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Publication numberUS3748793 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date31 Jul 1973
Filing date11 May 1971
Priority date11 May 1971
Publication numberUS 3748793 A, US 3748793A, US-A-3748793, US3748793 A, US3748793A
InventorsG Retz, M Tompkins
Original AssigneeStandard Inc New York
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Intersection construction for movable wall panel system
US 3748793 A
Abstract
Overhead tracks for movable wall panels are particularly adapted to receive one or more intersection-forming inserts which facilitate fabrication of a plurality of tracks into grid form. Each intersection-forming insert includes a central corner-forming body and interlock arms extending outwardly from the body, usually at right angles to each other. Each arm is engaged in a cooperating gap, preferably formed on the adjacent tracks, and the body has an upper surface and a pair of generally vertical side surfaces which form extensions of the track. The side surfaces converge together to form an intersection corner, and in one embodiment define a 90 DEG arc and in another embodiment define an arc between 45 DEG -90 DEG . Abutment surfaces are formed on the body for positioning the body in a corner-forming position, and a vertical stem-like portion of the body mates against the side walls of adjacent tracks.
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PAYENIEUJIH 3\ |975 SHEET 1 UF 2 /A/vEA/rons MELVIN W. TOMPKINS 8 GEORGE F. RETZ A TTORNEYS INTERSECTION CONSTRUCTION FOR MOVABLE WALL PANEL SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In movable wall panel systems of the type adapted for temporary division of large rooms into small rooms or the like, wall panels are commonly suspended from overhead tracks. A relatively common form of track includes a metal sheet formed with a C-shaped crosssection and which forms a pair of vertical side walls and a pair of horizontal spaced-apart trackA sectionswhich define a slot therebetween, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,557,499 of 1971. Other similar constructions are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,889,112 of 1932 and 3,181,274 of 1965;

In wall panel systems particularly adapted for schools to divide space into classrooms, resource centers, study carrels, and various other arrangements, it is particularly desirable that the tracks be assembled in the form of a grid which includes a plurality of angled corners and/or intersections. The corners and intersections most commonly employed are either T-shaped, L- shaped, or X-shaped.

Heretofore, fabrication of track grids of this type has been inordinately expensive because the tracks which are comprised of metal have generally been welded or soldered together at their ends in mitered and abutting joints. This type of joining is relatively difficult because the track ends must be rather precisely fitted together. ln addition, the welding must also be rather precise, so that the opposite ends of the tracks will fit together with the end of another track.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to an improved movable wall system and to an improved track construction which substantially facilitates the fabrication and assembling of tracks in the form of a suspended grid. The invention includes a novel corner connection in which an intersection-forming insert cooperates with the adjacent tracks.

In accordance with the invention, each intersectionforming insert includes an intermediate, comerforming body and a pair of arms extending outwardly from the body for insertion into interlock channels or voids formed adjacent the running surfaces of the track. In the preferred embodiment, the running surfaces of the track are bent downwardly a short distance, and then laterally outwardly to fonn lateral support flanges which define with the running surfaces narrow voids which receive one of the arms of an insert. The other arm is inserted into an adjacent void of an adjacent track.

The body provides a continuous surface with the adjacent running surfaces, and preferably includes abut.- ment surfaces for mating against the ends of the adjacent running surfaces and for positioning the body in its corner-forming position. In addition, the body preferably includes a vertical stem-like portion for mating against and for forming a smooth and rounded corner with side walls of adjacent tracks. The upper surface of the body is coplanar with the running surfaces of the adjacent tracksections, and also includes a pair of converging corner-forming surfaces which define extensions of the adjacent slots. These principles are described herein with reference to 90 intersections, but may be applied to other intersections as well, for example a Vshaped intersection with one track intersecting the other at 60.

In one embodiment, the converging surfaces define a arc and form a 90 comer with the slots. In another embodiment, the converging surfaces are flared outwardly to narrow the slots in the region of the intersection and define an arc between 45-90. The intersection-forming inserts may be formed of metal or plastic material, and in the preferred embodiments are formed of a low-friction material such as nylon or PTFE or the like.

In assembling a corner or an intersection, the tracks are first cut to desired lengths with simple butt ends. The ends of the tracks are then positioned mutually adjacent to each other so as to allow a cornering space, and the inserts are put in place.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view, showing a plurality of movable wall panels suspended from a track grid having intersections formed according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partially broken away and exploded view showing a pair of tracks disposed at right angles and mutually adjacent to each other, and showing an intersection insert positioned for connecting adjacent track sections and forming a portion of an intersection;

FIG. 3 is a top view of a preferred embodiment of the intersection insert according to the present invention; FIG. 4 is an end view taken along line 4 4 in FIG. 3;

FIG. S is a top view of another embodiment of intersection insert according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic bottom view of an X-shaped intersection showing the parts in exploded position and in assembled position; and

FIG. 7 is a schematic bottom view of a T-shaped intersection showing the parts in exploded position and in assembled position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. l, a large room such as a classroom has a grid 10 of' tracks 12 suspended from the ceiling. The grid l0 includes a plurality of intersections 14 formed according to the present invention. A series of wall panels l5 are suspended from disc-like glides or pucks 16 (FIG. 2) which are slidably supported by the tracks l2 and which are connected to the panels l5 by pendant bolts 18. Generally, one such puck and bolt assembly is connected to each end of each panel.

The tracks l2'include sheets of formed metal having C-shaped cross sections defining pairs of vertical side walls 20 and pairs of parallel and inwardly extending running surfaces 22. In the preferred form, the running surfaces 22 have extensions which are bent downwardly and then outwardly to form bent slot-forming portions 24 and lateral support flanges 26. The bent portions 24 define central longitudinal slots 27 through which the pendant bolts 18 travel and the lateral flanges 26 preferably extend outwardly a distance beyond the vertical planes defined by the side walls 20 to form lips 28 on which ceiling tiles 29 are supported. In addition, each support flange 26 defines with its corresponding running surface 22 a narrow void or gap 30 for purposes described hereafter.

The tracks 12 may be hung in any number of ways. In one method, pairs of Z-shaped hanger brackets 31 are spaced along the length of the tracks and have lower legs 32 received within the gaps 30 and upper legs 34 connected to a cross member 36. Support rods 37 are suspended from the ceiling and are connected to both the cross member 36 and the hanger brackets 31.

The tracks 12 are suspended from the ceiling with their butt-ends disposed mutually adjacent to each other, so that one gap 30 from each track is also disposed adjacent a gap from an adjacent track. An intersection-forming insert 45, which may be formed of metal but is preferably molded of a low-friction plastic material such as nylon or PTFE, forms a corner for each pair of mutually adjacent tracks. As shown, the insert 45 includes an intermediate corner-forming body 46 and a pair of arms 47 extending outwardly at rightangles from the body giving the insert 45 the general form of an L. The arms 47 are dimensionally formed for insertion into the gaps 30.

The body 46 is formed to provide a continuation of each adjacent track. Referring more specifically to FIGS` 3-4 the body 46 includes pairs of abutment surfaces 54 for mating against the running surfaces 22, and pairs of abutment surfaces 55 for mating against the lateral flanges 26. In addition, the body 46 includes a vertical stem-like portion 58 having an arcuate crosssection and end surfaces 59 for mating against the side walls of the adjacent tracks.

The upper surface 60 of the insert 45 is coplanar with the running surfaces 22, and the body 46 includes a pair of generally vertical and preferably radiused surfaces 62 coterminous with the slot-defining bent portions 24 and forming extensions of the slots 27. In one embodiment, the surfaces 62 are flared outwardly to narrow the slots 27 in the region of the intersection and converge to define an arc between 45-90. Another embodiment, shown in'FIG. 5 as intersection insert 65, is identical with the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, with the exception that it includes converging surfaces 66 which define a 90 corner-forming arc. Both embodiments include an integral portion 67 for mating against the lip portions 28 of the lateral flanges 26.

Referring to FIG. 6, it can be seen that an X-shaped right-turn intersection 70 may be constructed by using four of the inserts of the present invention. Either the flared inserts 45 or the right-'angle inserts 65 may be used. When the flared inserts 45 are used, as shown in FIG. 6, they reduce the effective width of the slots 27 in the region of the intersection and facilitate location of the cross-track. They also provide additional support for the circular pucks 16 which support the panels. Referring to FIG. 7, a T-shaped intersection 7l is formed by two of the inserts 45 of the present invention.

The corner connections provided by the present invention have been described with reference to rightturn intersections, which are the most common type of intersection used in moving wall panel systems. It should be apparent, however, that the principles of the invention could be employed and appropriate inserts could be molded to interlock with tracks forming intersections less or greater than 90.

The intersection forming inserts 45 and 65 of the present invention facilitate fabrication of a grid of tracks as follows. With reference to FIG. 6, individual tracks l2 suspended from the ceiling are moved apart to form a generally square space 80. The insert arms 47 are then fitted into mutually adjacent gaps 30 and the tracks 12 are moved together until all of them mate against the abutment surfaces 54, 55, and 59 of the respective inserts. If necessary, the suspension of the tracks may then be adjusted so as to maintain the inserts in their intersection forming positions.

A T-shaped intersection 71 (FIG. 7) may be formed with two tracks 12a formed with notches 82 for receiving the bodies 46 of a pair of inserts 45. The notches 82 form a rectangular space with the track 12, by constrast to the square space for an X-shaped intersection, and the insert arms are fitted into the gaps of the adjacent tracks 12a in like manner` From the foregoing description and the accompanying drawing, it is apparent that construction of a track grid in accordance with the present invention provides desirable features and advantages. For example, in the case of X-shaped intersections, the tracks may be severed at right angles to their longitudinal center-lines, to form butt-ends, and this significantly minimizes the problem of forming mitered joints. The inserts do not require gluing and remain in position, without falling out or being moved by movement of the pucks, because of the inter-lock between the lateral flange supports and running surfaces. They may also be readily disassembled, if desired, merely by moving the tracks apart.

In addition, an X-shaped intersection may, for example, be interchanged with a T-shaped intersection merely by substituting a pair of the notched tracks 12a in FIG. 7 for a pair of the butt-end tracks l2 in FIG. 6. The same inserts may be used for the interchanged intersections.

In the case of the flared inserts 65, the flared portions reduce the space where four slots meet (see FIG. 6), and this has been found to aid a person standing on the floor to pinpoint the intersection when the panels are being moved. This is a significant advantage because it helps teachers to quickly rearrange the wall panels in classroom situations.

As noted, the invention is not limited to a movable wall panel system in which inserts are used to form intersections. For example, the invention may be used with track installations where intersections are at other than 90, an example being the division of a hexagonal or pentagonal building in which the tracks run from the corners to a common center intersection.

While the forms of apparatus herein described constitute preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these precise forms of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

l. ln a movable wall panel system which includes a plurality of tracks having parallel spaced-apart side walls and parallel spaced-apart running surfaces defining slots therebetween, a series of movable wall panels, and means for movably suspending said wall panels from said tracks, wherein the ends of said running surfaces are disposed at right-angles mutually adjacent to each other, the combination comprising interlock means including lateral flanges spaced below said running surfaces and defining gaps therebetween, and a plurality of intersection-forming inserts for connecting said mutually adjacent tracks together, each insert including an intemiediate comer-forming body and a pair of arms extending outwardly at right angles from said body for insertion into said gaps, said body including pairs of abutment surfaces for mating against adjacent running surfaces and for mating against adjacent lateral flanges, a vertical stem-like portion having an arcuate cross-section with abutment surfaces for mating against said side walls, upper surfaces coplanar with said running surfaces, and pairs of generally vertical surfaces forming extensions ofV said slots and convergfaces form arcs in 90 corners.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/64, 52/243.1, 52/474, 52/704, 52/241, 52/506.6
International ClassificationE05D15/06
Cooperative ClassificationE05D15/0613, E05Y2900/142
European ClassificationE05D15/06B1B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
25 Apr 1988AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: AMERICAN STANDARD INC.
Owner name: GATEWAY ACQUISITION INC., A CORP. OF DE
Effective date: 19861022
25 Apr 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: GATEWAY ACQUISITION INC., A CORP. OF DE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:AMERICAN STANDARD INC.;REEL/FRAME:004870/0607
Effective date: 19861022
3 Feb 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: FIFTH THIRD BANK THE, AN OHIO BANKING CORP
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GATEWAY ACQUISTION, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004673/0674
Effective date: 19861023
3 Feb 1987AS06Security interest
Owner name: FIFTH THIRD BANK THE, AN OHIO BANKING CORP
Owner name: GATEWAY ACQUISTION, INC.
Effective date: 19861023