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1. EP0484502 - METHOD FOR STRUCTURAL ATTACHMENT OF POLYCARBONATE PLASTIC SHEET TO SUPPORTING STRENGTH MEMBERS AND ASSEMBLY UTILIZING SAME.

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Claims

1. An assembly comprising a metal structural member (10) to which a polycarbonate sheet (12) is attached by attachment means, said attachment means comprising an attachment strip (14) which extends longitudinally of an edge of the polycarbonate sheet (12) and is secured by securement means (16) to the structural member (10) to clamp an attachment area of the polycarbonate sheet (12) between the attachment strip (14) and the structural member (10), characterised in that said polycarbonate sheet (12) overlaps said structural member (10) along substantially the entire length of the polycarbonate sheet (12) to create the attachment area which is flat over its entire length; said attachment strip (14) has a width substantially the same as the width of said attachment area and a length substantially the same as the length of said attachment area; said attachment strip (14) having a central channel (28) formed therein on the side adjacent said polycarbonate sheet (12), both legs (30) formed by the central channel (28) in the attachment strip (14) pressing onto the said attachment area; and the securement means comprises rivet or bolt means (16) inserted through aligned and appropriately sized apertures in said structural member, polycarbonate sheet and attachment strip for holding those elements rigidly together, said rivet or bolt means (16) extending vertically through said central channel (28).
  2. An assembly according to claim 1, wherein said attachment strip (14) is metal and said holes in said polycarbonate sheet (12) are sufficiently larger than the shank of said rivet or bolt means (16) such that no intra-hole stress is exerted on said polycarbonate sheet (12) by said rivet or bolt means (16).
  3. An assembly according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said polycarbonate sheet (12) overlaps said structural member (10) by approximately 3.175 cm (1¼").
  4. An assembly according to claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein said attachment strip (14) has a width of approximately 3.175 cm (1¼").
  5. An assembly according to any preceding claim, wherein the side of said attachment strip (14) adjacent to the polycarbonate sheet is substantially planar in the untightened condition of the securement means (16).
  6. An assembly according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein said attachment strip (40) is preformed in a flexed, concave shape on the side adjacent to the polycarbonate sheet (12), such that under tightness of the securement means (16), it is brought flush against the polycarbonate sheet (12).
  7. An assembly according to any preceding claim, wherein said channel (28) is sufficiently wide so as to leave approximately a 0.95 cm (3/8") wide area on either side thereof in contact with said polycarbonate sheet (12).
  8. An assembly according to any preceding claim, wherein said rivet or bolt means (16) are spaced apart on approximately 6.35 cm (2½") centres and located centrally relative to said channel (28) in said attachment strip (14).
  9. An assembly according to any preceding claim, in which bolt means are used as fasteners and are secured with a torque not in excess of 1.15 metre-kg (100 inch pounds).
  10. An assembly according to any preceding claim, wherein said attachment strip (14) is metal.
  11. An assembly according to any preceding claim, wherein said assembly is an air cargo container (52) having a frame (52) comprised of a plurality of said structural members (54) and a polycarbonate skin comprised of a plurality of said polycarbonate sheets (56) secured to said structural members (54).
  12. A cargo container according to claim 11, wherein the polycarbonate skin (56) is substantially transparent.
  13. A cargo container according to claim 11 or 12, which includes a base (50) and a frame (52) formed of said structural members and door means attached to said base and frame for providing access to the interior of the container.
  14. A method of attaching a polycarbonate sheet (12) to a metal structural member (10) comprising causing the polycarbonate sheet (12) to overlap the structural member (10); placing an attachment strip (14) against the polycarbonate sheet (12) and using securement means (16) to clamp the polycarbonate sheet (12) to the structural member (10), characterised in that said polycarbonate sheet (12) is caused to overlap said structural member (14) such that a flat attachment area is created; the attachment strip (14), which has a length and width similar to that of said attachment area, is placed against said polycarbonate sheet attachment area, said attachment strip (14) having a central channel (28) formed therein on the side adjacent said polycarbonate sheet (12) such that only a portion on the outer edges of said strip (14) comes into contact with said sheet; spaced, aligned, and appropriately-sized holes are provided through the assembly of said metal structural member (10), said polycarbonate sheet (12) and said attachment strip (14) through which conventional securement means (16) such as a rivet or bolt is inserted to extend vertically through said central channel (28); and such conventional attachment means (16) are tightened to create a non-slip union between said member (10) and said sheet (12), with both legs (30) formed by the central channel (28) in the attachment strip pressing onto said attachment area.
  15. A method according to claim 14, wherein said attachment area has a width greater than 2.54 cm (1") and a length substantially the same as the length of said polycarbonate sheet.
  16. A method according to claim 14 or 15, wherein said holes are spaced apart by not less than 2.54 cm (1") nor more than 10.2 cm (4").
  17. A method according to claim 14, 15 or 16, wherein conventional bolts are used as the securement means.
  18. A method according to claim 17, wherein the bolts are tightened to not less than 0.35 metre-kg (30 inch pounds) nor more than 1.15 metre-kg (100 inch pounds) of torque.
  19. A method according to any one of claims 14 to 16, wherein conventional rivets are used as the securement means.