US 3848653 A
A flexible closure panel adapted, for example, to close a rectangular opening in a wall, and capable of being rolled upon an elongated cylinder supported adjacent to and parallel with the upper edge of the rectangular opening. Drive means are attached to the cylinder for effecting rotation of said cylinder in either rotational direction and weight means is attached to the lower edge of said panel. Plural rollers are disposed below said cylinder and are capable of supporting same adjacent said upper edge of said opening. Plural, coaxial and spaced idler rolls are supported upon said wall adjacent to, spaced from and directly above said cylinder. Plural flexible bands, each one being connected at its opposite ends to and between said weight means and said cylinder, extend up and over said rolls and, being under tension, operatively support the panel and weight means.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
nite States Pte Youngs [451 Nov. 19, 1974 FLEXIBLE CLOSURE PANEL AND MEANS FOR SUPPORTING SAME Inventor: Wilbur R. Youngs, Findlay, Ohio Assignee: Overhead Door Corporation, Dallas,
Feb. 12, 1973 Filed:
U.S. Cl 160/120, i60/238, 160/310 Int. Cl. E06b 9/08 Field of Search 160/23, 26, 120, 121, 238,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,126,049 3/1964 Hollands 160/26 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 624,280 6/1949 Great Britain i60/120 Primary Examiner-J. Karl Bell Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Woodhams, Blanchard and Flynn l 5 7] ABSTRACT A flexible closure panel adapted, for example, to close a rectangular opening in a wall, and capable of being rolled upon an elongated cylinder supported :uliau'vnt to and parallel with the upper edge of the rectangular opening. Drive means are attached to the cylinder for effecting rotation of said cylinder in either rotational direction and weight means is attached to the lower edge of said panel. Plural rollers are disposed below said cylinder and are capable of supporting same adjacent said upper edge of said opening. Plural, coaxial and spaced idler rolls are supported upon said wall adjacent to, spaced from and directly above said cylinder. Plural flexible bands, each one being connected at its opposite ends to and between said weight means and said cylinder, extend up and over said rolls and, being under tension, operatively support the panel and weight means.
21 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures PMENMUVISISM 3848.653
snm auf 6 3,848,653 SHEEI BUF 6 PATENTE.; :mv 1 91974 1 FLEXIBLE CLOSURE PANEL AND MEANS FOR SUPPORTING SAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to a flexible closure panel and, more particularly, to a type thereof adapted for closing a substantially rectangular opening in a wall and to a method and apparatus for supporting said panel upon said wall for movement between an opened position adjacent the upper edge of said opening and a closed position covering said opening.
The use of flexible panels as closure members, such as doors for relatively large openings in buildings, has been severely restricted by two factors, namely, the size of the opening and the useful life of the material in the panel. In a common procedure for opening and closing this type of door, an elongated cylinder, often a hollow shaft, is located at the upper edge of the opening and the flexible panel is rolled upon the shaft when the door is opened. However, where the door is of extensive width and, especially, where the panel is made of a heavy material or the door opening is especially high, serious problems are encountered in effecting support of the panel supporting cylinder between the ends thereof. Regardless of the measures taken, it has been heretofore necessary to physically engage the panel on the cylinder at the lower surface thereof at intervals along the cylinder and, obviously, this has resulted in excessive wear at the locations of such support. Furthermore, because of the concentration of pressure between the support means, such as rollers, and the fabric rolled on the cylinder, a puckering or gathering of the panel during the rolling or unrolling thereof from the cylinder has not only increased the wear, but often has given the panel an unsightly appearance. That is, this contact has either caused temporary or permanent wrinkling and disfigurement of the panel along the path where it is engaged by the cylinder supporting means.
Previous attempts to solve the foregoing problems have been largely self-defeating. That is, by increasing the strength and durability of the panel, hence increasing its weight, the pressures between the cylinder and its supporting means, such as rollers, have been accordingly increased thereby eliminating any increase in the useful life of the structure. Attempts to make the cylinder or shaft entirely supported at its ends have resulted in excessive increases in the weight of the shaft, hence its supporting structure, and such strengthening of the shaft has not wholly eliminated sag in the shaft between its ends. Thus, niticeable wrinkles appear in the panels thusly supported.
In addition to the vself-defeating aspect of previous attempts to solve the problem, such attempts have always resulted in an increase in cost which has been substantial and usually unacceptable.
It is well known that large doors covering large openings, such as airplane hangar door openings, must be capable of withstanding relatively large wind loads and differential pressures. That is, especially in windstorms, the pressure on a door panel can reach 40 or 50 pounds per square foot. Thus, the door panel must withstand this pressure, even though it is transferred to the building. Accordingly, existing doors are sometimes damaged during windstorms, if they are not properly braced. v
It is necessary to attach weights or an elongated weight along the lower edge of the flexible closure panel in order to hold it adjacent the floor or ground when the closure panel is in its closed position. Accordingly, when the panel is raised or opened by rolling it upon the shaft, the entire load of the weight is supported by the panel, and the combined load of the weight and panel is supported by the shaft. For hangar doors, this load is in the tens of thousands of pounds even for an average small hangar door. This load is also transmitted directly to the shaft support rollers. Thus, near the central portion of the panel supporting shaft, the resulting pressures between the shaft and its supporting rollers can become immense. As a result, failures in the panel fabric are accelerated in the central region thereof.
Accordingly, a primary object of this invention is the provision of a flexible closure panel and a structure for supporting same, whereby the weight of the closure panel is substantially removed from the shaft upon which the panel is rolled, whereby the panel shaft is supported at intervals lengthwise thereof in such manner that the shaft supporting means effects no appreciable wear upon the closure panel and whereby the panel supporting shaft can be continuously maintained in a position where its entire lengthwise axis is straight and horizontal.
A further object of this invention is the provision of a support structure, as aforesaid, which can be furnished from materials having a minimum amount of weight while providing adequate, safe support of the closure panel and which, therefore, permits the use of drive means for rotating the panel supporting shaft which drive means has the minimum of power output.
A further object of this invention is the provision of a panel supporting structure, as aforesaid, wherein the means for supporting the weight of the closure panel is also capable of bracing the closure panel against high wind or pressure loads.
Other objects and purposes of the invention will v`become apparent to persons familiar with this type of equipment upon reading the following descriptive `material and examining the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. l is a broken perspective view of a flexible closure panel and structure for supporting same. FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line of lI-ll in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line III-III in FIG. l.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line IV-IV in FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line V-V in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line VI-VI in FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line VII-VII in FIG. 1.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view about as taken alongkthe line VIII--VIII in FIG. l and showing a modified structure.
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, vertical cross section of a door structure with a central location of the panel support apparatus. Y
FIG. l is a fragmentary, vertical cross section of a door structure showing an interior location of the panel support apparatus.
FIG. l1 is a sectional view taken along the line XI-XI in FIG. 1.
FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken along the line XII- -XII in FIG. 1.
FIG. 13 is a fragmentary, vertical cross section of a door structure having a modified panel and band structure.
FIG. 14 is a vertical cross section of a modified panel support apparatus.
FIG. 15 is a vertical cross section of a further modified panel support apparatus.
FIG. 16 is a sectional view taken along the line XVI- XVI in FIG. 15.
For convenience in description, the terms upper, lower and words of similar import will havel reference to the structure of the invention as appearing in FIG. 1. The terms innen outer and derivatives thereof will have reference to the geometric center of said structure and components thereof. The words interior and exterior will have reference to the corresponding sides of said structure when mounted upon an outside wall as appearing in FIG. 1, which discloses the exterior surface of the wall.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The objects and purposes of the invention, including those set forth above, have been met by providing a structure for supporting a flexible closure panel near, for example, the upper edge of a rectangular opening which the panel is adapted to close. The panel support structure includes an elongated, cylindrical and hollow shaft which is connected at one or both ends thereof to drive means for rotating said shaft to roll the panel thereon or unroll it therefrom. Shaft support rollers are provided beneath said shaft, preferably at uniform intervals lengthwise thereof, said rollers being capable of supporting the dead weight of the shaft, its panel and the weight attached to the lower edge of the panel. Band supporting rolls are mounted at intervals along and directly above the shaft and spaced therefrom. Plural bands are each connected at one end to the shaft and at the other end to the weight, and each band extends around a roll. When the support structure is assembled and adjusted, the entire load of the panel, the weight on the bottom of the panel and the shaft is supported by the bands, hence, their rolls. Consequently, the shaft'does not actually support any weight, as such, but only. resists the torque applied thereto by the tendency of the panel and bands to unwind from the shaft.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The closure structure l0, a preferred embodiment of which is disclosed in FIG. 1, is comprised of a flexible closure panel ll, a hollow cylindrical shaft 12 upon which the panel 1l is rolled when in the opened position, a drive mechanism 13 (FIG. 4) connected to the shaft 12 for rotating same, and apparatus 14 for supporting the panel 11 and shaft 12 at intervals therealong. An elongated weight 16 is secured to and extends along the lower edge of the panel 1l for holding said panel in a substantially vertical and planar position when the panel is in its lowered or closed position.
The closure structure 10, in this embodiment, is mounted upon a wall 17 (FIG. 1) having an exterior surface 18 and a substantially rectangular opening 19. However, it will be recognized from the following descriptive material that the closure structure 10 can be used to cover an opening in a partition wall or, in fact, to provide a partition wall within a building. Moreover, said closure structure can also be utilized as a sunscreen or the like in association with another closure structure, such as a large window or a large group of adjacent windows.
A pair of similar, upright and channel-shaped side guides 22 and 23 are mounted upon and/or imbedded, either partially or totally, in the wall 17 along the opposite upright edges thereof and positioned so that their open sides 24 and 25, respectively, are opposed to each other. Said open sides 24 and 25 are preferably approximately flush with the adjacent edges of the opening 19.
By way of example only, the support apparatus 14, the shaft 12 and their protective shroud 27 are located primarily on the exterior side of the wall 1l. However, as the description progresses, it will be seen that the shaft l2 and apparatus 14 can be located substantially within the upper portion of the opening 19 (FIG. 9) or on the interior side of the wall 17 (FIG. 10). Where, as here shown, the shaft 12 and apparatus 14 are substantially on the exterior side of the wall 17, the panel ll is preferably rolled upon the shaft l2 so that it hangs tangentially downwardly from the interior side of the shaft 12. The panel 1l (FIG. l1), which may be fabricated from any suitable flexible material, such as woven Dacron or nylon mesh embedded in polyvinyl chloride, is securely attached at its upper edge to the peripheral surface of the shaft 12. The panel 1l is preferably formed from elongated sheets 20 which abut along adjacent vertical edges. Strips 21 overlap and are secured to the adjacent edge portions of the sheets 20.
In one successful panel fabric, the Dacron mesh has a stretch capability, prior to fatigue, of about I8 percent, whereas the polyvinyl chloride can be stretched about 60.0 percent prior to fatigue.
The elongated weight or shoe 16 may be of any desired cross-sectional configuration. However, in this instance, said weight is comprised of a pair of similar channels 28 and 29 (FIG. 7) which open toward each other and are clamped together in opposing positions by nut and bolt assemblies 32. The fabric of the panel ll extends down between opposing flanges 33 and 34 of the channels 28 and 29, respectively, around an elongated rubber element 36 and then back upwardly between the flanges 33 and 34 where it is tightly gripped between said flanges 33 and 34. The element 36 may have4 a ridge 35 lengthwise thereof which projects upwardly and prevents rolling thereof whereby the panel could pull loose from the shoe 16.
The lateral edges of the panel 11 (FIGS. l and 3) extend through the open sides 24 and 25 of the side guides 22 and 23 and preferably engage the outer walls thereof (FIG. 12) to form a wind seal. The extremities 30 and 3l of the shoe 16 project into the side guides 22 and 23, respectively. The corresponding lower portions of the panel 11 may be urged by a pressure difference against the interior or exterior sides of the guides 22 and 23 (FIG. l2) to provide a further seal therebe- A drive mechanism 13 (FIG. 4) may be placed at one or both ends of the shaft 12. The drive mechanism 13 is comprised of a sprocket 37 which is mounted upon a reduced end portion 38 of the shaft l2. The sprocket 37 is connected by a chain 39 to a sprocket 42 which is mounted upon the shaft 43 of the motor 44. The motor 44 is mounted upon a motor bracket 46 which is in turn secured to the wall 17 in any convenient manner, as by means of the bolts 47. The axes of the shaft end portion 38 and the motor shaft 43 are preferably approximately and normally in the same horizontal plane. Thus, the shaft 12 is free to float upwardly and downwardly within a limited range without material interference from the drive mechanism 13.
The support apparatus 14 includes a plurality of roller support brackets 48 preferably located at uniform intervals lengthwise along the shaft 12 (FIGS. 4, 5 and 6). Each roller bracket is substantially U-shaped and, in this embodiment, is fabricated from a channel member. The upper horizontal flange 51 of each bracket 48 is rigidly secured to the wall 17 in any conventional manner. The lower flange 52 extends interiorly beneath the shaft 12 and supports a pair of rollers 53 and 54 which arel disposed on opposite sides of and equidistantly from a vertical plane including the axis of the shaft 12. Said rollers are arranged so that they can support the shaft 12 by engaging either the shaft itself or a portion of the band 56 or panel l1 rolled on said shaft. Sufficient roller brackets 48 are provided lengthwise of the shaft 12 to support the dead weight of the shaft 12, the panel 11 mounted thereon and the shoe 16 when the closure structure is being installed.
The weight of the shoe 16 plus the adjacent portion of the panel 11 will normally be substantially greater than the weight of the shaft 12 and is associated parts. Thus, when the shaft 12 is rotated, it is raised off of the rollers before the panel and weight are raised. On the other hand, the less differential between the weights of the shoe and the shaft, the less power required to raise the panel, because these weights tend to cancel themselves out. Clearly this arrangement also reduces the chance for wear by the rollers 53 and 54 in case, for example, a band 56 stretches and permits roller contact therewith.
A plurality of bands or straps 56 (FIG. 12) are anchored at one end of each upon said shaft 12 (FIG. 2) and at the other end upon said weight 16. Preferably, a band 56 is provided at each location of a roller bracket 48. Each band 56 extends upwardly around a roll 57 which is rotatably supported directly above the shaft 12 by means of a pair of roll supports 58 and 59 (FIG. 6). The roll supports 58 have integral, exteriorly extending arms 6l and 62 which are preferably substantially identical. The arms 61 and 62 have integral bearings 64 and 65 in which the shaft 67 of the roll 57 is journaled at the opposite ends thereof.
The bands 56 are preferably rolled upon the shaft 12 so that they, and not the panel 11, are engaged by the rollers 53 and 54, usually just during the assembly operation. The bands 56 can be fabricated from the same material as the panel 11 or, if desired, from a thicker and stronger material 56A (FIG. 11) which, if desirable, may be somewhat narrower than band 56. In a successful structure, little or no changes were required in the bands 56 after their initial adjustment which was made after the first raising of the panel l1.
An elongated curtain wiping strip (FIG. 8) may be` mounted along the lower side 76 of the shroud 27 for the purpose of removing foreign materials from the outside of the panel 11 as is raised and rolled upon the shaft 12. Alternatively, the strip 75 can serve as a weather strip, in which case it will not normally engage the panel 11 until just before the panel is fully lowered. This results from the fact that the diameter of the panel rolled on the draft 12 reduces as it is unwound thereby moving the panel closer to the strip 75.
OPERATION While the operation of the above-described structure will be evident to persons skilled in this art from a reading of the foregoing description, the installation of the structure and its operation will be summarized briefly hereinafter along with a disclosure of the method involved.
Before .installing the structure 10, the upper edges of the panel 11 and bands 56 are secured to the shaft I2 which is then raised and cradled on and between the rollers 53 and 54 in the brackets 48. The bands 56 are then looped over their respective rolls 57 and draped downwardly along the interior surface of the panel 1l to points adjacent the weight 16.
The shoe is now placed within the side guides 22 and 23 with the panel 11 attached thereto. The lower ends of the bands 56 and the lower edge of the panel ll are then placed with the element 36 inside of the opposing channels 28 and 29. The shaft 12 is turned by the drive mechanism 13 until there is a little slack in the panel lll. The bands 56 are then pulled downwardly tightly under tension and their lower ends along with the lower end of the panel l1, are clamped firmly between the channels 28 and 29 by means ofthe nut and bolt assemblies 32. Thus, the bands 56 will be tight, but there will be at least somey limpness or slack in the panel 1l. The drive mechanism 13 is now actuated to rotate the shaft 12 in a counterclockwise direction, as appearing in FIG. 4. Since the panel 11 is slack and the weight 16 is relatively heavy, the said counterclockwise rotation of the shaft 12 will tend to move it upwardly, away from the rollers 53 and 54, until the slack is out of the panel 11 and, at the same time, will roll an equivalent amount of the bands 56 onto the shaft l2. Since only a small amount of slack is provided in the panel 1I, the shaft 12 will be raised only a short distance, about as shown in FIG. 4, so that it and the panel thereon are clear of the rollers 53 and 54. Accordingly, during subsequent operation of the structure, for the purpose of raising the panel 1l or thereafter lowering it, all of the load created by the panel 11, the shaft 12 and the weight 16 will be supported by the plural rolls 57 and their supports 58 and 59 which are appropriately stressed for such loads. The drive mechanism 13 will prevent the shaft 12 from turning except when the motor 44 is appropriately actuated. Thus, the shaft 12 is floatably supported, as by being suspended from the rollers 57 by the bands 56.
If, for any reason, the rollers53 and S4 must support the shaft 12 during operation of the structure 10, the engagement will be with the bands 56 rather than the panel 1l, and the bands 56 may be constructed to encounter such engagement without damage or excessive wear. However, even if wear should occur on a band, it can be replaced far more readily and far less expensively than a panel.
The method of the invention is carried out during the installation of the support apparatus and the panel whereby the shaft literally floats in mid air and supports no weight as such. That is, the panel 11 and bands 56 apply a torque to the shaft 12 because it is unable to rotate except upon actuation of the drive mechanism 13. The slack initially created in the panel 11 permits the bands 56 to support the shaft 12, hence, the panel 11 and weight 16. As long as the weight of the channels 28 and 29, the rod 36 and associated parts plus the lower portion of the panel 11 is substantially greater than the weight of the shaft 12 and the parts thereon, the shaft 12 will move upwardly away from the rollers 53 and 54 until the panel l1 becomes taut. Thereafter, the panel and bands will roll upon the shaft 12 together.
As shown in FIG. 8, the shroud 27 may be provided with an awning 71, with our without a gutter 72.
While the rollers 53 and 54 are shown in pairs on each bracket 48, it might be advantageous to provide one roller on each bracket, alternating them from side to side of the shaft on alternating brackets. Since the rollers S3 and 54 are not normally engaged by the shaft 12 or the portion of the panel 11 or band 56 wrapped thereon, the frictional problems of supporting the rollers 53 and 54 on their brackets are minimized. If roller Contact occurs during the life of the structure, it can be elminated easily and quickly by merely increasing the tension on the bands 56, whereupon the shaft 12 will be raised accordingly. Under some circumstances, it may be desirable to provide lengthwise adjustment in the bands 56 which would eliminate the necessity for releasing the channels 28 and 29 for effecting such tensioning.
While it may be less practical, adjustment of the bands 56 for the purpose of maintaining a space between the rolled panel 11 or bands 56 and the rollers 53 and 54 may be accomplished by adjusting the vertical positions of the rolls 57 and/or their arms 61 and 62.
It will be recognized that the panel l1, as well as the bands 56, can be transparent, translucent or opaque. lt will be noted in this embodiment, the bands 56 are on the inside of the panel 1l thereby helping to brace the panel against heavy wind loads. However, the bands 56 may be located on the outside of the panel (FIG. 9).
Where the closure panel is either very high or very wide, or both` it may not be desirable to have the weight I6 anchored upon the ground in order to provide more freedom of movement for the panel 11. That is, the weight would be free to move up and down as controlled by the side guides 22 and 23 during heavy wind or pressure conditions. However, on relatively small doors, such as a residential garage, it may be at least desirable to provide lock-down means between the floor and the weight, if only to discourage undesirable intrusions.
It follows from the foregoing that, in cases where heavy wind loads and pressure differentials are not infrequent, it may be advisable to provide wind braces 79 and 80 (FIG. 8) on the interior and exterior sides of each side guide at the lower ends thereof where the weight 16 is located when the panel is closed.
MODIFIED STRUCTURES In some instances, stiffness or additional strength may be required in the closure panel. As seen in FIG. 13, this can be achieved by placing a rigid sheet 85 between the panel 1l and the bands 56 and, for example, securing said sheet to the bands 56. To allow for the opening or raising of the sheet 85, the support apparatus 86 is located at a higher position on the wall 17. However, the apparatus 86 may be identical in opera tion with the apparatus 14. Where a sheet 85 is furnished, the weight of the shoe 16 may be reduced.
FIG. 14 illustrates a support apparatus 89 which includes a shaft 90, panel 91, bands 92, rollers 93 and a roller bracket 94 that, at least in substance, may be like their counterparts in the apparatus 14. However, the bands 92 are rolled upon a second, upper shaft 96 when the panel 91 is in its unrolled condition. The shaft 96 is supported by bearing brackets 95 located at intervals therealong and mounted upon the interior surface of the wall 17, as are the roller brackets 94. Sprockets 97 and 98 are secured upon corresponding ends of the shaft and 96, respectively, for mutual engagement and driving by a chain 99 which may in turn be driven by drive means including the chain 101.
In the apparatus 89 of FIG. 14, the shoe 102 is supported by the panel 91, but the panel 91, shoe 102 and shaft 90 are supported primarily by the upper shaft 96 acting through the bands 92. The chain and sprocket drive opposes the torque applied by the panel and shoe to the shaft 90, and the bands 92 hold the shaft 90 in a position spaced upwardly from the rollers 93.
The apparatus 89A in FIGS. l5 and 16 includes a lower shaft 90A, an upper shaft 96A, rollers 93A, a roller bracket 94A, a panel 91A, bands 92A` a shoe 102A and sprockets 97A and 98A, which may be substantially identical to their counterparts in the apparatus 89. Also, the bearing brackets A. which support the shaft 96A at intervals therealong, are mounted on the wall 17 as are the brackets 94A. However, the brackets 95A include projections 103 which support rolls 104 which may be similar to the rolls 57 of FIG. 5.
Bands 106 are secured at one end of each to the lower shaft 90A and at the other of each to the shoe 102A. Intermediate these connections, cach band 106 extends upwardly on both sides of the upper shaft 96A and over the top ofa roll 104. As seen in FIG. I6, the bands 92A and 106 are alternated along the structure 89A, but other arrangements of said bands may be provided.
The sprockets 97A and 98A are engaged respectively by chains 107 and 108 which are in turn connected to drive means, such as a motor or motors, not shown.
Since the bands 106 are connected between the shaft 90A and shoe 102A, they function as described above with respect to the bands 56 (FIG. 2). That is, if the panel 91A has some slack when the structure is installed, the lower shaft 90A will be raised off of the rollers 93A before the shoe 102A is raised.
The shaft 96A, which is positively rotated simultaneously with the shaft 90A, will act through bands 92A to assist in the support of the lower shaft 90A.
In the support structures I4 (FIG. 2) and 89A (FIG. l5) the weights of the shoes 16 and 102A, respectively, and the adjacent portions of the corresponding panels 11 and 91A are partially counterbalanced by the shafts 12 and 90A, respectively.
Although a particular preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed above for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts, lie within the scope of the present invention.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
l. In a closure structure including flexible closure elongated, horizontal shaft means, the upper edge of said panel means being secured to said shaft means so that rotation of said shaft means in one rotational direction will cause said panel means to be rolled upon said shaft means;
support means located beneath said shaft means and adapted to support said shaft means and the panel means rolled thereon in a substantially horizontal position;
roll means rotatably supported directly above, parallel with and spaced from said shaft means;
shoe means secured to and along said lower edge of said panel means, said shoe means and the lower portion of lsaid panel means being heavier than said shaft means;
plural spaced band means having intermediate portions thereof draped over said roll means, each band means having its upper end attached to said shaft means and its lower end attached to said shoe means, said band means being rolled upon said shaft means in said one rotational direction and the tension on said band means being such that said shaft means is raised off of said support means when said shoe means is raised; and
means for selectively rotating said shaft means.
elongated, horizontal shaft means, the upper edge of said panel means being secured to said shaft means so that rotation of said shaft means in one rotational direction will cause said panel means to be rolled upon said shaft means;
plural support means located'at intervals along said shaft means and adapted to support said shaft means and the panel means rolled thereon in a substantially horizontal position;
plural coaxial roll means mounted directly above, parallel with, at intervals along and spaced from said shaft means;
shoe means secured to and along said lower edge of said panel means, said shoe means and the lower portion of said panel means being heavier than said shaft means;
plural band means, each one thereof being draped over a said roll means and having its opposite ends attached to and between said shaft means and said shoe means, said band means being rolled upon said shaft means in said one rotational direction and the tension on said band means being such that said shaft means is raised off of said support means when said shoe means is raised; and 6 means for selectively rotating said shaft means.
3. A structure according to claim 2 including a second elongated and horizontal shaft means parallel with, spaced from and located between said roll means and the first-mentioned shaft means;
. second plural band means, each one thereof being located between pairs of the first-mentioned band means and connected at opposite ends thereof to and between the two shaft means, each of said sccond band means being unrolled from one of said shaft means as it is rolled upon the other shaft means; and
means supporting said second shaft means for rotation about ari axis fixed with respect to said roll means, said second shaft means being simultaneously rotated by said means rotating said firstmentioned shaft means,
4. A structure according to claim 2, wherein each support means includes bracket means and a pair of spaced, parallel rollers mounted upon said bracket means and engageable with one of said band means and said panel means on the lower side of said shaft means, said rollers in each pair being on opposite sides of a vertical plane including the axis of said shaft means.
5. A structure according to claim 2 including a pair of upright, channel-shaped guide means opening toward each other, the lateral edges of said panel means being slidably disposed within and engageable with said guide means; and
' wherein the opposite ends of said shoe means project into the said guide means.
6. A structure according to claim 2, wherein said means for rotating said shaft means includes motor means and chain and sprocket means connecting said motor means to an end of said shaft means for effecting rotation of said shaft means.
7. A structure according to claim 2, wherein said panel means is a woven fiberous mesh coated with a resin.
8. A structure according to claim l, wherein said shoe means includes a pair of similar channel members opening toward each other, the lower edges of said panel means and said band means being clamped between said channel members.
9. A structure according to claim l, wherein said band means are disposed closely adjacent to the interior surface of said panel means whereby to strengthen the resistance of said panel means to wind loads.
10. A structure according to claim l, including shroud means enclosing said shaft means, said roll means and said support means; and
' elongated, flexible strip means having one edge thereof secured to the bottom of said shroud means adjacent said panel means for engagement therewith.
11. A structure according to claim l0, including awning and gutter means connected to and extending exteriorly from said shroud means.
l2. A structure according to claim 5, including brace means anchored adjacent the lower ends of said guide means and engageable therewith.
13. A closure structure including flexible closure panel means having upper and lower edges, comprising:
first elongated, horizontal shaft means, the upper edge of said panel means being secured to said shaft means so that rotation of said shaft means will cause said panel means to be rolled upon said shaft means;
support means located beneath said shaft means and adapted to support'said shaft means and the panel means rolled thereon in a substantially horizonta position;
second elongated horizontal shaft means rotatably supported directly above, parallel with and spaced from said first shaft means;
shoe means secured to and along said lower edge of said panel means;
plural spaced band means attached to and between said first and second shaft means, each band means being unrolled from one of said shaft means as it is rolled upon the other shaft means, and the tension on said band means being such that said frist shaft means is raised off of said support means when said shoe means is raised; and
means for simultaneously and selectively rotating said first said second shaft means.
14. A method of supporting a flexible closure panel in a substantially vertical plane wherein said panel has weight means secured to the lower edge thereof and shaft means secured to the upper edge thereof, the steps comprising:
temporarily supporting said shaft means in a horizontal position;
locating plural coaxial roll means above and in vertical axial alignment with said shaft means at spaced intervals therealong;
draping a band means over each roll means and connecting one end of said band means to said shaft means and the other end of said band means to said weight means;
causing a little slack to occur in the panel while said weight means is supported;
placing each of said band means under tension; and
causing said shaft means to rotate until said panel is taut` whereby said shaft means is raised off of said temporary support before said weight means is raised.
15. ln a closure structure including flexible closure panel means having upper and lower edges` comprising:
elongated horizontal shaft means having the upper edge of said panel means fixedly secured thereto so that rotation of said shaft means in one rotational direction causes said panel means to be rolled upon said shaft means;
drive means drivingly connected to said shaft means for selectively rotating same; roll means rotatably supported directly above, parallel with and spaced from said shaft means; and
flexible band means coacting with said shaft means for maintaining said shaft means in a freely suspended position below said roll means when said panel means is rolled onto or off of said shaft means, said band means having a portion thereof disposed in engagement with said roll means, and said bandmeans having one end thereof attached to said shaft means for causing said band means to be rolled onto or off of said shaft means simultaneous with said panel means.
16. A closure structure according to claim 15, wherein said band means has the upper end thereof fixedly attached to said shaft means and the lower end thereof fixedly attached to said panel means adjacent the lower edge thereof, said band means having an intermediate portion thereof disposed in engagement with and draped around said roll means, said band means including an upper portion extending between the upper end thereof and said intermediate portion,
said upper portion being disposed adjacent one side of said roll means, and said band means including a lower portion extending between the lower end thereof and said intermediate portion, said lower portion being disposed adjacent the opposite side of said roll means.
17. A closure structure according to claim 16, including second flexible band means connected between said shaft means and said roll means, said second flexible band means having one end thereof attached to said shaft means and the other end thereof attached to said roll means whereby said second band means will be unrolled from said roll means and rolled onto said shaft means simultaneous with said panel means being rolled onto said shaft means.
18. A closure structure according to claim 15, wherein said band means has the other end thereof attached to said roll means whereby said band means is rolled onto and around said roll means simultaneous with the unrolling of said panel means from said shaft means, and wherein said band means is unrolled from said roll means and rolled onto said shaft means simultaneous with the rolling of said panel means onto said shaft means.
19. A closure structure according to claim l5, wherein said shaft means is supported solely by said flexible band means so that the panel means wound on said shaft means is totally free of engagement with external supporting devices.
20. A closure structure according to claim 19, wherein said drive means includes an endless flexible drive member disposed in driving engagement with said shaft means for permitting floating movement of said shaft means without disrupting said drive means.
2l. A closure structure, comprising:
first horizontally elongated shaft means supported for rotation about a first substantially horizontal axis;
second horizontally elongated shaft means supported above, substantially parallel with and spaced from said first shaft means, said second shaft means being rotatably supported for rotation about a second substantially horizontal axis;
frame means coacting with said second shaft means for supporting same for rotation about said second axis;
flexible element means adapted to be wound onto said first shaft means when same is rotated in one direction, said flexible element means coacting between said first and second shaft means for supporting said first shaft means in a freely suspended position below said second shaft means` said flexible element means constituting the sole support for said first shaft means during operation of said closure structure;
said flexible element means having upper and lower edges, the upper edge of said flexible element means being fixedly attached to said frist shaft means for permitting said flexible element means to be rolled onto said first shaft means, said flexible element means also including an intermediate portion supported on and draped around said second shaft means for maintaining said first shaft means suspended below said second shaft means;
weight means fixedly attached to said flexible element means adjacent the lower end thereof; and
drive means drivingly connected to said first shaft means for controlling the rotation thereof, said drive means when deenergized preventing rotation of said frist shaft means so that same remains suspended below said second shaft means while preventing said flexble element means from being wound onto or off of said first shaft means.
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