US20080034491A1 - Hot tub cover including modular core - Google Patents

Hot tub cover including modular core Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080034491A1
US20080034491A1 US11/456,588 US45658806A US2008034491A1 US 20080034491 A1 US20080034491 A1 US 20080034491A1 US 45658806 A US45658806 A US 45658806A US 2008034491 A1 US2008034491 A1 US 2008034491A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
core
hot tub
elements
element
tub cover
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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
US11/456,588
Inventor
William D. Scott
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Scott William D
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Publication date
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Priority to US11/456,588 priority Critical patent/US20080034491A1/en
Publication of US20080034491A1 publication Critical patent/US20080034491A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H4/00Swimming or splash baths or pools
    • E04H4/06Safety devices; Coverings for baths
    • E04H4/08Coverings consisting of rigid elements, e.g. coverings composed of separate or connected elements

Abstract

A hot tub cover including at least one core module including a jacket and at least one core module within the jacket. Each core module is fabricated from a plurality of rigidly interconnected core elements. In the disclosed embodiment, the core elements are extruded and include dovetail elements at their edges enabling the core elements to slide together.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a cover for spas, hot tubs, and the like and more particularly to an improved core for such covers.
  • In order to provide insulation, limit pollution, and reduce the risk of accidents, it is desirable to cover the open top of a spa or hot tub. For example, one particularly effective cover having a rigid plastic core is illustrated and described in U.S. Publication 2005/0086731 dated Apr. 28, 2005 and entitled “Cover for Hot Tub, Spa, or the Like.” This cover includes two separate core halves and a watertight jacket enclosing the core halves and providing a hinge between the two halves. Therefore, the core halves can fold together to aid in removal of the cover.
  • Although a notable advance in the art, this cover is not without it drawbacks. First, the two large core halves exceed the size limits of conventional carriers (e.g. United Parcel Service and the U.S. Postal Service), which makes shipping by conventional carriers expensive. This additional costs reduces the effective practical market for the cover both domestically and internationally.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The aforementioned problems are overcome by the present invention wherein a cover for a hot tub or spa includes one or more core modules each including a plurality of rigidly interconnected core elements. The core elements can be separated for shipping. The core elements can be readily assembled following shipping into the one or more core modules.
  • The disassembled core elements can be easily and economically shipped. For example, the core elements can be shipped as a compact stack of unassembled elements. The compact stack typically will not exceed the normal-shipping-cost size limitations of common carriers, and therefore will be accorded normal shipping costs. Alternatively, the unassembled elements can placed within a hot tub or spa that is being shipped. When the elements are shipped within a hot tub, the potential for damage during shipping is significantly reduced.
  • After shipping, the elements are easily rigidly interconnected to form one or more core modules of the hot tub cover. The assembly can be accomplished by either a professional installer or a consumer. A jacket also is included with the shipped core elements so that the core modules can be enclosed within the jacket to complete the cover.
  • These and other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reference to the description of the current embodiment and the drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the hot tub cover of the present invention installed on a hot tub.
  • FIG. 2 is a fragmentary section view taken along line 2-2 of the hot tub cover including die adjacent core modules and the jacket.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one of the core modules with the core elements staggered from one another.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of the cover with portions of the vinyl jacket removed to reveal the core module.
  • FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a core element with a male dovetail element and a female dovetail element.
  • FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the core elements placed within the hot tub for shipping.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the core elements stacked and packaged for shipping.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRENT EMBODIMENT
  • A hot tub cover constructed in accordance with a current embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the drawings and generally designated 12. The cover 12 generally includes a vinyl jacket 14 and two plastic core modules 16. Each core module 16 in turn includes a plurality of rigidly interconnected elements 70. The vinyl jacket 14 encloses the core modules 16. The jacket 14 includes an integral living hinge 22 that enables the cover 12 to fold onto itself (i.e. “in half”).
  • As illustrated in FIG. 1, the cover 12 is covers a hot tub 10. Although a hot tub is shown in the drawings, the cover is equally usable with a spa or any other unit containing water. The use of “hot tub” in this specification is intended to include spas and such other units. The illustrated hot tub 10 is rectangular, but the hot tub could be any other desired shape. The cover 12 is shaped and dimensioned to fit over the entire opening 11 of the hot tub 10.
  • The jacket 14 is well known to those skilled in the art. In the current embodiment, the jacket 14 is made of a marine grade vinyl, or another high-strength waterproof fabric. The jacket 14 is large enough to enclose the rigid core modules 16, and the jacket includes an integral living hinge 22, a front edge 24, a rear edge 26, and a pair of opposite lateral edges 28. In the current embodiment, the jacket 14 is capable of being opened and closed to receive and to enclose the core 16 by conventional means such as a zipper or similar mechanism (not shown). The jacket 14 may also include attachments (not shown) such as snaps that attach the cover 12 to the hot tub 10 when the cover 12 is installed, and/or straps that facilitate grasping and movement of the cover.
  • Each core module 16 is comprised of a plurality of rigidly interconnected core elements 70. In the current embodiment, each core module 16 is comprised of four such core elements 70 a, 70 b, 70 c, and 70 d. The core element 70 a is adjacent the hinge 22 and is the thickest core element. The core element 70 d is remote from the hinge 22 and is the thinnest core element. The collective upper surfaces of the core elements 70 slope from the hinge 22 to the lateral edge 28 so that rain and other water will run off the cover 12.
  • Each element 70 is currently made from a thermoformable polymer such as ABS, HDPE, or PVC. Another other suitable material also may be used. The element 70 is shaped to rigidly interconnect with other elements to form the core 16. Each element 70 extends from an inner edge 36 to an outer edge 37. Each core module 16 a, 16 b extends from an inner edge 20 to an outer edge 21. The outer edge 21 is adjacent the outer edge 28 of the jacket 14. The elements 70 are substantially parallel to the hinge 22. The front edge 36 and the rear edge 37 of each element 70 form a portion of the front edge 42 and the rear edge 44 respectively of the core 16. The front edge 42 and rear edge 44 are adjacent the front 24 and rear 26 edges respectively of the jacket 14.
  • In tire current embodiments each element 70 includes an upper surface 30, a lower surface 32, a front edge 36, a rear edge 37, and a plurality of ribs 18 extending therebetween. The ribs 18 extend from the front edge 36 to the rear edge 37 of the core 16. Further in the current embodiment, each core element 70 is extruded, so that each core element is a single unitary piece. Other suitable manufacturing techniques also may be used.
  • In the current embodiment, each core element 70 includes at least one dovetail element 80 f or 80 m. The core element 70 a includes a female dovetail element 80 f. The core elements 70 b and 70 c each include both a male dovetail element 80 m and a female dovetail element 80 f. The core element 70 d includes a male dovetail element 80 m. The dovetail elements or dovetails 80 extend from the front edge 36 to the rear edge 37 of the core 16. The shape, dimensions, and tolerances of the male and female dovetails 80 of each core element 70 correspond to the corresponding dovetails of the adjacent element(s) such that all the elements slidably interconnect to form the core 16. The dovetails 80 provide a means of rigidly interconnecting the core elements in a simple, efficient, and low-cost construction. It is envisioned that other known means of rigidly interconnecting could be used in place of the dovetails.
  • Optionally, the open spaces 40 between the ribs 18 can be filled with an insulating foam (not shown) or other insulating material to further enhance the thermal properties of the cover 12.
  • To interconnect two adjacent core elements 70, the male dovetail 80 m of one element 70 is aligned with the female dovetail 80 f of the other element. The two elements are then slid longitudinally relative to one another until the front edges 36 and rear edges 37 are aligned. This process is repeated for multiple elements to form the core 16.
  • The core module 16 may be a replacement for a previous core component such that it is inserted into an existing jacket, or the core module 16 may be inserted into a brand new jacket 14 of the desired dimensions. The jacket 14 is closed about the core 16 and placed over the opening of a hot tub 10. Removal of the cover 12 consists of folding the cover 12 back about the hinge 22 and pulling the cover off the hot tub 10.
  • The multiple element design allows the unassembled elements 90 to be separated and placed or stacked within the hot tub 10 during shipping. Spacers or an abutting formation can be utilized in placing or stacking the unassembled elements 90. Currently, the core elements 70 are stacked alternately upper surface 30 to upper surface 30 with front edges 36 and inner edges 60 substantially aligned such that the stack 80 forms a substantially straight stack. The stacked elements may be wrapped in stretch wrap, shrink wrap, cardboard, or some other shipping material to keep the stacked elements 90 stacked and to minimize the potential for damage to the hot tub 10.
  • A hot tub cover kit includes a water resistant jacket 14 and multiple elements 70 capable of being rigidly interconnected to form the core module 16.
  • Regardless of die shipping configuration and method, the core elements 70 must assembled following shipping to form die core module 16. The core module(s) 16 then are slid into the cover 14, and the cover is closed using the zipper or other closure mechanism.
  • The present invention provides several advantages. First the core elements 70 can be shipped more easily and more economically than previous covers. Second, the core elements 70 can be placed inside a hot tub for shipment, further reducing costs and also reducing die potential for damage to the core elements.
  • The above descriptions are those of current embodiments of the invention. Various alterations and changes can be made without departing from the spirit and broader aspects of the invention as defined in the appended claims, which are to be interpreted in accordance with the principles of patent law including the doctrine of equivalents. Any reference to claim elements in the singular, for example, using the articles “a,” “an,” “the” or “said,” is not to be construed as limiting the element to the singular.

Claims (27)

1. A hot tub cover comprising:
at least one core module including a plurality of rigidly interconnected core elements, each core element being a single unitary piece including connector means for connecting the core element to at least one adjacent core element; and
a jacket enclosing said core.
2. The hot tub cover of claim 1 wherein each element includes upper and lower surfaces spaced from one another.
3. The hot tub cover of claim 1 further comprising:
at least two of said core modules; and
a hinge interconnecting said core modules.
4. The hot tub cover in claim 3 wherein each core module includes a hinged edge and a peripheral edge, said upper surfaces collectively sloping downwardly from said hinged edge to said peripheral edge.
5. The hot tub cover of claim 1 wherein said core elements are slidably interconnected by male and female dovetails.
6. The hot tub cover of claim 2 wherein each core element further includes a plurality of spaced ribs extending between said upper and lower surfaces of said element, said spaced ribs defining a plurality of openings between said upper and lower surfaces.
7. The hot tub cover of claim 6 further comprising an insulating material between said ribs.
8. A hot tub cover core module comprising a plurality of rigidly interconnected core elements.
9. The hot tub cover core module of claim 8 wherein each of said core elements is a single unitary piece including connector means for connecting said core element to at least one adjacent core element.
10. The hot tub cover core module of claim 9 wherein each connector means comprises a dovetail component.
11. The hot tub cover core module of claim 8 wherein each core element includes upper and lower surfaces spaced from one another.
12. The hot tub cover core module in claim 11 wherein each core element includes a plurality of spaced ribs extending between said upper and lower surfaces of said element said spaced ribs defining a plurality of openings between said upper and lower surfaces.
13. The hot tub cover core module in claim 12 further comprising an insulating material between said upper and lower surfaces.
14. The hot tub cover core module in claim 11 wherein said upper and lower surfaces of each core element are non-parallel.
15. A hot tub cover kit comprising:
a plurality of core elements adapted to be rigidly interconnected to form a core module; and
a water resistant jacket.
16. The hot tub cover kit of claim 15 wherein:
said elements have non-parallel upper and lower surfaces; and
said elements are arranged into a substantially straight stack with said elements alternating.
17. A method of manufacturing a hot tub cover comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of core elements adapted to be rigidly interconnected;
rigidly interconnecting the core elements to provide a core module; and
enclosing the core module within a jacket.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein each of the core elements is a single piece.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein said providing step includes extruding each of the core elements.
20. The method of claim 17 wherein the interconnecting step includes:
aligning a male dovetail of a first element with a female dovetail of a second element; and
sliding the male and female dovetails relative one another.
21. A method of shipping a hot tub cover comprising the steps of:
providing a hot tub having an interior;
placing a plurality of core elements within the interior of the hot tub, the elements adapted to be rigidly interconnected to form a core module that cannot lit within the interior of the hot tub;
shipping said hot tub with the core elements within the hot tub, whereupon the elements can be subsequently removed from the hot tub and rigidly interconnected into a core capable of covering the hot tub.
22. The method of shipping of claim 21 wherein:
the hot tub is rectangular; and
said placing step includes placing the plurality of elements diagonally within the hot tub.
23. The method of shipping of claim 21 wherein:
each core element includes non-parallel upper and lower surfaces; and
said placing step includes alternating the orientation of the elements so that they form a substantially straight stack.
24. The method of claim 21 further comprising the step of:
packaging said plurality of core elements.
25. The method of claim 21 wherein each core element includes at least one dovetail element adapted to interfit with a dovetail element on another core element.
26. A method of shipping a hot tub cover comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of core elements each having planar, non-parallel upper and lower surfaces;
stacking the plurality of core elements in alternating fashion to form a substantially straight stack despite the non-parallel upper and lower surfaces;
packaging the stack;
shipping the stack.
27. The method of claim 26 wherein said providing step includes providing each core element with at least one dovetail element adapted to interfit with a dovetail element on another core element.
US11/456,588 2006-07-11 2006-07-11 Hot tub cover including modular core Abandoned US20080034491A1 (en)

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20150047116A1 (en) * 2013-08-19 2015-02-19 James Brady Spa or Hot Tub Cover
US20160281379A1 (en) * 2015-03-25 2016-09-29 Ofer Sharon Method for producing a cover for a container and a cover

Citations (17)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3274315A (en) * 1963-02-25 1966-09-20 Tokan Kogyo Co Ltd Process for unitized construction of synthetic resin board or cylinder
US3697633A (en) * 1970-07-21 1972-10-10 Howard M Edgar Structural core
US3724315A (en) * 1971-09-07 1973-04-03 Ill Wool Works Inc Extruding screw
US3970324A (en) * 1973-03-05 1976-07-20 American Marine Industries, Inc. Foam-filled, cellular structural product
US4078293A (en) * 1975-02-13 1978-03-14 Aine Harry E Method of making rigid swimming pool cover
US4422192A (en) * 1982-11-24 1983-12-27 Terry Jacobs Spa or hot tub cover
US4577352A (en) * 1983-09-14 1986-03-25 Lucien Gautheron Extruded section for swimming pool rollable cover
US4853985A (en) * 1988-03-31 1989-08-08 Perry Cliff R Cover for a hot tub or the like
US4857374A (en) * 1988-11-15 1989-08-15 Perry Gary L Structurally strong, non vapor, non moisture absorbing, spa/hot tub cover
US5086525A (en) * 1990-04-13 1992-02-11 Christopher Larry D Moisture-proof spa cover and method of construction
US5398350A (en) * 1994-03-03 1995-03-21 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Portable spa cover
US5428849A (en) * 1994-03-03 1995-07-04 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Portable spa with integral bottom pan, interchangeable side skirt, and interlocking cover
US5685031A (en) * 1994-03-03 1997-11-11 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Three-piece portable spa cover
US5974600A (en) * 1998-10-15 1999-11-02 Hercules Products, Inc. Spa cover
US6112340A (en) * 1997-11-12 2000-09-05 Ziebert; Philip D. Hot tub and spa cover and method of making same
US6655434B2 (en) * 2000-02-01 2003-12-02 Peter Danko Apparatus for closing an open end of a product, and product formed thereby
US20050086731A1 (en) * 2003-10-27 2005-04-28 Scott William D. Cover for hot tub, spa, or the like

Patent Citations (18)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3274315A (en) * 1963-02-25 1966-09-20 Tokan Kogyo Co Ltd Process for unitized construction of synthetic resin board or cylinder
US3697633A (en) * 1970-07-21 1972-10-10 Howard M Edgar Structural core
US3724315A (en) * 1971-09-07 1973-04-03 Ill Wool Works Inc Extruding screw
US3970324A (en) * 1973-03-05 1976-07-20 American Marine Industries, Inc. Foam-filled, cellular structural product
US4078293A (en) * 1975-02-13 1978-03-14 Aine Harry E Method of making rigid swimming pool cover
US4422192A (en) * 1982-11-24 1983-12-27 Terry Jacobs Spa or hot tub cover
US4577352A (en) * 1983-09-14 1986-03-25 Lucien Gautheron Extruded section for swimming pool rollable cover
US4853985A (en) * 1988-03-31 1989-08-08 Perry Cliff R Cover for a hot tub or the like
US4857374A (en) * 1988-11-15 1989-08-15 Perry Gary L Structurally strong, non vapor, non moisture absorbing, spa/hot tub cover
US5086525A (en) * 1990-04-13 1992-02-11 Christopher Larry D Moisture-proof spa cover and method of construction
US5398350A (en) * 1994-03-03 1995-03-21 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Portable spa cover
US5428849A (en) * 1994-03-03 1995-07-04 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Portable spa with integral bottom pan, interchangeable side skirt, and interlocking cover
US5615421A (en) * 1994-03-03 1997-04-01 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Portable spa with integral bottom pan, interchangeable side skirt, and interlocking cover
US5685031A (en) * 1994-03-03 1997-11-11 Watkins Manufacturing Corporation Three-piece portable spa cover
US6112340A (en) * 1997-11-12 2000-09-05 Ziebert; Philip D. Hot tub and spa cover and method of making same
US5974600A (en) * 1998-10-15 1999-11-02 Hercules Products, Inc. Spa cover
US6655434B2 (en) * 2000-02-01 2003-12-02 Peter Danko Apparatus for closing an open end of a product, and product formed thereby
US20050086731A1 (en) * 2003-10-27 2005-04-28 Scott William D. Cover for hot tub, spa, or the like

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20150047116A1 (en) * 2013-08-19 2015-02-19 James Brady Spa or Hot Tub Cover
US20160281379A1 (en) * 2015-03-25 2016-09-29 Ofer Sharon Method for producing a cover for a container and a cover
US10689872B2 (en) * 2015-03-25 2020-06-23 Ofer Sharon Method for producing a cover for a container and a cover

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