Title:
Versatile table system with cable management
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A table includes a table top having a bottom surface, a cross member mounted to the bottom surface, and a first support rail adjacent the bottom surface and disposed between the table top and the cross member. One embodiment of a cable management assembly that may be used with the table includes a cover member and is mounted so as to be rotatable to one of a closed position and an open position where, in the closed position, the cover member is substantially parallel to a bottom surface of the table top.



Inventors:
Martin, John A. (Grapevine, TX, US)
Stewart, Robert L. (Grapevine, TX, US)
Elwood, Bryan K. (Arlington, VA, US)
Ponholzer, Anette (Frankfurt AM Main, DE)
Lowell, Jim (Arlington, TX, US)
Frenkler, Friedrich (Frankfurt AM Main, DE)
Cornell, Paul (Grapevine, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/135088
Publication Date:
12/01/2005
Filing Date:
05/23/2005
Assignee:
Steelcase Development Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B3/00; A47B13/02; A47B13/06; A47B21/00; A47B37/00; (IPC1-7): A47B37/00; A47B3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GABLER, PHILIP F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUARLES & BRADY LLP (411 E. WISCONSIN AVENUE, SUITE 2040, MILWAUKEE, WI, 53202-4497, US)
Claims:
1. A table, comprising: a table top having a bottom surface; a cross member mounted to the bottom surface; and a first support rail at least in part disposed between the table top and the cross member.

2. The table of claim 1 wherein the support rail is mounted to the cross member.

3. The table of claim 1 wherein the cross member forms a slot, and the support rail is mounted to the cross member in a position along the slot.

4. The table of claim 3 wherein the support rail is slidable along the slot.

5. The table of claim 4 wherein the angle of the rail with respect to the slot is alterable.

6. The table of claim 5 further including a fastener for mounting the rail at a position along the slot wherein, when the fastener is loose, the rail angle and position is alterable and when the fastener is tightened, the angle and position along the rail is maintained.

7. The table of claim 1 wherein the support rail is mounted to the cross member at an oblique angle with respect to the cross member.

8. The table of claim 1 wherein the cross member comprises: a base member; and first and second end bracket members extending from the base member to contact the bottom surface of the table top.

9. The table of claim 8 wherein the support rail is at least in part disposed between the base member and the bottom surface of the table top.

10. The table of claim 8 wherein the cross member further comprises a central bracket member extending from a central portion of the base member to contact the bottom surface of the table top.

11. The table of claim 8 wherein the base member forms the slot.

12. The table of claim 11 wherein the first support rail is mounted to the cross member at an oblique angle with respect to the cross member.

13. The table of claim 1 further including at least a second support rail mounted to the cross member.

14. The table of claim 13 wherein the cross member forms at least a second lot and wherein the second support rail is mounted at a position along the second slot.

15. The table of claim 14 wherein the second support rail is substantially parallel to the first support rail and extends in the same direction as the first support rail from the cross member.

16. The table of claim 14 wherein the first and second support rails form an oblique angle and extend to opposite sides of the cross member.

17. The table of claim 1 wherein the cross member is a first cross member, the table further includes a second cross member mounted to the bottom surface of the table top, and the support rail is disposed at least in part between the second cross member and the bottom surface.

18. The table of claim 17 wherein each of the first and second cross members forms at least one slot and wherein opposite ends of the support rail are mounted to the first and second cross members at positions along the first and second slots, respectively.

19. The table of claim 18 wherein the support rail is mounted to at least one of the first and second cross members so as to form an oblique angle therewith.

20. The table of claim 19 wherein the support rail forms an oblique angle with each of the first and second cross members.

21. The table of claim 17 further including at least a second support rail mounted to the first cross member and at least in part disposed between the first cross member and the bottom surface of the table top.

22. The table of claim 21 wherein the first cross member slot is a first slot and the first cross member forms at least a second slot and wherein the second support rail is mounted to the first cross member at a position along the second slot.

23. The table of claim 22 wherein the second support rail forms an oblique angle with respect to the first support rail.

24. The table of claim 22 wherein the first and second support rails are slidable along the first and second slots and the angles of the first and second rails are alterable with respect to the first cross member.

25. The table of claim 1 further including a leg member mounted to the cross member.

26. The table of claim 25 wherein the leg member is mounted to an undersurface of the cross member.

27. The table of claim 1 further comprising a cable management assembly including a cover member mounted to the first support rail and being moveable between open and closed positions.

28. The table of claim 27 wherein the cover member includes first and second opposite edges and is rotatably mounted along the first edge to the rail member.

29. The table of claim 28 wherein, when the cover is in the closed position, an angle between the cover and the bottom surface is less than about 45 degrees with the first edge at least as close to the bottom surface as the second edge.

30. The table of claim 28 wherein, when the cover is in the closed position, the cover is substantially parallel to the bottom surface of the table top.

31. The table of claim 27 further comprising a second support rail mounted to the first cross member wherein, in the closed position, the first cable management assembly is generally between the first and second support rails.

32. The table of claim 31 wherein, when rotated from the open position toward the closed position, the cover rotates toward the second support rail.

33. The table of claim 27 wherein the first cable management assembly is hingedly mounted to the first support rail.

34. The table of claim 27 further comprising: a second support rail mounted to the first cross member and disposed at least in part between the table top and the cross member; and a second cable management assembly mounted for movement between an open position and a closed position to the second support rail, wherein, in the closed position, the first and second cable management assemblies are generally in a space between the first and second support rails.

35. The table of claim 27 wherein the cable management assembly further comprises at least one retaining member extending from the cover.

36. The table of claim 27 wherein the cable management assembly further comprises: a first retaining member extending from the cover to define a first cable retention space; and a second retaining member extending from the cover to define a second cable retention space adjacent the first cable retention space.

37. The table of claim 1 further comprising: a second support rail mounted to the first cross member, the second support rail substantially parallel to the first support member and extending to the same side of the cross member, the first and second support rails including opposing notches defined therein; and a support plate disposed in the opposing notches between the support rails and below the bottom surface of the table top.

38. The table of claim 37 wherein an opening is defined in the table top above the support plate.

39. The table of claim 37 further including a cover member mounted to the first support rail and movable between an open position and a close position, wherein, when the cover is in the closed position, the cover is disposed below the support plate.

40. The table of claim 1 wherein the first support rail includes a side surface, the table further including a retainer supported by the side surface wherein the retainer is configured to support cables adjacent the side surface.

41. The table of claim 40 wherein the retainer includes one of a C-shaped harness member, a Velcro strap, a material strap with a buckle and a collar.

42. The table of claim 41 further including a cover member mounted to the first support rail and being moveable between open and closed positions.

43. The table of claim 42 wherein the cover member includes first and second opposite edges and is rotatably mounted along the first edge to the rail member.

44. A table, comprising: a first table top having a bottom surface; a second table top abutting the first table top and having a bottom surface; a first cross member mounted to the first table top, the first cross member forming a first slot; and a first support rail mounted to the first cross member in a position along the first slot, the first support rail being at an oblique angle with respect to the first cross member and extending at least in part below the second table top.

45. The table of claim 44 further comprising a second cross member forming a second slot and being mounted to one of the first and second table tops, the first support rail mounted to the second cross member in a second position along the second slot.

46. The table of claim 45 wherein the first support rail includes first and second ends and wherein the first and second ends are mounted at positions along the first and second slots.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent is related to provisional patent Application No. 60/575,678 which was filed on May 28, 2004 and which is entitled “Versatile Table System With Cable Management”.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to the field of table assemblies and, more particularly, to versatile table assemblies that can be used to configure many different table configurations.

This section of this document is intended to introduce various aspects of art that may be related to various aspects of the present invention described and/or claimed below. This section provides background information to facilitate a better understanding of the various aspects of the present invention. It should be understood that the statements in this section of this document are to be read in this light, and not as admissions of prior art.

Office space design has evolved to accommodate the diverse needs of, and enhance/define the environments associated with, many businesses and companies. In this regard, office designers have known for a long time that office spaces are not just places to park employees while they perform their daily tasks. Instead, when a space is designed properly and thoughtfully, an office space can increase collaborative activities, increase productivity, foster an appealing work environment and generally affect the moods of people that use the space.

In addition to affecting how people that use a space every day to communicate and interact, space design is also very important when dealing with customers. In this regard, spaces that are “experienced” by customers should be comfortable and aesthetically appealing and yet optimal for the purpose for which they are intended. Indeed, many companies have intentionally developed a sort or company brand that is associated with the spaces designed for employees and for interaction with customers.

One office fixture that is prevalent in most office spaces and that has become extremely diverse is the table. To this end, tables are used in offices for many different purposes including, but not limited to, providing spaces for single work station users, configuring lecture type settings where rows of tables extend generally across an entire room or part thereof and may have at least some contour to position users about a location at which presentations occur and providing various conferencing type layouts. With respect to conference tables, table configurations may take any of several different forms including configurations where the table tops define an elongated rectangle, an elongated oval, a V-shape, a U-shape, an L-shape, a rounded shape that is open in the middle, an oval shape that is open in the middle (hereinafter “the open oval”), a boat shape, and many other shapes suited for particular needs.

In addition to defining different shapes, work station tables, lecture type tables and conferencing tables also come in many different sizes, the size of table depending on the size of the space in which the table is placed and user requirements (i.e., how many people will be accommodated at the table, what type of work is likely to take place at the table, how many documents will usually be supported by the table top, etc.). For instance, where a first open oval shaped table is designed to accommodate six people and a second open oval shaped table is designed to accommodate up to twenty people, despite having similar shapes, the first table will be much smaller than the second table.

One problem faced by office designers has been staying within a build out and furnishing budget while still providing aesthetically pleasing and optimally functional furnishings. One relatively high priced fixture has been tables for workstations, lecture spaces, conference spaces, etc. Table prices are particularly high where designers specify custom table configurations that are optimal for specific spaces and uses. To this end, depending on the size and general layout of a room and the intended use for a conference table, the relative length dimension (i.e., the longest dimension of the table top from edge to edge) and width dimension (i.e., the shorted dimension of the table top from edge to edge) of an optimal open oval table configuration can be specified. Where the optimal table dimensions do not match a standard sized open oval table configuration, the designer has one of two choices—stick with the standard and sub-optimally sized table which may be aesthetically or functionally undesirable or order an optimally sized custom built table for the space.

As in most industries, in the office equipment industry, cost increases with customization and is often a consideration when selecting table configurations. In the case of a custom table configuration, when a custom table top shape is specified, the legs, braces and rails used to support the table tops usually have to be custom designed and manufactured which increases costs. In addition, where a custom table is specified, the skill set required to assemble the table is greater and the time required to assemble the table increases. Additional assembly skills usually mean higher wages which increase overall costs. In addition, additional assembly time usually increases overall costs. Furthermore, if the functional or aesthetic requirements for a particular table change after its installation, or the actual installation does not closely match a predetermined design, it is often difficult and/or expensive to implement changes to the table configuration in the field.

A common functional purpose fulfilled by a conference table is to allow users access to electrical power and data services through terminals or outlets provided in a top surface or below the top surface of a table. Devices, such as projectors, notebook computers, telephones, etc., may be temporarily or permanently located at the terminal and coupled to the power and or data services. To provide such services, it is necessary to route power and/or signal cables to these outlets from a remote location. The problems discussed above relating to customizing the table support system for varying implementations are exacerbated when the cable management system for the conference table must also be customized. Customers also have varied requirements for data and/or power services.

Simply routing cables along a bottom surface of the table after installation has some disadvantages. For instance, it is difficult to retain the cables in fixed positions such that they do not interfere with people using the table. Also, the cables may be visible, thus detracting from the aesthetic appeal of the table or conference room. In some environments, interference from power cables may degrade the performance of adjacent data cables. As a result, the data signals may have higher error rates, lower bandwidth, etc.

The present invention is directed to overcoming, or at least reducing the effects of, one or more of the problems set forth above.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Certain aspects commensurate in scope with the invention originally claimed herein are set forth below. It should be understood that these aspects are presented merely to provide the reader with a brief summary of certain forms the invention might take and that these aspects are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. Indeed, the invention may encompass a variety of aspects that may not be set forth below.

It has been realized that a flexible table conferencing system that may be adapted for a wide variety of table top designs and arrangements can be constructed using standardized cross members and support rails. It has also been recognized that in conjunction with the standardized support system, a standardized cable management system, also adaptable to various table configurations, may be used to conceal data and power cables so they do not functionally or aesthetically interfere with users while still providing access to such cables for maintenance. The standardized support and/or cable management systems allow field installation and/or modification of tables without requiring customized systems, thus enhancing flexibility and decreasing cost.

Consistent with the above realizations, in at least some embodiments of the invention, a table includes a table top having a bottom surface, a cross member mounted to the bottom surface, and a first support rail contacting the bottom surface and being disposed between the table top and the cross member. The support rails may be mounted to the cross member in a variety of positions and angular orientations to adapt to the particular shape and layout of the table top.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method for assembling a table including first and second table tops where each of the table tops has a bottom surface includes mounting a first cross member to the first table top, the first cross member forming a first slot, mounting a second cross member to the second table top, the second cross member forming a second slot, abutting the first and second table tops and mounting a first end of a first support rail to the first cross member in a first position along the first slot at an oblique angle with respect to the first cross member and mounting a second end of the first support member to the second cross member in a second position along the second slot.

According to one other aspect of the invention, a table includes a table top assembly having a bottom surface and a cable management assembly including a cover member having first and second oppositely facing edges and being mounted to the table top assembly proximate the first edge and rotatable to one of a closed position and an open position, wherein in the closed position, an angle between the cover and the bottom surface is less than about 45 degrees with the first edge at least as close to the bottom surface as the second edge.

According to yet one other aspect of the invention, a table includes a table top having a bottom surface, a first support rail having a first surface proximate the bottom surface of the table top, a second support rail having a second surface proximate the bottom surface of the table top and a first cable management assembly including a first cover member mounted to the first support rail and being moveable between open and closed positions wherein, in the closed position, the first cover member is at least partially disposed in the space between the first and second support rails.

Another aspect of the invention is seen in a table including a table top having a bottom surface and a first cable management assembly including a cover member supported by the bottom surface of the table top and being moveable between a closed position and an open position, wherein in the closed position, the cover member is substantially parallel to the bottom surface of the table top.

These and other objects, advantages and aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following description. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which there is shown a preferred embodiment of the invention. Such embodiment does not necessarily represent the full scope of the invention and reference is made therefore, to the claims herein for interpreting the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will hereafter be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like elements, and:

FIGS. 1 and 2 are top views of a table according to an exemplary inventive embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the table of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a top view of a cross member assembly and support rails present in the table of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a top view of a table including multiple non-rectangular table tops according to another exemplary inventive embodiment;

FIGS. 6 and 7 are top and side views of a grommet assembly that may be used in the tables of FIG. 1 or 5;

FIG. 8 is a side view of a table including cable management assemblies according to still another exemplary inventive embodiment;

FIG. 9 is a side view of the table of FIG. 1 illustrating a cable harness assembly for housing cables running from a floor to the space between the support rails;

FIG. 10 is an isometric view of the table of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the table of FIG. 1 illustrating a support plate locatable between the support rails for supporting a device below the tabletop;

FIG. 12 is a side view of the table of FIG. 1 illustrating multiple support plates locatable between the support rails for supporting a device below the tabletop;

FIG. 13 is a front elevational view of one leg assembly that may be used with some embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of the leg assembly of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a side plan view of another leg assembly that may be used with some embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 16 is a top plan view similar to the view of FIG. 14, albeit of the leg assembly of FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is an end view of the leg assembly of FIG. 15;

FIG. 18 is a partial cross-sectional view of another table assembly similar to the view illustrated in FIG. 8;

FIG. 19 is partial cross-sectional view showing a portion of the assembly of FIG. 18 in a larger format;

FIG. 20 is similar to FIG. 18, albeit illustrating assembly components in different positions; and

FIG. 21 is a partial cross-sectional view showing an additional embodiment of a cable management assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

One or more specific embodiments of the present invention will be described below. It should be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, as in any engineering or design project, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business related constraints, which may vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it should be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of design, fabrication, and manufacture for those of ordinary skill having the benefit of this disclosure.

Hereinafter, several exemplary embodiments of the present invention are described, each having certain distinguishing features. Nevertheless, it should be apparent that certain of the features may be useable in several of the embodiments. Nothing in this application is considered critical or essential to the present invention unless explicitly indicated as being “critical” or “essential”.

Referring to FIGS. 1-10, a table 10 in accordance with the present invention includes a table top 12, first and second support rails 14 and 16, first and second cross member assemblies 18, 20, first and second leg structures 22 and 24, first and second cable management assemblies 26 and 28 and a plurality of grommet assemblies that are collectively identified by numeral 29.

The table top 12 has top and bottom surfaces 30 and 32, respectively, and, as illustrated, may have a generally rectilinear shape. Other shapes are contemplated and, indeed, are required where tables are to be ganged together to provide various table layouts (see, for instance, FIG. 5 where other than rectangular tops 12a and 12b are provided). The table top 12 forms a plurality of spaced openings in its top surface 30 in which the grommet assemblies 29 are disposed. The grommet assemblies 29 provide users of the table access to power and/or data services.

The cross member assemblies 18 and 20 are similar, and therefore, only the cross member assembly 20 will be described here in detail. Referring specifically to FIGS. 3, 4 and 8, the cross member assembly 20 includes a base member 40, central bracket members 54 and 56 and end bracket members 58 and 60. The base member 40 is generally a rigid member including a flat central section 45 and first and second end extensions 41 and 43, respectively, that extend at approximately 45 degree angles from the first and second ends of the central section 45, respectively. Of course other angles may be used including up to a 90 degree angle. The central section 45 forms four rail connecting slots 42, 44, 46 and 48 that are generally parallel to the length of the base member 40. The rail connecting slots 42 and 46 are formed proximate the first end of the central section 45 and along opposite edges of the central section 45. Similarly, the rail connecting slots 44 and 48 are formed proximate the second end of the central section 45 and along opposite edges of the central section 45.

Each end bracket member 58 and 60 is similar, and therefore, only the end bracket member 60 is described here. The end bracket member 60 is a T-shaped member that mounts to the bottom surface 32 of the table top 12 via screws that pass through holes 66 and 68. Although not illustrated, the end bracket member 60 also forms a mechanical configuration for securely receiving a distal end of the second end extension 43 (see FIG. 8). The central bracket members 54 and 56 each secure to a midpoint of the central section 45 and extend upward therefrom to the bottom surface 32 where screws mount the distal ends thereof to the bottom surface 32. The end extensions 41 and 43 extend from the central section 45 a distance such that, when the cross member assembly 20 is mounted to the bottom surface 32, the support rails 14 and 16 are sandwiched between facing surfaces of the central section 45 and the bottom surface 32.

Referring to FIG. 2, in at least some embodiments, the cross member assemblies 18 and 20 are separated from each other and from edges of the table top 12 when mounted. This arrangement is useful when the table 10 is not going to be ganged together with other table assemblies. Referring to FIG. 5, in other embodiments, the assemblies (e.g., see 20) may be mounted along the abutting edges of adjacent table assemblies 12a and 12b when those assemblies are to be ganged together.

Each of the support rails 16 and 18 are similar and therefore only the support rail 16 is described here in detail. The support rail 16 is a rigid elongated member and is selectable to have a length that is suitable for a specific intended table configuration. To this end, referring to FIG. 2, where the table 10 is not to be ganged together with other tables, the support rail 16 is selected to extend generally along the length of the table top 12, but to stop short of the edges of the top. Where tables 10 are to be ganged together, in at least some cases, the support rails 16, 18 will generally extend to the edges and ends thereof will be linked to cross member assemblies 18, 20 via the slots 42, 44, 46 and 48. In still other cases, although not described in the disclosure, herein it is assumed that the support rails 14, 16 from below one table 10 could extend to a cross member assembly below an adjacent table thereby allowing separate existing tables to be ganged together in an efficient manner (i.e., fewer new parts would be required). In addition, it is also assumed that where two tables already exist and the rails do not extend to the edges (see FIG. 2), “jumper rails” may be provided to gang the adjacent tables together without replacing the existing rail components.

As indicated above, the support rails 14 and 16 are mounted to the cross member assemblies 18, 20 via the slots 42, 44, 46 and 48. To this end, although not illustrated, the support rail 16 ay include a plurality of bolt holes along its length that may be aligned with one of the central section slots 42, 44, 46 or 48 and bolted thereto. Each support rail 14, 16 has a depth dimension such that when mounted to the central section 45, the opposite face (i.e., upwardly facing face) of the support rail 14, 16 contacts the bottom surface 32 of the table top 12. In some cases additional brackets may be provided to secure parts of the rails directly to the bottom surface 32.

The angle formed between the support rail 16 and the central section 45 may be variable. Thus, referring again to FIG. 4, and specifically to the support rails 14′ and 16′ linked to the slots 46 and 48, each of those rails 14′ and 16′ may be linked to the central section 45 to extend perpendicular thereto or, as illustrated by the two headed arrows, to extend at an oblique angle therefrom. Each of the support rails 14′ and 16′ may also be rotated in the opposite direction about the slots (not illustrated). Similarly, although not illustrated, each of support rails 14 and 16 may also be rotated to extend from the slots 42 and 44, respectively, at various angles. In addition, as illustrated in FIG. 4 and specifically via the support rails 14 and 16, each of support rails 14 and 16 may be linked to its associated slot 42, 44 anywhere along the length of the slot 42, 44 (i.e., as indicated by the two-headed arrows associated with the support rails 14 and 16 in FIG. 4). In some cases where the support rails 14, 16 extend to opposite sides of a cross member assembly 20, none of the rails may be perpendicular to the length dimension of the cross member assembly (i.e., each of the rails may extend at an oblique angle with respect to the cross member assembly). These variable linking features result in an extremely versatile linking system wherein table tops 12 of many different configurations can be ganged together in supported positions (see again FIG. 5). Custom installations can be completed and/or modified in the field without requiring custom support systems, thus enhancing flexibility and reducing cost. The support rails 14, 16 may be cut to fit and attached to the cross member assemblies 18, 20 at various angles to adapt to the varied shape and/or layout of the table tops.

Turning now to FIG. 8, each of the cable management assemblies 26 and 28 is similar, and therefore, only the cable management assembly 26 is described here in detail. In at least some cases several cable management assemblies 26 may be provided to one side of the central brackets (e.g., 56 in FIG. 8). For instance, referring to FIG. 2, one cable management assembly 26 may be provided that extends between adjacent cross member assemblies 18 and 20. In addition, second and third cable management assemblies 26 may be provided adjacent the distal ends of the support rail 16 (i.e., outside cross member assemblies 18 and 20, respectively). Referring to FIG. 5, in other cases where tables are ganged together, a single cable management assembly 26 may be provided adjacent each support rail under each of the table tops (e.g., one cable management assembly 26 adjacent the support rail 16a, a second cable management assembly 26 adjacent the support rail 16b, etc.).

Referring again to FIG. 8, the cable management assembly 26 includes a cover member 100 and first and second retaining members 94 and 96, respectively. In the illustrated embodiment, the cover member 100 is an extruded, generally planar, and elongated member that is rotatably linked by a hinge 98 to a lower and inner edge of the support rail 16 so as to be moveable between an open position (i.e., generally hanging vertically downward) and a closed position (i.e., generally extending horizontally), both of which are illustrated in FIG. 8. In some cases, depending on the particular implementation, the cover member 100 may not be completely parallel to the bottom surface 32 in the closed position. However, to avoid interfering with users of the table, the cover member 100 is arranged such that the angle is less than about 45 degrees with respect to the bottom surface 32. Although not illustrated, the hinge 98 used for attaching the cover member 100 to the support rail 16 may have some type of detente so that when the cover member 100 is in the closed position, it remains in the closed position unless affirmatively moved. In the alternative, a clip, such as a spring clip, may be provided to mate with a distal end of the cover member 100 when the cover member 100 is in the closed position. Also, although the cable management assembly 26 is illustrated as occupying the space between the support rails 14, 16 in the closed position, the invention is not so limited, and in other embodiments, the hinge 98 may be located on the outside lower edge of the support rail 16, and the cable management assembly 26 may rotate up into the space between the support rail 16 and the outside edge of the table top 12.

Each of the retaining members 94 and 96 extend substantially perpendicularly from the cover member 100 and have perpendicularly extending lips 95, 97 along their distal edges. As illustrated in FIG. 8, when the cover member 100 is open (i.e., hangs vertically downward), a user can manipulate cables/wires retained by the retaining members 94 and 96. When the cover member 100 is closed, the retaining members 94 and 94 retain the cables and wires out of sight.

The retaining members 94 and 96 define separate cable retention spaces. For example power cables may be disposed in the space defined by the retaining member 94, and data cables may be disposed in the space defined by the retaining member 96. The distinct cable retention spaces reduce the likelihood that noise generated by one type of cable will degrade the performance of a different type of cable. The cable retention spaces may be used to separate other than data and power cables. For instance, a high bandwidth data cable may be sensitive to cross-talk noise from an adjacent telephone cable. In some embodiments. the retaining members 94, 96 may run the entire length of the cover member 100. In the alternative, the retaining members 94, 96 may have a shorter length, and a plurality of retaining members may be located intermittently along the length of the cover member 100 at intervals sufficient to maintain separation between the cable retention spaces.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 6-8, each grommet assembly 29 includes a grommet cup member 89, a housing 85, a cover 74, and power/data receptacles, two of which are identified by numeral 76. The cup member 89 is receivable within an opening in the table top 12 and a laterally extending lip 87 about its top edge that engages the top surface 30 of the table top 12 when the cup member 89 extends through the opening. The housing 85 is designed to fit within the internal channel formed by the cup member 89 and to support the receptacles below the bottom surface 32 of the table top 12. In the exemplary embodiment the housing 85 generally includes a rectilinear box 89 and a mounting member 84 forming a mounting surface that generally faces upward when the housing 85 is mounted in an associated cup member 89. The mounting member 84 forms openings for receiving power and/or data receptacles that generally face upwardly when mounted. In the illustrated embodiment mounting member 84 includes two wall sections that angle downward and toward each other from opposite sides of the housing 85 and that form a substantially 30 degree angle with respect to a horizontal plane.

The cover 74 is configured to generally close the top opening formed by the cup member 89 and to be flush with the top surface 32 of table top 12 when closed. The cover 74 is hingedly mounted to one edge of cup member 89 to move between an open position illustrated in FIG. 7 in which a user can access the mounted receptacles to a closed position illustrated in FIG. 6 in which receptacle access is generally blocked. The cover 74 forms openings 78 along opposite edges that serve two functions. First, the openings 78 enable a user to easily grip and open the cover 74. Second, after cables or wires are linked to a receptacle within the grommet assembly 29, the cover 74 can be closed with the cables/wires passing through the openings 78 to provide a clean appearance.

Referring now to FIG. 9, a cable harness assembly 101 may be provided to run cables from a floor to the space between the support rails 14 and 16. To this end, the cable harness assembly 101 includes a base member 104, a floor member 106 and a harness 102. The base member 104 is mounted (e.g., via screws) between the support rails 14 and 16 and forms a central opening 107. The floor member 106 is a circular washer type member that mounts to a floor to anchor the harness 102. The harness 102 includes a plurality of spine type mounting members that form a single cable channel therein. The harness members are designed such that the harness can be bent within a range of bending motion so that opening 107 need not be directly above an outlet for the harness 102 to form a passage therebetween. The lower end of the harness 102 secures to the floor member 106. Although not illustrated, in at least some embodiments the semi-rigid harness assembly 101 of FIG. 9 may be replaced by a fabric type sock harness that would provide a different look and would also be generally more flexible.

The leg assemblies 24 are mounted to the central member 45, one leg assembly 24 per cross member assembly. Although not illustrated, many different leg assembly types may be used with the cross member assemblies 18, 20 described above including pedestal leg assemblies, two separate spaced legs per cross member assembly, criss-crossed legs, etc. In the case of leg assemblies 24 that form passages for cables/wires between a floor outlet and the space between the rails, the contemplated configurations include only a single member that forms a channel for passing the cables and does not include a lateral door member in at least some embodiments. In other embodiments a leg assembly may be openable laterally to facilitate cable/wire installation and manipulation. In this regard, see FIGS. 13 and 14 that show one exemplary leg assembly that includes a “clipped-oval” shape wall structure 190 and a door member 192. Structure 190 includes two oppositely facing wall members 194 and 196 that are generally parallel where one of the members 194 forms an opening 198 for receiving door member 192. Door member 192 is an elongated planar member that is sized to be received within opening 198. Clips 195 are provided along lateral edges of door member 192 for securing member 192 in opening 198. Near a lower edge door member 192 forms an opening 200 for passing cables and the top end of structure 190 is open or forms a restricted opening for passing cables up to a space below a table top thereabove.

Referring now to FIGS. 15-17, another leg configuration 204 is illustrated that includes a leg member 206 and a cover member 208. Leg member 206 is a rigid member that includes a side member 210 and two integrally formed end members 212 and 214 that form right angles with side member 210. Member 210 is essentially square and each of members 212 and 214 are rectilinear. Members 212 and 214 are mounted along opposite edges of side member 210. Cover member 208 has a shape similar to that of member 210 and to that end includes a side member 216 and two end members 218 and 220 that extend from opposite edges of member 216 in the same direction. Member 216 has a dimension slightly less than member 210 so that members 218 and 220 can be received between members 212 and 214 as illustrated. Referring specifically to FIG. 17, snap latches 222 and 224 are provided between each of members 212 and 218 as well as between members 214 and 220 to hold cover member 208 in a position adjacent leg member 210 after instillation. Members 208 and 210 together form a passageway 226 for passing cables. To facilitate cable passage, member 208 forms an opening 228 along a portion of lower edge and a top of the assembly is open or forms a restricted opening for passing cables up to a space below a table top thereabove. In at least some embodiments latches 222 and 224 are adjustable so that the dimensions of the space formed by passageway 226 can be altered to accommodate cables and, in at least some cases, additional components such as routers or the like.

In another embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in FIG. 11, the support rails 14, 16 may form opposing notches 110, 111 into which a support plate 112 may be inserted. For ease of illustration, certain other features of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 1-10 are omitted. A device 114, such as a router, or other electronic device may be placed on the support plate 112 for use with the table 10. The device 114. Optionally, the table top 12 may form an opening (not shown) above the support plate 112 to allow the device 114 to be accessed and/or to allow the device 114 to extend above the top surface 30 of the table top 12 for use. Although not illustrated, a hinged cover or lid may be provided for blocking the opening above the support plate 112 when not in use. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 11, the support rails 14, 16 may be provided with a sufficient depth dimension to allow the cable management assemblies 26, 28 to be located below the support plate 112, thus allowing both features to be used concurrently. In another embodiment, not shown, the support plate 112 may be located along the table top 12 adjacent the cable management assemblies 26, 28 so they do not interfere with one another. If cables need to be run between the cable management assemblies 26, 28, thus traversing the space occupied by the support plate 12, they may be disposed above the support plate 12 to keep them hidden from view.

FIG. 12 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the support plate feature shown in FIG. 11, where multiple sets of opposing notches 116 and 118 are defined in the support rails 14, 16, and multiple support plates 112, 120, 122 are provided at various positions along the length of the table 10, including along its entire length. The various support plates 112, 120, 122, may be located at completely different positions below the table top 12, or they may be juxtaposed to create a composite support surface larger than one of the individual plates 112, 120, 122. Cables may be routed and hidden from view in the space defined between the support plates 112, 120, 122 and the table top 12. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 12, cable management assemblies 26, 28 are not mounted to the support rails.

Referring now to FIGS. 18-20, an additional table configuration embodiment or assembly 165 is illustrated. In FIGS. 18-20, where components of assembly 165 are identical to or similar to components described above with respect to other embodiments, in order to simplify this explanation, the same number labels have been used. To this end, labels 12, 20 and 24 are used in FIGS. 18-20 to reference table top 12, a cross-member assembly 20 and an exemplary leg structure 24, respectively. In addition to components 12, 20 and 24, assembly 165 includes rail members 130 and 132, cover members 134 and 136, latch assemblies 146 and 148, cable management sub-assemblies 145 and 147 and pop-up utility bays 138 and 140.

Referring specifically to FIG. 18, each of rails 130 and 132 is similarly constructed, each of door members 134 and 136 are similarly constructed, each of cable management sub-assemblies 145 and 147 are similarly constructed and each of latch assemblies 146 and 148 are similarly constructed and therefore, in the interest of simplifying this explanation, only members and sub-assemblies 130, 134, 145 and 146 will be described here in detail. Referring specifically to FIG. 19, rail member 130 is an aluminum and elongated extruded member having the cross-section illustrated. Here, rail features of interest include a T-shaped slot 166 formed in an internal surface 164 of the rail member 130 that extends along the length of the rail and a channel 161 formed along a bottom internal edge of the rail at the lower end of internal surface 164. Slot 166 is designed to receive a clip 162 for mechanically fastening cable management sub-assembly 145 in a manner to be described in more detail below. Channel 161 is designed to form a restricted slot type opening along member 130 for receiving a bead 163 that is formed along one edge of cover member 134.

Cover member 134 has a shape that is generally similar to the shape of cover member 126 illustrated in FIG. 10 and other figures described above and is used to, as the label implies, provide a cover structure below the undersurface 32 of table top 12 for hiding cables and other components thereabove. To this end, member 134 includes the bead 163 along one elongated edge and forms a straight elongated distal edge 156 that generally faces in a direction opposite bead 163. Cover member 134 may be formed of any of several different types of materials including aluminum, plastic, etc. Bead 163 is designed to be receivable within channel 161 formed by rail member 130. To install bead 163 within channel 161, the bead 163 can be fed into channel 161 from an end of rail member 130.

Referring still to FIG. 19, cable management assembly 145 includes a plurality of clip sub-assemblies 171 (only one illustrated in FIG. 19) that are spaced apart along the length of an associated rail member 130. Clip sub-assembly 171 includes a clip member 162 and a harness member or retainer 142 secured thereto. Clip 162 forms a T-shaped end member (not labeled) that is receivable within T-slot 166 to mechanically mount clip sub-assembly 171 adjacent internal surface 164 of rail member 130. In this regard, clip member 162 may be dimensioned such that the T-shaped end can be slid in to slot 166 and then rotated through 90° to facilitate fastening. Harness member 142 is mounted to a distal end of clip member 162 and, in at lease some cases, will include a resilient yet flexible C-shaped plastic or metallic member where an opening 168 formed by member 142 faces in a direction opposite clip member 162. As illustrated, cables and wires 90 and 92 can be slid through opening 168 in to the space defined by member 142 to retain the cables and wire 90 and 92 therein and adjacent internal surface 164 of member 130. Other retainer types are contemplated. To this end, see FIG. 21 that illustrates a Velcro™ strap 236 mounted to an internal surface 164 of tail 130 below top 12. Other retainer types contemplated include but are not limited to material straps with buckles, collars, etc.

Referring still to FIG. 19, latch assembly 146 includes a base member 150, a latch member 152 and a compression spring 160. Base member 150 is mechanically secured (e.g., via screws or the like) to undersurface 32 of table top 12 and extends down therefrom at a location just above distal edge 156 of cover member 134 when cover member 134 is in a generally closed position as illustrated in FIGS. 18 and 19. Latch member 152 is pivotally linked near a lower end of base member 150 and spring 160 is mounted between latch member 152 and base member 150 to bias latch member 152 toward rail member 130. Latch member 152 includes a finger 154 at a distal end that extends toward rail member 130. As illustrated, when cover member 134 is in the closed position illustrated in FIGS. 18 and 19, distal end 156 is adjacent finger member 154 and latched thereby into the closed position. To open cover member 134 to facilitate access to clip sub-assemblies 171, as illustrated in FIG. 20, a user can force finger member 154 in the direction away from rail member 130 (see arrow 170) and then can pull downward on distal edge 156 as indicated by arrow 172.

Referring once again to FIG. 20, in this embodiment, the grommet assemblies 29 described above are replaced by pop-up utility bays 138 and 140. Here, in at least some embodiments, a table user can cause a pop-up portion 184 of either of bays 138 or 140 to, as the label implies, pop-up above a top surface of a table top 12. Here, a cover member 180 is provided on the top surface of the pop-up member 184 to cover the pop-up portion 184 when the pop-up portion 184 is in a closed position (see utility bay 138 in FIG. 20). When pop-up portion 184 pops up, cover 180 pivots about an axis along a rear edge thereof and front face 182 is exposed above the table top. Here, it is contemplated that power and data outlets would be mounted within face 182 for access. Although various types of utility bays may be employed, in at least some cases the Hideaway™ HSA400™ or HSA402™ bays manufactured by Extron of Anaheim, Calif. may be employed.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. For example, while latch assemblies 146 and 148 have been described as interacting with distal edges of cover members, in at least some embodiments it is contemplated that one or more latches may be provided along end edges of cover members 134 and 136 or along one end edge of each of the cover members. In addition, in at least some embodiments, no cover members 134 or 136 will be provided below top 12. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below.





 
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