News Column

Patent Application Titled "Bi-Surfaced Raised Access Floor Panel and Cold Isle Forming System in a Data Center" Published Online

May 27, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Meyer, Gary (Golden, CO), filed on November 5, 2012, was made available online on May 15, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to hot aisle/cold aisle containment systems. In particular, it relates to improvements in floor panel design for narrowing the width of cold isles in data centers.

"Raised floors are used in data centers to create a space between a sub-floor of the building and the normal working environment of the computer room. The space between the sub-floor and the raised floor panels creates an under-floor cool-air circulating plenum for thermal management of the data processing servers installed in banks of rack systems on top of the raised floor. The floor panels, themselves, are either solid or perforated. The solid panels are typically used for supporting a heavy or rolling load. Of the perforated panels, manufacturers have made new design changes in an effort to increase the available open area of the panels, in order to increase the air flow of cooling air throughout the room. These efforts have led to the production and use of air-grate raised floor panels.

"A further refinement, in the use of air-grate floor panels, came in the early 2000s, when scientists advanced the concept of 'hot aisle/cold aisle', as an additional means for attempting to achieve air separation within the server room. This design includes three basic components to achieve hot aisle/cold aisle separation. Those components involve the use of air conditioners, fans and perforated raised floor panels, in combination, to act synergistically in the construction of a cooling infrastructure, as a means to separate and contain the inlet cold air and the exhaust hot air. With this approach, the cabinets are supported on a raised floor and are connected into a series of rows. The fronts of the racks face each other and become the cold aisles, as a result of the inherent front-to-back heat dissipation of most IT equipment. The air conditioning units are positioned around the perimeter of the room, or at the end of hot-aisles, so that they push cold air under the raised floor and through the cold aisle. The perforated raised floor panels are placed only in the cold aisles which concentrates cool air to the front of racks in order to get sufficient air flow into the server intake. In this manner, all of the servers should he mounted so that their server door air intake is facing the front of the rack, and their exhaust door is facing the rear. As the air moves through the servers, it is heated and eventually dissipated into the hot aisle. The exhaust air is then routed back to the, air handlers.

"This design, which aligns data center cabinets into alternating rows, endures in critical facilities throughout the world, and is widely regarded as the first. major step in improving airflow management. In use, part of this air flow, or stream, enters the racks and then the equipment, and part of the air flow bypasses the equipment and returns to the air handling units. The air that enters the server doors is heated, and then exhausted through the back of the servers where it is recycled as return air into the air handling units. Typically, some intermixing of the hot and cold air paths is experienced due to improper sealing in the rack, or recirculation above and around the sides of the rack rows. The air-grate panels include perforated top plates, connected to the air-grate structural frame members, in order to provide a variety of different working surfaces having a desired aesthetic appearance, or with the perforations, or openings, in the plate configured so as comply with certain federal and state regulations, as they relate to occupational safety and/or persons with disabilities, or to increase air flow and cooling efficiency.

"The Accessibility Guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act ('ADA') sets forth minimum standard requirements for accessibility in public places. In application, these requirements effectively regulate an approximately 91 centimeters, or 3 foot, minimum Width requirement which is available for use in the construction of cold aisles between rows of server racks. However, this mandate is inconsistent with the 61 cm.times.61 cm on center square geometry of those raised floor pedestal support systems which have gained universal acceptance in the industry. There, the cold aisle is created by installing two adjacent rows of 61 cm.times.61 cm on center air-grate panels and supporting the server racks with rows of rows of 61 cm.times.61cm solid surfaced panels. It follows that the universally accepted cold aisle construction is thereby approximately 122 cm, or 4 feet wide, which is approximately 30.5 cm, or one foot, greater than the minimum mandated under the ADA. Thus, because of the square geometry of the universally accepted raised floor systems in accordance with the prior art, in order to comply with the ADA regulations. one must either purchase more total surface area to construct a facility having a predetermined data processing capacity, or must effectively reduce the concentration of server units within an existing surface area for use in data processing.

"One such solution has heretofore been to provide rectangular air-grate floor panels, configured with a dimension of approximately 61 cm.times.91 cm, for cold-aisle specific installation. While this installation will effectively narrow the cold aisle and. eliminate the 30.5 cm of unused space, it is somewhat impractical, because it inherently requires one to make corresponding changes to the 613cm.times.61 cm on center configuration of new or existing the pedestal support systems at the cold aisle, so that it is capable of supporting the cold aisle specific rectangular panels. Altering the square geometry of the pedestal support members, so that they are capable of supporting the cold aisle specific rectangular air-grate floor panels complicates any subsequent rearrangement or replacement. of the floor panels, the rows or server racks, or with new or existing panels of differing manufacture,

"Thus, what is needed is an interchangeable raised floor access panel which is compatible for use with the existing 61 cm.times.61 cm on center pedestal support systems, but which is also capable of installation in the formation of a cold aisle which is narrowed to the mandatory minimum, 91 cm, width. The present invention satisfies these needs."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an interchangeable raised floor access panel which is compatible for use with the existing 61 cm.times.61 cm on center pedestal support systems, but which is also capable of installation in the formation of a cold aisle which is narrowed to the mandatory minimum, 91 cm, width.

"It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a hot aisle/cold aisle containment system formed on a substantially 61 cm.times.61 cm on center pedestal support system with a substantially 91 cm, or 3 foot, cold aisle width.

"It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a method for making a but aisle/cold aisle containment system on a substantially 61 cm.times.61 cm pedestal support system with a substantially 91 cm cold aisle width,

"To overcome the problems of the prior art, and in accordance with the purpose of the present invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, briefly, a bi-surfaced raised access floor panel is provided. The bi-surfaced panel has a cross-braced framework, A generally 61 cm.times.61 cm square plate is rigidly connected to an upper surface of the framework. The plate has four corner formations and is bisected symmetrically to define first and second halves. The first halve includes a substantially a solid load bearing surface. The solid surface is adapted to support a data processing server. The second halve includes a plurality of clear perforations adapted to circulate an air flow.

"Additional advantages of the present invention will he set forth in part in the description that follows, and, in part, will be obvious from that description or can be learned from practice or testing of the present invention. The advantages of the preferred embodiments of the present invention can now be realized and obtained by the invention as more particularly pointed out in the appended claims.


"The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and which constitute a part of the specification, illustrate at least one embodiment of the present invention and, taken together with the description, explain the principles of the invention.

"FIG. 1 is a top view of the bi-surfaced raised floor access panel in accordance with the present invention. The figure illustrates the solid and air grate surfaces, diagonal clear slots for operating the panel levelers, and rectangular integrated panel lifters. The panel lifters 7 are disclosed in U.S. patent Ser. No. 7,779,587. to Meyer, issued on 24 Aug. 2010, and entitled: Raised Floor Access Panel. The disclosure of U.S. patent Ser. No. 7,779,587 is incorporated by reference. as though fully set forth herein.

"FIG. 2 is as perspective view from the upper plenum of a data center showing a row of the bi-surfaced raised access floor panels installed, adjacent to a row or air-grate floor panels, on the 61 cm.times.61 cm pedestal support system, in order to form the 91 cm wide cold aisle on the 61 cm.times.61 cm on centers pedestal support system. As shown in the drawing figure, the server cabinets are positioned on the solid, or first halve. surface of the bi-surfaced floor panels so that an air-flow rises through het old aisle and into the front of the server cabinets for cooling the servers. Heated air is exhausted out of the back portion of the server cabinets, is cooled by the computer-room air-conditioning units, and the cooled air is supplied to the under floor plenum for recirculation through the cold aisle formed in accordance with the present invention.

"FIG. 3 is a perspective view, from the lower left hand corner, of the presently preferred embodiment of the articulating corner bracket and top set leveler assembly.

"FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the panel top set leveling assembly showing the bracket adjusted in an inboard position which effectively reduces the foot-print of the floor panel.

"FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the panel top set leveling assembly showing the bracket adjusted in an outboard position which effectively expands the foot-print of the floor panel."

For more information, see this patent application: Meyer, Gary. Bi-Surfaced Raised Access Floor Panel and Cold Isle Forming System in a Data Center. Filed November 5, 2012 and posted May 15, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Information Technology, Information and Data Processing.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly