Title:
Vertical & horizontal sliding shelves, henceforth referred to as the HV shelves. Roller and channel guided shelves which have the ability to be manipulated horizontally and vertically, when in a fully extended horizontal position
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The Vertical Horizontal Sliding Shelves are designed to improve storage and access efficiency of shelving by allowing both horizontal and vertical manipulation of shelf positions. This is accomplished through the use of rollers attached to the shelves and guided through a vertical and horizontal channel assembly. The positioning of the rollers combined with the spacing between the guiding channels forces the shelf to maintain a horizontal attitude when its position is manipulated either vertically or horizontally.



Inventors:
Reid, Walter Bob (Exeter, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/895231
Publication Date:
01/19/2006
Filing Date:
07/19/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/334.7
International Classes:
A47B88/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Walter, Bob Reid (533 Nelson St., Exeter, CA, 93221, US)
Claims:
1. What I claim as my invention is a shelving assembly that allows both vertical and horizontal manipulation of each shelf while maintaining each shelf's horizontal attitude throughout the manipulation through the use of each shelf s rollers within a combined vertical and horizontal channeling assembly.

2. I claim as my invention the use of multiple horizontal roller levels spaced at a purposefully unequal vertical distance from one another to thereby avoid any possibilities of binding during a shelf s vertical manipulation and in addition allowing shelf recession only at intended positions.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

No related applications.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

No Federal sponsoring.

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

No sequence listing. No compact disk accompanying application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The HV Shelves have been designed to increase the efficiency of accessing and storing objects in shelving assemblies by allowing the height of the shelf positions to be manipulated in a controlled manner when the shelves are in a fully extended horizontal position without compromising the horizontal attitude of the shelves.

In the shelving and storage industry there is an inefficiency resulting from the inability or comfortable accessing and usage of shelving or storage space. This most commonly occurs as a result of shelving levels.

Lower shelving levels often result in a repeated need to bend over or go to one's knees to access or store objects and in many cases results in an inability to easily visually review objects stored at such a level.

Upper shelving levels often go unused due to the ineffective availability or storage of objects at these levels. Many times these upper levels require step stools or some contrived means to elevate oneself to provide access, whether for the storage and removal of objects, or simply to visually review the objects stored at such a level.

With the continuously increasing costs of square footage, whether it be in types of business industries or personal residences, there is a constant demand for increases in storage efficiency. The ability to manipulate the vertical positions of shelves while maintaining a horizontal attitude provides a long-needed step in this direction.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The HV Shelves are shelves with the ability to be manipulated both vertically and horizontally without compromising the horizontal attitude of the shelves. This is accomplished through the incorporation of three levels of rollers onto the sides of each shelf which in turn fit into channel assemblies that provide the controlled horizontal and vertical guidance for the manipulation of the shelves.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

The drawing of The HV Shelves is composed of three 8½″×11″ papers. Sub-titles for the individual papers are “Functional Examples”, “Multiple Shelf Example”, and “Detail Definition for Use in Specification”.

The Function Examples paper includes three figures titled Figure A, Figure B, and Figure C.

Figure A is a three-dimensional view of a typical, single shelf section in which the shelf itself is positioned in a fully recessed horizontal position.

Figure B is a three dimensional view of a typical, single shelf section in which the shelf is in a fully, horizontally extend position.

Figure C is a three dimensional view of a typical, single shelf section in which the shelf is fully extended horizontally and is being vertically maneuvered in the Vertical Channel

The Multiple Shelf Example paper is a single view of multiple shelf assemblies combined into a single assembly. The shelf heights, widths, and spacings between shelves within the figure are functional examples only and should not be construed as necessities. For this reason actual dimensions have not been supplied.

The Detail Definition for Use in Specification paper is composed of six figures titled Figure A, Figure B, Figure C, Figure D, Figure E, and Figure F. These figures depict and name the various pieces and contours associated with a typical, single shelf section. This paper is supplied to provide visual representation and clarification to the following “Detailed Description of the Invention” section.

Figure A is a three dimensional view of the exterior of a typical, single shelf section's associated channels with each channel labeled for use in the Detailed Description.

Figure B is a three dimensional view of the interior of a typical, single shelf section's associated channels with a reference and visual perspective arrow to the slice view shown in Figure D.

Figure C is a three dimensional view of a typical shelf combined with the labeling of the various parts necessary to ease the clarification of the functionality in the Detailed Description.

Figure D is a slice view of a typical piece of the channeling used to guide the rollers on the shelf assemblies. This view is provided for the purpose of depicting the inner edges of the channels, which prevent the rollers and thereby the shelves from slipping from the channeled positions should any bowing or flexing of the primary shelving assembly occur.

Figure E is a slice view of the Shelf Support Bracket and presents a clear view of the simple bracket design used to supply shelf support within the channel while the shelf is in the last segment of horizontal extension.

Figure F is a side view of a shelf in which the rollers used for support during vertical manipulation have been lettered to provide clarification in the following section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The HV Shelves are shelves with the ability to be manipulated both vertically and horizontally without compromising the horizontal attitude of the shelves through the use of rollers attached to the sides of each shelf and a channeled guidance assembly within which the rollers rest. In the drawing page titled “Functional Examples” you can see a single shelf assembly with the shelf in the recessed position (figure A), the horizontally extended position (figure B), and in the vertical channel (figure C).

To simplify and clarify the detailed description of the HV Shelves, the generalities and concept will first be described, followed by individual descriptions of each contributing function. Refer to the attached drawing titled “Detail Definition for Use in Specification” for visual clarification and titles of the details to be described in this section unless otherwise instructed.

The views provided in the attached drawings purposefully depict solely the shelves and channel assemblies associated with the concept of the HV Shelves. This approach for presenting the concept was chosen for the following reasons.

The cabinetry or exterior assembly used to hold the HV Shelves is irrelevant to the concept being presented and as such is governed in form, style, and structure by the size, safety, and stability of the completed assembly whether in use or in any possible stagnant position.

The potential number of sizes and composition of materials used to initiate the HV Shelves concept is so vast and diversified as to possibly limit the realization of its uses should the examples have been provided incorporated into any one type of physical structure. An example of such might be the variance between a low-cost, plastic version for a residential closet, verses a metal, open air structure in a business storeroom, verses a smaller, precision built assembly for the containment of costly items such as medications.

In conjunction with the aforementioned purposeful neglect of a cabinetry or support assembly, note that individual measurements have not been supplied on the drawings. This has been done for identical reasons and again is not necessary for the clarification and understanding of the HV Shelves concept. The length, depth, width and composition of materials for the shelves and the channel assemblies are determined based on individual applications, costs, and safety considerations.

Furthermore, the use of the rollers and channels is exemplary and does not exclude the use or addition of other types of sliding and controlling mechanisms. An example of which could possibly be the use of ball bearings and a support bracket during horizontal extension in conjunction with roller-guided vertical manipulation.

The spacing between the shelves is governed solely by the height of the shelf assembly, although it should be noted that either an intentionally empty shelf channeling position should be supplied for the use of shuffling shelf positions, or it would be necessary to leave one height between two shelves sufficiently tall to enable a shelf's extension and stoppered placement while leaving adequate room for the remaining shelves to be manipulated or shuffled. For a clarifying example of shuffling shelves please reference the drawing page titled “Multiple Shelf Example”. Imagine a need to exchange the positions of the shelves currently shown in position A and position C. This could be accomplished as follows. Place stoppers in the right and left vertical channels at a height equal to or below shelf D. Fully extend shelf A horizontally. Lower shelf A to the installed stopper positions. Fully extend shelf C horizontally. Raise shelf C to shelf A's original horizontal position and recess shelf C into the horizontal channels. Raise shelf A to shelf C's original horizontal position and recess shelf A into the horizontal channels.

The shelf extension points located on the Vertical Channel supply the only location at each shelf position where the Center Rollers and Sliding Support Bracket attached to a shelf are able to extend and retract through the front edge of the Vertical Channel.

Stopper holes are located on the Vertical Channel positions, as exemplified in Figure A and Figure B, and are supplied as a means by which a tool of similar shape can be temporarily injected from the exterior of the channel through the Stopper hole and into the channel, thereby blocking the vertical sliding of a shelf within the Vertical Channel.

While not mandated, it would be most effective as a minimum that such holes be placed in alignment with the bottom of the Lower H Channel of each shelving assembly to allow for the full extension of a shelf horizontally without the unintentional altering of the vertical position.

It would also be suggested, pending the strength of the material being used for the channeling, that partially punched holes be supplied at additional various levels, thereby allowing the user to complete the punch of further stop holes at levels most beneficial to their individual use.

All channels must incorporate an inner edge as shown in Figure D. This edge provides a safety to the overall assembly by holding the rollers in the channels. Without such edges bowing and flexing of the cabinetry might result in rollers slipping out of the channels and thereby losing control of the shelf position.

The shelf as shown in figure C includes the flat shelving, a left and right side bracket, a rear edge, and multiple rollers.

The rear edge of the shelf provides two functions. The more visible of the two being the ability to limit objects from sliding off the back of the shelf when the shelf is being extended horizontally. The second function is an increase in the structural strength and stability of the shelf resulting from the box-like effect of the rear edge connecting with the right and left side brackets.

The left and right side of the rollers, brackets, and channels are mirror images of each other. As such, the following paragraphs in reference to the brackets, rollers, and associated channels are applicable to each side of the shelf assembly.

The side brackets serve three purposes. The first is in combination with the shelf rear edge, providing additional support and rigidity to the shelf. The second is the holding of the rollers in their proper positions relative to the channel assembly. The third is the support and maintenance of the shelf in a horizontal posture when in a fully extended position.

On each side of the shelf there are four rollers in horizontal alignment with each other that are referred to as the Center Rollers. When the shelf is fully recessed the Center Rollers share the weight of the shelf on the horizontal channel. The Center Roller closest to the front of the shelf is purposefully recessed a few inches from the front of the shelf to help avoid the user's accidental leaving of the roller within the Vertical Channel where it would add no aid in supporting the shelf weight while the shelf is in a recessed position.

The second Center Roller from the front of the shelf is spaced approximately evenly between the front Center Roller and the two closely located Center Rollers at the rear of the shelf to provide support to the center of the shelf while in a recessed or partially recessed position. In addition, this centered roller assists with the extension of the shelf by providing a rolling point of support for the shelf following the extension of the first roller beyond the horizontal portion of the channel assembly.

The sliding support bracket shown along the edge of the shelf in Figure C and a slice view of which is provided in Figure E supports the shelf during the last part of its horizontal extension. Without this bracket, should the user release the shelf in a partially extended position after the roller described in paragraph 0013 is extended beyond the Vertical Channel, the weight of the shelf and all objects upon it would be placed on the rear two Center Rollers. Due to their proximity to each other, the leveraged force on these two rollers would be excessive and could quickly damage the rollers.

The A side of the Sliding Support Bracket, as shown in Figure E, would be adjoined directly to the side of the shelf in a manner allowing the B portion of the bracket to uninhibitedly enter the channel assembly. In turn the C side of the bracket would be of a length to nearly touch the base of the channel when the first or second rollers from the front of the shelf are in the channel. This would allow the rollers to perform without any resistance during the majority of the extension and recession of the shelf, yet the bracket would supply support directly against the bottom of the channel during the final portion of the shelf extension process.

The Exterior Vertical Roller is the next to furthest roller from the front of the shelf amongst the Center Rollers. This roller is not mandated to the performance of the shelves, but adds value to the completed product. It increases efficiency during vertical manipulation of the shelf by supplying a secondary stress axis point during the vertical manipulation of the shelf. Furthermore, this roller eliminates any possible binding points resulting from any individual rollers attempting to enter incorrect horizontal channels.

When the shelf is fully horizontally extended the Exterior Vertical Roller will pass beyond the Vertical Channel. The spacing between the rear two Center Rollers will be the width of the wall of the Vertical Channel, resulting in the Exterior Vertical Roller rolling along the outside of the Vertical Channel during vertical movement of the. shelf.

Amongst the Interior Vertical Rollers note the difference in width between the Upper Roller to Center Roller and the Lower Roller to Center Roller. This variance is intentional and avoids allowing any two of the Interior Vertical Rollers from aligning with horizontal channels at a given time unless the shelf is in a correct position for recession. Should this variance in width not be applied, positions would be available during vertical manipulation in which two Internal Vertical Rollers could align with horizontal channels at points not intended for shelf recession. This would result in binding problems as the third Internal Vertical Roller would act as a pivotal point and the two aligned rollers would attempt to enter the incorrect horizontal channels.

While the variance in widths defined in paragraph 0016 and the Exterior Vertical Roller defined in paragraph 0015 provide the same function in regard to alignment of rollers during vertical manipulation, I suggest that both characteristics be applied as they compliment each other by providing alignment control by two separate means and therefore further reduce the possibilities of binding problems resulting from unforeseen variances caused by the users.

Using Figure F on the “Detail Definition for Use in Specification” drawing, the following sub-paragraphs define the rollers providing the primary horizontal support for the shelf as it is being both maneuvered and left in a stagnant position while within the vertical channel. The purpose of these paragraphs is to demonstrate the supplied horizontal support to the shelf in all possible configurations. Note that due to the varied width between the Upper Roller and Lower Roller in relation to the Center Roller, there is no possibility of more than one roller aligning with a horizontal channel at any given time unless all three levels of rollers are in fact properly aligned at a position allowing a shelf's recession. As such, in the following sub-paragraphs when it is noted that roller A, B, or C is in alignment with a horizontal channel, it is thereby assumed that the remaining two rollers amongst A, B, and C are in fact not in alignment with a horizontal channel.

With neither roller A, nor B, nor C aligning with horizontal channels and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support is being provided by rollers A, B, C, and D.

With neither roller A, nor B, nor C aligning with horizontal channels and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support is being provided by rollers A, B, C, and D.

With roller A aligning with a lower horizontal channel and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers B, C, and D.

With roller A aligning with a lower horizontal channel and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers A, B, and C.

With roller A aligning with the center horizontal channel and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers B, C, and D.

With roller A aligning with the center horizontal channel and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support is being provided by rollers B and C.

With roller B aligning with the upper horizontal channel and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers A and C.

With roller B aligning with the upper horizontal channel and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support is being provided by rollers A and C.

With roller B aligning with the lower horizontal channel and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers A and C.

With roller B aligning with the lower horizontal channel and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support is being provided by rollers A and C.

With roller C aligning with the upper horizontal channel and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers A, B, and D.

With roller C aligning with the upper horizontal channel and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support is being provided by rollers A, B, and D.

With roller C aligning with the center horizontal channel and the shelf being vertically maneuvered, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers A, B, and D.

With roller C aligning with the center horizontal channel and the shelf being left in a stagnant position governed by the placement of stoppers in the vertical channel, the horizontal support to the shelf is being provided by rollers A, B, and D.

The Horizontal Channel Rear Endings depicted in Figure B are removable stoppers ending the Horizontal Channels. Removal of these stoppers will allow the entire shelf assembly to be inserted or removed from the rear of the structure.