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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CUBICLE LOCK AND HINGE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/204895
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A locking mechanism (100) for a door assembly comprises a movable locking portion (120) having a first position, a second position, and an intermediate position between the first and second positions. A stop portion (140) is configured to block movement of the locking portion (120) from the intermediate position to the second position when engaged. An emergency release (160) is configured to disengage the stop portion (140). The locking mechanism allows a door (110) to be locked and unlocked in normal use, and to be opened outwards in an emergency.

Inventors:
MCMULLAN, Rolf (GB)
MCMULLAN, Mark (GB)
MCMULLAN, Robin (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2021/059095
Publication Date:
October 14, 2021
Filing Date:
April 07, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MAXWOOD WASHROOMS LTD. (GB)
International Classes:
E05B7/00; E05B63/00; E05B65/00; E05B65/06; E05C3/04; E05D7/081; E05F3/20; E05F5/02; E05B65/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARKS & CLERK LLP (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A locking mechanism for a door assembly, the locking mechanism comprising: a movable locking portion, wherein the movable locking portion has a range of motion comprising: a first position, a second position, and an intermediate position between the first and second positions; a stop portion configured to block movement of the moveable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position when engaged; and an emergency release configured to disengage the stop portion.

2. The locking mechanism according to claim 1 , wherein the first position is a first limit of the range of motion and corresponds to a position of maximum extension of the locking portion.

3. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second position is a second limit of the range of motion and corresponds to a position of maximum retraction of the movable locking portion.

4. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the intermediate position corresponds to a partially retracted position of the movable locking portion.

5. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the movable locking portion is rotatable.

6. The locking mechanism according to claim 5, wherein the movable locking portion has an axis of rotation aligned vertically and/or parallel to the longest dimension of a door assembly to which it is fitted.

7. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the movable locking portion comprises a handle, and wherein the handle and the emergency release are located on opposing sides of the locking mechanism.

8. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the movable locking member comprises a stop arm and wherein the stop portion is configured to block the movement of the stop arm when engaged.

9. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the emergency release comprises a cover connected to or integrally formed with the stop portion, and configured such that moving the cover disengages the stop portion.

10. The locking mechanism according to claim 9, wherein the cover comprises a rotatable disc, the rotatable disc comprising a slot in an outer face for receiving a tool for driving the rotation of the rotatable disc.

11. The locking mechanism according to claim 10, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a housing for retaining the rotatable disc in a default position, and wherein the housing and the rotatable disc comprise inter-engaging formations configured to retain the rotatable disc in a first relative orientation and to allow removal of the disc in a second relative orientation.

12. The locking mechanism according to claim 11 , wherein the inter-engaging formations comprise at least one tooth and a channel for receiving the tooth, wherein the channel is slanted relative to the axis of rotation of the rotatable disc such that rotation of the disc drives axial movement of the rotatable disc.

13. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the emergency release further comprises a pullcord connected to the movable locking portion, wherein the pullcord is actuable to move the movable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position.

14. The locking mechanism according to claim 13 when dependent upon any one of claims 9 to 12, wherein the pullcord is connected to the cover at a first end thereof, and to the movable locking portion at a second end thereof.

15. The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the locking portion comprises a tongue portion configured to engage a groove in a keep, wherein the tongue portion extends the length of the locking mechanism when aligned vertically and/or parallel to the longest dimension of a door assembly to which it is fitted.

16 The locking mechanism according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a visual indicator configured to provide an indication when the movable locking portion is in the first position.

17. A hinge mechanism for a door, the hinge mechanism comprising: a first hinge portion and a second hinge portion, the first and second hinge portions being pivotable relative to each other; and a damper configured to resist and/or slow the relative pivoting motion of the first and second hinge portions, wherein the first hinge portion comprises an eccentric cam surface and the second hinge portion comprises the damper, wherein the damper is configured to ride upon the eccentric cam surface as the first and second hinge portions pivot relative to each other.

18. The hinge mechanism according to claim 17, wherein rotation of the first and second hinge portions relative to each other causes the eccentric cam surface to apply a force on and compress the damper.

19. The hinge mechanism according to claim 17 or claim 18, further comprising a damper adjustment mechanism to adjust the resistance applied by the damper to the relative pivoting motion of the first and second hinge portions.

20. The hinge mechanism according to claim 19, wherein the adjustment mechanism is configured to move the damper axially closer to or further from the first hinge portion.

21. The hinge mechanism according to any one of claims 17 to 20, wherein the damper comprises a spring damper, pneumatic piston damper or hydraulic piston damper.

22. The hinge mechanism according to any one of claims 17 to 21 , further comprising a retractable hinge pin connecting the first and second hinge portions.

23. The hinge mechanism according to claim 22, wherein the retractable hinge pin is movable in a first, axial direction, and wherein hinge mechanism further comprises a locking pin or screw for preventing retraction of the retractable hinge pin.

24. A door assembly comprising: a door; a pilaster or frame adjacent the door; and one or both of: the locking mechanism according to any one of claims 1 to 16, and the hinge mechanism according to any one of claims 17 to 23.

25. The door assembly according to claim 24, wherein the edge of the door adjacent to the hinge mechanism and the corresponding adjacent edge of the pilaster or frame comprise: a convex surface and a corresponding concave surface, wherein the convex and concave surface are configured to block a line of sight through the door assembly.

Description:
Cubicle Lock and Hinge

Technical Field

The present disclosure relates to locking mechanisms and hinge mechanisms for a door. More specifically, the present disclosure provides a locking mechanism with an emergency release, and a corresponding hinge mechanism, for a cubicle door.

Background

Figure 1 is a simplified diagram showing a plan view of a conventional door assembly 1 for a cubicle, such as a toilet cubicle. The door 2 is wider than the gap between pilasters 3 to provide privacy for an occupant of the cubicle. The door 2 is mounted on hinges 4 and, due to the overlap with the pilasters, is only openable inwardly.

In the UK, government building regulations require ease of access to, and circulation within, all buildings. In particular, Approved Document M, Volume 2, section 5.3 requires that doors to cubicles should be capable of being opened if a person has collapsed against them while inside the cubicle. Section 5.4 of that document states that this requirement can be fulfilled by providing an emergency release mechanism so that doors are capable of being opened outwards, from the outside, in case of emergency. Thus, should an occupant fall ill or unconscious while within the cubicle, it is still possible for first responders and emergency services to gain access.

Existing emergency release mechanisms allow a cubicle door to be unlocked from the outside. For example, an emergency release mechanism may consist of a slot on the exterior of the lock, into which a coin or screwdriver can be inserted to retract the lock in an emergency. Flowever, the door is generally unable to swing outwards, even when it is unlocked. Thus, if an occupant has collapsed against the door, it is necessary to lift the door off its hinges. This can be time-consuming and require considerable physical strength. Furthermore, large gaps must be provided above and below the door, so as to allow the door to be gripped and to accommodate the lifting movement. A further disadvantage of these existing emergency release mechanisms is that it can be difficult and time-consuming to replace the door on its hinges after the emergency has been resolved. Summary

According to a first aspect, there is provided a locking mechanism for a door assembly, the locking mechanism comprising: a movable locking portion, wherein the movable locking portion has a range of motion comprising: a first position, a second position, and an intermediate position between the first and second positions; a stop portion configured to block movement of the moveable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position when engaged; and an emergency release configured to disengage the stop portion.

The stop portion is said to be engaged when it blocks movement of the movable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position. Conversely, the stop portion is said to be disengaged when it permits movement of the movable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position. The stop portion may be engaged during normal use of the locking mechanism. The stop portion may be disengaged in an emergency. The stop portion may be engaged by moving it into the path of the movable locking portion, and disengaged by moving it out of the path of the movable locking portion.

The first position may be a first limit of the range of motion of the movable locking portion. The first position may correspond to a position of maximum extension and/or a locking position of the locking mechanism.

The intermediate position may be a partially retracted position and/or an unlocked position of the locking mechanism. The locking mechanism may be configured so that movement of the movable locking portion between the first and intermediate position locks and unlocks the locking mechanism.

The second position may be a second limit of the range of motion of the movable locking portion. The second position may correspond to a position of maximum retraction and/or an unrestricted position of the locking mechanism. The locking mechanism may be configured so that when the movable locking portion is in the intermediate position, the locking mechanism can partially restrict the movement of a door to which the locking mechanism is fitted. For example, the locking mechanism may prevent outward movement of a door, but permit inward movement of a door. The locking mechanism may be configured so that in the intermediate position, the movable locking member projects from a door to which it is fitted, but does not engage a keep.

Typically, doors for cubicles are configured to open inwardly so that they do not swing open and hit people or objects outside the cubicle. Typically, they are prevented from opening outwardly by either: the leading edge of the door overlapping the adjacent pilaster or door frame, as shown in Figure 1 ; or, where a door is flush (coplanar) with the adjacent pilaster or door frame when closed, by the provision of a physical stop connected to the pilaster, door frame, floor or ceiling. In both cases, the overlap with the pilaster/door frame or the physical stop prevents the door being opened outwards in an emergency. In contrast, the present disclosure provides a three position locking mechanism, such that the movable locking portion acts as the physical stop when in the intermediate position. In an emergency, the movable locking mechanism can be moved to the second position, wherein it no longer acts as a physical stop. The door can thus be opened outwards.

In this manner, the locking mechanism disclosed herein is a single assembly that allows the door to be locked and unlocked in normal use, and allows the door to be opened outwards in an emergency.

The locking mechanism may extend the full height of the door to which it is fitted. Alternatively, the locking mechanism may extend less than the full height of the door. For example, the locking mechanism may extend up to ¾, ½ or ¼ the length of the door to which it is fitted.

The movable locking portion may be rotatable. The rotatable locking portion may have an axis of rotation aligned vertically. Optionally, the axis of rotation may be parallel to the longest dimension of a door assembly to which it is fitted. The rotatable locking portion may be configured to extend substantially the full height of a door to which it is fitted. In this manner, the locking portion can block a line of sight between the edge of the door and the adjacent pilaster or frame. This can provide privacy to an occupant of the cubicle during normal use, whilst allowing the door to be opened outwards in an emergency. In some embodiments, the movable/rotatable locking portion may extend less than the full height of the door. For example, the movable/rotatable locking portion may extend up to ¾, ½ or ¼ the length of the door to which it is fitted.

The locking mechanism may further comprise a handle. The handle may be grippable by a user. The handle may be operable to move the movable locking portion between at least the first and intermediate positions.

In some embodiments, the handle may extend the length of the movable locking member and/or the locking mechanism and/or the door to which the locking mechanism is fitted. Such an elongate handle can be easily gripped by people of different heights, as well as wheelchair users, without requiring them to reach upwards or stoop downwards. The handle may be integrally formed with the movable locking portion.

In some embodiments, the handle may extend less than the length of the movable locking member and/or the locking mechanism and/or the door to which the locking mechanism is fitted. For example, the handle may extend up to ¾, ½ or ¼ the length of the aforementioned components. The handle may be located approximately centrally lengthwise, or it may be offset from the central lengthwise point of the locking member and/or locking mechanism and/or door. In some embodiments, the handle may be sized and positioned to extend a length and at a convenient hand height for users.

The handle and the emergency release may be located on opposing sides of the locking mechanism. For example, the handle may be located on an internal side of the locking mechanism. The internal side of a locking mechanism may correspond with the internal side of a door or cubicle when installed or in use. The emergency release may be provided on an external side of the locking mechanism. The external side of a locking mechanism may correspond with the external side of a door or cubicle when installed or in use. In this manner, an occupant of the cubicle can move the handle from inside the cubicle to lock and unlock the door, and a person outside the cubicle can actuate the emergency release to unlock the door in an emergency. The stop portion may be configured to block the movement of the movable locking portion. The movable locking portion may comprise a stop arm. The stop arm may be configured to contact the stop portion when in the intermediate position and/or the stop portion may be configured to block the movement of the stop arm when engaged. In some embodiments, disengaging the stop portion comprises moving or removing the stop portion.

The emergency release may comprise a cover. The cover may be connected to, or integrally formed with, the stop portion. The cover may comprise a rotatable disc, which may be configured such that rotating the rotatable disc moves and/or disengages the stop portion. The stop portion may be provided on an internal side of the cover.

The rotatable disc may comprise a slot in an outer or external face for receiving a tool for driving the rotation of the rotatable disc. The slot may be configured to receive a coin, key head and/or credit card. Thus the rotatable disc can be easily rotated without requiring specialist tools. The emergency release can easily be actuated in an emergency, without being accidentally actuated in normal use.

The locking mechanism may comprise a housing for retaining the rotatable disc in a default position. The default position may be a position (e.g., orientation) of the rotatable disc when the stop portion is engaged. The housing and the rotatable disc may comprise inter-engaging formations. The inter-engaging formations may be configured to retain the rotatable disc in a first relative orientation and to allow removal of the disc in a second relative orientation. The housing may comprise an insert e.g. for locating into a recess in a door. The housing may comprise a ring shaped insert configured to closely surround the rotatable disc or a portion thereof. Alternatively, the housing may be provided by the door itself e.g. by milling or forming a suitable structure into the door. The inter-engaging formations may comprise at least one tooth and a channel for receiving the tooth.

The emergency release may comprise a pop-up or ejection mechanism e.g. for moving the rotatable disc in an axial direction (i.e., a direction along the axis of rotation of the rotatable disc). The pop-up or ejection mechanism may comprise a spring configured to bias the rotatable disc outward when not retained by the housing. Additionally or alternatively, the channel may be slanted relative to the axis of rotation of the rotatable disc such that rotation of the disc drives axial movement of the rotatable disc. In other words, the channel may be obliquely angled relative to the rotational axis of the rotatable disc.

The emergency release may further comprise a pullcord connected to the movable locking portion. The pullcord may be actuable to move the movable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position. The emergency release may be configured so that pulling the pullcord moves the movable locking portion from the intermediate position to the second position. In an emergency, a person outside the cubicle can pull the pullcord to move the locking person to the second position, thereby allowing the door to open outward. The same pulling action can also impart a force on the door itself, so as to pull the door outward. In this manner, pullcord can assist a first responder to pull open a door that has no other external features that can be gripped from the outside.

The pullcord is flexible. For example, the pullcord may comprise a rope, tape, ribbon or chain. The pullcord can thus be stowed within a housing of the locking mechanism (e.g. by folding or coiling the handle and/or pullcord within a recess in the housing and/or door), thus allowing the locking mechanism to have a compact size and appearance in normal use. The pullcord may be provided with instructions thereon. For example, the pullcord may have the words “Pull” or “emergency release” displayed thereon. As another example, the pullcord may have arrows or chevrons displayed thereon, to indicate that the pullcord needs to be pulled. The pullcord may be configured to be a contrasting colour. A contrasting colour is useful for improving visibility of the emergency release and/or making the purpose of the pullcord more intuitive.

The emergency release may comprise an emergency handle as an alternative to, or in addition to, the pullcord. The emergency handle can have equivalent functionality to the pullcord. In contrast to the flexible pullcord, the emergency handle has a rigid structure.

The pullcord may be connected to the cover at a first end thereof. The pullcord may be connected to the movable locking portion at a second end thereof. The pullcord may be connected to the stop arm. The stop arm may be configured to extend away from the pivot of the movable locking portion, so as to act as a lever on the movable locking portion. The stop arm may be configured to be located within a recess within a door to which the locking mechanism is fitted.

The locking portion may comprise a tongue portion configured to engage a groove in a keep. The tongue portion may extend the length of the locking mechanism e.g. when aligned vertically and/or parallel to the longest dimension of a door assembly to which it is fitted. In alternative embodiments, the tongue portion may extend less than the length of the locking mechanism e.g. the tongue portion may extend lengthwise of the locking mechanism up to ¾, ½ or ¼ the length of the locking mechanism. The tongue portion may be located approximately centrally of the locking mechanism. In some embodiments, more than one tongue portion may be provided, the tongue portions separated lengthwise of the locking mechanism. Tongue portions which extend less than the full length of the locking mechanism provide greater tolerances over the length of the locking mechanism and thus a more reliable engagement with the keep. For example, a shorter tongue portion is less affected should the door bow or sag as may be possible with timber materials, since full alignment is required over a lesser distance.

The keep may extend the full length of the locking portion with which it engages. Alternatively, the keep may extend less than the length of the locking portion, e.g. the keep may extend lengthwise of the locking portion up to ¾, ½ or ¼ the length of the locking portion. For example, the keep may extend up to ¾, ½ or ¼ the length of the pilaster to which it is fitted. In some embodiments, the keep may comprise a plurality of portions, where each portion of the keep is separated lengthwise. Reducing the overall length of the keep and/or dividing the keep into a plurality of shorter portions can reduce noise caused when the locking portion engages with (and disengages from) the keep. Alternatively or additionally, noise can be reduced by forming some or all of the keep from a plastics material.

The locking mechanism may comprise a visual indicator configured to provide an indication when the movable locking portion is in the first position. The visual indicator may comprise a light, such as an LED. The visual indicator may be provided in the cover. In one series of embodiments, visual indicator comprises a switch on the stop portion, configured to activate the visual indicator when the movable locking portion contacts the stop portion and/or breaks contact with the stop portion. Additionally or alternatively, the visual indicator may be provided on the movable locking portion and/or the handle. The visual indicator may comprise a contrasting portion or panel which is revealed upon movement (e.g. rotation) of the movable locking portion and/or handle.

According to a second aspect, there is provided a hinge mechanism for a door, the hinge mechanism comprising: a first hinge portion and a second hinge portion, the first and second hinge portions being pivotable relative to each other; and a damper configured to resist and/or slow the relative pivoting motion of the first and second hinge portions.

The first and second hinge portions may be fitted to a door or to a door frame or pilaster in either orientation. The hinge mechanism may provide a “soft-close” mechanism for preventing slamming of a door to which the hinge mechanism may be installed. Equally, the above hinge mechanism may provide a “soft-stop” mechanism for preventing a door from swinging open too far or too quickly. The hinge mechanism thus prevents damage to the door assembly to which it is installed.

The first hinge portion may comprise an eccentric cam surface. The second hinge portion may comprise the damper. The damper may be configured to ride upon the eccentric cam surface as the first and second hinge portions pivot relative to each other.

The hinge mechanism may be configured such that rotation of the first and second hinge portions relative to each other causes the eccentric cam surface to apply a force on and compress the damper. For example, relative rotation of the first and second hinge portions may be configured to provide relative rotation of the eccentric cam surface and the damper.

The hinge mechanism may further comprise a damper adjustment mechanism to adjust the resistance applied by the damper to the relative pivoting motion of the first and second hinge portions. The damper adjustment mechanism may comprise a means for moving the damper axially closer to, or further from, the first hinge portion. For example, the damper adjustment mechanism may comprise a damper mount comprising a passageway for mounting the damper therethrough. The passageway and the damper may comprise cooperating threaded regions such that rotation of the damper drives the damper in the axial direction. In an alternative configuration, the damper may have a fixed orientation and the damper mount may be rotatable, such that rotating the damper mount drives the damper in the axial direction.

The damper may comprise a spring damper, pneumatic piston damper, hydraulic piston damper or any other suitable damping mechanism. Preferably the damper is a pneumatic or hydraulic piston damper.

The hinge mechanism may further comprise a retractable hinge pin connecting the first and second hinge portions. The hinge mechanism may comprise a biasing means to bias the hinge pin into a projecting or engaged position.

The retractable hinge pin may be movable in a first direction. The first direction may be an axial direction i.e. lengthwise of the hinge pin. The hinge mechanism may further comprise a locking pin or screw for preventing retraction of the retractable hinge pin. The locking pin or screw may extend perpendicularly to the hinge pin. The locking pin or screw may engage an aperture or recess in the first or second hinge portion. The first or second hinge portion may be provided with a second aperture or recess for receiving the locking pin or screw when the hinge pin is in a retracted position. This allows the hinge pin to be stored securely for transport and installation. In one series of embodiments, the retractable hinge pin and recess are provided on the second hinge portion.

According to a third aspect, there is provided a door assembly comprising: a door; a pilaster or frame adjacent the door; and one or both of: the locking mechanism described above, and the hinge mechanism described above.

The door assembly may be configured such that the edge of the door adjacent to the hinge and the corresponding adjacent edge of the frame comprise: a convex surface and a corresponding concave surface, wherein the convex and concave surfaces are configured to block a line of sight through the door assembly. In particular, the convex surface is disposed within the concave surface, such that the surfaces block a line of sight between the door and the pilaster or frame.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the following figures, in which:

Figure 1 is a plan view from above of a conventional door assembly;

Figures 2 to 4 are cross sections through a locking mechanism;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of part of an emergency release;

Figure 6 is a diagram of part of an emergency release in use;

Figure 7 is a perspective view of a hinge mechanism;

Figure 8 is a perspective view of a lower hinge mechanism;

Figure 9 is a plan view of the hinge mechanism of Figure 7 in a first orientation; Figure 10 is a plan view of the hinge mechanism of Figure 7 in a second orientation; and

Figure 11 is a plan view of the hinge mechanism of Figure 7 in a third orientation.

Specific Description

Figures 2 to 4 show a series of cross-sections through a locking mechanism 100 for a door assembly. The door assembly may include a door 110 and a pilaster 112 of a cubicle. Alternatively, the door assembly may include a door frame instead of the pilaster 112 but, for the sake of simplicity and consistency, the following description assumes that the door assembly includes a pilaster.

The door 110 is pivotably mounted to the pilaster 112 by a hinge assembly (not shown in Figures 2 to 4), such as the hinge assembly described below with reference to Figures 7 to 12 or any other suitable hinge. The locking mechanism 100 can be used to lock the door 110 of a cubicle such as a toilet cubicle, a shower cubicle, a bathroom cubicle or a changing room. Figure 2 shows the door 110 in a locked state, in which the door 110 cannot open inwards or outwards. Figure 3 shows the door 110 in an unlocked state, in which the door 110 can open inwards only. Figure 4 shows the door 110 in an emergency state, in which the door can open inwards and outwards. The outside of the door (and, hence, the outwards direction) is towards the top of Figures 2 to 4. The inside of the door (and, hence, the inwards direction) is towards the bottom of Figures 2 to 4.

The pilaster 112 is provided with a keep 114 having an elongate groove 116 which extends substantially the length of the keep 114. The keep 114 has the cross-section shown in Figures 2 to 4 along substantially its entire length. The keep 114 may be formed by extrusion, for example.

The locking mechanism 100 has a movable locking portion 120, a stop portion 140 and an emergency release 160. The movable locking portion 120 is rotatable about a pivot 122, from a first position as shown in Figure 2, to an intermediate position as shown in Figure 3. The pivot 122 is aligned with the height of the door (e.g., vertically) and the locking mechanism 100 extends substantially the full height of the door. The movable locking portion 120 has the cross-section shown in Figures 2 to 4 along substantially its entire length. The movable locking portion 120 may be formed by extrusion, for example.

The movable locking portion 120 has a handle 124 provided on an internal side of the locking mechanism 100. The handle 124 can be gripped in order to pivot the movable locking portion 120 between the first position and the intermediate position shown in Figures 2 and 3 respectively. Adjacent to the handle 124 is a tongue 126, which engages the groove 116 of the keep 114 when the movable locking portion 120 is in the first position.

On the opposite side of the movable locking portion 120 to the tongue 126 is a stop arm 128. The stop arm 128 extends away from the pivot 122 and is located within a recess in the end of the door 110. The stop arm 128 is movable within the recess until it is limited by either the internal surface of the recess in the first position, or by the stop portion 140 in the intermediate position as shown in Figure 3. The stop portion 140 is a physical block which prevents the stop arm 128 from moving beyond the intermediate position. The stop portion 140 is connected to a cover 162, which is in turn located within a housing 164. As shown more clearly in Figures 5 and 6, the cover 162 may comprise a rotatable disc that can be rotated within the housing 164. Alternatively, the cover 162 may comprise a square or rectangular plate, which can slide within the housing 164 to achieve equivalent functionality to the rotatable disc. The housing 164 is partially recessed into the outer surface of the door 110. The cover 162 is further connected to a pullcord 166 in the form of a flexible tape which is stowed within the recess in the door 110.

In normal use, a user enters the cubicle and locks the locking mechanism 100. To lock the locking mechanism 100, the user rotates the movable locking portion 120 about the pivot 122, using the handle 124, until the tongue 126 engages with the groove 116. The movable locking portion is then in the first, or locked, position. The door 110 is thus secured to the pilaster 112. To exit the cubicle, the user rotates the movable locking portion 120 about the pivot 122, via the handle 124, in the opposite direction until the tongue 126 is free from the groove 116. The movable locking portion 120 is thereby returned to the intermediate, unlocked and/or partially retracted position as shown in Figure 3. The door 110 can then be pulled inwardly toward the user in order to open the door assembly and exit the cubicle.

When in the intermediate position, as shown in Figure 3, the tongue 126 is free from the groove 116. Flowever, the intermediate position is only a partially retracted position, because the tongue 126 can still make contact with an edge 115 of the keep 114 when the door 110 is pushed outwards. In the intermediate position, the stop portion 140 makes contact with the stop arm 128, which prevents further rotation of the movable locking portion 120 about the pivot 122. The stop portion 140 thereby prevents the tongue 126 being fully retracted, such that the tongue 126 would not contact the edge 115 of the keep 114 when the door 110 is pushed outwards. In this manner, the movable locking portion 120 prevents the outward movement of the door 110 past the keep 114 in normal use, and the need for a separate physical stop is negated. Thus, the locking mechanism 100 has the dual functionality of allowing an inwardly opening door to be locked, and preventing the door opening outwardly when unlocked.

Turning now to Figures 4 to 6, the emergency release 160 will be described. Figure 5 shows part of an emergency release 160 in isolation from the rest of the locking mechanism 100 and door assembly. As noted above, the emergency release 160 has a cover 162 located within a housing 164 recessed in a surface of a door 110. The cover 162 is outwardly facing and may have a slot 167 and/or a visual indicator 168. The visual indicator 168 shows whether the door is locked or unlocked, and may comprise an LED that is configured to illuminate when the door is locked. The slot 167 is configured to facilitate movement (e.g., removal) of the cover 162. The slot 167 is sized to receive a coin, credit card, key head or similar object therein, such that the cover 162 can be moved. When the cover 162 comprises a rotatable disc, the perimeter of the disc is provided with at least two projections 163 which engage corresponding channels 165 located on the internal surface of the housing 164. The projections 163 and channels 165 provide a simple rotary or cam lock mechanism to retain the cover 162 within the housing 164 in normal use. The emergency release 160 provides a pop-up mechanism for the cover 162 by obliquely angling the channels 165 relative to the axis of rotation. Thus, rotation of the rotatable disc drives the axial movement of the cover 162, in a similar manner to a screw thread.

It is desirable for cubicle doors to open outwardly in case an occupant falls ill or unconscious against the door, obstructing the inward movement of the door. In such circumstances, a person outside the cubicle is able to rotate the cover 162 by inserting a coin or similar basic lever into the slot 167. The rotation of the rotatable disc drives the cover 162 outward to a position where it is either free from the housing 164, or may be pulled away from the housing 164 manually. The cover 162 is tethered to the stop arm 128 by a pullcord 166.

The axial movement of the rotatable disc also axially moves the stop portion 140, which is connected to the internal side of the cover 162. Once the stop portion 140 has been moved outwardly, there is no restriction preventing the movable locking portion 120 from moving beyond the intermediate position to the second position, as shown in Figure 4. With the stop portion 140 removed, the moveable locking mechanism 120 can be rotated about the pivot 122 by either the occupant of the cubicle in the conventional manner to unlock the door, or by a person outside the cubicle pulling on the cover 162 and/or pullcord 166. Since the pullcord 166 is connected to the stop arm 128, the leverage of the stop arm 128 about the pivot 122 assists a person outside the cubicle to apply a sufficient force to move the movable locking portion 120 into the second position. In the second position, the movable locking portion 120 has pivoted further than in the intermediate position, and the tongue 126 and handle 124 are fully retracted and do not engage or contact the keep 114. With the movable locking portion 120 thus fully retracted, there is nothing preventing outward movement of the door. Access can thereby be gained to the cubicle in an emergency.

Although Figures 4 and 6 show the cover 162 and stop portion 140 being removed from the housing 164 entirely, their movement only needs to be sufficient to allow the movable locking portion 120 to move to the second position.

The locking mechanism 100 can be quickly and easily reset when the emergency has been resolved. To reset the locking mechanism 100, a user rotates the movable locking portion 120 about the pivot 122, via the handle 124, until moveable locking portion 120 is in the first position or the intermediate position (or any position therebetween). The pullcord 170 is then folded or coiled, and stowed within the recess in the door 110. The stop portion 140 is then pushed into the recess in the door 110, and the cover 162 is pushed into the housing 164. Finally, the rotatable disc is rotated to secure the cover 162 to the housing. The locking mechanism 100 is thereby restored to normal use, without the need for specialist tools.

Turning now to Figures 7 to 11 , there is shown a hinge mechanism 200. The hinge mechanism 200 has a first hinge portion 210 and a second hinge portion 220. The first and second hinge portions 210, 220 are pivotable relative to each other.

The first hinge portion 210 has a first bracket 212 in the shape of a curved right angle, which can be fixed to the pilaster 112 by mechanical fasteners (not shown). The first hinge portion 210 comprises a cam 216 having an eccentric cam surface 218.

The second hinge portion 220 has a second bracket 222 configured to fit within a recess in the door 110. The second bracket 222 is made up of a series of flat plate portions connected by curved right angle bends. The second bracket 222 has an approximate P-shape, wherein the head 240 of the P-shape projects from the recess. The head 240 has a pair of aligned holes 241 for receiving a hinge pin 242 therethrough. Within the head 240 of the second bracket 222 is a biasing means in the form of a spring 244. The spring 244 bears upon the lower surface of the head 240 of the bracket 222 and upon the hinge pin 242, to bias the hinge pin 242 into the extended position as shown.

The lower leg 246 of the second bracket 222 contacts the surface of the recess 111 and is provided with first and second blind holes 248, 250. The hinge pin 242 has a locking pin or screw 252 adjacent to the first and second holes 248, 250. The locking pin or screw 252 extends perpendicularly to the hinge pin 242 and can engage the first and second holes 248, 250 in order to lock the hinge pin 242 in either an extended or retracted position.

The upper plate 224 of the second bracket 222 has a damper mount 226 with a passageway extending therethrough in which is fitted a damper 228. The damper 228 is an oil-filled or pneumatic damper of conventional design, and comprises a piston rod 232 which contacts and rides upon the eccentric cam surface 218. The damper 228 has a threaded surface 229 for engaging a corresponding threaded surface on the interior of the passageway of the damper mount 226. The damper 228 is also provided with a wheel 230 which is fixed to the damper 228. The wheel 230 can be used to rotate the damper 228 relative to the damper mount 226, and thereby move the damper 228 axially.

Turning to Figure 8, there is shown a lower hinge portion 270. The lower hinge portion 270 is in the form of a right angled bracket, which has a support plate 271 configured to contact the floor and a side plate 272. The side plate 272 allows the lower hinge portion 270 to be fastened to the pilaster 112 by mechanical fasteners (not shown). The support plate 271 has a hole 274 therein for receiving a lower hinge pin 276. The lower hinge pin 276 is fixed to the door 110.

In some examples (not shown) the lower hinge pin 276 is a fall-to-close hinge pin, i.e. it comprises two portions which cause the door 110 to lift slightly as it is rotated. The door 110 can thus return to the closed position automatically under the force of gravity.

The hinge mechanism is particularly advantageous when installing doors which extend substantially from floor to ceiling. To install a door 110, the hinge mechanism 200 and the lower hinge portion 270 are fixed to the door 110 and pilaster 112. The first and second hinge portions 210, 220 of the hinge mechanism 200 are initially separate, with the hinge pin 242 held in a retracted position by the locking pin or screw 252, which is received within the first hole 248. The door 110 is then lifted so that the lower hinge pin 276 can be seated in the hole 274. Once seated, the hinge pin 242 can be aligned with the cam 216 of the first hinge portion 210, the locking pin or screw 252 removed, and the hinge pin 242 will be automatically fired into the cam 216 under the biasing force of the spring 244. The locking pin or screw 252 can then be inserted into the second hole 250 to secure the hinge pin 242 in the extended position. Due to the configuration of the lower hinge portion 270, it is only necessary to raise the door 110 by the height of the support plate 271 , and thus only a very small amount of clearance above the door is required. Similarly, when the door 110 has been installed, the gap between the bottom of the door 110 and the floor can be as little as the height of the support plate 271. Thus, the door 110 can extend substantially between the floor and ceiling, with only very small gaps being needed to permit installation. This can improve privacy for an occupant of the cubicle.

Turning now to Figures 9 to 11 , the damping mechanism will be described. In Figure 9, the door 110 is aligned perpendicularly to the pilaster 112, corresponding to an open position of the door 110. The piston rod 232 contacts a portion of the eccentric cam surface 218. As the door is rotated through 45° (Figure 10), the piston rod 232 must overcome a first cam projection 260, which acts to push the piston rod 232 back into the damper 228. Thus the first cam projection 260 provides a form of over-centre lock which can maintain the door 110 in the open position until a user applies a force to the door 110.

As the door continues to rotate through a further 45° to the in-line position of Figure 11 , the piston rod 232 continues to ride on the eccentric cam surface 218 which extends progressively further from the centre of rotation to provide a second projection 262. Thus the eccentric cam surface 218 applies an increasing force on the damper 228, which resists the motion and thus provides a soft close mechanism. The force of the damper 228 can be adjusted by adjusting the axial position of the damper using the wheel 230. The eccentric cam surface 218 has a symmetrical profile to allow the door 110 to open inwards and outwards. The symmetrical profile also provides left and right handed hinges. The trailing edge of the door 110 is provided with a convex edge profile 110A. The adjacent edge of the pilaster 112 is provided with a concave edge profile 112A. The convex and concave edge profiles 110A, 112A extend the height of the door and pilaster and block a line of sight between the door and pilaster (shown by a dashed line in Figure 11 ) when the door is closed or partially open.

The locking mechanism and a hinge mechanism have been disclosed in the context of a cubicle door. However, the locking mechanism and/or hinge mechanism disclosed herein could be used for other types of door. For example, the locking mechanism and/or hinge mechanism may be used when it is desired to allow a door to open in a first direction (e.g., inwards) in normal use, and to allow the door to open in an opposite direction (e.g., outwards) in a situation other than normal use (e.g., in an emergency. As another example, the locking mechanism and/or hinge mechanism may be used when it is desired to block a gap between a door and a pilaster or frame (e.g., when it is desired to block a line of sight through the gap, or to reduce the passage of air through the gap). It will also be appreciated that the locking mechanism and/or hinge mechanism could be fitted to a window.

It should be noted that terms such as “inwards”, “outwards”, “internal” and “outwards” are used to allow the two sides of the locking mechanism and door to be distinguished. These terms should not be understood to mean that the locking mechanism has to be installed in a particular orientation with respect to the inside of a room.