Title:
Ceiling suspension with cable pathway
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Combined ceiling support device and cable pathway, comprising a plurality of spaced apart junctions (3) arranged in a predetermined array above an area of a building, means (5, 15) for supporting said junctions (3), support means (6) connected to said junctions for forming a grid over said area, said support means adapted to support a multiplicity of ceiling tiles to form a ceiling for said area, and a multiplicity of cable ducts (1a, 1b, 2) extending between at least some of said junctions (3) for routing cable over said area.



Inventors:
Mclaughlin, Thomas (Croton-On-Hudson, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/474880
Publication Date:
04/07/2005
Filing Date:
04/18/2002
Assignee:
MCLAUGHLIN THOMAS
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/506.05, 52/506.07, 52/220.5
International Classes:
E04B9/00; E04B9/06; E04B9/12; E04B9/14; E04B9/18; E04B9/30; H02G3/38; (IPC1-7): E04C2/52; E04B9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARTOSIK, ANTHONY N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DARBY & DARBY P.C. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway, comprising a plurality of spaced apart junctions arranged in a predetermined array above an area of a building, means for supporting said junctions, support means connected to said junctions for forming a grid over said area, said support means adapted to support a multiplicity of ceiling tiles to form a ceiling for said area, and a multiplicity of cable ducts extending between at least some of said junctions for routing cable over said area.

2. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 1, wherein each of said junctions includes a first member for supporting said support means and a second member for supporting said ducts.

3. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 2, further including junction links connected between adjacent junctions beneath said ducts.

4. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 3, wherein said second member is a plate and said ducts and junction links are attached to the plates of said junctions.

5. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 2, wherein said ducts and support means are connected to each other.

6. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 5, wherein said support means comprises rails including downwardly facing U-shaped sections for receiving the upper ends of said ducts.

7. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 3, wherein a pair of junction links extend between adjacent junctions.

8. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 1, wherein wall panels are provided between selected junctions.

9. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 1, including a post extending downwardly from at least some of said junctions to the floor of the building.

10. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 9, wherein wall panels are provided between selected posts, and wherein at least some of said wall panels are adapted to receive cabling from said cable ducts and include terminals for connection to the cabling.

11. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 7, wherein said ducts comprise two vertical plates attached to respective junction links of a pair of junction links.

12. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 11, wherein the ducts further include bottom plates extending between at least some of the junctions.

13. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway, comprising a plurality of spaced apart junctions arranged in a predetermined array above an area of a building, means for supporting said junctions on the superstructure of the building, a plurality of posts connected to at least some of said junctions and extending to the floor, first and second pairs of transverse rails connected to said junctions and forming a grid over said area, said rails adapted to support a multiplicity of ceiling tiles to form a ceiling for said area, and a multiplicity of cable ducts extending between at least some of said junctions beneath said transverse rails for routing cable over said area.

14. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 13, wherein each of said junctions includes an upper member for supporting said pairs of rails and a lower member for supporting said ducts.

15. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 14, further including junction links connected between adjacent junctions beneath said ducts.

16. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 15, wherein a pair of junction links extend between adjacent junctions and said ducts are attached to the upper portions of said junction links.

17. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 16, wherein said lower member is a plate and said ducts and junction links are attached to the plates of said junctions.

18. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 14, wherein said ducts and rails are connected to each other.

19. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 18, wherein said rails include downwardly facing U-shaped sections for receiving the upper ends of said ducts.

20. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 16, wherein wall panels are provided between selected junctions, the tops of said panels being positioned between the two junction links extending between said selected junctions.

21. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 13, wherein a screw extends downwardly from said junctions to which a post is attached into threaded engagement with the upper portions of said posts whereby the posts can be extended toward the floor by rotation.

22. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 16, wherein said ducts comprise two plates removably attached to respective junction links of a pair of junction links.

23. A combined ceiling support device and cable pathway according to claim 22, wherein the ducts further include bottom plates extending between at least some of the junctions.

24. A combined ceiling support device, cable pathway and room divider, comprising a plurality of spaced apart junctions arranged in a predetermined array above an area of a building, means for supporting said junctions, support means connected to said junctions for forming a grid over said area, said support means adapted to support a multiplicity of ceiling tiles to form a ceiling for said area, a multiplicity of cable ducts extending between at least some of said junctions for routing cable over said area, and a plurality of wall panels secured between selected junctions.

25. A combined ceiling support device, cable pathway and room divider according to claim 24, including a post extending downwardly from at least some of said junctions to the floor of the building, said wall panels being secured to said posts.

26. A combined ceiling support device, cable pathway and room divider according to claim 25, wherein a pair of junction links extend between adjacent junctions, and wherein said wall panels are each connected to a pair of junction links.

27. A combined ceiling support device, cable pathway and room divider according to claim 26, wherein said wall panels include means for receiving cabling from said cable ducts and terminals connected to said cabling for enabling users to connect devices to said cabling. a plurality of spaced apart junctions arranged in a predetermined array above in area of a building. The junctions are supported on the superstructure of the building and posts connected to the junctions extend to the floor. First and second paris of transverse rails are connected to the junctions and form a grid over the area, the rails being adapted to support the ceiling tiles which form the ceiling for the area. A multiplicity of cable ducts extend between the junctions beneath the transvese rails for routing cabling over the area. Wall panels, supported between adjacent posts, can receive cabling from the overhead ducts for connection to outlet terminals on the panels.

Description:

This application claims the priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/285,192, filed on Apr. 20, 2001, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Ceilings within a typical commercial office environment are generally referred to as dropped ceilings and form a barrier between the lower office space and the upper area. Standard sized ceiling tiles, usually 2′×2′ or 2′×4,′ are supported on a matrix of inverted “T” grids that are suspended from wires attached to a building's superstructure. Cables and wiring (hereafter referred to as cabling) are ordinarily installed above hung ceilings and are used for a variety of purposes, such as electric, voice, and data transmission.

Cabling installed above a hung ceiling may result in a number of undesirable circumstances. With digital signals, there is a potential for electrical interference from lighting fixtures, motors and other sources. Also, an installed cabling configuration above a dropped ceiling is cumbersome to update and troubleshoot. Due to the difficulty in removing obsolete cabling, updated cabling installations are typically added on to the existing cabling runs resulting in an ever-increasing level of disorganization between the current and obsolete cable installations. This leads to increasing complexity and confusion and a considerable disruption of service whenever updates or repairs are necessary.

Furthermore, computer server rooms and data processing centers typically require cabling to be routed underneath raised floors. When cabling in other areas is installed above the ceiling, the overall configuration of the cabling system is convoluted. To facilitate the transition from above the ceiling to below the floor, special rooms (closets) are built. Cabling running above the overhead ceiling is routed down a closet wall and then through the bottom of that wall into the space below the adjacent raised floor area. The cabling is then routed up through openings in the floor to and from racks of equipment.

Many different techniques have been proposed to inconspicuously hide or at least minimize the appearance of cabling which emanates from above the ceiling. In some cases the cabling is merely tacked to the wall or installed within metal or plastic surface conduits routed to the work areas. In more expensive installations, walls are constructed to accommodate the separation of office spaces and the concealment of the cabling.

Cabling may also be routed down from the ceiling through vertical pipes to offices or cubicles that are isolated in the center of open areas by corridors. In this case, the installation of electric outlets at desired locations requires extensive under-floor installation work, unsightly surface and floor mounted conduits, or cumbersome rubber “thresholds.” In all cases the great expense of the cabling is further increased by the disruption and/or displacement caused by a major installation or upgrade when an area is already occupied.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention avoids the drawbacks mentioned above by providing a matrix of ducts, which are readily accessible from beneath the ceiling and serve as a support mechanism for conventional ceiling tiles. Cabling of any description can be easily routed and/or rerouted in an orderly fashion to virtually any location within an open office area and away from interference (e.g. fluorescence and motors.)

In the preferred embodiment, the design of the ceiling results in a physical structure that is stable in all directions and thus capable of supporting building elements, such as wall panels and doorways.

In addition to the cabling being easily directed from overhead, spare cabling for future expansion can be readily stored within the wall panels so that an initial cabling configuration can endure for an extended period of time. Based upon reasonable estimates of future business needs, additional cabling is already installed when reconfigurations are needed making the rerouting of cabling relatively simple.

During installation planning all cabling can be catalogued by type or other designation. Because the invention provides a matrix of ductwork, a cable may be assigned to a particular pathway and thus be tracked by a simple coordinate system. Since all cabling is routed overhead, including server rooms and the like, there is no need to transition the cable from the ceiling to a space beneath the floor. As a result, there is less need for closets and cabling from server racks, telephone switching equipment, and electrical sources can all be oriented overhead using the overhead duct system.

The invention thus provides for an aesthetically pleasing and standardized way to design and build office environments that are durable and secure as well as easy to install, re-design, and reconfigure.

THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a top perspective view showing the invention as it might appear within a representative room area;

FIG. 1B is a top perspective view showing how a junction in accordance with a preferred embodiment may be connected to the building superstructure;

FIG. 1C-1 is a perspective view showing two junctions connected to the building superstructure and a section of the ductwork in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1C-2 is an enlarged and exploded view of Detail A in FIG. 1C-1;

FIG. 1D is a top perspective view showing a larger section of a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1E is a perspective view showing the cabling being introduced into the ductwork;

FIG. 1F is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment showing how it is used to support wall panels and doors;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view showing a section of the duct and junction links in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 2B-1 is an exploded view of the ductwork section shown in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2B-2 is an enlarged view of Detail A in FIG. 2B-1;

FIG. 2C-1 is a perspective view showing a duct bottom connected between two junction plates;

FIG. 2C-2 is an enlarged view of Detail D in FIG. 2C-1;

FIG. 2C-3 is a top plan view of the junction plates and duct bottom plate;

FIG. 2C-4 is a sectional view along the line A-A of FIG. 2C-3;

FIG. 2C-5 is a sectional view along the line E-E of FIG. 2C-3;

FIG. 2C-6 is an enlarged view of Detail B in FIG. 2C-4;

FIG. 2C-7 is an enlarged view of Detail C in FIG. 2C-3;

FIG. 3A is an exploded view of a junction;

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of a junction;

FIG. 3C-1 is atop plan view of a junction;

FIG. 3C-2 is a sectional view along the line A-A of FIG. 3C-1;

FIG. 4-1 is a top perspective view showing a single junction connected to four pairs of junction links;

FIG. 4-2 is an enlarged perspective view showing Detail A in FIG. 4-1;

FIG. 4-3 is an enlarged perspective view showing Detail B in FIG. 4-1;

FIG. 5A-1 is side elevational view of one of the two rails used in the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 5A-2 is a side elevational view of the other rail;

FIG. 5A-3 is a cross sectional view along the line A-A of FIG. 5A-2;

FIG. 5A-4 is side sectional view along the line B-B of FIG. 5A-2;

FIG. 5A-5 is an enlarged view of Detail C in FIG. 5A-2;

FIG. 5A-6 is a perspective view of one of the rails;

FIG. 5A-7 is a perspective view of the other rail;

FIG. 5B is an exploded perspective view showing how the two rails are connected to a junction;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view partially exploded view showing how one of the two pairs of rails is connected to a junction;

FIG. 7-1 is a side elevational view showing a rail, junction link and duct side panel in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 7-2 is a sectional view along the line A-a of FIG. 7-1;

FIG. 7-3 is an enlarged of Detail B in FIG. 7-2;

FIG. 7-4 is a perspective of the structure illustrated in FIG. 7-1;

FIG. 8A-1 is side elevational view showing a cable management device connected to a rail and junction link;

FIG. 8A-2 is a sectional along the line A-A of FIG. 8A-1;

FIG. 8A-3 is an enlarged view of Detail B in FIG. 8A-2;

FIG. 8A-4 is an enlarged view of Detail C in FIG. 8A-2;

FIG. 8A-5 is an enlarged view of Detail D in FIG. 8A-1;

FIG. 8B is a perspective showing how a cable management device arranges the cabling;

FIG. 8C is a perspective view showing the relationship of the cable management device and the pairs of rail and junction links between adjacent junctions;

FIG. 9A is a perspective view showing how an end ceiling tile is supported with respect to a building wall;

FIG. 9B-1 is a front elevational view showing the support mechanism for the end tile;

FIG. 9B-2 is a sectional view along the line A-A of FIG. 9B-1;

FIG. 9B-3 is an enlarged view of Detail B in FIG. 9B-2;

FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a rail termination bracket in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 10B-1 is a side elevational view showing a rail connected to a rail termination bracket;

FIG. 10B-2 is a sectional view along the line A-A of FIG. 10B-1;

FIG. 10C is a perspective showing a single rail supported at an end with respect to an existing wall;

FIG. 11-1 is a perspective view showing how a junction is supported when existing ductwork interferes with its connection to the building superstructure;

FIG. 11-2 is an enlarged view of Detail A of FIG. 11-1;

FIGS. 12-1 is a top plan view of a post in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 12-2 is an exploded view showing how a post is connected to a junction at its upper end and the floor at its lower end;

FIG. 12-3 is an enlarged view of Detail A of FIG. 12-2;

FIG. 12-4 is a top plan view of the plate that goes at the top of the post;

FIG. 12-5 is an enlarged view of Detail B of FIG. 12-2;

FIG. 12-6 is a plan view of a turntable used to connect the bottom of the post to the floor;

FIG. 12-7 is an enlarged view of Detail C of FIG. 12-6;

FIG. 13A-1 is a perspective view showing a wall panel frame between two posts;

FIG. 13A-2 is an enlarged view of Detail A of FIG. 13A-1;

FIG. 13B-1 is a perspective view of a wall panel frame having cabling reels connected thereto;

FIG. 13B-2 is a perspective view showing one of the cabling reels;

FIG. 13B-3 is an enlarged view of Detail B of FIG. 13B-1;

FIG. 14-1 is a top cross sectional view showing a preferred device for coupling the two wall panel frames to a post;

FIG. 14-2 is a perspective of a locking device for securing a door panel frame to a post;

FIG. 14-3 is an exploded view of the locking device shown in FIG. 14-2;

FIG. 15-1 is an exploded view of a wall panel surface in accordance with the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 15-2 is an enlarged view of Detail A of FIG. 15-1;

FIG. 15-4 is a rear elevational view of a wall panel surface;

FIG. 15-5 is an enlarged view of Detail B of FIG. 15-4;

FIG. 15-6 is a front elevational view of the floor molding of the wall panel surface;

FIGS. 15-7 is a front elevational view of another version of the floor molding;

FIG. 16A-1 is an exploded view of a wall panel in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 16A-2 is an enlargement view of Detail A of FIG. 16A-1;

FIG. 16A-3 is an enlarged view of Detail B of FIG. 16A-1;

FIG. 16A-4 is a perspective view of an assembled wall panel and posts;

FIG. 16B-1 is a top plan view of a wall panel assembly;

FIG. 16B-2 is a sectional view along the line of A-A of FIG. 16B-1;

FIGS. 16B-3 is an enlarged view of Detail B of FIG. 16B-2;

FIG. 17A is a perspective view of a door frame and door;

FIG. 17B is an exploded view of the door frame and door shown in FIG. 17A;

FIG. 17C-1 is a top plan view of the door frame saddle;

FIG. 17C-2 is an enlarged view of Detail A of FIG. 17C-1;

FIG. 17D-1 is a perspective view of a panel latch in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 17-2 is a perspective view of a doorframe latch in accordance with a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 17E-1 is a perspective view of a door stop;

FIG. 17E-2 is a perspective view of a saddle end;

FIG. 17E-3 is a plan view of the backside of the stop;

FIG. 17F is an exploded view showing the relationship of the upper door panel assembly, post and junction rails;

FIG. 17G-1 is a perspective view showing the upper doorframe;

FIG. 17G-2 is an enlarged view of Detail A of FIG. 17G-1;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a partial hung ceiling attached to rail;

FIG. 19A is a perspective view showing how the ends of the rails, ducts and junction links are supported with respect to a building wall;

FIG. 19B is an exploded view of the construction showing FIG. 19A;

FIG. 20A-1-a is a perspective view showing the interconnection between an end panel frame and a building wall;

FIG. 20A-2 is a rear plan view of how the end panel is supported relative to the building wall;

FIG. 20B is an exploded perspective view showing the end panel frame assembly;

FIG. 21A is a perspective view showing a wired server rack; and

FIG. 21B is a perspective view showing a wired vertical post connected to a portion of the ductwork.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention may be thought of as comprising three basic components. First is the structural support, which is a situated primarily above the traditionally hung ceiling level and provides a stable support for the ductwork, the ceiling and the wall system.

Second is the duct matrix which is the actual structure which supports the overhead cabling runs within the building area and, in the preferred embodiment, is positioned just below the traditional hung ceiling level.

The third element is a wall panel system comprising an arrangement of panels and doorways extending downwardly from the duct matrix to the floor.

General Layout

FIG. 1A illustrates a top perspective view of a building area showing a matrix of cabling ducts 1, cabling 9, ceiling tiles 14, and a plurality of posts 18 and wall panels 23 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The invention contemplates an array of ductwork that may service the entire ceiling of the area, or only a section of the ceiling, with the rest consisting of a conventional hung ceiling. Posts 18 and panels 23 permit an office area to be dynamically divided into individual offices or cubicles, eliminating the problems associated with the combination of under and above floor cabling, as will become more apparent from the following detailed descriptions.

FIG. 1B shows the elements involved in the vertical support of the invention according to a preferred embodiment. A support rod 5 is attached to an I Beam 16, which represents one possible support element of a building's infrastructure. In use, the upper spring latch 15 is securely fastened to I Beam 16, or other building support member. The pre-measured support rod 5 is inserted and secured into the upper spring latch 15 and then extended downwards through the lower spring latch 3g and into the upper junction bracket hole 3f by about three inches (for example). Junction 3 is adjusted up and down until the ceiling tiles 14 are vertically level to other already positioned junctions 3 by releasing and applying the tension of the lower spring latch 3g. Rails 6 and 7, as well as the junctions 3 and links 2 constitute the skeletal framework of the ceiling matrix to be discussed in detail in the following sections.

FIGS. 1C-1 and IC-2 provide a more detailed representation of the ceiling assembly illustrating the I Beam 16 supporting a “T” shaped section of the ceiling duct matrix. Support rods 5 are attached with spring latches 15 to the I Beam 16 and then to the actual ductwork by spring latches 3h on the junctions 3. The junctions 3 are attached to the rails 6 and 7 and to the links 2 forming the framework for the duct sides 1a. The detail view A, showing the hidden lines of the drawing, illustrates the junction lower plate 3b and its attachment to the links 2 and to the junction tube 3a.

FIG. 1D is an above ceiling-level perspective view illustrating the combined structural elements of the invention. An I Beam 16 represents a portion of the superstructure of a typical office building. A small section of standard drywall 11 is positioned on one side, at what would be the perimeter of an office area. Three ceiling tiles 14 are depicted to provide a sense of height. The invention creates rigid horizontal stability by means of a matrix of perpendicular rails 6 and 7 that are pop riveted together and then suitably fastened to wall support brackets 10, which is attached to the wall 111 around the entire perimeter of a room. A junction 3 is pop riveted to the rails 6 at every intersection of rails 6 and 7. The bottom of junctions 3 are riveted to junction links 2, forming a lower structural matrix, similar to and essentially below the matrix formed by rails 6 and 7. In practice, the rail and junction link matrices extend to all perimeter walls of the installed area. Vertical stability (both up and down) is provided by support rods 5, which are attached at their upper end to the building's infrastructure, in this case I Beam 16, and at their lower ends to junctions 3.

The duct matrix (FIG. 1E) is formed by duct sides 1a which are attached to the rails 6 and 7 at the top and to the junction links 2 at the bottom. Overhead cabling runs 9 within the office area enter the ducts assemblies from above and are guided to their destination within the duct matrix.

FIG. 1F is a perspective view of the invention's use to provide structural support for the attachment of wall panels 23, a door assembly 24, a wall panel frame 20 with cabling reels 20a, and a cut-to-size wall panel 23a that fits the wall system to the perimeter dry wall 11. Posts 18, attached to the bottom of junctions 3 and junction links 2 create a stable frame to firmly integrate wall panels and doors.

In the preferred embodiment, it is contemplated that a number of the panel frames 20 will be cabled. Cabling reels 20a, which easily attach to panel frames 20, are used to archive cabling for future use or as a terminal point where telephone and data processing equipment can be connected. The invention allows for the integration of cabling 9 directly to any and all wall panels within the business environment. Cabling 9, emanating from different locations, is routed through the duct matrix to planned work areas. Stores of cabling, in cabling reels 20a, are located within the wall system ready for later planned expansion.

Duct and Junction Links

FIGS. 2A and 2B-1 show perspective and exploded views of a U-shaped duct assembly 1 that is made up of three removable sections; namely, two duct vertical panels 1a and one duct horizontal panel 1b. The duct vertical panel 1a is positioned and supported on its bottom surface by three tabs 2a located on the top surface 2b of junction link 2 that align with and insert into three slots 1c (detail A) on horizontal panels 1a.

The duct horizontal panel 1b is only used in the absence of a wall panel 23 (FIGS. 16A and 16B) being installed underneath. The duct horizontal 1b panel is supported on both ends by the bottom junction plate 3b. Cross section AA, shown in FIG. 2C-4, Details B and C, illustrate the manner in which the duct panel 1b essentially sets on top of junction lower plate 3b. When integrated with the junction links 2 (FIG. 2A) the panel 1b is held securely in place. Cross section EE provides an end view of the duct horizontal 1b panel in relation to the junction lower plate 3b. Given the design of the duct assembly 1, all duct panels can be easily removed to provide access to the interior of the duct itself.

Junctions

FIG. 3A is an exploded view of the preferred embodiment of a junction 3, which is a structural element within the invention's ceiling superstructure. When posts 18 (FIG. 12) and wall panels 23 (FIG. 16A-4) are employed the junction provides stability to the entire wall panel system. The junction in combination with junction links 2 (FIG. 4-1,) forms a horizontal structural matrix that provides support to the overall ceiling and wall panels 23 (FIG. 16B.)

The construction of each junction 3 includes a metal center tube 3a that is welded perpendicular to both a bottom junction plate 3b and at the top to an inverted U-shaped upper junction bracket 3c. The bottom junction plate 3b and the lower half of tube 3a include a threaded center hole 3e, which extends upwards through the lower half of the tube FIG. 3B) into which a plastic filler cap (not shown) or a jackscrew 10 (FIG. 12) may be installed. The upper junction bracket 3c has a center hole 3f, which aligns with the center hole in tube 3a, and that hole 3g (FIG. 3B) extends downwards through the upper half of tube 3a. Extending upwards from the top of the upper junction bracket 3c is a spring latch 3h that is riveted at 4 through spring latch hole 3j into upper junction bracket hole 3h. The spring latch is used to secure the junction vertically to the building superstructure via vertical support rod 5 (FIGS. 1B and 1C.) Holes 3n in bottom junction plate 3b are used to fasten links 2 to junction 3 (FIG. 4-3).

In FIG. 3C-2 the junction 3 is sectioned along line AA to illustrate the inner physical makeup of the junction tube 3a relative to the other junction parts.

In FIG. 4-1 the junction 3 and junction links 2 are shown assembled. A hole 2c in each end of the junction link 2 is aligned with the appropriate hole 3n injunction 3 (FIG. 4-3) and then secured with pop rivets. Each junction is connected to eight junction links, two parallel junction links radiating outwards from each of the junction's four sides.

Rails

The rails 6 (FIG. 5A-2) and 7 (FIG. 5A-1) are the primary support elements in the preferred embodiment. From above, the rails are attached to the building's superstructure and, from below, to junction 3. The rails also provide support for all ceiling tiles. FIG. 5A-3 illustrates the profile of the single-walled section 6g and FIG. 5A-4 illustrates the profile of the double-walled section of rail 6. Protrusion 6a supports the ceiling tiles 14 (FIG. 1D,) much like the flanges of an ordinary hung ceiling inverted “T.” The slot 6b captures and supports the top of duct vertical panel 1a when installed, as illustrated in FIG. 7-3, and flange 6c facilitates the alignment of duct vertical panel 1a during installation. The cavity 6d within rail 6 allows for the installation of a rail-terminating fixture 12 (FIG. 10A) that provides a rigid horizontal attachment of the end of each rail section to an existing surrounding wall. Folds 6e create rigidity across the two single-walled sections 6g and protrusion 6f stops ceiling tiles from popping up from a change in room air pressure when a door is slammed or moved abruptly.

FIG. 5B is a perspective view of a rail 6 and a rail 7 illustrating their relationship to one another. Throughout this paper rail 6 is generally shown as a single-length section although in practice it would be manufactured in greater lengths. Protrusion 6a supports the ceiling tiles 14, as mentioned earlier. Rails 6 and 7 are connected together when holes 7a, in flanges 7b at the ends of perpendicular rails 7, are positioned and secured with pop rivets within holes 6h in rail section 6.

FIG. 6 shows a junction 3 and rail 6. Junction 3 pop riveted to the ends of two adjacent rail 6 sections essentially forms a contiguous rail segment. To attach junction 3 to rail 6, the insides of holes 3m in upper junction bracket 3c are aligned with the outside holes 6j of the single-walled section 6g of the rail 6 and pop rivets are installed. This attachment positions two rails 6 parallel at the appropriate distance apart to align the top of duct panel 1a with slot 6b (FIG. 7-3,) when later installed.

As the ceiling grid is installed, junctions 3 and rails 6 and 7 continue to be attached together, as already described, to form the duct support matrix. This process is repeated until all rail sections and junctions are securely fastened together. In practice, during initial installation, the connected sections of rails and adjoining junctions would be temporarily suspended from a building superstructure with conventional hung ceiling wires until the permanent support structure is installed and leveled, as described in FIGS. 1B and 1C.

FIG. 7-2 shows the upper edge of duct vertical panel 1a inserted into the slot 6b in rail 6 that is used to position the panel. A junction link 2 is shown with tabs 2a inserted into slot 1c (FIG. 7-2) as the means of fastening duct vertical panel 1a from the bottom.

Cable Management

FIG. 8A-2 is a cross sectional view of the cabling support bracket 8, used for supporting cabling within each duct section 1, in combination with two junction links 2 and two rails 6. As indicated in detail B the upper arms 8a of cabling support bracket 8 are positioned over the top and on the outside of upper rail members 6 (or 7.) In FIG. 8A-4 the bottom cabling support flanges 8b essentially capture the upper outer edges of each junction link 2. The cabling support bracket 8 is now captured on its bottom flanges 8b by the junction links 2 and on top by its arms 8a on the outside of the two rails 6 or 7. To allow room for the duct vertical panels 1a to be installed over the cabling support brackets, the tab shoulder 2d on the junction link tab 2a (FIG. 8A-5) provides for adequate clearance between the duct vertical panel 1a and the junction link 2 for the installation of the cable management fixture 8.

FIG. 8B shows cabling 9, possibly emanating from another floor or an adjacent area, as being routed into and through the appropriate cabling support bracket members 8c. FIG. 8C is a perspective view of the cabling support fixture 8 attached to rails 6 via upper arms 8a and onto links 2 by means of bottom flanges 8b.

End Tile Angle

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of the wall support bracket 10 attached to a section of ordinary dry wall 11 and supporting a ceiling tile 14 by means of the end tile angle 6m. The wall support bracket 10 is installed level and at the appropriate height around the perimeter of a room. Once installed, the wall support bracket provides the means for horizontally attaching the end tile angle 6m, which supports cut or whole ceiling tile segments that abut the wall surface.

FIG. 9B-2 shows the manner in which the end tile angle 6m is essentially hooked onto the wall support bracket 10 (FIG. 9B-3.)

Rail Termination

FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a rail termination bracket 12. Rail tabs 12a insert into the cut-off rail ends at the wall. Tab spacer 12b aligns the tabs 12a horizontally with the rails 6 or 7, at the appropriate width. A vertical support arm 12c positions the tabs 12a at the right height to engage the rails 6 and 7. The wall support bracket slot 12d engages the wall support bracket 10 to provide definitive end support.

FIG. 10B-2 shows the insertion of rail termination bracket rail tab 12a into cavity 6d at the end of rail 6.

Upon installation (FIG. 10C) to “fit” the rail matrix to the exact room size, a pair of adjacent rail sections 6 or 7 (only one cut-off rail section 6k showing) are measured and cut to fill the void from the last whole pair of rail sections, emanating from the center of the room, to the wall support bracket 10. The rail termination bracket rail tabs 12a are then inserted into cavities 6d at the cut off end of rail 6k (FIG. 10B-2) The rail termination bracket 12 is latched downwards onto the wall support bracket 10 (see FIG. 9B-3) and the uncut ends of rails 6f are aligned with the existing contiguous whole rail 6 sections. Once in position, the uncut ends of rails 6f are pop riveted to the uncut rails 6 and the junction 3 as described in FIG. 6. The cut ends of rails 6f are then drilled and pop riveted to the rail termination bracket 12. The rail termination bracket 12 is screwed into the wall support bracket 10 thus stabilizing the ceiling grid and ductwork matrix in the horizontal plane.

Junction Support Bar

FIG. 11-1 shows the solution for when an HVAC duct 13a or the like obstructs the space above a junction 3 and a support rod 5 cannot be installed. A horizontal support bar 13 is secured at each end by a bolt fastened into the hole 3p within the two adjacent and “rodless”junction spring latches 3h thus vertically stabilizing the center junction 3.

Post and Jackscrew

A jackscrew 17 is screwed into the center hole in junction lower plate 3c of junction 3. A bolt-like hexagon protrusion 17a at its bottom is used to secure post 18. FIG. 12-2 shows a sectioned perspective view of the top and bottom of post 18. A flat top post plate 18a with a hexagon center hole 18b is fastened to the top of the post by installing screws 18c into screw bosses 18d (FIG. 12-5). A lower post plate 18e, with a central “turntable” 18f, is fastened in a like fashion to the post bottom. During installation of the post, the hexagon protrusion 17a at the bottom of the jackscrew 17 is aligned with and inserted into hexagon hole 18b in top post plate 18a. With the post positioned plumb vertically, post 18 is rotated to unscrew and extend jackscrew 17 until the post is firmly locked down in place on the turntable 18f between junction 3 and the floor 19. The surface protrusions 18g on turntable 18f are made of rigid rubber so that if the floor surface is carpeting, the protrusions will capture the carpet nap when downwards pressure is applied. In the event that the floor is rigid, for example wood or tile, the protrusions will compress when the post is extended, essentially locking the post bottom in place by friction.

Panel Frame

FIG. 13A-1 illustrates the means to position all posts equidistant and square to one another. A panel frame 20 is installed between each adjacent pair of posts 18, already installed as outlined above. In FIG. 13-1 one post 18 is shown at a distance from panel frame 20. In practice, the position of both posts tops would already be positioned by the fixed distance between ceiling matrix junctions, which locate the jackscrew engagement to the post top as illustrated in FIG. 12. The panel frame would actually be in close proximity to both adjacent posts when installed. Once positioned between the posts, the panel latches 21 (details in FIG. 14) are engaged and tightened to draw the posts 18 precisely in line to the panel frame 20, thus squaring the alignment of posts 18 to one another. Prior to final tightening, the panel frame 20 is slid solidly down (stepped upon) to floor level (not shown) to be fixed in place either by (1) the friction of a rubber bottom strip or two-sided tape on a solid surface, (2) a carpet engaging strip for a carpeted surface, or (3) nails or screws through holes in the panel frame bottom into the floor. The panel latches are now fully tightened.

In FIG. 13B-1a number of cabling reels 20A are installed into panel frame 20. The cabling reels are attached to the frame 20 by inserting the rivet-like reel latch 20f into the round segment of keyhole slot 20g (FIG. 13B-3) and sliding the latch downwards thus securing the latch in the slot portion of 20g.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, each panel frame 20 is latched securely to adjacent posts 18. The locking mechanism is shown in FIG. 14-1. The panel latch 21 comprises a locking cam 21a and a knob with a threaded shaft 21b that is threaded into the cam 21a. The assembly is integrated into the panel frame 20 by means of holes drilled into the outer panel frame supports 20a. Prior to the installation of a panel frame 20 to adjacent posts 18, the locking cam 21a is screwed tight up against the surface between ridges 20c on the panel frame outer supports 20a. This is done to clear the post surfaces when the panel frame is initially inserted between them. Once the panel frame is positioned between the posts, the latch is unscrewed via the latch knob 21b allowing the cam 21a to be projected between and beyond the edges of the post slot 18h formed by post flanges 18j. Once beyond the post flanges 18j, the knob 21b is rotated in the opposite direction allowing the cam 21a to rotate and be positioned behind the post flanges 18j. As the knob is tightened, the surface of post 18 is drawn securely against the side surface of the panel frame 20.

Wall Panels

Each wall panel includes a frame 20 and two wall panel surfaces 22. Each surface 22 (FIGS. 15-1 to 15-7) is composed of a decorative outer layer of rigid fire resistant material 22a and a bonded core 22b of sound deadening material. Precut holes 22c, located at the near bottom and center of the assembly accommodate the installation of two quad outlets for connectivity to cabling from within the wall panel. Shown at the bottom of wall panel surface 22 is a removable metal floor molding 22d that essentially matches the post design and provides matching quad outlet holes. When the panel quad outlets are not used, floor-molding 22e is installed. On each side and in the middle of the interior surface are three vertical panel latching angles 22f that provide wall panel rigidity and latch tabs 22g to attach the wall surface panels securely to the panel frame 20 (FIGS. 13A-1 and 13B-1.)

FIG. 16A-1 shows the three-part construction of wall panel assembly 23 consisting of two wall panel surfaces 22 and a panel frame 20. Once a panel frame 20 is locked in place to adjoining posts 18, each panel surface 22, in succession, is centrally positioned against and slightly above the panel frame 20 and between the inner vertical surfaces of the adjacent junction links 2 (FIG. 16B-2.) The Panel surface 22 is then slid downwards latching the panel latching tabs 22f into the latching slots 20d located on the three vertical surfaces of the panel frame 20.

FIG. 16B-1 is a top view of the panel assembly 23 and panel frame 20 installed with two junction lower plates 3b and posts 18. FIG. 16B-2 shows the wall panel (23 and 20) engaged between the inner surfaces of two supporting links 2.

Doorframe and Door

The invention preferably uses 3′ by 3′ ceiling tiles throughout to provide adequate dimensional clearance between posts 18 to accommodate full-sized doors. FIG. 17A shows an assembled view of a doorframe 24 positioned between posts 18, in place of a panel frame 20 and wall panels 23.

FIG. 17B is an exploded view of the doorframe made up of: (1) a vertical hinge surface 24a, (2) a horizontal saddle 24b, (3) a vertical door latch surface 24c, (4) a horizontal upper doorframe 24d, and (5) an upper door panel 24e to cover the opening formed above the upper door frame 24d.

In FIG. 17C-1, the horizontal saddle 24b is installed between posts 18 (only one shown) by inserting tabs 24f into post slots 18j and positioning the bottom of the saddle on the floor (not shown.) The saddle 24b can be fastened to the floor (1) using nails or screws, or (2) held in place by two-sided tape on its undersurface, or (3) fixed in place by a rubber strip on its underside combined with downwards pressure when the vertical hinge surface 24a and the vertical door latch surface 24c are locked in place.

The vertical hinge 24a and latch 24c surfaces are latched in place using latches 24g, a variation of panel latch 21 (FIG. 17D-1) made up of which employs an Allen screw 24h and a smaller cam 24j instead of a knob and threaded shaft (FIG. 17D-2.) Latches are installed into post slots 18j following the procedure outlined in FIG. 14.

In FIG. 17E-1 two vertical doorstops 24k are installed over Allen screws 24h on latches 24g by positioning circular cutouts 24m over heads 24n and sliding doorstop inner slots 24o down onto Allen screw shoulder 24p while positioning the bottom of doorstop 24k into cutout 24q in each end of saddle 24b.

FIG. 17F shows an exploded view from the bottom of upper doorframe 24d, positioned above the two vertical doorstops 24k. The cut outs 24r (see FIG. 17G-1,) at each end of the upper doorframe 24d, are lowered and positioned over the top ends of doorstops 24k until surface 24s engages the tops of both doorstops 24k. The panel latches 21 on each end of upper doorframe 24d are unscrewed and projected into post slot 18j and then tightened as the upper doorframe 24d is pressed down against doorstops 24k, locking them in place.

The upper door panel 24t is essentially made up of a sound absorbing inner core and two fire-resistant outer surfaces. The upper door panel 24t is positioned between posts 18 and is slid upwards until its upper outer surfaces are positioned between the inner surfaces 2e of the junction link 2 and its lower edge is centered above the horizontal upper doorframe 24d. The upper door panel 24e is then lowered in place between the flanges 24u of upper doorframe 24d.

Once the doorframe assembly 24 is installed, the lift-off hinge segments 24v on door 24m are aligned with the hinge segments 24w and the door is lowered into place.

Partial Ceiling

As mentioned above, the invention can be used in different ways. It is possible for an entire ceiling to be covered by the ductwork, in which case ceiling tiles 14a are simply dropped onto the flanges 6a and/or 7a of contiguous rails 6 and/or 7. In some cases, it may be desirable to combine the ductwork matrix with an existing or new hung ceiling. For example, this may apply to the situation in which there is a ceiling area where in which it is unlikely that there would be a need for a cabling infrastructure and/or wall panels. Also, it may be practical to retrofit a single channel into and across an existing hung ceiling to facilitate the routing of cabling through an area. FIG. 18 shows ceiling tiles 14a and standard T-grid railings 23 positioned on rail rims 6c just as T-grid railings of a hung ceiling are positioned on conventional wall angles (not shown) installed around the perimeter of an office area.

Structural Sizing to Area

It is a requirement to be able to fit the installation to the actual dimensions of an office area. The rails 6 and 7, duct panels 1a and 1b, and junction links 2 can be readily cut to size. The perspective views of FIGS. 19A and 19B (exploded) illustrate a cut-off assembly of the aforementioned components (rail 6 only) properly affixed to the wall support bracket 10 and section of dry wall 11 by means of a rail termination bracket 12. An end hanger bracket 28 supports the cut ends of the assemblies and installs in a similar fashion as the cabling support bracket 8 indicated in FIG. 8A to 8C. Once in position, bracket 28 is pop riveted in place.

To accommodate the sizing of wall panels to a room's perimeter an end panel frame 29 (FIGS. 20A-1, 20A-2, and 20B) is used, which is a variation of the panel frame 20. The end panel frame 29 can be easily cut to size. An end wall member 30 is positioned and affixed to a section of dry wall 11 using conventional attachment hardware. The panel frame upper horizontal members 29a and lower horizontal member 29b are cut to size and positioned with their cut side fitted to the end wall bracket 30. The post side 29c of the end panel frame 29 is attached to post 18 in the same fashion as the installation of the panel frame 20 depicted in FIG. 13A. The cut sections of panel frame 29a and 29b are drilled and pop riveted to the end wall bracket 30. Cut to size panel surfaces 22 and floor moldings 22e are then installed in a fashion similar to FIG. 16A.

A direct benefit of the invention is the ability to maintain all cabling overhead but not over the ceiling. In the case of a computer or server room, cabling emanating from equipment can be guided upward into the openings at the bottom of the ductwork for distribution throughout the office space (FIG. 21A). No expensive raised floors or under floor routing of the cable is needed.

It may also be desirable to simply direct the cabling downwardly to the floor or to furniture without the installation of the posts 18 or wall panels 23. In such a case, a vertical column 32 (FIG. 21B) may be provided into which the cabling 9 can be directed. Suitable connectors on the column are provided to interface the cabling with equipment.

Although preferred embodiments have been illustrated and described in this application, numerous modications of the invention are contemplated. In the preferred embodiment, the ceiling tiles are mounted in rails extending between adjacent junctions. It is also possible that the ceiling tiles may be supported on the junctions or on the cabling ductwork extending between the junctions. Likewise, in the currently preferred embodiment, the ductwork extends down from the ceiling tiles, but the position of the ducts relative to the ceiling tiles is not critical. The illustrated preferred embodiment provides certain structural and cost benefits, but many different arrangements are possible which would provide strutural support for a hung ceiling and a cabling pathway in accordance with the invention.





 
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