Patent application title: MODULAR SYSTEM FOR REALISING CHAMBERS JOINED TO ONE ANOTHER
Ezio Menna (Collecchio (parma), IT)
IPC8 Class: AE04B200FI
Class name: Static structures (e.g., buildings) module or panel having discrete edgewise or face-to-face connecting feature interfitted integral flange
Publication date: 2012-03-29
Patent application number: 20120073234
A modular system, for realising chambers that are joined to one another,
includes a plurality of walls delimiting chambers and a plurality of
joint elements, each configured to fasten two walls of the chamber to one
another at a longitudinal corner of the chamber. Each of the joint
elements includes a tubular body provided with at least an axial cavity,
open at least at an end of the tubular body and conformed such as to be
external of the chamber. Interconnectors are further provided, for
interconnecting two chambers, including plugs configured to interconnect
two joint elements of respective chambers, each plug being configured to
be solidly associated to two tubular bodies of two reciprocally-facing
joint elements, internally of the respective cavities, for joining two
joint elements head to head.
1). A modular system (1), for realising chambers that are joined to one
another, comprising: a plurality of walls (2) delimiting chambers (3); a
plurality of joint elements (4), each configured to fix two walls (2) of
the chamber (3) to one another at a longitudinal corner of the chamber
(3), each of the joint elements (4) comprises: a tubular body (5)
provided with at least an axial cavity (6), open at least at an end (5a)
of the tubular body (5) and configured to be external of the chamber (3),
having longitudinally-extending retainers (12), associated to the
external surface of the tubular body (5), configured to constrain
respective longitudinal edges (2a) of walls (2b); the cavity (6) being
external and not communicating with the chamber (3) delimited by the
walls (2) constrained to the retainers (12), the system (1) further
comprising interconnectors (7), comprising plugs (8) configured to
interconnect the joint elements (4) of respective chambers two by two,
each plug (8) being configured to be solidly associated to two tubular
bodies (5) of two joint elements (4), internally of the respective
cavities (6), for joining two joint elements (4) head to head.
2). The system (1) of claim 1, wherein the tubular body (5) has an axis that extends along the longitudinal corner of the chamber (3) and each end of the tubular body (5) comprises one of the cavities (6).
3). The system (1) of claim 1, wherein the tubular body (5) has an axis which extends along the longitudinal corner of the chamber (3) and the chamber (6) is a through-chamber and passes from an end to another of the tubular body (5).
4). The system (1) of claim 1, further comprising at least one transversal body (10), for fastening the plug (8) to the cavity, configured to transversally cross the tubular body (5) and the plug (8) for blocking axial sliding of the plug (8) internally of the cavity.
5). The system (1) of claim 1, wherein the retainers (12) comprise longitudinally-developing seats (13), each seating (13) being suitable for snugly housing a longitudinal edge (2a) of the walls (2b); the seats (13) defining respective lie planes of the walls (2b) that are incident to one another according to longitudinal corners.
6). The system (1) of claim 5, wherein the seats (13) are arranged at an acute angle with respect to one another, and the transversal plugs (10) cross the tubular body (5) at points located externally of the acute angle defined by the seats (13).
7). The system of claim 5, wherein the seats (13) exhibit a stepped tapered shape, configured to house walls (2) of different thicknesses.
8). The system (1) of claim 1, wherein the joint element (4) comprises hooking members (14), configured to hook completion elements (15) of the modular structure, associated externally of the tubular body.
9). The system (1) of claim 8, wherein the hooking members (14) comprise sliding guides (16, 16a, 16b) defining sliding axes which are substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tubular body (5).
10). The system (1) of claim 9, wherein the completion elements (15) comprise at least a reinforcing crossbar (19) of the chamber (3), internally associable to the chamber and interposed between two joint elements (4); the completion elements (15) being slidably associable to the sliding guide (16, 16a, 16b) and fixable thereto by fastening bodies (22) for blocking the reciprocal position between the sliding guide and the completion elements (15).
 The present application hereby claims priority under 35 U.S.C. Section 119 to Italian Patent application number RE2010A000075, filed Sep. 24, 2010, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to a modular system for realising chambers that are joined to one another. An advantageous application of the invention relates to floating modular systems such as floating modular platforms and the like. In general terms, the invention relates to any type of chamber configured to be used in realising modular systems.
 As is known, modular systems of known types, such as for example treadable modular platforms, whether configured to float in water or for resting on the ground, or modular systems developing vertically or the like, comprise a plurality of substantially polyhedral chambers, for example cubic or parallelepiped, which are associated to one another by fastening bodies.
 The chambers are placed side-by-side, flanked and/or stacked, to give the modular system the desired shape and dimensions, and are assembled together by the fastening bodies.
 Modular systems configured to float, in particular, are made such as to be constituted by sealed chambers, for example substantially internally hollow, in order to guarantee floatability.
 The fastening bodies can be of two types, according to whether the modular system is configured to float or to rest on the ground.
 In particular, if the modular system is configured to float, the fastening bodies between the various chambers comprise pins or guides which are interposed between a chamber and another, in particular in special eyelets or reliefs realised on the walls on the chamber.
 The fastening bodies exhibit the drawback of generating interspaces between one chamber and another, necessary for insertion of the fastening bodies, which have to be covered by constructional elements in order to prevent the water they are arranged floating on reaching and invading the treading surface of the modular system.
 If, on the other hand, the modular system is configured to rest on the ground, it is not necessary to guarantee water-sealing of each single chamber, so it is possible to anchor a chamber to another by threaded fastening bodies and bolted brackets which anchor directly on the walls of the chambers.
 Though they guarantee small overall size, and enable flanking of two chambers of the modular system without any need for manoeuvring interspaces, the latter-mentioned fastening bodies are not easily applicable to floating modular systems, as they do not guarantee that the chamber formed by each module will remain substantially sealed once fixed to a chamber adjacent thereto.
 An objective of the invention is to obviate the above-described drawbacks of modular systems of known type, by a modular system which provides small spatial dimensions and rapidity of mounting at the same time as being substantially universally applicable, i.e. it is easily adaptable for use in all types of modular systems, whether configured to rest on the ground or for floating.
 Further, an aim of the invention is to enable realisation of a substantially sealed chamber which seal is in no way compromised by the fastening bodies between the various chambers for realising the modular system; further, it is possible to realise stable adhesion in longitudinal direction between the various chambers constituting the modular system and therefore realise, from the structural point of view, bearing box beams.
 In the scope of the technical objective, a further aim of the present invention is to disclose a simple structure, relatively easy to achieve practically, secure in use and functionally efficient, as well as being relatively inexpensive.
 The aims are attained by the characteristics of the invention as reported in the independent claim. The dependent claims delineate preferred and/or particularly advantageous aspects of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will emerge more clearly from a reading of the following description, provided by way of non-limiting example, with the aid of the figures illustrated in the accompanying figures of the drawings.
 FIG. 1 is an axonometric view of a chamber for realising modular systems of the invention;
 FIG. 2 is an exploded axonometric view of a modular system of two chambers, associated to one another for realising a modular platform, according to the invention;
 FIG. 3 is a transversal section view of the chamber of FIG. 1;
 FIG. 4a is a view of a detail relating to the joint element of FIG. 3, which fastens walls having relatively large thickness;
 FIG. 4b is similar to FIG. 4a with the joint element, which fastens walls, having a relatively small thickness;
 FIG. 5 is a further view in transversal section of a chamber of FIG. 2;
 FIG. 6 is an axonometric view of a detail relating to the joint element of FIG. 3, with a head wall fastened thereto, in a cutaway view.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 With particular reference to the figures, 1 denotes in its entirety a modular system for realising chambers joined to one another, such as for example treadable modular platforms, for example floating or resting on the ground, or the like.
 The system 1 comprises a plurality of walls 2 which delimit a chamber 3, for example, having a substantially polyhedral shape. 2b denotes the side walls and 2c denotes the head walls.
 In the preferred embodiment shown in the figures, the chamber 3 is substantially sealed such that the modular system 1, realised with it, can float.
 However, alternatively, the chamber 3 might be open or may delimit a closed volume which is not necessarily sealed, according to the construction requirements.
 The system 1 further comprises a plurality of joint elements 4 configured to fix two contiguous walls 2b of the chamber 3 to one another at a longitudinal corner thereof.
 In particular, for the purposes of the present invention, each of the joint elements 4 comprises a tubular body 5 which is provided with at least an axial cavity 6 which is open at least at an end 5a of the tubular body 5 and is conformed such as to be completely external of the chamber 3. Each joint element 4 possesses longitudinally-extending retainer 12, associated to the external surface of the tubular body 5 and configured to constrain respective longitudinal edges 2a of walls 2b; the cavity 6 being external and not communicating with the chamber 3 delimited by the walls 2 constrained by the retainer 12.
 Further, the system 1 comprises interconnectors 7 configured to interconnect the joint elements 4 of respective chambers two-by-two, comprising at least a plug 8 for interconnecting two joint elements 4 of respective chambers 3.
 The plug 8 is designed to be solidly associated to the two tubular bodies 5 of two joint elements that are reciprocally facing and are arranged substantially aligned with respect to the longitudinal axis thereof.
 The plug 8 is configured to be associated internally of the respective cavities 6 of the tubular bodies 5, with the aim of joining the joint elements at the heads thereof.
 The axis of the tubular body 5 develops along the longitudinal corner of the chamber 3, defined by a pair of walls 2b.
 The plug 8, in the preferred embodiment, is conformed with a longitudinal axis that is substantially straight; alternatively it can exhibit a curved longitudinal axis according to constructional needs.
 In the example illustrated in the figures, the chamber 3 has a substantially-parallelepiped shape and the joint element 4, and therefore the tubular body 5 associated thereto, is such as to develop axially along each of the four longitudinal corners interposed between the flank walls 2b, comprising the larger dimension of the chamber 3.
 In an embodiment, each end 5a of the tubular body 5 comprises a cavity 6; an alternative and preferred embodiment, however, has the cavity 6 passing from an end 5a to another of the tubular body 5.
 The system 1 further comprises a transversal body 10 for fastening the plug 8 to the cavity 6 of the tubular body 5, for example a bolt or a transversal plug or the like, configured to transversally cross the tubular body 5 and the plug 8 to block axial sliding of the plug 8 internally of the cavity.
 The transversal body 10 is such as to insert in centring holes 11 realised respectively in the tubular body 5 and in the plug itself when the holes are substantially aligned.
 The cavity 6 exhibits a substantially circular section; the plug 8 comprises a substantially cylindrical body, the external diameter of which is substantially smaller than the cavity 6 such as to be able to insert in the cavity with a degree of play.
 Alternatively, the cavity 6 can exhibit a polygonal section or can be of any shape.
 In particular, the system 1 comprises at least a pair of threaded members 10 for fastening each plug 8 to a respective pair of tubular bodies 5.
 The plug 8 is advantageously substantially internally hollow.
 In particular, the transversal body 10 blocks the sliding of the plug 8 internally of the cavity 6 and, therefore, the reciprocal sliding of two tubular bodies 5, connected to one another with respect to the longitudinal axis thereof.
 The retainers 12 of the walls 2 of the longitudinal corner comprise a pair of seats 13, each of which is configured to snugly house respectively a longitudinal edge 2a of the walls 2b.
 Further, each seating 13 develops with a longitudinal axis substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tubular body 5, along the whole length thereof.
 The seats 13 also define respective lie planes of the walls 2, which are incident to one another in order to realise the corners between the walls.
 In the preferred embodiment, shown in the figures, the lie planes of the walls are inclined to one another by 90°, and alternatively they can be inclined by any acute angle.
 The transversal plugs 10 cross the tubular body 5 at points located externally of the acute angle defined by the seats 13; in this way the integrity of the part of the tubular body 5 facing internally of the chamber 3 is not interrupted, i.e. the part comprised between two seats 13. The seal of the chambers 3 is thus not compromised by the presence of the transversal organ 10.
 Further, the seats 13 exhibit a stepped tapering configured to conform a double-seating for the housing of walls 2 having different thicknesses; the deeper bottom of the seating 13 is designed such as to restingly receive relatively slimmer walls 2 (see for example FIG. 4b), while the other bottom, defined by the height of the step, is configured to restingly receive walls 2 having a relatively greater thickness (see for example the example of FIG. 4a).
 The walls 2 of the chamber 3 are joint-associated, for example by forcing, internally of the seats 13, such as to ensure a seal of the chamber itself.
 The joint element 4 further comprises hooking members 14 configured to hook completion elements 15 of the modular structure 1.
 The hooking members 14 are externally associated to the tubular body 5, in particular they develop along the longitudinal axis thereof and are configured to project externally of the tubular body 5 in a substantially radial direction with respect to the longitudinal axis of the tubular body.
 The hooking members 14, in the preferred embodiment shown in the figures, comprise a plurality of sliding guides 16 which are, for example, substantially dove-tailed, which define sliding axes that are substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tubular body 5.
 Each sliding guide 16 is such as to be able to house a completion element 15 of the structure, i.e. at least one from among the elements of a group comprising a treadable walkway 17, various pieces of equipment such as a lateral edge 18, head walls 2c for closing the chamber 3, reinforcing crossbars 19 of the chamber, closing elements 20 of the sliding guides and support bases 21.
 These completion elements 15 are slidingly associable to the sliding guide 16 and, further, are fixable thereto by fastening bodies 22 such as lock-screws, counter-plates or the like, for blocking the reciprocal position between the sliding guides 16 and the completion elements.
 In particular, the completion elements 15 can be slidably associated along the sliding guide 16 or two sliding guides 16 to the joint elements 4 of the chamber 3.
 In the preferred embodiment, shown in the figures, each joint element 4 comprises three sliding guides 16, a first 16a of which is interposed between the seats 13 and is configured to be internal of the chamber 3 in order to support reinforcing crossbars 19, for example crossable substantially in an X arrangement for forming diagonal reinforcing bars internally of the chamber 3 or defining horizontal rest planes superiorly of the wall of the flank 2c configured to be the bottom of the chamber 3 or another technically equivalent solution.
 In particular, the crossbars 19 are internally associated to the chamber and interposed between two joint elements 4, at the relative first sliding guides 16a thereof.
 Each head wall 2c (as shown in FIG. 6) exhibits bevelled angles such that wall 2c can be inserted substantially snugly internally of the chamber 3 and exhibit a surface configured to be rested on the front end surfaces of the first sliding guides 16a; the sliding guides 16a, in the example, exhibit a length which is slightly smaller than the length of the tubular body 5, such that the head wall 2c is, when in operation, substantially flush with the ends 5a of the tubular bodies 5 themselves or slightly recessed with respect thereto.
 The head walls 2c are arranged substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the joint element 4; further, for example, seal organs, not shown in the figures, can be provided between the head walls 2c and the remaining flank walls 2b of the chamber.
 The other two second sliding guides 16b are defined externally of the chamber 3 and, for example, are such as to enable housing of edges 18, as well as bases 21 supporting a walkway 17 and elements 20 for closing the sliding guide or like completion apparatus of the modular system P, as is well known to the expert in the field.
 Advantageously, though not exclusively, the joint element 4 is realised by extrusion and the tubular body 5, provided with cavities 6, the retainers 12 and the hooking members 14 are made in a single piece.
 The present invention functions as follows.
 For the formation of a chamber 3 of the modular system 1 it is sufficient to joint the walls of the flank 2b in the respective seats 13 of the joint element 4.
 Thereafter, support crossbars 19 which might be fixed to the first sliding guides 16a by lock-screws or other fastening bodies 22 can be inserted in the first sliding guides 16a, for sliding internally of the thus-formed chamber 3.
 Finally, the chamber 3 can be closed with the head walls 2c.
 To join two modules 1 together, it is sufficient to place them side-by-side such that at least two joint elements 4 are aligned to one another with respect to the longitudinal axis thereof.
 Two chambers 3 can be advantageously associated such that all four joint elements 4 of a first chamber 3 are aligned to the other four joint elements 4 of the second chamber 3.
 The plug 8 is then interposed between a joint element 4 and the other, i.e. it is inserted internally of the cavity 6 of the first joint element 4 and fixed internally thereof, by the transversal body 10, then the second joint element 4 is slid towards the first joint element, keying the plug 8 to the tubular body 5 of the second joint element.
 When the second joint element 4 has been placed substantially abutting the first, i.e. the second chamber 3 has been flanked to the first substantially without any break in continuity, the plug 8 is fixed to the tubular body 5 of the second joint element, by the respective transversal body 10.
 The modular system, as has been seen, provides small spatial dimensions and rapidity of mounting, as well as being universal for application in all types of modular systems, whether configured to be rested on the ground or for floating.
 Further, the modular system of the invention enables realisation of a substantially sealed chamber which is in no way compromised by the fastening bodies between the various chambers for realising the modular system, and also enables a stable joint to be made between the various chambers constituting the modular system.
 Further, the joint element of the modular system of the invention is contemporaneously configured to conform the chamber by the joining of the walls thereof and to realise the join between a plurality of thus-formed chambers for realising the modular system.
 A further advantage is that the modular system realised by the union of the single chambers can be completed easily and rapidly and in different configurations, by various completion elements.
 The invention as conceived herein is susceptible to numerous modifications and variants, all falling within the scope of the inventive concept.
 Further, all details can be substituted by other technically-equivalent elements.
 In practice, all materials used, as well as the shapes and contingent dimensions, can be of any type according to needs, without forsaking the scope of protection of the following claims.
Patent applications by Ezio Menna, Collecchio (parma) IT
Patent applications by STEM S.R.L.
Patent applications in class Interfitted integral flange
Patent applications in all subclasses Interfitted integral flange