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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CONSTRUCTING A SET OR STAGE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/152944
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A modular wall assembly has one or more wall portions defined by one or more rows of stacked wall modules. Two wall portions can be spaced from each other to define an opening for a door. A header assembly can be attached over the two wall portions to distribute load onto both wall portions and define a top portion of the opening for the door. A door frame with an adjustable throat can extend over side edges of the two wall portions and the bottom edge of the header assembly to mount a door (e.g., double-door, panic doors) to the modular wall assembly. Buttress walls, having removable counterweights, can extend perpendicular to the wall portions to counteract forces on the wall portions. The wall assembly can be supported on a skid plate that facilitates alignment of the wall modules when assembling the wall portions of the wall assembly.

Inventors:
MAXAM CLARK (US)
MAXAM NOEL (US)
Application Number:
US2019/016541
Publication Date:
August 08, 2019
Filing Date:
February 04, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
EMAGISPACE INC (US)
International Classes:
E04H3/22; A63J1/02; E04B1/28; E04H3/24
Foreign References:
US20170065902A12017-03-09
US7007436B12006-03-07
US20050016088A12005-01-27
US3805471A1974-04-23
US20170275880A12017-09-28
US6122880A2000-09-26
US2052178A1936-08-25
US20180300433A12018-10-18
Other References:
EMAGISPACE: "Barrier Walls for The Big Game", YOUTUBE, 3 February 2018 (2018-02-03), XP054979759, Retrieved from the Internet
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALTMAN, Daniel, E. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A modular wall assembly, comprising:

a first wall portion and a second wall portion spaced apart from the first wall portion, the first and second wall portions defining an opening therebetween sized to receive a door, each of the first and second wall portions defined by two or more stacked rows of wall modules removably coupled to each other, each wall module comprising

a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members, and

a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members, the second plurality of connection members configured to removably couple to the first plurality of connection members of another wall module to thereby interconnect vertically adjacent wall modules, two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a left side edge of the first wall portion, and two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a right side edge of the second wall portion, the left side edge spaced apart from the right side edge across the opening; and a header assembly configured to removably couple to a top row of the first wall portion and a top row of the second wall portion so as to span across the opening, at least a portion of a bottom edge of the header assembly defining a top edge of the opening, the header assembly comprising:

a pair of monolithic rectangular panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges, a third support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom left portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members; and a fourth support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom right portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more fourth support elements comprising a fourth plurality of connection members, wherein the third plurality of connection members are configured to couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first wall portion and the fourth plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the second wall portion to thereby couple the header assembly to the first and second wall portions, the header assembly configured to distribute weight over the first and second wall portions.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the left-side edge of the first wall portion, the right-side edge of the second wall portion and the bottom edge of the header assembly are configured to receive thereover a door frame for mounting a door thereto that extends across the opening.

3. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the third and fourth plurality of connection members are male connection members that protrude past the bottom edge of the header assembly and said one of more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first and second wall portions are female connector members.

4. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a buttress wall attached to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall extending generally perpendicular to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall defined by one or more stacked wall modules and configured to counteract a force exerted on one or both of the first and second wall portions.

5. The assembly of claim 4, further comprising a counterweight coupleable to an end of the buttress wall to increase a rigidity of the buttress wall, the counterweight comprising a block portion attached to a plate portion, the plate portion being longer the block portion and having substantially the same width as the block portion, wherein the counterweight couples to a wall module of the buttress wall such that the block portion extends through a side opening of the wall module between the pair of monolithic panels and so that the plate portion abuts the end of the buttress wall.

6. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a skid plate defining a channel configured to receive a bottom end of one or both of the first wall portion and second wall portion, the skid plate configured to align the wall modules to facilitate assembly of the wall assembly.

7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate comprises a resilient material to facilitate leveling of the wall modules relative to the floor surface under the skid plate.

8. The assembly of claim 6, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate frictionally engages the floor surface under the skid plate to inhibit shifting or skidding of the wall assembly on the floor surface.

9. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising one or more door bucks configured to be inserted through side openings of the wall modules that define the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion to facilitate coupling of a throat of a door frame to the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion, the throat fastened to the one or more door bucks with one or more fasteners.

10. A modular wall assembly, comprising:

a first wall portion and a second wall portion, each of the first and second wall portions defined by two or more stacked rows of wall modules removably coupled to each other, each wall module comprising

a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members, and a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members, the second plurality of connection members configured to removably couple to the first plurality of connection members of another wall module to thereby interconnect vertically adjacent wall modules; and

a buttress wall attached to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall extending generally perpendicular to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall defined by one or more stacked wall modules and configured to counteract a force exerted on one or both of the first and second wall portions.

11. The assembly of claim 10, further comprising a counterweight coupleable to an end of the buttress wall to increase a rigidity of the buttress wall, the counterweight comprising a block portion attached to a plate portion, the plate portion being longer the block portion and having substantially the same width as the block portion, wherein the counterweight couples to a wall module of the buttress wall such that the block portion extends through a side opening of the wall module between the pair of monolithic panels and so that the plate portion abuts the end of the buttress wall.

12. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the first wall portion and the second wall portion are spaced apart from each other, the first and second wall portions defining an opening therebetween sized to receive a door, , two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a left side edge of the first wall portion, and two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a right side edge of the second wall portion, the left side edge spaced apart from the right side edge across the opening.

13. The assembly of claim 12, further comprising a header assembly configured to removably couple to a top row of the first wall portion and a top row of the second wall portion so as to span across the opening, at least a portion of a bottom edge of the header assembly defining a top edge of the opening, the header assembly comprising: a pair of monolithic rectangular panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a third support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom left portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members; and a fourth support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom right portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more fourth support elements comprising a fourth plurality of connection members,

wherein the third plurality of connection members are configured to couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first wall portion and the fourth plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the second wall portion to thereby couple the header assembly to the first and second wall portions, the header assembly configured to distribute weight over the first and second wall portions.

14. The assembly of claim 13, wherein at least a portion of the left-side edge of the first wall portion, the right-side edge of the second wall portion and the bottom edge of the header assembly are configured to receive thereover a door frame for mounting a door thereto that extends across the opening.

15. The assembly of claim 13, wherein the third and fourth plurality of connection members are male connection members that protrude past the bottom edge of the header assembly and said one of more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first and second wall portions are female connector members.

16. The assembly of claim 13, further comprising one or more door bucks configured to be inserted through side openings of the wall modules that define the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion to facilitate coupling of a throat of a door frame to the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion, the throat fastened to the one or more door bucks with one or more fasteners.

17. The assembly of claim 10, further comprising a skid plate defining a channel configured to receive a bottom end of one or both of the first wall portion and second wall portion, the skid plate configured to align the wall modules to facilitate assembly of the wall assembly.

18. The assembly of claim 17, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate comprises a resilient material to facilitate leveling of the wall modules relative to the floor surface under the skid plate.

19. The assembly of claim 17, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate frictionally engages the floor surface under the skid plate to inhibit shifting or skidding of the wall assembly on the floor surface.

20. A kit, comprising:

a plurality of wall modules, each wall module comprising

a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members, and

a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members; and

a header assembly, comprising:

a pair of monolithic rectangular panels, and

one or more third support elements interposed between and coupled to a bottom portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members, wherein one of the first and second plurality of connection members are male connection members and the other of the first and second plurality of connection members are female connection members, the female connection members of one wall module configured to receive the male connection members of another wall module to couple the wall modules together, and wherein the third plurality of connection members of the header assembly are configured to couple to one or more wall modules.

Description:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CONSTRUCTING A SET OR STAGE

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE TO ANY PRIORITY APPLICATIONS

[0001] Any and all applications for which a foreign or domestic priority claim is identified in the Application Data Sheet as filed with the present application are hereby incorporated by reference under 37 CFR 1.57.

BACKGROUND

Field

[0002] Some embodiments of the present disclosure relate to modular wall systems for use in constructing barriers, sets and/or stages, such as temporary sets or stages or barriers.

Description of the Related Art

[0003] Typically, construction of a set and/or stage and/or barrier (collectively referred to herein as a stage for simplicity), numerous specific stage elements such as doors, windows and walls are provided. Each element is typically used for a single purpose and is difficult to move and set up. For example, separate wall elements must be created and moved for masonry walls, wood walls and plaster walls. It is time consuming and expensive to create, set up and break down elaborate set elements.

[0004] Once put together, the set elements are often joined together to form a unified structure. The structure is typically kept together and moved as a unit in and out of a theater or stage which is time consuming and expensive. Moreover, the use of a unified set structure that is moved as a unit typically requires specialized moving equipment as well as a large facility for storing the structure when it is not being used.

SUMMARY

[0005] Therefore, there is a need for an improved system and method for constructing barriers, enclosures (e.g., rooms), sets and/or stages, such as temporary sets or stages or barriers.

[0006] In accordance with one aspect of the disclosure, a modular wall assembly is provided. The modular wall assembly comprises a first wall portion and a second wall portion spaced apart from the first wall portion, the first and second wall portions defining an opening therebetween sized to receive a door, each of the first and second wall portions defined by two or more stacked rows of wall modules removably coupled to each other. Each wall module comprises a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges. The wall module further comprises a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members. The wall module further comprises a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members. The second plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple to the first plurality of connection members of another wall module to thereby interconnect vertically adjacent wall modules. Two or more of the wall modules are coupled to define a left side edge of the first wall portion, and two or more of the wall modules are coupled to define a right side edge of the second wall portion, the left side edge spaced apart from the right side edge across the opening. The wall assembly further comprises a header assembly configured to removably couple to a top row of the first wall portion and a top row of the second wall portion so as to span across the opening, at least a portion of a bottom edge of the header assembly defining a top edge of the opening. The header assembly comprises a pair of monolithic rectangular panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges. A third support element is interposed between and coupled to a bottom left portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members. A fourth support element is interposed between and coupled to a bottom right portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more fourth support elements comprising a fourth plurality of connection members. The third plurality of connection members are configured to couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first wall portion and the fourth plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the second wall portion to thereby couple the header assembly to the first and second wall portions, the header assembly configured to distribute weight over the first and second wall portions.

[0007] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, a modular wall assembly is provided. The modular wall assembly comprises a first wall portion and a second wall portion, each of the first and second wall portions defined by two or more stacked rows of wall modules removably coupled to each other. Each wall module comprises a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges. A first support element is interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members. A second support element is interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members. The second plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple to the first plurality of connection members of another wall module to thereby interconnect vertically adjacent wall modules. The wall assembly further comprises a buttress wall attached to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall extending generally perpendicular to one or both of the first and second wall portions. The buttress wall is defined by one or more stacked wall modules and configured to counteract a force exerted on one or both of the first and second wall portions.

[0008] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, a kit is provided. The kit comprises a plurality of wall modules. Each wall module comprises a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges. A first support element is interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members. A second support element is interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members. The kit also comprises a header assembly. The header assembly comprises a pair of monolithic rectangular panels and one or more third support elements interposed between and coupled to a bottom portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members. One of the first and second plurality of connection members are male connection members and the other of the first and second plurality of connection members are female connection members. The female connection members of one wall module are configured to receive the male connection members of another wall module to couple the wall modules together. The third plurality of connection members of the header assembly are configured to couple to one or more wall modules.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] Figure 1 is an exploded assembly view of a wall module.

[0010] Figure 2 is an isometric view of the wall module of FIG. 1.

[0011] Figure 3 is a front view of the wall module of FIG. 1.

[0012] Figure 4 is a side view of the wall module of FIG. 1.

[0013] Figure 5 is a top view of the wall module of FIG. 1.

[0014] Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view of a support member of the wall module of FIG. 1.

[0015] Figure 7A is an isometric view of a wall assembly defined by several wall modules of FIG. 1 interconnected with each other to define an opening configured to receive a door.

[0016] Figure 7B is a front view of the wall assembly of FIG. 7A.

[0017] Figure 8 is an isometric view of a wall module.

[0018] Figure 9A is an isometric view of a wall assembly.

[0019] Figure 9B is a front view of the wall assembly of FIG. 9A.

[0020] Figure 10 is a perspective view of a header assembly during installation on a wall assembly.

[0021] Figure 11 is a perspective view of the header assembly coupled to the wall assembly.

[0022] Figures 12A-C show a front view, rear view and side view of a counterweight for use with a wall assembly.

[0023] Figure 13 shows the counterweight during installation on a wall module.

[0024] Figure 14 shows the counterweight during installation on the wall module. [0025] Figure 15 is an isometric view of a wall assembly with counterweights.

[0026] Figure 16 is an isometric view of a skid plate for a wall assembly.

[0027] Figure 17 is an isometric view of an end of a wall module.

[0028] Figure 18 shows an installation of door bucks in ends of a wall module.

[0029] Figure 19 shows a door frame installed on a wall assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0030] Figures 1 -5 illustrate a wall module 300, which may be of varying sizes and configurations. The wall module 300 can have a support member 302, one or more connector members 306, and one or more panels 310 supported by the support member 302 once the wall module 300 is assembled. The support member 302 and the connector members 306 may be integrally formed as a single component (see FIG. 6). The connector members 306 can be supported by the support member 302 on an upper surface or portion 302a of the support member 302. A given support member 302 (including its connector members 306) may optionally be hollow or may be solid. As used in this disclosure, the term “hollow” has its ordinary meaning, which includes having a hole or empty space inside. As one example, a hollow connection member can have a recess that is substantially bounded on all sides but one.

[0031] The connector members 306 may optionally have tapered walls 309 with a flat or domed square or rectangular top surface 311 and/or bottom surface or orifice to thereby facilitate the engagement of male and female connector members or support members (e.g., frictional and/or press-fit engagement, such as between the tapered walls 309 of male connectors with tapered walls 309 of female connectors). For example, the connector members 306 may be in the form of a square based pyramid with a truncated top. Other shapes, such as a truncated or non-truncated cone or triangular based pyramid or other pyramidal frustum may be used for one or more of the connector members.

[0032] The connector members 306 can be received within complementary sized openings 308 formed in or positioned at a lower edge 302b of the support member 302 so that a plurality of support members 302 can be interconnected to form a larger wall structure. In embodiments where the connector members 306 of a support member 302 are hollow, a support member 302 can be used as either male support member or as a female support member, depending on whether the support member is installed so that its connector member protrusions are extending from the wall module 300 (to be used as a male) or are extending into the interior of the wall module 300 (to be used as a female connector 306 member that can receive a male connector member 306).

[0033] The support members 302 can be used to support panels 310 (e.g., facades, or other aesthetic components). Further, any of the support members 302 can have recesses, cuts, openings, weight relief features, or other similar features formed therein to reduce the weight of the support members without unacceptably compromising the stiffness of the support members.

[0034] One or more wall modules 300 can be interconnected (e.g., nested) by inserting one or more male connector members 306 of one module 300 within the openings (e.g., female connector members 306) of an adjacent wall module 300, to thereby form a wall assembly 800 (see FIGS. 7A-7B). As noted above, the openings may be formed and defined by hollow connector members 306 positioned to face the interior of the wall module 300. An assembled wall unit 800 (see FIGS. 7A-7B) can be disassembled by decoupling the male connector members 306 of wall modules 300 from the female connector members 306 of adjacent wall modules 300.

[0035] With reference to Figures 1-5, the support member 302 can optionally have an upper or first support element 303 positioned at an upper or first end of the module 300 and a lower or second support element 304 positioned at a lower or second end of the module 300. The first support element 303 and the second support element 304 can be spaced apart from one another and only be interconnected by the panels 310. In other implementations, one or more internal support elements 314 can be positioned between the first support element 303 and the second support element 304 to provide addition support and rigidity to the wall module 300 by interconnecting the panels 510. The internal support elements 314 may have one or more tabs or protrusions 511 that fit within openings 513 formed in the panels 310. The tabs 511 can optionally support the panels 310 in the vertical and/or horizontal direction. Optionally, openings 514 can also be formed in the panels 310, providing handles or openings for the user's hands or fingers to pass through when handling the panels 310. [0036] Additionally, one or more panels 310 can be supported by the support member 302. For example, a first panel 310A can be supported on a first surface (which can be a front facing surface) of the support member 302 and a second panel 310B can be supported on a second surface (which can be a rear facing surface) of the support member 302. The panels 310 can be removably attached to or supported by the support member 302 using bolts, screws, hook and loop fasteners, or other similar fasteners 312. The fasteners 312 may optionally be inserted into countersunk receiving openings 307a in the panels 310 so as not to protrude outside of the outward facing side of the panels 310. Optionally, the fasteners 312 can be threadably received within threaded openings 307b formed in the support member 302 (where the threaded openings may be provided via a threaded metal insert). Alternatively, the fasteners 312 can pass through openings 307a in the panel 310 and the support member 302 then be threadably received by one or more threaded fasteners, which can be threaded nuts.

[0037] Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view of the support member 302, including a plurality of connector members 306, where the support member 302 and connector members 306 are hollow, enabling them to be used as either a male or female component, and enabling the support members 302 to be stacked for storage, when not being used in a panel 310.

[0038] Figures 7A-7B show one embodiment of a modular wall 800 constructed of a plurality of wall modules as described herein, such as wall modules 300 described above. The wall modules 300 can be coupled at least in part via the connector members 306, as discussed above. In the illustrated embodiment, the wall modules 300 are coupled to define an opening 820 having a depth 805, a height 810 and width 815. The height 810 can optionally be about 80 inches. The width 815 can optionally be about 6 feet. The depth 805 can optionally be about 5 inches. However, the depth 805, height 810 and/or width 815 of the opening 820 can have other suitable values. The opening 820 can optionally receive and support a preassembled door frame and/or door, thereby facilitating the process of assembling a door for use in the modular wall made of a plurality of wall modules, such as the wall modules 300. An inner perimeter 830 of the opening 820 and edges 840, 850 define substantially perpendicular angles to provide a substantially true shape for the opening 820 that allows for easy installation and removal of the preassembled door from the opening 820. [0039] FIG. 8 shows an isometric view of a wall module 300’. Some of the features of the wall module 300’ are similar to features in the wall module 300 in FIGS. 1-5. Therefore, references numerals used to designate the various components of the wall module 300’ are identical to those used for identifying the corresponding components of the wall module 300 in FIGS. 1-5, except that an“’” is added to the reference numeral. Therefore, the structure and description for the various components of the wall module 300 in FIGS. 1-5 is understood to also apply to the corresponding components of the wall module 300’ in FIG. 8, except as described below.

[0040] The wall module 300’ has two panels 310A’, 310B’ spaced apart from each other and a pair of support members 302’ disposed between the panels 310A’, 310B’. One of the support members 302’ is a lower support element 304’ disposed between the panels 310A’, 310B’ at or near the bottom edge 313A’, 313B’ of the panels 310A’, 310B’. The other of the support members 302’ is an upper support element 303’ disposed between the panels 310A’, 310B’ at or near the top edge 315A’, 315B’. Optionally, the panels 310A’, 310B’ are removably coupled to opposite sides of the support members 302’ via one or more fasteners 312’ (e.g., screws, bolts). Each of the support members 302’ can have one or more male connector portions 309’ and one or more female connector portions 308’. The male connector portions 309’ can optionally have a tapered shape (e.g., cone-shaped, frustoconical). The female connector portions 308’ can optionally have a tapered shape (e.g., tapered walls) generally corresponding to the tapered shape of the male connector portions 309’ such that the male connector portions 309’ can be removably received in the female connector portions 308’ of another support member 302’ (e.g., in an adjacent wall module 300’) to fixedly couple two support members 302’ (e.g., fixedly couple two adjacent wall modules 300’) together. Additional details on wall modules and wall assemblies can be found in U.S. Patent Application No. 15/357,107 filed November 21, 2016, now U.S. Patent No. 10,010,805, the entire contents of which are incorporated by reference and should be considered a part of this specification.

[0041] With continued reference to FIG. 8, the lower support element 304’ is oriented so that its male connector portions 309’ are disposed between the panels 310A’, 310B’ and face toward a center portion 301’ of the wall module 300’, so that a lower edge 302b’ of the lower support element 304’ is generally aligned with the bottom edges 313A’, 313B’ of the panels 310A’, 310B’. The upper support element 303’ is oriented so that its male connector portions 309’ are disposed between the panels 310A’, 310B’ and face toward the center portion 301’ of the wall module 300’, so that a lower edge 302b’ of the upper support element 303’ is generally aligned with the top edges 353A’, 315B’ of the panels 310A’, 310B’. Accordingly, the female connector portions 308’ of the upper and lower support elements 303’, 304’ face away from the center portion 301 of the wall module 300’ between the bottom edges 313A’, 313B’ and the top edges 315A’, 315B’ of the panels 310A’, 310B’.

[0042] FIGS. 9A-9B shows an isometric view and a front view, respectively, of a of a wall assembly 800’. Some of the features of the wall assembly 800’ are similar to features in the wall assembly 800 in FIGS. 7A-7B. Therefore, references numerals used to designate the various components of the wall assembly 800’ are identical to those used for identifying the corresponding components of the wall assembly 800 in FIGS. 7A-7B, except that an“’” is added to the reference numeral. Therefore, the structure and description for the various components of the wall assembly 800 in FIGS. 7A-7B is understood to also apply to the corresponding components of the wall assembly 800’ in FIGS. 9A-9B, except as described below.

[0043] The wall assembly 800’ differs from the wall assembly 800 in that the opening 820’ is not bounded at the top of the wall assembly 800’ by a layer of wall modules 300. The width 815’ and depth 805’ can accommodate a door frame 1200 (e.g., a door frame with an adjustable throat 1210), such as for double-doors or panic doors. The wall assembly 800’ can be built with a plurality of wall modules 300 attached to (e.g., stacked on top of) each other to define one or more levels (or rows) of wall modules of the wall assembly 800’. In FIGS 9A-9B, the first or bottom level or row Rl of the wall assembly 800’ can be defined by a plurality of wall modules 300 (e.g., the wall module 300 as shown in FIGS. 1-3 with the male connector 309 protruding from the upper edge of the panels 310A, 310B). However, in other implementations, more than one row of the wall assembly 800’ is defined by a plurality of wall modules 300 attached to (e.g., stacked on top of) each other. The second level or row R2 of the wall assembly 800’ (e.g., disposed above the bottom level or row Rl) can be defined by a plurality of wall modules 300’ (e.g., the wall module 300’ shown in FIG. 8 with the male connector portions 309’ facing toward the center portion 301 of the wall module 300’). Accordingly, the wall assembly 800’ in FIGS. 9A-9B has a top row of modules 300’ having female connector portions 308’ that face (e.g., upwardly) away from the center portion 301’ of the wall modules 300’.

[0044] Figures 10-11 show an assembled header 1000 that can be disposed over and across the top of an opening in the modular wall assembly, such as the opening 820’ of the wall assembly 800’, where the opening 820’ is sized to receive a door frame 1200 (e.g., for a double-doors, such as panic doors). The header 100 can defined by a first panel 1010A and a second panel 1010B that are spaced apart from each other and interconnected, for example, by one or more support member 302, 302’ disposed between and coupled to the panels 1010A, 1010B (e.g., with fasteners, such as screws or bolts). One or both of the first and second panels 1010A, 1010B can optionally be a single (e.g., continuous, without borders or seams) piece. In another implementation, one or both of the first and second panels 1010A, 1010B can optionally be defined by (e.g., formed by) multiple pieces (e.g., separate, smaller panels, such as panels 310A, 310B, 310A’, 310B’) attached together.

[0045] With continued reference to FIGS. 10, 11, the header 1000 has one or more support members 302, 302’ with its male connector portions 309, 309’ (e.g., cones, tapered blocks) that extend from (e.g., protrude past or distally of) a bottom edge 1012 of the header 1000, where the male connector portions 309, 309’ allow coupling of the header 1000 to corresponding openings (e.g., female connector portions 308’) in a top of the wall assembly 800’ (e.g., wall assembly portions 800A’, 800B’), such as a top row of wall modules 300’ of the wall assembly 800’, to help retain the header 1000 on the wall assembly 800’. Optionally, the additional support members 302, 302’ between the panels 1010A, 1010B are oriented so that its male connector portions 309, 309’ do not protrude past or distally of the bottom edge 1012 of the header (e.g., the connector portions 309, 309’ extend inwardly into the header 1000 from the bottom edge 1012). The number of male connector portions 309’ (e.g., blocks or cones) can optionally be adjusted as needed to couple to the corresponding openings (e.g., female connector portions 308’) in the wall assemblies (e.g., in wall modules 300’) on either side of the opening 820’, depending on the size of the door opening 820’ (e.g., depending on the length of the door).

[0046] Optionally, the header 1000 can be assembled from one or more wall modules 300, 300’ and intercoupled (e.g., using fasteners, such as screws) to define the elongated header assembly 1000. Advantageously, the header 1000 allows weight to be distributed across the header 1000 to wall modules 300, 300’ on opposite sides of the opening 820’ so weight is not borne by the door frame 1200 and/or door (e.g., to inhibit or prevent warping of the door frame 1200 and inhibit or impede the operation of the door, such as making it difficult to open and/or properly close the door). Additionally, the header 1000 allows the wall (e.g., wall assembly 800, 800’) to be built above the header 1000 to a required distance (e.g., to extend to the ceiling of the room where the wall assembly 800, 800’ is built).

[0047] The door frame 1200 can include an adjustable throat 1210 with an adjustable width 1220 that can be adjusted to fit over the depth of the modular wall module 300, 300’. The adjustable frame advantageously allows the door frame 1200 to couple to the modular wall module 300, 300’ irrespective of the surface finishing (e.g., skin) attached on the modular wall assembly 800, 800’, which depending on the finish may result in a different depth or thickness for the modular wall module 300, 300’.

[0048] Figures 12A-12C show a front view, rear view and side view of a counterweight 1300 that can be attached to one or more of the wall modules 300, 300’. The counterweight 1300 can optionally be weighted plate. Each counterweight 1300 can optionally include a block portion 1310 (e.g., made of wood, such as a 2x4 wood portion) and a plate portion 1320. Optionally, the plate portion 1320 can be made of metal (e.g., steel). Optionally, the block portion 1310 and plate portion 1320 are separate pieces attached to each other via one or more fasteners 1330 (e.g., bolts, screws), as shown in FIG. 15. In another implementation, the block portion 1310 and plate portion 1320 can be a single piece (e.g., a monolithic piece without seams), and be made of the same material (e.g., wood). Optionally, the block portion 1310 can have a greater thickness than the plate portion 1320. Optionally, the block portion 1310 can have a width approximately equal to a width of the plate portion 1320. Optionally, the block portion 1310 has a length shorter than the plate portion 1320 (e.g., ¾ as long as the plate portion 1320, half as long as the plate portion, 80% as long as the plate portion, etc.). The plate portion 1320 can optionally be longer than the block portion 1310 (e.g., so a portion of the plate portion 1320 extends past both ends of the block portion 1310).

[0049] The one or more fasteners 1330 that attach the plate portion 1320 to the block portion 1310 can optionally be flush with the surface 1322 of the plate portion 1320 (e.g., to allow a skin, or cover, to be attached to the plate portion 1320 without the fasteners 1330 protruding from the surface 1322 of the plate portion 1320 to advantageously provide a continuous surface (e.g., clean) finish.

[0050] The counterweight 1300 can be attached to side openings 305, 305’ a wall module 300, 300’ that are assembled to form a buttress for a modular wall assembly 800, 800’. As shown in Figure 13-14, the counterweights 1300 are attached to said wall modules 300, 300’ for the buttress walls 800C’ by inserting the block portion 1310 into the side openings 305, 305’ of the wall module 300, 300’ so that the plate portion 1320 is against (e.g., adjacent, in contact with, closes) the side opening 305, 305’ of the wall module 300, 300’. The counterweight 1300 is optionally retained in the wall module 300, 300’ by inserting fasteners (e.g., screws, bolts) through the panels 310A, 310B, 310A’, 310B’ of the wall module 300, 300’ so that they fasten to the sides of the block portion 1310.

[0051] Figure 15 shows the ends of the buttress walls 800C’ with the counterweights 1300 attached to the side ends or side openings 305, 305’ of the buttress walls 800C’. Advantageously, the counterweights 1300 allow the buttress wall 800C’ to provide added rigidity to the wall assembly 800’ (or wall assembly portions 800A’, 800B’) that the buttress walls 800C’ are attached to. For example, the counterweights 1300 can advantageously counteract forces on doors that are attached to the wall assembly 800’ (e.g., during operation of the doors during use), and thereby counterbalances the operation of the doors to inhibit tipping of the wall assembly 800’ (or wall assembly portions 800A’, 800B’).

[0052] Figure 16 shows a skid plate 1400 that defines a channel 1410 into which the modular wall modules 300, 300’ can be inserted. The skid plate 1400 can advantageously help align the wall modules 300, 300’ (e.g., in a direction defined by the skid plate 1400) to facilitate assembly of the modular wall assembly 800, 800’ (or wall portions 800A’, 800B’) using multiple wall modules 300, 300’. Optionally, the bottom surface 1420 of the skid plate 1400 (e.g., surface that contacts the floor surface) can have a resilient material (e.g., compressible material) that provides cushioning, which advantageously allows the skid plate 1400 to facilitate leveling the wall modules 300, 300’ as the modular wall 800, 800’ (or wall portions 800A’, 800B’) is assembled (e.g., to conform to the level of the floor surface). Optionally, the bottom surface 1420 of the skid plate 1400 can provide a frictional surface that inhibits shifting or skidding of the modular wall 800, 800’ (or wall portions 800A’, 800B’), holding the modular wall 800, 800’ in place. The skid plate or track 1400 can be cut to size (e.g., using snips or other cutting tools) as needed (e.g., to meet the length of the room where the modular wall is to be built).

[0053] Figure 17 shows the side end or side opening 305, 305’ of a wall module 300, 300’. A portion of a lower support element 304 is disposed at a bottom of the wall module 300, 300’ in the side opening 305, 305’. A door buck 1500 can optionally be inserted into a bottom end (e.g., under at least a portion of the lower support element 304) of the wall module 300, 300’ that defines the opening for the door frame 1200. Along with the block 1550 shown in Figure 18, the door bucks 1500 advantageously allow the throat 1210 of the door frame 1200 to mount to the modular wall modules 300, 300’ that define the opening for the door (e.g., by providing a surface onto which the throat 1210 of the door frame 1200 can fasten with one or more fasteners). The door buck 1500 can optionally be made of wood. However, the door buck 1500 can be made of other suitable materials (e.g., cardboard, plastic, etc.). A support frame 317 can be disposed in the side opening or end 305, 305’ between the panels 310A, 310B of the wall module 300 and optionally have one or more openings 318. The one or more openings 318 can optionally receive a conduit or other linear material therethrough (e.g., power cables, etc.).

[0054] Figure 18 shows the insertion of blocks 1550 or door bucks 1500 in the side opening or side ends 305, 305’ of the wall modules 300, 300’ in order to fill the space of the side end 305, 305’ of the wall module 300, 300’ that will define the opening for the door frame 1200. The blocks 1550 can optionally be made of wood and are optionally retained in the side end 305, 305’ of the wall modules 300, 300’ by fasteners (e.g., screws) that are inserted through the panels 310A, 310B, of the wall module 300, 300’ so they engage the sides of the block 1550 and/or door buck 1500. The insertion of the blocks 1550 and/or door bucks 1500 into the side openings or ends 305, 305’ of the wall module 300, 300’ allow the throat 1210 of the door frame 1200 to rigidly couple over the width of the wall module 300, 300’ by having the door frame 1200 fastened to the blocks 1550 and/or door bucks 1500.

[0055] Figure 19 shows the throat 1210 of the door frame 1200 mounted over the wall modules 300, 300’ that define the door opening, and to which the door can mount. The embodiments disclosed herein can be incorporated into modular wall systems 800, 800’ that can be utilized to easily and quickly build (temporary) sets, stages (e.g., for trade show displays), office and/or home (e.g., apartment building) wall systems (e.g., partitions).

[0056] In any embodiments disclosed herein, the internal structure (including any of the support members disclosed herein) of any wall unit embodiments disclosed herein can be made from one or more of, for example, wood (e.g., medium-density fibreboard (MDF)), plastic or other composite material (e.g., plastic laminated MDF), fiberglass, aluminum, steel, and any combination thereof. The faces or panels of any wall units can be made with any suitable covering material and can be made with at least one of, for example, wood, MDF, pressboard or particle board, aluminum, steel, glass, plastic, and multi-vinyl castings.

Additional Embodiments

[0057] In embodiments of the present invention, a modular wall assembly may be in accordance with any of the following clauses:

Clause 1. A modular wall assembly, comprising:

a first wall portion and a second wall portion spaced apart from the first wall portion, the first and second wall portions defining an opening therebetween sized to receive a door, each of the first and second wall portions defined by two or more stacked rows of wall modules removably coupled to each other, each wall module comprising

a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges, a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members, and

a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members, the second plurality of connection members configured to removably couple to the first plurality of connection members of another wall module to thereby interconnect vertically adjacent wall modules, two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a left side edge of the first wall portion, and two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a right side edge of the second wall portion, the left side edge spaced apart from the right side edge across the opening; and

a header assembly configured to removably couple to a top row of the first wall portion and a top row of the second wall portion so as to span across the opening, at least a portion of a bottom edge of the header assembly defining a top edge of the opening, the header assembly comprising:

a pair of monolithic rectangular panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a third support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom left portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members; and

a fourth support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom right portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more fourth support elements comprising a fourth plurality of connection members, wherein the third plurality of connection members are configured to couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first wall portion and the fourth plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the second wall portion to thereby couple the header assembly to the first and second wall portions, the header assembly configured to distribute weight over the first and second wall portions.

Clause 2. The assembly of clause 1, wherein at least a portion of the left-side edge of the first wall portion, the right-side edge of the second wall portion and the bottom edge of the header assembly are configured to receive thereover a door frame for mounting a door thereto that extends across the opening.

Clause 3. The assembly of any preceding clause, wherein the third and fourth plurality of connection members are male connection members that protrude past the bottom edge of the header assembly and said one of more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first and second wall portions are female connector members.

Clause 4. The assembly of any preceding clause, further comprising a buttress wall attached to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall extending generally perpendicular to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall defined by one or more stacked wall modules and configured to counteract a force exerted on one or both of the first and second wall portions.

Clause 5. The assembly of clause 4, further comprising a counterweight coupleable to an end of the buttress wall to increase a rigidity of the buttress wall, the counterweight comprising a block portion attached to a plate portion, the plate portion being longer the block portion and having substantially the same width as the block portion, wherein the counterweight couples to a wall module of the buttress wall such that the block portion extends through a side opening of the wall module between the pair of monolithic panels and so that the plate portion abuts the end of the buttress wall.

Clause 6. The assembly of any preceding clause, further comprising a skid plate defining a channel configured to receive a bottom end of one or both of the first wall portion and second wall portion, the skid plate configured to align the wall modules to facilitate assembly of the wall assembly.

Clause 7. The assembly of clause 6, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate comprises a resilient material to facilitate leveling of the wall modules relative to the floor surface under the skid plate. Clause 8. The assembly of clause 6, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate frictionally engages the floor surface under the skid plate to inhibit shifting or skidding of the wall assembly on the floor surface.

Clause 9. The assembly of any preceding clause, further comprising one or more door bucks configured to be inserted through side openings of the wall modules that define the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion to facilitate coupling of a throat of a door frame to the left- side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion, the throat fastened to the one or more door bucks with one or more fasteners.

Clause 10. A modular wall assembly, comprising:

a first wall portion and a second wall portion, each of the first and second wall portions defined by two or more stacked rows of wall modules removably coupled to each other, each wall module comprising

a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members, and

a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members, the second plurality of connection members configured to removably couple to the first plurality of connection members of another wall module to thereby interconnect vertically adjacent wall modules; and

a buttress wall attached to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall extending generally perpendicular to one or both of the first and second wall portions, the buttress wall defined by one or more stacked wall modules and configured to counteract a force exerted on one or both of the first and second wall portions. Clause 11. The assembly of clause 10, further comprising a counterweight coupleable to an end of the buttress wall to increase a rigidity of the buttress wall, the counterweight comprising a block portion attached to a plate portion, the plate portion being longer the block portion and having substantially the same width as the block portion, wherein the counterweight couples to a wall module of the buttress wall such that the block portion extends through a side opening of the wall module between the pair of monolithic panels and so that the plate portion abuts the end of the buttress wall.

Clause 12. The assembly of any of clauses 10-11, wherein the first wall portion and the second wall portion are spaced apart from each other, the first and second wall portions defining an opening therebetween sized to receive a door, , two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a left side edge of the first wall portion, and two or more of the wall modules being coupled to define a right side edge of the second wall portion, the left side edge spaced apart from the right side edge across the opening.

Clause 13. The assembly of any of clauses 10-12, further comprising a header assembly configured to removably couple to a top row of the first wall portion and a top row of the second wall portion so as to span across the opening, at least a portion of a bottom edge of the header assembly defining a top edge of the opening, the header assembly comprising:

a pair of monolithic rectangular panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a third support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom left portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members; and a fourth support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom right portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more fourth support elements comprising a fourth plurality of connection members,

wherein the third plurality of connection members are configured to couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first wall portion and the fourth plurality of connection members are configured to removably couple with one or more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the second wall portion to thereby couple the header assembly to the first and second wall portions, the header assembly configured to distribute weight over the first and second wall portions.

Clause 14. The assembly of clause 13, wherein at least a portion of the left-side edge of the first wall portion, the right-side edge of the second wall portion and the bottom edge of the header assembly are configured to receive thereover a door frame for mounting a door thereto that extends across the opening.

Clause 15. The assembly of clause 13, wherein the third and fourth plurality of connection members are male connection members that protrude past the bottom edge of the header assembly and said one of more of the first plurality of connection members of the top row of the first and second wall portions are female connector members.

Clause 16. The assembly of clause 13, further comprising one or more door bucks configured to be inserted through side openings of the wall modules that define the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion to facilitate coupling of a throat of a door frame to the left-side edge of the first wall portion and the right-side edge of the second wall portion, the throat fastened to the one or more door bucks with one or more fasteners.

Clause 17. The assembly of any of clauses 10-16, further comprising a skid plate defining a channel configured to receive a bottom end of one or both of the first wall portion and second wall portion, the skid plate configured to align the wall modules to facilitate assembly of the wall assembly.

Clause 18. The assembly of clause 17, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate comprises a resilient material to facilitate leveling of the wall modules relative to the floor surface under the skid plate.

Clause 19. The assembly of any of clauses 17-18, wherein a bottom surface of the skid plate frictionally engages the floor surface under the skid plate to inhibit shifting or skidding of the wall assembly on the floor surface.

Clause 20. A kit, comprising: a plurality of wall modules, each wall module comprising

a pair of monolithic panels, each of the panels comprising an outer perimeter edge defined by a pair of substantially parallel side edges and a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom edges,

a first support element interposed between and coupled to a top end of the pair of monolithic panels, the first support element comprising a first plurality of connection members, and

a second support element interposed between and coupled to a bottom end of the pair of monolithic panels, the second support element comprising a second plurality of connection members; and

a header assembly, comprising:

a pair of monolithic rectangular panels,

one or more third support elements interposed between and coupled to a bottom portion of the monolithic rectangular panels, the one or more third support elements comprising a third plurality of connection members, wherein one of the first and second plurality of connection members are male connection members and the other of the first and second plurality of connection members are female connection members, the female connection members of one wall module configured to receive the male connection members of another wall module to couple the wall modules together, and wherein the third plurality of connection members of the header assembly are configured to couple to one or more wall modules.

[0058] While certain embodiments of the inventions have been described, these embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and are not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure. Indeed, the novel methods and systems described herein may be embodied in a variety of other forms. Furthermore, various omissions, substitutions and changes in the systems and methods described herein may be made without departing from the spirit of the disclosure. The accompanying claims and their equivalents are intended to cover such forms or modifications as would fall within the scope and spirit of the disclosure. Accordingly, the scope of the present inventions is defined only by reference to the appended claims.

[0059] Features, materials, characteristics, or groups described in conjunction with a particular aspect, embodiment, or example are to be understood to be applicable to any other aspect, embodiment or example described in this section or elsewhere in this specification unless incompatible therewith. All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. The protection is not restricted to the details of any foregoing embodiments. The protection extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.

[0060] Furthermore, certain features that are described in this disclosure in the context of separate implementations can also be implemented in combination in a single implementation. Conversely, various features that are described in the context of a single implementation can also be implemented in multiple implementations separately or in any suitable subcombination. Moreover, although features may be described above as acting in certain combinations, one or more features from a claimed combination can, in some cases, be excised from the combination, and the combination may be claimed as a subcombination or variation of a subcombination.

[0061] Moreover, while operations may be depicted in the drawings or described in the specification in a particular order, such operations need not be performed in the particular order shown or in sequential order, or that all operations be performed, to achieve desirable results. Other operations that are not depicted or described can be incorporated in the example methods and processes. For example, one or more additional operations can be performed before, after, simultaneously, or between any of the described operations. Further, the operations may be rearranged or reordered in other implementations. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that in some embodiments, the actual steps taken in the processes illustrated and/or disclosed may differ from those shown in the figures. Depending on the embodiment, certain of the steps described above may be removed, others may be added. Furthermore, the features and attributes of the specific embodiments disclosed above may be combined in different ways to form additional embodiments, all of which fall within the scope of the present disclosure. Also, the separation of various system components in the implementations described above should not be understood as requiring such separation in all implementations, and it should be understood that the described components and systems can generally be integrated together in a single product or packaged into multiple products.

[0062] For purposes of this disclosure, certain aspects, advantages, and novel features are described herein. Not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the disclosure may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves one advantage or a group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

[0063] Conditional language, such as“can,”“could,”“might,” or“may,” unless specifically stated otherwise, or otherwise understood within the context as used, is generally intended to convey that certain embodiments include, while other embodiments do not include, certain features, elements, and/or steps. Thus, such conditional language is not generally intended to imply that features, elements, and/or steps are in any way required for one or more embodiments or that one or more embodiments necessarily include logic for deciding, with or without user input or prompting, whether these features, elements, and/or steps are included or are to be performed in any particular embodiment.

[0064] Conjunctive language such as the phrase“at least one of X, Y, and Z,” unless specifically stated otherwise, is otherwise understood with the context as used in general to convey that an item, term, etc. may be either X, Y, or Z. Thus, such conjunctive language is not generally intended to imply that certain embodiments require the presence of at least one of X, at least one of Y, and at least one of Z.

[0065] Language of degree used herein, such as the terms “approximately,” “about,” “generally,” and “substantially” as used herein represent a value, amount, or characteristic close to the stated value, amount, or characteristic that still performs a desired function or achieves a desired result. For example, the terms“approximately”,“about”, “generally,” and“substantially” may refer to an amount that is within less than 10% of, within less than 5% of, within less than 1% of, within less than 0.1% of, and within less than 0.01% of the stated amount. As another example, in certain embodiments, the terms “generally parallel” and“substantially parallel” refer to a value, amount, or characteristic that departs from exactly parallel by less than or equal to 15 degrees, 10 degrees, 5 degrees, 3 degrees, 1 degree, or 0.1 degree.

[0066] The scope of the present disclosure is not intended to be limited by the specific disclosures of preferred embodiments in this section or elsewhere in this specification, and may be defined by claims as presented in this section or elsewhere in this specification or as presented in the future. The language of the claims is to be interpreted broadly based on the language employed in the claims and not limited to the examples described in the present specification or during the prosecution of the application, which examples are to be construed as non-exclusive.