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Publication numberUS3866377 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 18, 1975
Filing dateApr 23, 1973
Priority dateApr 23, 1973
Publication numberUS 3866377 A, US 3866377A, US-A-3866377, US3866377 A, US3866377A
InventorsDe Schutter Camiel R
Original AssigneePerfect Module Systems Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wall panel spacer
US 3866377 A
Abstract
A wall panel system having a plurality of spaced, parallel panel sections that are connected at opposite ends by a panel joint to form a wall panel. The panel system includes a spacer having a body portion with parallel outer edges and inwardly spaced and outwardly extending pairs of arm members paralleling the body edges. The outer edge of each of the arm members has a notch portions which are inwardly spaced from the body edges to define a snap lock means. The inner opposing edges of each pair of arms define a recess having therein between second snap lock means. Central portions of the body section are deformed to define outwardly extending tabs, the edges of which parallel the body portion edges. The panel system also includes a second spacer means of a T-shaped configuration having a base with rounded edges extending to the mid-section of the base and downwardly therefrom to define the legs of the T-shaped member. The downwardly extending legs at the mid-section are spaced a predetermined distance to define a spacer receiving neck portion and the legs therebeyond are outwardly deformed to define on the opposing inner surfaces thereof, notches which in conjunction with the first mentioned spacer form a snap lock arrangement. The outside face of the base is in abutment with the inside surface of the panel section and the base surface is roughened for bonding purposes with the panel section.
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United States Patent [1 1 De Schutter [4 1 Feb. 18,1975

1 1 WALL PANEL SPACER [75] Inventor: Camiel R. De Schutter, Saint Clair Shores, Mich.

[73] Assignee: Perfect Module Systems, Inc., Mt. Clemens, Mich.

[22] Filed: Apr. 23, 1973 21 Appl. No.1 353,653

[52] US. Cl 52/508, 52/220, 52/281,

52/712 [51] Int. Cl. E04b 2/30 [58] Field of Search 52/582, 238, 241, 242,

Primary Examiner-John E. Murtagh Attorney, Agent, or FirmBasile and Weintraub [57] ABSTRACT A wall panel system having a plurality of spaced, parallel panel sections that are connected at opposite ends by a panel joint to form a wall panel. The panel system includes a spacer having a body portion with parallel outer edges and inwardly spaced and outwardly extending pairs of arm members paralleling the body edges. The outer edge of each of the arm members has a notch portions which are inwardly spaced from the body edges to define a snap lock means. The inner opposing edges of each pair of arms define a recess having therein between second snap lock means. Central portions of the body section are deformed to define outwardly extending tabs, the edges of which parallel the body portion edges. The panel system also includes a second spacer means of a T-shaped configuration having a base with rounded edges extending to the mid-section of the base and downwardly therefrom to define the legs of the T-shaped member. The downwardly extending legs at the mid-section are spaced a predetermined distance to define a spacer receiving neck portion and the legs therebeyond are outwardly deformed to define on the opposing inner surfaces thereof, notches which in conjunction with the first mentioned spacer form a snap lock arrangement. The outside face of the base is in abutment with the inside surface of the panel section and the base surface is roughened for bonding purposes with the panel section.

5 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures WALL PANEL SPACER CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS The present invention is related in its substance to co-pending U.S. Pat. application Ser. No. 91,083, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,805,471, filed Nov. 19, 1973 for Building Panel Construction System in the name of Camiel R. De Schutter.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to building wall panel systems and, in particular, to a spacer utilized in maintaining different components of the wall panel system in a spaced parallel relationship.

ll. Description of the Prior Art Heretofore, numerous devices and apparatus have been employed in the construction of wall panel systems in order to facilitate the simple, rapid and inexpensive fabrication of a wall. Samples of the prior art systems and structures which have heretofore been utilized are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,034,609, U.S. Pat. No. 3,609,933 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,622,3290. Other examples of such systems are disclosed in Belgium Pat. No. 51 l 174. Although these systems provide apparatus and methods for the fabrication of wall panel systems, they are deficient in certain critical aspects, including the lack of versatility of the components thereof to be utilized, in different areas of the system and, in particular, these systems do not provide a rigid and stable wall panel system without the need for intricate and expensive components requiring complicated and time consuming means for fastening the various components to one another.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention which will be described subsequently in greater detail comprises a spacer adapted to cooperate with various components of a wall panel system, such that the spacer is utilized in different orientations and positions to provide a finished panel system having a more rigid and stable construction.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved spacer utilized in the fabrication of wall panel systems.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved spacer for maintaining different components of a wall panel system at predetermined spaced distances with the spacer being used at different locations throughout the system and having means for engaging the various components so that the spacer functions to connect the space components as well as insuring a proper spaced relationship between the connected components.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a spacer having means to facilitate the use of wiring and conduits within the wallpanel system.

Other objects, advantages and applications of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art of wall panel systems and, in particular, to spacer means utilized in such systems when the accompanying description of several examples of the best modes contemplated for practicing the invention is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The description herein makes reference to the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan elevational view of a building wall panel system having components which are constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary view taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of a spacer utilized in the assembly of the wall panel system illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the wall panel system illustrated in FIG. 2 with parts thereof removed for clarity; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 55 of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and, in particular, to FIG. 1, wherein there is illustrated a building wall panel 10 comprising a plurality of outer panel sections 12 separated by panel section joints l6. Along the bottom edge of the wall 10 there is provided a base moulding 18, while a trim moulding 20 is provided along the upper edge of the wall panel 10 adjacent the ceiling of the room in which the wall panel 10 is employed. Although the system is illustrated in conjunction with a room wall, it is to be understood that the present invention is equally applicable for use in the external walls ofa building and in walled structures which are not part of a building. The wall panel system has in between opcross-sectional posing panel section 12, longitudinally disposed support assemblies 21 which function to provide lateral support for the panel sections 12 between the support post 16, all of which will be described in greater detail hereinafter.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 of the drawings, wherein there is illustrated fragmentary views of the section joint 16 located at the end of the wall panel 10. Each panel section joint 16 comprises a pair of vertical retainer members 22 which are disposed on opposite sides of the wall panel 10 and only one of which is illustrated. The retainer member 22, as can best be seen in FIG. 4, is U-shaped in cross section and comprises a base portion 24, having a longitudinal recesses 26 formed on both sides of the base 24 and extending the full length of the retainer member 22. Each longitudinal recess 26 terminates in upwardly extending wall that forms a longitudinal rib 28 which similarly extends the full length of the retainer member 22 on both outer edges of the base 24. The U-shaped retainer member 22 has legs 30, which are deformed at their ends to define longitudinal extending shoulders 35, for a purpose to be described hereinafter. At strategic locations along the full length of the retainer member 22 and on opposite sides of the base 24, there are provided punched out tabs 36 which traverse the recess 26 and ribs 28, defining sidewardly facing openings adapted to receive portions of adjacent panel members in a snap lock fashion as will be described hereinafter. Part of the snap lock arrangement of the retainer members is formed by an inward deformation of each tab 36, wherein a rib 38 is formed on the inner face of each tab 36 and a recess 40 is formed simultaneously on the outside of each tab 36. The manner in which the'longitudinal recess 26, rib 28 and the rib 38 of the tabs 36 co-act to form the compressive snap lock for the retainer member 22 will be described hereinafter with reference to FIG. 2. It should be also noted that the snap lock feature obtained by means of the recess 40 on the outwardly fac ing sides of each tab 36, will similarly be described hereinafter.

As can best be seen in FIG. 4, the retainer member 22 is provided at strategic locations along the full length of the retainer member 22 with a plurality of longitudinally disposed slots 42 having enlarged circular sections 44. Asuitable fastening means, such as the fastening clip described in copending US. Pat. application Ser. No. 314,416, dated Dec. 12, 1972, is inserted within the slot 42 of the two opposing members 22, to fasten the two members together. Since the fasteners utilized to join the retainer members 22 forms no part of the present invention herein, a further detailed description of the same will not be had.

As can best be seen in FIG. 2, the outer panel sections 12 are joined to each of the retainer members 22 by means of a panel section coupling member 46, which is generally U-shaped in cross section and-extends the full length of the wall panel. The panel section coupling member 46 has U-shaped end section 47 defining therein between a snap lock receiving groove 48, within which is inserted in a snap lock fashion, one leg 49 of a retainer coupling member 50. The end 52 of the leg 47 is bent outwardly toward the central portion of the retainer coupling member 50 for a purpose to be described. Although not shown, the panel section coupling member on the opposite side of the wall panel has a end 52 which similarly is bent outwardly toward the central portion of the retainer coupling member 50.

Still referring to FIGS. 2 and 4, the retainer coupling member 50 is illustrated as having a H shaped cross section with abase 53 and outwardly extending legs 54 that are rounded at their ends and which extend rearwardly and outwardly beyond the base 53 to form the aforementioned legs 49. The legs 54 are both deformed to define opposing longitudinal recesses 56 on the inner side of each legs 54 and longitudinally disposed ribs 58 on the outer surface of each leg 54. The recess 56 and rib 58 extend the full length of the leg on the outside thereof. The extended legs 49, as can best be seen in FIG. 2, are inclined outwardly and deformed to define on the outer side of each leg, longitudinal ribs 60 and longitudinal recesses 62 on the inner sides thereof. As can best be seen in FIG. 2, the snap lock grooves 48 of each panel section coupling member 46 receive the extended legs 49 of the retainer coupling member 50 in a snap lock engagement with the rib 60 of each leg engaging a mating recess 63 formed in each leg 47 of the coupling member 46, while a notch portion of the rounded leg 47 engages the recess 62 on the inner side of each leg 49.

As can best be seen in FIG. 4, the base 53 of the retainer coupling member 50 is provided with a plurality of longitudinally spaced punched out sections forming tabs 67, each having a width which is substantially equal to the width of the base 53. After the panel section coupling member 46 is attached to the retainer coupling member 50, as aforementioned, the tabs 67 along the full length of the retainer coupling member are bent outwardly toward the legs 47. The legs 47 are so designed that after they couplingly engage the 49 leg of the member 50, the ends 52 project inwardly to ward the base 53 of the coupling member 50, and when the tabs 67 are bent outwardly and downwardly. the sides edges thereof slidably engage the ends 52 of the leg 47 to force the same outwardly into a compressive fit with the recesses 62 to insure a tight and rigid coupling of the two members.

As can best be seen in FIG. 2, the legs 54 of the retainer coupling member 50 have their respective ribs 58 in engagement with the recesses 40 of the retainer member tabs 36 and are retained therein by the compressive action of ribs 66 formed on a portion of a panel spacer 68.

The spacer 68 which is illustrated in perspective in FIG. 3 comprises a body section 69 having parallel outer edges 70. The opposite sides of the body section 69 have outwardly extending spaced, parallel pairs of arms 72 and 74. The aforementioned ribs 66 are formed on the outer edges of the arms 72 and 74 with the outermost portion of the rib 66 being inwardly spaced from the parallel edges 70. The opposing edges, respectively, of the arms 72 and 74 define a recess 76 with the opposing inner surfaces of the arms 72 and 74 having inward deformations which form grooves 78 for a purpose which will be described hereinafter. The central portion of the body section 69 has an aperture 77 with two of the parallel edges of the aperture 77 being bent outwardly to define outward extending tabs 79, the upper edges of which parallel the edges 70 of the body section 69. The spacer 68 is disposed between the two opposing retainer members 22, and thus, when the retainer members 22 are locked together by means of the aforementioned fastening means, the retainer members 22 are forced together in abutment with the outer edges 70 of the spacer 68 while the ribs 66 on opposite sides of the spacer arm 72 and 74 project into the recesses 56 of the retainer coupling member 50. Thus the spacer 68 secures to the retainer members 22 to the retainer coupling member 50 while functioning to properly space the retainer members 22 and stiffen the panel joint 16.

As can best be seen on the left hand side of FIG. 2, the ends of the wall panel sections 12 are enclosed by a panel end cover 86 which is provided with a pair of inwardly extending legs 88 (only one of which is shown) having a deformation formed thereon to define a rib 90 and recess 92 which, when inserted between the tab 40 and recess 26 of the'retainer member 22, engages the same in a snap lock fashion to secure the end cover 86 to the panel sections 12. A central U-shaped recess 94 at the center of the panel end cover 86 is provided with outwardly extending ribs 96 that engage in a snap like manner with the complimentary U-shaped recess 78 formed between the spacer arms 72 and 74 whereby the spacer 68, the end cover 86 and the retainer members 22 are secured to one another. It should be noted that the panel joints I6 between the panel sections 12 differ from thee end panel joint 16 in that the cover 86 is replaced by a retainer coupling member 50 and the same engages the retainer members 22 in the same manner as aforementioned.

Ajoint cover 100 ofa generally U-shaped configuration has a central recess 102 extending the full longitudinal length of its base 104 with the legs 96 thereof having recesses 108 that are engagable with the deformation 34 on the legs 30 of the retainer member 22 to se cure the joint cover 100 in position.

Joint cover inserts 110 are provided respectively, for insertion within the recess 102 of the joint cover 100 and the recess 94 of the end cover 86, as shown. The joint cover inserts 110 are provided with rib sections 112 that respectively engage mating recesses 114 and 96 in the side walls of the joint cover and end cover 86 for attachment in a snap lock fashion.

The spacer 68 is positioned at selected locations in a horizontal position along the full length of the panel section joint 16 to provide proper spacing between the retainer members 22 and to insure a proper snap lock engagement between the coupling member 50 and the retainer member 22. The spacer 68 is disposed along the length of the panel section joint 16 at locations which are adjacent a selected number of the tabs 67 carried by the retainer coupling member 50, such that these tabs 67 may be bent outwardly toward the spacer 68 to extend through the aperture 77 and wrapped around the adjacent portion of each spacer 68. This arrangement secures the spacer 68 to the retainer coupling member 50, all of which adds to the rigidity of stiffness and stability of the panel system to prevent the same from undesired movement or misalignment.

Atthe panel section joints 16 other than an end joint, the end cover 86 is replaced by a retainer coupling member 50 which in turn carries the panel coupling member 46 and panel sections 12, as aforementioned.

As herebefore indicated, the opposing pairs of spaced parallel wall sections 12 are maintained at a predetermined spaced distance by a support assembly 21 and, in addition, the support assembly 21 provides rigidity and stiffness to the wall panel sections 12. Each support assembly 21 comprises a pair of vertically disposed T-shaped members 120 (FIG. 5) which have a base 122, the outer face of which abuttingly engages the inner surface of its associated wall panel sections 12. Since the T-shaped members 120 are identical, it is to be understood that the description of one is equally applicable to the other and that like components will be identified with common numerals. The base 122 has rounded edges which extend back towards the midsection of the base 122 and downwardly and outwardly to form a pair of opposing legs 124 and 126. The legs 124 and 126 near the mid-section of the base 122, define a longitudinally extending slot 128 of a width that is equal to the approximate thickness of the body section 69 of the aforementioned spacer 68. The lower portion of the legs 124 and 126 are deformed to provide shoulders 130 which as will be described hereinafter cooperate with the spacers 68 to form a snap lock engagement. As can best be seen in FIG. 5, the spacer 68 is positioned such that the outer parallel edges 70 thereof are inserted through the slots 128 and the edges of the spacer 68 abut the inner side of the base 122 of each of the T-shaped members 120, while the tabs 79 on the spacer 68 snap lockingly engage one of the shoulders 130 formed on each of the T-shaped member legs 124 and 126. Dual shoulders 130 are formed on the legs 124 and 126 of the T-shaped member 120 for ease of use, such that the worker who is assemblying the wall simply has to insert the spacer 68 between the legs 124 and 126 without concern for which side the tab 79 are disposed on the spacer 68 since the spacer 68, when reversed will engage the shoulder 130 on either leg 126 in a snap lock fashion. The spacer 68 and the T-shaped member 120 are so designed that when they are inserted between the spaced wall sections 12 there is enough of a compressive fit therein between that the assembly 21 will remain in position without any additional fastening elements between T-shaped member and the interior surface of the wall panel sections 12. As shown in phantom lines in FIG. 1, a sufficient number of the spacers 68 are provided along the full length of the assembly 21 to securely attach the T- shaped members 120 to each other and to prevent the same from moving inwardly when pressure is exerted on the outside of the wall section 12, thereby insuring the integrity, stability and appearance of the wall sections 12. It should be noted that the panel spacer 68 is disposed in a vertical position when utilized in conjunction with the T-shaped members 120 to form the aperture 77 of spacer 68, when employed within the wall joints 16, facilitate the passage of wiring and conduits vertically through the joint 16, while the aperture 77 of the spacer 68 when employed in the wall support assemblies 21, facilitate the horizontal passages of such wiring and conduit through the wall panel sections 12. The wiring and conduits passing through the spacer apertures 77 in the wall support assemblies 21 are also supported by the spacers 68, or support assembly 21.

The face of each base in abutment with the inside surit can thus be seen that the present invention has pro-- vided an extremely simple spacer adapted to perform numerous functions in a building wall panel system and which cooperates with various components of the sys tem to provide snap lock means for fastening to these various components together at a proper distance, as well as for providing a simple means for the passage and support of the wiring and conduits passing through the wall.

Although only two forms of the present invention have been disclosed, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art of wall panel systems that other forms may be had, all coming within the spirit of the invention and scope of the appended claims.

' What is claimed is as follows:

1. In a wall panel system comprising a plurality of wall panel sections connected in an end to end fashion by panel joints, a spacer member disposed within said panel system to maintain selected opposing components of said system in a predetermined spaced relationship, said spacer member comprising a body section having opposing parallel edges, two pairs of opposed spaced arms extending outwardly from said body portion in said direction as said parallel edges; the,

outer edge of each of said arms being provided with a rib adapted to engage components of said panel system in a snap lock fashion, each of said ribs being inwardly spaced from said body portion parallel edges; each of said pairs of extended arms defining thereinbetween a recess and the inner opposing surfaces of each of said pair of said arms having a groove formed therein for engaging in a snap lock fashion with a component of said wall panel system; the body section being provided with a central aperture of sufficient size to facilitate the passage of wiring and conduits therethrough; the side walls of said aperture adjacent said body. portion being bent outwardly in the same direction to define tab means, said tab means being inwardly spaced from said parallel edges and beingdisposed along an axis paralleling the edges of said body portion.

2. The wall panel defined in claim 1 wherein said spacer means is disposed in said panel joint between spaced parallel vertical members, said edges of said body portions being in abutting contact with said I spaced members to define the predetermined spacing therein between, said spacer being disposed in a horizontal plane.

3. The wall panel system defined in claim 1 further comprising longitudinally disposed T-shaped members disposed between said pane] sections and, respectively,

abutting the opposing inner surfaces of said panel sections, the legs of said T-shaped members having openings therein which define snap lock means for the reception of said spacer; said spacer being disposed in a vertical position with said parallel edges respectively being received in said Tshaped leg openings with said tab means carried by said body portion of said spacer engaging said legs in a snap lock fashion to maintain said panel sections at a predetermined spaced apart dis tance.

4. The wall panel system defined in claim 1, wherein members in the abutting surfaces of said panel sections for securing said T-shaped members to said panel sec-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1842144 *Oct 31, 1927Jan 19, 1932Hauserman Co E FPanel unit connecting clip
US2007618 *Sep 15, 1933Jul 9, 1935Snead & CompanyPartition structure
US2015754 *Feb 8, 1932Oct 1, 1935Mills CompanyFiller unit
US2123458 *Aug 11, 1937Jul 12, 1938Niedringhaus IncStructural holding clip
US3037590 *Dec 26, 1952Jun 5, 1962John PavleckaInterlocked panel structure
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5784841 *Jan 11, 1996Jul 28, 1998Patio Enclosures, Inc.Electrical raceway housed in a structural member
US5994644 *Feb 20, 1998Nov 30, 1999Rindoks; Kurt P.Modular furniture raceway component
US9850656 *Sep 2, 2015Dec 26, 2017Chung Jong LeeConstruction panel assembly and construction method using same
US20050034407 *Jul 28, 2003Feb 17, 2005Snyder Darryl L.Support frame for duct
US20160024805 *Jul 28, 2014Jan 28, 2016Paul Thaddeus GrazianoChannel and cap extrusion system
US20160060865 *Sep 2, 2015Mar 3, 2016Chung Jong LeeConstruction panel assembly and construction method using same
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/508, 52/220.7, 52/712, 52/281
International ClassificationE04B2/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2/7401
European ClassificationE04B2/74B