Title:
BUILDING MANUFACTURING FACILITY WITH ROTATABLE SUBASSEMBLY AREAS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a facility for manufacturing non-roadable buildings. The facility includes an enclosed area having a roof, a plurality of bays for positioning the non-roadable buildings therein, each of the plurality of bays configured to have one non-roadable building positioned therein, a plurality of movable manufacturing areas configured to manufacture elements for manufacturing and a lifting device positioned within the enclosed area and configured to move the elements for manufacturing of the non-roadable building through the facility, including movement of the elements from each of the plurality of movable manufacturing areas to each of the plurality of bays.



Inventors:
Rhodes, James (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Priddy, Matthew (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/751249
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
414/10
International Classes:
E04B1/343; E04G21/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BESLER, CHRISTOPHER JAMES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-NA (P.O. BOX 1135, CHICAGO, IL, 60690, US)
Claims:
The invention is claimed as follows:

1. A facility for manufacturing non-roadable buildings, comprising an enclosed area having a roof; a plurality of bays for positioning said non-roadable buildings therein, each of said plurality of bays configured to have one non-roadable building positioned therein; a plurality of movable manufacturing areas configured to manufacture elements for manufacturing; and lifting means positioned within said enclosed area and configured to move said elements for manufacturing of the non-roadable building through said facility, including movement of said elements from each of said plurality of movable manufacturing areas to each of said plurality of bays.

2. A facility according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of movable manufacturing areas includes at least three manufacturing areas arranged in a substantially circular configuration.

3. A facility according to claim 2, wherein each of said at least three manufacturing areas is immediately adjacent at least one other of said at least three manufacturing areas and said substantially circular configuration is configured to rotate.

4. A facility according to claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of bays is at least partially enclosed and separated from each other of said plurality of bays.

5. A facility according to claim 1, further comprising an exit positioned adjacent each of said plurality of bays configured to allow said non-roadable building positioned therein to pass therethrough when said non-roadable building is substantially complete.

6. A facility according to claim 1, wherein said lifting means includes at least one of the following: an overhead crane, a gantry crane, a floor crane and a fork lift.

7. A facility according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of movable manufacturing areas is dedicated to building a predetermined portion of the non-roadable building.

8. A facility according to claim 7, wherein said elements for manufacturing include said predetermined portion.

9. A facility according to claim 1, wherein said non-roadable buildings are at least two stories.

10. A facility according to claim 1, further comprising a vehicle connection area proximate each said exit, said vehicle connection area configured to allow a multiple piece transporter access to at least two sides of said building, said multiple piece transporter being capable of lifting and moving said non-roadable building to a predetermined site.

11. A method of manufacturing non-roadable buildings, comprising the steps of providing an enclosed area having a roof, said enclosed area having a plurality or bays for positioning said non-roadable buildings therein, each of said plurality of bays configured to have one non-roadable building positioned therein; moving a plurality of manufacturing areas relative to said plurality of bays within said enclosed area such that each of said plurality of manufacturing areas is positioned adjacent each of said plurality of bays for a predetermined period of time; and assembling said non-roadable buildings, such that each of said non-roadable buildings is substantially complete, using lifting means positioned within said enclosed area to move elements for manufacturing of the non-roadable building through said enclosed area, including movement of said elements from each of said manufacturing area to each of said plurality of bays.

12. A method according to claim 11, wherein each of said bays is at least partially enclosed and separated from each other of said plurality of bays.

13. A method according to claim 11, further comprising the step of exiting said enclosed area through a doorway adjacent each of said plurality of bays configured to allow said substantially complete non-roadable building to pass therethrough.

14. A method according to claim 11, wherein said lifting means includes at least one of the following: an overhead crane, a gantry crane, a floor crane and a fork lift.

15. A method according to claim 11, further including the step of providing a plurality of subassemblies areas, each subassembly area dedicated to building a predetermined portion of the non-roadable building.

16. An enclosed facility for manufacturing movable standard sized dwellings, comprising: a plurality of bays configured to have one movable standard sized dwelling manufactured and positioned therein; a plurality of movable subassembly areas, each of said subassembly areas configured to have a portion of the standard sized dwelling built therein and configured to move relative to said plurality of bays; lifting means to lift and move each of said plurality of subassembly areas to each of said plurality of bays; and an exit proximate each of said plurality of bays configured to allow the standard sized dwelling to exit each bay.

17. An enclosed facility according to claim 16, wherein said standard sized dwellings are configured to be moved by a multiple piece transport vehicle, capable of moving said standard sized dwelling from an area adjacent said exit.

18. An enclosed facility according to claim 16, wherein each of said bays is at least partially separated from each of said other bays.

19. A facility according to claim 16, wherein said plurality of movable subassembly areas includes at least three movable subassembly areas arranged in a substantially circular configuration.

20. A facility according to claim 19, wherein each of said at least three movable subassembly areas is immediately adjacent at least one other of said at least three movable subassembly areas and said substantially circular configuration is configured to rotate.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/431,196 entitled “Building Transport Device” and filed on May 9, 2006; Ser. No. 11/620,103 entitled “Device and Method for Transporting a Load” and filed on Jan. 5, 2007; Ser. No. 11/559,229 entitled “Transport Device Capable of Adjustment to Maintain Load Planarity” and filed on Nov. 13, 2006; Ser. No. 11/620,560 entitled “Method and Apparatus for Mobile Stem Wall” and filed on Jan. 5, 2007; and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/887,696, entitled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INTEGRATED INVENTORY AND PLANNING” and filed on Feb. 1, 2007 the entire contents of each of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

Prefabricated buildings, such as commercial structures and residential homes, have become a popular alternative to “built-on-site” buildings. Prefabricated buildings include manufactured buildings, wherein the building is built in a factory setting, and prefabricated buildings, wherein the components of the building are prefabricated and precut in a factory setting. Some facilities are organized in an assembly line fashion to build the individual components for a prefabricated home, such as the panels and the framework. The components are precut at the factory and shipped via truck to the site of the home for assembly.

However, prefabricated building systems are only able to accommodate a single design or single model without having to significantly change the assembly line(s), which can be very expensive. Thus, consumers who desire to invest in prefabricated homes are only provided with a limited number of design options set by the manufacturers and lack the ability to select their own custom, or mixed-model, designs.

Yet another significant drawback is that in order to ship the buildings, the buildings must be split into appropriate sized “modules” to fit on the back of a truck and fit within the typical dimensions of a highway lane. In order to create appropriate sized modules for shipping, a building is typically “forward engineered” in parts, wherein each part is designed to fit within the maximum allowable shipping limits, or envelope. In other words, consideration of the size and the dimensions of the shipping modules may override those of the consumer's desires in the design of the building. This may place undesirable limitations on the design of the building.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, the present invention relates to a facility for manufacturing non-roadable buildings. The facility includes an enclosed area having a roof, a plurality of bays for positioning the non-roadable buildings therein, each of the plurality of bays configured to have one non-roadable building positioned therein, a plurality of movable manufacturing areas configured to manufacture elements for manufacturing and a lifting means positioned within the enclosed area and configured to move the elements for manufacturing of the non-roadable building through the facility, including movement of the elements from each of the plurality of movable manufacturing areas to each of the plurality of bays.

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of manufacturing non-roadable buildings. The method includes the steps of providing an enclosed area having a roof, the enclosed area having a plurality or bays for positioning the non-roadable buildings therein, each of the plurality of bays configured to have one non-roadable building positioned therein, moving a plurality of manufacturing areas relative to the plurality of bays within the enclosed area such that each of the plurality of manufacturing areas is positioned adjacent each of the plurality of bays for a predetermined period of time, and assembling the non-roadable buildings, such that each of the non-roadable buildings is substantially complete, using lifting means positioned within the enclosed area to move elements for manufacturing of the non-roadable building through the enclosed area, including movement of the elements from each of the manufacturing area to each of the plurality of bays.

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to an enclosed facility for manufacturing movable standard sized dwellings. The facility includes a plurality of bays configured to have one movable standard sized dwelling manufactured and positioned therein, a plurality of movable subassembly areas, each of the subassembly areas configured to have a portion of the standard sized dwelling built therein and configured to move relative to the plurality of bays, lifting means to lift and move each of the plurality of subassembly areas to each of the plurality of bays, and an exit proximate each of the plurality of bays configured to allow the standard sized dwelling to exit each bay.

Additional features and advantages are described herein, and will be apparent from, the following Detailed Description and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the interior of a facility for manufacturing buildings according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the exterior of the facility of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is an interior elevational view of a subassembly in the facility shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the present invention relates to facility 10 for manufacturing buildings. The facility 10 includes a plurality of bays 12, a central area 14, which can include a plurality of subassembly areas 16a-f and lifting or hoisting device 18 to transport the subassemblies to each of the bays 12. Preferably, the facility can be positioned proximate to a housing or building development. This allows, if desired, a substantially complete non-roadable home or building to avoid public roadways and travel mainly on private or unrestricted roadways. Thus, the building can be designed such that it is not required to meet state roadway restrictions and can have any suitable width, height or weight. However, it is noted that the non-roadable buildings can be transported along public roads for limited, authorized and/or monitored distances and that the facility can be positioned any suitable distance or proximity to a housing or building development.

As shown in FIG. 1, the facility 10 is preferably an enclosed or partially enclosed building that can have environmental controls. The facility can be generally circular with the bays on the perimeter and the subassembly area in the center area; however, these two areas can be reversed and the bays can be in the center area if desired. Additionally, the facility can have a roof, as in many conventional facilities or it can have no roof, a partial roof or as many or as few sides as desired and/or no or partial walls on a side. Additionally, the facility can be divided into multiple facilities or staging areas either within or without facility 10. The facility 10 can be made from any suitable materials, such as metal, wood, fabric or any other material that would allow the workers and supplies located inside the facility to be protected from any one or more of the sun, wind, precipitation, other environmental elements, theft and/or any other undesirable consequences.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the facility has a plurality of building bays 12. The bays are each sized and configured to allow at least a multi-storied (or a single storied) building 20 to be built therein. Preferably, each bay is substantially arcuate or wedged shaped or can be square or rectangular and sized and configured to allow a standard sized home to be positioned and/or built therein. For example, each bay is generally large enough to allow a building having a 60 foot by 40 foot configuration and enough room for personnel or equipment to move around each side of the home. Although the bays are designed for any suitable building, one embodiment includes building a standard sized non-roadable home in each bay. The standard sized homes are generally large single family homes have a square footage of about 1600 ft or larger; however, a standard sized home can be any home that is too large to be placed on a truck and transported over public roads. However, each bay can be any suitable size and/or configuration and have any suitable size or configuration of buildings positioned and/or built therein, including various sized bays to accommodate various sized and configured buildings.

Each bay preferably has an exit door 22 or area that allows the building to be picked-up and transported away from the facility. The exit doors or areas 22 of the bay can have any type of suitable door or no door. For example, the door can be a garage style door that can be closed to maintain a suitable or desired interior climate and/or protect the building from outside or exterior weather, theft or other undesirable elements. Furthermore, the exit can be an opening with no door or covering sized and configured to allow the buildings to exit therethrough.

Each bay is generally separated by a wall or partition 24. The walls or partition 24 preferably extends partially through the facility and do not contact or abut the ceiling of the facility; however, wall 24 can extend to any suitable height, including to the ceiling, thus, completely separating the bays or, if desired, the bays can have no walls separating them.

Walls 24 can be formed of any suitable material and have any suitable thickness. For example, the walls can be relatively thin just separating each building bay or they can be thick enough to house a closet, restroom or other facility.

Each bay 12 can be separated from the central area 14, if desired using walls or partitions (not shown). As with the walls 24, the walls separating the bay from the central area can be full height, partial height, thin, thick, have storage or other facilities therein, or by constructed in any suitable manner and have any suitable size and configuration.

As shown in FIG. 3, the facility includes a hoisting device 18 or a plurality of hoisting devices in each of the subassembly areas 16a-f. Preferably the hoisting device 18 is an overhead hoist that can move longitudinally through the a specific subassembly area using rails 26 and 28; however, if desired, the rails can run in any direction and allow access to entire facility 10 or any portion or portions thereof. The rails can be held overhead by columns, or any other suitable structure, including but not limited to the internal structure of the facility and/or specifically designed internal structure. This configuration of the rails allows the hook 30 to traverse the entire subassembly and access each of the plurality of bays and/or each of the subassembly areas. Additionally, the hoist 18 can traverse the subassemblies laterally using rail 32. Rail 32 preferably spans between rails 26 and 28, thus allowing hook 30 to move laterally within or over area 14 and move between the opposing bay areas.

Furthermore, hook 30 can move up and down relative to rail 32. Preferably, hook 32 can extend to the floor of the facility or substantially to rail 32. This allows the hoisting device to pick up material, a desirable structure, element or other device 35 and move it anywhere in the facility. It is noted that the hoisting device can be any suitable hoist or lifting device (e.g., an overhead crane, a gantry crane, a floor crane and a fork lift or any other suitable device) and can traverse any suitable area of the facility. Additionally, hoisting device can have any suitable configuration or construction, move at any suitable speed or in any suitable limited or unlimited areas around the facility.

Preferably, the hoisting device 18 is motorized and in three dimensions. In other words, hook 30 is driven by a motor or a plurality of motors that move the hook laterally and longitudinally relative to the subassembly areas and up and down relative the floor of the facility. The hook can be operated by manual controls and an operator that moves the hook over or near a desired portion of the building or construction item and lowers the hook to pick up the item. The user or operator can them lift and move the item to the desired area of the facility and lower the item. Furthermore, the hoisting device 18 can be fully automated using any suitable computer control system. It is necessary for the hoisting device to be motorized. The device can be manually operated if desired.

Central area 14 is generally divided into a plurality of areas 16a-f. Generally, the each subassembly area is a wedge or slice of the circular area 14; however, both the circular area and each subassembly area can have any suitable configuration and each subassembly area can be the same or substantially the same size as each other subassembly area or the subassembly areas can have various sizes. Each subassembly area is generally designed to build a specific portion of the non-roadable standard sized building. For example, specific areas can be used to build floors, walls, ceilings, foundations, or any other portion of a house or building desired. Areas can be specifically used for internal finishing, such as, plumbing, electrical, drywall, painting, wood trim, etc. There can be any suitable number of subassembly areas desired and some or all of the areas can have multiple purposes or multiple subassemblies can perform the same purpose, if desired.

The central area 14 is designed to rotate relative to the bays, as shown by arrow 36 in FIG. 1; however it is noted that the area 14 can rotate in any manner and direction desired. This allows each of the plurality of areas 16a-f to move adjacent each of the bays, such that a specific subassembly can be moved to each respective bay. The central area can be designed to moved using any suitable means, such as a central axle, a large bearing, it can float or be lifted by air, move over grease or other slick material, or any combination thereof or in any other suitable manner.

By moving the central area and each individual the subassemblies merely need to move form the end of each respective central area to each bay, thus reducing travel distance on the hoisting mechanisms.

It is noted that the moving subassemblies do not necessarily need to be positioned in the central portion of the facility to the building bays and the subassemblies can be designed and configured to move in any direction and/or in any manner relative to the building bays desired.

Operation

Generally, materials are brought to the facility 10 using a truck or other vehicle, which can enter the facility using one of the using any of the suitable bay exits or a dedicated exit, is desired. The materials for each specific subassembly area are offloaded and the truck or vehicle moves through the facility offloading material until it exits the facility 10. There can be a specific area through which the material traverse through the facility (e.g., a materials lane) or the materials can traverse through the facility in any manner or direction suitable.

At each subassembly area 16a-f, the specific portion or portion of the house or building are built. For example, one subassembly area can build a floor assembly, another can build walls and another can build the ceilings. Multiple of each portion or subassembly can be built and stored in the specific subassembly area, thus allow the workers to efficiently build subassemblies without each house being built from the ground up, as done in conventional stick building. For example, the roof subassembly area can build multiple roofs and store the roofs in the subassembly area or other suitable area or even in another area within or without the facility. Once a house in a bay is ready, a roof can be attached. Thus, multiple roofs can be built before the walls or floors of the building are built or attached to the building 10.

Preferably, the floor or base of the facility is positioned within the facility. The base is generally built such that it can withstand movement from the facility to a predetermined position adjacent the facility for final location. The base can be formed from concrete, steel wood or any other suitable material. The base is preferably built in the base subassembly area and once completed moved using the hoisting device to an open bay. However, it is noted that the base (or any other subassembly) can be built in a bay, rather than moved. Additionally, the base can be built as described in related U.S. patent applications discussed and incorporated by reference above. Thus allowing a specially designed vehicle to move the building. Please note that it is not necessary to move the building using a specially designed vehicle or as recited in the related applications.

Next the first floor wall subassembly area is moved or rotated adjacent a bay that is ready for this subassembly. The subassembly portion can then be moved from their specific subassembly area using the hoisting device to a bay. The walls are then attached to the floor. The walls can be finished with trim and drywall either in the wall subassembly area, the bay, the predetermined site for the home or in any other suitable place. The building is then built using the subassemblies until finished. The building can be a one, two or more story building and can be any suitable building structure. Preferably, the building is a standard sized substantially complete non-roadable house, but the building can be any suitable structure.

This procedure is continued, that is, the subassemblies are rotated or moved adjacent the bay requiring the specific subassembly until the home is completed or is substantially complete. Please note that although preferable to build the home or building such that it is substantially complete, the home can be moved to different areas to complete, if desired.

Once the building is substantially complete, the building is moved through the adjacent facility exit. The building can be moved using any conventional moving means or devices. For example, the house can be moved using a dolly, a conveyor or any other structure. Once moved out of the facility, the building can be moved to a predetermined final position. The building can be moved using any suitable device, such as a truck or other device. One suitable device is a two vehicle transporter described in the U.S. patent applications discussed above, the entire contents of which have already been incorporated by reference. Generally this vehicle can have each of its two vehicles straddle the building, engage the building, pick the building up and move the building to the desired location; however, the building can be designed in any suitable manner and is not necessarily transported with the two piece vehicle.

If desired, the bays can be sized and configured to allow the two piece vehicle to enter the facility and attach to the building in the bays, thus eliminating the need to have a device to move the building outside of the bays. This movement would be accomplished by the vehicle itself.

The operation described herein is exemplary and is not meant to limit the facility, but rather facilitate the understanding of the invention and the facility can be operated in any manner desired.

It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present subject matter and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.