US20050139560A1 - U-channel display unit - Google Patents

U-channel display unit Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050139560A1
US20050139560A1 US10962054 US96205404A US2005139560A1 US 20050139560 A1 US20050139560 A1 US 20050139560A1 US 10962054 US10962054 US 10962054 US 96205404 A US96205404 A US 96205404A US 2005139560 A1 US2005139560 A1 US 2005139560A1
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Prior art keywords
rail
shelf
channel
display
includes
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10962054
Inventor
Bruce Whiteside
Lance Thaut
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Burnes Home Accents LLC
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Burnes Operating Co LLC
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B57/00Cabinets, racks or shelf units, characterised by features for adjusting shelves or partitions
    • A47B57/58Cabinets, racks or shelf units, characterised by features for adjusting shelves or partitions with means for adjusting partitions horizontally
    • A47B57/583Cabinets, racks or shelf units, characterised by features for adjusting shelves or partitions with means for adjusting partitions horizontally by sliding
    • A47B57/586Cabinets, racks or shelf units, characterised by features for adjusting shelves or partitions with means for adjusting partitions horizontally by sliding with connection means movable by sliding on the outside of a rail
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47FSPECIAL FURNITURE, FITTINGS, OR ACCESSORIES FOR SHOPS, STOREHOUSES, BARS, RESTAURANTS OR THE LIKE; PAYING COUNTERS
    • A47F5/00Show stands, hangers, or shelves characterised by their constructional features
    • A47F5/0043Show shelves
    • A47F5/005Partitions therefore

Abstract

A display system for use with a shelf having a front edge. The display system include a U-channel arranged to be secured to the shelf adjacent the front edge. The U-channel includes a first rail, a second rail, and a pocket defined between the first rail and the second rail. The display system further includes a divider attachable to a rearward portion of the second rail, the divider adapted to define at least part of a storage bin.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This patent claims the benefit of prior-filed United States Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/509,937, filed on Oct. 10, 2003, titled “U-Channel Display Unit,” the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention is generally directed to an apparatus and method for displaying products and, more particularly, to an adjustable system for displaying and storing items such as photo albums in a retail environment.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Many systems and methods of displaying consumer goods are known. These systems often include shelves and wire racks for separating, positioning and displaying individual products or groups of products. For example, products such as photo albums may be placed on a shelf like books, or otherwise stacked in a suitable fashion, such that the products are available for examination and purchase by the consumer. Selection of a photo album often involves elements of personal style and aesthetic preference, with the selection often involving a hands-on inspection of the displayed products.
  • In order to satisfy varying consumer preferences, photo albums are produced in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and shapes to increase variety and ultimately the buying options. Unfortunately, the process for selecting a suitable photo album often leaves store shelves and display areas cluttered and in disarray.
  • Known display systems generally provide a mechanism for stacking, arranging, or otherwise presenting the photo albums in order to maximize the product density at the point of sale. However, display and storage difficulties often arise due, in part, to the wide variety of photo album styles, shapes and sizes that retailers are required to stock in order to satisfy the myriad of consumer preferences. These known display systems typically are assembled to accommodate to a specific product dimension or size, and thus such systems may not suitably accommodate the wide variety of products that might be offered for sale by the retailer.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • For a more complete understanding of the disclosed display system, reference should be made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary display system including a U-channel and a plurality of adjustable dividers;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the adjustable U-channel shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of the adjustable U-channel and the adjustable divider shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of the adjustable U-channel shown in FIG. 1 in an open configuration;
  • FIG. 5 is another side view of the adjustable U-channel shown in FIG. 1 in a closed configuration;
  • FIG. 6 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of the adjustable U-channel;
  • FIG. 7 is a side view of another alternate embodiment of the adjustable U-channel; and
  • FIG. 8 is a side view of another alternate embodiment of the adjustable U-channel.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a display system 10 assembled in accordance with the teaching of the present disclosure and shown mounted to a retail store shelf 12 or other suitable shelf. The shelf 12, which is typically an elongate rectangular shelf, may include a perforate surface 14 having a plurality of holes 14 a, as well as a front edge 16, a back edge 18, and a pair of side edges 20 a, 20 b. In use, the back edge 18 of the shelf 12 will typically be removably secured to a shelving unit or other suitable support structure (not shown) such that the front edge 16 extends towards the consumer. It will be understood that the shelving unit may employ multiple mounting brackets and hardware to support multiple shelves 12 at regularly spaced intervals.
  • The display system 10 includes a plurality of dividers 22 slideably secured to at least one adjustable U-channel 24. Preferably, the dividers are adjustable as will be explained in further detail below. The adjustable U-channel 24 mounts adjacent to the front edge 16 of the shelf 12, with the U-channel, in an exemplary form of use, disposed generally adjacent to and parallel to the front edge 16 of the shelf 12. The U-channel 24 preferably forms a retaining channel sized to vertically display and store a photo album 17.
  • The dividers 22, when attached to the U-channel 24, define a plurality of storage bins 26 a, 26 b. Additional storage bins (not shown) may be formed by additional dividers 22. The storage bins 26 a, 26 b, by way of example rather than limitation, can be configured to accept and organize additional photo albums 17 in a suitable manner, such as by placing the additional albums upright similar to books on a bookshelf, or by placing the albums on their sides in a stack. In this exemplary manner, the adjustable U-channel 24 retains the photo album 17 in one position adjacent to the point of sale, while the storage bins 26 a, 26 b store additional stock or inventory of the photo album 17 in another position, still generally adjacent to the point of sale.
  • As will be apparent from FIG. 1, the U-channel 24 defines a pocket 25 sized to accept the photo album 17. Preferably, the pocket 25 is adjustable. In particular, by adjusting the width of the U-channel 24 (and hence the size of the pocket 25) in the direction indicated by arrow A, the overall width may be changed from a distance d to a distance D. Thus, the overall U-channel width can be adjusted to accommodate a wide variety of photo albums 17.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, the adjustable U-channel 24 includes first and second sections or rails 28, 30. The first rail 28 is roughly L-shaped and includes a vertical panel or leg 32 and a base 34. Similarly, the second rail 30 is roughly L-shaped and includes a vertical panel or leg 32 and a base 38. In an exemplary form of operation, the first rail 28 is positioned and secured adjacent to the front edge 16 of the shelf 12 such that the base 34 is roughly parallel to the surface of the shelf 12. Similarly, the second rail 30 is positioned to roughly mirror the first rail 28 such that the base 38 is adjacent to the base 34 and parallel to the surface of the shelf 12. In this way, the vertical leg 32 and the extended vertical leg 32 are spaced apart and generally parallel so as to define the pocket 25.
  • The distance between legs 32 and 36 can be adjusted by adjusting the relative positions of the first and second rails 28 and 30, thus changing the overall width of the U-channel 24, e.g., from width d to width D. A channel 40 formed in or otherwise attached to the base 34 accepts the head of a fastener F. As shown in FIGS. 4-8, the fastener F may be used to secures the first rail 28 to the shelf 12 in a desired location (i.e., a desired distance, or no distance, from the front edge 16 of the shelf 12). In particular, the head of the fastener F engages the channel 40, and the shank of the fastener extends through a suitable hole formed in the shelf 12 (the perforate surface 14 makes more holes readily available) to the underside of the shelf so as to be engagable by, for example, a threaded nut. Using any suitable form of fastener, the rail 28 may be secured to the shelf 12.
  • To modify the width of the U-channel 24, the base 38 of the second rail 30 can be secured between the channel 40 and the surface of the shelf 12. The base 34 may include a detent 42, which in the disclosed example is carried by a leg adjacent the channel 40, with the detent 42 sized to engage a selected one of a plurality of grooves 46, bounded by ridges 44, and formed in the base 38. In accordance with the disclosed example, the detent 42 and grooves 46 cooperate to define discrete positions of the base 38 relative to the base 34 (and hence of the rail 28 relative to the rail 30). When the overall width of the U-channel 24 has been adjusted to the desired dimension, the fastener F can be tightened and secured through the holes 14 a formed in the perforate surface 14 to insure that the first and second rails 28, 30 remain in the desired positions.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates the exemplary U-channel 24 in a fully opened configuration, i.e., the width between the vertical leg 32 and the extended vertical leg 32 equals the distance D. Preferably, the base 38 includes an upwardly extending leg that abuts the outer structure of the channel 40 to form a stop.
  • The vertical leg 32 may include a placard display system 48 having an upper and lower groove 50, 52 for accepting card stock that may be printed with advertising, product information, etc. The placard display system 48 supports card stock or paper within the upper and lower grooves 50, 52 by forcing the paper to flex and bow to increase the structural stability. In order to foster flexure of the paper or card stock, the width of the card stock is preferably greater than the linear distance between the upper groove 50 and the lower groove 52. Thus, upon insertion of the card stock into the grooves 50, 52, the card stock is forced to bow and engage the placard display system 48.
  • FIG. 3 further illustrates the manner in which the adjustable divider 22 cooperates with the extended vertical leg 32 of the second rail 30. In particular, the extended vertical leg 32 is formed with a pair of rails 54, 56, which are preferably flexible. Each rail 54, 56 may include a deformable guide channel 58. The adjustable divider 22 includes first and second slide channels 60, 62 sized to engage a corresponding rail 54, 56, respectively.
  • The adjustable divider 22, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, preferably a substantially planar panel that when oriented generally perpendicular relative to the plane of the shelf 12 and perpendicular to the first and second rails 28, 30, divides the shelf 12 into the plurality of storage bins 26 a, 26 b. The first and second channels 60, 62 are formed perpendicular to the divider surface 64, which is preferably relatively stiff or rigid, and slide channels 60, 62 engage the rails 54, 56 and the guide 58 to guide the lateral movement of the divider 22 along the second rail 30. By laterally shifting the adjustable divider 22 in the direction indicated by the arrow B (as shown in FIG. 1) the storage bins 26 a, 26 b can be resized to accommodate different sized products.
  • The divider 22 further includes a plurality of removable spacers 66 formed toward a rear portion of the dividers 22, i.e., distal to the first and second sliders 60, 62. In use, the spacers 66 are positioned generally adjacent to the back edge 18. The removable spacers 66 can be cut, torn away, or otherwise separated along a plurality of seams 68 or along a suitable frangible connection to modify the length of the adjustable divider 22, which may also serve to compensate for selected width of the adjustable U-channel 24 width and/or the depth of the shelf 12. For example, the number of removable spacers 66 may be directly related to the width of the U-channel 24 such that when the pocket 25 is closer to the distance D, more spacers 66 must be removed. Conversely, if pocket is smaller with the U-channel 24 width approximately equal to the distance d, few or none of the spacers 66 need be removed to correspond to the depth of the shelf 12.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate the adjustable U-channel 24 in open and closed positions. FIG. 4 illustrates the U-channel 24 secured to the shelf 12 by the cooperation of the faster F and the channel 40. The U-channel 24 is in an open or extended configuration, e.g., the first and second rails 28, 30 are separated by the distance D, whereby the detent 42 engages the groove 46 formed farthest from the extended vertical leg 32. FIG. 5 illustrates the U-channel 24 in the closed or retracted configuration, e.g., the first and second rails 28, 30 are separated by the distance d. The retracted configuration is typified by the detent 42 engaging the groove 46 formed adjacent to the extended vertical leg 32.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an alternate embodiment of an adjustable U-channel 70. The adjustable U-channel 70 includes a first L-shaped rail 72 and a second L-shaped rail 74. The first and second L-shaped rails 72, 74 each include a substantially flat base 76, 78 secured by the cooperation of a hole 14 a formed in the perforate surface 14 of the shelf 12. In this embodiment the fastener F passes through each of the bases 76, 78 and the hole 14 a such that the fastener head insures the relative position of each of the L-shaped rails 72, 74. The flat bases 76, 78 may be flat, knurled or formed with interlocking ridges and grooves, such as the ridges 44 and grooves 46 shown in FIG. 2, to insure discrete movement between each of the L-shaped rails 72, 74.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates another embodiment of an adjustable U-channel 80. The adjustable U-channel 80 includes a first rail 82 having a locking pocket 84, and a second L-shaped rail 86 having a base 88. The locking pocket 84 is sized to accept and secure the base 88. The locking pocket 84 includes a detent 90 sized to engage a complimentary groove 92 formed in the base 88. The fastener F passes through the locking pocket 84, and may pass through the base 88 depending on distance between the first rail 82 and the second rail 86, to secure the first and second rails 82, 86 at a desired relative distance.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment of an adjustable U-channel 90. The adjustable U-channel 90 includes a substantially L-shaped first rail 92 having a base 94 formed with a plurality of retaining grooves 96. The first rail 92 includes a channel 98 sized to accept the head of the fastener F. The fastener F, in turn, cooperates with a hold 14 a formed in the surface of the shelf 12 to secure the first rail 92. The adjustable U-channel 90 further includes an arch 100 having a first and second detent 102,104 formed at the terminal end of each leg 106,108, respectively. The first and second detents 102,104 engage the retaining grooves 96 to secure the arch 100 in a desired position relative to the first rail 92.
  • The exemplary display system 10 as disclosed allows consumers to examine a variety of different products, while providing a versatile and efficient organizational system for retailers. Furthermore, the display system 10 can be used in conjunction with existing retail store shelving and display units.
  • The preferred embodiments of this invention described herein, include the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the described invention. It should be understood that the illustrated embodiments are exemplary only, and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A display system for use with a shelf having a front edge, the display system comprising:
    a U-channel arranged to be secured to the shelf adjacent the front edge; the U-channel including:
    a first rail;
    a second rail;
    a pocket defined between the first rail and the second rail;
    a divider attachable to a rearward portion of the second rail, the divider adapted to define at least part of a storage bin.
  2. 2. The display system of claim 1, wherein the first rail includes a placard display system.
  3. 3. The display system of claim 1, wherein the first rail and the second rail are adjustable relative to one another such that the pocket is adjustable between a first size and a second size.
  4. 4. The display system of claim 3, wherein the first rail is formed to include a first plurality of ridges and grooves and the second rail formed to include a second plurality of ridges and grooves, wherein the first and second plurality of ridges and grooves cooperate in an interlocking manner.
  5. 5. The display of claim 1, wherein at least one of the rails includes an extended panel adapted to act as a product support.
  6. 6. The display of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second rails includes an alignment rail, the divider arranged for mounting to the alignment rail.
  7. 7. The display of claim 6, wherein the divider is adapted to slideably engage the alignment rail.
  8. 8. The display of claim 6, wherein the alignment rail is flexible and extends from a rear face of the second rail.
  9. 9. The display of claim 1, wherein a rear portion of the divider includes at least one removable spacer attached by a frangible connection.
  10. 10. The display of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second rails includes a channel sized to accept a fastener, the fastener cooperates with the surface of the shelf to secure at least one of the first and second rails to the shelf.
  11. 11. The display of claim 1, wherein first and second rails are extruded, and wherein each of the first and second rails includes a first leg and a second leg.
  12. 12. A U-channel display unit for use with a shelf, the U-channel display unit comprising:
    a first L-shaped rail having a panel and a base; and
    a second L-shaped rail having a panel and a base;
    wherein the base of the first rail and the base of the second rail are arranged to be attached to one another in a plurality of positions so as to define a plurality of differently sized pockets between the panel of the first rail and the panel of the second rail.
  13. 13. The display unit of claim 12, wherein the panel of the second rail includes a flexible alignment rail formed on a rearward surface.
  14. 14. The display unit of claim 14, further comprising:
    a pair of dividers attachable to the rearward portion of the panel of the second rail and adapted to define at least one storage bin.
  15. 15. The display unit of claim 15 wherein a rear portion of the dividers includes at least one spacer attached by a frangible connection.
  16. 16. The display unit of claim 12, wherein the base of the first L-shaped rail includes a channel sized to accept a fastener, the fastener sized to engage the shelf to secure the first L-shaped rail to the shelf.
  17. 17. A method of configuring a display system on a shelf having a shelf edge, the method comprising:
    securing a first L-shaped rail along the shelf edge;
    positioning a second L-shaped rail opposite the first L-shaped rail such that the first and second L-shaped rails define a U-channel; and
    securing a pair of spaced apart dividers to at least one of the rails to form storage bin.
  18. 18. The method of claim 18, further comprising adjusting the length of the divider by detaching a removable spacer.
  19. 19. The method of claim 18, wherein positioning the second L-shaped rail includes positioning a base of the second L-shaped rail adjacent to a base of the first L-shaped rail.
  20. 20. The method of claim 17, wherein securing the dividers includes the step of sliding the dividers substantially along a guide rail carried by the second L-shaped rail.
US10962054 2003-10-10 2004-10-08 U-channel display unit Abandoned US20050139560A1 (en)

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