Title:
ARTIFICIAL FEATHER FOR SHUTTLECOCK AND SHUTTLECOCK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plurality of artificial feathers for a shuttlecock, when a hemispherical base portion of the shuttlecock is set on a lower side, the artificial feathers being embedded in an annular ring form on a peripheral border of a circular top end face of the base portion, the artificial feathers for a shuttlecock each including a vane portion in a thin film form, corresponding to a vane, the vane portion being provided with a reinforcement coating made of applied resin, and a rachis portion in a bar form extending integrally and continuously from an upper tip end to a lower distal end, corresponding to a rachis, to imitate a natural feather, the rachis portion being fixed to the vane portion at a vane support portion, having the vane support portion set as an area that is fixed to the vane portion along the tip end to a bottom end of the vane portion, and having a calamus portion set as an area that protrudes to a lower side of the vane portion and spans from a bottom end of the vane support portion to the distal end, to correspond to a calamus of the natural feather.



Inventors:
Yoneyama, Wataru (Saitama, JP)
Tanaka, Kensuke (Saitama, JP)
Miyazaki, Seiya (Saitama, JP)
Application Number:
13/819699
Publication Date:
08/15/2013
Filing Date:
09/06/2011
Assignee:
YONEX KABUSHIKI KAISHA (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/586
International Classes:
A63B67/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY LLP (THE MCDERMOTT BUILDING 500 NORTH CAPITAL STREET, N.W., WASHINGTON, DC, 20001, US)
Claims:
1. A plurality of artificial feathers for a shuttlecock, when a hemispherical base portion of the shuttlecock is set on a lower side, the artificial feathers being embedded in an annular ring form on a peripheral border of a circular top end face of the base portion, the artificial feathers for a shuttlecock each comprising: a vane portion in a thin film form, corresponding to a vane, the vane portion being provided with a reinforcement coating made of applied resin; and a rachis portion in a bar form extending integrally and continuously from an upper tip end to a lower distal end, corresponding to a rachis, to imitate a natural feather, the rachis portion being fixed to the vane portion at a vane support portion, having the vane support portion set as an area that is fixed to the vane portion along the tip end to a bottom end of the vane portion, and having a calamus portion set as an area that protrudes to a lower side of the vane portion and spans from a bottom end of the vane support portion to the distal end, to correspond to a calamus of the natural feather.

2. The artificial feather for a shuttlecock according to claim 1, wherein the vane portion is made of nonwoven fabric and the reinforcement coating is any one of waterborne polyurethane, waterborne polyester, waterborne polyolefin, nylon-based emulsion and acrylic-based emulsion.

3. The artificial feather for a shuttlecock according to claim 2, wherein a unit weight of the reinforcement coating per unit area applied to one of the vane portion is greater than or equal to 1.8 g/m2 and less than or equal to 27 g/m2.

4. The artificial feather for a shuttlecock according to claim 1, wherein the vane portion has reinforcing material made of a foam body layered thereon and the rachis portion is sandwiched by the vane portion and the reinforcing material at the vane supporting portion, and the reinforcing material conforms to a planar shape of an area where the vane portion is formed, and has a planar shape that has a rim cut at a part where the vane portion overlaps another adjacent vane portion in the shuttlecock.

5. The artificial feather for a shuttlecock according to claim 1, wherein the vane portion has reinforcing material made of a foam body layered thereon and the rachis portion is sandwiched by the vane portion and the reinforcing material at the vane supporting portion, and the reinforcing material conforms to a planar shape of an area where the vane portion is formed, and has a planar shape that has a rim cut at a part where the vane portion overlaps another adjacent vane portion in the shuttlecock and a band-like rib that extends toward another artificial feather adjacent to a part of the rim.

6. The artificial feather for a shuttlecock according to claim 5, wherein the rib opposes the adjacent another artificial feather and extends from the part of the rim and obliquely upward.

7. A shuttlecock comprising the artificial feather according to claim 1.

8. The shuttlecock according to claim 7, wherein each of the artificial feathers, in a state embedded in the base portion in an annular ring, when a circumferential direction of the annular ring is set as a right-left direction, has an edge portion of one of the right and left vane portions underlapping on a back face side of the vane portion of the another artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions, and the vane portion has a slit portion extending in an up-down direction and communicating a front and a back of the artificial feather, while a band-like binding member continuously penetrates the slit portion of each artificial feather and forms an annular ring with both ends thereof fixed, to fix a front-back relation of the underlapping of the adjacent vane portions.

9. The shuttlecock according to claim 7, wherein each of the artificial feathers, in a state embedded in the base portion in an annular ring, when a circumferential direction of the annular ring is set as a right-left direction, has an edge portion of one of the right and left vane portions underlapping on a back face side of the vane portion of the another artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions, and the vane portion has a string-like binding member continuously penetrating and encircling each artificial feather embedded in an annular ring from a back face toward a front face to fix a front-back relation of the underlapping of the adjacent vane portions.

10. The shuttlecock according to claim 7, wherein each of the artificial feathers, in a state embedded in the base portion in an annular ring, when a circumferential direction of the annular ring is set as a right-left direction, has an edge portion of one of the right and left vane portions underlapping on a back face side of the vane portion of the another artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions, a protrusion is included to an edge portion of one of the right and left directions of the vane portion and slit portions penetrating a front and a back are formed to an area that opposes the protrusion of an artificial feather adjacent in an other direction of the right and left directions in an area where the vane portion is formed, and each artificial feather has a protrusion of an artificial feather adjacent in the other direction inserted into its own slit portions, to fix a front-back relation of the underlapping of the adjacent artificial feather.

11. The shuttlecock according to claim 10, wherein the slit portions are composed of two that are placed parallel and apart from each other, the protrusion is guided from a back face to a front face of one of the slit portions of an artificial feather adjacent in one direction and bent, and inserted through an other of the slit portions, and a tip end of the protrusion is fixed in an overlapped state at part way of the protrusion.

12. The shuttlecock according to claim 10, wherein the protrusion is formed to protrude in one of the right and left directions and bent downward, in an approximately L shape, the slit portions that are formed to each artificial feather are composed of two extending in the right-left direction and being placed in parallel one above an other, and a protrusion of each artificial feather is guided into an upper slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions from a back face to a front face, and inserted into a lower slit portion from a front face to a back face.

13. The shuttlecock according to claim 10, wherein the protrusion is formed to protrude in one of the right and left directions and continues to branch into two tongues, in up and down directions, in an approximately T shape, the slit portions that are formed to each artificial feather are composed of two extending in the right-left direction and being placed in parallel one above an other, a protrusion of each artificial feather has an upper tongue guided to an upper slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions from a back face to a front face and bent downward, and has a lower tongue guided to a lower slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions from a back face to a front face and bent upward, and a tip end of the two tongues of the protrusion are fixed in a state with one overlapping the other.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to artificial feather for badminton shuttlecocks. Specifically, the present invention relates to an improvement technology for mainly reducing the weight and increasing the durability of the vane portion of artificial feather. Further, the present invention relates to shuttlecocks using artificial feather.

BACKGROUND ART

As badminton shuttlecocks, there are those using waterfowl feather (natural feather) (natural feather shuttlecocks) and those using artificial feather (artificial feather shuttlecocks) artificially manufactured using nylon resin and the like, for the feathers.

As is well known, natural feather shuttlecocks have a structure using approximately 16 natural feathers of geese, ducks or the like, and the ends of the stems of the feathers are embedded into the hemispherical platform (base portion) made of cork covered with skin. And the feather used for natural feather shuttlecocks have a feature of the specific gravity being small and being extremely light. For example, the specific gravity of the stem portion is approximately 0.4 and the vane portion is approximately 0.15. Additionally, a feather has high rigidity and thereby a unique flying performance and comfortable impression when hitting natural feather shuttlecocks can be perceived.

However, the feather used as the material for natural feather shuttlecocks are collected from the aforementioned waterfowls and moreover, feathers of specific portions of the waterfowl are suitable for shuttlecocks which does not mean that feathers from any portion of the waterfowl can be used and thus the amount of feather for a shuttlecock that can be collected from one waterfowl is a miniscule number. In other words, there is a limit to the amount of feather manufactured for use in natural feather shuttlecocks. Further, there has been a situation of a large amount of geese used for food that had been the main source for feather, being disposed due to bird flu epidemic in the recent years. Therefore, material procurement is predicted to become more difficult and the price of natural feather shuttlecocks to rise further in the future.

Meanwhile, shuttlecocks with resin feather integrally formed in an annular ring is well known as artificial feather shuttlecocks, however, the feathers of these artificial feather shuttlecocks do not move independently as with natural feather shuttlecocks so that flight performance similar to natural feather shuttlecocks is difficult to be achieved. For such reason, artificial feather shuttlecocks imitating feather has been proposed as described in the following PTL 1 and 2. Here, when correspondence between portions of natural feather and portions of artificial feather based on ornithology is made, the portions corresponding to the vane and the rachis of natural feather will be called vane portion and the rachis portion, respectively, the portions corresponding to those called the basal and the calamus that protrude from the vane as apart of the rachis will be called the calamus portion to avoid confusion with feather. With such preconditions, the artificial feather described in this PTL 1 has the vane portion being a two-layer structure with a foam body layer and a stem fixing layer with the same planar forms adhered together, and has the rachis portion fixed between the layers so that the calamus portion protrudes from the vane portion. Further, the artificial feather described in PTL 2 has a structure where a protruding portion is formed to one end of the vane portion made of nonwoven fabric to protrude in the extending direction of the rachis portion, and has the protruding portion embedded in the rachis portion.

CITATION LIST

Patent Literature

[PTL 1]

  • International Publication No. 2010/074234 pamphlet

[PTL 2]

  • Japanese Patent Application Laid-open Publication No. 2008-206970

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Technical Problem

Artificial feather for shuttlecocks require to be equipped with various performances such as hitting impression and flying performance similar to those of natural feather. Particularly, the vane portion constitutes almost the whole area of a single artificial feather so that making the characteristics of the vane portion closely resemble those of natural feather is the most important subject.

To be specific, vanes of natural feather used for natural feather shuttlecocks are a collective of relatively stiff feather (barbs) each growing from the rachis. And because of this structure, natural feather has characteristics of such as appropriate rigidity (shape retainability) that does not easily deform even when flying through the air at high speed although being thin and light.

Therefore, it is required to make studies from various perspectives on a wide variety of conditions including materials, structure and the like for allowing the vane portion of artificial feather to develop the aforementioned characteristics. However, it is extremely difficult to satisfy all of these conditions. For example, the artificial feather described in above described PTL 1 uses foamed polyethylene for its foam body layer and this foam body layer substantially considered as the vane portion, has layered thereon the stem fixing layer on the entire face of the vane portion. It is inevitable that the foam body is made thick since the rigidity will decrease when the vane portion is of a thin film for reducing weight. Being the case, weight reduction will be difficult if the whole area of the vane portion is made of a foam body. Further, foamed polyethylene has bad adherence property so that the foam body layer and the stem fixing layer are adhered to the wide area forming the vane portion with double-faced adhesive tape for fixing the foam body layer and the stem fixing layer in a layered state. Therefore, weight reduction comparable to natural feather will be further difficult. It is a matter of course that the shuttlecock would lose its balance reducing the directivity and hairpin performance if the weight of the vane portion should increase.

The artificial feather described in PTL 2 uses nonwoven fabric to the vane portion thus weight reduction of the vane portion can be expected. However, nonwoven fabric lacks rigidity so that it is difficult to return to its initial shape when hit strongly. Also, nonwoven fabric lacks durability. Specifically, there is a probability of the fibers coming apart by being hit and the fibers scattering. If the fibers come apart, it would be easier for the vane portion to break. As a matter of course, the deterioration in appearance as a product is also a problem.

The present invention has been made in view of the aforementioned various problems that conventional artificial feather for shuttlecocks have and an object there of is to provide artificial feather for shuttlecocks being lightweight and having excellent shape retainability, durability and productivity as well, and shuttlecocks using the artificial feather.

Solution to Problem

The present invention has been made in view of the above-mentioned problems of artificial feather for shuttlecocks and a principal aspect of the invention is, a plurality of artificial feathers for a shuttlecock, when a hemispherical base portion of the shuttlecock is set on a lower side, the artificial feathers being embedded in an annular ring form on a peripheral border of a circular top end face of the base portion, the artificial feathers for a shuttlecock each including a vane portion in a thin film form, corresponding to a vane, the vane portion being provided with a reinforcement coating made of applied resin, and a rachis portion in a bar form extending integrally and continuously from an upper tip end to a lower distal end, corresponding to a rachis, to imitate a natural feather, the rachis portion being fixed to the vane portion at a vane support portion, having the vane support portion set as an area that is fixed to the vane portion along the tip end to a bottom end of the vane portion, and having a calamus portion set as an area that protrudes to a lower side of the vane portion and spans from a bottom end of the vane support portion to the distal end, to correspond to a calamus of the natural feather.

Advantageous Effects of Invention

Artificial feathers for shuttlecocks according to the present invention are lightweight and have excellent shape retainability, and the shuttlecocks using the artificial feathers can be expected to exhibit flying performance and hitting impression similar to natural feather shuttlecocks. Further, provision of shuttlecocks with excellent productivity and of inexpensive price is possible without relying on the amount of production of natural material. Further, the other effects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an artificial feather shuttlecock using artificial feather according to a basic embodiment of the present invention seen from the base part side (lower side).

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the aforementioned artificial feather shuttlecock using artificial feather according to the aforementioned basic embodiment seen from above.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view for explaining the structure of the artificial feather, each part of the artificial feather and the relative directions according to the aforementioned basic embodiment.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view for explaining the structure of the artificial feather, each part of the artificial feather and the relative directions according to the aforementioned basic embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5A shows a view of the artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 5B shows a view of the artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 5C shows a view of the artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 6 is an external view of the shuttlecock using artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 7A is a diagram for explaining the overlapping of the artificial feathers in the shuttlecock.

FIG. 7B is a diagram for explaining the overlapping of the artificial feathers in the shuttlecock.

FIG. 8A is a diagram for explaining the overlapping of the artificial feathers whose front-back relations are opposite to the artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 8B is a diagram for explaining the overlapping of the artificial feathers whose front-back relations are opposite to the artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather having a structure for reinforcing the vane portion of the artificial feather according to the aforementioned first embodiment.

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather having a different form of structure for reinforcing the aforementioned vane portion.

FIG. 11 is an external view of the shuttlecock according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned second embodiment.

FIG. 13 is an external view of the shuttlecock according to the third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned third embodiment.

FIG. 15 is an external view of the shuttlecock according to a modified example of the aforementioned third embodiment.

FIG. 16 is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the modified example of the aforementioned third embodiment.

FIG. 17A is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather configuring the shuttlecock according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17B is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather configuring the shuttlecock according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 18 is an external diagram of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned fourth embodiment seen from below.

FIG. 19 is an external diagram of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned fourth embodiment seen from above.

FIG. 20A is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned fourth embodiment.

FIG. 20B is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned fourth embodiment.

FIG. 21 is a sectional diagram of the main portion of the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned fourth embodiment.

FIG. 22 is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the fifth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 23 is a sectional diagram of the main portion of the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 24A is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather configuring the shuttlecock according to the modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 24B is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather configuring the shuttlecock according to the modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 25A is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 25B is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 26 is a sectional diagram of the main portion of the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to the modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 27 is a schematic diagram of the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock using artificial feather similar to that of the modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 28A is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather configuring the shuttlecock according to another modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 28B is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather configuring the shuttlecock according to another modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 29A is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to another modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 29B is a diagram for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to another modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

FIG. 30 is a sectional diagram of the main portion of the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to another modified example of the aforementioned fifth embodiment.

MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Structure of Artificial Feather Shuttlecocks

FIGS. 1 and 2 show external views of the artificial feather shuttlecock 1 (hereinafter shuttlecock) including the artificial feather 10 having a basic structure common to the embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the shuttlecock 1 seen from the lower side with the base part 2 at the lower side and FIG. 2 is a perspective diagram seen from above. The plurality (for example 16) of artificial feathers 10 resembling natural feather are embedded in an annular ring along the circumference of the flat upper plane of the hemispherical base portion 2 so that the diameter becomes larger when approaching the upper portion thereof, while being fixed together with a string-like member (for example a cotton string) 3 to form the skirt portion 4.

The annularly arranged artificial feathers 10 are embedded so that parts of the adjacent artificial feather 10 overlap in a regular pattern. In the examples shown in the figures, of the artificial feather 10, when the face that faces the outer side of the aforementioned skirt portion 4 is set as the front side and the face that faces the inner side is set as the back side, and focusing on one artificial feather 10 seen with the base portion 2 positioned on the lower side, the pertinent artificial feather 10 has its left edge of the front face underlapping the back face side of the artificial feather 10 adjacent on the left. It is a matter of course that the front-back relation of adjacent artificial feather 10 is not limited to the example shown and the right edge of the front face can be underlapping the back face side of the artificial feather 10 adjacent on the right.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

When the shuttlecock is for just for leisure activities the artificial feathers configuring the shuttlecock have importance attached to productivity and durability. In other words, it would be enough if they were inexpensive and durable. However, those used in workout by athletes, and when they have an ultimate goal to be used as an alternative to official shuttlecocks used in a competition game, there is a need for the vane portion constituting almost the whole area of the artificial feather, in particular, to closely resemble the characteristics, such as, shape retainability and impact-resistance of natural feather above achieving lightweight as much as possible.

For example, there is a hitting method being a so-called “hairpin shot” in badminton which is unique to natural feather shuttlecocks. This hitting method allows the shuttlecock to fly along a unique arc by “lifting” and hitting the shuttlecock so that the shuttlecock is like floating while a strong rotation is applied thereto. An artificial feather having characteristics closely resembling those of natural feather is required to re-create the aforementioned arc path with an artificial feather shuttlecock. It is a matter of course that easy manufacturing needs to be allowed in view of increase in cost of natural feather.

And based on the idea that the material and the structure of the vane portion constituting a large area of the artificial feather would largely influence the performance of the shuttlecocks, the inventors concluded that the most important conditions required to the vane portion were appropriate rigidity (shape retainability) and excellent durability, avoided from deforming easily even when flying through the air at high speed, in addition to being lightweight. And first, reinforcement of some kind were applied to the thin vane portions for improving shape retainability and durability without inhibiting weight reduction of the vane portion itself.

With regard to the reinforcement of the vane portion, covering the vane portion with, for example, laminated film and the like can be considered. However, since the specific gravity (approximately 1.1) of the film itself is large, for example, assuming that a common film has a thickness of 20 μm and when the common film is adhered to one side of the vane, the weight increases by approximately 0.01 grams. Methods of adhesion such as heat sealing cannot be used depending on the material of the vane portion so that the weight of the adhesives for adhering the film to the vane portion would be added. Therefore, it would be difficult to allow the vane portion to be both lightweight and rigid at a high level.

Therefore, shape retainability and durability of the vane portion were secured without preventing weight reduction of the vane portion itself by forming a film made of resin applied to the vane portion in the embodiments corresponding to the above-mentioned main inventions. And as the embodiment corresponding to the invention besides the aforementioned main invention, first, more preferable materials were defined for the vane portion and the resin film (reinforcement film) and the vane portion is made of nonwoven fabric and the reinforcement coating is any one of waterborne polyurethane, waterborne polyester, waterborne polyolefin, nylon-based emulsion and acrylic-based emulsion. Further, a unit weight of the reinforcement coating per unit area applied to one of the vane portion is greater than or equal to 1.8 g/m2 and less than or equal to 27 g/m2.

The present invention is adapted to embodiments to which a configuration for reinforcing the vane portion and a configuration for achieving excellent flying performance were added without accompanying a large weight increase since weight reduction and shape retainability, and durability of the vane portion itself had been secured in the embodiments corresponding to the main invention. And the embodiments have the characteristics of the following.

The vane portion has reinforcing material made of a foam body layered thereon and the rachis portion is sandwiched by the vane portion and the reinforcing material at the vane supporting portion, and the reinforcing material conforms to a planar shape of an area where the vane portion is formed, and has a planar shape that has a rim cut at apart where the vane portion overlaps another adjacent vane portion in the shuttlecock.

Or the aforementioned reinforcing material has the rim cut while a strip form rib that extends toward another adjacent artificial feather is formed to a part of the pertinent rim. Further, the aforementioned rib portion opposes the aforementioned another adjacent artificial feather and also extends diagonally upward from one portion of the aforementioned rim.

Note that, a shuttlecock using an artificial feather having any of the aforementioned characteristics is also an embodiment of the present invention. And when an “intersection” where the front-back relation of the adjacent vane portions are reversed occurs when hit, to the artificial feather having the vane portion configured with a plane, there is difficulty in bringing back the front-back relation to the initial one with the next hit so that there arises a problem of the flight trajectory being instable. In other words, since the vane of natural feather is not in a film form but a collection of feather bodies called the barbs growing from the rachis, the barbs of the vane slides through the barbs of the adjacent vane even when intersection occurs so that an intersected state can easily return to its initial state while continuing hitting.

Being the case, an embodiment of the present invention covers a shuttlecock that includes a means for inhibiting the intersection. And the shuttlecock includes any of the following characteristics.

Each of the artificial feathers, in a state embedded in the base portion in an annular ring, when a circumferential direction of the annular ring is set as a right-left direction, has an edge portion of one of the right and left vane portions underlapping on a back face side of the vane portion of the another artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions, and the vane portion has a slit portion extending in an up-down direction and communicating a front and a back of the artificial feather, while a band-like binding member continuously penetrates the slit portion of each artificial feather and forms an annular ring with both ends thereof fixed, to fix a front-back relation of the underlapping of the adjacent vane portions.

Each of the artificial feathers, in a state embedded in the base portion in an annular ring, when a circumferential direction of the annular ring is set as a right-left direction, has an edge portion of one of the right and left vane portions underlapping on a back face side of the vane portion of the another artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions, and the vane portion has a string-like binding member continuously penetrating and encircling each artificial feather embedded in an annular ring from a back face toward a front face to fix a front-back relation of the underlapping of the adjacent vane portions.

Each of the artificial feathers, in a state embedded in the base portion in an annular ring, when a circumferential direction of the annular ring is set as a right-left direction, has an edge portion of one of the right and left vane portions underlapping on a back face side of the vane portion of the another artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions, a protrusion is included to an edge portion of one of the right and left directions of the vane portion and slit portions penetrating a front and a back are formed to an area that opposes the protrusion of an artificial feather adjacent in an other direction of the right and left directions in an area where the vane portion is formed, and each artificial feather has a protrusion of an artificial feather adjacent in the other direction inserted into its own slit portions, to fix a front-back relation of the underlapping of the adjacent artificial feather.

And the slit portions are composed of two that are placed parallel and apart from each other, the protrusion is guided from a back face to a front face of one of the slit portions of an artificial feather adjacent in one direction and bent, and inserted through an other of the slit portions, and a tip end of the protrusion is fixed in an overlapped state at part way of the protrusion.

Alternatively, in the shuttlecock using artificial feather including the aforementioned protrusion to the vane portion the protrusion is formed to protrude in one of the right and left directions and bent downward, in an approximately L shape, the slit portions that are formed to each artificial feather are composed of two extending in the right-left direction and being placed in parallel one above an other, and a protrusion of each artificial feather is guided into an upper slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions from a back face to a front face, and inserted into a lower slit portion from a front face to a back face.

The protrusion is formed to protrude in one of the right and left directions and continues to branch into two tongues, in up and down directions, in an approximately T shape, the slit portions that are formed to each artificial feather are composed of two extending in the right-left direction and being placed in parallel one above an other, a protrusion of each artificial feather has an upper tongue guided to an upper slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions from a back face to a front face and bent downward, and has a lower tongue guided to a lower slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent in the one of the directions from a back face to a front face and bent upward, and a tip end of the two tongues of the protrusion are fixed in a state with one overlapping the other.

Basic Structure of Artificial Feather

FIGS. 3A and 3B are diagrams showing the artificial feather 10 having a structure common to the embodiments of the present invention. The artificial feather 10 employs a structure where the vane portion 12 made in thin film-state has a bar-like rachis portion 20 adhered or affixed thereto by melting and the like by injection molding. Further, the artificial feather 10 of the present embodiment has a structure with a reinforcement film formed on the surface layer by applying resin to the front face of the vane portion 12 made of nonwoven fabric or a resin molded product, in other words regardless of the front-back sides of the film-state to achieve weight reduction, has shape retainability and durability at the same time. In other words, the reinforcement coating of the present embodiment is different from film material that is coated using adhesives but is formed on the surface of the vane portion 12 by applying resin dissolved in a solvent and allowing the solvent to volatilize thereafter. And the reinforced film formed in this way is, of course, extremely light and extremely thin compared to film. Table 1 hereunder shows the characteristics of various resins as reinforcement coating, for reference.

TABLE 1
REINFORCINGCUTTINGCUTTING
MATERIALSTRENGTH (N)ELONGATION (%)
WITHOUT1.0001.000
COATING
VINYL ACETATE1.1461.489
METHOXYMETHYL1.6142.907
NYLON
COPOLYMER1.6140.639
NYLON
WATERBORNE1.7295.046
POLYURETHANE

The resins in Table 1 had a weight increase of 0.05 grams by layering the resins to the initial vane portion 12 which converted was 9 g/m2 of weight increase per unit area. The film thickness and the concentration with regard to the solvent at the time of the application process are assumed to be adjusted. Various application methods such as the dipping method, spraying method and the roll coating method can be employed for forming the reinforcement coating.

Table 1 shows the cutting strength (N) and the cutting elongation (%) in relative values when assuming the vane portion 12 without reinforcement coating is one. As shown in this Table 1, both the cutting strength (N) and the cutting elongation (%) were confirmed to improve by providing a reinforcement coating besides some exceptions. Waterborne polyurethane was particularly found to exhibit excellent cutting strength (N) and cutting elongation (%). Additionally, it can be expected that the burden on the environment during manufacturing the artificial feathers (10) can be relieved since waterborne polyurethane does not use organic solvents. Note that it is presumed that the reinforcing material is not limited to waterborne polyurethane and waterborne polyester, waterborne polyolefin, nylon-based emulsion, and acrylic-based emulsion having properties similar to this waterborne polyurethane can be applied.

Further, when nonwoven cloth is used for the vane portion 12, a reinforcement coating to the surface of the fibers configuring the nonwoven fabric is provided to improve the rigidity of the fiber itself and thus excellent shape retainability is expected to be exhibited. The rachis portion 20 needs to support the vane portion 12 and maintain the entire shape of the artificial feather 10 while having impact-resistance that can resist the impact when being hit and having rigidity. Therefore, for example, polyamide (nylon), polyamide reinforced with glass fiber (glass fiber reinforced polyamide) or various resins such as PBT, ABS, PC and the like can be used as material configuring the rachis portion 20.

Directions and Positional Relationships of Artificial Feather and Names of Each Parts

First, with regard to the artificial feather 10 of the embodiments of the present invention, names of various parts and the up, down, right and left directions and the front and back relations will be defined based on the artificial feather 10 in a state mounted to the base portion 2 of the shuttlecock 1. Here, names of the various parts, directions and the front-back relation will be defined based on FIG. 3.

In FIG. 3, the rachis portion 20 extends from the top end of the vane portion 12 toward the bottom thereof. And for the sake of convenience, the top end 21 of the rachis portion 20 will be called the “tip end” and the bottom mend 22 the “distal end”, and in each parts of the artificial feather 10 such as the vane portion 12 and the rachis portion 20, the face that faces the outer side of the shuttlecock 1 will be called the “front face” 13 and the face that faces the inner side of the shuttlecock 1 the “back face” 14. Further, the direction, within the plane of the vane portion 12, orthogonal to the direction in which the rachis portion 20 extends will be called the right-left direction. And, when the top and bottom are defined as explained above, the right and left directions are defined seen from the front face 13. Therefore, in the example shown, the rachis portion 20 is fixed to the back face 14 of the vane portion 12 in a state protruding therefrom. Further, this means, with the shuttlecock 1 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, with the base portion 2 facing downward, the front face 13 of the left side rim of the artificial feather 10 on the right side seen from the outer side is underlapped beneath the back face 14 side of the right side rim of the artificial feather 10 on the left side.

With regard to the rachis portion 20, the area in the rachis portion 20 fixed to the vane portion 12 will be called the vane supporting portion 23 and the area protruding downward of the vane portion 12 will be called the calamus portion 24. Note that in the example shown in FIG. 3, the position of the tip end 21 of the rachis portion 20 approximately coincides with the position of the tip of the vane portion 12, however, the tip end 21 of the rachis portion 20 may be below the tip of the vane portion 12. Further, although the artificial feather 10 of the shuttlecock 1 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 had a structure where the rachis portion 20 was fixed to the back side 14 of the vane portion 12, the structure can be such that the rachis portion 20 is fixed to the front side 13 of the vane portion 12. And specific embodiments such as those having a configuration for improving the durability and rigidity and embodiments according to the structure for inhibiting the aforementioned intersection of the artificial feathers 10 in the shuttlecock 1 of the aforementioned basic embodiment of the present invention will be given in the following.

First Embodiment

The first embodiment of the present invention has an artificial feather that has a configuration for further improving the durability and rigidity of the aforementioned artificial feather 10 having a structure common to the embodiments of the present invention. FIGS. 4, 5A, 5B and 5C show the structure of the artificial feather 10a according to the first embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of the artificial feather according to the first embodiment seen from the upper front face 13 side and FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C respectively show a planar view of the front face 13 of the artificial feather 10a, a planar view of the back side 14, and a front view of the artificial feather 10a seen from the tip end 21 side of the rachis portion 20. The artificial feather 10a according to the first embodiment has the aforementioned reinforcement coating formed by coating to the vane portion 12 in a thin film form, and reinforcing material 15 made of a foam body (foamed polyethylene and the like) adhered to the vane portion 12 in a layered state with adhesive or double-faced adhesive tape. And the rachis portion 20 is in a fixed state between the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 in a sandwiched state.

Note that as a manufacturing method of the artificial feather 10a according to the first embodiment, for example the following may be adopted. After continuous injection molding by two-color molding or insert molding of the vane portion 12 and the rachis portion 20 or the reinforcing material 15 and the rachis portion, the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 are fixed together by a further two-color molding or insert molding to form a molded product that has the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 layered while sandwiching the rachis portion 20 between the layers. The reinforcing material may be layered by adhering to the vane portion 12 with such as adhesive and double-faced adhesive tape after injection molding of the vane portion 12 and the rachis portion 20 into an integrally molded product. The reinforcement coating may be formed on the front face of the vane portion 12 before injection molding or may be formed during or after molding to the exterior of the artificial feather 10a. In any event, an artificial feather 10a should at least have formed a reinforcement coating on the vane portion 12, have the rachis portion 20 in a sandwiched state between layers of the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15, and have an external shape where the rachis portion 20 is not externally exposed in the vane supporting portion 23.

Note that, in the first embodiment shown here, the base material of the vane portion 12 uses nonwoven fabric that is lightweight and thin and that can reproduce a planar shape closely resembling a vane of natural feather just by cutting, and the vane portion 12 has reinforcement coating made of waterborne polyurethane formed to the nonwoven fabric. Thereby, the vane portion 12 is expected to have an effect of improved high rigidity. Further, the problem of the fibers of the nonwoven fabric coming apart when hit, unique to nonwoven fabric, is also solved. And in the first embodiment, the vane portion 12 is prevented from breaking by absorbing the impact when the vane portion 12 is strongly hit without greatly disturbing the weight reduction by a layered structure of the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 made of a foam body.

However, the characteristics of the artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment is not the layered structure with such vane portion 12 and reinforcing material 15 of a foam body but in the layered shape made with the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15. Specifically, the reinforcing material 15 is not uniformly layered to coincide with the planar shape of the vane portion 12 but when the adjacent artificial feathers 10a in the shuttlecock overlaps one another, the side that has laid thereon the vane portion 12 of another artificial feather 10 has the rim cut at the inner side. Thereby, the weight can be reduced compared with the case when the reinforcing material 15 is layered on the entire area of the vane portion 12. FIG. 6 shows an external view of the shuttlecock 1a using artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment. In this example, the reinforcing material 15 is layered on the front side of the vane portion 12.

The distinguishing layer shape of the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 in the artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment can dramatically improve the durability and the impact absorbency of a single vane portion 12 alone without greatly prohibiting weight reduction, and also has an effect of further closely resembling the flight performance and the flight path of natural feather shuttlecocks. Description of the performance of the shuttlecock using the artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment will be given below.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are schematic diagrams showing the overlapping state of the adjacent artificial feathers (10a, 10b). FIG. 7A shows the overlapping state of the artificial feathers 10b of the shuttlecock that uses the artificial feather 10b having layered reinforcing material 15 on the entire surface of the vane portion 12, and FIG. 7B shows the overlapping state of the artificial feathers 10a of the shuttlecock 1a that uses the artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment. Note that in these FIGS. 7A and 7B, the states of the artificial feathers (10a, 10b) are shown when the shuttlecock is seen from above.

Here, the part where the adjacent artificial feathers (10a, 10b) overlap each other is set as the overlapping area 30 and the part where they do not overlap is set as the sole area 40. And in the overlapping area 30, when the artificial feathers (10a, 10b) positioned on the inner side of the shuttlecock among the adjacent artificial feathers (10a, 10b) are set as the “inner side” artificial feathers (10a, 10b), the total thickness of the rims of two artificial feathers 10b in the overlapping area 30 becomes twice the thickness of the sole area 40 with a shuttlecock using artificial feather 10b having layered thereon the reinforcing material 15 on the entire surface of the vane portion 12, shown in FIG. 7A. And the reinforcing material 15 is thicker compared to the vane portion 12 and the difference between the thickness of the overlapping area 30 and the sole area 40 becomes quite large compared to a natural feather shuttlecock. That is, since a natural feather shuttlecock has the vane portion configured with only thin barbs even at the overlapping area 30, the difference between the thicknesses of the sole area 40 and the overlapping area 30 is minimal so that the thickness of the skirt area 4 is approximately continuous and uniform. However, in the shuttlecock using artificial feather 10b shown in FIG. 7A, the thicknesses of each of the artificial feathers 10b has a uniform thickness with the reinforcing material 15 layered on the entire face of the vane portion 12 and the discontinuity of the thickness at the skirt portion 4 becomes apparent so that there is a possibility that the flight performance and the flight path would differ from those of natural feather shuttlecocks.

Whereas with the shuttlecock 1a using artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment shown in FIG. 7B, the total thickness of the rim of the two inner and outer artificial feathers 10a in the overlapping area 30 is approximately the same as the thickness at the sole area 40. To be precise, only a thickness of the thin vane portion 12. Therefore, with the shuttlecock 1a using the artificial feather 10a of the first embodiment, there are thin parts with only the vane portion 12 and thick parts with reinforcing material 15 layered in each of the artificial feathers 10a, however, the skirt portion 4 as a whole, has approximately the same thickness and the thickness does not become discontinuous at the skirt portion 4. For this reason, flight performance and the flight path thereof can be expected to closely resemble those of natural feather shuttlecocks.

With regard to the front-back relations in the artificial feather 10a, it is a matter of course that the reinforcing material 15 may be positioned on the front face 13 side and the vane portion 12 may be positioned on the front face 13 side. FIGS. 8A and 8B show the artificial feather 10c having the vane portion 12 positioned on the front face 13 side and the reinforcing material 15 positioned on the back face 14 side. FIGS. 8A and 8B show the adjacent artificial feathers 10c in an overlapping state when the shuttlecock is seen from above. FIG. 8A shows a state where part that does not have a reinforcing material layered on the vane portion 12, underlapping on the inner side at the overlapping area 30, and FIG. 8B shows a state where the part that has the reinforcing material layered on the vane portion 12 underlapping on the inner side at the overlapping area 30.

By the way, the vane portion 12 is not directly hit with the artificial feather 10a having the reinforcing material 15 positioned on the front face 13 side, shown in FIG. 7B above. Certainly, the configuration using nonwoven fabric to the vane portion 12 is resisted from the fibers coming apart with the reinforcement coating, however, the fibers can be almost absolutely prevented from falling apart by positioning the reinforcing material 15 on the front face 13 side. Further, the breaking of the vane portion 12 can be surely prevented even if the base material of the vane portion 12 is not nonwoven fabric, by positioning the reinforcing material 15 made of excellent impact absorbing foam body on the front face 13 side so that impact at hitting is avoided from being directly applied to the vane portion 12.

Whereas the artificial feather 10c having the vane portion 12 positioned on the front side, shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B have excellent appearance since the reinforcing material 15 is positioned on the back face 14 side and the level difference between the portion having the reinforcing material 15 layered on the vane portion 12, and the portion that does not have layered the reinforcing material 15 cannot be seen from the shuttlecock exterior. Further, it can be understood that intersection is resisted from occurring with a shuttlecock using the artificial feather 10c having the reinforcing material 15 on the back face 14 side compared to the shuttlecock 1a using artificial feather 10a having the reinforcing material 15 on the front face 13 side.

Specifically, as shown in the hollow arrows in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the part of the vane portion 12 that does not have reinforcing material 15 layered is forced to bend to the front face 13 side at the overlapping area 30 when hit. Although the vane portion 12 would move to the right-left directions and not only in the front-back directions when being hit, a part 15e of the edge of the reinforcing material 15 in the overlapping area 30 supports the vane portion 12 reducing the bending in the example shown in FIG. 8A. And a state where the spaces widen between the vane portions 12 in the overlapping area 30 occurs in the example shown in FIG. 8B. As a result, intersection is resisted from occurring. In any case, the front-back relation in the artificial feather 10a should be determined accordingly depending on the demand, that is, the appearance, durability, probability of intersection occurring and the like, for the shuttlecock as a product.

<Weight of Reinforcement Coating>

As described above, the artificial feather 10 having formed reinforcement coating on the vane portion 12 was confirmed to have both improved cutting strength and the cutting elongation of the vane portion 12. And the shuttlecock using artificial feathers (10a, 10c) having the reinforcing material 15 cut at the overlapping area while the reinforcing material 15 is layered on the vane portion 12 is expected to have further improved durability without deteriorating the flight performance.

Next, the conditions for improving the durability and flight performance were studied. Specifically, when a large amount of resin to be the reinforcement coating is used for the artificial feathers (10a, 10c) to improve the durability, the weight of a single artificial feather (10a, 10c) body would increase and thus there is a possibility that the flight performance would deteriorate. On the other hand, when the amount of resin is decreased to reduce the weight of the artificial feathers (10, 10a, 10c), the durability would deteriorate. Being the case, various nonwoven fabric having different weights of waterborne polyurethane per unit area applied were prepared and the cutting strength and the cutting elongation of each nonwoven fabric were measured. Additionally, artificial feathers 10c having reinforcing material 15 layered on the back face 14 side of the vane portion 12, using the above various nonwoven fabrics for the vane portion, were made, and the artificial feathers 10c were arranged as shown in FIG. 8A to make a shuttlecock. Thereafter, the durability of the artificial feather 10c and the flight performance of the shuttlecock were evaluated by actually hitting the shuttlecock. In other words, a shuttlecock with the vane portion 12 exposed to the front face 13 side was hit in this evaluation method to evaluate the durability and flight performance under a condition where the artificial feather 10c was easier to be damaged.

Note that, with regard to durability, two badminton players being the monitors alternately hit the shuttlecock 100 times each, summing to a total of 200 times, by the high clear method where the shuttlecock is hit high and away which allows the vane portion 12 to be damaged easily. Thereafter, evaluation was made by visually examining the vane portion 12 on whether or not there were fluffs created.

And with regard to flight performance, five badminton players being the monitors hit various shuttlecocks with different artificial feather structures by the well known hairpin shot and had the monitors evaluate whether or not the shuttlecock could be controlled to fly along a path that were intended by the monitors. Specifically, the shuttlecock using artificial feather that did not have reinforcement coating formed was set as the reference value of three, and evaluation was performed into three steps being one when the shuttlecock could not be controlled, two when controlling was rather difficult and three when it was the same as the reference by subjective evaluation, and the average value of the five monitors were used as the evaluation result.

Table 2 shows the cutting strength and the cutting elongation of the vane portion 12 alone relative to a weight (g/m2) of reinforcement coating per unit area, and the evaluation results on durability and flight performance of the shuttlecock. Additionally, Table 3 shows the evaluation on the flight performance of the various shuttlecocks that were made by the five monitors.

TABLE 2
FLIGHT
WEIGHTCUTTINGCUTTINGPERFORMANCE
OF LOADSTRENGTHELONGATION(COMPREHENSIVEDURABILITY
SAMPLE(g/m2)(N)(%)EVALUATION)(FLUFF)
a0.01.0001.000GOODYES
b1.81.1022.103GOODNO
c3.61.3423.543GOODNO
d5.41.5644.187GOODNO
e9.01.7295.046GOODNO
f14.42.0756.064GOODNO
g18.02.1146.509FAIRNO
h23.42.3216.590FAIRNO
i27.02.3046.723POORNO

TABLE 3
MONITORSCOMPREHENSIVE
SAMPLEABCDEAVERAGEEVALUATION
a333333.0GOOD
b333333.0GOOD
c332332.8GOOD
d322332.6GOOD
e322332.6GOOD
f332232.6GOOD
g332222.2FAIR
h221221.8FAIR
i211121.4POOR

Table 2 shows cutting strength (N) and the cutting elongation (%) of each of the samples a to i and the evaluation results on flight performance and durability of the shuttlecock made using samples a to i, where the artificial feather that does not have formed reinforcement coating on the vane portion 12 is set as sample a and eight types of artificial feathers having different amounts of resin applied per unit area (g/m2) were set as samples b to i. Note that, the comprehensive evaluation on the flight performance were “poor” when the average evaluation result of the five monitors A to E shown in Table 3 was 1.0 and over and under 1.5, “fair” when 1.5 and over and under 2.5 and “good” when 2.5 and over and 3 and under. And with regard to the pass/fail determination, the shuttlecock was judged to pass if it is suitable for practical use. “Fair” shows that the flight performance of the shuttlecock does not pose a problem when used as a shuttlecock for workout and “good” shows that the flight performance of the shuttlecock is such that the shuttlecock can be used in a competition game. Therefore, Table 2 shows that the shuttlecock using artificial feather 10c having applied thereon reinforcement coating of 1.8 g/m2 and more as well as layered thereon reinforcing material 15 made of a foam body on the back side 14 did not have fluffs created, and had favorable durability and further was understood that the flight performance was of a level that would not pose a problem in actual use when the amount of reinforcement coating applied was less than 27.0 g/m2.

<Reinforcement of the Vane Portion in the Overlapping Area>

By the way, when there is fear of strength lacking at the part where the reinforcing material 15 is not layered in the vane portion 12, instead of making the shape with one of the right and left outlines of the vane portion 12 cut, the reinforcing material 15 can be simply made such that a part of the rim is cut to form a strip extending toward the adjacent other artificial feather 10 so to make the extended portion function as a rib that supports the film-like vane portion 12. FIG. 9 shows the artificial feather 10d with a structure where the reinforcing material 15 includes a rib 15r layered on the vane portion 12. In this FIG. 9, the arrangements of the adjacent artificial feathers 10d in the shuttlecock is shown in a state seen from the front face 13 side or the back face 14 side. The number of ribs 15r formed is two as shown in this FIG. 9, but may be one or may three or more. In any case, the width and the number of the ribs 15r should be set taking into consideration the deterioration of the flight performance due to the thickness becoming discontinuous at the overlapping area and the strength of the vane portion 12.

Further as shown in this FIG. 9, in a case the artificial feathers 10d are arranged so that the surface layer of the rib 15r opposes the surface layer of the adjacent artificial feather 10d, that is, when the rib 15r is on the front face 13 side, the artificial feathers 10d are arranged on the back face 14 side of the adjacent artificial feather 10d at the overlapping area 30. And in a case the rib 15r is on the back face 14, that is, when the rib 15r is arranged on the front face 13 side of the adjacent artificial feather 10d at the overlapping area 30, a height difference between the surface of the rib 15r and the surface of the vane portion 12 will be made even if the two adjacent artificial feathers 10d come into contact with each other at the overlapping area 30 so that a space through which air flows when the shuttlecock flies will be formed to the overlapping area 30. In other words, airflow during flying will not be blocked so that a probability of the shuttlecock flying along an irregular path would decrease.

Further, with the use of the level difference created at the overlapping area due to this rib 15r, airflow flowing in the direction from below to above can be actively created. FIG. 10 shows an example of the artificial feather 10e having the form of the ribs 15r devised. In this example, ribs 15r in strip forms extend obliquely from below to above from the cut rim of the reinforcing material 15 toward the adjacent artificial feather 10e. Thereby, as shown in the hollow arrows in the figure, air from below flows smoothly along the form of this rib 15r obliquely toward above so that the airflow is not prohibited and a force for rotating the shuttlecock is generated. Therefore the shuttlecock flies along a path closely resembling that of a natural shuttlecock.

Second Embodiment

As described above, when an “intersection” is created in the shuttlecock, it is difficult to make the intersection come back to the initial state on its own. Being the case, a shuttlecock having a structure in which an intersection is unlikely to occur will be given as the second embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 11 shows a state of the shuttlecock 1b according to the second embodiment of the present invention seen from the bottom toward obliquely above. FIG. 12 shows an enlarged view of a part the shuttlecock 1b of FIG. 11 seen from above. This shuttlecock 1b includes artificial feathers 10c shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, that is, includes artificial feathers 10c that has the reinforcing material 15 layered on the back face 14 side. Further in this example, the area that does not have the reinforcing material 15 layered is arranged to be exposed to the front face 13 in the overlapping area 30. And as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, the string-like binding member 60 circles around the skirt portion 4 of the shuttlecock 1b while penetrating each of the artificial feathers 10c. Note that, the two ends of the binding member 60 can be appropriately fixed by having them tied or adhered together. In this way the shuttlecock 1b of the second embodiment has the binding member 60 interposed between two artificial feathers 10c adjacent to each other in the overlapping area 30 to restrain intersection from occurring. Furthermore, the vane portions 12 of each of the artificial feathers 10c has reinforcement coating formed so that the vane portion 12 would not tear starting from the point through which the thin string-like binding member 60 penetrates even when a strong impact is applied to the artificial feather 10c by hitting the shuttlecock 1c. Furthermore, the rachis portion 20 would not be bent with the encircled portion as the point of support since the string-like binding member 60 is not wound around the rachis portion 20.

Note that, when fixing together the two ends of the binding member 60, having the two ends tied to the rachis portion 20 may be considered from the viewpoint of simplicity of the work, however even in this case, since the rachis portion 20 besides the one that has the end portions of the binding member 60 tied thereto does not have the binding member 60 wound therearound, the rachis portion 20 that has tied thereto the end portions of the binding member 60 can also move freely. Therefore, the rachis portion 20 would not be bent even when the two ends of the binding member 60 are tied to the rachis portion 20. In other words, it can be understood that the structure of the rachis portion 20 of the artificial feather 10c adjacent to the artificial feather 10c that has tied thereto the binding member 60 to the rachis portion 20, does not have a part where the binding member 60 is wound therearound and thus is prevented from the problem of the rachis portion 20 that has the ends of the binding member 60 wound around being bent.

Third Embodiment

In the second embodiment, a string-like binding member 60 encircled the skirt portion 4 while penetrating through the artificial feathers 10c to prevent intersection. The third embodiment of the present invention is a shuttlecock having another structure for preventing the intersection. FIG. 13 shows the shuttlecock 1c according to the third embodiment of the present invention seen obliquely from above. FIG. 14 shows apart of the sectional view seen when cutting the shuttlecock at the dot-dash line 100 in FIG. 13. And this shuttlecock 1c has artificial feathers 10f having reinforcing materials 15 layered on the vane portions 12. Note that, similar to the artificial feather 10a shown in FIG. 6, here the shuttlecock 1c having artificial feathers 10f with reinforcing material 15 layered on the front face 13 side is shown.

In the third embodiment, the artificial feathers 10f have slit portions 50 that extend in the up-down direction while communicating the front and the back formed to the areas where the reinforcing material 15 is not formed in the vane portions 12. And the band-like binding member 61 while penetrating the slit portions 50 encircles the skirt portion 4 of the shuttlecock 1c, and is formed into an annular ring by an appropriate method such as adhesion by heating or adhesion using adhesives to fix the ends of the binding member 61, as well.

Specifically, the binding member 61 penetrates through the slit portion 50 from the back face 14 to the front face 13 side of the inner artificial feather 10f at the overlapping area 30 of the adjacent artificial feathers 10f. And the binding member 61 penetrates through the slit portion 50 of the artificial feather 10c adjacent to the relevant inner artificial feather 10c. Thereby, the binding member 61 continuously penetrates the overlapping area 30 of each artificial feather 10f to bind the adjacent artificial feathers 10f together.

In the third embodiment, even when the artificial feather 10f on the inside or the outside at the overlapping area 30 is biased inward the shuttlecock id by being hit and an intersection should nearly occur, an intersection is difficult to occur since the binding member 61 continuously penetrates the artificial feathers 10f. For example in FIG. 14, when the artificial feather 10f-1 on the inner side at one overlapping area 30 is biased in the arrow F1 direction, since the binding member 61 produces friction when penetrating through the slit portion 50-1 of the artificial feather 10f-1 on the inside, the binding member 61 is pulled in this arrow F1 direction resulting with the binding member 61 being pulled in the arrow F2 direction. Since the binding member 61 also produces friction when penetrating through the slit portion 50-2 of the artificial feather 10f-2 on the outside, the artificial feather 10f-2 on the outside has a force applied in the arrow F2 direction to the slit portion 50. And since the artificial feather 10f-2 has the rachis portion 20 attached to the base portion 2, the artificial feather 10f-2 is biased to rotate in the arrow F3 direction with this rachis portion 20 as the center. As a result, the artificial feather 10f-1 on the inside and the artificial feather 10f-2 on the outside are biased in a direction that separates the two enabling to almost certainly prevent intersection from occurring at the overlapping area 30. Further, when the artificial feather 10f-2 on the outside is biased in the arrow F4 direction, the artificial feather 10f-2 on the outside abuts against the artificial feather 10f-1 on the inside at the overlapping area 30 and biases this artificial feather 10f-1 on the inside in the arrow F1 direction. As a result intersection is prevented in a similar manner.

Note that in the third embodiment, the binding member 61 is guided to the front face 13 side at the overlapping area 30 so that the binding member 60 can be hardly seen from the outside the shuttlecock 1c. Therefore, there is also a benefit of the appearance not being largely spoiled. Note that, appropriate material such as a resin film or fiber material can be employed as the binding member 61 as long as the specific gravity is small. Nonwoven fabric same as the vane portion 12 is used as the binding member 61 in this example. And by using material same as the vane portion 12 allows the shuttlecock to have a uniform appearance and has succeeded in possessing an appearance further closely resembling that of natural feather shuttlecocks. It is a matter of course that reinforcement coating may be coated on also the binding member 61.

Modified Example

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of the shuttlecock 1d according to a modified example of the third embodiment and shows the shuttlecock 1d in a state seen from the bottom toward obliquely above. FIG. 16 shows apart of the sectional view seen when cutting the shuttlecock at the dot-dash line 101 in FIG. 15. As shown in these figures, slit portions 50 are formed to the portions where the reinforcing material 15 is layered on the vane portion 12 in this modified example. Further, the slit portions 50 are on the right side of the sole areas 40 with regard to the rachis portion 20. In other words, the binding member 61, after being guided from the back face 14 toward the front face 13 through a slit portion 50 of one artificial feather 10g, crosses the rachis portion 20 at this front face 13. And the binding member 61 reaches the back face 14 of the adjacent artificial feather 10g to be guided to the front face 13 of the adjacent artificial feather 10g through the slit portion 50, in a similar manner.

In this modified example, since a band-like binding member 61 having width intervenes across from a slit portion 50 of its own to the right edge 16 at the back face 14 of the artificial feather 10g on the outside at the overlapping area 30, the front face 13 of the artificial feather 10g on the outside would not creep under the back face 14 side of the pertinent artificial feather 10g on the inside from the left edge 17 of the artificial feather 10g on the inside. In other words, intersection is prevented from occurring.

Fourth Embodiment

The shuttlecock according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention has a characteristic in a structure that prevents intersection similar to the second and third embodiments. FIGS. 17A and 17B are schematic diagrams of the artificial feather 10h used for the shuttlecock according to the fourth embodiment. FIGS. 17A and 17B respectively show planar views of the front face 13 and the back face 14 of the artificial feather 10h. The figures here show an example where the reinforcing material 15 of a foam body is layered on the front face 13 side of the vane portion 12. Further, FIGS. 18 and 19 show the external diagrams of the shuttlecock 1e of the fourth embodiment. FIG. 18 shows a perspective view of the shuttlecock 1e seen from the bottom toward obliquely above and FIG. 19 shows a perspective view seen from above.

As shown in FIG. 17, the artificial feather 10h used for the shuttlecock 1e of the fourth embodiment has a structure where the reinforcing material 15 is in a shape with the left side rim cut, seen form the front face 13, layered on the front face 13 side of the vane portion 12 and an approximately L shaped protrusion 70 is formed to the left side edge portion of the vane portion 12, to protrude to the left from above and then bent downward. And the protrusion 70 is positioned on the back face 14 side of another artificial feather 10h on the left at the overlapping area 30.

Two slit portions (81, 82) extending in the right-left direction and arranged parallel one over the other are formed in the overlapping area 30 on the right side of the artificial feathers 10h. In the example shown, the slit portions (81, 82) penetrate both the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 that are in a layered state. And as shown in FIGS. 18 and 19, the shuttlecock 1e of the fourth embodiment has the protrusions 70 of the artificial feathers 10h inserted into the slit portions (81, 82) of the adjacent artificial feather 10h to prevent intersection.

FIGS. 20A and 20B show diagrams for explaining the intersection inhibiting structure by the aforementioned protrusion 70 and the slit portions (81, 82) of the adjacent artificial feathers 10h. FIG. 20A is a view of the overlapping state of the adjacent artificial feathers 10h seen from the front face 13 and FIG. 20B is a view thereof seen from the back face 14. Further, FIG. 21 shows a sectional diagram taken along line a-a of FIG. 20. As shown in FIGS. 20 and 21, when focusing on one artificial feather 10h-1, the protrusion 70 of this artificial feather 10h-1 is guided to the upper slit portion 81 from the back face 14 to the front face 13 of the artificial feather 10h-2 adjacent on the left and further inserted into the lower slit portion 82 from the front face 13 and to the back face 14 thereof. In this way, the front-back relations of the adjacent artificial feathers (10h-1, 10h-2) are fixed.

Note that the fourth embodiment is not limited to the example described above and, for example, there can be an intersection inhibiting structure where one slit portion extending in the up-down direction is formed with the protrusion protruding in the left direction and inserting the protrusion into the slit portion. Also, taking into consideration the possibility that the protrusion may come out of the slit portion when hit, two slit portions extending in the up-down direction parallel in the right-left direction may be formed to guide a protrusion from the back face to the front face of the slit portion on the right and thereafter inserting the tip end of the protrusion into the slit portion on the left side making the protrusion protrude to the back face side of the adjacent artificial feather.

In any case, the shuttlecock according to the fourth embodiment has a characteristic of preventing intersection from occurring with a structure where a protrusion formed on one of the right or left edge of the vane portion is inserted into a slit portion of the artificial feather adjacent on the front face side, in the overlapping area between the adjacent artificial feathers.

Fifth Embodiment

In the shuttlecock 1e of the aforementioned fourth embodiment, the shape of the vane portion 12 itself has an intersection inhibiting structure. Therefore, there is no need to use a string-like or a band-like binding member (60, 61) and fix the ends of the binding member (60, 61) to form an annular ring as in the second and third embodiments. Being the case, the cost for the binding member (60, 61) can be saved compared to the second and third embodiments. On the other hand, the structure for inhibiting intersection being realized by inserting the protrusion 70 into the slit portions (81, 82) does not dismiss the possibility of the inserted protrusion 70 falling out of the slit portions (81, 82) when hit. Therefore, a shuttlecock having a structure where the protrusion 70 does not fall out from the slit portions will be given as the fifth embodiment.

FIG. 22 shows a schematic diagram of the intersection inhibiting structure in a shuttlecock according to the fifth embodiment. The fifth embodiment uses an artificial feather 10h same as that used in the fourth embodiment and FIG. 22 shows the adjacent artificial feathers 10h in an overlapping state seen from the back face 14. Additionally, FIG. 23 shows a sectional diagram taken along line b-b of FIG. 22. Similar to the fourth embodiment, the fifth embodiment has the tip end 70a of the protrusion 70 inserted through the upper slit portion 81 to be guided from the back face 14 to the front face 13 and thereafter guided to the back face 14 side from the lower slit portion 82. However, in the fifth embodiment, the tip end 70a of the protrusion 70 protruding downward from the lower slit portion 82 is bent upward and the tip end 70a side and the base end 70b side of the protrusion 70 are fixed in a layered state.

Note that the protrusion 70 may be first inserted through the lower slit portion 82 and inserted through the upper slit portion 81 thereafter. In this case, the tip end 70a of the protrusion 70 will be layered on the front face 13 side of the base end 70b. Further, in the fourth and fifth embodiments, the intersection inhibiting structure was explained with the artificial feather 10h having the reinforcing material 15 layered on the front face 13 side, however, the front-back relation between the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 may be reversed.

Modified Example

In the fifth embodiment, the tip end 70a side and the base end 70b side of the L-shape protrusion 70 inserted through the two slit portions (81, 82) were fixed, however, the shape and the like of the protrusion 70 is not limited to this example. In the following, several modified examples of the fifth embodiment whose shapes of the protrusion, the locations where the slit portions are formed or the directions in which they are formed differ will be given.

FIGS. 24A and 24B show modified examples of the fifth embodiment. These FIGS. 24A and 24B show the artificial feather 10i having the reinforcing material 15 layered on the back face 14 and FIG. 24A shows a planar view seen from the front face 13 side whereas FIG. 24B shows a planar view seen from the back face 14 side. A protrusion 71 extending linearly in the right-left direction is formed with the rim of a portion that does not have the reinforcing material 15 layered thereon in the vane portion 12 set as the base end 71b. Further, the area where the vane portion 12 and the reinforcing material 15 are layered has slit portions (83, 84) formed on the right and left sides of the rachis portion 20 each extending in the up-down direction and arranged parallel to one another with one on the right and the other on the left.

FIGS. 25A and 25B show schematic diagrams of the intersection inhibiting structure of the shuttlecock according to this modified example. FIG. 25A is a view of the overlapping state of the adjacent artificial feathers 10i seen from the front face 13 and FIG. 20B is a view thereof seen from the back face 14. Further, FIG. 26A shows a sectional diagram taken along line c-c of FIG. 25. In the example shown, the tip end 71a of the protrusion 71 is inserted through the left slit portion 83 to be guided from the back face 14 to the front face 13 and thereafter inserted through the right slit portion 84 to have the tip end 71a of the protrusion 71 guided from the front face 13 to the back face 14. Further, the tip end 71a of the protrusion 71 protruding from the right slit portion 84 is bent to the left and the tip end 71a side and the base end 71b side of the protrusion 71 are fixed in a layered state.

Note that, as shown in FIG. 26B, the protrusion 71 may have the tip end 71a first inserted through the right slit portion 84 and inserted through the left slit portion 83 thereafter and then the tip end 71a and the base end 71b fixed in a layered state. Further, as shown in FIG. 27, the positions in the up-down direction where the protrusion 71 and the slit portions (83, 84) are formed may be changed and the up-down relation of the protrusion 70 and the slit portions (83, 84) may be reversed between the adjacent artificial feathers (10j-10j). Thereby, when the adjacent artificial feathers 10j move in the right-left directions when hit, the force applied in the right-left direction is generated in the different up-down locations. Therefore the force is dispersed and thus the possibility of the tip end 71a and the base end 71b of the protrusion 71 fixed together separating and the protrusion 71 breaking will become low.

Other Modified Examples

FIGS. 28A and 28B are schematic diagrams of the artificial feather 10k used for the shuttlecock according to another modified example of the fifth embodiment. These FIGS. 28A and 28B respectively show planar diagrams of the front face 13 and the back face 14 of the artificial feather 10k. In these figures also, the reinforcing material 15 of a foam body is layered on the vane portion 12. Here an example is shown where this reinforcing material 15 is layered on the front face 13 side. As shown in FIGS. 28A and 28B, in another modified example of the fifth embodiment the protrusions 72 of the artificial feathers 10k are not in a form of an L shape nor linear but in a form of an approximately T shape protruding to continue toward the left and branching into two tongues (72a, 72b) in the up and down directions. The slit portions (85, 86) are the same as those in the fourth embodiment and are formed of two, one above the other, and in approximately parallel while extending in the right-left directions.

FIGS. 29A, 29B and 30 show schematic diagrams of the intersection inhibiting structure of the artificial feather 10k according to another modified example of the fifth embodiment. FIG. 29A shows the adjacent artificial feathers 10k in an overlapping state seen from the front face 13 and FIG. 29B shows the same seen from the back face 14. FIG. 30 shows a sectional diagram taken along line d-d of FIGS. 29A and 29B. In FIGS. 29A, 29B and 30, when focusing on one artificial feather 10k-1, the protrusion 72 of this artificial feather 10k-1 has the upper tongue 72a guided to the upper slit portion 85 of the left adjacent artificial feather 10k-2 from the back face 14 to the front face 13 and bent downward. The lower tongue 72b is guided to the lower slit portion 86 of the same left adjacent artificial feather 10k-2 from the back face 14 to the front face 13 and bent upward. Further, the tip end portions 73 of the two tongues (72a, 72b) of the protrusion 72 are fixed in a state with one overlapping the other.

Regarding the Second to Fifth Embodiments

The shuttlecocks (1b to 1d) of the second and third embodiments inhibits intersection from occurring with a structure that has the binding member 60 in a thin string-like form or in a band-like form with some width penetrating the vane portion 12 of the artificial feathers (10c, 10d, 10e, 10f). In the fourth and fifth embodiments, intersection is inhibited from occurring by inserting the protrusions (70 to 72) into the slit portions (81 to 86) formed to the vane portion 12. And the second to fifth embodiments employ a structure having reinforcement coating formed on the vane portion 12 being the basic structure of the artificial feather 10 shown as the first embodiment. Therefore, the vane portion 12 would not tear starting from the part where the string-like binding member 60 penetrates or the end points of the slit portions (50, 81 to 86) where the band-like binding member 61 or the protrusions (70 to 72) penetrate even if the shuttlecock is repeatedly hit in a state where the string-like binding member 60 is penetrating or a band-like binding member 61 or protrusions (70 to 72) are penetrating through the slit portions (50, 81 to 86), respectively. In other words, an intersection inhibiting structure using binding members (60, 61) or protrusions (70 to 72) are realized by forming reinforcement coating on the vane portion 12.

Further, a string-like binding member 60 penetrates the vane portion 12 at a point in the second embodiment whereas the band-like binding member 61 and the protrusions (70 to 72) are inserted through the linear slit portions (50, 81 to 86) formed to the vane portion 12, to inhibit intersection in the third to fifth embodiments. Therefore in the third to fifth embodiments, the vane portion 12 would not be twisted due the shuttlecock being strongly hit so that the vane portion 12 rotates with a point as the axis. And there is an extremely low probability of an intersection occurring that is unique to the case where a string-like binding member 60 is used.

Specifically, with a string-like binding member 60, when the circulating position thereof is too far from the tip end of the vane portion 12 and the tip end of the vane portion 12 moves considerably when hit, the upper part of the vane portion 12 would be twisted so that a problem of an intersection would occur at the upper part of the vane portion 12 even if an intersection does not occur to the position where the binding member 60 penetrates. For example, when a string-like binding member 60 is used in a shuttlecock using artificial feather imitating natural feather, commonly, intersection due to twisting of the aforementioned vane portion 12 is likely to occur when the encircling position of the string-like binding member 60 is not within 18 mm from the tip end of the vane portion 12. In contrast, a band-like binding member 61 or protrusions (61, 70 to 72) having width linearly penetrate the vane portion 12 of the shuttlecock (10c to 10k) to support the vane portion 12 in a plane in the shuttlecock (1c, 1d, 10e, 10f) of the third and fourth embodiments and the shuttlecock of the fifth embodiment. Thereby, intersection due to twisting of the vane portion 12 is almost certainly inhibited.

Whereas in a case intersection is inhibited by a string-like binding member 60 as in the second embodiment, the artificial feathers 10c configuring the shuttlecock 1b are supported by a point allowing the artificial feathers 10c to move freely to a certain extent around the point so that the flight performance is superior to the shuttlecock having an intersection inhibiting structure using band-like binding member 61 and protrusions (70 to 72). It is a matter of course that the shuttlecocks according to the second to the fifth embodiments have the movements of each of their vane portions 12 made easier certainly improving the flight performance compared to conventional shuttlecocks having a string-like binding member encircling the rachis portion 20 to be wound therearound.

Further, there is a possibility of the rachis portion 20 breaking when the shuttlecock is hit hard with the thin string acting as the fulcrum in a case the string-like binding member is wound around the rachis portion 20, however, such possibility does not exist in the second embodiment since the string-like binding member 60 is merely penetrating the front and back of the vane portion 12. The band-like binding member 61 having width linearly supporting the vane portion 12 in the third embodiment allows impact to be dispersed so that the possibility of the rachis portion 20 breaking due to the binding member 60 is almost none. Since the protrusions (70 to 72) do not run across the rachis portion 20 in the fourth and fifth embodiments, breaking of the rachis portion 20 due to the protrusions (70 to 72) does not occur in principle.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The present invention can be applied to shuttlecocks used in badminton.

REFERENCE SIGNS LIST

  • 1, 1a, 1c, 1d shuttlecock, 2 base portion, 3 string-like member, 4 skirt portion, 10, 10a-10k artificial feather, 12 vane portion, 13 front face, 14 back face, 15 reinforcing material, 20 rachis portion, 30 overlapping area, 40 sole area, 50 slit portion, 60 string-like binding member, 61 band-like binding member, 70-72 protrusions, 72a, 72b tongues of T shaped protrusion, 81, 85 upper slit portions, 82, 86 lower slit portions, 83 left slit portion, 84 right slit portion