Imported: 10 Mar '17 | Published: 27 Nov '08
USPTO - Utility Patents
A module is disclosed. The module includes a pair of uprights, each being of adjustable-height. The module is used in a grouping of two or more with an equal grouping of work tops. In the grouping, which forms a workstation, the modules and the worktops are secured to one another in alternating relation such that each work top is supported at its ends by a respective pair of modules and is independently height-adjustable. A modular furniture system based on the module is also disclosed.
This application claims priority under 37 C.F.R. 1.19 and 1.55 to Canadian Patent Application No. 2,590,413 filed May 25, 2007 and entitled Workstation System and Workstation with Multiple, Adjustable Height, Work Tops, hereby incorporated herein by reference.
The invention relates to office or institutional furniture.
Groupings of work tops are needed in office or institutional environments. Such groupings need to be relatively robust, aesthetically-pleasing and inexpensive to manufacture, and are advantageously flexible, to permit reconfiguration.
A workstation forms one aspect of the invention. The workstation comprises two or more work tops and modules. Each work top has a pair of ends. The modules are secured to the work tops in alternating relation such that each work top is supported at its ends by a respective pair of modules. The modules are adapted so as to support the work tops in a manner which permits the horizontal elevation of the work tops to be independently adjusted.
A module forms another aspect of the invention. The module comprises a pair of uprights. Each upright is of adjustable height. The module is used in a grouping of two or more with an equal grouping of work tops, wherein said modules and worktops are secured to one another in alternating relation such that each work top is supported at its ends by a respective pair of modules and is independently height-adjustable.
A furniture system based on the module forms another aspect of the invention.
Other advantages, features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as methods of operation and functions of the related elements of the structure, and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, the latter being briefly described hereinbelow.
A module which forms one aspect of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 3 and designated with general reference numeral 20. The module 20 comprises a pair of uprights 22A,22B and a bridge 26.
Each upright 22A,22B comprises: an inner 28 and an outer 30 steel leg, assembled for telescopic movement relative to one another so as to provide for height-adjustability of said each upright 22A,22B; an elevation mechanism (not shown in FIG. 3 and described fully below) for causing said telescopic movement of the inner 28 and outer 30 leg; and a work top bracket 34. One 22A of the uprights further comprises an actuator 36.
In FIG. 4, wherein the module 20 is shown, partially schematically, in cross-section, the inner legs 28 will be seen to be seated within slide bearings 38 of polytetrafluorethylene or other self-lubricating material inside the outer legs 30, to provide for smooth reciprocation.
The elevation mechanism comprises a threaded shaft 40, a tower 42 and a gear set 44,46, all of steel. The tower 42 has an interiorly-threaded bore 48 and extends upwardly from the base of the outer leg 30 to which it is rigidly secured. The threaded shaft 40 is threadingly engaged in the tower bore 48 and is rotatably mounted by a bearing 50,52 to the inner leg 28, such that rotation of the threaded shaft 40 causes telescopic movement of the inner 28 and outer 30 legs. The gear set 44,46 includes a pair of 90 bevel gears 44,46, one 44 being rigidly secured to the threaded shaft 40 and the other 46, shown in phantom outline, being mounted to a stub shaft 48 (identified in FIG. 3) which is operatively rotatably mounted to the inner leg 28 for rotation about an axis X2 normal to the axis X1 of threaded shaft 40 such that rotation of the threaded shaft 40 causes rotation of the stub shaft 48 and vice versa. The stub shaft 48 terminates in a female socket receptacle 50, also seen in FIG. 3.
The work top brackets 34 are secured one on each inner leg 28 and define respective horizontal, upwardly-presenting surfaces 52 when the uprights 22A,22B are oriented upright and on the outer legs thereof 30.
As best seen in FIG. 4, actuator 36 is for selectively driving the elevation mechanism of the one upright 22A and comprises a crank shaft 54 rotatably mounted to the inner leg 28 of the one upright 22A and terminating in a further 90 bevel gear 56 in mesh with the gear 44 secured to the threaded shaft 40.
The bridge 26 is a steel member welded to the outer legs 30 to rigidly secure the outer legs 30 together in spaced, parallel relation to one another.
A pair of the modules 20 is shown in use in FIGS. 1,2, in a workstation 58A which forms another aspect of the invention. In addition to the modules 20, the workstation 58A comprises a pair of rectangular work tops 60, specifically, two work tops 60, arranged in back-to-back relation.
Each work top 60 has a pair of ends 62.
The modules 20 are secured to the work tops 60 in alternating relation. Specifically, the inner legs 28 are secured to the work tops 60 via the brackets 34, which are screwed (not shown) or otherwise conventionally fastened to the underside of the work tops 60. So secured, each work top 60 is supported at its ends 62,62 by a respective pair of the modules 20,20, each upright 22A,22B supports a respective work top end 62,62 and, in the uprights 22A,22B supporting each work top 60, there is one of the uprights 22A having the actuator 36.
Workstation 58A further comprises a transmission element 66A in the form of a rigid shaft for each work top 60 which operatively couples the elevation mechanisms of the uprights 22A,22B supporting said each work top 60 such that operation of crank shaft 54 of the one upright 22A causes telescopic movement of the uprights 22A,22B supporting said each work top 60 and horizontal, independent movement of said each work top 60.
As best seen in FIG. 5, to provide for said operative coupling, the rigid shaft 66A terminates at its ends in male socket receptacles 68,70 shaped and dimensioned for driving engagement with the female receptacles 50 of the stub shafts 48. One 70 of the male socket receptacles is spring-mounted, and can be manually withdrawn by retraction of a thumb latch 72, so as to enable the ends of the rigid shaft 66A to be fitted into opposed stub shaft sockets 50,50 in use. Alternatively, the shaft 66A can be made sufficiently flexible to allow insertion/removal.
According to another aspect of the invention, the module forms part of a modular furniture system 74 the elements of which include, in addition to the module 20, the rectangular work top 60 and the rigid shaft transmission element 66A, an L-shaped work top 76, a generally boomerang-shaped work top 78, an arcuate work top 80, a non-rectangular quadrilateral work tops 82,83 of two orientations and an articulated transmission element 66B, all as shown in FIG. 5. The L-shaped work top 76, boomerang shaped work top 78, arcuate work top 80 and non-rectangular quadrilateral work top 82,83 are all substantially similar to the rectangular work top 60, but for their shape in plan. The articulated transmission element 66B is substantially similar to the transmission element 66A but includes a pair of shafts 82 coupled by a conventional universal joint 84.
The furniture system elements can be deployed to form workstations with multiple, adjustable-height work tops, the workstations being characterized in that, therein, the module is used in a grouping of two or more with an equal grouping of work tops, and the modules and worktops are secured to one another in alternating relation such that each work top is supported at its ends by a respective pair of modules and is independently height-adjustable.
One configuration of the elements is shown in the workstation 58B shown in FIG. 6, which includes three of the boomerang-shaped work tops 78, three of the modules 20 and three of the articulated transmission elements 66B operatively coupled in a closed loop.
Another configuration of the elements is shown in the workstation 58C shown in FIG. 7, which shows six of the quadrilateral work tops 82,83, six of the modules 20 and six of the rigid transmission elements 66A arranged in a Y grouping, and eight of the modules 20, eight of the arcuate work tops 80 and eight of the rigid transmission elements 66A shown extending in an arc from one branch of the Y grouping.
Yet another configuration of the elements is shown in the workstation 58D illustrated in FIG. 8, which shows four of the L-shaped work tops 76, four of the modules 20 and four of the articulated transmission elements 66B arranged in a cruciform arrangement.
Whereas but a single embodiment of the module is herein shown, it will be understood that numerous changes thereto can be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.
For example, whereas the uprights illustrated take the form of inner and outer tubes arranged telescopically, other mechanisms for height adjustability could readily be provided, such as linear slides or turnscrews.
As well, whereas the bridge shown couples the top ends of the outer legs, the bridge could readily be lowered to an intermediate position, or to a position which runs along the floor in use, or could take the form of a panel or the like spanning between the uprights.
Similarly, whereas in the modules shown, the outer legs of the uprights are fixed together, the module could easily be reversed, such that the inner legs were fixed together, and the outer legs raised and lowered telescopically.
Further, whereas the described elevation mechanism takes the form of a threaded shaft and shaft tower, other elevation mechanisms, for example, hydraulics or pneumatics could be employed.
Moreover, whereas a crank arrangement is shown, other forms of actuator could be employed, for example, a single electric motor. Alternatively, electric motors could be provided on each upright, in which case, the actuator could be a switch and the transmission element could be an electrical conductor.
Additionally, whereas only six work top variations are shown, other variations are possible. Further, whereas only four workstation configurations are shown, it will be readily appreciated that numerous variations are possible.
Accordingly, it should be understood that the invention is intended to be limited only by the accompanying claims, purposively construed.