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Publication numberUS3721215 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 20, 1973
Filing dateAug 13, 1971
Priority dateAug 13, 1971
Also published asCA958605A1
Publication numberUS 3721215 A, US 3721215A, US-A-3721215, US3721215 A, US3721215A
InventorsSwenck G, Vickstrom D
Original AssigneeReynolds Metals Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Connector-spacer and floor construction using same
US 3721215 A
Abstract
An improved connector-spacer for holding together in spaced parallel relation a plurality of floor-forming channel members which have substantially vertically arranged side walls terminating in bottom fastening flanges and a floor construction using such connector-spacer are provided. The connector-spacer has a plurality of upwardly and laterally extending fastening legs each defining a recess which is adapted to receive an associated fastening flange therewithin and each channel member is made of a resilient material which provides a normal resiliency therefor and holds its fastening flanges within associated recesses and in grasping contact against such fastening legs. The connector-spacer has integral means retaining an associated fastening flange of a channel member within an associated recess to assure each member is held firmly in position even after extended use.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Vickstrom et al.

[ 1March 20, 1973 CONNECTOR-SPACER AND FLOOR CONSTRUCTION USING SAIVIE [73] Assignee: Reynolds Metals Richmond, Va.

22 Filed: Aug. 13, 1971 21 Appl.No.: 171,529

Company,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1970 Johnson 1/1966 Taylor et al. ..1 19/28 Primary Examiner--Hugh R. Chamblee Attorney-John F. C. Glenn et al.

[ ABS'I RACT An improved connector-spacer for holding together in spaced parallel relation a plurality of floor-forming channel members which have substantially vertically arranged side walls terminating in bottom fastening flanges and a floor construction using such connectorspacer are provided. The connector-spacer has a plurality of upwardly and laterally extending fastening legs each defining a recess which is adapted to receive an associated fastening flange therewithin and each channel member is made of a resilient material which provides a normal resiliency therefor and holds its fastening flanges within associated recesses and in grasping contact against such fastening legs. The connector-spacer has integral means retaining an associated fastening flange of a channel member within an associated recess to assure each member is held firmly in position even after extended use.

16 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEUmzmm 7 1,215

SHEET 10F 2 INVENTORS DONALD E. VICKSTROM GEORGE F. SWENCK 4 BY Jdllmm, 9094mm {m MW THEIR ATTORNEYS CONNECTOR-SPACER AND FLOOR CONSTRUCTION USING SAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION be easy to construct and maintain, are economical, provide adequate support for animals while assuring satisfactory movement thereon, and allow materials such as spilled food, animal wastes, and the like to flow easily through each floor construction into an associated pit or tank arranged therebeneath to receive such materials. In using channel members of the character mentioned, it is desirable that simple and inexpensive connecting devices or connectors be provided which will hold their associated channel members firmly in position without the likelihood of movement or loosening thereof even after extended use.

SUMMARY This invention provides an improved connector in the form of a connector-spacer which is of simple and economical construction and an improved floor construction using such connector-spacer. The connectorspacer is particularly adapted to hold together in spaced parallel relation a plurality of floor-forming channel members which have substantially vertically arranged side walls terminating in bottom fastening flanges which extend toward each other. The connector-spacer has a plurality of upwardly and laterally extending fastening legs each defining a recess which is adapted to receive an associated fastening flange therewithin and each channel member is made of a resilient material which provides a normal resiliency therefor and holds its fastening flanges within associated recesses and in grasping contact against such fastening legs. The connector-spacer has integral means retaining an associated fastening flange of a channel member within an associated recess to assure each member is held firmly in position even after extended use.

Other details, uses, and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the following description of the embodiments thereof presented in the accompanying drawings proceeds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view with parts in cross section and parts broken away particularly illustrating a section of one embodiment of a floor construction of this invention which utilizes inverted substantially U- shaped channel members and one embodiment of a unique connector of this invention;

FIG. 2 is an end view with parts broken away looking toward the floor construction of FIG. 1 in a direction parallel the elongated channel members;

FIG. 3 is a view taken on the line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view particularly illustrating a typical retaining means, shown as a tab, comprising the connector of FIGS. 1 and 2 urged tightly against a side wall of an associated channel member;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view taken essentially on the line 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the connector of FIG. 1 with a portion thereof broken away;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the connector of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view illustrating another exemplary embodiment of the connector of this invention; and

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view taken on the line 9-9 of FIG. 8.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS Reference is now made to FIG. 1 of the drawings which illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the floor construction of this invention which is designated generally by the reference numeral 20. The floor construction or floor 20 is comprised of a plurality of inverted substantially U-shaped channel members 21 which are suitably fastened together in spaced side-byside parallel relation by a plurality of bottom supporting members or connector-spacers each designated by the reference numeral 22 and each connector-spacer 22 will be referred to hereinafter simply as a connector 22. The floor construction 20 is particularly adapted for use in raising animals such as poultry, swine, cattle, and the like, in confinement, and the structural details of the components of such floor construction and, in particular, the improved connectors 22 will be described in detail subsequently.

As seen particularly in FIGS. 1 and 2, each channel member 21 of this example comprises a bight 23 defining a top load-carrying wall 23 which has a pair of downwardly extending side walls 24 adjoining opposite side edges 25 of the top wall 23. Each member 21 also has a pair of inwardly directed fastening flanges 26 each adjoining a lower edge 27 of an associated side wall 24 and the fastening flanges 26 extend inwardly toward each other.

The side walls 24 of each member 21 converge downwardly from the top wall 23 toward each other, see FIG. 2, whereby the member 21 has a width, indicated at 30, between its lower edges 27 which is no greater than the width indicated at 31 of the top loadcarrying wall 23. The width 30 in this example is substantially less than the width 31 whereby it will be seen that each immediately adjacent pair of channel members 21 has a downwardly diverging passage 32 defined therebetween by an associated pair of side walls 24 and each downwardly diverging passage 32 assures unobstructed flow of material through the floor construction 20.

Each member 21 has non-skid means provided on its top wall 23 and in this example such non-skid means is defined by a plurality of upwardly extending projections or undulations33 and each immediately adjacent pair of projections has a recess or groove 34 arranged therebetween. However, it will be appreciated that any suitable means may be provided on the top wall 23 to reduce the tendency of skidding by an animal supported on the floor construction 20.

Each connector 22 has a mainbody 35 (see FIGS. 1, 2, and 7) and a plurality of upwardly and laterally extending fastening legs 36 each defining a recess 37 which is adapted to receive an associated fastening flange 26 of a channel member 21 therein. Each connector 22 also has means retaining an associated fastening flange 26 of a channel member 21 within an associated recess 37 and in this example such retaining means is in the form of a bendable tab 40 defined as an integral part of the main body 35, see FIGS. 4-6.

Each channel member 21 is preferably made of a resilient metallic material such as an aluminum alloy which provides normal resiliency therefor and such resilient material enables the lower or bottom end portions of the side walls 24 to be spread apart at a location adjacent a set of fastening legs 36. This spreading action may be accomplished using any suitable technique or tool which enables the innermost edges 41 of a set of fastening flanges 26 to be spread apart to a dimension wider than the dimension indicated at 42 in FIG. 2, for example. Upon releasing the flanges 26 and side walls 24, the normal resiliency of the channel member 21 causes the previously spread walls 24 to return to their initial positions and with the inner end portions of the flanges 26 received within associated recesses 37 and the flanges 26 in embracing holding engagement against legs 36.

Once a flange 26 is in position within an associated recess, any suitable tool such as a punch 43 may be urged against the bottom surface 44 of an associated tab 40 forcing the tab upwardly in a direction transverse the main body 35 of the connector 22 so that a pair of opposed corner portions 46 comprising the tab 40 will each engage associated side walls 24 of members 21 and hold each side wall thus engaged firmly in position within its associated fastening leg. Thus, even after extended use of the floor construction 20, each member 21 is retained or firmly held in position by its connector 22 against lateral, vertical, or rotary movements and in properly spaced relation with other members 21 comprising the floor construction 20.

The corner portions 46 of each tab 40 are substantially rounded having smooth arcuate configurations and each tab 40 is bent upwardly so that its corner por tions 46 are urged firmly against side walls 24. The rounded configuration of each corner portion assures that the outside surface of a side wall 24 engaged thereby is kept substantially intact without deep gouges or scratches, or other damage thereto.

Each connector 22 may have any suitable cross-sectional configuration and in this example the connector 22 has an inverted substantially U-shaped cross-sectional configuration comprised of a bight which defines the main body 35 and a pair of substantially vertically downwardly extending legs 50 adjoining opposite sides of the main body 35. Each tab 40 is defined by providing a slit 51 in the main body 35 with the slit having a pair of leg portions 49 which converge toward each other in a symmetrical manner to thereby define a trapezoidal outline for the tab 40. The trapezoidal tab 40 has a base 52 which is foldably connected to and defined as an integral part of the main body 35 and the base 52 defines the shorter of the parallel sides of such trapezoidal tab 40 with the longer of the parallel sides being folded upwardly away from the main body as best seen in FIGS. 4 and 5. i

It will also be noted that the outer ends of the leg portions 49 of slit 51 have arcuate configurations each designated by the reference numeral 53. The arcuate configurations 53 assure minimum stress concentration upon bending the tab 40 upwardly in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5.

Each upwardly and laterally extending fastening leg 36 has an undulating configuration which in this example might be considered sinusoidal or approximately S- shaped and such undulating configuration includes at least one downwardly convex arcuate portion 54 which is adapted to engage and resiliently clamp an associated fastening flange 26 firmly against the main body 35 of the connector 22. Thus, each leg 36 not only receives and holds an associated flange 26 in position but also serves to firmly clamp such flange tightly against the connector.

Each connector 22 may also be provided with integral means adjacent an end thereof to hold the outer side wall 24 of an outermost member of a floor construction 20 in position. In this example, the member 22 is provided with integral means in the form of a pair of parallel slits 55 which enable a substantially rectangular portion 56 of the main body 35 to be bent upwardly as illustrated at 57 in FIG. 1.

Another exemplary embodiment of a connector of this invention which may be utilized to hold channel members either identical or similar to channel members 21 used to define the floor construction 20 is illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9 of the drawings. The connector illustrated in FIGS. 8-9 is very similar to the connector 22; therefore, such connector will be designated generally by the reference numeral 22A and parts of the connector 22A which are very similar to corresponding parts of the connector 22 will be designated by the same numeral as in the connector 22 also followed by the letter designation A and not described again. Only those component parts which are substantially different from corresponding parts of the connector 22 will be designated by a new reference numeral also followed by the letter designation A and described in detail.

The connector 22A instead of having fastening legs which have a substantially undulating configuration has roughly L-shaped fastening legs 36A. Each leg 36A is comprised of a substantially vertically extending portion 60A foldably connected to the main body 35A and a substantially horizontally extending leg portion 61A adjoining leg portion 60A and defining a recess 37A which is laterally open.

The connector 22A also has retaining means or tabs 40A each having a substantially rectangular outline defined by a roughly U-shaped slit 62A through the main body 35A of the connector 22A and one of the parallel sides of each rectangular tab 40A defines the base 52A. The rectangular tab 40A also has rounded corners 46A each adapted to engage a side wall of an associated channel member such as a side wall 24 of a channel member 21, for example.

The channel members 21 and connectors 2222A may be made in any suitable manner and from any suitable material which can be used to provide floors for an animal enclosure substantially without corrosion. Preferably these components are made of high strength and light weight aluminum alloys.

In addition, it will be appreciated that the connectors 22 and 22A may be used to hold channel members in position having various other cross-sectional configurations. For example, such channel members may be inverted substantially U-shaped members, approximately E-shaped members, etc., which enable provision of a floor construction such as the floor construction 20.

While present exemplary embodiments of this invention, and methods of practicing the same, have been illustrated and described, it will be recognized that this invention may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A connector for holding together in spaced parallel relation a plurality of floor-forming channel members each made of a resilient material which provides a normal resiliency therefor and each having substantially vertically arranged side walls terminating in inwardly directed bottom fastening flanges, said connector comprising a main body, a plurality of upwardly and laterally extending fastening legs each defining a recess adapted to receive an associated fastening flange therewithin, and retaining means adapted to restrain an associated fastening flange of a channel member from outward horizontal movement and thereby retain said flange within an associated recess to assure the channel member is held firmly in position upon fastening the channel member with its fastening flanges resiliently held in grasping contact against associated fastening legs by the normal resiliency of the channel member, said retaining means comprising a tab having a base foldably connected to said main body, said tab being adapted to be arranged substantially longitudinal with respect to said main body and having a pair of opposed corner portions each adapted to engage a side wall of an associated channel member.

2. A connector as set forth in claim 1 in which each fastening leg has an undulating configuration including at least one downwardly convex arcuate portion which is adapted to engage and clamp an associated fastening flange against said main body.

3. A connector as set forth in claim 2 in which each fastening leg is defined by slits through said main body and has an approximately S-shaped configuration.

4. A connector as set forth in claim 1 in which each fastening leg comprises a substantially L-shaped leg.

5. A connector as set forth in claim 4 in which each L-shaped fastening leg has a laterally open recess therein defined by a vertical leg portion adjoining said main body and a horizontal leg portion adjoining said vertical leg portion.

6. A connector as set forth in claim 1 in which said tab is defined as an integral part of said main body by slit means in said main body.

7. A connector as set forth in claim 6 in which each of said corners comprises a rounded corner which may be urged firmly against an associated side wall of a channel member while keeping the associated side wall substantially intact.

8. A connector as set forth in claim 6 in which each tab has a substantially trapezoidal outline with the shorter of its parallel sides defining its base.

9. A connector as set forth in claim 6 in which each tab has a substantially rectangular outline with one of its parallel sides defining its base.

10. A connector as set forth in claim 6 having an inverted substantially U-shaped cross-sectional outline comprised of a bight defining said main body and a pair of vertical legs extending downwardly from said bight.

11. A connector as set forth in claim 6 made of a metallic material.

12. A connector as set forth in claim 10 having a pair of spaced parallel slits proyided in its main body adacent an end thereof WhlCh define integral means enabling an end portion of said main body to be bent upwardly to help hold an outer side wall of an outermost channel member comprising a floor construction made using said plurality of channel members.

13. A floor construction comprising: a plurality of channel members arranged in parallel spaced relation; each channel member being made of a resilient material providing a normal resiliency therefor and comprising a bight defining a top load-carrying wall, a pair of downwardly extending side walls adjoining opposite side edges of said top load-carrying wall, and a pair of inwardly directed fastening flanges each adjoining a lower edge portion of an associated wall and extending inwardly toward the other flange, each channel member having a width between the lower edges of its side walls which is no greater than the width of its top load-carrying wall; and at least one connector fastening said channel members together in spaced relation to provide a substantially unobstructed passage between each immediately adjacent pair of channel members; said connector comprising, a main body, a plurality of upwardly and laterally extending fastening legs, each leg defining a recess which has an associated fastening flange of a channel member received therewithin, and means restraining the fastening flanges of associated channel members from outward horizontal movement to thereby retain said flanges within associated recesses to assure each channel member is held firmly in position upon fastening each channel member with its fastening flanges resiliently held in grasping contact against associated fastening legs by the normal resiliency of each channel member, wherein said retaining means comprising said connector comprises a plurality of tabs provided as an integral part of said main body and being foldably connected thereto, each of said tabs having opposed edge portions and being arranged longitudinally with respect to said main body in an associated passage between an associated immediately adjacent pair of channel members so that each of said edge portions engages an associated side wall of a channel member and retains a fastening flange associated therewith within its recess.

14. A floor construction as set forth in claim 13 in which each of said tabs is defined by slit means extending through said main body.

15. A floor construction as set forth in claim 13 in which each of said tabs has a substantially polygonal outline and rounded corners defining its opposed edge portions with each rounded corner engaging an associated side wall.

16. A floor construction as set forth in claim 13 in which said connector is made of a metallic material and has a substantially U-shaped cross-sectional outline comprised of a bight defining said main body and a pair of vertical legs extending downwardly from said bight.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3230931 *Sep 16, 1963Jan 25, 1966Republic Steel CorpSteel floor system for animal houses
US3528391 *Sep 18, 1968Sep 15, 1970Reynolds Metals CoFloor construction for an animal enclosure and method of making same
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3804067 *Jun 9, 1972Apr 16, 1974Norandex IncSlatted flooring connector system
US3837319 *Sep 5, 1972Sep 24, 1974Lehe RSlatted floor system
US4231325 *Jun 6, 1979Nov 4, 1980Parks Donald MerleModular, waste collecting and draining floor apparatus
US4438726 *Nov 3, 1982Mar 27, 1984Herbert OsthoffCover grating for manure removal canals in stables
US5351458 *Sep 30, 1992Oct 4, 1994Lehe Russell BSpaced-plank floor system for animal enclosures
US6079366 *Oct 6, 1998Jun 27, 2000Telleen; Bruce A.Removable dairy free stall base
US7571573 *Apr 11, 2006Aug 11, 2009Moller Jr Jorgen JModular floor tile with lower cross rib
Classifications
U.S. Classification119/529
International ClassificationA01K1/015
Cooperative ClassificationA01K1/0151
European ClassificationA01K1/015A