SHELF AND TAG-HOLDER
The invention relates to a shelf and to a longitudinal rail-shaped tag-holder to be fitted to such a shelf.
Panel-shaped shelves for storage racks or sales shelving are typically made from sheet steel which is formed by punching and bending or creasing. An example for such shelves is disclosed in WO 2007/121952 A1. Shelves of that kind have the sheet steel bent downwardly at each lateral edge of the shelf so as to form downwardly extending lateral flanges. An upwardly open groove is formed into the sheet steel at each of the front and rear edges. Each groove allows, for example, a front or rear wall to be inserted into it so as to delimit a storage area for goods on the shelf and prevent the goods from falling off the shelf.
Shelves of the kind known from WO 2007/121952 A1 are further provided with an inclined front flange adjoining the groove at their front edge. The front flange slopes forwardly downwardly and provides a slanted surface facing forwardly upwardly for the attachment of tags such as price tags. The orientation of the surface provides for the tags to be conveniently viewed by a customer standing in front of the shelving with a view to the shelf from above.
In order to attach the tags to the front flange of the shelf so that they can be easily replaced, a longitudinal rail-shaped tag-holder is clamped to the front flange. The tag-holder is made from transparent plastic and comprises a pocket into which the tags can be inserted.
Shelves of that kind are robust and can carry high loads. But the amount of material needed for their manufacturing and their weight are high. This results in relevant costs for manufacturing and transportation of each shelf.
More economic shelves, therefore, often do not have a downwardly sloping front flange. Then, however, for the tags to face in a direction from where they can be easily seen by a customer, a special tag-holder is needed which holds the tags in an inclined orientation. Examples for such tag-holders are shown in DE 10 2007 058 474 A1 and DE 20 2004 011 563 U1.
As a result, the different types of shelves require specialised tag-holders which, in turn, require specialised machinery for their manufacture. This is uneconomical.
It is, therefore, an object of the invention to provide a shelving system which can be manufactured more economically.
This object is solved by a tag-holder in accordance with claim 1 and systems comprising the tag-holder and various shelves in accordance with claims 6 and 9.
The tag-holder has a holding plate to which the tags can be attached, the holding plate having a first longitudinal edge and, opposite thereto, a second longitudinal edge. Joined to the first longitudinal edge is a first clamping means adapted for being clamped to the vertical front of a first shelf, when the tag-holder is in a first orientation where the first longitudinal edge is above the second longitudinal edge. Joined to the second longitudinal edge is a second clamping means adapted for being clamped to the inclined front of a second shelf having an inclined front flange, when the tag-holder is, with regard to the first orientation, reversed into a second orientation where the first longitudinal edge is below the second longitudinal edge. In either case of its clamping to the first or to the second shelf, without or with inclined front flange, the holding plate holds the tags such that they face forward ly upwardly, so that they can be easily viewed by a customer.
The dependent claims relate to preferred embodiments of the invention.
At least the first clamping means is adapted to fit the tag-holder to the first shelf without involvement of the second clamping means, while both the first and second clamping means cooperate to fit the tag-holder to the second shelf.
The tag-holder set forth in claim 2 can be easily fitted to the first shelf. Claim 3 relates to a preferred way of fitting the tag-holder to a front groove of the first shelf.
The tag-holder set forth in claim 4 can be reversed and easily fitted, by its second clamping means, to the second shelf having a slanted or sloping front flange. Claim 5 relates to the preferred fitting of the reversed tag-holder to the second shelf which has the front flange.
In the system of claim 7, the first shelf has no inclined front flange. The first shelf comprises an upwardly open front groove of U-shaped cross-section at the front edge, wherein one leg of the U-shaped cross-section ends at a free edge which is also the front edge of the shelf, there being no inclined front flange added there.
In the system of claim 8, the first shelf has the free edge of its front groove positioned below the plane of the deposit surface which serves for depositing goods on the shelf. Thus, the free edge will not interfere with goods being pushed or pulled over the front edge when loading or unloading the goods on and from the
shelf. Also, the tag-holder clamped to the free edge will not be knocked off inadvertently from the clamped state when the shelf is loaded or unloaded.
In the system of claim 10, the second shelf has a front flange which is inclined so that its surface faces forwardly upwardly.
The aforementioned features make the inventive tag-holder usable in a large variety of applications.
Preferred embodiments of the invention will be described in the following with reference to the drawings. In the drawings:
Fig. 1 shows a cross-section of a first shelf in an embodiment of the invention,
Fig. 2 shows a cross-section of a tag-holder rail of an embodiment of the invention,
Fig. 3 shows the tag-holder rail of Fig. 2 fitted to the first shelf of Fig. 1 , and Fig. 4 shows the tag-holder rail of Fig. 2 fitted to a second shelf in an embodiment of the invention.
Fig. 1 shows the cross-section taken from the front edge 11 to the rear edge 12 of a substantially rectangular shelf 10. The shelf 10 comprises a rectangular deposit surface 13 and, adjacent the deposit surface, a front groove 14 extending along the front edge 11 and a rear groove 15 extending along the rear edge 12 of the shelf 10.
In use, the deposit surface 13 is typically held substantially horizontal, i.e. exactly horizontal or somewhat inclined to an extent only which still allows the deposit surface 13 to carry goods. All designations of orientation used in this specification, such as "up", "down", "above", "below" or "inclined" are therefore to be understood as referring to the situation where the deposit surface is horizontal.
Both grooves 14, 15 have an upwardly open U-shaped cross-section and serve for insertion of accessories (not shown) such as separator walls, and front and rear walls which prevent goods on the deposit surface 13 from getting out of place and falling off from the deposit surface 13. The side edges of the deposit surface 13 are provided with downwardly bent side flanges 16. A subcarrier 17 is mounted under the deposit surface 13.
The deposit surface 13, the grooves 14, 15 and the side flanges 16 are integrally formed from sheet steel which has been shaped as shown in Fig. 1 by bending and creasing processes. The subcarrier 17 is also made from sheet steel
and is welded from below to the sheet steel forming the deposit surface 13. Thus, the shelf has high rigidity and load carrying capability.
The front groove 14 has a U-shaped cross-section which comprises, starting out from the deposit surface 13, a downwardly extending first leg 21 , a base 22 adjoining the first leg, and a second leg 23 extending in parallel to the first leg 21 upwardly from the base 22. The second leg 23 ends at a free edge 11 which also is the front edge 11 of the shelf. The layout of the sheet steel of the shelf 10 ends at the free edge 11 ; there are no further pieces of sheet steel mounted there. The second leg 23 is shorter than the first leg 21 so that the free edge 11 lies below the plane of the deposit surface 13 of the shelf.
Fig. 2 shows an embodiment of a longitudinal rail-shaped tag-holder (tag- holder rail) in a cross-sectional plane perpendicular to the direction of the longitudinal extension of the tag-holder rail. Thus the cross-section is taken within the same plane and viewed in the same direction as for the shelf in Fig. 1. The tag-holder rail 30 comprises a holding plate 31 having a first longitudinal edge 32 and a second longitudinal edge 33. A transparent cover plate 34 is moulded to the holding plate 31 along its first longitudinal edge 32. The cover plate 34 extends substantially in parallel to the holding plate 31. Thereby, a pocket 35 is formed between the holding plate 31 and the cover plate 34 so that price or other tags (not shown) can be inserted into the pocket. A fin 44 is moulded to the second longitudinal edge 33 of the holding plate 31 so that it prevents the tags from slipping out of the pocket 35.
Further, a first clamping means 36 is moulded to the first longitudinal edge 32 of the holding plate 31. The first clamping means comprises a support 37 of substantially U-shaped cross-section having a first leg 38 extending from the first longitudinal edge 32 of the holding plate 31 , a base 39 extending from the first leg 38, and a second leg 40 extending from the base 39. Further, the first clamping means 36 comprises a first detent tab 41 which extends from the first longitudinal edge 32 in the direction towards the interior of the U-shaped support 37 and approximately in parallel to the first leg 38. The first clamping means 36 is positioned on the side of the holding plate 31 opposite the side where the cover plate 34 is disposed, and an acute angle is formed between the first leg 38 of the support 37 and the holding plate 31.
A second clamping means taking the form of a second detent tab 42 is moulded to the second longitudinal edge 33 of the holding plate 31 and extends in the direction towards the support 37 and, in particular, towards the first leg 38 of the same.
The tag-holder rail 30 is integrally moulded from plastic.
The tag-holder rail 30 can be fitted to the front groove 14 of the shelf of Fig. 1 , by use of its first clamping means 36. This is shown in Fig. 3. As can be seen, the U-shaped support 37 embraces the exterior of the legs 21 , 23 and base 22 which form the U-shaped front groove 14, and the first detent tab 41 engages into the front groove 14 in the vicinity of the free edge 11. Taking this together, the first clamping means 36 embraces the front groove 14 in a positive fit and ensures reliable mounting of the tag-holder rail 30 on the shelf 10. The first detent tab 41 completely covers the free edge 11 and prevents injury from any sharp ridge which the free edge 11 of the shelf 10 of sheet steel may have.
As can also be seen from Fig. 3, the second leg 23 is sufficiently shorter than the first leg 21 of the front groove 14 so that not only the free edge 11 but also the directly adjacent first longitudinal edge 32 and the first detent tab 41 of the tag-holder rail 30 lie below the plane of the deposit surface 13 of the shelf 10. Therefore, goods which are pushed or pulled over the front edge 11 when the shelf is loaded or unloaded will not touch the front edge 11 and the tag-holder rail 30, so that an inadvertent release of the tag-holder rail 30 from the shelf 10 or a damage to the goods from any sharp ridges which the free edge 11 may have can be prevented.
The acute angle between the holding plate 31 and the first leg 38 of the support 37 results in tags carried by the tag-holder rail 30 to face forward ly upwardly so that they can be easily read by a person standing in front of the shelf and viewing the tags from above. A stop 45 projecting from the first leg 38 in the direction towards the holding plate 31 limits the acute angle against it being too much decreased and thus provides a limit against excessive bending of the holding plate 31 which would otherwise result in the tag-holder rail 30 being released from the shelf 10 or the tags falling out of the pocket 35.
In Fig. 3, the tag-holder rail 30 is oriented such that its first longitudinal edge 32 is up and lies next to the free edge 11 , and its second longitudinal edge 33 lies lower than the first longitudinal edge 32. But when the tag-holder rail is reversed so that the first longitudinal edge 32 is disposed lower than the second longitudinal edge 33, it can be fitted alternatively to a second shelf 20 which is the same as the first shelf 10 except that it additionally has a slanted front flange 50 formed adjoining its front groove 14. This is shown in Fig. 4. When used this way, the holding plate 31 rests flat on the front flange 50 of the second shelf 20, the first leg 38 engages the front flange 50 from behind, and the second detent tab 42 engages into the front groove 14 of the shelf at a position where the front flange
50 is formed adjoining the front groove. The support 37 has a projecting rib 43 at the joint between the first leg 38 and the base 39. The rib 43 facilitates mounting of the tag-holder rail 30 and provides for a secure fixture of the rail to the front flange 50. The tag-holder rail 30 can be fitted with a positive fit to the front flange 50 of the second shelf 20 as shown in Fig. 4.
When comparing Figs. 3 and 4 with each other it is apparent that, leg 23 of groove 14 of the first shelf 10 being shorter than flange 50 of the second shelf 20, the tag holder rail 30 is fitted to the first shelf 10 by its first clamping means 36 alone but is fitted to the second shelf 20 by both its first and second clamping means 36, 42.
When the tag-holder rail 30 is used together with the first shelf 10 according to Figs. 1 and 3, the entire shelving system has the advantage of having less weight as compared to its use together with the shelf 20 of Fig. 4. This is because the front flange 50 of the second shelf 20 made from relatively heavy sheet steel can be omitted and tags can be held just by the tag-holder rail 30 having substantially lower weight. Thereby, costs for raw material and transportation of the shelving system can be reduced.