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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PANEL CONNECTOR ARRANGEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/119764
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-joined panels, in particular glass panels, between which there is a gap (50, 501, 502), with a connecting strip (10, 110, 400) for being inserted through the gap (50, 501, 502), a first support plate (20, 200, 600, 900) and a second support plate (30, 300, 601, 901) which can be applied to opposite sides of the panels (51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56) and which have respectively a slit (21, 31, 311, 631, 931), whereby the connecting strip (10, 110, 400) can be inserted through the slits (21, 31, 311, 631, 931) of the support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 900, 901) and can be latched at least on one side with each of its end portions (11, 12) on one of the support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 900, 901) so as not to be pulled out of the slits (21, 31, 311, 631, 931), whereby an oblique shoulder (13, 413) is configured in at least one longitudinal edge (14, 414) of the connecting strip (10, 400) on a first end portion (11, 411) of the connecting strip (10, 110, 400), oblique shoulder which is inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip (10, 110, 400) and which is turned to the other, the second end portion (12) of the connecting strip (10) and on which a fixing element (40, 41) can be supported which extends in the first support plate (20, 200, 600, 900).

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Inventors:
MARINONI MIRKO ITALICO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2008/053744
Publication Date:
October 09, 2008
Filing Date:
March 28, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MARINONI MIRKO ITALICO (IT)
International Classes:
E06B3/54; F16B5/06; F16S1/02
Foreign References:
EP1746241A22007-01-24
EP0931943A21999-07-28
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VIERING, Hans-Martin (Jentschura & PartnerGrillparzerstr. 14, Munich, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:

Claims

1. Panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-joined panels, in particular glass panels, between which there is a gap (50, 501, 502), with a connecting strip (10, 110, 400) for being inserted through the gap (50, 501, 502), a first support plate (20, 200, 600, 602, 900) and a second support plate (30, 300, 601, 901) which can be applied to opposite sides of the panels (51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56) and which have respectively a slit (21, 211, 631, 931, 31, 311), whereby the connecting strip (10, 110, 400) can be inserted through the slits (21, 211, 631, 931, 31, 311) of the support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 900, 901) and can be latched at least on one side with each of its end portions (11, 12, 411, 412) on one of the support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 900, 901) so as not to be pulled out of the slits (21, 211, 631, 931, 31, 311), whereby an oblique shoulder (13, 413) is configured in at least one longitudinal edge (14, 414) of the connecting strip (10, 400) on a first end portion (11, 411) of the connecting strip (10, 110, 400), oblique shoulder which is inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip (10, 400) and which is turned to the other, the second end portion (12, 412) of the connecting strip (10, 400) and on which a fixing element (40, 411) can be supported which extends in the first support plate (20, 200, 600, 602, 900).

2. Panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-joined panels, in particular glass panels, between which there is a gap (50), with a connecting strip (10) for being inserted through the gap (50), a first support plate (20, 200, 600, 602, 900) and a second support plate (30, 300, 601, 901) which can be applied to opposite sides of the panels (51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56) and which have respectively a slit (21, 31, 231, 321, 631, 931), whereby the connecting strip (10) can be inserted through the slits (21 , 31 , 231 , 321 , 631, 931) of the support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 602, 900, 901) and can be latched at least on one side with each of its end portions (11, 12) on one of the support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 602, 900, 901) so as not to be pulled out of the slits (21, 31, 231, 321, 621, 921), whereby an oblique shoulder (13) is configured in each of the two longitudinal edges (14) of the connecting strip (10) on its first end portion (11), oblique shoulder which is inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip (10) and which is turned to the other, the second end portion (12) of the connecting strip (10) and on which respectively one fixing element (40) can be supported which extends in the first support plate (20, 200, 600, 900).

3. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 1 or 2, whereby the oblique shoulder (13, 413) is formed by an on the whole V-shaped notch configured in the respective longitudinal edge (14, 414).

4. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 3, whereby the fixing element (40) is placed in a through bore (23, 622) which extends to the peripheral edge of the first support plate (20, 200, 600, 602).

5. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 4, whereby the fixing element (40) is a headless screw.

6. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 4, whereby a cone is formed on the end of the headless screw which is turned to the oblique shoulder (13, 413).

7. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 6, whereby an oblong recess (22, 220, 620) with a bottom (221, 662) is provided in the outside (26, 260) of the first support plate (20, 200, 600) turned away from the panels (51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56), recess in which the slit (21, 631) is configured, whereby the transversal width of the oblong recess (22, 220, 620) is bigger than the width of the slit (21, 631).

8. Panel connector arrangement according to the claims 4 and 7, whereby the through bore (23, 622) extends in a surface plane between the bottom (221, 662) of the oblong recess (22, 220, 620) and the outside (26, 260) of the first support plate (20, 200, 600, 602) which is turned away from the panels (51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56).

9. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 8, whereby at least one additional fixing element (41) is provided which extends in the first support plate (20, 200) and which rests on the first end portion (11) of the connecting strip (10) on its broad side (16) between the longitudinal edges (14) of the connecting strip (10).

10. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 8, whereby two additional fixing elements (41) are provided which extend in the first support plate (20, 200) and which rest on the first end portion (11) of the connecting strip (10) on the opposite broad sides (16) between the longitudinal edges (14) of the connecting strip (10).

11. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 9 or 10, whereby each additional fixing element (41) is configured as a headless screw.

12. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 11, whereby on the second end portion (12, 412) of the connecting strip (10, 400) a latching projection extending transversely to its longitudinal direction is configured with which the connecting strip (10, 400) rests on the second support plate (30, 300).

13. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 12, whereby the second support plate (30, 300, 601, 901) has a recess (32, 320, 620, 920) with a bottom (321, 662) through which the slit (31, 311, 631, 931) extends and on which the latching projection can be supported.

14. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 12 or 13, whereby the latching projection is formed by at least one transverse pin (15) which is fixed in a hole in the connecting strip (10, 400) and which juts out of the hole on both ends.

15. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 14, whereby two transverse pins (15) are provided which are placed spaced the one besides the other transversely to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip (10).

16. Panel connector arrangement according to claim 14 or 15, whereby each transverse pin (15) is configured as a slit clamping socket.

17. Panel connector arrangement according to any of the claims 1 to 16, whereby a second slit (211, 311, 631, 931) which crosses the slit (21, 31, 631, 931) is configured in both support plates (20, 30, 200, 300, 600, 601, 900, 901).

Description:

Panel connector arrangement

This invention relates to a panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-jointed panels, in particular glass panels.

Panel connector arrangements for connecting butt-jointed panels are used in particular for constructions such as, for example, showcases, partition walls or building facades. For configuring for example a building partition wall which is composed of several butt-jointed glass panels, the glass panels are held, for example with their upper and lower panel edges in retaining rails with a U-shaped cross-section. Depending on the height of the panels, it can become necessary that the glass panels are connected with each other in the area of their adjoining side edges.

From the document DE 299 19 333 Ul, for example a panel connector arrangement is known which has a supporting arm for connecting two panels butt-joined in a surface plane, arm at both ends of which a bush is configured with a screwed- in threaded bolt, the screw axis of which is orientated perpendicularly to the panels. The supporting arm is fixed to two panels to be connected to each other, the threaded bolt being bolted through a through hole in one of the two panels on which a nut is then screwed from the other panel side. It is necessary for this to make through holes in the panels.

From the document EP 1 746 241 Al, another panel connector is known for connecting butt-joined panels for which a screw element with the shape of a flat bar with two offset indentations at its small faces is bolted through a gap between the panels on which a nut body is screwed on both sides of the panels to be connected.

An object of this invention is to create a panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-joined panels which is cheap to manufacture, easy to mount and which can have relatively small dimensions so that the arrangement of several panel connector arrangements along a gap between the panels does not impair the visual appearance of the panel front.

According to the invention, a panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-joined panels, in particular glass panels, between which there is a gap is provided with a connecting strip for being inserted through the gap, a first support plate and a second support plate which can be applied to opposite sides of the panels and which have respectively a slit. The connecting strip can be inserted through the slits of the support

plates due to its configuration and can be latched at least on one side with each of its end portions on one of the support plates so as not to be able to be pulled out of the slits. An oblique shoulder is configured in at least one longitudinal edge of the connecting strip on a first end portion of the connecting strip, shoulder which is inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip and which faces to the other, the second end portion of the connecting strip and on which a fixing element can be supported which extends in the first support plate.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a panel connector arrangement for connecting butt-joined panels, in particular glass panels, between which there is a gap is provided with a connecting strip for being inserted through the gap, a first support plate and a second support plate which can be applied to opposite sides of the panels and which have respectively a slit. The connecting strip can be inserted through the slits of the support plates due to its configuration and can be latched at least on one side with each of its end portions on one of the support plates so as not to be pulled out of the slits. An oblique shoulder is configured in each of the two longitudinal edges of the connecting strip on its first end portion, shoulder which is inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip and which is turned to the other, the second end portion of the connecting strip and on which a fixing element can be supported which extends in the first support plate.

Since both support plates which are applied to the panels have respectively one slit each through which respectively one of the two end portions of the connecting strip extends and the form of each slit is adapted at least preferably to the cross-sectional shape of the connecting strip, the slit being configured complementary to the cross-section of the connecting strip, the position or the orientation of the support plates can be clearly defined with respect to the orientation of the connecting strip. This means that a for example rectangular support plate, the slit of which extends in longitudinal or width direction through the center portion of the support plate, is orientated depending on the orientation of the connecting strip horizontally or vertically between the panels to be connected. This cannot be guaranteed with a support plate which is screwed for example onto a screw element of a panel connector. However, the support plates are not limited to a rectangular or square shape. The support plates can rather also have an oval, round or polygonal cross-section shape. The support plates can be produced from corresponding semifinished pieces or in a casting method, and can be made of a metal or for example of an appropriate synthetic material.

The connecting strip for connecting the support plates which rest themselves on one side of two butt-joined panels is preferably a flat rectangular bending resistant metal strip. But the connecting strip can also be made of another material. When mounted, the connecting strip is latched at least on one side with each of its end portions on one of the two support plates so that it is latched so as not be able to be pulled out of the slits.

For the first mentioned panel connector arrangement, the connecting strip has for latching on the first support plate on its corresponding first end portion at least one oblique shoulder which is configured on a longitudinal edge of the substantially rectangular connecting strip. The fixing element which extends through the first support plate rests on the oblique shoulder which is inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip and which is turned or faces to the other, the second end portion of the connecting strip. Due to the resting or catching of the fixing element on the oblique shoulder, the connecting strip is removably latched against a movement in direction of the fixing element and thus of the panels.

For the second mentioned panel connector arrangement, instead of the one oblique shoulder two opposite oblique shoulders are provided so that such an oblique shoulder is configured in each of the two longitudinal edges of the connecting strip of the first end portion. For latching, a fixing element which extends through the first support plate catches respectively on each of the two oblique shoulders so that the connecting strip is held on both longitudinal edges of the first end portion.

According to a preferred embodiment, each oblique shoulder is configured as a generally V-shaped notch in the respective longitudinal edge. These V-shaped notches can easily be produced for example by punching out or cutting out the V-shaped section from the respective longitudinal edge of the substantially rectangular connecting strip.

As an alternative, a narrower connecting strip can also be used which is provided on the corresponding end portion with a projection jutting out from the respective longitudinal edge, extending obliquely inclined to the end. In other words, the connecting strip which has two oblique shoulders on the corresponding end portion can be configured T- shaped, whereby the web sections which rise from the T-leg on both sides extend with their lower side from the T-leg to the respectively free end of the T-web obliquely in direction away from the free end of the T-leg.

According to a configuration of the panel connector arrangement, the fixing element is placed in a through bore which extends to the peripheral edge of the first support plate. To the end that the fixing element can catch on the oblique shoulder, it stands to reason that the through bore in the support plate extends from the slit in which the connecting strip is lodged with its oblique shoulder and further to the peripheral edge of the support plate.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the fixing element is a headless screw. The headless screw can be screwed-in for example already before the mounting of the panel connector arrangement into the through bore provided with an inner thread on the one hand without penetrating into the slit and on the other hand without projecting over the peripheral edge of the support plate. Due to the further screwing-in of the headless screw into the through bore, the free end of the headless screw turned to the slit can be moved closer to the oblique shoulder positioned in the slit until the headless screw finally catches on the oblique shoulder. When the connecting strip is inserted into the gap and both support plates are set adjacent to the panels with their slit onto the respective end portions, both support plates, the second support plate of which is latched in another manner with the other end portion, are moved to the panels by means of the headless screw catching on the oblique shoulder and thus squeezed against the panels. With the oblique shoulder or the oblique surface orientated to the outside of the V-shaped notch, a relatively big catching surface is made available for the free end of the headless screw, this being seen in longitudinal direction of the connecting strip, so that work tolerances of the support plates, of the connecting strip or of sealing plates eventually placed between the support plates and the panels can be compensated and the panel connector arrangement can be mounted fixedly onto the panels.

According to an improvement of this embodiment, a cone is configured on the end of the headless screw which is turned to the oblique shoulder. The squeezing of the support plates to the panels can still be favourably assisted by means of the cone configured on the headless screw since, due to the cone, the cross-sectional surface of the free end of the headless screw is reduced and consequently the area of the surface on the oblique shoulder which is available for catching is being increased. Preferably the free end of the headless screw can be acute.

According to a further embodiment of the panel connector arrangement, an oblong recess with a bottom is provided in the outside of the first support plate turned away from the panels, recess in which the slit is configured, whereby the transversal width of

the oblong recess is bigger than the width of the slit. Preferably, the transversal width of the recess is at least somewhat bigger than the diameter of the headless screw so that the free end of the headless screw, when it is moved to the oblique shoulder, is free and can be more easily moved to the oblique shoulder.

According to a configuration, the through bore extends in a surface plane between the bottom of the oblong recess and the outside of the first support plate which is turned away from the panels. In this manner, the free end of the headless screw which rests on the oblique shoulder which is thicker than the slit width can rest on the bottom wall on both sides of the slit end.

For the embodiment with two headless screws which catch on two opposite oblique shoulders and thus on both longitudinal edges of the connecting strip, a still more stable latching or fixing of the connecting strip in the first support plate is achieved.

According to a further embodiment of the invention, at least one additional fixing element is provided which extends in the first support plate and which rests on the first end portion of the connecting strip on its flat or broad side between the longitudinal edges of the connecting strip perpendicularly to its strip surface plane. With the additional fixing element which extends through the first support plate and catches on the broad side of the connecting strip, the connecting strip can be clamped in the slit from the side, whereby the connecting strip is pressed by the fixing element with its side turned away from the fixing element to the slit wall adjacent thereto.

According to a further embodiment, two additional fixing elements are provided which extend in the first support plate and which rest on the first end portion of the connecting strip on the opposite broad sides between the longitudinal edges of the connecting strip. The connecting strip can be held centered inside the slit in the first support plate against a lateral vibration movement by means of the two fixing elements catching respectively on one of the broad sides without contact with the slit walls.

According to a configuration, each of the additional fixing elements is configured as a headless screw. The headless screws can be received countersunk inside their respective through bore configured with a thread and further screwed-in after the screwing down of the first fixing elements to the oblique shoulders until they hit the broad sides of the connecting strip.

Basically, compared with cap screws, the fixing means configured as headless screws and the additional fixing means have the advantage that they do not have sections projecting over the peripheral edge.

According to a further configuration of the panel connector arrangement, on the second end portion of the connecting strip a latching projection extending transversely to its longitudinal direction is configured with which the connecting strip rests on the second support plate. By means of the latching projection extending transversely to the longitudinal direction, the connecting strip can be latched with its second end portion on the second support plate at least on one side in order not to be pulled out of the slit of this second support plate in direction of the first support plate. For this embodiment, the connecting strip is inserted with its first connecting section out in front first through the slit of the second support plate. The connecting strip is inserted with its first end portion out in front through the gap between the panels, whereby the second support plate is held by the latching projection so as not to be pushed away from the connecting strip and the first support plate with its slit is then pushed onto the first end portion of the connecting strip, then the fixing elements will be caused to engage with the oblique shoulder or shoulders in the first end portion.

According to a configuration, the second support plate has a recess with a bottom through which the slit extends and on which the latching projection is supported. In this manner, it is achieved that the latching projection is received inside the recess and does not project over the outside of the second support plate which is turned away from the panels. The latching projection can be formed for example by a projecting part which extends as a T-shaped leg from both longitudinal edges of the strip. The latching projection can also be formed by two opposed bent-off latches on the second end portion, one of which projecting respectively over one of the two broad sides of the strip.

According to a preferred configuration, the latching projection is formed by at least one transverse pin which is fixed in a hole in the connecting strip and which juts out of the hole on both ends.

Preferably, two transverse pins are provided which are placed spaced the one besides the other transversely to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip. The holes in which the transverse pins are fixed can be produced in a simple manner very accurate in position so that an exact positioning of the transverse pins clamped therein is

guaranteed. In this manner, the transverse pin end portions projecting perpendicularly on both sides of the broad sides of the connecting strip form a stable rest for bearing on the bottom of the recess and avoid the possibility of a tilting motion of the second end portion of the connecting strip on the second support plate.

According to a configuration, each transverse pin is configured as a slit clamping socket. On the one hand, slit clamping sockets can easily be inserted by squeezing into the holes in the connecting strip and on the other hand, the clamping sockets stay stable in their position in the holes due to their clamping effect.

Alternatively, the transverse pins can also be headless screws screwed into the holes or pegs pressed into the holes which project respectively on both ends from the connecting strip.

According to a further embodiment of the panel connector arrangement, a second slit which crosses the first slit is configured in both support plates. In particular when the support plates have an oblong rectangular shape, the support plate can, if there are two slits, be mounted on the connecting strip with their longer side orientated transversely or longitudinally to the gap in the panels. Furthermore, the support plates with the second slit crossing the first slit prove to be advantageous, even for the configuration of the panel connector arrangement with one or two additional fixing means. Since each of the slits in the first support plate extends through the bottom of the recess which preferably imitates the shape of the crossing slits and only has an at least somehow bigger transverse width than the slits and the transverse width of the recess is moreover somehow bigger than the diameter of the headless screws, the sections of the additional headless screws which are turned to the connecting strip are free inside the recess.

At least schematically illustrated embodiments of the panel connector arrangement according to the invention will be described in more detail with reference to the attached drawings.

Fig. IA and fig. IB show respectively a schematic representation of an embodiment of a connecting strip of the panel connector arrangement according to the invention.

Fig. 2 shows a schematic representation of the first and of the second support plate according to an embodiment of the invention.

Fig 3 shows a schematic representation of a mounted on panel connector arrangement according to an embodiment.

Fig. 4 shows a schematic representation of a further embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 5 shows a schematic representation of another embodiment of the panel connector arrangement according to the invention.

Fig. 6 shows a schematic representation of a further embodiment according to the invention.

Fig. 7 shows a schematic representation of a further embodiment according to the invention.

Fig. 8 shows a schematic representation of a further embodiment according to the invention.

An embodiment of a connecting strip 10, 110 of the panel connector arrangement is illustrated respectively in fig. IA and IB and a first support plate 20 and a second support plate 30 according to an embodiment are represented in fig. 2 which can be assembled together with the connecting strip according to fig. IA to the panel connector arrangement illustrated in fig. 3.

As can be seen in fig. IA, the connecting strip 10 is substantially a rectangular bending resistant metal section with substantially parallel longitudinal edges 14 and parallel transverse edges which can be produced by cutting out a flat strip or for example by punching out a metal plate. The connecting strip 10 has in the area of its first end portion 11 in its two longitudinal edges 14 respectively an oblique shoulder 13 which is formed for this embodiment by a generally V-shaped notch. Each V-shaped notch can be produced for example by punching out or cutting out.

At the other, the second end portion 12, the connecting strip 10 has two latching projections each of which are formed by a transverse pin 15 and which are tightly inserted transversely to the longitudinal direction of the connecting strip 10 the one besides the other spaced from each other in holes of the connecting strip 10 and projecting at both ends over the broad sides 16 of the connecting strip 10.

In fig. IB, another embodiment of the connecting strip 110 is illustrated which has at its both end portions respectively on both longitudinal edges 114 two oblique shoulders 113 on laterally prodruding projections for latching on support plates at least at one end.

In fig. 2, the first support plate 20 and the second support plate 30 according an embodiment of the invention are shown. The support plates 20 and 30 have respectively one slit 21 or 31, whereby the first support plate 20 with its slit 21 can be mounted onto the first end portion 11 of the connecting strip 10 and the second support plate 30 with its slit 1 onto the second end portion 12 of the connecting strip 10.

A recess 22 with a bottom 221 is configured in the outside 26 which is turned away from the panels of the first support plate 20, through which recess bottom the slit 21 extends. In the illustrated embodiment, the transverse width of the recess is larger than the width of the slit 21, whereby the length of the recess is not larger or is slightly larger than the length of the slit 21. As can be further seen in fig. 2, the first support plate 20 has through holes 23 which extend from the narrow side of the slit 21 or of the recess 22 to the peripheral edge of the support plate 20. Moreover, additional through holes 24 and 25 are configured which are placed offset by 90° to the through holes 23 and which extend from the recess 22 respectively to the corresponding peripheral edge of the support plate 20. The through holes 23 as well as the additional through holes 24 and 25 extend in a surface plane which is situated between the outside 26 of the support plate 20 and the surface plane of the bottom 221.

The second support plate 30 according to fig. 2 has in its outside 36 turned away from the panels a recess 32 with a bottom 321 through which the slit 31 extends.

In fig. 3, a panel connector arrangement according to an embodiment of the invention is mounted on two butt-jointed panels which consists of the connecting strip 10, the first support plate 20, the second support plate 30, two headless screws 40 and two not visible headless screws which extend through the not visible through holes 24 and 25. As it can be recognized on the top view of the second support plate 30, the connecting strip 10 traverses the gap 50 between the panels 51, 52. The second end portion 12 of the connecting strip 10 juts out through the slit 31 in the second support plate 30, whereby the two transverse pins 15 which are placed on the second end portion 12 rest on the bottom 321 of the recess 32 and thus held the connecting strip 10 latched so as not to be able to be pulled out of the gap 50 in direction of the panels 51, 52.

As it can be recognized in the right sectional drawing, the connecting strip 10 traverses with its first end portion 11 the slit 21 of the first support plate 20, whereby the oblique shoulders 13 configured on the longitudinal edges of the connecting strip 10 are placed in the area of the through holes 23 in the first support plate 20. A headless screw 23 is placed respectively in the through holes 23, these headless screws being respectively screwed in so deeply into the support plate 20 that their free ends turned to the connecting strip 10 catch on the respective oblique shoulder 13 and, because of the arrangement of the oblique shoulder 13 inside the V-shaped notch, latch the first end portion 11 of the connecting strip 10 to both sides so as not to be able to be pulled out of the gap between the panels 51, 52. However, contrary to the illustrated embodiment of the panel connector arrangement according to fig. 3, it is also possible to provide only one of the oblique shoulders 13 on only one of the longitudinal edges 14 in the area of the first end portion 11 and to latch the connecting strip 10 with only one headless screw 40 extending in the corresponding through bore in the slit 21 of the first support plate 20.

Since for example the inner periphery of the slit 21 in the support plate 20 is generally somehow bigger than the cross-section of the connecting strip 10, a lateral support of the connecting strip 10 inside the slit 21 can be achieved by means of the additional fixing elements, which are configured as headless screws, which extend through the through holes 24 and 25 (see fig. 2) and which catch on the broad sides of the connecting strip 10.

As can be further seen in fig. 3, the dimensions of the connecting strip 10 including the transverse pins 15 fixed thereto are such that both end portions 11, 12 of the connecting strip 10 preferably do not project over the outsides 26 and 36 of the first support plate 20 and of the second support plate 30.

Even if it is not illustrated in the figures, a sealing washer can be provided preferably between the inner sides turned to the panels of the support plates 20, 30 which has however at least one corresponding hole in the area of the slits 21, 31. Moreover, a preferably compressible sealing washer can also be placed on the bottom 361 of the recess 36 in the second support plate 30, sealing washer on which the transverse pins 15 can then rest.

Since no portion of the connecting strip 10 projects over the surface plane of the outsides 26, 36 of the support plates 20, 30 and no portion of the fixing elements 40, 41

projects over the peripheral surface of the support plates 20, 30, decorative or protective caps can be mounted, for example by being jammed, onto the mounted support plates 20, 30.

A further embodiment of a panel connector arrangement is illustrated in fig. 4 for which respectively a second slit 211 or 311 crossing the slit 21 or 31 is configured in the first support plate 200 and in the second support plate 300 additionally to the slit 21 or 31. The second support plate 300, the inner side of which, turned to the panels, is configured flat and corresponds substantially to the shown inner side 270 turned to the panels of the first support plate 200, has in its outside 360 turned away from the panels a substantially round recess 320 with a bottom 321 through which the slit 31 and the slit 311 crossing the slit 31 extend. The connecting strip 10 can, for example, be inserted through the slit 31 of the second support plate 300, the gap between two panels (not illustrated) and through the slit 31 of the first support plate 200 and be held latched by means of the screwed in headless screws 40 which catch on the oblique shoulders 13 of the connecting strip, whereby the latching takes place on the other side by means of the two transverse pins 15 on the second end portion of the connecting strip 10 which rest on the bottom 321 of the recess 320. The support plate 200 can be fixedly positioned with respect to the connecting strip 10 against lateral motion by means of the headless screws 41 which are respectively screwed in laterally into the support plate 200 in this illustration (only one of the screws is illustrated) and which catch on the respective broad side 16 of the connecting strip 10.

It can be seen in the top view of the outside 260 of the schematically represented first support plate 200 that a recess 211 is provided therein through the bottom of which the slit 21 and the slit 211 crossing the slit 21 extend, whereby the recess 220 is represented in top view as a cross. The through bores extend from the recess 220 respectively in the area of the ends of the slits 21 and 211 to the peripheral wall of the first support plate 200 so that the free ends turned to the connecting strips 10 of the headless screws are moved respectively freely during screwing-in in the area of the recess. Alternatively to the shown illustration of the outside 260 of the support plate 200, the recess 220 can also extend beyond the ends of the slits 21, 211 so that the longitudinal ends of the slits 21, 211 are also surrounded by a bottom section of the recess 220.

It can be clearly seen in the schematic representation of the panel connector arrangement according to fig. 4 that the connecting strip 10 can also traverse the slit 311 of the second support plate 300 and the slit 211 of the first support plate 200 and then be

latched inside the first support plate 200 by means of the headless screws 41 catching on the oblique shoulders 13. In particular when the support plates have a rectangular shape in top view, the support plates 200, 300 can be mounted, depending on the wished configuration, orientated with their longer side in direction of the gap between the plates or transversely to the direction of the gap between the plates.

The support plates 20, 30, 200, 300 represented in fig. 2 to 4 have respectively a rectangular shape. However, it is obvious that they can also be configured oval or round in top view.

For an embodiment of the panel connector arrangement, for which the connecting strip 100 represented in fig. IB should be used, two support plates 20 or 200 are used for example, whereby respectively two headless screws 40 catch on each of the oblique shoulders 113 for latching the connecting strip 110. Additionally, the additional fixing means 41 can be provided which catch or rest respectively on both broad sides respectively between or in the are of the first end portion 111 and of the second end portion 112.

In fig. 5, a panel connector arrangement is represented for connecting for example four butt-joined panels 53, 54, 55, 56 according to a further embodiment of the invention.

As may be seen in fig. 5, the four panels 53, 54, 55, 56 are butted to each other so that a gap extending substantially horizontally and a vertically extending gap 502 which intersect perpendicularly are formed between them. The first support plate 200 and the second support plate 300 are configured substantially like the support plates according to fig. 4 and have additionally to the slit 21 or 31 respectively the second slit 211 or 311 perpendicularly crossing the slit 21 or 31. Both support plates 200, 300 are applied to opposite sides of the plates 53, 54, 55, 56 in such a manner that the slits 21 and 211 or 31 and 311 are respectively aligned with the gap 502 and the gap 503.

The connecting strip 400 for traversing the cross-shaped gap 501, 502 of this embodiment between the plates 53, 54, 55,56 and through the crossing slits 21, 211 or 31, 311 of the support plates 200 and 300 is configured with a cross-shaped cross- section and has four longitudinal edges 414.

The cross-shaped connecting strip 400 can be latched with each of its end portions 411, 412 on one of the support plates 200, 300 so as not be able to be pulled out of the slits

21, 211 and 31, 311 at least to one side. To this end, an oblique shoulder 413 is configured in at least one longitudinal edge 414 of the connecting strip 400 on the first end portion 411, this oblique shoulder extending inclined with respect to the longitudinal direction, i.e. to the traversing or insertion direction of the connecting strip 400 and is turned to the other, the second end portion 412 of the connecting strip 412 and on which a fixing element can rest which extends in the first support plate 200.

For the embodiment illustrated in fig. 5, the connecting strip 400 has such an oblique shoulder 413 on its first end portion 411 in each of its four longitudinal edges 414. Moreover, the connecting strip 400 has four latching projections respectively shaped as a transverse pin 15 on its second end portion, whereby the transverse pins 15 are placed offset spaced from the respective longitudinal edge 414.

The support plate 200 has in each of its four side edges a through bore 23 provided with a thread, bore into which a headless screw 40 is screwed in. The second support plate 300 has, in its outside 360 turned away from the plates, a substantially square recess 320 with a bottom 362 through which the slit 31 and the slit 311 crossing the slit 31 are extending.

The connecting strip 400 can traverse the cross recess (the slits 31 and 311) of the second support plate 300, the cross gap (gap 501 and 502) between the four plates 53, 54, 55, 56 and the cross recess (the slits 21 and 211) of the first support plate 200 and be held latched by means of the four headless screws 40 screwed- in into the first support plate 200 which catch on the corresponding oblique shoulder 413 of the connecting strip 400. The latching on the other side of the plates 53, 54, 55, 56 is carried out by the four transverse pins 15 on the second end portion 412 of the connecting strip 10 which rest on the bottom 362 of the recess 320 of the second support plate 300.

In fig. 6, a further embodiment of a panel connector arrangement with a first support plate 600 and a second support plate 601 is illustrated which are applied to opposite sides of the panels and on which the connecting strip 10 which is inserted through the slits 631 is latched with each of its end portions 11, 12 on one of the support plates 600 and 601 so as not to be able to be pulled out of the slits 631.

The support plate 600 and the support plate 601 differ, for example, from the support plate 300 (fig. 5) in that they have in their side turned away from the panels a groove- type recess 620 which extends parallel to the one slit 631 and which is open at its both

ends. Thus, the recess 620 is limited on only two sides by a wall section 621 which extends perpendicularly to the other slit 631. The through holes 622 for receiving the headless screws 40 which catch on the oblique shoulders 13 of the connecting strip 10 extend at the level of this other slit 631 which is horizontal in the illustration through the concerned wall section 621 to the recess 620.

It can be provided that the support plates 600 and 601 are configured identical so that each of the support plates 600, 601 has the through holes 622 for the headless screws 40.

As may be seen in fig. 6, the slit 631 in both support plates 600 and 601 can be configured for example as a cross recess, whereby for the shown configuration a flat connecting strip 10 is used for being inserted through the slit 631 which extends from the wall section 621 which is on the left in the illustration to the right wall section 621. Moreover, the support plates 600, 601 have two holes 670 which extend through the bottom 662 of the recess 620 and which are configured besides the end portions of the section of the slit 631 which crosses the cross section 631 for inserting the connecting strip 10 through it. The holes 670 are preferably configured as threaded holes.

As it has already been described for example by means of the embodiment according to fig. 4, respectively two butt-joined panels 700 and 701 with a gap (not represented) between them with a connecting strip 10 traversing the gap, with a first support plate 600, a second support plate 601 and the for example two headless screws 50 can be connected with each other.

Four butt-joined panels 700, 701, 702, 703 are at least schematically illustrated in fig. 6. For connecting these four panels 700, 701, 702, 703, according to this embodiment, four pairs support plates 600, 601 are used. All four support plates 600, 601 are placed equally spaced from the imaginary intersection point of the gaps which are configured between four panels. In order to make available simultaneously a stable connection of the four panels with each other, a positioning plate 800 can be used, as illustrated in fig. 6, which is positioned between the support plates 601 and the four panels. To this end, the positioning plate 800 can have four recess slits 801 for inserting the connecting strips 10 through them.

According to a preferred embodiment, the positioning plate 800 also has countersunk holes 802 spaced from the end portions at least of one of the two slits of each cross

recess 801. Consequently, four support plates 601 can be screwed to the illustrated positioning plate 800 respectively by means of two countersunk screws 803 which extend through the countersunk holes 802 and are screwed-in into the threaded holes 670 of the support plate 670 so that the slits 631 of the support plates 601 with the cross recesses 802 of the positioning plate 800.

For connecting the illustrated four panels 700, 701, 702, 703, the positioning plate 800 is positioned with the four pre-assembled support plates 601 on the one side of the panels. A connecting strip 10 can then be first inserted through a slit 631 of the one support plate 601, the slit 801 which is aligned with it in the positioning plate 800 and the gap between, for example, the panels 700 and 701. Then, a support plate 600 with its slit 631 can be mounted on the free section of the connecting strip 10 which is projecting on the other side of the panels 700, 701. Due to the further screwing in of the headless screws 40 into the through holes 622 of the support plate, the corresponding ends of the headless screws 40 can catch on the respective oblique shoulders 13 of the connecting strip 10 so that both support plates 601 and 600 are clamped at least provisionally by means of the connecting strip 10 against the panels 700, 701. The other three support plates 600 can then be connected with a corresponding support plate 601 by means of respectively a connecting strip 10 by precisely positioning the positioning plate 800 on the other side of the panels until finally the four butt-joined panels are connected with each other.

A further embodiment of a panel connector arrangement according to the invention is illustrated in fig. 7.

The panel connector arrangement according to fig. 7 is configured in particular for connecting four butt-joined panels such as, for example glass panels. A gap with the shape of an assembled cross is formed between the four panels 700, 701, 702, 703 which are only indicated in fig. 7. The panel connector arrangement has a first support plate 900 and a second support plate 901 which are applied to opposite sides of the panels 700, 701, 702, 703. Four slits 931, which are aligned in pairs with each other, are provided in each of the support plates 900, 901. For this embodiment too, the slits 931 can be configured, as illustrated, as cross recesses, so that the support plates 900, 901 can also be mounted, for example, rotated by 90° with respect to the illustrated embodiment.

The support plates 900, 901 which are configured flat on their side turned to the panels, have four recesses 920 respectively on their side turned away from the plates 700, 701, 702, 703, recesses through the bottom of which respectively one of the four slits extends, as well as a central mounting recess 940. Furthermore, the support plates 900, 901 have four lateral mounting recesses 950, each of which is configured between a respective edge of the support plates 900, 901 and one of the four recesses 920 and ends spaced from this. Through bores 922 for receiving the headless screws 40 are configured in the wall sections 921 formed in this manner between the central mounting recess 940 and each of the recesses 920 on the one hand and the recesses 920 and the respectively adjacent lateral mounting recess 950 on the other hand.

It is understood that the support plates 900 and 910 can be configured identical. However, the support plate 900 can be provided with the through bores 922 in the wall sections 92 while the support plate 901 does not have any through hole 922. The support plates 900, 901 can be made of a metal, whereby the recesses 920, 940 and 950 can be moulded by milling. However, the support plates 900, 901 can also be cast parts into which the slits 931 and the through holes 922 can be worked in later.

A further embodiment of the panel connector arrangement according to the invention is illustrated in fig. 8.

As may be seen in fig. 8, the first support plate 602 of the panel connector arrangement is configured similarly to the support plate 600 according to the embodiment illustrated in fig. 6, while the second support plate 601 substantially corresponds to the support plate 601 according to fig. 6. The support plate 602 has the recess 620 through the bottom of which the slit (not illustrated) extends for the connecting strip 10 being inserted through. The recess of the support plate 602 is limited on two opposite sides by respectively one wall section 621 and 624. The through hole 622 for receiving the headless screw extends through the wall section 621. The other wall portion 624 has an inclined surface 625 which extends substantially from the bottom of the recess 620 to the free upper side of the wall section 642 obliquely to the outside. As may further be seen in fig. 8, this inclined surface 625 has an inclination angle which is configured substantially complementary to the inclination angle of the oblique shoulder 13 of the connecting strip 10. Thus, when the support plates 601 and 602 are placed for connecting two panels and the connecting strip 10 traverses the slits (not illustrated) in the support plates 601, 602 and the gap between the panels, due to the repeated catching of the headless crew 40 on the corresponding oblique shoulder 13 of the connecting

strip 10, the connecting strip 10 is pushed on the one hand in direction of the arrow A and on the other hand with its opposite oblique shoulder 13 in direction of the inclined surface 625 of the wall portion 624. In this manner, the support plates 601, 602 can be clamped against the panels by means of only one headless screw 40 which catches on one of the oblique shoulders and both panels can thus be connected with each other.