US 20050066861 A1
An adjustable height support column for an examination table/chair is disclosed. The column includes nesting sleeve sections that are relatively slidable with respect to one another. The column uses camming guide rails in combination with cam followers located on the sleeve sections to provide for a column that is sturdy, compact, and may support a sufficiently heavy patient. One or more linear actuators provide for extension and retraction of the column.
1. A camming mechanism for maintaining a predetermined spacing between a pair of nesting, slidably relative sleeve members, said pair of sleeve members including a first sleeve having an outer longitudinally extending wall surface and a second sleeve member having an inner longitudinally extending wall surface laterally spaced from said outer wall surface, said camming mechanism comprising:
a longitudinally extending guide rail secured to one of said sleeve members, said guide rail having oppositely disposed, parallel camming guide surfaces; and
a pair of oppositely disposed spaced apart cam followers, each of said cam followers being in longitudinally guiding contact with a respective one of said parallel cam surfaces.
2. The camming mechanism according to
3. The camming mechanism according to
4. The camming mechanism according to
5. A support column for an examination table having an adjustable height, said column comprising:
at least two nesting sleeve sections, said sleeve sections being slidable relative to one another;
means for maintaining a predetermined spacing between an adjacent pair of said nesting sleeve sections, said means comprising:
at least one longitudinally extending guide rail secured to one of said adjacent sleeve sections, said guide rail having oppositely disposed parallel guiding cam surfaces;
at least one pair of oppositely disposed spaced apart cam followers being longitudinally in guiding contact with a respective one of said parallel cam surfaces, said cam followers supported by the other of said adjacent sleeve sections; and
means for sliding said sleeve sections relative to one another.
6. The support column according to
7. The column according to
8. The column according to
9. The column according to
10. An adjustable examination table comprising:
a support table;
a stationary base; and
an adjustable height column, said column comprising:
a plurality of sleeve sections, said sleeve sections slidably, nestingly connected to one another, one of said sleeve sections attached to said stationary base, another of said sleeve sections attached to said support table;
at least one longitudinally extending guide rail secured to one of said sleeve sections, said guide rail having oppositely disposed parallel guide surfaces;
at least one pair of oppositely disposed spaced apart cam followers being longitudinally in guiding contact with a respective one of said parallel guide surfaces; and
means for sliding said sleeve sections relative to one another.
11. The table according to
12. The table according to
13. The table according to
14. The table according to
15. The table according to
said lower sleeve section attached to said base,
said upper sleeve section attached to said support table, and
said middle sleeve section located between said lower sleeve section and said upper sleeve section, said middle sleeve section having an inner wall and an outer wall, at least one of said guide rails attached to said inner wall and at least one of said guide rails attached to said outer wall.
16. The table according to
17. The table according to
18. The table according to
The present invention relates to medical examination tables and, more specifically, to adjustable columns for examination tables.
Adjustable tables have been previously used in the medical fields. Generally, the focus of prior table adjustment has been for angular or rotational displacement of the table bed. That is, the table base remains stationary while mechanical or hydraulic means tilt or angle the bed in other directions. Though these designs assist an examiner in repositioning a patient for different procedures, they do not allow for vertical mobility of the table. For instance, if a patient were to be moved from a wheelchair or a low resting gurney, such table would still need the patient to be lifted onto the table.
Previous inventions have contemplated adjustable bases. For instance, Schnelle et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,642), discloses an adjustable base that uses hydraulic cylinders moving in opposite directions to adjust the base height. However, the hydraulic operating unit is mounted on the top of the cylinders, which increases the minimum height the cylinder may attain. Likewise, the placement of the unit provides for a louder operating unit than desired. Also, though compact, the base does not provide for the easiest access to all of the parts, if such parts require servicing. Thus, a compact, quiet, easily accessible base is contemplated.
The present invention provides an adjustable column for an examination table that is compact, efficient, and may be easily serviced if necessary. The column is designed to minimize the space needed for the column while still providing sufficient, sturdy support for a patient resting upon the examination table. Also, the column is designed so that the column height is adaptable over a wider range of heights than possible with the prior art. Likewise, the minimum height of the column is less than previous minimum heights attainable by similar examination tables of the prior art.
The column consists generally of three sleeve sections or members that are telescopingly related to one another. The first sleeve section is secured to the base of the table, with the second sleeve section slidingly connected to the first sleeve section. A third sleeve section is slidingly connected to the second sleeve section and attached to the table bed.
The three sleeve sections are designed so that each successive sleeve section nestingly fits around the previous sleeve section. Preferably, the first sleeve section has the smallest perimeter and the following sleeve sections have increasingly larger perimeters. The sleeve sections form a generally rectangular shape, with the sleeve sections formed by joining together two overlapping U-shaped sleeve sections of material.
The sleeve sections are moved upward and downward by a pair of actuators, one located within the column sleeve sections and one located on the outside of the column sleeve sections. The inside actuator controls movement of the second sleeve section with respect to the first sleeve section. The outside actuator is attached at the bottom of the second sleeve section and the top of the third sleeve section so that the two sleeve sections may be moved simultaneously. The column may be designed having both the actuators located inside of the column, or both actuators may be located outside of the column.
The sleeve sections of the column move relative to one another by guide rails and cam followers located on opposing sides of the column sleeve sections. The guide rails are longitudinally extending with a pair of oppositely disposed parallel guide surfaces. The guide rails are located between the first and second sleeve sections, and the second and third sleeve sections, with accompanying cam followers for each rail. The rails are mounted on the outside and inside of the second sleeve section, and the cam followers have an eccentric diameter for adjustment against the rails. The cam followers are oppositely disposed and spaced apart and are in guiding contact with an oppositely respective disposed parallel guide surface of the guide rail. The design allows for smooth upward and downward movement of the column as well as support for heavier patients without diminishing the effectiveness of the column.
The design of the column allows easy access for maintenance, as well. Because the rail and cam followers inside the columns may be easily accessed through the top of the column without complicated disassembly of the column, a person may service the column in a quick and efficient manner.
Although the disclosure hereof is detailed and exact to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the physical embodiments herein disclosed merely exemplify the invention which may be embodied in other specific structure. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.
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Likewise, the column 14 could be designed to have more or fewer sections to make the sleeve sections, for instance the U sections 36 and 38 divided each into two corner sections. The sleeve sections 18, 20, and 22 should be interpreted broadly. Any nesting sections will fall within the scope of the sections described. Thus, the specific sections do not have to be of a closed polygonal shape, but may have an open side or open sides, providing that the specific section nests with the adjoining sleeve section or sections.
As an example,
A perspective view of the actuator 34 is shown in
The column 14 will operate most efficiently if the rails 24 and 28 are aligned along the center of the surfaces 26 (see
The columns 14 are shown to be rectangular in shape. However, the sleeve sections may be of any shape, provided that they having nesting surfaces so that the guide rails and the cam followers may interact. Also, the columns may not necessarily be of the same shape. For instance, a column may have an octagonal shape, while another may be rectangular, and the column would still fall within the scope of the invention.
The guide rails 24 and 28 are shown as being attached or secured to the column 14 sections. The term secured should be interpreted broadly to encompass any arrangement that will hold the guide rails 24 and 28 relatively connected. For instance, the guide rails may be welded or adhered to the sections. Likewise, the guide rails may be integrally formed as a section of one of the sections, which would still fall within the definition of secured as used in the specification. Provided a guide rail is connected to one of the sections in any fashion, integrally or separately, it will fall within the definition of secured as used herein.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Furthermore, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.