Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060226406 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/396,880
Publication dateOct 12, 2006
Filing dateApr 3, 2006
Priority dateApr 2, 2005
Also published asCA2541892A1
Publication number11396880, 396880, US 2006/0226406 A1, US 2006/226406 A1, US 20060226406 A1, US 20060226406A1, US 2006226406 A1, US 2006226406A1, US-A1-20060226406, US-A1-2006226406, US2006/0226406A1, US2006/226406A1, US20060226406 A1, US20060226406A1, US2006226406 A1, US2006226406A1
InventorsLarry Vise, Fred Mayer, Lynn Derouen, Tom Outcault, Mark Ruiz
Original AssigneeAlabama Metal Industries Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Non-conductive fencing
US 20060226406 A1
Abstract
The present invention is directed to a composite fence system comprised of fiber reinforced polymers and other polymers. In this regard, the present invention provides a composite fence system that is strong, durable, substantially non-conductive, and generally transparent to electromagnetic energy. The composite fence system includes at least one composite fence panel, at least one support member such as a support post or a stiffening plate, and a composite plug or fastener that is received by one or more apertures defined in the composite fence panel for coupling the composite fence panel to the support member.
Images(28)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(40)
1. A composite fence system, comprising:
a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite fence panel forming a grid structure defining a plurality of apertures;
a composite support post comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite support post defining a bore; and
a composite plug comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite plug including a wedge portion, a threaded member extending from the wedge portion, and a composite nut structured to rotatably engage the threaded member thereby tightening the composite nut over the threaded member; and
wherein the composite fence panel is coupled to the composite support post by seating the wedge portion of the composite plug into one of the apertures of the composite fence panel, positioning the composite support post adjacent the composite fence panel such that the threaded member of the composite plug extends through the bore defined in the composite support post, and tightening the composite nut over the threaded member of the composite plug.
2. The composite fence system of claim 1, wherein the polymer-based materials comprise fiberglass fibers.
3. The composite fence system of claim 1, wherein the composite support post defines an I-shaped cross-section.
4. The composite fence system of claim 1, wherein the composite support post defines a rectangular cross-section.
5. The composite fence system of claim 1, wherein the composite support post is generally cylindrically-shaped.
6. The composite fence system of claim 1, further comprising:
an anti-climb fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials, the anti-climb fence panel including a first surface, a second surface, and at least one aperture defined between the first and second surfaces;
an angled bracket defining a first contact surface and a second contract surface, wherein the first contact surface defines a first bore and the second contact surface defines a second bore;
a second composite plug comprised of polymer-based materials, the second composite plug including a second wedge portion, a second threaded member extending from the second wedge portion, and a second composite nut structured to rotatably engage the second threaded member thereby tightening the second composite nut over the second threaded member; and
a third composite plug comprised of polymer-based materials, the third composite plug including a third wedge portion, a third threaded member extending from the third wedge portion, and a third composite nut structured to rotatably engage the third threaded member thereby tightening the third composite nut over the third threaded member;
wherein the anti-climb fence panel is coupled to the angled bracket by seating the second wedge portion of the second composite plug into the at least one aperture of the anti-climb fence panel, positioning the first contact surface of the angled bracket adjacent the anti-climb fence panel such that the second threaded member of the second composite plug extends through the bore defined in the first contact surface of the angled bracket, and tightening the second composite nut over the second threaded member of the second composite plug, and
wherein the composite fence panel is coupled to the angled bracket by seating the third wedge portion of the third composite plug into one of the apertures of the composite fence panel, positioning the second contact surface of the angled bracket adjacent the composite fence panel such that the third threaded member of the third composite plug extends through the bore defined in the second contact surface of the angled bracket, and tightening the third composite nut over the third threaded member of the third composite plug.
7. A composite plug adapted for insertion into an aperture defined between first and second surfaces of a composite fence panel, the composite plug comprising:
a wedge portion comprised of polymer-based materials, wherein the wedge portion is structured to be seated within the aperture defined between the first and second surfaces of the composite fence panel; and
a threaded member comprised of polymer-based materials, wherein the threaded member is structured to extend from the wedge portion, through the aperture, a protruding distance beyond the second surface of the composite fence panel when the wedge portion of the composite plug is seated within the aperture of the composite fence panel.
8. The composite plug of claim 7, wherein the wedge portion and the threaded member of the composite plug are integrally formed.
9. The composite plug of claim 7, wherein the wedge portion and the threaded member of the composite plug are separately formed and adhered together.
10. The composite plug of claim 7, further comprising a composite bolt having a composite bolt head and a composite bolt body, wherein the wedge portion of the composite plug defines a bore structured to receive the composite bolt, and wherein the threaded member is a protruding portion of the composite bolt body that extends from the wedge portion after the composite bolt has been seated into the bore defined by the wedge portion.
11. The composite plug of claim 8, wherein the wedge portion of the composite plug further defines a pocket proximate the bore for receiving the composite bolt head when the composite bolt has been seated into the bore.
12. The composite plug of claim 10, wherein the wedge portion of the composite plug further defines a pocket forming a locking surface proximate the bore, wherein the composite bolt head defines an engagement surface that is structured to engage the locking surface of the pocket, and wherein the engagement surface engages the locking surface to prevent rotation of the composite bolt when the composite bolt has been seated into the bore.
13. A composite plug-support member assembly for a fence system, comprising:
a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite fence panel including a first surface, a second surface, and at least one aperture defined between the first and second surfaces;
a composite plug comprising a wedge portion and a threaded member extending from the wedge portion, wherein the wedge portion and the threaded member are comprised of polymer-based materials, wherein the wedge portion is structured to be seated within the at least one aperture defined between the first and second surfaces of the composite fence panel, and wherein the threaded member includes a protruding portion extending at least partially beyond the second surface of the composite fence panel when the wedge portion of the composite plug has been seated within the at least one aperture of the composite fence panel;
a support member defining a bore, wherein the support member is structured for positioning adjacent the second surface of the composite panel such that the protruding portion of the threaded member may be received through the bore of the support member when the wedge portion of the composite plug has been received within the at least one aperture of the composite fence panel; and
a composite nut structured to rotatably engage the protruding portion of the threaded member and thereby compress the second surface of the composite fence panel against the support member.
14. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, wherein the support member is comprised of a fiber reinforced polymer.
15. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, wherein the support member is a substantially planar stiffening plate.
16. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, wherein the support member is a composite P-clamp structured for coupling the composite fence panel to a composite support post.
17. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, wherein the support member is a composite C-clamp structured for coupling the composite fence panel to a composite support post.
18. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 17, further comprising a substantially planar stiffening plate disposed at least partially between the second surface of the composite fence panel and the composite C-clamp.
19. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, wherein the support member is a composite ring clamp structured for coupling the composite fence panel to a composite support post.
20. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, wherein the support member is a composite support post structured to define an I-shaped cross-section.
21. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 13, further comprising:
a second composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials;
wherein the support member is a composite support post and the second composite fence panel is coupled to the composite support post by an adjustable composite bracket.
22. The composite plug-support member assembly of claim 21, wherein the adjustable composite bracket is adapted to place the second composite fence panel in a desired joint orientation relative to the first composite fence panel.
23. A composite fence system, comprising:
a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite fence panel including a first surface, a second surface, a perimeter edge surface, and at least one aperture defined between the first and second surfaces;
a composite support post comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite support post defining a bore; and
a composite edge bracket comprising a retaining member, a coupling member defining a bore, and a support surface,
wherein the composite fence panel is coupled to the composite support post by seating the perimeter edge of the composite fence panel against the support surface of the composite edge bracket such that the retaining member of the composite edge bracket is disposed proximate the first surface of the composite fence panel and the second surface of the composite fence panel is disposed adjacent the composite support post, positioning the composite support post adjacent the coupling member of the composite edge bracket such that the bore defined in the composite support post is alignable with the bore defined in the coupling member, and threading a composite fastener through the bore defined in the composite support post and the bore defined in the coupling member of the composite edge bracket to couple the composite edge bracket to the composite support post.
24. The composite fence system of claim 23, wherein the composite edge bracket defines a substantially s-shaped cross-section.
25. A composite fence system, comprising:
a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite fence panel including a first surface, a second surface, and at least one aperture defined between the first and second surfaces;
a composite support post comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite support post defining a perimeter surface; and
a composite bracket assembly comprising,
a first portion having opposed ends and first and second bores defined proximate the opposed ends, and
a second portion having opposed ends and first and second bores defined proximate the opposed ends, wherein at least one of the first and second portions of the composite bracket assembly define a substantially concave portion adapted to at least partially receive the perimeter surface of the composite support post;
wherein the first and second bores of the first portion of the composite bracket assembly are alignable with the first and second bores of the second portion of the composite bracket assembly for receiving a composite fastener, wherein at least one of the first and second portions of the composite bracket assembly define a wedge portion proximate at least one of the first and second bores, and wherein the wedge portion is structured for slidable seating within the at least one aperture of the composite fence panel.
26. A composite fence system, comprising:
a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials;
a composite support post comprised of polymer-based materials, wherein the composite fence panel is coupled to the composite support post by one or more composite fasteners;
an anti-climb fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials;
an angled bracket comprised of polymer-based materials, wherein the angled bracket is adapted to securely couple the anti-climb fence panel to the composite support post in an anti-climb assembly position, and wherein an anti-climb angle is defined between the anti-climb fence panel and the composite fence panel in the anti-climb assembly position.
27. The composite fence system of claim 26, wherein the composite support post defines one or more bores and the angled bracket defines one or more bores that are alignable with the one or more bores of the composite support post, and wherein the angled bracket is securely coupled to the composite support post by threading one or more composite fasteners through the one or more bores of the angled bracket and the one or more bores of the composite support post.
28. The composite fence system of claim 26, wherein the anti-climb angle is between 0 and 180 degrees.
29. The composite fence system of claim 26, wherein the anti-climb angle is between 30 and 170 degrees.
30. The composite fence system of claim 26, wherein the anti-climb angle is between 90 and 140 degrees.
31. The composite fence system of claim 26, wherein the anti-climb angle is approximately 135 degrees.
32. The composite fence system of claim 26, further comprising:
a composite plug comprised of polymer materials, the composite plug including a wedge portion, a threaded member extending from the wedge portion, and a composite nut structured to rotatably engage the threaded member thereby tightening the composite nut over the threaded member,
wherein the anti-climb fence panel includes a first surface, a second surface, and at least one aperture defined between the first and second surfaces, wherein the angled bracket defines a bore, and
wherein the anti-climb fence panel is coupled to the angled bracket by seating the wedge portion of the composite plug into the at least one aperture of the anti-climb fence panel, positioning the angled bracket adjacent the anti-climb fence panel such that the threaded member of the composite plug extends through the bore defined in the angled bracket, and tightening the composite nut over the threaded member of the composite plug.
33. A composite fence system, comprising:
a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials;
a composite support post comprised of polymer-based materials;
a composite hinge system adapted to pivotally couple the composite fence panel to the composite support post, the composite hinge system comprising:
a composite hinge bracket adapted to support a cylindrical pivot member, and
a cylindrical sleeve portion adapted to at least partially enclose the cylindrical pivot member such that the cylindrical sleeve portion is rotatable about the cylindrical pivot member.
34. The composite fence system of claim 33, wherein the composite hinge bracket is coupled to the composite support post via one or more composite fasteners.
35. The composite fence system of claim 33, wherein the cylindrical sleeve portion is coupled to the composite fence panel and the composite hinge bracket is coupled to the composite support post via one or more composite fasteners.
36. The composite fence system of claim 33, wherein the composite hinge bracket is coupled to the composite fence panel via one or more composite fasteners.
37. The composite fence system of claim 33, wherein the cylindrical sleeve portion is coupled to the composite support post and the composite hinge bracket is coupled to the composite fence panel via one or more composite fasteners.
38. A method for manufacturing a composite fence system, the method comprising the steps of:
forming a composite fence panel comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite fence panel having a grid structure defining a plurality of apertures;
forming a composite support member comprised of polymer-based materials, the composite support member defining a bore; and
forming a composite plug comprised of polymer materials, the composite plug having a wedge portion and a threaded member extending from the wedge portion;
wherein the wedge portion of the composite plug in structured to be seated within at least one of the plurality of apertures of the composite fence panel, and wherein the composite support member is structured for positioning adjacent the composite fence panel when the composite plug is seated therein such that the threaded member of the composite plug extends through the bore defined in the composite support member.
39. A method for assembling a composite fence system, the method comprising the steps of:
seating a wedge portion of a composite plug into one of a plurality of apertures defined in a composite fence panel, wherein the composite plug and composite fence panel are each comprised of polymer-based materials, and the composite plug includes a threaded member extending from the wedge portion through the one of the plurality of apertures;
positioning a composite support member adjacent the composite fence panel such that the threaded member of the composite plug extends through a bore defined in the composite support member, wherein the composite support member is comprised of polymer materials; and
tightening a composite nut comprised of polymer materials over the threaded member of the composite plug.
40. A composite post adapted for use in a composite fence system, the composite post comprising:
a first structural member defining a first width;
a third structural member defining a second width that is substantially smaller than the first width;
a second transversely aligned structural member that is adapted to rigidly couple the first and third structural members in a substantially parallel orientation;
wherein the first structural member defines a bore that is structured to receive a composite fastener.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to fences, and more particularly to a non-conductive, electromagnetic energy transparent fence system that may be comprised of a fiber reinforced polymer, other non-conductive materials, and other materials that provide a significantly reduced electromagnetic energy signature.

2. Description of the Related Art

Historically, fences were constructed for one basic purpose—to provide a barrier against entrance or exit of an enclosed area by persons or animals such as livestock. A variety of fence designs have been used to meet this basic purpose. For example, stone walls, wooden pickets, iron gates, and other fence constructions are commonplace. One relatively cost-effective and widely-used fence design is depicted in FIG. 1. The depicted fence system is a wire mesh fence 10 comprising vertical support posts 12, a wire mesh fence panel 15, and a plurality of fastener rings 13 as shown. The fastener rings 13 couple the wire mesh panel 15 to the support posts 12, which are typically anchored within the ground by cement footers (not shown). Upper portions 14 of the support posts 12 may include additional accoutrements such as barbed wire 17 or electrified wire for certain security applications.

Fences of the type depicted in FIG. 1 are effective when charged with relatively basic tasks such as containing a herd of livestock. However, such fences are not sufficient to meet certain specialty design criteria that have emerged in recent years. For example, wire mesh fences are generally not appropriate for positioning adjacent or beneath high-voltage power lines. Fences selected for such service are preferably non-conductive in order to prevent injury to bystanders positioned near the fence should the high-voltage power lines be placed inadvertently into contact with the fence by severe weather, auto accident, etc. Further, fence systems disposed around airports, radar arrays, cellular towers or other structures that broadcast and receive electromagnetic energy signals are preferably substantially transparent to such electromagnetic energy signals. Electromagnetic energy transparency allows a fence system to properly enclose or shield an electromagnetic energy source or receiver without substantially interfering with transmitted or received electromagnetic energy signals.

It is desirable then to produce an improved fence system that preserves the strength, durability, and stiffness of conventional fence systems while also providing non-conductivity and electromagnetic energy transparency. Further, it is desirable that such fence systems be aesthetically pleasing, simply constructed, and modular.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention addresses the above needs and achieves other advantages by providing a composite fence system comprised of fiberglass or other fiber reinforced polymers. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a composite fence system comprised of one or more composite fence panels, one or more composite support members, and one or more composite plugs. Each of the panels, support members, and plugs are comprised of fiber reinforced polymers, or other non-reinforced polymer materials (collectively referred to herein as “polymer-based materials” and/or “composite materials”). In this regard, the present invention provides a composite fence system that is strong, durable, non-conductive and substantially transparent to electromagnetic energy.

In one embodiment, the composite fence system comprises a composite fence panel formed from polymer-based materials. The composite fence panel is molded having a grid structure defining a plurality of apertures. The composite fence system also includes a composite support member and a composite plug. The composite support member is formed from polymer-based materials and includes a support surface defining a bore. In other embodiments, the composite support member may define a slot instead of the bore referenced above. The composite plug is formed from polymer-based materials and includes a wedge portion and a threaded member extending from the wedge portion. A composite nut is also provided that is comprised of polymer-based materials and structured to rotatably engage the threaded member of the composite plug.

The composite fence panel is coupled to the composite support member by seating the wedge portion of the composite plug into one of the plurality of apertures of the composite fence panel. The support surface of the composite support member is positioned adjacent the composite fence panel such that the threaded member of the composite plug extends through the bore (or slot) defined in the support surface of the composite support member. The composite nut is tightened over the threaded member of the composite plug such that the support surface of the composite support member is pressed against the composite fence panel.

Various types of composite support members may be used including composite posts, composite stiffening plates, composite P-clamps, composite C-clamps, or other similar structures. Each of these composite support members operates in conjunction with composite plugs or composite bolts to secure, stabilize, stiffen, or otherwise support one or more composite fence panels as described in detail below.

Composite plugs structured according to various embodiments of the present invention are adapted for insertion into apertures defined between first and second surfaces of a composite fence panel. The composite plug acts as a washer or grommet allowing a superior connection or fit as compared to a threaded fastener and a washer. Each composite plug is comprised of a wedge portion and a threaded member extending from the wedge portion. The wedge portion is comprised of polymer-based materials and is structured to be seated within apertures defined between the first and second surfaces of the composite fence panel. The threaded member is comprised of polymer materials and is structured to extend from the wedge portion through the aperture a protruding distance beyond the second surface of the composite fence panel when the wedge portion is seated within the aperture. In one embodiment, the wedge portion and the threaded member are integrally formed. In other embodiments, however, the wedge portion and the threaded member of the composite plug are formed separately and then adhered together.

In another embodiment, the composite plug may be molded integrally within the composite fence panel as discussed in greater detailed below. In such embodiments, only a composite bolt, composite nut, and optional composite washer need be provided to secure the composite fence panel to a composite post or other support.

Another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of manufacturing composite fence systems of the type described above. In one embodiment, the method includes the following steps: forming a composite fence panel comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials, the composite fence panel having a grid structure defining a plurality of apertures; forming a composite support post comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials, the composite support post having a support surface defining a bore; forming a composite plug comprised of polymer materials, the composite plug having a wedge portion and a threaded member extending from the wedge portion; seating the wedge portion of the composite plug into one of the plurality of apertures defined in the composite fence panel; positioning the support surface of the composite support post adjacent the composite fence panel such that the threaded member of the composite plug extends through the bore defined in the support surface of the composite support post; and tightening a composite nut comprised of polymer materials over the threaded member of the composite plug.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a fence system in structured accordance with the known prior art;

FIG. 2 is a front view of a composite fence system structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3A is a front detail view of the composite fastener depicted in Detail Circle 3A of FIG. 2, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3B is a rear detail view of the composite fastener of FIG. 3A, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a detail perspective view of a composite fastener structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a detail perspective view of a composite fastener structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a front detail view of the composite plug-post assembly depicted in Detail Circle 6 of FIG. 2, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a section view of the composite plug-post assembly of FIG. 2, taken along section line 7-7;

FIG. 8A is a front detail view of the composite edge bracket system depicted in Detail Circle 8 of FIG. 2, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8B is a side view of the composite edge bracket system of FIG. 8A;

FIG. 9A is a rear view of a terminal portion of a composite fence system structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9B is top view of the terminal portion of the composite fence system depicted in FIG. 9A;

FIG. 10A is rear view of an intermediate portion of a composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10B is top view of the intermediate portion of the composite fence system depicted in FIG. 10A;

FIG. 11A is rear view of an intermediate portion of a composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11B is top view of the intermediate portion of the composite fence system depicted in FIG. 11A;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13A is a top view of a composite bracket assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13B is a front view of the composite bracket assembly of FIG. 13A;

FIG. 14A is a top view of a terminal composite bracket assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14B is a front view of the terminal composite bracket assembly of FIG. 14A taken along view arrow 14B;

FIG. 15 is a top view of a composite ring clamp assembly structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 16A is a side view of an anti-climb composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 16B is a top view of the anti-climb composite fence system of FIG. 16A;

FIG. 17A is a side view of an anti-climb composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 17B is a top view of the anti-climb composite fence system of FIG. 17A;

FIG. 18A is a side view of an anti-climb composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 18B is a section view of the anti-climb fence system of FIG. 18A, taken along section lines B-B;

FIG. 19A is a side view of an anti-climb composite fence system structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 19B is a section view of the anti-climb fence system of FIG. 19A, taken along section lines B-B;

FIG. 20A is a front partially sectioned view of a composite gate system for a fence structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 20B is a top view of the composite gate system of FIG. 20A;

FIG. 21A is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21B is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21C is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21D is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21E is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21F is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21G is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21H is a composite fence joint assembly structured in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 22A is an front view of an integral composite plug fence panel structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 22B is a section view of the integral composite plug fence panel of FIG. 22A, taken along section lines 22B-22B.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present inventions now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, the present invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

FIG. 2 illustrates a composite fence system 100 structured in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The composite fence system 100 is comprised of a plurality of composite fence panels 110 supported by a plurality of composite posts 120. The composite posts 120 are anchored within a base 105 (e.g., ground, floor, roof in rooftop applications, etc.). In some ground-based applications, the composite posts 120 may be anchored in an anchoring media 107 such as concrete, cement, or other similar materials. In other embodiments, for example where only temporary composite fencing is needed, such anchoring media may not be required and the composite posts 120 may be simply disposed in holes or driven into the ground. The composite panels 110 are coupled to the composite posts 120 by a plurality of composite fasteners as discussed in greater detail below.

In one embodiment, the composite panels 110 are comprised of polymer-based materials. The depicted composite panels 110 are molded from a fiber reinforced polymer material comprised of fiberglass strands supported by a polymer resin matrix. Other reinforcement fibers may be used such as glass fibers, nylon fibers, aramid fibers, and other similar fibers known in the art. The polymer resin matrix may be comprised of polyester, vinylester, epoxy, or other thermosetting polymers known in the art. In one embodiment, composite fences system components are comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials comprising 65 percent glass fiber by volume. In another embodiment, composite fence system components such as composite fasteners may be comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials comprising 40 percent glass fiber by volume.

The depicted composite panels 110 are molded to form generally rectangular panels comprising a diamond-shaped grid structure as shown. Although not wishing to be bound by theory, it is believed that the depicted diamond-shaped structure efficiently transmits applied forces throughout the composite fence panel 110. Differently shaped grid structures may also be formed as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. For example, square, rectangular, oval, circular, or triangular-shaped grid structures may be used. Grid structures of the type described above produce strong composite panels of sufficient stiffness at a reduced material cost as compared to continuous extruded sheets of similar thickness. In one embodiment, the grid structure may define aperture sizes of 1½ inches×1 1/12 inches×1 inch thick. In another embodiment, the grid structure may define aperture opening sizes of 2 inches×2 inches×½ inch thick. Composite panels such as those described above possess a grid structure that also provides significant wind pass-through capability, which can be particularly beneficial for reducing fence system stresses in high-wind environments such as airports.

In various embodiments, the composite fence system 100 is supported by composite posts 120 comprised of polymer-based materials as defined above. In the depicted embodiment, the composite posts 120 are formed from fiber reinforced polymer materials though a process known as pultrusion. Pultrusion is a continuous low pressure molding process using fiber reinforcements and thermosetting resin matrices to form a composite laminate having a uniform cross-sectional shape. The fiber reinforcements are drawn through a resin bath or injected with resin to thoroughly impregnate the fibers. The impregnated fiber is formed to the desired geometric shape and pulled into a heated die. Once inside the die, a thermosetting resin cure is initiated and controlled at precise elevated temperatures. As the composite laminate solidifies it is continuously pulled through the die, thus, taking on the shape of the die. In various embodiments of the present invention, composite posts may be formed by pultrusion to have I-shaped, T-shaped, rectangular, square, triangular, oval, or circular-shaped cross sections. Other non-pultruded composite posts may also be used without deviating from the inventive concepts herein described.

In still other embodiments, composite fence systems may be comprised of composite fence panels formed of one or more pultruded composite members. Such pultruded composite members may define individual pickets extending between transversely aligned composite rails or in other embodiments, individual post members extending between a composite frame disposed about the periphery of the fence panel. Other variants of these designs may be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of this disclosure. In various embodiments, the pultruded composite members may define one or more apertures for receiving composite fasteners such as the composite plugs and/or composite bolts described herein. The pultruded composite members may be formed integrally into a composite panel or separately formed and then attached to a composite panel, frame, or rail as described above.

In other embodiments, composite fences systems of the type described herein may be produced from various other forming techniques. For example, in one embodiment, at least a portion the composite fence system may be formed by injection molding techniques. Such techniques have recently been found amenable to forming polymer materials and fiber reinforced polymer materials.

Composite fence systems according to various embodiments of the present invention possess a number of desirable characteristics. For example, the composite fence systems described herein are non-conductive and, thus, are uniquely structured to enclose electrical stations, high-tension transformers, or other sources of electricity. The present composite fence systems do not include metallic fasteners that are commonly used in prior art non-conductive fences. Such metallic fasteners may produce unwanted arcing between high voltage devices and the fasteners themselves or interference that can attenuate an electromagnetic signal. The present composite fence systems are corrosion resistant in stark contrast to the conventional metal-based fence system depicted in FIG. 1.

Composite fence systems may also be formed having color extending through the entire thickness of fence panels, posts, and/or fasteners without requiring painting. Composite fence systems are strong, durable, light-weight, and resist permanent deflection. Finally, composite fence systems according to various embodiments of the present invention are substantially transparent to electromagnetic energy such as radio waves, microwaves, radar, radio frequency signals, and the like. In this regard, composite fence systems are well-suited for enclosing or shielding radar arrays, RF transmitting towers, airports, and other transmitters or receivers of electromagnetic energy.

For purposes of the present specification and appended claims the term “transparent to electromagnetic energy” refers to a material characteristic whereby the material is structured to allow electromagnetic energy to pass through the material without substantial electromagnetic reflectivity, interference and/or degradation of the electromagnetic energy signal. This term is not intended to limit the present invention only to those materials having “perfect” electromagnetic transparency. For example, one exemplary fence system embodiment has been manufactured from a fiber reinforced polymer that produces 90 percent less electromagnetic energy interference than the interference produced by a standard metallic type security fence. Other fence system embodiments that produce less than 90 percent less electromagnetic energy interference reduction over standard metallic type security fence may be used without deviating from the inventive concepts herein described.

Composite fence systems structured in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention may also be used for retrofit applications. In one exemplary embodiment, components of the present fence system may be used to replace wire mesh or other metallic prior art fence systems disposed near high voltage devices found in electric power stations, generators, and the like. Although not wishing to be bound by theory, it has been noted that prior art metallic fences positioned adjacent such electrical devices are susceptible to an inductive coupling phenomenon whereby significant electrical power is drawn from high voltage electrical devices through the fence where it may injure persons or animals coming in contact with the fence. In one trial, metallic fences disposed adjacent a high voltage electrical device drew over 100 amps from the device.

To alleviate such problems, portions of the composite fence system described herein may be provided to replace all or part of the prior art metallic fence systems. For example, in one embodiment, the wire mesh fence panel may be replaced with a non-conductive composite fence panel while the standard metallic poles are left in place. In such embodiments, it may be desirable to use metallic fasteners for attaching the composite fence panels to the pre-existing metallic posts. In this regard, any electrical charge building in the retrofit fence system is properly grounded. Such retrofit applications may also include removing any barbed or electronic wire to lessen the transit of any electric current along the fence system. By replacing all or part of pre-existing metallic fence systems disposed adjacent high-voltage electrical devices with composite fence system components of the type described herein installers can lessen the inductive coupling effects discussed above, thereby increasing the safety associated with their product. Partial metal/composite fence systems structured as set forth above need not be limited to retrofit applications. As will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, such fence systems may also be installed as new fence systems.

FIG. 3A is a detail illustration of a composite plug-support member fastener 140 comprised of non-conductive materials in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The depicted composite plug-support fastener 140 includes a composite plug and a composite support member that are each comprised of polymer-based materials. For purposes of the foregoing specification and appended claims the term “composite support member” refers to composite plates, clamps, brackets, or posts that are adapted to stabilize, stiffen, support, or brace a composite fence panel. The depicted composite plug-support member fastener 140 is adapted for coupling adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B as shown. In the depicted embodiment, the composite plug-support member fastener 140 spans the horizontal seam 112 between the adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B. In alternate embodiments, the composite plug-support member fastener 140 may be positioned to span a vertical or angularly oriented seam (not shown).

In one embodiment, the composite plug-support member fastener 140 is comprised of first and second composite plugs 130A, 130B that are coupled to a composite stiffening plate 141 as shown. Referring to FIG. 3B, the depicted composite stiffening plate 141 defines a slot 142 for receiving threaded members 132 extending from the first and second composite plugs 130A, 130B. The composite plugs 130A, 130B are coupled to the composite stiffening plate 141 by tightening composite nuts 138 over the threaded members 132. In one embodiment, optional composite washers 137 may be provided between the composite stiffening plate 141 and the composite nuts 138.

In various embodiments, composite plug-support member fasteners 140 may be adapted for securing adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B by pinching the panels between one or more composite plugs 130 and a composite stiffening plate 141 as illustrated in the perspective view provided by FIG. 4. In the depicted embodiment, each composite plug 130 is formed having an exterior portion 134 and a wedge portion 133. The wedge portion 133 of the composite plug 130 is structured to be received by apertures 119 defined between first and second surfaces 117, 118 of a composite panel 110 as shown. The exterior portion 134 of the composite plug 130 is larger than the wedge portion 133, thereby defining a flange or stop against which the first surface 117 of the composite panel is seated once the composite plug 130 has been fully inserted into the aperture 119. In one embodiment, each aperture 119 may be molded to define a uniform draft angle θ to facilitate removal of the composite panel 110 from a molding die, as will apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. In such embodiments, the wedge portion 133 of the composite plug 130 is structured to fill the cavity formed by the aperture including defining an engagement angle α that substantially mirrors the aperture draft angle θ. In this regard, a snug fit may be assured between the composite plug(s) and the composite panel aperture(s).

In various embodiments of the present invention the entirety of the composite plugs 130 are molded from fiber reinforced polymer materials or other polymer materials. In one embodiment, the composite plugs are comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials comprising 40 percent glass fiber by volume. In another embodiment, the composite plugs 130 are integrally formed having an exterior portion 134, a wedge portion 133, and a cylindrical threaded member 132. In such embodiments, as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, the threaded member 132 is molded as a cylindrical blank and is subsequently machined to define threads. In other embodiments, the composite plug 130 may not be integrally formed. For example, the cylindrical blank may be formed separate and apart from the composite plug and then glued or otherwise adhered to the wedge portion of the composite plug (not shown). Threads could be added to the cylindrical blank before or after the gluing process to complete the threaded member as desired.

In the depicted embodiment, the stiffening plate 141 defines a slot 142 for receiving a threaded member 132 extending from the wedge portion 133 of the composite plug 130 as shown. The threaded member 132 protrudes through the slot 142 once the composite plug 130 has been seated within an aperture 119. The threaded member 132 of the composite plug 130 may be received, upon passing through the slot 142, by a composite washer 137 and a composite nut 138 as shown. As the composite nut 138 is tightened over the threaded member 132 against the composite washer 137 the composite panel 110 is pinched securely between the composite plug 130 and the stiffening plate 141. By attaching composite plugs 130 to the composite stiffening plate 141 on either side of the seam 112, adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B may be securely coupled together as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

FIG. 5 depicts a composite plug 230 structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. The depicted composite plug 230 includes an exterior portion 234 and a wedge portion 233 but does not include an integral threaded member as described above. Instead, the composite plug defines a bore 235 that extends longitudinally through the exterior portion 234 and the wedge portion 233 as shown. The bore 235 is structured to receive a composite bolt 232 comprising a threaded body 232B and a bolt head 232A. In one embodiment, the composite bolt 232 is machined from a molded cylindrical rod comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials or other polymer materials. In another embodiment, the bolt head 232A and the threaded body 232B may be molded as two separate components and then glued or otherwise adhered together. In either embodiment referenced above, the bolt body 232B is generally formed as a cylindrical rod and subsequently machined to define threads.

In the depicted embodiment, the composite bolt 232 is inserted into the bore 235 defined through the composite plug 230. In one embodiment, the bore 235 is comprised of a first portion 235A or pocket and a second portion 235B as shown. The first portion 235A is structured having a diameter slightly larger than the composite bolt head 232A while the second portion is structured having a diameter that is slightly larger than the composite bolt body 232B. In one embodiment, the first portion 235A of the bore 235 may be square, triangular, hexagonal, or otherwise shaped to match the shape of a composite bolt head 232A. Said differently, the first portion 235A of the bore 235 may be adapted to define at least one locking surface that is structured to engage an engagement surface defined by the composite bolt head 232A. In this regard, the composite bolt 232 may be prohibited from turning within the bore 235 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. An interface surface 235C is defined between the first and second portions 235A, 235B of the bore for contacting the lower surface of the composite bolt head 232A. In one embodiment, the interface surface 235C is recessed within the composite plug 230 such that the composite bolt head 232A does not protrude from the bore 235. Such protrusions might undesirably allow persons to scale the fence panels or tamper with (e.g., cut) one or more of the composite bolts to gain unauthorized entry to an enclosed area.

In the depicted embodiment, the composite bolt 232 is seated within the composite plug 230 and the composite plug 230 is seated within the composite panel aperture 119. The threaded body 232B of the composite bolt 232 extends a protruding distance through the slot 142 defined in the composite stiffening plate 141 and is received by a composite nut 238 as shown. A composite washer 237 may be optionally provided as discussed above. As the composite nut 138 is tightened over the composite bolt 232 (and possibly against the composite washer 237), the composite panel 110 is secured between the composite plug 130 and the composite stiffening plate 141 as described above.

In still other embodiments, the composite plugs of various embodiments need not rely on threaded fastener/nut combinations. For example, in one embodiment, a composite plug may include (in integrally formed embodiments) or receive (in non-integrally formed embodiments) a cylindrical blank (not shown) having a barbed portion that is received by a stiffening plate or bracket defining a bore (not shown) sized to capture the barbed portion of the blank and thereby securely mount a composite panel between the composite plug and stiffening plate or bracket. Alternatively, composite cotter pin configurations may be used. Other non-threaded and/or tamperproof composite fastener structures may be used that will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of this disclosure.

Composite plugs according to various embodiments of the present invention are not limited to use with stiffening plates as described above. For example, as shown collectively in FIGS. 6 and 7, composite plugs 130 may be adapted for securing one or more composite panels 110 to other composite support members including one or more composite posts 120, composite clamps, composite brackets, and/or composite hinge structures. In the depicted embodiment, integral composite plugs (of the type depicted in FIG. 4) are used to couple adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B to a composite post 120. In alternate embodiments, however, non-integral composite plugs (of the type depicted in FIG. 5) may be used.

FIGS. 6 and 7 depict a composite post 120 having an I-shaped cross section in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The composite post 120 is depicted supporting adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B. Each composite panel 110A, 110B defines a first surface 117A, 117B and a second surface 118A, 1181B. In the depicted embodiment, a seam 113 is defined between the composite panels 110A, 110B. In alternate embodiments, the composite post 120 may support a single composite panel (not shown) and, thus, the seam 113 would be omitted.

Referring to FIG. 7, the depicted composite post 120 defines an I-shaped cross-section and, thus, is comprised generally of parallel first and third structural members 121, 123 that are coupled together by a transversely aligned second structural member 122. In one embodiment, the first structural member 121 is disposed adjacent the second surfaces 118A, 1181B of the composite panels 110A, 110B as shown. The first structural member 121 defines one or more bores 124 that are sized for receiving threaded members 132 extending from composite plugs 130 as shown. For purposes of the present application and appending claims the term “bore” refers to a cylindrical hole or slot that is adapted to receive a fastener. In the depicted embodiment, the first structural member defines bores 124 on either side of the seam 113 such that each composite panel 110A, 110B may be secured to the composite post 120 as shown. Apertures 119 defined within the composite panels 110A, 110B are concentrically aligned with the bores 124 defined in the first structural member 121 of the composite post 120. Composite plugs 130 are seated within the apertures 119 such that threaded members 132 extending from the composite plugs 230 protrude through the bores 124 as shown. In the depicted embodiment, a composite washer 137 and a composite nut 138 are disposed over the threaded members 132 of the composite plugs 130. The composite nuts 138 are tightened against the composite washers 137 to securely couple the composite panels 110A, 110B to the composite post 120 as shown.

As noted above, the I-shaped composite post 120 depicted in FIG. 7 defines a first structural member 121, a second structural member 122, and a third structural member 123. In the depicted embodiment, the first structural member 121 defines a width of approximately 6 inches while the third structural member 123 defines a width of only approximately 2 inches. The transversely aligned second structural member 122 defines a length that is adequate to position the first and third structural members approximately 4 inches apart. In this regard, the depicted composite post 120 is adapted to provide a stiff and durable reinforcing structure while simultaneously providing material cost savings over more traditional I-beam shapes as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. The dimension information set forth above is provided for illustration purposes and should not be construed as limiting.

FIGS. 8A and 8B depict a composite edge bracket system 150 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. The composite edge bracket system 150 is comprised of a composite edge bracket 152 and one or more composite bolts 232 for securing the composite edge bracket 152 to a composite post 120 as shown. The composite edge bracket system 150 couples an edge of one or more composite panels 110A, 110B to a composite post 120. In the depicted embodiment, the composite edge bracket system 150 couples the bottom edges 109A, 109B of adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B to a support post 120 near the composite fence system base 105. The composite edge bracket system 150 of the present invention is not limited to coupling the bottom edge of one or more composite panels to a composite post and may, in fact, couple any periphery edge of one or more composite panels to a composite post.

In one embodiment, the composite edge bracket 152 includes a retaining member 153, a coupling member 154, and a support surface 155. The retaining member 153 is aligned generally parallel to the coupling member 154 and the support surface 155 is aligned generally transversely to the retaining and coupling members 153, 154 as shown. In one embodiment, the retaining member 153 is offset a distance D relative to the coupling member 154 for receiving a composite panel 110 against the support surface 155 as shown. The depicted support surface 155 is structured to support periphery edges 109A, 109B of the adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B while the depicted retaining member 153 is structured to retain the adjacent composite panels 110A, 110B generally flush against the composite post 120 as shown. The depicted coupling member 154 is adapted to receive attachment hardware for securing the composite panels 110A, 110B to the composite post 120. In one embodiment, the coupling member 154 defines one or more bores 156 that are concentrically alignable with bores 124 defined in the support post 120 as shown. Composite bolts 232 may be inserted through the coupling member bores 156 and the support post bores 124. Composite nuts 238 and optional composite washers 237 may be tightened over the bolts 232 to secure the composite edge bracket 252 to the support post 120 as shown. In other embodiments, other non-threaded composite fasteners may be used to secure the composite edge bracket(s) to the composite post(s) as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

FIGS. 9-11 depict composite fence systems having composite support members (e.g., P-clamps, C-clamps, etc.) adapted for use with cylindrical support posts in accordance with other embodiments of the present invention. FIGS. 9A and 9B depict a terminating portion 302 of a composite fence system according to one embodiment. FIGS. 10A and 10B depict an intermediate portion 304 of a composite fence system according to another embodiment. FIGS. 11A and 11B depict an intermediate portion 404 of a composite fence system according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 9A, the terminal portion 302 of the depicted composite fence system includes a plurality of composite P-clamps 360 that are adapted to couple a composite panel 310 to a cylindrical composite post 320. In addition for use at a terminal post, the P-clamps 360 can be used to define a corner or intermediate post where two fence panels intersect the post (not shown). The composite P-clamps are disposed at intervals along a periphery edge 309 of the composite panel 310 as shown. In one embodiment, the composite P-clamps 360 are comprised of molded fiber reinforced polymer materials. In other embodiments, the composite P-clamps 360 may be comprised of other polymer materials as discussed above. The depicted composite P-clamps 360 include a pocket portion 364 and first and second coupling portions as shown in FIG. 9B. The first and second portions 362, 363 of the P-clamp 360 are placed in face to face contact such that first and second bores 368, 369 defined in the first and second portions 362, 363 may be concentrically aligned. The pocket portion 364 of the composite P-clamp is structured to enclose the cylindrical composite post 320 as shown. In the depicted embodiment, the first and second bores 368, 369 of the first and second portions 362, 363 are structured to receive a threaded member 332 (or composite bolt) extending from a composite plug 330 as described above. A composite nut 338 (and optional composite washer) may be tightened over the threaded member 332 (or composite bolt) to lock the composite P-clamp 360 and, thus, the cylindrical composite post 320 to the composite panel 310 as shown. In other embodiments, non-threaded composite fasteners may also be used as noted above.

Referring to FIG. 10A, the intermediate portion 304 of the depicted composite fence system includes a plurality of composite C-clamps 370 that are adapted to couple adjacent composite panels 310A, 310B having first and second surfaces 317A, 317B, 318A, 318B to a cylindrical composite post 320. In the depicted embodiment, the composite C-clamps 370 are disposed at intervals along a seam 313 defined between adjacent composite panels as shown collectively in FIGS. 10A and 10B.

In one embodiment, the composite C-clamps 370 are comprised of molded fiber reinforced polymer materials. In other embodiments, the composite C-clamps 370 may be comprised of other polymer materials as discussed above. The composite C-clamps 370 include a pocket portion 374 and first and second coupling portions 372, 373 as shown in FIG. 10B. In the depicted embodiment, the first and second coupling portions of the C-clamp 370 are placed in face to face contact with a planar stiffening plate 340 comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials or other polymers. The planar stiffening plate 340 is positioned against the second surfaces 318A, 318B of the adjacent composite panels 310A, 310B in such a manner as to span the seam 313 defined between the panels. Bores 377A, 377B defined in the planar composite stiffening plate 341 and bores 378A, 378B defined the first and second coupling portions 372, 373 of the composite C-clamp 370 are positioned in concentric alignment for receiving threaded members 332 (or composite bolts) extending from composite plugs 330 as described above. Composite nuts 338 (and optional composite washers) may be tightened over the threaded members 332 (or composite bolt) to lock down the composite C-clamp 370 and, thus, couple the composite support post 320 to adjacent composite panels 310 as shown. In this regard, the planar stiffening plate 340 secures the adjacent panels 310A, 310B across the seam 313, thereby stiffening the composite fence system as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. In other embodiments, non-threaded composite fasteners may also be used as noted above.

In another embodiment, as illustrated by FIGS. 11A and 11B collectively, a planar stiffening plate 445 may be positioned against the first surfaces 417A, 417B of adjacent composite panels 410A, 410B as shown. In the depicted embodiment, first and second coupling portions 472, 473 of a C-clamp 470 are positioned in face to face contact with second surfaces 418A, 418B of the adjacent composite panels 410A, 410B as shown. Once again, the planar stiffening plate 445 may be comprised of polymer-based materials and is positioned to span the seam 413 defined between the adjacent composite panels 410A, 410B as shown. Bores 477A, 477B defined in the planar stiffening plate 341 and bores 478A, 478B defined in the first and second coupling portions 472, 473 are positioned in concentric alignment on opposed sides of first and second apertures 419A, 419B defined in the composite panels 410A, 410B as shown. Composite bolts 432 are inserted through the aligned apertures and bores and composite nuts 338 (and optional composite washers) are tightened over the composite bolts 332 to lock down the composite C-clamp 470 and, thus, couple the composite support post 420 to adjacent composite panels 410 as shown. In this regard, the planar stiffening plate 440 secures the adjacent panels 410A, 410B across the seam 413, thereby stiffening the composite fence system as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. In other embodiments, non-threaded composite fasteners may also be used as noted above.

In other embodiments, the C-clamps shown in FIGS. 10B and 11B need not be disposed across adjacent composite panels. Instead, the C-clamps may be simply attached to a single composite panel (not shown). In such embodiments, a stiffening plate would not necessarily be needed as there would be no seam for the C-clamps to bridge and, thus, stiffen. Such embodiments may be used where composite support posts are to be secured at periodic intervals across the length of the composite panel rather than at the ends of the panel.

In another embodiment, as shown in FIG. 12, C-clamps could be omitted entirely and a composite panel 510 could be secured directly to a composite post 520 with one or more composite plugs 530 received in one or more of the panel apertures 519. In the depicted embodiment, a composite plug 530 defines a bore 535 for receiving a composite bolt (not shown). The composite bolt extends through the composite plug to secure the composite panel 510 to the composite post 520 as described above. The depicted composite plug 530 defines a cavity 536 for recessing a bolt head as described above. In other embodiments, an integral composite plug may be used wherein the cavity 536 may be omitted as discussed above. In cylindrical post embodiments, an access opening may be defined in the posts for accessing the composite nut and or washer used to lock the bolt in place. In other embodiments, non-threaded composite fasteners (e.g., barbed rivets, cotter pins, and the like) may also be used as noted above.

FIGS. 13A and 13B illustrate a composite bracket assembly 665 structured in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention. In one embodiment, the composite bracket assembly is comprised of polymer-based materials such as fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted composite bracket assembly 665 includes a first portion 660 and a second portion 670. Each of the first and second portions 660, 670 include opposed ends and concave portions 663, 673 defined therebetween. First body portions 661, 662 are defined between the opposed ends and the concave portion 663 of the first portion 660 of the composite bracket assembly 665. Second body portions 671, 672 are defined between the opposed ends and the concave portion 673 of the second portion 670 of the composite bracket assembly 665. In the depicted embodiment, the opposed concave portions 663, 673 of the first and second portions 660, 670 of the composite bracket assembly 665 define a cavity 667 for receiving a cylindrical post (not shown). In other embodiments, the opposed concave portions of the first and second portions of the composite bracket assembly may define a differently shaped cavity configured to receive posts having a rectangular, oval, triangular, or other similar shape as discussed above.

In the depicted embodiment, the first and second portions 660, 670 of the composite bracket assembly 665 each define plugs 630, 631 extending from opposed sides of the first and second portions 660, 670 as shown. The plugs 630 of the first portion 660 of the composite bracket assembly 665 are structured to be positioned opposite the plugs 631 of the second portion of the composite bracket assembly 665 on either side of first and second composite fence panels 610A, 610B as shown by dashed lines in FIG. 13A. The plugs 630, 631 are structured to extend from the first and second portions 660, 670 such that they may be seated at least partially within apertures 619A, 619B defined in the first and second composite fence panels 610A, 610B. Accordingly, the first body portions 661, 662 of the first portion 660 are spaced apart a thickness TA sufficient to accept the first composite panel 610A therebetween as shown. The second body portions 671, 672 are spaced apart a thickness TB sufficient to accept the second composite panel 610B therebetween as shown. In the depicted embodiment, a length L is defined between the centers of plugs 630, 631 corresponding to a substantially similar length defined between the centers of apertures defined in the composite fence panels 610A, 610B as shown. Notably, in embodiments such as those discussed above where the composite fence panel apertures define draft angles, one of the plugs 630, 631 is sized smaller than an opposite one of the plugs 630, 631 in order to fit within the smaller opening of such angled apertures.

In another embodiment, each of the plugs 630, 631 define bores 635, 637 extending through the first and second portions 660, 670 of the composite bracket assembly 665 as shown. In such embodiments, the bores 635, 637 may be structured to receive a composite bolt 632. More particularly, the bores 635, 637 are defined through the plugs 630, 631 such that when the plugs 630, 631 are seated into opposite sides of composite fence panel apertures 619A, 619B, the bores 635 of the first portion 660 are positioned in substantial concentric alignment with the bores 637 of the second portion 670. In the depicted embodiment, the bores 635 defined in the first portion 660 define a cavity 636 for receiving a bolt head 632A. Accordingly, the bolt head 632A may be recessed within the first portion 660 of the composite bracket assembly 660 as shown. In another embodiment, the cavity 636 may define a rectangular shape corresponding to a rectangular bolt head 632A as shown in FIG. 13B. In this regard, the bolt head 232A may be prohibited from turning during installation. Other bolt head and cavity shapes may be used to prevent turning as will be apparent to one of skill in the art. In addition, other embodiments may use non-threaded composite fasteners as noted above.

FIGS. 14A and 14B illustrate a terminal composite bracket assembly 765 in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention. In one embodiment, the terminal bracket assembly 765 is comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted terminal composite bracket assembly 765 includes a first portion 760 and a second portion 770. Each of the first and second portions 760, 770 include opposed ends and concave portions 763, 773 defined therebetween. A first body portion 761 and a first terminal body portion 762 are defined between the opposed ends and the concave portion 763 of the first portion 760 of the terminal composite bracket assembly 765. A second body portion 771 and a second terminal body portion 772 are defined between the opposed ends and the concave portion 773 of the second portion 770 of the terminal composite bracket assembly 765 as shown. The first and second terminal portions 762, 772 of the first and second portions 760, 770 are structured to define the end of a line of fence such as that which would be expected adjacent a post, gate, wall, or other fence interruption. In the depicted embodiment, the opposed concave portions 763, 773 of the first and second portions 760, 770 of the composite bracket assembly 765 define a cavity 767 for receiving a cylindrical post (not shown). In other embodiments, the opposed concave portions of the first and second portions of the composite bracket assembly may define a differently shaped cavity configured to receive posts having a rectangular, oval, triangular, or other similar shape as discussed above.

In the depicted embodiment, the first and second portions 760, 770 of the composite bracket assembly 765 each define plugs 730, 731 extending from one side of the first and second portions 760, 770 as shown. The plug 730 of the first portion 760 of the terminal composite bracket assembly 765 are structured to be positioned opposite the plug 731 of the second portion of the terminal composite bracket assembly 765 on either side of the composite fence panel 710 shown by dashed lines in FIG. 13A. The plugs 730, 731 are structured to extend from the first and second portions 760, 770 such that they may be seated at least partially within an aperture 719 defined in the composite fence panel 710. In the depicted embodiment, the first and second portions are structured to define a length R between the centers of plugs 730, 731 and a periphery edge of composite panel 710 that corresponds to the distance between the periphery edge of the composite panel 710 and a selected clamp aperture 719C. Notably, in embodiments such as those discussed above where the composite fence panel apertures define draft angles, one of the plugs 730, 731 is sized smaller than an opposite one of the plugs 730, 731 in order to fit within the smaller opening of such angled apertures.

In another embodiment, each of the plugs 730, 731 define bores 735, 737 extending through the first and second portions 760, 770 of the terminal composite bracket assembly 765 as shown. In such embodiments, the bores 735, 737 may be structured to receive a composite bolt 732. More particularly, the depicted bores 735, 737 are defined through the plugs 730, 731 such that when the plugs 730, 731 are seated into opposite sides of the selected clamp aperture 719C the bore 735 of the first portion 760 is positioned in substantial concentric alignment with the bore 767 of the second portion 770. In the depicted embodiment, the bore 735 defined in the first portion 760 defines a cavity 736 for receiving a bolt head 732A. Accordingly, the bolt head 732A may be recessed within the first portion 760 of the composite bracket assembly 760 as shown. In another embodiment, the cavity 736 may define a rectangular shape corresponding to a rectangular bolt head 732A as shown in FIG. 14B. In this regard, the bolt head 732A may be prohibited from turning during installation. Other bolt head and cavity shapes may be used to prevent turning as will be apparent to one of skill in the art.

In another embodiment, each of the terminal portions 762, 772 define terminal bores 780, 781 as shown. The bores 780, 781 are structured to receive a terminal composite bolt 733. In the depicted embodiment, the terminal composite bolt 733 is shorter than the composite bolt 732; however, in alternate embodiments, the terminal composite bolt 733 may be shorter or longer than the composite bolt 732 depending upon the thickness of the terminal portions 762, 772 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the at. In the depicted embodiment, the terminal bore 780 defined in the first portion 760 defines a cavity 736 for receiving a bolt head 733A. The cavity 736A may be shaped as described above for resisting bolt turning or recessing the bolt head 733A.

Referring to FIG. 15, the terminal portion of a composite fence system may includes a ring clamp assembly 850 adapted to couple a composite panel 810 to a cylindrical composite post 820. In addition to use at a terminal post, the ring clamp assembly 850 can be used to define a corner or intermediate post where two fence panels intersect the post (not shown). In one embodiment, the ring clamp assembly 850 is comprised of polymer-based materials such as fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted ring clamp assembly 850 is comprised of a ring clamp 860, a composite plug or spacer 830, a composite bolt 832 and a composite nut 838. In other embodiments, non-threaded composite fasteners may also be used as noted above.

The depicted composite ring clamp 860 includes a pocket portion 864 and first and second coupling portions 862, 863 as shown. The first and second coupling portions 862, 863 of the ring clamp 860 are placed in face to face contact such that first and second bores 868, 869 defined in the first and second coupling portions 862, 863 may be concentrically aligned. The pocket portion 864 of the composite ring clamp is structured to enclose the cylindrical composite post 820 as shown. In the depicted embodiment, the first and second bores 868, 869 of the first and second coupling portions 862, 863 are structured to receive a composite bolt 332. The composite plug or spacer 830 is disposed in an aperture 819 defined in the composite panel and defines a bore 835 for receiving the composite bolt 832 as described above. A composite nut 838 (and optional composite washer) may be tightened over the composite bolt 832 to lock the composite ring clamp 860 and, thus, the cylindrical composite post 820 to the composite panel 810 as shown. In one embodiment, the first and second coupling portions 862, 863 may be formed spaced apart slightly such that tightening the composite nut 832 over the composite bolt 832 compresses the composite post 820 within the pocket 864 of the ring clamp 860 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

FIG. 16A depicts an anti-climb composite fence system 900 structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. In various embodiments, the anti-climb composite fence system 900 may be comprised of polymer-based materials such as fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted anti-climb composite fence system 900 is comprised of a composite fence system and a composite anti-climb assembly 980. The composite fence system may comprise one or more of the composite fence system embodiments referenced above. The depicted embodiment includes a composite fence system comprised of one or more composite fence panels 910 supported by one or more I-shaped composite posts 920 similar to the composite fence system shown in FIG. 7 above. The depicted composite anti-climb assembly 980 includes first and second angled brackets or gusset plates 985, 986, composite attaching hardware 840 such as composite fasteners, and one or more anti-climb composite fence panels 915 as shown.

As shown in FIGS. 16A and 16B collectively, the first and second gusset plates 985, 986 couple the anti-climb composite fence panels 915 to the composite posts 920. Composite attaching hardware 940 such as the above referenced composite bolts, composite washers, composite plugs, non-threaded composite fasteners, etc., may be used to couple the first and second composite gusset plates 985, 986 to the composite post 920 and the anti-climb composite fence panels 915 as shown. In one embodiment, the anti-climb fence panels 915 may be structured similar to the composite fence panels referenced above. In other embodiments, however, the anti-climb composite fence panels may be polymer sheets (not shown) formed by extrusion or other processes. The anti-climb composite fence panels 915 may further include a composite coupling member 917 that extends adjacent the perimeter of an interior surface 918 of the anti-climb fence panels as shown. In one embodiment, such composite coupling members 917 may define bores (not shown) for receiving composite plugs and/or threaded or non-threaded composite fasteners similar to those described above for coupling together adjacent composite anti-climb fence panels (not shown).

The depicted composite coupling member 917 provides a structure for coupling the anti-climb composite fence panel 915 to the first and second composite gusset plates 985, 986 as shown. In various embodiments, composite coupling members 917 may be integrally formed with or otherwise fastened to the anti-climb composite fence panel 915. In the depicted embodiment, the composite coupling member 917 is disposed about a peripheral edge of the anti-climb composite fence panel 915. However, in alternate embodiments, one or more composite coupling members may be formed at one or more positions along the length of the anti-climb composite fence panel in addition to, or instead of, being formed along its peripheral edge as shown. Further, although depicted as continuous structures defined across the full length or width of the anti-climb fence panel, composite coupling members may alternatively be shaped as discrete ribs, ridges, loops, or rings that do not run the full length or width of the anti-climb composite fence panel but still serve as a coupling structure for the panel.

Referring again to FIG. 16A, the depicted anti-climb assembly 980 is adapted to securely couple the anti-climb fence panel 915 to the composite support post 920 in an anti-climb position as shown. In this regard, an anti-climb angle β is defined between the anti-climb fence panel 915 and the composite fence panel 910. In various embodiments, the anti-climb angle is between 0 degrees and 180 degrees, preferably between 30 and 170 degrees, more preferably between 90 and 140 degrees, and still more preferably approximately 135 degrees.

FIG. 17A depicts an anti-climb composite fence system 1000 structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. In various embodiments, the anti-climb composite fence system 1000 may be comprised of polymer-based materials such as fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted anti-climb composite fence system 1000 is comprised of a composite fence system and a composite anti-climb assembly 1080. The composite fence system may comprise one or more of the composite fence system embodiments referenced above. The depicted embodiment includes a composite fence system comprised of one or more composite fence panels 1010 supported by one or more composite posts 1020 having a T-shaped cross-section.

The depicted composite anti-climb assembly 1080 comprises first and second angled brackets or gusset plates 1085, 1086, composite attaching hardware 1040, a composite T-shaped support member 1025, and one or more anti-climb composite fence panels 1015 as shown. As shown in FIGS. 17A and 17B collectively, the first and second gusset plates 1085, 1086 couple the T-shaped support member 1025 (and therefore at least one composite fence panel 1015) to the composite post 1020. Composite attaching hardware 1040 such as the above referenced composite bolts, composite washers, composite plugs, composite non-threaded fasteners, etc., may be used to couple the first and second composite gusset plates 1085, 1086 to the composite post 1020 and the T-shaped support member 1025 shown.

Referring to FIG. 17B, the depicted T-shaped support member 1025 defines an attachment portion 1027 and a cross member portion 1026 that structured to extend adjacent a first side 1018 of one or more anti-climb fence panels 1015. In one embodiment, the cross member portion 1026 of the T-shaped composite support member 1025 may define bores (not shown) for receiving composite plugs and/or threaded or non-threaded composite fasteners similar to those described above that are adapted for coupling the T-shaped support member 1025 to one or more composite anti-climb fence panels 1015. Similar bores may be provided in the attachment portion 1027 of the T-shaped support member 1025 for receiving composite plugs/fasteners and thereby coupling the T-shaped support member 1025 to the first and second composite gusset plates 1085, 1086. In this regard, one or more anti-climb composite fence panels 1015 may be coupled to one or more composite posts 1020 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the present disclosure.

In another embodiment, the cross member of the T-shaped support member may be integrally formed within one or more anti-climb composite fence panels. Said differently, the composite fence panels may be formed having one or more attachment portions extending therefrom. Such attachment portions may be structured to couple to one or more composite posts as noted above.

Referring again to FIG. 17A, the depicted anti-climb assembly 1080 is adapted to securely couple the anti-climb fence panel 1015 to the composite support post 1020 in an anti-climb position as shown. In this regard, an anti-climb angle β is defined between the anti-climb fence panel 1015 and the composite fence panel 1010. In various embodiments, the anti-climb angle is between 0 degrees and 180 degrees, preferably between 30 and 170 degrees, more preferably between 90 and 140 degrees, and still more preferably approximately 135 degrees.

FIGS. 18A and 18B depict an anti-climb composite fence system 1100 structured in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. In various embodiments, the anti-climb composite fence system 1100 may be comprised of polymer-based materials such as fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted anti-climb composite fence system 1100 comprises an angled bracket or gusset assembly 1185 having a T-shaped cross-section (as shown in FIG. 18B) that is structured to secure a composite fence panel 1110 to an anti-climb composite fence panel 1115 as shown. The depicted T-shaped gusset assembly 1185 comprises a first coupling member 1181, a second coupling member 1182, and a rib member 1183. The first coupling member 1181 defines an attachment surface 1181 A that is structured at an anti-climb angle β relative to an attachment surface 1182A defined by the second coupling member 1182. In this regard, the anti-climb fence panel 1115 may be secured in an anti-climb position at a corresponding anti-climb angle β relative to the composite fence panel 1110. The depicted anti-climb angle β is approximately 135 degrees; however, in other embodiments, the first and second attachment surfaces 1181A, 1182A may define a variety of additional anti-climb angle β values ranging between 0 degrees and 180 degrees, preferably between 30 degrees and 170 degrees, and more preferably between 90 degrees and 140 degrees. In various embodiments of the present invention, the rib member 1183 may be structured to stiffen the first coupling member 1181 and/or the second coupling member 1182 and may also be structured to securely reinforce the position of the first and second coupling members 1181, 1182 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

FIG. 18B depicts a section view of the anti-climb fence system 1100 shown in FIG. 18A. As noted above, the depicted T-shaped gusset assembly 1185 includes a first coupling member 1181 and a rib member 1183 structured to at least partially support the first coupling member 1181 as shown. In one embodiment, the first coupling member 1181 of the T-shaped gusset assembly 1185 may define one or more bores for receiving composite plugs and/or threaded or non-threaded composite fasteners 1140 similar to those described above that are adapted for coupling the T-shaped gusset assembly 1185 to one or more composite anti-climb fence panels 1115. Similarly, the second coupling member (not shown) of the T-shaped gusset assembly 1185 may define bores for receiving composite plugs and/or threaded or non-threaded composite fasteners that are adapted for coupling the T-shaped gusset assembly to one or more composite fence panels.

FIGS. 19A and 19B depict an anti-climb composite fence system 1200 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. In one embodiment, the anti-climb composite fence system 1200 may be comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted anti-climb composite fence system 1200 comprises a jogged T-shaped gusset assembly 1285 that is structured to secure an anti-climb composite fence panel 1215 to a composite fence post 1220 as shown. The depicted jogged T-shaped gusset assembly 1285 comprises a first coupling member 1281, a second coupling member 1282, a jogged member 1284, and a rib member 1283. In one embodiment, the jogged member 1284 and second coupling member 1282 are structured to define a recess adapted to receive at least a portion of the composite fence post 1220 as shown.

In another embodiment, the first coupling member 1281 defines an attachment surface 1281A that is structured at an anti-climb angle β relative to an attachment surface 1282A defined by the second coupling member 1282 as shown. In this regard, the anti-climb fence panel 1215 may be secured in an anti-climb position at a corresponding anti-climb angle β relative to the composite fence panel 1210. The depicted anti-climb angle β is approximately 135 degrees; however, in other embodiments, the first and second attachment surfaces 1181A, 1182A may define a variety of additional anti-climb angle β values ranging between 0 degrees and 180 degrees, preferably between 30 degrees and 170 degrees, and more preferably between 90 degrees and 140 degrees. In various embodiments of the present invention, the rib member 1283 may be structured to stiffen the first coupling member 1281, the second coupling member 1282, and/or the jogged member 1284, and may also be structured to securely reinforce the position of the first and second coupling members 1281, 1282 relative to the jogged member 1284 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

FIG. 19B depicts a section view of the anti-climb fence system 1200 shown in FIG. 19A. As noted above, the depicted jogged T-shaped gusset assembly 1285 includes a first coupling member 1281 and a rib member 1283 structured to at least partially support the first coupling member 1281 as shown. In one embodiment, the first coupling member 1281 of the jogged T-shaped gusset assembly 1285 may define bores for receiving composite plugs and/or threaded or non-threaded composite fasteners 1240 similar to those described above that are adapted for coupling the jogged T-shaped gusset assembly 1285 to one or more composite anti-climb fence panels 1215. Similarly, the second coupling member (not shown) of the jogged T-shaped gusset assembly 1285 may define bores for receiving composite plugs and/or threaded or non-threaded composite fasteners that are adapted for coupling the jogged T-shaped gusset assembly to the composite fence post 1220.

FIGS. 20A and 20B depict front and top views, respectively, of a composite fence assembly 1300 structured in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention. In various embodiments, the composite fence assembly 1300 may be comprised of polymer-based materials such as fiber reinforced polymer materials. The depicted composite fence assembly 1300 is comprised of a composite fence panel 1310, a composite post 1320, and a composite hinge system 1350 adapted to pivotally couple the composite fence panel 1310 to the composite post 1320. The depicted composite hinge system 1350 is comprised of a pivot member 1355 and first and second composite hinge brackets 1351, 1361 that are structured to couple the pivot member 1355 to the composite fence post 1320 as shown.

Referring to the top view of the composite hinge system 1350 provided by FIG. 20B, the depicted first composite hinge bracket 1351 includes a coupling member 1352 having first and second support members 1353, 1354 extending therefrom. The first and second support members 1353, 1354 are spaced apart a sufficient distance to receive the pivot member 1355 therebetween as shown. In one embodiment, the first support member 1353, the second support member 1354, and the pivot member 1355 each define alignable bores for receiving a composite fastener 1340 for coupling the pivot member 1355 to the first and second support members 1353, 1354 as shown. Similarly, one or more composite fasteners 1340 may be threaded through bores defined in the coupling member 1352 of the composite hinge bracket 1351 and the composite fence post 1320. In this regard, the first composite hinge bracket 1351 is securely coupled to the composite fence post 1320 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of this disclosure.

In the depicted embodiment, the first composite hinge bracket 1351 is disposed generally adjacent one end of the composite fence post 1320 and the second composite hinge bracket 1361 is disposed generally adjacent an opposite end of the composite fence post 1320. The depicted first and second hinge brackets 1351, 1361 are structured generally identically. In alternate embodiments, differing composite hinge brackets may be used. Further, more or fewer composite hinge brackets may be used to couple the pivot member 1355 to the composite fence post 1320. For example, in one embodiment, three composite hinge brackets may be used wherein a first composite hinge bracket is disposed generally adjacent a first end of the composite post, a second composite hinge bracket is disposed adjacent a second end of the composite post, and a third composite hinge bracket is disposed therebetween.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the composite fence panel 1310 defines a sleeve portion 1317 adapted to at least partially enclose the pivot member 1355 between opposed first and second composite hinge brackets 1351, 1361 as shown. In this regard, the sleeve portion 1317 is adapted to pivot about the pivot member 1317 as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. In one embodiment, the sleeve portion 1317 may be integrally formed into the composite fence panel 1310. In alternate embodiments, the sleeve portion 1317 may be coupled to the composite fence panel 1310 via one or more composite fasteners 1340 (not shown).

FIGS. 21A-21H depict composite fence joint assemblies structured in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention. The depicted composite joint assemblies may be comprised of fiber reinforced polymer materials. For example, FIG. 21A depicts a first composite fence joint assembly 1400 comprising a first composite fence panel 1410, a second composite fence panel 1411, a first composite fence post 1420, and a second composite fence post 1421. In one embodiment, the first composite fence panel 1410, the first composite fence post 1420, the second composite fence panel 1411, and the second composite fence post 1421, may each define alignable bores for receiving one or more composite fasteners 1440 as shown. Although depicted having I-shaped composite posts, other composite post structures may be used. As will be apparent to one of skill in the art, the first and second composite fence panels 1410, 1411 may be configured in a variety of joint orientations including, but not limited to, those depicted in FIGS. 21A, 21B, 21C, and 21D.

FIG. 21E depicts a second composite fence joint assembly 1500 comprising a first composite fence panel 1510, a second composite fence panel 1511, a composite fence post 1520, and an adjustable composite bracket assembly 1530. The depicted adjustable composite bracket assembly 1530 comprises a body portion 1532 that is pivotally coupled to a first pivot member 1534 and a second pivot member 1536. The adjustable composite bracket assembly 1530 is adapted to couple the first and second composite fence panels 1510, 1511 in a desired joint orientation as shown in FIGS. 21E and 21F.

In one embodiment, the composite fence post 1520, the first composite fence panel 1510, the second composite fence panel 1511, and the first and second pivot members 1534, 1536 of the adjustable composite bracket assembly 1530 may each define alignable apertures for receiving one or more composite fasteners 1540 as shown. In this regard, the composite fence post 1520 may be coupled to the first composite fence panel 1510, the first pivot member 1534 may be coupled to the composite fence post 1520, and the second pivot member 1536 may be coupled to the second composite fence panel 1511 as shown. Other coupling configurations may be used without deviating from the inventive concepts herein described. For example, in one embodiment, the first and second pivot members 1534, 1536 may be coupled to the first and second composite fence panels 1510, 1511, respectively. In yet another embodiment, the first and second pivot members 1534, 1536 may include a lock structure such that they are lockable in one or more desired orientations relative to the body portion 1532. Thus, the first and second composite fence panels 1510, 1511 may be rigidly fixed in a desired joint orientation.

FIG. 21G depicts a third composite fence joint assembly 1600 comprising a composite fence post 1620, a first composite fence panel 1610, and a second composite fence panel 1611. In various embodiments, the composite fence post 1620 is structured to rigidly support the first and second composite fence panels 1610, 1611 in a desired joint orientation. For example, the depicted composite fence post 1620 defines a T-shaped cross-section for supporting the first and second composite fence panels 1610, 1611 in a generally perpendicular joint orientation. Other composite fence post 1620 structures may be used for supporting the first and second composite fence panels 1610, 1611 in oblique angles (e.g., acute, obtuse, etc.) and other angles. In one embodiment, the first composite fence panel 1610, the composite fence post 1620, and the second composite fence panel 1611 may each define alignable bores for receiving one or more composite fasteners 1640 as shown.

FIG. 21H depicts a fourth composite fence joint assembly 1700 comprising a composite fence post 1720, a first composite fence panel 1710, and a second composite fence panel 1711. The depicted composite fence post 1720 defines a modified T-shaped cross-section for supporting the first and second composite fence panels 1710, 1711 in a generally perpendicular joint orientation. In one embodiment, the first composite fence panel 1710, the composite fence post 1720, and the second composite fence panel 1711 may each define alignable bores for receiving one or more composite fasteners 1740 as shown. In contrast to the composite fence post 1620 of FIG. 21D, the composite fence post 1720 of FIG. 21H is adapted for interior, rather than exterior, mounting. In this regard, the composite post structure of FIG. 21H may be preferred for perimeter security fence systems that are adapted to keep people out and, thus, are desirably structured to provide composite fastening hardware 1740 that is shielded from external access. Alternatively, the composite post structure 1620 of FIG. 21G may be preferred for perimeter security fence systems designed to keep people in and, thus, are desirably structured to provide composite fastening hardware 1640 that is shielded from internal access. Although depicted in a generally perpendicular joint orientation, other composite fence post 1720 structures may be used for supporting the first and second composite fence panels 1710, 1711 in oblique angles (e.g., acute, obtuse, etc.) and other angles.

Collectively, FIGS. 22A-22B depict an integral composite plug fence panel in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. As shown in the detail view provided by FIG. 22B, one embodiment of the present invention includes a composite plug portion 1840 integrally molded within at least one aperture 1819 of a composite fence panel 1810. In one embodiment, the composite fence panel 1810 and the composite plug portion 1840 may be comprised of polymer-based materials. In the depicted embodiment, the composite plug portion 1840 defines a bore 1841 for receiving a composite bolt 1832 as shown. The composite plug portion 1840 may further define a cavity 1836 for recessing a bolt head as described above. The composite bolt may operate to couple the composite panel to a composite post or other similar support member as described above. In various embodiments of the invention, the composite plug portion 1840 may be molded as an integral part of the composite fence panel 1810 as shown or alternatively, may be molded as a separate insert that may be rigidly coupled to the composite fence panel as will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the disclosure herein. Although shown in FIG. 22A as disposed in a particular location within the composite fence panel 1810, composite plug portions 1840 may be defined in any aperture of the composite fence panel 1810 and, thus, are not limited to the depicted aperture position.

Composite fence systems according to the various embodiments of the present invention described above are non-conductive and, thus, are uniquely structured to enclose electrical stations, high-tension transformers, or other sources of electricity. The above described fence systems are corrosion resistant and may be formed having color extending through the entire thickness of the fence system without requiring painting. The above fence systems are strong, durable, and resist permanent deflection. Finally, the above fence systems can be formed completely of nonmetallic materials, and are substantially transparent to electromagnetic energy such as radio waves, microwaves, radar, radio frequency signals, and the like. In this regard, the present fence systems are well-suited for enclosing or shielding radar arrays, RF transmitting towers, airports, and other transmitters or receivers of electromagnetic energy.

Many modifications and other embodiments of the inventions set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which these inventions pertain having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the inventions are not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7628386Apr 19, 2005Dec 8, 2009Payne Fence Products, LlcFence system
US7690628 *Dec 10, 2007Apr 6, 2010Craig HewittFence fastener
US7866635 *Jan 31, 2008Jan 11, 2011Payne Fence Products, LlcFence system
US8631551May 15, 2008Jan 21, 2014Betafence USA, LLCReadily installable fence system, and method therefor
US8752468 *Apr 12, 2013Jun 17, 2014Amsafe Bridport LimitedTextile Armour
US8783661Dec 16, 2010Jul 22, 2014Betafence Usa LlcFence system
WO2008095147A2 *Jan 31, 2008Aug 7, 2008John F PayneFence system
WO2013063637A1 *Oct 23, 2012May 10, 2013Synergy Scaffolding Holdings Pty LtdAn electrically insulated screen and method of erecting an electrically insulated screen
Classifications
U.S. Classification256/19
International ClassificationE04H17/14
Cooperative ClassificationE04H17/10, E04H17/24
European ClassificationE04H17/10, E04H17/24
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 3, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, OHIO
Free format text: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:ALABAMA METAL INDUSTRIES CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:023032/0927
Effective date: 20090724
Jun 28, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ALABAMA METAL INDUSTRIES CORPORATION, ALABAMA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:VISE, LARRY;MAYER, FRED;DEROUEN, LYNN;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017873/0627;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060530 TO 20060619