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Numéro de publicationUS20050167477 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeUS 11/045,336
Date de publication4 août 2005
Date de dépôt31 janv. 2005
Date de priorité30 janv. 2004
Autre référence de publicationCA2495333A1
Numéro de publication045336, 11045336, US 2005/0167477 A1, US 2005/167477 A1, US 20050167477 A1, US 20050167477A1, US 2005167477 A1, US 2005167477A1, US-A1-20050167477, US-A1-2005167477, US2005/0167477A1, US2005/167477A1, US20050167477 A1, US20050167477A1, US2005167477 A1, US2005167477A1
InventeursTrevor Collins, Harold Scott, Paul Booker, Amir Siddiqui, Mayra Mallett, Theodore Jacobs
Cessionnaire d'originePavaco Plastics Inc.
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Plug
US 20050167477 A1
Résumé
A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture defined by an edge in a panel. The plug is substantially elastic, and has a central portion and a peripheral portion attached to the central portion by one or more bridge portions. The central portion and the peripheral portion are separated from each other along two or more cuts. Also, the central portion includes a middle part and two or more flap parts extending from the middle part, the flap parts being defined by the cuts. The flap parts are positioned to grip the edge after the flap parts have been deformed and released in the aperture.
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Revendications(18)
1. A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the plug having:
a central portion comprising a substantially elastic material;
a peripheral portion attached to the central portion by at least one bridge portion comprising a substantially elastic material, the central portion and the peripheral portion being separated from each other along at least two cuts;
the central portion including a middle part and at least two flap parts extending from said middle part, said at least two cuts defining said at least two flap parts; and
said at least two flap parts being positioned to grip said at least one edge after said at least two flap parts have been deformed and released in the
whereby the middle part is located in the aperture by said at least two flap parts.
2. A plug according to claim 1 in which each of said at least two flap parts includes an outer segment distal to the middle part, the outer segments being spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
3. A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the plug having:
a central portion comprising a substantially elastic material;
a peripheral portion attached to the central portion by at least one bridge portion, the bridge portion comprising a substantially elastic material, the central portion and the peripheral portion being separated from each other along at least two cuts;
the central portion including a middle part and at least two flap parts extending from said middle part, said at least two cuts defining said at least two flap parts; and
said at least two flap parts being disposed substantially opposite to each other such that, upon said at least two flap parts having been deformed and released in the aperture to engage said at least one edge respectively, said at least two flap parts hold the middle part substantially over the aperture,
whereby the middle part impedes transmission through the aperture.
4. A plug according to claim 3 in which each of said at least two flap parts includes an outer segment distal to the middle pat, the outer segments being spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
5. A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the panel having a first side and an opposed second side, the plug having;
at least two substantially elastic flap parts;
a central portion including said at least two flap parts, said at least two flap parts being connected to each other by a middle part of the central portion;
a peripheral portion substantially surrounding the central portion and connected to the central portion by a bridge portion;
the peripheral portion being adapted to engage the first side of the panel; and
said at least two flap parts being positioned for engaging the second side of the panel at said at least one edge respectively, said at least two flap parts being deformable such that the panel is received between the peripheral portion and said at least two flap parts upon releasing said at least two deformed flap parts in the aperture, thereby causing the panel to be gripped between the peripheral portion and said at least two flap parts,
whereby the middle part is positioned over the aperture by said at least two flap parts.
6. A plug according to claim 5 in which each of said at least two flap parts includes an outer segment distal to the middle pay the outer segments being spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
7. A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel, the aperture being defined by at least two substantially opposed edges, the panel having a first side and a second side, the plug having:
at least two substantially elastic flap parts;
a central portion including a middle part and said at least tvo flap parts, said at least two flap parts attached to the middle part;
a peripheral portion substantially surrounding the central portion, and connected to the central portion;
each of said at least two flap parts being biased to a rest position in which said at least two flap parts are substantially coplanar with the middle part and the peripheral portion; and
said at least two flap parts being positioned for engagement with said at least two edges such that, upon deformation of said at least two flap parts and release of aid at least two flap parts in the, said at least two flap parts urge the peripheral portion against the first side of the panel,
whereby the middle part is held substantially over the aperture to impede transmission through the aperture.
8. A plug according to claim 7 in which each of said at least two flap parts includes an outer segment distal to the middle part, the outer segments being spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
9. A panel assembly including:
a panel with an aperture defined by at least one edge, the panel having a first side and an opposed second side;
a plug having:
a central portion including at least two flap parts, the central portion having a middle part connecting said at least two flap parts, said at least two flap parts comprising a substantially elastic material;
a peripheral portion substantially surrounding the central portion, the peripheral portion and the central portion being connected to each other;
said at least two flap parts being spaced apart a predetermined distance for engaging said at least two edges;
the plug being mountable on the panel upon deformation of said at least two flap parts, insertion of said at least two flap parts through the aperture, and release of said at least two deformed flap parts; and
each of said at least two flap parts being sufficiently elastic that, acting through the middle part, said at least two flap parts urge the peripheral portion against the first side of the panel, thereby maintaining the middle part over the aperture,
whereby the middle part substantially impedes the transmission through the aperture.
10. A panel assembly according to claim 9 in which each of said at least two flap parts includes an outer segment distal to the middle part, the outer segments being spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
11. A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the plug having:
a substantially elastic central portion with a middle part and at least two flap parts extending from the middle part;
a peripheral portion connected to the middle part and substantially surrounding the central portion;
said at least two flap parts being positioned for engagement with said at least one edge at substantially opposed sides of the aperture, such that the panel is receivable between said at least two flap parts and the peripheral portion; and
said at least two flap parts being deformable and, upon deformation thereof and release of said at least two flap parts in the aperture, said at least two flap parts engage the panel and cause the peripheral portion to engage the panel,
whereby the middle part impedes transmission through the aperture.
12. A plug according to claim 11 in which each of said at least two flap parts includes an outer segment distal to the middle par; the outer segments being spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
13. A method of forming a plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) selecting a substantially planar blank of a substantially elastic material, the blank having predetermined dimensions such that the blank is sufficiently large to cover the aperture; and
(b) forming at least two cuts in the blank according to a predetermined pattern to define at least two flap parts, said at least two flap pans and a middle part therebetween forming a central portion of the plug, and a peripheral portion substantially surrounding the central portion and connected to the central portion at the middle part.
14. A method of forming a plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel, the method comprising the steps of.
(a) selecting a substantially planar blank of a substantially elastic material, the blank being sufficiently large to cover the aperture and a predetermined area of the panel substantially surrounding the aperture;
(b) forming at least two cuts in the blank to define:
at least two flap pars, said at least two flap parts being included in a central portion and extending from a middle part of the central portion;
a removal portion extending from an outer segment of each flap part, each outer segment being positioned distal to the middle part, and the peripheral portion; and
(c) removing the removal portion such that each outer segment of said at least two flap parts is spaced apart from the peripheral portion, to facilitate deformation of said at least two flap parts.
15. A method of mounting a substantially elastic plug on a panel, the plug being adapted to impede transmission through an aperture in the panel, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) squeezing at least two flap pans of the plug to deform said at least two flap parts, said at least two flap parts extending from a middle part of a central portion of the plug:
(b) inserting said at least two flap parts into the aperture; and
(c) releasing said at least two flap parts in the aperture, said at least two flap parts engaging said at least one edge to hold the middle part over the aperture.
16. A method of mounting a substantially elastic plug on a panel, the plug being adapted to impede transmission through an aperture in the panel, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) providing the plug, the plug having:
a central portion comprising a substantially elastic material;
a peripheral portion comprising a substantially elastic material attached to the central portion by at least one bridge portion, the central portion and the peripheral portion being separated from each other along at least two cuts;
the central portion including a middle part and at least two flap parts extending from said middle part, said at least two cuts defining said at least two flap parts in accordance with a predetermined pattern; and
said at least two flap parts being positioned to grip said at least one edge after said at least two flap parts have been deformed and released in the aperture;
(b) providing a tool having:
a handle;
at least two prongs mounted on a distal end of the handle, said at least two prongs being adapted to deform said at least two flaps;
(c) engaging said at least two prongs wit said at least two flap parts to deform said at least two flap parts;
(d) inserting the distal end of the tool into the aperture, with said at least two flap parts deformed by said at least two prongs;
(e) releasing said at least two flap parts from said at least two prongs, to permit said at least two flap parts to engage said at least one edge to hold the middle part over the aperture; and
(f) removing the distal end of the tool from the aperture.
17. A tool for mounting a substantially elastic plug having at least two flap parts spaced apart from each other, the tool having:
a handle;
at least two prongs mounted on a distal end of the handle, said at least two prongs being adapted to move between a closed position, in which said at least two flap parts are engaged by said at least two prongs respectively to deform said at least two flap parts, and an open position, in which said at least two prongs are disengaged from said at least two flap parts; and
means for controlling movement of said at least two prongs.
18. A plug for impeding transmission through an aperture; in a panel, the aperture being defined by at least one edge, the plug having:
a central portion comprising a substantially elastic material;
a peripheral portion attached to the central portion by at least one bridge portion comprising a substantially elastic material, the central portion and the peripheral portion being separated from each other along at least one cut;
the central portion including a middle part and at least one flap part extending from said middle part, said at least one cut defining said at least one flap part; and
said at least one flap part being positioned to gyp said at least one edge after said at least one flap part has been deformed and released in the aperture,
whereby the middle part is located in the aperture by said at least one flap part.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/540,063, filed Jan. 30, 2004.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    This invention is related to a plug for impeding transmission of sound and material through an aperture.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Panels, such as a panel inside an automobile door, are included in a structure to strengthen its or for other purposes, such as enclosing an open volume. Such panels are usually made of sheet metal or any other suitable material, and typically include one ox more apertures. The apertures may be included in the panel to provide access, to enable pass-through, for reducing the panel's weight, or for other reasons. Typically, apertures in a panel in an automobile door vary from approximately one inch or less in diameter up to eight to ten inches in diameter, or greater.
  • [0004]
    Sound Is transmittable through the apertures, however, and depending on the structure and its use, the transmission of sound through an aperture in a panel may be undesirable. For example, “road noise” may be transmitted through the apertures in the panel inside an automobile door, to a passenger compartment adjacent to the door. In addition, the transmission of material through the apes is undesirable. For example, dust may move through the apertures from the exterior of the automobile, ultimately moving into the passenger compartment. Also, air flow through the apertures is undesirable, as this may lead to undesirable cooling or warming of the passenger compartment. (For the purposes hereof, “transmission of sound and material” shall be understood to include air flow through the aperture.)
  • [0005]
    Different approaches to reducing the transmission of road noise and material through panel apertures are known. For example, mastic patches are typically made of plastic or any suitable material, and formed to be slightly larger than the aperture to be covered. Mastic or any other suitable adhesive is placed on one side of the mastic patch. The adhesive side of the mastic patch is placed over the aperture in question, and is held in place by the adhesive. One disadvantage with mastic patches is that, if the patch is not properly aligned on the aperture, the patch may only partially cover the aperture, thereby significantly reducing its effectiveness. Also, it is sometimes necessary to remove a patch (i.e., to permit maintenance or repair), and mastic patches can be difficult to remove. Yet another disadvantage is that a mastic patch typically cannot be reused after it is removed.
  • [0006]
    Another approach in the prior art is to provide plugs formed to fit in the aperture, and which are held in place by a series of retention tabs which cooperate with the edges of the aperture. This type of plug is more likely to be installed properly than the mastic patch. Also, such plugs can be designed for relatively easy removal and reuse. However, these plugs require expensive tooling to manufacture, and the cost of each plug is relatively high.
  • [0007]
    There is therefore a need for an improved plug for impeding transmission of sound and material through an aperture in a panel.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    In one of its aspects, the invention provides a plug for impeding transmission of sound and material through an aperture in a panel. The aperture is defined by one or more edges. The plug has a central portion comprising a substantially elastic material and a peripheral portion attached to the central portion by one or more bridge portions comprising a substantially elastic material. The central portion and the peripheral portion are separated from each other along two or more cuts. The central portion includes a middle part and two or more flap parts extending from the middle part, and the flap parts are defined by the cuts. The flap parts are positioned to grip the edge (or edges) after the flap parts have been deformed and released in the aperture, so that the middle part is located in the aperture by the flap parts.
  • [0009]
    In another aspect, each of the flap parts includes an outer segment located distal to the middle part The outer segments are spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a preselected distance respectively to facilitate deformation of the flap parts.
  • [0010]
    In yet another aspect, the flap parts are disposed substantially opposite to each other so that, upon the flap parts having been deformed and released in The aperture to engage the edge respectively, the flap parts hold the middle part substantially over the aperture.
  • [0011]
    In another of its aspects, the peripheral portion is adapted to engage a first side of the panel. Also, the flap parts are positioned for engaging a second side of the panel (the second side being positioned opposite to the first side) at the edge of the aperture respectively. The panel is received between the peripheral portion and the flap parts upon releasing the deformed flap parts in the aperture, thereby causing the panel to be gripped between We peripheral portion and the flap parts. The middle part is positioned over the aperture by the flap par.
  • [0012]
    In yet another of its aspects, the flap parts are biased to a rest position in which the flap parts are substantially coplanar with the middle part and the peripheral portion. The flap parts are positioned for engagement with the edge (or edges) of the aperture so that, upon deformation of the flap parts and release of the flap parts in the aperture, the flap parts urge the peripheral portion against the first side of the panel.
  • [0013]
    In another aspect, the invention includes a panel assembly having a panel with an aperture defined by one or more edges. The panel has a first side and an opposed second side. The panel assembly also includes a plug having a central portion and a peripheral portion. The central portion includes two or more flap parts and a middle part connecting the flap parts, which are made of a substantially elastic material. The peripheral portion substantially surrounds the central portion, and the peripheral portion and the central portion are connected to each other. Also, the flap parts are spaced apart a predetermined distance for engaging the aperture's edge. The plug is mountable on the panel upon deformation of the flap parts, insertion of the flap parts through the aperture, and release of the deformed flap parts. Each of the flap parts is sufficiently elastic that, acting through the middle part, each of the flap parts urges the peripheral portion against the first side of the panel when the flap parts are engaged with the second side, thereby maintaining the middle part over the aperture.
  • [0014]
    In yet another of its aspects, the invention includes a method of forming a plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel. The method includes the steps of, first, selecting a substantially planar blank of a substantially elastic material. The blank has predetermined dimensions so that the blank is sufficiently large to cover the aperture and a predetermined area of the panel substantially surrounding the aperture. Second, two or more cuts are to be formed in the blank according to a predetermined pattern to define the flap pans. The flap pans and a middle part therebetween form a central portion of the plug. Also formed is a peripheral portion substantially surrounding the central portion and connected to the central portion at the middle part.
  • [0015]
    In another aspect, the invention includes a method of forming a plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel. The method comprises the steps of, first, selecting a substantially planar blank of a substantially elastic material. The blank should preferably be sufficiently large to cover the aperture and a predetermined area of the panel substantially surrounding the aperture. Next, two or more cuts are formed in the blank to define two or more flap parts. The flap parts are included in a central portion and extend from a middle part of the central portion. Also formed is a removal portion of the blank extending from an outer segment of each flap part. Each outer segment is positioned distal to the middle part. Finally, the removal portion is removed so that each outer segment of the flap parts is spaced apart from the peripheral portion by a predetermined distance, to facilitate deformation of the flap parts.
  • [0016]
    In yet another of its aspects, the invention provides a plug for impeding transmission through an aperture in a panel. The aperture is defined by one or more edges. The plug has a central portion comprising a substantially elastic material and a peripheral portion attached to the central portion by one or more bridge portions also comprising a substantially elastic material. The central portion and the peripheral portion are separated from each other along one or more cuts. In addition, the central portion includes a middle part and one or more flap parts extending from the middle part. The flap part is defined by the cut. The flap part is positioned to grip the edge at the flap part is deformed and released in the aperture, so that the middle part is positioned in the aperture by the flap part.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    The invention will be better understood with reference to the drawings, in which:
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the plug of the invention;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1A is a cross-section of the plug of FIG. 1, taken along line 1A-1A in FIG. 1;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2 is a view of a first side of a panel with the plug of FIG. 1 mounted on the panel to form a panel assembly;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of the panel assembly of FIG. 2;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 4 is an isometric view of the panel assembly of FIG. 2;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 5 is a view of the panel assembly of FIG. 2 showing the outline of an aperture in dashed lines;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 5A is a cross-section of the assembly of FIG. 5, taken along line 5A-5A in FIG. 5;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 6 is a view of the panel assembly of FIG. 2 with the plug partially cut away, showing the position of the aperture in the panel;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a preferred embodiment of a plug insertion tool of the invention;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 8 is an elevation view of an alternative embodiment of the plug; and
  • [0028]
    FIG. 9 is an isometric view of the plug of FIG. 8, with one flap part lifted.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)
  • [0029]
    Reference is first made to FIGS. 1, 1A, 2-5, 5A, and 6 to describe a preferred embodiment of a plug indicated generally by the numeral 20 in accordance with the invention. As can be seen in FIGS. 2-5, 5A, and 6, the plug 20 is for covering an aperture 22 in a panel 24 to impede the transmission of sound and material through the aperture 22. The aperture 22 is defined by one or more edges 25 (FIGS. 5 and 6). The plug 20 preferably has two or more flap parts 38, 40 included in a substantially elastic central portion 42 and a substantially elastic peripheral portion 44. In the preferred embodiment, the peripheral portion 44 is attached to the central portion 42 by bridge portions 45, and the peripheral portion 44 and the central portion 42 are also separated from each other along cuts 46, 48. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the cuts 46, 48 define the flap parts 38, 40. Also, the central portion 42 preferably includes a middle part 49 from which the flap parts 38, 40 extend. The flap parts 38, 40 are positioned to grip the edge 25 after the flap parts 38, 40 have been deformed and released in the aperture 22, so that the middle part 49 is located in the aperture by the flap parts 38, 40, as will be described.
  • [0030]
    As can be seen in FIGS. 5, 5A, and 6, the aperture 22 can be defined by one or more edges 25. It will be understood that the aperture 22 shown in the drawings is exemplary, and the aperture 22 can have any shape. Preferably, the flap parts 38, 40 are disposed substantially opposite to each other so that, upon the flap parts 38, 40 having been deformed and released in the aperture 22 to engage the edge 25 respectively, the two flap parts hold the middle part 49 substantially over the aperture 22. As can be seen in FIGS. 5, 5A, and 6, once in position, the middle part 49 impedes transmission (i.e., of sound and material, including air flow) through the aperture 22.
  • [0031]
    As can be seen in FIGS. 2-5 and 5A, the panel 24 has a fog side 32 and an opposed second side 34. The flap parts 38, 40 are positioned for engaging the second side 34 of the panel 24 at, and/or proximal to, the edge 25. The edge 25 is at least partially located on the second side 34. In the preferred embodiment, the peripheral portion 44, which substantially surrounds the central portion 42, is adapted to engage the first side 32 of the panel 34. Also, the flap parts 38, 40 are positioned for engaging the second side 34 at the edge 25 respectively. As shown in FIG. 5A, once the flap parts 38, 40 are deformed and released in the aperture 22, due to elastic memory of the flap parts 39, 40, the flap parts 38, 40 engage the second side 34, and the panel 24 is received and gripped between the peripheral portion 44 and the flap parts 38, 40.
  • [0032]
    As can be seen in FIG. 1A, the flap parts 38. 40 are biased to a rest position (FIG. 1A) in which the flap parts 38, 40 are substantially coplanar with the middle part 49 and the peripheral portion 44. Upon deformation of the flap parts 38, 40 and release in the aperture 22 of the flap parts 38, 40, the flap parts 38, 40 urge the peripheral portion 44 against the first side 32 of the panel 24, and the middle part 49 is held substantially over the aperture 22.
  • [0033]
    A panel assembly 50 (FIGS. 2-5) consists of the panel 24 with the plug 20 mounted thereon
  • [0034]
    Preferably, the plug 20 is made of any suitable elastic material—i.e., any material that is able to return to its original shape after experiencing strain and removal of deforming stress (sometimes referred to as elasticity memory), such as any flexible or semi-flexible plastic material with as least some acoustic barrier capability, i.e., some ability to impede the transmission of sound therethrough. Any thermoplastics or other plastics (recycled or otherwise) with these characteristics (including “hard” plastics), or rubber or rubber-based materials with these characteristics, would be suitable materials. In the preferred embodiment, the plug 20 is cut out of a sheet of elastic material. The cuts in the material can be made using dies or by any other suitable means. The substantially elastic material preferably has a thickness of between approximately 0.020 inch and 0.120 inch. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the plug 20 can be formed to cover apertures in a variety of shapes, and that the cuts can be made in any suitable pattern.
  • [0035]
    Although forming the plug 20 out of an integral sheet of elastic material is the most economic way to create the plug 20, other methods of creating the plug 20 will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, if desired, the peripheral portion 44 could be made of a material which is not the same as the material comprising the central portion 42. The peripheral portion 44 is not necessarily made of a substantially elastic material, although it is preferred. The flap parts 38, 40 and the bridge portions 45 should be made of a substantially elastic material, however.
  • [0036]
    It will be understood that, although the preferred embodiment of the plug 20 includes two or more flap parts 38, 40, a plug 20 including only one flap past could be used, depending on the shape of the aperture 22 and the shape of the flap part.
  • [0037]
    In use, the plug 20 can be mounted on the panel 24 in different ways. For example, the flap parts 38, 40 could be squeezed by a thumb and an index finger respectively. The flap parts 38, 40 are then positioned inside the aperture 22, and subsequently released. The elastic memory of the plug 20 causer the flap par 38, 40 to engage the second side 34 of the panel 24 near the edge 25 of the aperture 22. Also, the elastic memory of the plug 20 causes the peripheral portion 44 to engage the first side 32 of the panel 24.
  • [0038]
    Alternatively, the outer edges of the plug 20 near the flap parts 38, 40 could be pulled outwardly, and the flap parts 38, 40 then slid into the aperture 22, to engage the second side 34 of the panel 24.
  • [0039]
    Another approach would be to position the plug 20 so that the central portion 42 is over the aperture 22, and then push on the central portion 42. This pushes the flap parts 38, 40 into the aperture 22, where they engage the second side 34 due to elasticity memory of the plug 20.
  • [0040]
    It is preferred that the plug 20 is mounted in the aperture 22 manually. However, such mounting can also be effected using a plug insertion tool 60, shown in FIG. 7. The tool 60 includes a handle 62 and a distal or end portion 64 in which two prongs 66, 68 arc positioned. In general, the tool 60 is adapted to mount the plug 20 on the panel 24, in any and all of the ways described above.
  • [0041]
    For example, in the preferred embodiment, the prongs 66, 68 are transversely movable (relative to the handle 62), and such transverse movement is controlled via a trigger 70 on the tool 60. A user (not shown) places the plug 20 on the tool 60 by inserting the prongs 66, 68 into the cuts 46, 48. When the trigger 70 is pressed, the prongs 66, 68 move towards each other, thereby squeezing the flap parts 38, 40 and the middle part 49. This causes the flap parts 38, 40 to bend, or deform, and the user inserts the end 64 into the aperture 22, so that the deformed flap parts 38, 40 are adjacent to the second side 34 of the panel 24. However, at the same time, the peripheral portion 44 remains adjacent to the first side 32 of the panel 24. With the end 64 in the aperture 22, the user releases the trigger 70, causing the prongs 66, 68 to move apart, thereby permitting the flap parts 38, 40 to engage the second side 34 at, or in the vicinity of, the edge 25 of the a 22.
  • [0042]
    Preferably, the tool 60 also is adapted to extend the prongs 66, 68 outwardly from the end portion 64 upon activation, preferably via the trigger 70 or similar activation means. The tool 60 is preferably also adapted to retract the extended prongs 66, 68 (not shown), also upon appropriate activation by the user. With the plug 20 on the tool 60 (i.e., the prongs 66, 68 inserted into the cuts 46, 48), the forward movement, or extension, of the prongs 66, 68 is initiated, so that the flap parts 38, 40 are inserted into the aperture 22 when the prongs 66, 68 move forwardly.
  • [0043]
    Preferably, when the extended prongs 66, 68 are positioned in the aperture 22, the extended prongs 66, 68 are moved apart (upon appropriate activation by the user) so that the flap parts 38, 40 will engage the second side 34 of the panel 24. The prongs 66, 68 are subsequently retracted out of the aperture 22 (i.e., into the end portion 64), leaving the plug 20 mounted on the panel 24.
  • [0044]
    Au additional embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. In FIGS. 8 and 9, elements are numbered so as to correspond to like elements shown in FIGS. 1, 1A, 2-5, 5A and 6.
  • [0045]
    As shown in FIG. 8, in an alternative embodiment 120 of the plug, each of the flap parts 138, 140 includes an outer segment 172, 174 positioned distal to the middle part 149. The outer segments 172, 174 are spaced apart respectively from the peripheral portion 144 by a preselected distance (designated as “D” in FIG. 8) across a gap 176 to facilitate deformation of the flap parts 138, 140. Deformation of the flap part 138 is shown in FIG. 9. The gap 176 between the outer segments 172, 174 and the peripheral portion 144 is beneficial because, where the plug 120 is to be mounted manually, a user (not shown) can more easily grasp the flap parts 138, 140 by first inserting the user's index finger and thumb (not shown) into the gaps 176. The plug 120 could also be mounted using the too) 60.
  • [0046]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention can take many forms, and that such forms are within the scope of the invention as claimed. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred version contained herein.
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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis229/117.13
Classification internationaleE04B1/90, F16J15/02, E04B1/66, B60R13/06, F16B13/14, B25B7/12, B60R13/08, B65D5/46
Classification coopérativeB60R13/0846
Classification européenneB60R13/08D
Événements juridiques
DateCodeÉvénementDescription
5 avr. 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: PAVACO PLASTICS INC., ONTARIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:COLLINS, TREVOR J.;SCOTT, HAROLD M.;BOOKER, PAUL H.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015858/0990
Effective date: 20050128