Title:
Protective cap for reinforcing bars
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective cap for covering the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar which includes a tubular collar having an open lower end, an upper end and hollow interior, a cap perpendicularly mounted to the tubular collar and the cap having a metal plate embedded therein. A plurality of reinforcing ribs are mounted between the tubular collar and the cap providing rigidity therebetween. Protective cap includes a plurality of minor reinforcing ribs mounted between the tubular collar and the cap and interposed between the major reinforcing ribs, and finally including a plurality of fins provided within the hollow interior of the tubular collar which extends inwardly into the hollow interior adapted to grasp the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar.



Inventors:
Myers Jr., Robert H. (Los Alamitos, CA, US)
Schneiter, Walt (Plainfield, IL, US)
Schneiter, Kurt (Long Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/601736
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
11/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C5/16; E04G21/32
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, CHI Q
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT H. MYERS, JR. (LOS ALAMITOS, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A protective cap for covering the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar, comprising, a tubular collar having an open lower end and an upper end and a hollow interior bounded by an interior wall, said tubular collar having a predetermined diametric dimension, a cap perpendicularly mounted to said tubular collar, said cap having a metal plate embedded therein, a plurality of major reinforcing ribs mounted between said tubular collar and said cap for providing rigidity there between, a plurality of minor reinforcing ribs mounted between said tubular collar and said cap and interposed between said major reinforcing ribs to further enhance the rigidity therebetween, and a plurality of fins provided within the hollow interior of said tubular collar, said fins extending inwardly into the hollow interior thereof and adapted to grasp the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar to accommodate the seatment of the protective cap thereon.

2. A protective cap as set forth in claim 1 above, which further includes a reinforcement ring mounted between and interconnecting said major and minor reinforcing ribs to further enhance the rigidity therebetween.

3. A protective cap as set forth in claim 1 above, which further includes a tubular insert, said insert being diametrically sized to frictionally fit within said tubular collar and said tubular collar insert provided with a plurality of fins mounted within the confines thereof and extending inwardly therefrom and adapted to grasp the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar to accommodate the seatment of the protective cap thereon.

4. A protective cap as set forth in claim 3 above, wherein said fins comprising plurality of major fins mounted on the interior of said tubular insert, and extending inwardly therefrom for a distance, and a plurality of minor fins mounted on the interior of said tubular insert and extending inwardly therefrom and interposed between said major fins, said major and minor fins adapted for engaging the exposed end of a bar therebetween to accommodate the mounting of said protective cap on the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar.

5. A protective cap for covering the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar comprising, a tubular collar having an open lower end and an upper end, and a hollow interior bounded by an interior wall, a cap perpendicularly mounted to the upper end of said collar, said cap having a metal plate embedded therein, said tubular collar having a plurality of major fins mounted on the interior wall and extending inwardly therefrom for a distance, said tubular collar further including a plurality of minor fins interposed between said major fins mounted on said interior wall and extending inwardly therefrom for a distance shorter than said major fins, said major and minor fins adapted for engaging the exposed end of a bar there between to accommodate the mounting of said protective cap on the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar, and a plurality of reinforcing ribs mounted between said tubular collar and said cap to provided rigidity there between, whereby the arrangement of the major and minor fins allows the protective cap to be mounted on the exposed end of a concrete reinforcing bar of any geometric shape.

6. A protective cap as set forth in claim 5 above, wherein said major fins are mounted on the interior wall of said tubular collar and extend inwardly for a distance, off center relative to the radius of said tubular collar.

7. A protective cap as set forth in claim 6 above, wherein said minor fins are mounted on the interior wall of said tubular collar and are interposed between said major fins, and said minor fins extending inwardly for a distance shorter than said major fins.

8. A protective cap as set forth in claim 5 above, wherein said tubular collar, cap, major fins, minor fins and reinforcing ribs are molded as a unitary structure.

9. A protective cap as set forth in claim 5 above, wherein said reinforcing ribs comprise a series of major reinforcing ribs mounted between said tubular collar and said cap, and further includes a plurality of minor reinforcing ribs mounted between said tubular collar and said cap and interposed between said major reinforcing ribs.

10. A protective cap as set forth in claim 9 above, wherein a reinforcing ring is provided, said reinforcing ring being mounted on said cap and interconnecting all of said major and minor reinforcing ribs.

11. A protective cap as set forth in claim 5 above, wherein said cap is geometrically circular in configuration and said plurality of reinforcing ribs are mounted between said tubular collar and said cap around the entire periphery of said cap.

12. A protective cap as set forth in claim 10 above, wherein said tubular collar, cap, major fins, minor fins, major reinforcing ribs, minor reinforcing ribs and reinforcing ring are molded as a unitary structure.

Description:

I. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of protective cap covers used in connection with reinforcement bars at construction sites. The present invention is intended to improve the nature of the protective cap by providing a broader usage of the cap in conjunction with different types of reinforcement bars.

BACKGROUND

As is well known in the construction industry, modern structures are generally constructed from concrete which is poured into forms to create the shape of concrete pillars and other supporting structures. Proper construction techniques require that steel reinforcement bars first be erected in the forms, the reinforcement bars providing support for the concrete once the concrete dries. It is well known that during construction, the reinforcement bars are constructed to be both in horizontal and vertical orientation and for that reason, takes a significant period of time for construction crews to erect the horizontal and vertical reinforcement bars into position. Typically, such bars are either welded or otherwise affixed together until one section is complete. When the section is completed, typically, the concrete is then ordered and poured into the form. As indicated, the reinforcement bars then provide lateral as well as vertical support for the concrete once it is dry. It can therefore be appreciated that during the construction phase when the reinforcement bars are being erected into position, exposure of the ends of the bars provides a safety hazard for workers on the construction site. OSHA rules now require that all exposed ends of reinforcement bars be capped to prevent workers from being impaled if they fall on the site and fall onto the reinforcement bars. It can be appreciated that this is especially true in the vertically oriented reinforcement bars.

The art field has developed a number of constructions for protective end caps. Typically, such end caps consist of a circular collar which is affixed to a cap by means of reinforcing ribs, and having a metal seat arranged between the cap and the collar. The structure is usually a molded assembly, molded from a plastic material usually a heavy duty polyethalene plastic. Hence, the metal plate is integrally molded into the structure and interposed between the cap and circular collar.

Exemplary of this type of construction is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,381,636. As disclosed therein, the protective cover for the reinforcement bar includes an elongated cylindrical collar which is attached to a cap by means of reinforcing ribs, and a metal seat arranged between the collar and the cap. Once the entire assembly is integrally molded, it becomes a unitary piece. It will also be observed that the interior of the cylindrical collar includes a series of inwardly extending and off center fins which flex outwardly so as to accommodate reinforcing bars of various sizes since the caps are installed onto the ends of the reinforcement bars by twisting action. The off center inwardly extending fins hence keep the protective caps in position on the ends of the reinforcement bars.

A similar construction is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,946,871 which again is directed to a reinforcing bar protective cover and includes a cylindrical collar which is secured to a cap by means of reinforcement ribs and a metal seat arranged between the collar and the cap. In this construction, the metal plate includes a series of slots to accommodate the reinforcement ribs which traverse the plate in order to be molded directly to the cap portion.

Various modifications are also shown in the art and all such variations generally include the same types of assemblies, basically consisting of a cylindrical collar molded to a cap, and having a metal plate interposed between the collar and the cap, the cylindrical collar including a series of off set inwardly extending fins which flex in order to permit the cap to be installed on the ends of the reinforcement bars by a twisting motion. Hence, similar structures are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,824,253 as well as U.S. Pat. No. 5,613,336. U.S. Pat. No. 5,613,336 shows a structure which includes an insert which is connected or positioned onto the reinforcement bar, and a cap is then secured to the insert i.e. snap fit arrangement. The alleged purpose of providing a cover over the insert is to provide an additional surface against which the weight of a body would fall to further protect the workmen from injury. In effect, the combination of the cover with the insert provides a double wall configuration.

Various other prior art devices are shown. For example U.S. Pat. No. 5,946,871 sets forth the OSHA standards which protective caps must meet, that being that at a minimum, a cap must be capable of withstanding the impact of a 250# weight dropped from a height of ten feet without penetration or failure of the cap, and surface area of the protective cover having a minimum of a 4″:×4″ surface area. The device as depicted in the -871 patent is intended to have the metal plate in the cap positioned directly above the reinforcement bar so that upon impact, the bar cannot penetrate through the metal plate.

It will be appreciated from a review of the present art, that the protective caps as presently exist can only be used in connection with circular type concrete reinforcement bars. As was indicated previously, each of the protective caps includes a cylindrical collar having inwardly extending off center fins the ends which are intended to deform slightly when the cap is inserted over the concrete reinforcement bar with a twisting motion. It will therefore be appreciated that the protective caps and the presently existing art can only be used with circular or rounded reinforcement bars.

It is known, however, that on many construction sites, steel bars of various shapes and sizes are employed. This includes flat bars as well as circular bars. The present invention now provides a protective cap which is suitable for use in connection with any shape reinforcement bar whether it be flat or rounded.

II. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention therefore provides a protective cap which is designed to seat over a concrete reinforcement bar of any shape including both a flat bar, as well as a rounded bar so as to prevent impalement and injury to workers on a construction site. The cap of the present invention meets and exceeds current OSHA standards by its improved construction. According to the present invention, the improved protective cap comprises an elongated cylindrical collar which is fixedly secured to a base cap and extends perpendicularly outwardly therefrom, the cap including a metal plate embedded within the cap. The cylindrical collar cap having the metal plate embedded therein is secured by means of a plurality of reinforcement ribs interconnecting the cylindrical collar to the cap.

The present invention is further improved in that there are a series of major reinforcement ribs interconnecting the cylindrical collar with the cap, and interposed between the major reinforcement ribs are a series of minor reinforcement ribs which interconnect the cap to the cylindrical collar. Further reinforcement is provided by means of a circular ring which traverses both the major as well as the minor reinforcement ribs such that the entire assembly is securely reinforced. Ideally, the entire assembly including the cylindrical collar, the cap having a metal plate embedded therein is formed by an injection molded process and usually is made from a resiliently deformable heavy duty plastic material such as a polyethylene plastic. The assembly then includes the cylindrical collar, the cap, the major reinforcement ribs, and the minor reinforcement ribs, all molded as a single unit with a metal plate embedded within the cap.

A further improvement is derived by having a series of deformable fins extending inwardly from the cylindrical collar, being offset somewhat, and further including a series of minor fins interposed between the major fins in the cylindrical collar. The minor fins will accommodate mounting of the cap onto a flat reinforcement bar as well as a circular concrete reinforcement bar.

A further improvement comprises an alternate embodiment of the present invention wherein the cylindrical collar is hollow and accommodates an insert which in turn is provided with a series of major fins which are deformable, and having a plurality of minor fins interposed between the major fins. In effect, the insert would have the same configuration as the prior embodiment of the invention, but results in a 2-piece protective cap consisting of the insert and the cap. The advantage to this construction is that the insert would be a throw away item, and the cap portion can be preserved for further use. This results in an economic cost savings to the construction company employing the assembly. From a pragmatic standpoint, it is well known that once a protective cap has been inserted onto a concrete reinforcement bar, and the fins deformed, the cap cannot be reused once the fins become deformed, since the fin material does not have sufficient memory to retract to their original position. Furthermore, once the fins have been deformed, and the cap finally removed from the reinforcement bar, the fins are often damaged in the removal process. Hence, the existing caps are usually thrown away and never reused. The advantage of a two piece construction permits just the insert to be disposed of, while the cap portion can be reused.

III. OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

It will therefore be appreciated that the principal object of the present invention is to provide an improved concrete reinforcement bar protective cap which is of superior construction. The protective cap of the present invention comprises a cylindrical collar perpendicularly secured to a cap, the cap having a metal plate embedded therein, with the cylindrical collar being secured to the cap by means of a plurality of both major as well as minor struts which take the form of reinforcement ribs. The interior of the cylindrical collar is provided with a series of major fins, and having a series of minor fins interposed there between.

In conjunction with the foregoing object, it is a further object of the present invention to provide a protective cap of the type described wherein the entire assembly including the cylindrical collar, the cap, the major and minor reinforcing ribs, and the major and minor interior fins are all molded simultaneously, forming an integral protective cap having the metal plate embedded therein.

In conjunction with the foregoing object, it is a further object of the present invention to provide a protective cap of the type described, wherein the cylindrical collar of the cap is hollow, and accommodates an insert to be seated therein. The insert in turn, is cylindrical in configuration and adapted to be received into the cylindrical hollow of the cylindrical collar. The interior of the insert is provided with inwardly extending major fins, as well as a series of inwardly extending minor fins, such that the insert is mountable on any shape of concrete reinforcement whether it be a flat bar, or a circular bar.

In conjunction with the foregoing object, a further object is to provide a two piece protective cap assembly wherein the insert is mounted to the exposed end of a concrete reinforcement bar, and accommodates the seatment of the protective cap thereover in a friction fitting engagement. The advantage provided by a two piece construction is that the cap may be removed from the insert, and the insert can then be discarded with the cap being saved for subsequent use.

Further features of the invention pertain to the particular arrangement of the parts whereby the above outline and additional operating features thereof are attained.

The invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will best be understood by reference to the following specification taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

V. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view showing the protective cap of the present invention constructed as an integral single piece protective cap;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the protective cap as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view showing the protective cap as positioned on a concrete reinforcement bar.

FIG. 4 is a top view showing the construction of the bottom of the cap, as well as the configuration of the assembly in the interior of the cylindrical collar;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view, in cross section, taken along the line A-A of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention showing the cap having a hollow cylindrical collar to accommodate an insert therein;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational, in cross section, taken along the line C-C of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a side elevation plan view showing the insert which is employed in conjunction with the protective cap as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings;

FIG. 9 is a plan elevational bottom view of the fin arrangement positioned interiorly of the insert.

FIG. 10 is a top view showing the insert mounted within the hollow interior of the cylindrical collar and the details of the major and minor reinforcing ribs, and the major and minor fins within the insert; and

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view taken along the line D-D of FIG. 10.

VI. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the protective cap 10 of the present invention is shown to include a cap 12, and a cylindrical collar 13. The cap 12 includes an embedded metal plate 16 which, during manufacturing, is integrally molded within the cap material 12. The cylindrical collar 13 is shown to be connected to the cap 12 by means of a plurality of struts which take the form of major reinforcement ribs 18 as well as a plurality of minor reinforcement ribs 21 which are interposed between the major reinforcement ribs 18. The assembly is further reinforced by means of a circular ring 23 which interconnects the major ribs 18 with the miner reinforcing ribs 21.

As shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the protective cap 10 of the present invention is shown to be circular in configuration, although the particular configuration of the cap 10 is merely a design choice. The cap may be square or rectangular as well as circular so long as the overall area of the cap meets OSHA standards. It is believed that the manufacturing costs of providing the cap in a circular configuration results in certain economies, and therefore, the protective cap of the present invention is depicted in a circular configuration. The particular configuration is not deemed to be critical to the present invention.

It will be appreciated from a view of FIGS. 1 and 2, that the entire assembly of the protective cap 10 is created by an injection molding process such that the cap 12, cylindrical collar 14, major ribs 18 and minor ribs 21 are all molded as an integral unit, with the metal plate 16 embedded in cap 12. Hence, once the protective cap is manufactured, it has a very durable and resilient construction.

FIG. 1 further illustrates the fin assembly positioned within the hollow interior of the cylindrical collar 14. As indicated, the cylindrical collar 14 is circular and has a predetermined radius/diameter and has a hollow interior bounded by an interior wall as generally denoted by numeral 25. The hollow interior wall 25 is shown to be provided with a series of major deformable ribs 27 which are integrally affixed to the interior 25 of the collar 14 and extend inwardly. The major ribs 27 slightly offset from the center point relative to the radius/diameter of the hollow interior wall 25, in a manner well known in the art. As further depicted in FIG. 1, the hollow interior is provided with a series of minor fins 29 which are interposed between the major ribs 27. The minor ribs are also integrally formed onto the interior wall 25 of the cylindrical collar 14 and extend inwardly from a distance, generally less than the distance which the major fins extend. Further, the minor fins 29 are arranged to extend inwardly on a straight line basis as opposed to being offset. It will be appreciated that the positioning of the minor fins 29 within the hollow interior 25 of the collar 14 permits the protective cap 10 to be installed onto flat reinforcement bars as well as accommodating circular concrete reinforcement bars.

It will be appreciated from FIGS. 1 and 2, the protective cap 10 of the present invention is provided with a far superior sturdy construction having both major as well as minor reinforcement fins 27 and 29 for interconnecting the cylindrical collar 14 to the cap 12, and further includes the reinforcement ring 23 which interconnects all of the minor ribs 21 with the major ribs 18. It will therefore be appreciated that the protective cap of the present invention once installed onto a concrete reinforcement bar will exceed the OSHA requirements for withstanding the required impact of at least a 250# weight dropped from a height of ten feet. By employing a combination of both the major reinforcing ribs as well as minor reinforcing ribs and the reinforcing ring, the structural rigidity of the cap when positioned on a concrete reinforcement bar will greatly exceed the OSHA standards as mentioned.

FIG. 3 merely represents the cap in its upright position when properly positioned on a concrete reinforcement bar. It will be observed that the cap has a flat bottom 13 which faces upwardly. The embedded metal plate 16 is positioned below the flat bottom 13 and, as depicted in FIG. 2, is totally embedded in the cap 12.

It has also been determined that the advantage of providing both major as well as minor fins 27 and 29 on the interior wall 25 of the cylindrical collar 14 is that the combination of the major fins 27 and minor fins 29 acts as a webbing to keep the cap 10 centered on the reinforcement bar and properly oriented when the cap 10 is installed thereon.

FIG. 4 clearly illustrates the rigidity of the protective cap 10 of the present invention. Given the plurality of major reinforcement ribs 18 and interposed plurality of minor reinforcing ribs 27 interconnected by the reinforcement ring 23 will clearly maintain the cap 12 in position and impenetrable relative to the concrete reinforcement bar in the event of being impacted by a 250# weight when dropped from a height of at least ten feet.

As has been indicated, the protective cap 10 of the present invention may be provided in an alternate embodiment. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 of the drawings, the protective cap 10 may be provided in the form of a 2-piece assembly. For ease of reference, like numerals, will be employed to refer to the like parts. In FIG. 6 the protective cap 10 is shown to be formed from a cap 12, and cylindrical collar 14. The cylindrical collar 14 has a hollow interior bounded by interior wall 25 and, as shown in FIG. 7, is entirely hollow. Once again, the assembly is provided with a plurality of struts in the form of major reinforcing ribs 18 and a plurality of interposed minor reinforcing ribs 21. A reinforcing ring 23 interconnects all of the major reinforcing ribs 18 and minor reinforcing ribs 21. In this embodiment, the protective cap 10 is adapted to receive an insert 30 as depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9 of the drawings. The insert 30 is constructed from a tubular wall 32 which has a diametric dimension and sized to frictionally fit within the hollow interior 25 of the cylindrical collar 14. The interior of the insert 30 is in turn provided with a series of major fins 27 having interposed therebetween a pluralality of minor fins 29. The tubular wall 32 terminates at a lower end of 34 and has an upper end 36. The upper end 36 is provided with an upper lip 38 which will seat against the upper end 15 of the cylindrical collar 14. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 of the drawings, the insert 30 is shown inserted into the interior hollow 25 of the cylindrical collar 14 with upper lip 38 seated against the upper end 15 of the cylindrical collar 14. As was indicated, it is well known in the industry that once a protective cap has been installed onto a concrete reinforcing bar, the fins will deform in order to accommodate installation onto the concrete reinforcing bar. This is usually accomplished by means of a twisting action wherein the protective cap 10 is twisted onto the reinforcing bar. It is well known that upon removal of the cap 10 from the reinforcing bar, the fins are often damaged and/or maintain their deformed configuration and therefore cannot be reused. Typically, such caps are then discarded, and cannot be reused. Hence, the advantage of providing a two piece protective cap embodiment is the fact that the insert may be installed onto the concrete reinforcement bar with the cap assembly then inserted over the insert 30. It will be appreciated that when the protective cap 10 is removed from the concrete reinforcing bar, either the insert will come lose from the main cap, or if it remains on the reinforcing bar, the insert may merely be forcibly removed from the reinforcing bar, and discarded. However, the main cap assembly can be preserved and reused numerous times. It will be appreciated that there is an economy involved in that the main cap assembly which includes the cap 12 as well as the cylindrical collar 14 and having the metal plate 16 embedded therein represents a substantial cost in terms of the manufacturing of the protective cap. Since this portion of the assembly can be reused, one need only buy additional inserts for use with the cap. Hence, a considerable economy will be realized by the user of such devices.

It will also be appreciated from the above description that the protective cap of the present invention will have the same configuration whether manufactured as a 1-piece unit, or manufactured as 2 pieces with the protective cap forming the one piece, and the protective cap accommodating the insert which is mounted to the concrete reinforcement bar. A further advantage of the present invention is that the configuration of the major and minor fins formed in the interior hollow of the cylindrical collar permits the protective cap to be used on either flat or rectangular metal bars or on cylindrical concrete reinforcement bars. It is therefore believed that the present invention provides a greater flexibility in terms of the actual use of the protective cap on any construction site.

It will be appreciated that there has been provided by virtue of the present invention, a protective cap for use in connection with protecting workers against injury on construction sites, which can be mounted to any shape or type of concrete reinforcement bar including both flat and round. In addition, the combination of major and minor reinforcement ribs for maintaining the rigidity of the cylindrical collar to the end cap when taken in conjunction with the reinforcement ring provides a sturdy protective cap which exceeds the stringent OSHA standards.

While there has been described what is a present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be understood that various modifications may be made therein and it is intended to cover in the appended claims of all such modifications as fall in the true spirit and scope of the invention.