US20100032391A1 - Priduct display unit with adjustable width - Google Patents

Priduct display unit with adjustable width Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100032391A1
US20100032391A1 US12/466,163 US46616309A US2010032391A1 US 20100032391 A1 US20100032391 A1 US 20100032391A1 US 46616309 A US46616309 A US 46616309A US 2010032391 A1 US2010032391 A1 US 2010032391A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
securing structure
display unit
product display
securing
rod
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Abandoned
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US12/466,163
Inventor
Raymond M. Schneider
Daniel C. Riley
Eric Neumann
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Display Technologies LLC
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Display Technologies LLC
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Priority to US5315508P priority Critical
Application filed by Display Technologies LLC filed Critical Display Technologies LLC
Priority to US12/466,163 priority patent/US20100032391A1/en
Assigned to DISPLAY TECHNOLOGIES reassignment DISPLAY TECHNOLOGIES ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SCHNEIDER, RAYMOND M., NEUMANN, ERIC, RILEY, DANIEL C.
Publication of US20100032391A1 publication Critical patent/US20100032391A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • 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
    • A47F5/10Adjustable or foldable or dismountable display stands
    • 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
    • A47F1/00Racks for dispensing merchandise; Containers for dispensing merchandise
    • A47F1/04Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs
    • A47F1/08Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs dispensing from bottom
    • A47F1/087Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs dispensing from bottom the container having approximately horizontal tracks of the serpentine type

Abstract

A product display unit comprising a first side wall, a second side wall, and at least one securing structure is disclosed. Each of the first and second side walls comprise at least one rail extending laterally therefrom and the side walls define a distance therebetween. An upper surface of the rail is configured to support a portion of a product. At least one securing structure is disposed in mechanical cooperation with the first side wall. The securing structure comprises a plurality of securing portions disposed in mechanical cooperation therewith. The securing structure is configured to allow the distance between the first side wall and the second sidewall to be adjustable.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/053,155 filed on May 14, 2008, the entire contents of which being herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND
  • The present disclosure relates generally to product displays used on a shelf. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a product display for use on a shelf and includes a serpentine path and/or an adjustable width.
  • Various types of product displays are commonly used in retail environments to display and/or dispense different types of products. As opposed to simply positioning products on shelves, product displays are commonly used to position products on a shelf in manner which automatically advances (e.g., via gravity) a trailing or distal product (i.e., a product that is behind a lead or proximal-most product) closer to a user once the lead product has been removed from the shelf. As can be appreciated, such product displays facilitate the arrangement and upkeep of products, as the trailing products don't have to be manually moved towards the front of the shelf, for instance.
  • Additionally, it is often desired to display different types of products adjacent one another. For instance, a retailer might wish to display cat food and dog food on the same shelf. Further, the packages of these products may be different in size, thus resulting in difficulty in displaying the items side-by-side on the same shelf, and especially doing so using an automatic-feed display apparatus.
  • SUMMARY
  • The present disclosure relates to a product display unit comprising a first side wall, a second side wall, and at least one securing structure. Each of the first and second side walls comprise at least one rail extending laterally therefrom and the side walls define a distance therebetween. An upper surface of the rail is configured to support a portion of a product. At least one securing structure is disposed in mechanical cooperation with the first side wall. The securing structure comprises a plurality of securing portions disposed in mechanical cooperation therewith. The securing structure is configured to allow the distance between the first side wall and the second sidewall to be adjustable.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the securing structure is disposed in mechanical cooperation with the second side wall.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the securing structure includes a rod and a housing and the rod is translatable at least partially within the housing.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the rod includes at least one ring disposed in mechanical cooperation therewith, the securing portions are disposed in mechanical cooperation with the housing, and the ring is removably receivable in the securing portions.
  • In disclosed embodiments, a user-exerted force is sufficient to move the at least one ring between adjacent securing portions.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the housing includes two halves that are pivotably connected to capture a portion of the rod therebetween.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the securing structure includes a male end and a female end. Here, the male end is configured to matingly engage the female end of an adjacently positioned securing structure.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the securing structure includes a male end and a female end. Here, the female end is formed by the housing and is configured to matingly engage the male end of an adjacently positioned securing structure.
  • In disclosed embodiments, at least one of the first and second side walls includes an opening, and at least a portion of the male end is configured to extend through the opening.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the product display unit includes a female end cap configured to matingly engage the male end of the securing structure, and a male end cap configured to matingly engaged the female end of the securing structure.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the securing structure includes a rod and a housing. Here, the rod is translatable at least partially within the housing, and at least one of the first and second side walls includes an opening. In such embodiments, the product display unit includes a stop member disposed adjacent the male end of the securing structure. The stop member is configured to limit the distance the rod can travel through the opening.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the rails define a serpentine path.
  • The present disclosure also relates to a securing structure for use with a product display unit. The securing structure comprises a housing, a rod, and at least one ring. The housing includes a plurality of securing portions therein. The rod is translatable at least partially within the housing. The at least one ring is disposed in mechanical cooperation with the rod. The at least one ring is removably receivable in the securing portions.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the at least one ring is configured to move between adjacent securing portions in response to a user-exerted force.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the securing structure includes a male end and a female end. Here, the male end is configured to matingly engage the female end of an adjacently positioned securing structure.
  • In disclosed embodiments, the housing includes two halves that are pivotably connected to capture a portion of the rod therebetween.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure are described hereinbelow with reference to the drawings wherein:
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views of a product display unit according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of the product display unit of FIGS. 1 and 2;
  • FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial, perspective view of the product display unit of FIGS. 1-3;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a pair of securing structures of the product display unit of FIGS. 1-4;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a product display unit;
  • FIG. 7 is an enlarged partial, perspective view of the product display unit of FIG. 6; and
  • FIG. 8 is a top view of a portion of the product display unit of FIGS. 6 and 7.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Embodiments of the presently disclosed product display unit are described in detail with reference to the drawings wherein like numerals designate identical or corresponding elements in each of the several views. As is common in the art, the term “proximal” refers to that part or component closer to the user, e.g., customer, while the term “distal” refers to that part or component farther away from the user.
  • In combination with the accompanying FIGS. 1-8, a product display unit 100 of the present disclosure is described herein. In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, a 2-tier product display unit is shown and is referenced as 100 a. In the embodiments illustrated in FIG. 6, a 3-tier product display unit is shown and is referenced as 100 b. The 2-tier product display unit 100 a is configured to hold up to two rows of products thereon (depicted as “R1” and “R2” in FIG. 3) and the 3-tier product display unit 100 b is configured to hold up to three rows of products thereon. Additionally, a plurality of product display units 100 (or portions thereof) are capable of being positioned adjacent one another to define a plurality of columns (depicted as “C1” and “C2” in FIG. 1). Accordingly, products of different heights (when a such a product is on its side), for example, can be displayed in adjacent columns.
  • Each of the illustrated product display units 100 includes at least one pair of side walls 110 defining an adjustable distance “d” (FIGS. 1 and 8) therebetween, rails 120 which define a serpentine path, and a securing structure 130. As discussed in more detail below, securing structure 130 is configured to allow side walls 110 to be spaced an adjustable distance from one another. A first embodiment of securing structure 130 is illustrated in FIGS. 1-5 and includes an adjuster mechanism 200. A second embodiment of securing structure 130 is illustrated in FIGS. 6-8 and includes at least one connector member 131 and at least one link 140 (e.g., wires, bars, cables, etc.). As can be appreciated, the distance “d” between an adjacent pair of side walls 110 helps determine the size (e.g., height) of a product capable of being displayed thereon, which can also help optimize the display area of a shelf.
  • Rails 120 extend substantially perpendicularly from side walls 110 (towards an adjacent side wall 110) and are configured to support a portion of product displayed thereon. While rails 120 in the illustrated embodiments define two different paths (i.e., 2-tier and 3-tier), the present disclosure is not intended to be limited to these configurations, as other configurations may be utilized. Additionally, the paths defined by rails 120 may be configured for gravity-feed dispensing (i.e., angled down), or for non-gravity-feed dispensing (e.g., substantially parallel to the shelf supporting product display unit 100 and/or for use with a pusher (not shown)). Moreover, side walls 110 of the present disclosure are not limited to the embodiments shown. That is, side walls 110 of different shapes and/or sizes from the illustrated embodiments are usable without departing from the scope of the present disclosure.
  • With reference to FIGS. 1-5, and with particular reference to FIG. 5, securing structure 130 including adjuster mechanism 200 is illustrated. Adjuster mechanism 200 includes a rod 210, a housing 220 and at least one ring 250. In the illustrated embodiments, two rings 250 (e.g., O-rings) are shown and are disposed in mechanical cooperation with rod 210. It is envisioned that rod 210 includes a recess therein, which is configured to receive (e.g., rotatably receive) ring 250 therein. Housing 220 includes a first housing half 222 operably connected to a second housing half 224 (e.g., via a living hinge 226), which define a cavity 228 therebetween. Additionally, at least one housing half 222 or 224 is movable with respect to the other housing half 222 or 224 between an open position (see securing member 130 towards the right of FIG. 5), where rod 210 is insertable therebetween, and a closed position (see securing member 130 towards the left of FIG. 5), where a portion of rod 210 is retainable therebetween, for instance. Further, it is envisioned that at least one of the housing halves 222, 224 includes locking structure 229 thereon to enable the housing halves 222, 224 to be releasably locked with each other.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 5, each housing half 222, 224 includes semi-circular securing portions (e.g., internal ribs, recesses or detents) therein, which form generally circular, full securing portions (e.g., internal ribs, recesses or detents) when housing halves 222, 224 are in the closed position. (For clarity, both semi-circular and full securing portions are referred to herein as reference number 230.) Additionally, when housing halves 222, 224 are in the closed position, rod 210 is translatable with respect to cavity 228 in the direction of doubled-headed arrow “A-A” in FIG. 5. Moreover, when housing halves 222, 224 are in the closed position, each detent 230 is configured and dimensioned to engage ring 250. More particularly, detents 230 and rings 250 are configured and dimensioned to enable rod 210 to be translated (e.g., pushed and pulled) within cavity 228 between a plurality of discreet positions (i.e., the positions of detents 230), for example in a ratchet-type motion. That is, the outer circumference of rings 250 may be substantially equal to, slightly smaller than or slightly larger than portions of detents 230 and/or the areas between adjacent detents 230. As such, the relative positioning between rod 210 and housing 220 is maintained until an outside force (e.g., a user moving adjacent sidewalls 110 with respect to each other) is exerted to overcome the frictional fit therebetween. It is also envisioned that rings 250 are made of a deformable material (such as rubber, for example), which may facilitate the translation and/or retainment of rod 210 with respect to housing 220.
  • Additionally, while the illustrated embodiments show circular cross-sections, it is envisioned that the cross-section of rod 210, housing 220 and/or rings 230 is at least partially non-circular (e.g., two parallel sides interconnected by curved sides). In such an embodiment, it is envisioned that rotating a rod 210 about its axis would cause rod 210 to be releasably locked in place with respect to housing 220.
  • With particular reference to FIG. 5, housing 220 includes a narrow portion 242 (relative to the portion including detents 230). The inner diameter of narrow portion 242 is smaller than outer diameter of rings 250, such that rings 250 cannot be translated beyond narrow portion (i.e., in the direction of arrow “B” in FIG. 5).
  • In the illustrated embodiments, adjuster mechanism 200 includes a male end 202 and a female end 204. Male end 202 is disposed on rod 210 and is configured to extend through an opening in sidewall 110. A stop member 203, which is disposed adjacent male end 202, is configured to limit the distance rod 210 can travel through an opening in side wall 110. Female end 204 is disposed on housing 220 and is configured to matingly engage male portion 202 of an adjacently positioned adjuster mechanism 200 (as shown in FIG. 5). As can be appreciated, when a plurality of product display units 100 (or portions thereof) are positioned adjacent one another, adjuster mechanisms 200 between adjacent sidewalls 110 matingly engage one another. With regard to the end sidewalls, a female end cap 206 is used to matingly engage male end 202 of adjuster mechanism 200 and a male end cap 208 is used to matingly engage female end 204 of adjuster mechanism 200. As illustrated, each product display unit 100 may include a plurality of adjuster mechanism 200s. That is, adjuster mechanism 200 may be used on a proximal lower portion, a proximal upper portion, a distal lower portion, and/or a distal upper portion to removably connect adjacent side walls 110 of product display unit 100. More or fewer sets of adjuster mechanisms 200 may be included without departing from the scope of the present disclosure.
  • As can be appreciated, the number of detents 230 and the spacing between adjacent detents 230 (e.g., about 0.0625 inches) helps determine the possible widths for each column available using a single sized adjuster mechanism 200. It is envisioned that there is equal spacing between adjacent detents 230 or that the spacing between adjacent detents 230 is not equal. Additionally, while housing 220 is shown including a particular number of detents 230, it is envisioned that housing 220 includes more or fewer detents 230. Adjuster mechanism 200 of different sizes (i.e., lengths) may also be available to allow a larger range of possible widths for each column. For example, the length of a first size adjuster mechanism 200 may be adjustable between about 1.1875 inches and about 2.750 inches; the length of a second size adjuster mechanism 200 may be adjustable between about 2.8125 inches and about 4.625 inches; and the length of a third size adjuster mechanism 200 may be adjustable between about 4.725 inches and about 8.125 inches
  • With reference to FIGS. 6-8, securing structure 130 including connector member 131 is illustrated. Connector member 131 may be affixed to a side wall 110 or may be removably attached thereto (e.g., via a snap-fit connection). The inclusion of connector member 131 and links 140 enables a user to configure product display unit 100 such that each column can accommodate a product of a particular size (e.g., height of a product laying on its side). As illustrated, each product display unit 100 may include a plurality of connector members 131 and a plurality of links 140. That is, connector member 131 and link 140 may be used on a proximal lower portion, a proximal upper portion, a distal lower portion, and/or a distal upper portion to removably connect adjacent side walls 110 of product display unit 100. More or fewer sets of connector members 131 and links 140 may be included without departing from the scope of the present disclosure.
  • FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate an enlarged view of the interaction between connector member 131 and link 140. Link 140 (e.g., U-shaped) includes a backspan 142 and two legs 144 depending therefrom. Connector member 131 includes two rows 132 a, 132 b, with each row including a plurality of securing portions (e.g., apertures 134). As shown, each leg 144 of link 140 fits into an aperture 134 of connector member 131. The two rows 132 a, 132 b of apertures 134 allow connector member 131 of a single side wall 110 to have two links 140 engaged therewith, with the backspans 142 of each extending towards adjacent sides walls 110 in opposite directions, for example.
  • As can be appreciated, the number of apertures 134 and the spacing between adjacent apertures 134 helps determine the possible widths for each column available using a single sized link 140. In one embodiment, each row 132 of each connector member 131 includes equal spacing between adjacent apertures 134. It is envisioned that there are six apertures 134 per row 132 and that the centers of each aperture 134 are about ⅛ inches apart. In such an embodiment, each leg 144 of link 140 can fit into one of six apertures 134 allowing a range of about 6/8 inches per leg 144, or about 1½ inches per length of link 140. That is, in such an embodiment, each length of link 140 allows an approximate 1½ inch range between adjacent side walls 110. Accordingly, in a contemplated embodiment, link 140 having a length of about 5 inches can be used to create a row width of between about 4¼ inches and about 5¾ inches.
  • It is envisioned that apertures 134 are equally or non-equally spaced and that the distance between each aperture 134 is any suitable distance (e.g., between about 1/16 inches and about 2 inches). Specifically, it is envisioned that the distance between any two adjacent apertures 134 does not exceed the width “w” of rail 120 (FIG. 7). Further, as shown, apertures 134 of connector member 131 are disposed on both lateral sides of its associated side wall 110. It is also envisioned that each row 132 a, 132 b of apertures 134 includes more or fewer than six apertures 134. Additionally, it is envisioned that connector member 131 includes more or fewer than two rows of apertures 134.
  • The present disclosure also relates to a product display kit. The kit includes a plurality of side walls 110 including rails 120, and a plurality of securing structures 130. It is envisioned that the kit includes sets of links 140 and/or adjuster mechanisms 200 of different sizes (e.g., lengths), thus enabling a user to set up the product display unit 100 to hold and/or dispense products of different sizes (e.g., heights) adjacent one another.
  • The present disclosure also relates to a method of displaying products. The method includes providing product display unit 100, and adjusting the distance “d” between adjacent side walls 110.
  • While several embodiments of the disclosure have been shown in the figures, it is not intended that the disclosure be limited thereto, as it is intended that the disclosure be as broad in scope as the art will allow and that the specification be read likewise. Therefore, the above description should not be construed as limiting, but merely as exemplifications of various embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other modifications within the scope and spirit of the claims appended hereto.

Claims (16)

1. A product display unit, comprising:
a first side wall and a second side wall, each of the first and second side walls comprising at least one rail extending laterally therefrom, the first and second side walls defining a distance therebetween, wherein an upper surface of the rail is configured to support a portion of a product;
at least one securing structure disposed in mechanical cooperation with the first side wall, the securing structure comprising a plurality of securing portions disposed in mechanical cooperation therewith;
wherein the securing structure is configured to allow the distance between the first side wall and the second side wall to be adjustable.
2. The product display unit of claim 1, wherein the securing structure is disposed in mechanical cooperation with the second side wall.
3. The product display unit of claim 1, wherein the securing structure includes a rod and a housing, the rod being translatable at least partially within the housing.
4. The product display unit of claim 3, wherein the rod includes at least one ring disposed in mechanical cooperation therewith, wherein the securing portions are disposed in mechanical cooperation with the housing, and wherein the ring is removably receivable in the securing portions.
5. The product display unit of claim 4, wherein the at least one ring is configured to move between adjacent securing portions in response to a user-exerted force.
6. The product display unit of claim 3, wherein the housing includes two halves that are pivotably connected to capture a portion of the rod therebetween.
7. The product display unit of claim 1, wherein the securing structure includes a male end and a female end, the male end being configured to matingly engage the female end of an adjacently positioned securing structure.
8. The product display unit of claim 6, wherein the securing structure includes a male end and a female end, the female end being formed by the housing and being configured to matingly engage the male end of an adjacently positioned securing structure.
9. The product display unit of claim 7, wherein at least one of the first and second side walls includes an opening, and wherein at least a portion of the male end is configured to extend through the opening.
10. The product display unit of claim 7, further comprising a female end cap configured to matingly engage the male end of the securing structure, and a male end cap configured to matingly engaged the female end of the securing structure.
11. The product display unit of claim 9, wherein the securing structure includes a rod and a housing, the rod being translatable at least partially within the housing, wherein at least one of the first and second side walls includes an opening, and further comprising a stop member disposed adjacent the male end of the securing structure, the stop member being configured to limit the distance the rod can travel through the opening.
12. The product display unit of claim 1, wherein the rails define a serpentine path.
13. A securing structure for use with a product display unit, the securing structure comprising:
a housing including a plurality of securing portions therein;
a rod, the rod being translatable at least partially within the housing; and
at least one ring disposed in mechanical cooperation with the rod;
wherein the at least one ring is removably receivable in the securing portions.
14. The securing structure of claim 13, wherein the at least one ring is configured to move between adjacent securing portions in response to a user-exerted force.
15. The securing structure of claim 13, wherein the securing structure includes a male end and a female end, the male end being configured to matingly engage the female end of an adjacently positioned securing structure.
16. The securing structure of claim 13, wherein the housing includes two halves that are pivotably connected to capture a portion of the rod therebetween.
US12/466,163 2008-05-14 2009-05-14 Priduct display unit with adjustable width Abandoned US20100032391A1 (en)

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