US20080301945A1 - Method of forming rectangular panels for use in a panelling system - Google Patents

Method of forming rectangular panels for use in a panelling system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080301945A1
US20080301945A1 US11/760,093 US76009307A US2008301945A1 US 20080301945 A1 US20080301945 A1 US 20080301945A1 US 76009307 A US76009307 A US 76009307A US 2008301945 A1 US2008301945 A1 US 2008301945A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
strips
main
strip
side
tongue
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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
US11/760,093
Inventor
Kelly Gibson
Len Hoard
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Kelly Gibson
Len Hoard
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Publication date
Application filed by Kelly Gibson, Len Hoard filed Critical Kelly Gibson
Priority to US11/760,093 priority Critical patent/US20080301945A1/en
Priority claimed from US11/848,452 external-priority patent/US20080302052A1/en
Priority claimed from PCT/CA2008/001070 external-priority patent/WO2008148198A1/en
Publication of US20080301945A1 publication Critical patent/US20080301945A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/04Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B27WORKING OR PRESERVING WOOD OR SIMILAR MATERIAL; NAILING OR STAPLING MACHINES IN GENERAL
    • B27MWORKING OF WOOD NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B27B - B27L; MANUFACTURE OF SPECIFIC WOODEN ARTICLES
    • B27M3/00Manufacture or reconditioning of specific semi-finished or finished articles
    • B27M3/04Manufacture or reconditioning of specific semi-finished or finished articles of flooring elements, e.g. parqueting blocks
    • B27M3/06Manufacture or reconditioning of specific semi-finished or finished articles of flooring elements, e.g. parqueting blocks of composite floor plates per se by assembling or jointing the parqueting blocks
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/04Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members
    • E04F15/041Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members with a top layer of wood in combination with a lower layer of other material
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/04Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members
    • E04F15/048Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members with a top surface of assembled elongated wooden strip type
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/02Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections
    • E04F2201/023Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections with a continuous tongue or groove
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49616Structural member making
    • Y10T29/49623Static structure, e.g., a building component
    • Y10T29/49629Panel

Abstract

A panelling system preferably for floors is defined by a series of panels each formed of a plurality of tongue and groove main floor plank strips arranged side edge to side edge and cut to a common length with a tongue along one cut edge and a groove along the other. At the edges are attached first and second dividing strips formed also from the flooring planks fastened together to form a common panel member for transportation and installation. Each divider strip includes a ninety degree point extending beyond the sides of the main strips to meet with the points of other strips to fill the spaces between the panels. The strips are fastened by pins from the rear or by a bonded sheet material on the rear. A method for assembly includes re-cutting the tongue or groove along one edge after compression of the main strips together to ensure accuracy.

Description

  • This application is related to a co-pending application Ser. No. TO BE INSERTED (attorney docket 85518-402) filed on common date with this application which is directed to panels of the type formed by the method disclosed herein, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • This invention relates to a method of forming panels for use in a panelling system defined by a plurality of inter-engaging panels. The system is primarily designed for flooring but can be used for other surfaces requiring to be paneled with an attractive layer of a covering material formed in individual panels. The system is primarily designed for use with panels formed of wood but other materials can be used either to form the entire panel or a part of the panel.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Various techniques have been proposed for the manufacture of wood panel flooring. Conventionally wood panel flooring is formed as tongue and groove planks which are arranged edge to edge so that the tongue of one projects into a groove of the next. This construction is time consuming and relatively inaccurate so that gaps can be exposed leading to an unattractive appearance.
  • Floor panels in rectangular shape have been proposed which generally again connect one to the next using a tongue and groove arrangement so as to provide an improved laying system. Often such panels are formed from laminated or other non-wood materials and hence are not accepted as a high quality wood product.
  • In published US patent Application 2006/0076394 published Apr. 13, 2006 and in corresponding Canadian application Serial No: 2,525,516 originally published Mar. 4, 2005 of Kelly Gibson, one of the inventors herein, is disclosed a panelling system primarily for flooring which is formed from a plurality of wood floor panel members defined by a rectangular panel formed of wood and along two opposed side edges a decorative dividing strip extending along the length of the side edge and having a top surface of the strip lying in a common plane with the upper surface of the panel with the other opposed side edges of the panel being exposed for butting directly against a next adjacent panel. The dividing strips project beyond an end of the side edge and are cut at 45 degrees to form a pointed portion having an apex at a position mid way through the thickness of the dividing strip such that four dividing strips, when the panels are laid on the floor, meet at the junction between four of the panels with the apexes in contact at a center of the rectangular area at the junction. This arrangement as disclosed was proposed for use with rectangular panels of solid wood or for deck strips and as such was not suitable for high quality interior flooring. The disclosure of this published application is incorporated herein by reference.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is one object of the invention to provide a panelling system defined by a plurality of inter-engaging rectangular panels.
  • According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a method of manufacturing a panel member for use in a paneling system including a plurality of the panel members for locating on a supporting surface generally edge to edge in an array to at least partly cover the supporting surface, the method comprising:
  • providing a plurality of main strips arranged in a row generally side by side;
  • each main strip having a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove an opposed side edge;
  • converging the main strips together so that the main strips are connected side by side by interconnection of the tongues and the grooves and so that a first main strip at one side of the main strips has an exposed tongue along the first main strip and a second main strip at an opposed second side of the main strips has an exposed groove along the second main strip;
  • applying pressure to the converged main strips in a direction to compress the main strips together to hold the exposed tongue and the exposed groove at positions spaced by the combined width of the main strips;
  • fastening the main strips each to the next to form a common panel member for transportation and installation;
  • and using a re-cutting tool to effect re-cutting one of the exposed tongue and the exposed groove so as to remove a portion of material therefrom while holding the other of the exposed tongue and the exposed groove at a predetermined spacing from the re-cutting tool so as to provide an accurate spacing between the exposed tongue and the exposed groove.
  • Preferably the method further includes cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a first common cut line, cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a second common cut line spaced from the first cut line, operating a cutting tool to form a tongue along the first common cut line and operating a cutting tool to form a groove along the second common cut line.
  • Preferably the method further includes supplying dividing strips from a supply thereof where each of the dividing strips has a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove along an opposed side edge, attaching a first dividing strip along the first common cut line and attaching a second dividing strip extending along the second common line, such that each of the dividing strips has a front surface of the dividing strip lying in a common plane with the front surfaces of the main strips to define the front surface of the panel, and such that the first dividing strip has the groove thereof engaged with the tongue along the first common line and wherein the second dividing strip has the tongue thereof engaged with the groove along the second common line.
  • Preferably the method further includes clamping the interconnected main strips together when compressed and maintaining the interconnected main strips clamped when cutting the main strips, operating the cutting tool and attaching the dividing strips.
  • Preferably the main strips and the dividing strips are supplied from a common supply of strips of identical width and material. Thus preferably each of the main strips has the same width between the side edges so that the panel member can be formed from a common supply of identical strip members. However this is not essential and different widths may be used to obtain different visual effects. Also it is preferable that each dividing strip has substantially the same width as the main strips for the same reasons.
  • Preferably the method further includes fastening together the main strips by a plurality of pins each inserted at a butting edge between one strip and a next adjacent strip through the rear surface at a groove on one side of the butting edge and extending into a tongue in the groove with a front end of the pin terminating at a position spaced from the front surface.
  • The term “pin” is intended to include nails or other elongate mechanical fasteners with or without a discernible head which can be driven from one end into the material. The front end may or may not be sharpened. The pin may include a second cooperating pin in the form of a staple where the two pins are connected side by side
  • Preferably the method further includes forming each main strip from a series of strip portions arranged butting end to end to form a butt joint therebetween; fastening together the main strips by operating an insertion tool to insert a plurality of pins at spaced positions along the length of the main strips, detecting the location of a butt joint and operating the insertion tool at a location spaced from the buff joint.
  • Preferably the method further includes forwarding each main strip from a supply such that each main strip is continuous as it is converged with the other main strips together, passing the continuous converged main strips past a plurality of insertion tools at spaced positions across the converged main strips and operating each of the insertion tools at timed intervals so as to apply the pins at the spaced locations while avoiding the butt joints.
  • Preferably the ends at the but joint are connected by a tongue and groove connection.
  • This allows material to be used without any waste. However the main strips may also have no joints between the ends by cutting and scrapping pieces which are insufficient in length to span the distance between the dividing strips.
  • Preferably the dividing strips of the panel members are arranged with a portion of at least one of the dividing strips of each panel member projecting beyond the main strips of the respective panel member such that, when four of the panel members are assembled into the system with the main strips of one panel member at right angles to the main strips of each next adjacent panel and with one of the dividing strips between the main strips of each panel member and the next so as to form a rectangular area at a junction between corners of the main strips of the four of the panels; the rectangular area defined at the junction between said four of the panels is filled by said portion of said at least one dividing strip. However other arrangements of the panels may be used which avoid the formation of this rectangular area or avoid the necessity for filling this rectangular area. Alternatively a separate member may be used as an insert although of course this is less advantageous.
  • Thus preferably each of the dividing strips has an end portion which projects beyond the end of the respective main strips and the end portions are shaped to cooperate to fill the rectangular area. This allows the construction to be symmetrical. However this again is not essential and the area may be filled by only one or only two of the adjacent dividing strips.
  • Where the strips cooperate to fill this area, preferably each end portion is shaped to form diagonal end edges at an angle to the respective side edge.
  • Preferably this provides an arrangement in which the end portions of the dividing strips meet at the junction between four of the panel members with the apexes in contact at a center of the rectangular area.
  • Preferably the end portions of the dividing strips have the end edges thereof in the front surface chamfered such that the dividing strips when butting have a chamfered groove at the front surface. This matches the conventional chamfered groove which is commonly provided between butting tongue and groove boards.
  • Preferably each dividing strip has holes adjacent the ends thereof drilled into the upper surface by which the panel member can be screwed to the supporting surface by a screw.
  • Preferably the main strips define an area which is square although different dimensions are possible.
  • According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a method of manufacturing a panel member for use in a paneling system including a plurality of the panel members for locating on a supporting surface generally edge to edge in an array to at least partly cover the supporting surface, the method comprising:
  • providing a plurality of main strips arranged in a row generally side by side;
  • each main strip having a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove an opposed side edge;
  • converging the main strips together so that the main strips are connected side by side by interconnection of the tongues and the grooves and so that a first main strip at one side of the main strips has an exposed tongue along the first main strip and a second main strip at an opposed second side of the main strips has an exposed groove along the second main strip;
  • fastening the main strips each to the next to form a common panel member for transportation and installation;
  • cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a first common cut line;
  • cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a second common cut line spaced from the first cut line;
  • operating a cutting tool to form a tongue along the first common cut line and operating a cutting tool to form a groove along the second common cut line;
  • supplying dividing strips from a supply thereof where each of the dividing strips has a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove along an opposed side edge;
  • attaching a first dividing strip along the first common cut line;
  • and attaching a second dividing strip extending along the second common line;
  • such that each of the dividing strips has a front surface of the dividing strip lying in a common plane with the front surfaces of the main strips to define the front surface of the panel;
  • and such that the first dividing strip has the groove thereof engaged with the tongue along the first common line and wherein the second dividing strip has the tongue thereof engaged with the groove along the second common line.
  • According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a method of manufacturing a panel member for use in a paneling system including a plurality of the panel members for locating on a supporting surface generally edge to edge in an array to at least partly cover the supporting surface, the method comprising:
  • providing a plurality of main strips arranged in a row generally side by side;
  • each main strip having a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove an opposed side edge;
  • converging the main strips together so that the main strips are connected side by side by interconnection of the tongues and the grooves and so that a first main strip at one side of the main strips has an exposed tongue along the first main strip and a second main strip at an opposed second side of the main strips has an exposed groove along the second main strip;
  • fastening the main strips each to the next to form a common panel member for transportation and installation;
  • forming each main strip from a series of strip portions arranged butting end to end to form a butt joint therebetween;
  • the main strips being fastened together by operating an insertion tool to insert a plurality of pins at spaced positions along the length of the main strips,
  • passing the continuous converged main strips past a plurality of the insertion tools at spaced positions across the converged main strips;
  • detecting the location of a butt joint;
  • and operating each of the insertion tools at timed intervals so as to apply the pins at the spaced locations while avoiding the but joints.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • One embodiment of the invention will now be described in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a plan view of a panel of a flooring system according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a plan view of four such panels assembled to form part of the flooring system.
  • FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view through a junction between two boards of the panel of FIG. 1 showing the pin connection therebetween.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 show schematically a series of steps in a method for assembly of the panel of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 6 is a more detailed view of the carousel for forming and attaching the dividing strips.
  • FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view similar to that of FIG. 3 through a junction between two boards of the panel of FIG. 1 showing an alternative mode of connection therebetween.
  • In the drawings like characters of reference indicate corresponding parts in the different figures.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Reference is made to the above published application of Gibson which shows and describes the details of the panels with the dividing strips and the interconnection between the four corners of the panels.
  • The arrangement described herein comprises a floor system defined by a series of panel members, four of which are shown at 10 through 13. Each of the panel members has a top surface 16 defining a floor surface on which the user walks and providing an attractive appearance as described hereinafter. Each of the panel members includes a bottom surface 17 for sitting on a sub floor of a conventional nature.
  • Each of the panel members is formed from a plurality of side by side main strips 10A to 10G which are connected together side by side to form an initial panel portion which has four side edges so that for example the panel 10 has side edges 20 and 21 which form a first pair of opposed side edges and side edges 22 and 23 which form a second pair of opposed side edges.
  • The main strips are formed from tongue and groove boards which are commonly available and are formed from many different wood varieties. Thus each board has a tongue 18 on one side and a groove 19 on the opposite side arranged to inter-fit to hold the boards side by side. Such boards are supplied in various lengths which can include random lengths and generally are supplied with tongue and groove ends so that the butting ands also inter-fit.
  • Each board conventionally has a chamfered edge 19A in the top surface 16 where the boards meet to form a micro-groove between the two butting chamfered edges.
  • In order to form these into a flooring system having an attractive appearance, each base panel formed by the side by side boards has attached two dividing strips which are attached to opposite side edges of the panel. Thus for example the panel 10 has two dividing strips 30 and 31 attached along the side edges 20 and 21. The dividing strips are formed from a board similar in appearance to the boards forming the panel but is arranged at right angles to the boards so as to provide an attractive appearance in the floor when completed and laid.
  • Each dividing strip has a depth equal to the thickness of the boards so that a bottom surface of the dividing strip is coincident with the plane of the bottom surface 17 and similarly a top surface of the dividing strip is coincident with the plane of the top surface 16. The dividing strips are preferably formed from the same boards as the main strips 10A to 10G so as to have the same dimensions and the same appearance.
  • The panel 12 has the dividing strips indicated at 30A and 31A so that the panel 13 is rotated through 180° relative to the panel 10. In this way the dividing strip 30A carried by the panel 13 engages the side edge 23 of the panel 10 which is free from any dividing strips and is simply bare for butting the dividing strips 30A. Similarly the dividing strips 31A butts the next adjacent panel not numbered.
  • The panel 11 is also rotated through 180° relative to the panel 10 so that its bare edge 23A butts the dividing strip 31 and its dividing strip 30A butts the edge 23B of the panel 13. In this way it will be appreciated that the whole floor can be laid by rotating the panels back and forth through 180° and laying them each to the next with the side edges butting. In this way between each panel and the next adjacent panel is one dividing strip thus separating the panels by the thickness of the dividing strip while allowing the bare edge of the strip to butt against the outside surface of the dividing strip.
  • Each of the dividing strips extends along the full length of the respective side edge of the panel and also extends beyond the end of the side edge into a pointed portion 50. Thus as shown in FIG. 2 the dividing strip 30A is fastened to the panel 12 and the dividing strip 31 is fastened to the panel 10. The dividing strip 30A extends to the end corner 51 of the side edge 22A of the panel 13. The dividing strips 30A then include the pointed portion 50 which is cut to form two side edges 52 and 53 converging to an apex 54. The ends 52 and 53 are cut at 45° relative to the sides of the dividing strip so that they are 90° to each other forming a right angle triangle converging to the apex 54 which lies on a centre line 55 of the dividing strips 30A.
  • Symmetrically the dividing strip 30A includes an end portion 56 also converging to an apex which touches the apex 54 at the center of the rectangular area between the corners of the panels 10, 12 and the further two panels not numbered. In this way, in each of the square intersections between the edges of the panels, each panel at the intersection carries one of the dividing strips with each of the dividing strips having the pointed extension portion symmetrical to the extension portion 50 and extension portion 56 projecting into the center of the square area with the apexes of these pointed portions touching at the center of the square area.
  • The panels are fastened to the sub floor 18 by screws 60 which are located in screw holes 61 located at the end of the respective dividing strip spaced from the apex 64. Each panel has four such screw holes 61 arranged adjacent the corners of the panel and spaced inwardly from the apexes of the dividing strips of the panel. Thus at each junction between floor panels, four screw holes 61 surround the junction and provide an attractive appearance, when those screw holes are plugged by visually distinct plugs in known manner. Thus the dividing strips coming to a junction where the junction is visually distinct together with the surrounding four holes of the screw pattern which are also visually distinct provides a visually distinct and attractive pattern across the whole extent of the floor when laid.
  • Each of the strips 10A through 10G is of an equal common width and is formed from conventional floor planking so each strip has a grove 19 on one side and a tongue 18 on the other side of a conventional nature.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, some of the strips are continuous as indicated at 10A and 10C so as to extend from the side edge 20 to the side edge 21. Others of the strips are discontinuous and include a join 35 between two portions 36 and 37 of the strip. The joint 35 similarly includes a tongue and groove arrangement 38 where a tongue at the end of the strip portion 36 is joined into a groove at the end of the strip portion 37. This provides an integrated structure throughout the strip but allows lengths of strip material to be used which are not necessarily continuous along the full length of the panel.
  • The divider strips are formed from a material of the same width and same construction as the strips forming the panel. Thus each divider strip itself has a groove 40 along one side and a tongue 41 along the opposite side. The divider strips are formed from a common source of the same material and generally therefore have the same width of the strips 10A through 10G and can be taken from the same supply. The divider strips are therefore not visually distinct from the main strips but are visibly distinguished by the right angle orientation.
  • In the alternative divider strips of a different width may be used and the divider strips may be of a different wood variety thus providing a visually distinct pattern. Yet further the strips may be stained or coloured to a different colour to provide a visually distinct arrangement as preferred by the user of the panels.
  • Most examples will have a divider strip that will be of the same width and the same variety so that the whole panel can be formed from a common supply of the wood strip materials.
  • Use of wood is not essential in this construction but is obviously preferred to provide a high quality finished wooden floor product as opposed to laminate materials or other materials which are considered to be of less quality.
  • The ends of the main strips 10 through 10 g are cut to form a groove 43 at the edge 20 to receive the tongue 41 and symmetrically these strips are cut to form a tongue 44 at the edge 21 to corporate with the grove 40 of the divider strip 31.
  • A fastener arrangement for connecting each strip to the next adjacent strip is shown in FIG. 3. Thus a series of fastener pins 150 is provided and these fastener pins are engaged into the tongue and groove joint between each main strip and the next adjacent main strip and between at least some of the ends of the main strip and the respective divider strip.
  • Each pin 150 is of a type which has no head at a rear end 151 for the forward end 152 maybe pointed or may simply be straight to form a straight pin that can be simply driven into the wood at the joint using conventional driving tools. Such pins are previously known and the tools for driving them are commercially available.
  • With this arrangement, however, the pin 150 is driven through the bottom surface 17 and the pin is selected to have a length so that the rear end 151 is recessed from the surface 17 after the application is complete. Thus the rear end 151 is recessed below an adjacent portion of the surface 17 so if it is not proud of that surface then you've the possibility of snagging or catching or damaging any materials.
  • The leading end 152 is arranged by selecting a length of the pin so that the leading end 152 engages into the adjacent board to a position beyond the tongue 18.
  • The pin is driven at an angle to the surface 17 and therefore at an angle to the surface 16 so the pin passes through a plane P which joins the ends of the two strips indicated at 10A and 10B. Thus at the junction fastened by the pin 150, which is one example of a series of such fastened joints throughout the structure of the panel. The strip 10A has a tongue 18 which is received within a groove 19 of the strip 10B. The pin 150 has its rear end 151 in the strip 10B in the area underneath the groove 19 and passes from that area into the tongue 18, extending through the tongue and into the upper part of the strip 10A above the upper surface of the tongue 18. In this way the pin provides an effective fastening arrangement but the pin is wholly contained within the structure of the strips with neither the front end nor the trailing end exposed beyond the surfaces 16 and 17. The angle of the pin relative to the surface 17 is preferably of the order of 45 to 60 degrees and more preferably 54 degrees. The fact that the pin extends through the tongue 18 while the tongue is housed or contained in the groove inhibits or prevents any splitting of the tongue during the pinning action.
  • Thus each strip is fastened to the next adjacent strip by a series of such pins, the number of which can be selected depending upon structural strength required. In addition there is a connection between the ends of some of the strips 10A through 10G and the divider strip 31 which extends similarly through the tongue 44 at the grove 40. The number of such fastening pins can be selected again according to structural strength required so that only some of the ends of the strips are fastened or all of the ends or the strips are fastened as required.
  • Symmetrically further fasteners are inserted through the junction between the tongue 41 and the groove 43 between the divider strip 30 and the ends 20 of the main strips.
  • In this way the panel when completed is fixed in place and integrated by the fasteners so that the structure is prevented from twisting by side to side movement of the divider strips. It is preferred that the connection of the panel is effected without the use of glue so as to avoid the necessity for application of glue during the manufacturing process. However glue or other additional fastening methods may be used if required.
  • Turning now to the method of manufacture shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, there are shown a serious of manufacturing stations through which the materials pass to complete assembly of the structure as describe above.
  • Thus the manufacturing process includes a first assembly station 60, a second convergence station 61, a fastening station 62, a cutting station 63, a tongue and groove station 64, a carousel 65, and a final assembly station 66.
  • In the assembly station 60, a number of channels 67 are formed each containing a respective one of the strips 10A through 10G. Thus each channel 67A through 67G contains a respective one of the strips which are fed forwardly in a continuous manner to the convergence station 61. The strips are introduced into the channel 67 so that they are in continuous manner including the connection lines or joints 35. Either automatically or manually at the assembly station, the strips are assembled so that the joint lines 36 are offset in a longitudinal direction from each channel relative to the next adjacent channel so that in this way no junction lines are arranged so that they are aligned or closely adjacent between side by side channels. This can be done in practice by providing the channels of sufficient length that a skilled operator can select the strips of different lengths and locate them so that the joint lines 35 are longitudinally offset. If the strips are of all identical length, this can be simply done by selecting the position of the ends of the strips in a staggered manner at the outset and the strips will remain in the staggered manner throughout the assembly provided the strips are carefully butted end to end and are all of a common length. In the alternative strips of different lengths can be selected and the operator arranged to select required lengths to ensure the required staggering of the butt joints.
  • Of course each strip in each channel has the groove and tongue arranged so that the strips can be brought together and interconnected in the proper tongue and grove arrangement side by side.
  • From the assembly station 60 the channels are arranged to feed the strips forwardly while at the same time converging those strips to bring them together using a series of converging rollers 68. The strips are thus brought to a position immediately side by side and brought to a position where the strips are compressed between a converging roller 69 on one side and a compressing roller 70 on the other side. In the arrangement shown, the converging roller 69 carries a tongue 69A which runs in the groove 19 on the right hand side of the assembled strips. In the convergence station there are series of such guide rollers 69 indicated that 69B and 69C and these are arranged at a specific fixed location to provided a datum line which accurately locates the position of the edge of the outside strip 10G and its grove 19.
  • On the opposite side of the datum line defined by the guide rollers 69, there is provided a cutting wheel 72 downstream of the compression roller 70. The cutting wheel 72 is located at a fixed determined distance from the guide rollers 69 to provide a cutting action on the edge of the strip 10A remote from the strip 10G.
  • The distance of the cutting wheel 72 from the datum line is accurately fixed and is slightly less than the minimum width of the converged strips 10A through 10G, bearing in mind that such strips when manufactured commonly have a significant manufacturing tolerance.
  • The cutting wheel 72 is arranged to cut a fresh tongue 18 and associated shoulders 18A and 18B above and below the tongue 18. Thus instead of relying on the position of the tongue of the strip 10A, a fresh tongue and associated shoulders is cut so that the width of the converged strips is accurately equal to the distance between the cutting wheel and the guide rollers regardless of any variations or tolerance in the widths of the strips as supplied.
  • In this way the completed panel has a width between the sides 22 and 23 which is accurately cut and is exactly equal for each subsequent panel that is manufactured. In addition the amount of compression between the strips is accurately maintained so that the strips are held at this fixed spacing while substantially ensuring that any warping or bending of the strips is removed by sufficient transverse compression across the panel.
  • Downstream of the cutting wheel 72 is provided a guide roller 73 which is arranged opposite to a respective guide roller 69C. The guide roller 73 preferably contains a groove for receiving the tongue 18 recently cut by the cutting wheel 72. Thus the strips are maintained by these guide rollers and by further guide rollers 69D and 73A arranged downstream of the guide rollers 73 and 69C. These rollers are located at the fastening station 62 so that as the assembled panel formed by the individual strips is moved into the fastening station 62 it is maintained at the required fixed spacing and under the required compression.
  • At the fastening station 62 is provided a series of pin inserting tools indicated at 62A through to 62F. These fastening tools are arranged at positions bridging the junctions between the strips so as to be operable to insert the pins 150 at the required position and at the required angle.
  • The pin inserters 62A through 62F are controlled by a control unit 62G. The control unit receives inputs from a series of detectors 75A through 75G which are arranged each in a respective one of the channels for detecting the forwarding action of the respective strips. Each detector 75 is arranged to detect the presence of a junction line 35. Thus the pin inserting devices 62A through 62F are controlled so that they are operated at a time to ensure that a pin is inserted at a position spaced from a junction line 35 on either side of the pin. The controlled unit is arranged to determine a predetermined distance on either side of a junction line 35 within which a fastener pin is not permitted to be inserted. The control unit is arranged to determine the positions of insertion of pins based upon the presence of the junction line 35 to ensure that sufficient pins are inserted in the junction between each strip and the next adjacent strip while ensuring that the pins are inserted at a position spaced from the junction lines.
  • Downstream from the fastening station is provided a clamping assembly generally indicated at 76. This includes a pair of clamping members 77 and 78 each on a respected side of the assembled fastened panel and which includes clamping engagements 79 which engage onto the sides 22 and 23 of the assembled panel formed by the strips 10A through 10G. Thus after the panel is released from the clamping rollers, is engaged by clamping members which are intended to hold that structure while it is moved at right angles to the forming line into the further stations 64 and 66. After the fastened panel formed by the panel is moved to up to a required location and engaged by the clamping members 77 and 78, this position is detected by a sensor 80 which therefore locates the edge 20 of the panel. At this position a cutting device 81 is operated which moves across the panel to provide a cutting action to define the side edge 21. The cutting device includes a conventional blade 82 carried on a track 83 with the distance between the cutting blade and the sensor 80 being accurately determined to ensure an accurate spacing between the sides 20 and 21 of the panel when cut.
  • As shown in FIG. 51 the panel so formed and fastened with the accurate spacing between the sides 20 and 21 and the accurate spacing between the tongue at the side 23 and the groove 19 at the side 22 is carried in the gripping members 77 and 78 on a suitable transport track (not shown), the formed panel defined by the main strips 10A through 10G is moved into the tongue and groove station 64.
  • At the tongue and groove station 64, the panel supported in the clamping members 78 and 79 is moved along the track past a set of guide rollers 85 and 86 which control the position of the edges 20 and 21 accurately in a predetermined spaced position. The guide rollers 85 and 86 include a second set 85A and 86A downstream thereof so that the panel is maintained accurately positioned and accurately square. A tongue cutter wheel 87 is provided on the side edge 21 and a groove cutter wheel 88 is provided on the side edge 20. These cutter wheels rotate relative to the panel as it is moved past the cutter wheels to effect a cutter action to form at the side edges 20 and 21 the respected tongue and groove previously described.
  • After the formation of the tongue and groove, the completed panel formed by the main strips is moved into the final assembly station 66 at the carousel 65.
  • The carousel 65 is shown in more detail in FIG. 6 and comprises a series of stations arranged around the carousel which rotates around a central support 88. Thus the carousel defines a first station 65A at which tongue and groove strip from a supply 65B is cut to a required length by a cutting device 65C. At a second station 65D; the cut length of the strip is cut to define the pointed portion 50 at the front end. At a third station 65E, the cut strip is passed through a cutting station to effect cutting of the pointed section 50A at the rear end of the strip. The cutting stations are of course arranged so that the length of the dividing strip now formed from the supply of the board is accurately to the required length between the points of the pointed portions and the pointed portions have the accurate 90 degree angle. At the next station 65F the formed dividing strip is passed through a set of cutting members which form the chamfered edge 19A on the pointed portions 50 and 50A. At a further station 65G, the dividing strip is drilled to form the holes 61 at the base of the pointed portions 50 and 50A.
  • At a final station 65H, the completed dividing strip is moved into position onto the edge of the panel so that the groove in the dividing strip engages onto the tongue of the side edge on one side of the panel and on the other side the tongue of the dividing strip is engaged onto the groove at the side of the panel.
  • The carousel is of a conventional nature and uses conventional cutting, routing and drilling tools to effect the above cutting actions. The selection of the necessary tools is within the skill of a person skilled in this art so that description of the necessary tools is not required here. Carousels of this type are commonly available providing a series of stations. Of course the first carousel is arranged on one side and the second carousel is arranged on the second side of the panel moved along the track as carried by the clamping members 78 and 79.
  • At the final assembly station 66 including the two carousels 65 and 65X, there are provided additional pin driving members 62X, 62Y and 62Z for driving pins as previously described into the junction between the dividing strip and the ends of selected ones of the main strips.
  • After the final assembly station 66, the completed panel assembled by the pins is moved to a stacking station (not shown) where it is released from the clamping members 78 and 79 for stacking onto a pile of finished such panels for transportation to a remote location for installation.
  • In FIG. 7 is shown an alternative arrangement for fastening the strips of the panel member together and this comprises a sheet 90 of a fabric or similar flexible material which can be applied onto the whole of the rear surface of the panel member so as to cover all of the joints with the sheet being bonded to the rear surface 17 by a layer of an adhesive 91. While it is preferred that a common sheet covers all of the joints so that its dimension is substantially equal to the rear of the panel, it will be appreciated that separate strips can be applied along each joint or separate strips may cover some of the joints. Thus a single piece many be applied over the main strips when assembled and converged at the fastening station and separate pieces applied over the joints of the divider strips in the final assembly station. The fabric pieces can be unrolled from a supply of the required width and cut to length. The strips preferably carry the adhesive from the supply or the adhesive may be applied separately. The adhesive may be a hot melt which is activated by a heated plate or roller brought up onto the rear surface of the assembled panel which presses the fabric into engagement with the rear surface and activates the adhesive.
  • Since various modifications can be made in my invention as herein above described, and many apparently widely different embodiments of same made within the spirit and scope of the claims without department from such spirit and scope, it is intended that all matter contained in the accompanying specification shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not in a limiting sense.

Claims (20)

1. A method of manufacturing a panel member for use in a paneling system including a plurality of the panel members for locating on a supporting surface generally edge to edge in an array to at least partly cover the supporting surface, the method comprising:
providing a plurality of main strips arranged in a row generally side by side;
each main strip having a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove an opposed side edge;
converging the main strips together so that the main strips are connected side by side by interconnection of the tongues and the grooves and so that a first main strip at one side of the main strips has an exposed tongue along the first main strip and a second main strip at an opposed second side of the main strips has an exposed groove along the second main strip;
applying pressure to the converged main strips in a direction to compress the main strips together to hold the exposed tongue and the exposed groove at positions spaced by the combined width of the main strips;
fastening the main strips each to the next to form a common panel member for transportation and installation;
and using a re-cutting tool to effect re-cutting one of the exposed tongue and the exposed groove so as to remove a portion of material therefrom while holding the other of the exposed tongue and the exposed groove at a predetermined spacing from the re-cutting tool so as to provide an accurate spacing between the exposed tongue and the exposed groove.
2. The method according to claim 1 further including cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a first common cut line, cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a second common out line spaced from the first cut line, operating a cutting tool to form a tongue along the first common cut line and operating a cutting tool to form a groove along the second common cut line.
3. The method according to claim 2 further including supplying dividing strips from a supply thereof where each of the dividing strips has a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove along an opposed side edge, attaching a first dividing strip along the first common cut line and attaching a second dividing strip extending along the second common line, such that each of the dividing strips has a front surface of the dividing strip lying in a common plane with the front surfaces of the main strips to define the front surface of the panel, and such that the first dividing strip has the groove thereof engaged with the tongue along the first common line and wherein the second dividing strip has the tongue thereof engaged with the groove along the second common line.
4. The method according to claim 3 further including clamping the interconnected main strips together when compressed and maintaining the interconnected main strips clamped when cutting the main strips, operating the cutting tool and attaching the dividing strips.
5. The method according to claim 3 wherein the main strips and the dividing strips are supplied from a common supply of strips of identical width and material.
6. The method according to claim 1 further including fastening together the main strips by a plurality of pins each inserted at a butting edge between one strip and a next adjacent strip through the rear surface at a groove on one side of the butting edge and extending into a tongue in the groove with a front end of the pin terminating at a position spaced from the front surface.
7. The method according to claim 6 wherein each pin is inclined at an angle to a plane containing the butting edge so as to pass through the plane.
8. The method according to claim 6 wherein each main strip is fastened to each next adjacent main strip by a plurality of the pins at spaced positions along the main strips.
9. The method according to claim 6 wherein each pin is inserted such that it is countersunk from the rear surface.
10. The method according to claim 1 further including forming each main strip from a series of strip portions arranged butting end to end to form a butt joint therebetween; fastening together the main strips by operating an insertion tool to insert a plurality of pins at spaced positions along the length of the main strips, detecting the location of a butt joint and operating the insertion tool at a location spaced from the butt joint.
11. The method according to claim 10 further including forwarding each main strip from a supply such that each main strip is continuous as it is converged with the other main strips together, passing the continuous converged main strips past a plurality of insertion tools at spaced positions across the converged main strips and operating each of the insertion tools at timed intervals so as to apply the pins at the spaced locations while avoiding the butt joints.
12. The method according to claim 10 wherein the ends at the but joint are connected by a tongue and groove connection.
13. A method of manufacturing a panel member for use in a paneling system including a plurality of the panel members for locating on a supporting surface generally edge to edge in an array to at least partly cover the supporting surface, the method comprising:
providing a plurality of main strips arranged in a row generally side by side;
each main strip having a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove an opposed side edge;
converging the main strips together so that the main strips are connected side by side by interconnection of the tongues and the grooves and so that a first main strip at one side of the main strips has an exposed tongue along the first main strip and a second main strip at an opposed second side of the main strips has an exposed groove along the second main strip;
fastening the main strips each to the next to form a common panel member for transportation and installation;
cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a first common cut line;
cutting the interconnected main strips across the main strips to form a second common cut line spaced from the first cut line;
operating a cutting tool to form a tongue along the first common cut line and operating a cutting tool to form a groove along the second common cut line;
supplying dividing strips from a supply thereof where each of the dividing strips has a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove along an opposed side edge;
attaching a first dividing strip along the first common cut line;
and attaching a second dividing strip extending along the second common line;
such that each of the dividing strips has a front surface of the dividing strip lying in a common plane with the front surfaces of the main strips to define the front surface of the panel;
and such that the first dividing strip has the groove thereof engaged with the tongue along the first common line and wherein the second dividing strip has the tongue thereof engaged with the groove along the second common line.
14. The method according to claim 13 further including clamping the interconnected main strips together when compressed and maintaining the interconnected main strips clamped when cutting the main strips, operating the cutting tool and attaching the dividing strips.
15. The method according to claim 13 wherein the main strips and the dividing strips are supplied from a common supply of strips of identical width and having as supplied a tongue on one side and a groove on the other side.
16. The method according to claim 13 further including cutting the dividing strips so as to define end portions which extend beyond the sides of the main strips and operating a tool at the end edges thereof in the front surface to form a chamfer such that the dividing strips when butting have a chamfered groove at the front surface.
17. A method of manufacturing a panel member for use in a paneling system including a plurality of the panel members for locating on a supporting surface generally edge to edge in an array to at least partly cover the supporting surface, the method comprising:
providing a plurality of main strips arranged in a row generally side by side;
each main strip having a tongue along one side edge and a corresponding groove an opposed side edge;
converging the main strips together so that the main strips are connected side by side by interconnection of the tongues and the grooves and so that a first main strip at one side of the main strips has an exposed tongue along the first main strip and a second main strip at an opposed second side of the main strips has an exposed groove along the second main strip;
fastening the main strips each to the next to form a common panel member for transportation and installation;
forming each main strip from a series of strip portions arranged butting end to end to form a butt joint therebetween;
the main strips being fastened together by operating an insertion tool to insert a plurality of pins at spaced positions along the length of the main strips,
passing the continuous converged main strips past a plurality of the insertion tools at spaced positions across the converged main strips;
detecting the location of a butt joint;
and operating each of the insertion tools at timed intervals so as to apply the pins at the spaced locations while avoiding the butt joints.
18. The method according to claim 17 wherein the insertion tools are operated such that each pin is inserted at a butting edge between one strip and a next adjacent strip through the rear surface of the panel member at a groove on one side of the butting edge and extending into a tongue in the groove with a front end of the pin terminating at a position spaced from the front surface of the panel member.
19. The method according to claim 18 wherein each pin is inclined at an angle to a plane containing the butting edge so as to pass through the plane.
20. The method according to claim 18 wherein each pin is inserted such that it is countersunk from the rear surface.
US11/760,093 2007-06-08 2007-06-08 Method of forming rectangular panels for use in a panelling system Abandoned US20080301945A1 (en)

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US11/760,093 US20080301945A1 (en) 2007-06-08 2007-06-08 Method of forming rectangular panels for use in a panelling system
US11/848,452 US20080302052A1 (en) 2007-06-08 2007-08-31 Panelling system formed from panels defined by tongue and groove strips
PCT/CA2008/001070 WO2008148198A1 (en) 2007-06-08 2008-06-04 Panelling system

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