AU2007216916B2 - Modular track assembly - Google Patents

Modular track assembly Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2007216916B2
AU2007216916B2 AU2007216916A AU2007216916A AU2007216916B2 AU 2007216916 B2 AU2007216916 B2 AU 2007216916B2 AU 2007216916 A AU2007216916 A AU 2007216916A AU 2007216916 A AU2007216916 A AU 2007216916A AU 2007216916 B2 AU2007216916 B2 AU 2007216916B2
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Australia
Prior art keywords
assembly
modular
sections
articulation
configuration
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AU2007216916A
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AU2007216916A1 (en
Inventor
Toan Quac Dang
Ray Russell Hawkins
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Automatic Technology Australia Pty Ltd
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Automatic Technology Australia Pty Ltd
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Priority to AU2006905248A priority patent/AU2006905248A0/en
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Abstract

The invention relates to a modular track assembly, a kit of parts for use in constructing such an assembly, and a method of constructing such an assembly. In particular, it relates to such an assembly for use in guiding, driving or mounting 5 a movable closure, such as a door, gate or similar. The assembly of the invention includes a plurality of modular elongate track sections configured and interconnected in succession for manipulation between a first folded configuration, in which successive modular sections are arranged substantially in a side-by-side arrangement, and a second unfolded configuration 10 for installation, in which successive modular sections are arranged substantially in an end-to-end arrangement. I; ~ 32A Figure 4B

Description

AUSTRALIA Patents Act 1990 ORIGINAL COMPLETE SPECIFICATION STANDARD PATENT Invention title: Modular track assembly The invention is a full description of this invention, including the best method of performing it known to us: izm AO109152014v3 305913933 Modular track assembly Field of the invention The invention relates to a modular track assembly, a kit of parts for use in constructing such an assembly, and a method of constructing such an assembly. 5 In particular, it relates to such an assembly for use in guiding, driving or mounting a movable closure, such as a door, gate or similar. Background of the invention Track or rail systems for guiding, driving or mounting moveable closures are well known. Garage doors, for residential or utility buildings, are one such type of 10 moveable closure commonly employing such systems. In particular, sectional garage doors are commonly fitted with rollers or runners that are mounted to move on or within lateral tracks, the door arranged for operation by a remote controlled motor drive engaging with the door by way of a chain or belt guided within an overhead longitudinal rail. 15 Commonly, such systems involve single spans of rail or track, cut to the desired length for the particular application. It is also known to provide a modular assembly, comprising a set of short track sections, the installer selecting the number of sections required for the particular application and assembling the plurality of separate sections on site by way of suitable connection means. 20 The onsite assembly of such modular systems from individual components can be somewhat inconvenient, messy and slow, involving introduction, interengagement and adjustment of the various mechanical components (chain, sprocket units, etc). It would be desirable to provide an alternative system. In this specification, where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or 25 discussed, this reference or discussion is not an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date part of the common general knowledge, or known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.
2 Summary of the invention According to the invention in a first aspect, there is provided a modular track assembly for use in guiding, driving or mounting a movable closure, the assembly including a plurality of modular elongate track sections configured and interconnected in succession 5 for manipulation between a first folded configuration, in which successive sections are arranged substantially in a side-by-side arrangement, and a second unfolded configuration for installation, in which successive modular sections are arranged substantially in an end-to-end arrangement, the assembly including a plurality of articulation elements selectively introduced to interconnect successive pairs of modular 10 sections, each articulation element able to provide an articulation point for the unfolding of the assembly from said first to said second configuration, each articulation element adapted to be attached to the end of each of a pair of successive modular sections when in said first configuration, such that when the assembly is in its second configuration the articulation element does not project externally of the track. 15 Said articulation elements may be flexible elements able to bend to allow the required articulation, or alternatively may be hinged elements. Preferably, the articulation elements are adapted for resilient attachment to the ends of two successive track sections, for example, by means of an interference fit, friction fit or other suitable form of resilient attachment. In this way, the articulation elements are 20 configured to be able to be simply and quickly selectively introduced (and, if necessary, removed) from the modular sections manually by a person constructing the modular assembly. In one particular embodiment, this can be achieved by providing a resiliently biased or resiliently deformable portion on at least a part of each articulation element. The ends of the modular sections can also be configured with complementary receiving 25 means to facilitate resilient attachment of said articulation elements therewith. Other alternative attachment means may include snap lock or hook systems. In a preferred embodiment, said articulation elements are provided by substantially U shaped clips, each leg of which is adapted to be resiliently attached to the end of each of a pair of successive modular sections. chbm A01 28792687-v1 30591 3933 3 Preferably, each track section has side walls, each side wall including receiving means for receiving at least one said articulation element. Said receiving means may take the form of one or more longitudinal recesses or grooves within the side wall, extending to at least one end of the modular section. In this way, once the 5 assembly is unfolded for installation, the articulation elements may then be fully retained and enclosed within the recesses or grooves, thus ensuring that they give rise to no interference or projection beyond the side walls The assembly may be adapted to receive, in said second configuration, means for guiding, driving or mounting a movable closure, such as a door, gate or barrier. 10 For example, the assembly may be adapted for receiving a sliding trolley for connection to a door (such as a sectional or overhead garage door or similar) via linkage means, movement of the trolley along the track causing opening and closing of the door. The invention thus provides a modular track assembly made up of a number of 15 modular sections that can be connected together by way of suitable articulation elements allowing manipulation between the first, compact configuration (for storage and transport) and the second extended configuration (for installation). By providing the assembly from a set of modular sections and separate articulation elements, a rail or track for a particular application can be assembled in said first 20 configuration from selection and interconnection of an appropriate number of modular sections and articulation elements, and later unfolded into said second configuration for installation. In a preferred embodiment, the assembly includes one or more bracing elements for supporting the connection between adjacent modular sections in said second 25 unfolded configuration. Each bracing element may be slideably mounted to said modular track sections, to be slid into a bracing position when the assembly is in its second unfolded configuration. Each bracing element may take the form of an exterior sleeve mounted around a modular section and slideable therealong. The assembly may include securing means (such as selectively operable clip means or 30 screw holes for receiving screws), for fixing each bracing element in its bracing position for installation of the assembly.
4 The assembly may include one or more fixation elements for providing the guiding, driving or mounting of a movable closure, to be selectively attached or introduced to the assembly, preferably when in its first folded configuration. The fixation elements may include one or more of the following: drive chain; drive belt; sprocket unit; drive trolley; guide roller; guide 5 wheel; drive release means. For example, the assembly may be a track assembly adapted for installation with a motor drive operator unit to drive movement of a longitudinal drive means (such as a chain or belt) within the track. The track sections of the invention may incorporate means for length adjustment, such as 10 adjustable telescopic elements. Further, the assembly may comprise a combination of different types of modular sections (such as end sections, intermediate sections, curved sections, etc) selected for each particular intended installation application. The assembly may be adapted for indoor or outdoor conditions. According to the invention in a second aspect, there is provided a kit of parts for use in 15 constructing the above defined assembly, including a plurality of modular elongate track sections and a plurality of articulation elements interconnectable between successive pairs of modular sections, wherein the articulation elements are flexible clips configured to be resiliently engaged with the ends of the modular sections in a substantially longitudinal direction. 20 According to the invention in a third aspect, there is provided a method of constructing a modular track assembly for use in guiding, driving or mounting a movable closure, the method including: providing a plurality of modular elongate track sections; providing a plurality of articulation elements, being removable clips resiliently 25 attachable to the ends of the modular sections; and selectively introducing said removable clips to interconnect successive pairs of modular sections in order to provide an interconnected succession of modular sections for manipulation between a first folded configuration, in which successive sections are arranged substantially in a side-by-side arrangement, and a second unfolded configuration 30 for installation, in which successive sections are arranged substantially in an end-to-end arrangement, wherein the introduction of each clip involves engaging the clip in a substantially longitudinal direction with the ends of a pair of successive modular sections when in said first configuration. chbm A01 28792687-v1 30591 3933 5 The articulation elements may be configured for engagement with the track sections such that, in said second configuration, they are captive within the walls of the track sections. In accordance with the invention, in the installed assembly, the articulation elements do not project beyond the outside of the track sections to potentially interfere with other 5 components. The invention thus provides a knockdown assembly that can be very easily stored and transported in a first configuration, and then very quickly and simply assembled on site into a robust configuration for installation. Furthermore, the invention provides great flexibility in the configuration of the system, enabling application to a large variety of 10 different specific installations. Likewise, if ever required, disassembly and/or reassembly of the system is relatively simple and straightforward. It will be appreciated that the term "track" embraces any type of track or rail or similar means defining a path or course. Description of the drawings 15 Further aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following description. The invention is described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 illustrates an assembly in accordance with the invention, installed for operation of a sectional garage door; 20 Fig. 2 shows an assembly according to the invention, comprising three modular units, illustrated in a first folded configuration; Fig. 3 shows the assembly of Figure 2 in a position between said first folded configuration and a second unfolded configuration; and chbm A01 28792687-v1 30591 3933 6 Figs. 4A-E illustrate in a series of sequential views the assembly of Figure 2 as it is unfolded from the first folded configuration into the second unfolded configuration. Whilst the following description concerns assemblies for use with garage doors, it is 5 to be understood that the invention may be applied to any type of track, rail or similar device, for use in guiding, driving or mounting a moveable closure such as a door, shutter, barrier or gate, or for any other use. Referring now to Figure 1, a sectional garage door 10 comprises a number of linked panels (in this example, four) arranged to be guided by edge rollers running in 10 lateral guiding and support tracks 12, between a closed position (as shown) and an open, overhead position. Remote-controlled operator device 14 comprises an electric motor drive to operate door 10 by way of door arm 16, hingedly connected to door 10. Operator 14 drives door arm 16 by means of a chain 30 which moves a trolley 18 along an overhead 15 longitudinal rail 20. Rail 20 is mounted at a header end 22 to the wall above the garage door opening, and a chain sprocket arranged within rail 20 at header end 22 allows the trolley to be moved in both directions to open and close door 10. An emergency release handle 24 can be provided on trolley 18 to selectively disengage the trolley from the chain, in order to manually operate the door. Alternatively, the 20 emergency release handle can be provided on operator 14 to disengage the motor drive from the sprocket (not shown) which engages with the chain. Rail 20 comprises three rail sections 32 and two brace sections 34, which will be described in further detail below. Figure 2 shows rail 20 in a first, disassembled, configuration, comprising three 25 modular sections 32A-C of steel or aluminium profile form. The number of sections is selected in accordance with the length of rail required for each particular application. Each section is of identical length, and fitted with appropriate hardware elements in accordance with whether it is destined to be an end rail section or an intermediate rail section. A header end section 32A is fitted with a 30 header sleeve and pulley sprocket bracket at header end 36, whilst an operator end 7 section 32C is fitted with a drive sprocket unit 38 to engage a pinion of operator 14 when installed. All but one of the rail sections 32 is provided with a rail brace section 34, being a C-profile metal sleeve externally engaging the rail and slideable therealong. In this disassembled configuration, trolley 18 is introduced to one of 5 the rail sections as shown, along with chain 30, which is engaged around the header sprocket at header end 36 and the drive sprocket of unit 38. In this configuration, adjacent rail sections 32 are mutually connected by link or articulation elements 40. As Figure 2A shows, articulation elements 40 are flexible U-shaped clips, the legs of which feature outwardly directed resiliently biased spring 10 portions, sized and shaped to allow the legs to fit into and be resiliently retained within complementary longitudinal slots 42 formed in the external side walls of rail sections 32. Clips 40 thus affords a very quick and simple means of connecting two adjacent rail sections 32 together side by side, thus assisting in holding together the rail assembly in its first configuration for storage and transportation. Use of clips 40 15 enables the track assembly to be built up very quickly and easily without (or with minimum use of) tools. Similarly, if a track needs to be disassembled, the clips can simply be manually removed from the track elements. Clip 40 is flexible (typically, made from a suitable plastics material), so that it can also serve as an articulation point when unfolding the rail into its second 20 configuration for installation. Clips 40 thus allow adjacent rail sections to be moved into different relative configurations without the need for their disconnection. In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 2A, each rail section 32 features two spaced external longitudinal slots 42 on each side wall, and thus two clips 40 serve to provide the articulation between adjacent rail sections, thus 25 minimising relative movement of linked track sections other than around the articulation axes. As Figure 3 shows, clips 40 are applied in such a way as to allow the assembly to unfold in a serpentine manner between the first folded and second unfolded configuration. The clips are thus applied at alternating sides of successive ends of 30 the sequence of rail sections (in Figure 3, clips 40A; 40B) such that a single unfolding action can extend the assembly from its first configuration of side-by-side 8 sections to an unfolded second configuration (in which the ends of adjacent rail sections 32 abut one another) for installation, with all the rail sections in coaxial alignment. Once the assembly has been unfolded, brace sections 34 can be slid over the joints 5 between adjacent rail sections 32 and secured in place by screws 44. It will be noted that when the assembly is unfolded, clips 40 are wholly enclosed within slots 42, and thus provide no external projection and thus no impediment to the movement of brace sections 34. Figure 4A-E illustrate in a series of views the rail assembly being unfolded from the 10 first to the second configuration, and the brace sections 34 being successively moved into place and secured in place by means of screws 44 (Figure 4E). In the first configuration, adjacent rail sections may be held together by cable ties 46 or similar means, in such a way that a first tie can be cut to allow a first rail section to be extended and fixed in place, before a second tie is cut to allow a second rail 15 section to be extended and fixed in place, etc. As the figures show, no further assembly of the rail-mounted chain drive system is required before installation, other than tensioning of the chain by means of adjustment of the header sprocket at rail header end 36. It is to be noted that alternative forms of rail or modular section 32 could be 20 employed, as well alternative means of supporting the connection between adjacent rail sections and ensuring the integrity of rail 20 in its final configuration. For example, a plug-and-socket arrangement may be used to unite rail sections. Alternatively, snap-lock connector elements could be used, or a threaded ring sleeve system could be employed, in which the ring sleeve of one section is 25 threaded onto the complimentary thread of an adjacent section. The assembly may also be disassembled from its second configuration, by reversing the steps described above and illustrated in Figures 4A-E, clips 40 again acting as articulation points to allow folding of rail sections 32. It will be understood that the invention is not limited to a straight rail configuration, 9 but may readily be applied to tracks or rails of curved form. The present invention therefore provides a modular assembly of interconnected rail sections that can be simply held together during storage and transportation while taking up minimal space, and then easily manipulated into a final configuration on 5 site, with minimum need for incorporation or attachment of further elements. The present invention also contemplates a kit of parts for use in assembling the assembly described above, which can include any combination of the various components referred to above. Modifications and improvements to the invention will be readily apparent to those 10 skilled in the art. Such modifications and improvements are intended to be within the scope of this invention.

Claims (14)

1. A modular track assembly for use in guiding, driving or mounting a movable closure, the assembly including a plurality of modular elongate track sections configured and interconnected in succession for manipulation between a first folded 5 configuration, in which successive modular sections are arranged substantially in a side by-side arrangement, and a second unfolded configuration for installation, in which successive modular sections are arranged substantially in an end-to-end arrangement, the assembly including a plurality of articulation elements selectively introduced to interconnect successive pairs of modular sections, each articulation element able to 10 provide an articulation point for the unfolding of the assembly from said first to said second configuration, each articulation element adapted to be attached to the end of each of a pair of successive modular sections when in said first configuration, such that when the assembly is in its second configuration the articulation element does not project externally of the track. 15
2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the articulation elements are selected from the group of flexible elements and hinged elements.
3. The assembly claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the articulation elements are U-shaped clips.
4. The assembly of any preceding claim, wherein each modular section has side 20 walls, each side wall including receiving means for receiving at least one said articulation element.
5. The assembly of claim 4, wherein the receiving means includes one or more longitudinal recesses or grooves within the side wall that extend to at least one end of the modular section. 25
6. The assembly of any preceding claim, further including one or more bracing elements for supporting the connection between adjacent modular sections in said second, unfolded configuration. chbm A01 28792687-v1 30591 3933 11
7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein each bracing element is slideably mountable to a modular section, the arrangement being such that each bracing element can be slid into a bracing position when the assembly is in its second configuration.
8. The assembly of claim 7, wherein said bracing element is an exterior sleeve 5 mounted around a modular section and slidable therealong.
9. The assembly of any one of claims 6 to 8, further including one or more securing means for fixing each bracing element in its bracing position for installation of the assembly.
10. The assembly of any preceding claim, further including one or more fixation 10 elements for providing the guiding, driving or mounting of a movable closure, to be selectively attached or introduced to the assembly.
11. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the one or more fixation elements are selected from the group including: drive chain, drive belt, sprocket unit, drive trolley, guide roller, guide wheel and drive release means. 15
12. The assembly of any preceding claim, wherein one or more of the modular sections incorporates means for length adjustment.
13. A kit of parts for use in constructing the assembly of any preceding claim, including a plurality of modular elongate track sections and a plurality of articulation elements interconnectable between successive pairs of modular sections, wherein the 20 articulation elements are flexible clips configured to be resiliently engaged with the ends of the modular sections in a substantially longitudinal direction.
14. A method of constructing a modular track assembly for use in guiding, driving or mounting a movable closure, the method including: providing a plurality of modular elongate track sections; 25 providing a plurality of articulation elements, being removable clips resiliently attachable to the ends of the modular sections; and selectively introducing said removable clips to interconnect successive pairs of modular sections in order to provide an interconnected succession of modular sections for manipulation between a first folded configuration, in which successive sections are chbm A01 28792687-v1 30591 3933 12 arranged substantially in a side-by-side arrangement, and a second unfolded configuration for installation, in which successive sections are arranged substantially in an end-to-end arrangement, wherein the introduction of each clip involves engaging the clip in a substantially longitudinal direction with the ends of a pair of successive 5 modular sections when in said first configuration. chbm A01 28792687-v1 30591 3933
AU2007216916A 2006-09-21 2007-09-21 Modular track assembly Ceased AU2007216916B2 (en)

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AU2006905248 2006-09-21
AU2006905248A AU2006905248A0 (en) 2006-09-21 Modular track assembly
AU2007216916A AU2007216916B2 (en) 2006-09-21 2007-09-21 Modular track assembly

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Families Citing this family (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE102014003404A1 (en) * 2014-03-10 2015-09-24 Falk Hofmann Profile rail joint for folding in and out of profile segments with built-in parts without having to dismantle and assemble them.

Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4241540A (en) * 1979-07-18 1980-12-30 Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation Folding screw and rail assembly for a garage door opener
EP0042810A2 (en) * 1980-06-23 1981-12-30 Jean-Pierre Sanchez Means for resiliently connecting two tube sections coaxially end to end, and uses
EP1128016A2 (en) * 2000-02-21 2001-08-29 Hörmann KG Antriebstechnik Drive for a movable building closure, belt transmission and guide rail for use therein and method of assembing the same

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4241540A (en) * 1979-07-18 1980-12-30 Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation Folding screw and rail assembly for a garage door opener
EP0042810A2 (en) * 1980-06-23 1981-12-30 Jean-Pierre Sanchez Means for resiliently connecting two tube sections coaxially end to end, and uses
EP1128016A2 (en) * 2000-02-21 2001-08-29 Hörmann KG Antriebstechnik Drive for a movable building closure, belt transmission and guide rail for use therein and method of assembing the same

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