Title:
Coping for swimming pool, particularly an above-ground swimming pool, and process for its production
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Coping for the top edge of a curvilinear wall of a swimming pool, the coping consisting of end-to-end sections and being characterized in that each section of coping (1) comprises: an approximately planar deck (2) designed, when the coping is in the installed position, to extend approximately transversely relative to the wall of the swimming pool, the deck (2) being formed by at least one plate (4) of a synthetic material thermoformed by flat pressing, at least one longitudinal edge of the deck comprising at least two outwardly directed longitudinal flanges (7) arranged one above the other with a gap between them, and at least one trim (3) formed by a profiled strip of extruded plastic fixed to the flanges (7) on one edge of the deck (2).



Inventors:
Marbach, Gerard (Cernay, FR)
Application Number:
10/753680
Publication Date:
09/02/2004
Filing Date:
01/08/2004
Assignee:
MARBACH GERARD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00; E04H4/14; (IPC1-7): E04D1/36; E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VESRA, DINESH K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP - East Coast (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. Coping for the top edge of a curvilinear wall of a swimming pool, said coping consisting of end-to-end sections and being characterized in that each section of coping (1) comprises: an approximately planar deck (2) designed, when the coping is in the installed position, to extend approximately transversely relative to said wall of the swimming pool, said deck (2) being formed by at least one plate (4) of a synthetic material thermoformed by flat pressing, at least one longitudinal edge of the deck comprising at least two outwardly directed longitudinal flanges (7) arranged one above the other with a gap between them, and at least one trim (3) formed by a profiled strip of extruded plastic fixed to said flanges (7) on one edge of the deck (2).

2. Coping according to claim 1, characterized in that the deck (2) consists of two plates (4) made of synthetic material, individually flat-thermoformed and fixed together, the two respective edges of the two assembled plates (4) that lie on the same longitudinal side of the deck (2) forming the abovementioned two flanges (7).

3. Coping according to claim 1, characterized in that each deck (2) comprises at least one plate (4) made of thermoformed synthetic material and at least one profiled strip (9), part of the cross section of which is L-sectioned, which is fixed to said deck in the vicinity of at least one edge thereof, the respective edges of the deck and of the L-shaped profiled strip forming the abovementioned two flanges (7).

4. Coping according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the trim (3) has, on a face designed to be assembled to the deck (2), two generally parallel longitudinal grooves (5) designed to accommodate snugly the abovementioned two flanges (7) of the respective edge of the deck (2).

5. Coping according to claim 4, characterized in that, in addition, each flange (7) accommodated snugly in its respective groove (5) is fixed, by adhesive bonding or welding, for example, to the trim (3).

6. Coping according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that two trims (3) are fixed to the. two respective longitudinal edges of the deck (2).

7. Coping according to claim 2 and any one of claims 4, 5 and 6, characterized in that at least one plate (4) of the deck (2) has at least two longitudinal ribs (6) that are generally parallel to the respective edges of the plate (4) and to which the other plate (4) is fixed in such a way that the deck, comprising two plates spaced apart by said ribs, forms a flattened box.

8. Process for producing coping in synthetic material for the top edge of a curvilinear wall of a swimming pool and consisting of end-to-end sections (1), said process being characterized in that each section of said coping (1) is made in the form of several constituent elements, including: an approximately planar deck (2) consisting of at least one plate (4) of a synthetic material that is flat-thermoformed on a mold (11), said deck (2) having at least one longitudinal edge treated in such a way as to comprise at least two outwardly directed longitudinal flanges (7) arranged one above the other with a gap between them, and at least one trim (3) formed by a profiled strip of synthetic material which is extruded, and the thermoformed deck (4) is then assembled and fixed to the extruded trim or trims (3) to form a section of coping (1).

9. Process according to claim 8, characterized in that two plates (4) of synthetic material are thermoformed by flat pressing and in that the said two plates (4) are assembled. one on top of the other, the two respective adjacent edges of said two plates forming the abovementioned two flanges (7).

10. Process according to claim 9, characterized. in that the two plates (4) of synthetic material are thermoformed in different molds and are of different shapes.

11. Process according to claim 8, characterized in that a profiled strip (9) having a cross section that is partly L-shaped is fixed near to at least one longitudinal edge of the plate (4), the respective edges of the plate and of the L profiled section forming the abovementioned two flanges (7).

12. Process according to any one of claims 8 to 11, characterized in that the trim (5) is extruded in the form of a profiled strip having an assembly face provided with at least two generally parallel longitudinal grooves (5) and in that the abovementioned two flanges (17) on the corresponding edge of the deck (2) are accommodated snugly in said respective grooves (5).

13. Process according to claim 12, characterized in that each flange (7), once snugly accommodated in its respective groove (5), is fixed to the trim (3), for example by adhesive bonding or welding.

14. Process according to any one of claims 8 to 13, characterized in that each plate (4) of the deck (2) is produced by thermoforming an initial plate (10) whose dimensions are such that it extends beyond the longitudinal edges of the thermoforming mold (11) and in that, after the thermoforming operation the oversized thermoformed plate is cut (14) to its exact outline.

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates to improvements to copings for the top edge of a curvilinear wall of a swimming pool where the coping consists of end-to-end sections.

[0002] Although the improvements according to the invention relate to coping that can be used on any type of swimming pool, it is nonetheless more particularly aimed at coping for above-ground swimming pools with rigid walls (sheet-metal or plastic panels, and rigid tubular structures).

[0003] Hitherto, coping has been produced in the form of one-piece sections whose overall shape is predetermined in particular by the curvilinearity of the wall or of certain parts of the wall on which it is to be installed. As a rule, these coping sections are made in the form of plastic profiled strips shaped to fit over the top edge of the wall.

[0004] These coping sections therefore have portions that extend in a generally vertical direction (the portions that enclose the top edge of the wall) which are curved transversely relative to their plane of extension, and a top portion that extends in a generally horizontal direction and is curved in the flat.

[0005] The manufacture of such sections of profiled strips causes no particular difficulties when the top portion that has to be curved in the flat is not very wide.

[0006] However, the manufacture of sections of profiled strips with a top portion of great width curved in the flat causes difficulties:

[0007] it is possible to take a straight section of profiled strip and bend it: the section of profiled strip is reheated until the synthetic material is soft, and it is then placed in a curved template and allowed to cool; such a process is long and costly and is incapable of producing large quantities of less expensive curved sections;

[0008] it is possible to produce sections of curved profiled strip by injection molding; however, the molds are very expensive and, once the mold is made, it is no longer possible to modify or adapt the shape of the section of profiled strip in its curvature and/or in its overall shape;

[0009] it is also possible to produce such sections of curved profiled strips by blow molding or extrusion blow molding. However, this process has the same drawbacks as the previous process due to the use of an expensive mold but does not lend itself to modifications of shapes.

[0010] The object of the invention is essentially to provide improved coping that is less expensive and can have its shape modified easily, allowing a greater range of possibilities in swimming pool fittings.

[0011] For these purposes, one of the various aspects of the invention is that it provides coping for the top edge of a wall, particularly a curvilinear wall, of a swimming pool, said coping consisting of end-to-end sections which coping, being constructed in accordance with the invention, is characterized in that each section of coping comprises:

[0012] an approximately planar deck designed, when the coping is in the installed position, to extend approximately transversely relative to said wall of the swimming pool, said deck being formed by at least one plate of a synthetic material thermoformed by flat pressing, each longitudinal edge of the deck comprising at least two outwardly directed longitudinal flanges arranged one above the other with a gap between them, and

[0013] at least one trim formed by a profiled strip of extruded plastic fixed to said flanges on one edge of the deck.

[0014] In a preferred embodiment, to make a stiffer deck without resulting in extra constraints at the thermoforming stage, the deck consists of two plates made of synthetic material, individually flat-thermoformed and fixed together, the two respective edges of the two assembled plates that lie on the same longitudinal side of the deck forming the abovementioned two flanges. However, other structures are conceivable, in particular that each deck comprises at least one plate made of thermoformed synthetic. material and at least one profiled strip, part of the cross section of which is L-sectioned, which is fixed to said deck in the vicinity of at least one edge thereof, the respective edges of the deck and of the L-shaped profiled strip forming the. abovementioned two flanges.

[0015] As a matter of preference, the trim has, on a face designed to be assembled to the deck, two generally parallel longitudinal grooves designed to accommodate snugly the abovementioned two flanges of the respective edge of the deck. Advantageously then, each flange accommodated snugly in its respective groove is positively fixed, by adhesive bonding or welding, for example, to the trim.

[0016] In practice, advantageously, two trims are fixed to the two respective longitudinal. edges of the deck.

[0017] In the case of a deck formed by joining two thermoformed plates as indicated above, at least one plate has at least two longitudinal ribs that are generally parallel to the respective edges of the plate and to which the other plate is fixed in such a way that the deck, comprising the two plates spaced apart by said ribs, forms a flattened box.

[0018] The coping formed in accordance with the invention offers the advantage, due to its division into several component elements, that each component element can be produced by a technique specifically adapted to it: the trims can, due to their profiled structure and their ability to be bent in their plane of extension, be produced by a conventional extrusion technique, while the plates that make up the deck are produced by flat thermoforming with a very simple and inexpensive mold, before being cut longitudinally to the desired shape (straight or curvilinear) with simple equipment.

[0019] Another result of this modular construction is that it is very easy to modify the general appearance of the coping, since a deck of given shape and structure can be assembled with different trims, or vice versa; and also, modifications of shape and/or dimensions (width) of the deck are possible using different thermoforming molds: but as these molds are inexpensive, having more thermoforming molds is acceptable in financial terms.

[0020] In accordance with another of these aspects, the invention provides a process for producing coping in synthetic material for the top edge of a wall, particularly a curvilinear wall, of a swimming pool and consisting of end-to-end sections, which process is characterized in accordance with the invention in that

[0021] each section of said coping is made in the form of several constituent elements, including:

[0022] an approximately planar deck consisting of at least one plate of a synthetic material that is thermoformed by flat pressing in a mold, said deck having at least one longitudinal edge treated in such a way as to comprise at least two outwardly directed longitudinal flanges arranged one above the other with a gap between them, and

[0023] at least one trim formed by a profiled strip of synthetic material which is extruded,

[0024] and the thermoformed deck is then assembled and fixed to the extruded trim or trims to form a section of coping.

[0025] As a matter of preference, to produce a mechanically strong deck, two plates of synthetic material are thermoformed by flat pressing and the said two plates are assembled one on top of the other, the two respective adjacent edges of said two plates forming the abovementioned two flanges; advantageously, the two plates of synthetic material are thermoformed in different molds and are of different shapes.

[0026] In another possible embodiment, a profiled strip having a cross section that is partly L-shaped is fixed near to at least one longitudinal edge of the plate, the respective edges of the plate and of the L profiled section forming the abovementioned two flanges.

[0027] As far as the production of profiled trims is concerned, one possibility is for the trim to be extruded in the form of a profiled strip having an assembly face provided with at least two generally parallel longitudinal grooves and for the abovementioned two flanges on the corresponding edge of the deck to be accommodated snugly in said respective grooves; preferably, then, each flange, once snugly accommodated in its respective groove, is positively fixed to the trim, for example by adhesive bonding or welding.

[0028] Advantageously, and particularly to the manufacture of curvilinear decks, each plate of the deck is produced by thermoforming an initial plate whose dimensions are such that it extends beyond the longitudinal edges of the thermoforming mold and, after the thermoforming operation the oversized thermoformed plate is cut to its exact outline.

[0029] Basically, for each component element, a production process is used that is specifically adapted to its shape, and, in particular, the use of flat thermoforming for the production of the component plates of the deck affords a considerable saving because of the low cost of the thermoforming mold.

[0030] The invention will be understood more clearly from a reading of the following detailed description of certain preferred embodiments, presented purely as non-restrictive examples. This description refers to the appended drawings, in which:

[0031] FIG. 1 is a partial view, in perspective with cross section, of a section of coping for a swimming pool, constructed in accordance with the invention;

[0032] FIG. 2 is an exploded partial view of the section of coping from FIG. 1, illustrating the process of assembling the component elements;

[0033] FIGS. 3A and 3B are diagrams illustrating various alternative embodiments of part of the deck of the section of coping shown in FIG. 1;

[0034] FIGS. 4A and 4B are views illustrating two alternative ways of installing the section of coping shown in FIG. 1; and

[0035] FIG. 5 is a partial view, in cross section, illustrating another alternative embodiment of the section of coping shown in FIG. 1.

[0036] Referring initially to FIG. 1, a section 1 of coping constructed in accordance with the invention is of modular type and consists of several assembled elements, namely:

[0037] an approximately planar deck 2 designed, in the installed position of the coping, to extend approximately transversely to the wall of the swimming pool on which it is installed; the deck 2 is formed from at least one plate 4 made of a synthetic material thermoformed by flat pressing; at least one longitudinal edge of the deck 2 has at least two outwardly directed longitudinal flanges 7, arranged one above the other with a gap between them; and

[0038] at least one trim 3 that is formed by a profiled strip of extruded synthetic material and that is fixed to said flanges 7 of one edge of the deck 2.

[0039] In the preferred example illustrated in FIG. 1, which corresponds to the ordinary type of coping construction, the coping is fitted with two trims 3 fixed one to each of the two longitudinal edges of the deck 2.

[0040] As a matter of preference, each trim 3 possesses a cross section whose overall shape is elongate in a generally transverse direction relative to the deck so that the cross section of the coping is approximately H-shaped.

[0041] To simplify the process of assembling each trim 3 to the respective edge of the deck 2, it is helpful for the trim 3 to have, on its. assembly face, at least two longitudinal grooves 5 designed to accommodate snugly the two flanges 7 forming the corresponding longitudinal edge of the deck 2. The assembly is rendered secure by adhesive bonding or heat welding for a positive fixing.

[0042] To give the deck 2 sufficient mechanical strength, especially if the deck is relatively wide, it can be constructed in the form of several stacked plates 4 fixed to each other. In practice, an assembly of two superposed plates 4, as illustrated in FIG. 1, should give satisfaction.

[0043] To increase their individual strength, the plates 4 may include longitudinal ribs 6 (for example two ribs as illustrated).

[0044] This makes it advantageously possible for the two plates 4, although having the same general shape, to be provided during thermoforming with ribs 6 positioned differently in such a way that the ribs 6 of the two plates 4 do not coincide. Thus, the ribs 6 of one of the plates (the lower plate in FIG. 1) rest on the non-ribbed part of the other plate, and the two plates are fixed together (for example by adhesive bonding or heat welding) along the two ribs, which thus act as spacers. The assembly of two plates 4 thus joined together presents a high-strength box structure.

[0045] For the same purpose again, it is also possible for at least one of the plates 4 (the top one, for example, as illustrated in FIG. 1) to be arched, at least in part, transversely. In the example given in FIG. 1, it is the central region 8, situated between the two ribs 6, of the top plate that is slightly arched.

[0046] In the illustrative configuration of the deck 2 described immediately above, it is the respective superposed edges of the two plates 4 that form the abovementioned snug-fitting flanges 7 designed to be inserted into the respective grooves 5 in each trim 3.

[0047] Clearly, however, although the solution set out above in relation to FIG. 1 is preferred for its structural simplicity, its simplicity of manufacture and the high mechanical strength of the sections of coping produced in this way, it is possible to make the deck 2 differently, especially if it is composed of a single plate 4. For this purpose, it is possible to attach to the plate 4, on or near the edge thereof, a profiled strip 9 of appropriate shape to form the two flanges 7 necessary for a mechanically strong attachment of the deck to the corresponding trim 3. For example, as shown in FIG. 3A, a [-section profiled strip 9a is attached to the plate 4, or, as illustrated in FIG. 3B, an S- or Z-section profiled strip 9b is attached to the plate 4.

[0048] In all cases, the profiled strip attached to the plate 4 includes an L-section projecting part. It is therefore the edge of the plate 4 and a part of the profiled strip 9 which form the abovementioned snug-fitting flanges 7.

[0049] Whichever form is adopted, the structure of the coping is simple and involves assembling only a small number of component parts. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the section of coping illustrated in FIG. 1 is composed of four parts: the deck 2 is composed of two plates 4 which are attached to each other, for example by adhesive bonding or by welding (heat welding, for example), after which the deck 2 is assembled to the two trims 3 by fitting the flanges 7 snugly in the grooves 5 of these trims.

[0050] A considerable advantage procured by the invention is that the breaking down of the sections of coping into several component parts means that each component part can be produced by the most suitable technique for its particular function or shape.

[0051] For example, the or each plate 4 making up the deck 2 is produced by flat thermoforming an initial plate 10 in an appropriate plastic material, such as rigid PVC, polypropylene, etc. Such a technique, which is well known in the state of the art and thoroughly understood, is particularly recommended because the flat-thermoforming mold is a crude, simple, inexpensive mold. It is therefore possible to envisage fabricating a different mold for each shape of plate 4 required: long, straight or curvilinear plates, plates of different widths for creating copings of varying dimensions, plates having different reliefs, etc.

[0052] For its part, the trim 3 can be produced by an extrusion process that is very suitable for the manufacture of profiled strips. The trim 3 may for example be made of rigid PVC, polypropylene, etc. The profiled strip may be produced in straight form and be curved when assembled to the curved edge of a curvilinear deck, as illustrated in FIG. 4A; this solution offers the advantage that the same profiled strip is used both for producing straight sections of coping and curved sections. However, if it is found to be necessary, it is possible, for the manufacture of curved sections of coping, to produce curved sections of trim as illustrated in FIG. 4B (the profiled strip being cut and bent while hot as it leaves the extrusion die, for example).

[0053] The profiled strip may have any appropriate structure and be solid or hollow. In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, it will be seen that the trims 5 are profiled strips whose cross section is elongate in a direction parallel to its assembly face (in other words transversely relative to the deck 2). This means that the profiled trim 5 can easily be bent transversely relative to this elongate dimension. The design of the hollow profiled strip may be unlimited provided it does not affect the function and installation of said profiled strip.

[0054] The coping may also be provided with other items in any way appropriate to its function, while retaining the structure described above. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the deck 2 may be provided with a coating 16 of a relatively soft and elastically deformable material.

[0055] It will thus be appreciated that coping formed in accordance with the invention can be produced at a reduced cost and that it is particularly suitable for differing situations having different specifications, since all that is required is to modify the shape and/or color of one of the component parts without having to modify the other parts. Such modifications are made technically possible and financially inexpensive because of the modular structure of the coping and because of the use of inexpensive manufacturing techniques.