Title:
Height-adjustable supports for false floors
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a height-adjustable support for false floors, in particular for exhibitions, trade fairs, etc., having a foot (3) for bearing on the underlying surface, and a head (4) on which the covering panels (1) end up located, and having a spindle arrangement which connects the foot and head and of which the spindle, a threaded rod (5), is mounted in a bearing (9) such that it can be rotated at the head (4), but cannot be displaced axially, and interacts, in the foot (3), with a mating thread (8) provided in a fixed manner therein as a spindle nut, it being possible for the spindle drive to be driven by means of a handle (16).

In order to allow straightforward height adjustment to be carried out even when all but one covering panel have already been laid at a supporting point, the handle is connected in a rotationally fixed manner to the spindle.




Inventors:
Lenhard-backhaus, Hugo (Vienna, AT)
Hrovath, Josef (Riegersdorf, AT)
Application Number:
11/728008
Publication Date:
12/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/22/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F5/02
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Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOLISCH HARTWELL, P.C. (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
1. A height-adjustable support for false floors having one or more covering panels, the support comprising: a foot (3) for bearing on an underlying surface (7), a head (4) configured to support the covering panels (1), a spindle which connects the foot and head, where the spindle includes a threaded rod (5) that is mounted in a bearing (9) such that it can be rotated at the head (4), but cannot be displaced axially, and that also interacts with the foot (3) via a mating thread (8) provided in a fixed manner therein as a spindle nut, and a spindle drive, incorporating the spindle nut, that is configured to be driven by means of a handle (16), characterized in that the handle is connected in a rotationally fixed manner to the spindle.

2. Support according to claim 1, characterized in that the handle is a gearwheel (25, 25′) with an outer toothing formation.

3. Support according to claim 2, characterized in that at least four apertures (24′, 24, 27, 34) are provided in at least one of the head (4) and the foot (3), so that it is possible for a crank (10, 22) with an appropriately arranged pinion (11, 23) to be plugged into the same.

4. Support according to one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the handle (16) is arranged in the vicinity of the head (4).

5. Support according to one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the handle (16) is designed as a handwheel.

6. Support according to one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the handle (16) is in the form of at least four, spokes of the threaded rod (5).

7. Support according to claim 2, characterized in that the handle (16) is a gearwheel (25′) which has wing-like protrusions (26) on at least one of its top side and its underside.

8. Support according to claim 3, characterized in that six or eight apertures (24′, 24, 27, 34) are provided in at least one of the head (4) and foot (3), so that it is possible for a crank (10, 22) with an appropriately arranged pinion (11, 23) to be plugged into the same.

9. Support according to claim 6, characterized in that the handle (16) is in the form of eight spokes of the threaded rod (5).

Description:
The invention relates to height-adjustable supports for false floors, in particular for exhibitions, trade fairs, etc., having a foot for bearing on the underlying surface, and a head on which the covering panels end up located, and having a spindle arrangement which connects the foot and head and of which the spindle, a threaded rod, is mounted such that it can be rotated at the head, but cannot be displaced axially, and interacts, in the foot, with a mating thread provided in a fixed manner therein as a spindle nut, it being possible for the spindle to be rotated by means of a handle, in accordance with the preamble of claim 1.

A similar support is known from DE 203 18 010 U. In this case however, rather than interacting with a mating thread of the foot the spindle interacts with a thread of an adjusting sleeve arranged in a rotatable manner in the foot. This adjusting sleeve bears a toothing formation and is connected, by means of a chain, to a pinion which is mounted permanently on the foot plate and, for its part, can be rotated by a tool, the head height being adjusted as a result. The handle acts on the adjusting sleeve in this way. This support, on account of the mechanics, is complex, expensive and heavy and, on account of the mechanics being exposed in the base part, is also at risk of being clogged up with dirt.

DE 93 05 581 U discloses an earlier support, from the same applicant, for a frame structure of a false floor: in this case, an adjusting sleeve with an external thread is mounted in a rotatable manner on the foot, the head has an internal thread which meshes with said external thread, the interior of the adjusting sleeve bears a mount for a tool, and is freely accessible, and, in addition, is not covered by the frame. This design is completely unsuitable for continuous-surface floors.

US 2003/0025049 A discloses a support without any spindle arrangement, but with a high foot part with a rotatable insert sleeve with internal thread, into which the head part is screwed by way of a screw and is fixed by means of a lock nut. The entire top part is then oriented correctly, together with the insert sleeve, and fixed by means of a fixing screw. This system cannot be used for repeated assembly and dismantling; the lock nut is only accessible from one side and, even then, is not easy to operate. This is inconvenient, in particular, also for dismantling purposes and is prohibitive specifically for subsequent precision correction work.

EP 1 247 922 A discloses a special head plate for a support of a false floor; the support itself is of minor importance and corresponds essentially to the support according to US 2003/0025049 A, and thus also has the same disadvantages.

WO 91/15641 A relates to a false floor in which each panel has a corner aperture and is supported individually in each case in the region of each corner by means of supports similar to those mentioned above. The four corner apertures form a circle with contoured periphery into which a closing and retaining plate is inserted in the manner of a bayonet closure. It is also the case that this design is unsuitable for continuous-surface coverings.

Non-generic supports for furniture, specifically for refrigerators, washing machines, printer tables, etc. are known from U.S. Pat. No. 3,844,518 A, U.S. Pat. No. 5,697,586 A and DE 29 03 835 A. All these supports are unsuitable for floors, in particular for continuous-surface floors.

It is also known, from practical applications, for a plurality of covering panels to be borne at their corners in each case by a common support, of which the foot rests on the underlying surface and the head, on which the covering panels are located, is connected to the foot via a threaded rod which can be rotated in the foot, but is fixed axially, the head containing a fixed nut which meshes with the thread and changes the height position when the thread is rotated. In order for it to be possible to adjust the height appropriately, an aperture for a hexagon socket wrench or the like is provided in the top end surface of the threaded rod and the covering panels are provided with concave recesses or are beveled at the corners for the purpose of allowing adjustment with covering panels placed in position. The apertures in the region of the threaded rod, finally, are closed using special fillers, although this is unsightly and also requires special fixing for these closure components on the covering panels. This design is similar to that in WO 91/15641 A.

The object of the invention is to provide a support of the type mentioned in the introduction in the case of which use can be made of covering panels with corners which, with the exception of joints, actually form a continuous-surface floor, and in the case of which straightforward height adjustment can be carried out even when all but one covering panel have already been laid at a supporting point.

This object is achieved according to the invention, and according to the characterizing part of claim 1, for a support of the type defined in the introduction in that the handle is connected in a rotationally fixed manner to the spindle. The handle is preferably a gearwheel with an external thread. It is thus possible for the threaded rod to be rotated manually, or using a simple tool, even when all but one covering panel resting on the support, three of the four panels in the case of rectangular panels, have been laid. By virtue of the spindle being subjected to direct action, there is no need for any gear mechanism, the support is lighter and more compact, and there are no parts projecting beyond the outline of the foot and/or head of the support.

In one configuration, four, preferably six or eight apertures are provided in the head and/or foot, it being possible for a crank with appropriately arranged pinion to be plugged into the same. The head plate may thus be designed with a large surface area, and the tool is guided to good effect by way of the apertures.

In another configuration, the handle either is designed as a handwheel or is realized by a plurality of spokes. It is advantageous for the gearwheel to be provided with wing-like protrusions on its underside and/or its topside, depending on accessibility. These protrusions facilitating manual operation.

Further configurations are given in the rest of the subclaims.

The invention is explained in more detail hereinbelow with reference to the drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a schematic side view of a support according to the invention with a likewise schematic plan view of the design of the covering panels in the supporting region,

FIG. 2 shows a schematic side view of a variant of the invention along with an illustration of an actuating device,

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a further variant,

FIG. 4 shows a section through the variant of FIG. 3,

FIG. 5 shows a schematic view of another variant,

FIGS. 6 and 7 show three different views of a further variant, and

FIG. 8 shows yet another variant in section.

FIG. 1 illustrates a support according to the invention schematically in horizontal and vertical projection. Rectangular covering panels 1 rest on the heads 4 of an adjustable support 2. The foot 3 of the support has, in its central region, an internal thread 8, for example a nut welded in this region, which meshes with the external thread of a threaded rod 5, the spindle. The threaded rod 5 is mounted by means of a bearing 9 in the head 4 of the support in a rotatable but axially fixed manner, and the foot 3 rests on the underlying surface 7 and, if appropriate, is connected thereto.

Provided on the threaded rod 5 is a handle 16 for the purpose of rotation of the threaded rod 5; the example illustrated indicates spokes which can be rotated manually even if, as can be gathered from the plan view, three of the four covering panels 1 have already been laid on the support 2.

The operation of laying a floor covering in this system, then, takes place such that a first covering panel 1 is positioned on the support 2 by way of each of its corners, protrusions or apertures on the top surface of the head 4 and corresponding apertures or protrusions on the undersides of the covering panels 1 ensuring that, once the covering panels have been placed in position, rotation of the heads 4 about the threaded rod 5 is no longer possible without the covering panel being released from the head. By virtue of the threaded rods 5 being rotated, the covering panel is then moved to the correct height, and into the horizontal, using a spirit level or similar auxiliary means. The four supports 2 bearing the covering panel are positioned in this way. The next panel is then positioned, to one of the sides, and supported, at its corners which are still free, by two further supports 2. These two supports, or their heads, can be positioned, with the aid of a spirit level, such that this second panel is also located in the predetermined plane. As the operation of laying panels progresses, it is increasingly the case that only one more support is required for each covering panel and, in such cases, the height of the supports 2 can also easily be adjusted.

FIG. 2 shows a variant in which a handle 16 comprises a gearwheel 25 which is connected in a rotationally fixed manner to the threaded rod 5 and has a radial toothing formation. At least four, preferably six or eight, bushings or apertures 24 are provided in the foot 4, at an appropriate distance from the axis of the threaded rod 5. A tool, namely a crank 10, can be inserted in a rotatable manner, by way of its free end, into these bushings or apertures. The crank 10, at an appropriate distance from its free end, bears a pinion 11 with an external thread, which meshes with the external thread of the gearwheel 25.

In the variant illustrated, furthermore, the head 4 contains at least one aperture 24′ of sufficient magnitude which can be brought into alignment with each of the bushings or apertures 24 and at the level of which the crank 10 has an appropriate thickened portion 12 of greater diameter than the pinion 11, so that the crank 10 is guided at two locations and can be operated particularly straightforwardly. If the radial extent of the head 4 is not as large as has been illustrated, then this aperture 24′ may be dispensed with and the crank 10 is guided in the bushing or aperture 24 only at its bottom, free end.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show an embodiment in which actuation of a decentralized shaft 13 drives a gearwheel 17 which is mounted in a rotatable manner in the foot 3, which is designed as a base. A second gearwheel, the handle 16, which engages with this gearwheel 17, drives the threaded spindle 5, which is screwed into a thread 8 provided in the foot 3. Actuation of the shaft 13, which has a mount for a screwdriver or the like at its top end, rotates the spindle 5 in the thread, as a result of which the head 4 is raised or lowered relative to the base 3. At the same time, the decentralized shaft 13 (even in the case where no covering panels have been laid yet) prevents the head 4 from rotating in relation to the base. The closed construction, which is safeguarded against the penetration of dirt, is advantageous, but it is disadvantageous that, during the laying operation, the orientation of the support has to be taken into consideration in order to maintain accessibility.

In the example illustrated, a cross-form bearing plate 18 is provided between the actual head 4 and the covering panels (not illustrated), this bearing plate having adjusting elements 19 and fixing elements 20 (the mating elements of which are located on the underside of correspondingly designed covering panels) and making it easier for the covering panels to be laid on the supports. The adjusting elements serve for more straightforward positioning of the covering panels by way of an essentially form-fitting connection. As soon as the correct position has been achieved by way of the adjusting elements (e.g. pins, protuberances and the like), the covering panel is connected to the bearing panel 18 in a force-fitting manner by latching into the fixing elements (e.g. catches, hooks, mushroom-shaped protrusions, etc.). In the example illustrated, the bearing panel 18 is fixed on the head 4 by protuberances 21. It is also possible for the head and bearing plate to be in one piece, and neither the shape of the head nor that of the bearing plate play any part which is essential to the invention.

A further embodiment is shown purely schematically in FIG. 5 and in a fully formed state in FIGS. 6 and 7. The head 4, which serves as bearing means for the covering panels 1, has, in relation to the axis of the threaded rod 5 or the imaginary point of contact of four covering panels, at least one decentralized opening 27, and these openings allow a crank 22 with pinion 23 to be introduced into a bushing 34. When the crank is in the inserted position, the pinion engages in the teeth of a gearwheel which forms the handle 16 and is seated in the top region of the threaded rod 5, connected in a rotationally fixed manner thereto. Even if—as illustrated in FIG. 5—one, or up to three, covering panel(s) has (have) already been laid, the decentralized openings 27 allow precise adjustment of the height of the head 4 by virtue of the crank being rotated. Of course, it is also possible to provide more than two openings 27 and aligned bushings 34, preferably concentrically about the axis of the threaded rod 5 and with at least one in each quarter, so that, even if three covering panels have already been laid, access is still possible without prior consideration having to be given as to the sequence in which the covering panels are laid.

FIG. 8 shows a variant of the last-described embodiment. In comparison with the variant of FIGS. 5 to 7, the handle 16 is in the form of a gearwheel 25′ which is fixed to the threaded rod 5 and is located beneath the head 4. The axially fixed bearing, as always, is arranged in the head, and the nut 8, which interacts with the threaded rod 5 in the manner of a spindle drive, is located in the foot of the device. A tool in the form of a shaft with a pinion can be used, as in the previous variant; provided for guiding the same or a plurality of bushings or bearings, into which the bottom end of the tool can be inserted in a rotatable manner. Furthermore, the handle 16 bears downwardly projecting wings 26, which make it considerably easier for the handle to be rotated without a tool being used and, in particular, allow precision adjustment.

As can be seen from a comparison of the figures, the embodiments according to FIGS. 3 and 8 are particularly straightforward and robust.

Rather than being restricted to the exemplary embodiments illustrated, the invention can be modified in various ways. For example, instead of gearwheels, it is possible to use friction wheels, in order further to reduce the costs for the toothing formation, which obviously need not be precise and can therefore itself be produced cost-effectively. In the case of the embodiment according to FIG. 1, the individual radial spokes may be connected to one another at their free ends by a circular or polygonal ring, this further improving the availability of the handle 16 since the angular position is basically no longer of any consequence.

The illustration in some of the figures has deliberately been provided in purely schematic form in order to explain the functional principle of the invention. A person skilled in the art with knowledge of the invention will easily select the technical configuration of the bushing bearings, levers, cranks, handles on the cranks, etc. as required, in which case there is no need to provide any separate illustration of the technical configuration. A person skilled in the art with knowledge of the invention will have no difficulty in selecting the spindle drive, in respect of the self-locking of the same.

There are also a number of possibilities for configuring the base side of the foot 3 and the top side of the head 4; there are various prior-art solutions and embodiments here for the purpose of ensuring stability and the strength with which the covering panel 1 bears on the head 4. However, this does not form a constituent part of the invention.