WO2018098532A1 - A system for joining interlocking panels - Google Patents

A system for joining interlocking panels Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2018098532A1
WO2018098532A1 PCT/AU2017/051324 AU2017051324W WO2018098532A1 WO 2018098532 A1 WO2018098532 A1 WO 2018098532A1 AU 2017051324 W AU2017051324 W AU 2017051324W WO 2018098532 A1 WO2018098532 A1 WO 2018098532A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
interlocking
panel
panels
system
edge
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/AU2017/051324
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Martin Vana
David Quinn
Original Assignee
Sourcecorp Victoria Pty Ltd
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 AU2016904922A priority Critical patent/AU2016904922A0/en
Priority to AU2016904922 priority
Application filed by Sourcecorp Victoria Pty Ltd filed Critical Sourcecorp Victoria Pty Ltd
Publication of WO2018098532A1 publication Critical patent/WO2018098532A1/en

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Classifications

    • 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
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/02Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls built-up from layers of building elements
    • E04B2/04Walls having neither cavities between, nor in, the solid elements
    • E04B2/06Walls having neither cavities between, nor in, the solid elements using elements having specially-designed means for stabilising the position
    • E04B2/08Walls having neither cavities between, nor in, the solid elements using elements having specially-designed means for stabilising the position by interlocking of projections or inserts with indentations, e.g. of tongues, grooves, dovetails
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16BDEVICES FOR FASTENING OR SECURING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OR MACHINE PARTS TOGETHER, e.g. NAILS, BOLTS, CIRCLIPS, CLAMPS, CLIPS, WEDGES, JOINTS OR JOINTING
    • F16B5/00Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them
    • F16B5/0004Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship
    • F16B5/008Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship by a rotating or sliding and rotating movement
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16BDEVICES FOR FASTENING OR SECURING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OR MACHINE PARTS TOGETHER, e.g. NAILS, BOLTS, CIRCLIPS, CLAMPS, CLIPS, WEDGES, JOINTS OR JOINTING
    • F16B5/00Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them
    • F16B5/06Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them by means of clamps or clips
    • F16B5/0607Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them by means of clamps or clips joining sheets or plates to each other
    • F16B5/0614Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them by means of clamps or clips joining sheets or plates to each other in angled relationship
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04CSTRUCTURAL ELEMENTS; BUILDING MATERIALS
    • E04C2/00Building elements of relatively thin form for the construction of parts of buildings, e.g. sheet materials, slabs, or panels
    • E04C2002/001Mechanical features of panels
    • E04C2002/004Panels with profiled edges, e.g. stepped, serrated
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F19/00Other details of constructional parts for finishing work on buildings
    • E04F19/02Borders; Finishing strips, e.g. beadings; Light coves
    • E04F19/06Borders; Finishing strips, e.g. beadings; Light coves specially designed for securing panels or masking the edges of wall- or floor-covering elements
    • E04F19/062Borders; Finishing strips, e.g. beadings; Light coves specially designed for securing panels or masking the edges of wall- or floor-covering elements used between similar elements
    • E04F19/064Borders; Finishing strips, e.g. beadings; Light coves specially designed for securing panels or masking the edges of wall- or floor-covering elements used between similar elements in corners

Abstract

Disclosed herein is a system for joining interlocking panels at a non-linear (i.e. not straight) angle. The system comprises a first interlocking panel comprising an edge having a tongue or a groove, a second interlocking panel arranged at a non-linear angle to the first interlocking panel, and a joining member that is configured to receive the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel and an edge of the second interlocking panel whereby the first and second interlocking panels are mechanically joined.

Description

A SYSTEM FOR JOINING INTERLOCKING PANELS

Technical Field

[0001] The present invention relates to systems for joining interlocking panels, where the panels are mechanically joined at a non-linear angle to one another. In specific forms, the present invention relates to panel joining systems where two interlocking panels are mechanically joined in a perpendicular arrangement.

Background Art

[0002] Panels have been used commercially for many decades as construction elements in applications including flooring, wall coverings, cladding and other uses. Some panels, and especially those designed to be aesthetically pleasing (e.g. those intended for use on kitchen and bathroom walls), have a thin decor layer that forms the decorative face of the panel. The decorative face may be a laminate or a veneer that is attached permanently onto a core which is generally made of a low cost composite material such as medium density fibreboard, particle board, plywood, fibre cement or other solid materials. Typically, such panels are used with other like panels, where each panel is connected to another like panel to form a flat surface plane with a consistent decorative finish to one side of the run of panels.

[0003] A subset of panels are a type of panel that are hereinafter referred to as interlocking panels, of which there are multiple variants. An interlocking panel can be characterised as a panel that has a 'groove' (sometimes referred to as the female edge joint) on one edge and 'tongue' (sometimes referred to as the male edge joint) on the opposite edge. The tongue edge of an interlocking panel is designed to fit into and then lock with the complementary groove edge of an adjacent interlocking panel in order to create a mechanical coupling of the panels at a linear angle (i.e. along a flat 180-degree horizontal plane).

[0004] This groove and tongue locking mechanism ensures that each interlocking panel will remain fixed to its adjacent panel and remain in place on a horizontal plane at a 180-degree orientation. The locking nature of the groove/tongue union prevents the panels from drifting laterally or separating once properly interconnected. Such tongue and groove locking mechanisms can advantageously increase the strength of the join between the two

interlocking panels, preventing (or significantly reducing) any play or other movement between them once joined, and may also even impart a degree of water resistance to the joint. [0005] Such interlocking panels are well-suited for use in flat applications, however, joining them at an angle (e.g. in a perpendicular fashion, as would be required for the panelling to continue around a corner for example) is not straightforward. Two methods are currently known for joining interlocking panels in a perpendicular fashion, both of which require the edge with the groove and/or the edge with tongue to be cut off so that the edge is square. The first method is to butt join the two panels, however, this will often give rise to issues associated with ingress of unwanted substances, in particular water. The more commonly used method is therefore to join the cut square panel edges using an extruded plastic or aluminium trim, with the cut edges of each panel being inserted into the trim, which forms the connection between the two panels. Such methods, however, result in the trim being visible and becoming part of the finish decor, which may be un-aesthetic or functionally disadvantageous (e.g. the joined profiles may have a number of edges and gaps, all of which may attract dirt). Both of these methods are also prone to forming less than ideal joints in the event of the installer cutting the interlocking panels at anything other than a right angle (which would result in a non- square end).

[0006] It would be advantageous to provide an alternative system for mechanically joining two interlocking panels at a non-linear angle.

Summary of Invention

[0007] In a first aspect, the present invention provides a system for joining interlocking panels at a non-linear (i.e. not straight) angle. The system comprises a first interlocking panel comprising an edge having a tongue or a groove, a second interlocking panel arranged at a non-linear angle to the first interlocking panel, and a joining member that is configured to receive the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel and an edge of the second interlocking panel whereby the first and second interlocking panels are mechanically joined.

[0008] The system of the present intention can advantageously join two interlocking panels at any non-linear angle and without necessarily having to physically modify the panels by cutting off the edges of the interlocking panels to provide a square edge. The panels therefore require less manual effort to be joined at non-linear angles than is the case presently. Furthermore, the angle of the joined panels is governed by the joining member, which may readily be precision manufactured to a high degree of tolerance. As would be appreciated, the system of the present invention is therefore more likely to provide a consistent corner joint and require less skilled labour to install, all of which provide advantages over the prior art systems.

[0009] Also advantageously, the nature of the connection between the interlocking profiles and joining member may provide an improved seal at the point the panels abut each other, and therefore ameliorate the issues commonly experienced when butt jointing such panels (e.g. water ingress).

[0010] Typically, the first and second panels may be arranged at right angles to each other, this being the most common angle at which panels are arranged at corners.

[0011] Typically, the joining member may be hidden by the joined first and second interlocking panels. In such embodiments, the joining member will be entirely hidden behind the decorative faces of the two interlocking panels, which avoids the typical aluminium corner trim between the two perpendicular panels and provides a more pleasing aesthetic finish in the internal corner.

[0012] In a second aspect, the present invention provides a kit of parts comprising a first interlocking panel comprising an edge having a tongue or a groove, a second interlocking panel, and a joining member that is configured to receive the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel and an edge of the second interlocking panel, whereby the first and second interlocking panels are mechanically joinable by the joining member at a non-linear angle.

[0013] The kit of parts of the second aspect of the present invention may, when assembled, form the system of the first aspect of the present invention.

[0014] Additional features and advantages of the various aspects of the present invention will be described below in the context of specific embodiments. It will be appreciated, however, that such additional features may have a more general applicability in the present invention than that described in the context of these specific embodiments.

Brief Description of Drawings

[0015] Embodiments of the present invention will be described in further detail below with reference to the following drawings, in which:

[0016] Figure 1A shows a cross sectional view of a conventional (prior art) panel having a tongue on one edge and a groove on its opposing edge; [0017] Figure IB shows an isometric view of the panel of Figure 1;

[0018] Figure 2A shows a relative position of adjacent panels of the like shown in Figure 1 when in a coupling position;

[0019] Figure 2B shows the relative position of adjacent panels of the like shown in Figure 1 when in an interlocked position;

[0020] Figure 3 depicts the adaptations needed to be made to conventional panels of the like shown in Figure 1 in order to join them in a perpendicular manner;

[0021] Figure 4A shows a first type of joining member for use in an embodiment of the system of the present invention;

[0022] Figure 4B shows a second type of joining member for use in another embodiment of the system of the present invention;

[0023] Figure 4C shows a third type of joining member for use in another embodiment of the system of the present invention;

[0024] Figure 5A shows two panels and the joining member of Figure 4A in an embodiment of the system of the present invention;

[0025] Figure 5B shows two panels and the joining member of Figure 4B in an embodiment of the system of the present invention;

[0026] Figure 5C shows two panels and the joining member of Figure 4C in an embodiment of the system of the present invention; and

[0027] Figure 6 shows the stepwise construction of the embodiment of the system of the present invention show in Figure 5 A.

Description of Embodiments

[0028] As noted above, the overarching purpose of the present invention is to provide a system in which two interlocking panels may be joined at any non-linear angle without necessarily having to physically modify the panels by cutting off one of the edges of the interlocking panels in order to provide a square edge. Thus, the present invention provides a system for joining interlocking panels at a non-linear (i.e. not straight) angle. The system comprises a first interlocking panel comprising an edge having a tongue or a groove, a second interlocking panel arranged at a non-linear angle to the first interlocking panel, and a joining member that is configured to receive the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel and an edge of the second interlocking panel whereby the first and second interlocking panels are mechanically joined.

[0029] The present invention also provides a kit of parts which may, when assembled, form the system of the present invention.

[0030] In the following description of the invention, the system will usually be described in the context of the first and second panels being at right angles to one another, this being the most common configuration of panelling likely to be experienced in construction. It is to be appreciated, however, that the system of the present invention is equally applicable in situations where the interlocking panels are joined at any non-linear (i.e. not straight) angle. For example, some installations may necessitate panels to follow a curved wall, with small changes in angle (e.g. between about 120 and 150 degrees) between each adjacent panel being the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing way to achieve this.

[0031] The invention may provide an improved methodology of mechanically joining two panels, of an interlocking type, at a non-linear (e.g. 90-degree right angle) in such a manner so that the connecting profile used to join the two panels is hidden behind the finished decor face of the panel.

[0032] Indeed, given the unattractiveness and consumer dislike of the typical aluminium corner trim between two panels, the joining member would typically be hidden by the joined first and second interlocking panels in the system of the present invention. The joining member may, for example, be entirely hidden behind the decorative faces of the two interlocking panels, which provides a more pleasing aesthetic finish in the internal corner.

[0033] The interlocking panels for use in the system of the present invention, of which there are multiple variants, may serve various purposes such as flooring, wall coverings, cladding and other uses. Such interlocking panels are well known in the art and may have any suitable structure that is compatible with the teachings of the invention as described herein.

[0034] The joining member may have any structure that achieves the purpose and functionality described herein. In some embodiments, for example, the joining member may comprise first and second arms, the first arm being configured to define a snap-fit joint or an interference-fit joint with the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel.

[0035] The first arm may, for example, comprise one or more ribs that are configured to abut corresponding ribs on the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel to define the snap- fit joint or interference-fit joint. Physical contact between these ribs when the interlocking panels are joined (e.g. in the manner described below) prevents relative movement of the joining member and first panel.

[0036] The edge of the first interlocking panel may, in some embodiments of the system, bear against the second interlocking panel. In doing so, the second interlocking panel may be held in position, despite not necessarily having a structure capable of "locking" it to the joining member in isolation.

[0037] In some embodiments, the second arm may comprise a surface against which the second interlocking panel abuts. The second interlocking panel may, for example, be clamped between the second arm and the edge of the first interlocking panel.

[0038] Alternatively, the second arm may be configured to define a snap-fit joint or an interference-fit joint with a tongue or groove of the second interlocking panel, in a similar manner to that described above.

[0039] In some embodiments, the joining member may comprise indentations on surfaces against which the first and second interlocking panels abut. Such indentations can receive any adhesive that may be used to bolster the strength of the joint and thus more securely affix the panels to the joining member.

[0040] In some embodiments, the joining member may have a constant cross sectional shape and a length that is approximately the same as the lengths of the edges of the first and second interlocking panels.

[0041] The material that the joining member is constructed from is not germane to the connection methodology, however it is expected that each profile will consist of a solid, non- corrosive and water resistant material. Suitable materials may, for example, include plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or metals such as aluminium.

[0042] The joining member may be formed using any suitable technique, with extrusion being a particularly suitable method, given the likely elongate shape required for many applications. Joining members may, for example, be extruded at various lengths as required by each interlocking panel variant. In some embodiments, joining members having a plurality of shapes for use in different embodiments of the system of the present invention (e.g. as described below) may be co-extruded. In some embodiments, joining members having different shapes for use in different embodiments of the system of the present invention may be colour coded to simplify inventory management and installation.

[0043] Alternatively, techniques such as 3D printing could be used to produce joining members, for example, joining members having bespoke profiles or formed from bespoke materials suitable for specific applications.

[0044] Referring now to the Figures, and to Figures 1 to 3 in particular, shown are interlocking panels of the type that have been used commercially for many decades.

Interlocking panel P has a thin decor layer that forms the decorative face of the panel (1), which may be a laminate or a veneer. Decorative face (1) is attached permanently onto a core (2) that is generally made of a low cost composite material such as medium density fibreboard, particle board, plywood, fibre cement or other solid materials.

[0045] Panel P has on one edge a 'groove' (3) (sometimes referred to as the female edge joint) and on the opposite edge a 'tongue' (4) (sometimes referred to as the male edge joint), with the groove (3) and tongue (4) running in parallel down the panel's opposite edges. The tongue edge (4) is designed to fit into and then lock with a complementary groove edge (3), as can be seen in Figure 2(a), to create a mechanical coupling of the panels along a flat 180- degree horizontal plane, as can be seen in Figure 2(b).

[0046] As can be seen in Figure 2, panel P is used with another like panel P\ where panel P is connected to panel P to form a flat surface plane with a consistent decorative finish to one side of the run of panels. This groove (3) and tongue (4) locking mechanism ensures that, following the correct coupling of the groove and tongue edges, mechanically joined panels P and P will remain interlocked and in place on a horizontal plane at a 180-degree orientation. The locking nature of the groove/tongue union will prevent the panels from drifting laterally or separating once properly interconnected.

[0047] Interlocking panels such as panel P are manufactured through a process of precision cutting, where part of the panel's edge is removed in such a way as to form the unique shape of the groove (3) and the corresponding matching tongue (4). The effect of such cutting is to form a void along the parallel edges of the panel where one edge is a groove and the other parallel edge forms a tongue.

[0048] As described above, in order to join interlocking panels (e.g. panels P and P ) in a perpendicular fashion, two methods are currently used, both of which require the edge with the groove (5) and/or the edge with tongue (6) to be cut off the panel. This is depicted in Figure 3, where the dotted lines (5) and (6) show where panel P would be cut in order to provide a square edge for joining in the conventional manner described above.

[0049] Referring now to Figure 4 in general, shown are various embodiments of the joining member, each of which is configured to match a specific type of interlocking panel (as will be described below in the context of Figure 5) by being configured to interlock with the structures at the edges of adjacent, perpendicularly arranged interlocking panels.

Specifically, one arm of each joining member is shaped to interlock with the void in the groove edge (3) and/or the tongue edge (4) of a panel, whist another arm of the joining member is shaped to engage with another panel. Each type of interlocking panel will require a set of corresponding joining members (e.g. as shown in Figures 4(a), (b) & (c)), depending on the nature of its edges (i.e. tongue, groove or square). The joining members are all configured to create a square 90-degree angled connection between any such panels, as will be described below.

[0050] The joining members shown in Figures 4 and 5 are designed to create a square 90- degree angled connection in three specific circumstances. Referring firstly to Figures 4(a) and 5(a), a first type of joining member (12) is configured to mechanically join two panels having edges (10) and (11) in a perpendicular arrangement. The panel edges (10) and (11) have a groove and tongue, respectively, which are receivable in a snap-fit type join at the groove edge (7i) and the tongue (8i), respectively, of the joining member (12). In the configuration shown in Figure 5(a), the groove edge (7i) of a first arm 20 of joining member (12) abuts a corresponding protrusion at the leading edge of the groove of panel edge (10), whilst the distal end of the arm 20 engages the panel's groove. The tongue (8i) of a second arm 22 of joining member (12) abuts a corresponding protrusion on the tongue of panel edge (11), whilst the distal end of the tongue engages an underside of arm 20 and panel edge 10.

[0051] Referring now to Figure 6, the manner in which the embodiment of the system of the present invention shown in Figure 5(a) would be assembled is shown (albeit in a different orientation to that of Figure 5(a)). In step 1, the panel 10 is squared into the corner of a surface over which the panels are to be positioned. Panel 10 may then be affixed to the surface if necessary by using conventional fasteners. If a waterproof seal is required, a thin bead of silicone may then be added to the edge of panel 10. Following this, the joining member 12 may then be fitted into the groove of panel edge 10 by placing the distal end of arm 20 into the groove whilst holding the member 12 at about a 45 degree angle to panel 10 and then rotating the member 12 counter clockwise (as shown in the Figure) until the interactions described above cause the member 12 to snap into the position shown at Step 2 of Figure 6.

[0052] If desired, the joining member 12 may then be fixed to the perpendicular wall using adhesive and/or a fastener such as a screw. The tongue of panel 11 may then be inserted into the recess defined between the groove of panel 10 and the arm 20, whilst the panel 11 is held at an angle to the member 12. Subsequent rotation of panel 11 in a counter clockwise direction (as shown in the Figure) causes it to snap into the interlocked configuration described above and shown at Step 3 of Figure 6. Panel 11 may then be fixed to the wall in a conventional manner, with additional components being used, if necessary to pack out the panel due to the gap between the wall and the panel. As can be seen, once so joined, panels 10 and 11 completely obscure the joining member 12.

[0053] It will be appreciated that the joining member 12 provides a means of quickly and securely bonding two complementary panels perpendicular to each other where the decorative face (1) of the two panels are installed at a 90-degree angle to each other whilst the Profile is completely removed from the decor of the panels.

[0054] It is envisaged that the configuration described above (i.e. that of Figure 5(a)) will be the predominate corner connection type, as it requires no modification of the interlocking panels and would therefore be the quickest and neatest system to install. In other scenarios, however, it may be necessary to reduce the width of a panel during installation in order to fit the available space. In such scenarios, one of the edges of the interlocking panels would have a square edge, as described above (e.g. when a panel is cut along the edge of the groove (6) or tongue (5)). The two embodiments of the joining member shown in Figures 4(b) and 4(c) and described below provide systems for joining such interlocking panels at non-linear angles.

[0055] Figures 4(b) (and 5(b)) and 4(c) (and 5(c)) respectively show embodiments of the joining member configured to join a panel having a tongue with a square edged panel and configured to join a panel having a groove with a square edged panel.

[0056] In the embodiment of Figures 4(b) and 5(b), the void created at tongue edge (4) and the square edge of a panel that has had its interlocking edge removed (5) (6) is used for interlocking (Figure 4(b)). A connection is formed between two panels of the same thickness using one panel with a tongue edge (11) and a panel with a square cut edge (13) whereby the panels are connected using the appropriate type of joining member (14). [0057] In the embodiment of Figures 4(c) and 5(c), the void created at the groove edge (3) and the square edge of a panel that has had its interlocking edge removed (5) (6) is used for interlocking (Figure 4(c)). A connection is formed between two panels of the same thickness using one panel with a groove edge (10) and a panel with a square cut edge (13) whereby the panels are connected using the appropriate type of joining member (15).

[0058] Each joining member also has included in its design various indentations (9) to provide a key for any adhesives used to bond between the surface of the Profile and the panels it is connecting.

[0059] The nature of the connection between the joining members and the corresponding interlocking panels is to provide an improved seal at the point the panels abut each other and therefore remove the issues commonly experienced when butt jointing such panels, such as water ingress.

[0060] Another and important enhancement derived from using the joining members to connect two interlocking panels perpendicularly is that the joining member will be entirely hidden behind the decorative face of the two panels and therefore in so doing eliminates the typical aluminium corner trim between the two perpendicular panels to provide a more pleasing aesthetic finish in the subject internal corner.

[0061] In summary, the invention relates to an improved system of connecting a particular class of panel (i.e. an interlocking panel) together in a perpendicular plane using a specially designed joining member. More particularly the present invention relates to a set of joining members which enable two interlocking panels to be connected on a 90-degree angle (for example) in an optimal manner, regardless of the distances the panels need to span before they reach a corner. The result is a reduction in the time to fix two interlocking panels together at a change in angle of the surface, and an improved aesthetic and performance by coupling the panels in an almost seamless manner.

[0062] The present invention can also eliminate several disadvantages of the current methodology of connecting panels in the perpendicular.

[0063] It will be appreciated that the present invention provides a number of new and useful results. For example, specific embodiments of the present invention may provide one or more of the following advantages:

• Modern aesthetic look - no exposed aluminium profile (seamless corner) • Unique in the panel market (may strengthen the tile alternative proposition)

• Can be used to create square corner and watertight fixes

• Consistent internal corner installation:

• Less skill required to correctly fit internal corners

• No possibility of damaging visible corner profiles

• Faster installation (cheaper cost)

• Plastic profile may be easier to handle compared to conventional aluminium

profiles

• Less Wastage, off-cuts can be used on next job

[0064] It will be understood to persons skilled in the art of the invention that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. All such modifications are intended to fall within the scope of the following claims.

[0065] In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A system for joining interlocking panels at a non-linear angle, the system comprising: a first interlocking panel comprising an edge having a tongue or a groove; a second interlocking panel arranged at a non-linear angle to the first interlocking panel; and a joining member that is configured to receive the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel and an edge of the second interlocking panel whereby the first and second interlocking panels are mechanically joined.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the joining member comprises first and second arms, the first arm being configured to define a snap-fit joint or an interference-fit joint with the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein the first arm comprises one or more ribs that are
configured to abut corresponding ribs on the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel to define the snap-fit joint or interference-fit joint.
4. The system of claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the edge of the first interlocking panel bears against the second interlocking panel.
5. The system of any one of claims 2 to 4, wherein the second arm comprises a surface against which the second interlocking panel abuts.
6. The system of claim 5, wherein the second arm is configured to define a snap-fit joint or an interference-fit joint with a tongue or groove of the second interlocking panel.
7. The system of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the first and second panels are arranged at a right angle to each other.
8. The system of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the joining member is hidden by the joined first and second interlocking panels.
9. The system of any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the joining member comprises
indentations on surfaces against which the first and second interlocking panels abut.
10. The system of any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the joining member has a constant cross sectional shape and a length that is approximately the same as the lengths of the edges of the first and second interlocking panels.
11. A kit of parts comprising; a first interlocking panel comprising an edge having a tongue or a groove; a second interlocking panel; and a joining member that is configured to receive the tongue or groove of the first interlocking panel and an edge of the second interlocking panel, whereby the first and second interlocking panels are mechanically joinable by the joining member at a non-linear angle.
12. The kit of parts of claim 11 which, when assembled, forms the system of any one of claims 1 to 10.
PCT/AU2017/051324 2016-11-30 2017-11-30 A system for joining interlocking panels WO2018098532A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU2016904922A AU2016904922A0 (en) 2016-11-30 An improved method of joining two panels using a hidden connecting profile.
AU2016904922 2016-11-30

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Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB1065579A (en) * 1963-08-08 1967-04-19 Franz Priesner Improvements in or relating to structural elements for building purposes
US6694688B1 (en) * 2002-03-11 2004-02-24 Robert A Crepas Covering system for surfaces
US20070220822A1 (en) * 2003-10-24 2007-09-27 Claus Permesang Building Component for Forming a Floor or Wall Coverings
WO2010070472A2 (en) * 2008-12-17 2010-06-24 Unilin, Bvba Composed element, multi -layered board and panel-shaped element for forming this composed element

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB1065579A (en) * 1963-08-08 1967-04-19 Franz Priesner Improvements in or relating to structural elements for building purposes
US6694688B1 (en) * 2002-03-11 2004-02-24 Robert A Crepas Covering system for surfaces
US20070220822A1 (en) * 2003-10-24 2007-09-27 Claus Permesang Building Component for Forming a Floor or Wall Coverings
WO2010070472A2 (en) * 2008-12-17 2010-06-24 Unilin, Bvba Composed element, multi -layered board and panel-shaped element for forming this composed element

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