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Title:
AN INSULATED GLAZING UNIT FOR PRIVACY, WITH A BLIND SYSTEM COMPRISING PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/001699
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A double-glazing unit (1) comprises a frame (2), two panes (3a, 3b), which are at least partially transparent and fixed to the frame (2) and screening means (5) located between the panes. The screening means (5) comprise at least two sets (6a and 6b) of slats (7) in mutually facing positions, at a predetermined distance from each other to define visibility zones (10). The slats (7) are configured to slide along a sliding direction ("Z"). Thus, the screening means (5) are adapted to be switched from an observation configuration in which the slats (7) of each set (6a) face the slats (7) of the other set (6b) to a privacy configuration in which the slats (7) of each set (6a) face the visibility zones (10) of the other set (6b) to block the passage of light.

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Inventors:
NICOLOSI GIOVANNI (IT)
PELLINI ALESSANDRO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/054065
Publication Date:
January 07, 2021
Filing Date:
April 30, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PELLINI SPA (IT)
International Classes:
E06B3/66; E06B3/663; E06B9/24
Foreign References:
DE102012111884A12014-03-20
JPH0723194U1995-04-25
US20120152469A12012-06-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CICERI, Fabio et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An insulated glazing unit (1) comprising:

- a frame (2);

- two at least partially transparent panes (3a, 3b) fixed to the frame (2), said panes (3a, 3b) being spaced apart to define a gap (4);

- screening means (5) arranged in said gap (4);

- said screening means (5) comprise at least two sets (6a and 6b) of slats (7), said sets (6a and 6b) being spaced apart and facing each other, each set (6a, 6b) of slats (7) facing a respective pane (3a, 3b), the slats (7) being configured to slide in a sliding direction (Z), each slat (7) having a first surface (9a), a second surface (9b) and a longitudinal main axis of extension (J) arranged transverse to said sliding direction (Z), the first surface (9a) of each slat (7) facing its respective pane (3a, 3b), the slats (7) of each set (6a, 6b) being at a predetermined distance from each other to define visibility zones (10);

- said screening means (5) are adapted to be switched from an observation configuration, in which the slats (7) of each set (6a, 6b) face the slats of the other set (6a, 6b), to a privacy configuration in which the slats (7) of each set (6a, 6b) face the visibility zones (10) of the other set (6a, 6b) to block the passage of light;

- said screening means (5) comprise at least one support element (8) for the slats (7), comprising a rope (12), said support element (8) being connected to the slats (7) of both sets (6a, 6b), the support element (8) having a plurality of seats (11), each slat (7) fitting in a respective seat (11),

- said support element (8) being configured to slide in said sliding direction (Z) to switch the screening means (5) between the observation configuration and the privacy configuration,

characterized in that:

- at least some of the slats (7) of at least one set (6a, 6b) each comprise at least one and preferably a plurality of photovoltaic cells (50) arranged on the first surface (9a) and/or the second surface (9b),

- the support element (8) has a cavity (8a) defined inside said rope (12), said insulated glazing unit (1) comprising at least one electric conductor (51) adapted to connect at least some of said photovoltaic cells (50) of one of said sets (6a, 6b) of slats (7), said electric conductor (51) being at least partially inserted within the cavity (8a) inside the rope (12).

2. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in claim 1, wherein each slat (7) has a pair of ends (7a) arranged opposite to each other along said longitudinal axis (J), said insulated glazing unit (1) comprising two support elements (8) each connected at a respective end (7a) of each slat (7).

3. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein said support element (8) has a pair of openings (52) at each slat (7), said openings (52) being configured to allow access to said cavity (8a) for said electric conductor (51) to be introduced into and pulled out of said cavity (8a) at the respective slat (7).

4. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in claim 3, wherein the support element (8) has a first opening (52a) arranged at a lower zone of each slat (7), and a second opening (52b) arranged at a higher zone of each slat (7).

5. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in claim 3 or 4, wherein the electric conductor (51) is inserted within the support element (8) between a slat and the other (7), and is arranged outside the slats (7) along the necessary trait to provide electric connection with the photovoltaic cells (50) arranged on each slat (7).

6. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in any of claims 1 to 5, comprising a pair of electric conductors (51) each associated with a respective support element (8), wherein the photovoltaic cells (50) on each slat (7) define a positive electric pole (53) and a negative electric pole (54) on respective slat (7), each electric conductor (51) being electrically connected to the electric poles (53, 54) of the same sign.

7. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein said second surfaces (9b) of said slats (7) are concave.

8. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein said photovoltaic cells (50) are multi-junction cells.

9. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in any of the preceding claims, comprising driving means (13) for making the support element (8) slide along the sliding direction (Z), the driving means (13) comprising at least one shaft (14a, 14b) connected to the frame (2) and a pulley (16) for each shaft (14a, 14b) for each support element (8), the pulley (16) being connected to the support element (8) and to the shaft (14a, 14b) and being configured to receive the support element (8) and to make it slide along the sliding direction (Z) when the shaft (14b) rotates about a rotation axis (R).

10. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the slats (7) are arranged to slide along the sliding direction (Z) jointly with the support element (8)·

11. An insulated glazing unit (1) as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the sliding direction (Z) of the slats (7) is vertical.

Description:
AN INSULATED GLAZING UNIT FOR PRIVACY, WITH A BLIND SYSTEM

COMPRISING PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS

DESCRIPTION

Technical field

The present invention relates to an insulated glazing unit with an integrated slat blind as defined in the preamble of claim 1.

The device of the present invention can be applied to windows, or more generally to partitions in public buildings, such as restaurants, hospitals and more.

Background art

An insulated glazing unit is known in the art, which is capable of selectively viewing the interior of an environment from another environment adjacent thereto.

This insulated glazing unit comprises a pair of outside glass panes, placed at a predetermined distance from each other to define a gap. At least one of these outside panes has a plurality of first horizontal stripes, alternated with second stripes, which also have a horizontal orientation. The first horizontal stripes are obtained, for example, by etching or printing, and the second horizontal stripes are transparent.

A pane is placed within the gap. The inside pane also has first and second horizontal stripes similar to those described above for the outside pane.

The inside pane is slidable relative to the outside panes, for privacy purposes. Namely, the inside pane 5 may be switched between an observation configuration and a privacy configuration.

In the observation configuration, the inside pane is positioned with the first frosted stripes of the inside pane facing those of the outside pane. The vision is thus allowed through the transparent stripes of the two panes, which are arranged in overlapping relation.

In the privacy configuration, the inside pane is caused to slide such that the first and second stripes reach offset positions, i.e with the etched or printed stripes of one pane level arranged at the transparent stripes of the other pane and vice versa. This will prevent vision through the insulated glazing unit.

The transition from one configuration to the other, i.e. the sliding movement of the inside pane is a manual operation achieved by a manual lever control.

One drawback is that the sliding movement of the inside glass is burdensome for the user due to the weight of the glass.

Furthermore, the production of the above-described insulated glazing unit requires a frosting step for at least one outside pane and for the inside pane, which results in an increase in production times and costs.

JP H0723194 discloses an insulated glazing unit with a blind accommodated therein. The blind comprises two series of slats with large gaps between two successive slats. When the slats of the two series are aligned, the insulated glazing unit permits vision therethrough using the gaps between the slats. A cord system supports the slats and allows the vertical sliding movement of at least one of the two series of slats, to move the slats of the two series out of alignment. In particular, the slats of one series are aligned with the gaps of the other series so as to obscure the vision through the double-glazing unit.

DE 102012111884 discloses, with reference to Figures 2a-2c, an insulated glazing unit that is similar to that of JP H0723194, except that the slats slide horizontally, and not vertically, along support rails and no support cord is provided. The slats are equipped with photovoltaic cells, electrically connected to the two metal rails, below and above the slats. Therefore, the cells of all the slats are parallel to one another. The current generated is carried outside the insulated glazing unit by means of suitable electric cables connected to the rails.

US 2012152469 discloses an insulated glazing unit containing a Venetian blind with photovoltaic cells on its slats. In addition to the typical cords and ladders for supporting and orienting the slats, connecting segments are provided between the cells of the different slats. The connecting segments are formed as segments of a flexible printed circuit board, so as to bend without damaging or interfering with the cords and ladders as the slats are being raised.

Object of the Invention

Therefore, the technical purpose of the present invention is to provide an insulated glazing unit that can obviate the aforementioned prior art drawbacks.

In particular, an object of the present invention is to provide an insulated glazing unit that is switchable between an observation configuration and a privacy configuration and in which the transition from one configuration to the other is less burdensome for the user.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an insulated glazing unit that has a simpler manufacturing process.

Another object of the invention is to provide more functional electrical connections between the photovoltaic cells than the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The aforementioned technical purpose and objects are substantially fulfilled by an insulated glazing unit that comprises the technical features as disclosed in one or more of the accompanying claims.

Advantages of the invention

In particular, this device comprises screening means. These screening means comprise two sets of slats accommodated within the gap. The sets are parallel and spaced apart from each other so that each set faces a respective pane. Within each set, the slats are spaced apart from each other by visibility zones. The slats are slidable along a sliding direction that is parallel to the sets.

The sliding movement of the slats allows them to reach a position that permits vision into an environment from another environment adjacent thereto, when the slats of the two sets face each other. On the other hand, the vision between the two environments is impeded when the slats of one set face the visibility zones of the other set.

Therefore, the sliding movement of the slats allows the user to easily and conveniently switch between configurations.

Furthermore, the manufacturing process is simple and cost-effective.

Optionally, at least some of the slats of at least one set each comprise at least one and preferably a plurality of photovoltaic cells.

Advantageously, since the slats are moved just by sliding, the weight of the photovoltaic cells and their electrical connections does not affect the movement of the slats.

In addition, since the slats of one set never overlap, the photovoltaic cells thereon are constantly exposed to light coming from the outside.

Advantageously, since the slats never contact each other, there is no risk of rubbing between the photovoltaic cells and the other slats.

Moreover, the presence of the photovoltaic cells does not limit the screening effect provided by the slats.

If the photovoltaic cells are placed on a surface that faces outwards, they will never be seen from the inside, because the slats will not rotate when closing. Thus will preserve the aesthetic appearance of the slats as seen from the inside.

Advantageously, the electrical connections may be passed through the supporting cords, which will considerably limit their aesthetic impact.

LIST OF DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention will result more clearly from the illustrative, non-limiting description of a preferred, non-exclusive embodiment of a privacy insulated glazing device with a slat blind as shown in the annexed drawings, in which:

- Figure la is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the insulated glazing unit of the present invention in the observation configuration;

- Figure lb is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the insulated glazing unit of Figure la in the privacy configuration;

- Figure 2 is a top sectional view of the insulated glazing unit of Figures la and lb; - Figure 3 a is a detail of a lateral sectional view of the insulated glazing unit of

Figures la and lb in the observation configuration;

- Figure 3 b is a detail of a lateral sectional view of the insulated glazing unit of Figures la and lb in the privacy configuration;

- Figure 4 is an exposed perspective view of the insulated glazing unit of Figures la and lb in the observation configuration;

- Figure 4a is an magnified detail of Figure 4;

- Figure 5 is a front view of a second embodiment of the insulated glazing unit of the present invention;

- Figure 5a is a magnified detail of the insulated glazing unit of Figure 5; and - Figures 6a and 6b are perspective views of the insulated glazing unit of Figure 5 in the observation and privacy configurations respectively as seen from the outside.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the annexed figures, numeral 1 generally designates an insulated glazing unit of the present invention.

The insulated glazing unit 1 comprises a frame 2, which has the purpose of allowing the double-glazing unit 1 to be affixed to a wall (not shown). Typically, but without limitation, this wall is an interior wall of a building that separates two environments.

In particular, the frame 2 comprises an upper portion 2a and a lower portion 2b.

The frame 2 comprises a framework 21. The framework 21 is defined by beams 22. In particular, four beams 22 are provided. Preferably, the framework 21 has a rectangular shape. Even more preferably, two beams 22 are horizontal and two beams 22 are vertical. The frame 2 comprises spacers 41 arranged along an inner profile 23 of the framework 21. Such spacers 41 (see Figure 2) are for example made of aluminum or plastic.

The insulated glazing unit 1 further comprises two panes 3a, 3b, which are at least partially transparent. In a preferred embodiment, such panes are made of glass. In alternative embodiments of the invention, the panes 3a, 3b may be made of any suitable transparent or semitransparent material. Preferably, the two panes 3a, 3b are parallel to each other.

In particular, the panes 3 a, 3 b are spaced apart from each other to define a gap 4.

Screening means 5 are placed inside the gap 4. In particular, the screening means 5 have the purpose of allowing selective screening of the insulated glazing unit 1.

More in detail, these screening means comprise two sets 6a and 6b of slats 7. The two sets 6a and 6b are spaced apart within the gap 4, with each set 6a, 6b namely facing a respective pane 3a, 3b. The two sets 6a and 6b also face each other. Preferably, the two sets 6a and 6b of slats 7 are parallel to the panes and parallel to each other.

More in detail, each slat 7 has a main direction of extension, defined by a longitudinal axis “J”. Each slat has a pair of opposite ends 7a arranged along the longitudinal axis“J”.

More in detail, each slat 7 has a dimension perpendicular to the axis“J”, i.e. a height. Each slat 7 also has a dimension parallel to the axis“J”, i.e. a width. The height of the slats 7 preferably ranges from 15 to 75 mm. More preferably, the slats have a height of 35 mm.

Each slat has a first surface 9a and a second surface 9b. In particular, the slats 7 are arranged in each set 6a, 6b with the first surfaces 9a facing those respective panes 3a, 3b that are faced by the respective set 6a, 6b. Preferably, the slats are arranged with each longitudinal axis“J” parallel to the respective panes 3a, 3b.

In a preferred embodiment, the slats 7 have a concavity. Namely, the second surfaces 9b are concave. In other words, the slats 7 of the two sets 6a and 6b have opposite concavities.

Preferably, the slats 7 are made of a rigid, light material, e.g. aluminum.

Within the set 6a, 6b, the slats 7 are arranged at a predetermined distance from each other to define visibility zones 10.

In particular, the slats 7 are spaced apart at a distance that is less than or at most equal to their height. Preferably, the slats are spaced apart at a distance ranging from 10 to 70 mm. More preferably, the distance between the slats 7 is 30 mm.

It shall be noted that the slats 7 are configured to slide along a sliding direction“Z”. More specifically, the sliding direction“Z” is transverse to the longitudinal axis“J” of the slats 7. Preferably, the sliding direction“Z” is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis“J”. Further details about the sliding movement of the slats 7 will be provided hereinbelow.

In a preferred embodiment, the sliding direction“Z” of the slats 7 is vertical. As a result, since the sliding direction“Z” is transverse to the axis“J”, the slats 7 are arranged inside the insulated glazing unit 1 with a horizontal orientation, i.e. with the longitudinal axis“J” laying on a horizontal plane.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, not shown, the sliding direction“Z” of the slats 7 may be horizontal. In this case, the slats 7 are arranged vertically, i.e. with the longitudinal axis“J” oriented vertically.

The screening means 5 further comprise at least one support element 8, which connects together the slats 7 of both sets 6a and 6b. In a preferred embodiment, the screening means 5 comprise two support elements 8, in particular each connected at a respective end 7a of each slat 7.

The slats 7 are arranged to slide along the sliding direction“Z” jointly with the support element 8.

More in detail, the support element 8 has a plurality of seats 11. Each slat 7 fits in a respective seat 11.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the support element 8 has a cavity 8a. Further details about the function of the cavity 8a will be provided hereinbelow.

In the embodiment as shown in Figures la-4, the support element 8 comprises a cord 12. This cord 12 is defined by a plurality of strands 121. The seats 11 of the support element 8 are formed by removal of one or more strands 121 from the support element 8. Preferably, the strands 121 have a diameter that ranges from 0.5 mm to 3 mm. More preferably, the diameter of the strands 121 is 1 mm. In a preferred embodiment, the strands 121, and hence the support element 8, are made of polyester.

Alternatively, in the embodiment as shown in Figure 5 and further explained hereinbelow, the support element 8 may comprise a rope 12. The cavity 8a is defined within the rope 12.

It shall be noted that each slat 7 of each set 6a, 6b is connected to both support elements 8. In other words, each slat 7 fits in two seats 11, one for each support element 8. Advantageously, this affords a more stable sliding movement of the slats 7 and the support elements 8.

According to the present invention, the mutual sliding movement of the sets 6a, 6b of slats 7 allows switching between an observation configuration and a privacy configuration. In particular, the screening means 5 are adapted to be switched from an observation configuration in which the slats 7 of each set 6a, 6b face the slats of the other set 6a, 6b to a privacy configuration in which the slats 7 of each set 6a, 6b face the visibility zones 10 of the other set 6a, 6b to block the passage of light.

More in detail, the insulated glazing unit 1 comprises driving means 13 for sliding the support element 8 along the sliding direction "Z". The driving means 13 comprise at least one shaft 14a, 14b connected to the frame 2. In particular, the shaft 14a, 14b is transverse to the sets 6a and 6b and to the sliding direction“Z”. Preferably, the shaft 14a, 14b is perpendicular to the sets 6a and 6b and to the sliding direction“Z”.

It shall be noted that the above described support element 8 is connected to the shaft 14a, 14b. The shaft 14a, 14b has a rotation axis“R” parallel to the slats 7 and is configured to rotate about the rotation axis“R” to cause the support element 8 to slide along the sliding direction“Z”.

In the preferred embodiment, the driving means 13 comprise two shafts 14a and 14b. Each shaft 14a, 14b is arranged transverse to the sets 6a and 6b and to the sliding direction“Z” in a position 2a, 2b of the frame 2. Here, not both shafts are necessarily configured to rotate. For example, the shaft 14b may rotate about the rotation axis“R” while the shaft 14a acts as a support.

The driving means 13 further comprise a pulley 16 for each shaft 14a, 14b for each support element 8. For example, in the preferred embodiment that comprises two shafts 14a and 14b and two support elements 8, there are four pulleys 16. The pulley 16 is connected to the support element 8 and to the shaft 14a, 14b. In particular, the support element forms a closed loop between the two portions 2a and 2b of the frame 2. This pulley 16 is configured to receive the support element 8 and to make it slide along the sliding axis “Z” when the shaft 14b rotates about the rotation axis“R”.

The insulated glazing unit 1 further comprises at least one box 15a, 15b for enclosing the driving means 13. Preferably, the insulated glazing unit 1 comprises an upper box 15a, proximate to the upper portion 2a of the frame 2, and a lower box 15b, at the lower portion 2b.

The insulated glazing unit comprises at least one control member 17 that can be accessed from a respective environment and is configured to rotate the shaft 14b about the rotation axis "R". Preferably, the insulated glazing unit 1 comprises two control members 17, each facing a respective environment. Advantageously, this will afford switch between the observation configuration and the privacy configuration from either environment. In a preferred embodiment, the control member 17 is a magnetic control, preferably a manual lever control. In particular, each control member 17 comprises a first magnet 19a connected to the shaft 14b configured to rotate about the axis“R”. The control member 17 comprises a knob 18. A second magnet 19b, connected to the knob 18, is magnetically coupled to the first magnet 19a.

In operation, the movement of the knob 18 moves the second magnet 19b connected thereto, which in turn moves the first magnet 19a coupled to the shaft 14b. Thus, the shaft 14b may rotate along the rotation axis“R” by sliding the support element 8 and the slats 7 to switch the screening means 5 between the observation configuration and the privacy configuration.

Referring to Figure 5, in a particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention the insulated glazing unit 1 is equipped with at least one photovoltaic cell 50. In particular, at least some of the slats 7 of at least one set 6a, 6b each comprise at least one photovoltaic cell 50. Preferably, each slat 7 is equipped with a plurality of photovoltaic cells 50. Preferably, all the slats 7 of a single set 6a, 6b are equipped with photovoltaic cells 50.

Preferably, the photovoltaic cells 50 are flexible photovoltaic cells bonded to the slat 7 or applied to the aluminum slat by multilayer transfer printing.

It should be noted that the photovoltaic cells 50 can be arranged on the first 9a and/or the second surfaces 9b of each slat 7. According to a preferred embodiment, the photovoltaic cells 50 are arranged on the first surfaces 9a of the set 6a, 6b of slats 7 which face an outside environment, to be able to receive solar radiation.

Optionally, the second surfaces 9b of the slats 7 of the other set 6a, 6b may also be equipped with photovoltaic cells 50, to increase the overall power generation yield of the insulated glazing unit 1.

In an alternative embodiment, the second surfaces 9b of the slats 7 of the other set 6a, 6b can carry images, logos or alphanumeric captions (for example,“office closed”,“I’ll be right back” or“do not disturb”) in printed, screen printed or engraved form, that can be read by a user only when the blind is in the privacy state, i.e. when vision therethrough is impeded.

More in detail, the photovoltaic cells 50 placed on each slat 7 define a positive electric pole 53 and a negative electric pole 54 on the respective slat 7. The electric poles 53, 54 of each slat are preferably each arranged at a respective end 7a of the slat 7.

Preferably, the photovoltaic cells 50 placed on a single slat 7 cover a total portion that is equal to or greater than 80% of the surface 9a, 9b on which they are fixed.

In the embodiment of Figure 5, the insulated glazing unit 1 comprises at least one electric conductor 51 adapted to connect at least some, preferably all the photovoltaic cells 50 of a single set 6a, 6b of slats 7. Advantageously, the electric conductor 51 is at least partially inserted within the aforementioned cavity 8a of the support element 8.

It should be noted that, advantageously, the support element 8 as shown in Figure 5 has a pair of openings 52a, 52b at each slat 7. These openings 52a, 52b are configured to allow access to the cavity 8a. More in detail, a first opening 52a is located at a lower zone of the slat 7, whereas a second opening 52b is located at a higher zone. Then, the electric conductor 51 is inserted within the support element 8 between a slat 7 and another one and is arranged outside the slat 7 along the necessary trait to provide electric connection with the photovoltaic cells 50 placed on each slat 7. The electric conductor 51 enters and exits the cavity 8a through the openings 52a, 52b.

Preferably, this embodiment of the insulated glazing unit 1 comprises a pair of electric conductors 51, each associated with a respective support element 8. Each electric conductor 51 is in particular electrically connected to the electric poles 53, 54 of the same sign, i.e. an electric conductor 51 connects all the positive poles 53, while the other connects all the negative poles 54. It shall be noted that electric connectors exit into the upper box to transfer the stored current. For this purpose, a suitable hermetic cornerpiece (not shown) is provided for the passage of current outside the insulated glazing unit.

A skilled person may obviously envisage a number of equivalent changes to the above discussed variants, without departure from the scope as defined by the appended claims.