Multi-Functional, Removable Caster Base
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-26
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
In the computer/electronic industry, more and more customers are desiring the option of configuring their computer system as either a tower (standalone system) or rack (multiple units stacked in a rack). This is accomplished rather easily with some desktop systems by inserting rails into a rack and placing the system on those rails. The desire to put larger tower systems into racks poses a more difficult solution. The most obvious concern with converting a large tower system into a rackable unit is removing the casters. Tower systems can be heavy and they require casters for ease of movement. In order to convert the system into a rack design, it must be lifted off of the ground and held in that position while someone reaches underneath and detaches the casters. This process raises several safety concerns and is very complicated. Another concern with systems requiring both rack and tower configurations is the efficient use of packaging space. The casters mounted to the tower systems are commonly attached to supports which serve as a component of the system's structural strength. When the tower is converted into a rack design, the rack rails can be used to provide that strength. However, the most common tower to rack conversion method removes only the casters and leaves the supports behind. These supports take up space and a design eliminating them would improve the packaging space efficiency (allowing more room for DASD, tape devices, etc..). A rack or tower design which allowed high utilization of the system space (compact design) was needed. In order to accomplish this, the structural caster supports could not be designed into the system weldment. The tower design also had to be easily and safely convertible into a rack design and be capable of supporting the weight of systems stacked on top of the frame (high strength frame).