Title:
Structural concrete members and method and apparatus for manufacturing same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is in the field of poured concrete precast panels particularly such panels when used for foundation structures for buildings. Precast, prefabricated panels include a brick ledge with the brick ledge being set at different elevations to accommodate foundations on sloping ground. L-shaped, concrete, precast, prefabricated panels are used as corner members for such foundations. Individual panels including side panels and corner panels are bolted together at the side edges of the panels to form a complete foundation. The invention also relates to molds for making such precast, prefabricated panels. The mold to cast L-shaped corner panels is hinged about a vertical axis. The molds for making the panels have a selection of forming pans to establish the location of the brick ledge.



Inventors:
Switzer, Sheldon B. (Thornhill, CA)
Application Number:
11/043126
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
01/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B28B1/14; B28B7/00; B28B7/02; B28B7/08; B28B7/16; B28B7/22; E04C1/00; E04C2/00; E04C2/06; E04C2/38; (IPC1-7): E04C2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SOPARIWALA, DIMPLE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A prefabricated, precast, L-shaped structural member usable as a load bearing member in a static structure comprising the structural member having a top portion having a reinforced unitary structure of predetermined height, reinforced by reinforcing means located at predetermined locations in the structural member. The L-shaped structural member comprising first and second laterally extending portions arranged to form a corner with said laterally extending portions extending away from said corner, the structural member having at last one load bearing reinforced support beam extending substantially the length of each of the laterally extending portions integrally formed within the structural member and interconnected to the reinforcing member means of the structural member for distributing load exerted upon the at least one support beam throughout the structural member, the structural member defining a brick support ledge remote from the upper surface of the structural member.

2. A prefabricated, precast, L-shaped structural member usable as a load bearing member in a static structure, the L-shaped structural member comprising first and second laterally extending portions arranged to form a corner with said laterally extending portions extending away from said corner, and wherein at least one of said first and second laterally extending portions comprises a brick support ledge.

3. The structural member of claim 2 wherein each of said first and second laterally extending portions comprise a brick support ledge.

4. A mold for casting a concrete structural member having an integral brick ledge, said mold comprising a plurality of independently movable brick ledge bulk heads so that a structural member having an integral brick ledge at a plurality of different locations may be formed in said mold.

5. A mold in accordance with claim 4 comprising a mold bed, said mold bed tiltably movable between a substantially horizontal position and a substantially vertical position so that a structural member may be created using said mold bed in said substantially horizontal position and said structural member may be removed from said mold bed when said mold bed is in said substantially vertical position.

6. The mold of claim 5 further including powered means to move said mold bed from said substantially horizontal position to said substantially vertical position.

7. The mold of claim 6 wherein said mold bed is generally planar and further including at least two independently movable brick ledge bulk heads movable in a direction generally parallel to the general plane of said mold bed.

8. The mold of claim 7 further comprising powered means for adjusting the location of said brick ledge bulk heads.

9. The mold of claim 8 wherein the powered means are hydraulic.

10. The claims of claim 8 wherein the powered means are pneumatic.

11. The mold of claim 8 comprising a plurality of removable mold bed forming pans.

12. The mold of claim 11 wherein the mold bed forming pans are correlated to desired positions of said mold bed brick ledge bulk heads.

13. The mold of claim 12 further comprising a plurality of edge forming bulk heads which are movable relative to said mold bed so that structures of different height and length may be cast on said mold bed.

14. The mold of claim 4 wherein said mold is adapted to cast an L-shaped structural member having an integral brick ledge comprising; an outside mold piece, an inside mold piece and a hinge, the hinge permitting relative pivotal movement of the inside mold piece relative to the outside mold piece, the outside mold piece comprising first and second laterally extending outside wing portions and at least one of said laterally extending wing portions having a vertically movable wing portion bulk head for establishing a brick ledge on said structural member.

15. The mold of claim 14 wherein each of said laterally extending outside wing portions has a vertically movable wing portion bulk head for establishing a brick ledge.

16. The mold of claim 15 wherein each of said wing portion bulk heads are movable by means of a powered operator.

17. The mold of claim 16 wherein the operator is hydraulically operated.

18. The mold of claim 17 wherein the inside mold piece comprises first and second laterally extending inside wing portions.

19. The mold of claim 18 wherein the inside mold piece is supported on a caster wheel for facilitating the pivotal movement.

20. The mold of claim 19 wherein each inside wing portion of the inside mold piece comprise at least one removable mold piece forming pan.

21. The mold of claim 20 wherein the mold piece further includes a set of forming pans each member corresponding to a desired position of said vertically movable brick ledge forming mold bulk head.

22. A method of casting a plurality of structural members comprising; providing a plurality of molds in accordance with claim 21, arranging said plurality of molds in an array, providing a concrete pouring hopper system, providing a guidance system for said hopper system for guiding said hopper system over each one of said plurality of molds, pouring concrete from said hopper system into one of said molds, thereafter translating said hopper system to another of said molds and pouring concrete from said hopper system into another of said molds.

23. The method of the claim 22 wherein the guidance system is a continuous loop.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit from U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/575,805 filed Jun. 2, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to precast, prefabricated, structural members which may be in the form of wall panels or corner units. The structural members include an integrally formed brick ledge which may be located at various vertical heights over the length of the structural member. The invention also relates to molds and processes for creating such structural members.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention builds on a previous invention of the present applicant, Canadian Patent 1,296,916 which issued Mar. 10, 1992, the entire disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference. Applicant's prior patent illustrates a precast, prefabricated, ribbed, structural wall panel with an integrally formed brick ledge and the capacity to span discrete footings. As the ground elevation at a particular building site may not be constant over a given linear length of wall, it would be desirable to have a panel in which the brick ledge is located at various vertical elevations consistent with the requirements of the elevation of the finished ground at the location where the structure is to be built. In the invention disclosed in applicant's prior patent, corners were formed by abutting wall panels against one another. It would be desirable, to provide an alternate system for establishing corners of a building structure made from such structural members.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a mold for casting structural members having an integral brick ledge, includes a plurality of individually movable brick ledge bulkheads so that a structural member having an integral brick ledge at a plurality of different vertical locations may be formed in the mold.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a corner mold, for casting a generally L-shaped structural member having an integral brick ledge, includes an outside mold piece, an inside mold piece, and a hinge. The hinge permits pivotal movement of the inside mold piece relative to the outside mold piece. The outside mold piece includes first and second laterally extending outside wing portions. Each of these laterally extending wing portions have vertically movable wing portion bulkheads for establishing a brick ledge of the structural member.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a mold for casting a structural member having an integral brick ledge comprises a mold bed. The mold bed is tiltably movable between a substantially horizontal casting position and a substantially vertical removal position so that a structural member may be created using the mold bed in the substantially horizontal position and the structural member may be removed from the mold bed when the mold bed is in the substantially vertical position.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is a method of casting a plurality of structural members. The method involves providing a plurality of mold beds as aforesaid. The plurality of mold beds are arranged in an array. The method further involves providing a concrete pouring hopper system and providing a guidance system for the hopper system for guiding the hopper system over each one of the plurality of mold beds. The method further involves pouring concrete from the hopper system into one of the mold beds, thereafter translating the hopper system using the guidance system and pouring concrete from the hopper system into an other of the mold beds.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is a prefabricated, precast, L-shaped structural member which is usable as a load bearing member in a static structure. The L-shaped structural member has a top portion having a reinforced unitary structure of predetermined height. The L-shaped structure includes first and second laterally extending portions arranged to form a corner with the laterally extending portions extending away from the corner. Each of the laterally extending portions include an integral brick ledge extending laterally along the first and second laterally extending portions. In accordance with a particularly preferred embodiment of this aspect of the invention, the L-shaped structural member is reinforced by reinforcing means located at predetermined locations in the structural member. The structural member has at least one load bearing reinforced support beam extending substantially the length of each of the laterally extending portions integrally formed within the structural member and interconnected to the reinforcing means of the structural member for distributing load exerted upon the at least one support beam throughout the structural member.

Further and other aspects of the invention will become apparent to a person skilled in the art when reviewing the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments illustrated herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a structural member in the form of a panel in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the panel of FIG. 1, illustrating the opposite face of the panel as compared to FIG. 1;

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of a further structural member in the form of an L-shaped structural member having a corner, shown from the outside face;

FIG. 3b is a perspective view of the structure of FIG. 3a shown from the inside face;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a structure incorporating a plurality of panels in accordance with FIG. 1 and a plurality of panels in accordance with FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a mold apparatus for creating the structural member illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the mold structure of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a mold system utilizing a plurality of mold structures in accordance with FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a perspective cut-away view of a mold for forming the L-shaped structural member illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is an elevational view of the mold of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of the mold of FIG. 9, and

FIG. 11 is a sectional view of a portion of the mold illustrated in FIG. 10 along line A-A of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, a panel 100 is shown in perspective view from the outside face of the panel. The panel is intended to be a part of a reinforced concrete foundation for a building. A panel may have any indefinite length to suit the desired location. The panel 100 may be placed on level compacted, granular base 110, that distributes the panel load to the underlying native soil 120, or, it may be placed on spread footings as explained in Canadian Patent No. 1,292,916 issued Mar. 10, 1992, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The panel 100 has formed upon its top portion, an upper surface 130 upon which the building sillplate (not shown) will be anchored. Further, the panel 100 includes a brick ledge illustrated at 140, 141 and 142. The brick ledge 140 is at a first height from the upper surface 130 shown by arrow D1. The brick ledge 141, is deplaced from the upper edge 130 by the distance shown as D2. The brick ledge 142 is displaced from the upper surface 130 by the distance D3. D3 is larger than D2 which is larger than D1 in the panel illustrated in FIG. 1. As will be well understood by those familiar with this art, a brick ledge is used to support a structural member which may be applied to the exterior of the building. There must be some foundation to support the material and that is traditionally referred to as a brick ledge. While the term “brick ledge” is used throughout this application, it will be understood that the brick ledge may be used to support any cladding material of interest, including stone or various man-made products. Typically, a brick ledge is placed so that the brick ledge is just slightly above the soil level when the foundation is back filled and landscaping has occurred. Thus, where the panel is to be used on sloping property, the ground level will not in all cases be parallel to the upper surface 130 which is desirably substantially horizontal in use. Thus, the brick ledge 140, 141 and 142 is arranged at varying heights to correspond to the desired finished soil level at the building site. While the panel 100 shown in FIG. 1 shows the brick ledge stepping down from the surface 130, any configuration of brick ledge is possible in accordance with this invention and the brick ledge may step up and down in any combination, depending upon the length of the panel and the expected soil elevation at the building site. Conveniently, the building panel 100 includes a plurality of lifting loops 50 which are used to assist in removing the wall panel 100 from a mold as will be more fully discussed hereinafter. The wall panel 100 also includes apertures 150 which extend horizontally through the end portion 152 of the panel 100.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the wall panel 100 of FIG. 1 is illustrated from the other face as compared to FIG. 1. This will be the inside face of the panel in use. As explained in my previous patent, the inside face includes a plurality of vertically extending ribs 160, end ribs 161 and 162 and a top beam 170 and a bottom beam 175. The wall panel 100 has a general void 190 which extends vertically between the end rib 161 and the first vertically extending rib 160. There is a second void 191 between the first pair of vertically extending ribs 160 shown in FIG. 2 and a second similar sized void between the second pair of vertically extending ribs 160. There is a third void 193 between the last pair of vertically extending ribs 160 and between the last rib 160 and the end rib 162. The void 190, is shown extending up to a height which is commensurate with the brick edge 140. The concrete to be formed between the top of the void 190 and the bottom of the brick ledge 140 creates a reinforced portion of the horizontally extending top beam 170.

As the brick ledge 141 is displaced by a distance D2, the voids 191 as shown in FIG. 2 have a shorter vertical extent extending up from the bottom beam 175. The top of the void 190 is correlated to the brick ledge 140. The difference between the top of the voids 191 and the surface of the brick ledge 141 provides a further component of the beam 170.

Similarly, the voids 193, extend vertically a shorter distance. Again, this distance is correlated to the brick ledge 142 with the difference comprising the final component of the top beam 170.

FIG. 2 illustrates the layout of the vertically extending ribs 160. These are placed on centers to accommodate the load expected to be supported by this structural member, the nature of the concrete, etc. It is not necessary that each void correspond directly with the configuration of the brick ledge above. To further illustrate this, the brick ledge 140, 141 and 142 is shown in phantom line. It will be observed that the first void 190 is sized to accommodate the height of the brick ledge 141. Thus, a portion of the concrete above the first of the second voids 191 will be thicker where that portion of the first void 191 is below the brick ledge 140. Thus it will be apparent that the orientation and location of the rib and the brick ledge are independent from each other. The height of the voids merely matches the minimum level of the brick ledge over the lateral extent of the particular void after allowing for the desired thickness of the top beam 170. While the panel illustrated in FIG. 2 has only five voids shown, it will be understood that in accordance with the invention, the panel has an indefinite length and there may be any number of voids to meet the design requirements.

The panel 100 as illustrated in FIG. 2, also includes a plurality of through holes 151 extending through the bottom beam 175. The through holes 151 are spaced along the length of the bottom beam 175.

The through holes 150 may be used to connect adjacent panel sections having similar through holes. The through holes 151 shown in the bottom beam 175 may be used for insertion of anchoring dowels 180 to provide lateral support to the panel bottom during back filling. The through holes 151 are to be subsequently waterproofed with appropriate caulking material. The bottom beam 175 is designed and dimensioned to adequately distribute the applied loads to the substrate 120. This may enable the elimination of the need for discrete or continuous footings.

Referring now to FIGS. 3a and 3b, there is illustrated therein an L-shaped structural member in the form of a corner panel 300. As with the wall panel 100, the corner panel 300 is intended to be set upon a bed of level compacted granular material 110 and secured with dowellings 380 through holes 351, or it may be placed on spread footings as explained in Canadian Patent No. 1,296,916. The through holes 351 are subsequently waterproofed with appropriate caulking material. The corner panel 300 includes first and second laterally extending portions 310 and 312. The laterally extending portions 310 and 312 form a corner 314 with the laterally extending portions extending away from the corner 314.

As shown in FIG. 3a, the corner panel 300 includes brick ledge 320, 322 on each of the laterally extending portions 310 and 312. The brick ledge 340 is a portion of laterally extending portion 310 while the brick ledge 342 is a portion of the laterally extending portion 312. As shown in FIG. 3a, the brick ledges 340 and 342 are at the same elevation relative to the lower surface of the corner panel 300. This, however, is not required and the height and configuration of the brick ledge can be set at any height desirable to accommodate the soil conditions present.

FIG. 3b illustrates the corner panel 300 from the inside view. The laterally extending portions 312 and 310 may extend over any length desired. Also, the corner 314, although shown as a 900 corner, could be made to any other angle as may be required to meet the requirements of the structure to be constructed.

The corner panel 300 includes a pair of substantially vertically extending ribs 361 and 362. As shown, the corner panel 300 further includes a pair of vertically extending ribs 360 on either side of the corner 314. The corner panel 300 also includes a bottom beam 375 extending along the bottom of each of the laterally extending portions 310 and 312. Similarly, there is an upper beam 370 extending along the laterally extending portions 310 and 312 just below the elevation of the brick ledges 340 and 342.

As illustrated in FIG. 3b, the corner panel 300 includes a void 390 between each end member 361, 362 and the corner rib members 360 respectively. Although illustrated in FIG. 3b with having only one void 390 on each of the laterally extending portions, the L-shaped structural member which functions as the corner, may have any number of vertically extending ribs and a corresponding number of voids 390. Also, it will be realized that the brick ledges 340 and 342 while shown coextensive with the entire lateral length of the lateral portions, could include sections wherein the brick ledge is stepped upwardly or downwardly or any combination thereof to fit appropriate soil conditions, particularly if the corner member is to have longer extending lateral portions. Advantageously, the corner member includes a plurality of lifting loops 344.

The L-shaped corner panel 300, also includes a plurality of laterally extending through holes 350 and a plurality of vertically extending through holes 351. The laterally extending through holes 350 are spaced and placed to line up with the laterally extending holes 150 in the panel 100 so that a corner panel 300 may be bolted to a set of wall panels 100. The vertically extending through holes 351 may be fitted with anchoring dowels 380 to help anchor the corner panel in the underlying soil.

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown schematically a foundation for a building. The foundation comprises a plurality of wall panels 100 identified as 100a, 100b, 100c and 100d. The foundation also includes a plurality of corner panels identified as 300a, 300b, 300c and 300d. The adjacent panels are butted together and bolted through through holes 150 and 350. The joints are waterproofed with waterproof gaskets or appropriate caulking materials. In the event that the excavation is back filled prior to installing the first subfloor, which provides lateral support to the top of the panels 100 and 300, and/or the pouring of the basement floor of the building (which provides lateral support to the bottom of the panels 100 and 300), the panels may need to be secured to resist the expected lateral forces. Such securement will follow the adopted codes of the National Building Code or the Regulatory Standards of the province or state in which the panels are being used. Additionally, the structural panels may be secured to resist lateral forces at the bottom by means of dowels 180 and 380 extending through the through holes 151 and 351 respectively, into the undisturbed underlying soil 120. The through holes are subsequently waterproofed with appropriate caulking material.

The corner panels 300 with the integrally formed stepped brick ledge and the wall panels 100 with the integrally formed stepped brick ledge provide a foundation system in which the brick ledge can be placed wherever the site soil conditions require. As shown in FIG. 4, structural panel 100a has a length equal to the length of structural panel 100b. However, the panels may have different brick edge alignments to meet the appropriate soil conditions. It may be that the brick ledge on panel 100a is either not present, is at a uniform height or has some other configuration which is different from that of wall panel 100b. Similarity, wall panels 100c and 100d are shown as having the same lateral length, but need not have similar brick ledge configuration. While the foundation system shown in FIG. 4 is rectangular, it is within the scope of this invention that the corner elements 300 need not be right angles in which case the opposing side walls may have different lengths. It should also be recognized, that the panel identified as 100a is shown as a single wall panel of a length long enough to define the whole length of the foundation up to the corner members. The panel 100a may be a single wall panel or could be a plurality of wall panels. Depending upon the length of the foundation, and the ability to manufacture and transport wall panels, the wall 100a may be comprised of one panel or a plurality of panels. If there are a plurality of such panels, the panels are then joined together as explained above utilizing the through holes 150.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, there is illustrated a mold 200. The mold 200 comprises a mold bed 260. The mold bed 260 is a generally planar panel which, in use, will be sufficient to create the exterior face of a structural member in the form of a wall panel, such as panel 100 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The mold bed 260 includes a depression 262 which may be used to accommodate the concrete which will form part of the base beam 175. With reference to FIG. 1, it will be noted that there is a small inwardly projecting ledge portion identified as 162. This portion will be created from the space identified as 262 in FIG. 5. The bottom surface of the wall panel 100 is defined by the mold bed using a bottom bulk head 203. The bottom bulk head 203 may be moved in a direction generally perpendicular to the general plane of the mold bed 260. This movement may be accomplished in a powered means using hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders.

The mold bed 260 also includes adjustable end panel bulk heads 204. One such bulk head 204 is illustrated in FIG. 5. As FIG. 5 is illustrated to show indefinite length, the opposite end panel bulk head 204 is not illustrated. The end panel bulk heads 204 can be set in place on the mold bed 260 and held in place by various mechanisms including magnetic means or clamping means of one sort or another. Most preferably, quick release clamping means may be utilized to fix the position of the end panel bulk head 204. The height of the panel 100 may be varied as desired by adding or removing snap in sections of the end panel bulk head 204 to create an end panel bulk head having a length which matches the desired height of the finished wall panel 100.

The mold 200 also includes a movable top bulk head 201. The movable top bulk head 201 is movable in a direction generally parallel to the general plane of the mold bed 260. The surface of the top bulk head which faces the bottom bulk head 203 establishes the location of the top surface 130 of the wall panel 100. The top bulk head 201 may also be moved by powered means such as hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders 220, or alternatively, may be positioned using various clamping mechanisms, magnetic mechanisms and the like. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, movement of the top bulk head 201 towards the bottom bulk head 203 may be utilized to capture and finally position the end panel bulk heads 204.

The mold bed further comprises a plurality of forming pans 90. The forming pans 90 are preferably made of metal. The forming pans 90 are used to form the voids 190, 191 and 193 of the panel 100 as illustrated in FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 5, there is a void between each of the forming pans 90. These voids are illustrated at 95. The voids 95 will define the vertical ribs 160, 162. The forming pans 90 have a predetermined width and thereby determine the spacing of what will be the vertically extending ribs 160. If it is desired to space the ribs 160 at a different space, then additional or an alternate set of forming pans 90 may be used. As shown in FIG. 5, there are five forming pans 90 having a uniform top to bottom length. Further, as shown in FIG. 5, there are three forming pans 90 which have an extended length. The extended length is achieved by fixing to the forming pans 90, one or more extender pans 90a. The extender pans 90a provide for voids which go closer to what will become the top surface of the wall panel 100.

The mold 200 further includes a plurality of brick ledge bulk heads 202. The brick ledge bulk heads 202, are movably adjustable in a direction which is generally parallel to the general plane of the mold bed 260. The adjustable brick ledge bulk heads may be moved toward and away from the bottom bulk head 203 by hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders 222 (see FIG. 6). As shown in FIG. 5, the first three brick ledge forming bulk heads 202 starting from the right edge are positioned closer to the bottom bulk head 203. The brick ledge bulk heads however are-spaced from the forming pans 90 to comprise a gap 97 therebetween. The gap 97 between the brick ledge bulk heads 202 and the forming pans 90 will serve to delineate the location and lateral extent of the brick ledge 140, 141, 142. As shown in FIG. 5, the two brick ledge bulk heads 202a are farther removed from the bottom bulk head 203, thus serving to create a brick ledge which will be closer to the top of the wall panel 200. The brick ledge bulk head 202b is even farther from the bottom bulk head 203 and would serve to form the brick ledge which is closest, in this example, to the top of the wall panel. Thus, as illustrated, the location of brick ledge bulk head 202b would be used to form the brick ledge 140 of FIG. 1. The brick ledge bulk heads 202a would be used to form the brick ledge 141 of FIG. 1 and the brick ledge bulk heads 202 would be used to form the brick ledge 142 as illustrated in FIG. 1. The brick ledge bulk heads vertically overlie the top bulk head 201 which continues to define the top surface 130 of the panel 100 to be formed in the mold.

The end bulk head 204 is fitted with through holes 250 into which are placed cylindrical forming means 252. The cylindrical forming means can be any solid, such as a rod. The rods 252 are utilized to define through holes 150 of panel 100 as shown in FIG. 1. Also rods 251 are inserted through the bottom bulk head 203 to define the through holes 151. These rods 252, 251 extend into the adjacent forming pans to define the respective through holes.

Prior to pouring concrete into the thus formed mold, reinforcing rods can be inserted into any of the places to be filled with concrete as desired. Thus, it may be desirable to insert laterally extending reinforcing rods extending along what will become the bottom beam 175 and also along the top beam 170. As desired, the vertical ribs which will be created in the spaces 95 between the forming pans 90 may be fitted with reinforcing material as desired. The depth of the reinforcing material from the surface of the concrete to be formed can be maintained by placing the rods on saddles, supports and the like as will be familiar to those who have used poured in place concrete technology. At the same time that various reinforcing rods or the like are inserted in to the voids prior to pouring concrete, a plurality of lifting loops 50 can be placed into the voids. In order to have the lifting loops available after the panel is formed, the brick ledge bulk heads 202 conveniently have a slot through the bottom surface to permit a portion of the lifting loop 50 to remain above the concrete.

In order to form the panel 100 in the mold 200, the bulk heads and forming pans are laid out in the desired pattern and affixed to the mold bed 260. Concrete is then poured into the mold. The concrete then fills all of the voids in the molds between the bulk heads and pans discussed above. The concrete is thus formed into the configuration as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Preferably the concrete is placed into the mold using a concrete placing machine with an integral vibrating screed.

Referring now to FIG. 6, after elapse of the prescribed cure time for the concrete, the top bulk head 201 and the brick ledge bulk heads 202 are moved away from the concrete structure using the hydraulic or similar powered mechanisms 220, 222, or if clamping mechanisms have been used, then the clamps are released and the bulk heads moves away concrete. This then exposes the lifting loops 50. As shown in FIG. 6, the mold bed 260 is supported on support stands 700 and 701 when in the horizontal position. The number and configuration of such support stands can be selected to meet the desired maximum length of panel to be poured. The connection between the mold 200 and the support stands 200 is a pivotal connection. The mold 200 is fitted with a powered jack structure 702 which is adapted to pivotally tilt the mold bed 260 about the axis 208, the pivotal connection between the bed 260 and the support 700.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the bottom bulk head 203, is supported upon a plurality of hinged triangular structural support brackets 210. The support brackets are placed adjacent to the surface of the bottom bulk head 203 so as to support the bottom bulk head 203. The mold 200 is then tilted up about the axis 708 until the mold is substantially vertical. When in the nearly vertical position, the bottom bulk head 203 may then be moved in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of the mold bed 260 travelling along the surface of the support brackets 210. Such movement may be accomplished using one or more powered operators such as hydraulic cylinder 280. This has the effect of releasing the panel 100 from forming pans 90. The finished panel 100 may then be fully removed from the mold utilizing a lifting device attached to the lifting loops 50.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is illustrated therein, a casting system. The casting system includes a plurality of molds 200 as discussed hereinabove. The casting system also includes a concrete pouring hopper system 715. The concrete pouring hopper system 715 is mounted upon a guidance system 710. The guidance system 710 is configured to guide the concrete pouring hopper system 710 for delivery of concrete to each of the plurality of molds 200. In use, each of the plurality of molds 200 is set up with the bulk heads and forming pans as discussed above to create wall panels of desired configuration and length and with any desired brick ledge configuration if needed. The concrete pouring hopper system 715 may then be positioned over the first mold 200a and the concrete may be poured into the mold, compacted and levelled using an integral vibrating screed assembly. When that pour is finished the concrete pouring hopper system 715 is moved along the guidance system 710 to be in a position to carry out the pour into mold 200b and thereafter 200c, 220d, 200e, 200f, as shown in FIG. 7. Advantageously, the guidance system forms a closed loop although other configurations of the guidance system may be utilized. By utilizing this continuous pouring concept, and by using powered operators for the various bulk heads end, the speed of creating wall panels 100 may be enhanced. In a particularly sophisticated version, the information relative to each individual wall panel 100 may be created in a computer system used to design the wall panel. The wall panel configuration could then be downloaded to a mold 200 having a processor. The processor would then receive the information of the detailed design and automatically position the powered bulk heads as discussed above. This would also further enhance the time efficiency of creating wall panels 100.

Referring now to FIGS. 8, 9, 10 and 11, the mold for making the L-shaped structural members is illustrated. The mold for casting a precast concrete L-shaped structural member having an integral brick ledge, such as shown in FIG. 3, includes an outside mold piece 602, an inside mold piece 604 and a hinge 606. The hinge 606 permits relative pivotal movement of the inside mold piece 604 relative to the outside mold piece 602. The outside mold piece 602 comprises first 608 and second 610 laterally extending outside wing portions. Each of the laterally extending outside wing portions 608 and 610 have vertically movable wing portion brick ledge bulk heads 612 and 614. The wing portion brick ledge bulk heads 612 and 614 are vertically adjustable up and down and are used to establish a brick ledge 320, 322 as part of a structural member to be cast in the mold.

The inside mold piece 604 also has first 620 and second 622 laterally extending inside wing portions. Each of the laterally extending inside wing portions include removable forming pans 624 and 626 respectively. The removable forming pans 624, 626 create the voids 375 and 380 respectively as shown in FIG. 3, for the L-shaped corner member 300. The forming pan 624 includes a plurality of apertures 650. When the forming pan 624 is set and locked in place in laterally extending wing portion 620, the apertures 650 align with apertures 629 in an edge making panel 630 of inside mold piece 604. When the apertures 650 and 629 are aligned, cylindrical rod members 655 are inserted in the two apertures to make voids which ultimately will become the apertures 350 shown in FIG. 3b.

Forming pan 626 also contains a plurality of apertures 650. When the mold is moved to the closed position with inside forming piece 604 nesting against outside forming piece 602, the apertures 650 of forming pan 626 align with apertures 660 in an end forming panel 670 of the outside mold piece 602. When the apertures 650 and 660 are aligned, cylindrical forming pieces (not shown) are inserted in the two apertures to make voids which ultimately will become the apertures 350 shown in FIG. 3b.

Forming pans 624 and 626 each have at least one aperture 651. The outside mold piece 602 has a bottom forming surface 607. The surface 607 has apertures 652 which align with apertures 651 respectively. When the mold is closed so that rods (not shown) can be inserted therein so as to define the apertures 351 shown in FIG. 3.

To facilitate movement of the inside mold piece 604 relative to outside mold piece 602, inside mold piece 604 is advantageously fitted with a caster 646.

As illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, the wing portion brick ledge bulk heads 612 and 614 may be positioned utilizing powered operators such as hydraulic cylinders 652 and 654 respectively. While hydraulic cylinders are demonstrated, any other powered device for moving the bulk heads can be satisfactorily used. Movement of the operators 652 and 654 determines the position ultimately of a brick ledge. The two cylinders operate independently and thus the bulk heads 612 and 614 can be set at different heights if desired.

In order to create a corner piece 300 as shown in FIG. 3, the mold 600 as shown in FIGS. 8 through 11 may be utilized. The first step in the process is to position the wing portion brick ledge bulk heads 612 and 614 at the appropriate height. Thereafter, any desirable reinforcing rods may be included as illustrated at 680 in FIG. 8. Also lifting loops 342 and 344 are positioned as desired. Once the reinforcing means are in place, the mold is then closed, and extending both vertically and horizontally rods may be inserted in holes 651 and 650, or in such other direction as desired. With the mold in the closed position, concrete may then be poured vertically into the mold to create the corner piece 300 as shown in FIG. 3. Again a computerized device may also be used to speed up the molding process, similar to that explained above in connection with panel 100.

When the concrete is set and no longer plastic, the cylindrical rod members forming the voids which will ultimately become apertures 350 and 351 as shown in FIG. 3b are removed from the mold. When the concrete has cured for the prescribed time, the wing portion brick ledge bulk heads 612 and 614 are moved vertically upwardly. The removable forming pans 624 and 626 are released and removed from the inside mold portion 604.

As shown in FIG. 11, the forming pans 624 and 626 are held in place by latches. Each of the laterally extending inside wing portions 620, 622 comprise a central open area. The forming pans are inserted from the outside face of the mold piece 604. Each forming pan has a lip 690 which engages the perimeter of the central opening. The central opening is larger than the void forming portion of the forming pan. When the forming pan latches are opened, the forming pan can be removed from the newly cast corner member. After removal of the forming pan, there is very little interference so that the inside forming piece can be pivoted away from the cast corner member to open the mold. The newly cast member can then be removed from the outside mold piece 602 utilizing a gantry or crane and the lifting loops 342, 344. Advantageously, there will be a set of forming pans. Each would have the same perimeter to engage the perimeter of the central opening. Each member of the set would have a different void forming portion, the upper surface of which establishes the brick ledge in that wing portion.

Changes and alternations can be made to the preferred embodiments illustrated herein without departing from the scope of the invention, the foregoing description intended to be illustrative only and not limiting. The full scope of the invention is set out in the attached claims.