US20090178983A1 - Knock-Down Rack - Google Patents

Knock-Down Rack Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090178983A1
US20090178983A1 US12013341 US1334108A US2009178983A1 US 20090178983 A1 US20090178983 A1 US 20090178983A1 US 12013341 US12013341 US 12013341 US 1334108 A US1334108 A US 1334108A US 2009178983 A1 US2009178983 A1 US 2009178983A1
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Prior art keywords
rack
base
configuration
top
width
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12013341
Inventor
David B. Green
Marcus L. Melane
Thomas W. Potter
Bob Bromiley
Derrick Thomas
Steven M. Holland
Steven J. Oliver
F. D. Patterson, JR.
Matthew David LaBove
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Telect Inc
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Telect Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05KPRINTED CIRCUITS; CASINGS OR CONSTRUCTIONAL DETAILS OF ELECTRIC APPARATUS; MANUFACTURE OF ASSEMBLAGES OF ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
    • H05K7/00Constructional details common to different types of electric apparatus
    • H05K7/18Construction of rack or frame
    • H05K7/186Construction of rack or frame for supporting telecommunication equipment
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q1/00Details of selecting apparatus or arrangements for establishing connections among stations for the purpose of transferring information via these connections
    • H04Q1/02Constructional details
    • H04Q1/09Frames or mounting racks not otherwise provided for

Abstract

Field-adjustable rack systems for mounting communications equipment are disclosed, including an adjustable communications equipment rack where the rack is adjustable from a floor mounted configuration to a wall mounted configuration, and the overall width of the rack may be varied by adjusting the base and the top in a plurality of different configurations. Also, height adjustment to the communications equipment rack is disclosed where the height of the rack may be adjusted without removal of the existing mounted equipment from the rack. Height adjustments are made by coupling a plurality of extensions to the vertical side rails of the rack, to arrive at the rack height desired. Methods are described for field adjusting communications equipment racks into various configurations, including floor mounted configurations and wall mounted configurations in a plurality of widths and heights.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present disclosure relates to equipment racks for mounting telecommunications equipment. More specifically, the disclosure relates to telecommunications equipment racks having field adjustable members for changing the mounting configuration, and varying the width and height of the racks.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Equipment within a telecommunications infrastructure may be maintained in a variety of equipment racks. Traditionally, equipment racks have been designed with fixed dimensions for particular equipment, e.g., equipment of a particular type and/or having specific width and depth. They have been designed for fixed mounting configurations, also. In other words, equipment racks traditionally have been designed to be static and not intended to be modified after manufacture. However, new and different arrangements of telecommunications equipment are frequently required for a variety of reasons, such as to handle increased demands for service due to technology changes, to accommodate new or different equipment, or new or different installation locations, and so forth. Updating static equipment racks to accommodate new equipment and/or equipment arrangements has often been time consuming, costly, frustrating and even impossible.
  • While existing racks are available in various fixed configurations, available telecommunications racks do not offer the ability to change the mounting configuration from a floor mounted configuration to a wall mounted configuration, and change the width of the rack to accommodate changes in equipment to be mounted. Conventionally, users have had to replace an old rack with one having the desired configuration. Also, available telecommunications racks do not offer the ability to add more height to the rack should the user need extra rack space to mount additional equipment in the rack.
  • Further, because most conventional racks have large extruded bases that block the bottom four to six inches (0.10-0.15 m) of the equipment mounting rails, the space at the bottom of those racks is rendered unusable.
  • SUMMARY
  • Telecommunications equipment rack systems are described. Specifically, field-adjustable rack systems for mounting communications equipment are disclosed. This summary is not intended to identify all essential features of the claimed subject matter.
  • In one aspect, illustrative rack systems include an adjustable rack having a configurable base including a plurality of formed members. The base supports the rack in an upright position. First and second vertical side rails of formed construction are coupled to the base to attach equipment. A top is coupled to the upper ends of the vertical side rails and includes a plurality of formed members. The base is attached at the bottom of the rack to support the rack in a floor mounted configuration, or attached at an intermediate point along the extent of the rack to support the rack in a wall mounted configuration. The overall width of the rack may be varied by adjusting the base and the top in different configurations. In one implementation, the base and the top are both adjustable between about nineteen inches (0.48 m) and about twenty-six inches (0.66 m).
  • In another aspect, a telecommunications equipment rack is configured and reconfigured, changing its dimensions. The same components are used in each configuration, and reconfiguration. For example, the width of a rack is adjusted from a first configuration to a second configuration with new dimensions, and the same components are used in the first and second configurations. Additionally, in another aspect, the width of a telecommunications equipment rack is about nineteen inches (0.48 m) in a first configuration, and the width of the rack is about twenty-three inches (0.58 m) in a second configuration. Alternately, the width may be greater or lesser in other embodiments. Further, in another aspect, the width of a telecommunications equipment rack is decreased, and the rack has a decreased footprint area in that configuration. Also, in another aspect, the width of a telecommunications equipment rack is increased, and the rack has an increased footprint area in that configuration.
  • In yet another aspect, varying lengths of structural members are added to a telecommunications equipment rack to change its configuration. For example, various lengths of side rail extensions are added to a rack to change its overall height. Side rail extensions are added to the rack by coupling them to the ends of the vertical side rails of the rack. Coupling one or more side rail extensions of various lengths to the vertical side rails of the rack changes the overall height of the rack. Thus, the rack may be configured to a desired height based on a unique application. Further, in one aspect, side rail extensions may be coupled to the vertical side rails without removing equipment already mounted to the telecommunications equipment rack.
  • In still another aspect, a telecommunications equipment rack has configurable adjusting members. The configurable adjusting members are coupled to the base of the equipment rack. This permits the base to be adjusted into multiple configurations. Alternately or additionally, configurable adjusting members are coupled to the top of the equipment rack. This permits the top to be adjusted into multiple configurations. Further, configurable adjusting members may be coupled to other locations on an equipment rack to permit the rack to be configured into multiple configurations. The configurable adjusting members may have a plurality of mounting features (e.g., hole patterns, fasteners, brackets and so forth) to couple rack support structure members in a variety of configurations. In other words, the same support structure members may be used with the configurable adjusting members to configure a rack in a number of different ways. Further, in one aspect, the bottom four inches (0.10 m) of a telecommunications rack is usable for mounting equipment. Thus, the same telecommunications equipment rack may be configured and reconfigured for a wide selection of equipment and/or arrangements of equipment.
  • While described individually, the foregoing aspects are not mutually exclusive and any number of the aspects may be present in a given implementation.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The detailed description refers to the accompanying figures. In the figures, the left-most digit(s) of each reference number identifies the figure in which the reference number first appears. The use of the same reference numbers in different figures indicates similar or identical items.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one illustrative telecommunications rack system, shown in a first configuration.
  • FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the left side of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1. The right side view is not shown, as it is identical.
  • FIG. 3A is a plan view of the top of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1, shown in a first configuration.
  • FIG. 3B is a plan view of the top of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1, shown in a second configuration.
  • FIG. 4A is a plan view of the bottom of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1, shown in a first configuration.
  • FIG. 4B is a plan view of the bottom of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1, shown in a second configuration.
  • FIG. 5 is an elevation view of the front of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1, shown in a first configuration. The back view is not shown, as it is identical.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1, shown in a second configuration.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a telecommunications rack system, shown in a first configuration.
  • FIG. 8A is a detail view of a side rail interior adjustment channel as deployed on an embodiment of a telecommunications rack system.
  • FIG. 8B is an exploded view of a side rail interior adjustment channel as deployed on an embodiment of a telecommunications rack system.
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a telecommunications rack system, shown in a second configuration.
  • FIG. 10 is an exploded view of the illustrative telecommunications rack system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of another alternative embodiment of a telecommunications rack system that may be wall-mounted, or the like, shown in a first configuration.
  • FIG. 12 is a flow diagram showing an illustrative method of field-adjusting the telecommunications rack system between a first configuration and a second configuration.
  • FIG. 13 is a flow diagram showing an alternative method of field-adjusting the telecommunications rack system between a first configuration and a second configuration.
  • FIG. 14 is a flow diagram showing a further alternative method of field-adjusting the telecommunications rack system between a first configuration and a second configuration.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION Overview
  • Rack systems having mounting configuration adjustment mechanisms, width adjustment mechanisms and height adjustment mechanisms will now be described with reference to the figures. While the disclosure is described in the context of rack systems for mounting telecommunications equipment, the rack systems may be useful for other equipment, such as audio/visual, computer, network, and the like.
  • Further, the implementations described herein may be used in other environments and are applicable to other contexts. For example, the apparatuses and systems may additionally or alternatively comprise wall-mounted or free standing frames, cabinets, panels, and the like. Thus, the discussion of rack-based systems herein is also applicable to systems using one or more of the foregoing types of structures singly in or in combination with one another.
  • It should be noted that the following devices are examples and may be further modified, combined and separated without departing from the spirit and scope thereof.
  • As discussed above, although existing racks are available in various fixed configurations, available telecommunications racks do not offer the ability to change the mounting configuration of a rack from a floor mounted configuration to a wall mounted configuration, and change the width of a rack to accommodate changes in equipment to be mounted. Conventionally, users have had to replace an old rack with one having the desired dimensions and mounting configuration. Also, available telecommunications racks do not offer the ability to add more height to a rack should the user need extra rack space to mount additional equipment in the rack.
  • Primarily, rack selection is limited to either nineteen inch or twenty-three inch rack widths in combination with available rack heights, in either floor mounted or wall mounted configurations. Rack height, or vertical capacity, is measured in “Rack Units” where one Rack Unit (RU) is 1.75 inches (0.044 m) of vertical space in a rack that can be occupied by equipment mounted in the rack. Racks are referred to by their size. For example, a rack with mounting holes spaced nineteen inches (0.48 m) apart horizontally center-to-center is described as a “nineteen inch rack”, and a rack with mounting holes twenty-three inches (0.58 m) apart horizontally and with thirty-five inches (0.89 m) of vertical space for equipment mounting is described as a “twenty-three inch 20 RU rack.”
  • This disclosure relates to equipment mounting racks that are field adjustable from a floor mounted configuration to a wall mounted configuration, or vice versa, and also widthwise and height wise to accommodate various sizes, types and number of equipment to be mounted. Additionally, each of the components of the rack is substantially symmetrical about at least one axis, providing interchangeability of many of the parts, thus simplifying assembly of the rack.
  • Further, because most conventional racks have large extruded bases that block the bottom four to six inches (0.15 m) of the equipment mounting rails, the space at the bottom of those racks is rendered unusable. This disclosure relates to racks that have an open base design instead. The open base design provides the ability to mount equipment along the full height of the rack, including the bottom four to six inches (0.10-0.15 m) of the rack.
  • Illustrative Telecommunications Rack System
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illustrative implementation of an adjustable rack system 100 for mounting telecommunications equipment. A rack refers to a support structure to maintain, hold or provide mountings for a plurality of components and may be configured in a variety of ways. For example, the rack 100 may be configured as a support structure for mounting a cabinet, a terminal block, a panel, a protector block, a chassis, a digital cross-connect, a switch, a hub, a frame, a bay, a module, an enclosure, or as any other structure for receiving and holding a plurality of components. Racks 100 may be used inside a building or racks 100 may be configured to be placed outside, e.g., an outside equipment rack.
  • The illustrative adjustable telecommunications rack system 100 shown in FIGS. 1-5 and FIG. 10 is generally constructed of parts formed of metal such as steel or aluminum, but may also be constructed of other metals or other materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, plastics or polymers provided that the materials have the necessary strength characteristics required to support equipment mounted to the rack. In some implementations, the illustrative rack 100 constructed of these materials weighs at most about thirty-six pounds, providing for ease in many areas where weight may be a concern such as transportation or assembly. In other implementations, however, the adjustable racks according to this disclosure may weight more than thirty-six pounds. The illustrative rack 100 shown in FIG. 1 generally comprises a base 102, vertical side rails 104 and 106, and a top 108.
  • The base 102, as detailed in FIGS. 2, 4 and 10, comprises a pair of substantially planar base plates 110 and 112, a pair of substantially planar side gusset brackets 114 and 116 coupled to the base plates 110 and 112, and a pair of substantially planar base adjustment plates 120 and 122 which couple the base plates 110 and 112 together in a plurality of configurations. The base plates 110 and 112 include tabs protruding substantially perpendicular to the bottom surface of the base plates 110 and 112 to provide a location for coupling the base 102 to the rack 100. Additionally, the side gusset brackets 114 and 116 include tabs protruding substantially perpendicular to the side surface of the gusset brackets 114 and 116 to provide a location for coupling the side gusset brackets to the rack 100. In one implementation, the base 102 is adjustable in width between about nineteen inches (0.48 m) and about twenty-six inches (0.66 m). However, in other implementations, the base 102 may be adjustable to larger and/or smaller widths. Also, while the illustrated implementation is adjustable between two or more discreet positions (e.g., first and second positions), other implementations may be continuously adjustable to any width within the range of adjustment of the rack.
  • The base plates 110 and 112 form the foundation of the base, and support the rack 100 in an upright position. The two side gusset brackets 114 and 116 are coupled to the outside ends of the base plates 110 and 112 respectively so that the side gusset brackets 114 and 116 extend substantially perpendicular to the base plates 110 and 112 respectively. The base adjustment plates 120 and 122 couple the base plates 110 and 112 together, joining the two base plates 110 and 112 into a unified base 102. The base plates 110 and 112, and also the base adjustment plates 120 and 122 have a plurality of mounting features which may be used to adjust the base in one of a plurality of configurations, whereby the base may have unique width dimensions when in unique configurations. Selecting among the plurality of mounting features while coupling the base plates 110 and 112, using the base adjustment plates 120 and 122, thereby determines the overall width dimension of the base.
  • FIGS. 1, 2, 5 and 10 detail the vertical side rails 104 and 106. As shown in the detail of FIG. 5, the vertical side rails 104 and 106 have mounting holes on the front and back face of the rails, running along the length of the rails, to mount equipment installed in the rack 100 to the rails 104 and 106. Also shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 5 and 10 are mounting features along the side of the rails 104 and 106, which may be used to couple the rails to the rack during assembly in one of a plurality of configurations. FIGS. 1 and 10 detail the formed construction of the vertical side rails 104 and 106 in this illustrative embodiment, showing the substantially “C” shaped cross-section of the rails. Other cross-sectional shapes may also be used in alternative embodiments provided that they have the strength characteristics necessary to be used for bearing loads in like manner.
  • FIGS. 1, 3, 5 and 10 show detail of the top 108. The top 108 comprises first and second top channels 124 and 126; and top adjustment channel 128. The top adjustment channel 128 couples the top channels 124 and 126 together, joining the two top channels 124 and 126 into a unified top 108. The top channels 124 and 126, and also the top adjustment channel 128 have a plurality of mounting features to be used to adjust the top in one of a plurality of configurations, whereby the top may have unique width dimensions when in unique configurations. Selecting among the plurality of mounting features, while coupling the top channels 124 and 126 using the top adjustment channel 128, thereby determines the overall width dimension of the top. In an illustrative implementation, the top 108 is adjustable in width between a range of about nineteen inches (0.48 m) and about twenty-six inches (0.66 m), and is substantially “C” shaped in cross-section. However, in other implementations, the top 108 may be adjustable to larger and/or smaller widths. Also, while the illustrated implementation is adjustable between two or more discreet positions (e.g., first and second positions), other implementations may be continuously adjustable to any width within the range of adjustment of the rack.
  • In an alternate implementation shown in FIG. 7, the vertical side rails 704 and 706 of rack 700 comprise lower side rails 730 and 732, and extension side rails 734, 736, 738, and 740. The addition of extension side rails 734, 736, 738, and 740 to the lower side rails 730 and 732 respectively increases the overall height of the rack 700 shown. The additional rack height allows for an in increase of usable mounting space on the rack 700, where a greater number or greater variety of types of equipment may be mounted. Although this embodiment shows the addition of two extension side rails per vertical side rail, it will be apparent to one who is skilled in the art that any number of side rail extensions may be added to each vertical side rail equally to achieve a desired rack height, provided that the rack remains stable and capable of bearing the equipment load with the addition of the side rail extensions.
  • In one illustrative implementation shown in FIGS. 1-5, the vertical side rails 104 and 106 of rack 100 are coupled at the lower end of the rails to the side gusset brackets 114 and 116, and extend substantially vertically, where they are coupled to the top 108 at the upper end of the vertical side rails 104 and 106. In another implementation shown in FIG. 11, the vertical side rails 1104 and 1106 of rack 1100 are coupled to the top 1108 at the upper end of the vertical side rails 1104 and 1106, and are coupled to the base 1102 by attachment to the side gusset brackets 1114 and 1116 at an intermediate point along the length of the vertical side rails 1104 and 1106. In this implementation, the configuration is a rack that may be wall-mounted, or secured to a surface or object in some similar manner. Not all racks are meant to have a floor mounted base at the bottom of the rack. Many racks are installed in locations where alternate base locations are desirable, for example wall-mounted racks have a base attached to a wall. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the side rails may be coupled to the base at any point along the length of the side rails, in order to accommodate a desired configuration or alternate installation options.
  • Features of the Illustrative Telecommunications Rack System
  • In an illustrative embodiment of the telecommunications rack 100, each component of the rack assembly is substantially symmetrical about at least one axis. This allows each component to be installed in more than one possible orientation. This symmetry can be seen in FIGS. 1, 3, 4, 6, 10 and 11. For example, the two side rails 104 and 106 are substantially symmetrical about at least one axis, such as the axis central to and parallel to the length of the side rails. Due to this symmetry, the side rails may be interchanged during assembly of the rack. Further, the two base plates 110 and 112 may be interchanged during assembly of the rack. Likewise, any of the other substantially symmetrical component pairs may be interchanged during assembly of the rack. This feature of symmetrical component pairs has at least the advantage of making assembly of the rack easy and quick. Further, in an embodiment, the rack may be assembled using common tools, and in an average time of about thirty minutes. However, in other implementations, the rack may be assembled in an average time that is greater or less than thirty minutes.
  • A telecommunications rack 100 may be configured in the field using common tools, and also reconfigured in the field using common tools in one of a plurality of configurations. The rack 100 may be adjusted in the field to accommodate a change or an update in equipment to be utilized at a field site. Newer equipment may be required to be mounted in the equipment rack which may have different dimensions than the older or previous equipment. Rather than replacing the rack 100, an adjustment may be made to the rack 100 to accommodate the newer equipment. A field adjustment may include moving the base of the rack from the bottom of the rack to an intermediate point along the extent of the rack as shown in FIG. 11.
  • A field adjustment may also include changing the width of the rack. In an illustrative embodiment, the rack 100 may be configured or reconfigured to be in a narrow configuration, shown in FIG. 1. In one embodiment the narrow configuration may be about nineteen inches (0.48 m) wide. In other embodiments, the narrow configuration may be other widths. Alternately, the rack 100 may be configured or reconfigured to an expanded configuration, shown in FIG. 6. In one alternative embodiment the expanded configuration may be about twenty-three inches (0.58 m) wide. In other embodiments, the expanded configuration may be other widths. In an illustrative embodiment, the rack 100 may be adjusted in the field using common tools from a first position of about nineteen inches (0.48 m) wide to a second position of about twenty-three inches (0.58 m) wide, or vice versa, where the same components are used for the nineteen inch wide configuration as for the twenty-three inch wide configuration. However, in other implementations, the rack 100 may be adjustable to larger or smaller widths, also using the same components in each configuration. Also, while the illustrated implementation is adjustable between two or more discreet positions (e.g., first and second positions), other implementations may be continuously adjustable to any width within the range of adjustment of the rack. Further, in an implementation, the footprint area of the rack 100 decreases as the rack is adjusted to decrease the width of the rack 100, and the footprint area of the rack 100 increases as the rack 100 is adjusted to increase the width of the rack.
  • Furthermore, an illustrative equipment rack 100 may be adjusted in height, while deployed in the field. For example, equipment may be required to be mounted on an equipment rack 100 (FIG. 1) in addition to existing equipment already mounted on the rack 100. If there is not enough space on the rack 100 for the additional equipment to be mounted, a rack with increased height may be desired, to provide more room for mounting equipment. Rather than replacing the existing rack 100 with a taller rack, a user adjusts an embodiment of rack 100 in the field with common tools to a taller configuration without removing the equipment already mounted on the rack. In an illustrative embodiment, a rack 100 may be adjusted in the field using common tools to one of a plurality of configurations of varying heights. For example, a rack 100 may be configured or reconfigured to be about 4 feet in height in a first configuration. Alternately, the rack 100 may be configured or reconfigured to be about 7 feet in height in a second configuration. This configuration is illustrated with the rack 700 shown in FIG. 7. Further, other height configurations are also possible. It will be apparent to one who is skilled in the art that a plurality of rack configurations is possible, in various combinations of width and height dimensions. One embodiment with adjustments made to increase the width and the height is shown in FIG. 9. The width and height dimensions discussed here are illustrative examples only, and are not meant to be limiting.
  • Most telecommunications equipment racks have large extruded bases that block the bottom four to six inches (0.10-0.15 m) of the equipment mounting rails, rendering that portion of the rack unusable for mounting equipment. Rack height, or vertical capacity, is measured in “Rack Units” where one Rack Unit (RU) is 1.75 inches (0.044 m) of vertical space in a rack that can be occupied by equipment mounted in the rack. Because many racks have a large base, several Rack Units of space are lost at the bottom of these racks. Due to this common design, a four foot tall rack may have twenty Rack Units of available equipment mounting space. In an illustrative embodiment of the disclosed equipment rack, a telecommunications rack 100 may have four to six inches (0.10-0.15 m) of vertical space open and usable for mounting equipment at the bottom of the rack. As shown in FIGS. 1, 5, and 10, rack 100 comprises a formed base having a plurality of members assembled in an open design which allows space for equipment to be mounted in the bottom area of the base. Thus, as the base does not block the bottom four to six inches (0.10-0.15 m) of the equipment mounting rails in the described embodiment, that portion of the equipment mounting rails is not rendered unusable. In an illustrative embodiment, a four foot tall rack 100 may have about twenty-five Rack Units of available equipment mounting space. The dimensions discussed here are illustrative examples only, and are not meant to be limiting. It will be apparent to one who is skilled in the art that a plurality of configurations is possible, and racks of greater height dimensions will have more Rack Units of available equipment mounting space.
  • These and numerous other variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • Illustrative Method of Adjusting Telecommunications Rack System
  • An illustrative method of adjusting a telecommunications rack system 100 from a first configuration where the rack is configured to be floor mounted, as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration where the rack is configured to be wall mounted, as shown in FIG. 1, is described in the flow diagram 1200 of FIG. 12. The order in which the method is described is not intended to be construed as a limitation, and any number of the described method blocks may be combined in any order to implement the method, or an alternate method. At 1202, a user decouples first and second base side gusset brackets 1114 and 1116 respectively from first and second vertical side rails 1104 and 1106 respectively. At 1204, the user decouples first and second base plates 1110 and 1112 respectively from the bottom of first and second vertical side rails 1104 and 1106 respectively. At 1206, the user removes the base 1102 from the bottom of the rack 1100. At 1208, the user reattaches the base 1102 to an intermediate point along the extent of the rack 1100. At 1210, the user couples the first and second base side gusset brackets 1114 and 1116 respectively to the first and second vertical side rails 1104 and 1106 respectively. It will be apparent to one who is skilled in the art that the method of 1200 as shown in FIG. 12 may also be applied in reverse order to adjust a telecommunications rack system 1100 from a wall mounted configuration as shown in FIG. 11 to a floor mounted configuration as shown in FIG. 1.
  • In an alternative embodiment of the method, a user adjusts a telecommunications rack system 100 from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 6 is described in the flow diagram 1300 of FIG. 13. Additionally, the method of 1300 may be employed to adjust a telecommunications rack system 100 from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 6, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 1. At 1302, a user removes first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122 from first and second base plates 110 and 112 respectively. At 1304, the user removes top channel adjustment plate 128 from first and second top channels 124 and 126 respectively. At 1306 the user changes the spacing between the first and second base plates 110 and 112, and the user also changes the spacing between the first and second top channels 124 and 126, thereby determining an overall width of the base 102 and the top 108 respectively. At 1308, the user reattaches the top channel adjustment plate 128 to the first and second top channels 124 and 126 respectively, using a plurality of mounting features on the top channel adjustment plate 128, and the first and second top channels 124 and 126. At 1310, the user reattaches the first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122 to the first and second base plates 110 and 112 respectively, using a plurality of mounting features on the first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122, and the first and second base plates 110 and 112. In an alternative embodiment of the method, a user adjusts a telecommunications rack from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 6, or vice versa, using the same components in the first configuration as in the second configuration. In another alternative embodiment of the method, a user adjusts a telecommunications rack from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 6, or vice versa, and the footprint area of the rack is decreased with a decrease in the width of the rack; and the footprint area of the rack is increased with an increase in the width of the rack.
  • In another alternative embodiment of the method, a user adjusts a telecommunications rack from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 6, or vice versa. Prior to reattaching the first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122 to the first and second base plates 110 and 112 respectively as shown at 1310, the user rotates the first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122 approximately 180 degrees about an axis central to and normal to the top-facing surface of the first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122. The first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122 are rotated to align a plurality of mounting features on the base adjustment plates 120 and 122 with a plurality of mounting features on the first and second base plates 110 and 112 respectively. The rotation described is not meant to be a limitation, as the first and second base adjustment plates 120 and 122 may be changed in orientation by any other means to achieve the same results; for example by flipping them over, and the like.
  • Another illustrative method of adjusting the telecommunications rack system 100 from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 7 is described in the flow diagram 1400 of FIG. 14. The order in which the method is described is not intended to be construed as a limitation, and any number of the described method blocks may be combined in any order to implement the method, or an alternate method. Additionally, the method of 1400 may be employed to adjust a telecommunications rack system 700 from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 7, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 1. At 1402, and as detailed in FIG. 10, a user removes the top 708 from first and second vertical side rails 704 and 706. At 1404, the user couples first and second extension side rails 734 and 736 to the first and second vertical side rails 730 and 732 respectively, increasing the overall height of the rack 100. At 1406, the user couples third and fourth extension side rails 738 and 740 to the first and second extension side rails 734 and 736 respectively, further increasing the overall height of the rack 100. At 1408, the user attaches the top 708 to the upper ends of the third and fourth extension side rails 738 and 740 respectively. The number of side rail extensions added to each vertical side rail as described here is an illustration only; as it will be apparent to one who is skilled in the art that any number of side rail extensions may be added to the first and second vertical side rails 730 and 732 to achieve the desired rack height, provided that the rack remains stable and capable of bearing the equipment load with the addition of the extensions. In an alternative embodiment, the user adjusts the rack 100 from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 7, or vice versa, as described in the flow diagram 1400 of FIG. 14 without first removing any equipment already mounted on the rack. In another alternative embodiment, the user couples the first and second extension side rails 734 and 736 to the first and second vertical side rails 730 and 732 respectively as shown at 1404 of FIG. 14 with side rail interior adjustment channels 746-752 as seen in FIG. 7, and detailed in FIGS. 8A and 8B. Further, it will be apparent to one who is skilled in the art that side rail interior adjustment channels may be employed in the same or a similar manner at each and every location where extension side rails are coupled to extension side rails, or where extension side rails are coupled to vertical side rails. Further, side rail interior adjustment channels may be employed in any other manner to couple side rails and extensions that is apparent to one skilled in the art.
  • In another alternative embodiment of the method, the telecommunications rack 100 is adjusted from a first configuration as shown in FIG. 1, to a second configuration as shown in FIG. 9, or vice versa, by employing both methods as detailed in flow diagrams 1300 and 1400.
  • In other alternative embodiments of the method, the steps detailed in flow diagrams 1200, 1300 and 1400 are used in combination with each other to adjust the telecommunications rack system 100 into a variety of configurations, including a combination of resulting wall mounted or floor mounted, width or height adjusted telecommunications rack systems as desired.
  • These and numerous other variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • CONCLUSION
  • Although implementations have been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described. Rather, the specific features and acts are disclosed as illustrative forms of implementing the invention.

Claims (23)

  1. 1. A rack for mounting communications equipment, the rack comprising:
    a base having a plurality of formed members, the base supporting the rack in an upright position;
    first and second vertical side rails of formed construction to attach equipment, the side rails coupled to the base, and extending substantially vertically; and
    a top having a plurality of formed members, the top being coupled at each end to upper ends of the first side rail and second side rail, respectively,
    wherein the base is configured to be coupled to the rack in at least two different mounting positions, including a first mounting position at the bottom of the rack, to allow the rack system to be floor mounted, and a second mounting position at an intermediate point along the extent of the rack, to allow the rack system to be wall mounted.
  2. 2. The rack of claim 1, wherein the base further comprises:
    first and second base plates;
    first and second substantially planar base side gusset brackets coupled to the first and second substantially planar base plates respectively, so that the first and second substantially planar base side gusset brackets extend substantially perpendicular to the first and second substantially planar base plates respectively; and
    first and second substantially planar base adjustment plates, wherein the first and second substantially planar base adjustment plates couple the first and second substantially planar base plates.
  3. 3. The rack of claim 2, wherein the first and second substantially planar base plates and the first and second substantially planar base adjustment plates include a plurality of mounting features to adjust the base in one of a plurality of configurations, thereby determining the overall width of the base.
  4. 4. The rack of claim 1, wherein the top further comprises first and second top channels, and a top adjustment channel, wherein the top adjustment channel couples the first and second top channels.
  5. 5. The rack of claim 4, wherein the first and second top channels and the top adjustment channel include a plurality of mounting features to adjust the top in one of a plurality of configurations, thereby determining the overall width of the top.
  6. 6. The rack of claim 1, wherein the base and the top are adjustable between a range of about 19 inches (0.48 meters) to about 26 inches (0.66 meters) in width.
  7. 7. The rack of claim 1, wherein the rack is adjustable between a first configuration in which the width is about 19 inches (0.48 meters), and a second configuration in which the width is about 23 inches (0.58 meters).
  8. 8. The rack of claim 7, wherein the rack consists of the same components in the first configuration as in the second configuration, and where the footprint area of the rack decreases with a decrease in the width of the rack, and the footprint area of the rack increases with an increase in the width of the rack.
  9. 9. The rack of claim 1, wherein each component of the rack is substantially symmetrical about at least one axis, to allow each component to be installed in more than one possible orientation.
  10. 10. The rack of claim 1, wherein the vertical side rails have a substantially “C” shaped cross-section.
  11. 11. The rack of claim 1, wherein the vertical side rails comprise a lower side rail and at least one vertical extension side rail.
  12. 12. The rack of claim 1, wherein a bottom 4 inches (0.10 meters) of the side rails is usable for mounting communications equipment.
  13. 13. The rack of claim 12, wherein a 48 inch (1.22 meter) rack includes at least 25 Rack Units of space usable for mounting communications equipment.
  14. 14. The rack of claim 1, wherein the rack weighs at most 36 pounds (16.3 kg).
  15. 15. A communications equipment rack system comprising:
    a support structure for mounting communications equipment, wherein the support structure is adjustable in width between a first configuration in which the width is about 19 inches (0.48 meters), and a second configuration in which the width is about 23 inches (0.58 meters),
    wherein the support structure consists of the same components in the first configuration as in the second configuration, and where the footprint area of the support structure decreases with a decrease in the width of the support structure, and the footprint area of the support structure increases with an increase in the width of the support structure,
    wherein the support structure is adjustable between a first position in which the support structure is to be floor mounted, and a second position in which the support structure is to be wall mounted.
  16. 16. The communications equipment rack system of claim 15, wherein the support structure is configured for vertical adjustment in the field while retaining previously mounted equipment to the support structure.
  17. 17. The communications equipment rack system of claim 15, wherein the full height of the support structure is usable for mounting communications equipment, including the lowest 4 inches (0.10 meters) of the height of the support structure.
  18. 18. A method of field adjusting a configuration of a communications equipment rack from a first configuration to a second configuration, the method comprising:
    decoupling first and second base side gusset brackets from first and second vertical side rails, respectively;
    decoupling first and second base plates from the first and second vertical side rails, respectively;
    removing a base from the bottom of the rack;
    reattaching the base to an intermediate point along the extent of the rack,
    wherein the rack is configured for wall mounting; and
    coupling the first and second base side gusset brackets to the first and second vertical side rails, respectively,
    wherein the base comprises the first and second base side gusset brackets and the first and second base plates.
  19. 19. The method of claim 18, the method further comprising:
    removing first and second base adjustment plates from first and second base plates respectively;
    removing a top adjustment channel from first and second top channels;
    changing spacing between the first and second base plates and changing spacing between the first and second top channels, thereby determining an overall width of the base and the top respectively;
    reattaching the first and second base adjustment plates to the first and second base plates; and
    reattaching the top adjustment channel to the first and second top channels.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19, the method further comprising:
    rotating each of the first and second base adjustment plates approximately 180 degrees about an axis central to and normal to the top-facing surface of the first and second base adjustment plates prior to reattachment.
  21. 21. The method of claim 19, wherein:
    adjusting the configuration of the communications equipment rack from a first configuration to a second configuration is accomplished using the same components in the first configuration as in the second configuration, and
    wherein adjusting the configuration of the communications equipment rack from a first configuration to a second configuration decreases the footprint area of the rack with a decrease in the width of the rack, and increases the footprint area of the rack with an increase in the width of the rack.
  22. 22. The method of claim 18, the method further comprising:
    removing a top from the ends of a first vertical side rail and a second vertical side rail respectively;
    coupling first and second extension side rails to the first and second vertical side rails respectively; and
    attaching the top to the ends of the first and second extension side rails respectively.
  23. 23. The method of claim 22, wherein:
    coupling first and second extension side rails to the first and second vertical side rails respectively comprises coupling with first and second side rail interior adjustment channels.
US12013341 2008-01-11 2008-01-11 Knock-Down Rack Abandoned US20090178983A1 (en)

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Cited By (4)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090178821A1 (en) * 2008-01-16 2009-07-16 Zavidniak Martin P Modular Rack for Mounting Avionics Equipment
US20140294494A1 (en) * 2013-03-28 2014-10-02 David A. Corden Quick Attachment System for Modular Construction
US20150337883A1 (en) * 2013-03-28 2015-11-26 David A. Corden Quick Attachment System for Modular Construction
USD800186S1 (en) * 2015-01-15 2017-10-17 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Refrigerating machine

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US3711053A (en) * 1970-11-18 1973-01-16 Dracon Ind Telescoping wall mounting bracket for electrical racks
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US6655533B2 (en) * 2001-09-28 2003-12-02 Hoffman Enclosures, Inc. Adjustable four-column rack

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US1272175A (en) * 1916-08-02 1918-07-09 Edward Albright Pan-rack.
US3711053A (en) * 1970-11-18 1973-01-16 Dracon Ind Telescoping wall mounting bracket for electrical racks
US4715502A (en) * 1986-02-20 1987-12-29 Newton Instrument Company Telephone equipment rack
US4964020A (en) * 1989-09-27 1990-10-16 At&T Bell Laboratories Equipment rack
US5566836A (en) * 1995-06-01 1996-10-22 Homaco, Inc. Telecommunication relay rack
US5660637A (en) * 1995-11-13 1997-08-26 Dodge; John P. Paint rack for a vehicle body shop
US5806687A (en) * 1997-02-27 1998-09-15 Chatsworth Prod Inc Swinging gate rack
US6065612A (en) * 1999-04-23 2000-05-23 Sigma Aldrich Co. Relay rack with two-way opening door frame
US6223908B1 (en) * 1999-09-15 2001-05-01 Homaco, Inc. Adjustable communications equipment dual relay rack
US6655533B2 (en) * 2001-09-28 2003-12-02 Hoffman Enclosures, Inc. Adjustable four-column rack

Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090178821A1 (en) * 2008-01-16 2009-07-16 Zavidniak Martin P Modular Rack for Mounting Avionics Equipment
US8297450B2 (en) * 2008-01-16 2012-10-30 Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation Modular rack for mounting avionics equipment
US20140294494A1 (en) * 2013-03-28 2014-10-02 David A. Corden Quick Attachment System for Modular Construction
US20150337883A1 (en) * 2013-03-28 2015-11-26 David A. Corden Quick Attachment System for Modular Construction
US10017935B2 (en) * 2013-03-28 2018-07-10 David A. Corden Quick attachment system for modular construction
USD800186S1 (en) * 2015-01-15 2017-10-17 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Refrigerating machine
USD800802S1 (en) * 2015-01-15 2017-10-24 Mitsubishi Eiectric Corporation Refrigerating machine

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