Title:
Scaffold Deck System With Bracket-Supported Partial Length Planks For Creating An Opening To Accommodate Obstacles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A scaffold including a pair of scaffold frames has a scaffold platform supported by the frames, which is defined by a series of planks and includes an opening. The opening is formed by a pair of transverse support members that extend between the pair of planks at a location between the scaffold frames. Partial-length scaffold planks, having first and second ends and a length less than the space between the scaffold frames, are supported by the transverse support members and occupy the space between the planks other than at the opening. The transverse support member includes spaced-apart plank engagement sections that rest on upwardly facing surfaces of the planks, and a plank end support member that extends between the plank engagement sections. A scaffolding platform system and a method of forming a scaffolding platform are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Watson, Roy (Madison, SD, US)
Application Number:
14/450763
Publication Date:
02/05/2015
Filing Date:
08/04/2014
Assignee:
WATSON ROY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.1
International Classes:
E04G1/17; E04G5/00; E04G7/30
View Patent Images:
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20060272897Locking ladderDecember, 2006Wylder
20050211504Descent apparatusSeptember, 2005Arthur
20090200106Rapid extraction body harness with extendable drag strapsAugust, 2009Mckay et al.
20060231333Ladder accessoriesOctober, 2006Proulx
20070235256Device for making a starter hole for a tree stepOctober, 2007Spencer



Foreign References:
DE4027754A11992-03-05
FR2503775A11982-10-15
Primary Examiner:
CHIN-SHUE, ALVIN CONSTANTINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYLE FREDRICKSON S.C. (840 North Plankinton Avenue, MILWAUKEE, WI, 53203, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A scaffolding arrangement, comprising: a pair of spaced-apart scaffold frames; and a scaffold platform supported by the scaffold frames, wherein the scaffold platform is defined by a plurality of side-by-side planks, wherein the scaffold platform defines at least one opening located between a pair of planks, and wherein the opening is formed by the pair of planks in combination with at least one partial-length scaffold plank having first and second ends and a length less than the space between the scaffold frames, wherein the partial-length plank includes a support member located toward the first end that extends between and is supported by the pair of planks at a location between the scaffold frames.

2. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 1, wherein the opening is defined between the first end of the partial-length plank and one of the scaffold frames.

3. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 1, wherein the partial-length plank is one of a pair of partial-length planks and wherein each partial-length plank includes a support member, wherein the opening is formed by the first end of a first one of the partial-length planks in combination with a first end of a second one of the partial-length planks.

4. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 1, wherein the support member comprises a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections interconnected with the partial-length plank.

5. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 4, wherein the pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections are secured to spaced-apart areas of the partial length plank separately from each other.

6. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 4, wherein the support member further comprises a transverse member that extends between and interconnects the plank engagement sections.

7. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 6, wherein each plank engagement section includes an upper wall configured to engage and rest on an upwardly facing surface of one of the pair of planks when the support member is positioned between the pair of planks.

8. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 7, wherein the transverse member defines an open area within which the end of the partial-length plank is received.

9. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 8, wherein the open area defines an axially open passage in the transverse member, and wherein the first end of the partial-length plank extends through the passage and outwardly from the transverse member.

10. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 8, wherein the transverse member includes an end wall that at least in part encloses the open area and wherein the first end of the partial-length plank is positioned adjacent the end wall.

11. The scaffolding arrangement of claim 8, wherein the transverse member is positioned below a lower surface defined by the first end of the partial-length plank.

12. A scaffolding platform system adapted to be positioned between a pair of spaced-apart scaffold frames, comprising: a plurality of full-length planks configured to span the entire distance between the pair of scaffold frames; a plurality of partial-length planks, each of which has a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames, wherein each partial-length plank defines first and second ends, wherein at least the first end of each partial-length plank includes a support member; and wherein when it is desired to form a scaffolding platform without an opening, the full-length planks are employed to fully occupy the area between the scaffold frames to form the scaffolding platform, and wherein when it is desired to form a scaffolding platform with an opening, at least one partial-length plank is positioned between a pair of spaced-apart planks that cooperate with the first end of the partial-length plank to form the opening, wherein the support member is engaged with and supported on the pair of spaced-apart planks and the area between the pair of planks and adjacent the first end of the partial-length plank is unoccupied, wherein the partial-length plank is engaged with at least one of the scaffold frames and occupies the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening.

13. The scaffolding platform system of claim 12, wherein a pair of partial-length planks are engaged with the pair of spaced-apart planks such that an area between the pair of spaced-apart planks and between the first ends of the pair of partial-length planks is unoccupied, wherein the partial-length planks are engaged with the scaffold frames and the pair of spaced-apart planks to occupy the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening.

14. The scaffolding platform system of claim 12, wherein the partial-length planks have lengths in predetermined increments.

15. The scaffolding platform system of claim 12, wherein each transverse support member comprises a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections and a plank end support member that extends between and interconnects the plank engagement sections.

16. The scaffolding platform system of claim 15, wherein each plank engagement section includes an upper wall configured to engage and rest on an upwardly facing surface of one of the planks when the transverse support member is positioned between a pair of planks.

17. A method of forming a scaffolding platform between a pair of spaced-apart scaffold frames, comprising the acts of: supporting a plurality of full-length planks on the pair of scaffold frames, wherein each full-length plank spans the entire distance between the scaffold frames; providing at least one partial-length plank having a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames, wherein the partial-length plank defines first and second ends and includes a support member adjacent the first end; and in a location where it is desired to form an opening in the scaffolding platform, engaging the support member with a pair of spaced-apart planks at a location spaced from the scaffold frames, wherein the area adjacent the first end of the partial-length plank is unoccupied, and supporting the second end of the partial-length plank on one of the scaffold frames, wherein the partial-length plank occupies the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the act of providing at least one partial-length plank comprises providing a pair of partial-length planks, each of which has a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames and defines first and second ends and includes a support member adjacent the first end, and wherein the act of forming an opening in the scaffold platform is carried out by engaging the support members of the pair of partial-length planks with the pair of spaced-apart planks such that an area adjacent between the first ends of the partial-length planks is unoccupied, wherein the pair of partial-length planks occupy the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the pair of partial-length planks are selected from a plurality of partial-length planks of different lengths, each of which has a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein the support member comprises a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections interconnected with the first end of the partial-length plank separately from each other.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the support member comprises a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections and a transverse member that extends between and interconnects the plank engagement sections.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/862,235, filed Aug. 5, 2013, the entire contents of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many scaffold systems commonly include spaced-apart vertically stacked frames that are connected together by spreader bars. The frames commonly define one or more horizontal surfaces that are oriented to support planks or other structures to define a deck or a platform for supporting one or more users at a desired elevated position.

As shown in FIG. 26, there are situations in which obstructions 10, such as pipes, conduits, etc. are encountered at the elevated location and interfere with the ability to fully enclose the space between the rails 12 of scaffold frames to form a full plane associated with the elevated deck 16. Commonly, a filler member 18, which may be formed of lumber such as plywood or other appropriate flat materials such as metals or aluminum sheet or diamond plate material, is cut and shaped to cooperate with and be fastened, commonly using nails or screws, to one or more of the planks 20. The filler member 18 typically spans between planks located on opposite sides of the obstruction 10 and forms an opening for the obstruction 10 to extend through the deck 16, such that the deck 16 defines a plane that is as full as possible around the obstruction 10 in order to safely support users, tools and other materials in a desired manner.

As can be appreciated, the custom fabrication and installation of the filler member such as 18 is time consuming, inefficient and wasteful, in that the filler member 18 commonly has limited applicability to other obstruction configurations. In addition, the overlapping of the filler member 18 on top of the planks 20 results in an undesirable elevation deviation with respect to the work surface associated with the deck or platform. Therefore, there is a need for a scaffolding deck system that can be individualized to form a number of deck configurations as required to accommodate obstructions that must pass through the deck, and which generates a nearly planar platform surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a scaffolding arrangement comprises a pair of spaced-apart scaffold frames and a scaffold platform supported by the scaffold frames. The scaffold platform is defined by a series of side-by-side planks, and defines at least one opening located between a pair of planks. The opening is formed by the pair of planks in combination with at least one partial-length scaffold plank having first and second ends and a length less than the space between the scaffold frames. The partial-length plank includes a support member located toward the first end that extends between and is supported by the pair of planks at a location between the scaffold frames. In one form, the opening is defined between the first end of the partial-length plank and one of the scaffold frames. In another form, the partial-length plank is one of a pair of partial-length planks, each of which includes a support member, and the opening is formed by the first end of a first one of the partial-length planks in combination with a first end of a second one of the partial-length planks.

Representatively, the support member may include a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections interconnected with the partial-length plank. The pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections may be secured to spaced-apart areas of the partial length plank separately from each other, or alternatively the support member may include a transverse member that extends between and interconnects the plank engagement sections.

Each plank engagement section may include an upper wall configured to engage and rest on an upwardly facing surface of one of the pair of planks when the support member is positioned between the pair of planks. The transverse member may define an open area within which the end of the partial-length plank is received. In one form, the open area defines an axially open passage in the transverse member and the first end of the partial-length plank extends through the passage and outwardly from the transverse member. In another form, the transverse member includes an end wall that at least in part encloses the open area, and the first end of the partial-length plank is positioned adjacent the end wall.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a scaffolding platform system adapted to be positioned between a pair of spaced-apart scaffold frames platform system includes a series of full-length planks configured to span the entire distance between the pair of scaffold frames, in combination with a series of partial-length planks, each of which has a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames. Each partial-length plank defines first and second ends, and at least the first end of each partial-length plank includes a support member. When it is desired to form a scaffolding platform without an opening, the full-length planks are employed to fully occupy the area between the scaffold frames to form the scaffolding platform. When it is desired to form a scaffolding platform with an opening, at least one partial-length plank is positioned between a pair of spaced-apart planks that cooperate with the first end of the partial-length plank to form the opening. The support member is engaged with and supported on the pair of spaced-apart planks and the area between the pair of planks and adjacent the first end of the partial-length plank is unoccupied. The partial-length plank is engaged with at least one of the scaffold frames and occupies the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening. A pair of partial-length planks may be engaged with the pair of spaced-apart planks such that an area between the pair of spaced-apart planks and between the first ends of the pair of partial-length planks is unoccupied. The partial-length planks are engaged with the scaffold frames and the pair of spaced-apart planks to occupy the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening. The partial-length planks may have lengths in predetermined increments.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the invention, a method of forming a scaffolding platform between a pair of spaced-apart scaffold frames comprises supporting a series of full-length planks on the pair of scaffold frames such that each full-length plank spans the entire distance between the scaffold frames; providing at least one partial-length plank having a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames, with the partial-length plank having first and second ends and including a support member adjacent the first end; and engaging the support member with a pair of spaced-apart planks at a location spaced from the scaffold frames in a location where it is desired to form an opening in the scaffolding platform. In this manner, the area adjacent the first end of the partial-length plank is unoccupied. The second end of the partial-length plank is supported on one of the scaffold frames, such that the partial-length plank occupies the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening. The method may include the act of providing a pair of partial-length planks, each of which has a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames. Each partial-length plank defines first and second ends and includes a support member adjacent the first end. The act of forming an opening in the scaffold platform is carried out by engaging the support members of the pair of partial-length planks with the pair of spaced-apart planks such that an area adjacent between the first ends of the partial-length planks is unoccupied. The pair of partial-length planks occupy the space between the pair of spaced-apart planks other than at the opening. The pair of partial-length planks may be selected from a plurality of partial-length planks of different lengths, each of which has a length less than the distance between the pair of scaffold frames. As summarized previously, the support member may include a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections interconnected with the first end of each partial-length plank separately from each other. Alternatively, the support member may include a pair of spaced-apart plank engagement sections and a transverse member that extends between and interconnects the plank engagement sections.

These and other features and aspects of the present invention will be better appreciated and understood when considered in conjunction with the following description and the accompanying drawings It should be understood, however, that the following description, while indicating a representative embodiments of the present invention, is given by way of illustration and not of limitation. Many changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A clear conception of the advantages and features constituting the present invention, and of the construction and operation of typical mechanisms provided with the present invention, will become more readily apparent by referring to the exemplary, and therefore non-limiting, embodiments illustrated in the drawings accompanying and forming a part of this specification, wherein like reference numerals designate the same elements in the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a scaffold deck that includes openings to accommodate obstacles, which are formed using bracket-supported partial-length planks in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an isometric view showing the end of a partial-length plank and an end support bracket incorporated into the scaffold deck of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the end support bracket of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a rear isometric view of the end support bracket of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an exploded isometric view of a retainer clip assembly incorporated into the end support bracket of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is an exploded partial bottom isometric view showing the end portion of the partial-length plank and the end support bracket as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6, showing a double plank version of an end support bracket similar to the end support bracket shown in FIGS. 1-4 and 6;

FIG. 8 is a partial bottom isometric view showing an retainer arrangement for use with an end support bracket such as incorporated into the scaffold deck of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is an exploded partial front isometric view showing an alternative plank and end bracket configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a partial rear exploded isometric view showing the plank and end bracket configuration of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a partial section view showing the assembled plank and end bracket configuration of FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 12 is an exploded partial front isometric view showing another alternative plank and end bracket configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a partial front isometric view showing the assembled alternative plank and end bracket configuration of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is an exploded partial front isometric view showing another alternative plank and end bracket configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a partial front isometric view showing the assembled alternative plank and end bracket configuration of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a partial isometric view similar to FIG. 1, showing a pivot bracket and hatch or door arrangement that can be employed in combination with the bracket-supported partial-length plank arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a view similar to FIG. 16, showing an alternative pivot bracket and hatch or door arrangement that can be employed in combination with the bracket-supported partial-length plank arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 18 is a partial isometric view similar to FIGS. 2, 9, 10, and 12-15, showing an alternative end bracket configuration for use with the bracket-supported partial-length plank arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a partial isometric view similar to FIG. 1, showing installation of a partial-length plank in a scaffold deck using the alternative end bracket of FIG. 18;

FIGS. 20 and 21 are partial isometric views similar to FIG. 18, showing additional alternative end bracket configurations for use with the bracket-supported partial-length plank arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 22 is a partial section view showing the assembled plank and end bracket configuration of FIG. 21;

FIGS. 23 and 24 are partial isometric views similar to FIGS. 18, 21 and 22, showing additional alternative end bracket configurations for use with the bracket-supported partial-length plank arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 25 is an isometric view of an alternative hinged end bracket configuration for use with the bracket-supported partial-length plank arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 26 is a partial isometric view similar to FIGS. 18 and 21-24, showing installation of a pair of hinged end brackets as shown in FIG. 25 into a partial-length plank;

FIG. 27 is a partial isometric view showing an alternative end bracket configuration that can be achieved using the hinged end brackets as shown in FIGS. 25 and 26; and

FIG. 28 is a partial isometric view of a prior art arrangement for creating on or more openings in a scaffold deck.

In describing the embodiments of the invention which are illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention be limited to the specific terms so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. For example, the word connected, attached, or terms similar thereto are often used. They are not limited to direct connection but include connection through other elements where such connection is recognized as being equivalent by those skilled in the art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The various features and advantageous details of the subject matter disclosed herein are explained more fully with reference to the non-limiting embodiments described in detail in the following description.

As shown in FIG. 1, a scaffold deck system 30 according to the present invention is configured to accommodate passage of one or more obstructions 42, 44 therethrough. Representatively, the obstructions 42, 43, 44 may be in the form of pipes, conduits, etc., although it is understood that deck system 30 may be used in any application in which it is desired to accommodate any type of obstruction in a work area. The deck system 30 includes a number of planks 32, 34, 36 that are provided in various longitudinal lengths. As used herein, a full-length plank, such as a plank 32, is a plank having a longitudinal length that is sufficient to allow support of the opposite ends 52 of the respective plank by rails 38 of a pair of underlying scaffolding frames. The planks that are shorter than full-length planks 32, shown representatively at 34, 36, may be provided in a number of different lengths, which representatively may be incremental lengths. For example, the planks that are shorter than the full-length planks 32 may be provided in one-foot increments ranging from one foot long to a length one foot less than the full-length plank 32. If desired, however, the less than full-length planks may be provided in other length increments, such as in 6 inch increments. In addition, the less than full-length planks may be provided in non-uniform incremental lengths when suitable for certain applications. Regardless of the lengths of the respective planks 32-36, the planks 32-36 are generally provided in a uniform width. However, it is also understood that the planks may be provided in non-uniform widths, such as when it may be desired to increase the range of openings that can be formed in the deck system 40.

In accordance with the present invention, and as shown in FIGS. 1-6, the less than full length planks, such as 34, 36, incorporated into deck system 30 representatively each includes a transverse end support or float bracket 50 that is configured to cooperate with respective ends 52 of any of planks 34, 36 as well as adjacent planks 32, 34, 36 and/or rails 38 associated with the scaffolding frame. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, each float bracket 50 includes wings 56 that extend from the generally opposite transverse ends 58 of the respective float bracket 50. Each float bracket 50 further defines a cavity 60 that is shaped to receive a respective end 52 of a respective plank 34, 36. Wings 56 extend outward relative to cavity 60 so as to generally overlie adjacent planks 32, 34, 36 and/or rail 38 of the scaffolding frame during the formation of a desired deck or platform.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 6, each float bracket 50 can include a hole 62 associated with receiving a locking pin or similar such structure that slidably cooperates with the hole 62 formed in the respective float bracket 50 and a corresponding hole 64 (FIG. 2) associated with an end 90 of a respective plank 34, 36. With this construction, float bracket 50 is slidably engaged with the end 90 of the desired plank, as indicated by arrow 86, and a pin 88 or other similar structure, is inserted through the overlapping openings 62, 64 and prevents longitudinal translation of the float bracket 50 relative to the plank to which it is engaged. While a pin-and-opening arrangement as shown and described may be employed to secure the float bracket 50 to the end of the plank, it is understood that any other satisfactory arrangement may be employed to secure the float bracket 50 to the end of the plank. Representative alternatives include, but are not limited to, mechanical fasteners such as screws, adhesives, etc.

Each float bracket 50 also representatively includes a catch 66 that is movable relative to the respective float bracket 50. As shown in FIG. 5, in one embodiment, catch 66 may include a clip member 72 that is secured to a respective float bracket 50 via a fastener 68, a corresponding nut 70, and one or more washers 73, 74. It is envisioned that catch 66 may be operable from positions generally above the respective float bracket 50 via user interaction with fastener 68 and/or from below the respective float bracket 50 via direct user interaction with clip member 72.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, each float bracket 50 representatively includes catches 66 that are secured to the float bracket 50 proximate the opposite ends associated with the cavity 60. The clip member 72 associated with each catch 66 is rotatable between a retracted first position P1, wherein the clip member 72 does not overlie the footprint associated with wing 56, and an extended second position P2 wherein the respective clip member 72 overlies the footprint associated with a respective wing 56 and thereby defining a space 78 therebetween. The space 78 is representatively shaped to allow secure cooperation of adjacent planks 32, 34, 36 and/or rails 38 of the scaffolding frame with a respective end of each respective float bracket 50 necessary for a given deck configuration.

Still referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, each float bracket 50 representatively includes one or more stops 80, 82 associated with providing a tactile indication as to the orientation of the respective clip member 72 relative to positions P and P2. As should be appreciated, when the respective clip member 72 is oriented in the extended position P2 relative to the respective float bracket 50, the overlapping orientation of the respective wing 56 and respective clip member 72 prevents vertical translation between the immediately adjacent plank 32, 34, 36 and/or rail 38 that is disposed in space 78. Conversely, when clip member 72 is oriented in the retracted position P1 relative to the respective float bracket 50, clip member 72 allows vertical translation relative to the adjacent plank or rail for installation or removal.

FIG. 7 shows an alternate embodiment of a transverse end support or float bracket 90 according to the present invention. Float bracket 90 has a generally similar construction as float bracket 50 such that similar reference numbers have been used to designate the similar structures thereof. However, float bracket 90 is shaped to cooperate with a pair of planks 34, 36 positioned in immediately adjacent proximity to one another relative to a lateral direction, as indicated by arrow 92, such that float bracket 90 accommodates securing of a double or wider width plank or a pair or multiple number of planks relative to adjacent planks 32, 34, 36 and/or rails 38 of a scaffolding frame. Said in another way, float bracket 90 is constructed to support an otherwise free end of two or more adjacent planks. Float bracket 90 can include an access window 92 that is oriented and shaped to allow user interaction with respective end 94, 96 of corresponding pins 98, 100 associated with preventing longitudinal translation of float bracket 90 relative to adjacent planks 34, 36 similar to pin 88 as shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 shows an end support or float bracket 104 according to another embodiment of the invention that is generally similar to float brackets 50, 90 such that similar structures have been designated with the same reference numbers as used above. Float bracket 104 includes wings 56 that extend from generally opposite longitudinal ends thereof so as to generally overlie adjacent planks 32, 34, 36 and/or rails 38 of the scaffold frame. Float bracket 104 defines a cavity 60 that is shaped to slidably cooperate with a respective end 52 of a respective plank 32, 34, 36.

Float bracket 104 includes catches 106 that are slidably associated with the respective float bracket 104, as opposed to the pivoting movement of catches 66 described above. Catches 106 are movable between a first position P3 wherein a catch bracket 110 generally overlies the area associated with cavity 60 and does not interfere with the footprint associated with wing 56, and a second position P4 wherein a portion 114 of the respective catch bracket 110 extends beyond the area associated with cavity 60 and generally overlies at least a portion of the area associated with the footprint of a respective wing 56. A space 114 is defined between each wing 56 and the corresponding catch bracket 110. Each space 114 is shaped to accommodate cooperation with adjacent planks 32, 34, 36 and/or a rail 38 of the scaffolding frame. Representatively, float bracket 104 is provided with a stop 120 that is movable and/or removable therefrom so as to retain brackets 110 in a respective position P3, P4 relative to float bracket 104. Stop 120 representatively prevents unintended translation of brackets 110 relative to the desired position P3, P4. Said in another way, user interaction is representatively required to effectuate translation of catch brackets 110 relative to the respective float bracket 104 to which it is attached.

It should be appreciated that float brackets 50, 90, 104 can be constructed to cooperate with scaffold planks 34, 36 having various dimensions as well as planks that are constructed of various materials such as metal planks, synthetic planks, and planks constructed of dimensional lumber or wood planks. Referring to FIGS. 9-11, any of float brackets 50, 90, 104 can include one or more openings 120 constructed to receive a fastener, such as a nail or screw 122, for securing the respective float bracket 50, 90, 104 relative to a respective plank 34, 36 when the construction and/or material of the respective plank 32, 34, 36 accommodate such a connection.

As shown in FIGS. 12-13, it is further envisioned that one or more of float brackets 50, 90, 104 can be configured to cooperate with planks constructed of various materials as discussed above in addition to planks having various constructions or configurations associated with the respective ends 52 thereof. As shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, float brackets 50, 90, 104 can include a pair of end walls 128, 130 that are constructed to slidably cooperate with a respective channel 132, 134 associated with a respective end 52 of a respective plank 34, 36, which representatively may be a plank formed of rolled aluminum or other metallic material. It should be appreciated that the shape of the end of the plank shown in FIG. 12 is fairly prolific in metal plank constructions.

FIGS. 14-15 show an alternate embodiment wherein the respective plank 34, 36 includes a pair of hooks 136, 138 that are oriented at the opposite lateral ends of the respective plank 34, 36. Commonly, hooks 136, 138 include a recess 140 that is shaped to removably cooperate with a corresponding rail 38 associated with a scaffolding frame. As shown in FIG. 13, float brackets 50, 90, 104 can be constructed to cooperate with ends 52 of planks 32, 34, 36 having hooks 136, 138 without interfering with the functionality associated with the use thereof for engagement with other scaffold rails or other float brackets. As shown in FIG. 14, float bracket 50, 90, 104 is secured to a respective length plank 32, 34, 36 such that hooks 136, 138 extend past the respective bracket 50, 90, 104 for cooperation with an adjacent rail 38 associated with the scaffolding frame.

FIGS. 16 and 17 show various embodiments of another feature associated with scaffold deck system 30. One or more of float brackets 50, 90, 104 can include pivot mounts 146 associated with pivotably connecting a hatch or access door 148 associated with the desired formation of platform 40. A pivot pin 150 cooperates with a respective mount 146 and access door 148 to allow rotation of door 148 relative to platform 40. As indicated by arrows 152, it is envisioned that door 148 can overlap a corresponding rail 38 of the scaffolding frame, as shown in FIG. 16, or include one or more hooks 156 that cooperate with rail 138 to provide secure interaction therewith. Regardless of the support configuration, access door 148 is representatively positionally associated with a ladder 154 used to gain access to the upper surface defined by the cooperation of the planks associated with defining the platform 40. It is further appreciated that door 148 could be provided at other locations of deck 40 and could be used for other purposes, such as the removal of debris from the work platform.

Still referring to FIGS. 16 and 17, deck system 30 may include one or more adapter brackets 160 that can be connected to the tabs or wings 56 associated with any of float brackets 50, 90, 104. Each adapter bracket 160 includes arms 162 that are shaped to cooperate with rail 38 of a scaffolding frame. Such a construction allows each of float brackets 50, 90, 104 to be conveniently shaped to cooperate with either of an adjacent plank 32, 34, 36 and/or the rail 38 of the scaffolding frame when a respective end of a respective float bracket 50, 90, 104 is associated with a perimeter edge of platform 40. This also allows the floating planks and hatch to maintain a level and height consistent with that of the rest of the deck and that of full length planks 32.

As shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, one or more fasteners 170 are shaped to cooperate with an elongated groove 172 associated with the respective float bracket 50, 90, 104 and the corresponding opening 174 associated with the respective adapter bracket 160 to allow a limited degree of adjustability of the lateral orientation of the respective bracket 160 relative to the corresponding float bracket 50, 90, 104 and the corresponding rail 38 of the scaffolding frame. This configuration provides a limited degree of individualization of the lateral orientation of the adapter bracket 160 relative to the respective float bracket 50, 90, 104 and the underlying rails 38 associated with the scaffolding frame. As shown by comparing FIGS. 16 and 17, it is envisioned that access door 148 can be provided in various widths such as a two plank width, as indicated in FIG. 16, or a three plank width, as indicated in FIG. 17. Such a construction allows access door 148 to be individualized to a particular application and/or intended use of scaffolding deck system 30.

FIGS. 18 and 19 illustrate an alternative configuration for an end support or float bracket in accordance with the present invention, shown at 200. In this version, the float bracket 200 includes a pair of wings 202, as in the embodiments shown and described previously. In this version, however, the area between the wings 202 is occupied by an open plank end receiver structure, defined by a top wall 204 that is coplanar with wings 202, a pair of side walls 206 that extend downwardly from top wall 204, and a bottom wall 208 that extends between and interconnects the lower ends of side walls 206. Top wall 204, side walls 206 and bottom wall 208 cooperate to form an open passage 210, which has a cross-section slightly larger than the plank, such as 34, 36, to which float bracket 200 is to be secured. In this manner, the end of the plank 34, 36 can be inserted into and through the passage 210, as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 18, so that float bracket 200 can essentially be positioned anywhere along the length of the plank 34, 36. Representatively, one of the walls, such as the top wall 204, may be provided with openings 212 through which fasteners such as screws or nails 214 may be inserted for engagement with the plank 34, 36, in order to secure float bracket 200 in a desired position on the plank 34, 36. The wings 202 may also be provided with openings, such as 216, for receiving fasteners 214. In this manner, the fasteners 214 that extend through openings 216 are used to secure the float bracket 200, and thereby the plank 34, 36, in a desired position relative to the adjacent planks in order to provide an opening in a desired location on the scaffold platform. The float bracket 200 may also include retainers in the form of tabs 218, which are spaced below wings 202 so as to define a space within which the edge of the adjacent plank can be received. In the same manner as described above, the tabs 218 prevent upward movement of the plank 34, 36 when installed.

It can be appreciated that the float bracket 200 may be formed of a one-piece construction, such as injection molding of a plastic material or extrusion of an aluminum material, in order to provide low cost and durability. However, other satisfactory materials and forming methods may be employed. The float bracket 200 is well suited for use with plank material formed of conventional lumber, although it is understood that any other type of plank may be employed in combination with float bracket 200.

FIG. 20 shows another alternative configuration for an end support or float bracket in accordance with the present invention, in the form of a pair of end brackets shown at 250a, 250b. End brackets 250a, 250b are mirror images of each other, and include respective wings 252a, 252b that extend outwardly from respective vertical walls 254a, 254b. End brackets 250a, 250b also include respective bottom flanges 256a, 256b and bottom flanges 258a, 258b. Bottom flanges 258a, 258b extend throughout the length of respective vertical walls 254a, 254b at the bottom end of each, and top flanges 256a, 256b extend throughout the length of respective vertical walls 254a, 254b other than at the location of respective wings 252a, 252b. Openings 260a, 260b are formed in respective wings 252a, 252b, and openings 262a, 262b are formed in respective vertical walls 254a, 254b.

With the configuration of end brackets 250a, 250b as shown and described, the end brackets 250a, 250b may be secured one to each side of the plank 34, 36. In the case of a metal plank 34, 36, which includes a channel at each side defined by the top wall, side wall and bottom flange, the end brackets 250a, 250b nest within each channel such that the outer surfaces of the vertical walls 254a, 254b face and engage the respective inner surfaces of the plank side walls. Fasteners such as screws 264 extend through openings in the plank side walls and into the openings 262a, 262b for securing the respective end brackets 250a, 250b to the end of the plank 32, 34. End brackets 250a, 250b are constructed such that, when installed on the plank 34, 36, the inner edge of each wing 252a, 252b is in contact with or immediately adjacent the end surface of the plank 32, 34. In this manner, the plank 34, 36 can be engaged with the adjacent planks and placed in any desired position so as to form an opening in a scaffold platform.

It should be appreciated that the end brackets such as 250a, 250b may have a one-piece construction, such as may be provided using a sheet metal blank and stamping and bending operations, although other satisfactory materials and forming methods may be employed. It should also be appreciated that the end brackets 250a, 250b may be used with a plank of any width, and additionally are not limited for use with a metal plank as shown and described but may be used with any other satisfactory plank construction as desired. For example, end brackets similar to brackets 250a, 250b may be used with a wood plank by securing the brackets 250a, 250b to the side surfaces of the wood plank. The brackets 250a, 250b may be positioned such that the wings 252a, 252b extend outwardly from the end of the plank, or alternatively the brackets 250a, 250b may be positioned at any other desired location inwardly of the end of the plank.

FIGS. 21 and 22 illustrate another alternative embodiment of an end support or float bracket in accordance with the present invention, shown at 300. In this embodiment, the float bracket 300 includes a pair of side bracket sections 302a, 302b that are constructed similarly to end brackets 250a, 250, respectively, as shown and described previously. In this version, however, the side bracket sections 302a, 302b are interconnected with each other via a transverse connector member 304, which spaces the bracket sections 302a, 302b a predetermined distance apart from each other according to the width of the plank to which the float bracket 300 is to be connected. As described above with respect to end brackets 250a, 250b, float bracket 300 may be secured to a metal plank 34, 36, by nesting the side bracket sections 302a, 302b within the facing channels of the plank such that the outer surfaces of the vertical walls of the bracket sections 302a, 302b face and engage the respective inner surfaces of the plank side walls. Fasteners such as screws 304 extend through openings in the plank side walls and into the openings in the vertical walls of bracket sections 302a, 302b for securing the respective bracket sections 302a, 302b to the end of the plank 32, 34. When installed on the plank 34, 36, the inner edge of each wing of bracket sections 302a, 302b is in contact with or immediately adjacent the end surface of the plank 32, 34. In this manner, the plank 34, 36 can be engaged with the adjacent planks and placed in any desired position so as to form an opening in a scaffold platform.

Again, it should be appreciated that the float bracket 300 may have a one-piece construction, such as may be provided using a sheet metal blank and stamping and bending operations, although other satisfactory materials and forming methods may be employed. It should also be appreciated that the float bracket 300 may be used with any other satisfactory plank construction as desired. For example, float bracket 300 may be used with a wood plank by securing the brackets sections 302a, 302b to the side surfaces of the wood plank. The bracket sections 302a, 302b may be positioned such that the bracket wings extend outwardly from the end of the plank, or alternatively may be positioned at any other desired location inwardly of the end of the plank.

FIG. 23 illustrates an alternative application for end brackets 250a, 250b as shown in FIG. 20 and described previously. This application is adapted for use in providing a wider opening in the scaffold platform using a pair of side-by-side planks 34, 36. In this version, a transverse connection member 350 is used to connect the end brackets 250a, 250b together. The transverse connection member 350 includes a top wall 352, an end wall 354, a bottom wall (not shown) configured similarly to top wall 352, and a pair of end walls 356a, 356b. The end walls 356a, 356b are configured to fit between the top and bottom flanges of the respective end brackets 250a, 250b, and engage the facing inner surfaces of the vertical walls 254a, 254b of respective end brackets 250a, 250b. The end walls 356a, 356b include respective openings 358a, 358b that align with openings formed in respective vertical walls 254a, 254b. Fasteners such as screws extend through the aligned openings so as to secure end brackets 250a, 250b and transverse connection member 350 together. With this configuration, the assembled end brackets 250a, 250b and transverse connection member 350 may be secured to the end of a pair of metal planks 34, 36, by nesting the end brackets 250a, 250b within each channel of the metal plank such that the outer surfaces of the vertical walls 254a, 254b face and engage the respective inner surfaces of the plank side walls. Fasteners such as screws 360 extend through openings in the plank side walls and into the end bracket openings for securing the respective end brackets 250a, 250b to the ends of the side-by-side planks 32, 34. The top wall 352 and bottom wall of the transverse connection member 350 include aligned notches, shown at 362 with respect to top wall 352, within which the side walls of the planks 34, 36 are received when the end brackets 250a, 250b and transverse connection member are secured to the planks 34, 36 in this manner. End brackets 250a, 250b are constructed such that, when installed on the planks 34, 36, the inner edge of each wing 252a, 252b is in contact with or immediately adjacent the end surfaces of the plank 32, 34. In this manner, the planks 34, 36 can be engaged with the adjacent planks and placed in any desired position so as to form an opening in a scaffold platform, and the transverse connection member 350 provides support for the ends of the planks 34, 36 at the opening.

FIG. 24 illustrates another alternative application for end brackets 250a, 250b as shown in FIG. 20 and described previously. Again, this application is adapted for use in providing a wider opening in the scaffold platform using a pair of side-by-side planks 34, 36. In this version, a transverse connection member 400 is used to connect the end brackets 250a, 250b together. The transverse connection member 400 includes a pair of end tabs 402a, 402b that extend upwardly from the opposite ends of a transverse wall 404. A vertical flange 406 extends downwardly from one edge, or alternatively both edges, of bottom wall 404. Bottom wall 404 includes a centrally located recess or channel 408. The end tabs 402a, 402b are configured to fit between the top and bottom flanges of the respective end brackets 250a, 250b, and engage the facing inner surfaces of the vertical walls 254a, 254b of respective end brackets 250a, 250b. The tabs 402a, 402b include respective openings 410a, 401b that align with openings formed in respective vertical walls 254a, 254b. Fasteners such as screws 360 extend through the aligned openings so as to secure end brackets 250a, 250b and transverse connection member 400 together. With this configuration, the assembled end brackets 250a, 250b and transverse connection member 400 may be secured to the end of a pair of metal planks 34, 36, by nesting the end brackets 250a, 250b within each channel of the metal plank such that the outer surfaces of the vertical walls 254a, 254b face and engage the respective inner surfaces of the plank side walls. The channel 408 is configured to underlie the abutting lower flanges of the planks 34, 36 when the end brackets 250a, 250b are positioned in this manner. Fasteners such as screws 360 extend through openings in the plank side walls and into the end bracket openings for securing the respective end brackets 250a, 250b to the ends of the side-by-side planks 32, 34. Again, end brackets 250a, 250b are constructed such that, when installed on the planks 34, 36, the inner edge of each wing 252a, 252b is in contact with or immediately adjacent the end surfaces of the plank 32, 34. In this manner, the planks 34, 36 can be engaged with the adjacent planks and placed in any desired position so as to form an opening in a scaffold platform, and the transverse connection member 400 provides support for the ends of the planks 34, 36 at the opening.

FIGS. 25-27 illustrate an alternative end bracket arrangement that includes a pair of hinge-type end brackets 450a, 450b, which can be used similarly to end brackets 250a, 250b as shown and described previously. In this version, hinge-type end brackets 450a, 450b include respective mounting sections 452a, 452b and wing sections 454a, 454b. Mounting sections 452a, 452b have a generally C-shaped configuration, including respective vertical walls 456a, 456b, top flanges 458a, 458b and bottom flanges 460a, 460b. Mounting sections 452a, 452b also include respective vertical hinge barrels 462a, 462b.

Wing sections 454a, 454b include respective upper wing members 464a, 464b and vertical walls 466a, 466b, which include hinge pin receivers such as shown at 468a on vertical wall 466a. In addition, wing sections 454a, 454b include respective oppositely extending lower tabs 470a, 472a and 470b, 472b located at the lower ends of respective vertical walls 466a, 466b. Hinge pins 474a, 474b function to pivotably connect respective mounting sections 452a, 452b and wing sections 454a, 454b together. In a manner as is known, each hinge pin 474a, 474b extends through the aligned hinge pin receivers and hinge barrels, such as shown at 462a, 468a with respect to end bracket 450a. With this construction, hinge-type end brackets 450a, 450b can be moved between an in-line configuration as shown in FIG. 26 and a transverse configuration as shown in FIG. 27. When in the in-line configuration of FIG. 26, the wing sections 454a, 454b of end brackets 450a, 450b function similarly to the end brackets 250a, 250b described previously. In this configuration, the lower tabs 470a, 470b underlie the lower surfaces of the adjacent planks so as to prevent upward movement of the plank 34, 36 to which the end brackets 450a, 450b are connected. When in the transverse configuration of FIG. 27, the wing sections 454a, 454b may rest on and be secured to any surface S on which a plank such as 34, 36 is to be supported. If the surface S is that another plank or the like, the lower tabs 470a, 470b are positioned so as to underlie the lower area so as to prevent upward movement of the end of the plank 34, 36.

It should be appreciated that the various scaffolding deck systems described above and the various features associated therewith, include various features that may be more desirable to certain classes of users or intended applications than to others. The scaffold deck system 180 can be uniquely configured to tolerate obstructions in virtually any location within the deck system 180, and do so in a manner wherein the plane associated with formation of the deck is maintained in close proximity to the obstruction(s). Scaffold deck system 180 can be individualized such that the respective individual components thereof can cooperate with one another in a manner that avoids the unnecessary waste commonly associated with forming a scaffold deck to accommodate such interferences. It is envisioned that float brackets and scaffold planks in accordance with those disclosed herein can be manufactured in any number of ways including being extruded, stamped, folded metal, molded synthetic materials, extruded, and/or formed from composite materials, etc. without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

It is understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and arrangements of the components set forth herein. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Variations and modifications are within the scope of the present invention. It is also understood that the invention disclosed herein extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text and/or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the present invention. The embodiments described herein explain the best modes known for practicing the invention and will enable others skilled in the art to utilize the invention.