Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20030163967 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/169,840
PCT numberPCT/GB2001/000075
Publication dateSep 4, 2003
Filing dateJan 9, 2001
Priority dateJan 10, 2000
Also published asCA2397010A1, WO2001051726A1
Publication number10169840, 169840, PCT/2001/75, PCT/GB/1/000075, PCT/GB/1/00075, PCT/GB/2001/000075, PCT/GB/2001/00075, PCT/GB1/000075, PCT/GB1/00075, PCT/GB1000075, PCT/GB100075, PCT/GB2001/000075, PCT/GB2001/00075, PCT/GB2001000075, PCT/GB200100075, US 2003/0163967 A1, US 2003/163967 A1, US 20030163967 A1, US 20030163967A1, US 2003163967 A1, US 2003163967A1, US-A1-20030163967, US-A1-2003163967, US2003/0163967A1, US2003/163967A1, US20030163967 A1, US20030163967A1, US2003163967 A1, US2003163967A1
InventorsJohn Sims
Original AssigneeJohn Sims
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Panel/room divider system
US 20030163967 A1
Abstract
A jointing assembly for a panel screen or room divider system comprising a first frame member (10) with a longitudinally extending recess (16) having a narrow slot (17), wherein a tenon-piece (14) is received. The tenon-piece engages with a slot-like recess (19) formed in a second frame member (12). The screen or room-divider further comprises at least one panel member (40) having a flange on its edge, which is slidably engageable within a recess (24) of the second frame member (12). The screen or room-divider comprises at least two vertical frame members (10, 80) each provided with recesses formed therein and at least two linking members (87) with flanges shaped to fit within the recesses. The end surfaces of the linking members are inclined tending to produce a wedging action when positioned end to end.
Images(11)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(18)
1. A jointing assembly for a panel screen or room divider system, the jointing assembly comprising a first frame member (10) having formed therein a longitudinally extending recess (16) having a relatively wide transverse portion communicating with the exterior of the frame member (10) through a relatively narrow slot (17); and a tenon-piece (14) comprising a base portion (22) so shaped as to be a close sliding fit in the transverse portion of the recess (16) in the first frame member (10); characterised in that the tenon piece (14) comprises a tenon which projects from the base portion (22) of the tenon-piece (14) through the relatively narrow slot (17) formed in the first frame member (10) when the base portion (22) is received in the transverse portion of the recess (16) formed therein; the tenon (20) being relatively narrow in a direction transverse to the slot formed in the first frame member and relatively wide in a direction parallel to the said slot (16) and being engageable with a slot-like recess (26) formed in a second frame member (12) to secure the second frame member to the first frame member.
2. An assembly according to claim 1 wherein the first frame member (10) is provided with at least one lip (18) projecting therefrom and extending parallel to the narrow slot (17) which forms part of the longitudinally-extending recess (16) formed therein; the lip (18) being engageable with the second frame member (12), in use, to prevent transverse or rotational movement thereof relative to the first frame member (10).
3. An assembly according to claim 1 or 2 in which the first frame member (10) is provided with two or more such longitudinally extending recesses (16) so that it is engageable with a corresponding number of tenon-pieces (14), the tenons (20) of which project from the first frame member (10) in different directions.
4. An assembly according to any preceding claim wherein the first frame member (10) is provided with a channel for receiving a cable or cables.
5. An assembly according to any preceding claim wherein the first frame member (10) is formed of extruded aluminium.
6. A screen or room-divider comprising a jointing assembly according to any preceding claim.
7. A screen or room-divider comprising at least one panel member (40) having a flange (45) formed along an edge thereof and slidably engageable within a longitudinally extending recess of a frame member; the screen or room-divider being characterised in that the flange (45) extends along the whole of the length of said edge of the panel member (40) so that, when engaged in the recess (16) it forms a continuous mechanical joint between the panel (40) and said frame member (10).
8. A screen or room-divider according to claim 6 and further comprising at least one panel member (40) having a flange (45) formed along an edge thereof and slidably engageable within the longitudinally extending recess (16) of the first frame member (10).
9. A screen or room divider according to claim 7 or 8 wherein the panel (40) comprises a panel core (42) having an edge member (44) secured along an edge of the core (42), the flange (45) being carried by the edge member (44).
10. A screen or room divider according to claim 9 in which the edge member (54) is provided with a barbed portion (56), the barbed portion (56) engaging in a slot (53) formed along a peripheral edge of the panel core (52) to secure the edge member (54) thereto.
11. A screen or room divider according to claim 7 or 8 wherein the panel (40) is formed by moulding and the flange (45) is formed integrally therewith.
12. A screen or room divider according to claim 9 or 10 wherein the panel (40) is provided with edge members (44) extending around the whole periphery of the panel so as to form a continuous frame around the panel (40).
13. A screen or room divider according to any of claims 6 to 12 including at least one spacer member locatable within the longitudinally-extending recess (16) formed in a first frame member (10) to space said second frame members (12) and/or said panels (40) from one another along the length of the first frame member (10).
14. A screen or room divider according to any of claims 6 to 12 further comprising at least one linking member (85) engageable in the longitudinally extending recess (16) formed in the first frame member (10) and having means for engagement in the longitudinally extending recess of a further similar first frame member (10) to secure said two first frame members (10) together.
15. A screen or room divider according to any of claims 6 to 14 comprising at least two vertical frame members (10) each provided with a longitudinally extending keyhole cross-section recess (16) formed therein and at least two linking members (87) each having a pair of opposed flanges so shaped as to fit within the keyhole cross-section recesses (16) of the frame members when positioned adjacent one another to link one to the other; the end surfaces of the linking members (87) being inclined so that when two linking members (87) are positioned end to end within the longitudinally extending recesses of the frame members they tend to produce a wedging action and, hence, a firm joint between the adjacent frame members.
16. A screen or room divider comprising at least two vertical frame members (10) each provided with a longitudinally extending keyhole cross-section recess (16) formed therein and at least two linking members (87) each having a pair of opposed flanges so shaped as to fit within the keyhole cross-section recesses (16) of the frame members (10) when positioned adjacent one another to link one to the other; the screen or room-divider being characterised in that the end surfaces of the linking members (87) are inclined so that when two linking members (87) are positioned end to end within the longitudinally extending recesses (16) of the frame members (10) they tend to produce a wedging action and, hence, a firm joint between the adjacent frame members.
17. A screen or room-divider according to claim 15 or 16 in which the frame members (10) are provided with means for securing end caps for closing the open ends of the longitudinally extending recesses (16) formed therein and, hence, to encourage the wedging together of the at least two linking members (87).
18. A screen or room divider according to claim 17 in which the end caps are secured to the frame members by means of a screw thread so that as the end caps are screwed onto the frame members (10) they act on the linking members (87) to wedge them together.
Description
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to an improved screen or room divider system and, in particular, to an improved rail or frame member for use in such a system.
  • [0002]
    Over recent years it has become increasingly common for office space to be provided in the form of an open-plan area divided into work spaces for individuals or groups of individuals by means of screen or room divider systems. The screen or room divider systems may be secured so that once in place they are permanent but, more frequently, such systems are intended to be easily demountable and, as a result, capable of greater flexibility in the way they are used.
  • [0003]
    Most screen or room divider systems consist, essentially, of a supporting framework into which are fitted panels of various kinds and sizes to build up a room divider of the required characteristics. The panels may, for example, be of some rigid material or, perhaps, padded and upholstered or of material which provides sound insulation. They may be opaque or transparent or a combination thereof. A screen may be made up from panels which are all similar or from a mixture of panels with different finishes and characteristics as are appropriate to the particular needs of the area in which the divider is to be used.
  • [0004]
    In addition to serving to support the panels which make up the room divider, the supporting framework may also serve to support accessories of various kinds, for example, shelves, pockets, light fittings, noticeboards or other useful items in a domestic or office setting. It is, of course, desirable that the means used for securing accessories to the room divider should be simple and permit accessories to be removed and repositioned at will. Consequently, in existing systems, such accessories are usually secured to the room divider simply by hooking the accessory in question onto the horizontal rails of the supporting framework. When the user wants to reposition an accessory it can simply be unhooked from one rail and hooked onto another or, alternatively, where the rails are of uniform cross-section, an accessory can easily be slid along the rail.
  • [0005]
    In most existing room divider systems, the panels themselves are based around a construction involving a panel core of MDF (medium density fibreboard), particle board or softwood etc. or of a honeycomb construction, sometimes with a hardboard or plywood facing, and an aluminium edging around the central core which can be secured to the frame. The panels are supported in a frame system to form a generally rigid construction. In panel systems intended for use in modern office environments, the frame members which form the frame system are often provided with channels which permit power or data cables to be run through the frame work so as to avoid loose or trailing cables in the workplace.
  • [0006]
    It may also be desired to use the horizontal frame members, as mentioned above, to support a variety of accessories, some of which may be relatively heavy and tend as a result to distort the frame system.
  • [0007]
    In order to achieve the necessary rigidity and to provide cable channels and socket outlets for power, voice or data as required, the frame members have been relatively thick, usually 60 mm deep but sometimes, in more recent systems, 45-50 mm in depth.
  • [0008]
    Although relatively “thin” panel systems do exist, these systems usually involve thin panels through which a screw or screws can be passed to secure the panel to supporting posts or frames. The resulting construction is not sufficiently rigid or strong to support socket outlets, cable channels or accessories
  • [0009]
    It would clearly be advantageous to be able to provide panel or room divider systems which were thinner and, consequently, took up less space, but, to date, this has not proved possible while achieving the necessary rigidity and provision for data or power cables and socket outlets.
  • [0010]
    In accordance with a first aspect of the invention there is provided a jointing assembly for a panel, screen or room divider system, and a screen or room divider incorporating a jointing assembly, the jointing assembly comprising a first frame member having formed therein a longitudinally extending recess having a relatively wide transverse portion communicating with the exterior of the frame member through a relatively narrow slot; and a tenon-piece comprising a base portion so shaped as to be a close sliding fit in the transverse portion of the recess in the first frame member and a tenon which projects from the base portion of the tenon-piece through the relatively narrow slot formed in the first frame member when the base portion is received in the transverse portion of the recess formed therein; the tenon being relatively narrow in a direction transverse to the slot formed in the first frame member and relatively wide in a direction parallel to the said slot and being engageable with a slot-like recess formed in a second frame member to secure the second frame member to the first frame member.
  • [0011]
    Preferably, the first frame member is provided with at least one lip projecting therefrom and extending parallel to the narrow slot which forms part of the longitudinally-extending recess formed therein; the lip being engageable with the second frame member, in use, to prevent transverse or rotational movement thereof relative to the first frame member.
  • [0012]
    It has been found that the frame system of the invention can provide a sufficiently rigid and robust construction that it is suitable for use in panel, screen or room-divider systems while at the same time the thickness of the frame construction is reduced to only 26 mm.
  • [0013]
    In a preferred construction the first frame member is provided with a channel for receiving a cable or cables. A room divider or screen system using such frame members may additionally provide accommodation for cables of various kinds.
  • [0014]
    In a further aspect, the invention provides a screen or room-divider comprising at least one panel member having a flange formed along an edge thereof and slidably engageable within a longitudinally extending recess of a frame member; the flange extending along the whole of the length of said edge of the panel member so that, when engaged in the recess it forms a continuous mechanical joint between the panel and said frame member.
  • [0015]
    It has been found that where a continuous mechanical joint is formed, the construction is particularly strong.
  • [0016]
    In a further aspect the invention provides a screen or room divider comprising at least two vertical frame members each provided with a longitudinally extending keyhole cross-section recess formed therein and at least two linking members each having a pair of opposed flanges so shaped as to fit within the keyhole cross-section recesses of the frame members when positioned adjacent one another to link one to the other; the end surfaces of the linking members being inclined so that when two linking members are positioned end to end within the longitudinally extending recesses of the frame members they tend to produce a wedging action and, hence, a firm joint between the adjacent frame members.
  • [0017]
    Inevitably, panel based screens or room dividers generally involve the formation of panels set between vertically extending pillars or posts. It is frequently necessary to join such sub-assemblies by linking adjacent posts. Using the construction described above a firm, relatively rigid joint can be achieved without the need for special tools or complex components.
  • [0018]
    Embodiments of the invention will now be described in detail, by way of example, with reference to the drawings, in which:
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 1 is an exploded view of the joint construction of a panel/room-divider frame system in accordance with the invention;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 2 illustrates schematically, the manner of constructing a screen or room-divider using the joint construction of FIG. 1;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 3 shows a preferred end cap arrangement for use in the screen or room-divider of FIG. 2;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 4 shows a first panel for use in a screen or room-divider using the joint construction of FIG. 1;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 5 shows a second panel for use in a screen or room-divider using the joint construction of FIG. 1;
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 6 shows a third panel for use in a screen or room-divider using the joint construction of FIG. 1;
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 7 is a fragmentary view of a screen construction incorporating a variety of differing components;
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view of a post with four recesses for use between panels or stacks of panels;
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 9(a) shows a plurality of posts secured together with linking members;
  • [0028]
    FIGS. 9(b)-(d) show an improved arrangement to that of FIG. 9(a) for linking together adjacent posts;
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of a preferred horizontal rail construction for use with the panel or room divider systems of FIGS. 1 to 9; and
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view through a part of the horizontal rail assembly of FIG. 10.
  • [0031]
    Some frame systems used in panel, screen or room-divider constructions consist of a generally rectangular lattice of frame members. In order that the construction should be as versatile as possible, it is desirable that the vertical and horizontal frame members should be easily fastened together without the need for specialist tools or techniques but that the resulting structure should be rigid enough to be essentially self-supporting and to support any accessories required.
  • [0032]
    Ideally the frame systems should also provide cable channels and socket outlets and should be as thin as possible.
  • [0033]
    Where thinner frame constructions have been proposed in the past, difficulty has arisen in providing a jointing system robust enough to form a rigid framework. This problem is overcome in the frame system of the present invention by the joint construction shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0034]
    The joint consists of three separate components, a vertical frame member in the form of an upright post 10, a horizontal frame member 12 and a tenon-piece 14.
  • [0035]
    The upright post 10 may be of various cross-sectional shapes but is essentially a continuous member of uniform cross-section formed, for example, by extrusion. As shown in FIG. 1 the post 10 is of hollow configuration with a central channel 11 running centrally along its length. The central substantially cylindrical channel 11 allows for fixing of end caps or other member by insertion of a screw or peg into the central channel and is joined to the outer “skin” of the post 10 by a number of radially-extending webs 13 which help to make the post 10 rigid. The wall 15 of the post 10 which is to abut the end of the horizontal frame member 12 is generally flat but has, running down its centre a recess 16 in which the tenon-piece 14 is located.
  • [0036]
    The recess 16 is of flattened T-shaped cross-section. The transversely-extending part of the recess 16 is relatively wide and shallow and communicates with the exterior of the post 10 through a relatively narrow slot 17.
  • [0037]
    Running down the longitudinal edges of the abutting wall 15 of the post are two narrow lips 18 which project from the wall 15 towards the horizontal frame member once it is in place. The function of these lips 18 will be described in greater detail below.
  • [0038]
    The horizontal frame member 12 may, again be of various cross-sectional shapes but, again, is in the form of a continuous elongate member formed, for example, by extrusion. As will be described below, however, the horizontal frame member may alternatively be formed from a plurality of separate components joined end-to-end.
  • [0039]
    As shown in FIG. 1, the horizontal frame member is provided with a central slot 19 which forms part of the jointing arrangement. The slot 19 is relatively long and narrow and oriented such that in use its longitudinal axis is parallel to upright post 10 to which the horizontal frame member 12 is secured. The longitudinal faces of the frame member 12 are provided with slots 24 or recesses 26 suitable for engagement with the edges of panels to be incorporated into the screen or room-divider or with accessories to be hung on the frame members in the completed panel assembly, respectively. These are not described in detail since they are determined by the kinds of panel or accessory to be used and this does not form part of the present invention.
  • [0040]
    The third component of the jointing system is the tenon-piece 14 comprising an elongate tenon 20 and a base portion 22.
  • [0041]
    The tenon 20 is, as mentioned above, relatively long and is of a cross-sectional shape to be a close sliding fit in the central slot 19 of the horizontal frame member 12. The base portion 22 of the tenon-piece 14 is of a T-shaped cross section such that it is a close sliding fit in the recess 16 of the upright post 10. The tenon 20 and base portion 22 are arranged transversely to one another so that the tenon 20 can be received in the central slot 19 of the horizontal frame member 12 and the base portion 22 can be located in the recess 16 of the upright post 16 with the frame member 12 and post 10 arranged perpendicularly to one another.
  • [0042]
    The tenon-piece 14 is conveniently formed of extruded aluminium or other similar material, cut down into relatively small lengths or may be a unitary cast or moulded item.
  • [0043]
    To assemble the joint, the tenon 20 of the tenon-piece 14 is inserted into the central slot 19 of the horizontal frame member 12 until the base portion 22 buts up against the end of the frame member 12. The base portion 22 of the tenon-member 14 can then slide into the recess 16 of the upright post 10, sliding down the length of the post 10 until the desired position is reached. The tenon 20 can be secured in place by any appropriate means, for example, by means of adhesive or by passing a screw through the frame member 12 into the tenon 20.
  • [0044]
    In the assembled joint, the tenon 20 resists twisting motion of the horizontal frame member about its own longitudinal axis under the weight of accessories secured to the horizontal frame member due to its relatively long narrow cross-sectional shape and its close fit within the central slot 19. Similarly such twisting motion is resisted by the close fit of the relatively wide base portion 22 of the tenon-piece in the recess 16 of the upright post 10.
  • [0045]
    As shown in FIG. 1, the twisting motion of the horizontal frame members is further resisted by the engagement of the end of the frame member 12 between the protruding lips 18 formed on the upright post 10. These engage the ends of the frame member when it abuts the upright post 10 to prevent rotational movement of the frame member 12 about an axis perpendicular to the upright post 10. The lips 18 are however optional and are not essential to the formation of a secure and rigid joint between the frame member 12 and post 10.
  • [0046]
    All three components described above, the upright post 10, the horizontal frame member 12 and the tenon-piece 14 may advantageously be formed of extruded aluminium which is light, rigid, and is easily extruded into the relatively complex shapes which may be required. Using extruded aluminium it has been found that the upright posts may be made as narrow as 26 mm without losing the degree of rigidity necessary to make the screen or room-divider both self supporting and capable of supporting through the horizontal frame members accessories of various kinds.
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 2 illustrates, schematically, the manner of construction of a screen or room divider using the jointing system of the invention.
  • [0048]
    As shown in FIG. 2, a pair of upright posts 10 having recesses extending along their opposing faces similar to the recess 16 shown in FIG. 1 are positioned the desired distance from one another. The lower ends of the posts are closed off by means of end caps 35 which serve to limit movement of panel or frame members or the edges thereof down the posts 10. The end caps 35 are secured to the posts by means of screws which screw into screw ports formed in the vertical posts 10. The end caps 35 thus form a stop to limit downward movement of a bottom rail 32 and panels which are slid down between the posts 10. The lower edge of the bottom rail 32 can simply rest on the end caps 35.
  • [0049]
    Alternatively, where it is desired to form a screen or room divider with an open space at its lower edge, suitable spacer strips (not shown) can be inserted into the recesses 16 of the posts 10 to the desired height. The lower ends of the spacer strips then rest on the end caps 35 while the upper ends of the spacer strips form an abutment on which the lower edge of a panel inserted between the post 10 can rest.
  • [0050]
    (Similar spacer strips can, of course, also be used between vertically adjacent panels to create openings in a screen or room divider if such openings are required.)
  • [0051]
    Once the end caps 35 have been fixed to the upright posts 10 and any spacer strips required to raise the lowermost panel inserted, the required panels 40 can then be dropped in from the top of the posts 10, the panels 40 sliding down the length of the upright posts 10 until they rest on the end caps 35 or spacer strips, if present.
  • [0052]
    The panels 40 may be of various types but all are provided with a vertical edge arrangement which includes a T-shaped flange extending at long at least a part of the vertical edge of the panel which is received in and slides along the longitudinal recess 16 formed in the upright post 10.
  • [0053]
    At their lowermost points, the posts 10 may be provided with feet 37. The feet 37 are generally flat in configuration and can be fixed to the undersides of the upright posts 10 or their end caps 35 by means of screws so as to allow the screens to be levelled.
  • [0054]
    FIGS. 4 to 6 show various arrangements which may be provided along the vertical edges of various panel constructions to secure the edge of the panel to the upright posts 10.
  • [0055]
    The panel shown in FIG. 4 is of conventional construction. The panel core 42 is of MDF, or other wood or fibre based substrate material and may be faced with a variety of materials, plywood, hardboard, laminates of various kinds or upholstery. The panel core 42 has secured to its edges a profiled edge member 44 which has a T-shaped flange 45 protruding therefrom for engagement in the recess 16 of the upright post 10. The edge member 44 is also shaped to receive the edge of the panel core 42 and can be secured to it by any convenient means, for example, by gluing or by means of screws.
  • [0056]
    [0056]FIG. 5 shows an alternative panel construction suitable for use primarily with upholstered panels.
  • [0057]
    In FIG. 5 the panel core 52 is of MDF but is provided along its vertical edges, at least, with a narrow slot 53. Edge members 54 of extruded aluminium are in the form of a T-shaped flange 55 with the central stem of the “T” extended to form a tenon 56 provided with moulded barbs 58. The tenon 56 is simply forced into the slot 53 in the edge of the panel core 52 and is held in place by the engagement of the barbs 58 with the walls of the slot 53. The resulting panel provides a particularly neat finish when assembled since the edges of the panel simply but up to the upright posts 10 with the edge members 52 completely concealed.
  • [0058]
    [0058]FIG. 6 shows a panel 60 of ribbed plastics or aluminium formed by moulding on which the necessary edge members can be formed integrally with the panel 60 itself. FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view which shows the engagement of the panel edges with the slots 24 of the horizontal rail member 12 but it will be appreciated that T-shaped flanges for engagement with the recesses 16 of the upright posts 10 could be formed in the same way.
  • [0059]
    When assembling a screen or room divider the panels and horizontal frame members may be provided with simple flat horizontal edges and may be simply stacked one on top of the other between the upright posts 10. However, it is preferred that the adjacent horizontal edges of successive panels and/or frame members are coupled to one another so as to provide greater rigidity to the resulting structure.
  • [0060]
    Where successive panels and/or frame members are to be secured together, construction proceeds as outlined in relation to FIG. 2 but as each panel 40 slides part way down between the upright posts 30, the next panel 40 or frame member 12 is slid, horizontally onto the uppermost edge of the panel so that in the final construction the T-shaped flanges of the edge members of the panels 40 and the base portions 22 of the horizontal frame members 12 are all aligned with one another and are received in the recesses 16 of the upright posts 10.
  • [0061]
    Although it has been indicated above that the T-shaped flanges need not extend along the whole length of the vertical edges of the panels, it has been found that a particularly strong construction can be realised despite the narrow dimension of the panel construction if the T-shaped flanges do, in fact, extend along the whole length of the panel edges. Where this is the case, a continuous mechanical joint is formed between the panel and the vertical frame members or posts, and, preferably, between the panels and the horizontal frame members. As a result, any force applied to the construction is dissipated throughout the structure rather than acting as a point load as would be the case where the panels are fixed to the frame members at one or two locations only. The strength of the overall construction is further increased where the panels themselves are, as described above, provided with a rigid frame around their edges; the resulting construction has a double frame, making it stronger.
  • [0062]
    Provided that the necessary T-shaped flanges are provided along the vertical edges of the panels all kinds of panel construction are possible. Similarly, various kinds of “horizontal” members can be used provided that they are all provided with means for interengagement as necessary. It will be appreciated that it is particularly convenient to make the slots 24 in the horizontal frame members 12 identical in cross-section to the recesses 16 in the upright posts so that panels can be provided with similar edge members all the way around their periphery. The panels can then be used in two different orientations, allowing for greater variety to be achieved without increasing the number of different panel sizes required.
  • [0063]
    By way of example, FIG. 7 shows a screen construction incorporating a variety of differing components stacked one above the other between upright posts 10.
  • [0064]
    [0064]FIG. 7 shows one of a pair of upright posts 10 of the kind described above. A panel 40 with edge members 44 is positioned with the edge members 44 of the panel 40 are located in the recess of the upright post. Immediately above the panel 40 is a horizontal frame member 12 of relatively simple construction having flat outer faces and two opposed slots 24 in its upper and lower faces. The lowermost slot 24 of the frame member 12 receives the flange of the edge member 44 of the panel 40.
  • [0065]
    The uppermost slot 24 of the frame member 12 receives the T-shaped flange of a modified edge member 72 which is relatively shallow and has in its upper face a groove 73 suitable for receiving a glazing seal 74 of elastomeric material and the edge of a glass panel 70. A similar edge member 72 with an associated glazing seal 74 runs along the upper edge of the glass panel 70 and the whole construction is finished off with a capping member 76 which slides onto the upwardly projecting T-shaped flange 75 of the inverted edge member 72 at the upper edge of the glass panel 70. The capping member 76 has a plain or decorative surface on its outer, exposed face so as to provide a pleasing finish to the top edge of the finished screen or room-divider.
  • [0066]
    Another disadvantage which arises with many existing panel, screen or room-divider systems is that, in order to provide the required strength and rigidity each panel “stack” must be constructed between a pair of upright posts and means provided for linking adjacent posts. This leads to an unsightly and space consuming proliferation of posts at corners or between ‘stacks’.
  • [0067]
    With the panel jointing system of the invention, the upright posts can be provided with recesses similar to recess 16 shown in FIG. 1 on all or as many faces as are required. Even if these are not used, they are not unsightly because each recess 16 communicates with the exterior of the post by means of only a narrow longitudinal slot 17.
  • [0068]
    [0068]FIG. 8 shows a post 80 similar to the post 10 in FIG. 1 but of generally square shape having four recesses 16 provided on the four faces of the square. Such a post is suitable for use in joining two or more ‘stacks’ of panels arranged either co-linearly or perpendicularly to one another.
  • [0069]
    Alternatively, pairs of adjacent posts 10, 80 may be linked to one another very simply using extruded linking members 85 of a shape equivalent to securing the base portions of two tenon members back to back as shown in FIG. 9(a).
  • [0070]
    It is clearly desirable that joints between adjacent panels should be as rigid as possible, but, at the same time, there must be reasonable tolerances between the slots formed in the upright posts 10, 80 and the linking members 85 so as to permit easy assembly. The greater the tolerance, of course, the looser and less rigid the joints formed by the linking elements and the neighbouring posts.
  • [0071]
    FIGS. 9(b) to (d) show an improved linking arrangement intended to overcome this difficulty.
  • [0072]
    In FIGS. 9b) to (d) the posts 10, 80 are provided with the vertical slots necessary for engagement with the linking elements, as before. The linking element 85 is, however, formed as a plurality of elements 87 arranged end to end rather than as a single element. The ends of the elements 87 are inclined to the vertical axis of the slots into which they fit at an angle of 45 and alternate elements have their ends sloped in opposite direction. Consequently, as can be seen from FIG. 9(c), the elements 87 tend to be slightly displaced laterally relative to one another under their own weight, producing a wedging action against the internal surfaces of the slot in which they are lodged. This allows the elements 87 to provide a tight, rigid joint between the posts 10, 80 of adjacent panels.
  • [0073]
    The wedging action is improved by making the elements 87 of a length such that, in combination, they are slightly oversized, lengthwise, in comparison to the neighbouring panels. The open ends of the posts 10,80 are closed by means of bottom caps 32, the elements 87 are inserted from the top of the posts 10,80 and then end caps 88 are screwed onto the upper open ends of the posts 10, 80 to finish them. Screwing on the end caps 88 at the top of the posts 10, 80 has the effect of forcing the elements 87 together and against the bottom caps 32, increasing the wedging action.
  • [0074]
    This use of either a single linking element 85 as shown in FIG. 9(a) or the segmented elements 87 of FIGS. 9(b) to (d) also has the advantage that it provides a continuous bridge between the vertical posts. In many existing systems, adjacent panels are joined by means of a connector at the bottom of each panel and a second at the top with a void between the two.
  • [0075]
    It will be appreciated that where the segmented linking elements 87 are used, provision must be made to allow the elements to be removed when the panel system is to be rearranged or disassembled.
  • [0076]
    This is easily achieved by forming holes 89 through the central web of the generally H-shaped linking elements 87 by drilling or the like. These holes appear, once the joint has been assembled, between the posts 10, 80, as vertically extending slots which can be easily engaged by means of a screwdriver blade or other tool to lift up the elements 87 for removal from the slots in the posts 10, 80.
  • [0077]
    The panel and room divider systems described above have included unitary horizontal frame members of simple construction. However, it will be appreciated that more complex frame constructions are possible. One such construction is shown in FIGS. 10 and 11.
  • [0078]
    [0078]FIG. 11 shows a horizontal frame construction intended to facilitate the provision of socket outlets, for voice, data or power, within the frame of the panel or room divider assembly itself. As can be seen from FIG. 11, the horizontal frame member 100 is formed from a plurality of components which are joined end-to-end to form a continuous frame member. In particular, the frame member of FIG. 11 is formed of at least one cable channel segment 110 which abuts a socket box segment 112.
  • [0079]
    The cable channel segment 110 is of relatively simple construction comprising an elongate rectangular tube with a central passage 111 for accommodating cables, wires of the like and an exterior surface which may be provided with a decorative finish 113. The cable channel segment 110 is also provided, at least at its ends, with vertically-extending slots or, as shown, with opposed grooves 115 which mimic the function of such slots. The upper and lower surfaces of the cable channel segment 110, which abut the horizontal edges of neighbouring panels 119 may be provided with grooves or recesses 117 for engaging the edges of the neighbouring panels in a manner similar to that described above in relation to FIG. 7.
  • [0080]
    The socket box segment 112 is also in the form of an extrusion 114, in this case, of somewhat larger dimensions, capable of accommodating socket outlets of various kinds, for example, power or data outlets.
  • [0081]
    As shown in FIG. 10, the extrusion which forms the socket box segment 112 is double-sided, providing accommodation for socket outlets at both sides of the screen or room divider assembly. It will be appreciated, however, that the socket box segment might equally provide socket outlets at one side of the screen or room divider only or that different facilities might be provided on the two sides of the screen.
  • [0082]
    The socket box segment 112 of FIG. 10 is generally semi-circular in cross-section with a central wall 116 dividing the hollow cross-section into two channels 118 of generally quarter-circle cross-section. The curved faces of the two channels 118 are mostly open with a flange 120 extending along each of the free edges of the curved face where it is cut away. The flanges 120 are of a suitable configuration to allow “snap fitting” of various socket outlets (not shown) into the opening between them. Spaces between or around socket outlets can be filled by snap-fitted plates of a suitable contour and finish to present a pleasing appearance.
  • [0083]
    The ends of the open channels 118 of the extrusion 114 are closed by means of flat plates 120 which, in use, are provided with openings. (not shown) to allow the passage of cables from the cable channel segment 110 into the socket box segment 112. The central wall 116 of the socket box segment 112 is provided with vertically extending slots or pairs of opposed grooves 122 which are aligned with the similar grooves 115 provided on the cable channel segment 110. The pairs of grooves 115, 122 allow neighbouring segments of the horizontal frame member to be joined together simply by inserting double-ended tenons 124 which extend across the join between the segments to form a relatively rigid joint.
  • [0084]
    For most office installations, it is necessary to provide shielding for data cabling and the means by which this is achieved in the socket box of FIG. 10 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 11.
  • [0085]
    The channel 118 at the left of FIG. 11 is fitted with a simple shielding insert 130 of extruded aluminium, for example, which can be cut easily to the required length. The insert 130 is of squared-off v-shaped configuration of dimensions such that it can be inserted into the channel 118 from its open side, between the flanges 120. The longitudinal, free edges 132 of the insert 130 snap-fit onto the flanges 120 and the insert 130 is fixed in place to prevent it sliding along the socket box extrusion 114 by means of one or more screws 134 which pass through the apex of the insert 130 to engage in a threaded channel 136 formed as part of the socket box extension 114.
  • [0086]
    The required socket outlet(s) 140 (indicated in dotted lines in the drawing) can then be snap fitted between the free edges 132 of the shielding insert 130. The screws 134 which hold the insert in place also provide earthing through the socket box segment 112 and the remainder of the room divider or screen.
  • [0087]
    Where it is necessary to provide shielding and separation between power and data cables, this can be achieved by using a shielding insert 150 of different configuration as shown in the right-hand channel 118 of FIG. 11.
  • [0088]
    The shielding insert 150 is shaped to provide an internal divider within the channel 118 of the socket box extrusion 114 and is secured in place by means of screws 154 which pass through a flange 152 formed on the insert 150 and engage the threaded channel 136 formed on the extrusion 114. The insert 150 defines, with the socket box extrusion 114, a more or less closed shielded channel 156 for power cables which is earthed to the extrusion 114 by means of the screw(s) 136. The power cable channel 156 can also be provided with grooved channels 158 formed in the insert 150 for engagement by screws (not shown) carried by cable restraint 160 (shown in dotted lines). The cable restraint 160 allows a power cable to be anchored close to a socket outlet to provide strain relief. Since the grooved channels 158 are formed as a continuous feature of the extrusion from which insert 150 is formed, cable restraints 160 can be added to the assembly wherever they are needed.
  • [0089]
    The shielding insert 150, if formed of extruded aluminium can provide shielding to meet the requirements of Category 6 cabling using an insert which is only 2 mm thick.
  • [0090]
    The right hand channel 118 in FIG. 11 is closed off by means of a facing plate 165 shaped to conform to the overall curvature of the socket box segment 112 so as to provide a pleasing finish between socket outlets.
  • [0091]
    The screen or room divider assembly described above can provide relatively thin constructions capable of accommodating socket outlets for voice, power or data and, because many of the components are in the form of extrusions which can easily be cut to a required length, allows for flexibility and variation to suit a particular user's needs.
  • [0092]
    It will be appreciated by the skilled man that although the description above uses the terms ‘upright’ and ‘horizontal’ for the sake of clarity, these terms are not to be read as limiting the scope of the invention in any way. The members provided with recesses analogous to recesses 16 described above might equally well be disposed horizontally with panels sliding between them horizontally or at any other desired angle.
  • [0093]
    The jointing system of the invention may thus provide a versatile panel, screen or room divider system of rigid construction, capable of supporting accessories of various kinds while resisting distortion and of thinner construction than has hitherto been possible.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7481406 *Jun 20, 2006Jan 27, 2009Newell Operating CompanyPlastic pegboard assembly
US8640400 *Jul 2, 2010Feb 4, 2014Unirac, Inc.Low profile mounting system
US8904728 *Jun 20, 2012Dec 9, 2014DeZaio Productions, Inc.Temporary, non-load bearing wall assembly
US20050076605 *Dec 23, 2002Apr 14, 2005Enrico GiaconiSelf-supporting framework modular structure
US20070290107 *Jun 20, 2006Dec 20, 2007Gerard William LangPlastic pegboard assembly
US20090108156 *Jan 6, 2009Apr 30, 2009Newell Operating SystemsPlastic Pegboard Assembly
US20100263297 *Jul 2, 2010Oct 21, 2010Unirac, Inc.Low profile mounting system
US20120255253 *Jun 20, 2012Oct 11, 2012DeZaio Productions, Inc.Temporary, non-load bearing wall assembly
USD649680 *Jun 13, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for light emitting diode based lighting apparatus
USD649681 *Jun 15, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDsONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649682 *Jun 15, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649683 *Jun 15, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649684 *Jun 19, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649685 *Jun 19, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649686 *Jun 19, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649687 *Jun 19, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649688 *Jun 19, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649689 *Jun 19, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649690 *Jun 20, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649691 *Jun 20, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649692 *Jun 20, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD649693 *Jun 20, 2011Nov 29, 2011LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD651739 *Jun 19, 2011Jan 3, 2012LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD652568 *Jun 20, 2011Jan 17, 2012LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD652569 *Jun 20, 2011Jan 17, 2012LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD652985 *Jun 20, 2011Jan 24, 2012LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
USD652986 *Jun 20, 2011Jan 24, 2012LEDs ONExtrusion for LED-based lighting apparatus
WO2013190447A2Jun 17, 2013Dec 27, 2013Koninklijke Philips N.V.Acoustic panel having lighting properties
WO2015188105A1 *Jun 5, 2015Dec 10, 2015Dirtt Environmental Solutions, Inc.Straight and curved reconfigurable partition systems
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/586.2
International ClassificationE04B1/58, E04B2/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2002/749, E04B2/7425, E04B2002/7488, E04B2001/5881, E04B2/7424
European ClassificationE04B2/74C3D2, E04B2/74C3D1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 19, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: KANVAS DESIGN LIMITED, GREAT BRITAIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SIMS, JOHN;REEL/FRAME:013503/0083
Effective date: 20020815