|Publication number||US20050034419 A1|
|Application number||US 10/631,193|
|Publication date||Feb 17, 2005|
|Filing date||Jul 31, 2003|
|Priority date||Jul 31, 2003|
|Publication number||10631193, 631193, US 2005/0034419 A1, US 2005/034419 A1, US 20050034419 A1, US 20050034419A1, US 2005034419 A1, US 2005034419A1, US-A1-20050034419, US-A1-2005034419, US2005/0034419A1, US2005/034419A1, US20050034419 A1, US20050034419A1, US2005034419 A1, US2005034419A1|
|Inventors||Grant Randall, Brent Gilliland|
|Original Assignee||Randall Grant E., Gilliland Brent A.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (34), Referenced by (4), Classifications (15), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to an insulated refrigeration panel assembly for an insulated cooling structure, such as a walk-in cooler, a refrigerated display cabinet, a beverage cooler and other insulated structure.
Refrigerated goods are typically stored in an insulated space prior to their use or consumption. Such a space, such as offered by a walk-in cooler, may be erected and/or constructed on-site from a number of panels. For example, a walk-in cooler is typically constructed from insulated refrigeration panels. Each insulated refrigeration panel has an inner and outer skin. These skins sandwich an insulated foam, such as urethane. The inner and outer skins provide a smooth surface for cleaning while the insulating foam serves to keep goods cool.
The insulated refrigeration panels may form the walls, the ceiling and the floor of the insulated space. For a walk-in cooler, the various wall, ceiling and floor panels are brought to the job site, erected, and then assembled using fasteners to attach the panels together. The fastening of these panels is both time consuming and costly. It is therefore desirable to eliminate the need for fasteners and to reduce the amount of time required to assemble these insulated refrigeration panels together.
One particular panel design eliminates the need for fasteners between panels by allowing the panels to be joined by a snap-fit connection at the end of each panel. Accordingly, each panel is inserted to another panel from end to end to create the walls or roof of the cooler. This design eliminates the need for separate fasteners.
These existing snap-fit panels are produced on a conveyor belt in sections. Because these panels are produced in this fashion, the snap-fit connectors are located only at the ends of the panel. Due to this limitation, the number of structural configurations that may be made from these snap-fit panels is also thereby limited.
A need therefore exists for an insulated refrigeration panel assembly that offers the convenience of a snap-fit connector without the limitation of the foregoing design.
The present invention comprises an insulated refrigeration panel assembly that offers a greater variety of panel configurations than existing designs. Like existing panel assemblies, the inventive insulated refrigeration panel has two skins that sandwich an insulating foam. In contrast to existing designs, however, integrated snap fit connectors permit connection of one panel to another panel not only along the panel but also across the panel. In this way, a single panel may be connected to two panels: one panel that fits end-to-end and another panel that intersects the other panel. Further, panels may engage one another in both a vertical and horizontal direction. Accordingly, a greater variety of structural configurations are available for the design of an insulated space.
The insulated refrigeration panel assembly has a first skin and a second skin spaced generally parallel to the first skin. The skins sandwich an insulating body, such as a urethane foam. A first snap-fit connector allows flexible engagement of a mating connector along one direction while a second snap-fit connector allows flexible engagement of a second mating connector along another direction. The snap-fit connectors are formed by the panels themselves, i.e., skins and insulating body, rather than by any separate connector. In this way, assembly time of the insulated space is greatly reduced because there is no need to install separate connectors to attach one panel to another.
The snap-fit connector may have features that allow flexing between two different dimensions. One dimension of the snap-fit connector allows a mating connector to be received while the other dimension locks the two connectors together.
Like the snap fit connector, the mating connector may be an integrated part of a panel or may be just another insulating body. This second insulating body may have a first end portion and a second end portion. The first end portion fits within the snap-fit connector while the other end portion may allow another snap-fit connector to fit over. Accordingly, the mating connector may serve to join two of the same type of snap-fit connectors. A flange may be attached to the second insulating body that covers a joint between two panels. The flange may be curved. This flange serves to cover the seam between panels to facilitate clean-up of the refrigerated panels and prevent the collection of food between panels.
A panel may comprise two distinct bodies. One body may define part of the snap-fit connector while the other body may define the other part of the snap-fit connector. The snap-fit connector may further be a female member engageable to a mating connector, such as a male member which is insertable into the female member. The female member may flex between a first dimension larger than a second dimension to receive the male member. The male member may then be engaged to the female member when in the second dimension.
The inventive panel assembly may thus be constructed from three different panels, each comprising two skins sandwiching an insulating body. A single panel may be connected to two others in two different directions. In addition, the inventive refrigerated panel assembly permits another panel to intersect the single panel.
The various features and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the currently preferred embodiment. The drawings that accompany the detailed description can be briefly described as follows:
Accordingly, first panel unit 20 may flexible engage mating connectors in two different directions. One direction may be horizontal while the other direction may be vertical, for example. This increased freedom of engagement allows first panel unit 20 to be used for the construction of a wall to wall corner, a ceiling and wall corner, or a floor and wall corner.
Second panel unit 80 is constructed in like fashion to first panel unit 20. Third skin 84 and fourth skin 88 sandwich second insulating body 92, a urethane foam, and may form an integral first mating connector 40 that may be received in a snap-fit fashion by first snap-fit connector 36. Second panel unit 80 may have a snap-fit connector on the other end or alternatively another mating connector depending upon the particular configuration desired.
Likewise, third panel unit 120 has fifth skin 124 spaced generally parallel from sixth skin 128. A urethane insulating foam forms third insulating body 132. Fifth skin 124 and sixth skin 128 and third insulating body 132 form second mating connector 48 to be received by second snap-fit connector 44. Third panel unit 120 may also have another snap-fit connector on its other end or another mating connector. As shown in
The snap-fit connection will now be explained.
As further shown in
As shown in
As shown in
As shown in
As shown in
While the foregoing designs are shown primarily in a top panel, wall panel and floor configuration, the invention encompasses the use of these panels in other configurations requiring an insulated panel assembly. Indeed, the aforementioned description is exemplary rather that limiting. Many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The preferred embodiments of this invention have been disclosed. However, one of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. Hence, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described. For this reason the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.
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|International Classification||B29C44/12, E04C2/292, E04B1/61, F25D23/06|
|Cooperative Classification||E04B1/615, E04B1/6129, E04C2/292, F25D2201/126, E04B2001/6195, F25D23/063, B29C44/1233|
|European Classification||E04C2/292, B29C44/12G2, F25D23/06B1|
|Jul 31, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CARRIER COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION, INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RANDALL SR., GRANT E.;GILLILAND, BRENT A.;REEL/FRAME:014361/0097
Effective date: 20030724
|Dec 15, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: RAINEY ROAD LLC, MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CARRIER COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION, INC.;CARRIER CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:023655/0282
Effective date: 20090824
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, SOUTH DAKOT
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:RAINEY ROAD LLC;REEL/FRAME:023655/0393
Effective date: 20090824