Title:
Foot covering for collecting debris
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed are foot coverings 20 for collecting debris D from walking surfaces S. The foot coverings 20 include an upper portion 22 connected to a lower sole 24. The sole 24 includes a magnet 38 attached to an arch segment 30 of the sole 24. A magnet collection surface 40 is exposed to the debris D.



Inventors:
Banks, Anton (Manchester, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/657325
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/24/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/25R
International Classes:
A43B23/24; A43B13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kinney & Lange, P.A. (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A foot covering for collecting ferrous material from a surface comprising: a sole, said sole including heel and toe segments for contacting the surface and an arch segment disposed between said heel and toe segments; a magnet, said magnet disposed at said arch segment; and wherein said magnet is exposed to the surface and is spaced from the surface.

2. The foot covering of claim 1, wherein said magnet is permanently attached to said sole at said arch portion.

3. The foot covering of claim 2, wherein said arch portion further comprises a pocket, and said magnet resides in said pocket.

4. The foot covering of claim 3, wherein said arch portion further comprises a ceiling surface, said magnet further comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface is flush with said ceiling surface.

5. The foot covering of claim 3, wherein said arch portion further comprises a ceiling surface, said magnet further comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface is recessed from said ceiling surface.

6. The foot covering of claim 3, wherein said arch portion further comprises a ceiling surface, said magnet further comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface extends beyond said ceiling surface.

7. The foot covering of claim 1, wherein said arch portion comprises means for removing said magnet.

8. The foot covering of claim 7, wherein said arch portion further comprises a pocket, and said magnet resides in said pocket.

9. The foot covering of claim 8, wherein said arch portion further comprises a ceiling surface, said magnet further comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface is flush with said ceiling surface.

10. The foot covering of claim 8, wherein said arch portion further comprises a ceiling surface, said magnet further comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface is recessed from said ceiling surface.

11. The foot covering of claim 8, wherein said arch portion further comprises a ceiling surface, said magnet further comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface extends from said ceiling surface.

12. The foot covering of claim 1, wherein said magnet is cylindrical.

13. The foot covering of claim 1, wherein said magnet material is chosen from the group comprising Hard Ferrite, Flexible Ferrite, Samarium Cobalt, Neodymium Iron Boron and Alnico.

14. The foot covering of either of claim 5 or 10, wherein said arch segment is in contact with the walking surface.

15. The foot covering of claim 1, wherein said magnet comprises a collection surface, and said collection surface is spaced between 0.25 inches and 1.0 inches (0.635 cm and 2.54 cm) from the walking surface.

16. The foot covering of claim 1, wherein the sole is made from an insulating material.

17. A foot covering for collecting ferrous material comprising: a sole, wherein said sole includes a magnet; and wherein the magnet comprises a collection surface that is exposed to the ferrous material.

18. The foot covering of claim 17, wherein the sole comprises an arch segment and the magnet is disposed at the arch segment.

19. The foot covering of claim 18, wherein the magnet is at least partially recessed within the sole.

20. The foot covering of claim 18, wherein the magnet is fully recessed within the sole.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a foot covering, such as a boot, shoe, sneaker, clog or sandal, and more specifically to a foot covering including a magnet for collecting ferrous debris from a walking surface.

(2) Description of the Related Art

In certain industrial environments, where machining, assembly or disassembly occur, the walking surfaces tend to accumulate foreign objects or debris. The debris is often made up of small fasteners such as nuts, bolts, screws, nails or machining shavings or chips. The debris is a safety hazard to workers, and is attributable to puncture, cut, slip and fall injuries.

Product quality is also be negatively impacted by foreign object damage, also known as (FOD). Foreign objects enter the product during assembly and can cause quality defects such as operational malfunction or complete product failure. The potential consequences of these quality defects may be loss of a customer, loss of a house by fire, or in the case of a carrier launched jet fighter, loss of the aircraft. As can be seen by the preceding examples, FOD presents a clear and present danger, and must be eliminated from industrial environments.

For various reasons, fasteners are typically made of ferrous alloys that include iron. Design constraints such as thread strength, corrosion resistance and cost, make ferrous fasteners ideal for many assembly applications. Because of their attraction to magnetic fields, the use of magnets can facilitate the collection of ferrous-material debris.

Magnetic sweeping devices, such as those disclosed in Conrad et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,979,957, Haase et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,142,310 and Ottens U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,024, require active interaction by a worker. A worker moves the sweeper device about a surface to collect ferrous debris as an additional activity during the workday. Because these sweeping devices require active interaction, an additional worker must hired or a skilled worker must be utilized to sweep the walking surface for ferrous debris.

Magnetic insole 24s, such as those disclosed in Humphreys U.S. Pat. No. 5,233,768, Qui, et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,151,807 and Bove et al U.S. Pat. No. 6,322,491, are utilized for therapeutic purposes. The magnets are imbedded into a sole 24 or insole 24 of a shoe to ensure they are in close proximity to the foot. The associated magnetic fields dilate the blood vessels, providing increased blood circulation in the foot. Because of the close proximity to the foot and insulative properties of the sole 24s, the magnetic force does not extend to the walking surface.

What is presently needed is a magnetic device for passively collecting ferrous debris from a walking surface throughout the day. The elimination of debris from the walking surface will improve worker safety, enhance product quality and improve customer satisfaction.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, a foot covering for collecting ferrous debris from a surface is provided. A magnet is disposed in an arch portion of the sole 24, between the toe and heel portions. The magnet is at least partially exposed to the surface and is spaced from the surface. The space between the magnet and the surface allows ferrous debris to accumulate, without causing a safety hazard.

A primary advantage of the present invention is the ability to easily collect ferrous objects throughout the workday, without the need for a separate sweeping activity. When all workers in a facility wear the inventive foot covering, the walking surface is continuously swept of ferrous debris as the workers walk about.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in view of the following detailed description and accompanying figures of multiple embodiments, where corresponding identifiers represent like features between the various figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view, illustrating a foot covering according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the foot covering of FIG. 1 as viewed in the direction of line 2-2;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of an embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is permanently attached to an arch surface;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of another embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is removable to an arch surface;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of yet another embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is permanently attached to an arch pocket, with a debris collection surface flush with an arch ceiling surface;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of yet another embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is removable from an arch pocket, with a debris collection surface flush with an arch ceiling surface;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of yet another an embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is permanently attached to an arch pocket, with a debris collection surface recessed below an arch ceiling surface;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view of yet another embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is removable from an arch pocket, with a debris collection surface recessed below an arch ceiling surface;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of yet another embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is permanently attached to an arch pocket, with a debris collection surface extended beyond an arch ceiling surface; and

FIG. 10 is a sectional view of yet another embodiment of a sole 24 of the foot covering of FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, illustrating a magnet that is removable from an arch pocket, with a debris collection surface extended beyond an arch ceiling surface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring first to FIG. 1, a foot covering 20 includes an upper portion 22 and a sole 24 attached beneath the upper portion 22. The upper portion 22 is typically made of a formable material such as leather, while the sole 24 is typically made of an insulating material such as molded urethane rubber. In the examples, the foot covering 20 is illustrated as a work boot style, but a shoe, sneaker, clog or sandal would similarly benefit from the present invention.

The sole 24 is divided into three lengthwise segments; a rearward heel 26; a forward toe 28; and a central arch 30 located between the heel 26 and toe 28. An arch ceiling 32 is a surface that is raised from a walking surface S, providing an arch void 34 therebetween. Each of the heel 26 and toe 28 segments has a contact surface 36 that meets the walking surface S. In some embodiments, the arch segment 30 also contains a contact surface 36. The contact surfaces 36 may be flat or they may contain any number of raised patterns to improve traction and comfort.

Further details of the sole 24 are illustrated in FIG. 2. One or more magnets 38 are attached to the sole 24 in the arch 30 segment. A magnet 38 is permanently attached or is removable from the sole 24 to provide periodic removal for cleaning of accumulated debris D and/or replacement of the magnet 38. Although a round magnet 38 is illustrated, a magnet 38 may be rectangular, ring or polygon shaped to fit into the arch 30. The magnet 38 material may be; Hard Ferrite; Flexible Ferrite; SmCo, Samarium Cobalt; NdFeB, Neodymium Iron Boron; AlNiCo, Alnico; or any other magnet 38 material known in the art.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-4, an embodiment of a foot covering 20 with an arch ceiling 32 mounted magnet 38 is illustrated. In the present embodiment, the magnet 38 is attached to the arch ceiling 32 with a majority of the magnet 38 exposed to the walking surface S. A collection surface 40 is raised above the walking surface S to allow debris D to accumulate on the collection surface 40 and around a periphery surface 42 without creating a tripping hazard. The collection surface 40 is raised from 0.25 inch to 1.0 inch (0.635 cm and 2.54 cm) above the walking surface S, and preferably is raised 0.25 inch to 0.5 inch (0.635 cm and 1.27 cm) above the walking surface S. The magnet 38 is permanently attached with an adhesive material 44 as illustrated in FIG. 3, or is removable as illustrated in FIG. 4. Removal means 46, such as tabs, clips or other fasteners, attach the magnet 38 to the arch ceiling 32, providing for periodic removal. Periodic removal of the magnet 38 allows for cleaning of accumulated debris D and/or magnet 38 replacement.

Referring now to FIGS. 5-6, an embodiment of a foot covering 20 with a pocket 48 mounted magnet 38 is illustrated. In the present embodiment, the magnet 38 is attached to a pocket 48 above the arch ceiling 32. The collection surface 40 of the magnet 38 is approximately flush with the arch ceiling 32, and only the collection surface 40 of the magnet 38 is exposed to the walking surface S. The collection surface 40 is raised above the walking surface S to allow debris D to accumulate on the collection surface 40 without creating a tripping hazard. The collection surface 40 is raised from 0.25 inch to 1.0 inch (0.635 cm and 2.54 cm) above the walking surface S, and preferably is raised 0.25 inch to 0.5 inch (0.635 cm and 1.27 cm) above the walking surface S. The magnet 38 is permanently attached with an adhesive material 44 as illustrated in FIG. 5, or is removable as illustrated in FIG. 6. Removal means 46, such as tabs, clips or other fasteners, attach the magnet 38 to the arch ceiling 32, providing for periodic removal. Periodic removal of the magnet 38 allows for cleaning of accumulated debris D and/or magnet 38 replacement.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-8, an embodiment of a foot covering 20 with a pocket 48 mounted magnet 38 is illustrated. In the present embodiment, the magnet 38 is attached to a pocket 48 in the arch segment 30. Please note that the arch segment 30 contacts the walking surface S in this, sole 24 embodiment. The collection surface 40 and portions of the periphery surface 42 of the magnet 38 are exposed to the walking surface S. The collection surface 40 is raised above the walking surface S to allow debris D to accumulate on the collection surface 40 without creating a tripping hazard. The collection surface 40 is raised from 0.25 inch to 1.0 inch (0.635 cm and 2.54 cm) above the walking surface S, and preferably is raised 0.25 inch to 0.5 inch (0.635 cm and 1.27 cm) above the walking surface S. The magnet 38 is permanently attached with an adhesive material 44 as illustrated in FIG. 7, or is removable as illustrated in FIG. 8. Removal means 46, such as tabs, clips or other fasteners, attach the magnet 38 to the pocket 48, providing for periodic removal. Periodic removal of the magnet 38 allows for cleaning of accumulated debris D and/or magnet 38 replacement.

Referring now to FIGS. 9-10, an embodiment of a foot covering 20 with a pocket 48 mounted magnet 38 is illustrated. In the present embodiment, the magnet 38 is attached to a pocket 48 in the arch segment 30, and the collection surface 40 extends below the arch ceiling 32. The collection surface 40 and portions of the periphery surface 42 of the magnet 38 are exposed to the walking surface S. The collection surface 40 is raised above the walking surface S to allow debris D to accumulate on the collection surface 40 without creating a tripping hazard. The collection surface 40 is raised from 0.25 inch to 1.0 inch (0.635 cm and 2.54 cm) above the walking surface S, and preferably is raised 0.25 inch to 0.5 inch (0.635 cm and 1.27 cm) above the walking surface S. The magnet 38 is permanently attached with an adhesive xx as illustrated in FIG. 9, or is removable as illustrated in FIG. 10. Removal means 46, such as tabs, clips or other fasteners, attach the magnet 38 to the pocket 48, providing for periodic removal. Periodic removal of the magnet 38 allows for cleaning of accumulated debris D and/or magnet 38 replacement.

Other alternatives, modifications and variations will become apparent to those skilled in the art having read the foregoing description. Parties interested in licensing the present invention for incorporation in a shoe covering, such as a work boot, may contact the assignee. Accordingly, the invention embraces those alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the broad scope of the appended claims.





 
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