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Publication numberUS3306344 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 28, 1967
Filing dateOct 11, 1965
Priority dateOct 11, 1965
Publication numberUS 3306344 A, US 3306344A, US-A-3306344, US3306344 A, US3306344A
InventorsYoungs Wilbur R
Original AssigneeR L Kuss And Company Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flexible closure
US 3306344 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 28, 1967 w. R. YOUNGS 3,306,344

- FLEXIBLE CLOSURE Fi led Oct. 11. 1965 I Z1 I I E FIE-5 mvmwozz;

I I/ELBUR l2. S TJUNG s.

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United States Patent ()fiflce 3,306,344 Patented Feb. 28, 1967 3,306,344 FLEXHBLE CLOSURE Wilbur R. Youngs, Findlay, Ohio, assignor to R. L. Kuss and Company, Inc., Findlay, Ohio, a corporation of bio Filed Oct. 11, 1965, Ser. No. 494,787 Claims. (Cl. 160241) This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Serial No. 307,482, filed September 9, 1963, now Patent No. 3,211,211, dated October 12, 1965.

This invention relates to a flexible door or closure for use in separating or partitioning large spaces or for closing off large doorways as in aircraft hangars and the like.

More particularly, this invention relates to a flexible closure or partition which may be opened or closed by means of one or more rigid, elongate rollers which extend horizontally across the space to be closed and is attached to the membrane or membranes comprising the door whereby rotation of the roller will cause it to roll itself within the membrane and/ or will roll the membrane upon it as it moves upwardly toward the top of the door frame, thus removing the membrane from its former position across the door frame.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a pair of approximately equal sized flexible membranes extend across the door frame or space to be divided, one of said membranes having its upper edge secured along the top frame member or header of the building structure and its lower edge secured to a rigid roller which extends across the door frame or space to be divided in a position parallel to the upper frame member or header and approximately halfway between the header and the floor or ground. The second of said membranes has its upper end attached to the rigid roller and its lower end extends across the space adjacent to or in contact with the floor or ground.

As will be apparent from the following detailed description, the flexible closure of this invention in which the roller is attached to an intermediate point in the total vertical span of the closure has the advantage that, when a rotational force or torque is imparted to the roller, it simultaneously (1) rolls itself upwardly into the upward membrane and at the same time (2) rolls the lower membrane upon it. Thus the flexible closure of this invention may be completely opened or removed from the space by moving the roller only half the vertical distance between the floor and the upper limits of the space to be divided or the door frame header.

It will also be apparent that the principles of this invention may be utilized in a flexible closure having two or more rollers secured to the closure membrane or membranes at appropriate distances from each other, each roller being provided with a rotating or torquing means so that each roller simultaneously rolls itself upon the membrane extending above it while rolling up the membrane extending below it.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a flexible closure for a door space or internal space to be partitioned which is capable of being quickly and conveniently opened and closed in which, because of the provision of a rigid roller at an intermediate point between the upper and lower limits of the building frame, provides added rigidity for the closure against wind resistance.

It is another object of this invention to provide an improved flexible closure which is quickly and conveniently opened or closed by unrolling or rolling itself upon a traveling roller secured to an intermediate point on the closure membrane or membranes in which, because the lowest edge of the closure membrane is not attached to a roller, may be conveniently provided with a rigid member which may be locked in place to the floor or ground when the closure is in its lowermost closed position.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following detailed description thereof, reference being made to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a view in perspective of a preferred embodiment of this invention, showing the flexible closure as it would be secured to the framework of a building such as an aircraft hangar, with the closure shown in its lower or closed position and illustrating one means for applying a torque to the rigid roller;

FIGURE 2 is a cross-sectional view, shown on an enlarged scale and taken along line 22 of FIGURE 1, showing the method in which the roller is guided along a track secured to the adjacent building frame members;

FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view in elevation, taken along line 33 of FIGURE 1 and showing the manner in which the upper and lower membranes are secured to the rigid roller;

FIGURE 4 is a cross-sectional view in elevation similar to FIGURE 3 but showing another embodiment in which a single membrane is secured at its midpoint to the rigid roller; and

FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional view in elevation similar to FIGURES 3 and 4 but schematically showing another embodiment of this invention in which two rigid rollers are used to elevate and lower three separate membranes which, when in extended position, comprise a complete door closure.

Referring first to FIGURE 1, a pair of vertical side jambs wand 11 extend upwardly from the floor or ground G and an upper frame member or header 12 is secured to the side jambs 10 and 11 and extends horizontally between them to form a frame for the door or space to be closed. The flexible closure includes an upper membrane 13 and a lower membrane 14 having a width approximately equal to the distance between the side jambs 10 and 11 and having a height, when extended, of approximately one-half the distance between the header 12 and ground G. The upper edge of the upper membrane 13 is secured to the inner surface of the header 12 by any suitable means. For example, a plurality of spaced apart hooks 1,5 are attached to the inner surface of the header 12 and a rigid reinforcing rod 16 is sewed or otherwise attached to the upper edge of the upper membrane 13. The hooks 15 extend through holes or grommets in the upper membrane 13 and carry the rod 16 and thus the upper membrane 13.

The roller, generally designated by reference numeral 17, comprises a rigid cylindrical shaft which extends horizontally along the lower edge of the upper membrane 13 with its ends adjacent the side jambs 10 and 11. As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 3, the shaft has a pair of diametrically opposed axially extending grooves 18 and 19 which receive the lower edge of the upper membrane 13 and the upper edge of the lower membrane 14, respectively. These edges are secured within the grooves 18 and 19 by appropriate mechanical or adhesive bonding means.

The lower membrane 14 extends from the roller 17 downwardly to the ground G and a reinforcing member or angle iron 20 is secured to this lower edge of the lower membrane 14. Suitable locking uneans (not shown) may be mounted in the floor or ground G directly below the angle iron 20 for releasable attachment thereto, so that the entire closure may be held closed and under tension, as will be subsequently explained.

A guide wheel 22, as seen in FIGURE 2, extends from each end of the roller 17 and a U-shaped track 23 is secured to each of the side jambs and 11 by a plurality of angle braces 24. The guide tracks 23 guide the vertical path of the roller 17 as it travels from its position shown in FIGURE 1, approximately midpoint between the header 12 and the ground G, to its upper position, shown in phantom in FIGURE 1, closely adjacent the header 12. Because, in this embodiment the roller does not travel below its position shown in FIGURE 1, the guide track 23 need not extend along the side jarnbs 10 and 11 to the ground G, but may terminate as shown in FIGURE 1.

Referring again to FIGURE 2, a reduction gear box 25 is secured to one end of the roller 17 with its output end keyed to the roller 17 for rotation therewith and its input end or shaft 26 extending radially outward from the gearbox housing 25. An electric motor 27 is secured to a pivot arm 28 with its output shaft keyed to or integral with the input shaft 26 of the gearbox 25, as shown in FIGURE 1. The pivot arm 28 is attached to an upright frame member 29 by a pin 30 which extends through an elongate slot 31 in the upright frame member 29. Flexible electrical cables (not shown) extend from the motor 27 to a conveniently placed control panel and power source.

With the closure in extended or closed position, as shown in FIGURE 1, when torque is applied to the roller 17 from the motor 27 through the gearbox 25 in a clockwise direction, as viewed from the motor end of the roller 17 and as indicated by the arrow in FIGURE 3, the roller will roll itself upon the upper membrane 13, moving upwardly along the track 23 toward the header 12 and at the same time will roll the lower member membrane 14 upon itself. Because the heights of the membranes 13 and 14 are approximately equal, and further because one revolution of the roller 17 will roll equal amounts of the membranes 13 and 14, the roller 17, when it reaches its uppermost position as shown in phantom in FIGURE 1, will also have rolled substantially all of both the membranes 13 and 14 upon it. Consequently, the roller 17 which travels only one-half of the vertical distance between the header 12 and the ground G, causes the entire distance to be covered or uncovered by the membranes 13 and 14. This has the advantage over devices in which a rotating roller is secured to the lowermost edge of a single membrane at the ground level in that, for a given speed of rotation, the opening and closing of the closure is twice as fast with the door of the present invention. In addition to this advantage, it will be seen from inspection of FIGURE 3, that the outside surfaces of the membranes 13 and 14, as indicated by reference numeral 32, are at no time exposed to the other side or interior parts of the building which would be to the left of the path of the roller as shown in FIGURE 3. This is advantageous when the closure is used in aircraft hangers and the like when the outside surface 32 may become wet or muddy and it is desirable to keep moisture, etc. from the interior of the hanger. It is also apparent that, because the roller 17 does not travel below the vertical midpoint of the closure frame, the flexible door of this invention is less exposed to the possible hazard of personnel being caught in the roller or of foreign objects, such as small tools, being dropped between the roller and the membrane and consequently rolled up therein.

When the entire closure is in its lowermost position as shown in FIGURE 1, the angle iron 20 may be secured through appropriate locking means mounted in the ground G and when torque is imparted to the roller 17 from the motor 27, both membranes 13 and 14 will become taut. These membranes will remain taut when power to the motor 27 is turned off, due to the high reverse torque characteristics of the reduction gearbox 25. As previously explained, the rigid roller 17 and the angle iron 20 both provide a rigid horizontal brace to assist the membranes 13 and 14 in resisting high wind loads, etc.

Because the roller 17 may be stopped at any position along the tracks 23, it is preferable that the membranes 13 and 14, when fully extended as seen in FIGURE 3, are not completely unwound from the roller 17. This provides a certain amount of flexibility in the length or vertical height of the closure which may be necessary to compensate for certain dimensional phanges in the flexible membranes 13 and 14 due to temperature variations, etc. The membranes 13 and 14 are preferably made of a flexible waterproof fabric such as nylon which may be impregnated to increase its suitability for this use.

In the embodiment shown in FIGURE 4, a single membrane 33 is used in place of the separate upper and lower membranes 13 and 14 of the embodiment shown in FIG- URE 3. The single membrane is folded and secured within an axial groove 18 in the roller 17, with one side of the fold extending upwardly to form the upper portion 33a of the closure and the other side of the fold extending downwardly to form the lower portion 33b of the closure. The operation of the closure of this embodiment is similar to that previously described, and as shown in FIGURE 4, the membrane 33 is not fully unrolled from the roller 17 when the closure is fully extended, in order to allow for necessary height adjustment due to dimensional changes.

In the embodiment shown in FIGURE 5, a pair of rollers 17a and 17b are attached to the edges of an upper membrane 34, an intermediate membrane 35 and a lower membrane 36. The upper edge of the upper membrane 34 is secured to the header 12 while the lower edge of the lower membrane 36 is secured to an angle iron 20. In this embodiment, when the closure is fully extended, the distance between the axes of the rollers 17a and 17b must be approximately twice the distance between the axis of the roller 17a and the top of the upper membrane 34 and the axis of the roller 17b and the lower edge of the lower membrane 36. These distances, d and 2d, are schematically indicated on FIGURE 5.

Each of the rollers 17a and 17b is provided with its own separate torque means, such as the motor 27 and reduction gearbox 25. When the rollers 17a and 17b are simultaneously turned at the same speed, the roller 1711 will move upwardly, rolling itself upon the upper membrane 34 while at the same time rolling up the top half of the intermediate membrane 35 while the roller 17b will roll itself up upon the lower half of the intermediate membrane 35 while rolling up the lower membrane 36. Thus it will be apparent that each of the rollers 17a and 17b travel only one-fourth of the total height of the closure member in order to open or close the closure member extending from the header 12 to the ground G. This embodiment further increases the speed with which a tall space may be opened or closed and has the other advantages previously enumerated with reference to the previously described embodiment. Furthermore, for structures having an extremely high vertical space or door to be closed or partitioned, additional rollers having separate torque imparting means and connected by separate membranes may be used, as long as the relative spacing between the axes of each of the rollers as described with reference to FIGURE 5 is maintained. Each additional roller, of course, provides an additional rigid brace extending across the opening when the closure is in fully extended position. Closures having a plurality of rollers may be advantageously used for opening and closing the extremely high doors required currently in aero-space projects for permitting the passage of vertically positioned rockets, gantry, cranes and the like.

It is also possible, in the embodiment of FIGURE 5. to include an additional horizontal brace 37 at the midpoint of the intermediate membrane 35 to further reinforce the closure. When the rollers 17a and 17b are at their uppermost position the brace 37, at the midpoint of the membrane 35 would be closely adjacent each roller 17a and 17 b but not rolled thereon.

It is desirable that both rollers 17a and 17b of the FIGURE 5 embodiment be guided in vertical movement along a common track 23 on each side of the closure. With the axes of the rollers 17a and 17b in vertical alignment in a common track 23, the intermediate membrane 35 would be at a slight angle from the vertical, (rather than perfectly vertical as shown in FIGURE 5), because the intermediate membrane is rolled upon opposite sides of the rollers 17a and 17b. This slight departure from the vertical plane does not adversely affect the operation of the flexible closure.

In certain installations it may be desirable to substitute, in place of the drive motor 27 and gearbox 25, a manual means for raising and lowering the roller 17. Such systems including the use of pulleys and windlasses which directly apply a torque to the roller 17 and cables for maintaining tension upon the bottom edge of the closure will be apparent to those skilled in the art. In addition, it may be desirable to provide guide means similar to the tracks 23 for guiding the upward and downward movement of the angle iron 20.

Other objects and advantages of the above described invention and modifications thereto will be apparent to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the following claims.

I claim:

1. A flexible closure for an opening defined by an elevated horizontal header, a pair of vertical side members and a base, comprising, in combination, a flexible curtain having an upper edge secured to said horizontal header and extending downwardly between said side members and terminating in a lower edge, a plurality of rollers extending horizontally between said side members and secured to and supported by said flexible curtain, said rollers being equally spaced in vertical distance from one another on said flexible curtain, when said curtain is fully extended, and means mechanically coupled to and coacting directly with each of said rollers at at least one extremity for directly applying a rotational force thereto and for simultaneously rotating each of said rollers at the same speed whereby when the closure is being opened, each of said rollers will move upwardly as they roll themselves upon portions of said flexible curtain above them and will roll upon themselves portions of said curtain below them.

2. The flexible closure of claim 1 wherein the vertical distance between the uppermost of said rollers and said upper edge of said curtain and the vertical distance between the lowermost of said rollers and said lower edge of said curtain is substantially one-half the vertical distance between each of said rollers.

3. A flexible closure for an opening defined by an elevated horizontal header, a pair of vertical side mem bers and a base, comprising, in combination, a flexible curtain having an upper edge secured to said horizontal header and extending downwardly between said side members and terminating in a lower edge, a first roller ex tending horizontally between said side members and se cured to and supported by said flexible curtain at a vertical distance from said upper edge which is substantially one-fourth the distance from said upper edge to said lower edge of said curtain when fully extended, and a second roller extending horizontally between 'said side members and secured to and supported by said flexible curtain at a vertical distance from said lower edge which is substantially one-fourth the distance from said upper to said lower edges of said curtain when fully extended, and means mechanically coupled to and coacting directly with each of said rollers at at least one extremity for directly applying a rotational force thereto and for simultaneously rotating each of said rollers at the same speed whereby when the closure is being opened, each of said rollers will move upwardly as they roll themselves upon portions of said flexible curtain above them and will roll upon themselves portions of said curtain below them.

4. The flexible closure of claim 3 which further in cludes a vertically extending guide track on each of said side members and guide means on each end of each of said rollers cooperating with said guide tracks whereby said rollers are guided in vertical movement up and down along said tracks.

5. The flexible closure of claim 3 which further includes an elongate reinforcing member extending horizontally between said side members and secured to said flexible curtain at a vertical position halfway between said first and said second rollers.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 77,499 5/ 1868 Legg 243 X 1,469,150 9/1923 Church 160-121 1,692,707 11/1928 Sears 160121 1,786,084 12/1930 Phinn 160320 2,254,459 9/ 19-41 Swauda 160-243 X 3,211,211 10/1965 Youngs 160-243 HARRISON R. MOSELEY, Primary Examiner. P. M. CAUN, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification160/241
International ClassificationE06B9/24, E06B9/40
Cooperative ClassificationE06B9/40
European ClassificationE06B9/40