Maine Industrial Tire v. T.Y Cushion Tire by patentbl


									                               UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
                                DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS



        v.                                              Civil Action No.        _

                                                        JURY TRIAL DEMANDED


        1.      This is an action for patent infringement by the plaintiff, Maine Industrial Tire,

LLC ("Maine Tire"), against the defendant, T.Y. Cushion Tire, LLC C'Ty Cushion"), pursuant to

Title 35 of the United States Code.


        2.     Maine Tire is a Delaware limited liability company with a principal place of

business at 107 Audubon Road, Wakefield, Massachusetts 01880. Maine Tire is engaged in the

business of designing, manufacturing and selling agricultural, industrial and earthmoving tires,

equipment and related products.

        3.     Ty Cushion is, upon information and belief, a California limited liability company

with a principal place of business at 2275 E. Francis Street, Ontario, California 91761. Upon

information and belief, Ty Cushion is engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing,

marketing and selling of industrial solid tires and related equipment.
                                  JURISDICTION AND VENUE

         4.      This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.

 §§ 1331 and 1338(a) as this action arises under the patent laws of the United States, Title 35 of

the United States Code.

         5.      Venue is proper in this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) as Ty Cushion

has, upon information and belief; transacted business and committed acts of infringement in this

district, and this action arises from the transaction of that business and that infringement, and as

Ty Cushion has, upon information and belief, regular and established places of business in this

district through its multiple distributors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including those

located at the following addresses: #2 Summit Industrial Park, Peabody, Massachusetts 01960;

10 First Street, Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02324; 511 Washington Street, Auburn,

Massachusetts 0 ISO I; and 59 Kelso Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts 0 I 089.

                                   MAINE TIRE'S PATENTS

        6.       Maine Tire is the owner by assignment of United States Patent No. 7,571,942 B2

(the "942 patent"), entitled "Universal Floor and Bucket Protection Devices, Systems and

Methods," which duly and legally issued on August 11,2009.       A true and correct copy of the

'942 patent is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

                           CLAIM FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT

        7.      Maine Tire realleges and incorporates by reference paragraph 1 through 6, as if

fully set forth herein.

        8.      Upon information and belief, Ty Cushion is infringing and has infringed and/or

induced infringement of and/or contributed to the infringement of the '942 patent, including
without limitation by making, using, offering for sale, supplying, and/or selling a device termed

"Ty Rubber Cutting Edge" or, alternatively, the "Cutting Edge."

        9.      According to Ty Cushion's website. the Ty Rubber Cutting Edge is a "wedge of

solid rubber that attaches to the bottom of the loader bucket and acts like a giant squeegee as you

move it along the tipping floor."

        10.     Upon information and belief: Ty Cushion's infringement has been and continues

to be willful and deliberate.

        11.     Maine Tire has plainly marked its patented products with the phrase "U.S. Patent"

and '942 patent number.

        12.     As a result of Ty Cushion's infringement, Maine Tire has suffered substantial


                                    ])RA YER FOR RELIEF

        WHEREFORE, Maine Tire respectfully requests that the Court grant the following relief:

        (1)     Adjudge that Maine Tire is the owner of the '942 patent and all rights of recovery

thereunder, and that the '942 patent is good and valid in law and enforceable;

       (2)     Adjudge that Ty Cushion has infringed and will continue to infringe the '942

patent, and that such infringement has been willful and deliberate;

       (3)     Award Maine Tire compensatory damages caused by Ty Cushion's infringement.

plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest accrued on such amounts as provided by law;

       (4)     Treble the damages assessed against Ty Cushion pursuant to 35 U.S.c. § 184;

       (5)     Award Maine Tire its costs and expenses of this litigation, including reasonable

attorney's fees and disbursements, pursuant to 35 U.S.c. § 285; and

       (6)     Award Maine Tire such further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

                                              MAINE INDUSTRIAL TIRE, LLC.

                                              By its attorneys,

                                              /s/ Mark D. Meredith
                                              Mark D. Meredith (BBO No. 632864)
                                              Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
                                              28 State Street
                                              Boston, MA 02109
                                              Telephone: (617) 345-9000
                                              Facsimile: (617) 345-9020

Dated: June 8, 2012

                                 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

         I hereby certify that a true copy of this document filed through the ECF system will be
sent electronically by the ECF system to the registered participants as identified on the Notice of
Electronic Filing (NEF) and paper copies will be sent to those indicated as non-registered
participants on June 8, 2012.

                                              /s/ Mark D. Meredith
                                              Mark D. Meredith

50734424 (63646-14M387)
Exhibit A

(12)      United States Patent                                                           (10)   Patent No.:                   US 7,571,942 B2
         Shapiro et al.                                                                  (45)   Date of Patent:                            Aug. 11, 2009

(54)       t:NIVERSAL FLOOR.~'OD BUCKET                                                   3.778.086 A        12'1973      :-..100IC ct   ill ............  2S0/S~l
           I'ROTECTlO'O DEVICES, SYSTE~1S, A'OD                                           3.788,668 A         1'1974      Pergcr          .................2S0 851
           ~IETIIODS                                                                      3,799.5S0 A         3 J9"74     Mcr iutre                        280'851
                                                                                          4,9') J ,994 A      R 1990      'vltwa                         296, ISO 1
                                                                                          5,462,324 A        10 1995      Bowen ct al     . , .........     293 15
(76)       Inventors:     Edward Shapiro, lOR Cocksficld                                  "5,71"5,"560 A      411998      Bowen et al .................     291/1')
                          Avenue, Toronto, Ontario (CA) M3H                               6,079,769 A         62000       I annm ct al                  29611801
                          3T2; Craig Kack, 38 Bower Street,                               6,089,628    A      72000       Schuster                      .. 293 118
                          Acton. Town ofIlaltnn IIilis, Ontario                           6,279,974    81· 8,2001               o
                                                                                                                          ~fc(, rmack                    .29}'128
                          (CA) L7J !li2                                                   6,416,094    Bl'    7,2002      ChcJJY                           293, 120
                                                                                          6,460,909    B2 .. 102002       Mansoor et al            .... 291 120
( .. )     Nonce:         Subject to any disclaimer.      the term of this                6,S74,S42 HZ-       42005       HOlM         ..........       296 180 1
                          patent is extended or adjusted under 35
                                                                                                        OHlER       PU13L1CATIONS
                          U.S.c.   154(b) by 348 days.
                                                                                  Schuyler Rubber Co. woodinville.    W,'\.. Product Information Sheet
(21)       Appl. No.      111322,466                                              for Rubber Curung Ldge. l arge Whee! J oaders, Pushing Operations,
                                                                                  Model vl l B [onlme]. Retrieved nom the Internet          http ,www
(22)       Filed,         Dec. 30, 2005                                           schuylerrubber com-cutungedgc    mcdellt pdf. Nov. 4. 200~
                                                                                  Schuyler Rubber Co , Woodinville, WA, Product Information Sheet
(65)                         Prior Publication     Data                           fOI Rubber Cutting Edge, large Wheel Loaders, Puvlung Scooping
                                                                                  Operations, Modcl911R [onlme]. Rctncvcd from the Internet http"
           US 200610145489 Al              JuI. 6, 2006                           www schuylenubher    com.cutungedge-mcdelk        pdf, Nov 4.2005

                     Related U.S. Application      Data                                                           (Continued)
(60) Previsional application No 60/641.056, filed on Jan.                         Primary Examiner     II Gutman
     3.2005.                                                                      (74)Attorn~l~ Agent or f)rm-- Woodard. Emhardt, Monany,
                                                                                  McNctt & I Ienry Ll .P
(51)       Int.CI.
          B6lF    19106          (2006.01)                                        (57)                           ABSTRACT
(52)      U.S. ci                                                 293138
(58)      Field of Classlftcatlon Search.                         293/38,         For a floor clearing bucket, blade or other component of a
                                       293/104.112,120.121,155                    machine. a guard including a rigid attachment device and
          See application     me for complete search history.                     elastomcric wear pad assembly has a bolt or stud fastener
                                                                                  mounted sideways to facilitate spacing fasteners to match
(56)                        References     Cited                                  pre-existing. guard-mounting holes in the component for
                                                                                  euachmg the guard to the component.
                     U.S. PATENT OOCU'>!ENTS

         3.726,544   A"      4 1973    Mllier                   . 2S0'1)"51                          29 Claims, 14 Drawing Sheets
                                                           US 7,571,942 B2

                   (Jj HhR PUBI ICArJO!'lS                              able Channel, Dengn Specrflcatrons.       Retrieved from the Internet:
                                                                        http v.www schuylerrubber com-scrapers hrml. Jun 18,2003
Schuyler Rubber Co . Woodmvtlle. WA, Product lnformanon Sheet           Schuyler Rubber Company: Innovative products from scrap tires,
fOI Rubber Cutung Ldge, Skrdsteers and Small I ceders-Backhoes,         Xews Lmk, hu!2003, 2 pages
Model 91 IS [cnhne], Retrieved from rhc Internet. http- \\/\VW          http I .wastenews com-producrarc Z htrnlvpcat Buckets,            2
schuylcrrubbcr com cunmgcogc-modcts pdf, Nov 4,2005.                    pages dated 'vov 11,200')
Schuyler Rubber Co .. Woodinville, \VA, Product Informauon Shed         http "news thomasnet com-Iullsrory.Js-t-tl     , 1 pages dated 'cov II,
for Rubber Cutung Edge, Mid-SIze Wheel loaders Backhoes.                200,
Scooping Operanons.     Model 911 I [onhne], Retneved        from the   http        ,v.,r\vw schuylenubber   com-scrapers   pies html, 8 pages dated
Internet  hrtp-, ,\~WW schuylerrubber com'cuttingedge'model'F     pdf   Nov          11,2005,
Kav 4,2005.                                                             http    I   "www schuylcrrubbcr      com-new    press   scraper html.   3 pug",..,
                                                                        dated        K()v 11. 200~
Schuyler Rubber Co. Woodmville. W"\, Product Information Shed
f01 Schuyler Rubber Bucket Scraper WI1h EIL~YShde 1-1 rack Adjust-      >(I   cited by examiner
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11,2009    Sheet I of 14   US 7,571,942 B2

                             Fig. 1
   u.s. Patent   Aug. 11,2009
                                Sheet 2 of 14
                                                US 7,571,942 B2

Fig. 2
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11, 2009   Sheet 3 of 14             US 7,571,942 B2

                   48                         50



                         Fig. 3
u.s. Patent        Aug. 11,2009   Sheet 4 of 14   US 7,571,942 B2



                                       Fig. 4
                                             us 7,571,942   B2
                             Sbeet 5 of 14
              Aug. \1,2009
U.S. Patent

                                              Fig. 5
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11,2009        Sheet 6 ofl4   US 7,571,942 B2





                       Fig. 6
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11,2009       Sheet 7 of 14   US 7,571,942 B2

                              150~                 250~


                                                          Y          141


                              Fig. 8                Fig. 9
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11. 2009   Sheet 8 of14   US 7,571,942 B2


                       Fig. 10
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11, 2009   Sheet 9 of14   US 7,571,942 B2

              225.2   224


                        Fig. 11
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11, 2009   Sheet 10 of 14      US 7,571,942 B2




 323                                                         323

                        Fig. 12
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11, 2009   Sheet 11 of 14   US 7,571,942 B2

                                ©     .
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11, 2009   Sheet 12 of 14     US 7,571,942 B2

                      Fig. 14

                                               Fig. 15
                                             us 7,571,942   B2
              Aug. ll, 2009   Sheet 13of14
u.s. Patent
u.s. Patent   Aug. 11, 2009   Sheet 14 of 14           US 7,571,942 B2


                                                       US 7,571,942 B2
                                1                                                                       2
         U~IVI:RSAL FLOOR AND BUCKET                                        Another aspect concerns the rigid member has opposing
       PROTECTION DEVICES, SYSTEMS, A~D                                  ends separated by the second length. the slot being open at
                   \IETIIODS                                             one of the ends wherein the rcsihcnr member ccmpnscs an
                                                                         clastomcric material that is bonded to the ngid member. Yet
       REFERENCE       TO RELATED ,\PPUCArIONS                      5    another aspect of the current invention the rigid member is an
   'lhis application claims the benefit of U,S. Provisional                  According to yet another aspect of some embodiments of
Application No. 60/641.056, filed Jan. 3, 2005, which is                               invention, there IS an apparatus for protecting .:l
                                                                         the prL"SL"'l11
incorporated by reference herein in its entirety,                        bottom surface of a front loader. Another embodiment com-
                                                                   10    prises an elasromeric member having a first length substan-
                       BACKGROUND                                        tially greater than its width. Yet another embodiment ofthe
                                                                         present invention includes a supporting: member having a
   This invention generally relates to devices for protecting a          front, a rear, a top surface, a bottom surface. and a second
floor or surface and a bucket or scoop from costly wear and/or           length about the same as the first length. the bottom surface
damage during material handlmg cpcrauons          More partIcu- 15       having a shape that is generally complementary to the shape
larly, this invention relates to improvement of protective               of the top surface of the clastomeric member. the top surface
 guard application to material handling equipment.                       defining a slot oriented along the length of the supporting
    In material handling operations, heavy equipment and                 member, the distance from the top surface of the supporting
 other vehicles equipped with plows, buckets, or scoops (com-            member to the bottom surface of the supporting member
 ponents) an; used to put-h. pull. or pick up various types of     21)   being nonconstant 1'1"('m   front to rear According: to another
 material, debris, and/or liquids. When undertaking these                embodiment of the present invention, the bottom of the sup-
 material-handling operations, the component routinely con-              porting member is attached to the top of the clastomeric
 tacts the surface on which the material, debris and/or liquid           member.
 resides TIllS routine contact causes damage to both the sur-               These and other aspects of various embodunems of the
 face, which typically is concrete. and the component, which       25    present invention WIll be apparent from the text, drawings.
 typically is made from carbon steel. The damage caused to the           and claims 10 follow.
 concrete and component is expensive to repair.
    In order to mitigate the damage imparted to the concrete or                 BRIEl; Di'.SCRJPTION        (W TJ IE DR.\WINGS

other type of surface, and the component, others have              1U
attached wear guards to the component at the place where the             FlO.! is a pictorial view ofn frontal portion of'n front-end
component contacts the surface. These \\ car guards have been         loader machine with a guard assembly on the machine bucket
made from various materials. such as metal. used tire car-            according to one embodiment of the present invcnuon.
cusses. and solid rubber. These wear guards arc typically                1·'1(+.2is a pictorial view ofa front-end loader bucket guard
attached to the component using bolt" mounted at fixed lcca-      35 assembly according to one embodiment of the present inven-
tions on the wear guard. In order to install these typical wear       tion provided in modules accordmg to one embodiment of'thc
guard~, th..: component owner must obtain a \\-ear g.uard 1mv-        pre::;ellllllVentlon.
ing a bolt pattern prL"Cise1ymatchmg the component's pre-                FIG. 3 Ii. an end view ofa guard accord1I1g 10 one embodi-
existing bolt hole pattern, or drill holes in the component           ment of the prcscnt invel1lion attached to a bucket bottom
which correspond to the bolt patkrn of n wear guard.              4(1 shown fragmentnrily.
    Yet nnother problem is that some wear gl1ards are posi-              FIG.4 IS a perspectivc vicw of two modules according to
tioned on some vehicles such that the front of the wear guard         one embodiment ofthe present invention. including fasteners
i~ subject to impact damage. Usage of such wear guards                spaced differently from FIG. 6, and with interval spElccrs
resulls III frontal damage Ihat pull" the guard am of           between fasteners.
contact with the floor. weakens the bond between the cont3ct-     45     FIG. 5 is a perspective viL,\v of a portion of the guard
ing portion of thc guard and the more rigid supporting por-           Elssc1l1blyof FIG. 1. and including fasteners.
tion. or other prohlems Thl" damage to the front lip and the             fIG. 6 is an exploded end view of a gl13rd assembly accprd-
possible loss ofadhcslon oftheelastomeric     element results in      ing 10 one embodiment of the present invention.
improper scraping and the need to prematurely r'>--placethe
                                                                         FIG. 7 i~ exploded vicv.' ora lastenerpiatc anda separate
                                                                  50 fastencr according to one embodiment         of the present inven-
    Some embodiments of1he present invention address these            tion.
and other problcms in novel and unobviollS \.Ynys.
                                                                         F1G.8 is nn exploded view ofa fastener plate and a separate
                                                                      fastcner according to one embodiment of the present Jl1ven-
                                                                         FIG.9 is t:lncxploded \iL,\v ofa fas\{.'nerpJate and a scparal<:
   According to one aspect of the present invention, there is nn      fastener according 10 onc embodiment of the present inven         H

nppnratus fix protecting the bottom of n bucket scraper.
Another nspect coneem~ a re~ilient member having a first
                                                                         FIG. 10 is llil end viL'\\' of a guard assembly according to
length substantially greater than liS \\idth, The rcsllient mcm-
                                                                      one embodiment oftlle prcsent im·enlion
ber bavingEl top surface which is at least partially concave. Yet 60
another aspcct concerns a rigid mcmber having n ~econd                   FIG. 11 is all end view of a guard Elssembly according to
length about the same as the first lengtJl. the rigid member          onc cmbodimenl of the prc~cnt invention.
havmg a bottom surface which is at least partially convex m a            FIG. 12 is an end view of a guard assembly according 10
shape that is complementary to thc concave shnpe of the top           anothcr embodiment of the present invcntion.
~urfaee ofthe resilient member, the rigid member having a top b~         FIG. 13 is a sidcV1c\\ ofa grader with a guardas'i.embly on
surfacc v.hich deflnes 11 slot across substanttally Ihe entire        the blade accordmg to another embodlll1ent of the present
~econd length.                                                        invention.
                                                         US 7,57 J ,942 B2
                                 3                                                                             4
   FIG, 14 is a perspective view of a fork truck with a guard                  slot 30 having a second cross-sectional width 34. The first
assembly on the forks according to still another embodiment                   cross-sectional width 32 is greater than the second cross-
of the present invcnnon.                                                      sectional", idth 34, The longrtudmal track 26 is preferably
   FIG. 15 IS a perspective view of a tractor with a guard                    continuous and preferably extends the entire length of the
assembly on the plow according to a further embodiment of                     wear pad 22.
the present invention.                                                            In addition, in the wear guard 20 depicted 111 rIGS. 3-6, the
   FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a truck with a guard                      elongate attachment portion 24 extends almost the full width
assembly on the plow according to yet another embodiment                      ofthewearpad      22. Itis understood, however, that the width of
of the present invention.                                                     the elongate attachment portion 24 can be 1cSH than or greater
   1'1(1. 171s a side VIC\\' of a car with a guard assembly on the     10     than the wear pad 22 width. Preferably there is sufficient
plow according to still a further embodiment of the present                   contact area between the bottom surface 29 of attachment
invention.                                                                    portion 24 and the top surface 21 of wear pad 22 to fully
                                                                              secure the wear pad 22 to the elongate attachment portion 24.
          DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRArED                                      In the embodiment depicted 111 FlU 1. the elongate attach-
                    FMflODIMFNTS                                       IS     mcnt portion 24 is bonded to the upper surface of the w car pad
                                                                              22 using a bonding agent. It 1S understood. however, that the
     For the purpose of promoting an understanding of the                     invention is not limited to this configurauon. and that other
 principles of the invention, reference \'d1J now be made 10 the              possible embodiments arc included within the scope of this
 illustrated embodiments and specific language w ill be used to               invention For example. in other embodiments. the elongate
 describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no         2{,    attachment portion 24 is embedded in a slot or channel
 Iinutauon of the scope of the invention is thereby intended.                 formed in the wear pad 22. When such an embodiment is
 Any alrerauons and further modifications 111 the described                   used, the elongate attachment portion is preferably also
 embodiments. and any further applications of the principles                  bonded to the wear pad using a bonding agent to prevent
 of the invention as described herem an: contemplated as                      separation of the attachment portion from the wear pad under
 would normally occur TO one skilled 111 the art to which the          25     the shear force, exerted upon the wear guard in use.
 invention relates.                                                               In the embodiment depicted in nos 3-16. the longrtudmal
     FIGS. 1 and 2 show a guard 20 according to one cmbodi-                   track 26 is shewn as being generally centered in relation to the
 ment of the invention fix protecting the bottom surface of a                 top width of the wear pad 22, with a front edge or nose 23
 component such as a bucket 10 and the surface 4 otherwise                    extending forward at a shallower angle than the upper portion
 contacted by the bucket. In one embodiment, guard 20 is also          to     of wear pad 22. Jhis configuration is not critical. and non-
referred to as a rubber cutting edge. The guard 20 is mounted                 centered trucks 26 are also contemplated          within various
 to the bottom J 2 of the bucket J O. WhICh is mounted on a                   embodiments of the present invention. However. centering
 front-end loader 2. Such front-end loaders usually have                      allows the wear guard 20 to be rotated from front to back 111
hydraulic controls for manipulating the bucket. The guard is                  the event of unpropcrtional wear of the wear pad. In some
 fastened to the bottom of the bucket by a set of fasteners 49         J'j    alternative embodiments of the invention, the longitudinal
 through holes in the bucket bottom. The iront-end loader 2 is                track 26 in thc wear pad 22 is placed at a non-centered loca-
u&ed to move the bucket. with attached guard 20, along the                    tion, In addition, the width of the wear pad 22 or \"ear guard
 ~urface 4 in order to push and/or plck up material 6. In                     20 is no\ es&cnti<llto the present invention. Ne\crthdc~&, in
pushing, the front-end loader opemtor nonnally maintains                      one embodIment, the ,,\ear guard 20 is v. ide enough such that,
guard 20 in contact with the surface 4, As seen in FIG, 2,             40     upon affixing the wear guard to a bucket 10 or other compo-
hucket 10 ha~ mounted to the bottom surface of it three                       ncnt, it extends beyond the front cdge orthe bucket 10 orother
separate guards 20 of equal length However, the present                       component. In one preferred embo<.ilment, the v. ear gllard 20
invention also contemplates tho~e embodiments in which a                      extends up to about 2 inches beyond the front cdge of the
single guaru extenus acrDs~ the bottom surJllCe of the com-                   bucket 10. In another embodiment. the \Vear guard 20 extends
poncnt being prolected. as seen in ner. 1.                             45     (jpproximatdy one mch beyond the fmnt edge of thc bucket
    It is understood that the inl.-ention 1S nollimilcd In use on a           10
front-end loader. Rather, an inventive guard call be affixed to                   In those embodiments in Vi hich the wear guard 20 extends
a wide variety ofveillcles, mcluding, ior example but without                 beyond the fmnt edge of bucket 10 (a!>best seen in FIG. 3)
limitation, a tractor, a truck, a bulldozer, a grader, a fork truck,          there could be impact loads imparted to the front edge or nose
a car, a conveyor, or any olher material handling equipment            50     25 of rigid member 24 Some embodiments of the prcsent
for which a v. ear pad is deSired. Furthennore, a \vide variety               invention include a front edg.e or nose 25 that is adaptoo (jnd
of components are contemplated by the invention to \"hich an                  configured to withstand tYPlCal impacts wlthout pennanent
inventive wear guard can be attached, including. for example                  deformation. Embodiments with such adaptations are sho",n
and without limitatIOn, buckets, scoops. blades. forks, plows,                in FIGS. 3, 10. 11. llild 12. Refening to FIG. 3, rigid member
or other such devices.                                                 ~5     24 includes a front nose 25 v.hich is at the vertex of a sub-
    l'IGS. 3-6 deplcta wear guard assembly in accordance \Vith                stalltiaJly horizontal reinforcing portion 25 2 and an angled
one embodiment of the present invention, In this el11bodi-                    reinforcing portion 25.1. For longitudinal loads impnctingthc
ment, guard 20 comprises a preferably rigid elongate attach·                  nose 25, the loads w111be distributed both hori/olltally (via
ment portion 24 bonded 10 a wear resilient, preferably e1as·                  25.2 and in part VJa 25.1) and vertically (111 part VJa 25,1), It is
tomeric pad 22. TheeJongate attachment portion holds fmdior            6C     appreciated that the front portion of rigid member 24 (from
guidcs onc or more fastener assemblies 40 for attac1unent to                  nose 25 to the front edge 28.1 oflongirudinal cavity 28) has llil
a surface engaging portion of the component. In the embodi-                   increasing area momem of inertia (also referred to as a second
ment shown, elongate attachment portion 24 comprises a                        moment of area or a cross-sectional moment of inertia) in a
plate with a longitudinal track 26 that holds and/or guides on~               diwction from front to rear. Thus, any impacl10ad on nose 25
or more movable fastener assemblies 40. The longitudinal               ti'i   is distributed into a tront structure of rig1d member 24 that
track 26 includes a longitudinal cavity or channel 2H with a                  increases in stiffness and strength. making it less likely that
first cross-sectional width 32 located beneath a longitudinal                 any impact will Jeave any substantial permanent deformation.
                                                          US 7,571.942 B2
                                 5                                                                           6
      Referring now to FIG. 10. it can be seen that rigid member              desired state of cure of the rubber compound is achieved.
   124 likewise includes a nose portion 125 which is a vertex of              Alternatively, the wear pad can be constructed by pouring
   a substantially horizontal portion 125.2 and 11 reinforcing                urethane or other suitable polymer into a SUitable mold or
   portion 125.1 which moves away with a vertical component                   form.
   from portion 125,2. Referring to HGS. 3 and 10, it can be                     It is understood that the wear pad 22 will have a top surface
   seen that the area moment of inertia for rigid members 24 and              2 I that has a shape configured to receive and bond to the
   124 increases going from nose 25 or 125, respectively, 10 the              bottom surface 29 of the elongate atmchment portion 24. This
  center of slot 30 or 130, respectively. This is in contrast to              top surface of the wear pad can be smooth or can have a
  other, non-inventive cross sectional shapes ill which the bot-              texture if desired to achieve suitable bonding. The other sides
  10m surface of'the rigid member is substantially parallel to the     ]U    of the wear pad can have a wide variety of surface shapes and
  planar top surface, which thereby have a substantially con-                features, and such shapes and features are within the scope of
  stant area moment of inertia in the fixe and aft direction.                 this invention. For example. the sides. preferably the leading
  Referring now 10 FIlL 11, there is seen an alternate embodi-               edge, of the wear pad can include wording or Iettenng or one
  ment ofthe invention in \\ luch a guard assembly 220 includes              or more logos embossed thereon              Furthermore,    in the
  a rigid member 224 having a reinforced nose 225 that is a            1~    embodiment depicted in FIGS. 2 and 3. the cross-sectional
  vertex at the joining of a horizontal portion 225.2 and a                  gcometnc shape of the wear pad 22 is predominately rectan-
  substantially vertical portion 225 1,                                      gular. However, other embodiments           include any suitable
      The rigid, elongate auachmcnt mcmbcr 24 can be made of                 cross-sectional     geometric shape. For example, other such
  a \\ ide variety! of materials usmg a wide variety of manufac-             alternative embodiments include croe--secnonal           geometric
  turing processes, It is preferred that the attachment portion be     20    configurations such as those disclosed in U.S, Pat No. 5,611,
  rigid to provide structural integrity and robustness to the wear            157 and U S, Pat. No. 5.741,112. each of which is incorpo-
  guard. In one preferred embodiment, elongate attachment                    rated herein by reference in its entirety.
  portion 24 IS made from steel or a suitable steel alloy, such as               Referring TO FlU-. 6, in one embodiment of the present
  a carbon steel alley.In alternauve embodiments. the elongate               invention the bottom surface 29 of rigrd member 24 has a
  attachment portion 24 can be constructed from a different            25    convex shape which fib III a complementary              concaved-
  material, such as. for example and without limitation, alumi-              ..hapcd surface 21 of wear pad 22. These shapes assist 111
  num, extruded        aluminum,     stainless   steel. cast iron.           maintaining a bond between rigid member 24 and wear pad
  TEFION1t.       PTFE. ABS. polyurethane.        nylon, fiber rein-         22 in at least two ways: (1) as compared to bonding surfaces
  forced plastic, or other similar material or combmauon of                  that are horizontal and parallel. these curved surfaces have
 materials.                                                            3L    increased surface area for bonding; and (2) impact loads to the
     11lC wear pad 22 may be made from a wide variety of                     front of the wear pad are imparted from surface 21 to surface
 durable material'>, In certain preferred embodiments, wear                  29 in a combination of compression and shear. as opposed to
 pad 22 IS made using a rubber compound, such as, for                        the substantially pure shear of flat. horizontal bonding sur-
 example, a natural rubber, a synthetic rubber, a reinforced                 faces.
 rubber, or othcr clastomcric material or other plastic material.      35        Likewise. referring to FIG. 10, impacts to wear pad 122
 As will be readily apprecwled by 11 person of ordmary skill in              will be imparted from surface 121 onto surface 129 in a
 the art, a typical rubber compound \ViII include rubber poly-               combination of compression and shear. Further, the cross
 mers, carbon black, oil, curing agt:nts and proteclivt: ingredi-            sectional shape of surfaces 121 and 129 allo\\' for il1crcasoo
 elliS, A \vjde variety of such compounds are contemplated by                surface area for honding therebetween,
 the invention, and are \\'ell within the purview ora person of        40        In one embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in FIG.
 ordinary skill in the art. In one particularly preferred embodi-            3. the elongate attachment portion 24 and ",ear pad 22 arc
 ment, the rubber polymer is a natllral rubber. In another                   manufilctured separately and bonded together\vith a bonding
 embodiment, the \vear pad 22 is made of polyurethane or                     agent. Before bonding the elongate attachment portion 24 and
 otherpbstic or thermoplastic polymer-based compound, The                    wear pad 22, the sur1aceofthce1ongate       attaclunent portion 24
 wear pad can altemalively be a steel n:inlurced rubber pad as         4"    can optionally be treaku or conditioned to improve wear pad
 described m U.S. Pat. Nos, 5,471,770, 5,611,157. and 5,741.                 22 adhe<;iol1to the surface. One preferred manl1<.":rofat1aehing
  112, the disclosures of\vhich are hereby incorporated herein               the wear pad to the elongate attachmcnt portIOn includes
 by reference Additional matenab that are contemplated Jbr                   degrea:,ingand shot blasting the attachment portion, follo\\'(.,'{j
use m the construction of a wear pad In accordance with the                  by application of a coat of rubber adheSive pnmer, followed
 invention inclllde, for example and ",ithout limitation,              5li   by a top-coat of rubber adhesive. The wear pad can then be
TEFLON W. PTFE, ADS, polyurethane, thermoplastic poly-                       pllH:ed and held in positJOll until bonding occurs between the
 mer-based compounds, tire carcass or any material or any                    wear pad and the attachment portIOn.
useful combinmion thereof.                                                       Pre1erred bonding agents arc polymer based adhesives and
     TIle wear pad 22 can be made in a variety of different                  can be obtained cOllunercially from various companies. such
methods, and the preferred manner of makll1g the wear pad              ~'i   a~ Lord Company (Cary, N.C) and Rohm and Haas (Phila-
'WIll depend upon t1le maTenal used. ror example, in a pre-                  delph13. Pa.). Whlle adhesive-based bonding agents are pre-
ferred embodiment. the wear pad is made by laminating a                      ferred. it is lUlderstood that any suitable bonding agent. or any
~trip of rubber compound from a rubber mill to form a pre-                   mixture thereof, is included in the scope of t111$invention.
form to the appropriate width. length and weight. It is. of                  Alternatlvely, the elongate attachment portion 24 can be
course, understood that t1le method for making a laminated             60    affixed to the wear pad v.ith other attachment means, One
strip of mbber may also include clllling steps to cut the strip              possible embodimcnt includes attaching the wear pad 22, or
to an appropnate 'Width, length, and weight. The preform is                  wear pad segments, to the elongate allachment portlon 24
then cured to the appropriate state and in an appropriate                    with at least one attachment means, such as a screw and nllt
shape. In one preferred manner of curing the preform, it is                  combination. Attachment of \\ear pads TOa common metal
placed on top of an already prepared elongate attachment               6')   plate by screw and nut is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,157.
ponion 111 a compression mold. The mold is then closed in a                   Ihis attachment method and others disclosed 111 U S. Pat No.
press and held under presSUre and heat conditions until the                  5.611,15i are hereby incorporated herein by reference. The
                                                         US 7,571 ,942 B2
                                 7                                                                         8
wear pad can also be constructed from a plurality of modules                46 and a nut 50, with washers 48, both plain and lock, are
that arc placed in juxtaposition lengthwise and then bonded to              preferred as melt a fastening system is typically more robust.
the elongate attachment portion 24. or modules of guards call                   As shown m FIGS. 2 and 3, a typical bucket Hl used to
be asscmblcdcnd-ro-cnd      on a bucket bottom as shown in FIG,             clean floor surfaces has bolt or stud receiver apertures for
8.                                                                       " attaching a guard 20 to the surface engaging portion of the
   The guard device 20 preferably runs the entire length of the             component 12. Due to various bucket manufacture speciflca-
bucket's bottom 12, as shown in FIG.!; however, the guard                   nons, the number and spac111g of apertures 111       one bucket is
device can be manufactured mlcngrhs greater than the typical                often different from those in other buckets, Therefore, the
length or the edge ora bucket. and then cut to tit a particular             versatility of positioning a plurality of fastener members 40 in
bucket. being longer, shorter, or the same width of the bucket.         10 a plurality of location" along the track 26, according to the

Also, as suggested above. and as shown 111 FlO, 2, guards can               present invention, facilitates the coupling of the guard 20 of
be manufactured in modular lengths to be placed in sencs                    this invention to buckets of various manufacturers 111 various
along the bortom Jz of the bucket 10. In certain preferred                  widths and which may have been provided with various bolt
embodiments. the guard device 20 has a length of about 36                   spacings for conventional original equipment "Wearpads, To
inches. about 40 inches or about 4R inches,                             15 further facilitate aligning the fastener members 40 with the
                                                                            apertures in the surface engaging portion of the bucket 12 to
   FIGS, 7-9 depict fastener assemblies employed according
                                                                            be serviced, spacers of suitable lengths, such as spacers 60 III
to various aspects ofthe present invention. The usc anywhere
                                                                            FIG. 4. can be placed in the track 26 between fastener mem-
herein of an N prefix in front of an element number (NXX),
                                                                           hers 40 in order to hold the spatial arrangements uf the fas-
denotes an element that is the same as the non-prefixed ele-
                                                                       2(; tenets 40 during mountmg          of the guard to the bucket The
ment lXX), except for the changes shownor described. FIeTS.
                                                                           bucket apertures are typically cylindrical, but they can also be
7-9 depict fastener assemblies 40, 140. and 240. respectively.
                                                                           orthogonal or other geometrical shapes, or irregular.
according to various embodiments of the present invention.
                                                                               Referring to J'IG. 12, there is shown a wear guard 320
Referring to Flf r. 7, there is shown a fastener assembly 40
                                                                           according to another embodiment of the present invention.
comprising a plate 42. separable fastener 49 and a nut 50.
                                                                       2'5 Wear-guard 320 is symmctnc about Hvertical aXISX. Both the
Sliding plate 42 has the cross-sectional shape of an upside-
                                                                            front leading surface 323 and the rear trailing surface 323 are
down "T", wnh a wide base 43 and an upward projccung top
                                                                            identical in shape. and both are centered about a central
portion 60. Base (or head) 43 has a width that is adapted and
                                                                           vertical axis X, Further, rigid member 324 is symmetrical
configured to slide within longitudinal cavity 28. Top portion
60 has a width which 1S adapted and configured to he slidingly
                                                                           about vertical axis X   em     the three dimensional wear guard
                                                                       ,0 320, the vertical center X 1S more correctly           considered ::J
received between the walls of longitudinal slot 30. Base 43
                                                                           plane). This fore and aft symmetry makes it possible (in some
has a height 43ft that is adapted and configured to be received
                                                                           cmbodunents) to attach wear guard 320 to a vehicle in a first
within the vertical height oflongitudinal cavity 28. Top por-
                                                                           orientation, and after the leading edge of the wear guard has
tlO1160 is at a height 60h above base portion 43 such that the
                                                                           worn. to reverse the orientation of the wear guard on the
opposing sides of top portion 60 arc received between the
                                                                      35 vehicle so as to place the rear trailing edge as a new, Ul1\vorn
walls of lonfl;itudintll slot 28, and tllso that the top surface of
                                                                           leading edge
top portlOn 60 docs not extend above the top surface of rigld
                                                                               Various embodiments        of the present invention provide
member 224.
                                                                           novel devices. methods, and system:. that Hnd advanrngeous
   Plate 42 includes \vithin It an nperture 47 which is adapted
                                                                           usc in protecting components ofn121erial handling equipment
and configured to receive \vithin it the head 49.1 of fastener        4(1 and floor surfaces       contacted thereby from damage caused
49, In one embodimcnt. ftlstener 49 is a plough bolt, having               during material hundling opcrations, It is also contemplated
four squared-off sides to reSIst r01at1On of fastener 49 v.ithm            that the wear guard WIll prove advantageous in numerous
aperture 47 A threaded porbon 46 of fastener 49 extends                    other applications. For example, one or more inventive wear
through sliding plate42, and through an aperture\vithin com-
                                                                           guards can be installed on a conveyor system to protect the
ponent 10, such Um( a nut 50 and locking fiat wa~hers 48a and
                                                                      4~ conveyor belt and/or other com·eyoy components             from wear
48h respectively. can be aunched thereto, FIGS. 7, 8, and 9,
                                                                           caused by friction.
depict fastener assemblies 40. 140, and 240, respectively, of                  Cpon review of the various features and facets of the vari-
increasing fastener diamekr. Fastener assembly 240 also
                                                                           ous embodiments of the invention described hercin, it is
jncludes a cylindrical member 248c which mmntains the
                                                                           appreciated that one foml of the present invention is a guard
shank oftastener 249 centered within aperture 247, In some
                                                                      50 to protect a vehicle component and surfaces contacted by the
embodiments, the threaded shank of fastener 49 is coated
                                                                           component. In one embodiment, the guard comprises an elon-
with a dry thread locking coat such as those sold by ?1M
                                                                           gate attachment portion having a first surface and an orpming
                                                                           second surface, the first surface con11gured 10 be releasably
   Referring to FIGS, 4 and 5, II guard 20 is depicted conta1l1-           secured to the component. and a \\lear pad mounted on the
ing four fasteners 40 in the longitudinal track 26. While four        ')5 second surface. The attachment portion defInes a longitudinal
fastener as~emblies 40 arc ~hown in FIG, 6. it is contemplated             track to shdably recclve a plurality of fa~tener member~ The
that at least one fastener assembly 40, and up to as many as               track has a longitudinal cavity and defines a longitudinal slot
will fit into thc track 26 and find available receiver holes in the        in the first surface. The cavity has a first cro~s-sectional width
bucket, \\ilJ be used. 111e cooperation of the track 26 and                to sJidabJy rcce1Ve a head portion of a tllstener member, and
tastener head 42 allows each fastener member to freely slide          6C the slot hns a second cross-sectional \vldth less than the first
longitudinally along and within track 26.                                  cross-scctional \\-idth to sJidably receive a central main body
   As shown in PIGS 2 and 3, the guard 20 is st-'CUfedto a                 of the fastener member,
bucket bottom 12 by placing the mam body 46 oflhe fastener                     In anotherembodimcnt,       the guard also includes at lea::;tone
assembly 40 through the aperture in the bucket bottom 12 and               fastener member having a central main body and a head
securing it in place by use ofa nut 50 and optionally washers         6' portion, the main body denning a lastener axi::; and having a
48, WhiJc a spltt pin might be llsed as mentioned abm'e (not               dImension in at least one dIrection lnH1SVerse to the axis that
shown), embocliments that utilize thread~ on the main body                 is less than the second cross-sectional width. The head POY-
                                                       US 7,571 ,942 B2
                                9                                                                         10
tion is received in the cavity and slidablc longitudinally in the           axis that are greater than the second cross-sectional w idth and
  cavity. The head portion has dimensions perpendicular to the              less than the first cross-sectional width.
   fastener axis that arc greater than the second cross-sectional                In another embodiment. the system includes: (1) a vehicle
  width and less than the first cross-sectional width In yet                having a component moo to pick up or push material from a
  another embodiment, the fastener member is configured to                  surface, the component having a surface-engaging          portion
  resist rotation about the fastener axis when the fastener mem-            that contacts the surface and defunng a plurality of apertures
  ber IS received in the track. In yet another embodiment the               ahgned along a longitudinal axis in the surface-engaging
  head portion of the fastener member has at least one dimen-               portion: (2) a guard removably secured to the surfacc-cngag-
  sion perpendicular to the fastener axis that is greater than the          ing portion of the component, the guard including an elongate
  Width of the longitudinal cavity for guidance of the head          to     attachment portion having a first surface and an opposing
  portion while sliding in the cavity. In still another embodi-             second surface, the first surface configured to be rclcasably
  mem, I1w cavity I::; configured to engage a side surface of the           secured to the component; and a wear pad mounted on the
  head pcruon of the fastener member in a manner that inhibits              second surface; and (3) means on the guard for rcccrvtng and
  rotation ofrhe fastener member about a longitudinal axis of               positioning fasteners for affixmg the atrachment portion to the
  the body relative to the head portion.                             15     snrfacc-cngagmg portion.
      The attachment portion of the wear guard preferably corn-                  In alternative aspects of the invention. the vehicle is. for
  prises a rigid material. In one embodiment, the attachment                example, a tractor, a truck. a bulldozer, a grader. a fork truck,
  portion is an extrusion. A preferred material for use in making           a car or a conveyor system. 111e component can be, for
  the attachment portion is aluminum or an aluminum alloy.                  example, a bucket, a scoop. a blade, a fork or a plow,
  The wear pad preferably comprises an elastomeric material.         1C          In another aspect of the invention, there is provided a
  In one embodiment, the wear pad comprises rubber. The wear                method for protecting against damage of the type that results
 pad is preferably attached to the elongate member by bond-                 from contact between a Iloor surface and a surface-engaging
  ing, preferably adhesive bonding.                                         component of a vehicle used to pick up or push material from
      In another aspect of the invention, a guard to protect a             the surface. In one manner of practicing the invention, the
  vehicle component and surfaces contacted by the component          2"     method includes: (1) providing a guard that includes (a) an
 includes (1) an elongate attachment portion having a first                 elongate attachment portion havmg a first side and an oppos-
  surface and an opposing second surface. the first surface                 ing second side, the first side having an elongate track formed
 configured 10be releasably secured to the component; and (2)              therein and configured to be releasably secured to the com-
 a wear pad mounted on the second surface. The attachment                  ponent. and (h) a wear pad having a first side for engaging the
 portion defines a longitudinal track to slidably retain at least    3U     floor and an opposing second side affixed to the second side of
 one fastener member along a pathway defined by the truck. In              the attachment portion, (2) sliding a plurality of fastener
 a preferred embodiment, the track has a longitudinal cavity                members lJ1 the track to posiuon the ra<;tener member;;; at
 and defines a longitudinal slot in the first surface. In one               locations corresponding to alleaSl some apertures ofa surface
 preferred embodiment. the cavity has a first cross-sectional              engaging component of a vehicle: and (3) moullting the
 widlh to slidably receive ahead portion ora fastener member         3~    attachment portiun to tlw component by inscrting: a portion of
 and the sJot Iws a second cross-sectJOuaJ width !c~s than the             each fastener member mto a correspondll1g one of the aper~
 first cross-sectional widt11 to slidably receive a central main           lures and securing the fastener members to the component. It
 body of a ftl~tener member.                                               i::. understood that this method \\ ill commonly be employed
     In another aspL"Ct of the invention. there is provided a              using a vehicle component that features apertures having
 system for picking up or movlllg material from a surface. '111e     40    predetermined spacings. As such, another manner of pructic~
 system includes: (l) a vehicle having a component used to                 ing the invention includes inserting intcrval spacers in the
 pick up or push material from a surfl1Ce, the component hav-              track between the fastener members to space the fastener
 ing a bottom portion thaI 1& operable close to the surface and            members such that the positlOns of the fastener members
has a plmality of apertures to receive fasteners; and (2) a                correspond to at least some oftbc apertures.
 guard removably secured to the bottom portion orthe eom-            45         In another aspect, the invention provides a metllOd for
poneat, the guard mc1uding an elongate attachment portion                  making a wear guard. '111emet1lOd ll1c1udes: (J) provldmg an
having a Ilrst surtaceand an opposing second surface, the first            elongate attachment portion having a first side and an oppos-
 surlt'lCe configured to berelwsably ~ecured to t1tecompunent,             ing ::.econd sidc. the flD>tside having an dong:atc track fonmxl
and the guard having a wear pad mounted on the second                      therein and conflgured to be releasably secured to a compo-
surface. The ntlachment portion deflnes a longitudinal track         50    nent: (2) providing a wear pad having a fbt ::;ideforengagillg
to :-;lidably retain a plurality of iaslener members along a               the floor and an opposing ~econd ~idc configured for attach-
pathway defined hy the track.A plurality ofrastener members                ment to the second side of the attachment portion; and (3)
arc retained in the track, each of the fastener members ori~               attaching the second side of the wear pad 10 the second side of
ented along the tnlck in a m<llll1er \\hereby a portion of the             the attachment portion.
fastener ml:!mber is positioned to extend through one of the         )~         In one manner of practicing the invention, the method also
apertures. In one preJerred embodiment. the longitudinal                   includes inserting a plurality of iastening members into the
track has an internal longitudinal cavity having an opening                track.ln one embodiment, each of the 1astening members has
defining a longitudinal slot in the first surface, the cavity              a centra I main hody and a head portion. which can have a wide
having a fjrst cross-sec1ional \\idth to slidably receive a head           variety of features as described herein. In one embodimenL
portion of the fastener members and the slot having a second         6u    the cavity is configured to engage a side surface of the head
ero~s~sectional \vidth less than the first cross~sectional width           portion of t11Cfastener member in a manncr that inhibits
to shdably receive a central rnam body of the fastener mem-                rotation of the fa~tener member about a longitudinfll axis of
bers. In another preferred embooll11Cnt. the fastener members              the body relative to the head portion. 'J he attachment portion
have a central, generally cylindrical main body and tl head                and the wcar pad can also have a wide variety of di.tTerent
port10n, the main body definmg a fastener axi~ and having a          6'5   features and configurations as de~cnhcd herein.
diameter less th..1.nthe ~econd cross~sectional width, and the                  l;lG. 13 deplcrs a guard 420 according to <mother embodi-
head portion having dimensions perpendicular to the tastener               ment of the invention for pro1ecting the bottom surface of a
                                                           US 7,571,942 B2
                                 11                                                                           12
component such as a blade-s to and the surface 404 otherwise                                  convex adjacent the central portion,
contacted by the blade 410. The guard 420 is mounted to the                                   convex adjacent at least one of said two spaced-
bottom 412 of tile blade 410, which is mounted on a grader                                      apart edges,
402./\s seen in FIG. 13. blade410 has mounted to the bottom                                   concave between the central portion and the at least
of it three separate guards 420.                                                                one of said two spaced-apart edges. and
   fIG. 14 depicts a guard 520 according to still another                                     complementary to the shape of the top surface of
embodiment of the invention for protecting the bottom sur-                                      said resilient member,
face of a component such as a fork 510 and the surface 504                                wherein said rigid member top surface defines a slot
otherwise contacted by the fork 5JO. The guard 520 it>                                       across substantially the entire second length: and
 mounted on the borrom of the fork 510, which is mounted on             10            wherein the bottom surface of said rigid member is
  a fork truck 502. As seen in FIG. 14. fork 510 has mounted to                           attached to the top surface of said resilient member-
  the bottom surface of it a single guard 520. However, the                       2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said rigid member bas
  present mvcnnon also contemplates those embodiments 1ll                     opposing ends separated by the second length. said slot being
  which multiple guards extend across the bottom of the com-                  open at one of said ends.
  poncnr being protected.                                                         3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said rigid member
     FIG. 15 depicts a guard 620 according to a further embodi-               defines a lengthwise channel. the slot being open to the chan-
  ment of the invention lor protecting the bottom surface of a                nel.
  component such as a plow 610 and the surface 604 otherwise                      4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said resilient member
  contacted by the plow 610. The guard 620 is mounted 10 the                  comprises an elastomeric material that is bonded to said rigid
  bottom 612 of the plow 610 c-hich is mounted on a tractor             1(1   member.
  602 As seen in FIG. IS, plow 610 has mounted to the bottom                      5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said rigid member is
  surface of it a single gmmi620. However, the present invcn-                 aluminum extrusion.
 lion also contemplates those embodiments in which a mul-                         6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said resilient member
 tiple guards extend across the bottom of the component being                 is integrally molded as one piece [rom an elastomeric mate-
 protected.                                                             25    rial.
     FIG. 16 depicts a guard 720 according to yet another                         7. A plurality of v. ear guards, comprising:
 embodiment of the invention for protecting the bottom sur-                       a plurality of wear guards as described in claim L
  face of a component such as a plow 710 and the surface 704                      at least one wear guard having a resilient member with a
 otherwise contacted by the plow 710. The guard 720 is                                first length equal to approximately 361nches.
 mounted to the bouom z l z of the plow 710, which 1S mounted           3D
                                                                                  at least one wear guard having a resilient member with a
 on a truck 702. As seen in FIG .16, plow 710 has mounted to
                                                                                     first length equal to approximately 40 inches, and
 the bottom surface of It three separate guards 720. J lowcver,
                                                                                  at least one wear guard having a resilient member with a
 the present invention also contemplates those embodiments
                                                                                     first length equal to approximately 48 inches.
 in which a single guard extends across the bottom surface of
                                                                                  8. The apparatus of chum 1. further comprising
 the component being protected.                                         35
                                                                                  a vehicle component attached to said rigid member.
     FIG. 17 depicts a guard H20 according to s1111 furthera
                                                                                  9. The apparatus of claim 8. further comprising:
 embodiment of the invention for protecting the bottom sur-
 face of a component such as a plow S10 and the surface 804                                                   n
                                                                                  a vehicle attached to s.. d vehicle component.
 otherwise contacted by the plow 810. The guard 820 IS                            10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said rigid member
 mounted to the bottomS12 ofthe plow 810, v.hich is mounted             4()
 on a car 802.                                                                    a hOrl/ontal reinforcing portion adjacent said top surface
     While the invention has been illustrated and described in                       and extending between said at least one edge and said
 detail in the draw1l1gs and i()regomg description, the same IS                      slot; and
to becon~idered as illustrative and not restrictive in character,                 an angled reinfi)rcing portion adjacent "Uld bottom surface
 it being understood tlillt only the pre/crred embodiment has           4~           and extending from said at I~ast one edge toward the
been sho\\n <lnd described and thm all changes and modifi-                           other of said !\Vo spaced-apart edges, said horizontal and
cations that come 'W 1t11in the spirit of the invention arc dcslred                  angled reinforcing portions tom1111g a cavity therebe-
10 be prok--cted, In addition. all patents and non-patent publi-                     tween and extending along said rigid member sL"Cond
cations cited herem are hereby incorporated by reference in                          length.
their entirety as ifindividuaJly incorporated and fully set forth       50       11. An apparatus for protecting a bottom ;;:urface ofa com-
herein.                                                                       ponent of a vehicle, compri;;:ing:
    What is claimed is'                                                          an c1astomeric member having: a f1rst length substantially
    1. An appamtllS. comprising:                                                     greater than its width. said elastomeric member having a
    a 'Wear guard for protecting a bottom surface of a vehicle,                      non-planar top surfi.'lce: and
       including                                                        II       a supporting member llil\fing a front. a rear, a top surf<lce, a
       a resilient member having a first length. and a top surface                   bottom t.urface, and a second length about the !>ame as
          which is at least partially concave; and                                   the first length, the bottom sur1:'lce of said supporting
       a rigid member having                                                         member having a shape that is generally complementary
          a second length about the same as the first length.                        to the shape of the top :,urface ofsaiJ elastoll1eric mem-
          a width substantially less than the second length. said       60           ber, the top surf:1ce of said supporting member defining
              'Width defined by 1"\\0 spaced-apart edges, said                a track oriented along the length of said supportll1g
              member having a central portion bet\\een said two                      member. said track including a ~lot and a wider channel
              edges. and                                                             below the slot, the distance from the top surface of said
          a height less than its width, said height defined by a                     supporting member to the bottom surface of said sup-
              top surface and a bottom surface,                                      porting member being nOllconstant from front to rear;
          wherein the shape of said rigld member bottom sur-                     \"herdn the bottom surface of said supporting member is
              face is                                                                attached to the lop surface of said elastomeric member.
                                                        US 7,571,942 B2
                               13                                                                      14
     12, The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said supporting                 a supporting member bonded to the top of said resilient
 member is adapted and configured to have an area moment of                    member with a bonding agent, said supporting member
  inertia that mcreascs in a direction from front to rear for the              dcftmng a slot centered about the plane and parallel to
 portion of the supporting member from the front to the for-                   the plane, said supporting member defining a channel
 ward edge of the track.                                                       below said slot, said channel having a width that is
     13. The apparatus or     claim 12 wherein a vertical and lon-             greater than the width of said slot, said channel being
 gitudinal plane extends parallel to said slot and is centered                 centered about the plane and parallel to the plane.
 within said slot, said elastomeric member being symmetric                 23, TIle apparatus of claim 22 which further comprises a
 about the plane and "aid supporting member being symmetric            plurality of fastener plates, each fastener plate having: a bot-
 about the plane.                                                   1u tom portion adapted and configured to he slidably received by
     14. The apparatus in accordance with claim 11 wherein the         said channel. the bottom portion having a width greater than
 supporting member is fabricated from a single piece of alu-           the width of the slot, each said fastener plate having a top
 minum.                                                                portion slidably received within the opening of said slot.
     15, The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the component is                24. The apparatus of claim 22 wherein an angle between
 selected from the group including a bucket. a scoop. a blade, 15 the forward lace and the roadway is less than about 135
 a fork or a plow, and said apparatus is fastened to the bottom        degrees and more than 90 degrees.
 of said component.                                                        25. The apparatus of claim 22 wherein said supporting
     16. The guard in accordance with claim 11 wherein the             member is extruded and has a convex bottom surface for
 vclncle is a conveyor.                                                bonding to a concave top sur/ace of said resilient member.
     17. An apparatus to protect a vehicle component. compris- 2(          26. 11lC apparatus of clarm 22 wherein the vehicle is a
 ing:                                                                  tractor, truck, bulldozer. grader, fork truck, or car.
    a resilient member having a first length subsranrially                 27, 'TI1e apparatus of claim 22 wherein said supporting
        greater than its width. said resilient member havmg a          member includes an upper surface and a lower surface. said
        non-planar top surface:                                        lower surface being bonded to the top of said resilient mcm-
    a supporting member having a front. a rear, a top surface. a 25 bcr and said upper surface defining said slot.
        bottom surface, and a second length about the same as             28. An apparatus for prorecung a bottom surface of a
        the first length, the top surface defining a slot oriented     vehicle, comprising:
        parallel to the second length of said supporting member,          a resilient member having a first length substantially
        said slot having a width, "aid supporting member defin-               greater than its Width, said resilient member having a top
        ing a channel below said slot said channel having a 3()                surface which IS at least partially concave.
        depth, said channel having a width that is greater than the       a rigid member having a second length about the same as
        width of said slot; and                                               the first length, said rigid member having a bottom sur-
    a plurality of fastener plates, each fastener plate having a               face which 15 at least partially convex 111 a shape that is
        bottom portion slidably received by said channel, the                 complementary to the concave shape of the top surface
        bottom portion having a width greater than the width of 35            of said resilient member, said rigid member having: a top
        the slot, each said fasreucr plate having a top portion               surface which defines a slot across substantially the
        slidably received within the opening of said slot, each               entire second length:
        sard fastener plate being adapted and configured such             wherein the bottom surface of said rigid member is
        that at least part of the top portion has a height which is           attached to the top surface of said resilient member: and
        greater than the depth or the channeL                             wherein said rigid member is aluminum extrusion
    18. The apparatllS of claim 17 v.herein erich fastener plate          29. An apparatus for protecting a bottom surface ofa com-
defines a hole for r<.-'Ceiving fastener,
                                  a                                    ponent of a vehicle, comprising:
                                                                          ,1/l elastomeric    member having a firs! length substantially
    19. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein each fastener plate
indudt-'"i> threaded portion adapted and confi.?!urcd 10 t:xll:nd
             a                                                                greater than its width, said e1astomcric member having a
out of the openll1g of said slot.                                   4)
                                                                              non-planar top surfl.lcc:
    20. 111e apparatus of claim 17 v. herein each said fastener           a snpportmg member having a iron!, a rear, a top surface, a
                                                                              bottom sutiace, and a second length about the same as
plate Include~ a hole adapted and conflgured to receIve a
separable fastener therethrough.                                              the first length. the bottom surface having a simp.: that is
                                                                              generally complementary to the shape of tile top surface
    21. Ihe apparatus of claim 20 wherein each hole is adapted
                                                                              of said c!astomeric member, the top surface defining a
and configured to resist rotation ora fastenercxtendillg therc- 50
                                                                              slot ori0111ed <llong the length of said 1>upporting mem-
                                                                              ber, the di~tal1ce from the top surface of said supporting
    22. An appamtus to protect a vehicle on a roadway trom
                                                                              member to the bottom surface of said supporting mem-
objects on the roadway. comprising:
                                                                              ber being nonconstant from front to rear,
    a resilient member having a first length substantially))
                                                                          \vherein the bottom surface of said supp0r1mg mcmber is
       greater than its width, said resilient member having a
                                                                              attached to the top surface of sald cl3stomeric member:
        forward face and a rearv.·ard face, each said fuce being
       ad."pted and configured for upward deflectIOn of ohjects
                                                                          wherein the component is selected from the group includ-
       on the roadway, said resilicnt memher having a bottom
                                                                              ing a bucket. a scoop, a blade, a fork or a plo,,", and saJd
       surface adapted and conugun-'t! for slidlllg contact "'ith 60
                                                                              apparatu1> is fastened to the bottom of said component
       the roadway. said resilient member having a top and a
       plane extendmg vertically through said member; and                                      , , , ,

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