US 3766574 A
A prefabricated plumbing partition adapted for installation in the wall of a building, comprising a plumbing assembly encapsulated in a cellular polyurethane block. Water supply or drain nipples protruding from the block permit two or more such partitions to be joined together by penetrating the plastic of an adjacent block to form an easily transported package unit which requires no additional protective packaging.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 [111 3,766,574
Smid, Jr. 1 Oct. 23, 1973  PREFABRICATED PLUMBING PARTITION 2,653,357 9/1953 Sanders et al. 4/2 1 l 8 R h 1 Invent n w Des Planes, 31235135? 311331 "3152336, a1 2% 0cm) 871,510 3/1953 Germany 4 2  Filed: Oct. 22, 1970 375,300 3/1964 Switzerland 4/2  Appl' 83031 Primary Examiner-Henry K. Artis Attorney-Merriam, Marshall, Shapiro & Klose  US. Cl. 4/191, 4/2, 52/202, [511 1 1 c1 $54 12?) ABSTRACT 11 c 58 Field or Search 4/191, 192, 1,2; -f l i if g fi P fP "29" 52/220 211; 164/45; 53/27; 206/46 PC a mu 1n t e wa 0 a n1 mg, compr smg a p um mg assembly encapsulated in a cellular polyurethane [561 $211011;m ias'oizizrzzzfs 52:12:31,112; 1 UNITED STATES PATENTS joined together by penetrating the plastic of an adja- 3,51 Breden X cent to form an easily transported package unit 0/1971 Armstmng which requires no additional protective packaging. 2,645,783 7/l953 Allen 4/191 3,363,957 1/1968 Basch 206/46 FC X 4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PREFABRICATED PLUMBING PARTITION This invention relates to a prefabricated plumbing partition intended for installation in the wall of a building. More particularly it relates to a prefabricated plumbing partition comprising a preassembled plumbing system encased in a block of cellular plastic material, the partition being adapted to facilitate transportation to the job site as well as installation in the building wherein it is to be used.
The conventional practice for installing the plumbing system in new building construction involves the cutting and assembly on the job of the various lines and fittirig's which are used. It is obvious that prefabrication of such plumbing installations in a factory is potentially a more efficient and economical procedure than onth'e-spot assembly, particularly when a number of essentially identical plumbing installations are to be made, as in the case of multiple dwelling units, hotels, apartment houses, schools, and the like. A number of prefabricated plumbing systems have been proposed in the past. These consisted of assemblies containing the various lines and fittings assembled as necessary for the job. Since such structures are easily damaged during shipment to the job site, it was necessary to enclose the assembled plumbing system in a frame designed to support the several components in the proper arrangement. In addition, suitablepackaging was necessary to protect the assembly during shipment and installation. The necessity for using such supporting structures and protective packaging around the prefabricated plumbing assembly, however, markedly increased the cost and thus reduced the advantages of prefabrication of the assembly.
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a prefabricated plumbing partition comprising a plumbing assembly constructed in accordance with the best plumbing standards, which assembly is encased in a block of cellular foamed-in-place polyurethane, the block having dimensions adapted to fit in the wall of a building. The polyurethane foam, which is easily and inexpensively cast about the assembly serves the dual purpose of supporting the components of the as sembly in proper position as well as servingas a protective container for shipment to the point of use.
The plumbing partition of the invention will be better understood from the following detailed description thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a typical prefabricated plumbing partition of the invention, comprising the necessary water supply lines and waste and vent stacks required for installing a typical bathroom encased in a block of polyurethane foam;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view showing the plumbing assembly which is contained within the polyurethane block, the block being shown in outline form;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the partition of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an isometric view of a suitable mold useful for molding the polyurethane block used in the partition of FIG. 1, most of the top half of the mold being torn away to show the interior construction;
FIG. 5 is a partial section along the line 5-5 of FIG. 4, showing the means used for reinforcing the faces of the wall and for positioning and sealing the edges of the mold halves; and
FIG. 6 is a top view of a number of prefabricated plumbing partitions which have been arranged to form a self-sustaining package for shipment to the job site.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the partition 10 of the invention consists of a prefabricated plumbing assembly 11 which has been encased in a block of cellular polyurethane 12. In FIG. 2, the block 12 is shown in outline form so as to make visible the enclosed plumbing assembly. The plumbing system shown in these figures is one intended for installation in a bathroom and contains complete facilities for a water closet, lavatory, and combination shower and bath tub, together with the associated water supply pipes and vent and soil stacks. Specifically, the system comprises water risers 13 and 14 which supply cold and hot water respectively to the assembly. Typically, the water enters risers 13 and 14 at the bottom. The upper ends of these pipes may be capped or connected to extensions for feeding other systems, as desired. At the left side of the partition is soil stack 16, which is provided at its lower end with a Y-fitting 17, adapted to receive water closet bend 18, which is installed at the job site and is not in itself apart of the partition of the invention. At the right side of partition 10 is vent stack 15. Cold water riser 13 is connected by means of appropriate pipes and fittings to supply nipple 19 which extends a short distance out of the front face of partition 10 and serves as a cold water supply line for a lavatory (not shown). Hot water riser 14 is similarly connected to provide a source of hot water via supply nipple 21 to the lavatory. Cold water riser 13 is also connected to water closet supply nipple 22 which supplies water to a water closet (not shown) to be installed above water closet bend 18. Like nipple l9, nipples 21 and 22 extend a short distance out of the face of block 10, as shown in FIG. 3.
At the right end of the partition, tub and shower mixing valve 23 is connected by suitable pipes to hot and cold water risers 13 and 14. Leading vertically upward out of valve 23 is a shower riser 24 to the end of which a shower pipe 25 is attached at the job site. Leading downwardly from valve 23 is the tub supply nipple 26 which like nipples 19, 21 and 22 extends a short distance (about l-3 inches) out of the front face of block 12. Directly beneath valve 23 is tub trap 27 which as indicated is rotatable about a vertical axis to coincide with the drain of a tub (not shown) to be installed in this area.
Directly below and between cold and hot water supply nipples 19 and 21 is drain 28 which serves the lavatory, and is connected via lines 29 and 31 to the Y- fitting 17 at the lower end of soil stack 16. In accordance with desirable plumbing practice, each of the drains, (i.e., tub trap 27, lavatory drain 28, and Y- fitting 17) is provided with its own connection via lines 32, 33 and 34 to vent stack 15.
, Block 12 is provided with two vacant areas which are devoid of the cellular polyurethane foam. At the right side of the block, above trap 27, an area 35 is left vacant to facilitate connection of the bath tub fittings during installation of the tub. At the left side of the block 12, vacant area 40 is provided in which is located a system of swing joints to allow for thermal expansion and contraction ofthe hot and cold water risers. These open areas in the foam block are not essential; their presence or absence will be dictated by the requirements of the particular installation, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
In fabricating the partition shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the individual pipes and fittings are first assembled in a conventional manner, after which the plumbing assembly is inserted in a mold of suitable size and shape and a polyurethane plastic is foamed in place around it. A suitable mold for this use is shown in FIG. 4.
The mold shown in FIG. 4 is made in halves, the first half, usually positioned vertically, forming a jig in which the piping is assembled. After the piping is complete and in place, the second half of the mold is installed and cellular polyurethane is foamed in place around the piping assembly. Each of the mold halves, which are essentially mirror images of each other except for the openings therein, consists of a flat sheet 36 of a suitable material such as reinforced fiberglass provided around its periphery with upstanding walls, e.g., 37 and 38 which are suitably notched and shaped to accept the finished plumbing assembly. Interior partitions, e.g., 39 and 41, are arranged in those areas where it is desired that a void be provided in the molded material. One wall, e.g., 42, preferably along the dimension constituting the top of the finished partition, is provided with a vent shaft 43 through which the plastic material may be inserted into the mold. In order to facilitate rapid addition of the plastic to the mold, it may be found desirable to make the entire wall 42 in which vent shaft 43 is positioned removable so as to facilitate the rapid introduction of the polyurethane foam material into the assembled mold.
To increase the rigidity of mold it is advantageous to reinforce it with suitable reinforcing elements such as angle iron at appropriate positions such as along the flat faces of the mold, e.g., 44 and around the periphery of the halves of the mold. FIG. shows a detail of a portion of the mold illustrating the use of reinforcing material. Sections of angle iron 46 and 47 are attached to the matching rims of the mold halves in order to strengthen these portions of the mold and further to provide a seal for preventing the escape of polyurethane foam during the foaming process. In order to assist in properly matching the halves of the mold, angle iron 46 is provided with a locating pin 48 which enters a suitably placed hole 49 in matching rim 47. Additional locating pins of this type may be located as necessary at other locations in the mold.
The following procedure is used to produce a prefabricated plumbing assembly encased in a polyurethane foam block in accordance with the invention. After the plumbing assembly is fabricated, preferably using half of the mold held vertically, as a jig, the other half of the mold is put in place, the locating pins in the peripheral rims are inserted into the corresponding holes of the other half of the mold and the matching rims are clamped together at suitably spaced intervals around the periphery of the mold. If necessary, to prevent leakage of the polyurethane reaction mixture, suitable caulking may be applied to the external openings in the mold through which pipes protrude. The interior faces of the mold are preferably coated with a conventional release agent to permit release of the molded partition from the mold after the molding operation is completed. It may also be desirable to apply the mold release agent to those portions of the piping assembly which are subject to large temperature fluctuations, e.g., the hot water riser, to permit their free expansion and contraction independently of the foamed plastic material and without distortion of the entire partition.
With the mold held so that the charging opening is uppermost, a charge of a foamable polyurethane mixture is poured quickly into the mold through the vent 43 or, if the wall holding the vent is removable, through the opening left by removing the wall. After the pouring operation is completed, the top of the mold, if removable, is replaced and held in place by any suitable means, such as gravity. After the foam material has risen and set (typically in approximately 3 to 6 minutes) the mold is opened and excess material and flashing is trimmed away.
The polyurethane foam which is used to encapsulate the plumbing assembly of the invention may be produced by reacting an alkyd resin component containing an alkyd resin, e.g., a condensation product of a polyhydric alcohol and a polycarboxylic acid, water, and a catalyst. Polyurethane foam may also be produced by reacting an alkyd resin with a sufficient amount of polyisocyanate to make a prepolymer containing unreacted NCO groups. The prepolymer is then reacted with water or a water-catalyst mix to produce a foamed-in-place polyurethane foam, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
The polyurethane foam used in forming the partitions of the invention preferably has a density of about 2-3 pounds per cubic foot and a compressive strength of about 35-45 psi, thus permitting a weight bearing capacity of about lbs. per lineal inch on a 4 9% thick partition, a typical size. In addition to serving as a medium for protecting and holding the assembled plumbing unit in place, the polyurethane foam is light, thermally insulating, and sound reducing. It also resists combustion so that with a suitable conventional dry wall or plaster exterior facing, a desirable fire rating can be obtained.
As can be seen from FIG. 3, the finished partition contains a number of pipes extending from at least one of its major faces, e.g., water supply nipples 19, 21 and 22. In a partition designed for use in supplying plumbing facilities to two adjacent rooms, e.g., a kitchen and a bathroom, the partition may be installed in the wall separating the rooms and thus may have pipes extending from both of its major faces. These protruding pipes may be used in an advantageous aspect of the invention to assemble a package unit consisting of several molded assemblies which are self-adhering to a sufficient extent to permit transportation of the package unit to a building site without additional packaging. A top view of such a package unit is shown in FIG. 5, in which several (seven) molded partitions have been placed in position with the protruding supply nipples of one partition adjacent the plastic of another partition. When the partitions are forced together in this position, the protruding nipples of one partition penetrate the plastic of the adjacent partition. In some instances it may be desirable to offset the partitions laterally, so that the nipples of one partition may penetrate the adjacent partition without striking the enclosed piping assembly. When assembled in this manner, the individual assemblies adhere to each other sufficiently to permit the entire package unit to be lifted, as by a fork lift truck, and shipped by rail or truck to a building site without the necessity for any additional exterior packaging or banding. At the building site the individual assemblies are easily pried apart and used.
It should be understood that the specific piping arrangement described above and shown in FIG. 2 is a matter of choice, depending on the requirements of the installation which is to be served and also of the provisions of the local building code. In general, the only requirement which the plumbing system must meet in order to be suitable for use in the invention is that it must have a size and shape suitable for being encased in a block of plastic material small enough in thickness to be enclosed within a wall of the structure in which it is to be used. The plumbing partition should also have at least one and preferably two or more outwardly projecting sections of pipe (e.g., supply nipples 19, 21, 22 and 26) which extend beyond at least one of its major faces, in order to permit stacking the finished plumbing partitions in such a manner that the projecting pipes can penetrate into the plastic material of the adjacent assembly and thereby form a self-adhering and selfsupporting multi-unit package which can be shipped to the building site without the necessity for additional protective packaging or even any need for tying the individual assemblies together.
The foregoing detailed description has been given for clearness of understanding only, and no unnecessary limitations should be understood therefrom, as modifications will be obvious to those skilled in the art.
What is claimed is:
1. A prefabricated plumbing partition adapted to be installed within the wall of a building comprising an operative plumbing assembly containing at least one water supply pipe, one soil stack and one vent stack, said arrangement being encapsulated in an integral, foamed-in-place block of solid low density cellular polyurethane, said block having two major generally parallel faces and having a portion of said assembly protruding from at least one of said faces to a length sufficient to permit combining said partitions into a self-sustaining package unit held together solely by penetration of said protruding portion of one partition into the polyurethane block of an adjacent partition.
2. A prefabricated plumbing partition in accordance with claim 1 in which said polyurethane has a density of about 2-3 pounds per cubic foot and a compressive strength of about 34 45 pounds per square inch.
3. The partition of claim 1 in which said protruding portion is located on only one of said major faces.
4. The partition of claim 1 in whcih said assembly protrudes from both of said major faces.
L 3 UNITED STATES PATENTOFFECE EERTIFICATE 0F CORRECTION @awn No- 3,766, 5 74 Dat c} October 23, 1973 liwmfi fl 'He hrv A.'. Smi d Jir.
It is-certified thaterror appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
@010 6, line 19'; "34 45" shouldbe "35-45".
Signed andse al edthis 19th day bf February 19 74.
EDWARD M.-FLETCHER,JR MARSHALL DANN H Attestlng Offi f v Commissioner o,f Patents