Title:
Padded sports ball
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sports ball includes a ball cover having a ball cavity and a valve hole, and an inflatable ball bladder. The inflatable ball bladder, which is disposed in the ball cavity of the ball cover and is adapted to be inflated through the valve hole to support the ball cover, includes an outer bladder portion layer, an inner bladder portion layer disposed in the outer bladder portion layer, and a webbing layer. The webbing layer is disposed between the inner and outer bladder portion layers, wherein the inner and outer bladder portion layers are treated to integrally embed the webbing layer therebetween to enhance the strength of the ball bladder such that the webbing layer allows the ball bladder to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein to support the ball cover.



Inventors:
Ou, Tsung Ming (Kaohsiung, TW)
Application Number:
11/998210
Publication Date:
05/28/2009
Filing Date:
11/28/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B41/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20070238558Apparatus for assisting in teaching the proper technique in shooting a basketballOctober, 2007Graham
20060073912Combination of body and striking plate for golf club headApril, 2006Hsieh et al.
20040014538Strike zone trainerJanuary, 2004Bennett
20080102975Connection structure of housing and bottom plate of golf club headMay, 2008Chen
20090267748Sports boxOctober, 2009Bailey
20060009314Tennis stroke training apparatus and methodJanuary, 2006Bilsey
20010004019Golf ball mark repair toolJune, 2001Wakefield
20080081710Phase transition golf ball and method of useApril, 2008Chen et al.



Primary Examiner:
BALDORI, JOSEPH B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVID AND RAYMOND PATENT FIRM (108 N. YNEZ AVE., SUITE 128, MONTEREY PARK, CA, 91754, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sports ball, comprising: a ball cover having a ball cavity and a valve hole communicating thereto; an inflatable ball bladder, which is disposed in said ball cavity of said ball cover and is adapted to be inflated through said valve hole to support said ball cover; comprising: an outer bladder portion; an inner bladder portion disposed in said outer bladder portion; and a webbing layer disposed between said inner and outer bladder portions, wherein said inner and outer bladder portions are treated to integrally embed said webbing layer therebetween to enhance a strength of said inflatable ball bladder such that said webbing layer allows said inflatable ball bladder to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein to support said ball cover.

2. The sports ball, as recited in claim 1, wherein said webbing layer comprises a plurality of webbing elements attached on an outer surface of said inner bladder portion of said inflatable ball bladder for being embedded between said inner and outer bladder portions, wherein said webbing elements are interwoven with each other to form a substantially web of webbing layer to substantially strengthen said inflatable ball bladder.

3. The sports ball, as recited in claim 2, wherein said inner bladder portion is entirely embraced by said webbing layer to enclose said inner bladder portion, wherein each of said webbing elements is an elongated strengthening thread evenly and repetitively wound around said outer surface of said inner bladder portion, so that said strengthened threads are overlapped with each other to form said webbing layer as a web structure.

4. The sports ball, as recited in claim 1, wherein said inner and outer bladder portions are made of rubber materials such that when said inner and outer bladder portions are heat-treated, said inner and outer bladder portions are integrated to form a single layer to integrally embed said webbing layer within said single layer, wherein said single layer is flexible to sustain impact exerted on said sports ball.

5. The sports ball, as recited in claim 2, wherein said inner and outer bladder portions are made of rubber materials such that when said inner and outer bladder portions are heat-treated, said inner and outer bladder portions are integrated to form a single layer to integrally embed said webbing layer within said single layer, wherein said single layer is flexible to sustain impact exerted on said sports ball.

6. The sports ball, as recited in claim 3, wherein said inner and outer bladder portions are made of rubber materials such that when said inner and outer bladder portions are heat-treated, said inner and outer bladder portions are integrated to form a single layer to integrally embed said webbing layer within said single layer, wherein said single layer is flexible to sustain impact exerted on said sports ball.

7. The sports ball, as recited in claim 1, wherein said inflatable ball bladder further comprises a plurality of attaching channels spacedly formed on said outer bladder portion for guiding said ball cover to attach on an outer surface of said inflatable ball balder, wherein each of said attaching channels is an elongated member integrally extended on said outer bladder portion to divide an entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas to guide said ball cover thereat.

8. The sports ball, as recited in claim 3, wherein said inflatable ball bladder further comprises a plurality of attaching channels spacedly formed on said outer bladder portion for guiding said ball cover to attach on an outer surface of said inflatable ball balder, wherein each of said attaching channels is an elongated member integrally extended on said outer bladder portion to divide an entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas to guide said ball cover thereat.

9. The sports ball, as recited in claim 6, wherein said inflatable ball bladder further comprises a plurality of attaching channels spacedly formed on said outer bladder portion for guiding said ball cover to attach on an outer surface of said inflatable ball balder, wherein each of said attaching channels is an elongated member integrally extended on said outer bladder portion to divide an entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas to guide said ball cover thereat.

10. The sports ball, as recited in claim 7, wherein said ball cover comprises a plurality of carcass panels each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to said corresponding carcass area, such that said carcass panels are attached on said carcass areas respectively on said inflatable ball bladder to enclose said inflatable ball bladder.

11. The sports ball, as recited in claim 8, wherein said ball cover comprises a plurality of carcass panels each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to said corresponding carcass area, such that said carcass panels are attached on said carcass areas respectively on said inflatable ball bladder to enclose said inflatable ball bladder.

12. The sports ball, as recited in claim 9, wherein said ball cover comprises a plurality of carcass panels each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to said corresponding carcass area, such that said carcass panels are attached on said carcass areas respectively on said inflatable ball bladder to enclose said inflatable ball bladder.

13. A method of manufacturing a sports ball, comprising the steps of: (a) forming a ball cover having a ball cavity and a valve hole communicating thereto; (b) providing an outer bladder portion and an inner bladder portion; (c) forming a webbing layer around said inner bladder portion, wherein said inner bladder portion is disposed in said outer bladder portion to retain said webbing layer between said inner and outer bladder portions; (d) treating said inner and outer bladder portions to integrally embed said webbing layer therebetween to form an integrated inflatable ball bladder, such that said webbing layer allows said ball bladder to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein; and (e) disposing said ball bladder in said ball cavity of said ball cover, wherein when said ball bladder is inflated, said ball cover is supported by said ball bladder.

14. The method, as recited in claim 13, wherein said step (c) comprises a step (c.1) of winding a plurality of webbing elements around said inner bladder portion in a cross manner to form a web of said webbing layers.

15. The method, as recited in claim 13, wherein in said step (d), said inner and outer bladder portions are heat-treated in a mould to integrate said inner bladder portion with said outer bladder portion to form a single layer so as to integrally embed said webbing layer within said single layer.

16. The method, as recited in claim 14, wherein in said step (d), said inner and outer bladder portions are heat-treated in a mould to integrate said inner bladder portion with said outer bladder portion to form a single layer so as to integrally embed said webbing layer within said single layer.

17. The method, as recited in claim 13, wherein in said step (b) comprises a step of spacedly forming a plurality of attaching channels on said outer bladder portion for guiding said ball cover to attach on an outer surface of said inflatable ball balder, wherein each of said attaching channels is an elongated member integrally extended on said outer bladder portion to divide an entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas to guide said ball cover thereat.

18. The method, as recited in claim 16, wherein in said step (b) comprises a step of spacedly forming a plurality of attaching channels on said outer bladder portion for guiding said ball cover to attach on an outer surface of said inflatable ball balder, wherein each of said attaching channels is an elongated member integrally extended on said outer bladder portion to divide an entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas to guide said ball cover thereat.

19. The method, as recited in claim 17, wherein in said step (a) comprises a step of providing a plurality of carcass panels each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to said corresponding carcass area, wherein said carcass panels are attached on said carcass areas respectively on said inflatable ball bladder to form said ball cover for enclosing said inflatable ball bladder.

20. The method, as recited in claim 18, wherein in said step (a) comprises a step of providing a plurality of carcass panels each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to said corresponding carcass area, wherein said carcass panels are attached on said carcass areas respectively on said inflatable ball bladder to form said ball cover for enclosing said inflatable ball bladder.

21. The method, as recited in claim 15, wherein said step (d) comprises a step of vulcanizing said inner ball bladder portion and said outer ball bladder portion for further enhancing a strength of said inflatable ball bladder.

22. The method, as recited in claim 18, wherein said step (d) comprises a step of vulcanizing said inner ball bladder portion and said outer ball bladder portion for further enhancing a strength of said inflatable ball bladder.

23. The method, as recited in claim 20, wherein said step (d) comprises a step of vulcanizing said inner ball bladder portion and said outer ball bladder portion for further enhancing a strength of said inflatable ball bladder.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a ball, and more particularly to a sports ball comprising a webbing layer which is capable of enhancing the strength of the sports ball, and allows the roundness thereof to be substantially maintained.

2. Description of Related Arts

A conventional sports ball, such as an American football, usually comprises an inflatable ball bladder, an outer cover, and an inner lining wound on a bottom surface of the outer cover, wherein the outer cover along with the inner lining are fittedly attached on an outer surface of the ball bladder for forming the sports ball having a predetermined strength, elasticity and roundness. The inner lining is meant to provide sound support to the outer cover and maintain the predetermined shape of the sports ball. Occasionally, the sports ball may further comprise a cushion layer attached between the outer cover and the ball bladder for providing additional cushioning effect to the sports ball. When the sports ball is provided with the cushion layer, the player may be able to hold the sports ball easier and when the player hits the ball, he or she may feel more comfortable.

A disadvantage of this conventional sports ball is that when the cushion layer is added to the sports ball, the attachment between the cushion layer and the ball bladder may not be strong enough so as to render the entire sports ball not durable. Moreover, in order to achieve a predetermined cushioning effect, the cushion layer may be made to have a predetermined thickness (which in many occasions may be too thick) so as to affect the roundness or the curvature of the entire sports ball.

Another disadvantage of the conventional sports ball is that when the sports ball is embodied as an American football or a basketball, channels are usually formed on the ball bladder so that the outer cover can be attached onto the ball bladder as guided by the channels. As a result, when the inner lining and the cushion layer need to be inserted between the outer layer and the ball bladder, the attachment between any two of them may not be secure enough. As a result, when the conventional sports ball, whether football or basketball, is subject to great impact, there would have high chance that the attachment between the outer layer, the cushion layer, and the ball bladder would be damaged.

Moreover, when too many layers are attached between the outer cover and the ball bladder, stitching of the outer cover would be difficult so that for those balls which need stitching of the outer cover, the quality of the stitching may be undermined.

In light of the above, there exists a tension between having many layers attached between the ball bladder and the outer cover for enhancing the comfort and performance of the sports ball on the one hand, and bad quality attachment between the cushioning pad, the inner lining, the outer cover, and the ball bladder.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

A main object of the present invention is to provide a sports ball comprising a webbing layer which is capable of enhancing the strength of the sports ball, preventing the inflatable ball bladder from being over inflated, preserving the desired shaped for the sports ball, and allowing the roundness thereof to be substantially maintained.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sports ball comprising a webbing layer integrally embedded within an outer bladder portion layer and an inner bladder portion layer to form a ball bladder of the sports ball. In other words, the webbing layer does not need to be externally attached on the ball bladder so as to substantially enhance the strength of the sports ball while ensuring that there is no or only minimal element attached between the ball bladder and the outer cover. Accordingly, the above-mentioned shortcomings for the conventional sports ball can be avoided.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sports ball comprising a webbing layer integrally embedded to form the ball bladder which is capable of being utilized for forming a wide variety of sports ball, such as an American sports ball.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sports ball comprising an inflatable bladder which has better flexibility and impact resisting ability as compared with conventional arts.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sports ball which can be easily manufactured and does not involved complicated manufacturing process and materials so as to minimize the manufacturing cost of the present invention.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a method of manufacturing a sports ball comprising a webbing layer, which is capable of enhancing the strength of the sports ball, and allows the roundness thereof to be substantially maintained.

Accordingly, in order to accomplish the above objects, the present invention provides a sports ball, comprising:

a ball cover having a ball cavity and a valve hole communicating thereto;

an inflatable ball bladder, which is disposed in the ball cavity of the ball cover and is adapted to be inflated through the valve hole to support the ball cover; comprising:

an outer bladder portion layer;

an inner bladder portion layer disposed the outer bladder portion layer; and

a webbing layer disposed between the inner and outer bladder portion layers, wherein the inner and outer bladder portion layers are treated to integrally embed the webbing layer therebetween to enhance a strength of the ball bladder such that the webbing layer allows the ball bladder to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein to support the ball cover.

Moreover, the present invention provides a method of manufacturing a sports ball, comprising the steps of:

(a) forming a ball cover having a ball cavity and a valve hole communicating thereto;

(b) providing an outer bladder portion layer and an inner bladder portion layer;

(c) forming a webbing layer around the inner bladder portion layer, wherein the inner bladder portion layer is disposed in the outer bladder portion layer to retain the webbing layer between the inner and outer bladder portion layers;

(d) treating the inner and outer bladder portion layers to integrally embed the webbing layer therebetween to form an integrated inflatable ball bladder, such that the webbing layer allows the ball bladder to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein; and

(e) disposing the ball bladder in the ball cavity of the ball cover, wherein when the ball bladder is inflated, the ball cover is supported by the ball bladder.

These and other objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a sports ball according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a sectional side view of the sports ball according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the sports ball according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a method of manufacturing a sports ball according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1 to FIG. 3 of the drawings, a sports ball, such as an American football, a soccer ball, and a volley ball, according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, in which the sports ball comprises a ball cover 10, and an inflatable ball bladder 20. The ball cover 10 has a ball cavity 11 and a valve hole 12 communicating thereto.

The inflatable ball bladder 20, which is disposed in the ball cavity 11 of the ball cover 10, and is adapted to be inflated through the valve hole 12 to support the ball cover 10 comprises an outer bladder portion 21, an inner bladder portion 22 disposed in the outer bladder portion 21, and a webbing layer 23.

The webbing layer 23 is disposed between the inner and outer bladder portion 21, 22, wherein the inner and outer bladder portion 22, 21 are treated to integrally embed the webbing layer 23 therebetween to enhance a strength of the ball bladder 20 such that the webbing layer 23 allows the ball bladder 20 to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein to support the ball cover 10 so as to preserve the desired shaped for the sports ball. It is worth to mention that the webbing layer 23 prevents the ball bladder 20 to be over inflated as well.

According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the ball cover 10 is preferably made of leather or rubber materials, such as PVC, for providing a preliminary protection to the inflatable ball bladder 20. Moreover, the ball cover 10 is preferably dyed with predetermined graphical patterns for enhancing an aesthetic appeal to the sports ball for use in specified circumstances.

The outer bladder portion 21 and the inner bladder portion 22 are made of rubber materials such as PVC for embedding the webbing layer 23 between the outer bladder portion 21 and the inner bladder portion 22. Both the outer bladder portion 21 and the inner bladder portion 22 are preferably shaped and crafted to have a streamlined shape suiting a typical shape of an American football. It is worth mentioning, however, that the shape of the outer bladder portion 21 and the inner bladder portion 22 may also be formed as having a spherical shape so as to suit a wide variety of ball types, such as a basketball.

As a result, when the inner and outer bladder portions 22, 21 are heat-treated, the inner and outer bladder portions 22, 21 are integrated to form a single layer to integrally embed the webbing layer 23 within the single layer, wherein the single layer is flexible to sustain impact exerted on the sports ball of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings. Moreover, since the inner and the outer bladder portion 22, 21 are heat treated to sandwich the webbing layer 23 in between, a thickness of the ball bladder 20 is less than that of a conventional ball bladder, yet having an enhanced flexibility and strength.

In addition, the inflatable ball bladder 20 further comprises a plurality of attaching channels 24 spacedly formed on the outer bladder portion 21 for guiding attachment between the inflatable ball bladder 20 and the ball cover 10. Each of the attaching channels 24 is preferably embodied as an elongated member integrally extended on the outer ball bladder 21 to divide the entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas, wherein each of the carcass areas are arranged to be attached by the ball cover 10 for sealingly and fittedly covering the ball bladder 20.

Accordingly, the ball cover 10 comprises a plurality of carcass panels 13 each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to a shape and size of the corresponding carcass area, such that the carcass panels 13 are adapted to be attached on the carcass areas respectively on the outer ball bladder 21. In other words, the present invention is suitable for being manufactured as a ball type which typically employs the attaching channels 24, such as American footballs and basketballs. However, it is important to stress that the present invention can also be utilized for manufacturing, say, a soccer ball.

The webbing layer 23 comprises a plurality of webbing elements 231 attached on an outer surface of the inner ball bladder 22 of the inflatable ball bladder 20 for being embedded between the outer ball bladder 21 and the inner ball bladder 22, wherein the webbing elements 231 are interwoven with each other to form a substantially seamless web of webbing layer 23 to strengthen the inflatable ball bladder 20 while eliminating the need for the sports ball of the present invention having a cushion pad.

More particularly, the inner ball bladder 22 is entirely embraced by the webbing layer 23, wherein each of the webbing elements 231 is embodied as an elongated strengthening thread, such as a nylon thread, evenly and repetitively wound around the outer surface of the inner ball bladder 22, so that the strengthened threads are overlapped with each other to form the seamless webbing layer 23 (a web structure).

In order to enable the strengthened thread being permanently affixed on the outer surface of the inner bladder portion ball 21, before winding thereon, the strengthened threads are coated with glue for adhering to the outer surface of the inner ball bladder 22 and with each other. Moreover, the inflatable ball bladder 20 with the adhering strengthened thread affixed thereon are together cured by heating in a mold, so that the strengthened threads will be hardened to form the webbing layer 23 which is permanently united with the inner ball bladder 22 integrally. Thus, the outer ball bladder 21 and the inner ball bladder 22 are heated treated along with the webbing layer 23 so as to integrally unite the inner ball bladder 22, the outer ball bladder 21 and the webbing layer 23.

Just like the fishing net structure or the spider web structure, the web structure is one the most strengthened and rigid constructions, that can support high stress and resist high impact force. Thus, the webbing layer 23 highly reinforces the inner and the outer bladder portion 22, 21. In other words, the inflatable ball bladder 20 of the present invention is strengthened by the webbing layer 23 and has a better flexibility and impact resisting ability.

One may appreciate that the sports ball of the present invention then has an optimal strength so that the ball cover 10 only facilitate aesthetical functions. As a result, it can be dyed with a wide variety of graphical patterns and the carcass panels 13 needs to be attached onto the outer ball bladder 22 of the inflatable ball bladder 20. It is worth mentioning, however, that a cushioning pad can nevertheless be attached between the inflatable ball bladder 20 and the ball cover 10 for providing additional cushioning effect to the sports ball, yet it is important to stress that the cushioning pad is indeed optional.

Referring to FIG. 4 of the drawings, a method of manufacturing the sports ball according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, in which the method comprises the steps of:

(a) forming a ball cover 10 having a ball cavity 11 and a valve hole 12 communicating thereto;

(b) providing an outer bladder portion 21 and an inner bladder portion 22;

(c) forming a webbing layer 23 around the inner bladder portion 22, wherein the inner bladder portion 22 is disposed in the outer bladder portion 21 to retain the webbing layer 23 between the inner and outer bladder portion 22, 21;

(d) treating the inner and outer bladder portion 22, 21 to integrally embed the webbing layer 23 therebetween to form an integrated inflatable ball bladder 20, such that the webbing layer 23 allows the ball bladder 20 to be fully inflated for evenly distributing air pressure therein; and

(e) disposing the ball bladder 20 in the ball cavity 11 of the ball cover 10, wherein when the ball bladder 20 is inflated, the ball cover 10 is supported by the ball bladder 20.

According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, step (c) comprises the step (c.1) of winding a plurality of webbing elements 231 around the inner ball bladder 21 in a cross manner to form a seamless web of the webbing layers 23. In other words, the webbing elements 231 are wound on the outer ball bladder 21 so as to form the webbing layer 23.

In step (d), the outer ball bladder 21, the inner ball bladder 22 and the webbing layers 23 are heated treated in a mould to form an integral inflatable ball bladder 20, wherein the inflatable ball bladder 20 is disposed into the ball cavity in step (e) to form the sports ball of the present invention. In other words, the inner and outer bladder portions 22, 21 are heat-treated in a mould to integrate the inner bladder portion 22 with the outer bladder portion 21 to form a single layer so as to integrally embed the webbing layer 23 within that single layer. Moreover, step (d) comprises a step of vulcanizing the inner and the outer ball bladder portions 22, 21 for further enhancing the strength of the inflatable ball bladder 20.

The method of manufacturing the sports ball further comprises a step (f) of attaching the ball cover 10 onto the inflatable ball bladder 20 so as to form an integral sports ball having the webbing layer 23 for strengthening thereof.

Moreover, step (b) comprises a step of spacedly forming a plurality of attaching channels 24 on the outer bladder portion 21 for guiding the ball cover 10 to attach on an outer surface of the inflatable ball balder 20, wherein each of the attaching channels 24 is an elongated member integrally extended on the outer bladder portion 21 to divide an entire surface area thereof into a corresponding number of carcass areas to guide the ball cover 10 thereat.

Accordingly, step (a) comprises a step of providing a plurality of carcass panels 13 each of which is shaped and sized corresponding to the corresponding carcass area, wherein the carcass panels 13 are attached on the carcass areas respectively on the inflatable ball bladder 20 to form the ball cover 10 for enclosing the inflatable ball bladder 20.

One skilled in the art will understand that the embodiment of the present invention as shown in the drawings and described above is exemplary only and not intended to be limiting.

It will thus be seen that the objects of the present invention have been fully and effectively accomplished. It embodiments have been shown and described for the purposes of illustrating the functional and structural principles of the present invention and is subject to change without departure form such principles. Therefore, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the following claims.