1, US 2006150557 A1, US 2006150557A1, US-A1-20060150557, US-A1-2006150557, US2006/0150557A1, US2006/150557A1, US20060150557 A1, US20060150557A1, US2006150557 A1, US2006150557A1
InventorsRalf Eisermann
Original AssigneeRalf Eisermann
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Floor panel
US 20060150557 A1
Abstract
The invention concerns a floor panel (1) comprising a carrier panel portion (2) that is provided at a top side with a duty layer arrangement (3), which duty layer arrangement (3) is provided with a decorative representation, wherein provided in the duty layer arrangement (3) is an anti-wear means (66), and edge locking profiles (F1, F1′, F2, F2′) at at least two mutually opposite edges of the floor panel (1), wherein at least one edge locking profile (1) has at least one elastically bendable locking means (V), wherein the decorative representation is covered with a transparent lacquer layer (65) and that the anti-wear means (66) is provided in the lacquer layer (65).
Images(16)
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Claims(17)
1. A floor panel comprising a carrier panel portion that is provided at a top side with a duty layer arrangement, which duty layer arrangement is provided with a decorative representation, wherein provided in the duty layer arrangement is an anti-wear means, and edge locking profiles at at least two mutually opposite edges of the floor panel, wherein at least one edge locking profile has at least one elastically bendable locking means, characterised in that the decorative representation is covered with a transparent lacquer layer and that the anti-wear means is provided in the lacquer layer.
2. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that the anti-wear means has abrasion-resistant particles.
3. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that the decorative representation and the lacquer layer are in the form of a prefabricated decorative layer and that the decorative layer forms at least a part of the duty layer arrangement that, in the finished condition, is connected to the carrier panel portion.
4. The floor panel according to claim 3, characterised in that the lacquered decorative layer is attached with an adhesive to the carrier panel portion.
5. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that the decorative representation is subdivided into different imaging regions.
6. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that the surface of the duty layer arrangement has a relief with depressions and raised portions.
7. The floor panel according to claim 6, characterised in that the depressions are in overlapping relationship with given zones of the decorative layer and the raised portions are in overlapping relationship with other zones of the decorative representation.
8. The floor panel according to claim 6, characterised in that the depressions of the relief are produced by a chemical that reacts with the lacquer.
9. The floor panel according to claim 6, characterised in that the depressions of the relief are produced by mechanical embossing.
10. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that material is removed at least at a side edge portion at the top side of the floor panel and thereby an obtuse edge is formed having a protection surface, and wherein the protection surface of the obtuse edge is provided with a coating.
11. The floor panel according to claim 10, characterised in that the decorative representation of the duty layer arrangement is bent over at the side edge portion of the floor panel and that the coating on the protection surface of the obtuse edge is formed by the bent-over part of the duty layer arrangement.
12. The floor panel according to claim 10, characterised in that there is a separate coating at least on the protection surface of one of the obtuse edges at the side edge portion of the floor panel.
13. The floor panel according to claim 12, characterised in that the separate coating is in the form of a self-adhesive film.
14. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that there is provided at least one imitation intermediate joint, which is in the form of a groove in the top side of the floor panel, and that the imitation intermediate joint subdivides the decorative representation into different imaging regions.
15. The floor panel according to claim 14, characterised in that the imitation intermediate joint is of the same free cross-section as the free space that is afforded when two floor panels are connected by mutually adjoining obtuse edges thereof.
16. The floor panel according to claim 14, characterised in that there is a coating provided on the surface of the groove of the imitation intermediate joint.
17. The floor panel according to claim 1, characterised in that the edge locking profile of at least two oppositely disposed edges of the floor panel has locking means that act in positively locking relationship.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention concerns a floor panel comprising a carrier panel portion that is provided at a top side with a duty layer arrangement, which duty layer arrangement has a decorative representation, wherein an anti-wear means is provided in the duty layer arrangement, and edge locking profiles at at least two mutually opposite edges of the floor panel, wherein at least one edge locking profile has at least one elastically bendable locking means.

2. Description of the Background

A floor panel of the general kind set forth is known from FIG. 3 of WO 01/96689 A1. The known floor panel has a groove-and-tongue connection with an undercut configuration that is intended to prevent joined floor panels from moving away from each other. The walls of the groove project from the edge of the floor panel by differing distances. That groove wall, which projects further from the edge of the floor panel, forms the elastically bendable locking means of the known floor panel.

It is also known from WO 01/96689 that that floor panel imitates the appearance of wood. For that purpose, the duty or utility layer arrangement of the floor panel has two elements, namely a paper and a translucent layer, which is generally referred to as an overlay. The paper is printed with a decorative representational imaging that represents a wood surface. The overlay is arranged on the printed paper and is saturated with synthetic resin. In accordance with WO 01/96689 A1, the synthetic resin may contain an anti-wear means that is intended to provide protection from wear and tear and cracking and tearing. Because of the particular structure of the wood imitation by means of synthetic resin, the construction of the known floor panel is complicated and costly to produce. That is because the synthetic resin of the translucent overlay must be melted to join it to the printed paper. For that purpose, the printed paper is preferably also to be resin-impregnated. The paper and the overlay are then pressed together with the carrier plate portion in a hot pressing operation.

The use of the resin-impregnated layers is costly and, as is generally known, problematical for the reason that resin impregnation of the printed paper with a hot liquid wax causes a growth in the length and the width of the paper. That growth is a variable that is dependent on influencing factors such as air humidity, paper quality, resin quality, etc.

In addition, the use of resin-impregnated layers on a top side of the carrier plate portion, in consideration of differing characteristics in respect of thermal expansion between the carrier plate portion and the layers, requires what is referred to as a counteracting means such as, for example, a resin-impregnated layer at the underside of the carrier plate portion. That provides a balance that prevents thermal distortion of the floor panel after the hot pressing operation.

The complexity involved in the processing of resin and paper increases the reject rate in the manufacture of the resin-impregnated printed paper. Papers that are less than or exceed the target size cannot be used for the production of a floor panel. In addition, the energy and installation costs for pressing resin-bearing papers and a carrier plate portion are high because high temperatures and large amounts of heat have to be applied to the layers to be joined together, in order to cause the resin to fuse, and in that way to join the layers together.

A further disadvantage is seen in the arrangement of the anti-wear means. Two alternatives are known for integrating an anti-wear means in particle form.

Alternative 1: the particles are provided within the overlay. They are added, for example, during the production of the overlay paper to the cellulose of the overlay paper. The overlay paper is then impregnated with particle-free resin.

Alternative 2: the overlay is free of particles. Instead, the particles are mixed into a resin, in which case the overlay, for example, an overlay paper, is, however, coated only on one side with the resin/particle mixture and the opposite side of the overlay is coated with particle-free resin.

Both alternatives suffer from the disadvantage that the uppermost layer of a floor panel, namely the overlay, is partially formed from particle-free material without anti-wear means. That particle-free material wears quickly in use of the floor panel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the invention is to provide a wear-resistant floor panel that is inexpensive to produce.

According to the invention, that object is attained in that the decorative. representation is coated with a transparent lacquer layer and that the anti-wear means is provided in the lacquer layer.

Because the anti-wear means is disposed in a lacquer, it is possible to completely dispense with resin. No supply of heat for the purposes of causing resin to melt is necessary for applying the duty layer arrangement to the carrier plate portion. That means that the energy costs for manufacture are reduced. In addition, no heat distortion occurs if the duty layer arrangement is applied to the carrier plate portion without the use of a considerable amount of heat.

The elastically bendable locking means of the floor panel, according to the invention, protects the edge locking profile from fracture. In accordance with the invention, it can basically be provided at various locations of the edge locking profile. If the arrangement involves an edge locking profile in the manner of a tongue-and-groove connection, at least one of the groove walls can be of an elastically bendable nature. Alternatively, the tongue can be elastically bendable. It is equally possible for both the tongue and also at least one of the groove walls to be elastically bendable. The arrangement with the elastically bendable locking means is advantageous both for edge locking profiles that have an undercut configuration that resists joined floor panels being pulled away from each other, and also for those edge locking profiles that do not have any such undercut configuration that resists joined floor panels being pulled away from each other.

Desirably, the anti-wear means has abrasion-resistant particles. That can involve, for example, corundum in powder form that is embedded in finely distributed fashion in the duty layer arrangement.

A particular benefit is achieved if the decorative representation and the lacquer layer are arranged on a prefabricated decorative layer. The whole thing, namely the decorative representation and the lacquer layer on the decorative layer, form the duty or utility layer arrangement of the floor panel. The duty layer arrangement can be produced in the form of a pre-product. That pre-product is joined to the carrier panel portion in the finished condition of the floor panel. The manufacturer of the floor panel now only joins the prefabricated duty layer arrangement to a carrier panel portion on which the edge locking profiles are provided or on which they are produced.

The lacquered decorative layer that forms the underside of the duty layer arrangement is easily applied to the carrier panel portion with an adhesive. Any suitably cold or hot, chemically or physically setting, single-component or multi-component adhesive can be used for that purpose.

A further benefit is enjoyed if the decorative representation is subdivided into different imaging or representational regions. In that way, for example, a floor panel can be designed with a wood motif in which individual wood planks are represented in individual imaging regions of the decorative representation. They can be arranged, for example, in a plurality of juxtaposed rows, as in the case of the bottom of a ship.

The floor panel can be further improved if there is provided a relief having depressions and raised portions at the surface of the duty layer arrangement. The depressions and raised portions can, for example, be such that they correspond to or imitate a wood grain effect.

The quality of the floor panel can additionally be improved if the depressions are in overlapping relationship with given imaging regions and the raised portions are in overlapping relationship with other imaging regions of the decorative representation. That provides a floor panel in which the optical impression and the tactile impression, when taken together, have a particularly genuine effect. For example, when a floor panel of such a nature, with a wood motif, includes a graphic representation of a branch, the floor panel has a relief on the surface of the position of the branch, in exact conformity with the graphic representation. Equally, it is possible to imitate the surface of a tile covering by graphic representations of tiles with joints therebetween being provided and by the relief in overlapping relationship with the graphics imitating, for example, recessed joints and raised tile surfaces. In that case, a joint surface can be rough like sand and the surface of tiles can be imitated with a corresponding structure.

In a preferred embodiment, the depressions of the relief in the lacquer layer of the duty layer arrangement are produced by a chemical. Reliefs can be produced in a particularly simple and inexpensive fashion by that method. The chemical can, for example, react with lacquer and break it down where it is applied.

An alternative provides that the floor panel is provided with a relief, the depressions of which are produced by mechanical embossing of the lacquer layer.

Desirably, material is removed at least at one side edge at the top side of the floor panel, resulting in the formation of an obtuse edge with a protection surface, and the protection surface of the obtuse edge is provided with a coating.

Due to the removal of material at the obtuse edge, the edge of the floor panel has a protection surface that is less susceptible to damage than a right-angled edge without the removal of material. The removal of material extends into the material of the carrier plate portion. The coating on the protection surface serves both for visual purposes and also to preserve the protection surface.

Advantageously, at least the decorative representation of the duty layer arrangement is bent over at the side edge portion of the floor panel and the coating on the protection surface of the obtuse edge is formed by the bent-over part of the duty layer arrangement.

Two different things are achieved in that way. On the one hand, the coating on the protection surface can be such that there is no difference in quality in relation to the duty surface on the top side of the floor panel, unless the bent-over portion of the coating is to be deliberately of a different quality from the duty layer arrangement on the top side of the floor panel. The latter would be the case, for example, when the top side is provided with an anti-wear means, whereas the anti-wear means is dispensed with in the region of the coating on the protection surface because the abrasion wear is less there. On the other hand, there is a bend edge instead of the butt joint known from the state of the art. The duty layer arrangement forms an integral transition into the coating on the protection surface at the bend edge.

The one-piece configuration of the duty layer arrangement and the coating on the protection surface avoids a butt surface that is endangered by a tendency to peeling.

In a particular embodiment, it can be provided that there is a separate coating at least on the protection surface of one of the obtuse edges at the side edge portion of the floor panel. That can be desirable if this involves a protection surface that is short in comparison with other protection surfaces on the floor panel and, as a result, it can be assumed that there is a reduced susceptibility to damage to the coating.

The above-mentioned separate coating can be, for example, in the form of a self-adhesive film.

In addition, the area of use of the floor panel can be enlarged by the provision of at least one imitation intermediate joint, which is in the form of a groove in the top side of the floor panel and which subdivides the decorative representation into decorative regions.

Industrially produced floor panels are packaged and supplied in packs consisting of a plurality thereof. For inexpensive manufacture, it is advantageous for floor panels that are offered in packs each to be of the same respective panel length. The production of panels of differing lengths and the packaging of different panel lengths in one pack can be avoided by imitation intermediate joints. Admittedly, panels of different lengths are required in the case of floor panels of real wood in order to achieve good utilization of the natural raw material, but that is inappropriate in the case of an artificial decorative imaging representation because the production, storage and sale of floor panels of different sizes is expensive. Production of the new floor panels in contrast is inexpensive because it is possible to produce uniform panel lengths, wherein one or more intermediate joints in the top side of a panel can nonetheless give the impression as though a laid floor covering consists of floor panels of differing lengths.

It is desirable if the imitation intermediate joint is of the same free cross-section as the free space that is produced when joining two floor panels, by virtue of the mutually adjoining obtuse edges thereof. That measure provides that the imitation intermediate joint is substantially matched to an actual butt joint forming a joint between mutually adjoining floor panels.

The effect of the intermediate joint can be further improved by the provision of a coating on the surface of the groove of the imitation intermediate joint. The visual appearance of the coating can be matched to the decorative layer of the duty layer arrangement. A possible way of achieving that provides that the groove is produced prior to application of the decorative layer and, in an additional working step, after application of the duty layer arrangement with the decorative layer, the duty layer arrangement in the region of the groove is introduced into the groove. In that respect, it is helpful if the duty layer arrangement that initially extends over the groove can be stretched in order, for example, to be pushed or sucked into the groove. That is possible, for example, with a film. Simpler coatings for the groove can comprise, for example, a lacquer.

If the edge locking profile has locking means that engage in positively locking relationship at at least two oppositely disposed edges of the floor panel, that is considered to be a further advantage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is illustrated by way of example hereinafter in the drawings and described in detail with reference to individual Figures of the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a floor panel with a decorative imaging representation covered with a transparent lacquer layer,

FIG. 2 shows a floor panel with an imitation intermediate joint,

FIG. 3 shows a floor panel with an imitation intermediate joint and different imaging regions of the decorative representation,

FIG. 4 shows a floor panel with an imitation intermediate joint that has a coating,

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of a floor panel with obtuse edges provided at all sides,

FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment of a floor panel with obtuse edges provided at all sides,

FIG. 7 shows a floor panel with obtuse edges and with a groove in the top side,

FIG. 8 shows an alternative embodiment of a floor panel with obtuse edges, with a groove, and with different imaging regions of the decorative representation,

FIG. 9 shows a further alternative of a floor panel that has both obtuse edges, a groove in the top side, and different imaging regions of the decorative representation,

FIG. 10 shows a view of a portion of edge locking profiles of oppositely disposed edges of a floor panel,

FIG. 11 shows a view of a portion of edge locking profiles of oppositely disposed edges of a floor panel with obtuse edges,

FIG. 12 shows a view of a portion of alternative oppositely disposed edge locking profiles of a floor panel whose edge locking profiles engage one behind the other,

FIG. 13 shows a view of a portion of a further embodiment of edge locking profiles of an undercut configuration at oppositely disposed edges of a floor panel,

FIG. 14 shows a view of a portion of oppositely disposed edge locking profiles, which are without an undercut configuration, of a floor panel, and

FIG. 15 shows a portion of a duty layer arrangement with relief.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 to 4 show floor panels without obtuse edges. FIGS. 5 to 9 show floor panels with obtuse edges. An obtuse edge involves removal of material at a side edge portion of a top side of the floor panel. The removal of material results in the formation of a protection surface, which makes the side edge portion of the floor panel less susceptible to damage.

Respective edge locking profiles are illustrated at each of the edges of all floor panels in FIGS. 1 to 9. Arranged at the oppositely disposed edges are respective corresponding edge locking profiles F1, F1′ and F2, F2′. A plurality of those floor panels can be joined by means of the edge locking profiles F1, F1′ and F2, F2′ to afford a floor surface because further floor panels can be locked to a floor panel at all sides. The edge locking profiles F1, F1′ and F2, F2′ are shown in FIGS. 1 to 9 by way of example in the form of tongue-and-groove profiles which have an elastically bendable locking means V and V1, V2, respectively. Different examples of edge locking profiles are described with reference to FIGS. 10 to 14.

Each of the floor panels in FIGS. 1 to 9 is provided with a duty or utility layer arrangement. The duty layer arrangement can be constructed as described and illustrated with reference to FIG. 15. In that respect, there is provided a decorative imaging representation of wood, wherein wood grain lines of the wood motif are provided both by graphic means and also by a relief in the lacquer layer.

Referring to FIG. 1, shown therein is a rectangular floor panel 100. It has a carrier panel portion 110. Provided in mutually opposite relationship are two long edges and two oppositely disposed short edges of the floor panel 100. Provided at the oppositely disposed long edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F1 and F1′ and provided at the oppositely disposed short edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F2 and F2′. A utility or duty layer arrangement 120 is provided at the top side of the carrier panel portion. The duty layer arrangement 120 has a decorative imaging representation and a lacquer layer in which an anti-wear means is contained. The decorative representation represents a wood motif 130. It is possible to see wood grain lines 140 of the wood motif 130. The structure of the duty layer arrangement 120 corresponds to the illustration in and the description relating to FIG. 15, wherein the wood grain lines 140 are represented both by graphic means and also afforded by a depression in the lacquer layer. The duty layer arrangement 120 is a pre-product with a relief at the surface. That pre-product is connected to the carrier panel portion 110 by adhesive. A simplified embodiment provides that the lacquer layer has a smooth surface without a relief or is provided with a relief that does not involve any conformity with the decorative representation.

The embodiment of a floor panel 200 as shown in FIG. 2 corresponds to the FIG. 1 embodiment. A difference lies only in an imitation intermediate joint 210 provided in the form of a groove 211 in the top side of the floor panel 200. The groove 211 severs a duty layer arrangement 220 and extends into the material of a carrier panel portion 230. The surface of the groove 210 does not have any coating. The imitation intermediate joint 210 in FIG. 2 subdivides the top side of the floor panel 200 or the decorative representation into two imaging or representational regions A and B. The imaging region A has a wood motif 240 and the imaging region B has a wood motif 250. In the laid condition of a floor, the imitation intermediate joint 210 has the effect of an actual joint between separate wood elements. As shown in FIG. 2, wood grain lines 260 of the wood pattern 240 form a matching transition at the intermediate joint 210 into the wood grain lines 270 of the wood motif 250. The wood motifs 240 and 250 each have respective parts of one and the same branch. The intermediate joint 210 divides that branch into two parts. That leads to the assumption that the two imaging regions A and B are wood that has been taken from a grown tree trunk and therefore match each other. Provided at the oppositely disposed long edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F1 and F1′ and at the oppositely disposed short edges there are corresponding edge locking profiles F2 and F2′.

It will be noted that the groove 211 of the intermediate joint 210 can also have a separate coating that is independent of the duty layer arrangement or the decorative layer.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 3 very substantially corresponds to the embodiment of FIG. 2. It has a duty layer arrangement 320 arranged on a carrier panel portion 330. In particular, the configuration of the intermediate joint 310 in the form of the groove 311 corresponds to the embodiment of FIG. 2. The only difference lies in a wood motif 350 of an imaging region B. The wood motif 350 thereof does not have any branch, whereas the imaging region A has the same wood motif 340 with a part of a branch, like the imaging region A in FIG. 2. Illustrated in the Figure are wood grain lines 360 and 370 that are independent of each other; they do not go into each other. The imitation intermediate joint 310 leads to the assumption that this involves two joined pieces of wood. Provided at the oppositely disposed long edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F1 and F1′ and provided at the oppositely disposed short edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F2 and F2′.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of a floor panel 400 that also has an imitation intermediate joint 410 with a groove 411. A duty layer arrangement 420 at the top side of the floor panel 400 is arranged on a carrier panel portion 430. The imitation intermediate joint 410 divides the top side of the floor panel 400 or the decorative representational imaging into two imaging regions A and B. The imaging region A has the wood motif 440 and the imaging region B has a wood motif 450. The wood motifs 440 and 450 correspond to the wood motifs in FIG. 2. They have wood grain lines 460 and 470 that pass matchingly into each other at the intermediate joint 410. The wood motifs 440 and 450 form respective parts of one and the same branch. The branch is divided by the intermediate joint 410. That leads to the assumption that the two imaging regions A and B are wood that has been taken from a grown tree trunk and therefore match each other. In the laid condition of a floor, the imitation intermediate joint 410 has the effect of an actual joint between separate wood elements. The only difference in the embodiment of FIG. 4 in comparison with that of FIG. 2 lies in the coating of the groove 411 of the imitation intermediate joint 410. The coating of the groove 411 is formed by the duty layer arrangement 420 that is bent over onto the surface of the groove 420. The wood grain lines 460 of the wood motif 440 pass over a bend edge L1 of the groove 411 into the bottom of the groove 411. The wood grain lines 410 of the wood motif 450 also pass over the other bend edge L2 of the groove 411 and extend into the bottom of the groove 411. Viewed from the top side of the floor panel 400, the wood motifs 440 and 450 as well as the intermediate joint 410 of the top side of the floor panel 400 afford a very good impression of being authentic. Provided at the oppositely disposed long edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F1 and F1′ and provided at the oppositely disposed short edges are corresponding edge locking profiles F2 and F2′.

A further alternative of the floor panel 400, which is described with reference to FIG. 4, has a bent-over duty layer arrangement 420 with separate imaging regions, in the region of the intermediate joint 410. Those imaging regions are provided with their own motifs that differ from those motifs to be found on the top side of the floor panel 400.

FIGS. 5 to 9 show rectangular floor panels 1. They have a carrier panel portion 2. Provided in mutually opposite relationship are two long edges and two oppositely disposed short edges. A utility or duty layer arrangement 3 is provided at the top side of the carrier panel portion 2. The duty layer arrangement 3 has a decorative layer D that represents a wood motif 4 or a plurality of wood motifs 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. The wood grain lines 5, 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c of the wood motifs 4, 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c are illustrated.

Respective edge locking profiles F1/F1′ and F2/F2′ are illustrated at the respective edges of the floor panels shown in FIGS. 5 to 9. Respective corresponding edge locking profiles are arranged at the oppositely disposed edges. A plurality of those floor panels can thus be joined to form a floor surface because further floor panels can be locked to a floor panel at all sides.

The edge locking profiles F1/F1′ and F2/F2′ are shown in FIGS. 5 to 9, for example, in the form of a tongue-and-groove profile having an elastically bendable locking means V. Each of the floor panels shown in FIGS. 5 to 9 can alternatively have one of those edge locking profiles that are proposed hereinafter in the description relating to FIGS. 10 to 14. FIGS. 5 to 9 serve essentially to explain alternatives in respect of the configuration of the top side of the floor panel and the side edge portions of the top side of the floor panel 1.

Looking at FIG. 5, the top side of the floor panel 1 has a utility or duty layer arrangement 3 with a decorative layer D whose wood motif 4 extends without interruption over the entire surface of the top side. The wood motif 4 represents, inter alia, a branch in the wood grain effect. It will be appreciated that neither the branch in itself nor the position of the branch is a necessary constituent part of the wood panel. That applies both in regard to FIG. 5 and also in regard to all other embodiments of FIGS. 6 to 9, whose decorative layer has a branch or parts thereof.

Provided at the side edge portions of the top side of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 are obtuse edges 8 and 9 with protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a. Those protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a are in the form of a bevel. A bevel is thus an inclinedly arranged flat protection surface at the edge of the floor panel.

All four side edge portions at the top side of the floor panel 1 are provided with beveled protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a. All those protection surfaces have a coating. The coating embraces the decorative layer D of the duty layer arrangement. For that purpose, the decorative layer D is bent over, for example, at a bend edge K at a side edge portion of the floor panel 1 and covers the protection surface 9 a. The same applies for the other side edges.

It will be appreciated that it is possible for regions of the edge of the floor panel, which extend beyond the protection surface 9 a, to be coated with that decorative layer D. An edge of the floor panel 1 can be coated, for example, entirely or partially with the bent-over decorative layer D.

Shown at the protection surface 9 a of the long edge of the floor panel is a wood grain line M that extends from the beveled protection surface 9 a over the bend edge K into the duty layer arrangement 3 of the top side of the floor panel 1.

The floor panel shown in FIG. 6 differs from the floor panel shown in FIG. 5 solely by the configuration of that protection surface/bevel provided at the short edge. There, there is no coating on the protection surface 8 a. The surface of the protection surface 8 a simply comprises the surface produced by the removal of material. The surface produced comprises in part the machined duty layer arrangement 3 and in part the material of the carrier panel portion 2. A more expensive alternative of the floor panel can have a protection surface 8 a for the short edge of the floor panel, which is provided with a separate coating such as, for example, a lacquer or a film.

The floor panel shown in FIG. 7 substantially corresponds to that shown in FIG. 6, the difference lying in the top side of the floor panel because there the floor panel has an imitation intermediate joint 10. That intermediate joint 10 is in the form of a groove 10 a. The groove 10 a severs the duty layer arrangement 3 and extends into the material of the carrier panel portion 2. The surface of the groove 10 a does not have any coating. The cross-section of the groove 10 a corresponds to the free space that is produced by joining two short edges of such floor panels, as the free space between the obtuse edges 8. As can already be seen from FIGS. 5 and 6, the long edges of the floor panel 1 have a coating that encloses the bent-over decorative layer D of the duty layer arrangement 3.

The imitation intermediate joint in FIG. 7 subdivides the top side of the floor panel or the decorative layer D into two imaging or representational regions A and B. The imaging region A has a wood motif 4 a and the imaging region B has a wood motif 4 b. In the laid condition of a floor, the imitation intermediate joint 10 has the effect of an actual joint between separate wood elements.

As shown in FIG. 7, the wood grain lines 5 a of the wood motif 4 a form a matching transition at the intermediate joint into the wood grain lines 5 b of the wood motif 4 b. The wood motifs 4 a and 4 b each have parts of one and the same branch. The intermediate joint 10 divides that branch into two parts. That leads to the assumption that the two decorative regions are wood that has been taken from a grown tree trunk and therefore match each other.

It will be noted that the groove 10 a of the intermediate joint 10 can also have a separate coating that is independent of the duty layer arrangement or the decorative layer.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 8 very substantially corresponds to the embodiment shown in FIG. 7. In particular, the configuration of the obtuse edges 8 and 9 with their protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a as well as the configuration of the intermediate joint 10 corresponds to the embodiment of FIG. 7. The only difference lies in the wood motif of the imaging region B. That imaging region B has a wood motif 4 c that does not have any branch, whereas the imaging region A has the same wood motif 4 a with a part of a branch, like the imaging region A in FIG. 7. The wood grain lines 5 a and 5 c are independent of each other; they do not go into each other. The imitation intermediate joint 10 leads to the assumption that this involves two joined pieces of wood.

FIG. 9 illustrates an embodiment that also has an imitation intermediate joint 10 with a groove 10 a. The duty layer arrangement 3 at the top side of the floor panel 1 has the same wood motifs 4 a and 4 c as shown in FIG. 8. The only difference in the embodiment of FIG. 9 in relation to the embodiment of FIG. 8 lies in the coating of the protection surface 8 a, which is in the form of a bevel, at the short edge of the floor panel 1, and in the coating of the groove 10 a of the imitation intermediate joint 10. The protection surface 8 a is provided with a coating. The coating encloses the decorative layer D of the duty layer arrangement 3. The decorative layer D is bent over and extends over the protection surface 8 a. That can be clearly seen because the wood grain lines 5 a of the decorative layer D, coming from the duty layer arrangement 3, go into the coating on the protection surface 8 a.

The groove 10 a of the imitation intermediate joint 10 also has a coating. This also encloses the decorative layer D of the duty layer arrangement 3, which is bent over onto the surface of the groove 10 a. The wood grain lines 5 a of the wood motif 4 a pass over a bend edge L1 of the groove 10 and extend into the bottom of the groove 10 a. The wood grain lines 5 c of the wood motif 4 c also pass over the other bend edge L2 of the groove 10 a and extend into the bottom of the groove 10 a. Viewed from the top side of the floor panel 1, the wood motifs 4 a and 4 c as well as the intermediate joint 10 and the protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a of the top side of the floor panel 1 afford a very good impression of being authentic.

A further alternative of the floor panel 1, which is not illustrated here, has a bent-over decorative layer D with separate imaging or representational regions, in the area of the intermediate joint 10. Those imaging regions are provided with their own motifs that differ from those motifs that are to be found on the top side of the floor panel 1. The same can apply for one or more of the protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a, respectively, which can also be coated with a bent-over decorative layer D that, in turn, is provided with separate imaging regions for the protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a, respectively.

In that way, it is possible to provide the motif of a longitudinal section through a tree trunk, for example, for the top side 3 of the floor panel 1, as is shown in FIGS. 5 to 9, whereas the bent-over portions of the decorative layer D, at the corresponding protection surfaces 8 a and 9 a, respectively, and the intermediate joint 10, have such motifs that represent a section transversely through a tree trunk.

Portions of two floor panels are shown in each of FIGS. 10 to 14. The portions show edge locking profiles in the connected condition thereof. Each individual one of the illustrated floor panels always has both edge locking profiles, namely one with a groove and one with a tongue. The groove and the tongue are respectively arranged at oppositely disposed edges of the floor panel.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 10 to 14 to describe, on the one hand, different configurations of edge locking profiles. On the other hand, different shapes of obtuse edges at a top side of a floor panel are described and illustrated. In that respect, the shape of the obtuse edges is independent of the configuration of the edge locking profiles. Therefore, a floor panel with an obtuse edge as shown in FIG. 10 or FIG. 11 can be combined with each of the edge locking profiles shown in FIGS. 12 to 14. The shape of the obtuse edge shown in FIG. 12 can be combined with each edge locking profile of FIGS. 10 to 14. The same applies to the obtuse edges in FIGS. 13 and 14. They too can be combined with any edge locking profile as shown in FIGS. 10 to 14. Furthermore, each of the edge locking profiles of FIGS. 10 to 14 can be provided on any of the floor panels of FIGS. 1 to 9. In that respect, the edge locking profiles are always arranged in paired relationship at mutually opposite edges of the floor panel. Oppositely disposed short edges of one of the floor panels shown in FIGS. 1 to 9 can have either the same type or a different type of edge locking profiles as shown in FIGS. 10 to 14, which is provided at the long edges of the floor panel.

The floor panels 11 and 12 in FIG. 10 have at their top sides duty layer arrangements 13 and 14 disposed on a carrier panel portion 15 and 16, respectively. Each duty layer arrangement 13 and 14, respectively, is flat and extends to the side edge portions of the top side of the respective floor panel 11 and 12, respectively. At the joint of the two floor panels 11 and 12, the duty layer arrangements 13 and 14 butt against each other and at the transition form an almost flat floor surface without an intermediate groove.

The edge locking profile 17 shown in FIG. 10 has a tongue 26 in the form of an elastically bendable locking means V. An edge locking profile 18 is provided with a groove 27 that is of a curved cross-section. The edge locking profile is protected from fracture by virtue of the elastic bendability of the tongue 26. Before another part of one of the edge locking profiles 15 or 16 fractures, the tongue 26 adopts a bend. The tongue 26 is straight in the unlocked condition whereas it is bent in the illustrated locked position, following the curvature of the groove 27 in a direction towards the underside of the floor panel 20. This is not a tongue-and-groove profile that has an undercut configuration because the tongue 26 is not curved in the relieved condition.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 11 substantially corresponds to that shown in FIG. 10. The edge locking profiles are identical. The only difference lies in an obtuse edge at a top side of the floor panel 20 and of the floor panel 21. Each of the obtuse edges forms a protection surface in the form of a 45 bevel 22 and 23, respectively. The 45 bevel 22 of the floor panel 20 is an inclined plane produced by removal of material at the edge, at the top side, of a carrier panel portion 24 of the floor panel 20. A utility or duty layer arrangement 25 having a decorative layer D is provided on the carrier panel portion 24. The duty layer arrangement 25 is bent over onto the 45 bevel 22 at a bend edge N. Therefore, the coating of the 450 bevel 22 involves the same material quality as the duty layer arrangement at the top side of the floor panel 20. The 45 bevel 23 of the floor panel 21 has the same coating as the floor panel 20.

FIG. 12 shows a top side of floor panels 30 and 31 that are each provided with a respective obtuse edge with a protection surface, each protection surface being in the shape of a rounded configuration. The rounding 32 of the floor panel 30 is somewhat shorter in cross-section than an arc formed by a quarter of a circle. The rounding 32 is produced by removal of material at the edge, at the top side, of a carrier panel portion 33 of the floor panel 30.

Provided on the carrier panel portion 33 is a duty layer arrangement 34 having a decorative layer D. The duty layer arrangement 34 including the decorative layer D is bent around the rounding 32 of the obtuse edge and forms the coating thereon. The coating, however, also extends onto the top side of a tongue 35 of the edge locking profile and reaches the end of the top side of the tongue. The rounded shape of the protection surface of the floor panel 31 corresponds to the rounding 32 of the floor panel 30. A utility layer arrangement 37, inclusive of a decorative layer D, is bent around that rounding 36 of the obtuse edge and extends as far as an end edge of an upper groove wall of the groove profile of the floor panel 31.

The coating on the protection surfaces involves the same material quality as the duty layer arrangements 34 and 35 at the top side of the floor panels 30 and 31.

The edge locking profiles shown in FIG. 12 are provided with tongue-and-groove profiles that comprise an undercut configuration. The undercut configuration resists the floor panels 30 and 31 being pulled apart. The arrangement has two elastically bendable locking means V1 and V2. One of the locking means V1 is formed by the tongue 35 and the other elastically bendable locking means V2 is a lower groove wall 38 of the groove profile, which is longer or projects further from the edge of the panel than an upper groove wall 38.

A further configuration of the top side of floor panels 40 and 41 can be seen from FIG. 13. Those floor panels 40 and 41 each have a respective obtuse edge with a protection surface in the form of a rounding 42 and 43, respectively. The geometry of the rounding 42 corresponds to the rounding shown in FIG. 12 of the floor panel 30. The rounding 42 is also produced by removal of material at an upper edge of a carrier panel portion 43 of the floor panel 40. The coating on the rounding 42, again, comprises a duty layer arrangement 44 on the top side of the floor panel 40, which, inclusive of a decorative layer D, is bent in one piece around the rounding 42 of the obtuse edge. In the present embodiment, however, the coating ends at the end of the rounding and is not taken further over the edge onto the edge locking profile.

The edge locking profiles are provided with a groove 45 and a tongue 46, wherein provided between the groove 45 and the tongue 46 is an undercut configuration that resists the floor panels 40 and 41 being pulled apart. There is provided an elastically bendable locking means V, more specifically an elastically bendable lower groove wall 47 for the groove 45, which is longer than the upper groove wall 48 of the groove 45. The lower groove wall 47 is free of any bend in the locked position as illustrated. Its elastic bendability, however, is effective when an external loading is applied to the connection between the groove and the tongue. The elastic lower groove wall 47 protects the remaining regions of the connection from fracture.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 14 involves the same configuration in respect of the top side of floor panels 50 and 51, as is to be seen from FIG. 13. Provided on a carrier panel portion 50 a with a duty layer arrangement 50 b is an obtuse edge with a protection surface in the form of a rounding 52. The same applies for the floor panel 51, which has a rounding 53. Both the geometry of the roundings 52 and 53 and also the coatings thereon correspond to the configuration , of the rounding 42 shown in FIG. 13.

The edge locking profiles provided are equipped with a groove 54 and a tongue 55 which do not have an undercut configuration. The embodiment shown in FIG. 14 does not provide a positively locking engagement relationship to prevent the floor panels 50 and 51 from being pulled apart, as can be seen in FIGS. 12 and 13. Both the tongue 55 and also the groove 54 are of trapezoidal cross-sections. A thinner lower groove wall 56 of the groove 54 forms an elastically bendable locking means V that, when an external loading is applied to the connection, yields before a fracture occurs at another location of the groove 54 or the tongue 55.

It will be appreciated that a conventional tongue-and-groove profile that has joining surfaces for the groove, which are arranged in parallel relationship with the top side of the floor panel and with joining surfaces for the tongue, which are also arranged in parallel relationship with the top side of the floor panel, can also be supplemented by an elastically bendable locking means. In that case, the elastically bendable locking means protects the remaining regions of the groove and the tongue from fracture if a loading is applied to the tongue-and-groove connection. It is sufficient if, for example, the tongue or one of the groove walls is of an elastically bendable nature.

For the purposes of describing the structure of a utility or duty layer arrangement, FIG. 15 diagrammatically shows a portion of a duty layer arrangement. The floor panels shown in FIGS. 1 to 9 can, for example, have a duty layer arrangement of the structure shown in FIG. 15. The same applies for the duty layer arrangements in FIGS. 10 to 14.

Referring to FIG. 15, the duty layer arrangement has a paper 61 that is printed with decorative graphics 62. The graphics 62 are provided with differently colored zones 63 and 64. To protect the graphics 62 from being worn off, they are coated with a transparent lacquer. The thickness of the lacquer layer 65 and the thickness of the paper 61 are shown without proportionality in FIG. 15. The lacquer is transparent and is mixed with an abrasion-resistant anti-wear means 66 for the purposes of affording a high level of resistance to wear. The anti-wear means 66 has particles that extend to the surface of the lacquer layer 65. The surface of the lacquer also has a relief 67 that exactly matches the illustrated graphics 62. Depressions 67 a and raised portions 67 b of the relief are in overlapping relationship with respective given zones 63 and 64, respectively, of the graphics 62. The depressions 67 a of the relief 67 have been produced by a chemical that is applied prior to the lacquer coating and which, after application of the lacquer, reacts therewith. In FIG. 15, the lacquer layer 65 is thin in the region of the depressions 67 a whereas the lacquer layer 65 is thicker in the region of the raised portions 67 b. The depressions 67 a of the relief 67 are in overlapping relationship with the zones 63 of the graphics 62. In that way, the tactile impression and the visual impression supplement each other and that affords an excellent imitation of a floor surface of real wood. A depression 67 a in the lacquer layer 65 can extend at a maximum as far as the printed paper 61. Such a depression 67 a lacks the protective lacquer layer. Such depressions 67 a should preferably be of a small area so that they are well protected from wear by the surrounding raised regions.

A duty layer arrangement as shown in FIG. 15 is prefabricated. To produce a floor panel, the prefabricated duty layer arrangement is attached to a carrier panel portion, for example, by means of an adhesive.

LIST OF REFERENCES

  • 1 floor panel
  • 2 carrier panel portion
  • 3 duty layer arrangement
  • 4 wood motif
  • 4 a wood motif
  • 4 b wood motif
  • 4 c wood motif
  • 5 wood grain line
  • 5 a wood grain line
  • 5 b wood grain line
  • 5 c wood grain line
  • F2 edge locking profile
  • 6 b edge locking profile
  • F1 edge locking profile
  • 7 b edge locking profile
  • 8 short obtuse edge
  • 8 a protection surface
  • 9 short obtuse edge
  • 9 a protection surface
  • 10 intermediate joint
  • 10 a groove
  • 20 floor panel
  • 21 floor panel
  • 22 45 bevel
  • 23 45 bevel
  • 24 carrier panel portion
  • 25 duty layer arrangement
  • 26 tongue
  • 27 groove
  • 30 floor panel
  • 31 floor panel
  • 32 rounding
  • 33 carrier panel portion
  • 34 duty layer arrangement
  • 35 tongue
  • 36 rounding
  • 37 duty layer arrangement
  • 40 floor panel
  • 41 floor panel
  • 42 rounding
  • 43 carrier panel portion
  • 44 duty layer arrangement
  • 45 groove
  • 46 tongue
  • 47 lower groove wall
  • 48 upper groove wall
  • 50 floor panel
  • 50 a carrier panel portion
  • 50 b duty layer arrangement
  • 51 floor panel
  • 52 rounding
  • 53 rounding
  • 54 groove
  • 55 tongue
  • 56 lower groove wall
  • 61 paper
  • 62 graphics
  • 63 zone
  • 64 zone
  • 65 lacquer layer
  • 66 anti-wear means
  • 67 relief
  • 67 a depression
  • 67 b raised portion
  • A imaging region
  • B imaging region
  • D decorative layer
  • K bend edge
  • L1 bend edge
  • L2 bend edge
  • M wood grain line
  • N bend edge
  • V locking means
  • V1 locking means
  • V2 locking means
  • 100 floor panel
  • 110 carrier panel portion
  • 120 duty layer arrangement
  • 130 wood motif
  • 140 wood grain line
  • 200 floor panel
  • 210 intermediate joint
  • 211 groove
  • 220 duty layer arrangement
  • 230 carrier panel portion
  • 240 wood motif
  • 250 wood motif
  • 260 wood grain line
  • 270 wood grain line
  • 300 floor panel
  • 310 intermediate joint
  • 311 groove
  • 320 duty layer arrangement
  • 330 carrier panel portion
  • 340 wood motif
  • 350 wood motif
  • 360 wood grain line
  • 370 wood grain line
  • 400 floor panel
  • 410 intermediate joint
  • 411 groove
  • 420 duty layer arrangement
  • 430 carrier panel portion
  • 440 wood motif
  • 450 wood motif
  • 460 wood grain line
  • 470 wood grain line
  • F1 edge locking profile
  • F1′ edge locking profile
  • F2 edge locking profile
  • F2′ edge locking profile
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8596012 *Feb 25, 2008Dec 3, 2013Sepa S.R.L.Flooring element for a modular floor, modular floor obtained therewith and method for assembling modular floor
US20100251640 *Feb 25, 2008Oct 7, 2010Sepa S.R.L.Flooring element for a modular floor, modular floor obtained therewith and method for assembling said modular floor
CN102080440A *Nov 23, 2010Jun 1, 2011胡斌Concave-convex obvious texture solid floor and manufacturing method thereof
EP2113393A1 *Apr 29, 2008Nov 4, 2009Unilin Industries, BVBAFloor panel, method for manufacturing floor panels and transfer foil
WO2009133486A1 *Apr 8, 2009Nov 5, 2009Flooring Industries Limited, SarlFloor panel, method for manufacturing floor panels and transfer foil
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/578
International ClassificationE04C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB32B2255/08, B32B21/04, B32B2255/26, B32B2260/026, B32B3/30, B32B2419/04, B44C5/0476, E04F15/04, B44F11/04, B44F9/02, E04F2201/0153, E04F15/02, B32B2307/554, B32B7/02, B32B3/06, E04F15/02033, E04F2201/0115
European ClassificationB32B3/30, E04F15/02A8, B32B21/04, B32B3/06, B44F11/04, B44C5/04R2, B44F9/02, B32B7/02, E04F15/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 8, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: AKZENTA PANEELE + PROFILE GMBH, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EISERMANN, RALF;REEL/FRAME:017140/0071
Effective date: 20060126