Area of Invention
The invention generally relates to the field of floor panels with mechanical locking systems comprising a separate displaceable tongue allowing easy installation. The invention provides new improved locking systems to install and disconnect building panels, especially a set of floor panels provided with a locking system.
Background of the Invention
In particular, yet not restrictive manner, the invention concerns a mechanical locking system for rectangular floor panels with long and short edges. Such floor panels are generally installed with an angling of long edges. Short edges could be connected with angling, horizontal snapping or insertion along the short edge. The installation requires three actions since a displacement in locked position is also required to lock all four edges.
It is also known from US 2003/0101681 A1
that a locking system could be formed on the short edge with a tongue and a groove comprising projections and indentations such that the short edges could be moved horizontally into contact and thereafter displaced along the short edges and locked. The long edges are thereafter locked with angling. This locking system and installation method is based on the same principles as the known insertion of the sort edges.
The only advantage is that the displacement of the short edges could be reduced from about 0,1-0,2 m (the width of conventional floor panels) to some centimetres and this small advantage is generally eliminated by the additional costs to form the projections and indentations with the type of machining that is used in floor production. Such locking systems are not used on the market.
It should be emphasized that long and short edges are only used to simplify the description. The panels could also be square, they could have more than 4 edges and the adjacent edges could have angles other than 90 degrees. However, the invention is as well applicable to building panels in general. More particularly the invention relates mainly to the type of mechanically locking systems, which allow that angling of long edges and vertical movement of short edges could lock all four edges of a panel to other panels with a single action method generally referred to as vertical folding. The main principles of the invention could however also be used in other types of known mechanical locking systems as described above and below.
A floor panel of this type (figure 1a) is presented in WO2006/043893
(Applicant Välinge Innovation AB), which discloses a floor panel with a locking system comprising a locking element cooperating with a locking groove, for horizontal locking, and a flexible displaceable tongue (30) cooperating with a tongue groove (20), for locking in a vertical direction. The flexible tongue as shown in figure 1b, bends in the horizontal plane and snaps into the tongue groove during connection of the floor panels and makes it possible to install the panels by a vertical "snap" folding or solely by a vertical movement. Similar floor panels are further described in WO2003/016654
, which discloses locking system comprising a tongue with a flexible tab. The tongue is extending and bending essentially in a vertical direction and the tip of the tab cooperates with a tongue groove for vertical locking.
 US 2006/101769 A1
describes mechanical locking systems for floor panels utilising a displaceable tongue.
Vertical locking and vertical folding of this type creates a separation pressure at the short edges when the flexible tongue or flexible parts of the tongue are displaced horizontally in a double action during the angling of the long edges. Parts of the tongue are displaced inwardly during the initial part of the locking and they are thereafter displaced towards the initial position during the final part of the locking action. The inventor has analysed several types of floor panels and discovered that there is a considerable risk that the short edges could be pushed away from each other during installation and that a gap could occur between the edge portions of the short edges. Such a gap could prevent further installation and the floor panels will not be possible to connect. It could also cause serious damage to the locking system at the short edges. Pushing the floorboards sideways towards the short edges during installation could prevent the gap. Such an installation method is however complicated and difficult to use since three actions have to be combined and used simultaneously in connection with angling down of the long edges.
It is also known, as shown in figure 1c that two adjacent short edges in a first row could be locked with a displaceable tongue (30) which is displaced and for example bended, as shown in figure Id, by a side push at one edge section (32) when the adjacent short edges have been folded down and positioned in the same plane. Such an installation is described in DE 1020060376114B3
and a pre published PCT application made by Välinge innovation AB. This vertical " (side) push" folding, which generally is activated by a pressure from a long side of a third panel in a second row, displaces the separate tongue along the short edge joint but also perpendicular to the joint direction such that a part of the tongue is displaced into a groove of the adjacent short edge. This displacement perpendicular to the joint direction avoids the separation forces during the vertical folding but creates a separation force when the panels are laying flat on the sub floor and when the tongue is pressed into the tongue groove of the adjacent panel. Most vertical push folding systems, especially such systems that comprise a flexible tongue that bends in the length direction of the joint, are difficult to lock when the first and the last rows are installed.
Figures 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a and 3b shows examples of cross sections of known flexible tongues 30, which could be used to lock short edges according to known vertical snap folding technology. Figure 2a shows a separate tongue 30 with a flexible snap tab extending downwards. Figure 2b shows a separate tongue with a flexible snap tab inside a displacement groove. Figure 2c shows a flexible tongue 30 that bends horizontally during locking according to figures 1a and 1b. Figure 3a show an embodiment of the flexible tongue, which locks with a combined turning and snapping action. Such a locking system could be locked without any separation forces. It is however difficult to produce and creates considerable resistance during locking. Figure 3b shows a flexible tongue that is connected with pre tension into a groove and that snaps out into a tongue groove when the pre tension is released. Figure 3c shows a flexible tongue according to figures 1c and 1d that is displaced with a side pressure from one groove into an adjacent tongue groove.
Vertical folding according to known technology requires, as shown above, that some parts of the locking system, generally some parts of a separate tongue, are bended or compressed when the edges are locked. This could be avoided with wedge shaped separate tongues using the side push technology. Such wedge shape tongues consist generally of two parts or they are connected to grooves, which are not parallel with the edge. This leads to the fact that expensive materials or complicated production methods must be used.
All these known embodiments will create a separation pressure or locking resistance during installation with vertical folding. This could cause the short edges to separate such that the locking system will be damaged or such that the panels will be difficult to install. Locking strength, locking quality and production costs are in some of the known vertical locking systems not competitive with traditional mechanical locking systems installed with combinations of angling and horizontal snapping
Locking systems using the vertical folding installation method could capture a considerable larger market share if separation and resistance problems could be eliminated and if production costs and locking quality could be improved.
A major objective of the invention is to provide solutions that avoid such separation and resistance problems during locking as much as possible and where preferably non-flexible materials or tongues consisting of one separate part only could be used.
Several of the above described known locking principles and installation methods could be used in the described embodiments of the invention and the basic principles of the invention related to specific parts of the locking systems, installation and production methods are also possible to use in the known prior art locking systems.
Definition of Some Terms
In the following text, the visible surface of the installed floor panel is called "front face", while the opposite side of the floor panel, facing the sub floor, is called "rear face". The edge between the front and rear face is called "joint edge". If not defined otherwise upper and lower means towards the front face and towards the rear face. Inner and outer means towards or away from the centre of the panel. By "horizontal plane" is meant a plane, which extends parallel to the outer part of the surface layer. Immediately juxtaposed upper parts of two adjacent joint edges of two joined floor panels together define a "vertical plane" perpendicular to the horizontal plane. By "horizontally" is meant parallel with the horizontal plane and by "Vertically" parallel to the vertical plane.
By "joint" or "locking system" are meant co acting connecting means, which connect the floor panels vertically and/or horizontally. By "mechanical locking system" is meant that joining can take place without glue. Mechanical locking systems can in many cases also be combined with gluing. By "integrated with" means formed in one piece with the panel or factory connected to the panel. By "separate" parts, components element and similar is meant that they are produced separately and not in one piece with the core or the main body of the panel. Separate parts are generally factory connected and integrated with the panel but they could be supplied as lose parts, which are intended to be used during installation of panels.
By a "separate tongue" is meant a tongue, which is made of a separate material, connected to one edges of a panel, which has a length direction along the joint edges and is forming a part of the vertical locking system.
By a "displaceable tongue" is meant any type of a tongue which connects adjacent edges vertically and which is made of a separate material and connected to a floor panel and which is wholly or partly displaceable between an unlocked position and a locked position. A displaceable tongue could be flexible or rigid
By "tongue" is generally meant a part in an edge section that extends beyond the upper edge and cooperates with a groove in an adjacent edge such that the edges are locked vertically. A tongue is generally made in one piece with the panel.
By "angling" is meant a connection that occurs by a turning motion, during which an angular change occurs between two parts that are being connected, or disconnected. When angling relates to connection of two floor panels, the angular motion takes place with the upper parts of joint edges at least partly being in contact with each other, during at least part of the motion.
By an "angling locking system" is meant a mechanical locking system which could be connected vertically and horizontally with angling comprising a tongue and a groove that locks two adjacent edges in a vertical direction and a locking strip with a locking element in one edge of a panel called "strip panel" that cooperates with a locking groove on another edge of a panel called "groove panel" and locks the edges in a horizontal direction. The locking element and the locking groove have generally rounded guiding surfaces that guide the locking element into the locking groove and locking surfaces that locks and prevents horizontal separation between the edges.
By "vertical locking" is meant a locking that take place when two edges are displaced essentially vertically against each other.
By "vertical folding" is meant installation of panels with angling of long edges where this long edge angling also is used to connect the short edges horizontally and/or vertically. By "vertical snap folding" is meant an installation where the short edges are locked vertically with snapping of a flexible tongue during the final stage of the long edge angling. Such a locking system is not a pure combination of for example an angling locking system on a long edges and a vertical locking system on short edges since the vertical and the angling actions are combined and the short edges are folded together in the same way as scissors. The locking takes place gradually from one edge section adjacent to one long edge, which is angled, to the other edge section adjacent to the other opposite long edge. By "vertical push folding" is meant an installation where the short edges of two panels are locked when they are laying flat on a sub floor after the angling. The vertical locking is obtained by a side push that displaces a separate tongue in the length direction of the short edges. The horizontal locking is in conventional fold down systems obtained in the same way as for the angling systems with a locking element in one edge of a strip panel that cooperates with a locking groove on another edge of a groove panel.
Summary of the Invention
The present invention aims at a set of building panels, especially floor panels or a floating flooring with a mechanical locking system on the short edge which is configured to improve installation of floor panel installed with vertical folding and which will counteract or prevent separation of the short edges during installation. The aim of the invention is also to improve installation, strength, quality and production costs of such and similar locking systems. A particular objective is to provide locking systems that could be used to lock thin floorboards, for example with a thickness of 5-10 mm.
The invention mainly relates to floor panels provided with a locking system according to the subject-matter of claim 1.
Such a locking system eliminates essentially all vertical snapping resistance and all separation forces between the adjacent edges during the vertical locking. The only pressure force that is needed in order to displace and lock the adjacent edges vertically is a force in one direction only along the edges when the panels are laying flat on a sub floor with their adjacent top edges in contact. All known locking systems, which are possible to lock vertically with a vertical motion, create a snapping resistance during the vertical movement or a separation pressure force perpendicular to the edges when a tongue is pressed along a joint and perpendicular to a joint from one edge into an adjacent edge.
The invention provides for new embodiments of locking systems preferably at short edges but also at long edges according to different aspects offering respective advantages. Useful areas for the invention are wall panels, ceilings, exterior applications and floor panels of any shape and material e.g. laminate; especially panels with surface materials contain thermosetting resins, wood, HDF, veneer or stone.
The invention comprises according to a first aspect a set of floor panels provided with a locking system comprising a tongue at an edge of a first floor panel and a tongue groove in an adjacent edge of a similar second floor panel for connecting the edge vertically. The tongue and the tongue groove are displaceable in relation to each other. The tongue comprises a protrusion extending horizontally beyond the upper part of the edge and the tongue groove a protrusion and cavity configured such that the adjacent edges can obtain a vertically unlocked position where the protrusion of the tongue matches the cavity of the tongue groove and a vertically locked position where the protrusion of said tongue vertically overlaps the protrusion of said tongue groove.
The locking system could be formed with only one protrusion on the tongue and the tongue groove and one cavity on the tongue groove. It is however preferable that the tongue and the tongue groove comprise several protrusions and cavities which are preferably formed along the joint edge with essentially the same intermediate distance between each other. The protrusions should preferably be essentially identical. The cavities should preferably also be essentially identical. They should be larger than the protrusions and match the intermediate distance of the protrusions.
The invention may comprise a set of floor panels comprising a locking system with a displaceable tongue integrated with an edge of a first floor panel for connecting the edge vertically to an adjacent edge of a similar second panel having a groove for receiving the displaceable tongue. The displaceable tongue is configured to be displaced essentially horizontally along the joint edges when a sideway pressure is applied at an edge section of the displaceable tongue. The displaceable tongue and the groove each comprise a protrusion and a cavity such that a protrusion matches a cavity in the initial unlocked position and that said protrusions overlap each other vertically when the displaceable tongue is displaced by the sideway pressure along the joint. The displacement of the displaceable tongue along the joint is caused by for example a long edge of a third panel which is angled and connected to the first and second panels when they are located in essentially the same plane and with their short edges in contact. This preferred embodiment allows that two panels in the same row are unlocked vertically until a third panel in a consecutive row is connected. Angling down and up again could be made in a simple way according to known technology since there is no tongue that creates any resistance and that locks vertically. The vertical locking is initiated first when a new row of panels are installed. The displaceable tongue is than displaced along the joint and preferably parallel with the edges. The pressure force is along the joint only and no separation forces that push the adjacent edges away from each other will occur. This is a major advantage against all known fold down systems that have a vertical locking. The overlapping of the protrusions could take place even in the firs row since no counter pressure from an previously installed panel is require to for example bend a displaceable tongue.
The displaceable tongue and all separate parts described below could be made of flexible or rigid material, for example metal, preferably aluminium sections or aluminium sheet material, wood, fibreboard such as for example HDF or plastic materials. All materials used in flexible tongues according to known technology could be used and the tongue could be produced by extrusion, injection mouldings, machining and punching or by combinations of these production methods. Any type of polymer materials could be used such as PA (nylon), POM, PC, PP, PET or PE or similar having the properties described above in the different embodiments. These plastic materials could, when for example injection moulding is used, be reinforced with for instance glass fibre, Kevlar fibre, carbon fibre or talk or chalk. A preferred material is glass fibre, preferably extra long, reinforced PP or POM.
The protrusions could be made in one piece with the panel or of a separate material that is connected to the strip or the groove panel. The displaceable tongue could be connected to the edge of strip panel or of the groove panel.
The above-mentioned aspects have been described with panels having long and short edges. The panels could have more than four edges and they could be square.
The displacement of a protrusion with a displaceable tongue could alternatively be accomplished with a displacement of the adjacent short edges.
According to an embodiment of the invention the tongue and the groove comprise protrusions and cavities such that a protrusion matches a cavity in an initial vertically unlocked position when the long edges of the panels are offset against each and that the protrusions overlap each other vertically when the short edges are displaced along the joint to a position where the long edges meet each other and are located essentially along the same straight line.
According to another embodiment the displacement groove and the tongue groove are offset vertically relative each other. Such offset grooves could give a much stronger vertical locking especially in thin panels. Vertically offset grooves are not used in the known locking systems where a displaceable tongue is displaced perpendicularly to the edge from one groove into the adjacent groove or where a vertical snapping is used. Offset grooves could be used to improve locking strength even in the known prior art systems described above.
The protrusions and cavities could be made in one piece with the panel on one or both adjacent edges or of a separate material that is connected the one or both adjacent edges and they could be formed on long and/or short edges. The protrusions and cavities of a separate material could be made of flexible or rigid material, for example metal, wood, HDF or plastic. All materials used to make the displaceable tongue, as described above, could be used and the protrusions and cavities could be produced by extrusions, injection mouldings and machining.
A separate part comprising preferably at least one protrusion and one cavity, for example a displaceable tongue for vertical locking or a displaceable locking element for horizontal locking or a combined element that allows vertical and horizontal locking, could be used in combination with horizontal and/or vertical grooves comprising at least one protrusion and cavity, to accomplish a vertical and/or horizontal locking with only a displacement of the separate part along the joint. No bending or displacement from one groove into another groove is required and the outer protrusions of the separate part could be located at the same distance from the edge during displacement along the joint and during locking. Horizontal and/or vertical separation forces could be reduced or eliminated and the separate part could be formed as a rather simple component.
The invention may provide a set of floor panels provided with a locking system comprising a separate part in one edge of a first floor panel and a groove in an adjacent edge of a similar second floor panel for connecting the edges vertically and/or horizontally. The separate part is displaceable along the adjacent edges, which are configured to be locked vertically and/or horizontally by only a displacement of the separate part along and parallel to the adjacent edges.
The locking system may allow that the short edges could be locked with a vertical motion combined with a displacement of the short edges along the joint. This could be used to install floor panels according to a new method which in easier than the conventional angling/angling or angling/snap methods, especially when installing long panels.
All references to "a/an/the [element, device, component, means, step, etc]" are to be interpreted openly as referring to at least one instance of said element, device, component, means, step, etc., unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Almost all embodiments are described with separate tongues on the strip panel comprising the locking strip and the locking element that locks the adjacent edges horizontally, mainly in order to simplify the description. The separate tongue could be located in the edge of the groove panel comprising the locking groove that cooperates with the locking element.
Brief Description of the Drawings
- Figs 1a-d
- illustrate prior art locking system
- Figs 2a-c
- show embodiments of prior art locking systems.
- Figs 3a-c
- show embodiments of prior art locking systems.
- Figs 4a-c
- show a locking system according to a basic embodiment of the invention.
- Figs 5a-c
- show locking with side push of a displaceable tongue.
- Fig 6 a-h
- show in several steps locking of short edges.
- Fig 7a-d
- show locking of four panels according to one aspect of the invention
- Fig 8a-f
- show cross sections of panels during installation.
- Fig 9a-d
- show locking systems formed in one piece with the panel.
- Fig 10a-c
- show installation of panels with a one piece locking system combined with a displacement of panels during locking.
- Fig 11a-c
- show an alternative installation method based on connection in angled position.
- Fig 12e-f
- show a locking system on long edges made in one piece with the panel
- Fig 13a-f
- show a method to lock panels with displacement of long edges and snapping of short edges.
- Fig 14a-e
- show locking of several panels comprising protrusions on long edges.
- Fig 15a-e
- show how panels with protrusions on long and short edges could be locked.
- Fig 16a-c
- show a one piece locking system, which could be connected with a vertical and/or horizontal displacement.
- Fig 17a-e
- show a method to produce protrusions according to a cutter principle.
- Fig 18a-e
- show a method to produce protrusions with a sawblade principle.
- Fig 19a-e
- show a method to produce protrusions according to a screw cutter principle.
- Fig 20a-d
- show an example of a screw cutter tool.
- Fig 21a-c
- show how protrusions could be formed in a wood flooring and forming of protrusions with a specially designed saw blade.
- Fig 22a-f
- show an equipment to connect a separate part to a panel edge.
- Fig 23a-e
- show a method to connect a separate part to an edge by insertion along the joint and a tong blank comprising several tongues.
- Fig 24a-c
- show embodiments of locking systems.
- Fig 25a-d
- show embodiments of displaceable tongues.
- Fig 26a-e
- show wedge formed tongue protrusions and locking systems with vertically extending snapping hooks.
- Fig 27a-f
- show embodiments of locking systems with vertically offset grooves.
- Fig 28a-e
- show embodiments where the side push is replaced by a snapping along the joint.
- Fig 29a-e
- show embodiments where "the side push is replaced by a turning action.
- Fig 30a-d
- show embodiments of a displaceable tongue, which locks the adjacent edges vertically (D1) and horizontally (D2).
- Fig 31a-e
- show embodiments of a displaceable tongue, which locks the adjacent edges vertically and horizontally.
- Fig 32a-d
- show embodiments of a displaceable tongue, which locks the adjacent edges vertically and horizontally.
- Fig 33a-c
- show embodiments where a.displaceable tongue locks in a groove on an outer part of a locking strip.
- Fig 34a-d
- show a production method to form undercut grooves.
- Fig 35a-c
- show alternative production methods to form undercut grooves.
- Fig 36a-d
- show a method to connect a separate part into an edge with insertion along the joint
- Fig 37a-c
- show connection of a separate part.
- Fig 38a-c
- show connection of locking systems comprising a separate flexible part.
- Fig 39a-d
- show connection of a separate part with vertical feeding of tongue blanks.
- Fig 40a-d
- show connection of a separate part with turning.
- Fig 41a-e
- show alternative methods to connect a separate part into an edge.
- Fig 42a-b
- show how a displaceable tongue could be formed by punching.
- Fig 43a-g
- show how principles of the invention could be used in prior art locking systems.
- Fig 44a-d
- show how an edge part of a displaceable tongue could be formed in order to reduce friction during locking.
- Fig 45a-d
- show an embodiment with a flexible edge section.
- Fig 46a-b
- show an embodiment with a cavity formed in a locking strip, which could be used to displace a tongue into an adjacent groove.
- Fig 47a-c
- show how cavities could be used to improve prior art locking systems.
- Fig 48a-h
- show several embodiments of flexible and displaceable tongues.
- Fig 49a-b
- show a method to connect separate parts to an edge with two pushers.
- Fig 50a-g
- show an embodiment with displaceable parts that are displaced to a correct position automatically during locking.
- Fig 51a-e
- show unlocking of a locking system with a displaceable tongue and locking with a displaceable tongue comprising only one protrusion.
Description of Embodiments of the Invention
Figure 4a shows one embodiment of panels with a vertical push folding locking system according to the invention. The short edges 4a and 4b comprise a displaceable tongue 30 connected to a displacement groove 40 in one edge cooperating with a tongue groove 20 in an adjacent edge for vertical locking of the edges. The displaceable tongue 30 and the tongue groove 20 comprise protrusions 31a, 31b and cavities 33a, 33b. The protrusions 31a on the displaceable tongue extend horizontally beyond the vertical plane VP and the upper part of the edge. The short edges comprises furthermore a locking strip 6 with a locking element 8 in one edge that cooperates with a locking groove in an adjacent edge for horizontal locking of the edges. The panels are installed as follows. A first panel 1'' in a first row R1 is connected to a second 1 panel in a second row R2. A new panel 1' is moved with its long edge 5a towards the long edge 5b of first panel 1" at a normal installation angle of about 25-30 degrees, pressed to the adjacent edge and connected with its long edge 5a to the long edge 5b of the first panel with angling. This angling action also connects the short edge 4b of the new pane 1' with the short edge 4a of the second panel 1. The fold panel 1' could be locked horizontally to the strip panel 1 with a combined vertical and turning motion along the vertical plane VP and with a contact between the top edges of the second panel 1 and the new panel 1. The upper tongue protrusions 31a will during angling pass trough the cavities 33b on the tongue groove 20. The edges 4a, 4b are in this stage not locked vertically and could be angled up again. The displaceable tongue 30 has an edge section with a pressing edge 32 exposed at the long edge 5b of a second panel 1. The pressing edge could be pushed sideways along the short edge 4a joint when the new 1' and the second panel 1 are laying flat on the sub floor. The displaceable tongue 30 could be displaced essentially parallel to the short edge 4a such that the upper tongue protrusions 31a overlap the lower tongue groove protrusions 31b and this overlapping locks the adjacent short edges 4a, 4b vertically. The pressure forces are parallel to the joint and the risk for edge separation during locking is eliminated. The whole pressing force could be used to lock the panels in the same plane even if the edges are somewhat warped before installation. The locking system is especially suitable to lock wood flooring with sharp edges (without bevels).
The protrusions and cavities could be formed in several ways. A saw blade principle could be used where preferably several saw blades form the protrusions and cavities. A cutter principle could also be used where several cutters, one for each cavity, are used. A very efficient method is the screw cutter principle. Protrusions and cavities could be produced in a very cost efficient way in a continuous production line and with high accuracy especially if the panel position is synchronized accurately with the tool position and the tool rotation speed. A large rotating tool with cutting teethes located on only a limited section of the outer tool part could also be used to form the cavities and protrusions. Other methods are laser cutting or punching. All methods could be used separately or in combinations
Figure 4b shows the displaceable tongue 30 in an unlocked position seen from above. The tongue protrusions 31a are located vertically over the groove cavities 33b. Figure 4c shows the locked position when a sideway pressure P has displaced the displaceable tongue 30 such that the tongue and groove protrusions 31a, 31b overlap each other.
The locking system could be formed with only one protrusion 31a on the tongue and the tongue groove 31b and one cavity 33b on the tongue groove. It is however preferable that the tongue and the tongue groove comprise several protrusions and cavities which are preferably formed along the joint edge with essentially the same intermediate distance between each other. The protrusions should preferably be essentially identical. The cavities should preferably also be essentially identical. They should be larger than the protrusions and match the intermediate distance of the protrusions.
Figure 5a shows a cross section of a locking system according to the invention. The displacement groove 40 could be made much smaller than in the prior art systems since no perpendicular displacement is required. Sufficient locking strength could for example be reached with a displacement groove that has a groove depth GD of about 0,5 times the floor thickness FT or even smaller and a tongue groove that has a groove depth GD' of about 0,4 times the floor thickness FT or smaller. As a non-limiting example it could be mentioned that the tongue width TW preferably could be about 5-6 mm. This means that the width of the tongue could be smaller than the floor thickness. The thickness of the tongue TT could be about 0,2 times the floor thickens or even smaller. As a non-limiting example it could be mentioned that the tongue thickness preferably could be about 1,5 mm. This makes the locking system very suitable to lock thin floor panels with a thickness of 5-10 mm vertically (D1) and horizontally (D2). A strong locking has been obtained with displaceable tongues that have a width, which is smaller than 5 mm and a thickness smaller than 1 mm. Embodiments have also been produced with a displacement groove and a tongue groove which each have a depth of less than 2 mm.
Figure 5b shows the displaceable tongue 30 in an unlocked position seen from above. The tongue protrusions 31a are in such unlocked position located vertically over the groove cavities 33b. The majority of the protrusions are in this embodiment preferably identical and the intermediate distance 34 measured from centre to centre is essentially the same. A preferable distance is about one to two times the floor thickness. Strong locking has been reached with protrusions having an intermediate distance of about 10 mm. Figure 5c shows the locked position when a sideway pressure P, preferably applied on a protruding edge section 32 of the displaceable tongue 32, has displaced the displaceable tongue 30 along the joint such that the tongue and groove protrusions 31a, 31b overlap each other. The displacement should preferably be about the same as the length of the protrusion 35. Strong locking has been reached with protrusions having a length of about 4 mm. The displaceable tongue 30 could preferably be connected to the displacement groove 40 in many ways for example with preferably a flexible friction connection 36, with wax or just with friction between the tongue and the groove. The friction connection 36 is in the shown embodiment formed as a flexible tap that creates a vertical pressure against the upper or lower part of the displacement groove 40. Such a friction connection gives the advantages that the displaceable tongue 30 is fixed into the displacement groove 40 in a reliable way, even if the groove opening varies during production. Such friction connection allows that the displacement could be accomplished with a pre determined friction force.
Figure 6a-6h show in four steps locking of a section of the short edges. A short edge of a new panel 1' is in this embodiment moved vertically towards the second panel 1 as shown in figures 6a-b. The tongue protrusions 31a match the cavities 33b, they are offset in relation to the groove protrusions 31b and located in a plane under the groove protrusions 31b. Further vertical movement will bring the tongue protrusion 31a in the groove cavity 33b and of course also the groove protrusion 31b in the tongue cavity 33a. Figures 6e-f show the position when the panels 1, 1' have been vertically connected and are laying flat in the same plane on the sub floor. Figures 6g-h show finally the vertically locked position where the protrusions 31a, 31b overlap each other due to the displacement of the displaceable tongue 30 along the joint edge.
This installation method and locking system is further explained in figures 7a-7d. Figure 7a shows how the pressing edge 32 could be displaced along the joint by a side pressure P caused by a long edge tongue 10 during angling of the long edges 5a when a new row is installed. The displacement is in an initial step mainly caused by a linear displacement of the long edge tongue 10 until the upper part of the long edges 5a, 5b are close to each other, preferably in contact. Figure 7b shows the locked position with the displaceable tongue 30 is in its final locked position. The final locking is accomplished with a turning action, which displaces the tip of the tongue 10 and the displaceable tongue 30 further into the tongue groove 9 of the long side edge. This locking distance LD could vary between for example 0,05 - 0,15 times floor thickness FT depending on the shape of the tip of the tongue 10 and the pressing edge 32. The locking element 8 and the locking groove 14 are generally in contact during the major part of this angling and displacement step. The tongue 10 on a long edge 5a could during this final locking step create a substantial pressure against the pressing edge 32 and the short edges 4a, 4b could be locked firmly against each other in the vertical direction. Figure 7c shows the position of the second 1 and the new panels 1' before their short edges 4a, 4b are locked vertically and figure 7d show the locked position when the tongue 10 of a third panel 1a has displaced the displaceable tongue 30 to its final locked position.
It is obvious that the tongue could be displaced with a pressure P against the pressing edge 32, which is applied by the installer during installation, with for example a tool and not by the angling of the third panel. It is also obvious that displaceable tongues 30 could be connected to an edge of a panel during installation.
Figures 8a-8b show locking of a floorboard, which in this case is a wood flooring, and locking according to the vertical push folding principle. The displaceable tongue 30 is in this embodiment fixed to the floorboard such that it ends approximately at the upper edge of the tongue side 10 of one long edge 5a and protrudes with its pressing extension 32 beyond the other long edge 5b the groove side 9. This is shown in figures 8a, 8c and 8d. A third panel 1a, as shown in figure 8e, is connected with angling to the second pane 1 and its tongue 10 presses against the pressing edge 32 of the displaceable tongue 30. Figure 8f shows how the tongue 30 is displaced with one of its edge sections Esl spaced from the inner part of the long edge groove 9 of the first panel 1'' and the other edge section, the pressing edge 32, in contact with the tip of the tongue 10 of the third panel 1a. This installation principle allows that, depending on the initial position of the displaceable tongue, the floor could be installed in both directions - with the long edge tongue part on the strip or with the long edge strip under the tongue. It could be mentioned that a displacement of about 0,5 - 3 mm could results in a very strong locking.
Figures 9a-9d shows an embodiment where the vertical locking of the short edges is obtained by a displacement of the panels along the short edges. The protrusions on the tongue and on the tongue groove 31a, 31b and the cavities 33a, 33b could be made in one piece with the panel core or of a separate material that is connected to the panel. Figure 9d shows an embodiment where the strip 6 and its locking element 8 comprise protrusions and cavities. Such an embodiment could be used to simplify production of the tongue protrusions 31a since a tool could be used that could cut trough the strip 6 when the tongue protrusions 31a are formed.
Figure 10a - c shows installation of an embodiment with fixed and non-displaceable protrusions 31a, 31b. A short edge 4b of new panel 1' is connected, preferably with a vertical movement, to an adjacent short edge 4b of second panel in the same row such that the protrusions 31a passes the cavities 33b and that the edges are locked horizontally. The short edges 4a, 4b are thereafter displaced in relation to each other and in a horizontally locked position along the adjacent edges such that the long edges 5a, 5a' are aligned along the same straight line as shown in figure 10b and locked vertically and horizontally whereby the protrusions 31a, 31b overlap each other. The long edges 5a, 5a' of two panels 1, 1' are thereafter connected to a first panel 1'' with preferably angling as shown in figure 10c.
Figures 11a-11c show that such connection could be made with the first 1'' and second 1 panel in an angled position against each other with their upper parts of the long edges in contact. A short edge of a new panel 1' is than connected with a vertical motion to an adjacent short edge of a second panel, which is in an angled position to the sub floor, in the same way as shown in figure 10a. The new panel 1' is than displaced in the angled position with its short edge connected to the short edge of the second panel 1 until its long edge meets the long edge of the first panel 1''. The new 1' and the second panel 1 are than angled down and the new panel 1' is locked mechanically vertically and horizontally to the first 1" and the second 1 panels.
The advantage with the above-described installation method is that the short edges could be connected and locked horizontally without any angling. This is an advantage when the panels are long or when an installation is made in corners or around doors where angling is not possible to use.
Figure 12a - 12f show that the basic principle of forming protrusions on the short edges that allow a locking with a vertical motion could also be used to form protrusions 37a, 37b and cavities 38a, 38b on long edges 5a, 5b that allow a locking with a horizontal motion of one long edge towards another adjacent long edge. Figures 12e and 12f and 12a show that two long edges 5a and 5b could be connected horizontally in the same plane and locked to each other vertically such that the protrusions 37a of the strip panel 5b matches the cavities 38b of the groove panel 5a and the protrusions 37b of the groove panel 5a matches the cavities 38b of the strip panel 5b. The long edges 5a, 5b could thereafter be displaced along the long edges such that said protrusions overlap each other horizontally where one protrusion is positioned behind the other protrusion and they lock the edges horizontally as shown in figure 12a.
Figures 13a - 13e show in detail installation of floor panels with a long edge locking system as shown in figures 12a-12f. Two long edges 5a and 5b are connected horizontally in the same plane and locked to each other vertically as shown in figures 13a and 13b such that the protrusions 37a of the strip panel 5b matches the cavities 38b of the groove panel 5a and the protrusions 37b of the groove panel 5a matches the cavities 38a of the strip panel 5b. The long edges 5a, 5b are thereafter displaced along each other such that the protrusions overlap each other and lock the edges horizontally. The short edges 4a and 4b could be locked by horizontal snapping, preferably with a snapping system that comprises a flexible locking element 8'as shown in figure 13d. Such installation method could be used to lock double sided panels with decorative surfaces on both opposite sides as shown in figure 13f.
Figures 14a and 14b show that it is essential that the protrusions 37a, 37b and cavities 38a, 38b on the long edges are distributed along the edge in a manner that creates a well defined pattern, preferably with the same intermediate distance, when two floor boards are connected with their short edges and that such a pattern corresponds to the main pattern on the individual panel. The floorboards according to this preferred embodiment are characterized in that the intermediate distance of adjacent protrusions 37a', 37a" of two connected floorboards 1a, 1'' is essentially the same as the intermediate distance of two protrusions 37a'', 37a on one of the two floorboards 1a, or 1" . Figure 14c shows a second floorboard 1 that has been displaced along the joint and locked vertically and horizontally to two connected floorboards 1a, 1'' in a firs row. Figures 14d and 14e shows how a long edge of a new panel 1' in a second row is locked with a horizontal movement towards the long edge of a first panel 1'' in a first row, sliding along said long edge and finally with horizontal snapping to an adjacent short edge of a second panel 1 in the same second row.
Figures 15a-e show alternative ways to install panels comprising protrusions on long edges. Figure 15a shows that adjacent short edges of a second 1 and a new panel 1' in a second row could be locked vertically and horizontally with for example angling, horizontal snapping or insertion along the joint. The new panel 1' could thereafter be displaced and connected to the adjacent long edge of a first panel 1'' in a first row, provided that the second panel 1 is not completely locked. This will allow the protrusions to match the cavities on the long edge. The second 1 and the new panels could thereafter be displaced along the connected long edges and locked vertically and horizontally.
Figure 15b - e show an alternative installation method. The short edges of the second 1 and new 1' panels could be locked by a vertical or horizontal connection of the edges followed by a displacement along the short edges such that the protrusions overlap each other and until the upper parts of the adjacent long edges are in contact, shown in figure 15b - d. The long edges are finally locked by a displacement of both said panels 1, 1' along the long edges of panels installed in an adjacent row and this brings the adjacent long edge protrusions in a horizontally overlapping position as shown in figure 15e.
The long edges could be form such that friction keeps the edges together until a whole row is displaced. The protrusions could be wedge shaped in the longitudinal direction such that a displacement along the edges will automatically align and preferably press the edges against each other. The individual rows could be prevented from sliding against each other after installation with for example friction, glue or flexible material that are inserted between the first and last panels in a row and the adjacent wall. Mechanical devices that snap or create friction integrated with the locking system and which lock the panels in a longitudinal position and prevent sliding could also be used.
Figures 16a-16c shows that the embodiments shown in figures 9 and 12 could be combined and that adjacent short edges comprising matching protrusions 31a, 31b and cavities 33a, 33b could be connected with a vertical and/or horizontal motion and locked vertically and horizontally with a displacement along the adjacent edges such that the protrusions 31a, 31b overlap each other and locks the adjacent edges vertically and that the locking element 8 enters into the locking groove 14 and locks the adjacent edge horizontally. Such a locking system could be used to lock the short edges according to figure 15b -15d.
Figure 17a-17e shows a production method to form cavities 33b and protrusions 31b according to the cutter principle. Several cutters 70 could be used, one for each cavity. This principle could be used on long and short edges for the tongue and/or the tongue groove side. The forming could take place before or after the profile cut.
Figure 18 a- e show that the above mentioned forming could also be made with the saw blade principle where preferably several saw blades 71 preferably on the same axes, forms the protrusions 31b and cavities 33b.
Figure 19a-19e show a method to form the above mentioned protrusions 31b and cavities 33b with a screw cutter principle. Such forming could be produced in a very cost efficient way in a continuous production line and with high accuracy especially if the panel position is synchronized accurately with the tool position and the tool rotation speed. The screw cutter 72 could be used as separate equipment or more preferably as an integrated tool position in a double-end tenoner. It could have a separate control system ore more preferably a control system that is integrated with the main control system 65 of the double-end tenoner. The edge is displaced essentially parallel to the axis of rotation AR of the screw cutter tool 72. It is possible to produce any shape, with round or sharp portions. The cutting could take place before, after or in connection with the profile cutting. When forming short edges, it is preferable to use the method as one of the final steps when the long edge and at least the major parts of the short edge locking system have been formed. It is preferable in some embodiments to form the protrusions and cavities on the groove side before the tongue groove 20 is formed. This reduces the amount of lose fibres and chipping on the inner walls of the cavities and protrusions.
The position in the length direction of a cavity 33b formed on a panel edge depends on the position of the first entrance tool tooth 56a that comes into contact with the panel edge as shown in figure 19c. This means that the rotation of the tool must be adjusted to the panel edge that is moved towards the tool. Such an adjustment could be made by measuring the speed of a transportation chain or a belt or the driving device that moves the chain or the belt. This could be suitable when forming the short edges since a chain generally displaces the panels with chain dogs, which are positioned at very precise intermediate distances. Alternatively the adjustments could be made by a measurement of the position of a panel when it approaches the screw cutter tool. This alternative could be used for example when the long edges are machined.
The diameter 53 of the shown screw cutter tool 72 should preferably be smaller on the entrance side ES than on the opposite exit side. The screw cutter tool could however have the same diameter 53 over the whole length 54. The increased cutting depth could in such a tool configuration be reached with an axis of rotation that is slightly angled in relation to the feeding direction of the panel edge.
The pitch 54 of the tool configuration defines the intermediate distance of the cavities and the protrusions. It is therefore very easy to form a lot of cavities and protrusions with very precise intermediate distances over a considerable length of a joint.
The teeth 56 of a screw cutter should preferably be made of industrial diamonds. The tool diameter 53 is preferably about 50 - 150 mm and the tool length 54 about 30 - 100 mm. Each tooth should preferably have a cutting depth of 0,05 - 0,2 mm.
Figure 20a - c show an example of a screw cutter 72 which has been designed to form cavities and protrusions in a 6-10 mm thick laminate flooring edge with a core of HDF material. It comprises 32 teeth 56, each with a cutting depth of 0,1 mm which allows forming of cavities with 3,2 mm walls. The pitch is 10 mm and the teeth are positioned in 5 screw rows. The diameter 53 is 80 mm and the length 54 is 50 mm. The rotation speed is about 3000 revolutions per minute, which means that the feeding speed could be 3000*10= 30.000 mm/min or 30 meter per minute. The feeding speed could be increased to 40 meter if the rotation speed is increased to 4000 revolutions. The pitch could be increased to 20 mm and this could increase the feeding speed further to 80 meter/minute. The screw cutter could easily meet the conventional feeding speed of 55 meter/minute, which is generally used in production of the short edge locking system. The screw cutter could also be designed too allow a feeding speed of 200 meter/minute if required when forming three-dimensional grooves on short edges.
The screw cutter could have more than one entrance 56a and double screw rows of teeth and this could increase the feeding speed considerably.
The position of the cavities in relation to an edge corner could be made with a tolerance of less than 1,0 mm and this is sufficient to form a high quality locking system according to the invention.
It is an advantage if the intermediate distance between the chain dogs is evenly divided with the pitch. 300 mm between the dogs and a pitch of 10 mm means that the screw cutter should rotate exactly 30 revolutions, in order to teach the same position. This means that only a small adjustment of the screw cutter is needed in order to reach the correct position and to over bridge eventual production tolerances.
Figure 20d shows an edge part 1' with the surface turned downwards, of an 8 mm laminate flooring, which has been formed with the screw cutter 72 shown in figures 20a-c. The protrusions 31b and cavities 33b are formed on the lower lip 22 of the tong groove 20. The inner part of the cavity 33b is smaller than the outer part and has the same geometry as the tool tooth. The cavity could be larger than the tooth if the teeth are displaced in the tool or if the tool rotation is not completely adjusted to the feeding of the panel. The intermediate distance will however still be the same.
The screw cutter principle, which has never been used in flooring production, opens up possibilities to form new locking systems with discontinuous and non-parallel three-dimensional shapes especially on long edges. This new production method makes it possible to produce the above-described locking systems comprising protrusions and cavities in a very rational and cost efficient way. The principle could also be used to produce decorative grooves and bevels with variations in the length direction.
Figure 21a-b show that forming of the protrusions could be made before the profile cut. A separate material 62 or the panel core with protrusions 31a and cavities 33a could be connected to an edge of the floorboard and preferably glued between a surface layer 60 and a balancing layer 61 in a wood or laminate floor. Any of the before mentioned production methods could be used to form the protrusions.
Figure 21c shows that protrusions and cavities could be formed with a large rotating tool 73, similar to a saw blade, which comprise cutting teeth on only a portion of the tool body. This is a simple variant of the screw cutter principle and each rotation forms one cavity. The advantage is that the intermediate distance between the cavities could be changed by an adjustment of the tool rotation speed or the feeding speed of the panel. It is however more difficult to reach a high speed and sufficient tolerances. The large diameter could also be a disadvantage in several applications.
Figures 22a-f show a method and an inserting device 59 to insert and fix a separate part, preferably a displaceable tongue 30 into an edge of a panel, preferably a floor panel. A tongue blank TB comprising several flexible tongues 30 is displaced from a stacking device 58 to a separation device 57 where the displaceable tongue 30 is separated from the tongue blank TB and displaced preferably vertically to a lower plane (figures 22a, 22b) where a pusher 46 presses the displaceable tongue 30 into a displacement groove 40 on a panel edge (figure 22d) A new tongue could thereafter be separated from the blank as shown in figure 22e-f. The inserting device 59 should preferably be integrated with the double-end tenoner (not shown), which machines and forms the mechanical locking system. A first advantage of this principle is that the same chain or transportation device could be used to displace and position the edge of the floorboard. A second advantage is that the same control system 65 could be used to control the inserting device and the double-end tenoner. A third advantage is that the chain and the chain dogs could be adapted such that the intermediate distance of the chain dogs is well defined and preferably the same and this will facilitate a precise and easy fixing of the separate part into a groove. A fourth advantage much lower investment cost than in a case when two separate equipments with two separate control systems are used. This equipment and production method could be used in all locking systems comprising a separate part and not only the described embodiments.
The invention provides an equipment to produce a locking system with a separate part inserted into an edge. The equipment comprises a double-end tenoner with a transportation device that displaces a panel, an inserting device 59 with a pusher 46 that inserts the separate part and a control system 65. The inserting device is integrated with the double end tenoner as one production unit and the pusher and the transportation device are connected to the same control system that controls the transportation device and the pusher.
Figure 23a-23d shows connection of a separate tongue or any similar loose element. A displaceable tongue 30 is connected into a groove 40 at the edge with a pusher according to the above-described method. The pusher could preferably connect the whole tongue or only one edge of the tongue. Figure 23b shows that a pressure wheel PW could be used to connect the displaceable tongue 30 further into a groove 40. Figure 23d show that a position device PD could be used to position the tongue in relation to one long edge. This could be made in line in a continuous flow.
Figure 23e show how a displaceable or flexible tongue 30 could be formed from a tongue blank TB, for example from an extruded section which is punched in order to form and separate the tongues from the extruded tongue blank TB. Friction connections could be formed for example by punching or with heat. The displaceable tongue could also be formed from a wood fibre based material such as HDF, plywood, hardwood etc. Any type of material could be used.
Figure 24a,b shows an embodiments where the lower lip 22 of the groove 20, with its protrusions and cavities, is made of a separate material which is connected to the edge. The locking system could comprise a displaceable tongue 30 and/or a displaceable lower lip 22. It is obvious that the tongue 30 could be made in one piece with protrusions and cavities and that only the lover lip could be displaceable. Figure 24c shows that all principles that have been described for the vertical locking could be used to lock floorboards horizontally. A separate locking element 8' with vertically extending protrusions and cavities could be combined with a locking element 8 comprising similar protrusions and cavities. The locking element 8' or the panel edge could be displaced in order to lock panels horizontally where overlapping protrusions lock behind each other. The figure shows an embodiment with a flexible tongue 30 for vertical locking. It is obvious that a conventional one piece tongue could be used.
Figures 25a and 25c show embodiments of displaceable tongues 30 in unlocked position, figure 25b and 25d in locked position. The tongue protrusions 31a could be wedge shaped or rounded and the tongue groove cavities 33b could also have various shapes such as rectangular, rounded etc. Rounded or wedge shaped protrusions facilitates locking since the overlapping could be obtained gradually during displacement.
Figures 26a-b shows that the tongue protrusions could have a lower contact surface 34, which is inclined upwardly to the horizontal plane. This lower surface could be used to press the groove protrusions 31b and the edge against the upper part of the strip 6 during displacement in order to lock the edges firmly vertically. The groove protrusions 31b could also be formed with vertically inclined walls.
Figure 26c-e shows that a separate tongue 30 could comprise hooks 35 that during the vertical snap folding snaps automatically and grip against the upper part of the groove protrusions 31b. The hooks could extend and flex vertically or horizontally.
Several tests made by the inventor shows that a high vertical or horizontal load could cause a crack C on the strip panel 1, as shown in figure 27a. Such a crack occurs mainly between the lower part of the tongue groove 20 and the upper part of the locking groove 14. This problem is mainly related to thin floorings and floorings with a rather soft core with low tensile strength. Generally it is not preferable to solve such problems by just moving the position of the displacement groove 40' and the tongue groove 20' upwards since this will create a thin and sensitive upper lip 22 in the strip panel 1.
Figure 27b shows that this problem could be solved with a locking system comprising a protrusion 7 on the groove side. This geometry allows that several mainly horizontally extending surfaces on the strip side 1, such as the lower contact surface 6a, and the upper 40a and lower 40b displacement groove surfaces, could be formed with the same tool and this could reduce production tolerances.
Figure 27c show that this problem also could be solved with a locking system comprising a displacement groove 40 and a tongue groove 30 that are offset vertically in relation to each other. The displacement groove 40 is preferably located in a first horizontal plane H1 in one panel edge (1) and the tongue groove is located in second horizontal plane H2 in another panel edge (1,). The second horizontal plane H2 is located closer to the front face of the panel than the first horizontal plane H1. Figure 27d shows a displaceable tongue 30 that could be used in a locking system with offset grooves.
Figure 27e shows a locking system with a displaceable tongue 30 that has a part, which is located under a horizontal locking plane LP that intersects with the upper part of the locking element 8. This gives an even stronger locking. Such a displacement groove could be produced in the conventional way with several tools working in different angles or with scraping or broaching.
Figure 27f shows that this principle could, with some modifications, also be used in the prior art locking system where a flexible tongue 30 is displaced mainly perpendicularly to the edge from one groove into an adjacent tongue groove with a vertical snap or side push.
Figure 28a-28e shows another embodiment where a displaceable tongue 30 is displaced automatically during a vertical snap folding such that the displaceable tongue and the tongue groove protrusions overlap each other. The displaceable tongue comprises a flexible edge section 32a, which during folding is compressed as shown in figure 28b. The edge section 32a will press back the displaceable tongue 30 towards the original position when the panels edges are in the same plane and lock the edges as shown in figure 28c. The flexible edge section could also be formed as a flexible link 32b, which pulls back the displaceable tongue and locks the edges. These principles could be used separately or in combination. Figures 28d and 28e shows how a wedge shaped surfaces of the tongue and the tongue groove protrusions 31a, 31b cooperate during folding and displace the displaceable tongue such that it can snap back and lock vertically. Such wedge shaped surfaces could also be used to position the tongue during folding and to over bridge production tolerances.
Figure 29a-e shows that as an alternative to the side push a turning action could be used to lock adjacent edges of two panels 1, 1' when they are in the same plane. Such a locking could be accomplished without any snapping resistance and with limited separation forces. The known turn snap tongue 30 as shown in figure 3a and 29b could comprise a turning extension 38 which could be used to turn the tongue 30 and to lock the edges as shown in figure 29c. The locking systems could also comprise two separate parts 39, 30 where one inner part 39 has a cross section such that the width W will increase and push a tongue 30 into an adjacent groove when the turning extension is turned vertically downwards. Displacement of a tongue could also be made with horizontal turning towards the long edge.
Figures 30a-30d show a locking system with a displaceable tongue (30) that locks the edges vertically (D1) according to the above-described embodiments but also horizontally (D2) when the displaceable tongue 30 is displaced along the joint such that the protrusions overlap each other. The displaceable tongue has at least two locking elements and each panel edge has at least one locking element preferably formed in one piece with the panel core. The displaceable tongue 30 comprises according to the embodiment shown in figure 30a two tongue locking elements 42a, 42b. The displacement groove 40 and the tongue groove 20 have also groove locking elements 43a, 43b made in one piece with the panel that cooperate with the tongue locking elements and lock the adjacent edges horizontally when the protrusions 31a, 31b are displaced in relation to each other such that they overlap each other as shown in figures 8a-c. Figure 30a is drawn to scale and shows a 6,0 mm laminate flooring. The locking system is produced with large rotating tools. To facilitate such production, the locking system comprises lower lip edges 48a, 48b which have an angled part, adjacent to the displaceable tongue, extending outwardly and downwardly and which are located on a tongue surface which is opposite to a locking element 42a or 42b. Due to the fact that this locking system does not have a strip with a locking element and a locking groove in the rear side, it is possible to produce such a vertical push folding system even in very thin floor panels. Figure 30d shows an embodiment where the locking elements 42a,b, 43a,b have essentially vertical locking surfaces 47 which have an angle of about 90 degrees to the horizontal plane. The lower lip edges 48a,b are essentially vertical. Such a locking system could have a high vertical and horizontal locking strength. The locking surfaces should preferably exceed 30 degrees to the horizontal plane. 45 degrees and more are even more preferable.
Figures 31a - 31e show different embodiments of locking systems where the displaceable tongue locks vertically and horizontally. Fig 31a shows a locking system with a displaceable tongue comprising three locking elements 42a,b,c.
Figure 31b shows a locking system with lower lips 48,49 that overlap each other vertically and locks the edges in one vertical direction. The displaceable tongue 30 could be designed such that it creates a pressure towards the overlapping lower lips 48,49 and this could improve production tolerances and the vertical locking strength.
Figure 31c shows a locking systems with two locking elements 42a, 43a and 42b, 43b in the lower part of each adjacent panel edge. This locking system is similar to figure 8a turned upside down.
Figure 31d show a locking system with eight locking elements 42a,b,a,b'43a,b,a',b'. The displaceable tongue could be connected to the edge with an essentially horizontal snapping. Figure 31e shows a similar locking system with three plus three locking elements.
It is obvious that all these locking principles could be combined. One edge could for example have a locking according to figure 31a and the other according to figure 31d or 31e and all locking systems could have overlapping lover lips.
The shown one piece locking elements in figures 30a-d and 31a-e comprises locking elements with inner parts that are formed as an undercut groove. Figure 32a-c shows however that the one piece locking elements 43a,b could also be formed on a rear side of the panel and not in a groove. This simplifies the production. The inner parts of the tongue locking elements 42a,b are however in this embodiment formed as an undercut groove. The tongue 30 could be produced by for example machining, injection moulding or extrusion and these production methods could be combined with punching if necessary. The tongue 30 could be formed with many different cross sections, for example with locking elements in lower lips extending beyond the upper lips as shown in figure 32d. Such an embodiment is easier to produce since it does not comprise any undercut grooves in the panel edges or in the tongue. Such displaceable tongues 30 could be connected to an edge with angling, snapping or insertion along the edge.
Figures 33a-c show that the displaceable tongue could be arranged on the groove panel 1' such that it locks in a groove located on an outer part of the strip 6.
Figures 34a-d show a production method to produce a locking element 43a in a locking system shown in figures 8a-c. The first tool position T1 could for example form a horizontal groove. Next tool position T2 could form an undercut groove 40a and finally a fine cutter in a third tool position T3 could form the upper part of the edge.
Figures 35a-c show how a locking system according to figure 31b could be produced. A horizontal groove is formed by for example a rotating tool T1. The undercut groove 40a, which in this case has a vertical locking surface, could have any angle and could be formed by broaching where the panel is displaced relative a fixed tool that cuts like a knife with several small and slightly offset tool blades.
Figures 36a-d show a method to insert a displaceable tongue 30 into a displacement groove 40 such that the tongue is inserted parallel to and along the groove. This method could be used for any tongues but is especially suitable for displaceable tongues with locking elements. The tongue 30 is preferably separated from a tongue blank and moved to a position in line with the displacement groove where it is held in a pre determined position by one or several tongue holders 44a,b. The panel 1 is displaced essentially parallel with the displaceable tongue and an edge part is inserted into the displacement groove 40 and preferably pressed further into the groove by one or several guiding unites 45a,b. The displaceable tongue is released from the tongue holders 44a,b by preferably a panel edge that cause the holders to for example rotate away from the edge.
Figures 37a-c show a method to insert a tongue into a groove such that the tongue is snapped essentially perpendicularly into a groove. The whole tongue or only a part of the tongue could be inserted with snapping whereby a pusher 46 presses an edge of the tongue 30 into a part of the groove 40. A remaining part of the tongue could be inserted with the above-described method along the joint. The snapping connection could be obtained by flexible lips on the panel edge as shown in figure 37b and/or by flexible lips on the tongue 30 as shown in figure 37c.
Figures 38a and 38b show that a locking system could be locked such that the panel edges are moved essentially horizontally towards each other. They could thereafter be locked with a side push. The locking systems could also be locked with only a snapping if the displaceable tongue prior to locking is arranged in a position where the protrusions are aligned in front of each other. Such an installation could for example be used when angling of a panel is not possible. Figure 38c shows that locking elements 42a',43a' could be used to replace the friction connection and to keep the tongue into the groove 40 during installation.
Figure 39a-d show another method to connect a separate element, preferably a tongue, into a groove. It is an advantage if tongues 30 could be fed vertically towards a panel edge and connected with a horizontal pusher. The problem is that some tongues, especially displaceable and flexible tongues that have a rather complex three dimensional form, could only be produced with a cross section having a main tongue plane TP, defined as a plane in which the tongue is intended to be located horizontally into a groove, that is located in the same plane as the main plane of the tongue blank TB. This problem could be solved as follows. A tongue blank TB is according to the invention positioned and displaced essentially vertically, or essentially perpendicularly to the position of the panel 1, towards a turning unit 50 as shown in figure 39a. The tongue is connected to the turning unite 50 and separated from the tongue blank, as shown in figure 39b. The turning unit 50 is thereafter turned about 90 degrees in order to bring the tongue 30 with its main tongue plane TP in a horizontal position such that it could be connected into a groove 40 of a panel 1 edge by a pusher 46 that pushes the tongue 30 out from the turning unit and into the groove 40. This is shown in figures 39c and 39d. The panel 1 is shown in a horizontal position with the front face pointing downwards.
A displaceable tongue 30 with protrusions could have a rather simple cross section and could easily be produced with a cross section and a main tongue plane TP perpendicular to the main plane of the tongue blank TB. This is shown in figure 40a. The connection into a groove is than very simple and the tongue 30 could easily be pushed into a groove'40 as shown in figure 40a.
Figure 40b show that any type of tongue 30 connected to a tongue blank TB could be turned prior to the separation from the tongue blank TB and prior to the connection into the groove 40. Such a turning could for example be made with two turning pushers 51a, 51b that press on the upper and lower part of the tongue 30.
Figure 40c show a tongue 30 that has a rather complex cross section and that is produced with the cross section and a main tongue plane TP perpendicular to the main plane of a tongue blank. The tongue 30 is connected with snapping. Figure 40d show that such complex cross section could be produced with injection moulding if the tongue has protrusions 31a. 31a'in the inner and outer part.
Figure 41a show that a tongue 30 could be inserted into a groove 40 in a very controlled way if upper 52a and/or lower 52b guiding devices are used. The groove 40 must be positioned such that it gives space for the upper guiding device 52a to be located between the locking element 8 and the displacement groove 40. The panel is even in this figure shown with the front side downwards.
Figure 41b show that more space could be created for the guiding device it the tongue 30 is inserted in a plane that is not parallel to the horizontal plane.
Figure 41c,d,e show that the insertion of a tongue edge 30a into a groove 40 could be facilitated if a part of the locking element 8 of the strip 6 and/or of the tongue 30 and/or of the groove 40 is removed such that the tongue edge could be inserted into a part of the groove 40 with less or preferably even without any resistance. The remaining part of the tongue 30 could thereafter be inserted along the joint.
Figure 42a show that a tongue blank TB with several displaceable tongues 30 comprising protrusions 31a could be formed by punching a sheet shaped material preferably consisting of HDF, compact laminate, plywood, wood or aluminium or any similar material. Figure 42b show that punching could be used to compress the material and to form three-dimensional sections for example wedge shaped protrusions 31a.
It could be an advantage in thin floorings or soft core material to use a separate or flexible tongue that locks against an upper and lower tongue groove surface as shown in figure 27b and that has an protruding part 30a that comprises essentially horizontal upper and lover contact surfaces. This principle could also be used in the known prior art systems, which uses a vertical snap folding method. A flexible tongue 30 could be formed with a protruding part 30a that locks against the upper and lower tongue groove surfaces 21a and 20b as shown in figures 43a-43c. A locking system with such a tongue could be difficult or impossible to lock with a vertical motion as shown in figure 43d. It could however be locked with a combined horizontal and vertical motion as shown in figures 43e, 43f and this method could be used to for example lock the first rows. A locking with vertical folding could however be made if the displaceable tongue comprises a bevel 30b at and edge part that during folding will push the protruding part 30a into the displacement groove as shown in figure 43g.
Figures 44a-d how a long edge tongue 10 and a pressing edge of the displaceable tongue could be formed in order to reduce vertical friction during locking of the long edges and displacement of the displaceable tongue 30 along the short edge. The first step in a locking is generally a linear displacement in angled position of one long edge 5a towards a long edge 5b of a panel laying flat on the sub floor as shown in figure 44a. The tongue is preferably pushed an initial distance displacement distance, which could position the short edges in essentially the same plane if for example wedge shaped protrusions are used. The final locking is a turning action as shown in figure 44c when the locking element 8 and the locking groove 14 are in contact and facilitate the final locking displacement during which action the displaceable tongue 30 is displaced with a locking distance LD. This final displacement should preferably lock the short edges with a vertical pre tension where the panel edge of the groove pane l'is pressed vertically against the upper part of the strip 6 at the strip panel 1 as for example shown in figure 27b. The friction between the pressing edge 32 and the tip of the tongue 10 could push the upper part of the edge upwards and create "overwood" at the joint edges in the corner portion between the long end short edges. This could be avoided if the pressing edge 32 is inclined vertically and inwardly against the vertical plane VP and/or rounded. A preferred inclination is 20 - 40 degrees. It is also an advantage if the tip of the tongue 10 that during locking is in contact with the pressing edge 32 is rounded. The locking distance LD is in the shown embodiment smaller than 0,10 times the floor thickness FT.
Figures 45a-d show that the vertical friction forces could be reduced further with a flexible pressing edge 32 that could be displaced for example vertically during locking. This principle allows that the locking distance LD could be reduced to zero if required.
Figures 46a-b show that the describe methods to form cavities in an edge could be used to displace the known tongue from one groove into an adjacent groove as described in figure 1c. One or several cavities 33' with horizontally extending inclined (figure 46b) or parallel (figure 47c) walls could be formed by cutting trough the strip 6 and such an embodiment and production method is more cost efficient than the known methods where thin horizontally cutting saw blades are used to make a cavity.
Figure 47a shows that the vertical push folding principle utilizing a bendable tongue 30 that bends into a tongue groove 20 could be improved if a hook 75 is formed at an edge that cooperates with a cavity 33' and prevents displacement. This embodiment makes it possible to lock the first rows with the bending principle. Figure 47b shows that the hook 75 could be flexible and could snap vertically into a protrusion formed preferably on the lower part of the displacement groove 40.
Figures 48a-48h show different embodiments of the invention. Figure 48a shows a long displaceable tongue 30 with two friction connection that is suitable for tile shaped products having a width of 300 - 400 mm. It is possible to connect an edge over a considerable edge length even if the tongue is rather thin since it is positioned and guided inside the displacement groove and the tongue groove. The length is in the embodiment about 200 times the tongue thickness. Figure 48b show a displaceable tongue 30 with a flexible pressing edge that could be used to create a pre tension in the length direction after locking. Figure 48c show a tongue blank TB, made with injection moulding comprising two rows of displaceable tongues 30, 30 with protrusions and cavities. This could reduce production costs considerably and the tongues could be produced in tongue blanks comprising for example 2*32=64 tongues with maintained tolerances in the level of a few hundreds or millimetres. All these shown embodiments have essentially equal intermediate distances between the protrusions and this facilitates rational production. It is obvious that the intermediate distances could vary along the joint. Figure 48d shows that the known flexible tongue could be produced in blanks TB comprising two rows. Figure 48e shows a displaceable tongue 30 with protrusions, which also is flexible and could flex partly inwardly into the displacement groove. This could be used to over bridge production tolerances and to create a vertical pre tension. Figure 48f and 48g show that an edge could comprise one displaceable tongue or two tongues 30, 30' or more. Figure 48f shows several small flexible tongues 30, produced preferably in two-row blanks, could be used on an edge to lock with vertical snap folding. The advantage is that the same tongue could be used for all widths.
Figure 49 shows an equipment to connect separate parts 30 to an edge of a floor panel. The equipment is designed to handle tongue blanks TB comprising tongues 30,30' located side by side and one after each other. It comprises at least two pushers 46 and 46. The first pusher 46 connects one of the tongues 30 to one panel edge 1a and the other pusher connects an adjacent tongue 30' in the same tongue row to a second panel edge 1b. This allows a very high speed and several separate parts could be connected to the same edge.
Figure 50a-50g show an embodiment with a displaceable tongue 30 in one edge comprising protrusions 31a and a displaceable tongue groove lip 22 in the adjacent edges comprising protrusions 31b. The protrusions are wedge formed with their wedge tips pointing at each other during the initial stage of the vertical folding. The wedge shaped protrusions will during locking automatically adjust the two displaceable parts such that the protrusions could pass each other vertically as shown in figures 50c and 50f,g. This will displace one of the two displaceable parts as shown in figure 50g which thereafter could be pushed back in order to lock the adjacent edges vertically and or horizontally. The two displaceable parts 30, 22 could be essentially identical.
Figures 51a-c show a method to unlock two panel edges that have been previously locked with a locking system according to the invention. Figure 51a shows the unlocked position with tongue protrusions 31a located in or above the groove cavities 33b. Figure 51b shows the locked position with the tongue protrusions 31a overlapping the groove protrusions 31b. The displaceable tongue 30 could be displaced one step further into the edge, as shown in figure 51c, such that the tongue protrusions 31a are located over the groove cavities 33b. It is preferred that the outer end 32' of the displaceable tongue 30 is designed such that the unlocked position is automatically obtained when this outer end 32' is in contact with a part of a long edge 41 of a panel installed in a previous row, preferably the inner part of the long edge tongue groove. It is preferred that the tongue initially is positioned such that the distance D1 between the outer end 32'and the contact point on the adjacent long edge is about the same as the distance D2 between two tongue protrusions 31a.
Figure 51d shows an embodiment comprising a displaceable tongue 30 with only one protrusion 31a extending horizontally beyond the upper edge. The tongue groove 20 comprises one cavity 33b and one protrusion 31b. Such an embodiment could be used to lock vertically the middle section of the short edges of narrow panels. The long edges will lock the corner sections. It could preferably also be used in thick rigid panels and in panels with bevels on the surface edges.
Figure 51e show an embodiment where the tongue cavities 33b are formed with thin and horizontally cutting saw blades.
All methods and principles described for vertical locking of floor panels could be used to lock edges horizontally. The locking element 8 of a strip and the locking groove 14 could for example be replaced with a displaceable locking element with protrusions and cavities that cooperate with protrusions and cavities on the locking groove and lock the panels horizontally.
1. Satz von Bodenplatten (1, 1'), die mit einem Verriegelungssystem versehen sind, das eine Feder (30) an einer Kante einer ersten Bodenplatte und eine Feder-Nut (20) in einer angrenzenden Kante einer gleichartigen zweiten Bodenplatte zum vertikalen Verbinden der Kanten umfasst, wobei die Feder (30) und die Feder-Nut (20) in Bezug zueinander verschoben werden können und die Feder (30) eine Feder (30) ist, die in einer Verschiebe-Nut (40) der ersten Platte verschoben werden kann,
dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
die Feder (30) Vorsprünge (31a) umfasst, die sich horizontal über den oberen Teil der Kante hinaus erstrecken, und die Feder-Nut (20) Vorsprünge (31) sowie Hohlräume (33b) umfasst und die Feder (30) mit den Vorsprüngen (31a) und die Feder-Nut (20) mit den Vorsprüngen (31b) sowie Hohlräumen (33b) so eingerichtet sind, dass die aneinandergrenzenden Kanten eine vertikale entriegelte Position, in der die Vorsprünge (31a) der Feder (30) in die Hohlräume (33b) der Feder-Nut (20) passen, sowie eine vertikal verriegelte Position einnehmen können, in der die Vorsprünge (31a) der Feder (30) die Vorsprünge (31b) der Feder-Nut (20) vertikal überlappen, und dass die Feder (30) im Wesentlichen entlang der aneinandergrenzenden Kanten und parallel dazu verschoben werden kann.
2. Satz von Bodenplatten nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Feder (30) und die Nut (20) jeweils einen Vorsprung und einen Hohlraum umfassen.
3. Satz von Bodenplatten nach Anspruch 2, wobei
die Feder und die Nut jeweils mehrere Vorsprünge und Hohlräume umfassen.
4. Satz von Bodenplatten nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Feder und die Nut so eingerichtet sind, dass obere Teile der Kanten mit einer im wesentlichen vertikalen Bewegung in Kontakt gebracht werden können, und das die vertikal verriegelte Position durch Verschiebung entlang einer der Kanten hergestellt werden kann.
5. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der Ansprüche 1-4, wobei der Vorsprung und die Hohlräume der Nut sich an einer unteren Lippe (22) der Nut in der angrenzenden Kante der zweiten Bodenplatte befinden.
6. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Platten mit ersten und zweiten Verbindern (6, 8, 14, 20, 30) versehen sind, die in die Bodenplatten integriert und zum Verbinden aneinandergrenzender Kanten eingerichtet sind, wobei der erste Verbinder einen Verriegelungs-Streifen (6) mit einem nach oben gerichteten Verriegelungs-Element (8) an einer Kante einer Bodenplatte sowie eine nach unten offene Verriegelungs-Nut (14) an einer angrenzenden Kante einer anderen Bodenplatte zum Verbinden der aneinandergrenzenden Kanten in einer horizontalen Richtung D2 senkrecht zu den aneinandergrenzenden Kanten umfasst und der zweite Verbinder die verschiebbare Feder (30) an einer Kante einer Bodenplatte sowie eine horizontal offene Feder-Nut (20) in einer angrenzenden Kante einer anderen Bodenplatte zum Verbinden der aneinandergrenzenden Kanten in vertikaler Richtung D1 umfasst,
die Verbinder so eingerichtet sind, dass sie mit einem Abwinkeln oder einer vertikalen Bewegung verriegelt werden,
eine Press-Kante (32) der verschiebbaren Feder (30) in einer Ausgangsposition an einer Kante einer Platte angeordnet ist,
und die Press-Kante so eingerichtet ist, dass sie im Wesentlichen horizontal und im Wesentlichen in nur einer Richtung sowie entlang der angrenzenden Kante von der entriegelten Ausgangsposition an eine verriegelte Endposition verschoben wird.
7. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche 1-4, wobei die erste Platte eine Platte in einer ersten Reihe ist und die verschiebbare Feder (30) so eingerichtet ist, dass sie durch eine Kraft gedrückt wird, die an der Press-Kante (32) einer Platte in einer zweiten Reihe ausgeübt wird.
8. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Breite der Feder (10, 30) in der Längsrichtung der Feder variiert.
9. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Vorsprünge und Hohlräume der Nut aus einem Stück mit der Platte ausgebildet sind.
10. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der Ansprüche 1-9 , wobei die Vorsprünge und Hohlräume der Nut in einem separaten Material ausgebildet sind, das mit der Kante verbunden ist.
11. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei wenigstens ein Vorsprung eine Keilform in der horizontalen und/oder vertikalen Richtung hat.
12. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei ein äußerer Teil wenigstens eines Vorsprungs eine Breite oder Dicke hat, die kleiner ist als ein innerer Teil.
13. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei wenigstens ein Vorsprung einen keilförmigen Querschnitt hat, um einen zunehmenden vertikalen Druck zu erzeugen, wenn die verschiebbare Feder (30) entlang der Verbindung verschoben wird.
14. Satz von Bodenplatten nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Verschiebe-Nut (40) und die Feder-Nut (20) in Bezug zueinander vertikal versetzt sind.
1. Ensemble de panneaux de sol (1, 1') muni d'un système de blocage comprenant une languette (30) au niveau d'un bord d'un premier panneau de sol et d'une rainure de languette (20) dans un bord adjacent d'un second panneau de sol similaire afin de relier les bords à la verticale, dans lequel la languette (30) et la rainure de languette (20) peuvent être déplacées l'une par rapport à l'autre, dans lequel la languette (30) est une languette déplaçable (30) dans une rainure de déplacement (40) du premier panneau,
caractérisé en ce que la languette (30) comprend des saillies (31a) qui s'étendent à l'horizontale au-delà de la partie supérieure du bord, et la rainure de languette (20) comprend des saillies (31b) et des cavités (33b), la languette (30) avec les saillies (31a) et la rainure de languette (20) avec les saillies (31b) et les cavités (33b) étant configurées de sorte que les bords adjacents puissent adopter une position verticalement débloquée dans laquelle les saillies (31a) de la languette (30) correspondent avec les cavités (33b) de la rainure de languette (20), et une position verticalement bloquée dans laquelle les saillies (31a) de ladite languette (30) chevauchent verticalement les saillies (31b) de ladite rainure de languette (20), et en ce que la languette (30) peut se déplacer essentiellement le long de et parallèlement aux bords adjacents.
2. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la languette (30) et la rainure (20) comprennent chacune une saillie et une cavité.
3. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la languette et la rainure comprennent chacune plusieurs saillies et cavités.
4. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon la revendication 3, dans lequel la languette et la rainure sont configurées de sorte que les parties supérieures des bords puissent être amenées en contact avec un mouvement essentiellement vertical et de sorte que la position verticalement bloquée puisse être obtenue par déplacement le long de l'un des bords.
5. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel les saillies et les cavités de la rainure sont prévues au niveau d'un rebord inférieur (22) de la rainure dans ledit bord adjacent du second panneau de sol.
6. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel les panneaux sont munis d'un premier et d'un second raccords (6, 8, 14, 20, 30) intégrés aux panneaux de sol et configurés pour relier des bords adjacents, le premier raccord comprenant une bande de blocage (6) avec un élément de blocage orienté vers le haut (8) au niveau d'un bord d'un panneau de sol, et une rainure de blocage ouverte vers le bas (14) au niveau d'un bord adjacent d'un autre panneau de sol afin de relier les bords adjacents dans une direction horizontale D2 perpendiculaire aux bords adjacents, le second raccord comprenant la languette déplaçable (30) au niveau d'un bord d'un panneau de sol, et une rainure de languette horizontalement ouverte (20) dans un bord adjacent d'un autre panneau de sol afin de relier les bords adjacents dans la direction verticale D1, les raccords sont configurés pour être bloqués avec un mouvement angulaire ou vertical, un bord de pression (32) de la languette déplaçable (30) est disposé dans une position initiale au niveau d'un bord d'un panneau, le bord de pression est configuré pour être déplacé essentiellement à l'horizontale et essentiellement dans une direction uniquement et le long du bord adjacent, de la position débloquée initiale vers une position bloquée finale.
7. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel ledit premier panneau est un panneau sur une première rangée et la languette déplaçable (30) est configurée pour être poussée par une force appliquée au niveau du bord de pression (32), d'un panneau d'une seconde rangée.
8. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la largeur de la languette (10, 30) varie dans la direction de la longueur de la languette.
9. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel les saillies et les cavités de la rainure sont formées d'un seul tenant avec le panneau.
10. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, dans lequel les saillies et les cavités de la rainure sont formées en un matériau distinct relié au bord.
11. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel au moins une saillie possède une forme de cale dans la direction horizontale et/ou verticale.
12. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel une partie extérieure d'au moins une saillie présente une largeur ou une épaisseur inférieure à une partie intérieure.
13. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel au moins une saillie présente une section transversale en forme de cale afin d'obtenir une plus grande pression verticale lorsque la languette déplaçable (30) est déplacée le long de la jonction.
14. Ensemble de panneaux de sol selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la rainure de déplacement (40) et la rainure de languette (20) sont décalées verticalement l'une par rapport à l'autre.