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US20030126708A1 - Remove tabs for tacky inserts of a floor mat - Google Patents

Remove tabs for tacky inserts of a floor mat Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030126708A1
US20030126708A1 US10316030 US31603002A US2003126708A1 US 20030126708 A1 US20030126708 A1 US 20030126708A1 US 10316030 US10316030 US 10316030 US 31603002 A US31603002 A US 31603002A US 2003126708 A1 US2003126708 A1 US 2003126708A1
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US
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
portion
insert
tacky
tab
floor
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10316030
Inventor
Ronald Blum
William Kokonaski
Andrew Gentiluomo
Robert Jordan
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
S C Johnson and Son Inc
Original Assignee
Tech Mats LLC
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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L23/00Cleaning footwear
    • A47L23/22Devices or implements resting on the floor for removing mud, dirt, or dust from footwear
    • A47L23/26Mats or gratings combined with brushes ; Mats
    • A47L23/266Mats
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L23/00Cleaning footwear
    • A47L23/22Devices or implements resting on the floor for removing mud, dirt, or dust from footwear
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F19/00Miscellaneous advertising or display means not provided for elsewhere
    • G09F19/22Advertising or display means on roads, walls, or similar surfaces, e.g. illuminated
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F19/00Miscellaneous advertising or display means not provided for elsewhere
    • G09F19/22Advertising or display means on roads, walls, or similar surfaces, e.g. illuminated
    • G09F19/228Ground signs, i.e. display signs fixed on the ground

Abstract

Improved remove tabs for tacky inserts of a floor mat are disclosed. The remove tabs may have a non-smooth texture, be offset from adjacent tabs by separators, be differently sized, or otherwise be configured to enable easier handling and removal of an individual insert from a stack of inserts.

Description

  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit under 35 USC section 119(e) of U.S. provisional application No. 60/339,316, filed Dec. 12, 2002. Further, this application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/935,672. U.S. application Ser. No. 09/935,672 is a continuation-in-part of international application no. PCT/US00/30206, filed Nov. 2, 2000, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/553,234, filed Apr. 19, 2000 and issued May 22, 2001 as U.S. Pat. No. 6,233,776. application Ser. No. 09/553,234 is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/418,752, filed Oct. 15, 1999, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/304,051, filed May 4, 1999 and issued Apr. 24, 2001 as U.S. Pat. No. 6,219,876. All of the foregoing applications are fully incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to a floor mat. More specifically, the invention provides a floor mat that includes a cleanable portion. The floor mat may also include a water dissipation component, a water absorbing component, a cushioning component, customized graphics, a transparent cleanable portion, a tacky surface on the cleanable portion, an antibacterial composition, an antifungal composition, and a fragrance. The cleanable portion may be erodible and may include a plurality of cleanable reusable layers. If a tacky surface is included in the floor mat, an anti-slip feature may be associated with the tacky surface to help prevent slipping on a possibly wet tacky surface. Additionally, a sensor system may be included in the floor mat to assist a user in identifying when the floor mat may require cleaning.
  • [0003]
    Floor mats are known for cleaning the soles of a person's shoes who is about to enter a particular area or room. One problem with floor mats in general is how to keep the floor mat sufficiently clean such that it may perform its function of cleaning the person's shoes when, by its very nature, it is purposefully dirtied when performing its function.
  • [0004]
    Known floor mats may be comprised of a single, unitary piece of material. Whereas these single structure floor mats may be kept clean by, for example, washing the floor mat, it may be required that the entire floor mat be removed from its location for washing and thus, the floor mat is not available where desired while the entire mat is being cleaned. Alternatively, even if the mat can be cleaned in-place, which may not be a possibility if it is located in, for example, a carpeted area, it may be inconvenient to clean the mat in-place.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. No. 3,785,102 to Amos discloses a throw-away pad comprising a plurality of stacked disposable sheets where, when a particular sheet is dirtied, the dirty sheet is removed and disposed of. The next sheet that is exposed after the dirty sheet is discarded is clean and thus, a clean surface is again available. However, there may be problems with comprising the floor mat of disposable sheets. Disposing of each dirty sheet may be uneconomical since each sheet is discarded after it becomes dirty. Additionally, after some finite number of sheets are disposed of, no sheets will remain and thus no effective cleaning surface is available.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 3,785,102 to Amos also discloses that an adhesive can be provided on each sheet's top surface to improve its ability to remove dirt from a person's shoes. However, again, these sheets are not cleanable and therefore are not reusable.
  • [0007]
    U.S. Pat. No. 3,717,897 to Amos et al. discloses a pad for cleaning shoes and wheels. The pad includes a thin water-washable adhesive covering its upper surface for removing dirt from shoes and wheels. Whereas the '897 patent discloses a pad with a water-washable adhesive upper surface, the pad is not known for use in domestic or office-type applications. As stated in the '897 patent, the pad is placed at an entrance doorway leading into a clean room.
  • [0008]
    Tacky floor mats are by far more popular for utilization in indoor environments that are far removed from exterior outside entrances, such as for clean rooms that are well-within the interior of the building in which they are used, e.g., hospital rooms, computer chip manufacturing spaces, and gymnasiums. Thus, tacky floor mats are not known for use in areas that are adjacent to entrances that lead from the outdoor environment for cleaning the soles of a person's shoes prior to entry into the interior of a building, such as for example in an entry foyer or on an outdoor porch.
  • [0009]
    Tacky floor mats are not known for use in domestic or office-type applications, e.g., home or business office use, because of several known deficiencies. One of these deficiencies is that their tacky surface will not be as effective if it becomes wet. Therefore, if the tacky surface floor mat was utilized in an outdoor environment, such as the outdoor porch mentioned above, or in an indoor environment that is adjacent to or near an outdoor entrance, such as an entry foyer of a home or business, for cleaning a person's shoes prior to further entering the home or business, the mat is likely to become wet and therefore not effective. The mat could become wet from, for example, the moisture in the atmosphere or from moisture carried on the soles of the person's shoes who steps on the mat. Additionally, if the tacky surface becomes wet it may become slippery and thus cause a hazard for the person who steps on it.
  • [0010]
    Additional deficiencies with using known tacky floor mats for home or office-type applications as discussed above is their likelihood of becoming trip hazards and their lack of aesthetic appeal. In the '897 patent, because the pad is designed for use in clean room environments, it is adhesively adhered to the passageway floor in front of the entrance doorway. This may be satisfactory for retaining the mat in-place in clean room-type of applications, however, if it was attempted to use the '897 pad on a carpeted floor, the pad would not properly adhere to the carpet and thus a trip hazard would be present. This could result in significant liability issues. The '897 pad does not have sufficient mass for it to remain in-place without utilizing an adhesive. Regarding aesthetics, because tacky floor mats are known only for their functional characteristics, and thus for use only in “clean room”-type applications, they are not aesthetically pleasing. Therefore, for at least the above reasons, tacky floor mats are not known for use in home or office-type applications.
  • [0011]
    Additional drawbacks with known floor mats exist that are directed to issues of customization for a particular purchaser and a lack of additional cleaning properties. A floor mat may be the first object that a visitor to a particular home or business encounters. As such, the owner of the home or business may want to utilize the floor mat to graphically convey an initial greeting or message to the visitor. Whereas floor mats are known that may include a greeting on them, it is not currently known to allow for a particular purchaser to customize the displayed graphic so that the message is tailored to convey a particular message desired by the purchaser. For example, on Halloween the purchaser may want the floor mat to display a “Happy Halloween” message. In another situation, the purchaser may want to greet a particular visitor with a message such as “Hello, Joe”. Currently, it is not known to provide a floor mat where an individual can customize the floor mat to display a particular message that they want to convey and in certain circumstances even change the floor mat's message they want to convey.
  • [0012]
    An additional problem with known floor mats, as mentioned above, is that they are limited in their ability to clean the soles of a person's shoes. Whereas known floor mats may be capable of removing dirt particles from the shoe's soles, they are not able to disinfect the soles nor provide a scent to the soles to assist in masking any unpleasant odors that may be associated with the shoes.
  • [0013]
    An additional drawback with known floor mats, even if they are cleanable, is that they do not assist a user in determining when the floor mat may require cleaning. Generally, the owner or custodian of the floor mat does not continuously or regularly monitor the condition of the floor mat with respect to cleanliness. Therefore, the floor mat could require cleaning, and because the owner is not consciously monitoring the condition of the floor mat, there could be a significant period of time before the owner realizes that the floor mat requires cleaning. Therefore, it would be desirable to assist the owner/custodian of the floor mat in determining when the floor mat requires cleaning.
  • [0014]
    Therefore, it would be desirable to provide an advanced floor mat that could address deficiencies that exist with currently known floor mats. The advanced floor mat of the present invention overcomes deficiencies in the prior art and may include a base portion which incorporates a cleanable portion that is adapted to be removably received within the floor mat. The floor mat may also include features such as a water dissipation capability, a water absorbing capability, a cushioning capability, customized graphics, a transparent portion, a tacky surface on the cleanable portion, an antibacterial composition, an antifungal composition, and a fragrance. The cleanable portion may include the features of being erodible and containing a plurality of cleanable reusable layers. If a tacky surface is included in the floor mat, an anti-slip feature may be associated with the tacky surface to help prevent slipping on a possibly wet tacky surface. Additionally, a sensor system may be included in the floor mat to assist a user in identifying when the floor mat may require cleaning. Other features will be apparent from the detailed description which follows.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    The various features of the invention will best be appreciated by simultaneous reference to the description which follows and the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a floor mat in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the floor mat of FIG. 1;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 3 is an exploded side view of an alternative embodiment of the floor mat of the present invention;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 4 is an exploded side view of an alternative embodiment of the floor mat of the present invention;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 5 illustrates a third alternative embodiment for a tacky insert portion with an anti-slip feature for the floor mat of the present invention;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 6 illustrates a fourth alternative embodiment for a tacky insert portion with an anti-slip feature for the floor mat of the present invention;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 7 is a side view of the embodiment for the tacky insert portion with an anti-slip feature of FIG. 6;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment for a tacky insert portion with an anti-slip feature for the floor mat of the present invention;
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIGS. 9B and 9A are an exploded view of a floor mat according to an embodiment of the invention, and a cross-sectional view of a portion of the floor mat, respectively;
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 10A illustrates a separable section of a non-tacky layer of the floor mat, with snap fasteners for fastening the separable section to a base portion underlayer of the floor mat;
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 10B illustrates a separable section of a non-tacky layer of the floor mat, with hook-and-loop fasteners for fastening the separable section to, a base portion underlayer of the floor mat;
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 10C shows one possible configuration for a remove tab of a tacky insert of the floor mat;
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIGS. 10D and 10E are side elevation views of a plurality of remove tabs according to two different possible arrangements;
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 11A shows details of layers in one possible embodiment of a multi-layer tacky insert;
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIGS. 11B and 11C shows anti-slip material interspersed with adhesive on a layer of a tacky insert, according to one possible embodiment;
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 12 illustrates three alternative process flows for manufacturing tacky inserts according to the invention;
  • [0032]
    FIGS. 13A-13C show alternative configurations of an apparatus for manufacturing tacky inserts according to the processes illustrated in FIG. 28;
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 14 shows details a rotary die cutter such as could be used in the processes described in FIGS. 12 and 13A-13C;
  • [0034]
    FIGS. 15A-15D show alternative embodiments of tacky inserts, wherein the tacky inserts have apertures configured to receive nodular anti-slip components;
  • [0035]
    FIGS. 16A-16C show various possible embodiments of a non-smooth texture for insert tabs;
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 17 illustrates offsetting non-smooth textures for adjacent tabs;
  • [0037]
    FIGS. 18A-18C show an alternative embodiment for insert tabs; and
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIGS. 19A and 19B show a further alternative embodiment for insert tabs.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment for a floor mat 100 in accordance with the principles of the present invention. As can be seen in FIG. 1, floor mat 100 includes a base portion 200 and a cleanable insert portion 300. As will be further described later in this specification, in this embodiment, cleanable portion 300 is received within base portion 200 and is removable from base portion 200.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded, perspective view of the floor mat of FIG. 1. As can be seen in FIG. 2, base portion 200 is formed as a generally flat, planar member and defines a recess 210 within the top surface of base portion 200. Base portion 200 provides sufficient weight and mass for supporting cleanable insert portion 300 and maintaining the floor mat's positioning on the surface on which it is placed. Base portion 200 may include, as will be discussed below, a water dissipation capability, a water absorption capability, and a cushioning capability and may be comprised of materials such as polyurethane, polyisoprene and other cross-linked elastomeric materials, such as nylon-6, molded or woven to form a porous structure. Recess 210 can be configured in any of a variety of geometric configurations, however, in the present embodiment, recess 210 is configured in a rectangular shape. Recess 210 has a length L1 and a width W1. The depth of recess 210 is such that it is able to receive within it cleanable insert portion 300 such that when cleanable insert portion 300 is received within recess 210, the top surface of cleanable insert portion 300 lies generally in the same plane as the top surface of base portion 200.
  • [0041]
    The top surface of base portion 200 may be colored with any color depending upon the desires of a particular purchaser, however, it is preferable that a color be utilized that will minimize the visibility of any dirt that is accumulated by base portion 200. For example, it may be desirable that darker colors be utilized for the top surface of base portion 200 rather than lighter colors. However, again, any particular color may be utilized for base portion 200, and particularly the top surface of base portion 200, depending upon the particular desires of an individual. Additionally, the base portion 200 may be either translucent or opaque.
  • [0042]
    As can be seen in FIG. 2, the surface of base portion 200 which defines the bottom of recess 210 may include graphics 220 on that surface. In the illustrated embodiment, the graphics include pictorial representations of flowers and a text message which spells out the word “WELCOME”. The present invention is not limited to any particular graphic within recess 210 and the present invention may include any of a variety of different forms of graphics.
  • [0043]
    Graphics 220 may be modified, and thus customized, by an individual after the floor mat has been purchased by the owner. The owner may customize the mat at their home or office and, thus, a graphic that may be appropriate for a particular situation may be modified by the individual for display in another situation. For example, the graphic may display a message stating “Happy Halloween” for Halloween and may be modified to display “Happy Holidays” during the winter holiday season. Thus, as can be understood, the graphics are modifiable by a user and thus, may be customized for the particular desires of a particular user.
  • [0044]
    As stated above, the present invention is not limited to any particular form for graphics 220. The graphics 220 can be customized by a user to include any of a variety of different colors, pictures, messages, or other representations that the user may want to display. In addition, the visible intensity of a color(s) can be modified. For example, a color that glows at night could be included in graphics 220 for an occasion such as Halloween.
  • [0045]
    Any of a variety of different types of structures or methods may be practiced in the present invention for modifying graphics 220 of floor mat 100 and the present invention is not limited to any particular methodology or structure for modifying graphics 220. Additionally, all of the various embodiments contemplated for providing a modifiable graphic display in the floor mat of the present invention can be incorporated in either, or both, of the base portion or the insert portion. For example, the graphics may consist of preformed messages or art forms which may be adhered to either the surface which defines the bottom of recess 210, such as by using an adhesive or fastener assembly, e.g., a hook and loop assembly, or to the underside of insert portion 300 such that, when insert portion 300 is placed within base portion 200, the graphics would be visible through a transparent insert portion.
  • [0046]
    Alternatively, a variety of different graphics may be stored within floor mat 100 such that a user is able to selectively uncover a particular graphic for display while the other available graphics remain covered within floor mat 100. This type of selectability is known in other mediums where selectivity between a variety of different graphics within a common display panel is desired. For example, advertising bulletin boards at sporting events are able to selectively display a first particular message during a first particular period of time and display a second message during a second period of time on the same bulletin board.
  • [0047]
    A third possible alternative is to provide a modifiable display on the floor mat. The display surface can be associated with either the base portion or the insert portion, e.g., on either the bottom surface of recess 210 or attached to the bottom of insert portion 300. A display could be included on the front of the floor mat, on the back of the mat such that it is viewable through a transparent portion of the mat, embedded in the mat, attached to the mat, or integrally formed in the mat. For example, the display could be comprised of a small, thin box of graphics that could attach to a tacky portion and/or a base portion or any other component part of the floor mat. However it is associated with the floor mat, a user may design and display their customized graphic and may subsequently modify that graphic such that it is replaced with another graphic. A display surface such as an erasable writing board could be utilized for this purpose.
  • [0048]
    It is also contemplated that a modifiable electronic display surface could be provided, such as, for example, a liquid crystal display. The display could be connected to a computer and a computer generated image could be displayed on the display. Thus, the image displayed on the display could be modified by generating a different computer image and displaying that computer image on the display. The display could be associated with base portion 200, such as included within recess 210, or could be included on a bottom surface, facing upward, of insert portion 300. Alternatively, the display could be integrally formed with either of the base portion or the insert portion. The modifiable display could utilize a plurality of different graphics that can be displayed in any of a variety of manners on the display. For example, the graphics could be displayed in a generally fixed position on the display or could scroll across the display, with both exemplary methodologies displaying multiple graphics either individually or in combination.
  • [0049]
    Other alternatives for modifying the graphics 220 of floor mat 100 include using light emitting polymers to create, and thus change, graphics 220. The light emitting polymers can be either applied to, attached to, or woven into the floor mat. The light emitting polymers may be utilized on any portion of floor mat 100, for example, on either the base portion or the insert portion, or on any other portion of the different embodiments for the floor mat. Light emitting polymers are known and described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,945,502, 5,869,350, and 5,571,626, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • [0050]
    Other options for a display are to use electronic ink or electric paper. Electric paper is available from Xerox and is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,723,204, 5,604,027, 4,126,854, and 4,143,103, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. Electric paper employs thousands of tiny, electrically charged beads, called Gyricon, each about the width of a human hair, to create pixels. The two-tone beads are embedded inside a liquid-filled plastic sheeting that forms the surface of the paper. Each bead, half-black, half-white, gyrates in response to an electric field. Whether the beads are black- or white-side up determines the image. Because there's no need to refresh the image, and because the screen isn't backlit, electric paper uses only a fraction of the power used by conventional electronic displays. Electromagnetic styluses and printer-like devices can be used for getting images onto the paper.
  • [0051]
    Electronic ink is available from E Ink Corp., at 45 Spinelli Pl., Cambridge, Mass. 02138. Electronic ink uses a microencapsulated micromechanical display system. Tiny microcapsules are captured between two sheets of plastic to create pixels. Alternatively, the capsules may be sprayed on a surface. The result is a flexible display material. The tiny capsules are transparent and contain a mixture of dark ink and white paint chips. An electric charge is passed through the capsules. Depending on the electrostatic charge, the paint chips float at the top or rest on the bottom of each capsule. When the paint chips float at the top, the surface appears white. When they rest at the bottom, and thus under the ink, the surface appears black. Each of the two states is stable: black or white. A transparent electromagnetic grid laid over the sheet's surface controls the shape of the image. The display may be wirelessly connected to, for example, a computer and thus, the World Wide Web by utilizing, for example, a Motorola paging system. Text on all displays, if multiple displays are used, can be changed at once by a single editor, through a Web page.
  • [0052]
    Again, a display, which could utilize any of the methods discussed above for modifying the display, could be associated with any portion of the floor mat, such as base portion 200 within recess 210 or on a bottom surface, facing upward, of insert portion 300. Alternatively, the display could be integrally formed with either of the base portion or the insert portion. The display could be utilized in any of the embodiments disclosed herein for the floor mat of the present invention, including a floor mat that includes a tacky surface and a non-tacky floor mat embodiment.
  • [0053]
    In further describing base portion 200, as mentioned above, base portion 200 may also include both a water dissipation component and a cushioning component. The water dissipation component provides for transferring moisture from the soles of a person's shoes that is standing on floor mat 100 to reduce the degree of moisture transferred to cleanable insert portion 300 and the cushioning component provides for conforming the floor mat 100 to the shape of the person's soles such that a greater amount of the debris on the person's soles may be removed by floor mat 100. The present invention is not limited to any particular structure or material for the water dissipation component and the cushioning component. For example, the water dissipation component may be comprised of any of a wide variety of known materials, such as polyamides, vinylics, and polyisoprene. It is desirable, but not required, that the water dissipation component dissipate or move the water and not retain the water. Thus, porous materials, and not hydrophilic materials, are desired. The cushioning component may be comprised of any of a variety of cushioning components to include, for example, foam rubber.
  • [0054]
    [0054]FIG. 2 also further illustrates cleanable insert portion 300. As can be seen, cleanable insert portion 300 has a geometric shape which is complementary in size and form to the recess 210 that is formed within base portion 200. As such, cleanable insert portion 300 is able to be received securely within recess 210. Thus, cleanable insert portion 300 has a length L2 which is just slightly smaller than the length L1 of recess 210. Likewise, cleanable insert portion 300 has a width W2 which is also just slightly smaller than width W1 of recess 210.
  • [0055]
    On the bottom side 310 of cleanable insert portion 300, i.e., that surface which contacts the surface which defines the bottom of recess 210, an attachment mechanism may be provided such that cleanable insert portion 300 may be removably attached to base portion 200 within recess 210. Any of a variety of different attachment mechanisms may be provided on the bottom surface of cleanable insert portion 300 to include, for example, a hook and loop fastener assembly or an adhesive. Regardless of the particular securement mechanism used to removably attach cleanable insert portion 300 to base portion 200, in this embodiment, cleanable insert portion 300 may be removed from base portion 200 such that it may be cleaned by a user and, after cleaning, be reinserted within recess 210 such that a clean surface is now provided for floor mat 100.
  • [0056]
    As stated above, cleanable insert portion 300 may be formed from a transparent material such as hydrophilic aliphatic acrylic polymers and copolymers incorporating acrylic acid, hydroxy ethyl methacrylate, and glycerin monomethacrylate. Forming cleanable insert portion 300 of a transparent material would allow an individual to view the customized graphics that may be provided within floor mat 100, as discussed previously. Alternatively, the insert portion 300 could be opaque.
  • [0057]
    Additionally, the top side of cleanable insert portion 300 may include a tacky surface. The tacky surface would provide for assisting in removing debris from the soles of a person's shoes that is standing on cleanable insert portion 300. When the top tacky surface of cleanable insert portion 300 is dirtied to such an extent that the user desires to clean insert portion 300, in this embodiment, the user removes insert portion 300 from base portion 200 and cleans insert portion 300 to remove the accumulated debris. The insert portion 300 is then reinserted into base portion 200.
  • [0058]
    The tacky surface that is provided on the top side of cleanable insert portion 300 could be comprised of any of a variety of materials, such as polyvinyl chlorides combined with a suitable plasticizer, plasticized neoprene, polysulfides, and polyurethanes. Additionally, acrylics, such as butyl acrylate and many of its homologues, may be utilized. Again, the present invention is not limited to any particular material. The tacky surface may be formed, generally, from any adhesive material. The only consideration, in this embodiment, is that the surface should maintain its tacky characteristic even after repeated cleaning cycles.
  • [0059]
    The present invention is not limited to any particular methodology for cleaning insert portion 300. Insert portion 300 may be cleaned by any of a variety of methods depending upon a particular material composition for insert portion 300. For example, insert portion 300 may be cleaned by placing insert portion within a washing machine and washing insert portion 300 or insert portion 300 may be cleaned by scrubbing insert portion 300 with a scrub brush and soap and water or with a cleaning agent such as “Spic 'N Span”.
  • [0060]
    Additionally, the insert portion 300 could be cleaned by utilizing a roller that also includes a tacky surface around the circumference of the roller. The tacky surface of the roller is comprised of a stronger adhesive than that of the tacky insert portion such that, as the tacky surface of the roller is rolled over the tacky surface of the insert portion, any dirt and debris on the tacky insert portion will be drawn off of the tacky insert portion and will adhere to the roller. In this manner, a roller with a tacky surface could be utilized to clean the tacky insert portion.
  • [0061]
    Again, however, the present invention is not limited to any particular methodology or cleaning agent for cleaning insert portion 300 and any cleaning methodology or agent compatible with the composition of insert portion 300 is contemplated.
  • [0062]
    Floor mat 100 may also include additional features for assisting in the cleaning of the soles of a person standing on floor mat 100. For example, base portion 200 and/or insert portion 300 may include an antibacterial composition and an antifungal composition. Antibacterial compositions such as anthraquinone derivatives of polyethylene glycol mono- and di-methacrylate could be utilized. Thus, floor mat 100 would be bactericidal. The antibacterial feature would be particularly desirable because the floor mat would be able to both clean structural debris from the soles of the person's shoes and remove any potentially harmful bacteria from the person's soles as well.
  • [0063]
    Additionally, in order to further provide for a desirable sole surface prior to entering a particular area, floor mat 100 could also be provided with a fragrance. Flavones such as tricyclic molecules with aromatic substitution or organic ethers, e.g., liminolic acid, could be utilized. The fragrance is transferred from floor mat 100 to the soles of the person's shoes such that any undesirable odors are favorably masked by the fragrance.
  • [0064]
    The present invention is not only limited to utilizing an antibacterial composition, an antifungal composition, and/or a fragrance in floor mat 100. Rather, floor mat 100 could also incorporate a variety of other substances that would assist in cleaning the soles of a person's shoes.
  • [0065]
    Any variety of structures or methods could be utilized for associating an antibacterial composition, an antifungal composition, a fragrance, or any other composition, with floor mat 100. The substances could be applied as releasable, or dissipatable, coatings to floor mat 100 or could be releasably embedded as, for example, pellets within the structure of floor mat 100 such that as pressure is applied to floor mat 100 the substances are dispensed to the soles of the person's shoes.
  • [0066]
    [0066]FIG. 3 illustrates an alternative embodiment for floor mat 100. In FIG. 3, it is illustrated that base portion 200 may include separate layers for a water dissipation component 230 and a cushioning component 240. Water dissipation component 230, in this embodiment, is disposed on a top side of the cushioning component 240. However, the present invention is not limited to this particular embodiment for water dissipation component 230 and cushioning component 240. For example, a single hybrid structure could be utilized for base portion 200 that would include the material properties to provide for both water dissipation and conforming structure.
  • [0067]
    Alternatively, FIG. 4 illustrates that the floor mat may include both a water dissipation component, or wicking layer, and a water absorbtion layer. In FIG. 4, floor mat 400 includes wicking layer 410 and water absorption layer 420. The wicking layer 410 could be comprised of polypropeline or olefins, or any other suitable material that has the properties of moving the water from the surface of floor mat 400. The water absorption layer 420 is disposed underneath the wicking layer 410 and absorbs any water that passes through the wicking layer 410. The water absorption layer 420 could be periodically removed and dried, such as by example only, in a drying machine.
  • [0068]
    Of course, a wicking layer 410 may be used either with or without a water absorption layer 420 and a cushioning layer, as described previously in other embodiments, and the water absorption layer 420 could be used with or without a wicking layer 410 and a cushioning layer. Additionally, both the wicking layer and/or the absorption layer and/or the cushioning layer could be used with or without a tacky portion.
  • [0069]
    Returning to FIG. 3, FIG. 3 also illustrates an alternative embodiment for insert portion 300. Whereas the previously disclosed embodiment for insert portion 300 was discussed as a single structural member that could include a tacky surface on a top side thereof, the embodiment of FIG. 3 for insert portion 300 is comprised of a plurality of layers. As can be seen, layers 301-305, comprise insert portion 300. Each of the layers may include a tacky surface on a top side thereof, as was described previously for insert portion 300. In use, a top-most layer, e.g., layer 301, may be removed from its adjacent lower layer, e.g., layer 302, and may be independently cleaned. After cleaning, the layer may be reinstalled within recess 210 on top of the exposed layer of insert portion 300. In this manner, insert portion 300 may be cleaned by removing a top-most layer, cleaning that layer, and reinstalling that layer within recess 210. Whereas each layer is described as being independently cleanable, it is not required that each individual layer be cleanable. Each layer may be formed of materials as described previously when discussing the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2 for the insert portion.
  • [0070]
    Other alternative embodiments for insert portion 300 are contemplated. For example, whereas the previously disclosed embodiments discussed insert portion 300 as being comprised of one or more layers with a tacky surface on a top side of the layer(s), it is not required that insert portion 300 be formed with only a tacky surface on a top side thereof. More specifically, an alternative embodiment for insert portion 300 could include forming insert portion 300 as a single structural member from a material which is tacky in composition throughout the entire cross-section of the material. A material such as a blend of a noncross-linked hydrophilic thermoplastic, preferably a polyethylene glycol diacrylate with n not exceeding 15, and a hydrophobic material, such as a polyvinyl neoprene chloride, could be utilized for the insert portion of this embodiment. By forming insert portion 300 from a uniform, tacky material, the insert portion 300 does not necessarily have to be removed from recess 210 of base portion 200 to be cleaned. Insert portion 300 could be cleaned in this alternative embodiment by eroding the top surface of the insert portion as a result of use of the insert portion. Thus, by providing an erodible insert portion, the insert portion may be cleaned by the erosion of its top surface as the insert portion is used within floor mat 100.
  • [0071]
    As insert portion 300 erodes, the exposed surface of insert portion 300 continues to be tacky in composition because of its uniform cross-section. As the exposed tacky surface erodes, the dirt captured by the exposed tacky surface will dissipate as a result of the erosion and thus, the erosion of the insert portion itself provides for a cleanable insert portion.
  • [0072]
    Alternatively, even with a uniform cross-section of a tacky substance for insert portion 300, the user may remove insert portion 300 from recess 210 and separately clean insert portion 300. Thus, the user is not required to rely solely on the erodible characteristic of insert portion 300 for cleaning of insert portion 300; rather, the user may utilize the erodible cleaning feature of the insert portion in combination with a separate cleaning step of removing the insert portion from the base portion and independently cleaning the insert portion.
  • [0073]
    As discussed above, insert portion 300 may be comprised of a variety of materials, including materials such as tacky plastics, paper, or adhesives that can be cleanable and may or may not be erodible and reusable. If paper is utilized, the insert portion may be formed as a single structural member or as a plurality of layers, as discussed previously. Additionally, the paper may include a tacky surface on a top-side thereof. The paper may be translucent, opaque, or colored, and may include a graphic display thereon.
  • [0074]
    As discussed earlier, it is desirable, but not required, that the floor mat contain a water dissipation and/or absorption capability. This capability is desired to help prevent the tacky surface of the insert portion from becoming excessively wet and, thus, slippery. Whereas it has been discussed that, in order to help prevent a user from slipping on the tacky surface of the insert portion, a water dissipation and/or absorbing capability could be included in the floor mat to reduce the degree of moisture on the tacky surface, this is not the only structure contemplated for preventing the tacky insert portion from becoming slippery. Alternatively, the tacky insert portion itself could be formed to help prevent slipping. FIGS. 5-7 illustrate alternative embodiments for tacky insert portion 300. FIG. 5 illustrates tacky insert portion 300 as including a grid pattern 320 of channels 322 that could be comprised of a non-tacky material. The channels could be either raised from the surface of insert portion 300 or could lie co-planar with the top surface of the insert portion. By forming the channels of a non-tacky material, even if the tacky material of insert portion 300 became wet, a user would be assisted in not slipping on the slippery, wet tacky surface of the insert portion by the presence of the non-tacky surfaces which do not become slippery when wet.
  • [0075]
    [0075]FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate another alternative embodiment for tacky insert portion 300 which includes anti-slip particles 324, e.g., silicon or sand particles, which extend above the top surface 330 of the tacky insert portion. It is desirable that the anti-slip particles be comprised of a material that does not become slippery when wet and that they be exposed from the tacky surface, however, it is not required. Even if the anti-slip particles are embedded within the tacky surface, their extension above the top surface 330 of the tacky insert portion will provide a physical frictional restraint against slipping for the soles of a person's shoes who is standing on the floor mat.
  • [0076]
    Whereas FIG. 5 illustrates tacky insert portion 300 as including a grid pattern 320 of channels 322 that could be comprised of a non-tacky material and FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate another alternative embodiment for tacky insert portion 300 which includes anti-slip particles 324 which extend above the top surface 330 of the tacky insert portion, it is not required that these two alternative embodiments contain features that are mutually exclusive. For example, it is contemplated that tacky insert portion 300 could include both a grid pattern of non-tacky channels and anti-slip particles, which is not illustrated specifically in the Figures but which can be easily understood.
  • [0077]
    Another alternative for providing a slip-resistant tacky portion is to include a plurality of anti-slip members, or treads or nipples, that extend up through and slightly above the surface of the tacky portion. As can be seen in FIG. 8, in this embodiment, tacky portion 300 is inserted within a base portion, which may be a water absorbent border 500, and includes a plurality of apertures 342 within it. Each of a plurality of treads 344, which may extend upward from a base disposed underneath tacky portion 300, extend up through one of the plurality of apertures 342. A top-most end of each tread extends above a top-most surface 340 of tacky portion 300. As a person steps onto tacky portion 300, the quantity and positioning of the treads 344 is such that the tacky portion is able to remove debris from the person's shoes and the treads 344, at least one of which is stepped upon by the person, prevents slipping of the person on the tacky portion 300 should the tacky portion 300 become slippery when wet. The treads 344 may compress when stepped upon such that the top-most end of the tread is co-planar with the top-most surface 340 of the tacky portion 300. In this manner, the tread will contact the person's shoes to prevent slipping but yet not hinder contact between the person's shoes and the tacky surface of the mat, which enhances the cleaning of the person's shoes. Therefore, there is a relationship between the distance that the tread extends above the top-most surface of the tacky portion and the compressibility of the tread; a relationship which provides the functionality discussed above.
  • [0078]
    The treads may be configured in any shape and size. Additionally, the treads may be comprised of any material which is slip-resistant when wet, such as, for example, rubber or plastics. The treads may include grooves within them to further assist in preventing a person from slipping on the tacky portion.
  • [0079]
    In the following discussion, it is to be understood that the floor mat “base portion,” referred to in the foregoing primarily by the reference number 200, comprises at least a base portion underlayer and a non-tacky layer. At least a section of the non-tacky layer may be separable from the base portion underlayer. It should be understood that the base portion could be a single layer or multiple layers so long as it cooperates properly with the tacky insert.
  • [0080]
    In consideration of the above, FIG. 9B is an exploded view of a floor mat according to yet another embodiment of the present invention. The floor mat includes a base portion underlayer 2300 formed as a substantially planar sheet of material of a pre-determined thickness and having a raised border 2303 circumscribing the planar sheet. The sheet of material includes a substantially planar surface 2302. The material may be a pliable, durable, water-resistant material such as vinyl, plastic or rubber, formed into the desired configuration by, for example, compression molding, injection molding, thermoforming, or other processes.
  • [0081]
    The base portion underlayer includes an area 2301 configured to receive a tacky insert 2306. The area 2301 may be bordered by a rim 2308 of material higher than the surface 2302. When placed within the area, the tacky insert may abut a section of the raised border 2303, so that the rim and the border cooperate in retaining the tacky insert within the base portion underlayer. The base portion underlayer includes anti-slip components 2309 in the area 2301. The anti-slip components extend through apertures 2307 in the tacky insert and also help to secure it in place on the base portion underlayer.
  • [0082]
    Further shown in FIG. 9B is a non-tacky layer 2304 of a pre-determined thickness configured to be received into base portion underlayer 2300 within the raised border 2303. A portion of the non-tacky layer may be permanently bonded to the base portion underlayer. The raised border 2303 may be formed as a “cove molding,” wherein, as shown in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 9A, beginning at an outer edge 2303.1, the material of the border slopes upwardly and inwardly. An inner edge 2303.2, i.e., a difference in height between the planar surface 2302 and a part of the raised border may be substantially equal to a thickness of the non-tacky layer 2304. The non-tacky layer has a cut-out area 2305 that conforms to the shape of the tacky insert, so that when the non-tacky layer and the base portion underlayer are put together, edges of the cut-out area abut or are adjacent to the rim 2308, and the upper surface of the non-tacky layer is higher than the surface of the area 2301 for receiving the tacky insert. Thus, the base portion underlayer together with the non-tacky layer form a base portion having a recess configured to receive the tacky insert.
  • [0083]
    The non-tacky layer 2304 may have properties of components of the base portion 200 described earlier. For example, the non-tacky layer 2304 may have any combination of water-absorbing properties, water-dissipating properties, water-wicking properties, cushioning properties, antibacterial properties, antifungal properties, a fragrance, graphics and the like as described above in connection with base portion 200. The non-tacky layer may, for example, be a carpet. The area of a top surface of the non-tacky layer may be at least as large as the area of a top surface of the tacky insert. The areas of the top surfaces of the non-tacky layer and the tacky insert may be respectively of a size such that an entire sole of an adult-sized shoe is receivable thereon.
  • [0084]
    As discussed above, the tacky insert 2306 may comprise a plurality of separable layers. The layers may comprise a pliable, flexible material such as a polyethylene, bi-axially oriented polypropylene or polyester film coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive to provide tackiness. A user of the floor mat may discard an insert layer which has become too soiled to effectively clean shoes, to expose a fresh layer underneath. To facilitate removal of a soiled layer, at least a section of the non-tacky layer 2304 may be separable from the base portion to expose a remove tab 2400 of a layer of the tacky insert, as shown in FIG. 10A. The remove tab 2400 facilitates easy removal of a layer of the tacky insert by enabling a user to grasp the remove tab and thereby apply a separating force to the layer. The remove tab 2400 could be formed of the same material as the tacky insert during a die-cutting process discussed in greater detail below, but without any adhesive, to enable easy handling. The remove tab could alternatively be formed from a different material and fastened to the tacky insert. A recess 2401 may be formed in the base portion underlayer to accommodate the remove tab or tabs.
  • [0085]
    A pull tab 2402, for example in the form of a loop of fabric, may be provided on an edge of the non-tacky layer to enable a user to separate a section of the non-tacky layer from the base portion underlayer. The separable section of the non-tacky layer could be secured to the base portion underlayer by readily-separable fasteners, for example, snap fasteners as shown in FIG. 10A, when in normal use. In FIG. 10A, the pull tab 2402 includes a receptacle component 2403 of the snap fastener, while the base portion underlayer includes a mated male component 2404. While the floor mat is in normal use, the non-tacky layer would lie flat on the base portion underlayer 2300, bringing the two snap fastener components into locking engagement, securing the separable section of the non-tacky layer to the base portion underlayer and concealing the remove tab or tabs 2400 to give the floor mat a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  • [0086]
    In an alternative embodiment as shown in FIG. 10B, the fasteners could be hook-and-loop fasteners such as VELCRO® and the like. In FIG. 10B, a VELCRO® strip 2405 is shown attached to an underside of the non-tacky layer 2304, and a mating VELCRO® strip 2406 is shown attached to the planar surface 2302 of the base portion underlayer 2300. While the floor mat is in normal use, the non-tacky layer would lie flat on the base portion underlayer 2300, bringing the two VELCRO® strips into contact, securing the separable section of the non-tacky layer to the base portion underlayer and concealing the remove tab or tabs 2400.
  • [0087]
    Alternatively to the remove tab 2400 extending into the area of the base portion underlayer covered by the non-tacky layer so that the remove tab is hidden, the remove tab could extend into the area 2301 of the tacky insert, as shown in FIG. 10C. The tabs could be numbered, to indicate to a user, for example, how many tacky insert layers have been used.
  • [0088]
    [0088]FIGS. 10D and 10E show side elevation views of remove tabs 2400 corresponding to the case when the tacky insert comprises a plurality of layers. As shown in FIG. 10D, the remove tabs could be layered in a graduated fashion, such that an edge of an upper tab extends beyond an edge of a tab below it. Such an arrangement could enable easier manipulation of a remove tab. Alternatively, the tabs could be co-extensive as shown in FIG. 10E.
  • [0089]
    As noted above, a tacky insert could comprise a plurality of separable layers. FIG. 11A is a side elevation view illustrating one possible sequence of layers in a tacky insert. In the example of FIG. 11A, the tacky insert has 12 layers, but clearly a tacky insert having more or fewer layers is readily contemplated. In FIG. 11A, each of layers 1-12 comprises at least an adhesive layer and a film layer. The adhesive layer provides the tacky surface of the tacky insert for cleaning shoes as described above, when exposed for use. The film is a medium for the adhesive layer.
  • [0090]
    In addition to adhesive and film layers, the top layer 1 and base layer 12 each include a release layer. The release layers have a non-tacky outer surface (i.e., the surfaces opposite the surfaces in contact with an adhesive layer) to enable a group of layers to be easily packaged, unpackaged and handled by a user. The release layers are easily separated from the adhesive layer when a user needs to install a tacky insert into a base portion of a floor mat.
  • [0091]
    To install a multi-layer tacky insert as shown in FIG. 11A, a user would peel away the base release layer from layer 12 to expose the base layer adhesive, then install the tacky insert in the base portion of the floor mat. The base layer adhesive would secure the tacky insert within the base portion.
  • [0092]
    The user would then remove the top release layer to expose the adhesive surface of the first layer for use. After the first layer became soiled by use, the user would remove the first layer to expose the adhesive surface of the second layer, and begin using the second layer. The bond between the adhesive surface of one layer and the film of the layer above it would be strong enough to ensure that the upper layer was not easily dislodged from the lower layer or layers when used to clean shoes, but not so strong that the upper layer would be difficult to remove by deliberate manipulation and application of force for that purpose. When all the layers of the insert were used up, the user could remove the base layer and install a new insert.
  • [0093]
    [0093]FIG. 11B illustrates an alternative embodiment of a layer of a tacky insert. As shown in FIG. 11B, a layer of a tacky insert could comprise adhesive 2700 interspersed with an integral anti-slip material 2701, overlaid on a film layer. The anti-slip material could extend in a strip across the layer, as shown in FIG. 11C. This integral anti-slip material could be used to perform an anti-slip function in substitution for anti-slip components of the base mat underlayer which are received by apertures in the tacky insert. Alternatively, both integral anti-slip material and anti-slip components received in apertures of the tacky insert could be used to provide an anti-slip function.
  • [0094]
    A method and apparatus for manufacturing a tacky insert comprising a plurality of layers will now be described. A basic material for forming the layers could be a low-density polyethylene, bi-axially oriented polypropylene or polyester film manufactured and distributed in bulk quantities in units of continuous rolls. The basic material could also be provided in the form of individual sheets. Typically, film is fed from the rolls and sent through a series of mechanized and automated layering processes involving the application of adhesive to provide a tacky surface, the application of release layers to facilitate packaging and handling, and the cutting of layers into the desired shape.
  • [0095]
    Referring now to FIG. 12, the process for forming tacky inserts includes forming an upper adhesive layer on a film, as shown in block 2800. The upper adhesive layer can be formed by known processes, for example, using a reverse roll coater machine or a gravure coater machine in a roll-to-roll process. The film with an upper adhesive layer constitutes a standard layer material for layers of the tacky insert, which is included in all layers subsequently formed. Then, using a laminator, a portion of the standard layer material is laminated with a top layer release film to form a top layer material for forming a top layer of an insert, as shown in block 2801. This top layer corresponds to layer 1 as shown in FIG. 11A.
  • [0096]
    A base layer material for forming a base layer of an insert is formed from a portion of the standard layer material by using a reverse roll coater or gravure coater, for example, to add a base adhesive layer to the side of the film opposite the side with the upper adhesive, and using a laminator to laminate the base adhesive layer with a base layer release film, as shown in block 2802. This base layer corresponds to layer 12 as shown in FIG. 11A.
  • [0097]
    The constituent standard layer, top layer and base layer materials of the tacky insert are then subjected to further processing by alternative methods according to the invention to produce tacky inserts, as illustrated in FIGS. 13A, 13B and 13C, respectively, and discussed in greater detail below.
  • [0098]
    According to a known method called “multiple lay-up” (not illustrated), all the layers may first be brought together into multi-layered laminate which is subsequently cut into tacky insert shapes. However, this process suffers from the disadvantage that undesirable bonding of the cut layers can occur at the edges thereof.
  • [0099]
    Thus, to avoid the problem of edge bonding, the tacky inserts may be formed in a process involving a rotary die cutter according to at least three alternative embodiments of the invention. Rotary die cutters are well-known in the manufacturing arts. However, the use of rotary die cutters in a process to form a multi-layered structure as shown in FIG. 11A is not known.
  • [0100]
    [0100]FIG. 13A shows an apparatus configured to cut tacky inserts using a rotary die cutter according to the invention. A number (for example, 12) of individual rollers 2900 are shown for feeding the top layer, standard layer, and base layer materials, respectively, to a laminator 2901 and then to a rotary die cutter 2903. The layers are fed in a continuous form known as a “web.” A laminator is a known machine which is configurable to apply a pre-determined amount of pressure and tension via rollers to a plurality of webs so as to join webs to each other with a desired bonding strength. For example, the laminator would apply sufficient pressure such that, once finished, a tacky insert would not easily separate into its constituent layers upon casual handling, but not so much pressure that layers would effectively fuse together and be difficult to separate by deliberate manipulation and application of force for that purpose.
  • [0101]
    After the layers are joined by the laminator to form a 12-layer web 2902, they are processed by the rotary die cutter 2903. The rotary die cutter 2903 cuts a 12-layer tacky insert 2905 of a desired shape from the web 2902.
  • [0102]
    A more detailed example of a rotary die cutter is shown in FIG. 14. A rotary die cutter typically comprises at least two substantially cylindrical drums 3000 juxtaposed and rotating in opposite directions to each other. The drums rotate on shafts 3002 driven by gears 3003. Outer surfaces of the drums include engraved knives 3001 outlining a desired shape to be cut out of a web 3004. A shape on one of the drum surfaces is the mirror image of the shape on the opposing drum surface. In the case of tacky inserts, the outlined shape could be a keystone shape, for example, as described above. The drums are aligned and their speed of rotation is set so that corresponding knives on the respective drums come into contact during rotation, cutting the desired shape out of the web material. Alternatively, the engraved knives could be on only one drum, while the opposing drum had a smooth surface. Typically, a stripping device (not shown) is used to separate the cut-out web material from the drums.
  • [0103]
    [0103]FIG. 13B shows an alternative configuration utilizing a rotary die cutter. In FIG. 13B, the tacky insert shapes are first cut out of the basic materials for the respective layers, then joined by a laminator to produce the tacky insert. Top layer material is fed to a top layer rotary die cutter, rotary die cutter #1, which is used to cut out an insert shape for the top layer. Standard layer material is fed to a second, single standard layer rotary die cutter, rotary die cutter #2, which is used to cut out insert shapes for the standard layers. In the present example, 10 standard layer insert shapes are successively cut out by rotary die cutter #2 and stacked in an intermediate stacker (not shown) prior to being laminated together with the top and base layer insert shapes. Base layer material is fed to a base layer rotary die cutter, rotary die cutter #3, which is used to cut out an insert shape for the base layer. Then the top layer, standard layers and base layer insert shapes are laminated together by laminator 2901 to produce a tacky insert 2905.
  • [0104]
    [0104]FIG. 13C illustrates a configuration wherein the insert shapes are cut out of their respective materials before being laminated together, but wherein each layer of the tacky insert is cut to shape by an individual rotary die cutter.
  • [0105]
    FIGS. 15A-15D show plan views of additional embodiments of a tacky insert 3106 such as could be formed by the above-described process. FIGS. 15A-15D show a different kind of aperture in the tacky insert for receiving anti-slip components of the base portion underlayer. Whereas, in the embodiments of earlier-discussed figures, the apertures are relatively elongated in order to receive elongated, “rib-like” anti-slip components, in FIGS. 15A-15D, apertures 3107 have a substantially circular form, for receiving nodular, “bump-like” anti-slip components. The apertures 3107 could have various arbitrary distributions, as shown in the figures. Also, the aperture shapes are not limited to circular shapes but could have arbitrary shapes, such as oval, square, rectangular or triangular shapes.
  • [0106]
    Returning to FIGS. 15A-15D, a remove tab 3100 is provided on an edge of the tacky insert. As with the remove tabs 2400 described above, the remove tabs 3100 could be formed of the same material as the tacky insert during a die-cutting process as discussed above, but without any adhesive, to enable easy handling. The remove tab could alternatively be formed from a different material and fastened to the tacky insert. The remove tab location is arbitrary. The base portion underlayer could have a recess for receiving the remove tab.
  • [0107]
    In the preceding discussion, the term “insert” was used to refer to a member designed to be inserted into, i.e., received by, a recess of a base portion. As discussed, the insert could be a single layer of material having an upper tacky surface (and possibly a non-tacky release film on its underside), or could comprise a plurality of separable layers, each having an upper tacky surface (and possibly a non-tacky release film on a top layer and on the underside of a base layer). The following discussion uses the term “insert” to refer to the single layer form. Thus, what was referred to above as an “insert comprising a plurality of separable layers” (for example as shown in FIGS. 10D and 10E), should be understood in the following discussion to correspond to a “plurality of stacked, separable inserts.”
  • [0108]
    If inserts are stacked, it may be difficult to separate one insert from another when their respective remove tabs (hereinafter, simply “tabs”) have smooth surfaces. This is because when tab surfaces are smooth, they tend to stick together due to cohesive attraction. When tabs stick together, it could be difficult, for example, to grip the tab of the uppermost insert in a stack of inserts to separate it from the stack. Also, when handling an insert to try to separate it from the stack, the tabs sticking together could tend to cause more than one insert to be inadvertently separated from the stack, wasting material. An approach is needed to address such problems.
  • [0109]
    Accordingly, embodiments of the present invention relate to providing a non-smooth texture to a tab of an insert, or to adding thickness to a portion of a tab, so as to be able to more easily separate one tab from another, and consequently, more easily separate an individual insert from a stack of inserts. “Non-smooth texture” means that at least a portion of a surface of the tab includes areas of differentiated height, i.e., areas that are either raised or recessed in comparison to an overall tab surface, so that the portion is substantially non-planar. For example, the portion could be characterized as “bumpy” or “rough” in comparison with the rest of the tab surface.
  • [0110]
    In one embodiment, a non-smooth texture could be applied to a tab material using heated, textured rollers. More specifically, as described earlier, tab material could be formed from the same material as the insert during a die-cutting process, but without any adhesive being applied to the material used for the tab. The tab material could be rolled between heated textured rollers (a process that may be referred to as “thermoforming”) to impart a non-smooth texture to the tab material. “Textured” rollers means rollers having protrusions on their outer surfaces, so that when pressure and heat from the rollers is applied to tab material, the protrusions on the rollers are impressed into the tab material. The shape of the protrusions is arbitrary. In such an operation, the temperature of the rollers would typically need to be at or near the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the tab material. Depending on the feed rate of the tab material to the rollers, the amount of pressure that can be reasonably applied to the tab material, and thermal losses, the rollers may need to be heated to a temperature above the Tg of the tab material. While thermoforming can be done with nearly any thermoplastic material, the process is typically easier with lower Tg materials such as polyethylene or polypropylene. However, any suitable material is within the scope of the present invention, and the present invention is not limited to the use of polyethylene or polypropylene.
  • [0111]
    As noted above, tab material could be formed from the same material as the insert; i.e., a low-density polyethylene, bi-axially oriented polypropylene or polyester film manufactured and distributed in bulk quantities in units of continuous rolls. Forming non-smooth textures in the tab material could be done before a laminating step that applied adhesive to the film to make a standard material for each tacky insert. Thus, for example, forming the non-smooth textures could be done by pre-treating an entire roll of film in a thermoforming step before a laminating step, or could be done by setting up thermoforming rollers as part of a laminating line, at a point in the line prior to applying adhesive. The approach of applying non-smooth texture to tab material prior to laminating with adhesive is potentially the most cost-effective. While applying the non-smooth texture after the adhesive has been applied is possible, this runs the risk of gumming up the rollers if the adhesive is not well-controlled (kept completely clear of the tab area).
  • [0112]
    After a roll of material has been treated as described above, individual inserts, including tabs having a non-smooth texture, could be cut out of the roll in a die-cutting process and stacked. Alternatively, multiple webs could be stacked and then insert stacks could be die-cut from the stacked webs.
  • [0113]
    Alternatively to using thermoforming rollers to apply a non-smooth texture, a crimping tool could be used to introduce a non-smooth texture into a tab material. The crimping may be made easier if the crimping tool is heated, or if the tab material is heated to near the Tg of the material. However, heating is not necessarily required, if adequate force is applied to the crimping tool.
  • [0114]
    According to another alternative, a non-smooth texture could be applied by placing a tab material into a heated press, either before or after die-cutting individual inserts out of a roll of material.
  • [0115]
    As a still further alternative, a non-smooth texture could be applied to a tab material by bonding particles, such as sand or grit, to a surface of the tab material.
  • [0116]
    It may be advantageous at some point in the insert manufacturing process to introduce a crease into the tabs to promote a fanning of the tabs, which would also make separating individual tabs less cumbersome.
  • [0117]
    In view of the foregoing description, ultimately a floor mat insert according to embodiments of the invention could comprise a tacky area and non-tacky area, a portion of the non-tacky area being formed as a tab for handling the insert, and a surface of the tab including a non-smooth texture.
  • [0118]
    A non-smooth texture could be applied to one or both sides of a tab material as described above. It may be appreciated that while applying a non-smooth texture to tab material in the above-described manner would create raised areas or protrusions relative to one tab surface, relative to the opposite side of the tab surface, the raised areas or protrusions would be recesses or indentations.
  • [0119]
    On a given side, the non-smooth texture of the tab could comprise, for example, small bumps, grids, or random surface roughness. Some examples of possible non-smooth textures are shown in FIGS. 16A-16C. FIG. 16A shows a plan view (i.e., a view from above) of a pattern of substantially square or rectangular bumps or protrusions. The height of the bumps, relative to the rest of the tab surface, could be dependent on the thickness of the tab material and the desired texture roughness. The height of the bumps, measured from an area of the tab surface where non-smooth texture has not been applied, could be, for example, about 5% to about 50% of the thickness of the tab material prior to thermoforming. More specifically, the height could be about 10% to about 30% of the thickness of the tab material. The area of the bumps, seen in a plan view, could, for example, correspond to a length from about 0.1 mm to about 2.0 mm on a side. More specifically, the area could correspond to a length from about 0.5 mm to about 1.0 mm on a side.
  • [0120]
    [0120]FIG. 16B shows a plan view of a pattern of substantially circular bumps or protrusions. The height of the bumps, relative to the rest of the tab surface, could be dependent on the thickness of the tab material and the desired texture roughness. The height of the bumps, measured from an area of the tab surface where non-smooth texture has not been applied, could be, for example, about 5% to about 50% of the thickness of the tab material prior to thermoforming. More specifically, the height could be about 10% to about 30% of the thickness of the tab material. The area of the bumps, seen in a plan view, could, for example, correspond to a diameter from about 0.1 mm to about 2.0 mm. More specifically, the area could correspond to a diameter from about 0.5 mm to about 1.0 mm.
  • [0121]
    [0121]FIG. 16C shows a random arrangement of a non-smooth texture. The dark lines indicate areas in a tab surface that could be either raised or recessed. The height (or depth) of the texture, relative to the rest of the tab surface, could be dependent on the thickness of the tab material and the desired texture roughness. The height (or depth) of the texture, measured from an area of the tab surface where non-smooth texture has not been applied, could be, for example, about 5% to about 50% of the thickness of the tab material prior to thermoforming. More specifically, the height (or depth) could be about 10% to about 30% of the thickness of the tab material. The width of the raised areas or recesses, seen in a plan view, could, for example, be about 0.1 mm to about 2.0 mm. More specifically, the width could be about 0.5 mm to about 1.0 mm.
  • [0122]
    As discussed above, a non-smooth texture could be applied to one or both sides of a tab material. According to embodiments of the invention, if the non-smooth texture is applied to only one side of the tab, the non-smooth texture is formed such that, when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab (for example in a stack of inserts), the non-smooth textures of the respective tabs are offset from each other. This is done so that raised areas in a lower tab do not nest into corresponding recesses in an upper tab, which would make the tabs difficult to separate. Put otherwise, bumps in one tab do not fill valleys in an adjacent tab.
  • [0123]
    An example of such an arrangement is shown in FIG. 17. FIG. 17 shows a stack of insert tabs 1700. Bumps 1710 are formed in an upper surface of a top tab 1720, and thus indentations corresponding to bumps 1710 are formed in the opposite surface. Bumps 1730, formed on tab 1740 below tab 1720, are offset from bumps 1710 to avoid nesting into the indentations. Similarly, bumps 1750 on tab 1760 below tab 1740 are offset from bumps 1730. While an example of three tabs is shown in FIG. 17, such a pattern of offset non-smooth textures could be repeated throughout a stack of inserts of an arbitrary number.
  • [0124]
    Forming offset non-smooth textures as described above can be easily accomplished by orienting top and bottom rollers, in a thermoforming process, in such a manner that nesting will not occur upon stacking of the tabs. Another possibility is to use different non-smooth texture patterns on adjacent tabs, so that nesting is not possible. For example, in a stack of inserts, tabs with a non-smooth texture in a regular pattern, as in FIGS. 16A and 16B, could alternate with tabs having a randomly arranged non-smooth texture, as in FIG. 16C. Alternatively or additionally, adjacent tabs could be arranged so that their facing surfaces both had only raised areas relative to each other, or both had only recesses relative to each other, so that nesting was not possible.
  • [0125]
    FIGS. 18A-18C illustrate further embodiments of the present invention, for facilitating ease of separating tabs in a stack of inserts from each other. FIGS. 18A-18C are side elevation views of insert tabs extending from a tacky portion of the inserts. In FIGS. 18A-18C, each of tabs 1810 has a first portion and a second portion where the first portion is thicker than the second portion. According to embodiments, the first, thicker portion may be formed by a separator material 1820 added to a surface of the tab material. The separator material causes the second, thinner portion of the tab (i.e., the portion without the added separator material) to be separated from the second, thinner portions of adjacent tabs. That is, in a stack of inserts where tabs are substantially aligned with each other, the first, thicker portion creates a space between the second, thinner portion of adjacent tabs, enabling easier separation of the tabs. Put otherwise, according to embodiments, a first portion of the tab is thicker than a second portion of the tab such that when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the second portion of the first tab is separated from the second portion of the second tab.
  • [0126]
    Where the separator material is placed is arbitrary. For example, FIG. 18A shows the separator material 1820 being flush with an outer edge of a tab 1810. FIG. 18B shows the separator material 1820 located at about the center of a tab 1810. FIG. 18C shows the separator material located close to a region demarcated by line 1840 where the surface of an insert becomes tacky.
  • [0127]
    According to embodiments, the separator material could be formed from the same material as the tab. For example, the separator material could be an additional film layer bonded to the tab. Alternatively, the separator material could be formed from a different material from the tab and bonded to the tab. In either case, the bonding could be implemented with adhesive, implemented thermally or chemically, or implemented with a fastener such as a staple or staples. As another alternative, the separator material could be a staple, grommet, rivet or other means of forming a bump or protrusion on the tab. Such staples, grommets, rivets or other means of forming a bump could be, for example, plastic, rubber or metal.
  • [0128]
    According to embodiments, the separator material could be added to alternating tabs in a stack of inserts. The separator material could be provided with some kind of visual indicator, such as color, on selected tabs, for example, the next-to-last or last tab in a stack of inserts. Or, the separator material could be arranged to differentiate each tab from another, through some kind of structural or visual indicator. For example, tabs in a stack of inserts could have alternating colors, or each could have a different color. Each tab in a stack of inserts could be numbered or lettered, for example in a recognized sequence such as (1, 2, 3 . . . ) or (A, B, C . . . ).
  • [0129]
    In an alternative embodiment, each tab could have an extension projecting beyond an outer edge of the tab, as shown in FIG. 19A. FIG. 19A shows tabs 1900-1905, each having a respective extension 1900E, 1901E and so on. The extensions could be arranged such that, when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the extensions of the respective tabs are offset from each other. FIG. 19B illustrates the foregoing. FIG. 19B shows tabs 1900-1905 arranged so as to be substantially aligned with each other, for example, as would occur in a stack of inserts. Each tab's respective extension 1900E-1905E, on the other hand, is offset from the other extensions. Tab extensions as shown in FIGS. 19A and 19B could be formed, for example, by die-cutting or by adding the extensions to the tabs in a separate process. The tab extensions could be formed from the same material or from a different material as the tabs.
  • [0130]
    According to another embodiment, heat could be applied to tabs such that the tabs shrank or expanded relative to each other. Differentiation between tabs in this manner would enable easier separation of tabs. In an embodiment, heat could be applied to tabs of like material and thickness, but the degree of and the duration of heat applied could be varied between tabs. That is, a first tab could have heat of a first degree and duration applied to it, while a second tab could have heat of a second degree and duration, different from the first, applied to it. Because of the difference in the degree and duration of heat applied to the first and second tabs, they would expand or shrink relative to each. Thus, if the first and second tabs were arranged adjacent to each other in a stack of inserts, they would be easy to separate from each other, because they would have different sizes.
  • [0131]
    Alternatively, tabs could be formed of like material but of different thicknesses, and heat of the same degree and duration could be applied to the tabs. That is, a first tab could have a first thickness. A second tab could have a second thickness different from the first, and heat of the same degree and duration could be applied to the first and second tabs. Because of the difference in the thickness of the first and second tabs, they would expand or shrink relative to each. Thus, if the first and second tabs were arranged adjacent to each other in a stack of inserts, they would be easy to separate from each other, because they would have different sizes.
  • [0132]
    According to another alternative, tabs could be formed of like material but have different film orientation. “Film orientation” refers to a property of the film on a molecular level; for example, at a molecular level, film may be, for example, “bi-oriented” or “bi-actuated.” As known by persons skilled in the art, films with different orientations respond to heat differently. For example, a film with a first orientation could have a tendency to expand or shrink, when heat is applied to it, in a different direction than a film with a second orientation different from the first, when heat is applied to it. This property of film orientation would be useful in introducing differentiation between tabs. Thus, according to embodiments of the invention, a first tab could have a first film orientation. A second tab could have a second film orientation different from the first, and heat of the same degree and duration could be applied to the first and second tabs. Because of the difference in the film orientation of the first and second tabs, they would expand or shrink relative to each. Thus, if the first and second tabs were arranged over each other in a stack of inserts, they would be easy to separate from each other, because they would have different sizes.
  • [0133]
    In a further alternative, tabs could be made of different materials altogether. For example, a first tab could be made of polypropylene, while a second tab was made of nylon. Heat of the same degree and duration could be applied to the first and second tabs. Because of the difference in materials, the first and second tabs would shrink relative to each other. Thus, if the first and second tabs were arranged adjacent to each other in a stack of inserts, they would be easy to separate from each other, because they would have different sizes. Still further, tabs could be made of different materials but have substantially the same thickness, and a degree of and duration of heat applied could be varied between tabs, as described above. This would also result in the tabs being differentiated in size.
  • [0134]
    It should be understood that any of the steps of the above-described methods could be performed in any combination to achieve differentiation between tabs. For example, tabs could be of like material but different thicknesses, and heat of different degrees and durations could be applied to respective tabs. Or, tabs could be made of like materials having different film orientations, and heat of different degrees and durations could be applied to respective tabs. Still further, tabs could be made of different materials and different thicknesses, and heat of different degrees and durations could be applied to respective tabs.
  • [0135]
    All of the disclosed embodiments are illustrative of the various ways in which the present invention may be practiced. Additionally, any of the disclosed embodiments may be combined in any embodiment of the present invention and the present invention is not limited to only the particular combined embodiments disclosed. Other embodiments can be implemented by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Claims (30)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A floor mat insert comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area, a portion of the non-tacky area being formed as a tab for handling the insert, and a surface of the tab including a non-smooth texture.
  2. 2. The floor mat insert of claim 1, wherein the non-smooth texture is formed by a plurality of protrusions of arbitrary shape.
  3. 3. The floor mat insert of claim 1, wherein the non-smooth texture is formed by particles bonded to the tab surface.
  4. 4. The floor mat insert of claim 1, wherein the non-smooth texture is formed such that, when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the non-smooth textures of the respective tabs are offset from each other.
  5. 5. An insert configured to be received within a recess of a floor mat, a surface of the insert including a tacky area and a non-tacky area, a portion of the non-tacky area being formed as a tab for handling of the insert, and a surface of the tab including raised areas.
  6. 6. The insert of claim 5, wherein the raised areas are bumps arranged in a regular pattern.
  7. 7. The insert of claim 6, wherein the bumps are rectangular.
  8. 8. The insert of claim 6, wherein the bumps are circular.
  9. 9. The insert of claim 5, wherein the raised areas are randomly arranged.
  10. 10. The insert of claim 5, wherein the raised areas are formed such that, when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the raised areas of the respective tabs are offset from each other.
  11. 11. An insert configured to be received within a recess of a floor mat, a surface of the insert including a tacky area and a non-tacky area, a portion of the non-tacky area being formed as a tab for handling of the insert, and a first portion of the tab being thicker than a second portion of the tab such that when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the second portion of the first tab is separated from the second portion of the second tab.
  12. 12. The insert of claim 11, wherein the first, thicker portion of the tab is formed from a tab material and a separator material added to the tab material.
  13. 13. The insert of claim 12, wherein the separator material is one of a staple, grommet or rivet.
  14. 14. The insert of claim 11, wherein the separator material includes a visual indicator for differentiating the tab from another tab.
  15. 15. A method comprising:
    (a) forming an insert for a floor mat, the insert comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area;
    (b) forming a tab for handling the insert from a portion of the non-tacky area; and
    (c) forming a non-smooth texture on a surface of the tab.
  16. 16. The method of claim 15, wherein (c) comprises applying heated textured rollers to a material of the tab.
  17. 17. The method of claim 15, wherein (c) comprises crimping a material of the tab.
  18. 18. The method of claim 15, wherein the non-smooth texture is formed such that, when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the non-smooth textures of the respective tabs are offset from each other.
  19. 19. A method comprising:
    (a) forming an insert for a floor mat, the insert comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming a tab for handling the insert from a portion of the non-tacky area, a first portion of the tab being thicker than a second portion of the tab such that when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the second portion of the first tab is separated from the second portion of the second tab.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19, wherein the first, thicker portion of the tab is formed from a tab material and a separator layer of material added to the tab material.
  21. 21. An insert configured to be received within a recess of a floor mat, a surface of the insert including a tacky area and a non-tacky area, a portion of the non-tacky area being formed as a tab for handling of the insert, the tab having an extension projecting beyond an outer edge of the tab.
  22. 22. The insert of claim 21, wherein the extension is arranged such that, when a first tab is arranged over a second tab so as to be substantially aligned with the second tab, the extensions of the respective tabs are offset from each other.
  23. 23. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts from a portion of the respective non-tacky areas, the first and second tabs being formed from a like material and having substantially the same thickness; and
    (c) applying heat of a first degree and duration to the first tab, and heat of a second degree and duration, different from the first, to the second tab.
  24. 24. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts from a portion of the respective non-tacky areas, the first and second tabs being formed from a like material, the first tab having a first thickness, and the second tab having a second thickness different from the first; and
    (c) applying heat of the same degree and duration to the first and second tabs.
  25. 25. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts from a portion of the respective non-tacky areas, the first and second tabs being formed from a like material, the first tab having a first film orientation, and the second tab having a second film orientation different from the first; and
    (c) applying heat of the same degree and duration to the first and second tabs.
  26. 26. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts, the first tab being formed from a first material, and the second tab being formed from a second material different from the first; and
    (c) applying heat of the same degree and duration to the first and second tabs.
  27. 27. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts, the first and second tabs being formed from different materials but having substantially the same thickness; and
    (c) applying heat of a first degree and duration to the first tab, and heat of a second degree and duration, different from the first, to the second tab.
  28. 28. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts from a portion of the respective non-tacky areas, the first and second tabs being formed from a like material, the first tab having a first thickness, and the second tab having a second thickness different from the first; and
    (c) applying heat of a first degree and duration to the first tab, and heat of a second degree and duration, different from the first, to the second tab.
  29. 29. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts from a portion of the respective non-tacky areas, the first and second tabs being formed from a like material, the first tab having a first film orientation, and the second tab having a second film orientation different from the first; and
    (c) applying heat of a first degree and duration to the first tab, and heat of a second degree and duration, different from the first, to the second tab.
  30. 30. A method for forming variable-sized tabs for floor mat inserts, comprising:
    (a) forming first and second inserts for a floor mat, the inserts each comprising a tacky area and a non-tacky area; and
    (b) forming first and second tabs, respectively, for the first and second inserts, the first and second tabs being formed from different materials, the first tab having a first thickness, and the second tab having a second thickness different from the first; and
    (c) applying heat of a first degree and duration to the first tab, and heat of a second degree and duration, different from the first, to the second tab.
US10316030 1999-05-04 2002-12-11 Remove tabs for tacky inserts of a floor mat Abandoned US20030126708A1 (en)

Priority Applications (7)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US09304051 US6219876B1 (en) 1999-05-04 1999-05-04 Floor mat
US41875299 true 1999-10-15 1999-10-15
US09553234 US6233776B1 (en) 1999-05-04 2000-04-19 Advanced floor mat
PCT/US2000/030206 WO2001080707A1 (en) 2000-04-19 2000-11-02 Advanced floor mat
US09935672 US20020023308A1 (en) 2000-08-25 2001-08-24 Advanced floor mat
US33931601 true 2001-12-12 2001-12-12
US10316030 US20030126708A1 (en) 1999-05-04 2002-12-11 Remove tabs for tacky inserts of a floor mat

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US10316030 US20030126708A1 (en) 1999-05-04 2002-12-11 Remove tabs for tacky inserts of a floor mat
PCT/US2003/036112 WO2004045902A1 (en) 2002-11-15 2003-11-13 Advanced automobile floor mat
CA 2506028 CA2506028A1 (en) 2002-11-15 2003-11-13 Advanced automobile floor mat
US10712375 US20040148725A1 (en) 1999-05-04 2003-11-14 Advanced automobile floor mat

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US09304051 Continuation-In-Part US6219876B1 (en) 1999-05-04 1999-05-04 Floor mat
US41875299 Continuation-In-Part 1999-10-15 1999-10-15
US09553234 Continuation-In-Part US6233776B1 (en) 1999-05-04 2000-04-19 Advanced floor mat
PCT/US2000/030206 Continuation-In-Part WO2001080707A1 (en) 1999-05-04 2000-11-02 Advanced floor mat
US09935672 Continuation-In-Part US20020023308A1 (en) 2000-08-25 2001-08-24 Advanced floor mat

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US10712375 Continuation-In-Part US20040148725A1 (en) 1999-05-04 2003-11-14 Advanced automobile floor mat

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US9204775B2 (en) 2011-04-26 2015-12-08 The Procter & Gamble Company Scrubbing strip for a cleaning sheet, cleaning sheet used therewith, and method of making
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