Title:
Puncture Resistant Glove
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is provided a puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand comprising a hand-wearable flexible support defining both an inner and outer support surface; provided to the inner support surface, plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material; and provided to the outer support surface, plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material. In use, the plural inner shields and the plural outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to the user's hand regardless of any movement of the user's hand.



Inventors:
Stokes, Leslie James (London, GB)
Application Number:
11/422130
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
06/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON & JACOBSON, P.C. (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand comprising a hand-wearable flexible support defining both an inner and outer support surface; provided to said inner support surface, plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material; and provided to said outer support surface, plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material, wherein in use, said plural inner shields and said plural outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

2. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 1, wherein said plural inner and outer shields are in fixed contact with the flexible support.

3. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 1, wherein the plural outer shields have a form selected from the group consisting of finger caps, thumb caps, finger rings and thumb rings.

4. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 3, wherein said finger rings are provided as separate finger rings.

5. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 3, wherein said finger rings comprise a multi-finger finger ring for accommodation of the user's second to fourth fingers; and a single finger ring for accommodation of the user's index finger.

6. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 1, wherein the plural inner shields have a form selected from the group consisting of finger rings and thumb rings.

7. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 6, wherein one inner shield comprises four finger rings, laterally oriented and fused together.

8. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 1, wherein one or more of the plural inner shields is provided with a raised outer edge or lip at a surface that faces towards the flexible support.

9. A puncture resistant glove according to any of claim 1, wherein one or more of the outer shields is provided at its outward-facing surface with channels and/or contours for enhancing grip.

10. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 1, further including a lining provided interior to the plural inner shields.

11. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 1, comprising overlapping inner and outer shield members connected to said flexible support and extending therefrom, each shield member comprising a plurality of shield portions having a form selected from the group consisting of finger caps, thumb caps, finger rings and thumb rings, the portions of each shield member being interconnected by flexible webs.

12. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 11, in which the inner and outer shield members are each one-piece members.

13. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 11, in which the inner and outer shield members are interconnected to each other.

14. A puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand comprising plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material, plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material, wherein in use, said plural inner shields and said plural outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

15. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 14, comprising overlapping inner and outer shield members respectively including a plurality of said inner and outer shields portions having a form selected from the group consisting of finger caps, thumb caps, finger rings and thumb rings, the portions of each shield member being interconnected by flexible webs.

16. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 15, in which the inner and outer shield members are each one-piece members.

17. A puncture resistant glove according to claim 15, in which the inner and outer shield members are interconnected to each other.

18. A method of making a puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand, the method comprising: forming a hand-wearable flexible support defining both an inner and outer support surface; forming plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material; forming plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material; providing said plural inner shields to said inner support surface; and providing said plural outer shields to said outer support surface, wherein said plural inner shields and said plural outer shields are arranged for overlap such as to provide, in use, impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of PCT/EP2004/013585, having a filing date of Nov. 29, 2004, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a safety glove that is resistant to puncture by sharp objects such as needles and broken glass.

2. State of the Art

Well-known safety problems arise in relation to providing hand protection to workers who may encounter sharp objects (‘sharps’) during their work. One example relates to refuse collection workers who can encounter broken glass, sharp edges on tin cans and used hypodermic syringe needles when emptying refuse bins. Another example relates to staff in hospitals (e. g. cleaners and laundry room operatives) for whom risk of needlestick injury is a known hazard. A further example relates to police, security staff and military personnel who may in the course of their duties face the risk of assault by sharp weapons such as knives, broken bottles. The risk of cuts and puncture wounds to the hand is compounded where the sharp object is contaminated. Used hypodermic syringes are of particular concern; most especially in relation to risk of Hepatitis and HIV transmission by needlestick puncture.

A number of puncture resistant gloves have been proposed in the art, but there remains a need for a truly effective solution to the above-described problems. In particular, protection should be provided to the hand regardless of hand orientation or movement and also regardless of the angle of contact of a sharp object with the glove. For utility, the glove should be fully puncture-resistant but when worn should also not significantly compromise the dexterity of the user's hand. Full hand dexterity is desirable to allow effective handling of tasks by the protected hand.

The Applicant has now devised a puncture resistant glove that offers effective hand protection from injury by sharps whilst not significantly compromising hand dexterity and being amenable to manufacture at low cost.

The glove comprises a flexible, hand-wearable support that is provided with both inner and outer puncture resistant shields. The inner and outer shields overlap to form a barrier to sharp object penetration of the hand regardless of its orientation relative to the sharp object or of any hand or finger movements.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,953,751 describes a needlestick resistant glove in which a flexible, one-piece web is provided on its outer surface with plastic disks positioned side-by-side. U.S. Pat. No. 5,644,797 describes a puncture resistant glove, in which a non-puncture resistant layer has disposed thereon a puncture resistant layer comprising plural segments arranged end to end.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a puncture resistant glove that offers protection from sharp object injury to a user's hand during normal use.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a puncture resistant glove that offers protection from sharp object injury to a user's hand regardless of any hand movement or of the orientation of the sharp object to the glove.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a puncture resistant glove that does not significantly compromise the dexterity of a user's hand during normal use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand comprising a hand-wearable flexible support defining both an inner and outer support surface; provided to said inner support surface, plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material; and provided to said outer support surface, plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material, wherein in use, said plural inner shields and said plural outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

There is provided a puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand. The term ‘puncture resistant’ is used herein to mean resistant to puncture by a sharp object such as a sharp edge (e. g. metallic or glass) or tip, particularly the tip of a needle.

The degree of puncture resistance is preferably as great as possible, but at minimum the resistance to puncture should be such as to fully protect the user's hand during normal use of the glove even if puncture is ultimately possible under extreme forces (e. g. during severe laboratory testing conditions).

Examples of normal uses of the puncture resistant glove herein include for refuse collection, cleaning, laundering, food preparation, prison work, hospital work, heavy engineering and tool work, police work including riot control work, and use by the armed forces. The puncture resistant glove may also be used for motorcyclist's hand protection.

The term ‘user's hand’ herein is generally used to mean that part of the user's body extending away from the arm and beyond the wrist and including the upper hand, palm, fingers and thumb. Embodiments are however, also envisaged herein in which protection is additionally provided to the wrist and part of the user's arm. It will be appreciated that the extent of protection will generally be determined by the task to be performed by the user and/or by other safety gear provided to the user (e. g. a coat with protective sleeves).

The glove comprises a flexible support that is wearable by the hand of the user. The flexibility of the support is such as to ensure that hand dexterity is not significantly compromised when worn by the user. Preferably, the support is comprised of flexible material.

The material of the flexible support is desirably water impermeable and may also be resistant to chemicals, heat and/or any other hazards that may be encountered by the user during normal use. The material of the flexible support need not however be puncture resistant since the resistance to puncture is provided by the shields as described hereinafter. Suitable flexible support materials include rubber, latex and Kevlar (trade mark) or other soft, and preferably resilient materials. Suitable flexible support materials that are susceptible to injection-molding forming processes include Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR); Hytrel (trade name) andethylene/propylene/diene (EPDM). In aspects, the suitable materials may be formed (e. g. molded) with a thickness that is selected/varied to give the desired degree of flexibility.

The flexible support is preferably in the form of a glove-shaped support that suitably covers the user's hand in its entirety. Part glove-shaped forms are also envisaged.

The glove-shaped support is suitably comprised of a flexible material of thickness from 0.1 to 5 mm, preferably from 0.5 to 3 mm.

In one aspect, the flexible support is manufactured by using pre-formed mesh inserts. Suitable materials for such pre-formed mesh inserts are Spectra (trade mark); Kevlar (trade mark); and high tenacity nylon.

The flexible support defines both an inner and outer support surface. It will be appreciated that in use, the inner support surface faces towards the user's hand whilst the outer support surface faces away from the user's hand. Where the support is glove-shaped the inner support surface comprises the inner surface of that glove shaped support and the outer support surface comprises the outer surface of the glove-shaped support.

The inner support surface is provided with plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material. The outer support surface is provided with plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material.

The term ‘shield’ herein is used to mean an element that performs a shielding function (i.e. shielding from puncture). The shields are formed from puncture resistant material, that is to say material that under conditions of normal use provides suitable resistance to puncture from encountered sharp objects. From a manufacturing standpoint it is desirable that the materials are amenable to molding (e. g. injection molding). Suitable materials for the shields include polypropylene and nylon.

As will be appreciated from the later detailed description, the inner and outer shields may have any suitable form including that of plates, rings and finger/thumb caps.

Suitably, the form of the shields is selected to mirror the form of the user's hand (e. g. upper hand, palm, fingers and thumb amenable forms).

In use, the shields should not significantly compromise the dexterity of the user's hand and the shape of the shields and their relationship to each other is preferably selected to maximize flexibility of user hand movement. From a hand protection and manufacturing simplicity standpoint it is desirable that the number of shields is minimized, although it is recognized that if too few shields are employed hand dexterity may be compromised.

The shields are suitably in fixed (e. g. adhesive or other bonded) contact with at least part of the hand-wearable support. That is to say, the inner shields are in fixed contact with at least part of the inner support surface and the outer shields are in fixed contact with at least part of the outer support surface. Other alternatives are however, envisaged in which the inner and/or outer shields are not in fixed contact with the hand-wearable support.

In certain embodiments, the inner and outer shields do not directly contact each other, but rather are separated by the flexible support, which for example comprises a layer ‘sandwiched’ between the inner and outer shields.

In use, the plural inner shields and outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to the user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand. Again, the term ‘impenetrable shielding’ should be understood in the context of normal use of the glove. That is to say, impenetrable shielding is provided to the user's hand during normal use thereof (even if penetration may be possible under extreme laboratory conditions).

The impenetrable shielding is provided by suitable overlap of the plural inner and outer shields such that no point of entry or even or vulnerability is left open to access by a sharp object, particularly a needle tip. It will be appreciated that said overlap comprises overlap of each inner shield with each relevant, typically adjacent, outer shield and vice-versa rather than the geometrically impossible situation where each and every inner shield overlaps each and every outer shield and vice-versa.

The degree of overlap of the relevant inner and outer shields is determined by the functional requirement to provide an overall impenetrable shield to the hand regardless of hand orientation or of any user hand, finger or thumb movements.

Typically, the degree of overlap is at least 2 mm, more typically at least 5 mm. It will be appreciated that extremes of overlap would compromise the dexterity of the fully shielded hand, although some loss of dexterity is acceptable to ensure the requirement of full shielding.

Particularly suitable outer shield forms for finger and thumb protection include finger caps, thumb caps, finger rings and thumb rings. Particularly suitable inner shield forms for finger and thumb protection include finger rings and thumb rings. The finger and rings may have generally tapered form to match the tapered form of a user's fingers.

The finger rings may be provided either as separate rings (i.e. one per finger) or as multi-ring parts capable of accommodating plural fingers (i.e. one in each ring). In a particular aspect, a multi-finger finger ring is provided to the second to fourth fingers and a single finger cap to the index finger.

The thumb area can be particularly difficult to accommodate due to the thumb's particular dexterity. Suitably, a plurality of thumb elements/rings are employed, each arrange to match together to provide the necessary articulation.

One particularly suitable inner shield form suitable for protection of the skin between the fingers comprises four finger rings, laterally oriented and fused together. The overall shape of this form is akin to that of the well-known knuckleduster but arranged for receipt lower down the fingers.

In an improvement herein, one or more of the inner shields is provided with a raised outer edge or lip at its surface, which faces towards the flexible support (i.e. away from the hand). The function of this raised edge or lip is to provide a further barrier to a sharp object, which has got past the outer shields and flexible support. This further barrier is of particular importance where the sharp object impinges the inner shield at a small acute angle thereto (e. g. nearly parallel with a relevant plane defined by the surface of the shield) and where there is a minor, but non-zero, risk that the sharp may slide over the inner shield surface and hence, reach the user's hand. The raised edge or lip acts as a barrier to prevent this occurrence.

The raised edge or lip suitably protrudes from 0.5 to 3 mm, particularly from 1 to 2 mm from the surface of the inner shield. The raised edge or lip may be provided to all the periphery of the surface of the inner shield or only to a part thereof, the ultimate positioning of the raised edge or lip being selected to provide the impenetrable shielding function of the glove.

The Applicant has appreciated that maximum flexibility (i.e. minimum limitation of hand dexterity) can be achieved by forms of the glove herein which are sympathetic to particular details of the movements of the user's hand in normal use.

One particular detail relates to an appreciation of the fact that as the user's hand forms into a grip the upper surface of the hand stretches and the under surface (i.e. palm side) compresses. Desirably, shield shapes, relative and the orientation and materials of construction thereof are selected to provide this flexibility.

In one aspect, any of the inner or outer shielding elements and/or the flexible support may be formed by a two-shot molding process (e.g. two-shot injection molding).

In one aspect, one or more of the outer shielding elements and the flexible support are formed together by a two-shot molding process.

In another aspect, any of the inner or outer shielding elements and/or the flexible support may be formed by an insert molding process. Insert molding is where one or more first hard/inflexible elements are molded using one tool and then moved to a second tool where the flexible material is injected there around, which can be simpler from a manufacturing standpoint. This contrasts with a two shot molding process where typically, one tool is used and then moved to a second position on the same molding machine.

In one aspect, insert molding and/or two-shot molding may be used to manufacture the puncture resistant glove herein as a single-piece unit.

In another aspect, the inner or outer shielding elements comprise two different materials, each of which has different characteristics. For example, a first material may be selected to be harder and/or more flexible that a second material.

In a particular aspect herein, one of the elements of the two-shot molding of a fingertip outer shielding part can be utilized to provide a soft fingertip grip. More specifically, a flexible first material can be used outermost to a less flexible material to improve grip. Such a variation may in particular be made using an insert molding process.

In particular, to mirror the user's hand profile on gripping thereof, the upper part of the glove (i.e. that part which protects the upper part of the hand) comprises a high proportion of hard and/or inflexible material and the lower part of the glove (i.e. that part which protects the lower, underside part of the hand) comprises a lower proportion of or/or inflexible material.

In another particular aspect, to mirror the user's hand profile on gripping thereof, the spacing between the outer shielding elements on the upper part of the glove (i.e. that part which protects the upper part of the hand) is less than that between the inner shielding elements on that upper part of the glove; and the spacing between the outer shielding elements on the lower part of the glove (i.e. that part which protects the lower, underside part of the hand) is greater than that between the inner shielding elements on that lower part of the glove. Overall, the relevant inner shields and outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to said user's hand even during gripping thereof.

Another particular detail relates to an appreciation of the fact that user finger movement can be difficult to accommodate. Desirably, finger shield shapes, relative orientation and materials are selected to provide this flexibility.

To optimize finger movement, the inner finger shields (e. g. rings) may be attached to the flexible support at only a single point (e. g. at the upper surface thereof). The outer shielding rings are generally fully attached to the flexible support.

To further optimize finger movement, the inner finger shields (e. g. rings) may be shaped to at least partly nest inside each other on gripping of the user's fingers.

Thus, each ring may be shaped to allow a neighboring ring to move thereover. For example, each ring may have one or more edges that are tapered or otherwise shaped to enable sympathetic contact. The shaping and relative moveability of the outer shielding rings is important to allow the flexible support to deform when the finger flexes.

Suitably, one or more of the outer shields are provided at their outward-facing surface with surface details that improve grip characteristics (e. g. channels and/or contours for enhancing grip). Where the outer shielding elements are formed by an injection molding process this can assist in the provision of particular surface details.

In one aspect, the outer finger shielding elements (e. g. at the finger tip) are provided with grooves to assist grip. For example, a groove may be provided parallel to the finger axis to enable a needle or other small object to be picked up.

Suitably, the glove naturally adopts a “hand at rest” position (i.e. matching that of the natural resting position of a user's hand-with the fingers significantly curled and thumb tip approaching index and first finger tips). Thus, in use, any movement of the glove is from this natural resting position.

In another aspect, the outer finger and palm shielding elements are provided with patterning to enhance grip. For example, patterning may be provided to enable the achievement of a vice-like grip.

In embodiments, the glove is provided with a shielded cuff and/or arm protector, which may be permanently fixed to the glove or arranged for reversible fixing thereto.

Such embodiments are particularly applicable to versions of the glove designed for police and/or security and/or military use where protection from attack by sharp objects may be needed.

Optionally, and for comfort or aesthetic reasons, the puncture resistant glove herein may be provided with one or more inner or outer glove-shaped layers. Thus, a lining may be provided interior to the inner shields or an outer cover may be provided exterior to the outer shields.

For additional utility, the puncture resistant glove herein may also be provided with one or more utility attachments. Suitable utility attachments include a trigger finger; disabling shock/stun equipment; and power or mechanical tools. The attachments may in aspects form an integral part of the glove or the glove and attachments may be shaped for snug receipt and potentially engagement (e. g. snap-fit).

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of making a puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand, the method comprising forming a hand-wearable flexible support defining both an inner and outer support surface; forming plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material; forming plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material ; providing said plural inner shields to said inner support surface; providing said plural outer shields to said outer support surface; wherein said plural inner shields and said plural outer shields arranged for overlap such as to provide in use, impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

Preferably, forming of the plural inner and outer shields is by an injection-molding process.

In one aspect, the glove is manufactured with its form in the “hand at rest” position (i.e. matching that of the natural resting position of a user's hand-with the fingers significantly curled and thumb tip approaching index and first finger tips).

In another aspect, the glove is made in one piece. Suitable manufacturing methods include lost core molding or melt casting.

The puncture resistant glove has hereinbefore been described in terms of a glove having a single flexible support. In a further aspect, that flexible support is provided by a first inner flexible support and second outer flexible support, wherein the first inner flexible support provides the inner support surface herein and the second outer flexible support provides the outer support surface, and wherein the first inner flexible support and second outer flexible support index/register together such that the plural inner shields and said plural outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

Any suitable means of indexing/registering the inner and outer flexible support are envisaged. Suitably, when so-indexed/registered there is no relative movement between the inner and outer flexible supports.

Thus, according to this further aspect of the present invention there is provided a puncture resistant glove for protecting a user's hand comprising an inner flexible support defining an inner support surface; an outer flexible support defining an outer support surface; provided to said inner support surface, plural inner shields comprised of puncture resistant material; and provided to said outer support surface, plural outer shields comprised of puncture resistant material, wherein in use, said inner flexible support and said outer flexible support index together, and said plural inner shields and said plural outer shields overlap to provide impenetrable shielding to said user's hand regardless of movement of the user's hand.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGS. 1a, 1b and 1c respectively show perspective top, underside and side views of a first puncture resistant glove herein as worn by a user's hand;

FIG. 2 shows a sectional view of part of the glove of FIG. 1a to 1c as received by the finger of the user's hand;

FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of a suitable shield arrangement for use with the glove herein;

FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view of a variation of the shield arrangement of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows a sectional view of a finger part of a suitable glove herein as received by the finger of the user's hand;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of a first ‘between the fingers’ part of a suitable glove herein;

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a second ‘between the fingers’ part of a suitable glove herein;

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of a third ‘between the fingers’ part of a suitable glove herein;

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a glove including the third ‘between the fingers’ part of FIG. 8 (shown in outline);

FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of a thumb detail of a suitable glove herein with cut-away cross-sectional views (A and B) of material details thereof;

FIG. 11a shows a schematic, cross-sectional view of upper and lower parts of a glove herein;

FIG. 11b shows a schematic, cross-sectional view of the lower part of the glove of FIG. 11a in a flexed configuration;

FIGS. 12a and 12b respectively show perspective top and underside views of a second puncture resistant glove herein;

FIG. 13 shows a perspective top view of a third puncture resistant glove herein;

FIG. 14 shows a sectional view of the index finger protection area of the puncture resistant gloves of FIGS. 12a and 12b; and FIG. 13; and

FIG. 15 shows a perspective top view of inner and outer shield portions of a fourth puncture resistant glove herein

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1a to 1c show the outer profile of a first puncture resistant glove 10 as worn by a user's hand and lower arm 5. The glove 10 comprises a flexible, glove-shaped support 20 provided ‘armadillo-style’ with plural outer shields. Each finger is provided with outer shielding in the form of finger caps 30a-d and the thumb with a shielding thumb cap 31. Each finger is also provided with outer shielding in the form of finger rings 32a-c (only one finger labeled) and the thumb with a shielding thumb ring 33. It will be appreciated that the form of the finger ring 32a-c and thumb ring 33 tapers toward the underside of the finger/thumb to enable ready finger/thumb gripping action. The top part of the hand (visible in FIG. 1a) is provided with a knuckle shield 35; two-part top shield 36a, 36b; and wrist shield 38, which also extends to the underside of the hand (visible in FIG. 1b). The underside of the hand (visible in FIG. 1b) is provided with a lower knuckle shield 35; multi-part palm shield 37a-c; lower thumb shield 39; and mid-wrist shield 40.

Overall, it will be appreciated that the form of the outer shielding of the glove 10 of FIGS. 1a to 1c is arranged both for protection and also to ensure hand dexterity when the glove 10 is worn by the user.

The relation of the outer shielding to the flexible support 20 and inner shielding may be appreciated by reference to FIG. 2, which shows a sectional view of part of the glove 10 of FIGS. 1a to 1c as received by the finger of the user's hand 5. Focusing on the finger part, outer shielding finger cap 30d and tapered finger rings 32a-c may be seen to be in fixed contact with outer surface of flexible support 20. The inner surface of the flexible support 20 may be seen to fixedly contact inner shielding finger rings 50a-d. The edges of the respective inner 32a-c and outer 50a-d finger rings may be seen to overlap such that an impenetrable shield is provided to the finger by the rings 32a-c; 50a-d in combination.

The overlapped impenetrable shield relationship between the inner and outer shields may be better understood by reference to FIG. 3 which shows in detailed view the relationship between outer shield finger rings 32a-c and adjacent inner shield finger rings 50b-c. The outer shield finger rings 32a-c are in fixed contact with the outer surface of flexible support 20. The inner shield finger rings 50b-c are in fixed contact with the outer surface of flexible support 20. In essence, the flexible support is sandwiched between the outer 32a-c and inner 50b-c shield finger rings. The ends of the respective inner 32a-c and outer 50b-c finger rings overlap such that an impenetrable shield to a sharp object 1 is provided to the user finger 5 by the rings 32a-c; 50a-d in combination.

FIG. 4 shows an improvement of the shielding arrangement of FIG. 3. As in FIG. 3, outer shield finger rings 132a-c are in fixed contact with the outer surface of flexible support 120. Inner shield finger rings 150b-c are in fixed contact with the outer surface of flexible support120. In essence, the flexible support is sandwiched between the outer 132a-c and inner 150b-c shield finger rings. Each end of the inner 50b-c finger rings is however, now provided with a protruding lip 152b-c; 153b-c. The ends of the respective inner 32a-c and outer 50b-c finger rings overlap. The respective protruding lips 152b-c; 153b-c act such as to enhance the impenetrability of the shield to a sharp object 101 even when that object 101 is presented to the shielding at a highly acute angle(0) thereto. In essence, the lips 152b-c; 153b-c act as a barrier wall to the sharp object 101, thereby preventing injurious contact with the user 105.

The Applicant has appreciated that certain parts of the overall shielding arrangement of the glove herein are more difficult to configure than others. FIGS. 5 to 10 provide descriptions of glove parts for which particular shielding arrangements have been developed, all in accord with the present invention.

It is known that the human finger tapers, and it is therefore desirable that the fingers of the glove herein taper accordingly. FIG. 5 shows a sectional view of a tapering finger part 10 of a glove herein as received by the finger 5 of the user's hand. Outer shielding finger cap 230 and tapered finger rings 232a-c may be seen to be in fixed contact with outer surface of flexible support 220. The inner surface of the flexible support 220 may be seen to fixedly contact inner tapered shielding finger rings 250ad. The edges of the respective inner 232a-c and outer 250a-d finger rings may be seen to overlap such that an impenetrable shield is provided to the finger by the inner and outer rings 232a-c; 250a-d acting in combination. The ‘between the fingers’ part of the user's hand (i.e. including that skin found at the intersection of the fingers) has been realized to present particularly difficulties from a protection standpoint. FIGS. 6 to 9 show various detailed solutions developed in accord with the glove of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows an inner shield part 360 for shielding the ‘between the fingers’ part of a user's hand (not shown). The shield 360 presents four finger ring channels 350a-d for receipt of the four fingers of the user's hand. The overall presentation of the finger ring channels 350a-d is as if four separate finger rings had been ‘fused together’ in lateral arrangement. Indeed, the part 360 is susceptible to manufacture by a molding process. Walls 366a-c prevent puncture directly in the ‘in-between fingers’ area. The part 360 further comprises protrusions (four of each) extending above finger 362a-d and below finger 364a (only one visible) to protect the upper and lower part of the user's fingers in the relevant area.

FIG. 7 shows an alternative inner shield part 460 for shielding the ‘between the fingers’ part of a user's hand (not shown). Again, the shield 460 presents four finger ring channels 450a-d for receipt of the four fingers of the user's hand. As before, the overall presentation of the finger ring channels 450a-d is as if four separate finger rings had been ‘fused together’ in lateral arrangement. Part 460 is also susceptible to manufacture by a molding process. Walls 466a-c prevent puncture directly in the ‘in-between fingers’ area. The part 460 further comprises a single elongate protrusion extending in the area above the four fingers 462 and another extending in the area below the four fingers 464 to protect the upper and lower part of the user's fingers in the relevant area. It will be appreciated that such elongate protrusions 462, 464 have the potential to compromise finger mobility and the protrusions are therefore arranged to curve, as shown.

FIG. 8 shows part of a further alternative inner shield part 560 for shielding the ‘between the fingers’ part of a user's hand (not shown). The shield 560 presents finger ring channels 550 (only one shown in the part arrangement) for receipt of the four fingers of the user's hand. Walls 566a-b prevent puncture directly in the ‘in between fingers’ area. The part 560 further comprises wrap-round protrusions (only two shown) extending above finger 562a-b and below finger 564a-b to protect the upper and lower part of the user's fingers in the relevant area. FIG. 9 shows the inner shield part 560 (as shown in dotted lines) as part of a glove 510 herein in order that the in use, shielding function of this part 560 may be better understood.

The thumb part of the user's hand has also been realized to present particular difficulties from a protection vs. mobility standpoint. FIG. 10 shows details of the outer thumb shield part 670 a glove 610 herein with cut-away cross-sectional views of material details thereof. Two-shot molding has been found to be of particular utility for this part.

In more detail, FIG. 10 shows the outer thumb shield part 670 of a glove herein as would be received by the thumb (not visible) of the user's hand. Outer shielding thumb cap 631 and shaped thumb rings 633a-c may be seen to be in fixed contact with outer surface of flexible support 620. The inner shield arrangement is not visible but would be arranged for overlap in accord with the invention such that overall an impenetrable shield is provided.

Cut-away, cross-sectional detail A shows a molding arrangement for first outer thumb ring 633a. An inner section thereof 671 a that in use would be directed to the underside of the thumb is formed of a soft shot molding and an outer section 673athereof is formed of harder polypropylene. Cut-away, cross-sectional detail B shows a molding arrangement for second inner thumb ring 633b. An inner section thereof 671 b is formed of hard polypropylene or similar hard material and an outer section 673bthereof that in use would be directed to the underside of the thumb is formed of soft shot molding. Overall, the molded form of the thumb rings 633a, 633b provides thumb flexibility whilst not compromising puncture protection.

FIG. 11 a shows in cross-sectional schematic view, upper 710a (i.e. worn adjacent the upper part of the user's hand) and lower 710b (i.e. worn adjacent the lower part of the user's hand) parts of a glove herein. The parts may for example, be the upper 710a and lower 710b parts of a finger of the glove or of the body of the glove. The glove 710a-b comprises a flexible, glove-shaped support having upper 720a and lower 720bparts and provided ‘armadillo-style’ with plural outer shields.

The upper part of the glove 710a is provided with shielding in the form of outer shielding elements 732a-c and inner shield elements 750a-b such that in combination an overall impenetrable shield is formed. To assist the upper part 710a of the glove to mirror the user's hand profile, particularly on gripping thereof, the spacing between the outer shielding elements 732a-c may be seen to be less than that between the inner shielding elements 750a-b on that upper part 710a.

The lower part of the glove 710b is also provided with shielding in the form of outer shielding elements 732d-f and inner shield elements 750d-e such that in combination an overall impenetrable shield is formed. To assist the lower part 710b of the glove to mirror the user's hand profile, again particularly on gripping thereof, the spacing between the outer shielding elements 732d-f may be seen to be less than that between the inner shielding elements 750d-e on that lower part 710b.

FIG. 11b shows the lower part 710b of the glove as flexed (e. g. in response to the gripping movement of the relevant part of the user's hand). On flexing as shown, the spacing (i.e. gap) between the outer shielding elements 732d-f may be seen to be increase slightly, whereas the spacing (i.e. gap) between the corresponding outer shielding elements 750d-e may be seen to decrease slightly.

FIGS. 12a and 12b show the outer profile of a second puncture resistant glove 810 that may be appreciated to be a variation of the first glove of FIGS. 1a to 1c. In more detail, the glove 810 comprises a flexible, glove-shaped support 820 provided ‘armadillo-style’ with plural outer shields. Thus, each finger is provided with outer shielding in the form of a finger cap 830a-d and the thumb is provided with a shielding thumb cap 831. Each mid-finger of the second to fourth fingers is also provided with outer shielding in the form of a finger ring 832b-d. The little finger does not have such a finger ring. The lower parts of each finger are provided with a single lower multi-finger shield 870 that extends to accommodate all four fingers. The thumb is provided with a shielding thumb ring 833 and lower thumb shield 839. It will be appreciated that the form of the finger ring 832b-d and thumb ring 833 tapers toward the underside of the finger/thumb to enable ready finger/thumb gripping action. The top part of the hand (visible in FIG. 12a) is provided with a knuckle shield 835 and top hand shield 836 that extends over the wrist, both of which parts 835,836 also extend to the underside of the hand (visible in FIG. 12b). A lower thumb and palm ring shield 837 completes the outer shield protection.

FIGS. 13 shows the outer profile of a third puncture resistant glove 910 that may be appreciated to be a variation of the second glove of FIGS. 12a and 12b.

In more detail, the glove 910 comprises a flexible, glove-shaped support 920 provided ‘armadillo-style’ with plural outer shields. Each finger is provided with outer shielding. Thus, a multi-finger finger cap is provided to the first three fingers 930a and a single finger cap 930b to the fourth finger. Similarly, the thumb is provided with a shielding thumb cap 931. Each mid-finger is also provided with outer shielding.

Thus, a multi-finger finger ring is provided to the second to fourth fingers 932aand a single finger cap 932b to the index finger. The lower parts of each of the four fingers are provided with a single lower multi-finger shield 970 that extends to accommodate all four fingers. The thumb is provided with a shielding thumb ring 933 and lower thumb shield 939. The top part of the hand is provided with a knuckle shield 935 and top hand shield 936 that extends over the wrist, both of which parts 935,936 also extend to the underside of the hand. A lower thumb and palm ring shield 937 completes the outer shield protection.

It will be appreciated that the outer shield form of the third glove of FIG. 13 involves fewer separate shielding parts than that of the second glove of FIGS. 12 and 12b. This is beneficial from the standpoint of manufacturing simplicity.

Overall, it will be appreciated that the form of the outer shielding of the gloves 810, 910 of FIGS. 12a and 12b; and 13 is arranged both for protection and also to ensure hand dexterity when the user wears the glove 810,910.

The relation of the outer shielding to the flexible support 820,920 and inner shielding of the second 810 and third 910 gloves in the fourth finger area may be appreciated by reference to FIG. 14, which shows a sectional view of that part of the gloves 810,910 of as received by the index finger of the user's hand 805. In further describing FIG. 14, numbering corresponding to that employed in FIGS. 12a and 12b(only) will be employed.

Focusing on the index finger area, outer shielding finger cap 830d; finger ring832d; lower multi-finger shield 870; knuckle shield 835; and lower thumb and palm ring shield 837 may be seen to be in fixed contact with outer surface of flexible support 820. The inner surface of the flexible support 820 may be seen to fixedly contact single form-form inner shielding finger rings 850c, 850d; ‘between finger’ shield 860; and palm shield 868. The edges of the respective inner and outer shielding parts may be seen to overlap such that in combination, an impenetrable shield is provided to the index finger area.

Referring to FIG. 15 of the drawings, in an alternative embodiment, the glove-shaped support may not extend over the entire glove, for example the support may be omitted from the finger region of the glove. In this embodiment, the glove comprises an inner and an outer shield 500,501 member, each formed as a one-piece molding of plastics material.

The inner shield 500 member comprises a pair of finger shield ring portions e.g. 502, 503 in each finger, which are interconnected by flexible webs 504 of the plastics material that maintain the correct spatial relationship between the ring portions. The shield ring portions 502,503 of each finger are interconnected at the proximal end of each finger by a cross bar 505, again formed of the core plastics material.

The outer shield member 501 comprises a plurality of shield portions e.g. 506,507,508, which are interconnected by flexible webs 504 of the plastics material that maintain the correct spatial relationship between the portions. Since there is no support layer to maintain the correct shielding alignment between the portions of the inner and outer shield members 500,501, the inner and outer shields 500,501 are interconnected, for example by engaging the cross bar 505 on the inner shield 500 with a corresponding point on the outer shield 501.

While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that changes of modifications may be made thereto without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention.