Patent application title: FIXTURE SUPPORT SYSTEM AND METHOD
Scott S. Yu
Vode Lighting LLC
IPC8 Class: AF16M1300FI
Class name: Supports brackets article holding means
Publication date: 2011-02-03
Patent application number: 20110024593
A device comprising a chassis, which may be formed with a strut and a
hollow housing, the chassis having a groove disposed at an end for
receiving a cross member such that the cross member is slidable within
the groove. Some embodiments may have a plurality of suspension wires,
said suspension wires coupled to the cross member to provide support for
the fixture. Some embodiments may have rotatable hubs connected to the
cross member, the hub for providing support for a light source attached
to the hub. Some embodiments may provide for a ballast disposed into the
1. A device comprising:a chassis, said chassis having a groove disposed at
a first end and a second groove disposed at a second end, anda cross
member slidably disposed in the groove at the first end.
2. The device of claim 1 further comprising:a plurality of suspension wires, said suspension wires coupled to the cross member.
3. The device of claim 1 further includinga rotatable hub connected to the cross member, anda light rail coupled to the rotatable hub.
4. The device of claim 3 wherein the cross member is hollow and a wire is disposed within the cross member between the chassis and the hub.
5. The device of claim 1 wherein the chassis comprises a housing and a strut.
6. The device of claim 5 wherein the housing further includes a ballast disposed within the housing.
7. The device of claim 1 wherein the cross member is formed with a key slot and the suspension wires are formed with a catch, said catch operable to mate with the key slot.
8. The device of claim 1 further including:a coupler, said coupler having a through hole creating a passage from a first side of the coupler to a second side of the coupler, and said coupler having a threaded hole, said threaded hole disposed substantially orthogonally to the passage created by the through hole and extending from an interior point in the passage to the exterior of the coupler.
9. A method comprising:suspending a chassis from a structure, said chassis having a first groove disposed on a first end and a second groove disposed along a second end opposite the first end;disposing a first cross arm in the first groove and a second cross arm in the second groove, wherein the first and second cross arm are slidable in their respective grooves;coupling a plurality of wires in the each cross arm, wherein the cross arms are supported by the plurality of wires.
10. The method of claim 9 further including:attaching a hub to a cross arm anddisposing a wire from the hub, through an interior passage of the cross arm.
11. The method of claim 9 further including:adjusting the position of the cross arms with respect to the chassis.
This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional
Patent Application No. 61/229,463, entitled "Luminaire System and Method"
filed Jul. 29, 2009 by the inventors George Mieling, Thomas Warton and
Scott S. Yu.
The present invention relates generally to fixture supports, and more particularly to a system and method for mounting electrical and lighting fixtures to a support structure.
Lighting and electrical fixture system designs are driven by new technologies and by demands for more efficiency from the market. These demands include economic concerns governing the price and operational costs of the system and other concerns such as environmental issues that influence consumer buying behaviors. To meet these demands fixture designers attempt to control costs by creating reusable components that provide for multiple uses of a same or similar component. Reusability provides for economies of scale during manufacturing of the system elements. Additionally, reusable components reduce installation costs because, once standardized, people installing the fixture do not need additional training.
For industrial environments, one consumer demand may be for modularity because modular systems often have lower overall costs and allow consumers of the product the ability to make modifications even after a system is installed. In addition, modularity may provide for "on the fly" adjustments to meet last minute consumer requirements. These requirements may include the ability to rearrange an office or workspace setting in response to changes in the needs of the organization.
The rising costs of labor also drive lighting fixture design. If costs can be reduced by reducing the cost of installing a fixture, then a manufacturer would have an economic advantage because, all things being equal, the fixture that costs less to install would be a better bargain for the customer.
Lighting fixture designers strive to meet changing demands by incorporating new technologies and modern aesthetics into fixture designs. As such, what is needed is a cost effective modular lighting fixture that provides for ease of installation.
Disclosed herein is a device comprising a chassis, which may be formed with a strut and a hollow housing, the chassis having a groove disposed at each end for receiving a cross member such that the cross member is slidable within the groove, a plurality of suspension wires, said suspension wires coupled to the cross member for providing support for the fixture. Rotatable hubs may be connected to the cross members, each hub provides support for a light source attached to the hub. Some embodiments provide for a ballast disposed into the housing.
The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objectives and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates a fixture support system.
FIG. 2 shows a coupling device for use in a luminaire system
FIG. 3 illustrates a partially disassembled luminaire system.
FIG. 4 shows an assortment of light rails that may be used with a luminaire system.
Generality of Invention
This application should be read in the most general possible form. This includes, without limitation, the following:
References to specific techniques include alternative and more general techniques, especially when discussing aspects of the invention, or how the invention might be made or used.
References to "preferred" techniques generally mean that the inventor contemplates using those techniques, and thinks they are best for the intended application. This does not exclude other techniques for the invention, and does not mean that those techniques are necessarily essential or would be preferred in all circumstances.
References to contemplated causes and effects for some implementations do not preclude other causes or effects that might occur in other implementations.
References to reasons for using particular techniques do not preclude other reasons or techniques, even if completely contrary, where circumstances would indicate that the stated reasons or techniques are not as applicable.
Furthermore, the invention is in no way limited to the specifics of any particular embodiments and examples disclosed herein. Many other variations are possible which remain within the content, scope and spirit of the invention, and these variations would become clear to those skilled in the art after perusal of this application.
Read this application with the following terms and phrases in their most general form. The general meaning of each of these terms or phrases is illustrative, not in any way limiting.
The term "luminaire" generally refers to a lighting fixture which may include one or more of: a light source or lamp, a reflector for directing the light, an aperture (with or without a lens), an outer shell or housing for lamp alignment and protection, an electrical ballast, if required, and a connection to a power source.
The term "fixture" generally means a device for physically supporting an electrical component such as a luminaire, switch assembly, electrical outlet or other like devices.
The terms "light rail" and "rail" generally mean an elongated member having a one or more connections for connecting to a light source.
The terms "light", "lamp" and "light source" generally mean a device capable of providing energy in the visible or near-visible energy spectrum. Examples include but are not limited to: incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps, LEDs and chemiluminescent devices.
Specific examples of components and arrangements are described below to simplify the present disclosure. These are, of course, merely examples and are not intended to be limiting. In addition, the present disclosure may repeat reference numerals and/or letters in the various examples. This repetition is for the purpose of simplicity and clarity and does not in itself dictate a relationship between the various embodiments and/or configurations discussed.
FIG. 1 illustrates fixture support system. In the FIG. 1 a luminaire assembly 100 is depicted suspending from an overhead. The suspension assembly 110 includes both a structural cable, together with an electrical power cable 120. It is connected to a chassis 114 which may provide an enclosure for an electrical ballast (not shown). One end of the chassis 114 is attached to a support arm 116, and the chassis 114 may have an additional support arm 126. The support arm 116 is slidably coupled to the chassis 114 such that the support arm 116 can be adjusted in relationship to the chassis 114. Likewise a support arm 126 is slidably coupled to the chassis to allow it to move for better positioning. Depending on the length of the chassis 114 many other support arms can be added in series. The support arms are cross members in relation to the chassis 114. Slidable coupling may be effectuated using set screws or other mechanisms to allow for sliding of the arms and then locking them in place once set.
The chassis 114, the support arm 116 and other parts of the fixture support system described below may be formed by available processes, including, but not limited to: extrusion, molding or machining. The material may be any suitable material providing sufficient strength and other properties, including but not limited to: aluminum, steel, ceramics or plastics.
The support arms 116, 126, (and others) are designed to hold in place light rails 118. The light rails as shown in the FIG. 1 include a reflector formed to direct light towards a particular direction and connectors such as sockets and plugs for connecting to a light source. The light source may be electrically coupled to a power source through the power cable 120. The light rails 118 are connected to the support arms by hub assemblies 124. The light rails 118 are designed to protect a lighting device and may include clear shields, baffles and other structures effectuating a similar result. The hub assembly 124 allows for rotation of the light rails 118, thus allowing users to configure the direction of the light from the light rails 118. The hub assembly 124 provides for a single light rail, and may be paired with another hub assembly 128 to allow for a single support arm 126 to provide for multiple light rails. The hub assemblies 124 also provide for coupling electrical power from the support arms to the light rail and its associated lighting device.
The suspension assembly 110 is coupled to two suspension wires 112 which may be formed from a single wire, joined to the suspension assembly 110 thus having two separate tensions. A coupling device 122 provides for coupling the suspension wires 112 to the suspension assembly 110 and for the adjustment of the suspension wires 112. The coupling devices 122 secure suspension wires 112 to the suspension assembly 110 using a fastener such as a set screw (not shown). The coupling device 122 allows for height adjustment on the suspension assembly 110, and a lateral adjustment on the suspension wires 112.
In the FIG. 1 power to the luminaire is supplied along the suspension assembly 110 and to the power wire 120 into the chassis 114. From the chassis 114 power can be applied to the light rails 118 in several different ways. Power can be routed through the arms 116 and 126 and associated hubs to reach each end of the light rail 118. Or power could be routed through one of the arms 116 or 126 to reach a single end of the light rail 118, having an additional power line run through the light rail to reach the other end of a lighting device located inside the light rail 118. The lighting device may be either incandescent, fluorescent or LED Assembly and the like.
In operation an assembler would suspend the fixture using the suspension assembly 110. After the fixture is suspended, adjusting the coupling device 122 and the support arms 116 and 126, to true the entire fixture. This allows for easy installation because variations in the installation can be easily rectified simply by adjusting the support arms 116 and 126 and the coupling device 122. In addition, multiple fixtures such as the one shown in the FIG. 1 maybe suspended side-by-side. By adjusting the coupling device 122 and the support arms 116 and 126, the fixtures can be trued to each other.
FIG. 2 shows a coupling device 200 for use in a luminaire system. The coupler 214 may be manufactured from any solid material capable of handling the stress depending on the application, preferably a metal such as steel or aluminum. The coupler 214 has a bore through one axis were a cable 210 is passed through the coupling device 200. A set screw 218 (or similar fastener) is disposed through the coupler 214 to exert pressure on the cable 210 to lock the coupler 214 in place on the cable 210. The coupler 214 must be capable of withstanding threading to allow the set screw 218 to function properly and secure the cable 210.
The coupler 214 has a second bore offset from the first bore for accommodating a cable 212. The second cable is secured by the set screw 216. In operation, the coupler 214 allows for relative positioning of two cables in close proximity and for easy adjustment and alignment of the two cables 210 and 212 in relation to each other.
References in the specification to "one embodiment", "an embodiment", "an example embodiment", etc., indicate that the embodiment described may include a particular feature, structure or characteristic, but every embodiment may not necessarily include the particular feature, structure or characteristic. Moreover, such phrases are not necessarily referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure or characteristic is described in connection with an embodiment, it is submitted that it is within the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art to affect such feature, structure or characteristic in connection with other embodiments whether or not explicitly described. Parts of the description are presented using terminology commonly employed by those of ordinary skill in the art to convey the substance of their work to others of ordinary skill in the art.
FIG. 3A illustrates a partially disassembled luminaire system. In the FIG. 3A a luminaire assembly 300 is depicted suspended from an overhead mount. The suspension assembly 310 includes both a structural cable, together with an electrical power cable 320. The suspension assembly 310 is connected to a strut 324 which acts as a chassis for connecting to a ballast housing 314. One having skill in the art would recognize that a chassis may be formed without a housing and that t ballast housing 314 need not contain a ballast to effectuate some embodiments. One end of the ballast housing is attached to a support arm 316, and the ballast housing 314 may be connected to an additional support arm 326. The support arm 316 is slidably coupled to the ballast housing 314 through the use a groove positioned on an end of the ballast housing 314 such that the support arm 316 is placed in the groove and can slide to different positions in the groove. The support arm 316 can be adjusted in relationship to the ballast housing 314. Likewise a support arm 326 is slidably coupled to the ballast housing to allow it to move for better positioning. Depending on the length of the ballast housing 314 many other support arms can be added in series. Slidable coupling may be effectuated using set screws or other mechanisms to allow for sliding of the arms and then locking them in place once set in position.
Ballast in Arm
One having skill in the art will appreciate that the ballast housing 314 may be alternatively designed to allow for more structural support. By locating a ballast into the support arm 316 or 326, the ballast housing may need to be manufactured from material having different strength characteristics or shaped differently from that show in the FIG. 3A. Relatively small ballasts are commercially available (B & L Model NU6-1128-MSN/D for example) and support arms may be manufactured to completely house the ballast. A modified strut may be added to the ballast housing 314, or if the ballast is located in a support arm or if a ballast is not needed, a modified strut may replace the ballast housing 314.
Some embodiments of a fixture support system may be effectuated without suspending from an overhead. For example the chassis may be mounted to the top of shelving of other structures such that a light rail will project outward providing light. Using a bookshelf as an example, the chassis may be mounted across the top of a bookshelf such that the support arms 316 and 326 extend outward form the shelves. This would allow for an adjustable light for person looking at the books or other items on the shelves. For a shelf installation, the support arms may extend out in two directions providing light for shelves on the opposite sides of a structure, or in the alternative, the support arms 316 and 326 may be formed to only extend from the chassis in one direction.
FIG. 3B shows a support which may be used as a chassis for effectuating a fixture. The support 350 may be formed from conventionally available "strut channel" often used in construction. Added to the strut channel support 350 is a member 352 extending along the length of the strut channel support 350. The member 352 has the affect of strengthening the strut channel support 350 and reducing the effects of bending, torsional or twisting forces on the support 350. The support 350 may be formed to any desired length, and the member 352 may be welded on or optionally extruded when formed. Also, the member need not be continuous, but may be formed from several pieces positioned about the support 350 to achieve the desired result.
The support arms 316, 326, (and others, not shown) are designed to hold in place light rails. The suspension assembly 310 is coupled to two smaller suspension wires 312 which may be a single wire. The wires 312 are fastened to the support arm 316, but alternatively, the ends of the wires may be formed as a catch, with the affect of allowing the ends of the wires 312 to be disposed into a "key hole." The key hole formed with a larger portion for accepting the catch and a smaller portion for holding the catch in place. A coupler 322 provides for the adjustment of the suspension wires 312 and secures them in place with a set screw (not shown). The coupler 322 allows for height adjustment on the suspension assembly 310, and a lateral adjustment on the suspension wires 312.
Power to the luminaire is supplied along the suspension assembly 310 and to the power wire 320 then into the ballast housing 314. From the ballast housing 314 power can be applied to the light rails in several different ways. Power can be routed through the arms 316 and 326 to reach each end of a light rail. Or power could be routed through one of the arms 316 or 326 to reach a single end of a light rail having an additional power line run through the light rail to reach the other end of a lighting device located inside the light rail if necessary.
In operation, an assembler would suspend the luminaire using the suspension assembly 310. After the luminaire is suspended, adjusting the coupler 322 and the support arm swing 316 and 326, to true the entire assembly. This allows for easy installation because minor variations in the installation can be easily rectified simply by adjusting the support arms 316 and 326 and the coupler 312.
FIG. 4 shows an assortment of light rails 400 that may be used with a luminaire system. In the FIG. 4 a baffle 410 provides for a covering over a light source that has the effect of allowing light out of the rail, but reducing glare when viewed from a side angle. The baffle 410 may be manufactured from semi-rigid material such that the baffle 410 snaps into the light rail and is thus held securely by compression. Alternatively, a baffle may be fastened in place by coupling it to the light rail using conventional fasteners such as screws and bolts. The baffle 410 as shown includes structure 414 to secure the baffle to an elongated lamp thus allowing the baffle 410 to hang suspended form the lamp.
The baffle 410 may be constructed to effectuate different light projections from the lighting element and may be designed for particular light sources. For example a baffle may be designed for LED lighting which often has multiple discrete light sources as compared to a fluorescent lamp which has a continuous illuminate throughout the length of the bulb.
In a luminaire system different light rails may be employed by coupling them to a hub 412, such that the hub provides mechanical support, pivotability and a means to provide the light source with electrical power.
The above illustration provides many different embodiments or embodiments for implementing different features of the invention. Specific embodiments of components and processes are described to help clarify the invention. These are, of course, merely embodiments and are not intended to limit the invention from that described in the claims.
Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in one or more specific examples, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention, as set forth in the following claims.
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