Title:
Grid framework
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A grid framework including a plurality of hangers and a plurality of grid modules. The grid modules have a pair of main framing members, a pair of transverse framing members and a plurality of corner splices which connect the main framing members to the transverse framing members. The framework provides a clearance between symmetrically positioned framing members of adjacent modules. The clearance can be utilized as a conduit for functional capability such as air return and for attaching mechanical and electrical appliances



Inventors:
Martin, Guillaume (Paris, FR)
Krantz-lilienthal, Eric (Lancaster, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/860981
Publication Date:
01/06/2005
Filing Date:
06/04/2004
Assignee:
MARTIN GUILLAUME
KRANTZ-LILIENTHAL ERIC
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/633
International Classes:
E04B9/00; E04B9/14; E04B9/22; E04B9/24; E04B9/26; E04B9/30; (IPC1-7): E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
FIGUEROA, LUZ ADRIANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (Lancaster, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A grid framework comprising: a plurality of pre-assembled grid modules, each grid module including first and second main framing members, first and second transverse framing members and a plurality of corner splices, each corner splice linking a main framing member to a transverse framing member.

2. The grid framework of claim 1, wherein the plurality of pre-assembled grid modules are connected to a plurality of hangers.

3. The grid framework of claim 2, wherein each hanger includes a first hanger member and a second hanger member, the second hanger member intersecting the first member.

4. The grid framework of claim 3, wherein the first hanger member has a vertical slot for receiving the second hanger member and the second hanger member has first and second longitudinally spaced portions defining a vertical slit opening upwardly from a bottom edge of the second hanger member, wherein the vertical slit of the second hanger member interlocks in the vertical slot of the first hanger member.

5. The grid framework of claim 4, wherein the vertical slot of the first hanger member has a notch for inserting a plug-in clip, the plug-in clip preventing inadvertent separation of the first and second hanger members.

6. The grid framework of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of corner splices has a first connector portion, a second connector portion, an intermediate portion integrally connecting the first connector portion to the second connector portion and a tab extending from a top edge of the first connector portion proximate the intermediate portion.

7. The grid framework of claim 6, wherein first and second connector portions are slidably engageable with the first and second framing members.

8. The grid framework of claim 6, wherein each of the plurality of corner splices has a substantially L-shaped configuration.

9. The grid framework of claim 1, wherein the main framing members and transverse framing members are formed of a single extrusion.

10. The grid framework of claim 1, wherein the main framing members are linked to the transverse framing members at right angles.

11. The grid framework of claim 1, wherein a main framing member of a first module is positioned in a symmetrical relationship with a main framing member of a second module, whereby a clearance is provided between the symmetrically positioned main framing members.

12. A grid framework comprising: a plurality of identical framing members, each of the plurality of identical framing members having a vertical web, wherein the vertical web of a first framing members is positioned in a symmetrical, spaced relationship with the vertical web of the second framing member, whereby a clearance is provided between the symmetrically positioned framing members.

13. A framing member comprising a first grid member and a second grid member, the first and second grid members being identical, spaced apart and positioned in symmetrical relation, the first and second grid members each including: a vertical web having an interior surface, an exterior surface, a top edge and a bottom edge, the exterior surface being flat; a horizontal upper flange extending from the top edge of the vertical web; and a first horizontal lower flange extending from the bottom edge of the vertical web.

14. The framing member of claim 13, wherein each of the first and second grid members include a second horizontal lower flange, spaced apart and in parallel relation to the first horizontal lower flange, the second horizontal lower flange being attached to the first horizontal lower flange by a vertical section.

15. The framing member of claim 13, wherein the first horizontal lower flange and the horizontal upper flange project from the interior surface of the vertical web, the first horizontal lower flange having a rib extending upwardly therefrom and in parallel relation to the vertical web, the horizontal upper flange having a rib extending downwardly therefrom and in parallel relation to the vertical web.

16. The framing member of claim 15, wherein the rib of the horizontal upper flange and the rib of the first horizontal lower flange cooperate with the vertical web to form a channel for receiving a connector.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/475,854, filed Jun. 4, 2003, entitled Suspended Ceiling System Having Symmetrical Reveled Grid.

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to suspended ceiling systems, and more particularly, to the construction of a framework for a suspended ceiling. The framework of the present invention provides the basic functions of ceiling panel support, as well as, technical integration and aesthetic appeal.

Developments in lighting, air conditioning, etc., are among the factors which have brought about or encouraged the use of a grid type ceiling structure suspended from the primary building structure by suitable hangers at a desired height. Frameworks for supporting suspended ceilings, of the character to which the present invention relates, are conventionally formed of interlocking perpendicularly intersecting framing members which form a plurality of openings in which ceiling panels, lighting fixtures and other ceiling elements are supported. Specifically, the main framing members are generally suspended in spaced parallel relation to one another. Typically, each main framing members is made up of a series of runners which are connected in end-abutting relation to one another. Transverse framing members, also known as cross runners, are suspended in spaced, parallel relation between adjacent main runners and form T-joints between their ends and the runners of the main framing members. In typical frameworks for suspended ceilings, the transverse runners are connected to the main runners by extensions of the upright web section of the transverse runner which engage through openings formed in the upright web sections of the main runners.

Suspended ceilings have been suggested wherein the framing members have an I or inverted T configuration and are formed with various types of notches, slots, hooks, etc., which are intended to lock the framing members in position. However, the conventional framework solutions for supporting suspended ceilings require a substantial amount of time and skill in order to install or remove them properly. As a result, skilled and unskilled labor costs in the construction field often outweigh the cost of the materials themselves. Due to high labor costs, modern-day construction techniques require a maximum of prefabrication or structural packaging as opposed to conventional piecemeal fitting by a skilled workman.

There is also a trend in modern building construction toward the installation of ceilings which do more than merely provide an overhead surface. Ceilings are often designed to provide functional capability such as air flow exchange between the areas above and below the ceiling. Current solutions are not aesthetically pleasing. Moreover, the conventional framing members do not provide an area for such technical integration. Thus, it is desirable to provide a grid framework having functional capability other than panel support and which enhances the aesthetic appeal of the ceiling.

As a result, an improved framework is desired which is easy to install and which has parts that are instantly removable for replacement or to provide access to space behind the ceiling panels. It is also desired to adapt the conventional framing members to accommodate lighting, heating and ventilating systems so as to form a totally integrated grid framework.

SUMMARY

A grid framework for a suspended ceiling is provided. The grid framework includes a plurality of hangers and a plurality of pre-assembled grid modules. Each pre-assembled grid module comprises first and second main framing members, first and second transverse framing members and a plurality of corner splices which link the main framing members to the transverse framing members. The framework arrangement substantially conceals the structural areas of the plurality of corner splices which might otherwise be visible and present an undesired appearance.

The grid framework is configured so that when installed each framing member of each pre-assembled grid module is positioned symmetrically with a framing member of an adjacent pre-assembled grid module. The framework provides a clearance between symmetrically positioned framing members of adjacent modules. The clearance can be utilized as a conduit for functional capability such as air return and for attaching mechanical and electrical appliances without the need for providing specially designed, costly adapters.

Various advantages stem from the grid framework of the invention. For example, the system is simpler and economical to use as it requires only one framing member extrusion. In addition, a single framing member is capable of providing the same visual at a wall, perimeter and bulkhead location. The absence of the need for multiple extruded framing members results in savings in manufacturing and makes installation and replacement less complicated, resulting in less cost to the consumer. The grid framework also provides an area for technical integration while providing clean and consistent details which enhance the aesthetic qualities of the finished ceiling.

The invention possesses many other advantages, and has other purposes which may be made more clearly apparent from consideration of an example embodiment. Example embodiments are shown in the accompanying drawings forming part of the specification. The example embodiments will now be described in detail for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, but it is to be understood that the description of the example embodiments should not be considered limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, partially broken away, perspective view from above a suspended ceiling system incorporating the grid framework of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a framing member of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a front view of an example embodiment of a bracket connector.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, partially broken away, perspective view of the grid framework of FIG. 1 at the hanger joint.

FIG. 5a is a front view of the second hanger portion of the hanger element.

FIG. 5b is a front view of the first hanger portion of the hanger element.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the grid runner of FIG. 2 mounted at a wall location.

FIG. 7 is a side view of two adjacent grid members forming a clearance therebetween.

FIG. 8 is a side view of two adjacent grid members having an alternative lower edge detail.

FIG. 9 is an illustration of FIG. 7 wherein lighting is integrated in the channel formed between the adjacent grid members.

FIG. 10 is an illustration of FIG. 7 wherein a partition is attached between the grid members.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following description of the invention is provided as an enabling teaching of the invention in its best, currently known embodiment. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that many modifications to the exemplary embodiments of the present invention are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It will also be apparent that some of the desired benefits of the present invention can be obtained by selecting some of the features of the present invention without utilizing other features. Accordingly, those who work in the art will recognize that many modifications and adaptations to the present invention are possible and may even be desirable in certain circumstances and are a part of the present invention. Thus, the following description is provided as illustrative of the principles of the present invention and not in limitation thereof, since the scope of the present invention is defined by the claims.

Referring now in greater detail to the Figures, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout the drawings. A portion of an example embodiment of the grid framework 10 of the invention is shown in FIG. 1. The grid framework 10 has a plurality of hangers 12 and a plurality of pre-assembled grid modules 14 connected to the plurality of hangers 12 at points of juncture. Each module 14 comprises first and second main framing members and first and second transverse framing members 16′. Each of the framing members 16 and 16′ are formed of steel, aluminum or any other suitable material. Reference numeral 16 is used to designate those framing members extending in a first direction, while reference numeral 16′ is used to represent those framing members extending in a direction transverse to framing members 16. Each module 14 also has four identical corner splices 20 which link the framing members 16 to transverse framing members 18. In the example embodiment shown in the drawings, each corner splice 20 is bent, typically in the manufacturing process, into a substantially L shape so at to link framing members 16 and 16′ at right angles. The corner splices 20 are formed of steel, aluminum or any other suitable material. The corner splices 20 connect framing members 16 to framing members 16′ and form a module 14 having an opening which coincides with the dimensions of a ceiling panel 62. The module 14 may be pre-assembled in the factory or in the field prior to installation.

FIG. 2 shows an example embodiment of a framing member. For the purpose of illustration, the details of the framing members are herein described with respect to framing member 16. However, it should be noted that framing member 16′ preferably has the same configuration as framing member 16. Thus, only a single extrusion for all framing members is required.

Framing member 16 includes a longitudinally extending vertical web 22, a horizontal upper flange 24 extending from a top edge of the vertical web 22 and a first horizontal lower flange 26 extending from a bottom edge of the web 22. The horizontal upper flange 24 and the first horizontal lower flange 26 project from the same side 41 of, and are in perpendicular relation to, the vertical web 22. An upwardly extending rib 32 is formed on the upper surface of the first horizontal lower flange 26 to define an upwardly-open lower recess 21 between the web 22 and the rib 32. A downwardly extending rib 34 extends from the upper flange 24 to define a downwardly-open upper recess 23 between the web 22 and the rib 34. Rib 32 is aligned with rib 34 as both ribs 32, 34 cooperate with the vertical web 22 to form a channel in which a corner splice 20 can be slidably received. For ease of installation, the channel is preferably equal to the height of the corner splice 20, which is hereinafter described in greater detail. Thus, the connector 20 can be fixed in the channel by frictional engagement between the framing members 16 and the corner splice 20 as shown in FIG. 4.

Optionally, the framing member 16 has a second horizontal lower flange 28 attached to the first horizontal lower flange 26. The first and second horizontal lower flanges 26, 28 are offset and are spaced apart from one another and are adjoined by vertical section 30. The horizontal lower flanges 26, 28 provide a shelf or ledge on which ceiling panels, lighting fixtures, or the like, may rest.

The exterior side 43 of the vertical web 22 is flat so that the framing member 16 can be used at various locations within a room, including perimeter and wall locations. FIG. 6 displays the framing member 16 mounted at a wall location 60. FIG. 7 shows framing member 16 of grid module 14 and framing member 16 of adjacent grid module 14′ being utilized in an interior location of the grid framework 10. Numeral 14′ is used herein to designate a second grid module adjacent first grid module 14 as best shown in FIG. 1. The framing members 16 are arranged in pairs so that the flat exterior sides 43 of the framing members 16 extend essentially parallel to each other. The framing members 16 are spaced apart to provide a clearance 70 therebetween. The clearance 70 is generally fixed in length by the length of a framing member 16 and in width by the spacing between framing members 16 of adjacent grid modules 14, 14′, which approximates the thickness of either a first hanger member 40 or second hanger member 42 of hanger 12 as shown in FIG. 4. The clearance 70 allows for complete technical integration and enhanced aesthetic qualities. For example, FIG. 9 shows the wire 90 of a hanging light fixture running through clearance 70. FIG. 10 displays the framing members supporting the cap 98 of a partition 100.

It should be noted that the framing members may have cross-sectional forms other than the form illustrated in FIG. 7. FIG. 8 illustrates one alternative configuration for the framing members. In this example alternative configuration, framing members 16 are configured so that a ceiling panel 62 can be rested on the first horizontal surface 26.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, each corner splice 20 has first and second connector portions, 25 and 27 respectively, and an intermediate portion 29 integrally connecting the first and second connector portions, 25 and 27. Each of the first and second connector portions 25, 27 is a longitudinally extending substantially planar web. The corner splice 20 is fabricated from a steel or aluminum sheet and formed to a height so as to frictionally engage the channel formed on the interior side 41 by recess 21 and 23 of the framing member 16 as shown in FIG. 2. In the example embodiment shown in the drawings, and as best shown in FIG. 3, the corner splice 20 is bent at the intermediate section 29 so that the corner splice 20 has a substantially L-shaped configuration. Thus, when two framing members, for example 16 and 16′, are attached to the corner splice 20 as shown in FIG. 4, the framing members are attached at right angles.

When installing the grid framework 10 of the invention, a series of hangers 12 are first mounted below the primary building structure. FIG. 5 illustrates the first and second hanger members, 40 and 42 respectively, of hanger 12. The first hanger member 40 has a vertical slot 50 formed therein for receiving the second hanger member 42. The second hanger member 42 has longitudinally spaced surfaces 44 and 46 defining a vertical slit 48 opening upwardly from the bottom of the second hanger member 42. The second hanger member 42 interlocks with the first hanger member 40 by lining up slit 48 with slot 50, sliding the second hanger member 42 into slot 50 and moving the second hanger member 42 vertically downward. The hanger 12 is thus cruciform in shape as viewed in plan. The top of slit 48 rests on the bottom of slot 50. The vertical slot 50 may also have a notch 52 formed therein for receiving a plug-in clip 54 as shown in FIG. 2. The plug-in clip 54 securely locks the first hanger member 40 to the second hanger member 42, thus, preventing the vertical movement of the second hanger member 42 and inadvertent separation of the second hanger members 42 from the first hanger member 40. Optionally, the first hanger member 40 has a C-shaped hanging clip 53 which is capable of attaching to a suspension element 55, such as a black iron or a U-profile, as shown in FIG. 4.

The pre-assembled modules 14 are then attached to the hangers 12 in the manner shown in FIG. 4 until the entire grid framework 10 is established. More specifically, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the corner splice 20 has a tab 21 extending from a top edge of the first connector portion 25 proximate the intermediate portion 29 which can interlock with cooperative apertures 30 formed in the hanger 12. In the example embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, the top portion 31 of the tab 21 has a form corresponding to a horizontally extending aperture 30 formed on either the first or second hanger members 40, 42. The tab 21 is bent so that the top portion 31 extends away from the corner splice 20 in a direction substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the first end section 25, and then inserting the top portion 31 of the tab 21 through horizontal slot 30.

A notch may be formed in the horizontally extending aperture 30 for inserting a plug-in clip 54. When both the plug-in clip 54 and tab 21 are inserted in slit, the clip 54 securely locks the tab 21 of the connector splice 20 in the aperture 30 and thereby prevents movement of the module 14 in any direction relative the hanger 12.