Title:
Variable Carrier for the Installation on Two Vertical Carrier Profiles of a Rack and Corresponding Installation Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A variable carrier for the installation on two vertical carrier profiles of a rack is disclosed. The vertical carrier profiles of the rack feature openings in a standardized grid. The variable carrier can be fixed on the vertical carrier profiles by means of the openings and features a snap-in device that automatically snaps into one of the openings of a vertical carrier profile during the installation. The variable carrier also features opposite the snap-in device at least one retaining hook that is rigidly connected to the variable carrier and can be hooked into one of the openings of a vertical carrier profile such that the variable carrier can be hooked into the opening by means of the retaining hook and subsequently pivoted in such a way that the snap-in device can interlock with one of the openings of the opposite vertical carrier profile.



Inventors:
Koehler, Friedrich (Meitingen, DE)
Schelshorn, Lorenz (Augsburg, DE)
Application Number:
12/348173
Publication Date:
07/09/2009
Filing Date:
01/02/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/455
International Classes:
A47F5/00; A44B99/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARNETT, DEVIN K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SLATER MATSIL, LLP (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A variable carrier for the installation on two vertical carrier profiles of a rack, the vertical carrier profiles including openings, the variable carrier comprising: a variable carrier body; a snap-in device that automatically snaps into one of the openings of the vertical carrier profiles during the installation; and a retaining hook opposite the snap-in device, the retaining hook being rigidly connected to the variable carrier body, wherein the retaining hook can be hooked into one of the openings of a vertical carrier profile such that the variable carrier can be hooked into the opening by means of the retaining hook and subsequently pivoted in such a way that the snap-in device can interlock with one of the openings of the other vertical carrier profile so that the variable carrier can be fixed on the vertical carrier profiles by means of the openings.

2. The variable carrier according to claim 1, wherein the variable carrier body has two faces that each include a retaining hook that is rigidly connected to the variable carrier body.

3. The variable carrier according to claim 2, wherein the retaining hook on one face protrudes laterally in one direction and the retaining hook on the other face protrudes laterally in the opposite direction.

4. The variable carrier according to claim 1, wherein the snap-in device is arranged on one face of the variable carrier body, the variable carrier further comprising at least one centering element is arranged on an opposite face.

5. The variable carrier according to claim 4, wherein the centering element comprises a horizontal clip and wherein the retaining hooks lying opposite the snap-in device vertically engage into the openings of the vertical carrier profile.

6. The variable carrier according to claim 1, wherein the snap-in device comprises a spring element that is relaxed in the interlocked state and abuts on a vertical edge of an opening of the vertical carrier profile.

7. The variable carrier according to claim 1, wherein the vertical carrier profiles of the rack include openings in a standardized grid.

8. A system carrier comprising: first and second vertical carrier profiles, wherein the vertical carrier profiles include openings; and a variable carrier that can be fixed on the vertical carrier profiles by means of the openings, wherein the variable carrier comprises: a variable carrier body; a snap-in device that automatically snaps into one of the openings of the vertical carrier profiles during the installation; and a retaining hook opposite the snap-in device, the retaining hook being rigidly connected to the variable carrier body, wherein the retaining hook can be hooked into one of the openings of the first vertical carrier profile such that the variable carrier can be hooked into the opening by means of the retaining hook and subsequently pivoted in such a way that the snap-in device can interlock with one of the openings of the second vertical carrier profile so that the variable carrier can be fixed on the vertical carrier profiles by means of the openings.

9. The system carrier according to claim 8, wherein the variable carrier body has two faces that each include a retaining hook that is rigidly connected to the variable carrier body.

10. The system carrier according to claim 9, wherein the retaining hook on one face protrudes laterally in one direction and the retaining hook on the other face protrudes laterally in the opposite direction.

11. The system carrier according to claim 8, wherein the snap-in device is arranged on one face of the variable carrier body, the variable carrier further comprising at least one centering element is arranged on an opposite face.

12. The system carrier according to claim 11, wherein the centering element comprises a horizontal clip and wherein the retaining hooks lying opposite the snap-in device vertically engage into the openings of the second vertical carrier profile.

13. The system carrier according to claim 8, wherein the snap-in device comprises a spring element that is relaxed in the interlocked state and abuts on a vertical edge of an opening of the second vertical carrier profile.

14. The system carrier according to claim 8, wherein the vertical carrier profiles of the rack include openings in a standardized grid.

15. A method of installing a variable carrier on first and second vertical carrier profiles of a rack, the variable carrier comprising a snap-in device and a retaining hook opposite the snap-in device, the method comprising: holding the variable carrier with the retaining hook directed towards the first vertical carrier profile in such a way that, if viewed from the top, the variable carrier extends at an acute angle relative to an imaginary axis that extends between the first vertical carrier profile and the second vertical carrier profile; guiding the retaining hook through and hooked into an opening of the first vertical carrier profile; pivoting the variable carrier about the retaining hook in the direction of the second vertical carrier profile until it is positioned a short distance from the imaginary axis; extending the variable carrier between the vertical carrier profiles until the snap-in device can snap into an opening of the second vertical carrier profile; and snapping the snap-in device into the opening of the second vertical carrier profile.

16. The method according to claim 15, wherein guiding the retaining hook comprises guiding a plurality of retaining hooks.

Description:

This application claims priority to German Patent Application 10 2008 003 071.6, which was filed Jan. 3, 2008 and is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the invention pertain to a variable carrier for the installation on two vertical carrier profiles of a rack and to a method for the installation of a variable carrier on two vertical carrier profiles of a rack.

BACKGROUND

A system carrier (Rack Mount Kit or RMK) is required for the installation of a computer server or another component in a rack. This system carrier makes it possible to pull a computer server out of the rack for maintenance work without removal of the mounting elements. The system carrier consists of a left and a right carrier. The variable carrier is a variation thereof that makes it possible to realize a user-adjustable length, wherein the length depends on the distance between the carrier profiles of a rack.

In Europe, the openings in vertical carrier profiles consist of square openings that have dimensions of 9×9 mm or 9.5×9.5 mm. In the USA, the openings are also standardized, but a grid of round holes is used. Until now, system carriers and variable carriers were manually screwed to the vertical carrier profiles. In order to simplify the installation, it would be desirable to realize the installation of the variable carriers on the vertical carrier profiles of the rack without screws.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,659,577 discloses a system in which an angle with inwardly directed projections is screwed on the variable carrier and can be inserted into the openings of the vertical carrier profiles from outside. In order to prevent the extensions from sliding out of the openings, a stop is moved into position from inside and fixed with a screw.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,230,903 discloses an alternative solution for installing a variable carrier without screws. According to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, two rails that also feature inwardly protruding extensions on their ends and can engage into the openings of the vertical carrier profile from outside are screwed on a telescope rail. In order to prevent the extensions from sliding out of the openings of the vertical carrier profiles, the rails are fixed on a continuously rigid part of the telescope rail. The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, in principle, has an analogous design, wherein the extensions protrude outward in this case such that they can also be inserted through the openings in the vertical carrier profiles in this direction in order to fix the telescope rail.

A disadvantage of both above-described solutions is that the installation is still relatively complicated, e.g., because a stop needs to be screwed on in the solution according to U.S. Pat. No. 6,659,577 and the rails need to be fixed on continuous parts of the telescope rail in the solution according to U.S. Pat. No. 6,230,903. This is always realized in the state in which projections are inserted into openings. In this type of screw connection, it is possible for the projections to slide back out of the openings, because the projections must be checked to ensure they are completely engaged into the openings before the final tightening of slightly tightened screws.

German patent publication DE 202007012830.4 also discloses a system without screws, in which the variable carrier features a snap-in device that automatically interlocks when it is inserted into one of the openings of the vertical carrier profiles. The snap-in device is arranged on one face of the variable carrier and is realized in the form of a spring-loaded hook that is inserted through an opening of the vertical carrier profile from inside during the installation of the variable carrier and engages behind the edge of the opening in the installed state. Another snap-in device or a protruding bar that can be inserted into the opening of the vertical carrier profile is arranged on the opposite face of the variable carrier. During the installation, one end of the variable carrier is initially inserted into the openings of the vertical carrier profile and the second end is subsequently inserted due to the adjustable length of the variable carrier.

A disadvantage of this solution can be seen in that the end with the protruding bar may slide out. Consequently, the length of the variable carrier needs to be very precisely adjusted and adequately fixed. If both faces of the variable carrier feature a snap-in device, the variable carrier can no longer slide out of the openings, but the manufacture of the variable carrier is also more costly due to the large number of moving parts.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the invention disclose a solution for the installation of a variable carrier on vertical carrier profiles of a rack that make it possible to realize a simpler manufacture and installation of the variable carrier.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the variable carrier features, opposite the snap-in device, at least one retaining hook that is rigidly connected to the variable carrier and can be hooked into one of the openings of a vertical carrier profile such that the variable carrier can be hooked into the opening by means of the retaining hook and subsequently pivoted in such a way that the snap-in device can interlock with one of the openings of the opposite vertical carrier profile.

The retaining hook that is rigidly connected to the variable carrier nicely secures the variable carrier from sliding out of the openings of the vertical carrier profiles. In the installed state, the retaining hook laterally engages behind a vertical edge of the opening in the vertical carrier profile provided for this purpose. This eliminates the need for an additional snap-in device on the variable carrier that would increase the manufacturing complexity and therefore increase the manufacturing costs.

The variable carrier is preferably held at an acute angle relative to an imaginary axis Y-Y′ extending between the two vertical carrier profiles such that the retaining hook can be guided through the opening of the first vertical carrier profile. The variable carrier is furthermore moved or pivoted about this retaining hook in a horizontal plane, wherein the second end of the variable carrier that features a snap-in device is moved into the vicinity of the second vertical carrier profile. In other words, the second end of the variable carrier moves along a circular path, wherein the retaining hook forms the center of the circle.

The variable carrier is preferably equipped with a springy length compensation. Once the second end of the variable carrier is situated a short distance from the second vertical carrier profile and the variable carrier is almost positioned on the axis Y-Y′, the length compensation is tensioned and the second end of the variable carrier is additionally pivoted until the snap-in device snaps into an opening of the second vertical carrier profile. The length compensation is preferably relaxed after the variable carrier is pivoted. The length compensation is prevented from disengaging by a locking spring that snaps into the vertical carrier profile.

It is preferred that both faces of the variable carrier be provided with retaining hooks that are rigidly connected to the variable carrier. The two faces of the variable carrier are situated on the two ends of the variable carrier and consist of the front surfaces of the variable carrier that are respectively directed outward in the direction of the largest dimension of the variable carrier, namely the length thereof. The retaining hooks on one face preferably protrude laterally in one direction and the retaining hooks on the other face protrude laterally in the opposite direction. Consequently, the retaining hooks are directed in such a way that the variable carrier can be hooked into a first vertical carrier profile on one end and subsequently pivoted in a horizontal plane until the other, second end is situated a short distance from the second vertical carrier profile. The retaining hooks on the second end of the variable carrier are directed in the pivoting direction.

At least one centering element is preferably arranged on the face that lies opposite the snap-in device. The centering element is guided through an opening of the vertical carrier profile while the variable carrier is pivoted into position. The centering element prevents the retaining hooks from sliding out and the variable carrier from carrying out other movements relative to the first vertical carrier profile. The centering element is preferably realized in the form of a horizontal clip, wherein the retaining hooks lying opposite the snap-in device vertically engage into the openings of the vertical carrier profile.

The snap-in device is preferably realized in the form of a spring element that is relaxed in the interlocked state and stopped by a vertical edge of an opening of the second vertical carrier profile. Consequently, the spring element also serves for stabilizing the variable carrier relative to the vertical carrier profile.

Other advantages of the invention and advantageous embodiments thereof are disclosed in the dependent claims and the following description of the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention is described in greater detail below with reference to one embodiment that is illustrated in the drawings. In these drawings:

FIGS. 1a to 1d respectively show a perspective representation of a variable carrier and two vertical carrier profiles of a rack during different steps of the installation method;

FIGS. 2a to 2f respectively show an enlarged detail of one end of the variable carrier and the respective vertical carrier profile according to FIGS. 1a to 1d;

FIGS. 3a to 3d respectively show a two-dimensional top view of a variable carrier and two carrier profiles during different steps of the installation method; and

FIGS. 4a to 4e respectively show an enlarged detail of one end of the variable carrier and the respective vertical carrier profile according to FIGS. 3a to 3d.

The following list of reference symbols can be used in conjunction with the drawings:

1Variable carrier
2Retaining hook
3Opening of a vertical carrier profile
3aOuter vertical edge of an opening
3bInner vertical edge of an opening
4a, 4bVertical carrier profile
5a, 5bHorizontal clip
6Safety catch
7Spring element.
8Retaining hook of snap-in device
9Length compensation

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In FIG. 1a, a variable carrier 1 is hooked into two openings 3 (shown in FIG. 2a) of a first vertical carrier profile 4a on its first end by means of two retaining hooks 2 (shown in FIG. 2a) that are rigidly connected to the variable carrier 1. In this position, the variable carrier 1 extends at an acute angle relative to an imaginary axis Y-Y′ that extends between the two vertical carrier profiles 4a, 4b. The axis Y-Y′ is labeled in the top view of FIG. 3a. The variable carrier 1 is subsequently pivoted in the direction of the second vertical carrier profile 4b in a horizontal plane as indicated with an arrow in FIG. 1a.

FIG. 2a shows an enlarged detail A of the retaining hooks 2 of the variable carrier 1 that are hooked into the openings 3 of the vertical carrier profile 4a during this step of the installation method. The two retaining hooks 2 are hooked into the openings from the inner side of the vertical carrier profile 4a, i.e., from the side of the carrier profile 4a that faces the other vertical carrier profile 4b. FIG. 2a shows the detail from the outside of the first vertical carrier profile 4a. The two retaining hooks 2 laterally engage behind a vertical edge of the respective opening 3 of the vertical carrier profile 4a, but are not yet positively seated. The retaining hooks 2 are directed opposite the pivoting direction such that the pivoting motion causes the retaining hooks 2 to engage behind the corresponding edge of the opening 3 more rigidly or more positively and not to become loose.

In order to stabilize and center the variable carrier 1, its face also features two horizontal clips 5a and 5b that are guided through the openings 3 of the first vertical carrier profile 4a. In this example, the horizontal clips 5a and 5b are guided into the same two openings 3 as the retaining hooks 2. Ideally, the lower horizontal clip 5a abuts the lower edge of the lower opening 3 and the upper horizontal clip 5b abuts the upper edge of the upper opening 3. Consequently, the variable carrier 1 is stabilized in the vertical direction, as well as in the horizontal direction. A safety catch 6 may be optionally installed on this face of the variable carrier 1 in order to additionally secure the retaining hooks 2 from sliding out.

According to FIG. 1a, the variable carrier 1 is initially pivoted in the direction of the arrow in a horizontal plane until the variable carrier 1 is almost positioned on the imaginary axis between profiles 4a and 4b. This position is illustrated in FIG. 1b. The end of the variable carrier that lies opposite the retaining hooks and features a snap-in device is now situated a short distance from the inside of the second carrier profile 4b.

An enlarged detail B of the end of the variable carrier 1 that features the snap-in device is illustrated in FIG. 2b. The snap-in device features a spring element 7 and two retaining hooks 8 that are rigidly connected to the variable carrier 1. The variable carrier 1 is further equipped with a springy length compensation 9. In this step of the installation method, the length compensation 9 is tensioned such that the retaining hooks 8 of the snap-in device can be guided through two corresponding openings 3 of the second vertical carrier profile 4b.

This additional step is illustrated in FIG. 1c and in the form of an enlarged detail C in FIG. 2c. The face of the variable carrier 1 now abuts the inside of the second vertical carrier profile 4b. The vertical edge of an opening 3 of a vertical carrier profile 4a or 4b that lies closest to the variable carrier 1 is referred to as the outer vertical edge 3a. The vertical edge of an opening 3 lying opposite the outer edge is referred to as the inner vertical edge 3b. The retaining hooks 8 are directed such that they can respectively engage laterally behind a vertical edge 3b of the openings 3 in the pivoting direction. In the position illustrated in FIG. 2c, however, the retaining hooks 8 do not engage behind the respective edge 3b of the openings 3, but rather abut the vertical edge 3a of the openings 3 that lies opposite thereof.

The variable carrier 1 ultimately is additionally pivoted in accordance with FIG. 1d such that the spring element 7 is pressed against the vertical carrier profile 4b and therefore tensioned until the spring element 7 snaps into a third opening of the second vertical carrier profile 4b and is once again relaxed. The relaxed spring element 7 then abuts the outer vertical edge 3a of its opening 3, wherein the two retaining hooks 8 of the snap-in device respectively engage behind the inner vertical edge 3b of the corresponding openings 3. Consequently, the face of the variable carrier 1 that was positioned on the vertical carrier profile 4b is also stabilized and interlocked.

The detail identified by the reference symbol D1 in FIG. 1d is illustrated in enlarged form in FIG. 2d. FIG. 2e shows the same detail D1, however, viewed from outside the vertical carrier profile 4b. The retaining hooks 8 of the snap-in device extend through the openings 3 of the vertical carrier profile 4b and ultimately engage behind the outside of the vertical carrier profile 4b after being snapped on. The retaining hooks 8 positively abut an inner vertical edge 3b of their corresponding openings 3. The spring element 7 positively abuts the opposite vertical edge 3a of its opening 3.

The detail of the first carrier profile 4a that is identified by the reference symbol D2 in FIG. 1d is illustrated in enlarged form in FIG. 2f. In this case, the optional safety catch 6 is snapped in place, wherein the retaining hooks 2 completely extend through their openings 3 and positively engage behind the outer vertical edge 3a of the corresponding openings 3. The horizontal clips 5a, 5b respectively abut the lower edge and the upper edge of the openings 3 and stabilize the variable carrier 1 vertically and horizontally.

The steps of the installation method according to FIGS. 1a to 1d and 2a to 2f are once again illustrated in FIGS. 3a to 3d, however, in the form of a top view.

In FIG. 3a, the variable carrier 1 is hooked into the first vertical carrier profile 4a by means of the retaining hooks 2 as described above such that the variable carrier 1 extends at an acute angle referred to the imaginary axis Y-Y′ that is indicated with a broken line in FIG. 3a. The retaining hooks 2 are hooked into corresponding openings 3 of the vertical carrier profile 4a, but do not yet positively abut the outer vertical edge 3a of their openings 3. The detail identified by the reference symbol E in FIG. 3a is illustrated in enlarged form in FIG. 4a.

After pivoting the variable carrier 1 in the direction of the arrow, it is almost positioned on the imaginary axis as illustrated in FIG. 3b. The detail identified by the reference symbol F in FIG. 3b is illustrated in enlarged form in FIG. 4b. In this case, the retaining hooks 8 of the snap-in device are situated a short distance from the corresponding openings 3 of the second vertical carrier profile 4b.

The retaining hooks 8 are pushed through the corresponding openings 3 by further pivoting and tensioning the length compensation 9 of the variable carrier 1, namely until the face of the variable carrier 1 abuts the second vertical carrier profile 4b (see FIG. 3c). The detail identified by the reference symbol G in FIG. 3c is illustrated in enlarged form in FIG. 4c. In this case, the spring element 7 is still in a relaxed state.

The spring element 7 is pressed against the vertical carrier profile 4b and tensioned by further pivoting. During this process, the retaining hooks 8 move in the direction of the inner vertical edge 3b of the corresponding openings 3 until they are stopped by this inner vertical edge and engage behind the vertical carrier profile 4b. The spring element 7 simultaneously snaps into the opening 3. The spring element 7 now abuts the outer vertical edge 3a of the corresponding opening 3. The detail H of FIG. 3d is illustrated in an enlarged form in FIG. 4d.

Furthermore, FIG. 4e shows a sectional representation of the detail H in order to elucidate the interlocked position of the variable carrier 1 on the vertical carrier profile 4b. The retaining hooks 8 abut the vertical edge 3b of their openings 3 and engage behind the vertical carrier profile 4b.