Title:
Adjustable equipment rack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An equipment rack is disclosed having two opposing structural support frames connected by a plurality of elongated beams defining an adjustable interior volume having a length, width and depth therein. Each opposing support frame has at least two posts defining two opposing sides. The posts are connected by a plurality of elongated cross beams which include a portion that extends outwardly from at least one of the opposing sides. At least two opposing rails are slidably mounted on the plurality of elongated cross beams to permit movement of the rails along the longitudinal axis of the elongated cross beams. Thus, the interior volume of the adjustable equipment rack may be adjusted, e.g., expanded by sliding the opposing rails of each opposing support frame along the plurality of cross beams and into the portion of the cross beams extending beyond the posts.



Inventors:
Larsen, Lars R. (Old Lyme, CT, US)
Levesque, Stewart A. (Scotland, CT, US)
Application Number:
09/965026
Publication Date:
04/25/2002
Filing Date:
09/27/2001
Assignee:
LARSEN LARS R.
LEVESQUE STEWART A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
361/829
International Classes:
H05K7/18; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, KHOA H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCCARTER & ENGLISH, LLP (HARTFORD, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An adjustable equipment rack comprising: a left-hand frame including at least two left-hand carrier beams oriented horizontally; a right-hand frame attached to the left-hand frame and including at least two right-hand carrier beams oriented horizontally, said at least two right-hand carrier beams oriented in facing, parallel relationship with respect to said at least two left-hand carrier beams; at least two left-hand mounting rails defining a plurality of left-hand attachment points and adjustably mounted for horizontal movement relative to two or more of the at least two left-hand carrier beams; and at least two right-hand mounting rails defining a plurality of right-hand attachment points and adjustably mounted for horizontal movement relative to two or more of the at least two right-hand carrier beams.

2. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 1, wherein the left-hand and right-hand carrier beams are C-shaped in cross section.

3. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 2, wherein the at least two left-hand and at least two right-hand mounting rails are adjustably attached to the at least two left-hand and at least two right-hand carrier beams, respectively, with screws extending through each mounting rail proximate the carrier beams and channel nuts positioned within each respective C-shaped channel.

4. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 3, further comprising a spring attached to each channel nut.

5. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 3, further comprising an end cap mounted to the open end of each carrier beam.

6. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least two left-hand mounting rails and at least two right-hand mounting rails are full-height rails.

7. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 1, further comprising a half-height left-hand mounting rail defining a plurality of attachment points and adjustably mounted for horizontal movement to two or more of the at least two left-hand carrier beams and a half-height right-hand mounting rail defining a plurality of attachment points and adjustably mounted for horizontal movement to two or more of the at least two right-hand carrier beams.

8. An adjustable equipment rack as recited in claim 1, further comprising a front base angle mounted to the left-hand and right-hand frame and a rear base angle mounted to the left-hand and right-hand frame for supporting the adjustable equipment rack.

9. An adjustable equipment rack comprising two opposing support frames defining an interior volume having a length, width and depth therein, each opposing support frame including two posts defining opposing sides, wherein each post is connected by a plurality of elongated cross beams having portions extending outwardly from at least one of the opposing sides; and at least two opposing rails slidably mounted on the plurality of elongated cross beams of the opposing support frames to permit movement of the rails along the longitudinal axis of the elongated cross beams.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of a co-pending, commonly assigned provisional patent application entitled “Adjustable Server Rack,” filed on Sep. 27, 2000, and assigned Ser. No. 60/235,714, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Disclosure

[0003] The present disclosure relates generally to an adjustable equipment rack and, more particularly, to an equipment rack wherein front and rear equipment mounting rails are adjustable to accommodate electronic equipment of varying sizes, depths and/or configurations.

[0004] 2. Background of the Disclosure

[0005] Presently, in order to get the benefit of an open rack with equipment mounting rails that are adjustable, a user either has to purchase an equipment cabinet without sides and doors or an old style four post open rack. A disadvantage of using equipment cabinets is that such cabinets are significantly more expensive than a four post open rack and provide less room for accessing and storing equipment. A disadvantage of using prior four post open racks is that the posts in prior racks are also the mounting rails. Thus, the posts cannot be adjusted to varying depths once the rack is assembled and installed. In addition, prior four-post racks lack a sufficient range of adjustment to satisfy all installation requirements. Typically, a plurality of racks must be purchased, the racks being sized to fit the various pieces of equipment to be installed.

[0006] Thus, based on the problems with prior racks described above, there is a strong need for a rack that is adjustable, versatile, and able to accommodate equipment of various sizes, depths and/or configurations, to provide an inexpensive and efficient means of storing such equipment.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0007] The equipment rack disclosed herein provides a remedy for the problems associated with prior devices and/or systems. An adjustable equipment rack is disclosed having two opposing structural support frames connected by a plurality of elongated beams defining an adjustable interior volume having a length, width and depth therein. Each opposing support frame has at least two posts defining two opposing sides. The posts are connected by a plurality of elongated cross beams which include a portion that extends outwardly from at least one of the opposing sides. At least two opposing rails are slidably mounted on the plurality of elongated cross beams to permit movement of the rails along the longitudinal axis of the elongated cross beams. Thus, the interior volume of the adjustable equipment rack may be adjusted, e.g., expanded by sliding the opposing rails of each opposing support frame along the plurality of cross beams and into the portion of the cross beams extending beyond the posts. Other features and benefits of the disclosed adjustable equipment rack will be apparent from the detailed description and accompanying figures which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] So that those of ordinary skill in the art to which the subject disclosure pertains will more readily understand how to make and use the adjustable equipment rack of the present disclosure as described herein, preferred and/or exemplary embodiments of the disclosure will be described in detail with reference to the included figures, wherein:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an adjustable equipment rack made in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0010] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of an upper portion of the adjustable equipment rack shown in FIG. 1 made in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0011] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of the adjustable equipment rack, taken from FIG. 2, detailing the assembly of an equipment mounting rail to a carrier beam;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a sectional plan view of a portion of the adjustable equipment rack, taken from FIG. 2, detailing the relationship between an the equipment mounting rail and the carrier beam; and

[0013] FIG. 5 is an elevation view of the left hand side of an adjustable equipment rack made in accordance with the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

[0014] The following detailed description of preferred and/or exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure is intended to be read in the light of, or in context with, the preceding summary and background descriptions. Unless otherwise apparent, or stated, directional references, such as “up”, “down”, “left”, “right”, “front” and “rear”, are intended to be relative to the orientation of a particular embodiment of the disclosure as shown in the first numbered view of that embodiment. Also, a given reference numeral should be understood to indicate the same or a similar structure when it appears in different figures.

[0015] Referring to FIG. 1, an adjustable equipment rack 10 is illustrated which includes two elongated structural support members, i.e., frame members 12 and 14, respectively. Frame member 12 is referred to herein as the left-hand (“LH”) frame and frame member 14 is referred to herein as the right-hand (“RH”) frame solely for convenience sake when referring to the orientation of rack 10 as illustrated in the Figures. The LH frame 12 includes a front corner post 16 and rear corner post 18 connected with top, middle, and lower elongated carrier beams 20, 22, and 24, respectively. The RH frame 14 includes a front corner post 26 and a rear corner post 28 connected with top, middle, and lower carrier beams 30, 32, and 34, respectively. The carrier beams have C-shaped cross-sections, although carrier beams of other cross-sectional configurations are contemplated and may be used. Individual parts and/or components of frames 12, 14 may be joined or connected by a number of different methods including, but not limited to, welding, brazing, adhering, riveting, and bolting.

[0016] The LH frame 12 and RH frame 14 are connected by their upper ends with a front crossmember 36 and a rear crossmember 38. The LH frame 12 and RH frame 14 are connected, e.g., bolted, at or adjacent their lower ends by a front base angle 40 and a rear base angle 42.

[0017] Two equipment mounting rails 44 and 46 are adjustably mounted to the top, middle, and lower carrier beams 20, 22, and 24, respectively, of the LH frame 12. Two equipment mounting rails 48 and 50 are also adjustably mounted to the top, middle, and lower carrier beams 30, 32, and 34, respectively, of the RH frame 14. The equipment mounting rails may be, for example, standard EIA rails, which are well known by those having ordinary skill in the art.

[0018] Each equipment mounting rail is adjustably mounted to each carrier beam with a cap screw 52 threaded to a channel nut and spring assembly 54. Preferably, and as shown, the open end of each carrier beam is capped with an end cap 56 to prevent the channel nut and spring assemblies 54, and the equipment mounting rails as well, from detaching from the associated carrier beams. The end caps 56 may be joined or connected to the carrier beams by a number of different methods including, but not limited to, welding, brazing, adhering, riveting, and bolting.

[0019] Posts 16, 18, 26 and 28 define an interior volume which may be expanded along the longitudinal axis defined by cross beams 20, 22, 24, 30, 32, and 34 by sliding mounting rails 44, 46, 48 and 50 along the portions of cross beams 20, 22, 24, 30, 32 and 34 which extend beyond the interior volume defined by posts 16, 18, 26 and 28, thus defining a second adjustable volume. Exemplary dimensions for the parameters that define the interior volume and second adjustable volume include:

[0020] D, which may be about 23.75 inches or 0.603 meters;

[0021] L, which may be about 84 inches or 2.13 meters; and

[0022] W, which may be about 34 inches or 0.864 meters.

[0023] It is understood that the above-noted dimensions are merely exemplary dimensions associated with a preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, and that one or more of the above-noted dimensions may be altered for various reasons, e.g., based on characteristics of the equipment to be installed, and that equipment racks incorporated such altered dimensions shall be within the purview of the present disclosure.

[0024] Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, there is illustrated in FIG. 3 an exploded perspective view of a portion of the adjustable equipment rack, taken from FIG. 2, detailing the assembly of equipment mounting rail 48 to carrier beam 30. In FIG. 4, a sectional plan view of a portion of the adjustable equipment rack, taken from FIG. 2, is provided detailing the relationship between equipment mounting rail 48 and carrier beam 30 when assembled.

[0025] The channel nut and spring assembly 54 is generally assembled to the RH top carrier beam 30 by slightly compressing the spring and slipping the assembly into the open end of the carrier beam 30. End cap 56 is generally assembled to the open end of the carrier beam 30 and secured in position, for example, by welding. Equipment mounting rail 48 is positioned with its mounting holes aligned with threaded holes in their respective channel nut and spring assemblies 54 and attached using cap screws 52. The cap screws 52 of each carrier beam are initially left loose and tightened only after their final positions are determined. The equipment mounting rails are slid along the carrier rails in a direction normal to the longitudinal plane of the RH and LH frames, as illustrated by arrow 55 in FIG. 4, thus advantageously facilitating the mounting of electronic equipment of various depth.

[0026] The adjustable equipment rack 10 is flexible in that more than two equipment mounting rails can be attached to each frame. Furthermore, the equipment mounting rails can be shortened, for example, to provide attachment points in only the upper or lower section of the rack 10.

[0027] Referring to FIG. 5, an elevation view of the left-hand side of an exemplary adjustable equipment rack 110 is illustrated. A full-depth electronic drawer 60 is shown mounted to equipment mounting rails 44, 46, 48, and 50. In addition, a half-depth electronic drawer 62 is shown mounted to equipment mounting rails 44 and 48, a left-hand half-height equipment mounting rail 58, and a right-hand half-height equipment mounting rail (not shown).

[0028] Front and back base angles 40 and 42 are shown with their lower flanges extending outwardly. Base angles 40 and 42 are generally reversible. This allows them to be mounted outwards (as shown) for a wider stance if the rack is to be free standing, or inwards to give a footprint within a square of predetermined dimension, e.g., a 24″ by 24″ (0.61 m by 0.61 m) square. An advantage associated with keeping the footprint within the exemplary 24″ by 24″ square is that raised floor panels in front and behind a row of equipment racks can be removed even when the rack is adjusted to hold up to 34″ (0.864 m) deep equipment, thereby making wiring the installation significantly easier and more efficient.

[0029] Described above are exemplary adjustable equipment racks that provide substantial improvements over existing prior art equipment racks. Advantageously, the equipment mounting rails can be adjusted independent of the frame so that the rails can be adjusted, e.g., from 6″ to 34″, at any time (e.g., after the rack has been assembled and secured to the floor). In addition, two or more carrier beams may be used to support two or more equipment mounting rails. The length of the equipment mounting rails can be full height (i.e., the height of the rack) or any length shorter to facilitate the particular installation.

[0030] Although the adjustable equipment rack of the subject disclosure has been described as a one or more preferred embodiments, it is apparent that modifications and changes thereto can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.