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Publication numberUS3115819 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 31, 1963
Filing dateMar 6, 1961
Priority dateMar 6, 1961
Publication numberUS 3115819 A, US 3115819A, US-A-3115819, US3115819 A, US3115819A
InventorsRaymond A Mahlmeister, Jesse H Straw
Original AssigneeSheffield Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Prefabricated enclosure
US 3115819 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 31, 1963 R. A. MAHLMEISTER ETAL 5,

PREFABRICATED ENCLOSURE Filed March 6, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG.4

INVENTORS RAYMOND A.MAHLMEISTER JESSE H. STRAW MI/L 2 THEIR ATTORNEY Dec. 31, 1963 R. A. MAHLMEISTER ETAL 3,115,319

PREFABRICATED ENCLOSURE Filed March 6, 1961 iNVENTORfl RAYMOND A.MAHLME|STER JEEEE H. STRAW THEIR ATTORNEY FIG.2

Dec. 31, 1963 R. A. MAHLMEISTER ETAL 3,115,819

PREFABRICATED ENCLOSURE Filed March 6 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 F I 8 INVENTORS RAYMOND A. MAHLMEISTER JESSE H. STRAW BY j MZ THEIR ATTORNEY Dec. 31, 1963 R. A. MAHLMEISTER ETAL 3,115,819

PREFABRICATED ENCLOSURE Filed March 6, 1961 v 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 I, f r

, v f as I FIG.6

INVENTORS RAYMOND A. MAHLMEISTER JESSE H. STRAW BY {WM (27% E THEIR ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,115,819 PREFABRECATED ENCLGSURE Raymond A. Mahlmeister and Jesse H. Straw, Dayton, @hio, assignors to The Sheilield Corporation, Dayton, Ghio, a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 6, M61, Ser. No. 94,118 Claims. (Cl. 98-40) This invention relates generally to an environmental controlled enclosure, and more specifically to a prefabricated environmentally controlled enclosure of modular type construction.

An increasing number of industries require environmentally conditioned working areas for a number of applications, to include the performance of laboratory experiments, precision gaging and the manufacture of precision parts, the assembly of minute mechanisms, or any situation requiring precise temperature and humidity control. Such working areas has been heretofore generally very costly to build and have been relatively permanent in nature, often times requiring extensive modification of existing facilities.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a prefabricated environmentally controlled enclosure capable of being easily and quickly assembled and disassembled.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a prefabricated enclosure adapted to be assembled within existing facilities for providing an environmentally conditioned atmosphere therein capable of being automatically and precisely controlled.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a prefabricated environmental controlled enclosure of modular type construction wherein environmentally conditioned air is uniformly distributed throughout the entire enclosure for automatically providing precise and uniform temperature and humidity control of the atmosphere therein.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a prefabricated enclosure wherein precisely controlled environmentally conditioned air is uniformly distributed throughout the entire enclosure and caused to rise up through air spaces within the walls for recirculation through the air conditioning unit.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a prefabricated enclosure of modular type construction wherein the walls thereof have vertical air passages therein and the ceiling thereof contains a plurality of openings for allowing environmentally conditioned air from a suitable air conditioning unit to be forced through the openings in the ceiling for uniform distribution throughout the entire enclosure, whereby the air enters the air passages in the walls near the floor of the enclosure and is drawn up through the passages for the dual purpose of adjusting the wall temperature to the temperature of the interior of the enclosure and recirculating a portion of the air through the air conditioning unit.

These and other objects and attendant advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent in view of the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic perspective view shown partly exploded of a prefabricated enclosure embodying the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken along the lines 22 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG- URE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken along the lines 44 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken along the lines 5-5 of FIGURE 1;

ice

FIGURE 6 is a sectional view. taken along the-line s;

66 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 7 is a schematic cross-sectional diagram show ing a portion of a modification of the present invention;

FIGURE 3 is a schematic circuit diagram including the air conditioning unit and control apparatus.

Referring now to the drawing, and in particular FIG- URE 1 thereof, there is shown a preferred embodiment of the present invention indicated generally at l. The enclosure is preferably comprised of a plurality of modular wall sections indicated generally at It and a plurality of modular roof sections indicated generally at 8. The specific air conditioning unit, to include fans, compressors, etc, may be of any suitable, commercially available type depending upon the requirements of the user for supplying environmentally conditioned air under pressure to the enclosure. It will be obvious that the exact placement of the air conditioning unit relative to the enclosure itself is not important, but may be varied depending upon spacing or other individual requirements of the user. The air conditioning unit may be attached or adjacent to the enclosure itself, but operatively connected to the enclosure by suitable ducting means. Suitable sensing means are provided within the enclosure and in the system for precisely and automatically controlling the temperature of the incoming air. Suitable humidity sensing elements may also be provided if desired. The air conditioning unit is also adapted to provide suitable dust control means, such as electrostatic filters or the like.

The enclosure is adapted to allow environmentally conditioned air to enter through the roof and be uniformly distributed throughout the entire enclosure. The wall sections it) have vertical passages defined therein toallow the air to flow up through the wall sections for recirculation through the air conditioning unit.

The wall and roof sections are fastened together in such manner as to permit rapid assembly and disassembly of the enclosure, but yet to provide a rigid structure. Thus the enclosure may be easily diassembled and moved from one location to another and then quickly reassembled. Due to the modular construction of the enclosure, the size and shape thereof may be easily changed merely by changing the number of corresponding roof and wall sections. In this manner there is provided an extremely versatile and flexible combination of prefabricated enclosure and air conditioning system adaptable for many varied uses.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, environmentally conditioned air is forced under pressure from the air conditioning unit 2 through ducts 4 into a pair of manifolds 6 mounted on top of the roof of the enclosure. The portion of the roof on which manifold 6 is mounted has therein a plurality of passages 50, which allow the incoming air to be fed into a plurality of ducts 52, one of which is attached to the underside of each section 8 and extends along the entire length thereof. If spacing requirements so dictate, the manifold 6 may be placed under the roof for direct connection to the ducts 52. Each of ducts 52 has as opening 54- on either side thereof for allowing the air to flow therefrom. It will be understood that openings 54 may take the form. of a single long opening on either side of duct 52, or may be in the form of a plurality of smaller openings extending along the entire length of duct 52. it may also be desirable to provide louvers for openings 54 in order to direct the incoming air in a downward direction.

The inner ceiling 35 is shown in parallel spaced relation to the roof of the enclosure. It is supported from roof sections 8 by suspending straps, one of which is indicated at 39, in FIGURE 2, and is attached at its periphery to the inner wall by means of brackets all, as shown in FIGURE 3. Ceiling 36 contains a plurality of spaced openings 38 therein to permit the air coming from ducts 52' to pass through openings 33 for distribution into the interior of the enclosure. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, ceiling 36 is a perforate ceiling composed of suitable material covered by a thin metallic surfacing, and is preferably divided into a number of sections for ease of handling in assembling and disassembling of the enclosure.

Referring now to FIGURE 3, there is shown an enlarged sectional view of a typical modular wall section according to the present invention. Each wall module it) is comprised of an outer wall panel 12 composed of an insulating material, such as foamed polystyrene, or the like, and an inner wall panel 16. Each outer Wall panel 12 preferably has bonded on either side thereof a metallic or plywood surfacing to provide the necessary strength and rigidity to the insulating material and also to provide a vapor barrier to aid in humidity control. It will be obvious that the specific type of surfacing, shown at 14, may be varied depending upon the use to which the enclosure is to be put. Aluminum sheeting has been found to be a very satisfactory surfacing material due to its light weig t, rigidity and ease of maintenance. However, if a stronger wall is desired, a sheet of Masonite board or the like may be bonded directly to the insulating material and a sheet of anodized aluminum bonded to the Masonite board. In this manner, a strong, rigid and yet light weight outer wall is provided.

The inner wall panel 16 is composed of an inner sheet of a rigid material, such as Masonite board or the like, and a metallic sheet bonded thereto so that the metallic sheet provides the interior wall surface for the enclosure. The exact type of metallic surfacing used on the interior may be varied to suit the use to which the enclosure is to be put. For example, if the enclosure is to be used as a clean room, it has been found desirable to have an inner surface of stainless steel to provide an easy-to-clean, dust-free surface. However, a sheet of anodized aluminum provides a preferable inner surface for most applications. Inner wall 16 is spaced from outer wall 12 by means of a plurality of Z-shaped brackets 22 which may be secured to both the outer wall and the inner wall by means of screws 32 and by spacer bars 56, as will be later described. By spacing the inner wall from the outer wall, there is provided therebetween a passage for the flow of air, as will be later described. A screened vent 34 is provided in each inner wall panel adjacent the floor of the enclosure to permit the flow of air from the interior of the enclosure into the passages.

The prefabricated enclosure of the present invention is generally erected within existing facilities, such as a machine shop or the like, wherein a suitable flooring is provided. In this case, the wall sections 310 may be attached directly to the floor of the building by means of brackets 26 which are attached to the floor by means of screws 28. Brackets 26 are secured to the outer wall section by screws 3t If the flooring in the building is not suitable, the wall sections may be secured to a floor specifically designed for use with the enclosure. Generally, however, the door construction on which the enclosure is to be placed can be of any normal type, but it must be smooth and level. If the floor is rough or irregular, a sub-flooring with some insulating capacity is preferable to prevent added effect on the temperature control. If relatively heavy machinery is to be used in the prefabricated enclosure, the isolation of the vibrations emanating from such machine may be a problem which can be surmounted by dampening devices, such as air bearings or the like.

FIGURE 4 shows another view of the outer wall panels and the inner wall panels. Each modular section is attached to its adjacent section 10 by a vertically extending spacer bar 56 composed generally of the same insulating material as used in the outer wall section 12 to provide added seal and insulation at the junctures. Spacer bar 56 is attached to the inner side of the outer wall panel by means of brackets 22. A generally flat metallic strip 65 is placed over the juncture of the adjacent inner wall panels to provide sealing means therefore, and is secured thereto by a plurality of screws 69. A molding 63 of the snap-on type is provided for engagement with strip 65 to provide a smooth surface over the juncture of the inner wall panels. A sealing strip 65 is attached to the outer juncture of the outer Wall panels by means of screws 67.

At each of the four corners of the enclosure there is provided a corner post 42 which is composed of the same insulating material as the outer Wall panels. Corner post 42; is secured to its adjacent outer wall panels by means of a right-angle bracket 44. The inner wall panels 16 are joined at the corners of the enclosure as shown in FIGURE 4. A pair of vertically extending support posts 58, composed generally of wood, are fastened adjacent the inner corner of corner post 42 by means of Z brackets 22. The inner corner of post 42 is flattened to provide access for screw 61 which holds bracket ea in place against 2 brackets 22 and also secures corner molding 62 in place.

Referring now to FIGURES 2 and 3, there is shown a duct 46 mounted between the roof and ceiling 36 and associated with the vertically extending passages between the outer and inner Wall panels of each modular wall section It Duct 46 extends peripherally of the interior of the enclosure and is provided to aid in the recirculation of the air that has passed through the enclosure, as will be later described. A return air duct 48 opens into peripheral duct 45 for the purpose of returning the air to the air conditioning unit for recirculation throughout the enclosure.

It Will be noted from FIGURE 3 that the corner arrangement between the roof section 8 and the outer wall panel 12 is similar to that between adjacent outer Wall panels 12.

FIGURE 6 shows a sectional view of an air lock 8i shown generally in FIGURE 1, which is provided to permit entry into and exit from the enclosure in order to maintain the temperature level in the enclosure at a constant level. The air lock 8t} is of the same insulating construction as the outer wall panels, and contains an inner door 34 providing access to the interior of the enclosure and an outer door 82 to provide access to the interior of the air look. It is necessary that the outer door 82 be closed before inner door 84 is opened in Order to Provide a constant temperature in the enclosure. A Vent 36 is provided inthe wall panel above inner door 34 t a l a portion of the conditioned air to now from the interio of the enclosure into the air lock, and exhaust vent $3 is provided in the outer panel 81 of the air lock in order to exhaust a portion of the air to atmosphere. It will thus be seen that there is a continuous flow of conditioned air through the air lock with the resultant effect being that the temperature within the air lock will be between that outside the air lock and that within the enclosure. In this manner a minimum amount of temperature change within the enclosure is effected when the inner door -84 of the air lock is opened.

If it is desired to move relatively heavy or bulky machinery or the like into or out of the enclosure, a pair of access doors 96 may be provided for this purpose. The access doors are hingedly mounted on adjacent outer wall sections to swing outwardly, and provision is made for the locking of access doors as from within. The spaces around doors 9% when they are in closed position are sealed by suitable sealing strips composed of rubber or the like (not shown).

A window 7% may be provided in a wall panel, if desired. The window, shown in detail in FIGURE 5, is preferably of two thicknesses of glass spaced to provide an insulating layer of air therebetween.- The glass panes 7d are sealed relative to wall section 12 by means of rubber molding strips extending the periphery of the glass panes.

When the enclosure is ready for use, environmentally conditioned air is forced from air conditioning unit 2 into manifolds 6 by means of ducts 4. The air will then flow through openings Ell in the roof of the enclosure and the ducts 52. for uniform distribution throughout the entire spacing between the roof and the inner ceiling 36. This uniform blanket of air will then flow through the openings 38 in ceiling as to descend through the interior of the enclosure until reaching vents 34 in the bottom Glf the inner wall panels adjacent the floor of the enclosure. The air will then be drawn into vents 34 and up through the vertical passages between the inner and outer wall panels and will empty into peripheral duct 46. The air is then circulated throughout peripheral duct 46 and drawn therefrom by return duct 4h; which is operably connected to air conditioning unit 2. In this manner, the temperature and humidity conditioned air is uniformly and thoroughly distributed throughout the entire volume of the enclosure, thereby eliminating any hot spots or cold spots generally caused by having only a single or a few widely spaced air outlets in a room. The cooled a-ir passing up through the passages between the outer and inner wall sections aids in cooling the inner wall sections to provide a cold wall type of cooling, which aids in achieving more uniform and precise temperature control within the enclosure. It will be obvious that the number and size of openings and vents in the system is dependent upon the volume of the interior of the enclosure, the temperature and humidity requirements, and the type of work to be carried on within the enclosure, i.e., whether or not heat generating machinery will be used in the enclosure, the number of eople Working in the enclosure, etc.

If it is desired to use the enclosure as a clean room, where the control of dust is of extreme importance, it is necessary to eliminate any corners in which dust might collect. A modification is shown in FIGURE 7, wherein the screen-ed vents 34 are removed and the interior wall 78 extends downwardly from the ceiling to a predetermined distance from the flooring '76. The corner between iloor 76 and the outer wall sections is rounded by means of a cove 74. This construction is repeated in all corners of the enclosure.

The air conditioning system utilized in conjunction with the prefabricated enclosure is shown schematically in FEGURE 8. Fresh air is brought in through intake res and passes through a preheat control element 1132 where it is heated to a predetermined temperature to provide closer regulation of the air conditioning unit itself. A suitable temperature sensing element 122, such as a thermistor or a thermocouple, is positioned adjacent control element 162 and operably connected to a control panel ill by means of wire 124 for determining the temperature of the incoming air. The temperature of the incoming air is indicated on suitable chart means, such as a circular chart recording potentiometer. If it is desired to change the temperature of the incoming air, a temperature adjustment 1-14 is provided in control panel ill) for regulating control element Hi2 through wire 12 The preheated incoming air is then fed into duct 49 and through air conditioning unit 2, which generally comprises a blower 1534, a temperature and humidity control element 166, and an expansion coil 18%. The temperature and humidity conditioned air is then forced under pressure from air conditioning unit 2 into duct 4 and is distributed throughout theenclosure as previously described. In order to maintain the pressure within the enclosure above the pressure of the outside air in order to insure an air tight enclosure, a pressure regulator 128 is provided in duct 4 and is connected to suitable indicating means (not shown) for regulating the pressure within the enclosure.

A sensing element 126 is provided within the interior of the enclosure for determining the temperature of the air therein. Sensing element 120 is similar to element 1 22, and is connected to control panel 1-10 by Wire 1318. A recording chart 113, similar to chart 1.12, is provided in control panel along with temperature adjustment lid for regula-tini the temperature of the air in the enclosure through Wire 1 16 connected to air conditioning unit 2. In this manner, the temperature of the air within the enclosure is automatically and precisely controlled, if desired, to less than one quarter of one degree F. and humidity to less than 50%.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention above described is primarily concerned with keeping the humidity of the air Within the enclosure below a predetermined value, such as 50%. This is accomplished by the con rol element 106 in air conditioning unit 2. Obviously, suitable humidity sensing elements may be placed within the enclosure and suitable humidity control apparatus may be provided if it is desired to maintain the humidity between a minimum and a maximum value.

It will be obvious that the prefabricated structure above described provides an extremely flexible enclosure which may be rapidly and easily assembled and disassembled within existing facilities to provide extremely accurate and precisely controlled temperature and humidity conditions required in many modern manufacturing operations. In addition, the details of the structure, such as the material comprising the inner wall sections, etc., may be varied for any number of applications, such as for clean rooms or the like.

It will be obvious that the scope of the present invention is not limited to the above described and illustrated preferred embodiment thereof, but that various changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

'1. A prefabricated environmental controlled enclosure, comprising a plurality of wall sections, a roof, said wall sections extending upwardly to the roof and each having an upwardly extending passage generally coextensive in area with the area of the section, means for attaching the wall sections and the roof to form an enclosure, a ceiling supported from said roof and in spaced relation therebelow and provided with a plurality of spaced openings for the dilfused distribution of air over the ceiling area, vent means in the lower portions of the wall sections in communication between the enclosure defined by said wall sections and said passages, a collecting chamber extending peripherally of the upper portion of the enclosure having openings therein communicating with the upper ends of said upwardly extending passages, provided by said Wall sections, and means for withdrawing air from said collecting chamber and circulating the air to the space above said ceiling for downward distribution from the ceiling.

2. A prefabricated enclosure comprising a plurality of wall sections, means detachably securing said wall sections together to form an enclosure, each of said wall sections comprising an outer portion of insulating material and an inner portion of relatively hard surface material spaced from said outer portion by a plurality of spacer bars to define a vertical passage therebetween, a roof attached to said wall sections, an inner ceiling having a plurality of spaced openings extending over the ceiling area and supported in spaced relation below said roof adjoining said inner wall portions at its outer periphery, duct means positioned between said roof and said ceiling providing collection chamber means having openings therealong communicating with the upper ends of the various vertical passages in the wall sections, vent means positioned in said inner wall portions adjacent their lower ends in communication between the enclosure defined by said wall portions and said vertical passages, and means operatively connected to said duct means and a source a of environmental conditioned air for withdrawing air from said enclosure through said vent means upwardly through the wall sections into said duct means and recirculating the air over the ceiling for diffused distribution through the ceiling into the enclosure.

3. A prefabricated environmental controlled enclosure comprising a roof, a plurality of wall sections extending upwardly to the roof and composed of an outer portion r" insulating material and an inner portion of relatively hard surfaced material spaced from the outer portion to define a vertical passage therebetween, means for attach ing the wall sections and the roof together to form an enclosure, a ceiling supported from said roof and spaced therefrom adjoining said inner wall portions at its outer periphery and having a plurality of spaced openings therein for diffused distribution of air over the ceiling area, vent means in the lower portions of the inner wail portions communicating between the enclosure defined by said wall portions and the passages in the wail sections, an air collecting chamber extending along and above the upper portions of the inner wall sections having openings therein in communication with said passages and having a discharge pipe connected to a source of environmental conditioned air, a supply pipe extending over the roof and connected to the discharge side of said source, a plurality of vents in said roof in communication with said pipe, and distribution ducts extending between the roof and said ceiling and in communication with the vents in the roof for the distribution of air over the ceiling.

4. A prefabricated environmentally controlled enclosure, comprising a plurality of wall sections, each such wall section comprising an insulated outer portion and an inner Wall portion fastened to the respective outer wall portion and spaced therefrom to form an upwardly extending return passage generally coextensive in area with the area of each section and treminating below the upper end of the respective outer wall portion, means detachably conecting said outer wall sections together at their vertical edges to form an enclosure, insulated roof sections detachably fastened to and interconnecting said outer wall sections, a ceiling adjoining said inner wall portions supported in spaced relation below said roof and having a plurality of spaced openings therein for diffused distribution of air supplied between said roof sections and said ceiling into the enclosure defined by said inner wall sections and said ceiling, vent means at the lower portion of each wall section providing an opening for the flow of air from within said enclosure to each of said upwardly extending passages to surround said inner wall portions with a blanket of returning air within said outer insulated wall portions, a collection chamber generally adjacent to the perimeter of the ceiling arranged between said roof and said ceiling and having an opening therein communicating with the upper end of each of said passages, air supply means arranged between said roof and said ceiling for uniform distribution of conditioned air above said ceiling through a pluralty of spaced outlets, and means operatively connected to said collection chamber and to a source of environmentally conditioned air for withdrawing air upwardly through said passages and returning conditioned air through said air supply means for supplying the air over the ceiling for diffused distribution through the celing.

5. A prefabricated environmentally controlled enclosure as set forth in claim 4 wherein the upper ends of said inner wall portions terminate above said ceiling defining the upper ends of said return passages communicating directly with said collection chamber, the outer walls of said collection chamber being provided by the respective inner surfaces of said roof and outer wall portions.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNiTED STATES PATENTS 706,327 Lawrence Aug. 5, 1902 1,814,979 Taylor July 14, 1931 2,206,119 Persons July 2, 1940 2,291,220 Ger-monprez July 28, 1942 2,532,268 Christmann Nov. 28, 1950 2,707,426 Cooper May 3, 1955 2,915,791 Hauf Dec. 8, 1959

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Classifications
U.S. Classification454/187, 454/228, D25/33, 55/DIG.290, 454/251
International ClassificationE04H1/12
Cooperative ClassificationE04H1/12, Y10S55/29
European ClassificationE04H1/12