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Floor panel, floor covering formed therefrom, method for laying such floor panels and method for manufacturing them.
The present invention relates to a floor panel, a method for laying such floor panels, as well as a method for manufacturing them.
In the first place, the invention is primarily intended to be used with laminate floor panels, but in general it can also be applied to other forms of floor panels, either solid floor parts or floor parts assembled from different parts.
Laminate floor panels are to be understood here to mean all types of floor panels that have a laminated structure. Such laminate floor panels generally have at least one core layer and a top layer, the core layer consisting of, for example, MDF, HDF, chipboard, so-called compact laminate or the like, while the top layer consists of, for example, various sheets of material pressed onto each other, such as resin-soaked paper layers, including a printed paper layers, decorative layer, or from another layer of material, such as cork, veneer, a relatively thick layer of wood, whether or not formed from slats, and so on.
More specifically, the invention relates to a floor panel for forming a floor covering which is provided on at least two opposite edges with coupling parts which allow two of such floor panels to be coupled to each other such that a locking is thereby obtained in a direction perpendicular to each other in the area of the floor panels as in
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a direction in the plane of the floor panels and perpendicular to the coupled edges, wherein these coupling parts, when coupled, allow a mutual displacement of the floor panels over at least a specific length, substantially in the longitudinal direction of the aforementioned edges.
Examples of such floor panels are known, inter alia, from international patent applications WO 97/47834 and WO 94/26999.
A difficulty in laying such floor panels consists in that when two of such floor panels have to be shifted in the longitudinal direction during laying, this can be quite difficult in certain applications, often with the risk that the floor panels are also damaged.
For example, in the case of elongated floor panels, it is relatively difficult for a second floor panel that is already connected at one longitudinal edge to an already laid row of floor panels, but that is held at an angle with one hand with respect to the surface of the floor covering, a second to connect the floor panel to a short side of the first floor panel and to move it in the coupled state in the plane of the first floor panel to the edge of the row already laid.
The elongated design of the floor panels makes it difficult to keep the second floor panel exactly in line with the first floor panel and with the slightest deviation a clamping effect is created in the coupling parts on the short sides, whereby the person laying the floor panels often even more to pry on the floor panels, which considerably increases the risk of damage,
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all the more that due to the elongated design of the floor panels large leverage forces are realized in the coupling parts of the short sides with each rotation thereof.
This risk is especially real when the floor panels are put together at the relevant edges where such a risk can arise with a clamping or correct fit, but also exists when they fit together with a slight play.
Another difficult situation occurs when two floor panels which are provided with coupling parts that fit into each other with a clamping fit have to be manually shifted, for example when they are in a mutual position where it is difficult to use a tool. Due to the fact that such a clamp fit is normally present over the entire length, manual displacement is therefore often impossible.
To connect floor panels both on their long sides and short sides, it is known to use metal clips that are fixed in grooves on the underside of the floor panels. This is described in WO 01/27410. On the short sides of the floor panels, use is made of at least one groove extending obliquely with respect to the adjacent edge, such that when moving the floor panels in a direction transverse to the longitudinal edges, an approach is also automatically created between the short edges to be coupled . However, because the grooves have a greater length than the width of the clips, these clips can end up in different places in these grooves, so that a perfect connection on the short sides can never be guaranteed with certainty.
Another disadvantage of using
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Individual clips consist of the fact that they can be tilted, so that a clamping is created so that any further shift is excluded. It is also not excluded that the clips release themselves from the grooves when excessive undesirable forces are exerted during the installation of the floor panels.
The present invention generally has for its object to provide a floor panel which is designed in such a way that laying thereof is facilitated, but at the same time a sound coupling can still be realized. More specifically, it also contemplates a floor panel that allows a solution for the aforementioned and other disadvantages.
To this end the invention relates to a floor panel, for forming a floor covering, which is provided on at least two opposite edges with coupling parts that allow two of such floor panels to be coupled to each other such that a locking is thereby obtained in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the floor panels as in a direction in the plane of the floor panels and perpendicular to the coupled edges, said coupling parts in coupled condition allowing a mutual displacement of the floor panels over at least a specific length mainly in the longitudinal direction of the aforementioned edges, with characterized in that the floor panel at the aforementioned edges is provided with integrated means that, as a result of this shift, the floor panels at the aforementioned shift,
from a first state to a second state, wherein the floor panels in the second state are more tightly and / or more closely coupled to each other than in the first state.
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By providing the floor panel with the aforementioned integrated means, the floor panels can be coupled to each other in a mutual position in which the aforementioned first condition occurs, after which they can be brought into the second condition by a mutual displacement. This offers the advantage that the floor panels can first be easily joined together and then at least over a part of the mutual displacement to be carried out can be moved smoothly, while only at a further stage of the displacement does the chance of a less easy displacement increase.
Because the aforementioned means are embodied as integrated means, by which is meant that they are formed by parts which are fixed to the floor panels at the factory or by parts which are realized in one piece from at least the edge part of the actual floor panel, that the said means are always at the same location with respect to the relevant floor panels and no undesired displacements can occur, as is the case with the aforementioned known clips.
The aforementioned integrated means preferably consist of guide-forming portions arranged on the respective edges of the floor panels, more specifically on the respective coupling parts, more specifically contact portions, which run over at least a part of their length in a direction that deviates from the direction in which the actual edge of the floor panel itself extends. More particularly, it is preferred that these guide-forming portions consist of locking portions that prevent the floor panels from moving in a direction parallel to the plane of the
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floor coverings and perpendicular to the linked edges can come apart.
By designing the integrated means in the form of guide-forming portions, which preferably also fulfill a locking function, the advantage arises that these can easily be realized together with the actual coupling parts.
The aforementioned integrated means can be realized according to various preferred embodiments, as will be further apparent from the detailed description and the claims.
According to an important embodiment, the floor panels are rectangular and provided on all four sides with coupling parts which allow locking in both horizontal and vertical direction between the coupled floor panels, and the aforementioned integrated means, more specifically the aforementioned guide-forming sections, are on only two opposite edges applied.
In the case of elongated floor panels, these are preferably the edges located on the short sides.
Hereby floor panels are obtained which, as explained below, can be easily installed without tools, even when coupling parts are used which provide for a close alignment of the floor panels.
According to the present invention, the method for laying such floor panels is characterized in that it comprises at least the steps that a first floor panel and a second floor panel are provided at their edges with integrated means such as the aforementioned.
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a mutually shifted position is presented to each other and that the floor panels are shifted relative to each other such that, as a result of this shift, the floor panels are brought from the first state to the second state.
According to the invention, the method for manufacturing such floor panels is characterized in that at least the coupling parts at the edges to which the aforementioned integrated means are arranged, as well as these integrated means, are formed from the material of which the floor panels consist of a machining operation, more particularly a milling operation, wherein the integrated means are realized in the form of guide-forming sections, wherein at least these guide-forming sections are realized by mutually moving the relevant floor panel and at least one machining tool alongside each other, such that the machining tool and the floor panel are mutually carry out,
of which the direction deviates for at least a part of the executed course from the direction of the actual accompanying edge of the floor panel. Here, as further explained, various preferred techniques can be applied. Further details of the method will appear from the following description and claims.
With the insight to better demonstrate the characteristics of the invention, a few preferred embodiments are described below as an example without any limiting character, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
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figure 1 represents a part of the floor covering according to the invention; figure 2 represents the part indicated by F2 in figure 1 on a larger scale; figure 3 represents a floor panel from figure 1 in top view, the coupling parts at the edges of which are shown in an exaggerated size; figure 4 represents a cross-section on a larger scale according to line IV-IV in figure 1; figures 5 and 6 show cross-sectional views along lines V-V and VI-VI in figure 3; figure 7 represents a section according to line VII-VII in figure 6;
figures 8 and 9 show on a larger scale, in perspective and schematically, the edge portions which are indicated in arrows with arrows F8 and F9; figure 10 represents a cross-section on a larger scale according to line X-X in figure 1; figure 11 shows a view according to arrow F11 in figure 1 during the laying of the floor panels; figure 12 represents a cross-section on a larger scale according to line XII-XII in figure 11; figure 13 represents a view analogous to that of figure 11, but for a different state; figures 14 to 17 further illustrate a laying method of the floor panels in perspective; figures 18-19 and 20-21 show two variants in section; figure 22 represents a variant of two floor panels according to the invention in top view; figure 23 represents a cross-section on a larger scale according to line XXIII-XXIII in figure 22;
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figure 24 represents a cross-section similar to that of figure 23, but after sliding into each other and for another location along the coupled edges; figures 25 and 26 schematically represent another variant; figures 27 to 29 illustrate a further variant; figures 30 to 34 show different parts and views of a special embodiment of a floor panel according to the invention; figure 35 schematically represents another variant; Figures 36 to 38 represent views similar to those of Figures 22 to 24, but for a further particular embodiment; figure 39 represents a view analogous to that of figure 37, but for a variant; figure 40 represents a border part of a further variant in perspective;
figures 41 to 44 show highly schematically the edge parts of a number of variants of floor panels according to the invention; Figure 45 shows the edge portions of another special embodiment; figures 46 and 47 schematically show two techniques for manufacturing floor panels according to the invention; Fig. 48 represents a further two related edge sections of a floor panel according to the invention in perspective.
Figures 1 and 2 show a floor covering 1 which is composed of floor panels 2 according to the invention.
In the example shown, the floor panels 2 are rectangular and elongated, and show a first pair
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opposite edges 3-4, in this case on the long sides, and a second pair of opposite edges 5-6, in this case on the short sides, which are provided with coupling parts 7-8 and 9-10, respectively.
The coupling parts 7-8 are designed, at least in the embodiment shown, such that when two floor panels 2 are connected at the edges 3-4 by means of these coupling parts 7-8, both a locking is obtained in a direction D1 perpendicular to the plane of the floor panels 2 as in a direction D2 in the plane of the floor panels 2 and perpendicular to the aforementioned edges 3-4, as indicated in figure 4. These coupling parts 7-8 have, in cross-section, a substantially uniform shape, such that , irrespective of the mutual position of two floor panels 2 along the edges 3-4, the same coupled condition is always obtained. The coupled floor panels 2 are slidable in the longitudinal direction relative to each other along the edges 3-4, with or without the aid of a tool.
According to the embodiment shown, the coupling parts 7-8 consist of parts, 11-12, respectively, in the form of a tooth and a groove, which ensure that a locking in the direction D1 is obtained, as well as parts 13-14 consisting of contact surfaces which cause a lock in the direction D2.
The coupling parts 7-8 are here designed such that they allow two of such floor panels 2 to be connected to each other at the edges 3-4, both by sliding them towards each other in a substantially flat manner and by means of them by means of of a mutual rotational movement, such as respectively
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indicated by arrows S1 and R1 in figure 4. Such coupling parts 7-8, which may optionally be designed such that in the coupled state a permanent tensioning force is created with which the coupled floor panels 2 are forced towards each other, are known from WO 97 / 47834.
It is clear that, according to a variant (not shown), other forms of coupling parts 7-8 could also be used which, for example, only allow coupling by means of a revolving movement R1 or, for example, only by means of a shift S1, or by a combined movement.
In order to be able to pivot the floor panels 2 smoothly into each other and apart from each other at the edges 3-4, the lip 15 which bounds the underside of the groove, as shown, is preferably embodied longer than the lip 16 which bounds and is situated at the top. the portion 14 thereby preferably also extends into the portion of the lip 15 that protrudes beyond the lip 16. The lip 15 is preferably elastically bendable in order to allow a "snap" action in the aforementioned movement S1.
As shown in figures 5 to 10, the coupling parts 9-10 are designed to a large extent similar to the coupling parts 7-8. In the coupled state they also provide locks in directions D3 and D4, similar to the locks in directions D1 and D2. Incidentally, they also consist of sections, 17 and 18, respectively, which are designed in the form of a tooth and a groove, as well as sections 19-20 which effect a horizontal locking in the plane of the floor covering 1.
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Furthermore, the coupling parts 7-8 preferably also allow two of such floor panels 2 to be connected to each other at the edges 5-6, both by sliding them towards each other in a substantially flat manner, and by means of them by means of inserting a mutual rotating movement into each other, as indicated by arrows S2 and R2 respectively in Figure 10, but variants are also possible here. In order to also allow smoothly rotating in and out of each other at edges 5-6, the portion 20 is also arranged in a lip 21 on the underside of the groove which extends farther than the end of the lip 22 which is on the top. of the groove.
The special feature of the present invention is that the floor panel 2 is provided at the edges 5-6 with integrated means 23 which, when two of such floor panels 2 are connected to each other at the edges 5-6, they are connected by a shift T of a first state C1 can be brought into a second state C2, wherein, as further described with reference to figures 11 to 13, the floor panels 2 in the second state C2 are more tightly and / or more closely coupled to each other than in the first state Cl.
The integrated means 23 consist of guide-forming portions 24-25 arranged on edges 5-6, more particularly contact portions, at least one of which, and preferably both, have an overall course along at least a part of their length in a direction that deviates from the direction in which the actual edges 26-27 of the floor panel 2 itself, wherein these guide-forming portions 24-25 in the illustrated example are essentially formed by the aforementioned portions 19-20 that lock in the
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direction D4. This also means that the coupling parts 9-10, viewed in cross-section, do not have a uniform shape over the full length of the relevant edges 5-6.
In the embodiment of Figs. 1 to 13, the guide-forming portions 24-25 have a linear course that, as clearly visible in Fig. 7, extends in a direction describing a slight angle H with the direction of the edges 26-27. This angle will in reality preferably be between a few tenths of a degree and a few degrees.
Laying the floor panels 2, and more particularly the realization of the coupling at the edges 5-6, then preferably takes place as described below with reference to figures 10 to 13, wherein the floor panels generally have the reference "2" , but to be distinguished also with the serial letters ABC.
Figure 11 shows a state in which a second floor panel 2C must be coupled to a first floor panel 2B that has already been laid, which in turn is already coupled to a previous row of floor panels 2A. The floor panel 2C is hereby coupled to the floor panel 2B in a first position C1, being spaced from the edge of the already laid row of floor panels 2A, preferably by means of a turning movement R2 as shown in figure 12.
In the position C1 the coupling parts 9-10 fit into each other with a fairly loose fit, as is clear from Figure 12. This means that at least in the direction D4 a free shift is possible between the floor panels
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2B and 2C, without separating the coupling parts 9-10.
By now sliding the floor panel 2C from the position C1 to the floor panels 2A by means of the aforementioned movement T, and by the fact that the guide-forming portions 24-25 together with the edges 26-27 define a wedge-shaped narrowing, this results in that the fit with which the coupling parts 9-10 co-operate becomes systematically narrower, preferably such that at the moment that the floor panel 2C connects to the edge of the floor panels 2A, it also connects to the floor panel 2B with a close and possibly clamping fit. figure 13.
It is clear that thus the coupling of the floor panel 2C to the floor panel 2B is considerably facilitated. At the start, in the position C1, the coupling parts 9-10 are fairly loose in each other, or there is at least no forced contact or forced close cooperation between the edges 26-27, as a result of which the floor panel 2C can be easily slid, so that only at the at the end of the shift of the floor panel 2C along the floor panel 2B, a less smooth shift can occur. Because this shift becomes more difficult only at the end of the movement carried out, the floor panels 2B-2C can generally be shifted more easily, with a minimum risk of damage.
The whole makes it possible that, if necessary, a shift in the direction T by hand remains possible, but in the end a close connection between the floor panels can be guaranteed. By "tight connection" is meant here that the floor panels 2B and 2C with their edges 26-27
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sitting close to each other, and better touching against each other and preferably sitting with tension against each other.
Different effects can be obtained by choosing the course of the conductor-forming portions 24 and 25 in a suitable manner. However, it is clear that the integrated means 23 are preferably configured such that the aforementioned second state occurs at least in the position where the floor panels 2B and 2C are in line. More particularly, it is preferable that the floor panels 2B and 2C in the second state connect without play against each other, and better still be pressed against each other as a result of an elastic bending or deformation in the coupling parts 9-10.
It is also preferred that the play-free state and / or the state in which the floor panels 2B and 2C are tensioned against each other by the coupling parts 9-10 is not achieved until the floor panels 2B and 2C come into a position where they are exactly opposite each other, or shortly before.
According to the invention, the floor panels 2, when as shown in figures 1 to 13, are provided at both edges 3-4 and 5-6 with coupling parts 7-8 and 9-10 which allow a coupling to be realized by means of a rolling movement, preferably installed in the manner set forth below with reference to Figures 14 to 17. Herein, for the sake of clarity, analogously as in Figure 11, the floor panels are also designated 2A, 2B and 2C respectively, with 2A indicating the floor panels from a row already laid, with 2B a first floor panel is indicated which is already coupled to the laid row of floor panels and with 2C a second floor panel
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floor panel is indicated to be coupled to both the floor panel 2B and the floor panels 2A.
As shown in Figure 14, the floor panel 2C is first connected with a short side to the floor panel 2B, this at a distance, preferably a very small distance, from the row of floor panels 2A. This can be most easily achieved by coupling the floor panel 2C to the floor panel 2B by means of a turning movement, as a result of which a situation is created as shown in figure 15, wherein the floor panels 2B and 2C then freely loosely engage at the location of the coupling parts 9-10. sit together and / or with their edges 26-27 spaced apart.
In a next step, the floor panel 2B is tilted up slightly, as shown in Figure 16, while the floor panel 2C is held in the same plane as the floor panel 2B. From this position, the floor panel 2C can be slid down smoothly along the short side of the floor panel 2B, until it is in line with the floor panel 2B, whereby the tooth formed by the coupling part 7 of the floor panel 2C ends up in the groove of the coupling part 8 of one or more of the floor panels 2A, whereby a condition is obtained on the short sides as in figure 10. By subsequently rotating both floor panels 2B and 2C downwards, all floor panels 2A-2B-2C are coupled to each other.
Partly thanks to the present invention, no great manual forces have to be exerted in this method to lay the floor panels 2, even when the coupling parts 7-8 and 9-10 are made with a close fit or a clamp fit.
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Instead of carrying out the steps according to Figs. 14 and 15, it is also possible to start directly from a situation in which, as shown in Fig. 16, the floor panel 2B is held in a slightly tilted up position and the floor panel 2C is thereby shortened is connected to the floor panel 2B by a revolving movement, starting from a position as indicated in the broken line. You can then continue working in the same way.
However, the foregoing does not exclude the possibility that the respective floor panels 2A-2B-2C can be connected to each other in other ways, for example by means of the aforementioned movements S1 and S2. It is also possible to connect the floor panel 2C to the floor panel 2B at a greater distance from the already laid floor panels 2A by means of a displacement S2 or a turning movement R2. In principle, it is also not excluded to slide the floor panel 2C with the coupling part 9 completely from the front end of the edge 6 of the floor panel 2B into the profiled edge of the floor panel 2B.
Figures 18 and 19, showing views for a variant, according to cross-sections similar to those of figures 12 and 10, show that the invention can also be realized with embodiments in which the lower lip 21 does not necessarily have to be longer than the upper lip 22 .
Figures 20 and 21 show a variant for similar views, in which two portions 19-20 are formed at edges 5-6, both of which also serve as guide-forming portions 24-25.
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In the embodiment of figures 1 to 17, the floor panels 2, more particularly 2B and 2C, are coupled together in the first position C1 with a clearance that allows, as shown in figure 12, the floor panel 2C to be movable between two extreme positions, namely, a first position in which the guide-forming portions 24-25 are in contact with each other and a second position in which the edges 26-27 are in contact with each other.
It is noted that this does not necessarily have to be the case, which is illustrated by means of the embodiment of Figures 22 to 24, in which the floor panels 2B and 2C cannot come into contact with the edges 26-27 in the first position C1, since the projection 28 shown must necessarily follow the course of the corresponding groove 29.
Figures 25 and 26 show, in plan view and for two different positions, a variant of two floor panels 2 to be coupled, the aforementioned guide-forming sections 24-25 showing a course in which at least one stepwise change, and in this case even two of these changes 30, in contrast to the gradually changing course of the guide-forming portions 24-25 in the embodiment of figures 1 to 17. In the mutual position shown in figure 25 there is a loose coupling, while due to a shift into the position of figure 26 a close fit or clamp fit is obtained between the floor panels, more particularly at the edges 26-27.
Figures 27 to 29 show an example of an embodiment in which the edges 5-6, to which the integrated means 23 are arranged, contain parts 31-32 which, when two of such floor panels 2
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are presented in the same plane with these edges 5-6 in a mutually shifted position opposite each other, fit freely over each other with a shift towards each other, but with a subsequent shift in the longitudinal direction of the edges 5-6 with the guide-forming portions 24- 25 consecutively.
In the example of figures 27 to 29, the guide-forming portions 24-25 not only extend in an oblique direction in the plane of the floor panel 2, but the height of these portions 24-25 also changes because the portions 31-32 vary in thickness. In case two of such floor panels 2 are then presented to each other in a position analogous to that of Figure 11, they can be freely slid over each other with portions 31-32, as visible in Figure 29, until the edges 26-27 connecting against each other, whereafter the guide-forming portions 24-25, as aforementioned, can be brought behind each other by mutual displacement of the floor panels 2 in the longitudinal direction of the edges 5-6, whereby a forced narrow connection is then automatically obtained.
Figures 30 and 31 show parts of an embodiment in which transverse recesses 33-34 are formed in the edges 5-6. As shown diagrammatically and stepwise in figures 32 to 34, these recesses 33-34 allow two floor panels 2 with their coupling parts 9-10 via a first movement M1, the two floor panels 2 being squared relative to each other, freely facing each other can be moved, whereafter these floor panels 2 can be brought behind each other via a second movement M2, substantially transversely of the first, with their coupling parts 9-10 and with the aforementioned guiding-forming parts 24-25.
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The guide-forming portions 24-25 each consist of two segments 24A-24B and 25A-25B. In the embodiment of figures 30 to 34, both segments 24A-24B and both segments 25A-25B are in line with each other. Figure 35 shows a variant that demonstrates that these segments do not necessarily have to be in line with each other.
Figures 36 to 38 show an embodiment in which at the edges 5-6 coupling parts 9-10 and guide-forming parts 24-25 are arranged which are configured such that when two of such floor panels 2 with these edges 5-6 are presented to each other, they are shown in at least one mutual position of the two floor panels, namely the position C1 from Fig. 36, can be brought behind one another via a mutual movement M3 perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the surface of the floor panels 2 with their guide-forming portions 24-25 by means of a so-called "drop-in" movement. This movement is shown in Figure 37, in which it is clear that the top 35 of the tooth of the right-hand floor panel 2 can pass freely along the edge 27 when it is lowered.
Due to the shift along the edges 5-6, a coupled state is obtained as shown in Fig. 38.
The parts designed as tongue and groove can be realized in various ways in all embodiments. Figure 39 shows as an example a variant of the embodiment of Figure 37, in which the coupling parts 9-10 are designed as a double tongue and groove connection.
The coupling parts 7-8 and / or 9-10 are preferably one-piece, more specifically in one piece, designed with the material
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from which at least the edge area of the actual floor panel 2 is designed, and these are formed, for example, from this edge area by a machining operation. The coupling parts 7-8 and / or 9-10 are preferably formed from a core of such floor panel 2 which consists of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) or HDF (High Density Fiberboard). The use of this material offers several advantages. For example, smooth surfaces from MDF / HDF can be realized, as a result of which the floor panels 2 can be moved smoothly past each other in the coupled state.
However, the invention is not limited to embodiments in which the coupling parts 7-8 and 9-10 are made in one piece from the material of the floor panels 2 themselves. As shown diagrammatically in Fig. 40, the inventive concept can also be realized with, for example, a coupling part 10, a part of which, including the guide-forming part 25, is made of a strip 36 of another material, for example metal, provided on the actual floor panel 2. The coupling parts 7 and / or 8 and / or 9 and / or 10 can also consist entirely of a material other than the floor panels themselves.
Figure 41 shows a special embodiment of the present invention in which the aforementioned integrated means 23 comprise at least one guide-forming part 37, in this case a rounding, which allows two of such floor panels 2 to slide sideways into each other, mainly in the longitudinal direction from their edges, initially from a first state to a next state, wherein the floor panels 2 in the aforementioned next state are more tightly and / or more closely coupled to each other
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are then in the first state. The purpose of the part 37 is thus to ensure that the floor panels 2 can be inserted more easily into each other initially with their coupling parts 9-10, and according to a variant, possibly also 7-8.
The rounding 37 thus provides a self-centering action between the floor panels, namely in that this rounding 37 forms a guide for the corner point 28A of the projecting part 28 during sliding together in the direction indicated in the figure.
As indicated by reference 37A, the aforementioned portion may also consist of a chamfer or the like.
According to yet another variant, such a portion 37 or 37A can also be provided at the edge 3 or 5, instead of at the edge 4 or 6. It is also possible for both edges 3-4 and / or 5 cooperating with each other during coupling. 6 portions 37 are formed.
Figures 42 to 44 schematically represent a number of other embodiments, according to views analogous to those of Figure 41, in which also guide-forming sections 37, 37A, respectively, are formed on the floor panels 2.
Figure 45 shows yet another variant with coupling parts 9-10 which, when two floor panels 2 with their edges 5-6 are presented above each other, can be clicked into each other, or can be moved behind each other by a shift with the guide-forming parts 24-25 are being brought.
In general, the cooperation between the guide-forming portions 24-25 will preferably be such that in the second state a close cooperation between
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the respective guide-forming portions 24-25 are obtained, this at two or more locations distributed along the length of the cooperating edges 5-6, such as for example in the embodiments of figures 25-26 and 30 to 35, or continuously over the majority of the length of these edges 5-6, as in the embodiment of Figures 1 to 17.
Figure 46 schematically shows a method for manufacturing such floor panels 2, more particularly for applying the profiled edges 3-4 and 5-6 thereto by means of tensioning tools, such as rotary cutters 38 to 43.
Essential here is the manner in which, on the one hand, the straight-running parts of the coupling parts 9-10 and, on the other hand, the sloping guide-forming parts 24-25 are arranged on the edges 5-6.
According to the technique of figure 46, the floor panels 2 are herein guided by means of a transport element 44 parallel to the edges 5-6 along the necessary cutters 40-41 to form the straight-running parts of the coupling parts 9-10, while the sloping guide-forming portions 24-25, and optionally also certain portions of the actual coupling parts 9-10, are realized by moving the floor panels 2 in a tilted state along milling cutters 42 and 43.
This can be achieved by using a transport element 44 with entraining cams 45, wherein this transport element 44 is slightly diverted locally on one side, as indicated by references 46 and 47.
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Fig. 47 shows a variant in which the obliquely extending guide-forming portions 24-25 are realized by realizing a mutual lateral displacement, respectively Z1 and Z2, between the cutters 42 and 43 and the floor panel 2, preferably by the cutters 42- 43 can be moved according to a specific course at the moment that a floor panel 2 is moved along it, which can optionally be realized by means of a cam system, a stepper motor or the like.
It is clear that the floor panels 2 for forming the edges 3-4 can be guided in the usual manner along mills 38-39 or other suitable tools, as schematically shown in Fig. 46. Hereby the coupling parts 7-8 do not necessarily have to be arranged on the long sides first.
Of course, possibly several milling operations can be carried out than shown in Figs. 46 and 47, if this requires the profiling of the edges 3-4 and / or 5-6.
The present invention is by no means limited to the embodiments described by way of example and shown in the figures, but such a floor panel, the floor covering formed therefrom, the method for laying it and the method for manufacturing it can be realized according to different variants without going beyond the scope of the invention.
For example, the invention can also be applied in embodiments in which the locking in the horizontal direction and the integrated means 23 are not only realized on the lower lip of the groove, but
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for example on the lower and upper lip, or on the upper lip alone, regardless of whether the lower lip is longer, shorter or equal to the upper lip.
Fig. 48 shows a further variant which shows that the invention is also applicable in embodiments of the type in which the lip bounding the top of the groove extends beyond the lip bounding the bottom of the groove, and in which the guide-forming portion 25 is situated in the thus upper and further projecting lip.
In essence, the invention can be used in combination with all types of coupling means which provide for a vertical and horizontal locking, regardless of the manner in which the panels must also be initially assembled.
The invention is also not limited to elongated floor panels.
Depending on the embodiment, the integrated means 23 can be provided on two or more sides, possibly also on the long sides. In the case that the floor panels are designed as tiles that are laid in a non-slotted manner, the use of integrated means 23 on the four sides is particularly advantageous.
The fact that, according to the invention, the floor panels in the second state are more tightly and / or more closely coupled to each other, does not preclude the floor panels 2 being presented against each other with their edges, for example 26 and 27, against each other. However, the contact between the edges 26-27 in the first state is none
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"forced" state, while in the "second state" the edges 26-27 are forced to make contact with each other or are forced at least close to each other.