Title:
Floor air diffuser system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An automated and adjustable air diffuser mechanism for placement in a floor opening in a raised access flooring system having an air distribution plenum under the floor. The mechanism comprises a first, fixed circular hanging frame member, and a second, movable, generally circular dust trap member concentric with the first hanging frame member. The second member is movable relative to the first member to adjust the free area of the air passages located along the circumference of the first and second members, whereby to vary the airflow delivery from the distribution plenum to the room area above the mechanism.



Inventors:
Hardy, Thomas Ray (Canton, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/378010
Publication Date:
07/24/2003
Filing Date:
03/04/2003
Assignee:
HARDY THOMAS RAY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F7/10; F24F13/14; (IPC1-7): F24F7/00; F24F13/08; F24F13/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOYCE, HAROLD
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William B. Noll (Panama City Beach, FL, US)
Claims:
1. In combination with a raised floor access system, where the floor consists of an upper surface and a lower surface, a generally circular opening within said floor for receiving an air diffuser mechanism in communication with an underfloor air distribution plenum, an adjustable air diffuser mechanism for controlling the quantity of air passing from said distribution plenum through said air diffuser mechanism into the area above said upper surface, said air diffuser mechanism comprising: a.) a first, generally circular, stationary hanging frame member having an annular body portion for seating within said floor opening, where said body portion features an outwardly directed flange at an upper edge to overlie said upper floor surface and a series openings about said annular body portion; b.) a second, generally circular dust trap member concentric with said first frame member, where said second dust trap member is movable relative to said first frame member from a first operating position for full air flow to a second operating position for air shut off, and to selected positions therebetween, said second dust trap member having a peripheral wall containing a series of openings comparable to the openings in said first member; c.) means to effect movement of said second dust trap member between said first and second operating positions, and to position same at said selected positions; and, d.) a removable and open grill member for seating on said first frame member.

2. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said first hanging frame member is defined by a continuous annular upper portion, and said series of openings are formed by plural spaced apart arms, where said arms are laterally spaced a predetermined distance, and said second dust trap member is characterized by a lower peripheral member having a series of upwardly directed, spaced apart arms extending therefrom, said latter defined arms having a lateral dimension about equal to said predetermined distance, whereby the spaces between said respective arms cooperate to control the quantity of air passing from said distribution plenum through said air diffuser mechanism.

3. The combination according to claim 1, including a third fixed member below said second hanging frame member for mounting said means to effect said movement, said means comprising in part an electric reversible motor.

4. The combination according to claim 2, wherein said second dust trap member is movably vertically, whereby to selectively position its said arms over said openings.

5. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said removable and open grill member is seated on said generally circular, stationary hanging frame member, said grill member having an upper surface planarly aligned with said outwardly directed flange.

6. The combination according to claim 3, where said reversible motor allows for the adjustment of the free area of the air passage between said first hanging frame member and said second dust trap member to vary the airflow delivery through said grill member.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 10/035,273, filed Jan. 3, 2002, under the title, Motorized Floor Diffuser System, by the inventor hereof, where the contents thereof are incorporated herein in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to the field of floor air diffusers of the type used in raised access flooring systems, such as an office complex. More particularly, the invention is directed to a motorized adjustable airflow outlet.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention is directed to an adjustable, raised floor air diffuser that allows for the manual or automatic control of individual outlet airflow delivery mechanism from a pressurized floor plenum system, more specifically to an airflow delivery mechanism to control the free area of the air passages located along the circumference of the mechanism. The use of raised access floors in office complexes is rapidly gaining popularity. These systems allow power and communications wiring to be located in an easily accessible cavity below the office floor. In addition, the cavity may be used for the supply of conditioned air to the office space, eliminating most of the ductwork and insulation requirements that are inherent to overhead systems.

[0004] Underfloor air delivery systems are now becoming popular with the business community and developers due primarily to economics. Underfloor air systems, as presently known, deliver air to large zoning plenums via air terminals mounted in a floor cavity. Air is delivered to the office workers by means of high induction floor outlets that are tapped directly into the pressurized floor plenum. Additionally, such air systems allow for easy reconfiguration and add-ons for the office communications.

[0005] The air terminals or diffusers, through the use of modular flooring systems, may be placed at selected locations throughout the office complex. Typically, the air diffusers include a grill or opened cover member overriding an air chamber, where the air diffuser incorporates a manually adjustable mechanism. In U.S. Pat. No. 6,083,100, by the inventor hereof, an underfloor diffuser assembly is taught. The invention of '100 relates to an adjustable air diffuser assembly that includes first and second annular rings threadably engaging one another and secured respectively to above and below the floor, where the first annular ring includes an annular shoulder for receiving a grill assembly. The grill assembly is seated on the shoulder and is in communication with the space above the upper surface. The grill assembly further includes a centrally disposed, downwardly extending, vertically adjustable rod mounting a circular basket at its free end. The basket includes an array of through holes for delivering pressurized air from the underfloor cavity to the diffuser assembly, and means, such as a rod, connecting the basket to the grill assembly to prevent rotation of the basket. Finally, plural, radially extending, fixed vanes are provided and secured about the vertically adjustable rod to discharge air under pressure from the basket and defined sub-chamber to the space above the upper surface to impart a radial spin to the discharged air.

[0006] The typical raised floor air diffusers are manually adjustable devices. Often, such devices use a rotatable member that can close or open the damper mechanism to control the airflow from the underfloor plenum. This invention preferably teaches an automated, motorized air diffuser system where plural air diffusers may be individually controlled through wired or wireless communication. The manner by which the present invention achieves the goals hereof will become apparent in the description which follows, especially when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] This invention preferably relates to an automated, motorized air diffuser mechanism for placement in a floor opening in a raised access flooring system having an air distribution plenum under the floor. The mechanism, in a preferred embodiment, comprises a first, generally circular hanging frame member, to be removably secured to the floor, where said first member features an outwardly directed flange at an upper end to overlie the upper surface of said floor. Additionally, in cooperation with said first member, and to control air passages allowing predefined quantifies of air from the air distribution plenum to the area above said floor, is a second, generally circular dust trap member. The second member is movable relative to said first frame member from a first operating position for full air flow to a second operating position for air shut off, and to selected positions therebetween. The mechanism further includes means to effect such movement, and to position the second member at the selected intermediate positions. Finally, the mechanism may be provided with a removable and open grill member for seating on said first frame member.

[0008] Accordingly, a feature of this invention is to provide a remotely activated air diffuser mechanism, whether a plurality or individual outlets.

[0009] A further feature of the invention hereof lies in an air diffuser mechanism that allows removal and cleaning of debris/liquid from a retention basin, or dust trap member, without disturbance of any of the automatic control components or wiring.

[0010] Another feature of this invention is the use of modular connection that facilitates easy field connection to control wiring for the air diffuser mechanism hereof.

[0011] Still another feature of the invention is the provision of an air diffuser mechanism that features a first fixed member and a second movable member, movable vertically or rotatably.

[0012] These and other features of the invention will become more apparent, particularly by those skilled in the art, from a reading of the following specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is a sectional view, with parts removed, of a first embodiment showing the automated, motorized air diffuser mechanism according to the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of certain components forming the air diffuser mechanism of the first embodiment of this invention.

[0015] FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view illustrating a preferred motorized mechanism for automatically operating the air diffuser system hereof.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view showing the suspended support frame and motor support frame for the first embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of a second embodiment for the air diffuser mechanism, showing two circular and concentric members, relatively movable with respect to one another, to control air flow through the air diffuser mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0018] The present invention is directed to an automated, motorized air diffuser mechanism for use in a raised access flooring system. The mechanism, operable through wired or wireless input signals, and intended to provide a variable volume control, will now be described with regard to the accompanying Figures, where like reference numerals represent like components or features throughout the several views.

[0019] Turning first to the first embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, where FIG. 1 illustrates the assembled air diffuser mechanism 10 according to the present invention, where the respective components may be of plastic or aluminum construction, the mechanism comprises a generally circular hanging frame member 12 having a removable grill member 14 with a series of concentric openings 16, preferably transmitting the supplied conditioned air in a 360° cyclonic “swirl” discharge pattern to the room space above the mechanism. The frame member further features a laterally extending flange 18, such as made of an aesthetically pleasing brushed aluminum, to override the floor carpeting, as known in the art, and an axially extending body portion 20, where the body portion is externally threaded 22 to receive a comparably threaded retention ring 24. When suitably joined together, as best seen in FIG. 1, the system is properly fixed relative to the floor opening 26. The lower edge 28 of the body portion includes plural apertures 30 for engaging a suspended frame member 32.

[0020] The suspended frame member 32 comprises a first continuous annular ring 34 having a like plurality of aligned apertures 36 for receiving complementary fastening members 38 to join the continuous annular ring 34 to the plural apertures 30, thereby to fix the suspended frame member 32 relative to the body portion 20. The suspended frame member further includes plural hanger members 40 to which is joined a motor support member 42, where the motor support member 42 includes a base 44 (FIG. 3) on which are mounted a motor 46, as more fully discussed hereafter.

[0021] A central post 48, connected to the grill member 14, is suspended downwardly from the grill member, with a threaded nut 50 at its free end 52. The central post includes a compression spring 54, and a floating damper retention basin 56, where the basin includes a central opening 58 of a size to allow the damper retention basin to slide upwardly and downwardly along the central post 48. Until moved by activation of the motor 46 (FIG. 3), the compression spring maintains the spaced relationship of the basin to the body portion 20. In the resiled or relaxed position of the compression spring 54 the retention basin is generally positioned at the opening 60 between the annular ring 34 and motor support member 42.

[0022] This represents the maximum opened position for the system and hence the maximum airflow through the diffuser system of this invention It will be apparent that as the retention basin 56 is caused to moved upward, as later discussed, the opening 60 begins to close or be reduced to control the airflow as desired. That is, the movable retention basin can reduce the vertical dimension of the opening 60 through which conditioned air is supplied to the diffuser.

[0023] Mounted within the motor support member 42 is a motor 46, see FIGS. 3 and 4. The motor 46 includes a generally closed housing 62 secured to a motor support frame 64 shown fully in FIG. 3. The motor 46 preferably comprises a 24VAC electric actuator to vertically position the airflow retention basin in response to a control signal, whether transmitted by wire or wireless means. The electric actuator includes plural reversible gears 66 operable by planetary gears 68 to operate threaded push rods 70, where the distal ends of said rods each mount a cap member 72 that abuts against the bottom surface 74 of the retention basin 56. As the motor 46 is activated via connectors 76 to an electric source, not shown, the threaded push rods 70 push the retention basin to a more upward or closed position to control airflow as desired. A reverse operation of the motor 46 will lower the respective push rods and the stored energy of the compression spring 54 will lower the retention basin and maintain its contact with the push rod cap members 72.

[0024] Since a feature of this invention is the ability to clean any debris/liquid from the floating retention basin without disturbance of the automatic control components or wiring, the grill member 14, nesting on the shoulder 76 of the circular frame housing 12, see FIG. 1, the grill member may be lifted from contact with laterally extending flange 18. By lifting the grill member, and the attached central post 48, the damper retention basin 56 is easily withdrawn from the assembly. If necessary, the damper retention basin may be removed from the central post 48 by first removing the threaded nut 50 and separating the components. This allows for easy cleaning of the floating retention basin. Once the floating retention basin is slid onto the post, and the threaded nut threaded onto the post, the grill and attached components may be repositioned within the suspended frame member.

[0025] Another feature hereof is the provision of using modular connections for the wiring connections to facilitate easy field connection to control wiring.

[0026] FIG. 5 illustrates a second embodiment for the air diffuser mechanism 80 that may be used with the suspension members and motorized assembly as discussed above with regard to the first embodiment of FIGS. 1-4. The air diffuser mechanism, as illustrated in FIG. 5, comprises a first, generally circular, stationary hanging frame member 82 or skirt featuring a continuous, upper peripheral portion 86, and a series of spaced apart, downwardly extending arms 84 defined by a like plurality of spaces or slots 88, where the frame member 82 may form a part of the floor flange 83, the function of which is discussed above. Cooperating with said first frame member 82 is a second movable, dust trap member 90 to control the air flow passages for air transmitted through the air distribution plenum to the area above the flange and grill 87. The second dust trap member 90 comprises a peripheral wall 92, where the wall includes a like plurality of upwardly extending arms 94. The respective arms 94 are spaced apart by slots 95, and sized to override the slots 88 of the first frame member 82. Clearly it will be observed in FIG. 5 that as the movable dust trap member 90 moves upward to an overriding position with regard to the first frame member 82, the air passages, i.e. slots 88, 95, are closed or restricted to thus control the air flowing therethrough. The second dust trap member 90 is further defined by a base 96. Finally, a third fixed member 98, generally circular in configuration, may be provided to receive a motor (not shown) as discussed above with regard to the first embodiment above, to effect movement of the second dust trap member 90. For ease of further understanding, the movement supporting mechanism is illustrated in FIG. 5, see the discussion above for details.

[0027] As an alternative to the vertical movement just described, and to provide a low profile air diffusion mechanism, the first and second members 82, 90 may be fully closed, i.e. intermating slots with arms. In this low profile embodiment, the air passages can be changed by merely rotating the inner or second dust trap member 90 to thereby misalign the arms 94 from the slots 88. That is, the drive of the motor may be modified to rotate the second member 90, rather than to vertically move the second member, by means known in the art. As the rotation is continued, more or less of the air passages or spaces 88, 95 are opened to allow control of the air flow.

[0028] It is recognized that changes, variations and modifications may be made to the automated, motorized air diffuser system of this invention, particularly by those skilled in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. Accordingly, no limitation is intended to be imposed thereon except as set forth in the following claims.