Title:
Hand Rail with Light Source Inside the Mounting Bracket and Back Up Power Supply
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is provided a hand rail comprising a balustrade defining a hollow tubular cavity; and plural mounting brackets for mounting said balustrade to a support surface of a building. At least one of said plural mounting brackets is provided with at least one light source for emitting guide light therefrom and wherein, a back up power supply for said at least one light source is provided within said hollow tubular cavity. The hand rail is suitable for use in providing emergency lighting for stairways and/or corridors of buildings.



Inventors:
Harrison, Robert (Berkshire, GB)
D'arcy, John (Arborfield, GB)
Day, Robin (Surrey, GB)
Trundle, Robert (Berkshire, GB)
Application Number:
11/914937
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
03/16/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F11/18; F21S9/02; G08B5/36; F21V33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAWHNEY, HARGOBIND S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, P.C. (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A hand rail comprising: a balustrade defining a hollow tubular cavity; and spaced along said balustrade, plural mounting brackets for mounting the balustrade to a support surface of a building, wherein at least one of said plural mounting brackets is provided with at least one light source for emitting guide light therefrom and wherein, a back up power supply for said at least one light source is provided within said hollow tubular cavity.

2. A hand rail according to claim 1, wherein all of the plural mounting brackets are provided with the at least one light source.

3. A hand rail according to claim 1, wherein the at least one light source comprises one or more LED lamps.

4. A hand rail according to claim 1, wherein each of the plural mounting brackets defines a cavity for housing the at least one light source.

5. A hand rail according to claim 1, wherein each of the plural wall mounting brackets comprises a mounting plate for mounting to the support surface of a building; an arm for holding up the balustrade; and a cavity housing for housing the at least one light source.

6. A hand rail according to claim 5, wherein said cavity housing is shaped to direct such as in use, to guide light generally downwards.

7. A hand rail according to claim 1, wherein the hollow cavity of the balustrade houses mains supply cabling.

8. A hand rail according to claim 1, wherein the back up power supply comprises a rechargeable battery arranged for recharging by a mains power supply.

9. A hand rail according to claim 1, additionally comprising a scheduler for scheduling regular timed periods of operation of the back up power supply.

Description:

The present invention relates to a hand rail for use in stairways and corridors, the hand rail including an emergency lighting system.

It is well known to provide a hand rail (e.g. wall-mounted) to stairways and corridors of buildings, which provide a means of hand grip and guidance for persons using these spaces. It is also known to provide emergency lighting systems to stairways and corridors that provide illumination thereto in the event of an emergency, which illumination acts to guide persons to assist their exit from the building. Such emergency lighting systems are typically mains powered, but often include battery back up power units that are triggered in the event of a failure of mains power. Emergency lighting may thus, be provided even where the mains power supply fails.

Applicant has now realized that it is desirable to incorporate the emergency lighting system directly into the hand rail so that guide illumination may be directed most effectively to assist exit from the building. In particular, Applicant has realized that light elements of the lighting system (e.g. LED lamps) are most effectively housed within a wall mounting of the hand rail. Applicant has also realized that from the standpoint of safety, space saving and aesthetics, the battery back up pack is most effectively housed within a hollow cavity of the balustrade of the hand rail.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a hand rail comprising

a balustrade defining a hollow tubular cavity; and
plural mounting brackets for mounting said balustrade to a support surface of a building,
wherein at least one of said plural mounting brackets is provided with at least one light source for emitting guide light therefrom and wherein, a back up power supply for said at least one light source is provided within said hollow tubular cavity.

There is provided a hand rail suitable for mounting within buildings, for example in stairways or corridors thereof.

The hand rail comprises a balustrade. The exterior of the balustrade suitably has a conventional form and is shaped to provide a hand support/guide for a person (e.g. for use as they proceed along a corridor or down a stairway of the building). The balustrade defines a hollow tubular cavity, the purpose of which will become clearer from the later description.

The hand rail also comprises plural mounting brackets for mounting said balustrade to a support surface of a building. In use, the plural mounting brackets are spaced along the balustrade. The exact number of mounting brackets present will to an extent, depend upon the length of the balustrade. In general terms, sufficient mounting brackets will be needed to enable secure mounting of the balustrade to the support surface of the building. The support surface is most usually either a wall of the building or a mounting framework (e.g. in the form of a metal frame) such as is often found running centrally down the inner part of a stair well in a building. The mounting includes means for fixing to that support surface, which normally comprise screw holes for receipt of screw fixing means received by the building support surface.

At least one of the plural mounting brackets is provided with at least one light source for emitting guide light therefrom. Suitably, all of the plural mounting brackets are provided with such at least one light source. Preferably, all of the mounting brackets include at least one light source and the mounting brackets are spaced at regular intervals along the balustrade to provide a regularly spaced arrangement of guide lights.

Suitable light sources include lamps such as LED lamps, which are preferred because of their relatively low power consumption and good lighting capability. The precise form of each mounting bracket will be determined by its functional requirements to enable mounting to a support surface of a building; to support the balustrade; and to suitably accommodate the light source for providing guide light.

Suitable, the at least one light source is housed within a cavity defined by the mounting bracket. Suitably, the form of that cavity is arranged to guide the light emitted by the light source.

In one aspect, the wall mounting bracket comprises a mounting plate for mounting to the support surface of a building; an arm for holding the balustrade up; and a cavity housing for housing the at least one light source. Suitably, the arm projects away from the support surface of a building and in one aspect is L-shaped. Suitably, the cavity housing for the at least one light source is shaped to direct light generally downwards (i.e. towards the floor of the building), and thus to guide the footsteps of a person, when mounted (e.g. wall-mounted) in normal use.

In normal use, the light sources are powered by mains power supply and/or low voltage (converted) power inputs. Cabling is suitably housed as much as possible within the hollow cavity of the balustrade.

A back up power supply for said at least one light source is provided within said hollow tubular cavity. Suitably, the back up power supply is shaped (e.g. tubular from) for ready receipt within the cavity. The back up power supply typically comprises a rechargeable battery that is arranged for continual recharge by the mains power supply. In the event in an emergency of failure of that mains power supply, the back up power supply is engaged and acts to power the at least one light source to provide emergency guide lighting. The rechargeable battery typically has a 5 year lifetime of operation.

Suitably, operation of the hand rail involves regular timed periods of operation of the back up power supply to exercise the battery and maintain it in good condition. A scheduler/timer may be provided for this purpose.

Suitably, all of the light sources are powered by a single back up power supply, although variations may be envisaged in which additional back up power supply units are also incorporated. Suitably, all of the rechargeable battery, mains power supply cabling and charger are included within the hollow tubular cavity of the balustrade.

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective front view of part of a hand rail in accord with the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective rear view of part of a hand rail in accord with the present invention; and

FIG. 3 shows a cutaway view along Section X′-X′ of FIG. 2.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown part of a hand rail in accord with the present invention comprising balustrade 10 defining a single hollow tubular cavity 12 running along the length thereof. The balustrade 10 associates with mounting bracket 20 arranged for mounting the balustrade 10 to a support surface of a building (not shown).

Mounting bracket 20 comprises flat mounting plate 22 provided with plural holes 24 for screw mounting the plate 22 to a building surface (e.g. wall) and support arm 26 extending horizontally from the plate 22. As may be better seen in FIG. 3, the support arm 26 has an L-shaped from and is provided at its far end with a generally U-form support 28 arranged for receipt of the balustrade 10. It will be appreciated that the overall hand rail comprises plural similar mounting brackets 20 arranged in spaced fashion for overall mounting of the balustrade 10 to the building support surface.

Referring particularly to FIG. 2, the rear of the plate 22 may be seen to include cable input apertures 30, 32 for receipt of respectively low voltage cable 34 and mains voltage cable 36. The front of the plate may be seen to include a lighting aperture 40 for enabling projection of light from a light source 50 comprised within the mounting bracket 20, the details of which may be better seen with reference to FIG. 3.

Light cavity 42 provided to the mounting bracket 20 acts to house light source 50 in the form of an LED lamp arranged adjacent to guide reflector 52. In use, the light source projects light 54 away from the mounting bracket 20 and generally in downwards fashion, as shown.

Low voltage cable 34 provides power to the light source 50. Both the low voltage cable 34 and mains cable 36 may also be seen to feed through the interior of the mounting arm 26 and into tubular cavity 12 of the balustrade 10 to the back up power supply 60, which comprises a tubular form rechargeable battery 60.

In typical usage mode, the battery 60 is continually recharged by power from the mains power supply 36. In the event of a mains power supply failure, low voltage 34 power is transferred to the light source 50, which illuminates to provide guide light as shown. Again, it will be appreciated that the overall hand rail comprises plural mounting brackets 20 arranged in spaced fashion along the length of the balustrade 10 and hence, that plural light sources 50 will illuminate to provide a lighted guide pathway in the event of mains power failure.