EXPANDABLE SLIDE AND RAIL ASSEMBLY
FOR A RACK
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 09/955,720 filed on Sep. 19, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,702,412, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.
STATEMENTS REGARDING FEDERALLY 10 SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a slide and rail assembly 20 and method for installation in a rack, more particularly, to a slide and rail assembly and method for use in mounting a server in a rack.
2. Description of the Related Art ^ There are numerous incidences where a slide and rail
assembly is used. For example, a slide and rail assembly is used pull out drawers or shelves. Typically, the rail is mounted in a case, rack or other framed assembly and the slide is attached to the drawer, shelf or other device. The 3Q slide cooperates with the rail and provides the extension mechanism for the drawer or shelf.
Typically, the mounting and installation of the slide and rail assembly involves mechanical fasteners requiring hand tools. This requires time and organization and is cumber- 35 some. Additionally, there are many instances in which it may be desirable to make vertical adjustments in the arrangement of the drawers, shelves, etc. supported by the slide and rail assembly. For example, there are racks used to house servers for computer networks. The variation in the number, size 40 and arrangement of the servers to be installed in the rack requires versatility in placement of the slide and rail assemblies. Furthermore, it is desirable to be able to install or adjust the assemblies with ease and with a minimum of mounting hardware and tools. A system is needed that will 45 accommodate a variety of servers in a rack, both in size and quantity.
There is a need for a slide and rail assembly for installation in a rack that does not require the use of tools or fasteners. Additionally, it is desirable that the slide and rail 50 assembly be simple to install and requires little time for the installation. Further, it is desirable that the slide and rail assembly be easy to remove, if desired.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 55
The present invention is a slide and rail assembly and method of installation in a rack that does not require the use of tools or fasteners. The invention includes a track assembly, adapted to be mounted in a rack or housing, having first and second rail members aligned and joined with 60 one another and allowed limited relative longitudinal movement with respect to each other. The joined first and second rail members have a mounting bracket attached to distal ends of the rail members. The mounting brackets have a tab or tabs for insertion in slots in the rack. A spring, positioned 65 between the rail members, provides a force extending the distance between the distal ends of the rail members.
The present invention includes a locking mechanism interacting with the rail members. The locking mechanism has a locked position resisting inward movement of the distal ends of the rail members. The locking mechanism includes a catch attached to one of the rail members and a trigger mounted to the other rail member. In the locked position, the relative inward movement of the rail members is limited by the trigger engaging the catch.
The method of installing the track assembly to the rack or housing is very simple and requires very little time. Additionally, the track assembly can also be very easily and quickly removed from the rack or housing, if desired. To install the track assembly to the rack, the mounting tab or tabs at one end of the rail assembly, for example the first rail member tabs, are inserted into the slots of the rack. The locking mechanism trigger is depressed and the rail assembly and spring is compressed longitudinally. The second rail member tabs are then aligned and inserted into the appropriate slots in the rack. As the spring expands forcing the second rail to extend with the member tabs in the appropriate slots, the catch moves relative to the trigger to a point where the spring-biased trigger engages the catch. When the rail assembly is installed in the rack, the trigger captures the catch such that they are contacting or in close proximity, thus preventing disengagement of the tabs from the rack slots unless the trigger is depressed to unlock the locking mechanism and allow inward relative movement of the support rail members.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The objects, advantages and features of the invention will become more apparent by reference to the drawings which are appended hereto and wherein like numerals indicate like parts and wherein illustrated embodiments of the invention are shown, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rail assembly according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the rail assembly of FIG.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the rail assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a locking mechanism of the rail assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevation view of the locking mechanism prior to installation of the rail assembly in a rack;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged elevation view of the locking mechanism during the installation of the rail assembly in the rack;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged elevation view of the locking mechanism after installation of the rail assembly in the rack;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a slide assembly according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the sliding track assembly in the assembled condition with a portion of the slide assembly removed for clarity; and
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the sliding track assembly installed in a rack.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION
The present invention will now be described in greater detail with specific reference to the drawings. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the track assembly, generally designated as 10, includes a rail assembly 20 and a slide assembly 60 as shown in FIG. 10. The rail