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Title:
ANTI-FATIGUE MAT/SHOCK PAD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/236598
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An anti-fatigue mat/shock pad has a mat body with a top surface, a bottom surface, a left side edge, a right side edge and a top and bottom edges. The top and bottom surface of the mat have raised regions thereon which are made up of longitudinally extending raised ribs arranged in parallel fashion with respect to one another and spaced apart a selected distance by longitudinal channels, The longitudinal ribs on the top surface are offset from the longitudinal ribs on the bottom surface in art alternating fashion so that they present a staggered array when viewed in cross section. This particular pattern of raised ribs on the top and bottom surfaces of the mat produces a non-linear deformation pattern under impact forces in use, such as would be caused by athletes running or jumping on an athletic field.

Inventors:
WEIH, Mark, A. (Metropolitan Tower, Apartment # 112 Sabana Oest, San Jose ., 10108, CR)
Application Number:
US2018/036671
Publication Date:
December 27, 2018
Filing Date:
June 08, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
S & B TECHNICAL PRODUCTS, INC. (1300 East Berry Street, Fort Worth, TX, 76119, US)
International Classes:
A47G27/02; B32B3/02; B32B3/08; E04B1/00; E04F11/104; E04F15/22
Foreign References:
NL1015633C22001-10-24
EP0767318A21997-04-09
US5172494A1992-12-22
US4596729A1986-06-24
US2477960A1949-08-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GUNTER, Charles, D., Jr. (Whitaker Chalk Swindle & Schwartz PLLC, 301 Commerce Street Suite 350, Fort Worth TX, 76102, US)
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Claims:
Claims:

1 An anti-fatigue mat/shook pad, comprising: a mat body having a top surface, a bottom surface, a left side edge, a right side edge and a fop and bottom edges;

S wherein the top and bottom surface of the mat have raised regions thereon which are made up of longitudinaliy extending raised ribs arranged in parallel fashion with respect to one another and spaced apart a seiected distance by longitudinal channels, and wherein the longitudinal ribs on the top surface are offset from the longitudinal robs on the bottom surface in an alternating fashion so that they present0 a staggered array when viewed in cross section: the alternating pattern of raised hbs on the top and bottom surfaces of the mat producing a non-linear deformation pattern under impact forces in use.

2. An anti-fatigue mat shook pad, comprising; a mat body having a top surface, a bottom surface, a Soft side edge, a right side edge5 and a top and bottom edges; wherein the top and bottom surface of the mat have raised regions thereon which are made up of longitudinally extending raised ribs arranged in paraile! fashion with respect to one another and spaced apart a selected distance by longitudinal channels, and wherein: the longitudinal ribs o th top surface are offset from the0 longitudinal ribs on the bottom surface i an alternating fashion so that they present a staggered array when viewed in cross section; the alternating pattern of raised ribs on the top and bottom surfaces of the mat producing a non-linear deformation pattern under impact forces In use, whereby for approximately the first 50% of compression of the mat in use, both rubber and air areS being compressed, giving th mat a softer relative fee! and wherein any compression exceeding approximately th first 50% of compression of the mat, oniy rubbe is being compressed, giving the mat a harder relative feel. 3, The anti-fatigue mat/shock pad of Claim 2, wherein the mat body is made from recycled devulcarfeed waste rubber,

4. The anti-fatigue mat/shock pad of Claim 3, wherein the mat body is made from a recycled devuicanized rubber which has been foamed using a foaming agent, 5. The an!i- igue mat/shock pari of Claim 4, wherein the mat ody is made from waste devuieanized rubber which comes from pipe sealing gaske manufacturing operations,

8, The anti-fatigue mat/shock pad of Claim 2, wherein the longitudinal channels which space apart the alternating pattern of raised ribs on the mat top surface act to drain water that may be present on the top surface of the mat,

7. The anti-fatigue mat/shock pad of Claim 2, wherein in addition to the longitudinal channels which space apart the alternating pattern of raised ribs on the ma top surface, there are also perpendicularly arranged waterways which run perpendicularly to the longitudinal channels which space apart the alternating pattem of raised ribs on the mat top surface and which further promote drainage from the top surfac of the mat.

Description:
A TI-FA tGliE. HAT/SHOCK PAD

Technical Field;

The present invention relates geners!ly to rubber floor and ground coverings made from waste de-vulcanized rubber, such as the coverings used for athletic fields which absorb impact forces of athletes.

Description of the Prior Art

Countless used tires, hoses, belts and other aibber products are discarded annually after they have been worn-out during their limited service life, in prior years, these used rubber products were typically hauled to a dump because there is very little use for them after they have served their original Intended purpose. A limited number of used tires are utilized In building retaining walls, as guards for protecting boats and similar things where resistance to weathering is desirable. However, a far greater number of tires, hose and belts are simply discarded. There are other industries which generate waste or scrap rubber, for example, in the manufacture of sealing gaskets which are used to seal plastic pipelines. A larg number of such sealing g sk t ar used, for example, In municipal water and sewer lines.

The recycling of cured rubber products is a challenging problem. This problem is due, in part, to the fact that, in the vulcanization process, the rubber becomes crosslinked with sulfur. After vulcanization, the crossiinked rubber becomes thermoset and cannot be reformed Into other products, !n other words, the cured rubber cannot just be melted and reformed Into other products like metals or thermoplastic materials.

Despit these obstacles, there has long been an interest in the recycling of cured rubber, A certain amount of cured rubber from tires and other rubber products Is shredded or ground to a small panicle size and incorporated into various products as a type of filler. For instance, ground rubber can be Incorporated in small amounts into asphalt fo surfacing roads or parkin Sots, Small particles of cured rubber can also be included in rubber formulations for new tires and other aibber products. However, it should be understood thai this type of recycled rubber serves only in the capacity of a filer because it was previously cured and does not co-cure to an appreciable extent to the virgin rubber in the rubber formulation.

Various techniques for "devulcanlzing" cured rubber have been developed. Devuleanization offers the advantage of rendering the rubber suitable for being reformulated and recurred into new rubber articles if it can be carried out without degradation of the rubber, in other words, the rubber could again e used for its original intended purpose.

By way of example, U.S. Pat. No, 4,104,205 discloses a technique for devulcanlzing sulfur-vulcanized elastomer containing polar groups which involves applying a controlled dose of microwave energy in an amount sufficient to sever substantially all carbon-sulfu and sulfur-sulfur bonds and insufficient to sever significant amounts of carbon-carbon bonds.

U.S. Pat. No 5,284,825 is another early devuleanization patent which uses a continuous ultrasonic method for breaking the carbon-sulfur, sulfur-sulfur and. if desired, fhe carbon-carbon bonds in a vulcanized elastomer. Using this process, the rubber becomes soft, thereby enabling it to be reprocessed and reshaped in manner similar to that employed with previously uncured elastomers.

U.S. Pat. No. §,602,186 is another devuleanization patent which involves the steps of: contacting rubber vulcanizate crumb with a solvent and an alkali metal to form a reaction mixture, heating the reaction mixture in the absence of oxygen and with mixing to a temperature sufficient to cause the alkali metal to react with sulfur in the rubber vuicaniiate and maintaining the temperature below that at which thermal cracking of the rubber occurs, thereby devulcanlzing the rubber vulcanizate. One type product which can advantageously be manufactured from devulcanized rubber is an anti-fatigue matt or shock pad for absorbing impact forces, as when applied to an athletic field used in athletic play. While such mats/pads exist, they typically exhibit a linear deformation-force curve, it would be desirable to be able to manufacture such mats/pads which exhibit non-linear deformation curves, however. In other words, just standing on the xmVpati with little impact would give the impression that the surface is very soft. However, as the mat/pad is deformed more, as when an athlete jumped; on the surface, it gets harder in a non-linear fashion.

It is an object of the present invention to provide such an anti-fatigue mat shock pad which exhibits this non-linear deformation characteristic.

Disclosure of the Invention

The anti-fatigue mat shock pad of the invention has a mat body having a top surface, a bottom surface, a left side edge, a right side edge and a fop and bottom edges. The top and bottom surfaces of the mat have raised regions thereon which are made up of longitudinally extending: raised ribs arranged in parallel fashion with respect to one another and spaced apart a selected distance by longitudinal channels. The longitudinal ribs o the top surface are offset from the longitudinal ribs on the bottom surfac in an alternating fashion so that they present a staggered array when viewed in cros section. The special alternating pattern of raised ribs on the top and bottom surfaces of the mat produce a non-iinear deformation pattern under impact forces in use. In other words, for approximately th first 50% of compression of the mat in use, both rubber and air ar being compressed, giving the mat a softer relative feel and wherein any compression exceeding approximately the first 50% of compression of the mat, only rubber is being compressed, giving the mat a harder relative feel.

Preferably, the anti » fatigue mat/shock pads of the invention feature a mat body which is made f m: recycled devuicanized waste rubber. The preferred mat body is made from a recycled devuicanized rubber which has been foamed using a foaming agent. Most preferably, the mat body is made from waste devuicanized rubber which comes from pipe sealing gasket manufacturing operations.

In addition to producing the non-linear deformation characteristic of the mats of the invention, the longitudinal channels which space apart the alternating pattern of raised ribs on the mat top surface act to drain water that may be present on the top surface of the mat. Also, in addition to the longitudinal channels which space apart tthhee aalltteerrnnaattiinngg ppaatttteerrnn ooff rraaiisseedd rriibbss oonn tthhee mmaatt to to ssuurrffaaccee,, tthheerree aarree aallssoo ppeerrppeennddiiccuullaarrllyy aarrrraannggeedd wwaatteerrwwaayyss wwhhiicchh rruunn p peerrppeennddiiccuullaarrllyy ttoo tthhee lloonnggiittuuddiinnaall cchhaannnneellss wwhhiicchh ssppaaccee aappaarrtt tthhee aalltteerrnnaattiinngg ppaattteterrnn ooff rraaiisseedd rriibbss oonn tthhee mmaatt ttoopp ssuurrffaaccee aanndd wwhhiicchh ffuurrtthheerr p prroommoottee ddrraaiinnaaggee ffrroomm tthhee ttoopp ssuurrffaaccee ooff t thhee mmaatt.. AAddddiittiioonnaall oobbjjeeccttss,, f feeaattuurreess aanndd aaddvvaannttaaggeess wwii bbee aappppaarreenntt iin tthhee wwrriitttteenn ddeessccririppttiioonn wwhhiicchh ffoolllloowwss..

BBrriieeff D peesseerr jjppttSSppnn o off tthhe DDrraawwiinnggss

FFiigguurree ii iiss a a ppeerrssppeeccttiivvee vviieeww ooff tthhee aannttii--ffaattiigguuee mmaatt//sshhoocckk ppaadd ooff tthhee iinnvveennttiioonn..

FFiigguurree 22 iiss aa t toopp vviiee o off tthhee aannttii--ffaattiigguu mmaatt//sshhooookk ppaadd ooff tthhee iinnvveennttiioonn.. FFiigguurree 33 iiss aa bboottttoomm vviieeww ooff tthhee aannttii--ffaattiigguuee mmaatt//sshhoocckk ppaadd ooff tthhee iinnvveennttiioonn.. fFiigguurree 44 iiss aa iieefftt ssiiddee vviieeww ooff tthhee m maatt ooff FFiigguurree 22..

FFiigguurree 55 iiss aa rriigghht ssiiddee vviieeww ooff t thhee mmaatt ooff FFiigguurree 22..

FFiigguurree 88 I iss aa ttoopp eenndd vviieeww ooff tthhee mmaatt ooff FFiigguurre 22,,

FFiigguurree 77 iiss aa bboottttoomm eenndd vviieeww ooff t thhee mmaatt ooff FFiigguurree 22.. FFiigguurree 88 iiss aa ccrroossss sseeccttiioonnaall vviieeww ooff tthhee mmaatt ooff FFiigguurree 22 ttaakkeenn aalloonngg lliinneess 88--88..

FFiigguurree 99 iiss aa ggrraapphh ooff ppeerrcceenntt ccoommpprreessssiioonn vveerrssuuss pprreessssuurree ffoorr ttwwoo sshhoocckk ppaaddss ooff tthhee I invveennttiioonn vveerrssuus aa pprriioorr a arrtt sshhoocckk ppaadd..

The preferred version of -the invention presented in the following written description and the various features and advantageous details thereof am explained more fully with reference to the non-iimiting examples included and as detailed in the description which follows. Descriptions of well-known components and processe and manufacturing techniques are omitted so as to not unnecessarily obscure tie principal features of the invention as described herein. The examples used in the description which fellows are intended merely to facilitate an understanding of ways in which the invention may be practiced and to further enable those skied In the art to practice the invention. Accordingly, the examples should not be construed as limi ing the scope of the claimed invention. The articles which are the subject of the present invention include anti-fatigue mats as weli as so-called "shock pads," The common property of the articles of manufacture Is the ability to absorb Impact forces, such as the human body exerts when standing in one position for a prolonged period {anti-fatigue mats) and where the article is used as a playing surface (shock pad), fo example, for a football practice fieid or a soccer field. In the discussion which follows, the articles of manufacture of the invention, whether anti-fatigue mats or shock pads, will be referred to as "mats" for simplicity sake, in the case of playing fields, the mats of the invention might be used as a top layer in som cases, or as an underlying layer for a traditional artificial turf type material. The mats of the invention are made from recycled, waste devulcanized rubber. As ha been briefly described, devuiean&ation is a popular method of recycling rubber articles such as vehicle tires and other non-biodegradable rubber products. In order to make new products, rubber tires must have their rubber, metal, fabric, and other parts removed and separated. Recycled tire rubber is then typically refined into crumb rubber or readied to be devuicanSied, it can then be devulcanized, making the resulting recycled product malleable enough to form into new rubber products, for example recycled tire mats, in the case of the articles of the invention, the source of devulcanized rubber is waste r hb&r scrap from rubber sealing gaskets of the type used to seal plastic pipelines. Such pipelines are widely used, for example, in municipal wafer and sewer Sines,

Briefly stated, vulcanization is a chemical process that transforms natural rubber into a longer lasting and more resilient material. Natural rubber sap is treated with durations of intense heat combined with sulfur and peroxides, The resulting material is a tough rubber which can be used, for example, in rubber flooring products because it can handle inclement weather and other abrasive environments. DevulGanizaiion, as the name Implies, reverses the vulcanization process m order to recycle and reuse the rubber material. There are several way to devuleanize rubber. Som methods use chemicals to undo the process, while others use ultrasonic energy, microwave technology, or microorganisms to reverse the chemical changes made to the base natural rubber. Chemical devuleanizaSon, for example, requires a mixture of solvents and ground u rubber, or crumb rubber. The mixture is set at a specific temperature and pressur which chemically severs carbon-sulfur and sulfur-sulfur bonds within the rubber. The efficiency of rubber devufcarsization differs depending on the method used, i each ease, however, the overall goal of devuleanization is to restore vulcanized rubber to its original, natural form. Then, the devuioanized rubber can be reintroduced into the manufacturing process and potentially re-vulcanized at a later date. Reclaimed rubber mats and flooring are a popular way to reintroduce used rubber products back into consumer products.

The recycled, devuSoanized rubber mat formulations used in producing the mats of the invention also preferably incorporate a foaming agent, sometimes referred to as a blowing agent, A variety of foaming agents are known I the rubber industry and may be utilised, depending upon the exact specifications of the end product needed. These foaming agents are chemicals which are added to rubbers that generates inert gases on heating, causing the base rubber compound to assume more of a cellular structure. As a generalised example, dinitroso pentamethylene tetramsne (Shiram Adhesive PVT Ltd,, Rayasthan, India) has a number of application in asbber and plastics industries, it is widely used in rubber processing to produce a more sponge-like structure, as well as expanded rubber. It is widely used in making shoe soles, as well a in the production of cellular rubber products, cellular ceramics, extrusions of profiles,, sheets, pipes, wire coatings and for door sealing ' strips, by way of example. Other well-known manufacturers of rubber foaming agents include, for example; TRAMCO GmbH, of Pinneberg, Germany (TRACEL™ and UnlceSF 6 **}; Gelchem LLC of Baton Rouge, LA (Ce!chem™ ΆΖ-190 and Celogen^ 754A). ' Without wishing to be bound by any particular ' recycled, devuicanizsd rubber formulation, the following formulation shown in Tahie I is exemplary for purposes of manufactufing the recycled mats of the invention:

While the particular rubber formulation being utilized certainly affects the mat's deformation characteristics, the advantages achieved by the mat designs of the invention involve to a large extent the physical configuration of the mats. This can he appreciated by turning to Figure 1 of th Drawings where there is shown a section of an anti-fatigue mat/shock pad of the invention, designated generally as 11, The mat 11 includes a mat body which has a top surface 13, a bottom surface 15, a left side edge 17, a right side edge 19 and a top and bottom edges, 21 , 23, respectively. The mat top and bottom surfaces have repeating patterns of raised ribs and channels, as will he described more fully. However, it should be understood that Figure 1 represents only a typical section of a mat of the Inventio and thai -the pattern Illustrated would typically he repeated over and over to provide a much larger overall surface area for the mat. I other words, Instead of the one section of pad shown, there migh be 8 or 10, or even many more, such Identical sections all making up a part of a single, integrated mat. The section shown Is for ease of lustration only. I the case of an athletic playing field, the matipad area would obviously be very large.

Returning to Figure 1 , it will be appreciated that the top an bottom surfaces, 13, 15, of the ma 11 have raised regions thereon which are made up of longitudinally extending raised ribs (such as ribs 26, 27, 20) arranged in parallel fashio wit respect to one another and spaced apart a selected distance by longitudinal channels (31 , 33, 35), Also, as perhaps best shown in Figures 8-8, the longitudinal ribs on the top surface are offset from the longitudinal ribs (37, 39, 41} on the b ttom surface 15 In an alternating fashion so that they present a staggered array when viewed in cross sectio (Figure 8), The special pattern of ribs and channels show in the exemplar mats of the invention provide a number of advantages. For example, the longitudinal channels 31, 33, 35, whic space apart the -alternating pattern of raised ribs 25, 27, 29, on the mat to surface ' 13 act to drain water that may be present on the top surface of the mat. This would be useful where the mat/pad is used as an artificial playing surface for a football practice field , for a soccer field , etc. As will also be appreciated from Figure 1, in addition to the longitudinal channels 31, 33, 3$, which space apart the alternating pattern of raised ribs 25, 27, 29, on the mat top surfaoelS, there are aiso perpendicularly arranged waterways, such as waterway 43, whic run perpendicularly to the iongitudinal channels which space apart the alternating pattern of raised ribs on the mat to surface and which further promote drainage from the top surface of th mat.

Figures 2-8 are additional views of the mat of the invention shown from various positions. Figure 2 is a top view. Figure 3 is a bottom view. Figure 4 Is a eft side view of the mat of Figure 2, Figure S Is a right side view of the mat of Figure 2. Figure 6 is a top end view of the mat of Figure 2. Figure 7 is a bottom and view of the mat of Figure 2. Figure 8 is a cross sectional view of the mat of Figure 2 taken along lines 8-8.

As has bee mentioned, in addition to the water drainage features of the top surface of the mats of the invention, the alternating pattern of raised ribs on the top and bottom surfaces of the mat also have the important and unique characteristic of producing a N non~!inear deformation pattern" under impact forces in use. This characteristic of the mats of the invention is illustrated graphically in Figure 9 of the drawings. This is a graph of percent compression versu pressure for variou shock pads/mats, When athletes' cleats dig into artificial; turf fields, stability under foot is of primary Importance. Vertical deformation is a measure of how much the field is deformed when run upon, sometimes referred to as the "softness under foof test. These measurements are important because if a surface is too soft an athlete risks ankie, knee, and other joint and soft-tissue injuries. If the surface is too hard, it may increase the risk of injury to the athlete, such as concussions or other impact injuries.

One method of measuring the degree of deformation which occurs on an artificial field is to use what is referred to in the industry as the Deitec™ Field Tester. The test measures the compression of a field In millimeters as it drops a spring loaded fiat impacter a given number of times in the same location. Natural grass fields see a result of 6-11 mm. Artificial turf fields over stone see less vertical deformation than natural. grass fields, which makes them firmer to run up , but can cause unacceptable Injury rates, ideally, a compression range between about 7-11 mm, depending on the type and amount of infill in the turf, would most closely resemble the feei of pristine natural grass. The graph shown In Figur 9 uses this type information to compute the percent compression versus pressure for various mats pads. The "Terramix™" curve shown is for a mat made according to the teaching of the invention using a preferred rubber formulation. The "4mm Poryisoprena * cure Is another mat of the invention but using a slightly different rubber formulation. The final "Brock * curve compares the percent compression for the two mats of the invention to a section of a commercially available Brock Powerbase™ mat.

The graph shows a fairly linear Increas n slope for both of the mats of the invention {Terramix m and 4mm P , olyisoprene m ). However at approximately the S0 compression point, fi mats of the invention show a definite non-linear increase in slope as compared to the Brock 1 * 8 sample. Applicant's theory regarding the nonlinear deformation characteristics of the mats of the invention can be explained as follows: for approximately the first 50% of compression of the mat in use, both rubber and air are being compressed, giving the mat a softer relative feel and wherein an compression exceeding approximately the first 50% of compression of the mat, only rubber is being compressed, giving th mat a harde relative feel. These characteristics flow primarily from the alternating physical arrangement of the ribs and channels on the top and bottom surfaces of the mats.

An inventio has been provided with several advantages. The mats of the invention ca be manufactured from recycled, devulcanized waste rubber which would otherwise be disposed in a landfill, creating environment issues. The devuicanized materials used in the practice of the invention return an otherwise scrap material to its original Intended use as a raw material. The particular design of the mats of the invention allow them to be advantageously employed as artificial surfaces for athletic playing fields, and the like. The particular non-linear deformation characteristic of file mate Is especially well adapted for such end uses. White the invention has been shown in oniy one of its forms it is not thus limited but is suscepibie io various changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof.