Title:
TUB COVER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a whirlpool cover, which comprises at least two cover elements and a transmission for pivoting said cover elements, said transmission comprising a pivot in the area of an upper edge of the whirlpool for pivoting the cover elements, said cover elements being adapted to be pivoted about said pivot to a position of rest onto an outer sidewall of the whirlpool.



Inventors:
Muller, Paul A. (Putzbrunn, DE)
Application Number:
12/195168
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
08/20/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/580
International Classes:
E04H4/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CANTOR COLBURN LLP (Hartford, CT, US)
Claims:
1. In a foldable tub cover comprising at least two cover elements and a transmission for pivoting the cover elements to a position of rest onto an outer sidewall of the tub, respective neighbouring cover elements being connected to one another by a hinge, the improvement comprising that the transmission comprises a pivot member in the area of an upper edge of the tub, the cover elements being adapted to be pivoted in common about said pivot member to the position of rest.

2. In a tub cover according to claim 1, the improvement comprising that the transmission is configured for folding the tub cover.

3. In a tub cover according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the tub cover is configured as a cantilever.

4. In a tub cover according to claim 3, the improvement comprising that the tub cover is raised from an original position before it is folded.

5. In a tub cover according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the tub cover comprises a first, front cover element and a second, rear cover element, said second, rear cover element being articulated on said first, front cover element through a hinge, and said first, front cover element being articulated on the pivot member in the area of the upper edge of the tub.

6. In a tub cover according to claim 5, the improvement comprising that the second, rear cover element is folded onto the first, front cover element before the cover elements are pivoted about the pivot member, so that the cover elements form a package of folded cover elements.

7. In a tub cover according to claim 6, the improvement comprising that, in the open condition of the tub cover, the package of folded cover elements is pivoted about the pivot member by an angle φ onto the sidewall of the tub, said angle φ being in a range of from 250° to 290°.

8. In a tub cover according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the pivot member is arranged above and outside of the upper edge of the tub.

9. In a tub cover according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the transmission comprises a friction clutch so as to initiate the transition between folding and pivoting of the cover elements.

10. In a tub cover according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the transmission is accommodated in a column which is arranged centrally in front of the outer sidewall of the tub.

11. In a tub cover according to claim 10, the improvement comprising that the transmission comprises a transmission tunnel which extends centrally along the cover elements, said transmission tunnel coming to lie between the cover elements when the tub cover is folded, so that the cover elements are spaced apart by said transmission tunnel.

12. In a tub cover claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the transmission comprises deflection rollers (12) and conveyor means.

13. In a tub cover according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the transmission is driven by a motor.

14. In a tub according to claim 1 or claim 2, the improvement comprising that the cover elements have peripheral sides which are covered by a glued-on plastic strip, said plastic strip comprising a rain discharge edge and a support bead formed integrally with each other.

15. In a tub cover according to claim 4, the improvement further comprising that the original position is a horizontal position.

16. In a tub cover according to claim 11, wherein the cover elements have an outer surface and an inner surface, the improvement further comprising that the transmission tunnel lies on the outer surface of the cover elements.

17. In a tub cover according to claim 11, wherein the cover elements have an outer surface and an inner surface, the improvement further comprising that the transmission tunnel lies on the inner surface of the cover elements.

18. In a tub cover according to claim 12, the improvement further comprising that the deflection members comprise pulleys and the conveyor means comprises endless belts.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 of German Patent Application 102007040129.0, filed Aug. 24, 2007 and German Patent Application 102008032158.3, filed Jul. 8, 2008.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a tub cover consisting of at least two foldable cover elements with a transmission for pivoting said cover elements.

2. Related Art

U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,072 discloses a cover of a tub. In the following, the term tub stands for any bathtub-like embodiment of a water-accommodating element. This comprises elements such as spas, bathtubs, Kneipp brand tubs and the like.

Known tubs make use of covers consisting of two interconnected elements, like the covers disclosed, e.g., in U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,072. These cover elements for empty or fillable containers, in particular also for swimming pools, protect the medium contained in the containers, which will normally be water, against impurities.

Impurities are normally caused by leaves, needles and/or insects which fall into the water. Impurities of this kind will especially occur when the tub is positioned outdoors, i.e., outside of a building. However, such impurities will also occur inside a building, though to a lesser extent.

Furthermore, prior art tub covers are also used for guaranteeing additional isolation of the medium to the outside, when the tub is not in use. The water contained in the tub will be prevented from cooling off in this way. This also has the advantage that the maintenance costs for such a tub will be reduced, since less energy will be required for heating the heated medium and/or for keeping it warm. Tubs are often covered with foldable covers which consist of foil-coated foamed material and which have one or a plurality of fold hinges. These tub covers are also used for the purpose of protecting the tub against unauthorized use.

The prior art, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,072, also discloses that the cover elements are pivoted by means of a transmission. In this U.S. patent a transmission is used which consists of three bars. One cover element is folded onto the other and, subsequently, the folded elements are pivoted by operating the system of bars.

The tub covers known from the prior art are, however, manually foldable and pivotable in a comparatively cumbersome manner and they are comparatively heavy. Moreover, in view of the lack of torsional strength of the system of bars, they cannot be retrofitted by a motor drive. In addition, they disturb the aesthetic feeling of the user even when they are stowed behind the pool, since these known foldable covers are visible beyond the upper boundary for those who use the pool and since the system of bars projects laterally beyond the pool wall. This is an especially serious drawback, in particular in the case of portable tubs. Furthermore, when the folded cover elements are being pivoted, the cover and the upper edge of the tub will rub against one another. Depending on the nature of the tub, this may result in abrasions on a deepdrawn upper edge of the tub or on a sheet that coats the inner side of the tub and that extends also over the upper edge of the tub.

The solution of carrying the tub cover away, which is known from the prior art, entails disadvantages as well, since it requires some effort to carry the heavy tub cover away, and this will be difficult in particular for elderly and/or frail people.

Various types of bridges, such as bascule bridges, lift bridges, swing bridges and folding bridges are known. In the case of folding bridges, which consist of two, three or more elements, a first bridge element is attached to a first bridge head. The following bridge elements are foldably attached to the first bridge element and the subsequent bridge elements or they are hinged to said first bridge element and said subsequent bridge elements. The terms “foldable” and “hinged” will be used as synonyms in the following.

A folding bridge is operated by lifting the first bridge element by an angle α′. The angles discussed in this paragraph are not illustrated in the drawings. This angle α′ is measured between the lower surface of the first bridge element and a horizontal through the first bridge head. The first bridge element and a first subsequent bridge element articulated thereon enclose an angle β′. Said first subsequent bridge element and a further subsequent bridge element enclose a mirrored angle β′. In the first case, the angle β′ is measured on the lower side of the roadway and in the second case it is measured on the upper side of the roadway. The first bridge element can be followed by an arbitrary number of subsequent bridge elements which are articulated one after the other on the respective preceding bridge element. The angle formed between the subsequent bridge elements is the angle β′. Said angle β′ may correspond in a given case to β′=180°−2 α′. The transmission used for a folding bridge may have a transmission ratio of 1:2 or 1:1.9.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to provide a tub cover which can be pivoted, as far as possible without manual intervention, and which can be stowed such that it will not disturb a bather. It is also an object of the present invention to avoid the disadvantages of the prior art.

As used herein and in the claims, the term “tub” means any bathtub-like structure capable of holding water including, without limitation, spa tubs, bathtubs, whirlpool tubs, and the like, including tubs of the type sold under the trademark Kneipp, by KNEIPP-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG of Wurzberg, Germany, and its affiliated companies. The terms “tub cover” and “cover” will be used as synonyms in the following discussion.

The object of the present invention is achieved by an improvement to a device comprising a foldable tub cover comprising at least two cover elements and a transmission for pivoting the cover elements to a position of rest onto an outer sidewall of the tub, with respective neighbouring cover elements being connected to one another by a hinge. The improvement comprises that the transmission comprises a pivot member in the area of an upper edge of the tub, the cover elements being adapted to be pivoted in common about said pivot member to the position of rest.

This object is achieved by means of a cover device within the meaning of the present invention, in which the transmission comprises a pivot member in the area of an upper edge of the tub, the cover elements being adapted to be pivoted in common about said pivot member to a position of rest.

When the tub is equipped in this way, the ease of using the tub will be substantially increased. In addition, elderly and/or frail people will be enabled to gain easy access to their tub. The fact that the pivot member for pivoting the cover elements is positioned in the area of an upper edge of the tub, will additionally prevent abrasions on the deepdrawn upper edge of the tub or on the tub sheet during the pivoting process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is explained in detail with the aid of the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a top view of a tub cover according to a first embodiment comprising two cover elements and a transmission for folding and pivoting the cover;

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the tub cover according to FIG. 1 in its extended position mounted on a tub;

FIG. 3 shows a side view of the tub cover according to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, which tub cover has already been folded and is now being pivoted to a position of rest onto an outer sidewall of the tub;

FIG. 4 shows a tub cover according to FIG. 1 to FIG. 3 which has been transferred to a position of rest in the folded condition;

FIG. 5 shows a top view of a tub cover in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention and comprising a transmission and a tub cover, the tub cover comprising three cover elements and being adapted to be operated by the transmission, the tub cover being shown in solid lines in its extended position and in phantom lines in its folded condition;

FIG. 6 shows a schematic side view of the tub cover according to FIG. 5 in its extended condition in which the cover is positioned on and covers the tub;

FIG. 7 shows a schematic side view of a tub according to FIGS. 5 and 6 in a condition in which the tub cover has already been slightly raised and in which the three cover elements are in the course of being folded up;

FIG. 8 shows a schematic side view of the tub according to FIGS. 5 to 7, wherein the three cover elements of the tub cover are shown in an upright, folded condition and pivoted 90° from the horizontal position atop the upper side of the tub;

FIG. 9 shows a schematic side view of the tub according to FIGS. 5 to 8 in which the cover elements, which have been folded so as to form a package, have been pivoted by 180° from the position according to FIG. 8 to a position of rest or transfer position;

FIG. 10 shows a schematic front view of the tub with the transmission and the cover according to FIGS. 5 to 9;

FIG. 11 shows a schematic representation of the transmission according to FIGS. 5 to 10 with conveyor means and deflection elements;

FIG. 12 shows schematically the cooperation of the conveyor means and of the deflection elements according to FIG. 11, the cover elements not being shown in this case; and

FIG. 13 shows a section through a plastic strip which is attached to the outer periphery of the tub cover in its extended position by means of an adhesive and which comprises a rain discharge edge and a support bead.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Specific embodiments of the invention will be explained in detail in the following, some of these embodiments being claimed in the dependent claims.

According to one embodiment, it is advantageous when the transmission is configured such that it can be used both for folding and extending the tub cover.

When the tub cover is configured as a cantilever after the fashion of a folding bridge, portable tub covers will be realizable as well and it will be possible to raise the completely extended cover.

Depending on the structural design of the folding mechanism, it will be particularly advantageous when the transmission is configured such that the cover elements are raised from an original position, which is preferably a horizontal position, before they are folded, so as to avoid, during the tub cover folding operation, abrasions on the deepdrawn upper edge of the tub or on a sheet that coats the inner side of the tub and that extends also over an upper edge of the tub. On the basis of a suitable structural design of the transmission, it will be possible to raise the cover elements such that they will not scrape on the surface and damage the delicate sheet when they are being folded. The medium contained in the tub will thus be prevented from escaping from the tub. Leakage will be avoided in this way and unsightly scratches on the upper side of the tub, in particular in the area of the upper edge of the tub, will be avoided as well.

In order to obtain a tub cover with a simple mechanical system which is as insensitive to malfunction as possible, a tub cover comprising two cover elements is particularly advantageous.

The following description refers to tub covers comprising two cover elements.

In order to limit the torque occurring in operating the tub cover, it will be of advantage when, prior to pivoting the cover elements, the rear cover element of a cover comprising two cover elements is folded onto the front cover element after the fashion of a folding bridge, said front cover element being connected to the pivot for pivoting the cover elements. The two cover elements thus form a package of foldable cover elements.

In order to stow the package of folded cover elements at a location where it will not attract attention, it will be of advantage when the cover elements are pivoted in common onto an outer sidewall of the tub.

The angle by which the package of folded cover elements is pivoted about a pivot in the area of the upper edge of the tub is preferably an angle between 250° and 290°. Hence, the package can be oriented, e.g., such that it extends parallel to the tub wall; the tub wall need not necessarily be fully vertical.

The most aesthetic solution is preferably a package of folded cover elements which is pivoted by 270°.

The following discussion refers to tub covers comprising preferably two or more cover elements.

When the tub cover comprises at least three cover elements, the cover can be divided into smaller areas and this will lead to an improved maneuverability, since the individual cover elements will then be less heavy and since it will therefore suffice to apply smaller forces.

It is advantageous when the cover elements are forcibly coupled by the transmission so as to allow the cover elements to be folded up in one step by operating the transmission one time.

When, during folding, the first cover element, which is articulated on an upper edge of the tub, forms together with the upper side of the tub an angle α and when said first element forms together with a subsequent cover element an angle β=180°−2α, uniform folding up of the cover elements after another folding bridge fashion will be possible. When the first cover element extends perpendicularly away from the upper edge of the tub, i.e., extends at an angle of 90° to a horizontal plane through the upper side of the tub and the upper edge of the tub, this is a condition which will allow the whole cover element combination to be folded such that a compact package is formed.

According to a further advantageous embodiment, the first subsequent cover element and a further cover element following the latter, form between them an angle α which substantially corresponds to the angle formed between the first cover element and said first subsequent cover element. Uniform folding can be realized in this way.

The pivot about which the cover elements can be pivoted to a rest position onto a sidewall of the tub is preferably positioned slightly above the upper edge of this sidewall. This will guarantee that the tub cover is uniformly attached to the upper side of the tub. When the pivot member and the upper edge of the tub coincide, small impurities on the upper side of the tub in the area of said upper edge may prevent the tub cover from fitting perfectly on the tub.

The same advantages which have been described hereinbefore will also be obtained or even improved when the pivot member is located slightly outside the upper edge of the tub.

When the transmission is configured as a transmission with a friction clutch so as to initiate the transition between the cover element folding process and the cover element pivoting process, it is possible to pivot the folded package of cover elements onto the outer sidewall of the tub in one operating step.

According to a further preferred embodiment, the transmission is accommodated in a column which is arranged centrally in front of an outer sidewall of the tub. The column is thus simultaneously used for supporting the cover and for accommodating the transmission. Hence, the transmission is protected on the one hand, and, on the other hand, persons cannot injure themselves by accidentally reaching into the transmission when the device is in operation. At a position of rest of the cover, the cover elements are pivoted onto the sidewall of the tub in the form of a package. The column serves as a spacer between the tub wall and the package of folded cover elements. This will prevent persons from wedging their limbs between the cover and the tub wall during opening and closing the cover.

According to a further preferred embodiment, the transmission additionally comprises a transmission tunnel which extends centrally on and/or below the cover elements. With the aid of said transmission tunnel, hinges which are located between the cover elements can be connected to the transmission by means of suitable transmission parts. In addition, the transmission tunnel can preferably fulfil the function of a segmented lever arm for supporting the cover elements.

In accordance with a further preferred embodiment, the transmission tunnel is preferably placed on or below the cover elements in such a way that the transmission tunnel lies between the cover elements when the tub cover is being folded, so that the transmission tunnel will serve as a spacer. This will prevent persons from having parts of their bodies become wedged between the cover elements during the cover folding operation. In view of the fact that the transmission tunnel preferably extends centrally on or below the cover elements, there will not even be a risk of injury for persons who stretch out their arm to place their arm or a hand between the cover elements during the folding operation.

When the transmission comprises deflection rollers, preferably pulleys, and conveyor means, such as belts and/or ropes, this will offer the possibility of using economy-priced and reliable components which allow an inexpensive and uncomplicated realization.

For achieving a reversal of the direction of rotation by reversing the direction of movement of the transmission, it will be of advantage when the conveyor means are implemented as endless conveyor means and each section of conveyer means, e.g., endless loops, is provided with a point of intersection.

In order to facilitate the handling of the tub for elderly and/or frail people, it will be of advantage when, according to a further embodiment, the transmission is driven by a motor and/or operated by hand.

According to another advantageous embodiment, individual drives, which are preferably electrically operable and which are preferably provided in the form of electric motors, are arranged in the area of hinges between two cover elements. This allows each individual cover element to be operated selectively. A great variety of motion sequences can be realized by this kinematics, and this will enlarge the field of use.

In order to increase the stability and allow a design having as little weight as possible, which will also lead to an increase in the reliability and the service life of the mechanical system, the cover elements are, according to a further preferred embodiment, produced from plate material in a honeycomb fashion.

The cover layers of the honeycomb plate material consist preferably of a glass fibre composite.

For preventing an ingress of water into the honeycombs of the honeycomb plate material and for improving the aesthetic overall impression of the tub cover and minimizing the risk of injuries, the cover elements are delimited by a plastic strip on the peripheral side. The plastic strip preferably comprises a rain discharge edge for discharging rain water and splash water, and a support bead, the cover elements resting on the upper side of the tub through said support bead. Minor irregularities and impurities on the upper side of the tub can be compensated for by a flexibility of the support bead.

In order to reduce the possible points of attack for impurities to a minimum and in order to improve the aesthetic overall impression, the plastic strip is preferably formed as an integral component of the cover elements.

In addition, the plastic strip is preferably attached to the cover elements by means of an adhesive, whereby the stability of the cover elements is increased still further.

The representations of FIG. 1 to FIG. 13 are schematic representations which only serve to illustrate specific embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows a tub cover 2 according to a first embodiment in a top view. The tub cover 2 comprises a first cover element 3 and a second cover element 4.

The two cover elements 3 and 4 are operated through a transmission 6.

The two cover elements 3 and 4 are interconnected by a hinge 7. The transmission 6 is provided with a drive motor. Alternatively or additionally, it is, however, also possible to provide a crank handle on the transmission and to operate the transmission via the drive motor and/or the crank handle. A transmission tunnel 17 extends centrally across the cover elements 3 and 4, the first part of said transmission tunnel 17 connecting the hinge 7 to the transmission 6. It follows that the transmission tunnel 17 constitutes part of the transmission 6. The second part of the transmission tunnel 17, which extends on the second cover element 4, need not necessarily contain transmission components. In this case, the second part of the transmission tunnel only serves as a lever arm having the cover element 4 secured thereto. In the unfolded condition, the transmission tunnel 17 serves to position the cover elements to cover the tub and, when the cover 2 is folded, the transmission tunnel also serves as a spacer between the cover elements 3 and 4.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the tub cover 2 according to FIG. 1 with a tub 1. FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 each show the tub cover 2 in a closed condition.

FIG. 2 additionally shows the upper side 10 of the tub, an upper edge 11 of the tub located directly in front of the transmission, a pivot member 15 and a column 16. The pivot member 15 is part of the transmission. The first cover element 3 is connected to the pivot member 15. The column 16 serves to support the tub cover on the one hand, and to accommodate the transmission 6 on the other. The transmission 6 can either be mounted on the column 16 or it can be accommodated together with its drive, e.g., an electric motor, within the column 16.

FIG. 3 shows the tub cover 2 in a partially open position. The second cover element 4 has already been folded by 180° via the hinge 7 onto the first cover element 3 by operating the transmission 6 so that the two cover elements 3 and 4 form a package 9 consisting of folded cover elements. This package of folded cover elements has already been pivoted by approx. 45° about the pivot 15. The pivoting of the cover elements about the pivot 15 may already be started when the cover has not yet been fully folded. The pivot 15 can coincide with the upper edge 11 of the tub if the tub is sufficiently high. The pivot 15 is, however, positioned preferably slightly above and outside of the upper edge 11 of the tub. This will guarantee that the tub cover 2 is uniformly attached to the upper side 10 of the tub. When the pivot 15 and the upper edge 11 of the tub coincide, small impurities on the upper side 10 of the tub in the area of said upper edge may prevent the tub cover from fitting perfectly on the tub.

FIG. 4 shows the tub cover 2 in the fully open condition and, consequently, at a position of rest 8 on an outer sidewall of the tub 1. The package 9 of folded cover elements was transferred to the position of rest 8 by pivoting said package about the pivot 15 by 270°. The pivoting angle may, however, also be an angle other than 270°. The package may, for example, also be oriented parallel to the outer sidewall of the tub, if said tub wall should not be fully vertical.

FIG. 5 shows a further embodiment of a tub 1 provided with a cover 2. Unless otherwise indicated, identical reference numerals designate the same structural components as in the case of the tub cover according to the first embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. The cover 2 comprises a first cover element 3, a second cover element 4 and a third cover element 5. The second cover element 4 is also referred to as first subsequent cover element. The third element 5 is a further cover element following said second cover element 4.

The three cover elements 3, 4 and 5 are operated via a transmission 6.

The cover elements 3, 4 and 5 have provided between them fold-up hinges and/or fold-down hinges. These hinges are designated by reference numeral 7 in FIG. 11 and are also referred to as hinge-joints. The transmission 6 is provided with a drive motor. Alternatively or additionally, it is however, also possible to provide a crank handle on the transmission and to operate the transmission via the drive motor and/or the crank handle.

In FIG. 5 a position of rest 8, which can also be referred to as inoperative position, is shown. The package 9 consisting of the cover elements 3, 4 and 5 is here arranged parallel to an outer side of the tub.

In FIG. 6 the upper side of the tub surface is designated by reference numeral 10.

It is possible to use hydraulic or pneumatic components within the framework of the transmission 6. The first, second and third cover elements 3, 4 and 5 consist of rigid foam with a coating that is made of a plastic sheet, the individual folding parts, i.e., the three cover elements 3, 4 and 5, being narrower than the pool height, which is identified by h in FIG. 6. The cover elements may, however, also be produced from plate material in a honeycomb fashion so as to increase the stability still further and so as to reduce the weight of the construction.

The three cover elements 3, 4 and 5 are mechanical segments for a low-torsion transmission of driving forces. It is possible to use stiffening means in the cover elements 3, 4 and 5. Furthermore, the cover elements 3, 4 and 5 consist of a self-supporting material in the embodiment shown, and they are flexibly interconnected in the area of the hinges 7.

FIG. 7 shows how the covers 2, i.e., the three cover elements 3, 4 and 5, are folded up. When these cover elements are folded up, an angle α is formed between the horizontal and the first cover element 3. An angle β is formed between the first cover element 3 and the second cover element 4, and between the second cover element 4 and the third cover element 5. The angle β is measured between the cover elements 3 and 4 on the lower side of the cover and between the cover elements 4 and 5 on the upper side of the cover.

In FIG. 7 a further hinge 7 is indicated at the distal end of the third cover element 5 so as to show that further cover elements can be added behind the third cover element 5, i.e., subsequent to said third cover element 5 and on the side remote from the first cover element.

FIG. 8 shows the upright condition of a combination of cover elements which have been folded up so as to form a package. The package 9 consisting of said cover elements 3, 4 and 5 is disposed at right angles to the upper side 10 of the tub. The package 9 pivots about pivot member 15 in the vicinity of an upper edge 11 of the tub.

In FIG. 9 the pivoted condition of the package 9, which consists of the cover elements 3, 4 and 5, is shown at an inoperative position or position of rest 8. The geometry of the cover elements 3, 4 and 5 is implemented such that water will be discharged. Also in the tub-covering condition, the cover 2 is configured such that water will drain from it.

FIG. 10 shows the arrangement of the transmission 6 on the front, above the upper side 10 of the tub 1. The transmission 6 is held by two holding elements on a suitable level and in a suitable position.

A further embodiment of the transmission is shown in FIGS. 11 and 12. In the case of this embodiment, deflection elements 12 and conveyor means 13 are shown. The conveyor means 13 are implemented as endless conveyor means. They are implemented as ropes and/or belts. In this connection, V-belts or the like proved to be useful as well.

In FIG. 12 it is schematically indicated that the conveyor means intersect within themselves in the area of the second cover element 4, the third cover element 5 and the subsequent cover elements. A point of intersection 14 is identified in FIG. 12.

FIG. 13 shows a section through a plastic strip 18 which delimits the cover elements on the side. The plastic strip 18 comprises a rain discharge edge 19 and a support bead 20 and it is attached to the cover elements by means of an adhesive. The cover elements 3, 4 and 5, as seen in FIG. 6, rest on the upper side 10 of the tub 1 on the support bead 20 (FIG. 13). Minor irregularities and impurities on the upper side 10 of the tub can be compensated for by a flexibility of the support bead 20. In order to reduce the possible points of attack for impurities to a minimum and in order to improve the aesthetic overall impression, the plastic strip is preferably formed as an integral component.

In the following, the function of the device according to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 to FIG. 4 will be shown.

When the transmission is operated, the second cover element 4 will first be folded by 180° hinge 7 onto the first cover element 3 so that the two cover elements 3 and 4 form a package 9 consisting of folded cover elements. This package 9 is then pivoted, under the influence of a friction clutch, by 270° outwards to a position of rest 8 on an outer sidewall of the tub 1. The friction clutch may also be implemented such that pivoting of the cover elements about the pivot 15 to the position of rest 8 may already be started when the tub cover has not yet been fully folded into a package 9.

In the following, the function of the device according to the embodiments shown in FIG. 5 to FIG. 12 will be explained.

When the transmission 6 is operated, the cover 2 will slightly rise so as to lift off from the upper side 10 of the tub 1. Driven by the transmission 6, the first cover element 3 pivots upwards by an angle α after the fashion of a folding bridge. The second cover element 4 moves upwards with its front end, which is articulated on the distal end of the first cover element 3, the distal end of the second cover element 4 moving in a translational movement along the horizontal or along a plane, which is slightly tilted relative to the horizontal due to the raised condition of the cover 2, towards the front end of the first cover element 3. This has the effect that also the second cover element 4 will, symmetrically with the first cover element 3, pivot upwards by an angle cc relative to the horizontal so that an angle β=180°−2 α will be obtained on the lower side of the cover between the cover elements 3 and 4. The third cover element 5 pivots upwards, analogously to the first cover element 3, by an angle α relative to the horizontal and, in so doing, it moves, due to the articulation on the second cover element 4, along the horizontal towards the front part of the cover so that said angle β=180°−2 α will also be obtained between the cover elements 4 and 5, in this case on the upper side of the cover. The first cover element 3 is moved to a vertical position, and this has the effect that the second and third cover elements 4 and 5 are flush-folded with the first cover element and form a package 9 therewith. The package 9 is then pivoted outwards under the influence of a friction clutch of the transmission 6 by 180° to a position of rest 8 so that the first cover element 3 will occupy a position at an angle of 270° relative to the original position. It is here once again possible to implement the friction clutch such that pivoting of the cover elements to a position of rest will be started when the tub cover has not yet been fully folded into a package 9.

It is possible to provide a hinged cover so as to cover said package 9 in an aesthetically pleasing manner.





 
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