Title:
Decorative acoustic absorber forming a wall element
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a decorative acoustic absorber (1), which is for example colored and/or has a graphic design applied to it, forms a wall element and has an acoustic material and a visible side. In order to provide an acoustic absorber formed as a wall element which provides the desired decorative possibilities, in a simple construction, it is proposed for the acoustic material (3) to be laminated on the visible side with a non-woven layer (4), printing being applied to the non-woven layer (4).



Inventors:
Steiner, Arndt (Leverkusen, DE)
Zinnhardt, Ralf (Olsberg, DE)
Application Number:
11/980993
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
10/31/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/82
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LUKS, JEREMY AUSTIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLLARD & ROE, P.C. (ROSLYN, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A decorative acoustic absorber (1), which is for example colored and/or has a graphic design applied to it, forms a wall element and has an acoustic material and a visible side, wherein the acoustic material (3) is laminated on the visible side with a non-woven layer (4), printing being carried out on the non-woven layer (4).

2. An acoustic absorber according to claim 1, wherein the acoustic material (3) is a foam material.

3. An acoustic absorber according to claim 1, wherein the acoustic material (3) is an open-pored foam material.

4. An acoustic absorber according to claim 1, wherein the acoustic material (3) is a melamine foam resin.

5. A method for manufacturing a wall element which is decorative, coloured and/or has a graphic design applied to it, has an acoustic material (3) and serves as an acoustic absorber (1), wherein the acoustic material (3) is initially laminated with a non-woven material (4) and that printing is then effected on this combination on the non-woven material side thereof.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Applicants claim priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 of German Application No. 10 2006 051 567.6 filed Nov. 2, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a decorative acoustic absorber, which is for example colored and/or has a graphic design applied to it, forms a wall element and has an acoustic material and a visible side.

2. The Prior Art

Acoustic absorbers of this kind are already known, specifically in an embodiment in which a fabric which provides the decoration is stretched, similar to a conventional painting, over the acoustic absorber, covering over the absorber on the visible side. This is like a picture with an acoustic absorber located behind it.

The known acoustic absorber which forms a wall element is relatively costly to construct. A simpler construction is sought, but one which effects the desired function without further complication.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Proceeding from this, it is an object of the invention to provide an acoustic absorber which forms a decorative wall element and provides the desired decorative possibilities, but with a simpler construction.

This objective is met first and foremost by the subject matter of claim 1, where is provided that the acoustic material is laminated on the visible side with a non-woven layer, printing being carried out on the non-woven layer. According to the invention, a unitary acoustic absorber is created which is non-detachably connected to the non-woven layer. By printing, any desired subject and also any desired coloured design can be applied. The inherent porosity of the non-woven layer does not impinge on the acoustic effectiveness of the acoustic absorber, which is located directly under the non-woven layer. On the other hand, a non-woven material can be selected that can be printed on just as well as for example paper or fabric. By virtue of the non-woven layer being adhered to the acoustic material, a wall element of this kind can also be handled as a unitary element, for example for printing or the application of other graphic designs. The non-woven layer is in every case provided on the visible side. It can in addition be provided on the opposite side and/or around the edges.

It is especially preferred for the acoustic material to be a foam material. A foam material used here is generally an open-pored foam material or a foam material which is open-pored to a significant extent, in order to be able to achieve the desired sound absorption.

Particularly preferred in this connection is for the acoustic material to consist of a melamine open-pored foam resin. Melamine foam resin is a foam material which is practically 100% open-pored.

The thickness of the acoustic material is preferably selected to be in the range from 10 to 50 mm, further in the range from 20 to 40 mm.

The acoustic material is further preferably accommodated in a frame, for example a metal frame, for which an aluminum frame suggests itself. The frame is formed to be right-angled or U-shaped in cross-section, a certain overlap over the acoustic material being effected in every case on the visible side, in particular for assurance against the acoustic material's falling out. The non-woven layer mentioned can furthermore also be provided so that it also effects a desired increase in the inherent stability of the acoustic material, so that relatively large self-supporting regions are possible within the frame. The frame can for example be of a size such as to provide an effective acoustic area in the range from 1 to 4 square meters, preferably in the range from 1.5 to 4 square meters.

While is also preferred to deploy an acoustic absorber of this kind as a vertical wall element, it may just as well also find use in principle as for example a ceiling element.

The invention further relates to a method for manufacturing a wall element which is decorative, for example is coloured and/or has a graphic design applied to it, has an acoustic material and serves as an acoustic absorber.

As already mentioned at the beginning, it is known to produce a wall element of this kind which has a fabric stretched over the acoustic material, covering over the visible side, the fabric being decorated in conventional manner by coloring like a picture, for example by the application of paint using a brush. This method of manufacture is however costly and also does not enable the desired reproducibility of the acoustic properties to be always achieved without further measures having to be taken.

Proceeding from the known method, the invention addresses the problem of providing a method for manufacturing a decorative wall element which has an acoustic material, the method to enable the wall element to be produced in manner which is efficient and consistent in terms of quality.

This objective is met first and foremost by the subject matter of claim 5, where it is provided that the acoustic material is initially laminated with a non-woven material and that printing is then effected on this combination on the non-woven material side thereof.

The laminating of the non-woven material to the acoustic material which is initially undertaken can be achieved by its being possible to use the laminating process, this being carried out at a relatively high temperature, for example at temperatures in the range from 80 to 150° C., in order to effect the bond between the non-woven material and the acoustic material, without by this the decorative design on the visible side of the wall element being negatively affected, since the application of the decorative design is only carried out after the laminating process and specifically by a printing operation.

For this, different methods are available. Preferred is for example for printing to be carried out on the thus modified acoustic material by an ink-jet printer. For this, ink is preferably used which is flame-retardant and/or not susceptible to ultra-violet radiation.

The laminating as such can be achieved by thermoplastic fibers already present in the non-woven material, which become soft, the non-woven material in the softened state of the fibers then being able to be brought against the foam material so that after cooling, the desired close bond is effected. Thermoplastic material present in the foam material may also be used.

The acoustic material then decorated in this way, the combination of foam resin and non-woven material, preferably a melamine foam resin as previously already stated in connection with the description of the subject matter of the invention, is then suitably secured in a frame, the wall element then being able to be hung on or secured to a wall with the help of this frame.

For the rest, reference is made to the embodiment of the subject matter of the acoustic element thus produced, also to the foregoing and following description of the wall element as such.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects and features of the present inventions will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed as an illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the inventions.

In the drawings, wherein similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views:

FIG. 1 shows a front view of an acoustic absorber which serves as a wall element;

FIG. 2 shows a cross-section through the article according to FIG. 1, cut along the line I-I;

FIG. 3 shows an enlarged extract from the region III-III in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 shows a schematic representation relating to the manufacture of an acoustic absorber of this kind.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

An acoustic absorber 1 is shown and described, initially with reference to FIGS. 1 to 3, the absorber consisting of a combination of an open-pored melamine foam resin 3 and a non-woven material 4 applied to the visible side of the absorber, the combination being held in a frame. Printed matter is applied to the non-woven material 4, the artwork being indicated by reference 5.

In regard to the frame 2, there is used an aluminum frame which has, in customary manner, a U-profile in cross-section, so that the acoustic material 3 is overlapped on the front and rear in the manner of a shoe in order to hold it in place.

The acoustic absorber 1 is also secured to a wall (not illustrated) by means of the frame 2 by hanging it up by means of securing members, for example hooks fixed into the wall.

In regard to the non-woven material 4, there is used a glass fiber non-woven material that is also in addition coated, specifically in the case of the embodiment coated with aluminum hydroxide.

The non-woven material has a weight per unit area of 200 g per square meter. It is adhered to the melamine foam resin 3 over the entire surface by means of heated adhesive points.

From the cross-sectional illustration according to FIG. 3, the different structure of the non-woven material 4 on the one hand and that of the foam material 3 on the other can be seen, in somewhat exaggerated manner.

The manufacturing method is explained with reference to FIG. 4.

Starting from a melamine foam resin portion 3 provided in the desired size, as a rule having a rectangular shape in top view, a non-woven material 4 is laid over it and, as is here indicated only schematically, the laminating bond to the foam material 3 is effected by hot air 6. In the course of the laminating bonding, thermoplastic components of the non-woven material and/or of the foam material are heated up to above their point of plasticity and, after a certain degree of pressing together of the two elements, adhering of the non-woven material 4 and the melamine foam resin 3 is then achieved, after cooling down.

The combination thus produced is put into a pressing machine 7, which is here illustrated only schematically. A pressing slide 8 acts relative to the combination of non-woven material 4 and foam material 3 inserted into the machine. In this way, the desired decorative design 5 can be applied.

The combination thus produced can then further be surrounded by the frame 2, this being here not illustrated in detail, and hung as required on a wall or ceiling.

All features disclosed are (in themselves) pertinent to the invention. The disclosure content of the associated/accompanying priority documents (copy of the prior application) is also hereby incorporated in full in the disclosure of the application, including for the purpose of incorporating features of these documents in claims of the present application.

Although at least one embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it is apparent that many changes and modifications may be made thereunto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.