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[ EN ]


The present invention relates in general to panel walls generally used for dividing interior spaces and/or for interior furnishing and in particular a profiled-section metal stud for making the supporting structure or lattice work of the panel wall adapted to the application thereon of transparent or blind panels and other facing elements.

Nowadays, the way of fastening of blind or transparent panels to vertical metal studs generally fixed by expansion fasteners or other fixing means to the floor and to the ceiling and connected by horizontal stiffening traverses, usually of identical shape and cross section profile, contemplates fixing a plurality of hooks onto the metal studs at specific points. These fasteners are usually in the form of a pin or elastic clip stably introduced with a hanging movement or the exertion of an adequate pressure, into receptacles, slots, holes or cavities purposely formed along the studs.

These commonly used fastening arrangements may often show an insufficient stability in time of the so hanged panels because of objective difficulties of ensuring a perfect coupling at a plurality of hanging points along two or more sides of the panel. Often visible irregularities of alignment of the distinct panels over the surfaces in sight of the panel wall may be noticed already upon completing its erection because of shortcomings in the necessary pre-trimming of the localizations of the fasteners on the studs.

Another drawback is represented by the need of installing numerous transversal stiffeners of the supporting lattice composed by the plurality of spaced vertical studs, in order to preserve a precise design distance and parallelism among the vertical studs.

The known approaches as above recalled, require relatively burdensome and time consuming trimming operations for adjusting the supporting lattice work in order to adapt it to inevitable irregularities of the floor and of the ceiling and for pre-establishing a precise matching among cooperating functional parts at the numerous fixing points of the facing panels to be applied to the supporting lattice work structure, as well as other functional elements such as doors and transparent window panels.

A main object of the present invention is to provide a metal stud having a novel cross section such to facilitate the application of the panels, of doors and glass windows, practically without substantially requiring preliminary checks and trimmings on the vertical metal studs of the supporting lattice work structure of the panel wall while sensibly improving stability in time of the applied panels and other facing elements fastened to the metal studs of the structure.

The profiled-section metal stud of this invention is adapted to implement an extended continuous connection with a cooperating coupling bar fixed along a vertical edge portion at the back side of a blind or transparent panel or of any other facing element to be applied over the supporting metal studs of the lattice work structure, thus conferring to the assembled wall a sensibly enhanced stability in time by virtue of the linearly extended anchoring of this invention.

Moreover, by virtue of the extended linear continuous mechanical connection for their whole vertical extension of opposite, sides of, the panels or panel-like elements applied onto the supporting structure, even the mounting of doors and/or windows is made outstandingly fast and simple to perform without requiring accurate pre-trimming operations on vertical metal studs of the supporting structure.

The invention is defined in claims 1 and 9, while important embodiments are defined in the remaining dependent claims.

These and other objectives, advantages and features will become evident from the detailed description of few preferred embodiments of this invention, with reference to the attached drawings, herein included solely for illustrative purposes without implying any limitation to the scope of this invention, wherein!

Figure 1 is a prospective view of a profiled-section metal stud according to a first embodiment of this invention; Figure 2 is a cross sectional view of the stud of Figure 1;

Figures 3 and 4 show an alternative embodiment of the metal stud of this invention;

Figure 5 is a cross sectional view of the coupling bar of a facing panel with a vertical stud of the supporting structure; Figures 6 and 7 show two alternative distinct arrangements of the coupling bar of

Figure 5 along a side edge of a facing panel;

Figures 8 and 9 depict how the coupling bar of a facing panel is forcibly coupled with a snap-on action into an uninterrupted narrow throat portion or slit present in the metal stud; Figure 10 shows the application of the coupling bars of two adjacently mounted facing panels in respective parallel throats of a profiled-section metal stud of this invention;

Figure 11 is a prospective view of a panel wall made according to the present invention; Figure 12 is an exploded view of the assembling arrangement of an edge portion of a facing panel onto a metal stud of Figure 1.

Figure 13 is an exploded view of the assembling arrangement of an edge portion of a facing panel on a metal stud according to the embodiment of Figures 8 and 9;

Figure 14 is a cross sectional view of a possible alternative embodiment of the profϊled-sectional metal stud in foπn of a sheet metal article of manufacture or of an extruded tubular metal section.

A profiled-section metal stud according to an embodiment of this invention is indicated as a whole with 1 in Figure 1. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the stud is made by joining together back-to-back by spot welding two identical metal sections 2 and 3, as observable in the cross-sectional view of Figure 2. The component metal sections 2 and 3 may be of galvanized sheet metal shaped in appropriate machines either through a rolling process or successive bendings or a combination of the two, starting from flat strips of the sheet metal. Each of the two component metal sections 2 and 3 have two loops, 4-5 and 6-7, respectively, constituting a pair of parallel longitudinal channels or chambers 8, open in correspondence of a relatively narrow slit or throat portion 9, for the whole length L of the stud.

In the embodiment shown in Figures 1 and 2, substantially flat bottoms 10 of the two parallel loops of the two component sections 2 and 3 are joined back-to-back, by spot welding or by any other equivalent way.

According to an alternative embodiment of the profϊled-section metal studs shown in the sectional views of Figures 3 and 4, the two parallel loops 11-13 and 12-14, of the two component sections 15 and 16 with which the stud is composed, include an elongated longitudinal appendix or rib 18, formed by folding back the sheet metal on itself, which projects from the outer surface of the bottom of the longitudinal channel or chamber, along a longitudinal mid line of the bottom of the channels, in an orthogonal direction in respect to the bottom plane.

According to this alternative embodiment of the metal stud, the joining together of two identical component profiles takes place between their respective longitudinal ribs 18, juxtaposed one against the other, by spot welding, bolts or even self-threading screws 20, as depicted in the exemplary cross sectional view of Figure 4. Any other equivalent way of engaging with each other and tightening the two juxtaposed longitudinal ribs 18 may be used.

The longitudinal appendixes or ribs 18 of the two identical component profiles 15 and 16, before engaging them (for example with a plurality of tightening screws 20 as depicted in Figure 4), may be juxtaposed with a certain overlap for obtaining a desired thickness S of the resulting stud. This permits to adapt it to the contemplated encumbrance or thickness S of service tubes or implements 19 that need to be hidden (pass) in the space between the opposite facing panels that will eventually be applied on opposite sides of the supporting lattice work structure (i.e. the plurality of vertical studs) of the wall, as schematically indicated by the right end side illustration of Figures 3 and 4.

According to an embodiment, two or more parallel rows (columns) of fastening holes at regular intervals may be formed through the whole thickness of the two coupling ribs of the component profiles in order to permit to join them together by juxtaposing the holes of one or of another row (column) to the holes of the other profile such to determine different resultant overall thicknesses S of the latticework structure of the wall, as shown in the schematic illustration at the right end side of Figures 3 and 4.

In this way, the overall "thickness" of the panel wall may be adapted to specific needs, even in a way that remains alterable in future for a different re-use of the wall or of parts thereof.

Parallel coupling bars 23 having a cross section as exemplified in Figure 5, may be applied onto the back side surface of the panels, along opposite parallel edge portions thereof and for substantially the whole height/length L. These coupling bars may be of galvanized sheet metal shaped in a way as to confer to the bar a desired cross section profile. Preferably, as in the exemplary embodiment shown in the figure, the section has a flat base 24 constituted by two co-planar wings of equal width or more preferably as shown of different width, and by a longitudinal rib portion 25, the crest of may have a "mushroom" or "arrow tip" shape, adapted to forcibly engage with a snap-action through the throat portion or slit 9 into the parallel longitudinal channels of the component profiles 2-3 of the metal studs of Figures 2 and 3, respectively.

Preferably, dimensions and respective shapes of the throat portions 9 and of the ribs 25 of the coupling bars applied to the back side of the panels are such to provide for an elastic expansion of the throat narrows or an elastic compressibility of the arrow tip crest of the coupling bars 25, such to facilitate and render more effective the snap-on engagement of the two parts.

Advantageously, the base 24 of the coupling bar 23 has side wings 26 and 27 of different width, such to permit the application of the bars over the backside surface of the panel 21 and 22 or of a window frame, in one or in the inverted manner, as shown in the two drawings of Figures 6 and 7, using common fixing screws 28 passing through holes that may be pre-formed along the two base wings 26 and 27 at regular intervals.

In this way, it is easy to per-arrange the facing of the parallel wall with "gaps" 29 of different width according to preference as shown in Figure 10, exemplifying the two possibilities offered by making the coupling bars with lateral base wings of different width.

Figure 11 is an assembly view of a panel wall made with the supporting fixtures of the present invention.

Of course, the coupling bars 23 may alternatively be realized in a solid fashion directly over the back side surface of the panels 21 and 22 or be integrated in the bulk of a laminated panel in any suitable manner during fabrication of the panels.

For example, Figures 12 and 13 are exploded views that illustrate the fastening arrangements of the invention of a generic facing panel onto a vertical metal. stud for the two alternative, embodiments, of Figure 1 and of Figures 8 and 9, respectively.

Of course, the profiled-section metal studs with uninterrupted parallel longitudinal slits and the related uninterrupted coupling bars according to this invention, may be fabricated even with materials different from sheet metal as shown in Figures 1-10 and 12.

According to other alternative embodiments, in Figure 14, is shown a schematic cross section of a metal stud deliberately made with four different alternative shapes that may be chosen, in form of a tubular or box-like element 32, that may be fabricated with sheet metal or alternatively by extrusion (for example of an aluminum alloy). Over opposite faces 33 and 34 are depicted pairs of longitudinal uninterrupted slits 90, 91, 92 and 93, that purely for exemplary purpose are shown in four different alternative shapes, all suitable for the practice of this invention. Each of the four opening shapes is in any case adapted to forcibly receive, through a snap action and to retain therein salient ribs of coupling bars 23 that may have the same or even a different cross sectional shape from the two shown projecting from the surface of the backside surface of the facing panels 21 and 22.