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Artificial surface divider

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20120276342 patent thumbnailZoom

Artificial surface divider


An artificial surface divider comprising a floor having a plurality of pads spaced apart from one another, the plurality of pads being mounted to a longitudinal housing having an overhang at least partially defining a longitudinal channel and a longitudinal gap that is open to the longitudinal channel, the longitudinal gap extending between an edge of the overhang and a floor of the longitudinal housing, where a longitudinal dimension of the artificial surface divider is the dominant dimension.

Inventor: Patrick Dudley Bray
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120276342 - Class: 428174 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 428 
Stock Material Or Miscellaneous Articles > Structurally Defined Web Or Sheet (e.g., Overall Dimension, Etc.) >Nonplanar Uniform Thickness Material

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120276342, Artificial surface divider.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/437,178, entitled, “TURF DIVIDER,” filed Jan. 28, 2011, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

RELATED ART

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to an artificial surface divider that may be used with artificial surface installation.

2. Brief Discussion of Related Art

Artificial turf, commonly referred to as “synthetic grass,” is a viable alternative to natural sod and other ground covers due to its realistic appearance and its water conservation attributes, particularly for drought afflicted regions.

For artificial turf to be installed properly, it requires a hard edge or border for the turf material to butt against. If the artificial turf is installed without a hard edge or border, the installation is subject to weakening over time because the ends of the turf material are exposed. This exposure of the artificial turf ends commonly results in the turf pulling up and unravelling. Moreover, the base material under the artificial turf has a greater propensity to erode as water and wind can get under the exposed edge of the artificial turf.

Currently, installers of artificial turf are using simple landscape and garden edging devices, such as flexible bender boards and paver restraints, in an attempt to create a firm edge. Some of these devices, while operative to temporarily create a firm edge are very time consuming and labor intensive to install. In contrast, L-shaped paver restraints are easier to install, but these L-shaped paver restraints are less aesthetically pleasing and do not provide a durable solution.

INTRODUCTION TO THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an artificial surface divider that may be used with artificial surface installation.

It is a first aspect of the present invention to provide an artificial surface divider comprising a floor having a plurality of pads spaced apart from one another, the plurality of pads being mounted to a longitudinal housing having an overhang at least partially defining a longitudinal channel and a longitudinal gap that is open to the longitudinal channel, the longitudinal gap extending between an edge of the overhang and a floor of the longitudinal housing, wherein a longitudinal dimension of the artificial surface divider is the dominant dimension.

In a more detailed embodiment of the first aspect, at least one of the plurality of pads comprises a frustopyramidal pad integrally formed with the longitudinal housing. In yet another more detailed embodiment, at least one of the plurality of pads comprises a triangular pad integrally formed with the longitudinal housing. In a further detailed embodiment, the longitudinal housing includes a longitudinal floor, a longitudinal rear wall, a longitudinal roof, and a longitudinal front wall, and the longitudinal front wall is spaced apart from the longitudinal floor to provide the longitudinal gap. In still a further detailed embodiment, the longitudinal floor is perpendicular with respect to the longitudinal rear wall, and the longitudinal front wall is perpendicular with respect to the longitudinal floor. In a more detailed embodiment, the longitudinal channel spans a first vertical length, the longitudinal gap spans a second vertical length, and the first vertical length is greater than the second vertical length. In a more detailed embodiment, the longitudinal housing includes a flange extending away from the overhang.

It is a second aspect of the present invention to provide an artificial surface divider comprising: (a) a base having a floor; (b) an upstanding wall mounted to the base; (c) an eave mounted to the upstanding wall and elevated vertically above the base, where the base, upstanding wall, and the cave cooperate to define a channel that is not entirely enclosed along a longitudinal length thereof, where a longitudinal gap exists between the eave and the floor, where the base extends perpendicularly beyond the cave, and where a vertical height of the gap is less than a vertical height of the longitudinal channel.

In a more detailed embodiment of the second aspect, the floor includes a plurality of pads longitudinally spaced apart from one another. In yet another more detailed embodiment, the base, the vertical wall, and the cave defining the channel have a vertical cross-section comprising a discontinuous rectangular shape. In a further detailed embodiment, the cave includes a lip nearest to the floor, a gap spacing comprises the shortest distance between the lip and the floor, and the channel comprises a vertical height greater than the gap spacing. In still a further detailed embodiment, the embodiment further includes a descending wall extending in a direction away from the upstanding wall. In a more detailed embodiment, the upstanding wall is perpendicular with respect to the base, and the descending wall is perpendicular with respect to the base. In a more detailed embodiment, the base includes a plurality of pads extending away from the channel, the plurality of pads comprising at least one of a triangular cross-section and a frustopyramidal cross-section. In another more detailed embodiment, the floor is substantially planar, the upstanding wall comprises a vertical wall perpendicularly oriented with respect to at least a portion of the base, and the overhang comprises an L-shaped section having a first wall perpendicularly mounted to a second wall.

It is a third aspect of the present invention to provide an artificial surface divider comprising: (a) a base having a substantially planar floor with a dominant longitudinal dimension; and, (b) an overhang with a dominant longitudinal dimension that is operatively coupled to the base, the overhang cooperating with the floor to define a recessed cavity extending longitudinally and accessible via a gap extending longitudinally between the overhang and the floor, wherein a vertical height of the gap is less than a vertical height of the cavity.

It is a fourth aspect of the present invention to provide an artificial surface divider comprising a horizontal floor extending longitudinally and laterally, the horizontal floor including at least one opening adapted to receive an artificial surface retainer, the horizontal floor coupled to an upright flange extending longitudinally and vertically away from the horizontal floor, the upright flange being coupled to an overhang extending longitudinally, vertically, and laterally so that an edge of the overhang nearest the horizontal floor is vertically spaced apart from the horizontal floor to provide a vertical gap therebetween and laterally spaced apart from the upright flange, where at least a portion of the horizontal floor, at least a portion of the upright flange, and at least a portion of the overhang cooperate to define a longitudinal cavity.

It is a fifth aspect of the present invention to provide a method of manufacturing an artificial surface divider, the method comprising: (a) extruding a material through a die having an orifice with a cross-section comprising: (i) a horizontal opening, (ii) an upright opening connected to the horizontal opening and extending vertically away from the horizontal opening, (iii) an overhang opening connected to the upright opening and extending horizontally away from the upright opening, the overhang opening extending toward the horizontal opening; (b) cooling the material after the material exits the die to solidify the material; and, (c) cutting the solidified material into segments having a predefined length.

In a more detailed embodiment of the fifth aspect, the upright opening extends vertically above and below the horizontal opening. In yet another more detailed embodiment, the upright opening extends vertically above the horizontal opening and does not extend vertically below the horizontal opening. In a further detailed embodiment, the upright opening is perpendicular with respect to the horizontal opening. In still a further detailed embodiment, cooling the material after it exits the die to solidify the material results in: (A) a horizontal floor extending longitudinally and laterally; (B) an upright flange connected to the horizontal floor, the upright flange extending vertically and longitudinally; (C) an overhang connected to the upright flange, the overhang extending longitudinally, laterally and vertically; (D) a gap extending longitudinally and vertically between at least a portion of the horizontal floor and at least a portion of the overhang; and, (E) a longitudinal cavity cooperatively defined by the horizontal floor, the upright flange, and the overhang. In a more detailed embodiment, the method further includes the step of repetitively removing segments of the horizontal floor to create a plurality of cut-outs, where each of the cut-outs has the same shape and is equidistantly spaced apart in a repeating fashion from adjacent cut-outs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevated perspective view of a first exemplary artificial surface divider in accordance with the instant disclosure

FIG. 2 is a top view of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an elevated perspective view of an end of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an underneath perspective view from the end of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a side view showing the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1 when installed as part of an artificial turf installation.

FIG. 8 is an elevated perspective view of a second exemplary artificial surface divider in accordance with the instant disclosure

FIG. 9 is a top view of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 is an elevated perspective view of an end of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 8.

FIG. 12 is an underneath perspective view from the end of the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1.

FIG. 13 is a side view showing the exemplary artificial surface divider of FIG. 1 when installed as part of an artificial turf installation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure are described and illustrated below to encompass artificial surface dividers and methods of manufacturing artificial surface dividers. Of course, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the embodiments discussed below are exemplary in nature and may be reconfigured without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. However, for clarity and precision, the exemplary embodiments as discussed below may include optional steps, methods, and features that one of ordinary skill should recognize as not being a requisite to fall within the scope of the present disclosure.

Referencing FIGS. 1-6, an exemplary artificial surface divider 100 comprises a plurality of ground pads 102 that extend outward from a common rail 104. Each ground pad 102 has a frustopyramidal shape with a wide base 106 that connects to the rail 104. The base 106 tapers as it extends outward from the rail 104 until reaching a flat end 108. Interposing the flat end 108 and the base 106 is an orifice 110 that is generally centered between the flat end and the base, as well as being centered between a medial side 112 and a lateral side 114 of the pad 102. As will be discussed in greater detail hereafter, the orifice is adapted to receive a ground spike or other retainer in order to mount the artificial surface divider 100 to an underlying base material such as dirt or packed clay. Each pad 102 includes a top surface 116 and an opposed bottom surface 118 that are substantially planar. In this exemplary embodiment, the bottom surface 118 is adapted to contact the underlying base material, while the top surface 116 is adapted to contact the underside of a section of artificial turf.

The rail 104 comprises four rail segments 130, 132, 134, 136 that are mounted to one another. The first rail segment 130 is mounted to each of the ground pads 102 and extends laterally away from the grounds pads in an opposite direction. The first rail segment 130 includes a top planar surface 140 and an opposed bottom planar surface 142 that extend longitudinally to define a lengthwise dimension L of the artificial surface divider 100. In this exemplary embodiment, the first rail segment 130 is seamlessly mounted to each of the ground pads 102 so that the top surfaces 116 of the ground pads are co-planar with the top surface 140, while the bottom surfaces 118 of the ground pads are co-planar with the bottom surface 142. In this manner, the thickness of the ground pads 102 is generally the same as that of the first rail segment 130, though it does not need to be.

The second rail segment 132 is mounted to the first rail segment 130 along corresponding edges so that the segments 130, 132 are perpendicular. The second rail segment 132 includes opposed top and bottom surfaces 150, 152 that extend longitudinally along its length. Accordingly, the top surfaces 140, 150 of the first and second rail segments 130, 132 are perpendicular with respect to one another. So too are the bottom surfaces 152, 142 perpendicular with respect to one another. In this manner, the segments 130, 132 provide an L-shaped vertical cross-section. But this L-shaped cross-section does not account for the third rail segment 134.

The third rail segment 134 is mounted to the second rail segment 132 along corresponding edges so that the segments 132, 134 are perpendicular. The third rail segment 134 includes opposed top and bottom surfaces 160, 162 that extend longitudinally along its length. Accordingly, the top surfaces 150, 160 of the second and third rail segments 132, 134 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the top surfaces 140, 160 of the first and third segments face one another. Likewise, the bottom surfaces 152, 162 of the second and third segments 132, 134 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the bottom surfaces 142, 162 of the first and third segments 130, 134 face away (i.e., opposite) one another. In this manner, the segments 130, 132, 134 provide block C-shaped vertical cross-section. But this block C-shaped cross-section does not account for the fourth rail segment 136.

The fourth rail segment 136 is mounted to the third rail segment 136 along corresponding edges so that the segments 134, 136 are perpendicular. In this exemplary embodiment, the fourth rail segment 136 does not extend to contact the top surface 140 of the first rail segment 130. Instead, an edge 180 of the fourth rail segment 136 stops short of the bottom surface 142 of the first rail segment 130, thereby creating a longitudinal gap. The fourth rail segment 136 also includes opposed top and bottom surfaces 170, 172 that extend longitudinally along its length. Accordingly, the top surfaces 160, 170 of the third and fourth rail segments 134, 136 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the top surfaces 150, 170 of the second and fourth segments 132, 136 face one another. In addition, the top surfaces 140, 170 of the first and fourth rail segments 132, 136 are perpendicular with respect to one another. Similarly, the bottom surfaces 162, 172 of the third and fourth segments 134, 136 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the bottom surfaces 152, 172 of the second and fourth segments 132, 136 face away (i.e., opposite) one another. And the bottom surfaces 142, 172 of the first and fourth segments 130, 136 are perpendicular with respect to one another. In this manner, the segments 130, 132, 134, 136 provide a near-rectangular vertical cross-section delineating a near-rectangular longitudinal cavity 178.

The discontinuity in the near-rectangular cross-section occurs as a result of the edge 180 not reaching the top surface 140 of the first rail segment 130. In this exemplary embodiment, the edge 180 is tapered from the bottom surface 172 to the top surface 170 to form a point 182 along the edge adjacent the top surface. The spacing between the point 182 and the top surface 140 of the first rail segment 130 allows for insertion of the edge of an artificial turf section into the longitudinal cavity 178.

The instant artificial surface divider 100 may be manufacturing in a number of ways. In exemplary form the artificial surface divider 100 comprises an extruded thermoplastic section cut to a predetermined length. This section is the result of extruding a thermoplastic through a die having the vertical cross-section shown in FIG. 5. After the section has been extruded, a punch press may be used to remove material to form the cavities 184 in between respective ground pads 102, and optionally simultaneously punching the through orifice 110 in each ground pad.

Referring to FIG. 7, installation of the instant artificial surface divider 100 includes compacting an aggregate sub-base 200. After the aggregate sub-base 200 has been compacted, the artificial surface divider 100 is fastened to the sub-base 200 using heavy-duty metal nails or spikes 202 that extend through the orifices 110. The position of the artificial surface divider 100 signifies the end of the artificial turf 204, which is cut to size and hidden behind the fourth rail segment 136. In order to fit the end 206 of the artificial turf 204 into the longitudinal cavity 178, a predetermined length of artificial turf blades 208 are trimmed. It should be noted, however, that the end blades 208 need not be trimmed, particularly if the height of these blades is less than the height of the longitudinal cavity 178. The artificial turf 204 is subsequently nailed to the artificial surface divider 100 and the sub-base 200 using more nails or spikes 202.

Exemplary dimension for the instant artificial surface divider 100 include a ⅜ inch diameter for the through orifice 110. The ground pad 102 base is 4.5 inches long, whereas the flat end is 1.5 inches long. Each medial and lateral side 112, 114 of the ground pad is 2.3 inches long. The distance between the top and bottom surfaces 116, 118, 140, 142 of the first rail segment 130 and the ground pads 102 is 3/16 inch. The distance between the top and bottom surfaces 150, 152, 160, 162, 170, 172 of the second, third, and fourth rail segments 132, 134, 136 is ⅛ inch. The distance between the top surfaces 140, 160 of the first and third rail segments 130, 134 is ⅞ inch. The distance between the top surfaces 150, 170 of the second and fourth rail segments 132, 136 is ½ inch. And an exemplary distance from the point 182 to the top surface 140 of the first rail segment 130 is ⅛ inch.

Referencing FIGS. 8-12, an exemplary artificial surface divider 300 comprises a plurality of ground pads 302 that extend outward from a common rail 304. Each ground pad 302 has a frustopyramidal shape with a wide base 306 that connects to the rail 304. The base 306 tapers as it extends outward from the rail 304 until reaching a flat end 308. Interposing the flat end 308 and the base 306 is an orifice 310 that is generally centered between the flat end and the base, as well as being centered between a medial side 312 and a lateral side 314 of the pad 302. As will be discussed in greater detail hereafter, the orifice is adapted to receive a ground spike or other retainer in order to mount the artificial surface divider 300 to an underlying base material such as dirt or packed clay. Each pad 302 includes a top surface 316 and an opposed bottom surface 318 that are substantially planar. In this exemplary embodiment, the bottom surface 318 is adapted to contact the underlying base material, while the top surface 316 is adapted to contact the underside of a section of artificial turf.

The rail 304 comprises five rail segments 330, 332, 334, 336, 390 that are mounted to one another. The first rail segment 330, also known as a floor, is mounted to each of the ground pads 302 and extends laterally away from the grounds pads in an opposite direction. The first rail segment 330 includes a top planar surface 340 and an opposed bottom planar surface 342 that extend longitudinally to define a lengthwise dimension L of the artificial surface divider 300. In this exemplary embodiment, the first rail segment 330 is seamlessly mounted to each of the ground pads 302 so that the top surfaces 316 of the ground pads are co-planar with the top surface 340 of the first rail segment, while the bottom surfaces 318 of the ground pads are co-planar with the bottom surface 342 of the first rail segment. In this manner, the thickness of the ground pads 302 is generally the same as that of the first rail segment 330, though it does not need to be.

The second rail segment 332 is mounted perpendicularly to the first rail segment 330 along corresponding edges. The second rail segment 332 includes opposed top and bottom surfaces 350, 352 that extend longitudinally along its length. Accordingly, the top surfaces 340, 350 of the first and second rail segments 330, 332 are perpendicular with respect to one another. So too are the bottom surfaces 352, 342 perpendicular with respect to one another. In this manner, the segments 330, 332 provide an L-shaped vertical cross-section. But this L-shaped cross-section does not account for the third rail segment 334.

The third rail segment 334 is mounted perpendicularly to the second rail segment 332 along corresponding edges. The third rail segment 334 includes opposed top and bottom surfaces 360, 362 that extend longitudinally along its length. Accordingly, the top surfaces 350, 360 of the second and third rail segments 332, 334 are perpendicular with respect to one another; while the top surfaces 340, 360 of the first and third segments face one another. Likewise, the bottom surfaces 352, 362 of the second and third segments 332, 334 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the bottom surfaces 342, 362 of the first and third segments 330, 334 face away (i.e., opposite) one another. In this manner, the segments 330, 332, 334 provide block C-shaped vertical cross-section. But this block C-shaped cross-section does not account for the fourth rail segment 336.

The fourth rail segment 336 is mounted perpendicularly to the third rail segment 336 along corresponding edges. In this exemplary embodiment, the fourth rail segment 336 does not extend to contact the top surface 340 of the first rail segment 330. Instead, an edge 380 of the fourth rail segment 336 stops short of the bottom surface 342 of the first rail segment 330, thereby creating a longitudinal gap. The fourth rail segment 336 also includes opposed top and bottom surfaces 370, 372 that extend longitudinally along its length. Accordingly, the top surfaces 360, 370 of the third and fourth rail segments 334, 336 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the top surfaces 350, 370 of the second and fourth segments 332, 336 face one another. In addition, the top surfaces 340, 370 of the first and fourth rail segments 332, 336 are perpendicular with respect to one another. Similarly, the bottom surfaces 362, 372 of the third and fourth segments 334, 336 are perpendicular with respect to one another, while the bottom surfaces 352, 372 of the second and fourth segments 332, 336 face away (i.e., opposite) one another. And the bottom surfaces 342, 372 of the first and fourth segments 330, 336 are perpendicular with respect to one another. In this manner, the segments 330, 332, 334, 336 provide a near-rectangular vertical cross-section delineating a near-rectangular longitudinal cavity 378.

The discontinuity in the near-rectangular cross-section occurs as a result of the edge 380 not reaching the top surface 340 of the first rail segment 330. In this exemplary embodiment, the edge 380 is tapered from the bottom surface 372 to the top surface 370 to form a point 382 along the edge adjacent the top surface. The spacing between the point 382 and the top surface 340 of the first rail segment 330 allows for insertion of the edge of an artificial turf section into the longitudinal cavity 378.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120276342 A1
Publish Date
11/01/2012
Document #
13359866
File Date
01/27/2012
USPTO Class
428174
Other USPTO Classes
264151
International Class
/
Drawings
13



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