Title:
Tread board
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tread board for supporting a tread belt of a treadmill includes a plate body that has a bottom surface, and a top surface adapted to be placed beneath an inner surface of the tread belt, and a lubricating surface layer that covers the top surface and that includes a lubricant and a porous matrix body retaining the lubricant.



Inventors:
Wang, Chin-yi (Taichung Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
11/001488
Publication Date:
05/19/2005
Filing Date:
12/01/2004
Assignee:
CHYUAN SHENG PLYWOOD CO., LTD.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/02; (IPC1-7): A63B22/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEBB ZIESENHEIM LOGSDON ORKIN & HANSON P.C. (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A tread board for supporting a tread belt of a treadmill, comprising: a plate body having a bottom surface, and a top surface adapted to be placed beneath an inner surface of the tread belt; and a lubricating surface layer covering said top surface and including a lubricant and a porous matrix body retaining said lubricant.

2. The tread board as claimed in claim 1, wherein said plate body is made of wood.

3. The tread board as claimed in claim 1, wherein said plate body is made of plastic.

4. The tread board as claimed in claim 1, wherein said plate body is made of metal.

5. The tread board as claimed in claim 1, wherein said porous matrix body is a polymer matrix body.

6. The tread board as claimed in claim 1, wherein said porous matrix body is a metal matrix body.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/530,694, filed on Dec. 17, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an exercising apparatus, more particularly to a tread board secured on a frame of a treadmill.

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIG. 1, a conventional treadmill is shown to include a treadmill frame 1, a tread board 2 secured on a bottom portion of the treadmill frame 1, two shafts 3 mounted pivotally and respectively on two sides of the tread board 2, and a tread belt 4 trained on the shafts 3. The tread belt 4 has atop part supported by the tread board 2 for treading by the user in an exercising drill.

Conventional tread boards 2 are largely made of wood, plastic, or steel plates. In general, the conventional tread board 2 is further provided with a wear-resistant surface layer 201, which serves to reduce friction between the tread belt 4 and the tread board 2. The wear-resistant surface layer 201 may be formed from melamine, UV paint (ultraviolet dry coating), oil paint, baking paint, etc. In use, a lubricating agent (such as silicone, wax, grease, or other lubricants) is applied to the wear-resistant surface layer 201 by spraying so as to provide lubrication between the tread belt 4 and the wear-resistant surface layer 201 to thereby reduce friction therebetween.

Since the lubricating agent is applied externally to the wear-resistant surface layer 201, the lubricating effect will not last long. Once the lubricating effect vanishes, the electric current consumption of a motor 5 that drives the tread belt 4 will increase, thereby resulting in an adverse effect on the entire electric control system of the treadmill and thereby causing damage to the treadmill.

Furthermore, while lubricating grease can be added to the treadmill, since the space between the tread belt 4 and the tread board 2 is small, addition of lubricating grease is difficult. Besides, the lubricating grease cannot be applied evenly over the entire tread board 2. Thus, external addition of lubricating grease cannot effectively reduce friction.

There has been proposed a tread board that has a top surface formed with grooves for holding lubricating grease so as to provide a lubricating effect. However, it is necessary to add the lubricating grease before use. Besides, the lubricating grease will leak from the tread board if the amount of lubricating grease added is excessive. Furthermore, such a tread board construction is not suitable for a treadmill which is upwardly foldable. In addition, the provision of grooves in the top surface of the tread board will render the top surface of the tread board uneven so that friction between the tread belt and the tread board is increased undesirably.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the main object of the present invention is to provide a tread board, which can release a lubricant from a surface layer thereof during operation of a tread belt so as to reduce friction between the tread board and the tread belt.

According to this invention, a tread board for supporting a tread belt of a treadmill includes: a plate body having a bottom surface, and a top surface adapted to be placed beneath an inner surface of the tread belt; and a lubricating surface layer covering the top surface and including a lubricant and a porous matrix body retaining the lubricant.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of a conventional treadmill in an assembled state;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a treadmill incorporating a preferred embodiment of a tread board according to the invention; and

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the preferred embodiment taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the preferred embodiment of a tread board 200 according to the present invention is shown to be secured on a frame 110 of a treadmill 100 for supporting a tread belt 120. The tread board 200 includes a plate body 10 and a lubricating surface layer 20.

The plate body 10 is secured on the frame 110, and has a bottom surface 11, and a top surface 12 opposite to the bottom surface 11 and adapted to be placed beneath an inner surface 130 of the tread belt 120. The plate body 10 may be made of wood, plastic, or metal.

The lubricating surface layer 20 covers the top surface 12 of the plate body 10 below the inner surface 130 of the tread belt 120. The lubricating surface layer 20 includes a lubricant 22 and a porous matrix body 23 retaining the lubricant 22. The porous matrix body 23 may be a polymer matrix body that is formed using resin as a primary raw material, or a metal matrix body that is formed using metal powder as a primary raw material. During fabrication of the lubricating surface layer 20, the lubricant 22 is mixed with the primary raw material, which is applied to the top surface 12 of the plate body 10, is leveled, and is allowed to harden. Preferably, the lubricant 22 may be a liquid lubricant, such as grease. The lubricating surface layer 20 thus formed has the aforesaid porous matrix body 23 with numerous minute pores 21. The lubricant 22 fills the pores 21, and is distributed evenly throughout the porous matrix body 23.

In use, when the treadmill 100 is in operation and the user treads the tread belt 120, the tread belt 120 and the tread board 200 will come into frictional contact, which results in the generation of heat. This in turn results in enhanced flow of the lubricant 22, which will move upward to provide lubrication between the inner surface 130 of the tread belt 120 and the lubricating surface layer 20, thereby reducing friction between the tread belt 120 and the tread board 200. In addition, electric current consumption can be reduced; the useful lives of the motor and electric control system of the treadmill 100 can be prolonged; and noise due to frictional rubbing can be reduced.

Furthermore, since the lubricating surface layer 20 is capable of releasing the lubricant 22, a preferred effect of lubrication between the inner surface 130 of the tread belt 120 and the lubricating surface layer 20 is ensured. There is no need for the user to add any lubricant before using the treadmill 100, which is very convenient in terms of use. Besides, the tread board 200 can be adapted for use in various types of treadmills.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.





 
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