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Title:
FASTENER DEVICE, METHOD AND SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/177256
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to fastening, wherein only one side of an object may be readily accessible. In one form, a fastener is provided for fastening together first and second workpieces through respective apertures formed therein, comprising: a retainer having an elongate body for inserting through the workpiece apertures, the retainer having a flange at one end for engaging the first workpiece adjacent the aperture; a nut having opposed workpiece engaging portions and a central, internally screw- threaded bore; a bolt having a shank with an external screw-thread at one end and a bolt head at the other end; wherein the nut is supported by the retainer such that the nut can be placed in a first orientation in which an axis of the bore is substantially orthogonal to the extent of the retainer, and a second orientation in which the bore axis is substantially aligned with the extent of the retainer.

Inventors:
BRODERICK ALAN (AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/000076
Publication Date:
October 19, 2017
Filing Date:
March 31, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BRADKEN RESOURCES PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
F16B13/08; F16B13/10
Foreign References:
US3707898A1973-01-02
DE2549868A11976-05-20
US5221169A1993-06-22
GB1152070A1969-05-14
US3248994A1966-05-03
US2908196A1959-10-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PINI IP (Camberwell, VIC 3124, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fastener for fastening together first and second workpieces through respective apertures formed therein, the fastener comprising:

a retainer having an elongate body for inserting through the workpiece apertures, the retainer having a flange at one end for engaging the first workpiece adjacent the aperture;

a nut having opposed workpiece engaging portions and a central, internally screw- threaded bore;

a bolt having a shank with an external screw-thread at one end and a bolt head at the other end;

wherein the nut is supported by the retainer such that the nut can be placed in a first orientation in which an axis of the bore is substantially orthogonal to the extent of the retainer, and a second orientation in which the bore axis is substantially aligned with the extent of the retainer.

2. A blind fastener comprising:

a bolt having a head and an externally screw-threaded shank;

a nut having an internally screw-threaded bore; and

an elongate retainer adapted to support the nut in first and second respective orientations, wherein the first orientation of the nut has an axis of the bore substantially orthogonal to the extent of the retainer for insertion into a workpiece, and the second orientation of the nut has the bore axis substantially aligned with the extent of the retainer for engagement with the bolt.

3. A blind fastener according to claim 2, wherein the nut is slidably supported by the retainer to allow displacement of the nut during engagement with the bolt.

4. A blind fastener according to claim 2, wherein the nut is pivotally supported by the retainer to allow movement between the first and second orientations.

5. A blind fastener according to claim 2, further including an installation tool removably engageable with the retainer to hold the nut in the first orientation.

6. A method for fastening to a workpiece, comprising:

forming an aperture in the workpiece; inserting a blind fastener according to any one of claims 2 to 5 into the aperture whilst the nut is in the first orientation;

configuring the fastener such that the nut is in the second orientation; and engaging the bolt with the nut.

7. A fastener, device, component or apparatus as herein described.

8. A method, protocol or process as herein described.

Description:
FASTENER DEVICE, METHOD AND SYSTEM RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001 ] This application claims priority to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2016901388 in the name of Bradken Resources Pty Ltd, which was filed on 14 April 2016, entitled "Fastener Device, Method and System" and the specification thereof is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and for all purposes.

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0002] The present invention generally relates to a fastener. In particular, the invention relates to a fastener device, method and system to secure a first object to a second object, such as a structure, wherein only one side of one of the objects may be readily accessible.

[0003] It will be convenient to hereinafter describe the invention in relation to fastening sacrificial wear liners to structures used in the mining industry, however it should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to that application, only.

BACKGROUND ART

[0004] The discussion throughout this specification comes about due to the realisation of the inventor and/or the identification of certain related art problems by the inventor and, moreover, any discussion of documents, devices, acts or knowledge in this specification is included to explain the context of the invention. It should not be taken as an admission that any of the material forms a part of the prior art base or the common general knowledge in the relevant art in Australia or elsewhere on or before the priority date of the disclosure and claims herein.

[0005] Fasteners are a common and well-used means to secure one object to another. Typically when doing so an operator is able to access both sides of each object and can therefore easily tighten the fastener to ensure the two objects are securely fastened. However, there are many instances where only one side of the object may be easily accessed. This is problematic when securing an object to another object using fasteners.

[0006] In the mining industry there are numerous applications where only one side of an object is accessible, particularly after the plant has been installed. One such application is in relation to securing wear liners to a structure. Wear liners are used extensively throughout the mining industry to protect those parts of structures which are exposed to wear. Due to their very nature, the wear liners are sacrificial and require regular replacement as they wear to a level where they no longer serve their purpose. It is therefore important that the wear liners can be readily removed. However, due to the harsh operating conditions, it is also important that the wear liners are held firmly in place during their service cycle.

[0007] Wear liners are used to protect mills, transfer chutes, crushers and other structures. Once these structures have been installed the rear side of the structure is often concealed or is difficult to access. In order to secure any object to these structures a number of solutions are available.

[0008] Fastening with conventional nuts and bolts or studded plates requires access by personnel to both sides of the structure. They therefore do not allow for quick and easy installation and removal.

[0009] Attachment methods which enable the attachment and removal of objects, particularly wear liners, from a single side of the structure are limited and have a number of disadvantages.

[0010] One of these solutions includes the use of a blind fastener or blind rivet. Normally these methods do not allow the head of the fastener to be exposed, as this would cause the failure of the retention system. They may also not be removable, rendering it difficult to replace the object secured to the structure.

[001 1 ] A further deficiency in using some forms of blind fasteners is that they rely upon a complementary match of the surface profile of the structure with the engaging surface profile of the wear liner as they have a fixed 'grip length' i.e. it is important that the underside surface of the wear liner closely mirrors that of the surface it is to protect. Where this does not occur the operator may be prevented from being able to install the fasteners to secure the object properly or at all.

[0012] Some blind fasteners also require complex parts in their design or specialised installation and removal tooling.

[0013] Other methods for securing and removing wear liners to structures involve welding of the liner to the structure and thermal cutting them away from the structure when ready to be replaced. This involves dangerous and time intensive 'hot work' every time the liner is changed. It can also be damaging to the structure and the new wear liner. In addition to this, the requirement for welding limits the range of suitable material which can be selected for use as a wear liner.

[0014] The preceding discussion of the background art is intended to facilitate an understanding of the present invention only. The discussion is not an acknowledgement or admission that any of the material referred to is or was part of the common general knowledge as at the priority date of the application.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0015] It is an object of this invention to provide a releasable fastener which ameliorates, mitigates or overcomes, at least one disadvantage of the prior art, or which will at least provide the public with a practical choice.

[0016] The present invention provides a fastener for fastening together first and second workpieces through respective apertures formed therein, the fastener comprising:

a retainer having an elongate body for inserting through the workpiece apertures, the retainer having a flange at one end for engaging the first workpiece adjacent the aperture;

a nut having opposed workpiece engaging portions and a central, internally screw-threaded bore;

a bolt having a shank with an external screw-thread at one end and a bolt head at the other end;

wherein the nut is supported by the retainer such that the nut can be placed in a first orientation in which an axis of the bore is substantially orthogonal to the extent of the retainer, and a second orientation in which the bore axis is substantially aligned with the extent of the retainer.

[0017] The present invention also provides a blind fastener comprising: a bolt having a head and an externally screw-threaded shank; a nut having an internally screw- threaded bore; and an elongate retainer adapted to support the nut in first and second respective orientations, wherein the first orientation of the nut has an axis of the bore substantially orthogonal to the extent of the retainer for insertion into a workpiece, and the second orientation of the nut has the bore axis substantially aligned with the extent of the retainer for engagement with the bolt.

[0018] The nut is preferably pivotally supported by the retainer to allow movement between the first and second orientations. An installation tool may be removably engageable with the retainer to hold the nut in the first orientation, in use. The nut is preferably slidably supported by the retainer to allow displacement of the nut during engagement with the bolt.

[0019] The present invention also provides a method for fastening to a workpiece, comprising: forming an aperture in the workpiece; inserting a blind fastener as disclosed herein into the aperture whilst the nut is in the first orientation; configuring the fastener such that the nut is in the second orientation; and engaging the bolt with the nut.

[0020] The fastener is designed to be used with workpieces (e.g. structures) where the surface of the second workpiece is not readily accessible. However, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to such applications. It is readily understood that the present invention can be applied to all manner of structures, providing a convenient and quick means to secure and subsequently remove the fastener from the structure.

[0021 ] A primary application of this invention is to fasten sacrificial wear liners used in the mining industry, such as to a transfer chute wall. Although this is the primary purpose, the invention is not limited to this use and can be used in any application where a standard nut and bolt is used, as well as further applications as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. [0022] Advantages provided by embodiments of the present invention may include:

• Access is only needed from one side of a workpiece(s), for example, the chute of fixed plant equipment.

• The need for external scaffolding or access platforms, designed for instance to help access nuts on a transfer chute, is eliminated.

• Elimination of the need for two people to perform the installation of a workpiece, for example, the wear liner (one inside the chute to tighten the bolt, one outside to tighten the nut) of a transfer chute.

• The invention allows for faster installation of the workpiece, eg wear liner.

• The invention allows for faster removal of the workpiece, eg wear liner.

[0023] Further scope of applicability of embodiments of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the disclosure herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] Embodiments of the present invention are described hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, provided for exemplary illustration only, in which:

Figure 1 is an isometric view of fastener components according to a first embodiment of the invention, together with workpieces to be fastened;

Figures 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D are isometric views of fastener housing, nut, bolt and insertion tool components, respectively, according to the first embodiment;

Figure 3 is an isometric view of a fastener housing with nut held in a first orientation by an insertion tool, according to the first embodiment; Figure 4 is an isometric view of a fastener according to the first embodiment, with nut deployed in a second orientation ready for engagement with the bolt;

Figure 5 is an isometric view of a fastener according to the first embodiment, in which the bolt is engaged with the nut;

Figure 6 is an isometric view of fastener components according to a second embodiment of the invention, together with workpieces to be fastened;

Figures 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D and 7E are isometric views of fastener housing, nut, bolt insertion tool and sleeve components, respectively, according to the second embodiment;

Figure 8 is an isometric view of a fastener housing with nut held in a first orientation by an insertion tool, according to the second embodiment;

Figure 9 is an isometric view of a fastener according to the second embodiment, with nut deployed in a second orientation ready for engagement with the bolt;

Figure 10 is an isometric view of a fastener according to the second embodiment, in which the bolt is engaged with the nut;

Figure 1 1 is a cross-sectional view of a fastener housing with nut held in a first orientation by an insertion tool, according to preferred embodiments of the invention, in preparation for insertion into a preformed workpiece hole;

Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view of the fastener housing of Figure 1 1 with nut and insertion tool following insertion into the workpiece hole in accordance with preferred embodiments;

Figure 13 is a cross-sectional view of the fastener housing of Figure 11 inserted in the workpiece hole with the nut in a second orientation following removal of the insertion tool in accordance with preferred embodiments;

Figure 14 is a cross-sectional view of the fastener housing of Figure 1 1 with bolt prior to engagement with the nut; Figure 15 is a cross-sectional view of the fastener housing of Figure 1 with the bolt initially engaged with the nut;

Figure 16 is a cross-sectional view of the fastener housing of Figure 1 according to an embodiment of the invention in a completed condition with the bolt fully engaged with the nut to hold two workpieces together;

Figure 17 is an isometric cross-sectional view of a fastener according to an embodiment of the invention in completed condition in relation to the workpieces;

Figure 18 is an isometric rear view of the fastener of Figure 17;

Figure 19 is an isometric view of fastener components according to a further embodiment of the invention.

[0025] In the drawings like structures are referred to by like numerals throughout the several views. The drawings shown are not necessarily to scale, with emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] A fastener according to embodiments of the invention comprises several components which are shown in various configurations and views in the drawings. The fastener is adapted for 'blind' fastening applications, for example where one side of the workpieces to be fastened together may not be readily accessible. Nut and bolt systems generally require both the head of the bolt and the nut to be assembled as well as securely held, typically by a spanner or socket, to allow for tightening. The main disadvantage is that access must be available to both sides of the object to install or remove the bolt. However, in certain applications and circumstances, access may be prevented for a number of reasons, from simple physical restraints and size restrictions to safety regulations.

[0027] One particular relevant situation is the fastening of sacrificial wear liners used in the mining industry, such as to a transfer chute wall or the like. A transfer chute is a piece of equipment typically found in mine sites to transfer material from one location to another. A sacrificial wear liner is typically a metallic or ceramic plate that is bolted to an object or structure (e.g. a transfer chute) to prevent or resist wear of the structure. Each transfer chute may require up to 1 ,000 bolts to secure the wear liners.

[0028] A fastener 10 according to a first embodiment of the invention is shown in isometric view in Figure 1 in preparation for fastening together first and second workpieces 1 , 2. For example, the first workpiece 1 may be a structure such as a transfer chute, and the second workpiece may be a sacrificial wear liner. The fastener 10 comprises three primary components: a retainer housing 30, a nut 40, and a bolt 50. An insertion tool 60 is used during installation and removal of the fastener. A washer 51 may also be employed in conventional fashion between the head of the bolt 50 and the workpiece or retainer. The primary components and insertion tool are shown individually in Figures 2A-2D.

[0029] The retainer housing 30 (shown in isolation in Figure 2A) is of generally elongate cylindrical form, having a tubular wall structure 35 with a flange 31 at one end. For ease of reference in explaining features of the fastener and their relationship to one another, the following description makes use of directional conventions up/down, right/left and forward/rearward (and like terms) as indicated in Figure 2A in relation to the housing 30. In this coordinate scheme, the central axis of the housing 30 extends in the forward direction from the flange 31 . It will be appreciated, however, that these directional references have been arbitrarily assigned and their relationship to fixed directions such as north/south, east/west, vertical, horizontal, etc. will depend on the orientation of the fastener, in use.

[0030] The housing 30 is designed to accommodate the nut 40 in a first orientation within the tubular wall structure 35. The wall structure 35 is formed with left and right side slot apertures 36 extending longitudinally and defining edges that support the nut 40, in use. The retainer housing wall structure is also formed with upper and lower apertures 37 that allow the nut to pivot from the first orientation to a second orientation. The flange 31 has a central opening 38 aligned with the longitudinal axis of the housing and in communication with the centre of the retainer housing interior. The opening 38 is sized to allow the shank of a bolt to pass therethrough without interference. The opening 38 may be made large enough to accommodate the bolt head, depending on whether the bolt head has an internal or external tool engaging means. The top of the flange has a longitudinal slot aperture 32, in communication with the top aperture 37, to accommodate the installation tool when in use. The exterior of the flange has one or more keying formations 33 (in this case, flattened sections) designed to engage with corresponding keying formations 4 on the workpiece 2.

[0031] The nut 40 (shown in isolation in Figure 2B) is of generally elongate rectangular form with opposed wings 44, and has a central, internally screw-threaded bore 41 having an axis transverse to the elongate extent of the nut. Opposed lugs 42 are provided on the left and right sides of the nut, orthogonal to the central bore 41.

[0032] With the nut and housing assembled together, the lugs 42 of the nut are received within respective slot apertures 36 of the retainer housing. When the nut 40 is accommodated within the housing 30 and is in the first orientation, the long axis of the nut and housing are aligned, as seen, for example, in Figure 1 . This may be referred to as the 'inserting configuration' of the fastener. In this configuration, the nut is wholly within the retainer housing and the screw-threaded bore 41 is orthogonal to the housing longitudinal axis. The lugs 42 are at the furthest forward extent of the slot apertures 36.

[0033] The bolt 50 (shown in isolation in Figure 2C) may be of conventional form, having a shank 52 with external screw-thread 53 formed from one end, and an enlarged head 54 at the other end. The external screw-thread of the bolt is adapted to match the internal screw-thread of the nut so that the two may be engaged by being screwed together by rotation of the bolt head relative to the nut. The bolt head 54 is provided with means (not seen in Figure 2C) by which a tool can engage the bolt head to rotate it, in use. For example, the bolt may be a commercially available type such as, but not limited to, a hexagonal head bolt, countersunk bolt or socket head cap screw. One or more washers 51 (Figure 1 ) may be used in conjunction with the bolt to assist in spreading load from the bolt head to the workpiece and/or provide a locking function to resist unintended loosening of the fastener, in use.

[0034] The system utilises an installation tool 60 (shown in isolation in Figure 2D) which interfits with the retainer housing 30 to hold the nut in a position to maintain the fastener in the inserting configuration, allowing the fastener to be passed through a hole 3 in the workpieces. The installation tool 60 has a locating portion 62 adapted to be inserted in the flange aperture 38 of the housing. When so inserted, a prong portion 61 extends into the housing through the slot 32 and along the upper aperture 37. The tool has a head 63 for a user to grasp for inserting and/or removing the tool from the fastener housing.

[0035] Figure 3 shows the installation tool inserted in the fastener housing. As shown, the prong 61 of the tool extends along the upper aperture 37 in the housing, with a portion of the prong lying across the upper surface of the nut 40. This prevents the nut from pivoting, thus maintaining the fastener in the inserting configuration whilst the installation tool is in place.

[0036] Referring now to Figure 4, when the installation tool is removed from the housing the nut 40 is permitted to pivot about the axis of the lugs 42. The upper and lower apertures 37 are of a width that allows passage of the nut wings 44, which permits the nut to pivot through ninety-degrees to a second orientation in which the axis of the screw-threaded bore 41 is aligned with the longitudinal axis of the housing 30. This may be referred to as the 'engaging configuration' of the fastener. In this configuration, the wings 44 of the nut project up and down out of the housing wall structure through the upper and lower apertures 37.

[0037] The action of pivoting the nut from the first orientation to the second orientation may be accomplished by various means. One way is for the user to tip or flick the nut around, using the end of the installation tool prong 61 on the wing 44 of the nut nearest the housing flange. By partially removing the installation tool and then tipping the nearest nut wing 44 down with the end of the prong 61 , the user can pivot the nut into the second orientation, wherein the lower nut wing comes to rest against the forward edge of the lower slot 37. Alternatively, the nut may be constructed to be asymmetrical such that one wing is heavier than the other. In that case the nut may pivot under gravitational action once the installation tool is removed. In another alternative, a resilient spring or the like may be included to act between the retainer housing and nut, once the installation tool is removed, to cause the nut to pivot. Other biasing means may be employed to pivot the nut into (or out of) the engaging configuration as would be understood by the person skilled in the art. I I

[0038] With the fastener in the engaging configuration, the screw-threaded end of the bolt 50 can be inserted into the housing through the opening 38. When so inserted, the external screw-thread of the bolt is able to engage the internal screw- thread of the nut, by rotation of the bolt relative to the housing. Figure 5 shows the bolt engaged with the nut and screwed in to the extent where the bolt head 54 has reached the housing flange 31. Further rotation of the bolt will result in tension force being applied between the housing flange and the nut that will cause the nut 40 to be drawn toward the flange 31. In use, such action is employed to clamp the workpieces (not shown in Figure 5) between the housing flange and nut wings. The use of the fastener with respect to workpieces to be fastened is described later in this disclosure with reference to preferred embodiments as illustrated in Figures 1 1 to 16.

[0039] Figures 6 to 10 illustrate a fastener 10' according to a second embodiment of the present invention, where like reference numerals refer to features corresponding to those already described in connection with the first embodiment.

[0040] The primary difference between the second embodiment and the first embodiment is the introduction of a sleeve component 70 (Figures 6 and 7E). The sleeve 70 is a generally tubular cylindrical component with an inner diameter sized to accept the flange 31 of the retainer housing. The sleeve 70 is formed with three slots 72 distributed around the circumference extending from a front edge 71 of the sleeve. The slots 72 correspond to keying formations 33 on the retainer housing flange, which in this case take the form of radially extending projections. The slots 72 extend in the axial direction from the front edge 71 of the sleeve, and each have an end section 73 (Figure 7E) extending circumferentially in the clockwise sense.

[0041 ] In use, a hole 3 is formed in the workpiece 2 (e.g. a wear plate) marginally larger than the outside diameter of the sleeve 70, so that the sleeve 70 can be inserted therein. The sleeve 70 may then be inserted in the hole 3 and welded or otherwise affixed to the workpiece 2. Preferably the axial extent of the sleeve 70 is the same as the thickness of the workpiece 2 (or at least the depth of the hole 3) so that the front edge of the sleeve is generally flush with the surface of the workpiece. Once in place, the function of the sleeve 70 is to secure the retainer housing, in use, by engagement of the keying formations 33 in the slots 72, and prevent rotation of the retainer housing during tightening and loosening of the fastener. [0042] The use of the sleeve 70 obviates any need for the hole in the workpiece 2 to be countersunk, counter-bored or constructed with keying formations 4 or the like. This is advantageous and economical where the workpiece 2 is a wear plate, for example, since the workpiece material in such applications is extremely hard.

[0043] Referring to Figure 6, other differences of note between the first and second embodiments include the flattened shape of the installation tool head 63, and the provision of a protective cap 80 that fits over the flange of the retainer housing to shield it from dust and dirt prior to installation.

[0044] Figures 1 1 to 16 are cross-sectional views showing, step-by-step, the application of a fastener 10' to clamp together first and second workpieces 1 , 2. In this case the fastener shown is constructed in accordance with the second embodiment.

[0045] In Figure 1 1 the workpieces to be fastened together (1 , 2) are shown with respective apertures formed in them and aligned to create a through-hole 5. The hole 5 is dimensioned to be large enough so as to permit the tubular walled portion of the housing 30 to pass therethrough, but small enough so that the retainer housing flange 31 cannot pass through. The aperture 3 in the workpiece 2 is adapted to accept the sleeve 70 therein, which is welded or otherwise affixed to the workpiece 2.

[0046] The fastener 10' (bolt not shown) is seen in Figure 1 1 in preparation for insertion into the sleeve 70 and thence through the hole 5 formed through the workpieces to be fixed together. The housing 30 contains the nut 40 which is held in place by the prong 61 of the installation tool 60. In other words, the fastener is in the inserting configuration, where the nut is supported wholly within the housing and the screw-threaded bore 41 is orthogonal to the housing longitudinal axis.

[0047] Figure 12 shows the fastener in the inserting configuration having been inserted into the sleeve supported by workpiece 2 and through the hole in workpiece 1 so that the flange 31 abuts against the end 74 of the sleeve and the keying projections 33 are received in the slots 72. The elongate tubular portion of the retainer housing containing the nut projects through the workpieces beyond the first workpiece 1. The installation tool 60 remains in place. [0048] Figure 13 shows the fastener 10' (bolt not seen) with the installation tool removed from the housing, allowing the nut 40 to pivot to its second orientation in which the axis of the screw-threaded bore 41 is aligned with the longitudinal axis of the housing 30. In other words, the fastener is in the engaging configuration, wherein the wings 44 of the nut respectively project up and down out of the housing wall structure through the upper and lower apertures 37. The nut is supported in this condition by the lugs 42 of the nut (not seen in this cross-sectional view) in the respective slot apertures 36 of the housing. The action of pivoting the nut into this orientation may be accomplished by user manipulation of the installation tool prong, or by other means as previously discussed.

[0049] Once the housing has been inserted through the workpieces and the installation tool removed, allowing the nut to pivot to its operative orientation, the bolt 50 can be introduced through the housing flange for engagement with the nut. A tool, such as a wrench or screw-driver appropriate to engage the bolt head 54, is used to rotate the bolt so that the externally screw-threaded end 53 of the bolt 50 engages with the internally screw-threaded bore 41 of the nut 40. With the bolt and nut in screw-threaded engagement, further rotation of the bolt relative to the housing draws the nut and bolt head toward one another. The nut is supported by lugs 42 in the slot apertures 36 of the housing for axial linear travel, and the nut is prevented from rotation by the wing portions 44 that extend through the housing apertures 37.

[0050] In Figure 14 the bolt 50 is shown in preparation for insertion into the fastener. The threaded end of the bolt is inserted axially through the sleeve and housing flange until it meets the screw-threaded bore of the nut. Rotation of the bolt head using a suitable tool then causes the screw threads of the nut and bolt to engage, as seen in Figure 15. While the bolt is rotated, the nut is prevented from turning by the retainer housing. Specifically, the wing portions 44 of the nut are held against rotation by the edges of the upper and lower slots 37, and the lugs 42 are retained in the side slots 36.

[0051] Further rotation of the bolt head causes the nut to be drawn along the bolt thread until the wing portions 44 bear against the surface of the workpiece 20 (Figure 16). Tension can then be applied to the bolt, which clamps and compresses the workpieces together between the housing flange and the nut. Force is applied to the housing flange from the bolt head 54 through the washer(s) 51.

[0052] The final, fastened configuration of the fastener on the workpieces is shown in Figures 17 and 18. Figure 17 shows an isometric cross-sectional view of the fastener tightened onto the workpieces, and Figure 18 shows the fastener from the other side of the workpieces.

[0053] The fastener can also be disengaged and/or removed by reversing the operations explained above in connection with Figures 11 to 16. To disengage or remove the fastener, first the bolt is loosened by rotating counter-clockwise relative to the housing. The housing is prevented from rotation relative to the workpieces by the respective keying formations 1 1 , 33 on the workpiece aperture and housing flange. The nut is prevented from rotation relative to the housing by the wing portions 44 bearing against the edges of the housing apertures 37, and by the lugs 42 bearing against the edges of the housing apertures 36. Rotation of the bolt thus effects axial displacement of the nut along the housing until the nut lugs 42 reach the end of the slot apertures 36. The bolt can then be unscrewed from the nut and removed from the housing. The installation tool 60 is then inserted into the housing in place of the bolt. The end of prong 61 reaches the upper wing portion of the nut, causing it to pivot on the lugs, placing the fastener into the inserting configuration once again. The fastener may then be withdrawn from the workpieces.

[0054] Although the retainer housing has been described hereinabove as a component that is removably inserted into a bore in the workpiece (with or without the use of a sleeve), it is also possible for the retainer housing to be welded or otherwise affixed directly to the workpiece.

[0055] While this invention has been described in connection with specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that it is capable of further modification(s). This application is intended to cover any variations uses or adaptations of the invention following, in general, the principles of the invention and including such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice within the art to which the invention pertains and as may be applied to the essential features hereinbefore set forth. For example, a fastener 0 according to yet another embodiment of the invention is shown in isometric view in Figure 1 9 in which a plug arrangement 190 is provided for further wear resistance and protection. The plug arrangement may comprise a steel plug 192 encased in wear plug tubing 191 , which may comprise a resilient material such as rubber. Equivalent structures and/or structural equivalents of the plug arrangement 190 are also envisaged as would be understood by the person skilled in the art.

[0056] As the present invention may be embodied in several forms without departing from the spirit of the essential characteristics of the invention, it should be understood that the above described embodiments are not to limit the present invention unless otherwise specified, but rather should be construed broadly within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects as illustrative only and not restrictive.

The following sections I - III provide a guide to interpreting the present specification. I. Terms

[0057] The term "product" means any machine, manufacture and/or composition of matter, unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0058] The term "process" means any process, algorithm, method or the like, unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0059] Each process (whether called a method, algorithm or otherwise) inherently includes one or more steps, and therefore all references to a "step" or "steps" of a process have an inherent antecedent basis in the mere recitation of the term 'process' or a like term. Accordingly, any reference in a claim to a 'step' or 'steps' of a process has sufficient antecedent basis.

[0060] The term "invention" and the like mean "the one or more inventions disclosed in this specification", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0061 ] The terms "an embodiment", "embodiment", "embodiments", "the embodiment", "the embodiments", "one or more embodiments", "some embodiments", "certain embodiments", "one embodiment", "another embodiment" and the like mean "one or more (but not all) embodiments of the disclosed invention(s)", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0062] The term "variation" of an invention means an embodiment of the invention, unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0063] A reference to "another embodiment" in describing an embodiment does not imply that the referenced embodiment is mutually exclusive with another embodiment (e.g., an embodiment described before the referenced embodiment), unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0064] The terms "including", "comprising" and variations thereof mean "including but not limited to", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0065] The terms "a", "an" and "the" mean "one or more", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0066] The term "plurality" means "two or more", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0067] The term "herein" means "in the present specification, including anything which may be incorporated by reference", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[0068] The phrase "at least one of, when such phrase modifies a plurality of things (such as an enumerated list of things), means any combination of one or more of those things, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the phrase "at least one of a widget, a car and a wheel" means either (i) a widget, (ii) a car, (iii) a wheel, (iv) a widget and a car, (v) a widget and a wheel, (vi) a car and a wheel, or (vii) a widget, a car and a wheel. The phrase "at least one of", when such phrase modifies a plurality of things, does not mean "one of each of" the plurality of things.

[0069] Numerical terms such as "one", "two", etc. when used as cardinal numbers to indicate quantity of something (e.g., one widget, two widgets), mean the quantity indicated by that numerical term, but do not mean at least the quantity indicated by that numerical term. For example, the phrase "one widget" does not mean "at least one widget", and therefore the phrase "one widget" does not cover, e.g., two widgets. [0070] The phrase "based on" does not mean "based only on", unless expressly specified otherwise. In other words, the phrase "based on" describes both "based only on" and "based at least on". The phrase "based at least on" is equivalent to the phrase "based at least in part on".

[0071 ] The term "represent" and like terms are not exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the term "represents" do not mean "represents only", unless expressly specified otherwise. In other words, the phrase "the data represents a credit card number" describes both "the data represents only a credit card number" and "the data represents a credit card number and the data also represents something else".

[0072] The term "whereby" is used herein only to precede a clause or other set of words that express only the intended result, objective or consequence of something that is previously and explicitly recited. Thus, when the term "whereby" is used in a claim, the clause or other words that the term "whereby" modifies do not establish specific further limitations of the claim or otherwise restricts the meaning or scope of the claim.

[0073] The term "e.g." and like terms mean "for example", and thus does not limit the term or phrase it explains. For example, in the sentence "the computer sends data (e.g., instructions, a data structure) over the Internet", the term "e.g." explains that "instructions" are an example of "data" that the computer may send over the Internet, and also explains that "a data structure" is an example of "data" that the computer may send over the Internet. However, both "instructions" and "a data structure" are merely examples of "data", and other things besides "instructions" and "a data structure" can be "data".

[0074] The term "i.e." and like terms mean "that is", and thus limits the term or phrase it explains. For example, in the sentence "the computer sends data (i.e., instructions) over the Internet", the term "i.e." explains that "instructions" are the "data" that the computer sends over the Internet.

[0075] Any given numerical range shall include whole and fractions of numbers within the range. For example, the range "1 to 10" shall be interpreted to specifically include whole numbers between 1 and 10 (e.g., 2, 3, 4, . . . 9) and non-whole numbers (e.g., 1 .1 , 1.2, . . . 1.9).

II. Forms of Sentences

[0076] Where a limitation of a first claim would cover one of a feature as well as more than one of a feature (e.g., a limitation such as "at least one widget" covers one widget as well as more than one widget), and where in a second claim that depends on the first claim, the second claim uses a definite article "the" to refer to the limitation (e.g., "the widget"), this does not imply that the first claim covers only one of the feature, and this does not imply that the second claim covers only one of the feature (e.g., "the widget" can cover both one widget and more than one widget).

[0077] When an ordinal number (such as "first", "second", "third" and so on) is used as an adjective before a term, that ordinal number is used (unless expressly specified otherwise) merely to indicate a particular feature, such as to distinguish that particular feature from another feature that is described by the same term or by a similar term. For example, a "first widget" may be so named merely to distinguish it from, e.g., a "second widget". Thus, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers "first" and "second" before the term "widget" does not indicate any other relationship between the two widgets, and likewise does not indicate any other characteristics of either or both widgets. For example, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers "first" and "second" before the term "widget" (1 ) does not indicate that either widget comes before or after any other in order or location; (2) does not indicate that either widget occurs or acts before or after any other in time; and (3) does not indicate that either widget ranks above or below any other, as in importance or quality. In addition, the mere usage of ordinal numbers does not define a numerical limit to the features identified with the ordinal numbers. For example, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers "first" and "second" before the term "widget" does not indicate that there must be no more than two widgets.

[0078] When a single device or article is described herein, more than one device/article (whether or not they cooperate) may alternatively be used in place of the single device/article that is described. Accordingly, the functionality that is described as being possessed by a device may alternatively be possessed by more than one device/article (whether or not they cooperate).

[0079] Similarly, where more than one device or article is described herein (whether or not they cooperate), a single device/article may alternatively be used in place of the more than one device or article that is described. Accordingly, the various functionality that is described as being possessed by more than one device or article may alternatively be possessed by a single device/article.

[0080] The functionality and/or the features of a single device that is described may be alternatively embodied by one or more other devices which are described but are not explicitly described as having such functionality/features. Thus, other embodiments need not include the described device itself, but rather can include the one or more other devices which would, in those other embodiments, have such functionality/features.

III. Disclosed Examples and Terminology Are Not Limiting

[0081] Neither the Title nor the Abstract in this specification is intended to be taken as limiting in any way as the scope of the disclosed invention(s). The title and headings of sections provided in the specification are for convenience only, and are not to be taken as limiting the disclosure in any way.

[0082] Numerous embodiments are described in the present application, and are presented for illustrative purposes only. The described embodiments are not, and are not intended to be, limiting in any sense. The presently disclosed invention(s) are widely applicable to numerous embodiments, as is readily apparent from the disclosure. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the disclosed invention(s) may be practiced with various modifications and alterations, such as structural, logical, software, and electrical modifications. Although particular features of the disclosed invention(s) may be described with reference to one or more particular embodiments and/or drawings, it should be understood that such features are not limited to usage in the one or more particular embodiments or drawings with reference to which they are described, unless expressly specified otherwise. [0083] The present disclosure is not a literal description of all embodiments of the invention(s). Also, the present disclosure is not a listing of features of the invention(s) which must be present in all embodiments.

[0084] A description of an embodiment with several components or features does not imply that all or even any of such components/features are required. On the contrary, a variety of optional components are described to illustrate the wide variety of possible embodiments of the present invention(s). Unless otherwise specified explicitly, no component/feature is essential or required.

[0085] Although process steps, algorithms or the like may be described in a particular sequential order, such processes may be configured to work in different orders. In other words, any sequence or order of steps that may be explicitly described does not necessarily indicate a requirement that the steps be performed in that order. The steps of processes described herein may be performed in any order practical. Further, some steps may be performed simultaneously despite being described or implied as occurring non-simultaneously (e.g., because one step is described after the other step). Moreover, the illustration of a process by its depiction in a drawing does not imply that the illustrated process is exclusive of other variations and modifications thereto, does not imply that the illustrated process or any of its steps are necessary to the invention(s), and does not imply that the illustrated process is preferred.

[0086] Although a process may be described as including a plurality of steps, that does not imply that all or any of the steps are preferred, essential or required. Various other embodiments within the scope of the described invention(s) include other processes that omit some or all of the described steps. Unless otherwise specified explicitly, no step is essential or required.

[0087] Although a product may be described as including a plurality of components, aspects, qualities, characteristics and/or features, that does not indicate that any or all of the plurality are preferred, essential or required. Various other embodiments within the scope of the described invention(s) include other products that omit some or all of the described plurality. [0088] An enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are mutually exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. Likewise, an enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are comprehensive of any category, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the enumerated list "a fastener, a rivet, a nut" does not imply that any or all of the three items of that list are mutually exclusive and does not imply that any or all of the three items of that list are comprehensive of any category.

[0089] An enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are equivalent to each other or readily substituted for each other.

[0090] All embodiments are illustrative, and do not imply that the invention or any embodiments were made or performed, as the case may be.