North Dakota Patent of the Month – June 2023

Agri-Cover, Inc. was founded in 1981 with their flagship product – a Roll Tarp system. Since then, the company has expanded their offerings to include hard covers, truck bed racks, mud flaps, and utility plows. The company prides themselves on leading the industry in innovation, function, and design.

Recently, the company has patented their new design for a tonneau cover that provides superior cargo box protection with unparalleled ease of use. A traditional tonneau offers a cover for truck beds, often rolling or folding into place. Their new design introduces a folding cover assembly with multiple rigid panels interconnected by a series of hinges, allowing for seamless folding and secure attachment.

The tonneau cover features a support frame assembly designed for easy attachment to the perimeter of a pickup truck’s cargo box. When the support frame assembly is securely in place, the cover assembly can be effortlessly attached. Comprising a series of rigid panels, the cover assembly allows for efficient folding. Two of the rigid panels are cleverly designed to fold up in an upright position, parallel to each other, thanks to a unique securing mechanism.

This mechanism includes a bracket affixed to the cab of the truck and a securing member integrated into the cover assembly. The securing member, made of steel, magnetically engages the bracket, ensuring a firm and stable attachment when the upright folded orientation is achieved. The magnetic attraction between the securing member and the bracket enhances the overall security and reliability of the tonneau cover apparatus.

The bracket, featuring a built-in magnet, further simplifies the installation process. It can be adhesively secured to the cab, providing a hassle-free setup for users. The securing member, an elongated rigid member, is strategically bent to ensure the proper alignment of the upper surfaces of the folded panels. The angle between the first and second upper surfaces of the securing member ranges from approximately 1 to 16 degrees, allowing for an optimized fit and a streamlined appearance.

Agri-Cover’s tonneau cover also introduces advanced hinge support mechanisms. These mechanisms include opposing hinge support brackets affixed to the lower surfaces of the rigid panels near the hinges. The hinge support brackets feature guide pins and arcuate guide slots that enable smooth and controlled pivoting of the panels. When the support frame assembly is securely attached to the cargo box, and the cover assembly is connected, the guide pins slide within the arcuate slots, ensuring seamless operation and enhanced durability.

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