Title:
EQUIPMENT CABINET
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cabinet comprising an access panel having a first end and a first tongue formed proximate the first access panel end, and a top panel having a first end with a first slot formed therein; wherein the first tongue is configured to cooperate with the first slot to fasten the top panel to the access panel. In one embodiment, the cabinet may be a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system cabinet. A method of manufacturing the cabinet is also provided.



Inventors:
Moffett, Murry Joel (Carrollton, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/463715
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/10/2006
Assignee:
Lennox Manufacturing, Inc. (Richardson, TX, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lennox International Inc. (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An equipment cabinet, comprising: an access panel having an access opening therethrough and a first end; a first tongue formed proximate said first access panel end and substantially normal a face of said access panel; a first locking nib formed in said first tongue; a top panel having a first end with a first slot formed therein; and a first locking aperture formed in said first top panel end, said first tongue configured to cooperate with said first slot, and said first locking aperture configured to cooperate with said first locking nib to fasten said top panel to said access panel.

2. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 further comprising: a female fastener coupled to said access panel; and a cover panel having a male fastener configured to couple to said female fastener, said cover panel configured to cover said access panel and said access opening.

3. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 wherein said access panel comprises a first outer flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel, said first outer flange configured as said tongue.

4. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 wherein said access panel comprises a first inner flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel, said first inner flange configured as said tongue.

5. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 wherein said access panel has a second end and a second tongue formed proximate said second access panel end; and a bottom panel having a first end with a first bottom panel slot formed therein, wherein said second tongue is configured to cooperate with said first bottom panel slot to fasten said bottom panel to said access panel.

6. The cabinet as recited in claim 5 wherein said access panel comprises a second outer flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel, said second outer flange configured as said tongue.

7. The cabinet as recited in claim 5 wherein said access panel comprises a second inner flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel, said second inner flange configured as said tongue.

8. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 wherein said top panel has a second end and further comprising a top panel tongue proximate said second top panel end, said cabinet further comprising a back panel having a first back panel end, said first back panel end having a back panel slot formed therein; said top panel tongue and said back panel slot configured to cooperate to fasten said back panel to said top panel.

9. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 wherein said top panel has a second end and further comprising a second top panel slot proximate said second top panel end, said cabinet further comprising a back panel having a first back panel end, said first back panel end having a back panel tongue formed therein; said back panel tongue and said second top panel slot configured to cooperate to fasten said back panel to said top panel.

10. The cabinet as recited in claim 1 further comprising a seal positioned between said cover panel and said access panel.

11. A method of manufacturing a cabinet, comprising: providing an access panel having an access opening therethrough and a first end; forming a first tongue proximate said first access panel end and substantially normal a face of said access panel; forming a first locking nib in said first tongue; providing a top panel having a first end; forming a first slot in said first top panel end; forming a first locking aperture in said first top panel end; and configuring said first tongue to cooperate with said first slot and further configuring said first locking aperture to cooperate with said first locking nib to fasten said top panel to said access panel.

12. The method as recited in claim 11 further comprising: coupling a female fastener to said access panel; and coupling a male fastener to said cover panel, said male fastener configured to couple to said female fastener, and said cover panel configured to cover said access panel and said access opening.

13. The method as recited in claim 11 further comprising: forming a first outer flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel; and configuring said first outer flange as said tongue.

14. The method as recited in claim 11 further comprising: forming a first inner flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel; and configuring said first inner flange as said tongue.

15. The method as recited in claim 11 wherein said access panel has a second end and further comprising: forming a second tongue proximate said second access panel end; providing a bottom panel having a first end; forming a first bottom panel slot in said first bottom panel end; and configuring said second tongue to cooperate with said first bottom panel slot to fasten said bottom panel to said access panel.

16. The method as recited in claim 15 further comprising: forming a second outer flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel; and configuring said second outer flange as said tongue.

17. The method as recited in claim 15 further comprising: forming a second inner flange projecting from and substantially normal a face of said access panel; and configuring said second inner flange as said tongue.

18. The method as recited in claim 11 wherein said top panel has a second end and further comprising: forming a top panel tongue proximate said second top panel end; providing a back panel having a first back panel end; forming a back panel slot in said first back panel end; and configuring said top panel tongue and said back panel slot to cooperate to fasten said back panel to said top panel.

19. The method as recited in claim 11 wherein said top panel has a second end and further comprising: forming a second top panel slot proximate said second top panel end; providing a back panel having a first back panel end; forming a back panel tongue in said first back panel end; and configuring said back panel tongue and said second top panel slot configured to cooperate to fasten said back panel to said top panel.

20. The method as recited in claim 11 further comprising positioning a seal between said cover panel and said access panel.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed, in general, to equipment cabinetry and, more particularly, to a cabinet for HVAC applications such as air filters, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), and electronic air cleaners (EAC).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems require ducting to route conditioned air to the served area and return air back to the HVAC equipment for further conditioning. These ducts may be rigid and constructed of sheet metal or flexible and constructed of a variety of materials including several plastics. Among the conditioning processes performed on return air is filtration, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), and electronic air cleaner (EAC). Typically, these processes are done in sequential stages to the air and therefore require some form of cabinet to house the equipment that performs the process while the return air passes through the cabinet. Historically, these cabinets have been constructed of sheet metal and may be shipped from the manufacturing plant to the sales or installation site in assembled form. Especially in the case of the filter cabinet, this results in a bulky, but light-weight cabinet, because the filters are generally packaged separately. The filter cabinet is fully assembled and only needs to be installed in the return air duct and a filter inserted. This traditional approach may result in higher shipping costs as well as requiring more storage space because of the size.

Accordingly, what is needed in the art is a filter cabinet that can be stored and shipped in a knocked-down state, thereby saving storage and shipping bulk, but that is readily assembled at the installation site and of sufficient strength to be functional for many years.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To address the above-discussed deficiencies of the prior art, the present invention provides, in one aspect, a cabinet comprising an access panel having a first end and a first tongue formed proximate the first access panel end, and a top panel having a first end with a first slot formed therein; wherein the first tongue is configured to cooperate with the first slot to fasten the top panel to the access panel. In one embodiment, the cabinet may be a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system cabinet. A method of manufacturing the cabinet is also provided.

The foregoing has outlined preferred and alternative features of the present invention so that those skilled in the pertinent art may better understand the detailed description of the invention that follows. Additional features of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claims of the invention. Those skilled in the pertinent art should appreciate that they can readily use the disclosed conception and specific embodiment as a basis for designing or modifying other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. Those skilled in the pertinent art should also realize that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the invention, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an exploded isometric view of one embodiment of an equipment cabinet constructed according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2A illustrates an exploded, close up vertical sectional view of the first top panel end and the first access panel end along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B illustrates a close up vertical sectional view of the first top panel end coupled to the first access panel end along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates an isometric view of the cabinet of FIG. 1 as assembled with the door panel installed;

FIG. 4 illustrates an exploded isometric view of a second embodiment of an equipment cabinet constructed according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates an isometric view of the cabinet of FIG. 4 as assembled with the door panel installed; and

FIG. 6 illustrates an exploded isometric view of another alternative embodiment of a cabinet constructed according to the principles of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring initially to FIG. 1, illustrated is an exploded isometric view of one embodiment of an equipment cabinet 100 constructed according to the principles of the present invention. In one embodiment, the equipment cabinet may be a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system filter cabinet. While this description will discuss the application of the present invention to an air filter cabinet, one who is skilled in the art will recognize that the cabinet construction and assembly may also be used for other HVAC processes such as: photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), and electronic air cleaner (EAC). Of course, the cabinet construction as detailed below may also be applicable to cabinets other than HVAC.

The equipment cabinet 100 comprises an access panel 110, a top panel 120, a back panel 130, a bottom panel 140 and a cover panel 150. The access panel 110 comprises a first end 111, a second end 112, an access opening 113 therethrough, a first outer flange 114a, a first inner flange 114b, a second outer flange 115a (not visible), a second inner flange 115b, a plurality of locking nibs 116 formed in the first inner flange 114b, a plurality of female fasteners 117, and an outer side flange 118. In a preferred embodiment, the access opening 113 allows service access to the equipment within the cabinet once the cover panel 150 is removed. A single locking nib 116a, i.e., a projection of material above or below the surface in which it is located, is also formed at each corner of the outer side flange 118. In the illustrated embodiment, the first inner flange 114b is configured as a first tongue 114b. The first tongue 114b and the outer side flange 118 are substantially normal a face 119 of the access panel 110.

The top panel 120 comprises a first end 121, a second end 122, a first slot 123 formed in the first end 121, a second tongue 124 formed at the second end 122, a top edge panel 125, a plurality of locking apertures 126 formed in the first end 121 at the first slot 123, and a plurality of locking nibs 127 formed in the second tongue 124. The second tongue 124 and the top edge panel 125 are substantially normal a face 128 of the top panel 120. The back panel 130 and bottom panel 140 are configured in a like manner as the top panel 120 having first and second ends 131, 132 and 141, 142, respectively. The first and second back panel ends 131, 132 comprise third and fourth slots 133, 134, respectively. The bottom panel first end 141 has a third tongue 143 and the bottom panel second end 142 has a fourth slot 144. The cover panel 150 comprises a plurality of male fasteners 151 configured to cooperate with the plurality of female fasteners 117 to removeably couple the cover panel 150 to the access panel 110 and to cover the access opening 113.

Referring now to FIG. 2A, illustrated is an exploded, close up vertical sectional view of the first top panel end 121 and the first access panel end 111 along line 2-2 of FIG. 1. The first tongue 114b and the first slot 123 are visible in the section. The first slot 123 is formed by bending the sheet metal of the top panel 120 to create a doubler 210 and a tripler 220 leaving a sufficient gap (first slot 123) to accept the first tongue 114b. The tripler 220 has sufficient flex to allow the first tongue 114b to be pushed in, thereby aligning the locking nibs 116 with the locking apertures 126.

FIG. 2B illustrates a close up vertical sectional view of the first top panel end 121 coupled to the first access panel end 111 along line 2-2 of FIG. 1. In general, the first tongue 114b and the first slot 123 may be mated without tools. However, if they resist mating, a rubber mallet may be used to make the connection. Once mated, as with most HVAC installations, disassembly is not anticipated; although it may be performed carefully without damaging the panels.

Referring now to FIG. 3, illustrated is an isometric view of the cabinet 100 of FIG. 1 as assembled with the door panel 150 installed. As can be seen, this embodiment provides a sleek external appearance from the perspective of the access area. The cabinet 100 may further comprise a foam seal 310 installed to seal between the access panel 110 and the cover panel 150. The cabinet 100 may also include structure (not shown) fastened to the panels 110, 120, 130, 140 to customize the cabinet 100 for its intended use. These structures may be guides for holding a filter, support for an electronic air cleaner, etc.

Referring now to FIG. 4, illustrated is an exploded isometric view of a second embodiment of an equipment cabinet 400 constructed according to the principles of the present invention. The equipment cabinet 400 comprises an access panel 410, a top panel 420, a back panel 430, a bottom panel 440 and a cover panel 450. The access panel 410 comprises a first end 411, a second end 412, an access opening 413, and a plurality of female fasteners 414. The top panel 420 comprises a first end having a first slot 423 formed therein, and a second end 422 having a second slot 424 formed therein. The access panel first end 411 and the top panel first end 421 couple in a like manner as in the embodiment of FIG. 1. The back panel 430 comprises a first end 431 having a first tongue 432, and a second end 433 having a second tongue 434. The first and second tongues 432, 434 are substantially normal a face 435 of the back panel 430. The bottom panel 440 comprises a first end 441 having a first slot 442, and a second end 443 having a second slot 444. The back panel first tongue 432 couples to the top panel second slot 424 while the back panel second tongue 434 couples to the bottom panel first slot 442. The bottom panel 440 couples to the access panel 410 in a manner similar to the coupling of the bottom panel 140 and the access panel 110 of FIG. 1.

The cabinet 400 further comprises a top trim panel 460, a pair of upper filter guides 470, and a pair of lower filter guides 480. The top trim panel 460 is optional and may be used to give an even more finished outer appearance to the cabinet 400. The top panel 420 further comprises first and second longitudinal slots 425, 426 formed along a long side of the top panel 420. The upper filter guides 470, 471 comprise vertical tabs 472, 473, respectively, that fit in the first and second longitudinal slots 425, 426, respectively. The bottom panel 440 further comprises first and second longitudinal slots 445, 446 formed along a long side of the bottom panel 440. The lower filter guides 480, 481 comprise vertical tabs 482 (not visible), 483, and filter flanges 484, 485, respectively. The lower filter guide vertical tabs 482 (not visible), 483, respectively, fit in the first and second longitudinal slots 445, 446, respectively.

Referring now to FIG. 5, illustrated is an isometric view of the cabinet 400 of FIG. 4 as assembled with the door panel 450 installed. As can be seen, this embodiment provides a sleek external appearance both from above and from the perspective of the access area. Filter flanges 484, 485 can be seen as they would appear without a filter installed. The top trim panel 460 may be held in place with screws 561.

Referring now to FIG. 6, illustrated is an exploded isometric view of another alternative embodiment of a cabinet 600 constructed according to the principles of the present invention. The cabinet 600 comprises an access panel 610, a top panel 620, a back panel 630, a bottom panel 640 and a cover panel 650. The access panel 610 comprises a first end 611, a second end 612, an access opening 613 therethrough, a first outer flange 614, a second outer flange 615, a plurality of locking nibs 616 formed in the first outer flange 614, a plurality of female fasteners 617, and an outer side flange 618. A single locking nib 616a is also formed at each corner of the outer side flange 618. In the illustrated embodiment, the first outer flange 614 is configured as a first tongue 614. The first tongue 614 and the outer side flange 618 are substantially normal a face 619 of the access panel 610.

The top panel 620 comprises a first end 621, a second end 622, a first slot 623 formed in the first end 621, a second tongue 624 formed at the second end 622, a plurality of locking apertures 626 formed in the first end 621 at the first slot 623, and a plurality of locking nibs 627 formed in the second tongue 624. The second tongue 624 is substantially normal a face 628 of the top panel 620. The back panel 630 and bottom panel 640 have first and second ends 631, 632 and 641, 642, respectively. The first and second back panel ends 631, 632 comprise third and fourth slots 633, 634, respectively. The bottom panel first end 641 has a third tongue 643 and the bottom panel second end 642 has a fourth slot 644. The cover panel 650 comprises a plurality of male fasteners 651 configured to cooperate with the plurality of female fasteners 617 to removeably couple the cover panel 650 to the access panel 610. The cabinet 600 may further comprise upper and lower equipment panels 660, 670, respectively, located inside of the upper and lower panels 620, 640, respectively. The upper and lower equipment panels 660, 670, respectively, may be fastened to the upper and lower panels 620, 640, respectively, with screws 680. The upper and lower equipment panels 660, 670 may be custom configured for any one of a variety of equipment such as: photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), and electronic air cleaner (EAC).

Therefore, a cabinet has been described that can be stored and shipped in a knocked-down state, thereby saving storage and shipping bulk. The cabinet may be especially useful for HVAC applications involving a variety of equipment such as: air filters, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), and electronic air cleaners (EAC) Nonetheless, the cabinet is readily assembled at the installation site and of sufficient strength to be functional for many years

Although the present invention has been described in detail, those skilled in the pertinent art should understand that they can make various changes, substitutions and alterations herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.