Title:
Enclosure panel isolation system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An enclosure panel isolation system which provides an enclosure configured from a plurality of enclosure panels each capable of receiving a removably securable isolation panel.



Inventors:
Cantrell, Patrick Tracy (Greeley, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/287556
Publication Date:
04/16/2009
Filing Date:
10/10/2008
Assignee:
Modular Concepts Corporation
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.1, 52/746.1
International Classes:
E04C2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, SON T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CR MILES, P.C. (FORT COLLINS, CO, US)
Claims:
1. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure, comprising: a) a panel frame member receiver which releasably engages a panel frame member of said enclosure panel of said enclosure; and b) a barrier panel coupled in fixed relation to said panel frame member receiver to dispose a first side of said barrier panel and a first side of said enclosure panel in opposed relation upon said panel frame member receiver releasably engaging said panel frame member.

2. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 1, wherein said barrier panel has an imperforate barrier material and wherein said enclosure panel has a perforated panel material.

3. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 2, wherein said first side of said imperforate barrier material locates at a distance sufficiently close to said perforated panel material to interrupt travel of a waste material which passes through said perforated panel material.

4. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 3, wherein said barrier panel comprises a first barrier panel coupled in fixed relation to said panel frame member receiver.

5. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 4, further comprising a second barrier panel coupled in fixed relation to said panel frame member receiver to dispose a first side of said second barrier panel and a second side of said enclosure panel in opposed relation upon said panel frame member receiver releasably engaging said panel frame member.

6. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 5, wherein said second barrier panel has an imperforate barrier material and wherein said enclosure panel has a perforated panel material.

7. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 6, wherein said first side of said imperforate barrier material of said second barrier panel locates at a distance sufficiently close to said second side of said perforated panel material to interrupt travel of waste material through said perforated panel material of said enclosure panel.

8. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 7, wherein said first side of said first barrier panel and said first side of said second barrier panel each provide a substantially planar surface.

9. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 8, wherein said panel frame member has a plurality of configurations and wherein said panel frame member receiver provides a corresponding plurality of configurations which releasably engage each of said plurality of configurations of said panel frame member, and wherein said first barrier panel couples in fixed relation to each of said plurality of configurations of said panel frame member receiver to dispose a first side of said barrier panel and a first side of said enclosure panel in opposed relation upon said panel frame member receiver releasably engaging said panel frame member.

10. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 9, wherein said first barrier panel has a plurality of configurations each of which couple in fixed relation to each of said plurality of configurations of said panel frame member receiver to dispose a first side of said barrier panel and a first side of said enclosure panel in opposed relation upon said panel frame member receiver releasably engaging said panel frame member.

11. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 10, wherein said second barrier panel has a plurality of configurations each of which couple in fixed relation to each of said plurality of configurations of said panel frame member receiver to dispose a first side of said barrier panel and a first side of said enclosure panel in opposed relation upon said panel frame member receiver releasably engaging said panel frame member.

12. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 11, wherein said panel frame member receiver which releasably engages a panel frame member of said enclosure panel of said enclosure provides a first planar element and a second planar element each joined to a cross member in substantially parallel opposed relation a distance apart to provide a channel element which receives said panel frame member of said enclosure panel of said enclosure.

13. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 12, wherein said panel frame receiver has fixed engagement with said panel frame member of said enclosure panel of said enclosure.

14. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 13, further comprising a bond between said panel frame member receiver and a support surface.

15. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 14, wherein said bond comprises an adhesive layer between said panel frame member and said support surface.

16. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 15, further comprising an enclosure having a plurality of said enclosure panels at least one of said plurality of said enclosure panels engaged to said isolation panel.

17. An isolation panel for an enclosure panel of an enclosure as described in claim 15, wherein said enclosure comprises an animal enclosure.

18. 18-36. (canceled)

Description:

This United States Non-provisional Patent Application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/998,291, filed Oct. 11, 2007, hereby incorporated by reference herein.

I. BACKGROUND

Generally, an enclosure panel isolation system which provides a plurality of enclosure panels which can be joined to provide an enclosure with certain of the enclosure panels configured to receive an isolation panel which locates an isolation barrier in opposed relation to the side of the enclosure panel to interrupt travel of waste material through perforated portions of the enclosure panel. Specifically, an isolation panel that provides a panel frame member receiver which engages a panel frame member of an enclosure panel to dispose a first side of the barrier panel and a first side of the enclosure panel in sufficiently close opposed relation to interrupt travel of waste material through perforated portions of the enclosure panel.

Typically, conventional enclosures provide a plurality of enclosure panels which can be joined to provide an enclosed space on a support surface. The plurality of enclosure panels can provide a perforated panel material having aperture elements of lesser or greater size. The enclosures can be used as animal kennels (hereinafter collectively referred to as “enclosure” or “enclosures”) in which an animal(s) are confined to the amount of enclosed space defined by the joined enclosure panels.

A substantial problem with conventional enclosure panels which afford a perforated panel material can be that, materials, objects, animal waste, food waste, bedding material, water, or the like (individually and collectively “waste material”) can be transferred from inside the amount of enclosed space through the aperture elements of the perforated panel material to the space outside of the enclosure. The space outside of the enclosure can include the amount of enclosed space of a second enclosure or the support surface outside of the enclosure. Waste material transferred from an enclosure can pose a health risk or accident risk or both.

The inventive enclosure panel isolation system shown and described herein addresses the problem of waste material being transferred through the perforated panel material of an enclosure.

II. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a broad object of the invention can be to provide an enclosure which can be established by joining a plurality of enclosure panels one or more of which provide a panel frame which can releasably engage an isolation panel to dispose an isolation barrier in sufficiently close proximity to the perforated material of the enclosure panel to interrupt transfer of waste material (s) through the perforated material whether from inside the enclosure to outside of the enclosure, or vice-versa.

Another broad object of the invention can be to provide one or more isolation panels and the method of making and using such isolation panels which can fixedly or releasably engage a corresponding one or more of the plurality of enclosure panels to interrupt transfer of waste material through the perforated material of the enclosure panel.

Naturally, further objects of the invention are disclosed throughout other areas of the specification, drawings, photographs, and claims.

III. A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention which provides an enclosure generated by joining a plurality of enclosure panels to which engage a corresponding one or more isolation panels.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the invention which provides an enclosure generated by joining a plurality of enclosure panels to which engage a corresponding one or more isolation panels.

FIG. 3 is a front view of an embodiment of the invention which provides an enclosure having an enclosure access panel and a plurality of enclosure panels to which engage a corresponding one or more isolation panels.

FIG. 4 is a side view of an embodiment of the invention which provides an enclosure having an enclosure panel engaged to a corresponding isolation panel.

FIG. 5 is a top view of an embodiment of the invention which provides an enclosure having an enclosure panels engaged to a corresponding isolation panel.

FIG. 6 is a side view of one of the plurality of enclosure panels engaged to a corresponding isolation panel showing cross section 7-7.

FIG. 7 is a cross section 7-7 as shown in FIG. 6 which shows an enlarged end view section of one of the plurality of enclosure panels engaged with a particular embodiment of an isolation panel providing a panel frame member receiver coupled to a first barrier panel and a second barrier panel.

IV. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Generally, an enclosure panel isolation system which provides a plurality of enclosure panels which can be joined to provide an enclosure with certain of the enclosure panels configured to receive an isolation panel which locates an isolation barrier in opposed relation to the side of the enclosure panel to interrupt travel of waste material through perforated portions of the enclosure panel. Specifically, an isolation panel that provides a panel frame member receiver which engages a panel frame member of an enclosure panel to dispose a first side of said barrier panel and a first side of an enclosure panel in sufficiently close opposed relation to interrupt travel of waste material through perforated portions of the enclosure panel.

Now referring to primarily to FIGS. 1-5, an enclosure (1) can be generated by placing or joining one or more or a plurality of enclosure panels (2) on a support surface (16) to provide an enclosed space. The term “an enclosure (1)” for the purposes of this invention means any structure generated by placing or joining to each other or to other objects (such as a wall, between a pair of walls, or between the jambs of an opening, or the like) one or a plurality of enclosure panels to define an amount of enclosed space. As to certain embodiments of the invention the enclosure can be used as a kennel in which an animal is confined within the enclosed space. The term “animal” means any species of animal which can be located in the enclosed space and without limitation includes horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents, snakes, birds, or the like.

The term “enclosure panel (2)” for the purposes of this invention means a substantially flat constructional form having a desired thickness produced by joining a plurality of panel frame members (4) to produce a panel frame (3) typically having the form of a regular polygon such as a square, a rectangle, triangle, or the like to which a perforated panel material (5) attaches. The term “substantially” means generally, or to a great extent or degree, but including some deviation normal in the material, object or element, or incorporated into the material, object, or element as normal consequence of production. The panel frame members (4) can be made from a substantially inflexible metal tube (for example, stainless steel tube square or rectangular in cross-section, stainless steel cylindrical tube, steel cylindrical tube, steel tube hexagonal in cross-section, or the like), or linear plastic tube (for example, PVC plastic pipe, polyethylene plastic pipe, or the like), or solid rod which can have a circular, square, rectangle, or other geometry in cross-section, or the like, which can be joined by mechanical hardware, post and socket fittings, welding, adhesives, or like. A perforated panel material (5) (as non-limiting examples, a chain link fabric, stretched metal fabric, perforated sheet material, a plurality of bars, a metal or plastic net, or a series of parallel metal rods, or the like) couples directly (as non-limiting examples, welded, soldered, mechanically fastened, post and socket, or the like) or indirectly to the panel frame (4) (as a non-limiting example, by way of wires, clips, or the like) to establish a flat or a substantially planar perforated surface (6). The perforations, open space, or apertures (7) (collectively referred to as “perforations” or “perforated”) in the perforated panel material (5) can be selected from a numerous and wide variety of aperture shapes and sizes (for example without limitation, slots between a pair or plurality of bars as shown in the figures, circular holes in sheet metal, diamonds or squares of a woven fabric, or the like).

A plurality of enclosure panels (2) can be joined by the corresponding panel frame members (4) (for example without limitation by welding as shown in FIG. 1, or removably secured by mechanical hardware such as bolts and nuts having matable spiral threads, or placed in proximity) to generate the enclosure (1) typically of square or rectangular geometry, as shown in FIGS. 1-4. However, the particular embodiments of enclosures (1) shown in the Figures and described herein are not meant to limit the numerous and varied configuration in which a plurality of enclosure panels (2) can be joined or placed. For example, it may be useful to join three enclosure panels (2) to generate a triangular enclosure or join six enclosure panels to generate a hexagonal enclosure, or the like. Alternately, one or a plurality of enclosure panels (2) can be joined or placed to provide a perforated barrier the barrier ends correspondingly engaging fixed walls, or the like.

A pair of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) can be hingedly joined to allow rotation of a pair of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) about the axis (8) of a hinge element (9). Typically, only one of the pair of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) hingedly joined rotates about the axis (8) of the hinge element (9) between a closed condition (10) and an open condition (11) to provide an enclosure access panel (12) for ingress and egress to the enclosed space (13) the configuration defined by the joined plurality of enclosure panels (2). The enclosure (1) can further include a top panel (14) (see for example FIGS. 2-5) which couples to the top of the joined enclosure panels (2). Similarly, the enclosure (1) can further include a floor panel (15) which can be located at a level above a support surface (16) on which the joined plurality of enclosure panels (2) are located. Each of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) can provide one or more legs (31) which maintain the plurality of enclosure panels (2) at the level above the support surface (16). However, embodiments of the enclosure (1) do not require a pair of hingedly joined pair of the plurality of enclosure panels (2), top panel (14), or floor panel (15).

Now referring primarily to FIGS. 2 and 7, the inventive enclosure panel isolation system can further include an isolation panel (17) which provides a panel frame member receiver (18) configured to engage a panel frame member of one of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) and a barrier panel (25) coupled in fixed relation to the panel frame member receiver (18) to dispose a first side (26) of the barrier panel (25) and a first side (37) of the corresponding enclosure panel (2) in opposed relation when the panel frame member receiver (18) releasably engages the panel frame member (4). The term “engage a panel frame member” means all or part of one or more panel frame members (4), or as to certain embodiments of the invention a part of the enclosure panel (2), sufficient to fix or releasably fix the isolation panel (17) in relation to the enclosure panel (2), as further described below. Use of the isolation panel (17) can include one or a plurality of isolation panels (17) each one engaged or releasably engaged to one of a corresponding plurality of enclosure panels (2).

Again referring primarily to FIGS. 2 and 7, the isolation panel (17) can provide a panel frame member receiver (18) (which as to certain embodiments of the invention can comprise the entirety of an isolation panel (17) without more) configured to receive a part of the enclosure panel such as one or a part of one of the plurality of frame members (4) of the panel frame (3). As one example, as shown FIGS. 2 and 3 the panel frame member receiver (18) receives a horizontal panel frame member and a part of each of the joined vertical panel members (below referred to as the legs (31)). Now referring primarily to FIG. 7, a particular embodiment of the panel frame member receiver (18) can provide a first planar element (19) and a second planar element (20) each joined to a cross member (21) in substantially parallel relation a distance apart to provide a channel element (22) which engages a part(s) of a panel frame member(s) (4). While the panel frame member (4) shown in FIG. 7 has a square or rectangular geometry in cross section, the embodiment of the panel member receiver (18) shown can engage or releasably engage (the panel frame member (4) can be removed from the panel frame member receiver (18)) a panel frame member (4) having any of a numerous and varied cross sectional geometries (such as circular, oval, square, rectangular, hexagonal, or the like). The configuration of the channel element (21) can be adjusted by adjusting first planar element height (23) and cross member width (24) to corresponding engage all or a part of a panel frame member(s) (4) which can have various greater or lesser external dimensions. Understandably, the panel frame member receiver (18) can have any configuration which can engage or releasably engage a corresponding configuration of the panel frame member (4) in sufficiently fixed relation to maintain a barrier panel (17) in opposed relation to the side of the enclosure panel (2), as further described below.

With respect to embodiments of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) which further include one or more legs (31), the one or more of the legs (31) can be received or releasably engaged or engaged in the panel frame member receiver (18) (for example as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7). The length (34) of the panel frame member receiver (18) can be adjusted such that one or both ends of the panel frame member receiver (18) locate flush with the external surface of the correspondingly received one or both of the legs (31). As to those embodiments of the panel frame member receiver (18) which receive the legs (31) of one of the plurality of enclosure members (2), the height of the first planar element (19) or the second planar element (20) or both can be adjusted to achieve a height (23) above the support surface (16) which corresponds to the height of one of the panel frame members (for example the panel frame member height indicated in FIG. 7 (32)). By adjusting the height (23) of the first planar element (19) and the second planar element (20) to the height of the panel frame member (32) located between the legs (31), the open space bounded between the legs (31) and between the support surface (16) and the height of the panel frame member (32) can be enclosed by engaging the panel frame member receiver (18).

The panel frame member receiver (18) can be made from stainless steel sheet which can be folded or bent to generate the first planar element (19), the second planar element (20) and the cross member (21). Understandably, the panel frame member receiver (18) can be fabricated, molded, bent or otherwise configured from a variety of metal and plastic materials.

Again referring primarily to FIGS. 2 and 7, the isolation panel (17) can further provide a barrier panel (25) coupled to the panel frame member receiver (18). The barrier panel (25) can be coupled to the panel frame member receiver (18) by mechanical hardware (35) (for example, rivets as shown in the Figures or by bolts and nuts having spirally mated treads, machine screws, or the like) to establish the barrier panel (25) in a fixed relation to the panel frame member receiver (18). Certain embodiments of the panel frame member receiver (18) and the barrier panel (25) can be provided as one piece. Upon receiving the panel frame member (4) into the channel element (22) the back side (26)(also referred to as the first side) of the barrier panel (25) the configuration of the isolation panel (17) disposes the first side (26) of the barrier panel (25) in opposed relation to part or substantially all of a first side (37) of the perforated panel material (5) of the corresponding one of the plurality of enclosure panels (2).

Typically, the perforated panel material (5) of the enclosure panel (2) affords a substantially flat or planar surface and the backside (26) (or first side) of the barrier panel (25) affords a substantially flat or planar surface which can be disposed in substantially parallel opposed relation to all or a part of the perforated material (5) the first side (37) of the perforated material (5) of the corresponding one of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) (as shown for example in FIG. 7) when the panel frame member receiver (18) engages the panel frame member (3). The substantially flat or planar surface of the backside (26) (or first side) of the barrier panel (25) engages or locates a distance sufficiently close to the perforated panel material (5) (or can be secured to one or more of the panel frame members (4)) to interrupt transfer (the term “interrupt transfer” means prevent, reduce, or lessen travel distance of a waste material (27) (whether generated by an animal (30), food or some other source) from inside or outside of the amount of enclosed space (13) thorough the apertures (7) of the perforated panel material (5). As to certain embodiments a second barrier panel (33) can be coupled to the panel frame member receiver (18) (see FIG. 7). The second barrier panel (33) can afford a second substantially flat or planar surface (34) which can be disposed in substantially parallel opposed relation to all or part of the second side (38) of the perforated material (5).

Typically, the barrier panel (25) is configured from plastic sheet such as polyethylene sheet, polypropylene sheet, or the like, between about one-thirty second of an inch thick to about one-eighth inch thick. The plastic sheet can be opaque or clear depending upon the application. However, the barrier panel (25) can be configured from a variety of other metal or plastic sheet materials having a thickness which depends on the characteristics of the sheet material utilized of between about one-thirty second of an inch and about one-eighth inch. The barrier panel (25) will typically have a width which corresponds with the length of the panel frame member receiver (18) to which it couples. The barrier panel (25) will typically have a height of less than the height of the corresponding one of the plurality of enclosure panels (2) to which the panel frame member receiver (18) couples. However, this is not intended to limit the configuration of the barrier panel (25) to a particular size or shape and the barrier panel (25) can be configured in any manner which addresses a particular application. As but one none limiting example, the barrier panel (25) can have an L-shaped configuration with the base of the L shaped barrier panel (25) coupled to the panel frame member receiver (18).

Certain embodiments of the isolation panel (17) can further include a bond (28) between the support surface (29) and a part of the external surface of the panel frame member receiver (18). The particular embodiment of the panel frame receiver (18) shown in FIG. 7 establishes the bond (28) with an amount of bonding material such as an adhesive, glue, rubber caulk, silicon rubber sealant, or the like, applied cross member (21) of the panel frame member receiver (18) to fix the location of the isolation panel (17) at a location on the support surface (29). A panel frame member (4) can be located in the channel element (22) of the panel frame member receiver (19) which locates the barrier panel (25) in opposed relation to all or a part of the perforated panel material (5). Additional isolation panels (17) can be secured to the support surface (29) to receive a corresponding plurality enclosure panels (2). Similarly, isolation panels (17) can be secured to a panel frame member (4) of a hingedly joined enclosure access panel (12) or a top panel (14) to locate in opposed relation to the perforated material (5) of an enclosure access panel (12) or top panel (14). The term “opposed relation” for the purpose of this invention means that the imperforate surface of the barrier panel contacts, or is in close proximity to, or sufficiently close to the perforate material to act as a barrier to egress of waste material through the apertures of the perforated material.

As can be easily understood from the foregoing, the basic concepts of the present invention may be embodied in a variety of ways. The invention involves numerous and varied embodiments of an inventive enclosure panel isolation system and methods of using such embodiments of the inventive enclosure panel isolation system.

As such, the particular embodiments or elements of the invention disclosed by the description or shown in the figures or tables accompanying this application are not intended to be limiting, but rather exemplary of the numerous and varied embodiments generically encompassed by the invention or equivalents encompassed with respect to any particular element thereof. In addition, the specific description of a single embodiment or element of the invention may not explicitly describe all embodiments or elements possible; many alternatives are implicitly disclosed by the description and figures.

It should be understood that each element of an apparatus or each step of a method may be described by an apparatus term or method term. Such terms can be substituted where desired to make explicit the implicitly broad coverage to which this invention is entitled. As but one example, it should be understood that all steps of a method may be disclosed as an action, a means for taking that action, or as an element which causes that action. Similarly, each element of an apparatus may be disclosed as the physical element or the action which that physical element facilitates. As but one example, the disclosure of an “enclosure” should be understood to encompass disclosure of the act of “enclosing”—whether explicitly discussed or not—and, conversely, were there effectively disclosure of the act of “enclosing”, such a disclosure should be understood to encompass disclosure of an “enclosure” and even a “means for enclosing.” Such alternative terms for each element or step are to be understood to be explicitly included in the description.

In addition, as to each term used it should be understood that unless its utilization in this application is inconsistent with such interpretation, common dictionary definitions should be understood to included in the description for each term as contained in the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, second edition, each definition hereby incorporated by reference.

Thus, the applicant(s) should be understood to claim at least: i) each of the enclosure panel isolation devices or systems herein disclosed and described, ii) the related methods disclosed and described, iii) similar, equivalent, and even implicit variations of each of these devices and methods, iv) those alternative embodiments which accomplish each of the functions shown, disclosed, or described, v) those alternative designs and methods which accomplish each of the functions shown as are implicit to accomplish that which is disclosed and described, vi) each feature, component, and step shown as separate and independent inventions, vii) the applications enhanced by the various systems or components disclosed, viii) the resulting products produced by such systems or components, ix) methods and apparatuses substantially as described hereinbefore and with reference to any of the accompanying examples, x) the various combinations and permutations of each of the previous elements disclosed.

The background section of this patent application provides a statement of the field of endeavor to which the invention pertains. This section may also incorporate or contain paraphrasing of certain United States patents, patent applications, publications, or subject matter of the claimed invention useful in relating information, problems, or concerns about the state of technology to which the invention is drawn toward. It is not intended that any United States patent, patent application, publication, statement or other information cited or incorporated herein be interpreted, construed or deemed to be admitted as prior art with respect to the invention.

The claims set forth in this specification, if any, are hereby incorporated by reference as part of this description of the invention, and the applicant expressly reserves the right to use all of or a portion of such incorporated content of such claims as additional description to support any of or all of the claims or any element or component thereof, and the applicant further expressly reserves the right to move any portion of or all of the incorporated content of such claims or any element or component thereof from the description into the claims or vice-versa as necessary to define the matter for which protection is sought by this application or by any subsequent application or continuation, division, or continuation-in-part application thereof, or to obtain any benefit of, reduction in fees pursuant to, or to comply with the patent laws, rules, or regulations of any country or treaty, and such content incorporated by reference shall survive during the entire pendency of this application including any subsequent continuation, division, or continuation-in-part application thereof or any reissue or extension thereon.

The claims set forth in this specification, if any, are further intended to describe the metes and bounds of a limited number of the preferred embodiments of the invention and are not to be construed as the broadest embodiment of the invention or a complete listing of embodiments of the invention that may be claimed. The applicant does not waive any right to develop further claims based upon the description set forth above as a part of any continuation, division, or continuation-in-part, or similar application.