North Dakota Patent of the Month – June 2022

Indoor safety rinks take more than simply freezing a pool of water. If there are deviations in the thickness, there can be unwanted melting or softening which can cause a safety hazard. Thin spots increase the likelihood of the logos or lines installed in the ice being damaged. With these potential effects, measurements of deviation from a planar ice surface are crucial during resurfacing. 

A traditional method of measuring these deviations is the use of a planar laser beam projected across the rink and monitored by a device on the ice resurfacer. The resurfacer then modifies blade depth to get an even plane. However, these systems are expensive and may propagate errors over time.

Appareo Systems, LLC, an engineering and technology company in Fargo, has recently patented an improved surface profiler which relies on an inclinometer for accuracy. This solution has fewer errors and especially fewer propagating errors, allowing for a more accurate final product overall.

In their design, an inclinometer was paired with a non-contact displacement sensor to measure the ice surface’s deviation from planarity. The inclinometer senses an incline of the profiling machine as it moves along the ice. This incline is sensed relative to the acceleration vector of gravity. The displacement sensor would then sense the distance the profiling machine has moved along the ice. The displacement sensor uses imaging to gather information on the rotation and transverse motion. Between these two parameters, a measurement of the surface profile is established. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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