Title:
Cubicle jack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cubicle jack, including a base; a vertical member joined to the base, a winch joined to the vertical member, a pulley joined to the vertical member, a cable communicating between the winch and pulley; and a connector joined to the cable, the connector having hooks adapted to secure to a cubicle wall; and mechanism for elevating the connector relative to a cubicle wall.



Inventors:
Kaiser, Ed (Forest Lake, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/738559
Publication Date:
06/16/2005
Filing Date:
12/16/2003
Assignee:
KAISER ED
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B66F3/00; E04F21/18; (IPC1-7): E04B9/00; E04D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GILBERT, WILLIAM V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Angenehm Law Firm. Ltd. (Coon Rapids, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A cubicle jack, comprising: a base having a crossbar and a back bar, the cross bar having a right end, a left and a midpoint, a right castor joined adjacent the right end, a left castor joined adjacent the left end, the back bar having a back end and a connective end, a back castor joined adjacent the back end, the connective end joined to the cross bar at the midpoint; a vertical member having a bottom end and a top end, the bottom end being joined to the base; a winch joined to the vertical member between the bottom end and the top end, a pulley joined to the vertical member adjacent the top end, a cable communicating between the winch and pulley; and a connector joined to the cable, the connector having hooks adapted to secure to a cubicle wall; means for elevating the connector relative to a cubicle wall, the means for elevating being a spring joined to the connector and being selectively joinable to a cubicle wall; and a sliding board defining dimples on an upper surface thereof, the dimples sized to receive feet of a cubical wall.

2. A cubicle jack, comprising: a base; a vertical member joined to the base, a winch joined to the vertical member, a pulley joined to the vertical member, a cable communicating between the winch and pulley; a connector joined to the cable, the connector having hooks adapted to secure to a cubicle wall; and means for elevating the connector relative to a cubicle wall.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein the base has a crossbar, back bar and receptacle

4. The device of claim 3 wherein the cross bar has a right end, a left end and a midpoint.

5. The device of claim 4 further comprising a right castor joined adjacent the right end.

6. The device of claim 4 further comprising a left castor joined adjacent the left end.

7. The device of claim 4 wherein the receptacle is joined to the crossbar adjacent the midpoint.

8. The device of claim 3 wherein the back bar has a back end and a connective end.

9. The device of claim 8 further comprising a back castor joined adjacent the back end.

10. The device of claim 8 wherein the connective end is joined to the cross bar.

11. The device of claim 3 wherein the receptacle has receptacle walls, the receptacle walls defining a vertical bore and a horizontal bore.

12. The device of claim 2 wherein the vertical member has a bottom end and a top end, the bottom end defining a horizontal bore.

13. The device of claim 12 wherein the bottom end is positioned in a receptacle mounted on the cross bar.

14. The device of claim 13 wherein the bottom end of the vertical member is fastened to the cross bar with a fastener extending through the horizontal bore.

15. The device of claim 2 further comprising a rest joined to the vertical member, the rest being adapted to support a cubicle wall thereon.

16. The device of claim 2 wherein the winch is remotely operable.

17. A cubicle, moving system, comprising: a plurality of cubicle walls joined to make a cubicle; a clamp secured through wire-ways defined through the cubical walls; a plurality of jacks disposed about and joined to the cubicle walls, the jacks having winch for raising and lowering the walls; means for simultaneous remote operation of the jacks such that the jacks are adapted to lift and lower the walls at a uniform rate; and a sliding board removably positioned under the cubical walls.

18. The device of claim 17 wherein the cubicle walls form a plurality of interconnected cubicles.

19. The device of claim 17 wherein each jack has a cable joined to a connector, each connector having hooks joined to the cubicle walls.

20. The device of claim 19 further comprising a spring selectively joining each connector to the cubicle walls.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to jacks and more particularly to jack used to raise and lower cubicles, cubicle walls and cubicle clusters.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Portable offices, known as cubicles have long been available to and thoroughly used by many businesses. Cubicles are generally constructed of a variety of panels that are hooked together in any size or pattern the user desires. The versatility of design has allowed combining or chaining multiple cubicles together such that they have shared walls. These groups are referred to as cubicle clusters. Cubicles have the advantage of allowing a business to add or remove “offices” as the company needs such changes. Sometimes such adjusting requires movement of several clusters closer together or further apart to provide an even appearance to the office as a whole.

Without a cubicle mover, the clusters must be totally disassembled, including movement of all books, paper, electronics, computers, office supplies, personal items and other such materials found within each cubicle. All the shelves need to be taken apart and down. Then the walls are all separated. The process of construction is essentially the reverse of the foregoing. Such efforts are required even if the cubicle or cubicle cluster only needs to be move two feet.

Some designs have been developed for picking up the cubicle or cluster as a whole. Clamps are placed on the walls and the cluster is moved as a whole. These designs have a couple of flaws. First, the clamps are generally held in place by a winch and pulley after a user joins a connector to the cubicle. Between the time when the connector is joined and the cable is drawn taut, the connector can dislodge causing serious damage or injury.

Another problem relates to the fact that a plurality of jacks are generally operated independent of each other when lifting a cubicle cluster. Operators have to slowly raise one just a little bit, then move on to the next one until they have raised each jack slightly. Then they repeat the process, keeping the cubicle cluster level. Failure to do so allows twisting of the cubicle walls, resulting in permanent damage. Such a process is both time consuming and places the structural integrity of the cubicle cluster at risk.

What is needed is a jack for lifting cubicles and cubicle clusters that positively secures to the cubicle or cluster even when the cable is not taut. Further, the jack should smoothly and uniformly lift the cubicle and cluster with a minimum number of operators and effort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present cubicle jack is provided with a base, a vertical member, and a connector. The vertical member is joined to the base and a winch and a pulley may be joined to the vertical member. A cable may communicate between the winch and pulley. The connector is joined to the cable, with the connector having hooks adapted to secure to a cubicle wall. Mechanism is provide for elevating the connector relative to a cubicle wall.

The cubicle and jack combination is provided with a plurality of cubicle walls joined to make a cubicle. A plurality of jacks may be disposed about and joined to the cubicle walls. The jacks have a winch for raising and lowering the walls. Mechanism is provide for simultaneous remote operation of the jacks such that the jacks are adapted to lift and lower the walls at a uniform rate.

Advantageously, the present invention holds the connector to the cubicle walls when slack is in the cable.

Also advantageously, the present invention provides secure locking of the connector to the cubicle wall, preventing slippage and partial or complete dislodgement when the cable is not applying pressure to the connector.

As still yet another advantage, the jack is provided with mechanism for remote operation such that a plurality of jacks may simultaneously be used without distorting, twisting and mangling the panels forming a cubicle cluster.

These and other advantages will become clear from reading the below description with reference to the figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a front view of the jack of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the base of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view showing the vertical member joined to the receptacle;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the jack of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the connector of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a partial side view of a cubicle wall;

FIG. 7 is a top view of a cubicle cluster with a plurality of interconnected cubicles;

FIG. 8 is a top partial view of a cubical cluster, showing a clamp positioned to secure the walls for movement; and

FIG. 9 is a top view of a sliding board.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present jack 10 may include a base 12, a vertical member 50, a connector 80, a cubical cluster 100, a clamp 120 and a sliding board 130. The jack 10 is arranged and interacts to lift cubical walls 104 and clusters 100 such that they may be moved, lifted for work underneath the walls, e.g., carpeting, etc. Each component will be discussed in serial fashion.

The base 12 primarily provides support for the vertical member 50 while avoiding spacial conflict with the cubicle walls 104. Desirably, the base 12 includes a mode for movement such that the jack 10 can be used to reposition a cubical cluster 100. Turning to FIGS. 1 and 2, the preferred base 12 has a cross bar 14 and a back bar 26. The cross bar 14 may have a right end 16, a left end 20 and a midpoint 24. The midpoint 24 is located between the right end 16 and left end 20 and may or may not be centered between the two ends 16, 20. A right castor 18, or other mechanism for allowing movement of the base 12, may be joined adjacent the right end 16. A left castor 22 may be joined adjacent the left end 20.

The back bar 26 may have a back end 28 and a connective end 32. A back castor 30 preferably is joined adjacent the back end 28. The connective end 32 is desirably joined to the cross bar 14 at the midpoint 24. In this manner, the base 12 is generally in the form of a “T” as shown in FIG. 2.

The base 12 is joined to the vertical member 50. Such attachment may be permanent, such as with a weld (FIG. 1), or selective, such as shown in FIG. 3. A selective connection allows for compacting of the jack 10. Referring to FIG. 3, a receptacle 34 may be joined to the base 12, preferably to the cross bar 14. Ideally, the receptacle 34 is joined at the midpoint 24. Positioning the receptacle forward on the jack 10 allows the base 12 to not spatially interfere with the cubical cluster 100, while opposing jacks 10 provide stability. The receptacle 34 may have receptacle walls 36, defining a vertical bore 38 and a horizontal bore 40. The vertical bore 38 is sized to snugly receive the vertical member 50 therein.

Vertical member 50 may have a bottom end 52 and a top end 54. The bottom end 52 may be welded or otherwise joined to the base 12. If the base 12 includes a receptacle 34, the bottom end 52 may define a horizontal bore 56, which is alignable with the horizontal bore 40 of the receptacle 34. With the bottom end 52 positioned in the receptacle 34, a cotter pin 60, or other fastener, may be positioned through the horizontal bore 40 in the receptacle 34 and the horizontal bore 56 in the vertical member 50. A cotter key 58 is shown securing the cotter pin 60. The vertical member 50 may also include a rest 68 joined to the vertical member 50 adjacent the bottom end 52 thereof. The rest 68 is adapted to support a cubicle wall 104 thereon when the cable 66 is not taut.

A winch 62 desirably is joined to the vertical member 50 between the bottom end 52 and the top end 54. Such winch 62 may be manual or electronic. Generally when lifting a cubical cluster 100 one will use several jacks 10. These jacks should generally be raised simultaneously to avoid being or damaging the cubical walls 104. Manual winches 62 may be used. If so the jacks 10 are desirably operate by several people. If there is less than one operator per jack 10, the jacks 10 may be raised a small amount, perhaps ½ inch and the jacks 10 that did not have an operator are raised. This can be tedious and time consuming. Electronic jacks 10 may be remotely controlled such that all the jacks 10 are operational at the same time and speed. A sensor 70 may be used to electronically observe the change in height of the cubical walls 104 and electronically control the jacks 10 if one or more jacks 10 need to speed up or slow down.

A pulley 64 may be joined to the vertical member 50 adjacent the top end 54. Essentially, the pulley 64 becomes the point the cubical walls 104 are drawn toward. Thus, the pulley may be positioned sufficiently high above the connector 80 that the connector 80 has room to rise and lift the cubical wall 104. A cable 66 may communicate between the winch 62 and pulley 64.

Connector 80 may be joined to the cable 66, such connector selectively joining the cable 66 to a cubical wall 104. A suitable connector, shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, may include hooks 82 suitable for reception within hook openings 106 in the cubical wall 104. When the connector 80 is first joined to a wall 104, the connector 80 may partially or completely slide out of the hook openings 106. At such time the winch has not been operated to draw the cable 66 tight, leaving slack in the cable 66 and an opportunity for such slippage. Poorly joined connectors 80 can become dislodged during lifting and allow the cubical cluster 100 to fall. Accordingly, mechanism 84 for elevating the connector 80 may provide a lifting force on the connector 80 during the time that the connector 80 is joined to the wall 104 and when the cable 66 is drawn taut. Further, a reverse hook 92 joined to the connector 80 may maintain connection to the wall 104, hooking the wall 104 within a hook opening 106 if the connector 80 slips too low.

A suitable mechanism 84 for elevating the connector 80 relative to a cubicle wall 104 is a spring 86. Spring 86 includes a connector end 88 securely joined to the connect 80 with such joinder optionally being permanent. Spring 86 also includes a hook end 90 suitable for selectively joining the spring 86 to the cubical wall 104. The hook end 90 may be inserted into a hook opening 106 above the connector 80, stretching the spring 86 in the process.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, a cubical cluster 100 may include a plurality of cubical walls 104. Such walls 104 define a plurality of interconnected cubicles 105. Cubicle walls 104 further define hook openings 106 along the vertical edges, thereof suitable for interconnection with connectors 80, and adjustable feet 110. Each wall 104 generally has a removable panel 107 along a bottom edge on either side of the wall 104. The wall 104 and panels 107 define an electrical wire-way 108 therebetween.

One jack 10 may not be of sufficient size to lift an entire cubicle cluster 100 alone. Accordingly, a plurality of jack attachment points may be found about the cubicle cluster 100 such that several jacks 10 can cooperatively lift the cluster 100. As described above, the jacks 10 should be simultaneously moved to keep the cubicle level during the lifting process, either manually with a level or tape measure or through the use of a sensor in operable communication with an electronic winch 62.

Turning to FIGS. 6 and 8, a clamp 120 may secure the walls relative to each other prior to movement of the cluster 100. The panels 107 are removed from adjacent walls 104, exposing the electrical wire-way 108. A clamp 120 of most any suitable and commercially available variety available on the market may be inserted through the adjacent electrical wire-ways 108 and tightened. Suitable clamps generally have a strap or a piece of chain in combination with a handle capable of tightening the chain or strap. If other equipment is unavailable, a tie-down strap will also work. The clamp 120 should be tight whenever the cluster 100 is being moved to hold the walls 104 secure relative to each other.

A sliding board 130 is shown in FIG. 9, defining at least one and preferably a plurality of dimples 132. Dimples 132 are sized to receive feet 110 of the cubical wall 104 an spaced to engage feet 110 of adjacent cubical walls 104 whether aligned linearly or at right angles. The sliding board 130 may have a smooth lower surface with a low friction coefficient or alternatively may have wheels similar to a skateboard or furniture dolly. The dimples should be of a sufficient depth to preclude unintentional sliding of the feet 110 along the upper surface 134 of the sliding board 130.

In operation a connector 80 is joined to a cubical wall 104 through use of hooks 82 and hook openings 106. A mechanism 84 for elevating the connector 80, such as spring 86 holds the connector 80 in place. A winch 62 is operated, drawing cable 66 over a pulley 64, drawing the connector 80 and cubicle wall 104 upward. The cubicle cluster 100 is drawn upward evenly across its entire span so as to not bend or otherwise mangle the walls 104.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.