Patent application title: Structure for prefabricated
Elena Fabbri (Follonica (gr), IT)
IPC8 Class: AE04B200FI
Class name: Static structures (e.g., buildings) facer held by stiffener-type frame facer between exposed frame members having unitary flanges or integral retainer for attachment to frame
Publication date: 2011-09-01
Patent application number: 20110209436
A base structure for the production of prefabricated units includes, in
one embodiment, a frame having at least two posts opposed to each other.
One or a plurality of panels are framed within the posts to realize the
base structure. The structure further includes, at predetermined heights
h in the posts, couples of holes coaxial to each other to allow the
insertion of tie bars configured to apply a reciprocal approaching action
to the posts such to block the panels enclosed between them.
1. A base structure to produce a prefabricated unit comprising: a frame
comprising at least two posts; at least a panel framed within said posts;
wherein said at least two posts are coupled with traction means
configured to apply a reciprocal approaching action to the posts such to
block the panel comprised between said posts.
2. The base structure according to claim 1, wherein said at least two posts are opposite to each other, and wherein each post comprises at least one opening to receive said traction means.
3. The base structure according to claim 2, wherein said at least one opening extends along an entire transversal section of the post.
4. The base structure according to claim 2, wherein the opening on one post is coaxial to the opening on the opposite post, each of the openings having an axis that is essentially orthogonal with respect to a longitudinal axis respective post, the openings on the post and on the opposite post defining a couple of coaxial openings, and wherein said traction means comprise at least a tie bar inserted into the couple of coaxial openings such to apply said reciprocal approaching action, thereby blocking the panel.
5. The base structure according to claim 4, where said tie bar comprises packing means.
6. The base structure according to claim 5, wherein said packing means comprise at least a threaded nut coupling applied at each end of the tie bar to block the panel.
7. The base structure according to claim 5, wherein said packing means comprise at least a threaded nut coupling at one end.
8. The base structure according to claim 4, wherein said coaxial couple of openings are disposed on a plane extending through the post and the opposite post longitudinally.
9. The base structure according to claim 8, wherein said plane comprises the longitudinal axes of the post and of the opposite post.
10. The base structure according to claim 4, wherein said at least a panel comprises, at one or more of is its back or front edges, joint means of groove-and-tongue type to allow an overlap with another panel.
11. The base structure according to claim 10, wherein said joint means comprise a recess at the front edge of the panel and a protrusion at the back edge, said recess and said protrusion extending longitudinally along an entire longitudinal length of the panel.
12. The base structure according to claim 11, wherein said recess further defines a passage seat configured to house said tie bar.
13. The base structure according to claim 4, wherein said at least a panel is a plurality of panels overlying on each other within said posts.
14. The base structure according to claim 13, wherein there are at least two couples of coaxial openings, each couple of openings being placed at a different height h from each other to allow the application a respective tie bar for each height.
15. The base structure according to claim 14, wherein each respective tie bar is placed at the different height h which essentially coincides with an overlap line of two panels, an upper panel comprising said passage seat configured house the tie bar and a protrusion extending from an underlying panel, such to cause said tie bar to be hidden within said two overlapped panels.
16. The base structure according to claim 2, wherein said traction means are selected from the group consisting of a tie bar essentially shaped like an overturned U, the base of the overturned U being disposed at upper ends of the posts, and ferromagnetic elements inserted at different openings within the posts.
 The present invention refers to the technical field of constructions of prefabricated units and the like. In particular, it refers to a new type of structure for the realization of walls of prefabricated type.
 The present invention also refers to an assembly method of the same structure.
STATE OF THE ART
 Nowadays prefabricated structures are well known that allow, in a fast and economic way, to construct houses of any kind. For example, prefabricated units are commonly used for the realization of warehouses, garages, garden gazebo or structures in general, where reduced cost and rapidity of realization are important features. However, it is a common usage also for the realization of real houses provided with all the comforts.
 A structure of prefabricated type, according to the prior art, is realized by putting together parts that have been previously prepared and at least partially pre-assembled. These parts are modular to each other and are constituted mostly by wood or other types of materials that are easily machinable. Using for example wood (but also a material of different kind but with similar features), it is known how it is possible to produce panels with predetermined lengths, which are then overlapped or put side by side to each other, framing them within specific posts (or in a supporting structure in general), with the aim of making a floor of a construction or the lateral walls or the closing roof. It is clear how, once the different parts are cut and shaped, the composition work is rather fast and simple. Also the production of panels is relatively cheap and fast especially if it is realized in industrial quantity.
 However, the prior art presents a number of drawbacks.
 The panels and the other structural parts that are combined together for the realization of the entire structure, must be assembled in a stable manner in a way that supports and sustains all kinds of pressures, comprising those due to bad weather (for example the wind). The assembling phase requires then (with the current solutions found on the market) a big loss of time and cost increases.
 According to a first technical solution, the realization, for example, of the walls of a house requires the insertion of panels with predetermined lengths inside a supporting structure (usually a post frame or similar) to make the structure stable and firm. It is then important to stabilize the structure with screws, glues or similar, realizing this way a finished module that can be placed in loco. It is clear how this solution is extremely expensive and long.
 It is clear how the technical solution that comprises an assembly by means of screws is wasteful in terms of time and costs, beyond results that are not very reliable. The high number of screws tend to blunt and damage the structure, making it not very reliable especially when it is exposed to bad weather. Moreover, the eventual disassembly becomes practically impossible, as the structure results to be damaged by a lot of holes, beyond being not practicable in terms of time.
 In the same way, the solution that comprises the use of glue requires a wasteful job in terms of time and makes disassembly entirely impossible.
 A common problem with both the screw and the glue solution relates to the take up of slack. It is common that, with the passage of time, the seal elements loosen up. For example, the screw seats get damaged and the glue gives. In this manner the structure is not stable anymore but starts to be more or less stressed. Then it is not unusual that the loosening of the structure causes accidental events such as crashes (for example due to a mistaken impact with a car). The present solutions do not permit in any manner to take up slacks, making the elimination of the weakening of the structure impossible. Indeed it is not possible to block the screws beyond a limit which would cause the breaking of the threads or of the seats within which they are screwed.
 Another solution comprises on the other hand the realization of panel edges shaped as groove-and-tongue joints. In this manner the two adjacent walls (even placed at angle to each other) get blocked in a stable manner without the need of a supporting structure realized with posts and screws. However, also in this case, the cost results to be high, because very expensive and specific machinery suitable to work the terminal parts of each panel is required to achieve this particular shape. Moreover, the junction becomes exposed to bad weather with the risk of breakage and crushes. It is really easy that in the points where the groove-and-tongue joint meet, rain water stagnates, damaging the wood.
DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
 Therefore, it is an aim of the present invention to provide a new type of structure for prefabricate units that resolves all the above mentioned drawbacks.
 In particular, it is an aim of the present invention to provide a type of structure for prefabricate units that allows a fast, economic assemblage and that is eventually easily removable.
 It is also an aim of the present invention to provide a structure that easily allows taking up slack.
 These and other aims are obtained through a structure for the realization of prefabricate units according to the invention, which includes:
 a frame comprising at least two posts;
 at least a panel framed within said posts;
 characterized by the fact that the at least two posts comprise traction means configured to apply a reciprocal approaching action to the posts such to block the panel comprised between them.
 Advantageously, the two posts are opposed to each other in order to frame the panel at its two sides. Moreover, to fix the above said means of traction to the posts, these comprise respectively at least a hole or similar to allow the coupling.
 The simple screws or glues of the prior art bind all the panels to the posts with a mechanical joint action. In fact, a screw penetrates both into the panel and into the post realizing a blocking mechanical connection. In the same way the glue binds the post to all the panels. The present solution, on the other hand, provides a binding action through traction applied on the posts in order to compact them towards the panels and block them. This way, the mechanical interaction of direct connection between the panel and the post through screw or glue is totally eliminated.
 Advantageously, the hole obtained respectively on the posts is passing through the entire transversal section of the post.
 Moreover, the hole obtained on the post is coaxial with the respective hole of the opposite post and to the axis placed orthogonally or almost orthogonally respect to the axis of the posts defining this way a couple of holes positioned within the axis. According to this solution, the traction means comprise at least a tie bar or the like inserted along the couple of holes within the axis, such to apply said approaching action to block the panel.
 Thus, it is clear how the constructive choice of realizing on the two posts a couple of holes within axis allows the insertion of simple rectilinear tie bars that substitute efficiently the numerous fasteners, applying a very efficient packing action.
 To this end, the tie bar comprises packing means.
 In one embodiment, the packing means comprise at least a screw nut/lock nut coupling or similar respectively applied at the two ends of the tie bar in order to apply the blocking action.
 Thus, by tightening the screw nut/lock nut, the tie bar causes a reciprocal approaching of a post towards the other and therefore the blockage of the panel.
 In another embodiment, the packing means comprise at least a screw nut coupling and a lock.
 Among the different, possible positions of the holes on the post, the preferred solution provides that the couple of holes within the axis lie on a longitudinal plane.
 In particular, the plane is the mid point plane of the posts.
 Advantageously, the panel comprises in correspondence to its back and/or front joint means of groove-and-tongue type to allow a reciprocal overlap.
 In particular, the joint means comprise a site obtained in correspondence of the front of the panel and at least a tooth or the like obtained on the back, said site and said tooth extending longitudinally along the entire longitudinal length of the panel.
 In order to allow the assemblage of the structure, being the holes placed on the longitudinal mid point plane of the posts and thus also of the panel framed between them, the panel placed at the passage of the tie bar comprises a passage site.
 In this way, the tie bar results hiding and, beyond having a good aesthetic impact, is advantageously protected against bad weather.
 According to the height of the structure, a plurality of panels are inserted in such a way to overlie each other within the posts.
 In that case, the above mentioned joint means allow a firm and always centered reciprocal coupling.
 In the case of several overlapped panels, at least two couples of coaxial holes are provided, each couple being placed at a different height h from each other to allow the application of the respective tie bars for each height.
 In this way, a uniform compaction force along the entire height of the structure will be applied. It is clear at this point the advantage of the present invention. Few tie bars distributed along the height of the structure substitute many screws. Moreover, the take up slack is simple and immediate. By simply operating on a screw nut/lock nut coupling of the tie bar, it is possible to regulate at any time the packaging action of the panels.
 Advantageously, each tie bar is placed at its respective height h approximately coinciding or close to the overlap line of two panels, the upper panel comprising the passage site that can contain the entire thickness of the tie bar and of the tooth of the underlying panel, such that the tie bar results hidden within the two overlapped panels.
 This solution is constructively simple. In fact, the previous passage hole is easily substituted with the same passage site realized simply deeper. Such operation will be performed only for the panel that will receive the tie bar.
 Alternatively, the traction means can be configured according to different embodiments having a simple rectilinear tie bar. For example, the traction means can comprise one of the following choices:
 a tie bar with approximately an overturned U shape placed in correspondence to the upper bases of the posts;
 ferromagnetic elements inserted in correspondence of the hole (10) within axis.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
 Additional features and advantages of the present invention will be clearer from the description of some embodiments that follows, made to illustrate but not limit the invention, and with reference to the annexed drawings, in which:
 FIG. 1 shows a prospective view of a structure according to the invention;
 FIG. 2 shows two equivalent types of groove/tongue coupling present on the back and front of the panel to allow a reciprocal overlap;
 FIG. 3 shows schematically the center line of the holes for the application of the tie bars;
 FIG. 4 shows schematically the longitudinal mid point plane of the posts, on which the center lines of the holes lie and a constructive detail of the tie bar;
 FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of the tie bar and the passage site of the same along a panel;
 FIG. 6 shows schematically an assembly step and a positioning of the tie bar in one embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 7 shows schematically different embodiments of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF SOME PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 FIG. 1 illustrates the invention relative to a base structure suitable for the realization of prefabricated units. In a totally general manner, what is described is applicable not only for the realization of walls, but of any structural parts suitable to manufacture a prefabricated construction of any type.
 Generally, the base structure includes a frame 1 of any kind and dimension. In the specific case of FIG. 1, the illustrated frame includes two posts (2; 2') pushing against of each other, or rather places one in front of the other at a predetermined distance. A panel 3, or more generally a plurality of panels 3, can be framed within the posts to produce a wall structure usable in prefabricated constructions.
 Generally each of the posts, in order to contain the panels, comprise respectively a sliding seat (4, 4') within which are inserted the two lateral edges (5, 5') of each panel 3. In this manner, it is possible to insert the panels one onto the other making them slide along the seats that run along the entire height of each post, making simple the assemblage and assuring the position of the panels.
 In particular (see FIG. 2), each panel comprises in correspondence of its back 6 and of its front 7 blocking means (8, 9; 8', 9') of groove-and-tongue type to allow a certain seal after their reciprocal overlap. For example, a hole 9' and pin 8' joint realizes a groove/tongue joint. In the specific case of the preferred configuration, each panel has a seat 9 at the face and a tooth 8 at the back. Both tooth and seat run along the entire longitudinal length of the panel. In this manner, the tooth on the back of a panel gets inserted in the seat of the panel placed above, thereby realizing the joint.
 According to the invention (see FIG. 3 and FIG. 1), each of the posts includes respectively at least a hole 10, or a seat in general, on which it is possible to apply traction means 11. The means are able to apply a force F that determinates the reciprocal approaching of the posts in such a way to clamp and package the panels that are comprised within them. In general, the force can have different directions according to the traction means used, and anyway such to determinate a reciprocal approaching of the two posts.
 Thus, according to a first preferred embodiment of the invention (see FIG. 3), generally usable for panels of great length (even larger than three meters), the holes obtained on the opposite posts are passing through the entire transversal length 12 of the post. In particular, the hole obtained on a post is coaxial (or rather has a coinciding axis) with the respective hole 10 of the opposed post. In this way, the two holes have a common axis disposed on a longitudinal plane 14 passing through the two posts (see FIG. 4). FIG. 4 shows in detail the longitudinal plane passing through the middle point of the posts, but any other higher or lower position than the mid point can be used without departing from the present inventive concept. Moreover, the hole's axis is orthogonal or almost orthogonal with respect to the axis 13 of the same posts (see FIG. 3). This design makes it possible to insert a rectilinear tie bar passing through each couple of holes to connect the two posts, thereby applying the packing action.
 The tie bar could be of any kind suitable to accomplish such function. As schematically described in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, a particularly suitable tie bar could be made of a sort of screw (16; 16'), or rod in general, in combination to packing means (17, 17'; 17'', 18) suitable to close the tie bar on the posts to apply the clamping action.
 For example a first embodiment provides for the rod 16 to be threaded at its ends or along its entire length, which is inserted through a couple of holes (10). In this way it is for example possible to use the screw nut 17--lock nut 17' coupling or similar to realize the clamping by enclosing the structure.
 In a non limitative manner other types of tie rod could be used that are totally equivalent. For example, another embodiment provides for a screw 16' comprising a free threaded end and a stopper 18 opposed and configured to snug against the wall surrounding the insertion hole 10. In this manner it is sufficient to have a simple nut 17'' screwable at the free end to operate the enclosing action.
 In order to apply more tie bars at different heights h (especially in the case of very high walls) it is then possible to provide additional couples of holes placed at different heights (see FIG. 1). The tie bar is inserted at the different heights (FIG. 1 shows two heights h1 and h2, but any number of heights greater than two can be easily used) operating thus a clamping action that is uniform along the entire height of the structure realizing also a transportable module.
 In a preferred embodiment see FIG. 4), the holes are realized in such a manner to lie on the longitudinal midpoint plane of the posts to coincide with one of the panels framed between them. In this manner the tie bar passing through each couple of holes lies on the longitudinal midpoint plane of the panel. For this aim, the panels provided to intercept the tie bar are supplied with a passing seat 15 that runs along their entire longitudinal length (which may be embodied as a longitudinal hole passing through the panel) realizing a hidden containment of the tie bar. The embodiment shown in FIG. 5 is representative of such technical solution.
 In one embodiment of the invention, the couple of coaxial holes 10 are provided at heights that are approximately coinciding or close to the line of overlap of the two panels. In this embodiment, it is possible to use the seat 9 of the panel provided for the groove-and-tail coupling to the panel below, allowing this way the passage of the tie bar without the previously described seat 15. In such case, then, the seat 9 is realized with a greater height with respect to the others, allowing this way to contain both the tie bar 16 or 16' and the tooth 8 of the panel below, realizing in this manner a disappearance of the tie bar and a perfect matching of the two overlapped panels (see FIG. 6 and the section detail of FIG. 6).
 It is also possible to provide on the posts in correspondence to the tie bars, a small recess configured to receive and hide the packing means to protect them from bad weather.
 Without departing from the present inventive concept, the holes can be placed still on longitudinal planes as described, but not at the midpoint. Thus they can be placed behind or in front of the panels simply changing this way the visual impact of the tie bar but not the functionality. Moreover, in the case when there are simple hole 9' and pin 8' couplings, a seat 9 could be provided similar to the one already described but which will have a depth such to contain exclusively the tie bar.
 Without limitation, tie bars could be provided with different geometries and not necessarily rectilinear. These could then be disposed in passing holes that are not necessarily coaxial to each other or necessarily lying on longitudinal planes, without for this reason departing from the present inventive concept.
 Another preferred embodiment of the invention (see FIG. 7), particularly advantageous for structures with contained width and height, could contain traction means 211 (for example a U-shaped tie bar) applied on the upper bases of the two posts. In this manner the closing traction action will be applied from above through the arms of the tie bar inserted within the posts at an adequate depth.
 Another preferred embodiment, also particularly advantageous for structures with contained width and height, can comprise the application of magnets in correspondence to the coaxial holes to apply the closing action. These magnets can then be eventually activated when necessary or be of a permanent kind.
 The assembly procedure of the structure according to a preferred embodiment is described next.
 In a first step, the posts (2, 2') with the holes 10 are placed to be respectively coaxial in couples, positioning them one in front of the other (see FIG. 1). Thus the first panel 3 is then inserted slipping into the guides (4, 4') in such a way that the tooth 8 corresponds to the first height h1 where passage of the first tie bar is expected. At this point the first tie bar is inserted and only afterwards the upper panel, obtaining a configuration as the one described in detail of FIG. 6 Section A-A, where the tie bar 16 is contained in the hiding seat 9. The upper panels are then inserted until the second height h2 is reached, where the second tie bar is to be inserted (see FIG. 1) and these steps are repeated for the entire height of the structure. The tie bars are then clamped with screw a nut and/or lock nut (17, 17') or (17'', 18) or similar, producing the entire structure and realizing rapidly the final module, which is transportable.
 It is now clear how all the aims of the present invention have been reached. In particular, it is clear how the clamping system of a panel within the posts allows for a fast assembly, easily removable and resistant to the bad weather. The tie bar is hidden within the panels and is protected from bad weather, highly prolonging its lifetime. It is also clear how take up of slack is simple by simply tightening when required the nut/lock/nut coupling of the tie bar.
 The above description of certain embodiments describes the invention from a conceptive point of view, in a way that others, by using the present disclosure, can modify and/or adapt it in different applications without any additional research and without departing from the present inventive concept. Therefore, adaptations and transformations of the presently described embodiments will be considered as equivalent to what is disclosed in the present description. The means and materials used to carry out the present invention can be of various natures without departing from the scope of the invention. It is intended that the expressions or the terminology used herein have a simple descriptive aim and therefore are not limiting.
Patent applications in class Facer between exposed frame members having unitary flanges or integral retainer for attachment to frame
Patent applications in all subclasses Facer between exposed frame members having unitary flanges or integral retainer for attachment to frame