Title:
BREAKAWAY LANYARD AND HARDWARE FOR MAKING SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Amongst other things, there is disclosed a breakaway lanyard comprising a carrier body having an upper end and an opposed lower end, and a lanyard strap having a first end and a second end. The first end is releasably connectable to the carrier body. The second end is fixed to the carrier body substantially at the upper end thereof. The first end is releasable from connection with the body portion upon application to the lanyard strap of a force exceeding a threshold level of force.



Inventors:
Gillard, Grant L. (Burlington, CA)
Kerton, Robert B. (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
12/100594
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
04/10/2008
Assignee:
1602211 Ontario Ltd. (Burlington, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, PHILIP T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hofbauer Professional Corporation (Burlington, ON, CA)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A breakaway lanyard comprising: (a) a carrier body having an upper end and an opposed lower end; (b) a lanyard strap having a first end and a second end, wherein said first end is releasably connectable to said carrier body, and wherein said second end is fixed to said carrier body substantially at said upper end thereof; whereby said first end is releasable from connection with said carrier body upon application to said lanyard strap of a force exceeding a threshold level of force.

2. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 1, further comprising a first complementary connector portion and a second complementary connector portion, each positioned on one of said carrier body and said first end; wherein said first end is releasable from said connection with said carrier body by means of disengagement of said first complementary connector portion and said second complementary connector portion from one another.

3. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 2, wherein said first complementary connector portion and said second complimentary connector engage one another in male-female fashion.

4. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 3, wherein said first complementary connector portion comprises a cartridge structure and said second complementary connector portion comprises one or more walls defining a receptacle shaped and configured to receive said cartridge structure therein in sliding relation.

5. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 4, wherein said cartridge structure is affixed to said first end of said lanyard strap and said receptacle is defined in said carrier body.

6. A breakaway lanyard according to any one of claims 4-5, wherein said carrier body comprises a plurality of carrier body segments engagable with one another.

7. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 6, wherein said plurality of carrier body segments comprises a front segment and a rear segment.

8. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 7, wherein said receptacle is defined in said front segment of said carrier body.

9. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 8, wherein said cartridge structure comprises an upper portion and a lower portion; wherein said walls of said receptacle define an upper region and a lower region of said receptacle; and wherein said upper region is shaped and configured to receive said upper portion therein and said lower region is shaped and configured to receive said lower portion therein.

10. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 9, wherein said cartridge structure comprises one or more clamping members for engaging with said first end of said lanyard strap.

11. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 10, wherein said clamping members are mounted on said upper portion of said cartridge structure.

12. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 11, wherein said clamping members each have one or more teeth defined thereon for engaging with said first end of said lanyard strap in retained relation.

13. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 7, wherein said front segment and said rear segment engage one another in a releasable snap-fit relation.

14. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 13, wherein said front segment and said rear segment engage one another so as to define a cavity therebetween, and wherein said second end of said lanyard strap is held in said cavity in compressed relation between said front segment and said rear segment.

15. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 14, wherein one or more of said front segment and said rear segment have teeth protruding therefrom for engaging with said lanyard strap in retained relation.

16. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 15, wherein said first end and said second end of said lanyard strap are situated in non-contacting and substantially overlapping relation to one another when both connected to said carrier body of said lanyard.

17. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 16, wherein said lanyard further comprises a coupling portion extending from said lower end of said carrier body to allow selective attachment of an accessory to said carrier body.

18. A breakaway lanyard according to claim 17, wherein said front segment has a front face and said rear segment has a rear face, and wherein one or more of said front face and said rear face presents a display surface for placement of one or more decorative indicia thereon.

19. A hardware device combinable with a lanyard strap having a first end and a second end to form a breakaway lanyard, said device comprising: a carrier body having an upper end and an opposed lower end; wherein said first end is releasably connectable to said carrier body, and wherein said second end is fixed to said carrier body substantially at said upper end thereof; whereby said first end is releasable from connection with said carrier body upon application to said lanyard strap of a force exceeding a threshold level of force.

20. An device of claim 19, further comprising a first complementary connector portion and a second complementary connector portion, each positioned on one of said carrier body and said first end; wherein said first end is releasable from said connection with said carrier body by means of disengagement of said first complementary connector portion and said second complementary connector portion from one another.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to lanyards and, more specifically, to an improved breakaway lanyard and hardware for making same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Lanyards typically include a lanyard strap hung around the neck of a user for the purpose of carrying and displaying an item. Such items often include passes to an event or venue and/or pieces of identification, and may also or alternatively include advertising and sponsorship indicia. The lanyard strap is typically joined at its opposite ends to a carrier structure with which the displayed item is associated.

A major concern associated with the use of lanyards is that of the safety of the user. For example, it is possible for the lanyard strap or for the carrier structure to become caught on another object and result in constriction of the neck of the user. This can result in minor to serious injury to the user, or even death.

To combat this problem, some prior art lanyards have featured a lanyard strap that is releasable. This releasability has been achieved by, for example, the use of a suitably light gauge string as the lanyard strap material, such that it will snap upon application of a sufficient (and relatively small) threshold force.

In designs utilizing a lanyard strap that will break upon application of such a low threshold force, the lanyard strap must be replaced prior to subsequent use of the lanyard. This results in additional cost and inconvenience to the user. Moreover, the lanyard would be rendered useless in situations wherein the user did not possess a replacement lanyard strap. Furthermore, the necessity of carrying replacement lanyard straps is, in and of itself, an inconvenience to the user.

In other instances, the lanyard strap is comprised of two or more segments that are releasably joined together, and non-releasably joined to the carrier structure. The segments are joined to each other at a position remote from the carrier structure by a releasable connector, such that the segments will disengage from one another upon application of a relatively low threshold level of force. In most instances, the lanyard strap connector is adjacent to and/or in contact with the neck of the user.

Designs of this latter type require the use of one or more additional pieces of lanyard strap and one or more lanyard strap connectors, with a corresponding increase in material and/or assembly costs. Moreover, the point at which the segments are joined can be bulky and cumbersome, and may irritate the neck of user by contact therewith, particularly upon application of force to the lanyard lanyard strap prior to release.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention there is disclosed a breakaway lanyard comprising a carrier body having an upper end and an opposed lower end, and a lanyard strap having a first end and a second end. The first end is releasably connectable to the carrier body. The second end of the lanyard strap is fixed to the carrier body substantially at the upper end thereof. The first end is releasable from connection with the carrier body upon application to the lanyard strap of a force exceeding a threshold level of force.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the breakaway lanyard further comprises a first complementary connector portion and a second complementary connector portion, each positioned on a different one of the carrier body and the first end. The first end is releasable from the connection with the carrier body by means of disengagement of the first complementary connector portion and the second complementary connector portion from one another.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the first complementary connector portion and the second complimentary connector engage one another in male-female fashion.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the first complementary connector portion comprises a cartridge structure and the second complementary connector portion comprises one or more walls defining a receptacle shaped and configured to receive the cartridge structure therein in sliding relation.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the cartridge structure is affixed to the first end of the lanyard lanyard strap and the receptacle is defined in the carrier body.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the carrier body comprises a plurality of carrier body segments engagable with one another.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the plurality of carrier body segments comprises a front segment and a rear segment.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the receptacle is defined in the front segment of the carrier body.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the cartridge structure comprises an upper portion and a lower portion. The walls of the receptacle define an upper region and a lower region of the receptacle. The upper region is shaped and configured to receive the upper portion therein and the lower region is shaped and configured to receive the lower portion therein.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the cartridge structure comprises one or more clamping members for engaging with the first end of the lanyard strap.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the clamping members are mounted on the upper portion of the cartridge structure.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the clamping members each have one or more teeth defined thereon for engaging with the first end of the lanyard strap in retained relation.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the front segment and the rear segment engage one another in a releasable snap-fit relation.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the front segment and the rear segment engage one another so as to define a cavity therebetween, and the second end of the lanyard strap is held in the cavity in compressed relation between the front segment and the rear segment.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention one or more of the front segment and the rear segment have teeth protruding therefrom for engaging with the lanyard strap in retained relation.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the first end and the second end of the lanyard strap are situated in non-contacting and substantially overlapping relation to one another when both connected to the carrier body of the lanyard.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention the lanyard further comprises a coupling portion extending from the lower end of the carrier body to allow selective attachment of an accessory to the carrier body.

In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, the front segment has a front face and the rear segment has a rear face. One or more of the front face and the rear face has a display surface thereon for placement of one or more decorative indicia thereon.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a hardware device combinable with a lanyard strap having a first end and a second end to form a breakaway lanyard. The device comprises a carrier body having an upper end and an opposed lower end. The first end is releasably connectable to the carrier body, and the second end is fixed to the carrier body substantially at the upper end thereof. The first end is releasable from connection with the carrier body upon application to the lanyard strap of a force exceeding a threshold level of force.

It is thus an object of this invention to obviate or mitigate at least one of the above mentioned disadvantages of the prior art.

Other advantages, features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as methods of operation and functions of the related elements of the structure, and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, the latter of which is briefly described herein below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a user wearing a breakaway lanyard according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view from the right and above of the breakaway lanyard of FIG. 1, without the user;

FIG. 3 is a view as shown in FIG. 2, without the lanyard strap;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the breakaway lanyard of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view from the right and above of the breakaway lanyard of FIG. 3, without the accessory;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view along sight line 6-6 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view along sight line 7-7 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view along sight line 8-8 of FIG. 4, without the accessory;

FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view from the right and above of the lanyard strap and the cartridge structure; and

FIG. 10 is a view as in FIG. 9, with the lanyard strap released by the cartridge structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to FIG. 1, there will be seen a breakaway lanyard 10 comprising a carrier body 12 and a lanyard strap 30. The lanyard strap 30 may be worn about the neck of a user 11. Looking to FIG. 2, the carrier body 12 has an upper end 14 and an opposed lower end 16, and the lanyard strap 30 has a first end 32 and a second end 34.

The carrier body 12 includes a plurality of carrier body segments, preferably a front segment 18 and a rear segment 20 as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4. The body segments 18, 20 are preferably formed from a plastic material and are engagable with one another, preferably by way of releasable snap-fit engagement. To enable such snap-fit engagement, the rear segment 20 has male detent members 23 protruding therefrom, as seen in FIG. 4, for engagement with tabs 25 formed on the front segment 18, as best seen in cross-section in FIG. 7.

The front segment 18 and the rear segment 20 engage one another so as to collectively define a cavity 22 therebetween, as shown in FIGS. 3, 6 and 7. The second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 is fixed to the carrier body 12 substantially at the upper end 14 thereof. The second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 is held fast in the cavity 22 in compressed relation between the front segment 18 and the rear segment 20 of the carrier body 12, as shown in FIG. 2.

To further secure the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30, one or more of the front segment 18 and the rear segment 20 may have teeth 24 protruding therefrom for engaging with the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 in retained relation, as will be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 2 and 4. One skilled in the art will recognize that other types of protrusions could be employed in place of the teeth 24, so as to facilitate retention of the second end 34 in the cavity 22.

The first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30 is releasably connectable to the carrier body 12. The first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30 is releasable from connection with the carrier body 12 upon application to the lanyard strap 30 of a force exceeding a threshold level of force. This threshold level of force will typically be in the range of about 3 to 5 lbs.

The breakaway lanyard 10 further comprises first and second complementary connector portions 44 and 46, each located on a different one of the carrier body 12 and the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30. These connector portions are preferably a cartridge structure 44 and a receptacle 46, as shown in FIG. 4, and together allow for the releasability of the first end 32 from the carrier body 12 upon application of the threshold force described above. The receptacle 46 is preferably defined in the front segment 18 of the carrier body 12, by one or more walls 47, as best shown in FIG. 4.

The cartridge structure 44 and the receptacle 46 preferably engage one another in male-female fashion, as will be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 2 and 4. One skilled in the art will readily appreciate that engagement of the complementary connector portions 44,46 with one another could otherwise occur by way of, for example and without limitation, releasable snap-fit engagement.

The cartridge structure 44 is mounted on the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30. For this purpose, the cartridge structure 44 may include one or more clamping members 56 having teeth 57 thereon for engaging with the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30. As will be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 9 and 10, the clamping member 56 is hinged so as to allow engagement and disengagement thereof with the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the cartridge structure 44 could be attached to the first end 32 in numerous other manners, including for example riveting, gluing or stitching.

As will be appreciated from a comparison of FIGS. 2 and 4, the receptacle 46 is shaped and configured to receive and retain the cartridge structure 44 therein in sliding relation. More particularly, the cartridge structure 44 preferably includes an upper portion 48 and a lower portion 50, as shown in FIG. 4. The walls 47 defining the receptacle 46 preferably define an upper region 52 and a lower region 54 of the receptacle 46, as shown in FIG. 4. The upper region 52 of the receptacle 46 is shaped and configured such the contiguous walls thereof receive the upper portion 48 of the cartridge structure therein in close-fitting relation, and the lower region 54 of the receptacle 46 is shaped and configured such that the contiguous walls thereof receive the lower portion 50 of the cartridge structure therein in close-fitting relation, as will be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 5 and 6.

The lower region 54 of the receptacle 46 includes a concave dimple 55 that is shaped to receive and retain a complementary convex detent 51 on the lower portion 50 of the cartridge structure 44. Engagement of the convex detent 51 with the concave dimple 55 provides resistance to release of the cartridge structure 44 from the receptacle 46 (with the depth of the concave dimple 55 and convex detent 51 being proportional to the magnitude of the threshold level of force required on the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30 to separate the cartridge structure 44 from the receptacle 46). Thus, the size of the convex detent 51 and the concave dimple 55 can be used as a calibration tool to vary the magnitude of the threshold force.

When both are connected to the carrier body 12, the first end 32 and the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 are preferably situated in non-contacting and substantially overlapping relation to one another, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. This renders the lanyard 10 less cumbersome to the user 11 in that the ends of 32, 34 of the lanyard strap 30 occupy as little space across the body of the user as is possible.

The breakaway lanyard 10 may preferably further comprise a coupling portion 60 extending from the lower end 16 of the carrier body 12 to allow selective attachment by known means of an accessory 62 to the carrier body 12, such as, for example, the spring clip 62 shown in the Figures. Of course, the threshold level of force will be in addition to the mass of any accessory 62 that is to be attached to the carrier body 12. Additional accessories (not shown), such as, for example, card holders, whistles and the like may be hung from the spring clip 62, or may, alternatively, be attached directly to the coupling portion 60.

The front segment 18 has a front face 19 and the rear segment 20 has a rear face 21. One or more of the front face 19 and the rear face 21 has a display surface 26 thereon for placement of one or more decorative indicia 28 thereon, such as that shown in FIG. 5. The decorative indicia 28 may include trademarks, advertisements, photographs, decorative and/or informative text, and the like.

Use of the breakaway lanyard 10 is described below. In this regard, it is noted that the breakaway lanyard 10 would, in most instances, be provided to users with the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30 engaged with the cartridge structure 44 as shown in FIG. 10, and with the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 retained in compressed relation between the segments 18,20 in the cavity 22, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, details of assembly are also provided below to address any instance wherein the breakaway lanyard 10 is not provided in such form. For example, the front segment 18 and the rear segment 20 may be provided apart from one another, as shown in 4. In such instances, the user may place the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 between the front segment 18 and the rear segment 20, such that when the segments 18, 20 are attached to one another by snap-fit engagement of the male detent member 23 with the tabs 25 (e.g., as may be accomplished by moving the rear segment 20 in the direction of arrows “A” of FIG. 4), the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 is thereby retained between the segments 18, 20 in the cavity 22, as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2. It will be appreciated that the teeth 24 on the segments 18, 20 will also engage with the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 when the front segment 18 and the rear segment 20 are so engaged with one another, so as to assist in retention of the second end 34 of the lanyard strap 30 in the cavity 22.

The first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30 may be attached to the cartridge structure 44 by way of, for example, insertion into the cartridge structure 44, as will be appreciated from a comparison of FIGS. 9 and 10, and compression of the clamping member 56 against the first end 32 of the lanyard strap 30 (and engagement of the teeth 57 therewith).

The cartridge structure 44 may be inserted into the receptacle 46 by sliding movement in the direction of arrow “B” in FIG. 4. The detent 51 on the lower portion 50 of the cartridge structure 44 may thus be engaged with the dimple 55 of the lower region 54 of the receptacle 46 to hold the cartridge structure 44 within the receptacle 46 until such time as it is slidingly disengaged (in the reverse direction of arrow “B”) from the receptacle 46 by application of the threshold force to the lanyard strap 30.

Once both of the first end 32, by way of the cartridge structure 44, and the second end 34, have been engaged with the carrier body 12, the breakaway lanyard 10 may be worn about the neck of the user 11, as shown in FIG. 1.

Accessories such as the clip 62 shown in the Figures may be attached to the coupling portion 60 before or after the cartridge structure 44 has been engaged with the walls 47 of the receptacle 46. A decision as to when such attachment may be made will be dictated by, inter alia, the preference of the user, and the weight and dimensions of any such attachments.

One skilled in the art will recognize that operations described above need not necessarily be taken in the exact order described.

Various other modifications and alterations may be used in the design and manufacture of the breakaway lanyard according to the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is limited only by the accompanying claims.