WO2003078750A1 - Surface covering materials comprising pre-applied polyvinyl acetate adhesive - Google Patents

Surface covering materials comprising pre-applied polyvinyl acetate adhesive Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2003078750A1
WO2003078750A1 PCT/US2003/007169 US0307169W WO03078750A1 WO 2003078750 A1 WO2003078750 A1 WO 2003078750A1 US 0307169 W US0307169 W US 0307169W WO 03078750 A1 WO03078750 A1 WO 03078750A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
edge
tongue
adhesive
groove
surface covering
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2003/007169
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Kyle D. Evans
William Jones
Original Assignee
Domco Tarkett Inc. A Corporation Of Canada
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US36364202P priority Critical
Priority to US60/363,642 priority
Application filed by Domco Tarkett Inc. A Corporation Of Canada filed Critical Domco Tarkett Inc. A Corporation Of Canada
Publication of WO2003078750A1 publication Critical patent/WO2003078750A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B21/00Layered products comprising a layer of wood, e.g. wood board, veneer, wood particle board
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B21/00Layered products comprising a layer of wood, e.g. wood board, veneer, wood particle board
    • B32B21/14Layered products comprising a layer of wood, e.g. wood board, veneer, wood particle board comprising wood board or veneer
    • 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
    • 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
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/04Other details of tongues or grooves
    • E04F2201/043Other details of tongues or grooves with tongues and grooves being formed by projecting or recessed parts of the panel layers
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/07Joining sheets or plates or panels with connections using a special adhesive material

Abstract

The invention relates to surface covering materials (1), such as engineered and laminated surface coverings, like laminated flooring material, comprising one or more tongues (5) and grooves (6) and a method for applying adhesive. The tongue (5) and/or grooves (6) have a polyvinyl acetate adhesive that is applied in the factory and dries on the substrate. The adhesive bonds during installation of the flooring material by pressure from the physical interaction of the tongue (5) and groove (6) when the tongue (5) of one piece of surface covering material (1) is inserted and forced into the groove (6) of an adjoining piece of surface covering material (1).

Description

SURFACE COVERING MATERIALS COMPRISING PRE-APPLIED POLYVINYL ACETATE ADHESIVE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/363,642 filed March 11 , 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention relates to surface covering materials, such as engineered and laminated surface coverings, like laminated flooring material, comprising one or more tongues and grooves. The tongues and/or grooves have a polyvinyl acetate adhesive that is applied in the factory and dries on the substrate. The adhesive bonds the flooring material as a result of the pressure from the physical interaction of the tongue and groove when the tongue of one piece of surface covering material is inserted and forced into the groove of an adjoining piece of surface covering material. The invention also relates to a process for making the surface covering materials comprising a method for applying adhesive to the tongues and grooves. The Prior Art

[0003] Surface covering materials comprising tongue and groove for installation traditionally require the use of separate glue or adhesive at the time of installation, such as EVERSETT® available from the assignee of the invention. Generally, when laminated surface covering having tongue and groove is installed, wet adhesive is applied at the time of installation to the tongue and/or groove, usually intermittently applied to the tongue and/or groove, and the tongue of one piece is aligned with the groove of an adjoining piece and tongue is inserted into the groove. Special hammering tools or acrylic tapping blocks may then be used to apply force to the surface covering material to join the tongues and grooves together. The adhesive subsequently sets and bonds the surface covering together. [0004] Use of separate glue or adhesive in installation of floors may be cumbersome making the installation of tongue and groove flooring more tedious than other types of laminated flooring, such as interlocking or snap fit flooring which has been increasingly introduced into the market during recent years. This is particularly the case in "do it yourself operations where a homeowner installs the floor. Also, the adhesive may become difficult to use as it could spread under the surface covering from the tongue and groove joint during installation and any adhesive that spreads to the top surface may affect the aesthetics of the surface covering if not properly cleaned.

[0005] Certain adhesive used at the time of installation of tongue and groove flooring can be absorbed into the substrate causing the tongue and groove to swell. This makes it more difficult to fully insert the tongues into the grooves and increases the difficulty in abutting the top surfaces, or wear surfaces, of adjacent surface covering pieces to create a visually seamless surface.

[0006] Recently, attempts have been made to pre-apply adhesive to tongues and grooves during the manufacturing of surface covering materials. DE 297 03 962 U1 discloses an element for producing a floor or wall covering wherein contact adhesive is applied in the factory at the area of a profiled tongue and groove. Contact adhesives are defined in the art as viscoelastic adhesives which remain permanently tacky and adhesive in a solvent-free form at ambient temperature and adhere to virtually any substrate at low substrate specificity under light contact pressure. WO 01/94721 discloses flooring material with laterally mounted interlocking elements having adhesive material capable of transition from the active to passive state. [0007] The surface covering material of the invention comprises tongues and grooves having a particular polyvinyl acetate adhesive that is applied to the tongues and/or grooves at the time of manufacture. The adhesive dries on the tongues and grooves and during installation of the surface covering undergoes the bonding of the surface covering materials together by the pressure arising from the physical interaction of the tongue and groove, thus eliminating the need for use of wet adhesive at installation or the use of adhesives with relatively costly technologies, such as microencapsulated adhesives, latent adhesives or other adhesives requiring external activation means. The surface covering material of the invention is more convenient to install and provides more successful results, thereby decreasing the risk of improper adhesive application that can lead to failed installations. The adhesive is applied to the tongues and grooves of the surface covering materials through a process that enables mass manufacture of the surface covering materials. [0008] In the present Specification all parts and percentages are on a weight/weight basis unless otherwise specified.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The surface covering materials generally comprise an over layer, or wear layer, which may have one or more layers, including a decorative portion and a top coating, such as polyurethane, a middle layer that may comprise one or more layers and an under layer. The tongue and groove sections are generally located in the middle layer. The surface covering materials are preferably flooring material, including laminated flooring material, generally rectangular in shape, however, the surface covering materials may be any geometric shape, such as a square, trapezoid or polyhedron, provided that the shape permits pieces of surface covering material to be joined together at the tongues and grooves without significant gaps in the over layer after installation.

[0010] The tongue and groove sections of the surface covering materials are coated with a dried adhesive comprising polyvinyl acetate. Generally, the surface covering material is applied to a surface by aligning the tongue of one piece of surface covering material with the groove of another piece. The pieces are then forced together such that the tongue interlocks with the groove. The pressure caused by the interaction between the tongue of one piece with the groove of another results in the dried adhesive on the surface covering bonding the pieces together at the tongue and groove.

[0011] The surface covering materials can be made by conventional means for making surface covering materials having tongues and grooves. The surface covering material, however, is subjected to an adhesive application method. [0012] In the method, adhesive is applied to the tongues and grooves of the surface covering material. The surface covering is conveyed past a plurality of adhesive applicators that are adapted to apply adhesive to the tongues and grooves of the material. The adhesive is filtered one or more times before it is applied to the material. The method comprises the steps of 1) providing at least one piece of surface covering material having at least one edge and/or end with a groove and at least one edge and/or end with a tongue, 2) moving the surface covering material on a first and/or second means of conveyance past at least one tongue applicator such that at least one edge and/or end with a tongue moves opposite to the location of the tongue applicator and, optionally, a first tongue rotary brush and/or air pressure 3) applying filtered adhesive to at least one of the tongues with the tongue applicator, 4) moving the surface covering material on a first and/or second means of conveyance past at least one groove applicator such that at least one edge and/or end with a groove moves opposite to the location of the groove applicator and, optionally, a second groove rotary brush, 5) applying filtered adhesive to at least one of the grooves with the groove applicator and 6) drying the adhesive after application to the at least one tongue and the at least one groove.

[0013] The tongue applicators are preferably one or more nozzles that spray adhesive directly onto the tongue. In addition, the adhesive can be applied to the tongue by tongue application dies that deposit adhesive on the top and bottom of the tongue. The groove applicators generally comprise a tube and/or nozzle that sprays the adhesive directly into the grooves of the surface covering material, particularly a small bead of adhesive into the groove.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0014] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the surface covering material of the invention.

[0015] Fig. 2 is a cross-section of the surface covering material of the invention along line 2-2 of Fig. 1.

[0016] Fig. 3 is a cross-section view of two pieces of the surface covering material of the invention showing the tongue of one piece and the groove of another. [0017] Fig. 4 is a flow diagram of the method of the invention for applying adhesive to the tongues and grooves.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0018] The invention shall be described in detail with respect to floor covering materials. This, however, should not be construed as limiting the invention that may include all types of surface covering materials. [0019] Referring now to Figs. 1-3, the surface covering material 1 comprises an over layer 2, middle layer 3, and an under layer 4. One or more tongues 5 and one or more grooves 6 are in the middle layer 3. The tongues 5 and grooves 6 of the surface covering material have the same structural features and characteristics whether the tongues and grooves are on the ends or edges of the surface covering material (for example, as illustrated in Fig. 1 , the tongues, 5 on the lateral edge 29 and first end 2 and the grooves 6 on the distal edge 28 and second end 27 have similar structural features and the same as discussed herein for the tongues and grooves in general).

[0020] As shown in Figs. 2 and 3, the tongue 5 has a generally planar upper surface 7, generally planar lower surface 8 and a generally planar outer surface 9 that is about perpendicular to and between the upper surface 7 and lower surface 8. In the embodiment of the invention depicted in Figs. 2 and 3, the tongue further comprises one or more, preferably, two beveled edges 10 (e.g. a first beveled edge 10a and second beveled edge 10b) that are at an angle between the upper surface 7 and the outer surface 9 and between the lower surface 8 and the outer surface 9. The groove 6 is a hollow section defined by a generally planar upper edge 11, generally planar lower edge 12 and a generally planar inner edge 13 that is about perpendicular to and between the upper edge 11 and lower edge 12. In the embodiment of the invention depicted in Figs. 2 and 3, the groove 6 is further defined by one or more, preferably two, curved edges 14 (e.g. a first curved edge 14a and a second curved edge 14b) between the upper edge 11 and the inner edge 13 and between the lower edge 12 and the inner edge 13. [0021] The upper layer 2 is generally planar and has a generally planar upper surface 15, generally planar lower surface 16 and edges 17. The upper layer 2 may be a resilient material, wood or wood product, for example hardwood. The upper surface 15 can have a polyurethane coating or other wear coating, decorative elements and/or staining or paint. The upper layer 2 is laminated to the middle layer 3 such that the lower surface 16 is bonded to a generally planar upper surface 18 of the middle layer 3. The upper layer 2 and middle layer 3, as well as other laminated sections or pieces of the surface covering material are laminated by adhesives or other bonding means as would be understood by one skilled in the art. [0022] The middle layer 3 has the generally planar upper surface 18, a generally planar lower surface 19 and edges 20. The middle layer 3 comprises the tongue 5 and groove 6. The middle layer is generally made from wood, fiberboard or other wood product, but may also be made from metal or plastic materials or combinations thereof. The middle layer may comprise one or more generally planar sheets of material (designated as 3A, 3B and 3C in the figures) bonded (e.g. laminated) together in planar orientation. The tongue 5 protrudes from adjoining edges of the middle layer 3 and the groove 6 is a void recessed from the adjoining edges opposite to those comprising the tongue, and is defined by the generally planar upper edge 11, generally planar lower edge 12, and generally planar inner edge 13. As shown in Figs. 2 and 3, the edges of the middle layer 3 may be curved where the edges interface with the upper surface 7 and lower surface 8 of the tongue 5, and the upper edge 11 and lower edge 12 of the groove 6. Also, the middle section may have a protrusion 21 about adjacent to the upper surface 18.

[0023] The middle layer 3 is laminated to the lower layer 4 such that the lower surface 18 is bonded to a generally planar upper surface 21 of the lower layer 4. The lower layer 4 has the generally planar upper surface 21, a generally planar lower surface 22 and edges 23. As shown in Fig. 2, the edges 23 of the lower layer may be angled. The lower layer may be made from wood or wood product, such as a veneer, but may also be made from metal or plastic material or combinations thereof. [0024] The surface covering comprises adhesive that is applied to some or all of the generally planar upper surface 7, generally planar lower surface 8 and generally planar outer surface 9 of the tongue and/or some or all of the generally planar upper edge 11, generally planar lower edge 12 and generally planar inner edge 13 of the groove. This adhesive is applied in a wet state during manufacture of the surface covering material but then dries.

[0025] The adhesive is a polyvinyl acetate emulsion adhesive, or similar adhesive, having about 40% to about 70% solids, preferably about 50% to about 60% solids and optimally about 52% to about 54% solids. The adhesive may also have a viscosity in the range of about 150 centipoise to about 800 centipoise, preferably about 300 centipoise to about 600 centipoise. Adhesive from Franklin International, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. ("Franklin") designated as X-327 can be used for the invention, or other similar type adhesive, provided that the adhesive is a polyvinyl acetate adhesive having the physical properties discussed above. The adhesive does not require transition from a passive to an active state to achieve the bonding of the surface covering materials. Rather, the adhesive that is dried on the surface covering material remains in an active state. Also, the adhesive does not require a chemical reaction, external activation or specialized means, i.e. microencapsulation, to bond the surface covering materials.

[0026] The weight, thickness (solids content) and/or viscosity are necessary for the proper application of the adhesive to the tongues and grooves during manufacture and for the adhesive to effectively bond by the pressure of joining the tongue and groove. The adhesive is such that when subjected to the pressure when the tongue and groove are joined, the resulting pressure causes the adhesive on the tongue and groove to bond and adheres the adjoining surface covering material pieces to each other.

[0027] Installation of the surface covering shall be discussed with respect to floor coverings. The floor covering 1 is placed over a floor surface or sub-floor, or may be placed over a liner or other barrier material placed on the floor surface, such as foam, such that that lower surface of the lower layer is juxtaposed with the floor surface, sub-floor, or barrier material. Pieces of flooring material are brought together horizontally with the tongues on the sides and ends of a first piece introduced into (i.e. placed or partially placed into) the grooves on the sides and ends of a second piece. The pieces are then joined together by applying force, such as by hand, and/or with a hammer, tapping block, mallet or other tool. The pressure that arises when the tongue and groove interact when joined together causes the adhesive to bond the pieces of the surface covering material at the generally planar upper surface 7, generally planar lower surface 8 and generally planar outer surface 9 of the tongue 5 to the generally planar upper edge 11 , generally planar lower edge 12 and generally planar inner edge 13 of a corresponding groove 6. Thus, a bonded surface covering can be installed without the use of separate adhesive or glue at the time of installation, or without chemical reaction, physical modification of the adhesive (i.e. rupturing of microencapsulated adhesive) or external activation. [0028] The surface covering material may be in any geometric shape that provides for adjoining linear edges, e.g. allows for interlocking tongue and grooves when two or more surface covering material pieces are adjoining. Examples are squares, rectangles, trapezoids or any polygonal shape, i.e., polyhedrons. The preferred shapes are squares and rectangles, most preferably rectangles, such as LONGSTRIP™ flooring available from the assignee of the invention, which is generally planar and rectangular in shape. Adhesive is generally applied to all tongues and grooves of the surface covering material, however, adhesive may be applied to less than all tongues and grooves depending on geometric shape. [0029] The most preferred shape for the surface covering is rectangular as depicted in the Fig. 1. As shown in Fig. 1, the surface covering has a top 24, a bottom 25, a first end 26, a second end 27, a distal edge 28 and a lateral edge 29. The distal edge 28 and lateral edge 29 are generally of the same length and the edges are usually longer than the first end 26 and second end 27. The tongues 5 in the embodiment depicted in Fig. 1 are on the lateral edge 29 and first end 26 and grooves 6 are on the distal edge 28 and second end 27. The adhesive may be applied to tongues and grooves on all or some of the edges or ends. [0030] The surface coverings are made by conventional means except for the application of the adhesive to the tongues and grooves. Fig. 4 shows the method for applying adhesive in an embodiment of the invention wherein the surface covering is rectangular in shape. The method can be modified by the addition of adhesive applicators to accommodate any shape.

[0031] Fig. 4 shows, generally, the adhesive application method 100 of the invention. The surface covering material 1 is moved past one or more end tongue applicators 112 and one or more end groove applicators 113 by a first means of conveyance 110, such as a lugged chain conveyor as shown in Fig. 4 having two chains 117. In the embodiment of the method depicted in Fig. 4, the surface covering material is stored in a hopper 111 that interacts with the first means of conveyance 110, however, any type of storage system can be used and the method for adhesive application can be part of the overall process for making the surface covering such that the pieces of surface covering material can move from the last step of making the structural boards to the first means of conveyance 110 without intermediary storage, such as in the hopper 111.

[0032] Fig. 4 shows an embodiment of the invention wherein the method applies adhesive to rectangular shaped surface covering having the bottom side 25 opposite to the means of conveyance 110 with tongues 5 on the lateral edge 29 and first end 26 and grooves 6 on the distal edge 28 and second end 27. The surface covering 1 is oriented on the first means of conveyance such that the first end 26 (having a tongue 5) will pass end tongue applicators 112 and the second end 27 (having a groove 6) will pass end groove applicators 113. It is understood, however, that the location of the applicators is illustrative, as other orientations of the apparatuses shown that align an end of the surface covering material having the tongue with the end tongue applicators and an end of the surface covering material having the groove with the end groove applicators is within the scope of the invention. [0033] The end tongue applicators 112 apply adhesive to some or all of the upper surface 7, lower surface 8 and outer surface 9, and, if applicable, the beveled edges 10 or any other surfaces, of the tongue 6 on the end (first end 26 shown in Fig. 4). In the preferred embodiment, the end tongue applicators 112 comprise one or more, most preferably two, nozzles that direct or spray adhesive to the tongue, generally from above and below tongue as the surface covering material passes by the nozzles. UN I JET® spray nozzles available from SPRAYING SYSTEMS CO.®, Wheaton, Illinois, USA may be used in the end tongue applicators 112 particularly standard spray small capacity having capacity size between 01 and 70 (the "UNIJET® Nozzles"). A UNIJET® Nozzle having a part number I-8JJAUPMC0- 20SUJE417-50-SS is particularly useful. In other embodiments, the end tongue applicator comprises one or more, preferably two, dies (e.g. a top die and a bottom die) that are spring loaded to hold the top die against the top of the tongue and the bottom die against the bottom of the tongue when adhesive is being applied and the adhesive is deposited on the tongue by the dies.

[0034] The method for applying the adhesive to the tongue 6 on the end generally comprises filtering the adhesive one or more times and applying the adhesive to the tongue 6 on the end by the nozzles. For example, adhesive, stored in a one or more containers, such as a 10 gallon BINKS® pressure tank (25 psi tank pressure), available from ITW Industrial Finishing, Glendale Hills, Illinois, USA ("ITW"), is siphoned from the container and is passed through a filter at pick-up and through another filter when it leaves the tank. Any type of filter may be used, however 150 micron filters are preferred. Preferably, the number of containers is the same as the number of nozzles, for example two containers in embodiments wherein two nozzles are used. The siphoning line is equipped with a pneumatic valve, such as a ball valve, to control the flow of adhesive to the nozzles. When the surface covering material approaches the end tongue applicator 112, a photo-eye detects the leading edge and/or end of board which signals a programmable logic controller that signals an electrically actuated/spring return valve that switches and pneumatically actuates the pneumatic valve so that the valve opens allowing adhesive to pass through a tube to the end tongue applicator 112.

[0035] Adhesive travels from the siphoning line through one or more tank tubes arranged sequentially having diminishing diameters with the first tank tube having the greatest diameter and the last tank tube having the smallest diameter, however, one tank tube having diminishing diameter with a larger diameter section attached to the siphoning line may be used. The tank tubes deliver adhesive to the end tongue applicator 112, e.g. the nozzles. In a preferred embodiment of the invention a first tank tube having on outside diameter from about 6mm to about 10mm, most preferably about 8mm, is attached at the end to the siphoning line and at a second end to a means for splitting, that splits the flow into one or more lines, such as two, that feed adhesive to the end tongue applicator, e.g. the nozzles. Each of the second tank tubes preferably has an outside diameter of about 2mm to about 6mm, most preferably about 4mm.

[0036] After adhesive is applied to the tongue 5 on the end, the surface covering material may move past an optional end tongue rotary brush 116 such that the brush comes into contact with the tongue 5 on the end coated with adhesive. The end tongue rotary brush brushes both the top and bottom of the tongue to achieve substantially consistent and uniform adhesive spread on the tongue. A 300 grit circular brush rotating at about 500 rpm to about 700 rpm is preferred. [0037] The end groove applicators 113 comprise a means for spraying adhesive into the groove such as a valve, tube or the UNIJET® Nozzles, as discussed above, and the adhesive may be deposited about directly into the groove on the end (the second end 27 shown in Fig. 4) by a tube as the surface covering material passes the tube. Generally, adhesive, stored in a container, such as a 10 gallon BINKS® pressure tank (25 psi tank pressure), available from ITW is siphoned by a siphoning line from the container and is passed through a filter at pick-up and through another filter when it leaves the tank. Any type of filter may be used, however 150 micron filters are preferred. The siphoning line is equipped with a pneumatic valve, such as a ball valve, to control the flow of adhesive. When the surface covering material approaches the end groove applicator 113, a photo-eye detects the leading edge and/or end of board which signals a programmable logic controller that signals an electrically actuated/spring return valve that switches and pneumatically actuates the pneumatic valve so that the valve opens allowing adhesive to pass through a tube to the end groove applicator 113. Preferably more than one tank tube is arranged sequentially having diminishing diameters with the first tank tube having the greatest diameter and the last tank tube having the smallest diameter, however, one tank tube having diminishing diameter with larger diameter section attached to the siphoning line may be used. In a preferred embodiment of the invention two tank tubes are used, such a tube having a outside diameter from about 6mm to about 10mm, preferably about 8mm that delivers adhesive to a means for reducing, such as a reducer, which feeds the adhesive to the a second tank tube. [0038] After adhesive is applied to the groove 6 on the end, the surface covering material moves past an optional end groove rotary brush 118 such that the brush comes into contact with the groove on the end having adhesive deposited therein. The end groove rotary brush 118 brushes the groove to achieve substantially consistent and uniform adhesive spread in the groove. A 300 grit circular brush rotating at about 500 to about 700 rpm is preferred.

[0039] As shown in Fig. 4, after the adhesive is applied to the tongue 6 and groove 5 on the ends, the surface covering material is placed on a second means of conveyance 101 , having first and second lateral sides 102, 103, such as a conveyor, that transports the surface covering 1 past one or more edge tongue applicators 104 at one of the lateral sides (102 in Fig. 4) of the means of conveyance 101 and one or more edge groove applicators 105, at the opposite lateral side (103 in Fig. 4) of the means of conveyance 101. The second means of conveyance may be equipped with one or more hold down devices 109 which relaseably secure the surface covering to the second means of conveyance 101 while the adhesive is being applied to the edges and, optionally, brushed or subjected to air pressure. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the first means of conveyance is about perpendicular to the second means of conveyance.

[0040] The edge tongue applicators 104 apply adhesive to the top and bottom of the tongue 5 on the edge (the lateral edge shown in Fig. 4). The edge tongue applicators 104 preferably comprise one or more, preferably two, nozzles, such as UNIJET® Nozzles as discussed above. In other embodiments, the edge tongue applicator 104 comprises one or more, preferably two, dies (e.g. a top die and a bottom die) that are spring loaded to hold the top die against the top of the tongue 6 and the bottom die against the bottom of the tongue 6 when adhesive is being applied through the dies.

[0041] The method for applying the adhesive to the tongue 6 on the edge generally comprises filtering the adhesive and applying the adhesive to the tongue 6 on the edge by nozzles. Generally, adhesive, stored in a container, such as a 10 gallon BINKS® pressure tank (25 psi tank pressure), available from ITW is siphoned from the container and is passed through a filter at pick-up and through another filter when it leaves the tank. Any type of filter may be used, however 150 micron filters are preferred. The siphoning line is equipped with a pneumatic valve, such as a ball valve, to control the flow of adhesive to the edge tongue applicators, e.g. the nozzles. When the engineered surface covering approaches the edge and/or end tongue applicator 104, a photo-eye detects the leading edge of the board which signals a programmable logic controller that signals an electrically actuated/spring return valve that pneumatically actuates the pneumatic valve so that the valve opens allowing adhesive to pass through a tube to the end tongue applicator 104. Adhesive travels from the siphoning line to one or more tank tubes. Preferably more than one tank tube arranged sequentially having diminishing diameters with the first tank tube having the greatest diameter and the last tank tube having the smallest diameter, however, one tank tube having diminishing diameter with larger diameter section attached to the siphoning line may be used. The tank tubes deliver adhesive to the edge tongue applicators, e.g. the nozzles, that apply adhesive to the top and bottom of the tongues. A system of siphoning and tank tubes similar to the that discussed above for the tongue 6 of the first end 26 may be used for the tongue 6 on the distal edge 29.

[0042] After the adhesive is deposited on the top and bottom of the tongue on the edge it is, optionally, spread at a substantially even and uniform layer by air pressure. Preferably, about 10 psi to about 20 psi compressed air is applied at both the top and bottom sides of the tongue to achieve consistent adhesive spread. The air pressure may be applied by any means of applying air pressure, such as by blowing air out of a pipe or other device having an orifice (119 on Fig. 4), such as standard %" schedule 40 black iron pipe. Generally, however, when the adhesive is applied to the tongue 6 on the distal edge 29 by nozzles, as in the preferred embodiment, spreading the adhesive after application is not necessary, or the intensity of air pressure can be reduced.

[0043] Adhesive is applied to the groove 6 on the edge (the lateral edge 28 as shown in Fig. 4) by edge groove applicators that comprise an edge groove nozzle 106 that sprays adhesive into the groove on the surface covering material and deposits the adhesive substantially in a bead in the groove. The preferred edge groove nozzles 106 are the UNIJET® Nozzles as discussed above. After the adhesive is deposited into the groove, the engineered surface covering will, optionally, pass by an edge groove rotary brush 120 that brushes the adhesive within the side groove to achieve substantially consistent and uniform adhesive spread on the upper edge 11, lower edge 12 and inner edge 13, and if applicable, the curved edges 14 or other edges, that define the groove. A 300 grit circular brush rotating at about 500 to about 700 rpm is preferred.

[0044] Adhesive can be applied to the groove 6 on the edge (e.g. the lateral edge 28) by the following procedure. Generally, adhesive, stored in a container, such as a 10 gallon BINKS® pressure tank (75 psi tank pressure), available from ITW is siphoned from the container and is passed through a filter at pick-up and through another filter when it leaves the tank. Any type of filter may be used, however 150 micron filters are preferred. The siphoning line is equipped with a pneumatic valve, such as a ball valve, to control the flow of adhesive to the edge groove nozzle 106. When the surface covering material approaches the edge groove nozzle, a photo- eye detects the leading edge and/or end of the board which signals a programmable logic controller that signals an electrically actuated/spring return valve that switches to pneumatically actuate the pneumatic valve so that the valve opens allowing adhesive to pass directly to the edge groove nozzle 106 which sprays adhesive into the groove.

[0045] The method comprising a first means for conveyance 110 and a second means for conveyance 101 is necessary to avoid the gumming up of the production lines to avoid failure, in that if one conveyance system is used the adhesive when applied to the ends when aligned perpendicular to the conveyor will drip onto the conveyor causing adhesive build-up on the conveyor requiring cleaning to avoid total failure of the production. line. To overcome this problem, the method employs the first means for conveyance 101 in which the adhesive is applied to the first end 26 and second end 28 while those ends are not in physical contact with the first means for conveyance (as shown in Fig. 4, for example, the ends are not in contact with the chains 117 of a lugged chain conveyor lines) and a second means for conveyance wherein the edges are not in physical contact with the second means for conveyance (as shown in Fig. 4, for example, the edges overhang the lateral sides (102, 103) of the conveyor 101). It should be understood that, although the method is described with adhesive applied to the tongue 6 and groove 5 on the ends first, it is also possible to modify the method to have adhesive applied first to the tongue 6 and groove 5 on the edges.

[0046] Proper adhesive application is important to the bonding the surface covering materials together at the tongue and groove by pressure caused by the interaction between the tongue of one piece with the groove of another so that the surface covering can be installed without separate adhesive. If the method for applying the adhesive causes light adhesive spread, cracking and popping noises will occur after installation and low adhesion properties will result in separation of the joint producing gapping. If the method for applying the adhesive causes too heavy of an adhesive spread, then separation of the joint will occur producing gaps between the boards (e.g., hydraulic separation) and the surface covering material will be difficult to engage. If the method for applying the adhesive causes inconsistent (e.g. thick and thin) adhesive spread then cracking and popping noises will result after installation and an inconsistent amount of force will be required to engage the flooring; therefore, some boards will go together easy and for some boards the force will have to be substantially increased. Any of these consequences from improper adhesive application will ultimately lead to product failure.

[0047] Conventional methods attempted by the inventors to apply adhesive to the tongues and grooves of the surface covering material included air brush spraying, application with a paint gun, hand pump sprayers and ink sprayers (internal mix spray nozzle). None of these conventional methods were adequate to properly apply the adhesive to the surface covering material of the invention, particularly in the groove. Thus, the end tongue applicators 112, end groove applicators 113, edge tongue applicators 104 and edge groove applicators 105 as described herein were developed, and it was discovered that these applicators applied the proper amount of adhesive to the surface covering materials of various longer and shorter lengths to avoid improper adhesive application and produce a surface covering material with the appropriate type and amount of adhesive that can adequately bond during installation.

EXAMPLE [0048] Four-foot laminate pieces configured as illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2 having an under layer made from wood veneer, a middle layer of plywood and an over layer of hardwood were made. The laminate pieces are generally planar and rectangular having parallel four-foot sides and parallel shorter sides, such as LONGSTRIP™ flooring available from the assignee of the invention. The laminate pieces have tongues in the middle layer along one of the four-foot sides and an adjoining shorter side and grooves in the middle layer along the four-foot side and an adjoining shorter side opposite the sides having the tongue.

[0049] Two flooring samples were prepared for tongue and groove tension testing which is a means for evaluating the strength needed to pull a bonded tongue and groove apart. This test evaluates the force that a gluing system has to resist lateral movement after installation.

[0050] One set of two four-foot laminate pieces, which did not have adhesive applied during manufacture, were joined together to make a flooring sample using a separate adhesive, EVERSETT®. The EVERSETT® adhesive was applied to the groove along the four-foot side of one of the laminate pieces at a schedule of application of 8 inches and then skip the next 12 inches along the full four-foot length. The two four-foot laminate pieces were engaged along the four-foot length and joined together by inserting the tongue of one piece into the groove of the other to which the EVERSETT® was applied and tapping together. The joined set of four- foot laminate pieces were then allowed to cure for about 24 hours. [0051 ] Another set of two four-foot laminate pieces were joined together to make a flooring sample using polyvinyl acetate adhesive from Franklin ( X-327 adhesive). The adhesive was applied to the tongue of the four-foot side of one of the laminate pieces to the groove of the four-foot side of the other laminate piece, and set aside for about 24 hours during which time the adhesive dried. After about 24 hours, the two pieces were engaged by aligning the tongue having adhesive on the four-foot side with the groove on the four-foot side of the other piece having the adhesive and tapping the pieces together. The joined pieces were left alone for an additional 24 hours.

[0052] Each flooring sample was cut into smaller samples having widths between about 165 and about 305 millimeters, and 11 smaller samples of the flooring prepared with the EVERSETT® adhesive and 12 samples of the flooring prepared with the X-327 adhesive were placed in a tongue and groove tension-testing machine and pulled in tension with the maximum load to failure recorded. Load per lineal millimeter of each smaller sample was then calculated by dividing the maximum load to failure by the width of each sample. The results are set forth in Table ! TABLE 1

Figure imgf000023_0001

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. A surface covering material comprising one or more tongues and one or more grooves wherein one or more of the tongues and one or more of the grooves are coated with a polyvinyl acetate adhesive having about 40% to about 70% solids or a viscosity of about 150 centipoise to about 800 centipoise.
2. The surface covering material of Claim 1 wherein the polyvinyl acetate adhesive has about 50% to about 60% solids.
3. The surface covering material of Claim 1 wherein the polyvinyl acetate adhesive has about 52% to about 54% solids.
4. The surface covering material of Claim 1 wherein the viscosity of the polyvinyl acetate adhesive is about 300 centipoise to about 600 centipoise.
5. The surface covering material of Claim 1 having a top, a bottom, a first end, a second end, a distal edge and a lateral edge with a first tongue on the lateral edge, a second tongue on first end, a first groove on the distal edge and a second groove on the second end.
6. The surface covering material of Claim 1 having a top, a bottom, a first end, a second end, a distal edge and a lateral edge with a first groove on the lateral edge, a second groove on the first end, a first tongue on the distal edge and a second tongue on the second end.
7. The surface covering material of Claim 1 wherein the surface covering material comprises an over layer, a middle layer and an under layer.
8. The surface covering material of Claim 7 wherein the one or more tongues protrude from adjoining edges of the middle layer and have an upper surface, a lower surface and an outer surface that is about perpendicular to and between the upper surface and the lower surface.
9. The surface covering material of Claim 8 wherein the one or more tongues comprise a first beveled edge at an angle between the upper surface and the outer surface and a second beveled edge at an angle between the lower surface and the outer surface.
10. The surface covering material of Claim 7 wherein the middle layer comprises the one or more grooves defined by an upper edge, a lower edge and an inner edge that is about perpendicular to and between the upper edge and the lower edge.
11. The surface covering material of Claim 10 wherein the one or more grooves are further defined by a first curved edge between the upper edge and the inner edge and a second curved edge between the lower edge and the inner edge.
12. The surface covering material of Claim 1 wherein the surface covering material is flooring.
13. A method for installing a surface covering comprising the steps of providing two or more pieces of the surface covering material of Claim
1 , bringing the pieces of the surface covering material together with the tongues on the sides and the ends of one piece of the surface covering material introduced into the grooves on the sides and ends of other pieces of the surface covering material and joining the pieces of surface covering materials together by applying force thereby bonding the pieces of surface covering materials.
14. A method of applying adhesive to a surface covering material comprising the steps of a) providing at least one piece of surface covering material having at least one edge and/or end with a groove and at least one edge and/or end with a tongue, b) moving the surface covering material on a first and/or second means of conveyance past at least one tongue applicator such that the at least one edge with the tongue moves opposite to the location of the tongue applicator, c) applying a filtered adhesive to at least one of the tongues with the tongue applicator, d) moving the surface covering material on the first and/or second means of conveyance past the at least one groove applicator such that at least one edge and/or end with the groove moves opposite to the location of the groove applicator, e) applying the filtered adhesive to at least one of the grooves with the groove applicator and f) allowing the adhesive to dry.
15. A method of applying adhesive to a surface covering material having a first end and a first edge each with a tongue and a second end and a second edge each with a groove comprising the steps of a) orienting the surface covering material on a first means of conveyance so that the tongue on the first end passes an end tongue applicator and the groove on the second end passes an end groove applicator, b) filtering the adhesive and applying the adhesive to the tongue on the first end with the end tongue applicator and applying the adhesive to the groove on the second end with the end groove applicator, c) optionally, contacting the tongue on the first end with an end tongue rotary brush and contacting the groove on the second end with an end groove rotary brush, d) placing the engineered surface covering on a second means of conveyance that is about perpendicular to the first means of conveyance having first and second lateral sides with an edge tongue applicator at one of the lateral sides of the second means of conveyance and an edge groove applicator at the opposite lateral side of the second means of conveyance, e) applying adhesive to the tongue that is on the lateral side of the second means of conveyance having the edge tongue applicator and applying the adhesive to the groove that is on the lateral side of the second means of conveyance having the edge groove applicator, f) optionally spreading the adhesive on the tongue of the first edge by applying compressed air at about 10 psi to about 20 psi to the tongue on the first edge, g) optionally contacting the groove on the first edge with an edge groove rotary brush, and h) allowing the adhesive to dry.
16. The method of Claim 15 wherein the adhesive is a polyvinyl acetate adhesive having about 40% to about 70% solids or a viscosity of about 150 centipoise to about 800 centipoise.
17. The method of Claim 15 wherein the end tongue applicator comprises one or more nozzles.
18. The method of Claim 15 wherein the end groove applicator comprises means for spraying adhesive into the groove wherein the means are selected from the group consisting of valves, tubes and nozzles.
19. The method of Claim 15 wherein the edge tongue applicator comprises one or more nozzles.
20. The method of Claim 15 wherein the edge groove applicator comprises one or more nozzles.
PCT/US2003/007169 2002-03-11 2003-03-10 Surface covering materials comprising pre-applied polyvinyl acetate adhesive WO2003078750A1 (en)

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2880047A1 (en) * 2004-12-24 2006-06-30 Tecnopan Sa Floor panel for e.g. capital structure, has male and female cooperating units disposed at level of opposite end sides for assembly with subsequent or preceding panel, and groove receiving cleat for aligning panel with adjacent panel
US7926239B2 (en) 2006-03-31 2011-04-19 Columbia Insurance Company Flooring profile
US8261507B2 (en) 2006-05-12 2012-09-11 Columbia Insurance Company Flooring profile
US9611394B2 (en) * 2015-05-19 2017-04-04 Cheng-Yi Su Floor board

Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4036673A (en) * 1973-12-28 1977-07-19 Congoleum Corporation Method for installing surface covering or the like
US5618602A (en) * 1995-03-22 1997-04-08 Wilsonart Int Inc Articles with tongue and groove joint and method of making such a joint
US6006486A (en) * 1996-06-11 1999-12-28 Unilin Beheer Bv, Besloten Vennootschap Floor panel with edge connectors
US6179942B1 (en) * 1995-06-07 2001-01-30 Havco Wood Products, Inc. Method of manufacturing composite wood flooring

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4036673A (en) * 1973-12-28 1977-07-19 Congoleum Corporation Method for installing surface covering or the like
US5618602A (en) * 1995-03-22 1997-04-08 Wilsonart Int Inc Articles with tongue and groove joint and method of making such a joint
US6179942B1 (en) * 1995-06-07 2001-01-30 Havco Wood Products, Inc. Method of manufacturing composite wood flooring
US6006486A (en) * 1996-06-11 1999-12-28 Unilin Beheer Bv, Besloten Vennootschap Floor panel with edge connectors

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2880047A1 (en) * 2004-12-24 2006-06-30 Tecnopan Sa Floor panel for e.g. capital structure, has male and female cooperating units disposed at level of opposite end sides for assembly with subsequent or preceding panel, and groove receiving cleat for aligning panel with adjacent panel
US7926239B2 (en) 2006-03-31 2011-04-19 Columbia Insurance Company Flooring profile
US8261507B2 (en) 2006-05-12 2012-09-11 Columbia Insurance Company Flooring profile
US9611394B2 (en) * 2015-05-19 2017-04-04 Cheng-Yi Su Floor board

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