|Publication number||US3785110 A|
|Publication date||Jan 15, 1974|
|Filing date||Jan 14, 1971|
|Priority date||Jan 14, 1971|
|Also published as||CA943319A, CA943319A1, DE2160346A1|
|Publication number||US 3785110 A, US 3785110A, US-A-3785110, US3785110 A, US3785110A|
|Inventors||Galloway L, Harast L, Pliml F|
|Original Assignee||Illinois Tool Works|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (46), Classifications (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
llnite Galloway et al.
111 ammo 1 Jan. 15, 1974 MODULAR CEILING CONNECTOR Inventors: Lawrence H. Galloway, Barrington;
Leonard E. Harast; Frank V. Pliml, Jr., both of Cicero, all of 111.
Illinois Tool Works Inc., Chicago, 111.
Filed: Jan. 14, 1971 Appl. No.: 106,508
 U.S. Cl 52/715, 52/484, 52/665,
287/l89.36 A Int. Cl E0411 5/52 Field of Search 52/488, 484, 476,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1967 Netz et al. 52/28 4/1961 Reske et al. 52/484 X 5/1963 ONeil 287/l89.36 A
12/1954 Lee i i 52/484 12/1969 Allan 52/484 X M FoTiEiGN PKTENTS OR 'APFLICATIONS 821,513 10/1959 Great Britain 52/144 901,894 7/1962 Great Britain..... 287/l89.36 A 1,005,866 9/1965 Great Britain 52/665 Primary ExaminerPrice C. Faw, Jr. Attorney olson, Trexler, Wolters & Bushnell The present invention relates generally to improvements in modular connectors for horizontal runners of a ceiling grid system, and more particularly to improvements in modular connectors comprising a one piece sheet metal stamping. The embodiment of the invention disclosed in the present application includes a central sheet metal plate section having a plurality of integral arms radiating therefrom. Each arm presents a ABSTRACT plate portion having integral flanges extending upwardly from opposite margins thereof for telescopically accommodating the extremity of a complementary grid channel member. Means is also provided for accommodating the lower extremity of a vertically disposed grid suspending member such as a wire.
4 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PAYENTEUJAK 15 I974 SHEEI 2 BF 2 MODULAR CEILING CONNECTOR SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In modern building construction there is a trend toward the installation of ceilings which do more than merely provide an overhead surface. Developments in lighting, air conditioning, etc., are among the factors which have brought about or encouraged the use of a grid type ceiling structure suspended from the roof or truss work by a length of wire. These grid type ceiling systems include a plurality of horizontal steel channels commonly referred to as runners which are disposed at right angles to each other and are interlocked at points of juncture. At the area of juncture or intersection a connector may be used to which the lower extremity of a ceiling suspending wire may be attached. The present invention is concerned with the provision of a novel and very practical modular connector which may be produced at minimum cost.
More specifically, the present invention contemplates an improved modular connector in the form of a one piece sheet metal stamping which is so designed as to readily accommodate the extremities of complementary grid channel members.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide modular connectors of the type referred to above which are structurally arranged so as to greatly facilitate the ease with which the extremities of a grid channel member may be brought into attachment with the connector.
The invention also contemplates a modular connector arrangement having in association therewith a cover member which may be detachably associated with the connector so as to completely conceal structural areas of the connector which might otherwise present a rather unsightly appearance.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The foregoing and other objects and advantages will be more apparent from the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. I is a perspective view of a modular connector of the type contemplated by the present invention, shown in association with the extremities of complimentary grid channel members adapted to be accommodated by the connector;
FIG. 2 is a vertical, transverse, sectional view taken substantially along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, detailed, sectional view taken substantially along the line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, detailed, sectional view taken substantially along the line 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 illustrates the manner in which the modular connectors contemplated by the present invention may be readily stacked to facilitate packaging for shipment and the like;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the underside of the modular connector and the grid channel members associated therewith prior to the application of a cover member, said cover member being disclosed in readiness for attachment, to the central plate section of the connector by a screw member;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 6 disclosing the cover member attached to the underside of the central plate section of the connector; and,
FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary, sectional view taken substantially along the line 8-8 of FIG. 6, more clearly to illustrate the manner in which the fastening screw is held in association with the cover member.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings more in detail, wherein like numerals have been employed to designate similar parts throughout the various figures, it will be seen that one embodiment of a modular connector of the type contemplated by the present invention is designated generally by the numeral 10. The connector 10 is generally cruciform in shape as viewed in plan and includes a central plate section 12 having plate portions 14, 16, 18 and 20, forming radial continuations of said central plate section. The plate section 12 is preferably formed with a boss or rib 22 to lend lateral strength thereto. Tabs 24 and 26 struck from the central plate section 12 are provided with apertures 24a and 26a, respectively, to hingedly accommodate hook extremities of a wire member 28.
The plate portion 14 is provided with a pair of upstanding flanges 14a and 14b. The flange 14a extends along substantially the entire margin of the plate portion 14, whereas the flange 14b is of appreciably reduced length. The plate portion 16 is correspondingly formed with a flange 16a and a shorter flange 16b. Similarly the plate portions 18 and 20 respectively, support flanges 18a and 20a which extend over the full length thereof, and opposite flanges 18b and 20b of re duced length. It will be clear from the foregoing that the various plate and flange portions of the connector 10 may be stamped and formed as a single unit from a metallic sheet with a minimum amount of resulting scrap.
The above described connector 10 is designed to telescopically accommodate grid channel members indicated generally by the numeral 30. Each channel member or runner 30 includes a bottom or base section 32 and sidewalls 34. The upper margins of the sidewalls 34 are bent to provide reentrant flanges 36. The space presented between the flanges 36 and the complementary sidewall 34 is sufficient to snugly accommodate the upper margins of the flanges of the connector 10.
Each of the sidewalls 34 of the runners 30 is provided with a recess 38, FIG. ll, adapted to interlock with abutments 40 struck or sheared from the material of each of the outstanding flanges of the connector 10, see for example, the flanges 16a and 16b of the plate portions 16. Each plate portion and its associated flanges are so proportioned as to telescopically accommodate the extremity of a complementary runner or channel 30. One of the problems which must be overcome and contemplated in the design of a system of this type is the effect that heat will have on the system in the event of a fire. The runners 30 which are normally formed sheet metal have a tendency when exposed to thermal energy to expand or elongate. The connector 10 is adapted to accept such expansions by the provision of the cam surface of the abutments 40. When the runners 30 expand, the walls of the recess or aperture 38 will ride up the cam surface and permit the expansion of the runner.
Normally the flanges 34 of the runners 30 are positioned a short distance from the base 12 of the connector and hence the connector will accept such expansions. After a fire, and the resultant contraction of the runners, the shoulders of the aperture 40 will catch on the inside wall of the recess 38 and maintain the runners in a mounted position.
The bight of the U-shaped wire 28 is attached to the lower extremity of a suspension member or wire 42, FIG. 2, the upper extremity of which may be secured to a roof or truss (not shown). Thus, the grid channel members 30 radiate from the connector as clearly shown in FIG. 6.
In order to afford a trim appearance to the area of juncture of the runners 30, a cover member 44 is employed. In the disclosed embodiment the cover member 44 is square in shape and centrally carries a fastener screw member 46. The screw member 46 may be secured against longitudinal dislodgement from the connector 10 by a conical plastic washer member 48 as clearly shown in FIG. 8. The cover member is preferably dished so that it may be yieldably clamped in position by tightening the screw member 46 within a screw accommodating aperture 50 in the plate section 12, as shown in FIG. 7. Lugs or flanges 52 extending axially from intermediate marginal areas of the cover 44 are adapted to fit within longitudinal recesses 54 formed along the underside of each runner 30. In this manner the cover 44 is secured in a predetermined position of orientation with respect to the runners and positively secured against relative rotation with respect thereto.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that the present invention contemplates a very practical modular type connector for supporting ceiling runners. By having the U-shaped wire members 28 hingedly connected to the tabs 24 and 26 of minimum height, the connectors 10 may be nested for purposes of storage or shipment as illustrated in FIG. 5. Attention is also directed to the fact that in telescopically associating the extremities of the runners with a companion arm of the connector 10, the installer is positioned below the connector. To facilitate this manual operation telescopically associating the runners with the connector 10, the outer edges of all of the connector flanges are tapered as at 14c, 16c, 18c and 200 toward the center of the connector. This greatly facilitates the ease with which a workman is able to manually manipulate the runner extremity into initial telescopic association with its complementary connector spoke or arm. It has been found advantageous to have the free or hooked extremities of the U-shaped wire member 28 initially spaced from each other a distance slightly greater than the spacing of the apertures 24a and 26a. This will require the arms of the U-shaped spring 28 to be forced forward toward each other in order to bring the extremities thereof into registration with said apertures, thereby resulting in a tight fit of the spring extremities within the tabs 24 and 26. The length of the outer edges of the connector flanges is sufficient to preclude any looseness of flt of the runner, or in other words to prevent rocking of the runner with respect to the connector. By having one of the connector flanges, namely the flanges 14a, 16a, 18a and 20a, relatively short as compared with the other flanges it is possible to produce the one piece connector from sheet metal stock with a minimum amount of scrap waste. Also, the connector 10 may be manufactured by the practice of conven tional shearing and forming steps thereby enabling a relatively low cost of manufacture.
1. A modular connector for horizontal runners of a ceiling grid system, including a central plate section, a plurality of integral arms radiating therefrom, each arm comprising a plate portion forming a continuation of said central plate section, integral flanges extending upwardly from opposite margins of said plate portion, said plate portion and flanges being adapted to telescopically accommodate the extremity of a complementary grid channel member, and means associated with said plate section for accommodating the lower extremity of a vertically disposed grid suspending member said means including a tiltable member adapted to be positioned in substantial parallelism with the plane of the central plate section when occupying an inoperative position whereby to facilitate nesting of said connector with another like connector.
2. A modular connector for horizontal runners of a ceiling grid system as set forth in claim 1, wherein the tiltable member includes a pair of arms, one extremity of each arm being hingedly coupled with said central plate section, and the opposite extremities of said arms being joined to provide means for accommodating the lower extremity of a vertically disposed grid suspending member.
3. A modular connector for horizontal runners of a ceiling grid system as set forth in claim 1, wherein the tiltable member consists of a U-shaped length of wire, the free extremities of which are hingedly coupled with said central plate section.
4. A modular connector for horizontal runners of a ceiling grid system, including a central plate section, a plurality ofintegral arms radiating therefrom, each arm comprising a plate portion forming a continuation of said central plate section, integral flanges extending upwardly from opposite margins of said plate portion, said plate portion and flanges being adapted to telescopically accommodate the extremity of a complementary grid channel member, and means associated with said plate section for accommodating the lower extremity of a vertically disposed grid suspending member said means including a pair of spaced tabs struck from the central plate section, and a U-shaped member hingedly connected at the free extremities thereof with said tabs.
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|U.S. Classification||52/715, 403/173, 403/329, 52/506.6, 52/665|
|International Classification||E04B9/14, E04B9/06|