Title:
Compartmentalized power distribution equipment enclosure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A compartmentalized electrical power distribution enclosure comprising: a outer enclosure defining an interior; a compartment enclosure disposed within the interior, the compartment enclosure including a plurality of interconnected panels, a panel of the plurality of interconnected panels being removable from the compartment enclosure and replaceable to the compartment enclosure by relative movement of the panel with respect to an adjacent panel without the use of tools, the removal of fasteners or damage to the panel or adjacent panel.



Inventors:
Hibicke, Stephanie R. (Gurnee, IL, US)
Arnswald, Daniel G. (Chicago, IL, US)
Fargo, James F. (Winnetka, IL, US)
Loback, Raymond P. (Aurora, IL, US)
Mcglone, Buddy B. (Lombard, IL, US)
Dizon, Edmund S. (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/545172
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
10/10/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B81/00; A47B97/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
S & C Electric Company (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A compartmentalized electrical power distribution enclosure comprising: a outer enclosure defining an interior; a compartment enclosure disposed within the interior, the compartment enclosure including a plurality of interconnected panels, a panel of the plurality of interconnected panels being removable from the compartment enclosure and replaceable to the compartment enclosure by relative movement of the panel with respect to an adjacent panel without the use of tools, the removal of fasteners or damage to the panel or adjacent panel.

2. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein the panel is slidably moveable with respect to the adjacent panel.

3. The enclosure of claim 1, the panel being formed with a flange defining a first rail and the adjacent panel being formed with a flange defining a second rail, the first rail being engageable with the second rail for securing the first panel to the adjacent panel and the first rail being disengageble from the second rail by the relative movement of the panel with respect to the adjacent panel.

4. The enclosure of claim 3, the panel having panel edges defining a periphery of the panel, the first rail extending the length of one of the panel edges and the adjacent panel having adjacent panel edges defining a periphery of the adjacent panel, the second rail extending the length of one of the adjacent panel edges.

5. The enclosure of claim 3, the first rail comprising a first rail surface and the second rail comprising a second rail surface, the first rail surface and the second rail surface being in contact when the first rail is engaged with the second rail.

6. The enclosure of claim 6, the first rail surface and the second rail surface providing a seal along a length of engagement of the first rail with the second rail.

7. The enclosure of claim 1, a blocking feature disposed on the panel or the adjacent panel, the blocking feature preventing assembly of an incorrect panel to the compartment enclosure.

8. The enclosure of claim 7, the blocking feature comprising a post secured to the panel and a notch formed in the adjacent panel, the post and notch being alignable during assembly of the panel to the compartment enclosure.

9. The enclosure of claim 1, a blocking feature disposed on the panel or the adjacent panel, the blocking feature preventing removal of the panel from the compartment enclosure except in a predetermined sequence.

10. The enclosure of claim 10, the blocking feature comprising a flange formed on one of the plurality of panels, the flange engaging the panel to prevent the relative movement of the panel with respect to the adjacent panel.

11. For use in connection with a power distribution enclosure, the power distribution enclosure comprising a plurality of panels defining the enclosure, the enclosure having an interior and electrical power distribution equipment being disposed within the interior; a compartment enclosure for enclosing within the interior a portion of the electrical power distribution equipment, the compartment enclosure comprising: a first side panel and a second side panel; a back panel joining the first side panel and the second side panel; edges of the side panels being formed with side panel flanges; and a removable panel, the removable panel having panel edges, the panel edges being formed with panel flanges, the removable panel being removable secured to the compartment enclosure by interlocking engagement of the side panel flanges with the panel flanges.

11. The enclosure of claim 10, the removable panel being securable to the compartment enclosure by sliding movement of the removable panel relative to the side panels, the sliding movement engaging the panel flanges with the side panel flanges.

12. The enclosure of claim 10, second edges of the side panels being formed with second side panel flanges; and a second removable panel, the second removable panel having second panel edges, the second panel edges being formed with second panel flanges, the second removable panel being removable secured to the compartment enclosure by interlocking engagement of the second side panel flanges with the second panel flanges.

13. The enclosure of claim 10, the side panel flanges comprising a side panel flange surfaces and the panel flanges comprising a panel flange surfaces, the side panel flange surfaces and the panel flange surfaces being in contact when the panel side panel flanges and the panel flanges are interlocked.

14. The enclosure of claim 13, the side panel flange surfaces and the panel flange surfaces providing a seal.

15. The enclosure of claim 10, the compartment enclosure comprising a blocking feature disposed on the panel, the blocking feature preventing assembly of an incorrect panel to the compartment enclosure.

16. The enclosure of claim 15, the blocking feature comprising a post secured to the panel and a notch formed in an adjacent panel, the post and notch being alignable during assembly of the panel to the compartment enclosure.

17. The enclosure of claim 10, the compartment housing comprising a blocking feature disposed on the panel, the blocking feature preventing removal of the panel from the compartment enclosure except in accordance with a predetermined removal sequence.

18. The enclosure of claim 18, the blocking feature comprising a flange formed on a panel adjacent to the panel, the flange engaging the panel to prevent the relative movement of the panel with respect to the panel adjacent to the panel.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/735,751 filed Nov. 11, 2005.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This patent relates to underground electrical power distribution systems and more particularly to a compartmentalized power distribution equipment enclosure suitable for an underground electrical power distribution system and other applications.

BACKGROUND

In contrast to overhead systems, underground electrical distribution systems transfer energy through buried, insulated cables. The conductors are energized at high potential; the sheathing of the cable is grounded. This creates high electrical stress in the cable insulation. When the cable emerges from the ground and connects to equipment, the conductor must remain sufficiently insulated from ground potential.

A system providing such a connection passes the conductor, insulation and ground sheath through an elastomeric connector system. The ground sheath is connected to the grounded equipment enclosure. An interior bushing sufficiently grades the electrical stress. However, these systems do not provide a barrier between the cable termination and the device to which it is connected. In other instances, it is desirable to provide for the cable termination to be segregated from other components, such as circuit-breakers, switchgear or buswork, to allow maintenance of grounded cable terminations without exposure to breaker terminals or buswork that might be energized.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a compartmentalized underground distribution switchgear enclosure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the enclosure illustrated in FIG. 1 with a first compartment enclosure access panel displaced to provide access to gear disposed within the compartment enclosure.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the enclosure illustrated in FIG. 1 with the first compartment enclosure access panel removed.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the enclosure illustrated in FIG. 1 with the first compartment enclosure access panel removed and a second compartment enclosure access panel displaced to provide access to gear disposed within the compartment enclosure.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the enclosure illustrated in FIG. 1 with the first and second compartment enclosure access panels removed.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a compartment that may be disposed within the enclosure depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the compartment enclosure depicted in FIG. 6 with first and second access panels removed.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the compartment enclosure depicted in FIG. 6 with a first panel positioned for assembly to the compartment enclosure.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged partial perspective view of a rail construction for interlocking panels of the compartment enclosure depicted in FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged partial rear perspective view of the compartment enclosure depicted in FIG. 6 illustrating a blocking feature.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view the compartment enclosure depicted in FIG. 6 with a first panel removed and illustrating a blocking feature.

FIG. 12 is a section view taken along line 12-12 of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is an enlarged detail of a portion of the section illustrated in FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a compartmentalized underground distribution switchgear enclosure 10. The enclosure 10 is positioned on a base 12, such as a concrete or other suitable foundation or base, as is well know. Insulated, buried conductors (not depicted) communicate through the base 12 into the enclosure 10. The enclosure 10 may include fixed side panels 14 and a fixed top panel 16 along with a pivoting top panel 18 and a retractable front panel 20. The panel 18 is hinged and mounted to pivot upwardly and to be suitably supported, for example, by a prop rod 22. With the top panel 18 raised, the retractable front panel 20 may be lowered. In this regard, the panel 20 may include panel members 20a and 20b. The panel member 20b may be fixed while the panel member 24 is received in channels 24 formed in the side panels 14. The panel member 20a is moveable within the channels 24 from a raised position (not depicted) to a lowered position as shown in FIG. 1 to enhance access to the enclosure 10. The enclosure 10 may further include a control housing 26 secured to one of the side panels 14. The control housing 26 is suitable for housing control electronics, communication gear and the like separate and apart from the power distribution equipment disposed within the enclosure 10. The control housing 26 will generally include an enclosing panel (not depicted) to enclose the control housing 26.

Referring to FIGS. 1-5, disposed within the enclosure 10 may be a compartment enclosure 30, and as depicted in the figures, the enclosure 10 includes three compartment enclosures 30. Any number of compartment enclosures may be provided within the enclosure 10. The compartment enclosures may be retrofitted into existing designs for enclosures, or new enclosure designs may incorporate compartment enclosures. The compartment enclosures 30 segment or compartmentalize the interior space of the enclosure 10 to permit separation of cable termination from other distribution equipment and components contained within the enclosure 10, such as circuit-breakers, switches, terminations, buswork and the like. As will be described, a plurality of interconnecting panel members forms each compartment enclosure 30. One or more of the interconnecting panel members may be movable relative to the other panel members. Moreover, the interconnection of the panel members may serve to secure the panel members together to enclose the compartment enclosure 30 without the use of mechanical or other fasteners. Furthermore, the interconnecting of the panels members may further act to facilitate sealing of the edges of the compartment enclosure 30 during a flash over or other failure event of the equipment disposed within the compartment enclosure 30.

One or more panel members of the compartment enclosure 30 may be moveable and/or removable to open and provide access to an interior of the compartment enclosure 30 and the equipment disposed therein. Referring to FIG. 2, a first panel, e.g., a front panel 32 may be slideable along a first direction relative to the other panel members. As shown in FIG. 2, the panel 32 is vertically slideable relative to the compartment enclosure 30 to remove the panel 32 from the compartment enclosure 30, although it should be understood the direction of movement is freely selectable based upon the orientation of the compartment enclosure 30 within the enclosure and the order in which the panels are to be removed, as will be described.

Removing the front panel 32 from the compartment enclosure 30 (FIG. 3) creates an access opening 36 providing access to the equipment 34, such as switches, circuit breakers, terminations, buswork and the like disposed within the compartment enclosure 30. A second panel, e.g., a top panel 38 may also be slideable relative to the other remaining panel members. As shown in FIG. 4, horizontal sliding of the panel 38 forward, relative to and towards the front of the enclosure 10 allows removal of the panel 38 from the compartment enclosure 30. Removing the top panel 38 increases the size of the access opening 36 (FIG. 5).

The panels forming the compartment enclosure 30, and particularly the moveable and/or removable panels such as panel 32 and panel 38, may be formed with blocking features. The blocking features may limit removal of panels to a defined sequence, e.g., preventing removal of a second panel before removal of a corresponding, locking first panel. Additional blocking features may ensure that the panels be reinserted in the correct positions and orientations. Moreover, as with the arrangement of multiple compartment enclosures 30 depicted in FIG. 1, the blocking features may prevent a panel from a one compartment enclosure from being assembled to another compartment enclosure, as will be explained.

FIG. 6 illustrates a single compartment enclosure 30 removed from the enclosure 10. In addition to the front panel 32 and the top panel 38, the compartment enclosure 30 includes side panels 40 and a bracket panel 42. As shown in FIG. 7, the side panels 40 are spaced apart by and are secured by the bracket panel 42 using suitable fastening, such as spot welding, riveting or thread fasteners 44, as depicted. The bracket panel 42 includes a flange 46 for securing the compartment enclosure 30 within an enclosure, such as the enclosure 10, and/or to secure the compartment enclosure 30 to a power distribution equipment. Lower edges 50 of the side panels 40 may also be flanged to facilitate securing the compartment enclosure 30 within the enclosure. The side panels 40 and the bracket panel 42 define an opening 48 at a rear of the compartment enclosure 30 that may be filled by the equipment to be disposed within the compartment enclosure 30. An opening 49 is also defined at the bottom of the compartment enclosure 30 through which conductors may be routed for connection to the equipment contained within the compartment enclosure 30. As will be appreciated, either or both of the openings 48 and 49 may be enclosed, and other suitable access to the interior of the compartment enclosure 30 provide by forming one or more apertures in another panel of panels of the compartment enclosure 30.

Referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, front edges 52 of the side panels 40 are formed to include channels or rails 54. Side edges 56 of the front panel 32 are formed with complimentary channels or rails 58. The rails 58 are slideably received within the rails 54 such that the front panel 32 is secured to the compartment enclosure 30. The interlocking engagement of the rails 54 and the rails 58 provides substantial structural integrity in securing the front panel 32 to the compartment enclosure 30. Moreover, sliding engagement of the front panel 32, and the corresponding interlocking engagement of the rails 54 and the rails 58 permits securing of the front panel 32 to the compartment enclosure 30 without separate fasteners or tools.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 8 and now referring also to FIG. 10 a front edge 60 of the top panel 38 includes a notch or relief 62 offset from the center of the top panel 38 and hence the center of the compartment enclosure 30. An inner surface 64, relative to the interior of the compartment enclosure 30 as depicted in the figures, includes a post 66, offset from the center of the front panel 32/compartment enclosure 30 a corresponding distance as the notch 62 is offset from the center of the top panel 38. The post 66 is also offset from the bottom of the front panel 32. The rails 58 may be aligned and engaged with the rails 54 to secure the front panel 32 to the compartment enclosure 30. However, unless the post 66 aligns with the notch 62, the front panel 32 cannot be slide along the rails the required distance to secure it in its assembled position as depicted in FIG. 6. Thus, the notch 62 and post 66 arrangement provides a blocking feature that prevents an incorrect front panel from being assembled to a compartment enclosure 30. When multiple compartment enclosures 30 are provided within an enclosure, each may be provide with a blocking feature, such as the described notch 62 and post 66. However, the offset of the blocking feature from the center of the compartment enclosure 30 may be different for each compartment enclosure 30 preventing an incorrect panel from being assembled to a compartment enclosure 30.

Similar rail-to-rail assembly and blocking features may be employed for assembly of the top panel 38 to the side panels 40. Referring to FIGS. 11 and 12, the edges 70 of the top panel 38 includes rails 72. The top edges 74 of each of the side panels 40 include rails 76. The rails 76 are slideably received within the rails 72 such that the top panel 38 is secured to the compartment enclosure 30. The interlocking engagement of the rails 72 and the rails 76 provides substantial structural integrity in securing the top panel 38 to the compartment enclosure 30. Moreover, sliding engagement of the top panel 38, and the corresponding interlocking engagement of the rails 72 and the rails 76 permits securing of the top panel 38 to the compartment enclosure 30 without separate fasteners or tools.

The interlocking engagement of the rails 72 with the rails 76 occurs along substantially the entire length of the top panel 38. In a similar manner, the interlocking engagement of the rails 54 and the rails 58 occurs along substantially the entire height of the front panel 32. The interlocking rail-to-rail engagement of the front panel 32, the top panel 38, or any other panel that is intended to be removed from the compartment enclosure 30, provides a strong structural engagement of the removable panel with the compartment enclosure. Moreover, forces bearing outwardly on the interior walls of the panels 32, 38, 40 and 42 will tend to lock the rails together further enhancing the structural integrity of the compartment enclosure 30. While FIG. 12 illustrates the rail-to-rail engagement of the rails 72 with the rails 76, the illustrated section may be employed for the rail-to-rail engagement of the rails 54 with the rails 58. However, alternative interlocking flanges may be employed. The rails 72 may include rolled flange 78 having a first surface 80, a second surface 82 and a third surface 84 at an acute angle to the second surface 82. The rails 76 may include a rolled flange 86 having a first surface 88 and a second surface 90. In the event of a failure of a component with the compartment enclosure 30 resulting in a flashover or similar event, the increase in internal pressure within the compartment enclosure 30 presses outwardly on the panels. The surface 88 is pressed against the surface 80 while the surface 90 is pressed against the surface 88 as a result of the internal pressure. The rail-to-rail engagement of the panels locks the panels together structurally, but moreover, the surface-to-surface engagement provides a seal along the edges of the front panel 32 and the top panel 38 with the side panels 40. A flange 90 of the back panel 42 may extend over the top panel 38 to further enhance sealing of the compartment enclosure 30.

Referring to FIGS. 11 and 13, the flange 90 of the back panel 42 includes a notch or relief 92 offset from the center of the back panel 42. A surface 94 of the top panel 38 includes a post 96, offset from the center of the top panel 38 a distance corresponding to the distance the notch 92 is offset from the center of the back panel 42. The post 96 is disposed toward a rear edge 98 of the top panel 38. The rails 76 may be aligned with the rails 72 to secure the top panel 38 to the compartment enclosure 30. However, unless the post 96 aligns with the notch 92, the top panel cannot be secured in its assembled position as depicted in FIG. 6. Thus, the notch 92 and post 96 arrangement provides a blocking feature that prevents an incorrect top panel from being assembled to a compartment enclosure 30. When multiple compartment enclosures 30 are provided within an enclosure, each may be provide with a blocking feature, such as the described notch 92 and post 96. However, the offset of the blocking feature from the centerline of the compartment enclosure may be different for each compartment enclosure 30 preventing an incorrect top panel from being assembled to a compartment enclosure 30.

While only a single pin and notch are described as providing a blocking feature, multiple pins and notches may be provided to define a single blocking feature for a panel, such as the front panel 32, the top panel 38 or another panel intended to be removed from and assembled to the compartment enclosure. The pins may be staked to the panel by plastic deformation of an end of the pin extending through an aperture formed in the panel, or the pins may be attached by any other suitable means such as by welding or threaded fastener.

Additional features of the compartment enclosure 30 are illustrated in the figures. In FIG. 1, the front panel 32 is shown to include one or more handles 100 and/or labels 102. The top panel 38 may include a label 104. The handles and labels assist an operator in removing panels and replacing them to the correct compartment enclosure. The labels further identify to the operator the equipment disposed within the compartment enclosure without the operator removing a panel to visually inspect the equipment. The blocking features prevent the panels from being assembled to the incorrect compartment enclosure 30, and hence the panel and corresponding labels from being associated with the wrong equipment. Additional blocking features may be provided to prevent panels from being removed except in a predetermined order. As seen in FIG. 1 and FIG. 6, the front panel 32 may include a flange 106 that overlaps the top panel 38. The flange 106 provides a blocking feature that prevents the top panel 38 from being removed unless the front panel 32 is first removed.

A compartment enclosure may be used in connection with underground distribution switchgear enclosures and other suitable power distribution enclosures. The compartment enclosures may segment a larger underground switchgear enclosure allowing terminations, breaker/switches, buswork and the like to be separated within the larger switchgear enclosure. Moreover, the compartment enclosures remain at ground potential. The compartment enclosures may include one or more panels that include interlocking assembly features, such as rail-to-rail type engagement features, allowing the panels to be assembled to the compartment enclosure without tools or fasteners. The interlocking assembly features may interlock so that in the event of a component failure within the compartment enclosure and a corresponding potential increase in internal pressure, the interlocking assembly features lock together to increase mechanical strength of the compartment enclosure and to seal the compartment enclosure. Blocking features may furthermore be included to ensure correct panel assembly and disassembly.

While the present disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, certain embodiments are shown by way of example in the drawings and the herein described embodiments. It will be understood, however, that this disclosure is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms described, but to the contrary, the invention is intended to cover all modifications, alternatives, and equivalents defined by the appended claims.

It should also be understood that, unless a term is expressly defined in this patent using the sentence “As used herein, the term ‘______’ is hereby defined to mean . . . ” or a similar sentence, there is no intent to limit the meaning of that term, either expressly or by implication, beyond its plain or ordinary meaning, and such term should not be interpreted to be limited in scope based on any statement made in any section of this patent (other than the language of the claims). To the extent that any term recited in the claims at the end of this patent is referred to in this patent in a manner consistent with a single meaning, that is done for sake of clarity only so as to not confuse the reader, and it is not intended that such claim term by limited, by implication or otherwise, to that single meaning. Unless a claim element is defined by reciting the word “means” and a function without the recital of any structure, it is not intended that the scope of any claim element be interpreted based on the application of 35 U.S.C. §112, sixth paragraph.





 
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