US 3727694 A
A sprinkler attachment is provided for use with knockdown racks of the type having a plurality of slotted upright posts connected by horizontal cross members. The sprinkling apparatus includes a vertical sprinkler pipe fastened to a pair of connecting brace members which bridge and connect to at least two of the upright posts. The sprinkler pipe has a plurality of sprinkler heads extending therefrom, and carries inlet coupling means which are adapted for coupling fluid flow conduit to the sprinkler pipe.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1451 Apr. 17, 1973 United States Patent 1191 Dudzik 3,539,108 11/1970 Lillibridge et a1. .........169/l6 X 1 SPRINKLER ATTACHNIENT FOR RACKS  Inventor:
Leonard J. Dudzik, Dalton, m. Primary Examiner-Lloyd L. King Assistant Examiner-John J. Love Assignee: Unarco Industries, Inc., Chicago. 111. Anomey george Gersunan  ABSTRACT A sprinkler attachment is provided for use with  Filed: Nov. 5, 1971  Appl. No.: 196,113
knockdown racks of the type having a plurality of slotted upright posts connected by horizontal cross members. The sprinkling apparatus includes a vertical sprinkler pipe fastened to a pair of connecting brace members which bridge and connect to at least two of the upright posts. The sprinkler pipe has a plurality of  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS sprinkler heads extending therefrom, and carries inlet coupling means which are adapted for coupling fluid flow conduit to the sprinkler pipe.
3,626,487 12 1971 SelZ ...169/2 R 3,520,345 7 1970 Lillibridge et 169/2 R 3 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures as ..H Q 4E .1111
PATE-NTEDAPR 1 71913 3; 727; 694
SHEET 3 [IF 3 SPRINKLER ATTACHMENT FOR RACKS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a sprinkler arrangement for knockdown type storage rack systems and, more particularly, to a simplified subassembly which utilizes the existing features of knock-down racks to provide for rapid and inexpensive installation of sprinkler-fluid conveying devices onto such racks.
Fire sprinkler systems are frequently required under local laws to be installed in warehouses and other artiole-storage areas. It has heretofore been known to provide sprinkler systems installed as accessories secured to some portion of the building structure, usually suspended from the roof or ceiling of the space in which articles are to be stored. Where storage racks are employed for storage of goods, the location of fire-protection sprinkler means adjacent the roof or ceiling of the rack enclosing storage space operates to space the sprinkler from adjacency to the storage bins and lower tiers of the rack wherein the goods are stored, and such spacing reduces the effectiveness of the sprinkler as a means for immediate and direct protection from fire of goods stored in the tiers of the racks below the uppermost tier.
It has heretofore been suggested in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,520,345 and 3,539,108 to utilize special tubular upright members for rack constructions for the dual purpose of aiding in support of the racks and for conveying fire-extinguishing liquid therethrough to sprinkler means located adjacent the various tiers and bins of the rack in which goods are to be stored;
It is desirable to provide effective fire protection means for use with standard knock-down rack constructions, as many such rack systems have already been installed, and such constructions have achieved recognition in the field as effective and inexpensive installations. In such knock-down rack constructions, such as for example in U.S. Pat. No. Re. 24,535 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,490,604, the vertical supports or posts for the rack are apertured to provide for selective adjustable mounting of cross members on the posts, and hence such posts are incapable of conveying liquid therethrough.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a sprinkler system construction which is readily adaptable to knock-down rack constructions and which operates to bring fire-protection sprinklers in close proximity to tiers and bins of the rack, particularly those below the uppermost tier of a rack, in which are stored the goods that are to be protected from fire.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a sprinkler-protected, knock-down rack construction that is characterized by simplicity and inexpensiveness of construction and by effectiveness of operation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the illustrative embodiments of the invention, a sprinkler attachment is provided in a rack system which comprises a sprinkler pipe assemblage that is adapted for selective attachment where needed on a knockdown type of storage rack that is characterized by having a plurality of apertured upright posts interconnected by detachable cross members. A pair of spaced brace members, for detachable bridging and connecting to at least two of the upright posts, are rigidly secured to a liquid conveying pipe that serves as part of the sprinkler pipe attachment, and an inlet coupling means is operatively associated with the sprinkler pipe attachment to adapt same for selective connection to a source of fire-extinguishing liquid.
A more detailed explanation of the invention, as well as the other objects, features and advantages of the invention, will be more clearly understood when considering the following detailed description taken together with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one form of knockdown rack system provided with one form of sprinkler pipe assemblage embodying the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another form of a knock-don rack system and a second form of sprinkler pipe assemblage embodying the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a slightly enlarged fragmentary view in perspective showing a typical interconnection between a horizontal cross-member, whether it is part of the sprinkler pipe attachment or part of the rack itself, and the post of the rack;
FIG. 4 is a greatly enlarged cross-sectional view showing details of a typical detachable connector of the type shown in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary view in perspective showing a typical connection between a pallet rail and an upright post in the FIG. 2 form of the system.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a typical knockdown type rack installation wherein two rows of racks are arranged in what is known as a back-to-back installation, but wherein the adjacent longitudinal runs of the two rows of racks are spaced from each other, as clearly shown. Each row of knock-down racks comprises a plurality of upright end frames 10 each having a pair of upright posts 12 that are provided with a series of slots 9 along corners thereof, as is well known in the art. The posts 12 of an end frame 10 are interconnected by bracing, and each pair of end frames 10 are spaced from each other by elongated horizontal stringers, or cross members 14. The bracing for each end frame 10 includes a plurality of vertically spaced horizontal braces 15 and diagonal braces 16.
Although the connections between the cross members l4 and the upright posts 12 are selectively separable and connectable and may take various forms, one type of rack and connection that has been found useful in effecting rapid selective connection between the parts is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,490,604, and the specific details of the specific connection of the patent are disclosed herein in FIGS. 3 and 4.
Each stringer I4 is secured at its ends to connector plates 17. which are angular pieces adapted to fit against the sides of a post 12. The ends of the stringers 14 may be secured to the connector plates 17, as by welding. Each connector plate is formed with an opening 18 therein corresponding in size and position to the openings 9 along the edges of the post 12 and is preferably formed with a coined surface at its lower edge adapted to receive the lower hook portion of a hook member when assembled. The assembly is completed by a hook member, as best seen in FIG. 4, which has an elongated straight shank l9 ofa length to span at least two of the openings 9 in the post 12 and which is of a size to fit easily into the hollow post. At its lower end the shank 19 carries an upwardly extending hook 21 whose vertical height is slightly less than the height of the openings 9 so that it can extend straight through an opening 9, as illustrated in FIG. 4.
At its upper end the shank 19 is formed with a similar hook member 22, which is of a greater vertical height than the openings 9 and 18 so that it cannot be inserted straight through such openings. Each of the hook members is formed with a wedging surface 23 lying at an acute angle to and spaced from the shank 19. The wedging surface 23 of the upper hook member is mated with or engaged by the inclined or coined surface 26 defined in the connector plate 17 above the opening 18. The wedging surface 23 of the lower hook member 21 similarly engages a coined surface 26. Above the wedging surface 23 the upper hook member 22 tapers outwardly sharply, as shown at 24, to terminate in a relatively narrow point. A slight bevel, as shown at 25, may also be provided at the upper end of the lower hook member 21.
In the system of FIG. 1, one form of the improved sprinkler assemblage is shown generally at 30 and includes an upright, or vertical, elongated sprinkler pipe 32 that is rigidly secured, such as by welding, intermediate its ends to two spaced, parallel and coplanar, braces 34 and 36 each of which is provided at each end thereof with a connector plate 17'. The connector plate 17 may be of the same size and nature as plate 17 on stringer l4 and is similarly apertured to adapt it to connect to an apertured post 12 by use of hook connectors, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 and as previously described. The length of braces 34 and 36 is appropriately selected to span the spacing between the back-to-back rows of racks, and the location of braces 34 and 36 in the vertical plane through posts 12 operates to locate pipe 32 in a zone that is substantially protected by posts 12 from pallets that move into and through the adjacent bin spaces. Preferably the vertical spacing of braces 34 and 36 is substantially the same as the height of a bay, as indicated for example by the vertical spacing of a pair of horizontal stringers 14, but when installed, the braces 34 and 36 connect to posts 12 at levels spaced below the adjacent ends of stringers 14, as shown in FIG. 1. The length of pipe 32 is greater than the spacing of braces 34 and 36. A pair of cross flow pipe connections 38 in pipe 32, located substantially adjacent the plane of stringers 14, provide for connection of a plurality of sprinkler branches 40 to pipe 32. The branches 40 extend substantially parallel to stringers l4 and are located just below the plane of stringers l4, and terminate in sprinkler heads 42 which are located spaced between the two rows of racks, so as to be in position to service and protect adjacent bins in both rows of racks. Since the stringers l4 serve as supports for loads or pallets located in the bin recesses defined by the racks, the location of branches 40 and sprinkler heads 42 in the region just below or adjacent the plane of stringers 14 helps to protect the sprinkler parts from damage.
In the preferred form shown, the assemblage 30 provides four branches with sprinkler heads 42 arranged to protect two of three possible storage levels illustrated. Thus, the lowermost branches 40 located between braces 36 and 34 protect the lowest, or floor level, tier of storage that is located substantially beneath the level of the lower set of stringers 14 shown secured to the end frames. Similarly, the uppermost branches 40 located above brace 34 protect the next highest tier, or level, of storage that is substantially located below the level of the upper set of stringers 14 that are secured to the end frames. As shown in FIG. 1, the uppermost tier of storage that is above the level of upper set of stringers 14 are to be protected by the normally provided sprinklers of the building which are understood to be supplied with water from an overhead water supply pipe, shown at 44, that is suspended from the ceiling 46 over the space in which the racks are stored. These uppermost sprinkler means are not shown in detail as they are of typical construction.
The overhead supply pipe 44 may be appropriately modified to provide supply nipples 47 from which flexible connections, such as a heat resistant, or braided hose, 48 extends, for connection to and supply of water to, the upper end of each sprinkler pipe 32 which is provided with a simple connector 50, such as a typical hose connection. The lower end of pipe 32 is closed off.
The braces 34 and 36 may be of any desired crosssection, but in the preferred form a simple channel shape yields both satisfactory strength and provides two spaced edges of the channel legs that provide convenient multiple points for welding of each brace to the exterior of pipe 32. For additional support of the elongated branches 40, strap-type hangers 52 may be provided as needed, the ends of such hangers being appropriately secured, by welding or a fastener, to adjacent stringers l4 and the intermediate portions of the hanger 52 providing a support saddle that engages an elongated branch 40 intermediate the ends thereof but closer to the unsupported end that carries the sprinkler head 42.
In the system of FIG. 2, identical reference numerals, but with a prime mark added, are used to connote structure similar to that shown in FIG. 1. The FIG. 2 system illustrates a rack known as a drive-in rack, where a fork-lift truck and its driver can drive into the rack, deposit pallets and thereby obtain dense storage of pallets within the rack. Because of the close placement of pallets in the aisle depth of the rack, a total savings of warehouse space can be achieved.
The pallet rails 50' are supported in some places by stringers 14' and are fastened thereto by means of bolts (not shown). Where the stringers 14' would prevent access of the fork-lift truck and cannot be used, the rails 50' are supported by cantilevered members 52 shown most clearly in FIG. 5. Members 52' are channel shaped and each defines a recess 54' for receiving rail 50', which is fastened to member 52 by a bolt 55 and nut 56' arrangement. Member 52 is weldedto connector plate 17 which aides in connecting the structure to upright post 12' in the manner described above in regard to FIGS. 3 and 4.
In this system, the additive sprinkler assemblage shown is designated 30 and includes an upright, substantially vertical sprinkler pipe 32 that is rigidly secured to two braces 34 and 36 that are each of a greater length than the braces shown in FIG. 1, so as to bridge the wider spacing between adjacent rack rows. The same type of connections are provided for securement of the ends of the braces to the apertured posts 12 of the rack. As in FIG. 1, the braces 34 and 36 and sprinkler pipe 32' lie substantially in the same plane, so that when the braces secure to the posts 12', said posts operate to substantially shield pipe 32' from items or pallets that move in or through bins bounded by said posts 12'. Furthermore, when the braces are properly secured on posts 12', the sprinkler heads 42 are located substantially adjacent and just below the same horizontal plane as stringers 14' which operates to similarly shield the sprinkler heads. A difference in the assemblage shown in FIG. 2 is that instead of using elongated sprinkler branches 40 and sprinkler heads 42, shorter branches, such as elbows 40', may be provided with sprinkler heads 42'. Further, it is preferred that heads 42' substantially extend in the plane of braces 34 and 36' to prevent the heads from colliding with a moving truck. While the entire fire protective system is not shown in FIG. 2, it will be understood that the system of FIG. 2 is intended to be similar to that shown in FIG. 1. g
Thus, it will be seen that a rack sprinkling system in accordance with the present invention is formed utilizing prefabricated sections, or assemblages, each section comprising a sprinkling pipe having means connected thereto that provide for ready selective connection of the section to a water conduit and to knockdown type rack posts. The entire prefabricated unit can be simply connected together or separated at the desired location so that the rack can be knocked down and relocated without expensive destruction of a sprinkler system. Any number of sprinkler heads could be provided so that the heads protect multiple levels and bays of the rack, and a plurality of sprinkling pipes can be connected to the rack so as to provide sprinkling head coverage over the entire storage area in which the storage rack is located.
While the constructions described herein disclose sprinkler assemblages that are used with three tier racks and provide sprinkler protection to the lower two tiers of such racks, it will be understood that the sprinkler assemblage may be modified in many ways as desired without departing from the principles of the invention herein to elongate the pipe 32 or to provide sprinkler protection for all tiers, or for any multiple number of tiers of a rack having two or more tiers, or to use more than two braces 34 and 36, and similarly the number of sprinkler branches of the assemblage may be varied as desired to provide multiple number of sprinkler heads for multiple bins.
Although illustrative embodiments of the invention arranged for selective connection and disconnection to the posts to provide a rack means having storage bins therein arranged in at least two vertically disposed tiers, and a fireprotection add-on assemblage for pro-' tecting multiple tiers and bins of said rack means, said assemblage including an elongated upright sprinkler pipe separate from the knock-down rack means, a plurality of spaced braces rigidly secured to said sprinkler pipe intermediate the ends of said pipe, the spaced braces being provided with means for selective connection and disconnection to spaced upright posts of the knock-down rack means, and sprinkler heads operatively connected to said upright sprinkler pipe at spaced points along the length of the sprinkler pipe.
2. A construction as in claim 1 wherein the posts of the rack means are aligned in vertical planes and the horizontal cross members of the rack means are aligned in horizontal planes, and the braces and upright sprinkler pipe are assembled substantially in a plane so that .when the braces are secured to the posts the sprinkler pipe is substantially shielded by the posts.
3. An add-on fire protection assemblage for selective installation on knock-down type storage rack installations that include apertured upright posts and horizontal stringers between the posts for providing spaced rows of racks that define multiple storage bins in multiple tiers; said assemblage comprising, in combination: an elongated upright sprinkler pipe separate from the knock-down type storage rack, said pipe being of a length greater than the height of a tier defined on the rack, one end of the pipe having means thereon through which water may be introduced into the pipe, :1 pair of elongated braces rigidly secured to the sprinkler pipe and having at the ends thereof attachment means adapted for selective attachment to the apertured upright posts; the length of the braces being such as to bridge the spacing between the spaced rows of racks, the sprinkler pipe and braces lying substantially in the same plane, and sprinkler means carried by and extending from the sprinkler pipe in directions transverse to the said plane of the braces and at a spacing along the length of the sprinkler pipe substantially equal to the height ofa tier of the rack means. I