|Publication number||US20050247842 A1|
|Application number||US 10/842,115|
|Publication date||Nov 10, 2005|
|Filing date||May 10, 2004|
|Priority date||May 10, 2004|
|Also published as||CA2483062A1|
|Publication number||10842115, 842115, US 2005/0247842 A1, US 2005/247842 A1, US 20050247842 A1, US 20050247842A1, US 2005247842 A1, US 2005247842A1, US-A1-20050247842, US-A1-2005247842, US2005/0247842A1, US2005/247842A1, US20050247842 A1, US20050247842A1, US2005247842 A1, US2005247842A1|
|Original Assignee||Grzegorz Wronski|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (41), Referenced by (19), Classifications (6), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This disclosure generally relates to support brackets on an extensible column mounted between two surfaces such as ceiling attachment fittings, and, more particularly, to hanger bar assemblies for recessed luminaires.
The “INESA Lighting Handbook” published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, is incorporated by reference here in its entirety. As discussed in chapter seven of that handbook, a “luminaire” is a device for producing, controlling, and distributing light. It is typically a complete lighting unit consisting of one or more lamps, sockets for positioning and protecting the lamps and for connecting the lamps to a supply of electric power, optical devices for distributing the light, and mechanical components for supporting or attaching the luminaire. Luminaires are also sometimes referred to as “light fixtures.”
Luminaires are usually classified by their application, such as residential, commercial, or industrial. However, a particular luminaire can often be used in more than one application, depending upon its performance characteristics. For example, recessed downlights are used in both commercial and residential applications where they are typically mounted behind a ceiling wall with an opening to produce illuminance on floor or workplane below.
These “recessed downlights” are typically categorized in one of two groups. Incandescent, compact fluorescent, and metal-halide lamp downlights usually have relatively small apertures so as to provide low luminance at high viewing angles. Fluorescent lamp troffers, on the other hand, use long, tubular lamps that are typically suspended in tile ceiling systems. However, incandescent, compact fluorescent, and metal-halide downlights can also be suspended in tiles ceilings and recessed lighting systems can be provided in a variety of other configurations.
Various support systems have been employed to carry recessed luminaires in buildings and other structures. For example, recessed fixtures are often suspended between joists, or other parallel support structures, on a pair of “hanger bars” or “bar hangars” extending between the joists. Similar hangar bars arrangements are used to suspend recessed downlights between the rails in a suspended, tile ceiling.
These conventional hanger bars are often formed in one-piece with a fixed length so as to provide adequate structural rigidity at a relatively low cost. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,505,419 to Gabrius (assigned at issuance to Juno Lighting) is incorporated by reference here in its entirety and discloses a one-piece bar hanger having a stiffening rib that extends along substantially the entire length of the bar hanger. In order to change its length, the bar must be broken along a single score line. Since the length of the hanger bar cannot be variably adjusted, its use is often limited to joists, or other supports, having a standard and consistent spacing.
Hanger bars have also been devised with an adjustable two-piece configuration. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,029,794 to Wolfe (assigned at issuance to Prescolite) is incorporated by reference here and discloses a pair of bar hanger elements that are nested in a slidable relationship relative to each other. Each bar hanger element is identical in construction with an elongated slot and two retaining projections.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,723,747 to Karp et al. (assigned at issuance to Capri Lighting) is also incorporated by reference here and discloses a two-piece bar hanger with an elongated slot as well as a longitudinally extended “dome,” or projection, to facilitate nesting. One of the hanger bar elements has an arrow-shaped retaining projection while the other hanger bar element has a foot-like retaining projection that is received within the slot.
As with single-piece hangar bars, two-piece hangar bars may be trimmed for use with smaller joist spacings. However, these hanger bar assemblies must generally be disassembled prior to altering their length. Furthermore, while such two-piece arrangements permit installation between supports or joists of various spacings, they generally suffer from a lack of stability that fails to provide adequate support for the suspended luminaire, especially the hanger is installed in its fully-extended, or nearly fully-extended, position.
In this regard, U.S. Pat. No. 6,076,788 to Akiyama (assigned at issuance to Cooper Industries) is incorporated by reference here and discloses a hanger bar assembly with a first bar hanger having a plurality of longitudinal slots, each separated by a reinforcing formation. A second hanger bar member having a plurality of spaced retaining projections is interfitted with the first hanger bar member. At least one of the retaining projections engages at least one of the slots in order to couple the hanger bar members as they are extended longitudinally.
Each of the Akiyama hanger bar members may also include a score line for allowing a portion of the hanger bar member to be removed in order to reduce the overall length of the hanger bar assembly. Although such hanger bar assemblies generally provide adequate support in their fully-extended position, the hanger bar members must be separated in order to change their length by breaking each member along its score line.
These and other drawbacks of such conventional technologies are addressed here by providing a luminaire, such as a recessed downlight, with a hanger bar assembly including a first hanger bar member having an elongated slot and a second hanger bar member adjacent to the first hanger bar member. The second hanger bar member includes at least three retaining projections extending into the elongated slot, for slidably engaging the first hanger bar member.
The hanger bar assembly may also include at least one bridge spanning the elongated slot, thereby forming a first slot portion and a second slot portion separated by a first distance. The adjacent retaining projections are separated by a second distance that is greater than the first distance and the retaining projections can slide beneath the bridge. A second bridge may also be disposed on a proximal end of the first hanger bar. The second bridge spans an end of the elongated slot and is configured such that the retaining projections slide beneath the second bridge and out of the elongated slot.
Other embodiments of the hanger bar assembly may include a retaining tab disposed adjacent and opposite the second bridge. The retaining tab is configured for slidably engaging the second hanger bar member as the retaining projections exit the elongated slot. Therefore, the retaining tab helps maintain the second hanger bar member adjacent the first hanger bar member.
Yet another embodiment may include a first attachment structure disposed on the first hanger bar member and a second attachment structure disposed on the second hanger bar member. The first and second attachment structures are configured to allow the first and second hanger bar members to slidably extend there beyond, respectively.
A first score line may be disposed on the first hanger bar member between the bridge and a distal end, the first score line intersecting the elongated slot, and a second score line disposed on the second hanger bar member between a proximal end of the second hanger bar member and the retaining projections. The score lines are positioned such that the first score line extends beyond the second attachment member and the second score line extends beyond the first attachment member when the hanger bar assembly is in a fully retracted position. The second hanger bar member may further include a scoring aperture extending therethrough and intersecting the second score line.
The first and second attachment members may also include an integral mounting tab and a mounting aperture where the suspended member includes a plurality of opposed attachment tabs for slidably engaging the first and second hanger bar members. The suspended member may further include a securing arrangement for locking the first hanger bar member, the second hanger bar member, and the suspended member in position relative to each other.
Yet another embodiment of a hanger bar assembly includes a first hanger bar member having an elongated slot and a bridge, the bridge spanning the elongated slot. A second hanger bar member is adjacent the first hanger bar member and includes a plurality of retaining projections extending into the elongated slot and slidably engaging the first hanger bar member. The retaining projections are configured to slide beneath the bridge.
Yet another embodiment of this technology offers a luminaire with means for providing illumination. The illumination means is supported by first and second hanger bar members where the first hanger bar member has an elongated slot and the second hanger bar includes means for retaining the second hanger bar member adjacent the first hanger bar member. The means for retaining extends into the elongated slot and slidably engages the first hanger bar member. The first and second hanger bar members further include means for attaching the first and the second hanger bar members to a respective support structure, the means being disposed on a proximal end of each of the first and second hanger bar members.
Also disclosed here is a method of assembling a hanger bar assembly by slidably engaging a first hanger bar member including a first proximal end and a first distal end with a second hanger bar member including a second distal end and a second proximal end such that the first and second bar hanger members are adjacent to each other. The first and second hanger bar members are slid relative to each other such that the first distal end extends beyond the second proximal end and the second distal end extends beyond the first proximal end. An unwanted portion is removed from each of the first and second distal ends and the first and second proximal ends are attached to an adjacent support member. For example, the first and second hanger bar members may be kept adjacent to each other during the removing step.
Various aspects of the invention will now be described with reference to the following figures (“FIGs.”) in which the same reference numerals are used to designate corresponding parts throughout each of the several views.
The hanger bar assemblies 102 support what is broadly referred to here as a suspended member 106. In
As illustrated in
The first hanger bar member 120 includes an elongated slot 130 which is spanned by a first reinforcing bridge 140 to form a first slot portion 131 and a second slot portion 133. In its preferred form, the first slot portion 131 of the elongated slot 130 has a first width 132 near its first end 122 that extends along a substantial portion of its length. The elongated slot 130 may also include a second width 134 at the other end, which is greater than the first width 134. As shown in
An angled transitional surface 136 (best illustrated in
A first score line 138 may be formed across the width of the first hanger bar member 120. The precise form and dimensions of the score line 138 can vary widely. However, the example illustrated here, the first score line 138 is a straight line and is approximately 0.02 inches deep. In the event that it becomes necessary to fit between relatively narrowly spaced support members, the first hanger bar member 120 can be broken along first score line 138 to shorten its length.
A second reinforcing bridge 142 reaches from one end of the second slot portion 133 to a second end 124 of the first hanger bar member 120. The second slot portion 133 also includes first width 132, which extends along a substantial portion of the longitudinal dimension of the slot portion 133, and wider a second width 134. The second width 134 is provided at both ends of the second slot portion 133 which may also include a transition sections similar to transition section 134 in the slot portion 131.
Also provided at the second end 124 of the first hangar bar member 120 is an attachment structure 144 for securing hangar bar member to a support, such as a wooden joist. The attachment structure 144 may be integrally formed with the first hanger bar member 120, as illustrated here, or it may be separately formed and subsequently attached to the second end 124.
The attachment structure 144 includes an end mounting plate 146 having a hole or aperture 148 and an integral mounting tab 150. For example, the end mounting plate 146 may be cut and folded to form the aperture 148 and tab 150. The attachment structure 144 can be secured to a support member or joist by striking the tab 150 with a hammer, thereby driving the free end into the support member or joist. The wedge shaped serrations 152 facilitate entry of the tab 150 into the support member and also further act to retain the tab 150 within the support member.
As best shown in
A second hanger bar member 160 nests with the first hanger bar member 120 an includes a first end 162 with chamfered corners 164 similar to the chamfered corners 126 of the first hanger bar member 120. First, second, and third retaining projections 166, 167, and 168 are provided near the first end 162 of the second hangar bar member 160. The retaining projections 166, 167 and 168 may be cut from the surface of the second hanger bar member 160 and unfolded to provide the form illustrated in
The retaining projections 166, 167 and 168 are received within the first and/or second slot portions 131 and 133 of the first hanger bar member 120 in order to couple the hanger members 120 and 160 together in a longitudinally adjustable manner. The head of each retaining projection is greater in width than the first width 132 the slot portions 131 and 133, but is smaller than the second width 134. As best illustrated in
A second score line 170 may be provided across the width of the second hanger bar member 160. As with the first score line 138, the precise form and depth may vary widely according to the material strength and thickness of the hanger bar members. For example, the second score line 170 may be a straight line formed to a depth of approximately 0.02 inches. Since second hanger bar member 160 is of a solid cross-section, unlike the slotted first hanger bar member 120, it is more difficult to break along the second score line 170. Therefore, an optional score window or aperture 172 may be provided in the area of the score line 170 in order to facilitate breakage of the second hanger bar member. Additional score lines may be provided on the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160, thereby allowing the hanger bar members 120 and 160 to break off at varying lengths for accommodating plaster plates 110 of varying size.
In the event that it becomes necessary to fit the hanger bar assembly 102 into a relatively narrow space, the second hanger bar member 160 may be broken along the second score line 170. As shown in
Another attachment structure 144 is provided at the second end 164 of the second hangar bar member 160. As with the first hanger bar member 120, the attachment structure 144 can be of any suitable form. In one form, the attachment structure 144 disposed at the second end 164 has the same construction as the first attachment structure located at the second end 124 of the first hanger bar member 120. The elements of such an attachment structure 144 have been previously described in connection with the description of first hanger bar member 120. However, in the embodiment illustrated here, a gap 154 is formed on the end mounting plate 146 such that a portion of the first hanger bar member 120 can slide beyond the attachment structure 144 when the hanger bar assembly 102 is in a retracted position.
As mentioned above, the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160 are secured together in a nested manner. In this regard, the first hanger bar member 120 has a first surface 121 that faces the second hanger bar 160 when assembled, and a second opposing surface 123. The second hanger bar member 160 includes a third surface 161 which faces away from the first hanger bar 120 when assembled, and a fourth surface 163 which faces the first hanger bar 120. When the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160 are connected, the first and fourth surfaces 121 and 163 are received within each other in a nesting relationship. The second surface 123 faces outwardly (e.g., away from the suspended member 106) and the third surface 161 faces inwardly (e.g, toward the suspended member 106).
As previously noted, the retaining projections 166, 167 and 168 may pass freely through the second width 134 without interference. The larger second width areas 134 facilitate the assembly of the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160. For example, in one method of assembly, the first end 122 of the first hanger bar member 120 is inserted through the gap 154 formed between the fourth surface 163 and end mounting plate 146 of the second hanger bar member 160. The first hanger bar member 120 is then slid longitudinally until at least the second width 134 portion formed on the second bridge 142 has cleared the third retaining projection 168.
The first hanger bar member 120 is then urged toward the second hanger bar member 160 until the first surface 121 of the first hanger bar member 120 is adjacent the fourth surface 163 of the second hanger bar member 160. The third retaining projection 168 is first passed through the second width 134 near the second reinforcing bridge 142. The second hanger bar 160 is then moved back relative to the first hanger bar member 120 in the direction of the first end 122.
The third retaining projection 168 travels in the first width 132 of the second slot portion 133. The second and first retaining projections 167 and 166 are then inserted through the second width 134 near the second reinforcing bridge 142. As the second hanger bar member 160 is moved toward the first end 122, the second and first retaining projections 167 and 166 subsequently engage the first width portion 132 of the second slot portion 133, thereby securing the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160.
Once the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160 are connected, the resulting hanger bar assembly 102 is freely adjustable in a lengthwise, or longitudinal, direction. The hanger bar assembly 102 is shown in its fully extended position in
One advantage of the illustrated configuration is that, as the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160 are moved relative to each other, at least two of the retaining projections 166, 167 and 168 are engaged within one of the elongated slot portions 131 and 133. (One exception to this mode of operation occurs when both the first and second projections 166 and 167, or all of the projections, have been passed through the second width 134 of slot portion 133 proximate the second reinforcing bridge 142.) As illustrated in
As illustrated in
The cross-sectional details of the hanger bar assembly according to the present invention are best illustrated in
The first and second reinforcing formations 140 and 142 each have a generally concave reinforcing depression 143 disposed along first surface 121 and a generally convex reinforcing protrusion 145 or ridge formed along the second surface 123. As illustrated for example in
Various embodiments of the present invention may also include a securing arrangement such as the one illustrated in
As the securing fastener 180 is tightened, it comes into contact with a surface of the second hanger bar member 160. As a result of this contact, the first and second hanger bars 120 and 160 come into firmer engagement with each other as well as with the attachment tabs 112. Therefore, this increased contact pressure prevents both the first and second hanger bar members 120 and 160 from moving relative to each other and the hanger bar members 120 and 160 from moving relative to the attachment tabs 112 and the plaster plate 110.
Although various preferred embodiments have been discussed here, numerous other embodiments of the present invention are envisioned. For example, the first bar hanger 120 member may include more than one reinforcing bridge 140 spanning the elongated slot 130, with more than two slot portions will exist. Similarly, as few as two retaining projections may be disposed on the second hanger bar member 160. In yet another variation, the gap 154 may be removed from the attached structures 144 where the structures do not extend far enough down so as to impede the passage of the front end of either bar member 120, 160 or the retaining projections.
It should be emphasized that the embodiments described above, and particularly any “preferred” embodiments, are merely examples of various implementations that have been set forth here to provide a clear understanding of various aspects of the invention. One of ordinary skill will be able to alter many of these embodiments without substantially departing from scope of protection defined solely by the proper construction of the following claims.
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|International Classification||A47H1/10, F21V21/04, F21V21/00|
|May 10, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: COOPER TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WRONSKI, GRZEGORZ;REEL/FRAME:015321/0330
Effective date: 20040507