Title:
Non-slip floor grating and method of manufacturing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floor grate having two or more sets of rails with at least one set of rails including a textured portion on a top side of the rails. Additionally, at least one set of rails includes cutouts that are spaced apart and dimensioned to receive at least a part of each of the rails of the other set of rails. The twp or more sets of rails are coupled together by the cutouts.



Inventors:
Bigott, James W. (Fenton, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/094968
Publication Date:
10/05/2006
Filing Date:
03/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/42
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AHMAD, CHARISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness Dickey (St. Louis) (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A floor grate comprising: a first plurality of spaced parallel rails, each first rail having a textured portion on a top side; and a second plurality of spaced parallel rails, each second rail having a textured portion on a top side and intersecting a plurality of the first rails, each second rail having a plurality of spaced cutouts formed along one side, said cutouts being spaced apart and dimensioned to receive a portion of the first rails, a portion of the first rails being received within the cutouts.

2. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein the textured portions of each first rail and each second rail includes a plurality of lateral channels.

3. The floor grate of claim 2 wherein each lateral channel has rounded corners.

4. The floor grate of claim 3 wherein the first rails and the second rails are each configured from a metal.

5. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein the textured portions of each first and second rail include a plurality of lateral channels and the lateral channel of the first rails are generally perpendicular to the lateral channels of the second rails.

6. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein each first rail is fixedly coupled to each second rail by welding.

7. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein the cutouts are on the same side as the side having the textured portion.

8. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein the first rails have a height dimension that is equivalent to the height dimension of the depth of the cutouts and wherein the first rails are received within the cutouts and the top sides of the first rails are substantially planar with the top sides of the second rails.

9. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein the cutouts of the second rails are on the top sides and the first rails have cutouts sized to fit within the cutouts of the second rails, said cutouts of the first rails being on the bottom sides of the first rails.

10. The floor grate of claim 1 wherein the cutouts of the first and second rails are dimensioned such that when the first rails are coupled to the second rails, the top sides of the first and second rails are generally planar.

11. A method of forming a portion of floor grate, the method comprising: forming two or more rails from a sheet of material, the rails having a top side with a textured portion and a bottom side; and forming the top side of the two rails simultaneously with a single cut.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein the single cut is a line having a channel pattern.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the channel has rounded corners.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising forming the bottom side of the rails simultaneously with a single cut that is substantially parallel to the single cut that forms the two top sides.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising alternating cuts on the sheet of material to form two top sides followed by two bottom sides.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein the cuts to form the two bottom sides include forming a cutout portion in the bottom sides that are spaced apart.

17. The method of claim 11 wherein the cuts to form the top sides include forming a cutout portion in the top sides that are spaced apart.

18. A floor grate comprising: two or more sets of rails; at least one set of rails having a textured portion on a top side of the rails; at least one set of rails having cutouts being spaced apart and dimensioned to receive at least a part of each of the rails of the other set of rails; and the sets of rails being coupled together by the cutouts.

19. The floor grate of claim 18 wherein each rail of a first set of rails is fixedly coupled to each rail of a second set of rails by welding.

20. The floor grate of claim 18 wherein each set of rails has a textured portion on a top side.

21. The floor grate of claim 18 wherein each set of rails cutouts spaced apart and dimensioned to receive a cutout from another set of rails.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to grates and more specifically to a grating adapted for use in or as a floor and the method of manufacturing such grating.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Floor grates or gratings are often used in industrial and commercial applications and typically include rigid tread rails arranged side by side in series with a narrow space between the rails to allow for the passage of water, slush, debris, and dirt. The rails are typically rigidly secured and are recessed in a floor surface, so as to form a substantial continuation of the floor surface. In the recess area of the floor where the grating is supported, there may also be a drain for removing water, dirt, slush, or debris. As such, floor grates often require the ability to support significant loads and are subject to vibration and fluids such as water. Such floor grates often must also include a non-skid surface to minimize loss of traction to persons traversing the floor grates.

In the design and construction of floor grates, consideration is often given to the manner in which the grate or grate rails are secured together and held in a predetermined spaced relation. Typically the desired objective is to accomplish the desired spacing and securement in a manner that accommodates an economical manufacture and assembly of the grate structure. It has been customary to construct floor grates with structural rails or other elements that extend transversely and longitudinally. Often parallel load bearing rails are perpendicular to connecting or spacing non-load-bearing rails.

Floor grates have typically been made from metal, plastic, or composite intersecting rails that interlock at the points of intersection. Some floor grates are designed to be manufactured without requiring welding or other forms of permanent attachment. Often these floor grates include rails with slots or holes that are sized or shaped to form a press-fit or a mechanical deformation when intersecting another rail. Other known floor grates include interconnecting rods and/or end rails that form the structural integrity for the grating or utilize a swaged locking structure to securely retain the cross rails to the bearing rails. Often these structures are designed to minimize or eliminate the use of welding or similar bonding in the construction of the grate. However, these grates have many parts or features that require additional manufacturing steps. These steps often include having the top surface of the bearing rails scored or impregnated to improve traction. Such floor grates are difficult and cumbersome to assemble, costly to manufacture, and often do not perform well in a hostile user environment.

Additionally, some floor grates are made of a metal, plastic, or composite material that is formed by molding or extrusion. These floor grates often include a top surface that has been scored or that has been impregnated with a coarse or frictional material such as silica. These floor grates generally wear out over time and their top surfaces become slick and therefore dangerous in wet environments such as kitchens or outdoors.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The inventor hereof has succeeded at designing a floor grate and method of manufacturing that is durable and provides a long lasting textured or non-slip surface. Such a floor grate is manufactured according to a method that provides relatively few manufacturing steps and therefore can be manufactured at lower costs as compared to previous methods and grates.

According to one aspect of the invention, a floor grate comprises two or more rails with at least one of the sets of rails having a textured portion on a top side of the rails. Additionally, at least one of the sets of rails includes cutouts that are spaced apart and dimensioned to receive at least a part of each of the rails of the other set of rails. The two or more sets of rails are coupled together by the cutouts.

According to another aspect of the invention, a floor grate comprises a first plurality of spaced parallel rails where each first rail has a textured portion on a top side. A second plurality of spaced parallel rails is included in which each second rail has a textured portion on a top side and intersects a plurality of the first rails. Each second rail has a plurality of spaced cutouts formed along at least one side. The cutouts are spaced apart and dimensioned to receive a portion of the first rails. A portion of the first rails is received within the cutouts.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method of forming a portion of floor grate includes forming two or more rails from a sheet of material with the rails having a bottom side and a top side with a textured portion. The method also includes forming the top side of the two rails simultaneously with a single cut.

Further aspects of the present invention will be in part apparent and in part pointed out below. It should be understood that various aspects of the invention may be implemented individually or in combination with one another. It should also be understood that the detailed description and drawings, while indicating certain exemplary embodiments of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an unassembled floor grate according to a first exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an assembled floor grate according to the first exemplary embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an unassembled floor grate according to a second exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an assembled floor grate according to the second exemplary embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top view of an assembled floor grate according to various embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of a sheet of metal indicating the manufacturing pattern for forming a plurality of first and second rails according to various exemplary embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a close up top view of a sheet of metal with a pattern to form three rails according to one embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a close up top view of a sheet of metal with a pattern to form two rails according to a second embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 9A, 9B, 9C, and 9D are graphs illustrating various cutting patterns and dimensions for forming a textured non-slip surface on rails for a floor grate according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a top view of a sheet of metal indicating the manufacturing pattern for forming a plurality of first and second rails according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention.

Like reference symbols indicate like elements or features throughout the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its applications, or uses.

In a first embodiment of the invention, a floor grate includes at least two sets of rails with at least one of the sets of rails comprises at least one textured portion on a top side of the rails. Additionally, at least one of the sets of rails includes cutouts that are spaced apart and dimensioned to receive at least a part of each of the rails of the other set of rails. The at least two sets of rails are coupled together by the cutouts. Referring to FIG. 1, in one exemplary embodiment first rails 102 are aligned parallel to each other and spaced a first distance D1 apart. Second rails 104 are also aligned parallel to each other and spaced a second distance D2 apart. Second rails 104 are positioned at a predetermined angle with regard to each of the first rails 102, and in one preferred embodiment, are positioned perpendicular to each of the first rails 102. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, each first rail 102 has a rail height of D5 and has a top side 110 and a rail thickness of D8. Each second rail 104 also includes a top side 108 and a rail height of D6 and a rail thickness of D10. As shown, both the top sides 108 and 110 can be textured with a textured surface 107 to form a non-slip or friction surface, or only one of top sides 108 or 110 can be textured. In other embodiments, only the first rails 102 or the second rails 104 may have the textured surface 107 on the top side. Further, it is also possible to implement the invention by texturing only a portion of one or both sets of the rails 102, 104 to create a non-slip portion. Additionally, the textured portions of each first rail 102 and second rail 104 can include a plurality of lateral channels with the lateral channel of the first rails 102 being generally perpendicular to the lateral channels of the second rails 104.

Each second rail 104 includes second rail cutouts 106 along one side, such as the top side as shown by way of example. Each second rail cutout 106 is spaced a distance D3 apart and dimensioned to receive at least a portion of each of the first rails 102. Each second rail cutout 106 can be formed from the top side (as shown) or from the bottom side and has a depth D4 from the defining side. The cutout depth D4 is less than rail height D6. As shown in this exemplary embodiment, the height of first rail D5 is less than the height of second rail D6. In one embodiment, the second rail cutout depth D4 is substantially equivalent to the height D5 of first rail 102 such that when the first rail 102 is received into the second rail cutout 106, the first top side 110 is substantially in the same plane as the second top side 108, one or both of which can be textured. In other embodiments, the first top side 110 may be in a different plane or offset from the second top side 108. The height of the first rail 102 could be less than the cutout depth such that the top of the first rail 110 is recessed below the height of the second rail 104. Regardless, it is desirable that the top surface 110 and/or 108 upon which a user's foot would contact include a portion of texture to provide a non-slip surface.

One or both of rails 102 and 104 can be composed of a variety of materials including metals such as steel, stainless steel, iron, and aluminum; plastic, and composite. Also the first rails 102 and the second rails 104 can be generally rectangular in shape. However, in other embodiments, the rails 102 and 104 can have other shapes, such as, by way of example, round, I-shaped, T-shaped, or a more complex shape.

FIG. 2 illustrates one exemplary embodiment of a grate 100 assembled utilizing the first rails 102 and the second rails 104 with the second rail cutout 106 as shown in FIG. 1, rotated by 90 degrees. As shown, each first rail 102 is received in each second rail cutout 106 such that the first top side 110 and the second top side 108 together form a substantially planar floor grate 100. As noted, each second rail cutout 106 is dimensioned to generally receive each first rail 102. While the dimensions of each second rail cutout 106 can be equivalent or slightly larger or smaller than the outer dimension D8 of each first rail 102, in the preferred dimension the second rail cutouts 106 are slightly larger than the outer dimension D8 of the first rail 102. A bond 112 fixedly couples the first rails 102 to the second rails 104. The bond 112 can be an epoxy or other bonding agent, or can be a weld when the rails 102 and 104 are composed of metal or plastic. In some embodiments, the bond 112 is located on the lower portion of the first rails 102 and can also be on the lower portion of the second rails 104.

The textured surface 107 of either top sides 108 and 110 can be formed by any means and therefore can be of any shape and style. In some embodiments, the textured surface 107 can be substantially rounded, arc shaped, or cross-shaped. In an embodiment of the rounded or arc shaped texture 107, the arcs can be formed from one side to another and substantially perpendicular to a plane containing the side of the second rail 104. Other embodiments of such arc shaped texture 107 will be discussed in further detail below. The term texture for the textured surface 107 is used broadly herein and can include any formation on the surface of the grate that will enhance friction on the surface of the grate.

In other embodiments of the invention, a floor grate includes a first plurality of spaced parallel rails where each first rail has at least one textured portion on a top side. A second plurality of spaced parallel rails is included in which each second rail has at least one textured portion on a top side and intersects a plurality of the first rails. Each second rail has a plurality of spaced cutouts formed along at least one side. The cutouts are spaced apart and dimensioned to receive at least a portion of the first rails. At least a portion of the first rails is received within the cutouts.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, another embodiment of the invention is illustrated. As noted above, like reference symbols indicate like elements or features throughout the drawings and therefore the description of these like elements and features are not separately described herein. In this embodiment, the first rails 102 also include first rail cutouts 114 that are spaced and dimensioned to receive the second rails 104. As illustrated, the first rail cutouts 114 are spaced and dimensioned to interlock with the second rail cutouts 106 and as such, the width D11 of the first rail cutouts 114 are equal to or slightly larger than the width of the second rails D10. The depth D8 of the first rail cutouts 114 is dimensioned to couple with the depth D4 of the second rail cutouts 106 so that each first top side 110 substantially aligns in the same plane as each second top side 108 when the first rails 102 and second rails 104 are coupled. In other embodiments, the first top side 110 may be in a different plane or offset from the second top side 108. While the rail heights D7 and D6, of rails 102 and 104 are shown as being equal, in other embodiments the heights D7 and D6 can be different and still be within the scope of the present invention. In such embodiments, the top of one of the rails would be recessed below the top of the other set of rails when the rails 102 and 104 are coupled together.

As shown in FIG. 4 that illustrates the assembled grate of FIG. 3, rotated by 90 degrees, after coupling the rails 102 and 104 can be fixedly attached or bonded at one or more points of coupling or intersection. Such bonding methods can be by any variety, some of which are described above with regard to FIG. 2.

Various embodiments of a floor grate 500 according to the present invention have a top view as shown in FIG. 5. The first rails 102 are each spaced distance D1 apart and the second rails 104 are each spaced distance D2 apart. However, it should be understood that within a particular floor grate 500 the rail spacings D1 and D2 could vary or have multiple distances so as to form a pattern or as may be desired or necessary for a particular user application, such as may be required for a particular strength or loading. For example, based on the required dimensions for a particular user application, one or more rails may be added at a separate distance D2′ near floor grate side 502 or 504 to provide a side rail (not shown).

As shown in FIG. 5, the first rails 102 and the second rails 104 are aligned and coupled such that the first top side 110 and second top side 108 form a substantially planar top surface. Additionally, as shown, by way of example, each first top side 110 and each second top side 108 include textured surface 107. In this manner, the floor grate 500 provides a fractioned surface that is rough and is not slippery in wet or moist floor applications. Additionally, in this exemplary embodiment where both the first rails 102 and the second rails 104 are textured in both longitudinal and traverse directions on a common plane, the textured top surface 107 of floor grate 500 provides an improved non-slip surface over grates that are only textured along only a single or primary bearing rail. Further, when floor grate 500 is composed of metal rails 102 and 104 and the textured surface 107 is a cut texture, the textured surface 107 forming the non-slip surface will not easily wear out or become slick even when wet or covered with dirt or debris. As shown by way of example in FIG. 5, the textured surface 107 is illustrated as cross-cut or X-pattern. Of course, other types and patterns of surfaces are also within the scope of the invention. Also, although not shown, the textured pattern of one set of rails can be formed at an angle with respect to the pattern of the second set of rails in embodiments where both sets of rails include at least textured portions. The floor grates discussed herein can be designed and manufactured according of various methods. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, a method of forming a portion of floor grate includes forming at least two rails from a sheet of material with the rails having a bottom side and a top side with a textured portion. The method also includes forming the top side of the two rails simultaneously with a single cut. Additionally, in some embodiments the single cut is a line having a channel pattern and in others the channel can have rounded corners. The method can also include forming the bottom side of the rails simultaneously with a single cut that is substantially parallel to the single cut that forms the two top sides or can include alternating cuts on the sheet of material to form two top sides followed by two bottom sides. In some cases, the cuts forming the two bottom sides can include forming a cutout portion in the bottom sides that are spaced apart. In other embodiments, the cuts forming the top sides can include forming a cutout portion in the top sides that are spaced apart.

For example, as shown in FIG. 6, a sheet of rail material is laid out with a manufacturing pattern 600 for forming a plurality of first and second rails. The sheet of rail material sheet 602 has a left side 610 and a right side 612, together defining a sheet width DS1, and a top side 611 and a bottom side 613, together defining a sheet length DS2. The rail material sheet 602 also has a depth (not shown in the figure) that is the thickness of the material sheet. A pattern can be laid out on the rail material sheet 602 either physically or in the memory or software of a supporting computer. The supporting computer can be any type of computer capable of running the rail layout and forming software. A plurality of first rails 102 and second rails 104 can be formed from one or more rail material sheets 602 so as to optimize the forming process and to minimize any waste of the rail material sheet 602. Although not shown, a thin piece of scrap material could be cut around the border of the rail material sheet 602 shown in FIG. 6 during the cutting process to yield the pattern 600 of FIG. 6. Additionally, while all first rails 102 and second rails 104 are shown in pattern 600 to be laid out longitudinally, other patterns may include some first rails 102 and second rails 104 laid out transversely or in other patterns so as to optimize the utilization of the material sheet 602 and minimize waste material.

As shown by way of example in FIGS. 6, and 7, first rails 102A-E can be formed adjacent to each other and second rails 104A-D can be formed adjacent to each other or separately. In this example, first rail 102A is formed by cutting the rail material sheet 602 with a textured surface 107 (as shown in FIG. 1) having a patterned line 606. This cut line 606 creates a strip of scrap material (as shown as 1004 in FIG. 10). After cutting texture line 606, the cutter indexes to cut along a straight cut line 608 that includes forming cutouts or slots 604, e.g., cutting a straight line between the slots 604 and cutting slots 604 as an integral process of cutting line 608. The straight cut line 608 separates first rail 102A from the rest of rail material sheet 602. In some embodiments, a cutter may also produce a small strip of scrap material (see 1004 in FIG. 10) on either the right side 612 or left side 610 during the indexing process. The texture line 606 can be of a variety of designs and in one embodiment can be a series of arc-shaped cross-sectioned lateral channels 107 (see FIG. 1). Additionally, slots 604 can be formed in one or both of rails 102A and 102B when cutting one rail from another rail. The slots 604 can be cut to a depth of D4 such that each cut is two times D4 in length (see FIG. 3). In this manner, both rails can be efficiently produced with minimal waste of material.

Next, the texture cut line 606 separates rail 102B from the rest of rail material sheet 602 and the process is repeated for each desired first rail 102. Each straight cut 608 and texture line 606 is spaced to define a first rail 102 having a first rail height of D7. Additionally, during the rail forming operations, one or more rails 102 and 104 can be formed in pattern 600 between the left side 610 and the right side 612 by adding in one or more lateral cuts 609 to form rails of a desired length and to form a floor grate having a desired size.

A similar set of forming operations is performed to produce the plurality of second rails 104A-D having a rail height of D6, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8. The center portion of FIG. 6 can be used to form any additional rails. Additionally, it should be noted that a combination of first rails 102 and 104 can be laid out to be produced simultaneously and not separately as laid out in pattern 600. In this example, the difference between second rails 104A-D and first rails 102A-E is that the cutouts 604 are formed during the formation of the texture line 606 rather than the straight cut line 608. The resulting first rails 102 and second rails 104 would be formed according to the exemplary embodiment as described above with regard to FIGS. 3 and 4. Other designs and patterns can be utilized to form rails according to other embodiments of the invention.

It should be understood to those skilled in the art that forming of the rails 102 and 104 from the rail material sheet can be by any manufacturing method and can include, by way of example, cutting, stamping, shearing, and knurling. For example, the rails 102 and 104 can be cut by a cutting blade, or by a laser, a waterjet, or an electrical discharge machine or they may be molded or stamped. Such forming method can be, in part, determined based on the selected rail sheet material that can be any variety of materials, including metals such as steel, stainless steel, iron, and aluminum, plastic, and composites. In one preferred embodiment, the cutting is by way of a computer-controlled laser that provides for forming the textured side of each first rail and each second rail, when required. Also, to aid in the efficient manufacturing of rails 102 and 104 the present method, as illustrated in FIG. 6, provides for laser cutting the first rails, the second rails, the cutouts, and the textured sides requiring only a single laser piercing per material sheet. This is just one of the benefits of some embodiments of the present method since each laser piercing is costly, time consuming, and provides additional wear on the laser cutting system. Also as shown in FIG. 6, the present method provides for the ability to utilize common line cutting (lines 606 and 608) to form or separate more than a single rail 102 and/or 104 in a single line operation. Further, such a method also provides for bridge cutting as one method of moving the cutting apparatus or system about the rail material sheet 602 without requiring additional or unnecessary piercings or starts and stops. Each of these methods, according to various embodiments of the invention can provide for reduced manufacturing time and expense and therefore reduced unit cost for the manufactured product. Additionally, the present methods can provide for considerably less waste material after forming rails 102 and 104 from rail material sheet 602.

FIG. 10 illustrates another sheet of material 1002 having a pattern 1003 for forming the first rails 102 with cutouts 604 and the second rails 104 with cutouts 604. In this example, the pattern 1003 is laid out on the material sheet 1002 such that once the rails 102 and 104 are cut, waste material 1004 is produced around the periphery of pattern 1003 and the produced rails 102 and 104. Generally, the rail forming process described herein provides for substantially less waste material 1004 than other methods. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the pattern 1003 can be adjusted or arranged to minimize waste material 1004.

After the rails are formed according to the methods described herein and in FIGS. 6-10, each first rail 102 and second rail 104 are coupled as described in one or more of the above embodiments and bonded or otherwise fixedly coupled together. Such bonding can be by any method or means and can include chemical or heat bonding, or can include soldering or welding, by way of example.

As noted, the present invention can provide in some embodiments for the efficient manufacturing of a floor grate having a textured surface 107. As described in FIGS. 6-8, the textured surface 107 of one or both the first rail 102 and the second rail 104 can be formed during the rail forming and separating process by texture cut line 606 when the rails 102 and 104 are formed from the rail material sheet 602. FIGS. 9A, 9B, 9C, and 9D illustrate various cutting graphs and dimensions for texture cut line 606 that simultaneously cut lateral channels in two adjacent rails to form two textured top surfaces according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 9A, the cut line 606A is formed between a first rail 902A and a second rail 902B, or at least the theoretical top side 901 of such rails 902A and 902B. The textured cut line 606A is an alternating line having a plurality of peaks 904 and valleys 906. A plurality of straight portions 914 can be formed between the peaks 904 and valleys 906 in some embodiments, or in other embodiments, the textured cut line 606 could be, by way of example, sinusoidal, square, round, or triangular. In FIG. 9A, the peaks 904 of textured cut line 606 form a textured peak of rail 902B and a textured valley of rail 902A. Inversely, the valleys 906 form a textured peak of rail 902A and a textured valley of rail 902B. The height 916 of the total cut line 606A can be any height with one preferred embodiment being illustrated in FIG. 9A as being 0.3688 inches. The total period 917 of the peaks and valley of cut line 606A can be any period and in this example is 0.06568 inches. Of course, these dimensions are only for illustrative purposes and are not intended to be limiting, as many other dimensions are also applicable.

FIG. 9B illustrates, by way of example, a cut line 606B defines the X and Y coordinates of one-half of the straight portion 914 as being 0.00776 inches and 0.01344 inches, respectively. The total length of the straight portion 914 is illustrated in FIG. 9D as being 0.02668 inches. FIG. 9C illustrates, also by way of example, the curvature of the peaks 904 and valley 906 as being 120 degrees and having a radius of 0.01 inches. FIGS. 9A-D provide several features associated with one embodiment of a textured cut line 606 that can be utilized for forming the top sides 108 and 110 with a textured surface 107 during the rail forming process. In the manner described herein, a cutting or forming device, can effectively form the rails 102 and 104 with the top sides 108 and 110 without requiring a stopping and starting of the cutting device. By enabling the cutting device to stay in motion, the cutting operation can be significantly improved thereby increasing the manufacturing efficiency and decreasing the manufacturing costs.

When describing elements or features of the present invention or embodiments thereof, the articles “a”, “an”, “the”, and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements or features. The terms “comprising”, “including”, and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements or features beyond those specifically described.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that various changes can be made to the exemplary embodiments and implementations described above without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings should be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is further to be understood that the steps described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed.