US 3872995 A
A box-like casing cell assembly comprising prefabricated parts which may be combined to provide any desired number of connected casing cells. Each of said cells is adapted to accommodate a production unit or units such as optical or electronic instruments, mechanical structures or the like. The casing cell is formed by a top member and a bottom member of substantially similar shape and cross-section with each of said top and bottom members being "U" shaped in cross-section. Two side wall members which are "I" shaped in cross-section close to the ends of the casing cell and unite the top, bottom and side wall members together by frictional engagement of the top and bottom walls between the substantially parallel flanges of the side walls. The inner adjacent legs of the "U" shaped top and bottom members are connected together adjustably by screws.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States atent 1 Eickhorst ilite 1 Mar. 25, 1975 BOX-LIKE CASING CELL ] Appl. No.: 344,058
 Foreign Application Priority Data Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr. Assistant Examiner-Steven M. Pollard Attorney, Agent, or FirmPennie & Edmonds  ABSTRACT A box-like casing cell assembly comprising prefabricated parts which may be combined to provide any desired number of connected casing cells. Each of said cells is adapted to accommodate a production unit or units such as optical or electronic instruments, mechanical structures or the like. The casing cell is formed by a top member and a bottom member of substantially similar shape and cross-section with each of said top and bottom members being U" shaped in cross-section. Two side wall members which are 1" shaped in cross-section closetg the ends of the casing cell and unite the top, bottom and side wall members together by frictional engagement of the top and bottom walls between the substantially parallel flanges of the side walls. The inner adjacent legs of the U" shaped top and bottom members are connected together adjustably by screws.
10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures ll BOX-LIKE CASING CELL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Casings for various production units including optical and electronic instruments, and particularly measuring instruments are usually either made in one piece of cast or injection molded from plastic material, in so far as they are not too large, or they comprise a plurality of interconnected plates wherein the connections between the individual plates, which form the casing walls, depend on the employed materials. If it is desired to combine and interconnect a plurality of instruments, which may serve different purposes, and which may have equal or differing dimensions, to form a line or series of instruments, the individual casings are either connected by additional associated connecting elements, such as angles or plate pieces, or they are mounted on a common support member.
The object of the invention is to provide a box-like casing cell which is simple in construction and in manufacture and permitting at the same time the assembly of a casing system comprising any desired number of casing cells, wherein, for instance, no additional struc' tural elements for interconnecting the individual cells are required.
This problem is solved by this invention by the use of at least one offset top member having a U shaped cross section; one offset bottom member also having a U shaped cross section of the same or similar shape as said top member and forming when assembled therewith at least part of a wall, preferably a front wall; two
side wall members made of similarly shaped profile sections and forming connecting elements for additional casing cells; means are also provided for readily and releasably interconnecting said top, bottom and side wall members.
In this way it is possible to provide casings of the same or similar type, but of different dimensions in a cost saving manner. In this the profile sections are pieces of rod material which is commercially available in different shapes and lengths. Due to the similarity between the top and the bottom member on the one hand, and the same or similar shapes of the side wall members on the other hand an especially simple interconnection of a plurality of casing cells is possible by arranging the casing cells in superposed or laterally aligned positions. According to this the casing cell according to the invention forms the smallest unit, for instance of a measuring system, and may be reproduced or multiplied as desired in a moduluslike manner.
According to an especially advantageous feature of the invention both the top member and the bottom member of the casing cell have a U shaped crosssection section with inner and outer legs connected by a web while the side wall members have an I shaped cross-section having flanges connected by a central web. Profiles of these types are commercially available in the form of rods of differing dimensions and differing materials, for example light metal. The two U shaped top and bottom members are readily connectible together with their legs, and, additionally, when spaced apart they provide a slot between them which may be used for cooling any production units within the cells, which units develop heat, by introducing cooling air through said slot. The I shaped cross-sections of the side wall members with their flanges are especially advantageously suitable in assembling them with the U shaped top and bottom members, and may also serve as connections for adjacent casing cells.
In this connection and according to another feature of the invention the flanges on one side of the I shaped side wall members overlap the outwardly disposed legs of the U shaped top and bottom members, while the two inwardly disposed legs are interconnected in a spreadable manner. Thus the side wall members fulfill three functions namely, (1) the lateral closing of the casing cell, (2) the connection between the top and the bottom member by a frictional or clamping engagement of the two flanges of the I shaped side wall members, and (3) permit the connection of additional adjacent casing cells. The capability of spreading the two inwardly disposed legs ofthe top and the bottom member has in turn the effect that the clamping engagement of the two legs between the flanges of the side wall members may be varied, i.e. it may be decreased or in' creased and simultaneously the slot between the two legs is adjustable due to the fact that the legs may be spread, which has the advantage of permitting the use of the slot for cooling purposes.
According to another preferred feature of the invention the inwardly disposed legs of the two U shaped members may be connected by fixed screws adjacent the web, and may be spread by set screws threadedly received in a threaded bore adjacent the free end of the leg of one member and engaging; the leg of the other member, whereby adjustability is easily provided. In each case, only these few screw elements are required, while the connection between the top and the bottom member, on the one hand, and with the side wall members, on the other hand, is achieved by frictional or clamping engagement. Thus, the inwardly disposed legs of the U shaped members may also be designated as clamping legs, since they substantially define the type and strength ofthe connection. On the other hand they also form a horizontal division of the interior of the cas ing thus permitting the mounting or support of the above mentioned structures and instruments in the casing cell on two levels, depending of course on the size of the optical, electronic, mechanical devices or other like production units which are to be encased in the cell.
However, another advantageous feature of the invention provides that the inwardly dis-posed legs of the top and bottom members are shortened with respect to the legs which form the top and bottom wall. Such U shaped profiles with legs of different lengths are also commercially available in form of rods, and, with respect to the scope of the invention, offer the advantage that the interior of the casing cell is only partly subdivided in the horizontal direction, while larger apparatus may be mounted in the other part. Thus a portion of the casing cell extends the full height thereof for tall apparatus requiring more than half the height of the cell and the other portion of the cell is divided in half for shorter elements. For the same reason it is also possible, ac cording to a further advantageous feature of the invention, for the webs of the top and bottom members to be of different heights. As already mentioned, it is not required that the corresponding members be dimensioned equally, but that they be of similar shape.
According to another advantageous embodiment of the invention the webs of top and/or the bottom members may be slanted with respect to the vertical to provide an easily available surface for the mounting of labels, measuring scales, switches, etc. on the slanted surface in a convenient and easily viewable manner.
In order to additionally improve the cooling effect beyond the function of the above mentioned slot between the inwardly disposed legs of the top and bottom members suitable ribs may be provided on at least one side of the webs of the side wall members. This additional cooling effect is especially useful, ifthe units installed in the casing cell develop excessive heat, or if the rear side of the casing is closed by a plain plate. In an especially advantageous manner such ribs may simultaneously serve as guide rails, for example for inserting and supporting electronic plug cards, printed circuits, inserts supporting certain units, partitions etc.
In such cases wherein the casing cell is to be employed as a single casing, or as an end member ofa row of interconnected casing cells, the flanges of the side wall members may be removed at least partly on one side, so as to save the space occupied by the flanges laterally of the web, or to reduce the danger of injuries.
In further developing the scope of providing fixed screws and set screws for spreadably securing the adjacent legs of the top and the bottom member, apertures axially substantially aligned with the screws may be provided in the top and/or bottom wall, thereby providing especially easy accessibility to the screws from the outside. For instance, screws with hexagonal sockets may be used permitting engagement by a wrench extended through the apertures.
No doubt, further variations of the casing cell according to the invention are possible which, however, are always covered by the scope of the invention, to provide a casing cell of prefabricated parts of which any desired number may be interconnected in accordance with the modulus principle, resulting in considerable savings if a plurality of casing cells are interconnected, since the number of the intermediate walls corresponds to the number of cells plus one.
The invention is described below in detail in connection with the accompanying drawings showing schematically exemplified embodiments.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view ofa casing cell according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view along the lines IIII of FIG.
FIG. 311,1), and show in a considerably smaller scale and in a still more schematical manner further possible constructions of the casing cell in accordance with the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The casing cell according to the invention substantially comprises a top member 11, a bottom member 12, and two side wall members 2. The top member 11 and the bottom member 12 are U shaped in crosssection cut-off from rod-like stock material, each including an inner leg 13, an outer leg 14, and a web connecting the legs 13 and 14 (see FIG. 3a). As shown in FIG. 3a, legs 13 and 14 are of equal length; however, it is preferred to select top and bottom U shaped members having legs of unequal length. Stock material having legs of differeing lengths are known and commercially available. Such differences in lengths are shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3b and 3c.
The inwardly disposed legs 13 of the top member 11 and the bottom member 12 face each other and secured to each other by screws 3 and 4. The connection is constructed in such a manner that a slot 131 is formed between the two legs 13, for instance in such a way that the forwardly disposed screws adjacent the webs are fixed screws 3 and spacer members 132 are disposed between the legs 13 at these locations, while set screws 4 threadedly extend through the upper one of the legs 13 near the free end thereof and engage the upper surface of the lower leg 13. By adjusting the set screw 4 the tension of the connection between the two U shaped members forming the top member 11 and the bottom member 12 may be decreased or increased. This is extremely important for the arrangement of the entire casing cell, as will become evident later as the description proceeds.
The two side wall members 2 each have an l-shape in cross-section and each overlaps the outwardly disposed legs 14 of the member 11 and the bottom member 12 with one half of their flanges 21. This overlapping relationship is assured by selecting suitably sized U shaped members, i.e. the external distance between the outwardly disposed legs 14 of the U shaped members must substantially correspond to the internal distance between the two l-profile sections. In this, as shown in FIG. 3, it is not absolutely necessary that the webs 15 of the U-profile 11 and 12 are of equal height, but the heights of the webs may vary, if desired. Minor differences in the distance between the outwardly disposed legs 14 are compensated for by selecting suitable spacer members 132.
As will be readily evident from the description up to this point in connection with the Figures, a very simple, yet rigid connection of the casing cell members is possible, due to the configuration of the side wall members 2, by simply actuating the set screw 4 so as to spread the outwardly disposed legs 14 apart relative to each other, thereby urging them into frictional or clamping engagement against the inner sides of the flanges 21 of the side wall members 2. In order to provide easy accessibility to the fixed screws 3 as well as to the set screws 4, which are preferable hexagonal socket screws, and of which a plurality of pairs, preferably at least two pairs are provided and'each of these arranged adjacent the side wall members 2, there are apertures 34 substantially axially aligned with the screws 3 and 4 provided in the outwardly disposed leg 14 of the top member 11. These apertures 34 form an access for engaging the heads of the screws with a wrench. However, it is also possible, depending on the positions of the screws, and the application of the casing cell, as well as on the units installed therein, to provide apertures in the bottom member 12 forming a bottom wall 142.
As already mentioned the distance between the flanges 21, connected by the webs 22 of the side wall members 2, corresponds to the sum of the heights of the webs 15 of the top member 11 and the bottom member 12 and a certain play due to the cooperation of the fixed screws 3 and the set screws 4 and the spacer members 132 defining the adjustable height of the slot 131. This slot 131 serves as an inlet for admitting cooling air into the interior of the casing cell, within which in any desired manner or in accordance with the intended purpose optical, electronic, or mechanical instruments or the like production units may be arranged. If production units are arranged in the interior of the casing cell which develop excessive heat it may happen that the volume of cooling air flowing in through the slot 131 will be insufficient, under such conditions it is advisable to use so-called cooling profiles for the side wall members 2. These cooling profiles correspond in shape to the I shaped side wall members 2, which, however, are provided with ribs 23 at least on one side of their webs 22. Such profiles are also commercially available in form of rod materials, wherein the ribs 23, as may be seen from FIG. 2 in connection with FIG. 1, are generally arranged on either side of the web 22, in order to increase the surface area of the side wall members 2. The ribs 23 disposed within the casing cell simultaneously serve in an especially advantageous manner as guide rails for any insertable elements, in this case a plate 5 indicated in phantom lines, which may represent electronic push cards, printed circuits, intermediate walls supporting certain units etc. However, the apparatus and structural units may also be se cured in any suitable manner to the ribs 23 in the interior of the casing cell, for example by clamping or with the aid of screws.
Even though a single, in itself closed box-like casing cell is shown in FIG. 2 it is readily obvious that any desired number of such casing cells may be combined to form a larger casing unit. In this case always one side wall member is saved between two adjacent casing cells, since, according to the invention, the side wall members 2 serve as lateral closure means on the one hand, and as double-sided connecting means on the other hand. The connection with the unillustrated casing cell, which is to be arranged at the right hand side (as viewed in FIG. I) of the illustrated cell, is achieved by the two free halves of the flanges 21 of the right hand side wall member 2 receiving and overlapping the top and bottom members of the adjacent casing cell in the same manner as in the illustrated casing cell, wherein the adjacent casing cell is secured by the same clamping arrangement as shown in FIG. 2.
In this manner it is also possible to combine casing cells of different sizes, provided the casing cells have a substantially equal total height with respect to the distance between the flanges 21. The widths and also the depths of the casing cells may also vary. In this way differently large and long measuring lines and/or measuring stands of various measuring units may be combined in a quick and simple manner. An easily releasable greater clamping arrangement is obtained, out of which individual parts may removed readily and may be replaced by other ones.
The front wall 110 of the casing cell is formed by the webs of the top member 11 and the bottom member 12. Depending on the shape of the U shaped members this front wall may extend normal to the legs (see FIG. 3a) in its entirety or at least part of it may include an angle with the vertical (see FIGS. 1, 2, 3b and 3c). The embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 shows a double slope 151, i.e. a slope on both the top member 11 and the bottom member 12, while according to FIGS 3b and 30 only the top member 11 is provided with a slope. The slope 151 serves to attach, or mount respectively, labels, operating instructions, manufacturers references etc as well as measuring scales, switches and other devices which may be required for operating the apparatus. To this end corresponding apertures may be provided in the slope 151. Due to the inclination with respect to the vertical the slope 151 allows a particularly easy operation, since the labels, levers etc provided thereon are disposed in a more favorable angle of view with respect to the operator than would be the case if the surface extended vertically.
However, it -.is also possible (see FIG. 3c) to clamp a plate 152 between the two inwardly disposed legs 13 for mounting scales, switches, control lights, adjust ment knobs etc. No difficulties will be encountered by a person skilled in the art in securing the plate 152, which may be provided with wider margins or flanges; but it may also be secured by pins.
Conduits or other connecting elements extend from the measuring scale, switch, and control elements mounted on the slope 151 and/or the plate 152 into the interior of the casing cell and are connected to the respective units provided therein.
As may be seen from FIG. 1, the cooling ribs 23 on the right hand side wall member 2 are shortened at the end adjacent the front wall 110, that is cut-off, or removed by milling, in order to prevent interference when a next adjacent casing cell is to be connected thereto. However, this machining operation may be avoided if the U shaped members of the top member 11 and the bottom member 12 are allowed to project a small distance beyond the face of the webs 22 of the side wall members 2, so that in this case the ribs 23 form abutments for the inner wall of the U shaped members.
It goes without saying that the side wall members 2 are cut to size in accordance with the shape. of the U shaped members, so that the cut faces of webs 22 will snugly fit the outside surfaces of the U shaped members.
It is also possible, without any difficulties, to remove the laterally projecting free parts of the flanges 21 after the required casing cell arrangement has been assembled, whereby a smooth side wall is provided at the end. However, this is only advisable in such cases when it is ascertained that the side wall member 2 at this end is not to be used anymore for mounting an adjacent casing cell. a
In order to increase the clamping effect between the outwardly disposed legs 14 of the U shaped members and the flanges 21 of the side wall members 2, as well as for positioning and centering purposes, small bores may be provided in the flanges 21 in predetermined positions possibly in standardized spacings relative to the edges, cooperating with spring loaded balls inserted into the legs 14 at corresponding points. Such snap means provide a simple and frequently used centering arrangement for surfaces having contacting engagement, and are also commercially available.
Any suitable closure means for the rear side of the casing cells may be used, for example-in form of a plate which is easily releasable by clamping means or screws; but it is also possible to leave the rear side open if elements encased individually are mounted within the casing cell.
What I claim is:
1. A box-like casing assembly comprising prefabricated parts adapted to be combined to provide any desired number of easing cells with each cell being adapted to accommodate production units, each such cell comprising:
a. one top member having a U shaped crosssection with inner and outer legs connected with a web;
b. one bottom member having a U shaped crosssection with inner and outer legs connected by a web;
c. one leg of said top member being connected to one leg of said bottom member whereby said top and bottom members are connected together;
d. side wall members each having an I shaped cross-section with flanges connected by a central web and forming connecting elements for additional adjacent casing cells; and
e. means for readily and releasably interconnecting said top, bottom and side wall members together into a casing cell.
2. A box-like casing cell according to claim 1, wherein at least part of said web of said bottom member is inclined relative to the vertical.
3. A box-like casing cell according to claim 1, wherein the flanges of said side wall members overlap the outwardly disposed legs of said top bottom members while the inwardly disposed legs include means interconnecting them near said web and spreading their free ends relative to each other.
4. A box-like casing cell according to claim 3, wherein said inwardly disposed legs are secured to each other by fixed screws positioned adjacent said web while said means for spreading their ends are formed by set screws threadedly extending through one leg and engaging the other leg.
5. A box-like casing cell according to claim 1, wherein said inwardly disposed legs of said top and bottom member are shorter than said outwardly disposed legs forming the top wall and the bottom wall of said casing cell.
6. A box-like casing cell according to claim 1, wherein the webs of said top member and of said bottom member are of different heights.
7. A box-like casing cell according to claim 1,-
tures substantially aligned with said screws.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION PATENT NO. 13,872,995
DATED March 25, 1975 iNVENTOR(S) I MANFRED EICKHORST it is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 3, line 65, the word "differing" has been misspelled Column 4, line 26, "IE-profile sections"should read "flanges 21 on the I-shaped side wall members 2" Column 4, line 28 "U-profile" should read:
"U-shaped members" (s Attest:
C. PHI- SHALL DANE? RUTH C. MASON Commissioner of Patents .ttesti.ng, Officer and Trademarks