Title:
Composite hinged door and insert therefor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hinged, composite door having a vertically extending series of horizontally extending panels, adjacent panels of which are hinged to one another. Each panel has a thicker central layer of a lightweight material sandwiched between thin, inner and outer sheet metal layers. A hard, durable insert with a shank portion and an enlarged head portion is provided at a juncture between adjacent panels, the insert having a shank portion embedded in a recess in the central layer of one of the panels and an enlarged head portion that extends beyond the one of the panels to be received in a complementally-shaped recess of the central layer of the adjacent panel when the panels are in alignment with one another.



Inventors:
Lohr, Dwight W. (Upper Sandusky, OH, US)
Brown, James B. (Lakewood, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/782516
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
02/18/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/00; E06B3/48
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, DAVID M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAWSEY CO., L.P.A. (COLUMBUS, OH, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A composite, hinged panel door comprising, in combination: first and second generally rectangular panels aligned in a given direction when the door is closed, each panel extending normally of the given direction, each panel having a relatively thick central layer of a lightweight material sandwiched between relatively thin inner and outer layers of a heavier material, each of the central layers of each of the panels having a recess in a free edge of the central layer that faces the other of the panels when the panels are in linear alignment; a hinge joining the first and second panels to permit the first and second panels to articulate with respect to one another between positions in linear alignment with one another and positions out of linear alignment with one another; a hard durable insert having a shank portion embedded in the recess of one of the first and second panels and an enlarged head portion that extends beyond the free edge of said one of the first and second panels, the enlarged head portion fitting freely within the recess of the central layer of the other of the first and second panels when the first and second panels are in linear alignment with one another to ensure accuracy in positioning the first and second panels when they are moved from the positions out of alignment to the positions in linear alignment.

2. A composite, hinged panel door according to claim 1 wherein: each of the inner and outer layers is a layer of sheet metal.

3. A composite, hinged panel door according to claim 1 wherein: the head portion of the insert has a surface that is opposed to the hinge and extends inwardly toward the hinge as it extends outwardly from the one of the first and second panels in which the shank portion of the insert is embedded.

4. A composite, hinged panel door according to claim 1 in which the given direction extends vertically.

5. A hard, durable insert for use in a hinged, composite door to ensure accurate alignment of hinged, adjacent panels when the panels are articulated with respect to one another between positions out of linear alignment to positions in linear alignment, said insert comprising: a shank portion adapted to be embedded in a recess in a free edge of one of the adjacent panels; and an enlarged head portion adapted to be freely received in a recess in a free edge of the other of the adjacent panels, the head portion having a surface that extends outwardly beyond the free edge of one of the panels and extends inwardly towards an opposed surface of the head portion as the head portion extends outwardly from the recess of the one of the adjacent panels.

6. An insert according to claim 5 wherein such shank portion has an axially extending spaced plurality of longitudinally extending ridges.

7. An insert according to claim 5 wherein said enlarged head portion has a flat free end surface that extends normally of a central axis of the recess in the one of the panels.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based on provisional application No. 60/520,878, which was filed on Nov. 18, 2003.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the construction of an upwardly acting or roll-up door that is made up of a series of a composite panels with adjacent panels in the series being hinged to one another. More particularly, this invention relates to a panel construction for such a door with a hard, durable insert that extends partly from such panel to be received in a recess of an adjacent panel when the panels are aligned with one another in a straight line, and to the insert for use in such a composite, hinged door.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Upwardly acting doors with a series of hinged panels to impart flexibility to each such door are known in the art and are extensively used in garages and warehouses, especially warehouses with high clearance, and in truck bodies. U.S. Patent Application Publication Nos. 2002/0056528A1 and 2002/0139490A1 each discloses a known type of upwardly acting door that has a series of panels hinged to one another. For purposes of aligning adjacent panels in a hinged door when the door is closed, it is important that each panel have an edge with a projection or tongue that is received in a groove or recess of an edge of the adjacent panel in the series when the panels are aligned in a straight line. U.S. Pat. No. 3,334,681 (Crosswell) is an example of a prior art reference that teaches such a feature.

The panels of many roll-up doors, as heretofore described, are now often constructed of a plurality of materials, with a thicker central layer of a lighter weight material, sandwiched between inner and outer layers of thinner, but heavier, metallic structural materials, such as sheets of aluminum or steel. Such construction helped to reduce door weight for a given door thickness while providing sufficient rigidity to the door, and it serves to reduce heat and/or noise transfer through such door, when closed. In these cases, it is important that the tongue and groove connection between adjacent panels in a series of hinged panels be solely between the central layers of such panels, but the lightweight materials that are now preferred for such hinged doors tend to be abradable in the region of the tongues of the door panels, which detracts from the precision of a tongue and groove alignment feature in a hinged-panel door over a prolonged duration of frequent openings and closings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A composite hinged door according to the present invention, which was designed specifically to serve as an upwardly acting or roll-up rear door for a truck body, comprises a series of composite panels in which adjacent panels are hinged to permit the panels to articulate with respect to one another during the opening of the door. Each panel is of composite construction, with a central layer of a lightweight material, such as a plastic material, that is sandwiched between inner and outer layers of a sheet metal, the central layer imparting rigidity and heat and/or noise insulating properties to each door panel and the inner and outer layers imparting strength and impact resistance to each panel. A hard, durable insert is embedded in a recess in a edge of the central layer of a panel with a portion of such insert extending beyond the edge of the panel. The extending portion of the insert is received in a recess or groove in an edge of an adjacent panel when the panels are aligned in a straight line in a closed door, to maintain proper alignment between the adjacent panels. The portion of the insert that extends into the recess of the adjacent panel is much more resistant to abrasion or wear than would be a protruding tongue of a typical central layer of a composite, hinged panel door, which thereby extends the duration during which adjacent panels can be accurately aligned over many closings of the hinged panel door.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved composite, hinged panel door. More particularly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a hinged panel door of the aforesaid character in which accurate alignment of adjacent hinged panels can be maintained over an extended duration of openings and closings of the door. Even more particularly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a hinged panel door of the aforesaid character with an improved tongue and groove locking feature in which the tongue is a portion of a hard, durable material that is highly resistance to abrasion or wear over many openings and closings of the hinged panel door. It is also an object of the present invention to provide in an insert of the foregoing character for such a hinged-panel door.

For a further understanding of the present invention and the objects thereof, attention is directed to the drawing and the following brief description thereof, to the detailed description of the invention and to the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a hinged panel door according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view at an enlarged scale, taken on line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view like FIG. 2 that illustrates the structure of FIG. 2 in different relative positions of certain of the elements thereof; and

FIG. 4 is an elevation view, at an enlarged scale, of an element of the structure of FIGS. 2 and 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A hinged panel door according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is generally identified by reference numeral 10 in FIG. 1. The hinged panel door 10 is made up of a vertically extending series of horizontally extending panels, including panels 12 and 14, and adjacent panels in the vertically extending series are hinged to one another, for example, by way of a hinge 16 (FIGS. 2 and 3), which permits the panels 12 and 14 to articulate with respect to one another. Each of the panels 12 and 14 is of composite construction, with a thick, central layer of a lightweight material 18, such as a plastic material, sandwiched between thin, inner and outer layers 20, 22, respectively, which are of aluminum or steel sheet. Preferably, the central layer 18 is an expanded or gas injected polyethylene, and the inner and outer layers are of automotive quality galvanized steel, primed and pre-painted. The layers 20, 22 impart strength and impact resistance to the panels 12, 14, and the central layer 18 imparts rigidity and sound and/or thermal transfer resistance thereto.

A hard, durable insert 24, which may be of a ceramic material or PVC, is provided at a juncture of the panels 12, 14 to ensure that the panels 12, 14 accurately align themselves with one another upon the closing of the door 10 when the panel 14 moves relative to the panel 12 from the position indicated in FIG. 3 to the position indicated in FIG. 2. The insert 24 has a shank portion 24a that is permanently embedded in a recess 12a of the central layer 18 of the panel 12. The insert 24 also has an enlarged head portion 24b that extends beyond the inlet to the recess 12a of the central layer 18 of the panel 12. The head portion 24b, which has a tapered edge 24c that is positioned away from the hinge 16 and extends inwardly toward the hinge 16 as it projects outwardly from the panel 12, is received in a recess 14a in the central layer 18 of the panel 14, the recess 14a being in a free edge of the central layer 18 of the panel 14 and being complementally-shaped to the head portion 24b of the insert 24. Thus, when the panel 14 is aligned with the panel 12 in a straight line, as depicted in FIG. 2, the head portion 24b of the insert 24 will substantially fill the recess 14a of the central layer 18 of the panel 14, and will thereby serve to ensure that the panels 12, 14 align themselves accurately when they move from the relative positions depicted in FIG. 3 to the relative positions depicted in FIG. 2.

The insert 24 also has a spaced, axially extending series of longitudinally extending and outwardly projecting ribs 24c on each of the opposed longitudinally extending surface of the shank portion 24a to help to frictionally retain the insert in the recess 12a. The insert 24 also has a flat free end surface 24d.

Though the best mode contemplated by the inventor(s) for carrying out the present invention as of the filing date hereof has been shown and described herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that suitable modifications, variations, and equivalents may be made without departing from the scope of the invention, such scope being limited solely by the terms of the following claims and the legal equivalents thereof.