Title:
Workstation enclosure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A domed shaped housing (10) and a divider wall (16) forms a two-compartment structure. A forward compartment forms a workstation enclosure having hand-receiving openings (34, 36), a vacuum system (70, 72, 74, 76) and an air delivery tube (78). The rear section (86) of an articulated boom (82) may extend through a window (46) in the rear compartment and at its lower end be connected to a frame (18). The articulated arm (82) includes a forward section (88) extending forwardly from the rear section (86) and supporting a microscope (84) at its lower end. Lights (54, 66, 64) are provided to light up the forward section of the enclosure (10). A tool holder (80) may be mounted on the divider wall (16).



Inventors:
Le Beau, Dene (Renton, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/906223
Publication Date:
04/02/2009
Filing Date:
10/01/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOWNS, BRITTANY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARNARD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW, INC. (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. For use with a work station on a table, a work station enclosure comprising: a base that is supported on the table around the work station; a wall that extends around the base and upwardly from the base to form a sidewall and top for the enclosure, said wall being at least partially transparent, providing visibility for the worker; said sidewall including a pair of laterally spaced apart hand openings and a transparent closed section between the hand openings; and an exhaust outlet inside the enclosure between the hand openings and adjacent the closed section of the sidewall.

2. The work station enclosure of claim 1, wherein the exhaust outlet comprises an opening in the table and a vertically elongated hollow member connected at a lower end to the table about the opening in the table, said hollow member having side and top walls and air passages.

3. The work station enclosure of claim 1, further comprising an air delivery nozzle inside the enclosure adjacent the exhaust outlet.

4. The work station enclosure of claim 2, including an air delivery nozzle inside the enclosure adjacent the hollow member.

5. The work station enclosure of claim 1, including a divider wall inside said enclosure, dividing the enclosure into a front section and a rear section, said hand openings and said exhaust outlet being in the front section.

6. The work station enclosure of claim 5, including a work light in the front section of the enclosure mounted on an upper portion of the divider wall, said Work light being situated inwardly from the closed section of the sidewall between the two hand openings.

7. The work station of claim 5, comprising a tool holder on the divider wall inside the front section of the enclosure.

8. The work station enclosure of claim 1, including a window in an upper part of the enclosure above and between the two hand openings.

9. The work station enclosure of claim 8, comprising a removable cover for said window.

10. The work station enclosure of claim 8, comprising a microscope connected to one end of a microscope supporting boom, said microscope supporting boom being movable for moving the microscope into and out of alignment with the window in the enclosure.

11. The work station enclosure of claim 10, wherein the enclosure includes a second window in an upper rear portion of the enclosure, and the microscope supporting boom has a rear section that extends downwardly through the second window to a mounting location within the enclosure.

12. The work station enclosure of claim 1, including a divider wall inside said enclosure, dividing the enclosure into a front section and a rear section, said hand openings and exhaust outlet being in the front section, said front section being transparent between and above the hand openings and said rear section being opaque.

13. The work station enclosure of claim 12, including a light in the front section of the enclosure, said light being above the work station between the divider wall and the transparent closed section between the hand openings.

14. The work station enclosure of claim 13, wherein the exhaust outlet comprises an opening in the table and a vertically elongated hollow member connected at its lower end to the table about the opening in the table, said hollow member having side and top walls that include air passages.

15. The work station enclosure of claim 14, including an air delivery nozzle inside the enclosure between the hand openings and inwardly of the transparent closed section between the hand openings.

16. The work station enclosure of claim 15, including a light inside the enclosure above the work station.

17. The work station of claim 16, including a window in an upper part of the enclosure above and between the two hand openings.

18. The work station enclosure of claim 17, comprising a microscope connected to one end of a microscope supporting boom, said supporting boom being movable for moving the microscope into and out of alignment with the window and the enclosure.

19. The work station enclosure of claim 18, wherein the enclosure includes a second window in an upper rear portion of the enclosure, and the microscope support beam has a rear section that extends downwardly through the second window to a mounting location within the enclosure.

20. The work station enclosure of claim 19, comprising a divider wall inside said enclosure, dividing the enclosure into a front section and a rear section, said hand openings and said first window being in the front section and said second window is in said rear section.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to the provision of a ventilated enclosure for a work station which serves to protect the worker from breathing dust and other substances which are byproducts of the work being performed. More particularly, the invention relates to a workstation enclosure that is adapted to conveniently position the various implements needed by the worker for the performance of his/her work.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to provide a workstation for a nail technician with an enclosure adapted to collect and remove fumes so that the worker and his/her customer does not have to breathe them. An example of this type of prior art workstation enclosure is shown by U.S. Pat. No. 5,336,128, granted Aug. 9, 1994, to Esau Birdsong.

It is also known to provide a workstation enclosure in the form of a dome. A “dry box” is an enclosure adapted to allow the performance of certain operations in a particular atmosphere. The workman's hands are inserted into gloves which extend into the enclosure and are sealed at their hand-receiving ends to openings formed for them in the enclosure. An example of a dome shaped “dry box” is shown by U.S. Pat. No. 3,267,830, granted Aug. 23, 1966, to William H. Van Gaasveek.

There is a need for a workstation enclosure which provides the needed protection to the worker and at the same time facilitates the performance of the work task by making readily available tools, lighting, vacuum exhaust, etc. needed by the worker for performing his/her tasks. An object of the invention is to provide a unique and improved workplace enclosure that fills this need.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a workstation enclosure having a base that is supported on the table around the workstation. The enclosure includes a wall structure that extends along the base and upwardly from the base to form a sidewall and top for the enclosure. The wall is at least partially transparent, providing visibility for the worker. It includes a pair of laterally spaced apart hand openings and a transparent closed section between the hand openings. An exhaust outlet is provided inside the enclosure between the hand openings and adjacent the closed section of the sidewall.

In preferred form, the exhaust outlet comprises an opening in the table and a vertically elongated hollow member connected at its lower end to the table about the opening in the table. The hollow member has side and top walls in which openings are formed. Preferably, an air stream delivery nozzle is provided inside the enclosure adjacent the exhaust outlet. While performing a task, a worker will typically hold a work piece in one hand and a tool in the other hand. His/her hands are brought together inside the enclosure to position the work piece and tool close to the air stream delivery nozzle and the exhaust openings in the hollow member. Dust and/or fumes in the enclosure are substantially immediately removed through the exhaust outlet. Small particles on the work piece can be removed by the workman positioning the work piece in the air stream issuing from the air stream delivery nozzle so that the air stream will wash the particles off of the work piece.

According to an aspect of the invention, a divider wall inside the enclosure divides the interior of the enclosure into a front section and a rear section. The hand openings and the exhaust outlet are in the front section. Preferably also, a work light is provided in the front section of the enclosure.

According to an optional further aspect of the invention, a tool holder may be mounted on the divider wall inside the front section of the enclosure.

According to another aspect of the invention, a window is provided in an upper part of the enclosure above and between the two hand openings. A microscope is suitably supported on one end of a microscope supporting boom. The opposite end of the boom is suitably anchored. The microscope supporting boom is adapted for moving the microscope into and out of alignment with the front section window in the enclosure. Preferably, the enclosure includes a second window in the rear portion of the enclosure. The microscope supporting boom includes a rear section that extends downwardly through the second window to a mounting location inside the rear section of the enclosure.

Preferably, the enclosure has a doom shape and includes a divider wall dividing its inner space into front and rear sections. The enclosure may be made from a transparent plastic material. The rear section of the doom, may be coated to make it opaque.

According to another aspect of the invention, a work light is provided in the front section of the enclosure and a light diffusing light shade is provided over the work light.

Other objects, advantages of the invention will become apparent from the description set forth below, from the drawings, and from the principles that are embodied in the specific structures that are illustrated and described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Like reference numerals and letters refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings, and:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of work station enclosure positioned on a fragmentary portion of a work table, such view showing a microscope supporting boom extending upwardly from the enclosure through a rear window in the enclosure, and showing a microscope positionable on the front end of the boom;

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view taken through the work station and the work station enclosure, such view showing the microscope boom orientated to position the microscope in a front window in the enclosure;

FIG. 3 is a pictorial view of the enclosure by itself, showing two windows in front and rear top portions of the enclosure and showing a cover for one of the windows spaced in position from such window, FIG. 3 being taken from above and looking down towards the front, the top and one side of the enclosure;

FIG. 4 is another pictorial view of the enclosure shown by FIG. 3, such view being taken from below and looking towards the bottom, the rear and one side of the enclosure;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the enclosure shown by FIGS. 3 and 4;

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the enclosure shown by FIGS. 3-5;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the enclosure shown by FIGS. 3-6;

FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of a divider wall that divides the enclosure into front and rear sections, such view showing a light fixture mounted on an upper portion of the divider wall, and showing an opening below the light for receiving a gooseneck portion of a second light;

FIG. 9 is a pictorial view of a hood for the light shown by FIG. 8, said hood having a mounting flange for mounting it to the divider wall and including a central recess for receiving a reflector on the forward end of a gooseneck light;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through the rear wall, the divider wall and a box frame between them;

FIG. 11 is a pictorial view taken from above and looking down on the assembly of FIG. 10, and showing the rear wall spaced from the box frame; and

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the workstation showing a work piece in one hand of a worker and a tool in the other.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT

The various concepts or principles that make up the invention can be best understood by considering the following description of example embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1-7, a dome shaped workstation enclosure 10 is cut on a vertical plane to form a rear edge 12 (FIGS. 2, 4 and 5). The cut rear edge 12 defines an arch shape rear opening in which a rear wall 14 is received (FIG. 2). In preferred form, a center wall 16 is positioned forwardly of wall 14 and the two walls 14, 16 are spaced apart in the manner shown by FIGS. 2, 10 and 11. The two walls 14, 16 are interconnected by a frame which may be in the form of a box 18. Box 18 has a top 20, front and rear walls 22, 24 and sidewalls 26, 28. The walls 14,16 may be connected to the frame 18 by screws or in any other suitable manner.

As best shown by FIGS. 1 and 2, the center wall 16 divides the interior of the enclosure 10 into a front section 30 and a rear section 32. The front section 30 includes a pair of hand openings 34, 36 that are spaced apart from each other. Except where cut away at the rear and at the hand openings 34, 36, the dome structure that forms the enclosure 10 has a bottom flange 38 that sets down onto a top surface 40 on a work table 42. Herein, the term “table” is used to mean a platform, like the top of a table or a desk, which is positioned at a suitable elevation for use by a worker for performing his task. The work station platform may be the height of a standard table or desk, or be any other suitable height. The enclosure 10 may be secured to the table in any suitable manner, including by use of screw fasteners extending through the flange 38 and screwing into the table 42.

Referring to FIGS. 3-7, the front section of the dome housing 10 is provided with a first window 44 and the rear section of the housing 10 is provided with a second window 46. Window 44 is in an elevated position between and above the hand openings 34, 36. Below the window 44 and between the hand openings 34, 36 there is a closed section of the dome wall 10 that has been designated 48. A cover or closure 50 for the window 44 is connectable to the dome 10 in a manner suitable for it to provide a closure for the window 44. For example, the cover 50 may include external threads at its periphery and the window 44 may include complementary internal threads. When in place, the cover 50 forms an upper continuation of the closed wall region 48. The second window 46 may be formed in line with the window 44 but at a higher up location on the dome 10 (see FIG. 7). It is not necessary to provide a cover or closure for the opening 46.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a workstation is defined in the enclosure 10 forwardly of the divider wall 16. An elevated first light 52 may be mounted on the divider wall 16 near the top of the divider wall 16. Referring to FIG. 8, the light 52 that is shown is a fluorescent light comprising two tubes 54. A light shade 56 may be provided that is in the shape illustrated by FIG. 9. It may include a mounting flange 58 and a hood 60 that extends over and beyond the light tubes 54. Hood 60 may be formed from a translucent material that will diffuse the light that is emitted from the tubes 54. Hood 56 preferably includes a cutout 62 at its center to accommodate a reflector 64 on a gooseneck lamp 66 which extends forwardly from an opening 68 in the divider wall 16. Between the two of them, the lights 52, 54 and 64, 66 both light up the forward section of the enclosure generally and light 54 provides a way of concentrating light on a specific location in the front section of the enclosure 10. This may be done by adjusting the position of the gooseneck lamp 66.

Ventilation is provided for the forward section of the enclosure by a vacuum source 70, a vacuum tube 72 and a housing 74. An opening 66 is formed in the table to provide an outlet for exhaust gases and other material. Housing 74 has an open lower end that connects to the table 42 about the opening 76. It also has side and top walls which includes openings through which material within the front section of the enclosure can flow into the interior of the housing 74 and then into the vacuum tube 72.

Let it be assumed that a worker is positioned facing the openings 34, 36, 44 with his/her left hand extending into the enclosure through opening 34 and his right hand extending into the enclosure through the opening 36 (FIG. 12). Let it also be assumed that the worker is holding a work piece (e.g. a dental appliance) in his/her left hand and a grinding tool in his/her right hand. The worker holds the work piece behind the housing 74 and contacts it with the grinding tool. As the grinding tool cuts material away from the work piece, the particles are sucked through the openings in the housing 74 and carried through the vacuum line 72 to an exhaust port. Preferably, an air supply tube 78 is positioned adjacent the housing 74. Sometimes cuttings, dust etc. needs to be blown off the work piece. When this need arises, the worker merely moves the work piece into a position adjacent the outlet from the air supply tube 78 so that the discharging air stream will contact the work piece and wash the cuttings, dust, etc. off of it. These cuttings or dust may stay in the air a short time and are then pulled out through the vacuum discharge system via the openings in member 74.

The presence of the divider wall 16 makes it convenient to mount a tool holder 80 on a lower portion of the divider wall 16. In FIGS. 1 and 2, the tool holder 80 is shown in the form of a magnetic bar. The tool bits have steel shafts that are gripped by the magnets and held onto the tool holder 80.

For some functions it is desirable for the worker to have a microscope present. In the illustrated embodiment, a microscope support boom 82 is mounted at a first end and mounts a microscope 84 at a second end. As best shown by FIG. 2, the mounting boom 82 is articulated. It has a rear section 84 that is connected to the top of the box 18 and a forward section 88 that extends between the rear section 86 and the microscope 84. The rear end of boom section 86 may be connected to the top 20 of the box 18. It may then extend upwardly through the opening 46 to a hinge structure 90 between the two boom sections 86, 88. The forward boom section 88 is interconnected between the hinge structure 90 and a hinge mount 92 that is connected to the microscope 84. As shown by FIG. 2, the microscope 84 may be positioned with its objective lens 94 in the window 44. The articulated boom 86 allows the movement of the microscope necessary to place its objective lenses pointing towards the object to be viewed while the eye pieces 96 are aligned with the eyes of the worker. When the microscope 84 is not needed, the support boom 82 is moved to place the microscope 84 off to one side, as shown by FIG. 1, for example.

A suitable microscope is available from Harris Discount Supply, Ltd. The model number of this microscope is MEIJI EMZ 8TRU. This is a 10× 20× microscope and it has dual halogen lights. The articulated boom is sold by Harris Discount Supply, Ltd. under the model number HDS 4013. Of course other suitable microscopes could be used as well.

Wires providing electrical energy to the lights 52, 54 and 64, 66 may extend from a source of electricity upwardly through the housing 18 and through an opening 100 and then on through openings in the divider wall 16 to the lights 52, 54 and 64, 66. Rearwardly of the divider wall 16, the wiring may be covered by a housing 102, such as shown in FIG. 10. Also, a light may be associated with the microscope 84. A light cord 104 leading to the microscope may plug into a receptacle 106 shown in FIG. 11 to be mounted on top of the box 18.

Referring to FIG. 2, a control panel 110 can be conveniently positioned below the workstation table 42, generally at a location centered between the hand openings 34, 36. The control panel 110 may include switches or push buttons, etc. for operating the lights, the vacuum motor and the air supply.

Preferably, the domed shaped enclosure 10 is formed from a transparent plastic material. The cover 50 is formed from clear materials so that a worker can look through it into the interior of the enclosure 10. Preferably, the rear section of the dome is coated to make it opaque. A boundary line 110 between the transparent forward section and opaque rear section is provided in the region where the divider wall 16 is located.

The table may be made in the form of a decorative piece of furniture having attractive sides and an attractive back. Also, drawers may be provided below the top 42.

The illustrated embodiments are only examples of the present invention, and therefore, are non-limitive. It is to be understand that many changes in particular structure, materials and features of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, it is my intention that my patent rights not be limited by the particular embodiments that are illustrated and described herein, but rather are to be limited by the following claims: