Patent application title: Concrete joint inserter tool
Bryce Patrick Simons (Edgewood, NM, US)
Gerald Frank Simons (Bosque Farms, NM, US)
IPC8 Class: AE01C2302FI
Class name: Road structure, process, or apparatus apparatus means to install or form joint
Publication date: 2011-05-05
Patent application number: 20110103890
Patent application title: Concrete joint inserter tool
Gerald Frank Simons
Bryce Patrick Simons
IPC8 Class: AE01C2302FI
Publication date: 05/05/2011
Patent application number: 20110103890
A concrete crack control joint insertion tool to insert joint forming
materials into a concrete mixture or alternatively providing means to
create a crack control joint without the use of ancillary material.
Crack control joint in fresh concrete is formed beneath a rectangular
structure supporting linear actuators that drive a blade alone or
carrying joint forming materials into a precise location and depth. Crack
control joint formation is repeatable completed in a single motion and
with continued precise accuracy of placement.
1) A Concrete Joint Inserter Tool used to form crack control joints in
concrete comprising: a Structural members directing the insertion action
of joint forming material. b Structural members providing mounting for
mechanical means of inserting joint forming material into a concrete
mixture. c Linear actuators providing forces necessary to insert joint
forming material into a concrete mixture. d Electrical, pneumatic and/or
hydraulic controls providing means to manage the process to insert joint
forming material into a concrete mixture.
2) A Concrete Joint Inserter Tool of claim 1 which provides means to install joint forming material into a concrete mixture at a selected depth.
3) A Concrete Joint Inserter Tool of claim 1, which provides means to install joint forming material of selected length into a concrete mixture.
4) A Concrete Joint Inserter Tool of claim 1 which provides means to install joint forming material into a concrete mixture with a single mechanical motion, completing in one action the creation of a crack control joint.
5) A Concrete Joint Inserter Tool of claim 1 which provides means to install precisely placed joint forming material, repeatedly such that no further action is required in completing the joint.
6) A Concrete Joint Inserter tool of claim 1 of mechanical configuration that allows its size, dimension and format to be altered as necessary to accommodate future development of joint forming materials.
7) A Concrete Joint Inserter Tool used to form crack control joints in concrete without the use of joint forming material. Comprising: a Structural members directing the insertion action of a joint forming blade. b Structural members providing mounting for mechanical means of inserting a joint forming blade into a concrete mixture. c Linear actuators providing forces necessary to insert a joint forming blade into a concrete mixture.
8) A Joint Inserter tool of claim 7 which provides means for inserting a joint forming blade into a concrete mixture at a selected depth.
9) A Concrete Joint Inserter tool of claim 7 which provides means to insert a joint forming blade of selected length into a concrete mixture a A Concrete Joint Inserter tool of claim 7 which provides means to insert a joint forming blade into a concrete mixture with a single mechanical motion, completing in one action the development of a crack control joint.
10) A Concrete Joint Inserter tool of claim 7 which provides means to insert a joint forming blade precisely placed, repeatedly such that no further action is required in completing a crack control joint.
12) A Concrete Joint inserter tool, which may be operated manually or by mounting on an accessory machine
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of PPA Ser. No. 60/866,034 filed Nov. 15, 2006 by the present inventors, which is incorporated by reference
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
 Not applicable
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention (Technical Field)
 The present invention relates to an apparatus and method of creating crack control joints in concrete.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Objects, advantages and novel features and further scope of applicability of the present invention will be set forth in part in the detailed description to follow, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The accompanying drawings which are incorporated into and form a part of the specification, illustrate one or more embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. The drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating one or more of the preferred embodiments of the invention and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Various non-limiting embodiments of the present invention are described in the document attached hereto. As used herein, the terms "a" or "the" and "an" means one or more. The various figures are illustrative of the various embodiments and are not limiting of the scope of the invention
 Although the invention has been described in detail with particular reference to the preferred embodiments in the attachments, other embodiments can achieve the same results. Various and modifications of the present invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art and it is intended to cover all such modifications and equivalents. The entire disclosures of all references, applications, patents and publications cited above and/or in the attachment, and of the corresponding application(s) are hereby incorporated by reference
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates to a machine used to control the location of cracks in hardened concrete by creating a weakened plane in the concrete section by either creating a zone of segregated low-strength paste in a portion of the concrete cross section or by inserting joint forming material into the fresh concrete. When internal stresses build up to a level that requires relief, a crack will form at the weakened plane instead of randomly in the overall concrete structure. This failure is the joint which is conventionally used to control the location of cracking of the cured concrete.
 It is generally accepted that as concrete cures, cracks are randomly generated depending upon the environmental and physical conditions in existence at the time. Control of the location of cracks is extremely important to control the size and spacing of resulting cracks, in order to minimize the access of water through the concrete and to minimize other shrinkage related problems that can cause extreme damage to the structure being built.
 The structural integrity of concrete is created by building the strongest aggregate structure possible with the available aggregates, and gluing them together with the cementitious paste portion of a concrete mixture. The aggregate consists of uniformly graded particles of decreasing size that are designed to create the densest possible void structure within a given unit volume. Cementitious material is used to bond the aggregate particles together. When the cementitious material hardens it binds the individual aggregate particles together, forming a single discreet rigid structural member. The strength of the resulting member is a direct result of the ratio of water to the cementitious particles in the mixture and to efficiency of the adhesion of the aggregate particles. As the cementitious material cures (or hydrates), it shrinks setting up internal tensile stresses in the hardening material. As the stresses increase, they reach a magnitude that exceeds the existing bond strength between the aggregate particles, and a crack is formed, thereby relieving the stresses. Recognizing that cracking is inevitable it is desirable to cause the crack to form in a predetermined location that can be properly mitigated rather than in an unpredictable random pattern that is virtually impossible to mitigate.
 The conventional method of forcing the location of a shrinkage crack is to perform an action that will cause the crack to form in the desired location. This method consists of saw-cutting a groove into "fresh" concrete that is just hard enough to allow saw blades to cut through the concrete without leaving other pressure related defects in the still-hardening concrete. These grooves must be deep enough to ensure that the remaining un-cut portion of the concrete is much weaker than the adjacent sections of the concrete, thereby ensuring that the crack forms at the weakest location within the still-hardening concrete. This operation is difficult to judge, costly to perform and inefficient. An operator can not get onto the concrete to cut the grooves until it has set up sufficiently to bear the weight of the operator and the equipment. Stresses are continuously developing as the concrete hydrates sufficiently to allow the operator and equipment onto the surface of the concrete. However, if the grooves are not cut before the stresses develop, the cracks will have already formed, and the entire attempt to control the cracking will have failed, and the resulting mitigation efforts are much more difficult and costly.
 Another means of generating the weakened plane is to insert a foreign material into the concrete while the paste is still fresh thus ensuring that the weakened plane is installed before any tensile stresses have developed. Commercially available material in the form of a plastic strip to provide the isolation of the aggregate pieces is available and is marketed as Zip Strip or EZ Joint. While these plastic strips have been used successfully, they are extremely difficult to install by hand and when installed are subject to improper installation. A control joint can be quickly and successfully installed by creating a zone of segregated low-strength paste or by inserting a plastic strip by use of the present invention. The present invention ensures the creation of a clean uniform zone of segregated paste as well as the proper installation and alignment of a plastic strip with little cost or effort.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Therefore a primary object of the present invention is to provide a means to mechanically develop a control joint by generating a weakened plane into the fresh concrete. Another object of the invention is to provide means to ensure that each and every joint is installed in accordance with the required specifications for concrete joint control.
 Another object of the invention is to minimize the labor, time and associated cost to install the joint.
 Still a further object of the invention is to provide means to install the required joint at an opportune time to ensure the efficiency of the crack control operations.
 In order to attain the above-mentioned objects, the present invention is a machine configured to be either portable and manipulated by workers, or attached and operated by concrete placement machinery and in which with one action generates the desired control joint in concrete.
 The machine is placed at the required joint location either by attaching handles to the machine providing the opportunity for the workers to operate the machine or by physical interface to a concrete placement machine. A knife-like blade performs the function of forming the control joint groove by means of its momentary vibratory insertion into the concrete medium or carrying into the concrete medium an attached joint forming material.
 When the machine has been placed in location to generate a control joint, the operator energizes the system causing the knife-like blade to descend into the concrete medium and creating a weakened plane in the matrix, or alternatively carrying with it a joint forming material into the fresh concrete. The blade descends until it reaches a physical stop, which has been set within the machine. Upon initiation of the downward motion of the blade, the operator can also initiate action by vibrators, which are physically attached to the machine, in case they are needed. The vibration action can be continued while the blade extends, while it is in its most downward position and during retraction. During the time the blade is fully extended should the control joint be formed as a weakened plane, the vibration will also force the segregation of the aggregate particles in the matrix around the blade. Should the control joint be formed by plastic strip insert material, the vibratory action of the blade can be used to improve the bond of the paste to the plastic strip insert material.
 At that time, the operator reverses the direction of the motion of the knife-like blade causing it to retract toward its original position, leaving a formed, weakened plane or alternatively, the plastic joint forming material installed inside the uncured concrete.
 The force required to drive the blade action is provided by actuators driving the part of the machine which holds the knife-like blade.
 The placement of the joint formed from either action by the knife-like blade itself or in the case of the use of a plastic joint forming material, is controlled by the physical attachment of the knife-like blade to the machine during the insertion process so that each and every control joint is identical.
 The entire process to install the control joint requires only seconds to accomplish. It is done at a time when the concrete is being finished and once installed, requires no further attention
LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS
 10 Left sill
 12 Right sill
 14 Spacer
 16 Blade holder
 18 Left stanchion front
 20 Right stanchion front
 22 Left stanchion rear
 24 Right stanchion rear
 28 Upper beam
 30 Actuator
 32 Attach support
 34 Vibrator
 36 Insertion blade holder
 38 Blade holder guide bar
 40 Blade upper stop
 42 Stripper actuator
 50 Insertion blade
 51 Flat blade
 52 Insertion blade guide
 54 Clip holders
 56 Insertion strip
 58 Support channels
 60 Control panel
 62 Stop
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a side view of the machine but without tubing or wiring being shown.
 FIG. 2 is the end view of FIG. 1 with minimum detail for clarity
 FIG. 3 is a larger and more detailed section of FIG. 2.
 FIG. 4 is a section detail of the left end of FIG. 1 showing more detail
 FIG. 5 is a top view of FIG. 4
 FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the end of the machine showing the relationship of the component parts when the system is ready for activation.
 FIG. 7 shows a view of the assembled insertion blade
 FIG. 8 is an end view of FIG. 7
 FIG. 9 is a view of the insertion blade with insertion strip attached
 FIG. 10 is a section view of the sills holding the stripper actuators and their association with the insertion blade.
 FIG. 11 shows the relation of the blade position just before installation in the machine.
 FIG. 12 shows the position of the insertion blade in the down position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 An embodiment of the present invention shall be described in the following with reference to the drawings.
 As shown in FIGS. 1 through 6, the machine is a generally rectangular formed structure. It may be built in any desirable length by giving consideration to the structural requirements associated with the chosen length. Sill 10 and Sill 12 are formed so that each has at least a horizontal and a vertical leg. The horizontal leg of each sill forms the footing upon which the machine rests and provides restraint to prevent upward "bulging" from concrete displaced during the insertion. The vertical leg of each sill when spaced a precise distance one from another, form a space into which insertion blade 50 travels when performing the insertion function.
 Spacer 14 is rigidly attached to Sills 10 and 12 and performs two functions. The first of these functions is to hold Sills 10 and 12 precisely spaced one from another. The other is to provide a positioning support upon which Insertion blade 50 rests while being inserted into Blade holder 36. Spacer 14, while providing the surface over which Insertion blade 50 slides while being installed in Blade holder 36, also establishes the vertical location between the sills for the bottom edge of Insertion blade 50. FIG. 6 more clearly shows the function of Spacer 14. The position of Insertion blade 50, between the vertical legs of Sills 10 and 12, ensures that the downward motion of Insertion blade 50 can only move directly downward thus assuring a straight control joint.
 Stanchions 18 and 20 at one end and 22 and 24 at the other end of the Sills 10 and 12 are rigidly attached to the end of Sills 10 and 12 and extend vertically while separated by the same precise dimension separating Sills 10 and 12. An additional clearance channel is formed in the inside face of each of stanchions 18 and 20, as well as 22 and 24 in a location and of a configuration so as to provide clearance for the Installation of Insertion blade 50 into Blade holder 38 when Blade holder 38 is positioned in its most upward position.
 Beam structure 28 is attached to Stanchions 18 and 20 at one end and 22 and 24 at the other end by conventional methods. At each end of Beam structure 28, Attach support plate 32 provides universal mounting attachments. Handles for local operation or interface to other machinery may use Attach supports 32.
 Beam structure 28 is structurally capable of withstanding the loads placed upon it by Actuators 30, while those actuators are forcing Blade holder 36 with its associated Insertion blade 50 downward into the concrete. Additionally, the attachment of Beam structure 28 to Stanchions 18 and 20, and 22 and 24 continues to maintain the precise separation between the stanchions.
 Although only two Actuators 30 are shown, as the length of the machine increases, the force required to accomplish the insertion increases and therefore the number and size of Actuators 30 must be matched to the required load. The energy causing the forcing action of Actuators 30 may be from any appropriately sized commercial electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic source.
 Blade holder guide bar 38 is physically attached at each end of Blade holder 36 and is configured to perform several functions. First it ensures that as Blade 50 proceeds downward, Blade holder guide bar 38 moves within the spacing between Stanchions 18 and 20 on one end and 22 and 24 on the other. A second function of Blade holder guide bar 38 is to stop the downward motion at a prescribed distance thus controlling the depth of the insertion. Stop 62 and Blade upper stop 40 is a receptacle into which a shear pin may be inserted. The shear pin is not shown for clarity. Blade holder guide bar 38 is configured such that as it proceeds downward and reaches the location of Stop 62, the upper section of Blade holder guide bar 38 interferes with stop 62 limiting the travel of insertion blade holder 36. Stop 62 may be positioned at more than one dimension to provide more than one insertion depth. The third function of Blade holder guide bar 38 is to provide an upper limit for the action of Insertion blade holder 36 in its upward direction. Blade upper stop 40 is positioned such that as Insertion blade guide bar 38 reaches its upper limit of travel, the top of Insertion blade guide bar 38 interferes with Blade upper stop 40 limiting its upward travel.
 Support channels 58 provide structural support for the entire assembly by providing a structural member between Sills 10 and 12, and Upper beam 28. Should a longer dimension of the entire machine be configured, more Support channels 58 may be required. Additionally, centrally located Support channels 58 provide mounting means for Control panel 60
 Insertion blade holder 36 is a rectangular formed tube configured with a slot located in the lower face of the tube and extending the entire length of the tube into which Insertion blade 50 is placed. Blade holder guide bar 38 is rigidly attached to the top side at each end of Insertion blade holder 36. As shown in FIG. 6, when Insertion blade holder 36 is in its upward position, it is located so that it is aligned with the cutouts made in stanchions 18, 20, 21 and 22.
 Vibrators 34 are mounted rigidly to the upper face of Insertion blade holder 36. When energized they cause Insertion blade holder 36 and it's associated Insertion blade 50 to vibrate thus generating the desired realignment of the aggregate within the concrete mixture as insertion blade 50 descends into the concrete mixture.
 Control panel 60 contains the physical interconnects between the required control wiring, tubing, valves, relays and other electrical components. Those skilled the art can easily interconnect the required items to cause the machine to function. Local switching, remote switching or computer may do initialization of the various functions,
 When a control joint is to be formed by using a plastic strip, that strip is mounted on Insertion blade 50 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 9
 As shown in FIG. 7, Insertion blade 50 is made up of flat blade 51 of any desired length attached to which are Insertion blade guides 52. Insertion blade guide 52 when attached to flat blade 51 position the entire Insertion blade 50 correctly within Insertion blade holder 36. Also attached to Flat blade 51 are Clip holders 54. Clip holders 54 are spring material so formed as to press against Flat blade 50 creating a retaining force against Insertion strip 56 when Insertion strip 56 is installed as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8.
 FIG. 11 shows Insertion blade 50 with attached Insertion strip 56 installed ready for installation in the machine. FIG. 12 shows Insertion blade 50 in its most downward position. At this time it would have been inserted into the concrete mixture not shown in the figure.
 When Insertion blade 50 with Insertion strip 56 attached is embedded in the concrete mixture it is required that Insertion strip 56 not be withdrawn when Insertion blade 50 is withdrawn.
 Stripper actuators 42 are mounted in Sills 10 and 12 as shown in cross section in FIG. 10. Stripper actuators 42 are linear actuators and when inactivate, rest in the corner of the vertical and horizontal legs of Sills 10 and 12. When Insertion blade 50 is withdrawn, Stripper actuators 42 are activated causing the pistons of those actuators to extend until they interfere with Insertion blade 50. That interference is positioned such that it coincides with the upper edge of Insertion strip 56 causing insertion strip 56 to remain in position embedded in the concrete medium while Insertion blade 50 is withdrawn.
 Should a control joint be developed with out the use of insertion strip 56, Insertion blade 50 would not require clip holders 54. Nor would stepper actuators 42 perform any function. Their presence causes no deleterious actions.
OPERATION OF THE INVENTION
 With concrete having been placed into conventional concrete forms or slip form configuration, and while it is still fresh, the Concrete Joint Inserter is moved to the location where a control joint is to be formed. The Joint inserter is set across the expanse of concrete spanning the distance between the edges of the concrete placement. When the joint insertion tool is in position for its use, Sills 10 and 12 are either resting on the forms or held in position parallel to the surface of the concrete placement.
 A shear pin is installed in the appropriate location for Stop 62 which sets the depth of insertion of the control joint to be formed.
 Insertion blade 50 is selected of a length that will span the distance between the edges of the placement.
 Should the ensuing control joint use Insertion strip 56 to form the weakened plane, Insertion strip 56 is attached to Insertion blade 50 using Clip holders 54. Insertion blade 50 with attached Insertion strip 54 is installed in the machine.
 Should the ensuing control joint be formed without the use of insertion strip, 54, only Insertion blade 50 need be installed.
 Appropriate power, electrical and/or pneumatic or hydraulic, is attached.
 Power is initiated to Actuators 30 in the downward direction and to Vibrators 34. Power is continuously applied until Insertion blade 50 reaches the insertion depth established by stop 62. While Vibrators 34 continue to operate, Actuators 30 are powered in the upward direction. At the same time Stripper actuators 42 are energized and their pistons extend to interfere with Insertion blade 50. Should Insertion strip 56 have been installed it would now be left in the concrete mixture having been stripped off by the blade by fluid resistance of the concrete mixture and due to the Stripper actuators 42. Had no Insertion strip 56 have been used, the withdrawal of Insertion blade 50 leaves the aggregate segregated and with cementitious material filling the void left by retreating Insertion blade 50. Actuators 30 continue the upward motion until Upper stop 40 is reached at which time power to Actuators 30 and Vibrators 34 may be terminated. The cycle is now complete and no further action is required to service the control joint now formed in the concrete
Patent applications by Gerald Frank Simons, Bosque Farms, NM US
Patent applications in all subclasses Means to install or form joint