US 20060219374 A1
An improved system of virtually seamless connected awning sections with a consistent visual appearance between the sections. A recessed awning bead encased with the fabric covering material chosen for the awning is contoured to, and fit into, a novel channel in the awning frame members. The awning bead allows for uniform weathering and fading of all visible awning parts. Such an improved awning is more aesthetically pleasing because no part of the seam protrudes above the plane of the awning surface. A narrowed neck of the channel in the awning frame member maintains the awning bead within the channel and thus slightly below the exterior awning surface in order to maintain a consistent surface between panel sections.
1. An improved awning system having a fabric covering material applied over a tubing framing structure, wherein the improvement comprises:
a frame member having at least one longitudinal channel, said channel having an inner surface and a narrowed channel neck, one edge of said fabric covering material being fixedly attached to said inner surface; and
a bead for insertion into said channel of said frame member such that, when inserted into said channel, said bead is positively retained in said channel and no part of said bead protrudes above the plane defined by the opening of said channel neck.
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11. An improved bead for use in awning and other fabric framing structures, said bead for use in filling the gap present in the channel of a frame member wherein at least one edge of a fabric covering material is fixedly attached, said improvement comprising:
a core selected from the group consisting of PVC, foam cord, hose, rope, and said covering material; and
an outer encasement, said encasement being fixedly attached to said core and sized to fit into said channel such that, when inserted into said channel, said bead is positively retained in said channel and no part of said awning bead protrudes above the plane defined by the opening of said channel neck.
12. The improvement of
13. The improvement of
14. an improved frame member extrusion for use in awnings and other fabric framing structures, said improvement comprising:
at least one longitudinal channel, said channel having an inner surface and a narrowed channel neck, said inner surface for fixedly attaching a fabric covering material; and
at least one longitudinal groove in said inner surface of said channel, said groove serving as a guide to assist in trimming said fabric covering material.
15. The improvement of
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19. A method for creating a multiple-section framing structure system with inconspicuous seams utilizing the improved awning system of
a. forming the frame members to establish the desired shape of said framing structures, with the outer frame members of each of the multiple-sections that will eventually be conjoined oriented such that said outer frame member channels will be in contact between the conjoined sections;
b. stretching a fabric covering material over said framing structure;
c. fixedly attaching the ends of the panels of said covering material in the channels of said frame members of said framing structure;
d. trimming the excess of said covering materials from said channels by inserting the tip of a trimming knife into the groove in said channel and sliding said knife the length of said covering material;
e. inserting said bead encased with said covering material into the gap remaining in said channels; and
f. fixedly attaching the outer frame members of said multiple-sections to be conjoined.
This application is entitled to the benefit of Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 11/091,112 titled “Perma-Stitch Awning Staple System” filed on Mar. 23, 2005 by inventor Kennon Kyle McKinney, the technical disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, and to the benefit of the Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/555,228 filed on Mar. 23, 2004.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to the manufacturing and installation of commercial and residential awnings and fabric framing structures. More specifically, the present invention allows awnings and other fabric framing structures such as canopies, boat coverings, displays, signs, and the like to be manufactured and installed as a series of individual sections while presenting the appearance of a single, continuous assembly without obvious seams.
2. Description of Related Art
Traditional awnings and fabric framing structures consist of forming a rigid frame to the desired, often arcuate, shape. Over the rigid frame are stretched panels of a fabric material. The fabric panels are typically held in place by staples that are driven into a channel present in the rigid framing members. To hide the staples and seal the channel from the elements, a PVC bead is often pressed into the channel to fill the exposed gap. The PVC bead protrudes from the channel and extends well beyond the plane of the fabric panel. This results in an inconsistent appearance between the panels of fabric material due to the high visibility of the PVC bead. Also, the inconsistent appearance is further accentuated as the fabric panels weather due to exposure to the elements. This is because the fabric panels weather at a different rate than the PVC bead. Attempts have been made to attach fabric to the top surface of the PVC bead, but all this has done is further exaggerate the seam and make it even more visible. Also, the typical framing members feature essentially square channels which make it somewhat difficult to retain fabric panel material that has been stored in rolls. Essentially, when the fabric material is unrolled and placed in the channel the square bottom edges result in relatively large void spaces beneath the curving fabric that increase the difficulty in applying the retaining staples.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,926,605 ('605 patent) discloses a construction assembly for fabric closures such as awnings.
U.S. Pat. No. D309,351 ('351 patent) is a design patent that discloses an ornamental design for a combined frame extrusion and spline for framing awnings.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,044,131 ('131 patent) discloses a fabric awning assembly, method of assembling a fabric awning assembly, and a novel divider bead for spanning the joints between awning frame sections.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,076,033 ('033 patent) discloses a method of joining fabric framing structures.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,555,695 ('695 patent) discloses a channeled extrusion for framing and holding flexible coverings, such as awnings and other fabric framing structures.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,794,400 ('400 patent) discloses a composite framing member and the method of producing it.
The Fabric ZipStrip® manufactured by Steel Stitch Corporation is a commercially available PVC bead used to fill the channel void space of a framing member after the fabric covering material has been stapled to the channel.
Nothing in the prior art addresses the problems associated with providing an awning and fabric framing structure with consistent, inconspicuous seams that, when combined with additional fabric framing structures, presents the appearance of being one, continuous, consistent unit. Therefore, a need exists for a method of conjoining separate fabric framing structure sections such that they appear to be one continuous unit with consistent, inconspicuous seams. Further, a need exists for a framing member channel that is shaped to provide for easier application of retention staples and increased gripping and retention of the fabric covering material. Further, a need exists for a retention bead that sits completely within the void space within the framing member's fabric covering material retention channel and does not protrude above the surface of the fabric covering material. And further, a need exists for a retention bead that weathers and wears at the same rate as the fabric covering material so as to make the seam between the two inconspicuous. The present invention fills these needs and other needs as detailed more fully in the remainder of the specification.
The present invention overcomes many of the disadvantages of the prior art by providing a method of conjoining discreet sections of awnings and other fabric framing structures in such a manner so as to give the sections the appearance of a single, continuous unit with inconspicuous seams. Prior art designs typically feature a flexible bead that is pressed into the channel space in the framing members to fill the gap between stapled sections of the fabric covering material. This prior art bead is highly visible because it protrudes above the surface of the fabric covering material and is of a different material than the fabric panels. This difference of materials creates an uneven appearance due to the different weathering characteristics.
The disclosed method of assembling discreet sections of awnings or other fabric framing structures creates a seam between the discreet sections that is consistent in appearance to the other fabric panel seams in each section. The method includes a novel recessed bead apparatus that is encased with the same material as that chosen for the fabric covering material which allows it to weather consistently with the rest of the fabric. Also, the recessed bead fits completely and securely within the fabric retention channel within the framing members and does not protrude above the surface of the fabric covering material. This affords seams that are inconspicuous and consistent in appearance.
Also, the disclosed method includes a novel framing member channel that is shaped to allow easier application of retention staples and improved retention of the fabric covering material. The channel is shaped so that the fabric covering material, which is typically stored in rolls, will contact the walls of the channel and prevent the formation of void spaces. Also, the channel features longitudinal grooves to assist in the trimming of excess fabric covering material. Once the material has been attached within the channel and before the bead is inserted, the excess material is trimmed from the channel. The grooves afford a clean, strait cut by providing a guide for the tip of the trimming knife to follow.
Accordingly, it is one general object of the invention to provide a retention bead that weathers at the same rate and appears visibly consistent with the fabric covering material. It is another general object of the invention to provide a retention bead that sits completely within the channel of the framing member and does not protrude above the surface of the fabric covering material. It is another general object of the invention to provide an improved means of inserting and retaining the fabric covering material within the framing member channel. It is yet another general object of the invention to provide an improved means for trimming the excess fabric covering material from within the framing member channel. The invention accordingly comprises the features described more fully in the remainder of the specification, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims. Further objects of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description read in light of the drawings.
J The present invention will be more fully understood by reference to the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers refer to like parts throughout the views, wherein:
Where used in the various figures of the drawing, the same reference numbers designate the same or similar parts. Furthermore, when the terms “top,” “bottom,” “first,” “second,” “upper,” “lower,” “height,” “width,” “length,” “end,” “side,” “horizontal,” “vertical,”and similar terms are used herein, it should be understood that these terms have reference only to the structure shown in the drawing and are utilized only to facilitate describing the invention.
All figures are drawn for ease of explanation of the basic teachings of the present invention only; the extensions of the figures with respect to number, position, relationship, and dimensions of the parts to form the preferred embodiment will be explained or will be within the skill of the art after the following teachings of the present invention have been read and understood. Further, the exact dimensions and dimensional proportions to conform to specific force, weight, strength, and similar requirements will likewise be within the skill of the art after the following teachings of the present invention have been read and understood.
Turning now to the drawings in which like reference numbers represent like parts throughout the several views of the drawings,
With respect to
The framing member 810 is constructed from metal, preferably aluminum. Aluminum is chosen because it is lightweight, rigid, corrosion resistant, easily formable, and relatively inexpensive. Also, aluminum readily accepts metal staples 814 (such as steel or stainless steel) that are typically used to retain the covering material 816. The framing member 810 can also be manufactured from other more rigid materials, such as galvanized steel, for use in areas with high wind loads. When galvanized steel is used, an aluminum insert is typically added to the inner surface of the channel 808 to allow for the ability to utilize staples to retain the fabric covering material 816. It is further possible to substitute other materials for the framing member 810 depending upon the structural requirements of a particular awning or other fabric framing structure.
As demonstrated by the prior art, a typical bead used in awning and framing structure manufacture has somewhat of a “T” shaped cross-section with coplanar longitudinal slots to provide positive retention in the opening of a framing member's channel.
In the preferred embodiment, and with respect to
In the center region of the awning system 1600 of
It will now be evident to those skilled in the art that there has been described herein an improved computer-based learning system that through a combination of repetitive narrative solutions and multiple choice questions greatly facilitates trainee learning, improving significantly the retention of information over existing training methods.
Although the invention hereof has been described by way of a preferred embodiment, it will be evident that other adaptations and modifications can be employed without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, some of the steps in the system procedure could be conducted mechanically in addition to those conducted electrically. The terms and expressions employed herein have been used as terms of description and not of limitation; and thus, there is no intent of excluding equivalents, but on the contrary it is intended to cover any and all equivalents that may be employed without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.