Landscape lighting risers or simply land light trusses are one of the most common ways to deliver lighting over a distance in a landscape installation, providing evenly distributed and controlled illumination. Traditionally, land light trusses use standard, off-the-shelf steel support members, galvanized if the installation is permanent and painted if it is temporary. More recently, modern steel systems use prefabricated steel building sections which are assembled together in a controlled manufacturing process.
The flexible nature of standard steel building sections has created new challenges for the design and manufacture of these systems, which were primarily made for permanence. For instance, temporary land light truss systems can become twisted or even bent when installed, thus negatively affecting the distribution and positioning of the lighting fixture. Furthermore, these systems are often constructed with sizes that are insufficient to support any reasonable quantity of outdoor lighting fixtures, resulting in the use of a multitude of pieces and number of elements which do not lend themselves to controlled manufacturing. In other words, the construction process of these systems is largely subject to chance and is oftentimes unstructured. This results in inconsistent designs, inaccurate installation, and inconsistent lighting.
While certain temporary outdoor lighting systems exist, they are generally unable to provide a lighting fixture that can be easily installed and that minimizes the overall number of components to be stored, carried, and assembled. Such systems also do not incorporate any system that provides a means of the lightweight distribution of the lighting fixture.
Further, these lighting systems cannot be easily modified or adjusted during the installation. For instance, the components of these lighting systems cannot be easily modified in the field if the design requires this. Such designs cannot be adjusted in the field to maximize the efficiency of the lighting and thereby minimize the number of lighting fixtures that are required to adequately illuminate the desired area.
Accordingly, the systems and methods of the present invention are designed to improve upon the prior art by overcoming these shortcomings and offering a solution that may be economically manufactured for outdoor use, may be easily assembled in the field, and may be easily adapted to changing conditions and needs.
Exemplary embodiments of the present invention use specially designed steel trusses and built-up steel trusses that address these problems. Exemplary embodiments of the present invention allow the for the use of custom lighting fixtures, without the need for a plurality of individual pieces, and provides the means for the lightweight distribution of the lighting fixture. Exemplary embodiments of the present invention can be easily and economically manufactured, adjusted in the field, and improved upon. For instance, exemplary embodiments of the present invention allow for easy installation and adjustment of the fixtures. Further, exemplary embodiments of the present invention provide increased design flexibility, such as allowing for the placement of lighting fixtures to suit a user's specific needs. Furthermore, exemplary embodiments of the present invention allow for the fabrication and construction of the lighting trusses in a controlled manufacturing process, thereby reducing the risk of misalignment or inaccurate installation.
Another example of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is a prefabricated steel building section or a prefabricated steel system of the present invention. An exemplary prefabricated steel building section of the present invention is a truss unit that may be connected to other truss units to form a lighting truss. In exemplary embodiments, the prefabricated trusses or truss system of the present invention may include various functions. The prefabricated truss system of the present invention may provide the ability to adjust, control, and vary the lighting function. The prefabricated truss system of the present invention may be used with conventional wiring systems, allowing easy installation with existing electrical boxes. Furthermore, the truss system of the present invention may be pre-fabricated at a pre-determined factory. Exemplary embodiments may allow for the lighting to be electronically controlled, allowing for optimized energy use. Exemplary embodiments may also incorporate various connectors, supports, and adjustments, allowing for the truss units to be easily installed, adjusted, and replaced.
In exemplary embodiments, the prefabricated truss system of the present invention may be constructed by assembly of multiple truss units in a truss jig. For example, exemplary embodiments of the present invention include a first truss unit with a first lighting fixture having a first fixture support, a second truss unit having a second fixture support, and a hinge that allows for the assembly of the truss units. In an exemplary embodiment, the first fixture support and the second fixture support have mating features that allow the assembly of the truss units in a jig, for example, by simply connecting the fixtures to the truss units. This allows for the truss system to be pre-assembled, reducing the time and money of installation in the field. The truss units may be assembled in the jig in any order, and in any orientation, as long as the truss jig is complete. In exemplary embodiments, the truss units are preferably pre-aligned in the truss jig prior to assembly, thus allowing the truss system to be quickly installed in the field. Additionally, exemplary embodiments may also allow for the placement of light fixtures to suit a user's specific needs. For example, exemplary embodiments allow for a change in the height of the lighting fixture to suit the user's needs. Furthermore, exemplary embodiments of the present invention allow for the number of truss units to be increased, allowing for more area to be illuminated. This allows for a greater distribution of lighting over a larger area.
Furthermore, exemplary embodiments of the present invention allow for an accurate assembly of the truss system. The accuracy of the assembly of the truss system may be determined by any of the following methods: First, an adjustable reference grid may be provided on the truss system. This reference grid may help to ensure that the assembly is performed in the correct orientation, which in turn allows for a quick and easy installation. For example, exemplary embodiments of the present invention may include a grid of hexagonal shaped holes at the factory for assembly of the truss system. The holes in the grid may have a slightly larger diameter than a wire and thus allow the grid to serve as an accurate reference for the proper orientation of the truss system.