(19)
(11)EP 3 666 489 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 19152445.3

(22)Date of filing:  18.01.2019
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B29C 43/02  (2006.01)
B29K 21/00  (2006.01)
B29L 31/00  (2006.01)
D06N 7/00  (2006.01)
B29K 105/26  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 14.12.2018 US 201862779939 P

(71)Applicant: Aladdin Manufactuing Corporation
Calhoun, GA 30701 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • TRIMBLE, Craig
    Calhoun, GA Georgia 30701 (US)
  • JENKINS, Joey
    Calhoun, GA Georgia 30701 (US)
  • EDWARDS, Shawn
    Calhoun, GA Georgia 30701 (US)
  • LAWSON, Anthony
    Calhoun, GA Georgia 30701 (US)
  • SANCHEZ-CAMARILLO, Franco
    Calhoun, GA Georgia 30701 (US)
  • BROWN, Andrew
    Calhoun, GA Georgia 30701 (US)

(74)Representative: Schacht, Benny Marcel Corneel 
Mohawk International Services, BVBA Patent department Ooigemstraat 3
8710 Wielsbeke
8710 Wielsbeke (BE)

  


(54)FLOOR MATS AND METHODS OF PRODUCING THE SAME


(57) Various implementations include a mat having a lower surface and first and second edge portions that define at least a portion of a perimeter of the mat. The mat also includes a plurality of ribs that extend away from the lower surface of the mat for contacting the floor. Each rib has a longitudinal axis that extends between ends of the rib, and at least a portion of the plurality of ribs includes one or more branches that extend transversely to the longitudinal axis and are axially spaced apart from each other. The ribs are spaced apart from each other over the lower surface such that adjacent ribs define a valley therebetween. Water and/or debris can flow through the valleys. In addition, the longitudinal axis of each rib intersects the first and second edges of the mat at angles that are greater than 0° and less than 90°.




Description

BACKGROUND



[0001] Floor mats typically have a flat lower surface that contacts a floor or the ground. Water and debris get stuck between the lower surface and the surface contacted by the mat, which can damage the surface and/or the mat over time.

[0002] Thus, there is a need in the art for a mat that allows water and debris to shed from below the mat.

BRIEF SUMMARY



[0003] According to a first aspect, a mat is provided that comprises a lower surface, first and second edge portions, and a plurality of ribs for contacting the floor. The first and second edge portions define at least a portion of a perimeter of the mat. The ribs extend away from the lower surface in a direction that is transverse to a plane that includes the lower surface. Each rib has a longitudinal axis that extends between ends of the rib. And, at least a portion of the plurality of ribs comprises one or more branches that extend transversely to the longitudinal axis and are axially spaced apart from each other. The ribs are spaced apart from each other over the lower surface such that adjacent ribs define a valley therebetween, and the longitudinal axis of each rib intersects the first and second edges of the mat at angles that are greater than 0° and less than 90°.

[0004] According to some embodiments, the adjacent ribs may not intersect each other on the lower surface.

[0005] According to some embodiments, the longitudinal axes of the ribs may be parallel to each other.

[0006] According to some embodiments, the branches may be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rib from which the branches extend.

[0007] According to some embodiments, the ribs include first, second, and third ribs, the second rib is laterally between the first and third ribs, and longitudinal axes extending through the branches of the first and third ribs may align with each other and/or may be offset from longitudinal axes extending through branches of the second rib.

[0008] According to some embodiments, the longitudinal axes extending through branches of the second rib may bisect a distance between longitudinal axes extending through adjacent branches on the first rib and between longitudinal axes extending through adjacent branches on the third rib.

[0009] According to some embodiments, a width of each rib as measured perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rib and within plane that is parallel to the plane of the lower surface may be at least 0.0625 inches, preferably at least 0.1 inches, and more preferably at least 0.26 inches.

[0010] According to some embodiments, a depth of each rib as measured from the lower surface to distal surface of the rib and within a plane that is perpendicular to the lower surface may be at least 0.05 inches, preferably at least 0.075 inches, and more preferably at least 0.1 inches.

[0011] According to some embodiments, facing surfaces of adjacent ribs may be spaced apart at least 0.125 inches, preferably at least 0.2 inches, and more preferably at least 0.6 inches.

[0012] According to some embodiments, a ratio of a surface area of the ribs and a surface area of the lower surface may be between 0.1 and 0.75, preferably between 0.25 and 0.6, and more preferably 0.5.

[0013] According to a second aspect, a method of forming a mat is provided, the method comprising:
  • providing a mold cavity having a floor surface and one or more edge surfaces, the one or more edge surfaces extending upwardly from the floor surfaces and defining a perimeter of the mold cavity,
  • providing a mold press plate for engaging the mold cavity, the mold press plate defining a plurality of channels that extend into an engagement surface the press plate, each channel comprising a main portion having a longitudinal axis that extends between ends of the main portion of the respective channel, and at least a portion of the channels further comprise one or more branch portions that extend transversely to the longitudinal axis of the main portion and are axially spaced apart from each other;
  • pouring a backing material into the mold cavity and pressing the plate into the mold cavity and against a surface of the backing material, the surface of the backing material forming a lower surface of the mat;
  • removing the backing from the mold cavity, the backing having an upper surface and the lower surface, the lower surface defining a plurality of ribs formed by the channels in the mold press plate.


[0014] According to some embodiments the method further may comprise:
  • applying a layer of glue to the upper surface of the backing; and
  • flocking short fibers ahead of one end of each fiber falling into the layer of glue.


[0015] According to some embodiments, the method according to the second aspect may be used to provide mats according to the first aspect.

[0016] The mats have the characteristic that humidity can be evacuated from beneath the lower surface of the mat. In addition, the mats may further have the characteristic that debris can easily be removed from beneath the lower surface of the mat. The mats may also have the characteristic that during production, the backing and hence the mat are stiffer than conventional mats having flat bottom surfaces. This increased stiffness may also be beneficial during the production of the mat itself, e.g., during application of glue and/or flocking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0017] Example features and implementations are disclosed in the accompanying drawings. However, the present disclosure is not limited to the precise arrangements shown.

FIG. 1 illustrates a plan view of a lower surface of a mat according to a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the mat shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the mat shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4A illustrates a schematic view of a mold cavity, and FIG. 4B illustrates a perspective bottom view of mold press plate according to a preferred embodiment.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0018] Various implementations include a mat having a lower surface and first and second edge portions that define at least a portion of a perimeter of the mat. The mat also includes a plurality of ribs that extend away from the lower surface of the mat for contacting the floor. Each rib has a longitudinal axis that extends between ends of the rib, and at least a portion of the plurality of ribs includes one or more branches that extend transversely to the longitudinal axis and are axially spaced apart from each other. The ribs are spaced apart from each other over the lower surface such that adjacent ribs define a valley therebetween. Water and/or debris can flow through the valleys. In addition, the longitudinal axis of each rib intersects the first and second edges of the mat at angles that are greater than 0° and less than 90°. Thus, the ribs are disposed diagonally relative to the edges of the mat that they intersect.

[0019] For example, in the implementation shown in FIGS. 1-3, the mat 10 includes a lower surface 12, and first, second, third, and fourth side edges 14a-14d, respectively, define a perimeter of the mat 10. The side edges 14a-14d define a rectangular perimeter. Thus, first side edge 14a and third side edge 14c are opposite and spaced apart from each other, and second side edge 14b and fourth side edge 14d are opposite and spaced apart from each other. However, in other implementations, the mat has a perimeter having arcuate shaped side edges and/or three or more intersecting side edges (e.g., a circular shaped perimeter, an oval shaped perimeter, a football shaped perimeter, a triangular shaped perimeter, a hexagonal shaped perimeter, etc.).

[0020] The mat also includes a plurality of ribs 16 that extend away from the lower surface 12 in a direction that is transverse to a plane that includes the lower surface 12. Each rib 16 has a longitudinal axis 18 that extends between ends 17, 19 of the rib 16. The ends 17, 19 of each rib 16 intersect two of the side edges 14a-d (e.g., side edges 14a and 14b, side edges 14a and 14c, or side edges 14a and 14d) at an angle α of 45°. A main portion of each rib 16 is straight, and each rib 16 further includes one or more branches 15 that extend from the main portion perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis 18 and are axially spaced apart from each other. The ribs 16 are also spaced apart from each other over the lower surface 12 such that adjacent ribs 16 define a valley 13 therebetween. And, the branches 15 on adjacent ribs are spaced apart axially and laterally relative to each other such that the distal ends of each branch 15 do not contact or align with the distal ends of branches 15 on immediately adjacent ribs 16. Thus, water and/or debris flowing through the valleys 13 flows around the distal ends of the branches 15 in an undulating pattern. The branches 15 provide structural integrity to the mat 10 by preventing the mat 10 from shifting relative to the longitudinal axes of the ribs 15 when pressure is applied to the upper surface of the mat 10.

[0021] In the implementation shown, the longitudinal axes 18 of the ribs 16 are parallel to each other, and the branches 15 are perpendicular to the respective longitudinal axes 18. In addition, the branches 15 on every other rib 16 are aligned with each other along axes that are perpendicular to the axes 18, and the axes on which the branches 15 on every other rib 16 are aligned bisect the distance between axially adjacent branches 15 on the immediately adjacent ribs 16.

[0022] Furthermore, in the implementation shown, the longitudinal axes of the ribs intersect the side edges 14a-14d at an angle α of 45°, but in other implementations, the angle at which the ribs intersect the side edges is greater than 0° and less than 90°.

[0023] However, in other implementations, at least a portion of the longitudinal axes of the ribs are not parallel to each other but do not intersect on the lower surface of the mat, at least a portion of the branches are transverse to the respective longitudinal axis, and/or the axes extending through distal ends of the branches 15 that extend from every other rib 16 are not aligned and/or are offset from the midpoint between the axes extending through axially adjacent branches 15 on ribs 16 that are immediately laterally adjacent.

[0024] According to various implementations, a width WR of each rib as measured perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 18 of the rib 16 and within a plane that is parallel to the plane of the lower surface 12 is at least 0.0625 inches. For example, the width WR may be between 0.1 to 0.5 inches, such as 0.2669 inches as shown in FIG. 1. A width WB of each branch as measured within a plane that is parallel to the plane of the lower surface 12 and perpendicular to a longitudinal axis extending between the ends of the branch is at least 0.0625 inches. For example, the width WB may be between 0.1 to 0.5 inches, such as 0.2807 inches as shown in FIG. 1. A depth DR of each rib 16 as measured from the lower surface 12 to distal surface 16a of the rib 16 and within a plane that is perpendicular to the lower surface 12 is at least 0.05 inches. For example, the depth DR may be between 0.05 and 0.2 inches, such as 0.125 inches as shown in FIG. 2. At least one branch 15 extends from at least one side of each rib 16, and axially adjacent surfaces of branches extending from the same rib are axially spaced apart by a distance DB1 of at least 0.0625 inches. For example, the distance DB1 may be between 0.5 and 3 inches, such as 1.4971 inches as shown in FIG. 1. Facing surfaces of adjacent ribs define a width of the valley 13 defined between the adjacent ribs, and the width Wv of the valley is at least 0.125 inches. For example, the width WV is between 0.2 and 1.0 inches, such as 0.6170 inches as shown in FIG. 1. A distance DB2 defined by facing surfaces of axially adjacent branches extending toward each other from laterally adjacent ribs is at least 0.125 inches. For example, the distance DB2 is between 0.2 and 1.0 inches, such as 0.6032 inches as shown in FIG. 1. The angle α between the longitudinal axes 18 of the ribs 16 and the edges 14a-14d is between 0° and 90° (e.g., 45° as shown in FIG. 1). A ratio of the width WV of the valley to a length of each branch 15 as measured from the distal end of the branch 15 to the surface of the rib 16 from which the branch 15 extends is greater than 1, such that the distal end of the branch remains spaced apart from the rib adjacent to the branch. For example, the ratio is at least 2.

[0025] Furthermore, a ratio of the width WR of each rib and the width WB of each branch is between 0.25 and 4.5. For example, the ratio of the width WR and the width WB is between 0.5 and 1.5, such as 0.95 as shown in FIG. 1. A ratio of the width WR of each rib and the width Wv of each valley is between 1.2 and 0.1. For example, the ratio of the width WR and the width Wv is between 0.8 and 0.3, such as 0.4326 as shown in FIG. 1. A ratio of a surface area of the ribs 16 (including the branches 15) and a total surface area of the lower surface 12 is between 0.1 and 0.75. For example, the ratio of the surface area of the ribs and the total surface area is between 0.25 and 0.6, such as 0.5.

[0026] FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate a mold apparatus in which the mat 10 is formed. According to this implementation, the mold apparatus 100 includes a mold base 102 that defines a mold cavity, shown in FIG. 4A, and includes a mold press plate 108, shown in FIG. 4B, that is pressed onto a material disposed in the cavity. The mold base 102 includes a floor surface 104 and edge surfaces 106a-106d that extend upwardly from the floor surface 104 and define a perimeter of the mold cavity. The number of edge surfaces corresponds with the outer perimeter of the mat to be formed, and the contour of the floor surface 104 corresponds to a contour of an upper surface of a backing for the mat to be formed.

[0027] The mold press plate 108 defines a plurality of channels 112 that extend inwardly from an engagement surface 110 of the press plate 108. A perimeter of each channel 112 corresponds to the perimeter of the shape of the ribs to be formed, and a depth of each channel 112 corresponds to a depth of the ribs to be formed. The mold press plate 108 is formed of a rigid material, such as stainless steel.

[0028] A backing material is poured into the mold cavity, and the press plate 108 is pressed against the backing material in the mold cavity to form the ribs and valleys. The press plate 108 is removed when the backing material is sufficiently cured as to hold its shape from the application of the press plate 108. The cured (or nearly cured) material forms a backing of the mat 10. In some implementations, the backing material comprises a natural or synthetic rubber material. For example, in one implementation, the backing material is recycled rubber (e.g., from tires) and a urethane binder.

[0029] The backing is then removed from the mold cavity 102. The backing has an upper (or first) surface that has the shape of the floor 104 of the mold base 102 (e.g., flat) and a lower (or second) surface that was molded by the press plate 108 and corresponds to the lower surface 12 of the mat 10 described above. The lower surface defines the ribs 16 described above, which are formed by the channels 112 in the mold press plate 108.

[0030] To apply glue to the first surface, the mat is fed through at least one pair of pinch rollers, and a layer of glue is deposited on the first surface of the backing. The branches, such as branches 15, formed on the second surface of the backing material, distribute the pressure from the pinch rollers across the first and second surfaces more evenly, which allows the glue to be applied at a more consistent thickness over the first surface of the backing material.

[0031] Then, the mat is urged through a flocking mechanism, and short fibers are flocked such that one end of each fiber falls into the layer of glue and the other end of the fiber is spaced apart from the glue layer. The flocking mechanism creates an electrical field that orients the fibers vertically relative to the first surface of the backing (e.g., the longitudinal axes of the fibers are perpendicular relative to the first surface of the backing).

[0032] Various implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the description. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.

[0033] Disclosed are materials, systems, devices, methods, compositions, and components that can be used for, can be used in conjunction with, can be used in preparation for, or are products of the disclosed methods, systems, and devices. These and other components are disclosed herein, and it is understood that when combinations, subsets, interactions, groups, etc. of these components are disclosed that while specific reference of each various individual and collective combinations and permutations of these components may not be explicitly disclosed, each is specifically contemplated and described herein. For example, if a device is disclosed and discussed every combination and permutation of the device, and the modifications that are possible are specifically contemplated unless specifically indicated to the contrary. Likewise, any subset or combination of these is also specifically contemplated and disclosed. This concept applies to all aspects of this disclosure including, but not limited to, steps in methods using the disclosed systems or devices. Thus, if there are a variety of additional steps that can be performed, it is understood that each of these additional steps can be performed with any specific method steps or combination of method steps of the disclosed methods, and that each such combination or subset of combinations is specifically contemplated and should be considered disclosed.


Claims

1. A mat comprising:

a lower surface and first and second edge portions, the first and second edge portions define at least a portion of a perimeter of the mat; and

a plurality of ribs for contacting a floor, the ribs extending away from the lower surface in a direction that is transverse to a plane that includes the lower surface, each rib having a longitudinal axis that extends between ends of the rib, and at least a portion of the plurality of ribs comprising one or more branches that extend transversely to the longitudinal axis and are axially spaced apart from each other,

wherein:

the ribs are spaced apart from each other over the lower surface such that adjacent ribs define a valley therebetween, and

the longitudinal axis of each rib intersects the first and second edges of the mat at angles that are greater than 0° and less than 90°.


 
2. The mat of claim 1, wherein adjacent ribs do not intersect each other on the lower surface.
 
3. The mat of claim 2, wherein the longitudinal axes of the ribs are parallel to each other.
 
4. The mat of any one of claims 1-3, wherein the branches are perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rib from which the branches extend.
 
5. The mat of claim 4, wherein the ribs include first, second, and third ribs, the second rib is laterally between the first and third ribs, and longitudinal axes extending through the branches of the first and third ribs align with each other and are offset from longitudinal axes extending through branches of the second rib.
 
6. The mat of claim 5, wherein the longitudinal axes extending through branches of the second rib bisect a distance between longitudinal axes extending through adjacent branches on the first rib and between longitudinal axes extending through adjacent branches on the third rib.
 
7. The mat of any one of claims 1-6, wherein a width of each rib as measured perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rib and within plane that is parallel to the plane of the lower surface is at least 0.0625 inches, preferably at least 0.1 inches, more preferably at least 0.26 inches.
 
8. The mat of any one of claims 1-7, wherein a depth of each rib as measured from the lower surface to distal surface of the rib and within a plane that is perpendicular to the lower surface is at least 0.05 inches, preferably at least 0.075 inches, more preferably at least 0.1 inches.
 
9. The mat of any one of claims 1-8, wherein facing surfaces of adjacent ribs are spaced apart at least 0.125 inches, preferably at least 0.2 inches, more preferably at least 0.6 inches.
 
10. The mat of any one of claims 1-9, wherein a ratio of a surface area of the ribs and a surface area of the lower surface is between 0.1 and 0.75, preferably between 0.25 and 0.6, more preferably as 0.5.
 
11. The mat of claim 1, wherein a width of each rib as measured perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rib and within plane that is parallel to the plane of the lower surface is at least 0.0625 inches, preferably at least 0.1 inches, more preferably at least 0.26 inches.
 
12. The mat of claim 1, wherein a depth of each rib as measured from the lower surface to distal surface of the rib and within a plane that is perpendicular to the lower surface is at least 0.05 inches, preferably at least 0.075 inches, more preferably at least 0.1 inches.
 
13. The mat of claim 1, wherein facing surfaces of adjacent ribs are spaced apart at least 0.125 inches, preferably at least 0.2 inches, more preferably at least 0.6 inches.
 
14. The mat of claim 1, wherein a ratio of a surface area of the ribs and a surface area of the lower surface is between 0.1 and 0.75, preferably between 0.25 and 0.6, more preferably as 0.5.
 
15. A method of forming a mat comprising:

providing a mold cavity having a floor surface and one or more edge surfaces, the one or more edge surfaces extending upwardly from the floor surfaces and defining a perimeter of the mold cavity,

providing a mold press plate for engaging the mold cavity, the mold press plate defining a plurality of channels that extend into an engagement surface the press plate, each channel comprising a main portion having a longitudinal axis that extends between ends of the main portion of the respective channel, and at least a portion of the channels further comprise one or more branch portions that extend transversely to the longitudinal axis of the main portion and are axially spaced apart from each other;

pouring a backing material into the mold cavity and pressing the plate into the mold cavity and against a surface of the backing material, the surface of the backing material forming a lower surface of the mat; and

removing the backing from the mold cavity, the backing having an upper surface and the lower surface, the lower surface defining a plurality of ribs formed by the channels in the mold press plate.


 
16. The method of forming a mat according to claim 15, further comprising:

applying a layer of glue to the upper surface of the backing; and

flocking short fibers ahead of one end of each fiber falling into the layer of glue.


 




Drawing