US20150252563A1 - Synthetic flooring apparatus - Google Patents

Synthetic flooring apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150252563A1
US20150252563A1 US14196830 US201414196830A US2015252563A1 US 20150252563 A1 US20150252563 A1 US 20150252563A1 US 14196830 US14196830 US 14196830 US 201414196830 A US201414196830 A US 201414196830A US 2015252563 A1 US2015252563 A1 US 2015252563A1
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US
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
plurality
tile
arms
top surface
members
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
US14196830
Inventor
Ronald N. Cerny
Michael Buerger
Michael T. Bradfield
Dana Hedquist
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.)
Conner Sport Court International LLC
Connor Sport Court International LLC
Original Assignee
Conner Sport Court International LLC
Connor Sport Court International LLC
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B5/00Floors; Floor construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted therefor
    • E04B5/43Floor structures of extraordinary design; Features relating to the elastic stability; Floor structures specially designed for resting on columns only, e.g. mushroom floors
    • 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
    • E04F15/02038Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements characterised by tongue and groove connections between neighbouring flooring elements
    • 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
    • E04F15/10Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials
    • E04F15/105Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials of organic plastics with or without reinforcements or filling materials
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/01Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship
    • E04F2201/0138Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels perpendicular to the main plane
    • 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
    • E04F2201/021Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections with separate protrusions
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/05Separate connectors or inserts, e.g. pegs, pins, keys or strips
    • E04F2201/0505Pegs or pins

Abstract

A modular floor tile is disclosed having a top surface made of a plurality of rib members defining openings between the rib members. A plurality of edge surfaces defines a perimeter about the top surface and a support system is integrally formed with and disposed at least partially beneath the top surface. The support system is capable of maintaining the top surface elevated above a ground surface when a load is not placed on the top surface. The support system has a primary support member disposed within the openings between the rib members. The primary support member is operably connected to a plurality of arms extending laterally from the structural member to the primary support member and is capable of vertical movement within the opening when a load is applied to the top surface.

Description

    FIELD OF THE TECHNOLOGY
  • The present technology relates to synthetic flooring and more particularly to devices and methods for absorbing a load placed on a top surface of a modular synthetic floor tile.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE TECHNOLOGY AND RELATED ART
  • Suspended flooring and modular floor tiles have been used for numerous years in connection with improved safety, appearance, and function. In recent years, synthetic modular flooring products have been used for these purposes and more frequently used in connection with sporting events. Many of these flooring products, however, offer little to no impact absorbing characteristics resulting in increased fatigue or injury from walking, running, jumping, or other activities on the flooring. Namely, in order to ensure the top surface of the floor is sufficiently firm to provide “ball-bounce” characteristics and provide sufficient friction, synthetic floor tiles are made from a rigid or semi-rigid material which yields very little under normal use.
  • Attempts have been made to improve the impact absorbing characteristics of synthetic flooring products. Examples include, but are not limited to U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,587,865, 7,748,177, and 8,505,256, but each technology described in those cases contains deficiencies. It is therefore desirable to have a synthetic flooring product with improved impact absorbing characteristics.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The present technology will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Understanding that these drawings merely depict exemplary aspects of the present technology, they are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. It will be readily appreciated that the components of the present technology, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Nonetheless, the technology will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a top view of a synthetic modular floor tile in accordance with one aspect of the technology;
  • FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the synthetic modular floor tile of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the synthetic modular floor tile of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a bottom view of two modular floor tiles coupled together;
  • FIG. 5 is a bottom perspective view of two modular floor tiles coupled together;
  • FIG. 6 is a top perspective view of an opening and support system of a portion of a synthetic modular floor tile in accordance with one aspect of the technology;
  • FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view of FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 is a side view of FIG. 6 with no load placed on the top of the portion of the synthetic modular floor tile;
  • FIG. 9 is a side view of FIG. 6 showing a load placed on the top of the portion of the synthetic modular floor tile and the resulting flex action of the arms in accordance with one aspect of the technology;
  • FIG. 10 is a top perspective view of an opening and support system of a portion of a synthetic modular floor tile in accordance with one aspect of the technology;
  • FIG. 11 is a bottom perspective view of FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 12 is a top perspective view of an opening and support system of a portion of a synthetic modular floor tile in accordance with one aspect of the technology;
  • FIG. 13 is a bottom perspective view of FIG. 12;
  • FIG. 14 is a top perspective view of an opening and support system of a portion of a synthetic modular floor tile in accordance with one aspect of the technology;
  • FIG. 15 is a bottom perspective view of FIG. 14;
  • FIG. 16 is a top perspective view of an opening and support system of a portion of a synthetic modular floor tile in accordance with one aspect of the technology; and
  • FIG. 17 is a bottom perspective view of FIG. 16.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The following detailed description of exemplary aspects of the technology makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof and in which are shown, by way of illustration, exemplary aspects in which the technology may be practiced. While these exemplary aspects are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the technology, it should be understood that other aspects may be realized and that various changes to the technology may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present technology. Thus, the following more detailed description of the aspects of the present technology is not intended to limit the scope of the technology, as claimed, but is presented for purposes of illustration only and not limitation to describe the features and characteristics of the present technology and to sufficiently enable one skilled in the art to practice the technology. Accordingly, the scope of the present technology is to be defined solely by the appended claims.
  • The following detailed description and exemplary aspects of the technology will be best understood by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the elements and features of the technology are designated by numerals throughout.
  • The present technology describes an improved modular floor tile having a top surface comprising a plurality of rib or structural members defining openings between the rib members. “Openings” refers to holes, gaps, or spaces through which a fluid or other object may pass. A perimeter of the tile is defined by outer edge surfaces. A support system is integrally formed from and disposed at least partially beneath the top surface. Generally speaking, the support system is capable of maintaining the top surface elevated above a ground surface. The support system comprises a primary support member disposed within the openings between the rib members. That primary support member is operably connected to a plurality of arms extending outward from the primary support member. The primary support member is configured for vertical movement within the opening when a load is applied to the top surface causing the arms to flex. A plurality of secondary support members, which are elevated above the ground surface when the tile is in an unbiased state, limit the vertical movement of the primary support member within the opening thereby limiting the downward movement of the tile when placed under a load. In this manner, loads placed on the top of the tile are absorbed by the flexing arms and further absorbed by the secondary support members.
  • With specific reference to FIGS. 1-5, a modular tile 10 is shown and is configured to be coupled with adjoining modular tiles to form a floor covering for athletics or any other desirable purpose. The modular tiles provide enhanced impact absorbing characteristics to lessen fatigue and minimize injury resulting from activities on rigid surfaces such as concrete, asphalt and the like. The tiles may be formed from any suitable rigid or semi-rigid material, such as a polymeric material, and may be formed using molding techniques known in the art such as injection molding, compression molding and the like and are formed or molded in a single, integrated tile. In a preferred embodiment, the tiles are not made of substantially compressible material (such as soft rubber) as they do not provide adequate ball-bouncing characteristics or are otherwise undesirable for sports or other activities.
  • The modular tile 10 includes a top surface 15 with an opposite bottom side 20. The top surface 15 can be smooth, perforated, grid-like, bumped, textured, or have any other configuration as suits a particular purpose for a synthetic floor covering. The top surface 15 includes a periphery with a square or rectangular shape defining a front side 25, a rear side 26, and opposing first and second sides 27, 28. Other suitable peripheral shapes for the tiles are contemplated herein such as triangular, hexagonal, etc. Each of the front side, rear side, and first and second sides include side walls 30 with one or more male or female coupling members 35, 36 for adjoining adjacent tiles. Male member 35 comprises a downward post structure 37 with a laterally extending tab 38. The female member 36 comprises a loop 39 configured to receive the post structure 37 therein with the tab member 38 positioned beneath the sidewall 40.
  • Additional male and female coupling members are disposed about the sides of the tiles and configured to provide additional connection for the tiles. Male post member 41 is disposed about the bottom side 20 of the tile 10 and is configured to be positioned within the opening 42 in female member 43. Female member 43 is configured for placement within aperture 44 in sidewall 30. Male post member 41 comprises a general I-shape having a longitudinal axis substantially equivalent in length to the longitudinal length of the opening 42 in female member 43. The height of the aperture 44 is equivalent to the height of the female member 43.
  • With reference generally to FIGS. 1-5 and specifically to FIGS. 6 and 7, the bottom side 20 of tile 10 includes a support grid configured to support the top surface 15 about the ground. In accordance with one aspect of the technology, the top surface 15 comprises a plurality of openings 16 that are defined by structural members 51. In one aspect, the structural members comprise intersecting rib members. An upper plane of the opening 16 is defined by the upper surface 52 of the intersecting rib members 51. A bottom plane of the opening 16 is defined by the bottom surface 53 of the intersecting rib members 51. The openings 16 are further defined by sidewalls 56 of the rib members 51. The support grid comprises a plurality of primary post structures 60 disposed about the bottom 20 of the tile 10. As the term is used herein, “post” refers to a generally upright structure that tends to be vertical and has a height that is greater than its width. When the tile 10 is placed on a ground surface and is in an unbiased state (i.e., no load is placed on the top of the tile), the primary support posts 60 are the only portion of the tile 10 in contact with the ground surface. The top 62 of the support post 60 is disposed within the center of the openings 16 and within the area defined by the upper and lower planes of the openings.
  • In one aspect of the technology, the post structure is generally cross-shaped. However, the use of different shapes and configurations (cylindrical, rectangular, triangular, etc.) are contemplated for use herein so long as the support function is accomplished. The primary support post 60 is formed from the same material used for the top surface 15 of the tile 10 and arms 61. In one aspect of the technology, the support posts 60 are formed from the same mold used to form the entire tile 10. The primary support posts 60 are coupled to the tile 10 by a plurality of arms 61 extending outward from primary support posts 60. The primary support posts 60 are disposed within the center of the opening 16 having arms 61 extending laterally away from the post and connecting to the ribs 51 at the vertex 55 of intersecting rib members. The arms 61 are generally rectangular but may also be triangular, circular, or shaped like a rhombus or other desirable shape. In one aspect of the invention, the arms have substantially parallel top and bottom surfaces. The top surface is narrower than the bottom surface and substantially centered over the top surface. The side surface tapers outwardly from the top surface to the bottom surface.
  • When moving on a conventional floor, the force associated with jumping, walking, or running on the floor is transferred directly between the floor and the foot of the person. This results in fatigue and possible injury. Advantageously, with aspects of the present technology, when a load is placed on the top surface 15 of the tile 10, the arms 61 flex, allowing the tile 10 to move downward. Because the top 62 of the primary support posts 60 is located within the opening 16 and is unencumbered by a rigid material above the structure, the ribs 51 move downward over the primary support posts 60 as the arms 61 flex. The flexing operation of the arms absorbs some of the impact associated with the load placed on the top of the tile and thereby lessens the transfer of force from the ground to the foot of the person.
  • In one aspect of the technology, a top 62 of the primary post structure 60 is disposed below the upper plane of the opening 16 but above the bottom plane of the opening 16. The arms 61 are connected to the primary post 60 near the top 62 of each portion of the cross 64 forming the primary support post 60. A taper on the top 65 and bottom 66 portion of each arm 61 is formed as a transition between the arm 61 and primary support posts 60. A bottom of the arm 61 is coplanar with a bottom 53 of the ribs 51. However, in another aspect, a top of the arm 61 is coplanar with a top 52 of the ribs 51. In one aspect of the technology, the arms 61 extend outward from the primary support post 60 near the top 62 or directly from the top 62, though the arms 61 may connect to the primary support post 60 at any location along the support posts 60 as suits a particular design.
  • For example, with reference generally to FIGS. 10 and 11, the arms 61 are connected to the primary support post 60 at a position near the middle of the primary support post 60. In another example, the arms 61 may connect to the primary support post 60 near the bottom of the primary support post 60. In either of these examples, the arms 61 can extend upward as well as laterally to couple to the rib members 51 at the vertex 55 of intersecting ribs 51. Additionally, while the arms are shown as plurality of elongate members, the arms may comprise a plurality of different members in various shapes and configurations, including, but not limited to, an L-shaped or arcuate shaped arm. Different arm configurations may be used to absorb the loads placed on the tile 10 so long as the arms flex to absorb the load. Advantageously, no separate insert or secondary material is required to absorb a load placed on the tile.
  • With reference now to FIGS. 12 and 13, in another aspect of the technology, the arms 61 are connected to the primary support post 60 near the middle of the primary support post 60 and extend outward laterally to couple (i.e., connect) to secondary support posts 70. In this aspect, it is not necessary for the arms 61 to couple to the tile 10 at the vertex 55 of interconnecting ribs 51. In other aspects, the arms 61 can extend outward from the primary support post 60 and connect to ribs 51 along the inner side wall 56 of a rib 51 (see, e.g., FIGS. 14 and 15). Additionally, it is not necessary that the arm 61 necessarily connect to the rib 51 near a bottom 53 of rib 51. Rather, the arm 61 can couple to the rib 51 near an upper surface 52 of the rib 51.
  • With reference generally to FIGS. 5 through 9, a plurality of secondary support posts 70 are disposed about the bottom 20 of the tile 10 and arrayed about the primary support posts 60. In accordance with one aspect of the technology, the secondary support posts 70 have a longitudinal length that is less than the length of the primary support posts 60. In this manner, the primary support post 60 acts to maintain the secondary support posts 70 a distance 71 above the ground when the tile 10 is in an unbiased (i.e., no load) state. When a load “L” is placed on the top of the tile 10, the arms 61 flex allowing the tile 10, including the secondary support posts 70, to move downward. The secondary support posts 70 limit downward movement of the tile 10 and prevent over-flexing of the arms 61 which can result in plastic deformation of the arms 61. In one aspect of the technology, the distance from the top 62 of primary support post 60 and the distance 71 between the ground and the bottom of support posts 70 are substantially the same. That is, the length of the secondary support posts 70 and primary support posts 60 are reconciled so that when a load L is placed on the tile 10, the secondary support posts 70 come into contact with the ground and the top 62 of the primary support post 60 is in substantially the same plane as the top 52 of the ribs 51. In this manner, the total surface area available for frictional contact between the foot of a person and the tile is temporarily increased during activity on the tile 10. Advantageously, because the secondary support posts 70 limit the upward movement of the primary support post 60 through the upper plane of the opening 16, the top 62 of the primary support post 60 does not become a raised surface that may increase abrasion during a fall yet still acts to increase the total surface area of the playing surface. Because the arms 61 elevate the tile 10 above the ground surface when it is in an unloaded state, when loaded, the arms 61 act as a spring containing an amount of potential energy. In this manner, the biased arms create an upward force (or spring) to help give added mobility to the person running, jumping, walking, etc. on the floor tile.
  • In another aspect of the technology, the top 62 of the primary support post 60 can be disposed beneath the opening 16 when the tile 10 is in an unbiased state. When a load “L” is placed on the top 15 of the tile, the top 62 of the primary support post 60 can advance upward to beneath the upper surface 52 of ribs 51, co-planar with the upper surface 52 (as shown in FIG. 7), or above the upper surface 52 of the ribs 51 as suits a particular application. The sidewalls 40 about the perimeter of the tile 10 are also configured to have a length similar to the length of the secondary support posts 70. In this manner, the sidewalls 40 also limit the vertical travel of the primary support post 60. In addition, while the top 62 of the primary support post 60 is shown as planar, it may also have a dome-like structure. In this manner, if it is desired that the top 62 of the primary support post 60 terminate in its vertical travel slightly above the top surface 52 of the rib members 51, additional traction may be created without creating unwanted abrasion.
  • In accordance with one aspect of the technology, and by way of example only, the rib members 51 range from approximately 0.05 to 0.25 inches wide and 0.05 to 0.5 inches in height. The primary post structure 60 ranges from 0.25 to 1 inch in height and the secondary post structures 70 range from 0.25 to 1 inch in height. The area within the openings 16 can range from 0.15 square inches to 3.25 square inches and can be rectangular as shown in FIGS. 6 through 14, triangular as shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, circular, or any other shape as suits a particular design. With reference to the triangular openings shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the primary support post 60 resides within the center of the opening 16 similar to the disposition within a rectangular opening. A plurality of arms 61 extend outward from the primary support post 60 and connect to the vertex 55 of intersecting rib members 51. As with the rectangular openings, it is not necessary for the arms 61 to connect to the rib members 51 at the vertex 55 of intersecting rib members 51. Rather, the arms 61 may connect to the rib members 51 at an inner side wall. In one aspect, the arms 61 do not connect to the rib members 51. Rather, the arms 61 extend outwardly from the primary support post 60 and connect to the secondary support posts 70. A plurality of three secondary support posts 70 are arrayed about the primary support post 60. The secondary support posts 70 extend downward from the bottom 20 of the tile 10 near the vertex 55 of intersecting rib members 55. Similar modifications to the triangular opening embodiment may be made as discussed above with respect to the rectangular opening. For example, the arms 61 need not be single elongate members and the arms 61 need not couple to the primary support post 60 near the top 62 of the support post 60. Moreover, the shape of the primary support post 60 and secondary support post 70 may be varied as suits a particular application and design.
  • While specific reference is made herein to an open-top tile configuration, a closed-top tile configuration is also contemplated. In one aspect of the technology, intersecting rib members 51 may not act as the upper contact surface for the end-user of the tile 10. Rather, a substantially planar playing surface may be placed on the rib structure described herein with modifications to the placement and design of the primary support post 60 within the opening 16. In this aspect, the distance between the top 62 of the primary support post 60 and the bottom of the planar surface is greater than the distance 71 between the bottom of secondary support posts 70 and the ground surface. In this manner, the flexing action of arms 61 absorbs impact on the top surface of the tile 10. The vertical travel of the primary support post 60 is limited by the secondary support posts 70, not by any encumbrance between the top 62 of the primary support post 60 and the bottom of the planar playing surface.
  • While specific reference is made herein to a top surface 15 comprising intersecting ribs 51, it is understood and contemplated herein that a number of surface configurations may be used. For example, a substantially solid top surface may be used having a plurality of openings disposed therein. The openings may be circular, rectangular, or triangular, or any other desirable shape, and can be molded as part of the tile. Importantly, whatever the shape of the opening and whatever the configuration of the top surface (be it intersecting ribs or otherwise), a primary support post is disposed substantially within the center of the opening; the primary support post having at least two arms extending outward from the support post and being coupled to the tile in some fashion. As noted above, the arms can couple to the sidewall of the opening, a corner of the opening, secondary support members (also discussed above) or to a bottom portion of the tile and flex in response to a load being placed on a top of the tile, allowing vertical travel of the primary support post.
  • In one aspect of the technology, a flexible or compressible material (such as rubber or the like) may be placed beneath the tile to further absorb the load. In this aspect, the secondary support members are substantially shorter than the primary support members and the flexible material is placed about the bottom of the tile to further absorb the load placed on the top of the tile and limit the flexing action of the arms. The secondary support posts contact the ground only after the flexible material is compressed.
  • In accordance with one aspect of the technology, more than one primary support post can be placed within any one opening of the tile. For example, two primary support posts can be placed within the center of a rectangular opening. The two primary support posts can be connected by a single arm. Two arms can extend from each one of the primary support posts and couple with the two closest vertices of the rectangular opening.
  • A method of absorbing at least a portion of a load applied to a top of a flooring surface is also contemplated herein. The method comprises providing a modular floor tile disposed about a ground surface. The floor tile comprises a substantially flat upper playing surface having a plurality of ribs with spaces between the ribs, a bottom surface, and side surfaces forming a periphery about the tile. A plurality of secondary support posts are formed from and extend downward from the bottom of the floor tile. A plurality of vertically moveable primary support posts are disposed within the opening between the ribs and coupled to the ribs by a plurality of flexible arms extending laterally outward from the primary support posts and integrally formed with the ribs. The flexible arms are biased to position the vertical support members downward such that a bottom of the secondary support posts is elevated a distance above the ground surface when the tile is in an unloaded state. A load is placed on the upper playing surface causing the plurality of arms to flex facilitating upward movement of the vertically moveable primary support posts within the opening of the ribs and concurrent downward movement of the floor tile until the bottom of the secondary support members contact the ground surface. The method further comprises releasing the load on the upper playing surface causing the plurality of arms to return to a biased state, positioning the primary support members downward and elevating the secondary support posts above the ground surface.
  • The foregoing detailed description describes the technology with reference to specific exemplary aspects. However, it will be appreciated that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present technology as set forth in the appended claims. The detailed description and accompanying drawings are to be regarded as merely illustrative, rather than as restrictive, and all such modifications or changes, if any, are intended to fall within the scope of the present technology as described and set forth herein.
  • More specifically, while illustrative exemplary aspects of the technology have been described herein, the present technology is not limited to these aspects, but includes any and all aspects having modifications, omissions, combinations (e.g., of aspects across various embodiments), adaptations and/or alterations as would be appreciated by those in the art based on the foregoing detailed description. The limitations in the claims are to be interpreted broadly based on the language employed in the claims and not limited to examples described in the foregoing detailed description or during the prosecution of the application, which examples are to be construed as non-exclusive. For example, in the present disclosure, the term “preferably” is non-exclusive where it is intended to mean “preferably, but not limited to.” Any steps recited in any method or process claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented in the claims. Means-plus-function or step-plus-function limitations will only be employed where for a specific claim limitation all of the following conditions are present in that limitation: a) “means for” or “step for” is expressly recited; and b) a corresponding function is expressly recited. The structure, material or acts that support the means-plus-function are expressly recited in the description herein. Accordingly, the scope of the technology should be determined solely by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the descriptions and examples given above.

Claims (21)

  1. 1. A modular floor tile comprising:
    a top surface comprising a plurality of structural members defining openings between the structural members;
    a plurality of edge surfaces defining a perimeter about the top surface;
    a support system integrally formed with and disposed at least partially beneath the top surface, the support system capable of maintaining the top surface elevated above a ground surface when a load is not placed on the top surface;
    wherein the support system comprises a primary support member disposed within the openings, the primary support member being (i) operably connected to a plurality of arms formed from and extending laterally from the structural members to the primary support member and (ii) capable of vertical movement within the opening when a load is applied to the top surface.
  2. 2. The modular floor tile of claim 1, wherein a top surface of each of the plurality of arms is disposed beneath a top surface of the structural members and coupled to the structural members.
  3. 3. The modular floor tile of claim 1, wherein at least two of the plurality of arms are adjacent to one another, and wherein an internal angle between the at least two adjacent arms at a point where the arms couple to the primary support member is substantially equal to or greater than 45 degrees.
  4. 4. The modular floor tile of claim 1, wherein at least two of the plurality of arms extend from a single primary support member and are substantially collinear.
  5. 5. The modular floor tile of claim 1, wherein the openings comprise an upper plane defined by a top surface of the structural members and a bottom plane defined by a bottom surface of the structural members and wherein the primary support member is disposed within the area defined by the upper plane and lower plane.
  6. 6. The modular floor tile of claim 5, wherein, in an unbiased state, the primary support member comprises a vertical post having a top surface disposed between the upper plane and lower plane of the opening, the vertical post being capable of moving upward and downward within said opening.
  7. 7. The modular floor tile of claim 6, further comprising a plurality of secondary support members elevated above the ground surface when the tile is in an unloaded state.
  8. 8. The modular floor tile of claim 7, wherein the primary support member is configured to move upward relative to the opening when a load is placed on the top surface, and the secondary support members are configured to concurrently move downward relative to the primary support member toward a bottom surface of the primary support member.
  9. 9. The modular floor tile of claim 1, wherein the openings defined by the structural members comprise a quadrilateral defined by intersecting rib members.
  10. 10. The modular floor tile of claim 9, wherein each one of the plurality of arms extends outward from the vertices of the quadrilateral towards the center of the opening, wherein each arm is formed from and integrated with a vertex of the quadrilateral.
  11. 11. The modular floor tile of claim 9, wherein each one of the plurality of arms extends outward from the structural members towards the center of the opening, wherein each arm is formed from and integrated with a vertex of the quadrilateral.
  12. 12. A modular floor tile, comprising:
    a top surface comprising a plurality of openings defined by a plurality of rib members;
    an edge surface defining a perimeter about the floor tile;
    a support system formed from and disposed beneath the top surface, the support system comprising:
    a plurality of first vertical support posts operably connected to a plurality of arms extending laterally from the rib members, each one of the plurality of first vertical support posts disposed substantially within a center of each one of the plurality of openings and spaced apart from the rib members to move within the openings without contact with the rib members; and
    a plurality of second vertical support posts extending downward from a bottom of the rib members;
    wherein (i) when the floor tile is in an unloaded state the first vertical support posts are in contact with the floor and elevate a bottom of the second vertical support posts above the floor; and (ii) when a load is placed on a top of the modular floor tile, a portion of the plurality of laterally extending arms flex to facilitate vertical movement of the second vertical support posts into contact with the ground.
  13. 13. The modular floor tile of claim 12, wherein each one of the plurality of arms are operatively coupled to each one of the plurality of second vertical support posts.
  14. 14. The modular floor tile of claim 12, wherein the first vertical support posts are longer than the second vertical support posts.
  15. 15.-20. (canceled)
  16. 21. The tile of claim 12, wherein the plurality of arms extend outward from a top portion of the first vertical support posts.
  17. 22. The tile of claim 12, wherein a top portion of the first vertical support posts is substantially coplanar with a top of the interconnected rib members when a load is placed on a top of the tile.
  18. 23. The tile of claim 12, wherein the openings comprise a plurality of vertices, the plurality of arms being formed from the ribs at the vertices of the openings.
  19. 24. The tile of claim 12, wherein each one of the plurality of second vertical support members is disposed adjacent to each one of the vertices of the openings.
  20. 25. A single-piece unitary modular floor tile, comprising:
    a substantially planar upper playing surface having a plurality of ribs with openings between the ribs, a bottom surface, and side surfaces forming a periphery about the tile;
    a plurality of secondary support members extending downward from the bottom of the floor tile;
    a plurality of vertical primary support members disposed within the openings between the ribs and coupled to the ribs by a plurality of flexible arms extending laterally outward from the primary support members and integrally formed with the ribs, the flexible arms biased to position the vertical primary support members downward such that a bottom of the secondary support members is elevated a distance above the ground surface when the tile is in an unloaded state;
    wherein, the primary support members are configured to move vertically within the openings with respect to the ribs.
  21. 26. The tile of claim 25, wherein the flexible arms have a height that is less than a height of the ribs.
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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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WO2018009922A1 (en) * 2016-07-08 2018-01-11 Seamless Attenuating Technologies, Inc. Impact absorbing padding system with elastomeric sub-surface structure

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2018009922A1 (en) * 2016-07-08 2018-01-11 Seamless Attenuating Technologies, Inc. Impact absorbing padding system with elastomeric sub-surface structure

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