Title:
Hanger clamp with hanger strap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hanger for hanging a circular cross-section object, such as a pipe or conduit, includes a top portion that has a channel for receiving a rod therethrough, and a bottom strap portion that supports the pipe and conduit. Ends of the bottom strap are fastenerlessly connected to the top portion on opposite sides of the top portion central portion. The ends of the bottom portion may fit into slots or notches in the top portion. Ends of the top portion may be bent to maintain the coupling between the portions. The bottom portion may include a flexible portion, such as looped flexible cable, with an end of the cable loop secured at one end of the top portion by inserting the cable into cable-receiving channels in the top portion. Alternatively the bottom portion may include a relatively rigid strap, such as a sheet metal strap.



Inventors:
Wilson, Eric J. (Solon, OH, US)
Oh, Michael H. S. (Twinsburg, OH, US)
Laughlin, Raymond S. (Middlefield, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/642111
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
12/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E21F17/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070176057Hanger System for Rigid LinesAugust, 2007Sharman
20090057005Cable Conduit and Method of Mounting a Cable Relative to a Wall OpeningMarch, 2009Groeller et al.
20080217506MAGNETIC TRIMSeptember, 2008Cohoon
20070262220Shelf support systemNovember, 2007Kluge
20090229080Automated hinge assemblySeptember, 2009Chen
20060016942Supporting base for displayJanuary, 2006Lo
20040256528Metal tube support bracket and method for supporting a metal tubeDecember, 2004Sanatgar et al.
20080191103ClipAugust, 2008Thurgar
20030001058CONFIGURABLE MOUNTJanuary, 2003Odd Jr.
20040041070Flag holder accessory for a receiver assemblyMarch, 2004Richardson
20080006745Hand-held electronic instrument with standJanuary, 2008Chong et al.



Primary Examiner:
CHAN, KO HUNG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RENNER OTTO BOISSELLE & SKLAR, LLP (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hanger comprising: a top portion having a central channel for receiving a threaded rod therein; and a bottom portion that includes a strap, and that is fastenerlessly coupled to the top portion; wherein bottom portion ends of the bottom portion are coupled to respective top portion ends, on respective sides of the central channel.

2. The hanger of claim 1, wherein the strap is a flexible strap.

3. The hanger of claim 2, wherein the flexible strap includes flexible cable.

4. The hanger of claim 2, wherein the flexible strap includes a loop of cable.

5. The hanger of claim 4, wherein the top portion includes a pair of hooks on respective sides of a center plane of the top portion; and wherein cable portions of the cable are coupled within cable-receiving channels defined by the hooks.

6. The hanger of claim 5, wherein the top portion is a folded over sheet metal part; and wherein the hooks are bent portions of the sheet metal part.

7. The hanger of claim 6, wherein the top portion includes a cable-receiving notch immediately above the hooks.

8. The hanger of claim 7, wherein the top portion also includes an upper fold back above the cable-receiving notch.

9. The hanger of claim 4, wherein the cable loop passes through a pair of holes in a slotted plate; and wherein bushings secured to cable ends of the cable loop keep the cable ends from passing out of the holes.

10. The hanger of claim 9, wherein the slotted plate includes a slot for passing one of the top portion ends thereinto.

11. The hanger of claim 10, wherein the slotted plate is coupled to the one of the top portion ends by engaging a notch on a top edge of the top portion.

12. The hanger of claim 11, wherein the one of the top portion ends has a pair of tabs that are bendable in opposite directions, away from a center plane of the top portion, to secure the slotted plate in the notch.

13. The hanger of claim 9, wherein the bushings are crimped onto the cable ends.

14. The hanger of claim 1, wherein the strap is a metal strap having slots at opposite strap ends thereof.

15. The hanger of claim 14, wherein the top portion ends pass through respective of the slots; and wherein the strap ends engage respective notches in the top portion ends.

16. The hanger of claim 15, wherein the top portion ends have respective pairs of tabs; and wherein the tabs of each pair of tabs may be bent in opposite directions, away from a center plane of the top portion, to secure the strap ends in the notches.

17. A method of supporting a pipe or conduit, the method comprising: securing a top portion of a hanger to a rod, wherein the securing includes passing the rod through a central channel of the top portion; connecting a first strap end of a flexible strap to a first top portion end, on a first side of the central channel; passing the flexible strap around the pipe or conduit; and connecting a second strap end of the strap to a second top portion end, on a second side of the central channel.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the strap is a loop of flexible cable.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the connecting the second strap end includes: passing an end of the loop in a notch in the top portion; and engaging cable portions of the cable in cable-receiving channels within hooks of the top portion.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the connecting the first strap end includes: passing cables ends of the cable through respective holes in a slotted plate; crimping bushings onto the cable ends to prevent the cable ends from being removed from the holes; and engaging a slot of the slotted plate in a notch on a top edge of the top portion.

Description:

This application claims priority under 35 USC 119 to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/751,945, filed Dec. 20, 2005, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally as indicated to hangers and clamps for circular objects such as pipes or conduits.

2. Description of the Related Art

Clamps for holding circular objects such as pipes or conduit are commonly used in a wide variety of circumstances, such as to secure the objects to structure, to secure other objects or fixtures to the circular objects, or to otherwise limit movement of the circular objects.

One type of clamp for holding pipes is a clevis hanger, which involves a top portion, coupled to a threaded rod, and a bottom portion with a circular saddle portion for receiving a pipe or conduit. The portions are typically joined together by a long bolt that passes through holes on both sides of both portions, secured by a nut. Installation of such clevis hangers requires balancing a number of parts, as well as aligning the holes of the top and bottom portions, all of which can be difficult, especially when the installer is holding up a pipe or conduit section.

From the foregoing it will be appreciated that improvements would be desirable for pipe or conduit clamps in general.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an aspect of the invention, a hanger includes: a top portion having a central channel for receiving a threaded rod therein; and a bottom portion that includes a strap, and that is fastenerlessly coupled to the top portion. Bottom portion ends of the bottom portion are coupled to respective top portion ends, on respective sides of the central channel.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method of supporting a pipe or conduit includes the steps of: securing a top portion of a hanger to a rod, wherein the securing includes passing the rod through a central channel of the top portion; connecting a first strap end of a flexible strap to a first top portion end, on a first side of the central channel; passing the flexible strap around the pipe or conduit; and connecting a second strap end of the strap to a second top portion end, on a second side of the central channel.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, a hanger includes a loop of flexible cable around a pipe or conduit, coupled to a top portion.

To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the invention comprises the features hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims. The following description and the annexed drawings set forth in detail certain illustrative embodiments of the invention. These embodiments are indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed. Other objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the annexed drawings, which are not necessarily to scale:

FIG. 1 is an end view of a hanger in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the hanger of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a top portion of the hanger of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the top portion of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a sheet metal piece folded to produce the top portion of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a slotted plate of a bottom portion of the hanger of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the slotted plate, along section 7-7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a sheet metal piece that may be folded to produce the slotted plate of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is an oblique view of part of the bottom portion of the hanger of FIG. 1, showing the connection between the slotted plate and ends of a cable of the hanger;

FIG. 10 is an end view of an alternate embodiment hanger in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a top view of parts of the hanger of FIG. 10, with hex nuts of the hanger omitted for clarity;

FIG. 12 is a side view of a portion of the hanger of FIG. 10, illustrating the coupling between the top portion and strap ends of the bottom portion; and

FIG. 13 is an end view of the bottom portion of the hanger of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A hanger for hanging a circular cross-section object, such as a pipe or conduit, includes a top portion that has a channel for receiving a rod therethrough, and a bottom strap portion that supports the pipe and conduit. Ends of the bottom strap are fastenerlessly connected to the top portion on opposite sides of the top portion central portion. The ends of the bottom portion may fit into slots or notches in the top portion. Ends of the top portion may be bent to maintain the coupling between the portions. The bottom portion may include a flexible portion, such as looped flexible cable, with an end of the cable loop secured at one end of the top portion by inserting the cable into cable-receiving channels in the top portion. Alternatively the bottom portion may include a relatively rigid strap, such as a sheet metal strap. The sheet metal strap may be placed around the pipe or conduit, and connected to the top portion.

Referring initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, a hanger 10 includes a top portion 12 and a bottom portion 14. The top portion 12 is coupled to the bottom portion 14 in order to support a pipe or conduit 16 between the two portions 12 and 14. The hanger 10 is connected to a supporting threaded rod 20, which is coupled to one or more structural members (not shown). The hanger 10 thus provides a way to support a run of pipe or conduit 16 from building structure.

With reference now in addition to FIGS. 3-5, details of the top portion 12 are discussed. The top portion 12 is a generally planar bar, fully above the pipe or conduit 16 supported by the hanger 10. The top portion 12 includes a central channel 24 for receiving the threaded rod 20 therethrough. The threaded rod 20 fits through the channel 24 and is secured by nuts 26 and 28 that are tightened against the top and bottom edges of the top portion 12.

On one side of the central channel 24, a first end 30 of the top portion 12 has a pair of angled corners 32 and 34. The first end 30 also has a notch 36 in a top edge 38. The notch 36 receives a slotted plate 40 of the bottom portion 14, as is discussed in greater detail below. A pair of tabs 41 and 42 at the first end 30 may be bent in opposite directions to secure the slotted plate 40 within the notch 36.

A cable-receiving part 44 of the top portion 12 is on a second end 46 of the top portion 12. The ends 30 and 46 are on opposite sides of the central channel 24. The cable-receiving part 44 is configured to receive and hold a cable 48 of the bottom portion 14. The cable-receiving part 44 includes an upper fold back 52, a central cable-receiving notch 54, and a lower fold back 56. The top portion 12 includes a pair of central sections 60 and 62 folded over on one another. Corresponding protrusions from the sections 60 and 62 are bent outward and back from a center plane 64 of the top portion 12, to form the fold backs 52 and 56.

The upper fold back 52 has a pair of L-shape legs 66 and 68 extending from the center plane 64 of the top portion 12. The legs 66 and 68 are bent in opposite directions away from the center plane 64, and back roughly parallel to the center plane 64. The upper fold back 52 overhangs both the cable-receiving notch 54 and the lower fold back 56. The upper fold back 52 functions to help guide a loop 70 of the flexible cable 48 of the lower portion 14 into the notch 54, for engagement into the lower fold back 56.

The lower fold back 56 includes a pair of rounded hooks 76 and 78 defining within them respective circular cable-receiving channels 82 and 84. The hooks 76 and 78 do not bend all the way around to close off the channels 82 and 84. Rather the channels 82 and 84 have respective openings 86 and 88 that allow portions of the cable 48 to pass between the central sections 60 and 62, and the ends of the hooks 76 and 78. The openings 86 and 88 allow portions 92 and 94 of the cable 48 to be inserted into and removed from the channels 82 and 84. The cable portions 92 and 94 may be secured into the channels 82 and 84 so as to prevent the cable portions 92 and 94 in them from being moved either away from the top portion central channel 24 or from the top portion center plane 64.

In coupling the cable 48 to the second end 46 of the top portion 12, an end 96 of the cable loop 70 is inserted into the notch 54. The cable portions 92 and 94 are moved around the rounded hooks 76 and 78 as the cable loop 70 is inserted in the notch 54. The cable portions 92 and 94 are then brought through the openings 86 and 88, and into the channels 82 and 84 within the hooks 76 and 78. The cable 48 is thus secured to the top portion second end 46.

As noted above, the top portion 12 may be formed by folding over the sections 60 and 62 of a single sheet metal piece 100. The single piece 100 may have a central slot 102 between parts of the sections 60 and 62. This allows parts of the sections 60 and 62 to be bent, so as to form the central rod-receiving channel 24 between them when the sections 60 and 62 are folded over.

The sheet metal piece 100 may be a piece of spring steel or any other suitable material. The sections 60 and 62 may be held together by suitable methods, such as riveting. Alternatively, there may not be a need for any positive method to hold the folded-over sections 60 and 62 together. It will be appreciated that the cable 48 and the slotted plate 40 may aid in keeping the folded-over sections 60 and 62 together.

It will also be appreciated that many other types of structures may be utilized for the top portion 12. For example, instead of being folded over, the top portion 12 may be made of a pair of separate parts that are joined together. Also, it will be appreciated that many other configurations are possible for the upper fold back 52.

The top portion 12 has a height (dimension in the up and down direction) that is much greater than its thickness (dimension perpendicular the center plane 64). This helps the top portion 12 resist twisting, sagging, or other deformation when it is loaded by the weight of the bottom portion 14 and the part of the pipe or conduit 16 supported by the bottom portion 14.

Turning now to FIGS. 6-9, additional details of the bottom portion 14 are now described. The bottom portion 14 includes the cable 48 and the slotted plate 40. The slotted plate 40 has a downward-extending main portion 106 with a slot 108 therein. The main portion 106 has angled upper corners 110 and 112. The slot 108 is configured to receive the top portion first end 30 therein, to allow the slotted plate 40 to engage the notch 36.

An L-shape flange 114 is bent out and up from a bottom edge of the slotted plate main portion 106. The flange 114 has a proximal bottom portion 116, substantially perpendicular to the main portion 106, and an upward-protruding lip 118. The flange 114 has a pair of holes 120 and 122 therein. The holes 120 and 122 are spaced along a width of the slotted plate 40. Portions of the holes 120 and 122 may be in both the bottom portion 116 and the lip 118.

The holes 120 and 122 receive ends 126 and 128 of the cable 48, which are secured by crimped-on bushings 130 and 132. The bushings 130 and 132 keep the cable ends 126 and 128 from passing through the holes 120 and 122 in the slotted plate 40. The cable 48 may thus be permanently secured to the slotted plate 40.

The slotted plate 40 may be a piece of suitable sheet metal, such as spring steel. The slotted plate 40 may be stamped and bent to form it with the features described above.

The hanger 10 may be assembled by first securing the top portion 12 to the threaded rod 20, between the nuts 24 and 26. The slotted plate 40 may be coupled to the top portion first end 30 either before or after the top portion 12 is secured to the threaded rod 20. The looped flexible cable 48 may then be wrapped around the pipe or conduit 16. The end 96 of the cable loop 70 is then secured to the top portion cable-receiving part 44.

The hanger 10 provides many advantages over prior art hangers. It is lightweight. It may be installed around a pipe or conduit that is already in place. Further, the hanger 10 involves few separate parts, which can be coupled together prior to installation. Coupling of the portions 12 and 14 may be done easily and reversibly. The coupling is a fastenerless coupling, meaning that the coupling is done without use of fasteners such as bolts, screws, cotter pins or other sort of uncouplable pins. Specifically excluded from the term fastener, as used herein, are couplings between hanger top and bottom portions shown in the figures, and described in this detailed description.

It will be appreciated that many variants are possible for the hanger 10. For example, the flexible cable 48 may be replaced by another suitable type of flexible strap, with suitable modifications to the portions 12 and 14. As another example, the coupling between the top portion end 30 and the slotted plate 40 may be replaced by another suitable coupling, such as a hinged coupling with a hinge pin.

FIGS. 10-13 illustrate an alternate embodiment, a hanger 210 with a slotted metal strap bottom portion 214. A top portion 212 of the hanger has a central channel 224 that receives a threaded rod 220. The top portion 212 may be secured to the threaded rod 220 between a pair of nuts 226 and 228.

The top portion 212 has notches 236 and 237 along its top edge 238. The notches 236 and 237 are on opposite respective sides of the rod-receiving central channel 224. Pairs of bendable tabs 240/241 and 242/243 are outboard of the notches 236 and 237, at ends 230 and 246 of the top portion 212. The tabs 240/241 and 242/243 may be bent outward from each other to secure the bottom portion 214 to the top portion 212.

The top portion 212 may be a folded-over part made from a single piece of sheet metal, as was the top portion 12 (FIG. 1) described above. Suitable stamping, bending, and folding processes may be used to fabricate the top portion 212 from a single piece of spring steel.

The bottom portion 214 may also be made from a single piece of sheet metal, bent to have a suitable loop shape for receiving a circular object, such as a pipe or conduit 216. The bottom portion 214 had a round shape lower half 250 and an open upper half 252. The upper half 252 has strap ends 254 and 256 that are separated by an opening 260. The opening 260 is narrower than the pipe-receiving space in the lower half 250. The bottom portion 214 has respective slots 262 and 264 at the ends 254 and 256. The slots 262 and 264 receive the top portion ends 230 and 246. The strap ends 254 and 256 slide onto the top portion ends 230 and 246, and drop into the top portion notches 236 and 237. The pairs of tabs 240/241 and 242/243 may then be bent outward, such as with a screwdriver, to secure the strap ends 254 and 256 in the notches 236 and 237.

Like the hanger 10 (FIG. 1), the portions 212 and 214 of the hanger 210 may be easily connected together, with a minimum of tools. The number of parts may be reduced in comparison with prior art hangers that rely on fasteners to couple parts together.

Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to a certain preferred embodiment or embodiments, it is obvious that equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art upon the reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. In particular regard to the various functions performed by the above described elements (components, assemblies, devices, compositions, etc.), the terms (including a reference to a “means”) used to describe such elements are intended to correspond, unless otherwise indicated, to any element which performs the specified function of the described element (i.e., that is functionally equivalent), even though not structurally equivalent to the disclosed structure which performs the function in the herein illustrated exemplary embodiment or embodiments of the invention. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention may have been described above with respect to only one or more of several illustrated embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of the other embodiments, as may be desired and advantageous for any given or particular application.





 
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