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Method facilitating maintenance and repair
NO.:1249  Date:2010-9-8

A device and method which facilitates the removal of a zipper component such as a slider e.g. for maintenance, repair, security and the like, is provided. In one embodiment a plate configured so that it can define a receiving area is positioned adjacent to a pair of zipper tapes such that a slider may be moved off the zipper tapes and into the receiving area.


Preferably the receiving area is configured so that once the slider is in the receiving area it may be removed therefrom and/or a new slider may be inserted therein for positioning onto the zipper tapes. In one embodiment one or more removable doors or tabs are provided to limit movement of the slider and/or prevent movement into the receiving area unless the doors or stop members are moved or removed. In one embodiment, one or more guide lugs are provided for engaging the slider to glide the slider from the receiving area onto the tape so as to readily engage the zipper teeth.


Although many styles of zippers have good durability, it is sometimes desirable to replace or remove certain zipper components, e.g., when a component has become damaged or is approaching its anticipated lifetime. Although in some cases one may remove and replace the entire zipper structure, in others it may be preferable to remove only a single component, such as the zipper slider. One example is zippers which are installed in tents, awnings, backpacks and other camping equipment. In these cases, it has been the practice, in the past, when a zipper has failed or otherwise needs maintenance or repair, to return the entire tent or other such item to a central repair facility for replacement of the entire zipper structure. This procedure has been followed, in the past, even when the only one component such as a slider, needs to be removed. This procedure may lead to undesirably high expenses and an undesirably long maintenance or repair period.


Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide a zipper and/or zipper component which could facilitate removal or repair of a zipper slider or other component, e.g., such that the component could be easily replaced at a retail level or in the field, without having to remove the entire zipper structure (often meaning removing stitching and then restitching the zipper tapes, typically requiring shipment to a central repair or maintenance facility as noted above). It would further be useful to provide a zipper structure which allows the end user to easily remove and/or replace a zipper component such as a zipper slider.


The present invention provides a zipper, or component thereof, which can be configured to create a space so that a zipper slider can be moved to position which facilitates removal of the slider, or other zipper component. In one embodiment, an endplate is provided which includes a region which can be configured between a first configuration which retains slider in the normal operating region and a second configuration which defines a region for receiving the slider.


Preferably the second configuration defines a slider-receiving area which is configured to permit the slider to be removed, e.g., by an opening. In one embodiment an endplate positioned adjacent to one end of the tapes includes a door normally covering a receiving area sized and shaped to receive the zipper slider. In this embodiment, when the door is opened, the slider may be moved into the receiving area and may be removed from the receiving area so that, e.g., a replacement slider (or a repaired slider) may be inserted into the receiving area and then moved into the ordinary zipper operating region.


In light of the above description a number advantages of the present invention can be seen. The present invention provides a method and device for facilitating movement of the zipper slider off the zipper tape in such a manner that the slider (or a replacement or additional slider), can be easily reintroduced onto the tape. Preferably, the device and method allows the slider to be removed, e.g., for repair or replacement.


For example, campers may readily replace a malfunctioning slider without having to cut short an excursion. The present invention provides end users an opportunity to remove a slider from a zipper device e.g., for security purposes to prevent unauthorized zipping or unzipping. Removal of a slider can be useful to remove the protrusion of the slider (in order to prevent snagging e.g. snagging of luggage during handling), to provide a more appealing appearance of a zipped or unzipped device and provides an opportunity for an end user to add or remove sliders from the zipper e.g. converting a one-slider zipper to a two-slider zipper and vice versa.


The present invention relates to a zipper apparatus and method and in particular to an apparatus and method providing an endplate to facilitate repair and maintenance of a zipper.

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