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Patent: A Tougher Garage Door.
Patent: A Tougher Garage Door.  | dal_ftw_txbz, Bob R. Barnard, David M. Barnard, Colleyville, patent, 8201367,Wind, Debris, Resistant, Garage Door Window Frame,National Door Industries,

Bob R. Barnard and David M. Barnard, both of Colleyville, recently received U.S. Patent 8,201,367 for “Wind and Debris Resistant Garage Door Window Frame and Method of Installation.”

Texas Business Patent of the Day:  Two Texas men has devised a better garage door to withstand the winds of change.

Bob R. Barnard and David M. Barnard, both of Colleyville, recently received U.S. Patent 8,201,367 for “Wind and Debris Resistant Garage Door Window Frame and Method of Installation.”  

The two men applied for the patent more than three years ago on May 18, 2009.

The patent assignee is National Door Industries Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas.

The Barnards’ invention relates generally to a window frame assembly for a garage door and, more specifically, to such a window frame assembly that is able to withstand high winds and flying objects and to a method of installation for such a window frame assembly, according to the patent documents.

Modern garage door systems are typically comprised of doors having horizontally arrayed sections joined by hinges into a door unit. The door is mounted in a vertical track which curves upwardly into a horizontal position so that the door may be opened upwardly and supported horizontally in an open position. The sections are joined by the hinges along the longitudinal edges of the sections so that the overall door structure will generally conform to the radius of curvature of the track as it changes from vertical to horizontal.

Customarily, each of the sections are fabricated separately and thereafter hinged together along a longitudinal edge to provide the complete overhead door structure. Historically, the sections are fabricated from a galvanized and/or prepainted sheet metal stock which has been rolled or otherwise formed into the particular section facing, web and parallel interior flange configurations. Vertical stiles are usually secured to the section facing and interior flanges at spaced locations by spotweld or rivet techniques. Most prior art overhead door systems use hinges that are secured directly to the section stiles. While a majority of garage doors continue to be manufactured from mild steel stock, some manufacturers offer overhead doors made from synthetic materials such as from various types of vinyl. 

Particularly in the area of residential garage doors, a number of manufacturers offer plastic or metal window frame assemblies which are fitted within openings provided in the garage door and which typically feature a central opening which contains a transparent pane which may be of glass, plastic or such newer materials as acrylics and polycarbonates. The central opening in the window frame assembly may also contain a decorative trim member which is sandwiched between the transparent pane and other framing components. 

While the prior art window frame assemblies of this type are acceptable in many situations, there exists a special need for window frame assemblies which are more capable of withstanding high winds and flying debris in some areas of the country, for example where hurricanes or tornadoes may occur more frequently.

Local construction codes include wind tests that often require reinforcements of these window frame assemblies and many times these added structures detract from the aesthetics of the window design. They also add to the cost of the window frames and add to the complexity of the window frame installation. 

Thus, despite the advantages offered by the prior art window frame constructions known in the art, there continues to exist a need for improvements in the area of garage door window frame construction and installation techniques. 

As a result, the Barnards saw a need for improvements in such window frame designs intended for use in high wind situations where flying debris and other hazards may exist. 

The Barnards’ invention provides a window assembly for garage door panels that is capable of withstanding high winds and flying objects by, in part, absorbing and distributing any impact energy into the frame assembly itself. 

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a window frame assembly for an overhead garage door which provides a decorative and aesthetically pleasing appearance, while securely supporting the various window frame components of the overall assembly. 

It is a further object to provide a versatile window frame assembly that can accommodate various other trim components that may abut the frame components. 

Another object of the invention is to provide a garage door window frame design which ensures that the assembled frame will more nearly provide even pressure on all four sides of the transparent pane which is contained within the window opening provided in the window frame. Likewise, the preferred frame construction will ensure that constant and even pressure are maintained on the garage door panel by the assembled frame, making sure the exterior frame member maintains contact with the outside of the garage door panel around the full perimeter of the frame. 

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a window assembly for garage door panels that is easy to install and which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and maintain while retaining its effectiveness in high wind prone areas of the country. 

It has been found that prior art window frame assemblies are typically prone to breakage in the presence of flying debris in that impact energy exposes the frame components to stress and shear forces that can cause them to break. The present invention absorbs impact energy created, for example, from flying debris produced by high winds, and more effectively distributes this energy so as to avoid damage to the window pane or to the surrounding garage door panel. By protecting the transparent panel, the improved frame assembly prevents any wind or objects from coming inside the protected interior of the garage. 

In one preferred form, the present invention provides an improved garage door and window frame assembly for an overhead garage door having front and rear exposed surfaces separated by a door thickness, and at least one window opening therein. A front and rear frame members cooperate, upon assembly, to securely grip a transparent pane sandwiched there between. The front window frame member has a periphery sized to circumscribe the window opening from the front exposed surface of the door. The front frame member also has an inner peripheral portion which circumscribes the transparent pane once the pane is installed in the assembly. 

The rear frame member also circumscribes the window opening from the rear exposed surface of the door. The rear frame member has an inner peripheral region which forms a plurality of honeycomb regions upon assembly of the front and rear frame members. The inner peripheral region of the rear frame member has a circumferential rib provided thereon which is received within a mating groove provided about an outer periphery of the transparent pane on an interior side thereof. In this way, impact forces transmitted to the transparent pane are absorbed in the honeycomb regions of the assembled frame while the cooperating rib and groove arrangement securely grips the transparent pane between the front and rear frame members. 

The present invention, described in more detail in the written description which follows, this provides a simple window assembly design which includes frame members that can be readily installed around the edges of the aperture defining the window opening of a garage door. The claimed window assembly includes a transparent panel with a peripheral groove that cooperatively receives the edge of a mating frame member. The assembly is thus capable of retaining the transparent panel while absorbing the impact energy of high winds and flying objects.