(19)
(11)EP 3 200 285 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 17153239.3

(22)Date of filing:  26.01.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01R 13/453(2006.01)
H01R 24/78(2011.01)
H01R 13/447(2006.01)
H01R 103/00(2006.01)

(54)

HOLDER FOR CONCEALED ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS

HALTER FÜR VERBORGENE ELEKTRISCHE VERBINDUNGEN

SUPPORT POUR CONNEXIONS ÉLECTRIQUES DISSIMULÉES


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 27.01.2016 IT UB20163727 U

(43)Date of publication of application:
02.08.2017 Bulletin 2017/31

(73)Proprietor: A.S.A. Plastici Azienda Stampaggio Articoli Plastici S.R.L.
20090 Trezzano Sul Naviglio, MI (IT)

(72)Inventor:
  • CRUCITTI, Rodolfo
    21100 VARESE (IT)

(74)Representative: Modiano, Micaela Nadia et al
Modiano & Partners Via Meravigli, 16
20123 Milano
20123 Milano (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-U1-202015 103 222
US-A- 4 605 270
US-A- 4 549 778
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to a holder for concealed electrical connections, of the type that can be recessed in a surface such as a table or a wall.

    [0002] Solutions are known that use adapted means for hiding electrical connections when they are not in use. For example, Italian utility model no. 280540 discloses a system with two covers that can slide in order to cover or expose a respective electrical connection.

    [0003] This known system has the drawback of having a cover that necessarily protrudes with respect to the surface in which the electrical connection is recessed, in order to allow the user to manually grip the outer edges of the cover in order to slide it. Furthermore, the opening of the above mentioned cover is completely manual.

    [0004] US4549778 discloses a child deterring electrical socket cover assembly adapted to cover an electrical socket, having a cover with at least one opening capable of exposing the socket, a complementary sliding door for covering or exposing the opening and a releasable locking means to permit the door to be moved into the exposed position upon release.

    [0005] US4605270 discloses a protective cover for an electrical outlet comprising a pair of slidable closure plates and a pair of coil spring-actuated blocking plates, both types of plates being positioned within the boundaries of rectangular openings in the front wall of the cover.

    [0006] DE 20 2015 103222 U1 discloses a retractable multi-socket device comprising translation and rotation element for automatically opening flap part based on pressure on outer surface of flap part in closed position.

    [0007] The aim of the present invention is to provide a holder for concealed electrical connections which is capable of improving the known art in one or more of the above mentioned aspects.

    [0008] Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a holder for concealed electrical connections that makes it possible to automatically access the hidden electrical connection, thus reducing the manual intervention by the user.

    [0009] Another object of the invention is to provide a holder for concealed electrical connections that makes it possible to keep the covers covering the electrical connections substantially flush with the surface in which the holder is recessed or with a plate of the holder proper.

    [0010] Another object of the present invention is to overcome the known drawbacks in a different manner to any existing solutions.

    [0011] Another object of the invention is to provide a holder for concealed electrical connections that is highly reliable, easy to implement and low cost.

    [0012] This aim and these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by a holder for concealed electrical connections according to claim 1. Any advantageous characteristics of the invention are recited in the dependent claims.

    [0013] Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the detailed description that follows of a preferred, but not exclusive, embodiment of the holder for concealed electrical connections according to the invention, which is illustrated for the purposes of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings wherein:

    Figure 1 is a perspective view of a holder for electrical connections according to the invention, wherein the covers are in the covering position of the respective electrical connection;

    Figure 2 shows the automatic opening movement of one of the covers of the holder of the previous figure;

    Figure 3 shows the step of opening the cover of the previous figure;

    Figure 4 shows the cover of the previous figure completely open;

    Figure 5 is a plan view from above of the holder of Figure 1;

    Figure 6 is a plan view from above of the holder of Figure 4;

    Figure 7 is a cross-sectional view of the holder of Figure 5 taken along the line VII-VII;

    Figure 8 is a cross-sectional view of the holder of Figure 6 taken along the line VIII-VIII.



    [0014] With reference to the figures, a holder for concealed electrical connections according to the invention, generally designated by the reference numeral 1, comprises a box 2 and a plate 3.

    [0015] The box 2 can be recessed in a surface, for example in a table or in a wall, and the plate 3 is fixed to the box 2 in the assembly step, so that the plate 3 is substantially flush with the surface. The box 2 can be closed on the bottom by an end face 22, which can be separated and is optionally provided with openings for the wires of the electrical connections to pass through.

    [0016] The holder 1 further comprises at least one sliding cover that is adapted to cover at least one electrical connection in a covering position and to be moved away by sliding from such covering position so as to expose the electrical connection to the outside. In particular, in the embodiment shown, there are two sliding covers 4a and 4b, each one adapted to be superimposed on a respective electrical connection 5a, 5b which, in the embodiment shown, is a CEE 7/3 or "Schuko" socket.

    [0017] In other embodiments of the holder according to the invention, not shown, there can be a single sliding cover adapted to cover one or more electrical connections, or more than two sliding covers, each one adapted to cover a respective electrical connection or a plurality of electrical connections.

    [0018] The covers 4a, 4b are preferably able to slide within a respective rectangular opening 31a, 31b in the plate 3, in particular along the edges of such opening 31a, 31b.

    [0019] The electrical connections of the holder 1 according to the invention can be of any kind. They can be identical electrical AC sockets, like the sockets 5a-5b, or different, or RJ45 data sockets, microphone or headphone jacks, HDMI ports or USB ports (for the transmission of data or 5V power for recharging batteries, in particular of cellular phones).

    [0020] Each cover 4a, 4b is elastically loaded to move away from the above mentioned covering position of the electrical connection 5a, 5b shown in Figures 1 and 7, by way of respective first elastic means which, in the embodiment shown, consist of a respective torsion spring 6 for each cover 4a, 4b, which is accommodated in the box 2.

    [0021] With reference only to the torsion spring 6 of the cover 4a shown in the drawings, such spring acts between a raised portion 21 protruding from the base 22 of the box 2 and an abutment element that is integral with the respective cover 4a, for example a tooth 41 protruding from the other side with respect to the upper surface 42 of the cover 4a. In particular, one arm 61 of the torsion spring 6 is engaged from behind on the tooth 41, while the second arm 62 is engaged against a face of the raised portion 21 so that the torsion spring 6 is loaded when the cover 4a is completely superimposed on the respective electrical connection 5a, i.e. it is in the covering position. In such position, the torsion spring 6 tends to entrain the cover 4a away from the covering position of the electrical connection 5a.

    [0022] The holder 1 further comprises at least one button that can move between a raised position and a lowered position. In particular, in the embodiment shown, there are two buttons 7a and 7b, which are associated with a respective cover 4a, 4b and adapted to release at least part of the elastic energy stored in the respective torsion spring 6 when the respective button 7a, 7b passes from the raised position to the lowered position, i.e. when it is pressed by the user as illustrated in Figure 2 with reference to the button 7a.

    [0023] The button 7a, 7b is loaded elastically toward the raised position by way of second elastic means, for example by way of a respective compression spring 8 of the helical type, which tends to make the button 7a, 7b return to the raised position unless it is kept pressed. The compression spring 8 acts between a surface 23 of the box 2 and the lower surface of the respective button 7a, 7b.

    [0024] Each button 7a, 7b comprises or is connected to a respective abutment 71 against which an edge 43 of the respective sliding cover 4a, 4b is engaged. The abutment 71 is adapted to keep the corresponding cover 4a, 4b in the covering position of the electrical connection 5a, 5b when the respective button 7a, 7b is in the raised position, i.e. in the position shown in Figures 1 or 7 with reference to the button 7a.

    [0025] The same opening 31a, 31b of the plate 3 within which the respective cover 4a, 4b can slide is occupied by the corresponding button 7a, 7b when such button is in the raised position. Advantageously, the button 7a, 7b and the respective cover 4a, 4b have in plan view a substantially rectangular and substantially mutually identical shape and they have respective upper surfaces 72, 42 directed toward the outside which are substantially flat, flush and contiguous with one another, and flush and contiguous with the upper surface 32 of the plate 3.

    [0026] In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the button 7a, 7b flanks the respective cover 4a, 4b so that, when a button 7a or 7b is pressed, the respective cover 4a, 4b can slide until it is superimposed on the button 7a or 7b pressed, thus keeping it in the lowered position. In the example shown, the travel of the upper surface 72 of the button 7a between the raised position and the lowered position is substantially greater than or equal to the overall thickness of the cover 4a, so that, with the sliding of the cover away from the covering position of the electrical connection 5a, the cover 4a can be completely superimposed on the button 7a when this is in the lowered position, as illustrated in Figure 8.

    [0027] The operation of the invention is evident from the description of its structure. In particular, starting from the situation in Figure 1, when the button 7a is pressed, the abutment 71 is lowered along with the button 7a and therefore it no longer prevents the sliding of the cover 4a. Considering that the torsion spring 6 was loaded when the cover was in the covering position and that now the cover 4a is no longer held by the abutment 71, the arm 61 of the torsion spring entrains the cover away from the covering position, thus releasing all or part of the energy that was stored in the spring 6 before the button 7a was pressed. At this point, the cover initially slides because it is pushed by the arm 61 of the spring 6 and, when such arm is decoupled from the position of engagement with the tooth 41, the sliding of the cover 4a continues by inertia, bringing the cover 4a to a position at least partially superimposed on the button 7a as shown in Figure 3. In this position, the arm 61 is already uncoupled from the tooth 41 and therefore, if the travel is not complete, the user can manually slide the cover 4a until it is completely superimposed on the button 7a, as shown in Figure 4. It is thus possible to access the electrical connection 5a.

    [0028] To close the cover 4a, it is manually slid until it completely covers the electrical connection 5a. During the return travel of the cover 4a, the tooth 41 intercepts the arm 61 of the torsion spring 6 once again, thus loading the latter up until the covering position. Once such position is reached, since there is no longer any portion of the cover 4a superimposed on the button 7a, the latter snaps back to the raised position shown in Figure 1.

    [0029] In practice it has been found that the device according to the invention fully achieves the set aim, since it makes it possible to automatically access electrical connections that are hidden from view, reducing manual intervention by the user and keeping the covers covering the electrical connections substantially flush with the surface in which the holder is recessed or with a plate of the holder proper.

    [0030] The device, thus conceived, is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims.

    [0031] Moreover, all the details may be substituted by other, technically equivalent elements.

    [0032] In practice, the materials employed, as well as the dimensions, may be any according to requirements and to the state of the art.

    [0033] Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.


    Claims

    1. A holder (1) for concealed electrical connections that comprises at least one sliding cover (4a, 4b) which is adapted to cover at least one electrical connection (5a, 5b), said at least one cover (4a, 4b) being adapted to be superimposed on said electrical connection in a covering position and to be moved away by sliding from said covering position so as to expose said electrical connection (5a, 5b) to the outside, wherein said at least one cover (4a, 4b) is configured to be elastically loaded to move away from said covering position by way of respective first elastic means (6), said holder (1) further comprising at least one button (7a, 7b) that can move between a raised position and a lowered position, said at least one button (7a, 7b) being respectively associated with said at least one cover (4a, 4b) and adapted to release at least part of the elastic energy stored in said first elastic means (6) when said at least one button (7a, 7b) passes from the raised position to the lowered position,
    characterized in that
    said at least one button (7a, 7b) comprises or is connected to an abutment (71) against which an edge (43) of said at least one cover (4a, 4b) is configured to be engaged, said abutment (71) being adapted to keep said at least one cover (4a, 4b) in the covering position when said at least one button (7a, 7b) is in the raised position.
     
    2. The holder according to claim 1, wherein said at least one button (7a, 7b) is configured to be elastically loaded toward said raised position by way of second elastic means (8).
     
    3. The holder according to one or more of the preceding claims, comprising a box (2) for supporting said at least one electrical connection (5a, 5b) which can be recessed in a surface and a plate (3) associated with said box (2), said plate (3) comprising at least one opening (31, 32) along the edges of which said at least one cover (4a, 4b) can slide.
     
    4. The holder according to claim 3, wherein said opening in the plate (3) is configured to be occupied by said at least one button (7a, 7b) when it is in the raised position.
     
    5. The holder according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said at least one button (7a, 7b) and said at least one cover (4a, 4b) have respective upper surfaces (42, 72) directed toward the outside, said upper surfaces being substantially flat and mutually flush.
     
    6. The holder according to claim 5, wherein said upper surfaces (42, 72) have in plan view a substantially rectangular and substantially mutually identical shape.
     
    7. The holder according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the travel of the upper surface (72) of said at least one button (7a, 7b) between the raised position and the lowered position is substantially greater than or equal to the thickness of said at least one cover (4a, 4b), so that, with its sliding away from the covering position, said at least one cover (4a, 4b) can be superimposed on said at least one button (7a, 7b) when said at least one button is in the lowered position.
     
    8. The holder according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said first elastic means (6) act between said box (2) and an abutment element (41) that is integral with said at least one cover.
     
    9. The holder according to claim 8, wherein said first elastic means (6) comprise a torsion spring that comprises an arm (61) engaged with said abutment element (41) of the cover (4a, 4b).
     
    10. The holder according to claim 9, wherein said abutment element (41) protrudes below from said at least one cover (4a, 4b) and is arranged proximate to said abutment (71) of the button (7a, 7b).
     
    11. The holder according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said second elastic means (8) comprise a compression spring placed below said at least one button (7a, 7b) and acting between said box (2) and said at least one button (7a, 7b).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Halter (1) für verborgene elektrische Verbindungen, der mindestens eine Schiebeabdeckung (4a, 4b) aufweist, die darauf ausgelegt ist, mindestens eine elektrische Verbindung (5a, 5b) abzudecken, wobei die mindestens eine Abdeckung (4a, 4b) darauf ausgelegt ist, über der elektrischen Verbindung in einer abdeckenden Position zu liegen und durch Schieben aus der abdeckenden Position wegbewegt zu werden, um so die elektrische Verbindung (5a, 5b) zur Außenseite hin freizulegen, wobei die mindestens eine Abdeckung (4a, 4b) dazu konfiguriert ist, elastisch beaufschlagt zu werden, um von der abdeckenden Position durch jeweilige erste elastische Mittel (6) wegbewegt zu werden, wobei der Halter (1) ferner mindestens einen Knopf (7a, 7b) aufweist, der zwischen einer angehobenen Position und einer abgesenkten Position bewegt werden kann, wobei der mindestens eine Knopf (7a, 7b) jeweils der mindestens einen Abdeckung (4a, 4b) zugeordnet und darauf ausgelegt ist, mindestens einen Teil der in den ersten elastischen Mitteln (6) gespeicherten elastischen Energie freizusetzen, wenn der mindestens eine Knopf (7a, 7b) von der angehobenen Position in die abgesenkte übergeht,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    der mindestens eine Knopf (7a, 7b) ein Widerlager (71) aufweist oder mit einem verbunden ist, wobei eine Kante (43) der mindestens einen Abdeckung (4a, 4b) dazu konfiguriert ist einzugreifen, wobei das Widerlager (71) dazu ausgelegt ist, die mindestens eine Abdeckung (4a, 4b) in der abdeckenden Position zu halten, wenn der mindestens eine Knopf (7a, 7b) in der angehobenen Position ist.
     
    2. Halter nach Anspruch 1, wobei der mindestens eine Knopf (7a, 7b) dazu konfiguriert ist, in Richtung der angehobenen Position durch zweite elastische Mittel (8) elastisch beaufschlagt zu sein.
     
    3. Halter nach einem oder mehreren der vorstehenden Ansprüche, aufweisend ein Gehäuse (2) zum Tragen der mindestens einen elektrischen Verbindung (5a, 5b), die in einer dem Gehäuse (2) zugeordneten Oberfläche und Platte (3) versenkt werden kann, wobei die Platte (3) mindestens eine Öffnung (31, 32) aufweist, entlang deren Kanten die mindestens eine Abdeckung (4a, 4b) geschoben werden kann.
     
    4. Halter nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Öffnung in der Platte (3) dazu konfiguriert ist, von dem mindestens einen Knopf (7a, 7b) eingenommen zu werden, wenn er in der angehobenen Position ist.
     
    5. Halter nach einem oder mehreren der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der mindestens eine Knopf (7a, 7b) und die mindestens eine Abdeckung (4a, 4b) jeweilige in Richtung der Außenseite gerichtete obere Flächen (42, 72) haben, wobei die oberen Flächen im Wesentlichen flach und zueinander bündig sind.
     
    6. Halter nach Anspruch 5, wobei die oberen Flächen (42, 72) in einer Draufsicht eine im Wesentlichen rechteckige und im Wesentlichen einander identische Form haben.
     
    7. Halter nach einem oder mehreren der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Weg der oberen Fläche (72) des mindestens einen Knopfes (7a, 7b) zwischen der angehobenen und der abgesenkten Position im Wesentlichen größer als die oder gleich der Dicke der mindestens einen Abdeckung (4a, 4b) ist, sodass die mindestens eine Abdeckung (4a, 4b) beim Wegschieben aus der abdeckenden Position über dem mindestens einen Knopf (7a, 7b) liegen kann, wenn der mindestens eine Knopf in der abgesenkten Position ist.
     
    8. Halter nach einem oder mehreren der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die ersten elastischen Mittel (6) zwischen dem Gehäuse (2) und einem Widerlagerelement (41) wirken, das einstückig mit der mindestens einen Abdeckung ausgebildet ist.
     
    9. Halter nach Anspruch 8, wobei die ersten elastischen Mittel (6) eine Torsionsfeder aufweisen, die einen in das Widerlagerelement (41) der Abdeckung (4a, 4b) eingreifenden Arm (61) aufweist.
     
    10. Halter nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Widerlagerelement (41) unter der mindestens einen Abdeckung (4a, 4b) hervorragt und nahe des Widerlagers (71) des Knopfes (7a, 7b) angeordnet ist.
     
    11. Halter nach einem oder mehreren der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die zweiten elastischen Mittel (8) eine unter dem mindestens einen Knopf (7a, 7b) platzierte Druckfeder aufweisen, die zwischen dem Gehäuse (2) und dem mindestens einen Knopf (7a, 7b) wirkt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Support (1) pour des connexions électriques dissimulées qui comporte au moins un couvercle coulissant (4a, 4b) qui est adapté pour recouvrir au moins une connexion électrique (5a, 5b), ledit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) étant adapté pour être superposé à ladite connexion électrique dans une position de recouvrement et pour être écarté par coulissement à partir de ladite position de recouvrement de manière à exposer ladite connexion électrique (5a, 5b) à l'extérieur, dans lequel ledit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) est configuré pour être sollicité élastiquement pour s'écarter de ladite position de recouvrement au moyen de premiers moyens élastiques (6) respectifs, ledit support (1) comportant en outre au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) qui peut se déplacer entre une position levée et une position abaissée, ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) étant respectivement associé audit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) et adapté pour libérer au moins une partie de l'énergie élastique emmagasinée dans lesdits premiers moyens élastiques (6) lorsque ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) passe de la position levée à la position abaissée,
    caractérisé en ce que
    ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) comporte une butée (71) ou est relié à celle-ci, butée avec laquelle un bord (43) dudit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) est configuré pour venir en contact, ladite butée (71) étant adaptée pour maintenir ledit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) dans la position de recouvrement lorsque ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) est dans la position levée.
     
    2. Support selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) est configuré pour être sollicité élastiquement vers ladite position levée au moyen de seconds moyens élastiques (8).
     
    3. Support selon une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, comportant un boîtier (2) pour supporter ladite au moins une connexion électrique (5a, 5b) qui peut être encastré dans une surface et une plaque (3) associée audit boîtier (2), ladite plaque (3) comportant au moins une ouverture (31, 32) le long des bords desquels ledit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) peut coulisser.
     
    4. Support selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ladite ouverture dans la plaque (3) est configurée pour être occupée par ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) lorsqu'il est dans la position levée.
     
    5. Support selon une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) et ledit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) ont des surfaces supérieures (42, 72) respectives dirigées vers l'extérieur, lesdites surfaces supérieures étant sensiblement planes et mutuellement affleurantes.
     
    6. Support selon la revendication 5, dans lequel lesdites surfaces supérieures (42, 72) ont, en vue de dessus, une forme sensiblement rectangulaire et sensiblement mutuellement identique.
     
    7. Support selon une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la course de la surface supérieure (72) dudit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) entre la position levée et la position abaissée est sensiblement supérieure ou égale à l'épaisseur dudit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b), de sorte que, avec son coulissement l'écartant de la position de recouvrement, ledit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) peut être superposé audit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) lorsque ledit au moins un bouton est dans la position abaissée.
     
    8. Support selon une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, dans lequel lesdits premiers moyens élastiques (6) agissent entre ledit boîtier (2) et un élément de butée (41) qui est solidaire dudit au moins un couvercle.
     
    9. Support selon la revendication 8, dans lequel lesdits premiers moyens élastiques (6) comportent un ressort de torsion qui comporte un bras (61) en contact avec ledit élément de butée (41) du couvercle (4a, 4b).
     
    10. Support selon la revendication 9, dans lequel ledit élément de butée (41) fait saillie par le dessous dudit au moins un couvercle (4a, 4b) et est agencé à proximité de ladite butée (71) du bouton (7a, 7b).
     
    11. Support selon une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, dans lequel lesdits seconds moyens élastiques (8) comportent un ressort de compression placé sous ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b) et agissant entre ledit boîtier (2) et ledit au moins un bouton (7a, 7b).
     




    Drawing

















    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description