Title:
FASTENING DEVICE FOR ATTACHING A FLEXIBLE MATERIAL TO A STRUCTURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fastening system 60 for fastening a flexible web material, such as shade cloth, to a structure comprises an elongate fastening member 62 having a substantially cylindrical portion 64. The substantially cylindrical portion 64 is mounted spaced apart from a surface of the structure to facilitate securing of the flexible web material to the fastening member. The space between the substantially cylindrical portion 64 and the surface of the structure is filled with a skirt 72. A retaining member 74 is positioned over the substantially cylindrical portion 64 for securing the flexible web material on the fastening member 62. The fastening system allows for easy replacement of damaged or worn shade cloth, and allows for re-use of the existing fastening system for positioning of new shade cloth.



Inventors:
Boston, Saxon (Western Australia, AU)
Russell, Wayne Leonard (Western Australia, AU)
Application Number:
12/445323
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
08/27/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
160/403
International Classes:
A47H13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20070277938Portal covering for controlled environmentsDecember, 2007Crider
20060278345Curtain blind winding mechanismDecember, 2006Huang
20060213627Slat for a blindSeptember, 2006Nien et al.
20070137803Curved window roller blind for motor vehiclesJune, 2007Hansen et al.
20070169900Rolling up curtain deviceJuly, 2007Chen et al.
20090294075Play structure assembly comprising connectable sheet panelsDecember, 2009Huck
20090020241PORTABLE BALLISTICS BARRIERJanuary, 2009Bowlware
20070095485Method and system for constructing blinds/shades that allow air to flow through while blocking sunlightMay, 2007Bodner
20070125501Beaded-chain control device for window blindsJune, 2007Liang
20060000013Zip and cleanJanuary, 2006Peoples



Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, BLAIR M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A fastening device for fastening a flexible material to a structure, the fastening device comprising an elongate cylindrical fastening member having a plurality of indentations at spaced apart intervals along the length of the fastening member, the indentations being adapted for securing the fastening member to the structure so that in use the fastening member is spaced apart from the structure to allow for securing of the flexible material.

2. A fastening device as defined in claim 1, wherein each indentation comprises at least one aperture through which a securing means such as a screw, bolt, or nail may be positioned for securing the fastening member to the structure.

3. A fastening device as defined in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the elongate cylindrical fastening member is a hollow tubular member.

4. A fastening device as defined in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the fastening device further comprises a retaining member adapted for positioning over the fastening member to retain the flexible material in engagement with the fastening member.

5. A fastening device as defined in claim 4, wherein the retaining member is adapted to snap-fit over the fastening member for ease of installation.

6. A fastening device as defined in claim 5, wherein the retaining member is an elongate tubular member having an opening along its length.

7. A fastening device as defined in claim 6, wherein the retaining member is of generally C-shaped cross-section.

8. A fastening device as defined in claim 6 or claim 7, wherein the internal diameter of the retaining member generally corresponds to the external diameter of the elongate cylindrical fastening member.

9. A fastening device as defined in claim 7, wherein the retaining member is preferably further provided with a pair of opposing flanges which protrude either side of the opening.

10. A fastening device as defined in claim 9, wherein the flanges assist in ensuring that the flexible material is held securely against the fastening member.

11. A fastening system for fastening a flexible web material to a structure, the fastening system comprising: an elongate fastening member having a substantially cylindrical portion and having means for attaching the fastening member to the structure so that in use the flexible web material can be fastened to the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member; and, a retaining member adapted for positioning over the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member with the flexible web material there between whereby the flexible web material is securely retained on the fastening member.

12. A fastening system as defined in claim 11, wherein the means for attaching the fastening member to the structure is in the form of a plurality of indentations provided at spaced apart intervals along the length of the fastening member.

13. A fastening system as defined in claim 12, wherein each indentation comprises at least one aperture through which a securing means such as a screw, bolt, rivet, or nail may be positioned for securing the fastening member to the structure.

14. A fastening system as defined in anyone of claims 11 to 13, wherein the fastening member is one of a plurality of fastening members joined end to end.

15. A fastening system as defined in claim 14, wherein each fastening member is joined to an adjacent fastening member by means of a tongue and groove joint.

16. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 15, wherein the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member is of generally circular cross-section.

17. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 16, wherein the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member is supported spaced apart from a surface of the structure to facilitate securing of the flexible web material to the fastening member.

18. A fastening system as defined in claim 17, wherein the space between the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member and the surface of the structure is filled with a skirt.

19. A fastening system as defined in claim 18, wherein the provision of the skirt ensures a substantially airtight seal is formed between the fastening member and the surface of the structure, when the fastening member is secured to the structure.

20. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 19, wherein the retaining member is an elongate retaining member that extends substantially the full length of the fastening member.

21. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 20, wherein the retaining member is adapted to snap-fit over the fastening member for ease of installation.

22. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 21, wherein the retaining member is an elongate sleeve member having an elongate opening along its length.

23. A fastening system as defined in claim 22, wherein the retaining member is of generally C-shaped cross-section.

24. A fastening system as defined in claim 23, wherein the internal diameter of the retaining member generally corresponds to the external diameter of the substantially cylindrical fastening member.

25. A fastening system as defined in claim 23, wherein the retaining member is further provided with a pair of opposing flanges which protrude on either side of the opening.

26. A fastening system as defined in claim 25, wherein the flanges assist in ensuring that the flexible web material is held securely against the fastening member and also assist in ease of removal of the retaining member from the fastening member.

27. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 26, wherein the flexible web material is a netting material, plastic sheet, mesh or a mesh-like fabric.

28. A fastening system as defined in claim 27, wherein the mesh-like fabric is shade cloth or similar material used to provide at least partial protection from the sun and weather conditions.

29. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 28, wherein the flexible web material is fitted to a structure such as a support post or beam of a shade house, agricultural tunnel house, pergola or scaffolding.

30. A fastening system as defined in any one of claims 11 to 29, wherein the system further comprises a securing means for securing the fastening member to the structure.

31. A fastening system as defined in claim 30, wherein the securing means comprises one or more screws, nails, rivet, or bolts.

32. A fastening device for fastening a flexible web material to a structure, the fastening device comprising: an elongate fastening member having a substantially cylindrical portion and having means for attaching the fastening member to the structure so that in use the flexible web material can be fastened to the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member.

33. A fastening device according to claim 32, wherein the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member is supported spaced apart from a surface of the structure to facilitate securing of the flexible web material to the fastening member.

34. A fender system for protecting a surface of a structure, the fender system comprising: an elongate fastening member having a substantially cylindrical portion and having means for securing the fastening member to the structure; and, a fender member adapted for positioning over the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member so as to provide protection from objects that bump against the structure.

35. A fender system as defined in claim 34, wherein the fender member is made from a resilient cushioning material so as to provide a cushioning effect when objects bump against the structure.

36. A fastening device for fastening a flexible material to a structure substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 12 of the accompanying drawings.

37. A fastening system for fastening a flexible material to a structure substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 12 of the accompanying drawings.

38. A fender system for protecting a surface of a structure substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in FIG. 13 the accompanying drawings.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a fastening device and a fastening system. The invention has been devised particularly but not exclusively for use in securing a flexible web material, such as a mesh-like fabric or shade cloth, to an outdoor structure.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Shade cloth and other similar mesh-like fabrics or flexible web materials are widely used in various industrial and household applications. Shade cloth and plastic sheeting is used on a large scale in agricultural applications such as in tunnel houses to protect crops from the sun, adverse weather conditions, and from pests. Shade cloth is also used extensively in homes, for example as an inexpensive cover to provide shade for verandas and pergolas.

In all of these applications, there are problems in prior art fastening systems with satisfactorily securing the shade cloth to the respective structure, and also to retain the shade cloth in a tensioned condition to prevent sagging of the material. Prior art systems generally do not provide a way of easily replacing the shade cloth, or a section of the shade cloth, when the material is damaged or worn. In industrial applications, there is a need for a system that can secure very long lengths of material, for example in the case of tunnel houses which may be a few hundred meters in length. Furthermore, there is a need for these systems to be robust so that in industrial applications the secured shade cloth is strong enough to withstand a force applied to the shade cloth.

The present invention was developed with a view to providing a fastening device and system which at least partly alleviates the difficulties with prior art systems.

References to prior art in this specification are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not to be taken as an admission that such prior art is part of the common general knowledge in Australia or elsewhere.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a fastening device for fastening a flexible material to a structure, the fastening device comprising an elongate cylindrical fastening member having a plurality of indentations at spaced apart intervals along the length of the fastening member, the indentations being adapted for securing the fastening member to the structure so that in use the fastening member is spaced apart from the structure to allow for securing of the flexible material.

Preferably each indentation comprises at least one aperture through which a securing means such as a screw, bolt, or nail may be positioned for securing the fastening member to the structure.

The flexible material is preferably a netting material, plastic sheeting, mesh or a mesh-like fabric. The mesh-like fabric is typically shade cloth or like material used to provide at least partial protection from the sun and weather conditions. The flexible material is typically fitted to a structure such as a support post or beam of a shade house, agricultural tunnel house, pergola or scaffolding.

The elongate cylindrical fastening member is preferably a hollow tubular member made of suitable material such as mild steel.

Preferably the fastening device further comprises a retaining member adapted for positioning over the fastening member to retain the flexible material in engagement with the fastening member. In a preferred form, the retaining member is adapted to snap-fit over the fastening member for ease of installation.

Preferably the retaining member is an elongate tubular member having an opening along its length. The retaining member is more preferably of generally C-shaped cross-section. The internal diameter of the retaining member preferably generally corresponds to the external diameter of the tubular fastening member. The retaining member is preferably further provided with a pair of opposing flanges which protrude either side of the opening. The flanges assist in ensuring that the flexible material is held securely against the fastening member.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a fastening system for fastening a flexible web material to a structure, the fastening system comprising:

an elongate fastening member having a substantially cylindrical portion and having means for attaching the fastening member to the structure so that in use the flexible web material can be fastened to the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member; and,

a retaining member adapted for positioning over the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member with the flexible web material there between wherein the flexible web material is securely retained on the fastening member.

Preferably the means for attaching the fastening member to the structure is in the form of a plurality of indentations provided at spaced apart intervals along the length of the fastening member. Preferably each indentation comprises at least one aperture through which a securing means such as a screw, bolt, rivet, or nail may be positioned for securing the fastening member to the structure.

Preferably the fastening member is one of a plurality of fastening members joined end to end. Preferably each fastening member is joined to an adjacent fastening member by means of a tongue and groove joint.

Typically the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member is of generally circular cross-section. However the substantially cylindrical portion may also be formed with a modified cross-section, for example, with one or more planar surfaces extending along the full length of the fastening member.

Preferably the retaining member is an elongate retaining member that extends substantially the full length of the fastening member. In a preferred form, the retaining member is adapted to snap-fit over the fastening member for ease of installation.

Preferably the retaining member is an elongate sleeve member having an elongate opening along its length. The retaining member is more preferably of generally C-shaped cross-section. The internal diameter of the retaining member preferably generally corresponds to the external diameter of the substantially cylindrical fastening member. The retaining member is preferably further provided with a pair of opposing flanges which protrude on either side of the opening. The flanges assist in ensuring that the flexible web material is held securely against the fastening member and also assist in ease of removal of the retaining member from the fastening member.

The flexible web material is typically a netting, plastic sheet, mesh or, a mesh-like fabric. The mesh-like fabric is typically shade cloth or similar material used to provide at least partial protection from the sun and weather conditions. The flexible material is typically fitted to a structure such as a support post or beam of a shade house, agricultural tunnel house, pergola or scaffolding.

Preferably the system further comprises a securing means for securing the fastening member to the structure. The securing means preferably comprises one or more screws, nails, rivet, or bolts. The structure is typically a support post or beam of a shade house, agricultural tunnel house, pergola or scaffolding.

According to a still further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a fastening device for fastening a flexible web material to a structure, the fastening device comprising:

an elongate fastening member having a substantially cylindrical portion and having means for attaching the fastening member to the structure so that in use the flexible web material can be fastened to the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member.

Preferably the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member is supported spaced apart from a surface of the structure to facilitate securing of the flexible web material to the fastening member.

According to a still further aspect of the present invention there is provided a fender system for protecting a surface of a structure, the fender system comprising:

an elongate fastening member having a substantially cylindrical portion and having means for securing the fastening member to the structure; and,

a fender member adapted for positioning over the substantially cylindrical portion of the fastening member so as to provide protection from objects that bump against the structure.

Preferably the fender member is made from a resilient cushioning material so as to provide a cushioning effect when objects bump against the structure.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers. Likewise the word “preferably” or variations such as “preferred”, will be understood to imply that a stated integer or group of integers is desirable but not essential to the working of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature of the invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of several specific embodiments of the fastening device and fastening system of the invention, given by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a top perspective view of a fastening member of a first embodiment of a fastening device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2a is a perspective view of a retaining member of the first embodiment of the fastening device according to the invention;

FIG. 2b is a cross-sectional view of the retaining member of FIG. 2a;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the fastening member of FIG. 1 fixed to a post;

FIG. 4a is a perspective view of the fastening member of FIG. 1 positioned on a structure with shade cloth in place ready for securing by means of the retaining member of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4b shows the complete fastening system with the retaining member in position on the fastening member of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 4c shows the fastening system of FIG. 4b with the excess shade cloth being trimmed;

FIG. 5a is an end view of the fastening system of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 5b is an end view of the fastening system of FIG. 4b;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a corner retaining member of the first embodiment of the fastening system of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an agricultural greenhouse covered in shade cloth secured by a fastening system of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a top perspective view of a fastening member employed in a second embodiment of a fastening system according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a bottom perspective view of two fastening members employed in the fastening system of FIG. 8, showing how the fastening members are joined end to end;

FIG. 10 is a bottom perspective view of the second embodiment of the fastening system according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 is an end perspective view of the fastening system of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 shows a method of securing a flexible web material using the fastening system of FIG. 10; and

FIG. 13a shows in plan view a boat fitted with an embodiment of a fender system according to the present invention; and,

FIG. 13b is a top perspective view of the boat of FIG. 13a with an enlarged cross-section view of the fender system of FIG. 13a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 to 6 of the accompanying drawings illustrate a first embodiment of a fastening device 10 and a fastening system 50 according to the present invention.

The fastening device 10 comprises a fastening member in the form of an elongate tubular fastening member 12 having a plurality of indentations 14 at spaced apart intervals along the length of the fastening member 12. The indentations 14 are provided with apertures 16 through which screws 18 are positioned to secure the fastening member 12 to part of a structure in the form of a post 20 (see FIGS. 3 to 5).

The tubular fastening member 12 is formed of mild steel and is hollow to reduce the overall weight of the member for ease of handling. The fastening member 12 could be made of other suitable material such as strong plastic. The fastening member may be of any suitable length depending on the application but lengths are usually standard sizes of 1200 mm, 2400 mm and 3600 mm lengths for ease of transport. The fastening member 12 is typically 8 mm in diameter but this diameter may be varied as required.

The indentations 14 are spaced about 250 mm apart in the embodiment but this spacing may be varied as required.

Flexible material in the form of shade cloth 22 is placed over the fastening member as shown in FIG. 4a. The shade cloth 22 is placed over the fastening member 12 and is secured in a suitable way. Securing of the shade cloth 22 to the fastening member 12 is possible due to the space which exists between the fastening member 12 and the post 20, as marked with the letter ‘A’ in FIG. 3. The shade cloth 22 may be secured over or around the fastening member 12 as appropriate, for example by way of clips or clamps.

In a preferred form of the invention, the shade cloth 22 is secured to the fastening member 12 by means of a retaining member 24 (see FIG. 2) which is adapted for positioning over the fastening member 12 as shown in FIG. 4b. The retaining member 24 is of generally C-shaped configuration with an opening 26 along the length of the fastening member to retain the shade cloth 22 in a securely held position between the fastening member 12 and the retaining member 24 as best seen in FIG. 5b. The internal diameter of the retaining member 24 generally corresponds to the external diameter of the tubular fastening member 12 as can be seen in FIG. 5b. The provision of the opening 26 in the retaining member 24 allows for some “give” so that the retaining member can be snap-fitted onto the fastening member.

The retaining member 24 is generally made of a suitable plastics material such as polyethylene or other material with some flexibility to allow for ease of positioning over the fastening member. The retaining member 24 may be of variable length and may be positioned over a fastening member 12 of comparable length, or may be positioned over more than one fastening member as required. Alternatively, more than one retaining member may be positioned over a single fastening member.

The retaining member 24 of the embodiment has a pair of opposing flanges 28 extending away from the opening 26 which assist in holding the shade cloth 22 in a secure arrangement with the fastening member 12, as can be seen most clearly in FIGS. 2b and 5b. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the flanges 28 may extend a further distance so as to hold the shade cloth 22 against the post 20.

FIGS. 4b and 4c show a fastening system 50 according to the first embodiment of the invention having an elongate tubular fastening member 12 held in position on part of a structure in the form of a post 20 by screws 18, and a retaining member 24 snap-fitted over the fastening member 12 to hold a portion of shade cloth 22 securely in position on the post 20.

The operation of the fastening device 10 and fastening system 50 will now be described with reference to FIGS. 4 to 7 of the accompanying drawings. As shown in FIG. 4a, a fastening member 12 is fixed to a post 20 by means of screws positioned in apertures 16 in the indentations 14 spaced at intervals along the length of the fastening member 12. A length of shade cloth 22 is placed over the fastening member 12 with a portion of the shade cloth extending beyond the fastening member 12. A retaining member 24 is placed over the fastening member 12 as shown in FIG. 4b and the shade cloth is secured in place on the post 20 by snap-fitting the retaining member 24 onto the fastening member 12. If required, as shown in FIG. 4c, the excess of the shade cloth 22 may be cut along the outside edge of the retaining member as shown at 30 using a Stanley knife 32. In this way a neat edge is formed which is visually attractive and also has the benefit of minimising the risk of a rough edge of shade cloth being accidentally pulled which may disrupt the securing of the shade cloth 22.

In the event that the shade cloth 22 needs to be re-aligned, tightened or replaced, the retaining member 24 can be simply pulled or eased off its position on the fastening member 12 to make the necessary adjustments. A difficulty with prior art systems, for example those using nails, is that it has been difficult to re-tension or replace a section of the shade cloth without damaging the fastening system, or the shade cloth, since the nails have to be pulled out.

Due to the secure snap-fit which is formed between the fastening member and the retaining member, the shade cloth is strongly held between these two members. This allows the pergola or shade cover to be robust and to be able to withstand force such as the weight of a person walking on the shade cloth, or adverse weather conditions such as strong wind. However, the ease with which the retaining member may be removed from the fastening member and reattached, enables the shade cloth to be readily re-tensioned as required if, for example, the shade cloth is disrupted so that is sags in extreme weather conditions.

As can be seen in FIG. 7, an agricultural greenhouse 40 having a gate 42 and roof 44 with beams 46 and supporting posts 48 is covered in shade cloth 22 secured by the fastening system of the invention. The retaining members 24 can be seen in this Figure in horizontal and vertical arrangement around the various parts of the structure of the greenhouse 40. The shade cloth may be stretched across long lengths of the sides of the greenhouse 40 and secured at each end by means of the fastening system of the invention. Likewise the shade cloth 22 may be secured at each end on the beams 46 over the length of the roof 44. The fastening system of the invention is also suitable for shorter lengths such as to retain shade cloth on the gate 42 of the greenhouse 40.

Other modifications may be made to the fastening device and fastening system of the invention, in particular to accommodate variations in design of the structure to which the shade cloth is to be secured. For example as shown in FIG. 6, an elbow-shaped retaining member 34 may be used to position over abutting angled fastening members such as at a corner of a greenhouse.

A second embodiment of the fastening system 60 for fastening a flexible web material, such as shade cloth, to a structure will now be described with reference to FIGS. 8 to 12 of the accompanying drawings. The fastening system 60 is similar to the first embodiment 50, and comprises an elongate fastening member 62 having a substantially cylindrical portion 64. The fastening member 62 also has means 66 for attaching the fastening member 62 to the structure (not shown), so that in use the flexible web material can be fastened to the substantially cylindrical portion 64 of the fastening member 62. In this embodiment the fastening member 62 is manufactured from a suitably strong and UV-resistant moulded plastics material, for example, a polyurethane plastics material.

In this embodiment the means 66 for attaching the fastening member 62 to the structure is in the form of a plurality of indentations 66 provided at spaced apart intervals along the length of the fastening member. Preferably each indentation 66 comprises planar portion 68 with at least one aperture 70 provided therein through which a securing means such as a screw, bolt, rivet, or nail may be positioned for securing the fastening member 62 to the structure.

In the previous embodiment of the fastening system 50 the tubular portion of the fastening member 12 is mounted with a space or gap between the fastening member 12 and the structure 20, as marked with the letter ‘A’ in FIG. 3. In the present embodiment the substantially cylindrical portion 64 of the fastening member 62 is likewise mounted spaced apart from the surface of the structure to facilitate securing of the flexible web material to the fastening member. However in this case the space between the substantially cylindrical portion 64 and the surface of the structure is filled with a skirt 72, as can be seen most clearly in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10. The provision of skirt 72 ensures a substantially airtight seal is formed between the fastening member 62 and the surface of the structure, when the fastening member is secured to the structure. This may be particularly important where the flexible web material is an airtight material, such as transparent or translucent plastic sheeting for a hothouse, so as to retain the hot air within the hothouse.

Preferably the fastening member 62 is one of a plurality of fastening members joined end to end. Typically each fastening member 62 is approximately 300 mm in length; however the length may be varied depending on the application. Preferably each fastening member 62 is joined to an adjacent fastening member by means of a tongue and groove joint 80, as can be seen most clearly in FIG. 9. At one end of each fastening member 62 there is provided a tongue 76, and at the other end a matching groove 78 within which the tongue 76 is received in a friction fit. The tongue and groove joint 80 ensures that all of the fastening members 62 are aligned end to end to form effectively one continuous elongate fastening member.

The fastening system 60 further comprises a retaining member 74 adapted for positioning over the substantially cylindrical portion 64 of the fastening member 62, with the flexible web material there between, wherein the flexible web material is securely retained on the fastening member 62. The retaining member 74 is in the form of an elongate sleeve having a longitudinal opening along its length. The retaining member 74 of this embodiment is substantially identical to the retaining member 24 of the first embodiment and will not be described again in detail. The retaining member 74 may be one of a plurality of retaining members, for example, like that illustrated in FIG. 10, secured to the fastening member 62 at spaced intervals. More typically, the retaining member 74 extends substantially the full length of the fastening member 62.

Typically the substantially cylindrical portion 64 of the fastening member 62 is of generally circular cross-section with an outside diameter of approximately 8.0 mm. The internal diameter of the retaining member 74 is designed to match the external diameter of the substantially cylindrical portion 64, as can be seen most clearly in FIG. 11. The internal diameter of the retaining member 74 in the illustrated embodiment is approximately 8.7 mm. In this embodiment the substantially cylindrical portion 64 is moulded as a solid cylinder of plastics material. However the substantially cylindrical portion 64 may also be moulded with a modified cross-section, for example, with one or more planar surfaces extending along the full length of the fastening member 62. The internal cross-sectional profile of the retaining member 74 would then likewise be modified to match that of the substantially cylindrical portion 64.

The flexible web material is typically a netting material, plastic sheet, mesh or a mesh-like fabric. The mesh-like fabric is typically shade cloth or similar material used to provide at least partial protection from the sun and weather conditions. The flexible material is typically fitted to a structure such as a support post or beam of a shade house, hot house, green house, agricultural tunnel house, pergola or scaffolding. A securing means (not shown) for securing the fastening member 62 to the structure preferably comprises one or more screws, nails, rivet, or bolts which are driven into a post, beam or frame of the structure through apertures 70. FIG. 12 illustrates one step in the process of securing a web of flexible material 82, such as shade cloth, to a structure (not shown), using the fastening system 60 of the invention. The process is substantially identical to that described above with reference to FIGS. 4a to 4c, and will not be described again here.

The fastening system of the invention can also be employed as a fender system for protecting a surface of a structure, for example, an edge of a boat. FIGS. 13a and 13b illustrate a possible embodiment of the fender system 90 according to the invention applied to a boat. The fender system 90 comprises an elongate fastening member 92 having a substantially cylindrical portion 94 and means 96 for securing the fastening member 92 to the edge of the boat. The structure and function of the fastening member 92 is similar to the fastening member 62 of the previous embodiment and will not be described again here.

The fender system 90 further comprises a fender member 98 adapted for positioning over the substantially cylindrical portion 94 of the fastening member 92 so as to provide protection from objects that bump against the boat. The structure and function of the fender member 98 is similar to that of the retaining member 74 of the previous embodiment, except that the fender member 98 is not typically used to secure a web of flexible material to the structure. Like the retaining member 74, the fender member 98 has a C-shaped cross-section, as can be seen most clearly in the enlargement of FIG. 13b. The secure snap-fit between the fender member 98 and the fastening member 92 ensures that the fender member remains securely attached to the fastening member. However it also facilitates the quick and easy removal and replacement of a length of the fender member in the event it becomes damaged or worn. Preferably the fender member is made from a resilient cushioning material, such as rubber or firm foamed plastics material, so as to provide a cushioning effect when objects bump against the boat.

The fender system 90 can be used in many other applications where protection is required from or for objects that bump against a structure, for example, were shopping trolleys bump against a wall or in a garage to prevent the car doors from being damaged if they bump against the garage wall when opened.

Now that preferred embodiments of the fastening device and fastening system have been described in detail, it will be apparent that the embodiments provide a number of advantages over the prior art, including the following:

(i) The fastening device is easily and quickly fitted to a post or other structure reducing labour costs and providing a suitable means for use by a home handyman.

(ii) The fastening device and fastening system allow for easy replacement of damaged or worn shade cloth, and allow for re-use of the existing fastening device and system for positioning of new shade cloth.

(iii) The fastening device and system allow for fixing of shade cloth or other flexible web material without the need for complicated or specialised tools.

(iv) Shade cloth or other web material may be securely fixed using the fastening device to form a robust structure so as to withstand force such as wind or the weight of a person.

(v) The tensioning of the shade cloth may be easily adjusted as required during installation, or at any time after installation, by simply lifting and refitting the retaining member.

It will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the relevant arts that various modifications and improvements may be made to the foregoing embodiments, in addition to those already described, without departing from the basic inventive concepts of the present invention. For example, the fastening member may be secured to a support at the indentations using an industrial glue instead of nails or screws such that apertures are not required in the indentations. Therefore, it will be appreciated that the scope of the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described and is to be determined from the appended claims.