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Title:
"A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR STIFFENING A FRAMEWORK MODULE FOR USE IN MODULAR BUILDING CONSTRUCTION"
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/016672
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A framework module (1) for use in modular building construction comprises a plurality of elongate upright and cross beams (2, 3) rigidly connected at or towards their ends to form a box frame with open side and end faces, and at least one elongate connection point (4) on one of the beams, configured to allow mutual connection with an equivalent connection point located on a substantially identical adjacent framework module so that a plurality of framework modules can be connected together to form an open-web truss of vertically and horizontally aligned members, the connection points (4) welded to the beams, the inner weld bead (102) between the inside edge of the connection point 4 and the surface of the beam concave and substantially uniform along the entirety of the weld bead (102).

Inventors:
MORGAN DAVID (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2020/050786
Publication Date:
February 04, 2021
Filing Date:
July 30, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
IRON MATRIX PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
E04B1/19; E04B1/343; E04B1/58
Foreign References:
US20190226198A12019-07-25
CN106013466A2016-10-12
CN203669098U2014-06-25
CN206693403U2017-12-01
CN206859426U2018-01-09
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A framework module for use in modular building construction, comprising:

a plurality of elongate module beams arranged as upright and cross beams, rigidly connected at or towards their ends to form a box frame with open side and end faces;

at least one elongate connection point on at least one module beam, configured to allow mutual connection with an equivalent connection point located on a substantially identical adjacent framework module so that a plurality of framework modules can be connected together to form an open-web truss of vertically and horizontally aligned members;

the connection point or points welded to the module beam or beams, the inner weld bead between the inside edge of the connection point and the surface of the beam concave and substantially uniform along the entirety of the weld bead wherein the length of material forming the connection point comprises a length of rectangular hollow section steel with rounded corners.

2. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of the connection points is formed from a length of material connected to the outwardly-facing surface of a module beam, in parallel with the axis of the module beam.

3. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 1 or 2 wherein the cross-sectional width of the module beam is substantially double the cross-sectional width of the connection point.

4. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein the cross-sectional length of the connection point is substantially one-quarter the cross-sectional length of the module beam.

5. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein each connection point is attached to a beam, substantially aligned with the edge of the beam towards the edge of the beam.

6. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in claim 5 wherein each connection point is attached to a beam so that the outer face of the connection point is planar with the adjacent face of the beam.

7. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6 further comprising a stiffening member configured to extend

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU between and connect at least two adjacent framework modules to one another, the stiffening member contacting, aligned with, and extending along beams on each of the adjacent framework modules, and connecting to connection points on the adjacent framework modules in order to connect the framework modules.

8. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein the stiffening member is straight or centrally bent.

9. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in claim 7 wherein the stiffening member, beam and connection points are all formed so that contact between the stiffening member, beam and connection points is substantially flush along the entirety of the connecting surfaces.

10. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 9 wherein the inner weld bead is configured so that it has a profile that matches the outer radius corner profile of the stiffening member where these are in contact in use.

11. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 10 wherein each connection point further comprises at least one bolt hole formed through the inside face, and each stiffening member comprises at least one equivalent bolt hole so that the stiffener can be bolted to the connections points in use.

12. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in claim 3 wherein each connection point further comprises two bolt holes formed through the inside face towards each end of the connection point.

13. A framework module for use in modular building construction as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 12 wherein the cross-sectional width and length of the stiffening member is substantially the same cross-sectional width and length of the connection point.

14. A method of attaching a connection point to a beam that forms part of a framework module for use in modular building construction, comprising the steps of: i) placing an elongate connection point on the beam so that the axis of the connection point extends in parallel with the axis of the beam;

ii) attaching the connection point and beam by welding a substantially uniformly concave weld along substantially the length of the inner edge of the connection point between the connection point and the beam.

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU

15. A method of attaching a connection point to a beam as claimed in claim 13 wherein the step of welding a substantially uniformly concave weld along

substantially the length of the inner edge of the connection point is carried out by robot welding.

16. A method of attaching a connection point to a beam as claimed in claim 13 or claim 14 wherein in the step of placing the elongate connection point on the beam, the connection point is positioned so that the weld bead will be formed along the centre line of the beam surface.

17. A method of attaching a connection point to a beam as claimed in any one of claims 13 to 15 wherein the size of the connection point and beam are chosen so that the connection point has a width substantially half that of the beam.

18. A method of attaching a connection point to a beam as claimed in any one of claims 13 to 16 wherein the connection point is positioned on the surface of the beams so that the outer adjacent surfaces of the connection point and beam are planar.

19. A method of attaching a connection point to a beam as claimed in claim 17 comprising the further step of welding to create a seam in and along substantially the entirety of the contact length between the outer adjacent surfaces of the connection point and beam.

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU

Description:
"A Method and Apparatus for Stiffening a Framework Module For Use in

Modular Buildinq Construction"

FIELD

The present invention relates to a framework module for use in modular building construction. The present invention also relates to a method for stiffening framework modules used for modular building construction.

BACKGROUND

Steel framing is a building technique that uses interconnected vertical and horizontal members to form a skeleton framework for a building. Once the framework has been constructed, the floors, roof and walls of the building are attached to and supported by the frame. This type of building technique is in common use.

Prefabricated steel building construction elements typically consist of large blocks containing one or multiple rooms, which are manufactured in one location where economies of scale can be achieved, and which are then transported and installed at other locations as required. The maximum size of the elements is typically limited by the size of roads and the cost of equipment to transport and crane them into place. One method used to overcome transportation limitations is to use smaller repeating components to construct the building, these smaller repeating components designed and manufactured so that they can be quickly and easily joined on the building site. Framework modules suitable for this use are described and shown in

AU2016203221. This method allows buildings to be constructed without the use of extra-large machinery (cranes and trucks) and a reliance of suitable roads, and permits structures to be easily reconfigured or expanded.

One possible issue with modular structures built from smaller repeating structural elements is that that the overall structure thus created can lack the strength, stiffness and rigidity of an equivalent, purpose-built, one-piece structural element. As a result, buildings made from smaller elements are often limited to certain heights and maximum open spans within the structure.

Another possible issue with some modular structures is the creation of flat sections of roof and these are subject to‘ponding’. An issue where the weight of rainwater can cause downward concavity, further exacerbating water retention.

In this specification where reference has been made to patent specifications, other external documents, or other sources of information, this is generally for the purpose of providing a context for discussing the features of the invention. Unless specifically stated otherwise, reference to such external documents is not to be construed as an admission that such documents, or such sources of information, in any jurisdiction, are prior art, or form part of the common general knowledge in the art.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present invention provide a framework module for use in modular building construction which goes some way to overcoming the

abovementioned disadvantages or which at least provides the public or industry with a useful choice.

Other embodiments of the present invention provide a method of attaching a connection point to a beam that forms part of a framework module for use in modular building construction which goes some way to overcoming the abovementioned disadvantages or which at least provides the public or industry with a useful choice.

The term“comprising” as used in this specification and indicative independent claims means“consisting at least in part of”. When interpreting each statement in this specification and indicative independent claims that includes the term“comprising”, features other than that or those prefaced by the term may also be present. Related terms such as“comprise” and“comprises” are to be interpreted in the same manner.

As used herein the term“and/or” means“and” or“or”, or both.

As used herein“(s)” following a noun means the plural and/or singular forms of the noun.

Accordingly, in a first aspect the present invention provides a framework module for use in modular building construction, comprising: a plurality of elongate module beams arranged as upright and cross beams, rigidly connected at or towards their ends to form a box frame with open side and end faces; at least one elongate connection point on at least one module beam, configured to allow mutual connection with an equivalent connection point located on a substantially identical adjacent framework module so that a plurality of framework modules can be connected together to form an open-web truss of vertically and horizontally aligned members, and wherein; the connection point or points are welded to the module beam or beams, the inner weld bead between the inside edge of the connection point and the surface of the beam concave and substantially uniform along the entirety of the weld bead. In an embodiment, each of the connection points is formed from a length of material connected to the outwardly-facing surface of a module beam, in parallel with the axis of the module beam.

In an embodiment, the length of material forming the connection point comprises a length of rectangular hollow section steel with rounded corners.

In an embodiment, the cross-sectional width of the module beam is substantially double the cross-sectional width of the connection point.

In an embodiment, the cross-sectional length of the connection point is substantially one-quarter the cross-sectional length of the module beam.

In an embodiment, each connection point is attached to a beam, substantially aligned with the edge of the beam, towards the edge of the beam.

In an embodiment, each connection point is attached to a beam so that the outer face of the connection point is planar with the adjacent face of the beam.

In an embodiment, the framework module further comprises a stiffening member configured to extend between and connect at least two adjacent framework modules to one another, the stiffening member contacting, aligned with, and extending along beams on each of the adjacent framework modules, and connecting to connection points on the adjacent framework modules in order to connect the framework modules.

In an embodiment, the stiffening member, beam and connection points are all formed so that contact between the stiffening member, beam and connection points is substantially flush along the entirety of the connecting surfaces.

In an embodiment, the inner weld bead is configured so that it has a profile that matches the outer radius corner profile of the stiffening member where these are in contact in use.

In an embodiment, each connection point further comprises at least one bolt hole formed through the inside face, and each stiffening member comprises at least one equivalent bolt hole so that the stiffener can be bolted to the connection points in use.

In an embodiment, each connection point further comprises two bolt holes formed through the inside face towards each end of the connection point.

In an embodiment, wherein the cross-sectional width and length of the stiffening member is substantially the same cross-sectional width and length of the connection point. In some embodiments, the stiffening member is arranged to provide a slope to a roof portion to reduce or prevent‘ponding’.

In a second aspect the present invention provides a method of attaching a connection point to a beam that forms part of a framework module for use in modular building construction, comprising the steps of:

i) placing an elongate connection point on the beam so that the axis of the connection point extends in parallel with the axis of the beam;

ii) attaching the connection point and beam by welding a substantially uniformly concave weld along substantially the length of the inner edge of the connection point between the connection point and the beam.

In an embodiment, the step of welding a substantially uniformly concave weld along substantially the length of the inner edge of the connection point is carried out by robot welding.

In an embodiment, in the step of placing the elongate connection point on the beam, the connection point is positioned so that the weld bead will be formed along the centre line of the beam surface.

In an embodiment, the size of the connection point and beam are chosen so that the connection point has a width substantially half that of the beam.

In an embodiment, the connection point is positioned on the surface of the beams so that the outer adjacent surfaces of the connection point and beam are planar.

In an embodiment, the method comprises the further step of welding to create a seam in and along substantially the entirety of the contact length between the outer adjacent surfaces of the connection point and beam.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realised that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

This invention may also be said broadly to consist in the parts, elements and features referred to or indicated in the specification of the application, individually or collectively, and any or all combinations of any two or more said parts, elements or features, and where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents in the art to which this invention relates, such known equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Further aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following description which is given by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings which show an embodiment of the device by way of example, and in which:

Figure 1 shows a perspective view from above and to one side of a known or prior art framework module, showing detail of the elongate upright and cross beams that form the framework module, and which are rigidly connected at their ends to form a box frame with open side and end faces, the figure also showing connection points located on each of the upright beams that allow mutual connection with equivalent connection points located on a substantially identical adjacent framework module.

Figure 2 shows a side view of the prior art framework module of figure 1.

Figure 3 shows a top or plan view of the prior art framework module of figures 1 and 2.

Figure 4 shows close-up detail of a corner of the framework module of the preceding figures showing the connection pattern of the upright and cross beams, and detail of the connection of two of the connection points to the upright beam.

Figure 5 shows a perspective side view of four framework modules connected in a 2x2 arrangement by two stiffening members arranged vertically along and connected to the inner vertical beams of the frameworks modules via the connection points on those beams, the stiffening members and connection points each half the width of the beams.

Figure 6 shows a connection between two adjacent framework modules made in a similar manner to that of figure 5.

Figure 7 shows an end view of a beam and connection point, with a stiffening member arranged above the connection point ready to be moved into contact for connection. Figure 8 shows the beam, connection point, and stiffening member of figure 7, with the stiffening member connected to the connection point via bolts passed through the stiffening member from one side to the other, and through the contacting side of the connection point.

Figure 9 shows and explode perspective end view of the beam, connection point, and stiffening member of figures 7 and 8, showing detail of the bolt holes for connection between the connection point, and stiffening member.

Figure 10 shows a perspective side view of two beams of two adjacent framework modules, connected by a stiffening member, the connection points of each of the beams and the bolts connecting the connection points and stiffening member also shown.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the invention, and variations thereof, will now be described in detail with reference to the figures.

A typical framework module 1 of a known or prior art type is shown in figures 1 to 3. The framework module 1 as shown has the overall shape and form of a rectangular box frame, with open sides and open-end faces. The box frame that forms the main part of the framework module 1 is constructed from elongate beams that form uprights 2 and cross beams 3, and which are connected at their ends by welding as shown in figure 4.

For this example, each of the elongate beams 2, 3 of the framework module 1 is formed from 100mm x 100mm SHS (Square Hollow Section) mild steel tube. The beams that form the upright beams 2 (vertically aligned in use) have a length of 2900mm. The beams that form the cross beams 3 (horizontally aligned and forming the perimeter of a square in use) have a length of 1700mm. Connection points 4 are attached to or formed on the upright and cross beams 2, 3, on the outwardly-facing surfaces of the upright and cross beams 2, 3. The connection points 4 are not point elements, but are formed from 200mm lengths of 50mm x 25mm SHS mild steel tube. The connection points 4 are welded to the upright and cross beams 2, 3 with their long axis in parallel with the axis of the beam 2 or 3 to which they are connected. The connection points 4 are connected or attached so that they are aligned with the inside edge face of the beam to which they are attached. That is, so that the inner side face of the connection point 4 is directly adjacent to the edge of the open rectangle or square formed by the beams 2, 3, on any given side of the framework module 1. The connection points 4 are formed so that they can be connected to connection points 4 on an adjacently-located substantially identical framework module (either or both of above/below, and/or to the side), so that In use a number of the framework modules 1 can be connected together to form an open-web truss of vertically and horizontally aligned members, which is used to form a skeleton framework for a building. When used to create a skeleton structure for a building, the framework module 1 is a repeating structure. When all the beams for a particular module 1 are inter-connected, and the connection points are fixed to the beams, the framework module 1 has a volume of nearly 2m x 2m x 3m. In use, 50mm spacers are used between the connection points to make up the gap between interconnected framework modules 1 , and each framework module is treated as having a volume of 2m x 2m x 3m.

Removing uprights from the skeleton structure created from a series of inter connected modules allows larger rooms to be created and configured within the structure. However, removal of these members causes the overall structure thus created to lack the strength, stiffness and rigidity of an equivalent, purpose-built, one- piece structural element.

In the present invention, stiffening elements are added between adjacent framework modules 1 to provide additional strength across modular elements and assist with overcoming this issue. In a preferred embodiment, this is achieved as outlined below.

As shown in figures 5 and 6, stiffening elements 100 are positioned to connect between adjacent framework modules 1. The stiffening elements 100 are connected to each of the framework modules 1 by bolting these to the framework modules 1 via the connection points 4 with bolts 104. This arrangement is best shown in figures 8, 9, and 10. Each of the connection points 4 has two apertures or bolt holes 101 that are formed through the side face which is on the inside of its connection to the beam 2 or 3 - that is, next to the face of the beam 2 or beam 3 to which it is connected.

The bolt holes 101 are located toward each end of the connection point 4.

As can be seen in the figures, and in particular figure 7, each of the connection points 4 has a width that is half of the width of the beam to which is it connected. Each of the stiffening elements 100 also has a width that is half of the width of the beam to which is it connected, so that when the stiffening element 100 and connection points 4 are placed next to one another on the beam, their combined width is substantially the same as the width of the beam. The connections points and beams are attached to one another so that the outer face of the connection point and the neighbouring face of the beam are planar, or in the same plane.

Connection between the beam and connection point 4 is via welding along the inside and outside edges of the connection point 4, to create inner and outer weld beads 102, 103. The welding is carried out by robot welding in order to ensure that weld bead 102 has a substantially concave weld profile along the inside edge (as shown in figure 7), and also that the weld has substantially the same profile from one framework module to the next. Although robot welding is known for industries such as automotive manufacture, it is not well known to use this process structural steel welding, as there is little to no requirement for repeating and uniform structural steel parts. As shown in figures 8, 10, and 11 , the side face of the stiffener 100 is required to be flush with the inner face of the connection point 4, and the outer surface of the weld bead 102. It is important that the connection is a flush connection along the connecting faces and the weld bead 102 in order to achieve a strong structural connection between the stiffener 100 and the connection point 4, and also between adjacent framework modules 1 (connected via the stiffener or stiffeners 100).

It is only possible to achieve this flush fit if the outer profile of the weld bead 102 is uniformly concave along its length, and also that the weld bead is a certain size or substantially within a size range. Welding a consistent concave weld by hand is nearly impossible to do for a single weld, and is effectively impossible for repeated welds. However, this level of accuracy and repeatability is possible for automated robot welding.

It is also possible that a uniformly profiled bead could be created e.g. via post welding polishing or machining. However, as this would add an extra step, and would add expense and time to the process, it is not preferred.

Having a substantially flush surface and connection between the stiffener 100 and the framework modules 1 (that is, the beam, the connection point 4, and the weld bead 102) provides the ability to easily put a stiffener between adjacent framework modules after the removal of a vertical element or elements. Having a stiffening element linking between components provides additional strength across modular elements without interfering with the construction method, and the stiffening element is able to be installed and removed at any time to preserve modularity.

A stiffening element or elements as described above does not interfere with the construction of the modular frame or the skeleton framework, as it is shaped and sized to fit with the existing design. Use of this apparatus increases the flexibility of a modular building system, as the system can be used for creating wider spans, cantilevers, exterior spans, and higher walls than would otherwise be possible.




 
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