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Publication numberUS20030047658 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/227,958
Publication dateMar 13, 2003
Filing dateAug 26, 2002
Priority dateAug 27, 2001
Publication number10227958, 227958, US 2003/0047658 A1, US 2003/047658 A1, US 20030047658 A1, US 20030047658A1, US 2003047658 A1, US 2003047658A1, US-A1-20030047658, US-A1-2003047658, US2003/0047658A1, US2003/047658A1, US20030047658 A1, US20030047658A1, US2003047658 A1, US2003047658A1
InventorsLawrence Peter, Robert Mattson
Original AssigneeCustom Composites, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Base pad having a leveling system and a method for manufacturing the same
US 20030047658 A1
Abstract
The invention provides a support structure for supporting electrical equipment. The support structure includes a top surface adapted to have the electrical equipment mounted thereto, and a level element recessed within a portion of the support structure to provide a visual indication of whether the top surface is horizontally oriented.
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Claims(35)
1. A support structure for supporting electrical equipment, the support structure comprising:
a plurality of side walls;
a top surface connected to the plurality of side walls; and
a leveling system for providing a visual indication of whether the top surface is horizontally oriented.
2. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a base and wherein the plurality of side walls extend generally upward from the base at an obtuse angle from the base.
3. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support structure is frusto-pyramidical in shape.
4. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the leveling system includes a bubble level.
5. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the top surface includes a recess and the leveling system includes a bubble level, the bubble level being positioned within the recess.
6. The support structure as claimed in claim 5, wherein the bubble level is positioned in the recess such that no part of the bubble level protrudes above the top surface.
7. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a base flange and a cable opening, the base flange extending out from a bottom edge of the plurality of side walls, the base flange framing sides and top of the cable opening such that the cable opening is an open slot.
8. The support structure as claimed in claim 7, wherein the top of the cable opening is substantially parallel to the top surface and includes a recess, the leveling system including a bubble level that is positionable within the recess.
9. The support structure as claimed in claim 8, wherein no portion of the bubble level protrudes out of the recess.
10. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a base that includes a recess, the leveling system including a bubble level that is positionable in the recess such that no portion of the bubble level protrudes above the base.
11. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a plurality of ribs coupled to and extending generally vertically along the plurality of side walls.
12. The support structure as claimed in claim 1, further comprising an opening in the top surface to accommodate electrical connections to the electrical equipment, the electrical equipment being supported by the top surface.
13. A support structure for supporting electrical equipment, the support structure comprising:
a top surface adapted to have the electrical equipment mounted thereto;
a recess defined in a portion of the support structure; and
a level element positioned in the recess such that no portion of the level element protrudes out of the recess, the level element providing a visual indication of whether the top surface is horizontally oriented.
14. The support structure as claimed in claim 13, wherein the recess is defined in the top surface.
15. The support structure as claimed in claim 13, further comprising a plurality of side walls, a base flange, and a cable opening, the base flange extending out from a bottom edge of the plurality of side walls and framing sides and top of the cable opening such that the cable opening is an open slot.
16. The support structure as claimed in claim 15, wherein the top of the cable opening is substantially parallel with the top surface and wherein the recess is defined in the top of the cable opening.
17. The support structure as claimed in claim 13, further comprising a base flange that is substantially parallel to the top surface, the recess being defined in the base flange.
18. The support structure as claimed in claim 13, wherein the level element includes a bubble level.
19. The support structure as claimed in claim 18, wherein the bubble level includes a longitudinal axis that is substantially parallel to the top surface when the bubble level is positioned in the recess.
20. The support structure as claimed in claim 13, further comprising a plurality of side walls coupled to the top surface and a plurality of ribs coupled to and extending generally vertically along the plurality of side walls.
21. The support structure as claimed in claim 13, further comprising an opening in the top surface to accommodate electrical connections to the electrical equipment, the electrical equipment being supported by the top surface.
22. A method of manufacturing a support structure for supporting electrical equipment, the method comprising:
providing a mold for the support structure, the mold including a recess-defining protrusion;
introducing a molding material into the mold;
curing the molding material into the shape of the support structure within the mold and forming a level recess in the support structure around the recess-defining protrusion;
removing the support structure from the mold; and
inserting a level element into the level recess.
23. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein providing a mold further includes integrally forming the recess-defining protrusion with the mold.
24. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein providing a mold further includes providing a capsule and mounting the capsule to the mold to define the recess-defining protrusion.
25. The method as claimed in claim 24, wherein providing a capsule further includes positioning a flat surface of the capsule against the mold and spacing a round surface of the capsule away from the mold, the round surface of the capsule being complementary to the level element shape.
26. The method as claimed in claim 24, wherein mounting the capsule further includes affixing the capsule within the mold with an adhesive.
27. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein inserting a level element further includes inserting a level element into the level recess such that no portion of the level element protrudes out of the level recess.
28. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein providing a mold includes forming the recess-defining protrusion out of aluminum.
29. The method as claimed in claim 22, further comprising applying a release agent to the mold after providing a mold and prior to introducing a molding material.
30. The method as claimed in claim 29, further comprising applying a gelcoat over the release agent prior to introducing the molding material.
31. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein introducing a molding material into the mold further includes introducing a molding material into the mold with a chopper gun.
32. The method as claimed in claim 22, further comprising placing a plurality of ribs into the molding material after introducing the molding material into the mold and prior to completion of the curing step.
33. The method as claimed in claim 22, further comprising compressing the molding material in the mold to ensure the molding material is substantially uniform and to remove air bubbles from the molding material.
34. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein introducing a molding material further includes introducing fiberglass, resin, and a catalyst into the mold.
35. The method as claimed in claim 22, wherein inserting a level element into the level recess further includes inserting a bubble level into the level recess.
Description
SUMMARY

[0001] The present invention provides an electrical equipment support structure including a plurality of side walls, a top surface connected to the plurality of side walls, and a leveling system for providing a visual indication of whether the top surface is horizontally oriented.

[0002] The present invention also provides a support structure that supports electrical equipment. The support structure includes a top surface adapted to have the electrical equipment mounted thereto, a recess defined in a portion of the support structure, and a level element positioned in the recess such that no portion of the level element protrudes out of the recess. The level element provides a visual indication of whether the top surface is horizontally oriented.

[0003] The present invention further provides a method of manufacturing a support structure for supporting electrical equipment. The method includes providing a mold having a recess-defining protrusion, introducing a molding material into the mold, curing the molding material into the shape of the support structure within the mold and forming a level recess in the support structure around the recess-defining protrusion, removing the support structure from the mold, and inserting a level element into the level recess.

[0004] Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the following detailed description, claims, and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a base pad embodying the invention.

[0006]FIG. 2 is a sectional view along line 2-2 in FIG. 1.

[0007]FIG. 3 is a cut-away perspective view of a level recess of the base pad.

[0008]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a capsule of the base pad mold.

[0009]FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view of the capsule and a mold.

[0010]FIG. 6 is a partial sectional view of the mold, the capsule, a portion of the base pad, and a chopper gun.

[0011]FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative construction of the base pad.

[0012]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternative construction of the base pad.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013]FIG. 1 illustrates a molded support structure or base pad 20 used to support electrical equipment 24 (shown in phantom). The electrical equipment 24 may be, for example, transformers, switchgears, sectionalizing cabinets, meters, splice connections and is typically used by electric, cable, telephone, and similar utilities. The invention may also be embodied in other types of electrical equipment support structures, including, but not limited to box pads, groundsleeves, boxes with removable covers, vaults, and foundations. The base pad 20 includes an integrally-molded base or base flange 28 that provides stability to the base pad 20 and the equipment 24 mounted to the base pad 20.

[0014] Integrally-molded side walls 36 extend generally up from the flange 28 at a generally obtuse draft angle from the horizontal flange 28. In this regard, the base pad 20 is generally frusto-pyramidical in shape. The frusto-pyramidical shape facilitates removal of the base pad 20 from a mold (discussed in greater detail below), and also stacking and storage of multiple base pads 20. The side walls 36 may alternatively extend vertically up from the flange 28 and not at an obtuse angle to give the base pad 20 a more cubic shape. The side walls 36 include molded-in-place ribs 40 that provide extra strength to the base pad 20, therefore allowing the base pad 20 to be molded with less material. The ribs 40 protrude from and extend along the side walls 36. The ribs 40 initiate near the flange 28 and terminate near the top of the side walls 36.

[0015] Cable openings 44 are defined in the side walls 36 at a bottom portion of the pad 20. The cable openings 44 communicate with a cavity 48 defined by the side walls 36. The cable openings 44 have side walls 52 extending generally vertically up from the flange surface 28, or at an angle thereto to facilitate molding, and a top wall 56 that is generally parallel to the flange 28. The top wall 56 connects the side walls 52 to each other. The openings 44 are therefore open, downwardly-facing slots framed on three sides by the side and top walls 52, 56.

[0016] The base pad 20 also includes a top surface 60 integrally-molded with the side walls 36. The top surface 60 is generally parallel to the flange 28 and includes an aperture 64 communicating with the cavity 48. The top surface 60 further includes threaded inserts 68 for mounting the equipment 24 to the base pad 20, and also includes level recesses 72 for receiving levels 76.

[0017] Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the level recesses 72 are defined in the top surface 60, but do not penetrate all the way through to the cavity 48. In this construction, two level recesses 72 are shown, but any number of level recesses 72 can be molded into the pad 20 to achieve the same result. It is preferable to at least have two level elements or levels 76 to determine the orientation of the top surface 60 with respect to horizontal. The recesses 72 are large enough for a level 76 to fit into, and deep enough to ensure that the level 76 does not protrude significantly, if at all, above the top surface 60 of the base pad 20. The so-recessed levels 76 are protected from impact that may shear a non-recessed level off the top surface 60.

[0018] In the illustrated embodiment, the level 76 is a bubble level and includes a cylindrical shell 80 containing fluid 84 and an air bubble 88 therein. The shell 80 includes two spaced apart lines 92 circumferencing the shell 80 and defining two parallel planes. The level 76 has a longitudinal extent along an axis 94 and the air bubble 88 settles between the two lines 92 when the longitudinal extent is horizontally-oriented along the axis 94. Although the bubble level is illustrated and described herein, any type of level element can be used and still be within the spirit and scope of the present invention, such as, for example any level element that utilizes natural phenomenon, such as gravity, to operate and determine horizontallity of the level element.

[0019] The base pad 20 is used as follows. A hole is dug into the ground in a desired location for the base pad 20. The base pad 20 is then placed in the hole, such that the flange 28 contacts the ground and the side walls 36 extend upward to or above the ground level. Cables from the electrical equipment 24 can extend through the cable openings 44. The base pad 20 is then checked for levelness by looking at the levels 76 mounted to the base pad 20.

[0020] FIGS. 4-6 illustrate a process for molding the level recesses 72 integrally with the base pad 20. A mold 96 is used for forming the base pad 20 and includes a recess-defining protrusion. The recess-defining protrusion can be integral with the mold 96 or it can be a separate component affixed to the mold 96. In the illustrated embodiment, the recess-defining protrusion is a capsule 100 that is separate from the mold 96 and is affixed thereto (e.g., with an adhesive). The first step is to mount capsules 100 to the mold 96 in locations where the level recesses 72 are desired.

[0021] The capsules 100 are preferably aluminum because of the durability and long life of aluminum, but other capsule materials can be used, such as, but not limited to fiberglass, clay, other metals, and any other material that would withstand the molding process. Each capsule 100 has a flat bottom surface 101 and a rounded top surface 102. The flat bottom surface 101 contacts the mold 96, while the round top surface 102 is spaced from the mold 96. The round top surface 102 of the capsules 100 give the level recesses 72 a round bottom, so that the cylindrical levels 76 lie evenly in the level recesses 72. The flat bottom surface 101 can be affixed to the mold 96 to ensure that the capsule 100 does not move during the molding process. The flat bottom surface 101 can be affixed to the mold 96 with an adhesive that will withstand the molding process.

[0022] The second step is to apply a release agent 104 to the mold 96 and capsules 100, which facilitates removal of the base pad 20 upon completion of the molding process. A polyester gelcoat 106 is applied to the mold 96 and capsules 100 after the release agent 104. Typically, the gelcoat 106 is given about thirty minutes to cure, but periods may vary depending on the gelcoat and curing conditions.

[0023] The gelcoat stage is followed by the lamination stage, in which a chopper gun 108 reels in strands of continuous roving fiberglass and cuts it into workable fibers approximately two inches long. The chopper gun 108 also pumps in the resin (polyester, vinyl ester or a blend plus fillers), which is combined with the fiberglass and a catalyst at the spray tip. The mixture is sprayed over the cured gelcoat 106 to a desired thickness (preferably ⅜″). During this stage the ribs 40 are added by hand. Production workers use rollers and brushes to compress the lamination to ensure the fiberglass is uniform and to remove any air bubbles. Alternatively, the compression may be done automatically by a machine. The base pad 20 is allowed to cure (approximately sixty minutes) and is removed from the mold 96. Lastly, the base pad 20 is trimmed with a grinder and the threaded inserts 68 are drilled.

[0024] Although a preferred molding process has been described, any molding process can be used to create the level recesses 72 and still be covered under the scope of the present invention. Such alternative molding processes include, but are not limited to, male molds, matched metal compression molding fiberglass systems, compression molding, injection molding, and vacuum molding. Also, materials other than fiberglass can be used to make the base pad 20 and still be within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Such alternative materials include, but are not limited to, plastics, concrete, polymer concrete, and fiberglass reinforced concrete.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 7, an alternative construction of the base pad 20 having a leveling system is illustrated. Parts that are the same as those of FIGS. 1-6 are given the same reference numbers. In this construction, the base pad 20 has leveling recesses 72 defined in the top walls 56 of the cable openings 44. The level recesses 72 are deep enough to ensure that the levels 76 do not protrude above the top walls 56 of the cable openings 44.

[0026] Referring to FIG. 8, another alternative construction of the base pad 20 having a leveling system is illustrated. Parts that are the same as those of FIGS. 1-6 are given the same reference numbers. In this construction, the base pad 20 has leveling recesses 72 defined in the flange 28 of the base pad 20. The level recesses 72 are deep enough to ensure that the levels 76 do not protrude above the flange 28.

[0027] Although particular constructions of the present invention have been shown and described, other alternative constructions will be apparent to those skilled in the art and are within the intended scope of the present invention. Thus, the present invention is to be limited only by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6997426 *Mar 8, 2004Feb 14, 2006Barrepski Christopher RGrounded holding device and method of use
US7546742 *Dec 8, 2004Jun 16, 2009General Electric CompanyGas turbine engine assembly and method of assembling same
US7780140Feb 2, 2009Aug 24, 2010Diversitech CorporationTwo-piece plastic equipment pad
US8292238 *Jan 23, 2009Oct 23, 2012General Electric CompanyThrust bearing support assembly for a gas turbine engine
US20140036442 *Jul 31, 2012Feb 6, 2014Alcatel-Lucent Deutschland AgOutdoor stackable telecommunications equipment cabinet family with flexible thermal and interface management and method of deploying the same
EP2228585A2 *Mar 12, 2010Sep 15, 2010Hans-Joachim OllendorfHolder unit for a video centring system
Classifications
U.S. Classification248/346.01, 33/379, 248/678
International ClassificationH02B1/01, F16M11/00, H02B1/50, F16M13/00
Cooperative ClassificationF16M11/22, H02B1/011, H02B1/50
European ClassificationF16M11/22, H02B1/50
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 26, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: CUSTOM COMPOSITES, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ST. PETER, LAWRENCE A.;MATTSON, ROBERT O.;REEL/FRAME:013232/0362
Effective date: 20020820