Title:
NON-MAGENTIC ACCESS FLOOR SYSTEM FOR USE IN ELECTRONIC IMAGING ROOMS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An access system is provided that employs a floor panel and pedestal assembly designed to provide a non-magnetic environment with no metal on metal contact making the system particularly suited for EMI machine room use. The access floor eliminates the difficulty in calibrating the EMI machine due to minute movement in the access floor panels that arises from metal on metal contact. Moreover, the system ensures that the floor panels themselves contain no metallic parts thereby eliminating the static white pixel noise associated with the more powerful magnets now used in the current generation of EMI machines. Thus a considerably more versatile access floor is provided that can support the need of the current generation of EMI machines to be movement free and to not generate static interference in their visual output.



Inventors:
Pendergast, John B. (West Simsbury, CT, US)
Application Number:
12/500006
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/09/2009
Assignee:
Frank Pendergast Incorporated (Avon, CT, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/309.13, 52/126.6
International Classes:
E04F15/024; E04C2/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070017179Acoustical canopy systemJanuary, 2007Springer et al.
20020166289Building tie down kit for securing roofs, doors, and windows against storm wind damage and method of assemblyNovember, 2002Oviedo-reyes
20090151280Multi-unit housing with integral garageJune, 2009Jones et al.
20060034654Temporary drivewayFebruary, 2006Sanders
20080163566Multi-dimensional paver edgingJuly, 2008Bella
20080229677Flashing assembly for inhibiting moisture intrusionSeptember, 2008Mccoy et al.
20090139180WATER CHANNELING SYSTEM FOR GUTTERSJune, 2009Kehs et al.
20090199504SUPPORT STRUCTURE FOR USE WITH METAL BEAMSAugust, 2009Thompson
20080148677Reinforced Wood PanelJune, 2008Pu et al.
20090313937STEEL BEAMS AND RELATED ASSEMBLIES AND METHODSDecember, 2009Zureick et al.
20080083191CEILING MEDALLION SYSTEM AND METHODApril, 2008Jensen



Primary Examiner:
MAESTRI, PATRICK J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARLOW, JOSEPHS & HOLMES, LTD. (PROVIDENCE, RI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An access floor system for installation over a subfloor comprising: a pedestal assembly configured and arranged to be affixed to said subfloor including: a polymer pedestal base having a recess in a top surface thereof; a polymer pedestal head having a recess in a bottom surface thereof; a rod support having a first end configured to be received and retained in said recess in said pedestal base and a second end configured to be received and retained in said recess in said pedestal head; and a floor panel formed from non-metallic materials, said floor panel being supported in spaced relation above said subfloor by a plurality of said pedestal assemblies.

2. The access floor system of claim 1, wherein said polymer pedestal base and head are polyvinyl chloride.

3. The access floor system of claim 1, wherein said recess in said pedestal base and head is threaded and said first and second ends of said rod support include corresponding threads thereon.

4. The access floor system of claim 1, wherein said recess in said pedestal base and head are configured to receive and retain a non-metallic nut, said nut having threads in an opening therein, said first and second ends of said rod support include corresponding threads thereon.

5. The access floor system of claim 4, wherein said nut is adhered in said recess.

6. The access floor system of claim 1, wherein magnetic fields do not induce movement of said floor system.

7. The access floor system of claim 1, wherein said floor system does not generate interference when exposed to magnetic fields.

8. The access floor system of claim 1, further comprising: a non-metallic cap affixed to said pedestal head, said cap including alignment guides that receive and align said floor panel.

9. The access floor system of claim 8, wherein magnetic fields do not induce movement of said floor system.

10. The access floor system of claim 8, wherein said floor system does not generate interference when exposed to magnetic fields.

11. The access floor system of claim 1, said floor panel further comprising: a non-metallic core having a top surface, a bottom surface and a perimeter edge; a non-metallic outer layer disposed about said top surface, said bottom surface and said perimeter edge of said floor panel.

12. The access floor system of claim 11, wherein said non-metallic core is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of: laminated wooden sheet material, structural composite material, reinforced fiberglass material and foam material.

13. The access floor system of claim 11, wherein said non-metallic outer layer is selected from the group consisting of: wood veneer, polymer laminate, structural polymer laminate, reinforced fiberglass and combinations thereof.

14. The access floor system of claim 1, wherein a perimeter edge of said floor panel extending between a top surface and a bottom surface thereof is tapered so that said top surface is larger than said bottom surface.

15. An access floor system for installation over a subfloor comprising: a plurality of pedestal assemblies configured and arranged to be affixed to said subfloor including: a polymer pedestal base having a recess in a top surface thereof; a polymer pedestal head having a recess in a bottom surface thereof; a rod support having a first end configured to be received and retained in said recess in said pedestal base and a second end configured to be received and retained in said recess in said pedestal head; a non metallic cap affixed to said pedestal head, said cap including alignment guides; and a plurality of floor panels formed from non-metallic materials, said floor panels being received and aligned by said alignment guides such that said panels are supported in spaced relation above said subfloor by said pedestal assemblies.

16. The access floor system of claim 15, wherein said recess in said pedestal base and head is threaded and said first and second ends of said rod support include corresponding threads thereon.

17. The access floor system of claim 15, wherein said recess in said pedestal base and head are configured to receive and retain a non-metallic nut, said nut having threads in an opening therein, said first and second ends of said rod support include corresponding threads thereon.

18. The access floor system of claim 15, said floor panel further comprising: a non-metallic core having a top surface, a bottom surface and a perimeter edge; a non-metallic outer layer disposed about said top surface, said bottom surface and said perimeter edge of said floor panel.

19. The access floor system of claim 18, wherein said non-metallic core is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of: laminated wooden sheet material, structural composite material, reinforced fiberglass material and foam material.

20. The access floor system of claim 18, wherein said non-metallic outer layer is selected from the group consisting of: wood veneer, polymer laminate, structural polymer laminate, reinforced fiberglass and combinations thereof.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to and claims priority from earlier filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/134,732, filed Jul. 14, 2009.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to access flooring systems. More specifically, the present invention relates to an improved access flooring system that is constructed entirely from non-magnetic materials in a manner that allows use of the system in applications where a strong magnetic field exists.

During the early development of computers and related technology, the equipment was commonly housed in centralized computer rooms. This equipment generally consisted of several pieces of bulky equipment that needed power cabling and communication cabling between each piece. In addition, the large pieces of equipment maintained in a confined space generated large quantities of heat, thus requiring cooling equipment. All of the cabling that ran between the equipment was often positioned at floor level becoming an impediment to the workers within the room. Further, the air conditioning was pumped into the room typically using wall or ceiling registers in a manner that did not efficiently cool the equipment. In order to address these issues, raised access flooring systems were developed to provide a space into which the cabling and cooling systems could be installed.

Early raised floors were basically crawl spaces built in place some distance above the primary floor (“subfloor”) of the building. The raised floor was installed within the computer room in a manner that allowed the cabling and air conditioning to be routed in the space created between the subfloor and the raised floor. In the most common arrangements, the crawl space between the subfloor and the raised floor had removable hatches to facilitate access to the various cable connections. In addition, openings for chilled air were positioned adjacent or beneath open computer equipment cabinets so that chilled air could be supplied close to or within each piece of equipment.

As computer equipment changed over the years the access flooring was upgraded and improved such that the new designs evolved in today's access floors. Access floors, in their current form, have been widely used for many years. Common access floors are two-feet square finished floor panels that sit on vertical panel corner pedestals at some uniform elevation above a subfloor. Each corner pedestal usually supports adjacent corners of four 2 ft by 2 ft finish floor panels. The panels are screw-fastened to each corner pedestal. In an alternate arrangement, horizontal structural members referred to as stringers are installed in two perpendicular directions onto vertical support pedestals. Once all pedestals are interconnected by stringers, the 2 ft by 2 ft finish floor panels are placed onto the matrix of stringers. The panels either remain in place by gravity or are screw-fastened to the stringers and pedestals. With the installation complete, the space between the access floor and the subfloor forms a plenum that serves as a chase way for all power, voice and data cabling at the same time it serves as the supply air plenum for heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC).

Generally, these access floors employed metallic components such as steel in the manufacture of the pedestals and stringers as well as reinforcement for the panels themselves. While these materials were suitable for use in a traditional computer environment, access floors are commonly used in many other areas beyond computer rooms today. For example, there is a need for the installation of access floors in the rooms that house large magnets that constitute the key component of Electric Magnetic Imaging (“EMI”) machines. The access floor used in such rooms must use non-magnetic materials in the floor construction or else even minute movement in the floor caused by the strong magnetic field generated by the EMI machine will interfere with the operation of the EMI machine and its output.

To accommodate this need access floors for use in EMI rooms were originally constructed using aluminum floor panels and aluminum pedestals. However, as the magnets used in the EMI machines have become increasingly more powerful they have started inducing minute movements even in the floors that are constructed using aluminum components. The difficulty is that as aluminum panels and pedestals of the raised floor move, they cause white pixel noise that interferes with and degrades the images generated by the newer EMI machines. Further, the movement of the aluminum raised floor construction due to the strong magnetic field generated by the EMI machines causes difficulties calibrating the EMI machines. One solution was the application of weather-stripping and, in some cases, latex surgical glove material to isolate the aluminum panels from the aluminum pedestals in an attempt to dampen or eliminate this movement. This construction method however still has significant problems due to the questionable durability of the weather-strip and latex materials.

There is therefore a need for an access floor system that does not undergo minute movements that tend to degrade or interfere with the images generated by the new generation of EMI machines that are using more powerful magnets than has been the case in the past. There is a further need for an access floor system that eliminates shifting of the floor panels against the underlying pedestals in a manner that overcomes the calibration problems currently being experienced by operators of existing electric magnetic imaging machines.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In this regard, the present invention provides an improved access system that employs floor panels and pedestals that have no metal on metal component contact and is therefore totally non-magnetic. The pedestal assembly has a stainless steel support rod that extends between a non-metallic cap and a non-metallic base support. Since the support post cap and base are not made of metal and since the support post within the pedestal does not interface or attach to another metal component, and there is no metal on metal contact within the system. Further, the floor panels sit on top of a non-metallic cap, which in turn is attached to a non-metallic pedestal head, and again resulting in the elimination of metal on metal contact.

Accordingly, the system of the present invention provides an improved access floor that does not exhibit the minute movements that cause difficulty to the operators of EMI machines in calibrating those machines for their proper and best use. Moreover, the complete elimination of metal in the access panels themselves provides the users of the current generation of more powerful EMI machines with visual output absent any interference, white pixel noise or static.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an access floor construction that does not experience minute movements that would tend to degrade or interfere with the images generated by the new generation of EMI machines that are using more powerful magnets than has been the case in the past. It is a further object of the present invention to provide an access floor system that eliminates shifting of the floor panels against the underlying pedestals in order to thereby overcome the calibration problems currently being experienced by operators of existing electric magnetic imaging machines.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective of the pedestal assembly and pedestal cap constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective from above of the panel showing the detail of its dimensions in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3 is a lateral cross section view of the panel showing its component parts in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4 is a side perspective of the access floor and pedestal assembly in operation in accordance with the invention in a depressed slab application; and

FIG. 5 is a side perspective of the access floor and pedestal assembly in operation in accordance with the invention in a raised floor application.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Now referring to the drawings, one embodiment of the access floor system of the present invention is shown and generally illustrated in the figures. As can be seen in the most general terms, an access floor system is provided for installation over a subfloor. The access floor system includes a pedestal assembly that is configured and arranged to be affixed to the subfloor and a floor panel formed from non-metallic materials that is supported in spaced relation above the subfloor by a plurality of said pedestal assemblies.

Turning now to FIG. 1, the pedestal assembly 11 is shown in detail. The pedestal assembly includes a polymer pedestal base 16 having a recess 27 in a top surface thereof a polymer pedestal head 18 having a recess 28 in a bottom surface thereof and a rod support 13 having a first end 29 configured to be received and retained in said recess 27 in the pedestal base 16 and a second end 30 configured to be received and retained in the recess 28 in said pedestal head 18. Preferably the pedestal base 16 is formed from a non-metallic material. More preferably the pedestal base 16 is formed from a polymer such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or the like. In a preferred embodiment the pedestal base 16 is constructed of a 4″×4″×½″ piece of PVC material.

The pedestal base 16 has a recess 27 in a top surface thereof configured to receive and retain the first end 29 of the support rod 13. This recess 27 may frictionally retain the support rod 13 of it may include threads to engage the support rod 13. More preferably, the recess 27 in the pedestal base 16 has a hole formed therein to receive and retain a nut 17.

The nut 17 is preferably formed of non-metallic material, the nut having threads in an opening therein that engage corresponding threads on the first end 29 of the support rod 13. The nut 17 is preferably a manufactured fiberglass nut 17. The nut 17 has an outer surface that is Hexagonal shaped and preferably measures 1″ tall×1⅛″ in diameter. It has an opening therein to threadedly receive the support rod 13. The nut 17 is adhered of glued into the recess 27 in the pedestal base 16 with an adhesive suitable to adhering PVC/Fiberglass such as a two-part epoxy adhesive.

Similarly, the pedestal assembly 11 includes a polymer pedestal head 18 having a recess 28 in a bottom surface thereof. Preferably the pedestal head 18 is formed from a non-metallic material. More preferably the pedestal head 18 is formed from a polymer such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or the like. In a preferred embodiment the pedestal head 18 is constructed of a 4″×4″×½″ piece of PVC material. The recess 28 in the pedestal head 18 is configured to receive and retain the second end 30 of the support rod 13. This recess 28 may frictionally retain the support rod 13 or it may include threads to engage the support rod 13. More preferably, the recess 28 in the pedestal head 18 has a hole formed therein to receive and retain a nut 19.

The nut 19 is preferably formed of non-metallic material, the nut having threads in an opening therein that engage corresponding threads on the second end 30 of the support rod 13. The nut 19 is preferably a manufactured fiberglass nut 19. The nut 19 has an outer surface that is Hexagonal shaped and preferably measures 1″ tall×1⅛″ in diameter. It has an opening therein to threadedly receive the support rod 13. The nut 19 is adhered of glued into the recess 28 in the pedestal head 18 with an adhesive suitable to adhering PVC/Fiberglass such as a two-part epoxy adhesive.

A rod support 13 is provided that may be smooth along its entire length. More preferably, the support rod 13 includes a first end 29 that is threaded such that it is configured to be received and retained in the recess 27 in the pedestal base 16 and a second end 30 that is threaded such that it is configured to be received and retained in the recess 28 in the pedestal head 18. Still more preferably, the first and second ends 29, 30 are received and retained in the nuts 17 and 19 respectively. Similarly, the rod support 13 may be threaded at its ends or along its entire length. In one embodiment, the rod support 13 is made of stainless steel threaded rod material, which is screwed into the fiberglass nuts 17, 19. While stainless steel is the preferred material, the support rod 13 could be made from structural polymer materials, reinforced polymers and the like. It can be appreciated by one skilled in the art that the length of the support rod 13 can be varied or adjusted based upon the overall height desired for the completed access floor assembly.

The pedestal assembly 11 can also be seen to include a non-metallic cap 15 that is configured to be affixed to the pedestal head 18. Preferably the cap 15 is a one-piece molded polymer part. More preferably, the cap 15 is a molded PVC part. The cap 15 is designed to snap in place over the top of the pedestal head 18. Downwardly extending tabs 20 contact the side of the pedestal head 18 to retain the cap 15 in place thereon. When pushed down over the pedestal head 14, the cap 15 makes frictional contact thereby holding the cap 15 in place.

The top of the cap 15 can be seen to include alignment guides 21 that receive and align the floor panel as will be described in more detail below. In a preferred embodiment, the alignment guides 21 are provided as raised tabs that radiate outwardly from the center of the cap 15 at the 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions. Each alignment guide 21 tab is preferably 3/16″ high 3/32″ thick and 5/16″ long although the exact dimensions thereof are not critical or meant to be limiting. The cap 15, when installed over the pedestal head 18, serves to receive and align the floor panels that are installed thereon.

Turning now to FIG. 2, a perspective is shown depicting the floor panel 22 used in the access floor system of the present invention. While the floor panel 22 may be solid, preferably the floor panel is formed to include a non-metallic core having a top surface, a bottom surface and a perimeter edge and a non-metallic outer layer disposed about the top surface, bottom surface and perimeter edge of the core within the floor panel 22. Preferably the non-metallic core is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of: laminated wooden sheet material, structural composite material, reinforced fiberglass material and foam material and the non-metallic outer layer is selected from the group consisting of: wood veneer, polymer laminate, structural polymer laminate, reinforced fiberglass and combinations thereof. In one embodiment, the floor panel 22 is 24″×24″ with a 1⅝″ thick core and a 1/16″ outer layer that is formed from a high-pressure laminate.

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of the floor panel 22, having a core 23 such as high-density particleboard or any of the other materials noted above. The core 23 is cut and trimmed in a manner that with the outer layer 24 applied thereto it will preferably have a finished manufactured size of 24″×24″×1⅝″ thick. This embodiment is the presently preferred practical application, but other sized floor panels also have substantial applications. The core 23 is preferably cut in a manner that allows for a perimeter edge of the floor panel 22 extending between a top surface and a bottom surface to be tapered such that the top surface is larger than the bottom surface. This is done to allow easy removal of the panel 22 to provide accessibility in and out of the installed raised floor system.

The core 23 of the floor panel 22 is enclosed with the outer layer 24. In one embodiment, the edges are covered with a PVC edging that is glued onto the sides of the core 23. The PVC may extend just slightly ( 1/16″) above and below the High Density Particle Board Core 23 in a manner that will protect the edges of the outer layer applied to the top 25 and bottom 26 of the core. The top and bottom of the core 23 are preferably surfaced with 1/16″ thick high-pressure laminate, the method of attachment will be adhesive bonding. The high-pressure laminate possesses non-magnetic properties that give it substantial applications where strong magnetic field interference needs to be avoided.

In operation the access floor may be installed in either of two normal applications. The first application is a depressed slab (recessed) access floor as depicted in FIG. 4, and the second application is the elevated raised floor depicted in FIG. 5. In either case, the access floor system maintains the same specific mechanics. Both installations employ a plurality of height adjustable pedestal assemblies 11 positioned in spaced apart relation preferably at 2′ on center. The pedestal assemblies 11 are affixed to the subfloor with a fasting means such as mechanical fasteners or are glued to the existing floor with specialized construction adhesives. Once cured these adhesives add lateral stability to the pedestals 11. In these types of installations the floor panels 22 may be retained by gravity or by fasteners that retain the floor panels 22 on the pedestals 11, with the alignment guides 21 assisting in keeping the alignment of the floor panels 22.

When the access floor is installed, four (4) effects increase the non-magnetic properties of the floor: (1) The potential for metal on metal contact between the floor panels 22 and pedestal cap 18 has been eliminated; (2) The non-magnetic support rod 13 is attached to non-metallic components further eliminating the potential for metal on metal contact; (3) All metal components of the floor panels 22 have been eliminated; and (4) All metal components of the pedestal assembly 11 have been eliminated with the exception of a possible stainless steel support rod 13. In this manner, the access floor system of the present invention forms a system wherein magnetic fields do not induce movement of the floor system and the floor system does not generate interference when exposed to magnetic fields.

It can therefore be seen that the present invention provides an access floor construction that does not experience minute movements that would tend to degrade or interfere with the images generated by the new generation of EMI machines that are using more powerful magnets than has been the case in the past. Further, present invention provides an access floor system that eliminates shifting of the floor panels against the underlying pedestals in order to thereby overcome the calibration problems currently being experienced by operators of existing electric magnetic imaging machines. For these reasons, the instant invention is believed to represent a significant advancement in the art, which has substantial commercial merit.

While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described except insofar as indicated by the scope of the appended claims.