Title:
Vertical display unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vertical display unit for mounting to a vertical post of an associated structure that has apertures formed therein. First and second brackets include fastening mechanisms that are used to fasten the spine to the brackets and securing mechanisms that are used to secure the brackets to the associated structure. The brackets include first and second spacers that are positioned between the spine and the associated structure so that a portion of the spine is spaced from a portion of the associated structure. Any combination of first and second wings or spine attachments are attached to the spine. Wing attachments may also be fastened to the first and second wings. The wing attachments, first and second wings, and/or the spine attachments can accommodate goods to be displayed.



Inventors:
Ouyang, Jeffrey C. (Chicago, IL, US)
Conway, Thomas M. (Park Ridge, IL, US)
Feeney, John B. (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/081195
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/16/2005
Assignee:
Cormark, Inc. (Des Plaines, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/59.1, 211/192
International Classes:
A47H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WELSH & KATZ, LTD (120 S RIVERSIDE PLAZA, 22ND FLOOR, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A vertical display unit for mounting to a vertical post of an associated structure, the vertical post having apertures formed therein, the display unit comprising: a spine including a plurality of apertures formed therein; a first bracket including a first securing mechanism coupled to a first spacer and a first fastening mechanism; a second bracket including a second securing mechanism coupled to a second spacer and a second fastening mechanism, wherein the first and second securing mechanisms cooperate with the apertures of the vertical post so that the brackets are secured to the spine and the first and second fastening mechanisms cooperate with fasteners to fasten the spine to the brackets, wherein the first and second spacers are positioned between the spine and the associated structure so that a portion of the spine is spaced from a portion of the associated structure and the spine is substantially parallel to the vertical post; a spine attachment fastened to the spine by a spine attachment fastening mechanism, wherein the spine attachment is configured to accommodate goods to be displayed on the display unit.

2. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the first securing mechanism is integral with the first fastening mechanism and the first spacer, and wherein the second securing mechanism is integral with the second fastening mechanism and the second spacer.

3. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the first securing mechanism is integral with the first fastening mechanism and separate from the first spacer, and the second securing mechanism is integral with the second fastening mechanism and separate from the second spacer, wherein fasteners cooperate with the first and second fastening mechanisms to fasten the first and second spacers to the first and second securing mechanisms.

4. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the first and second securing mechanisms further comprise first and second legs, the first and second legs being inserted through the apertures of the vertical post.

5. The vertical display unit of claim 1, further comprising first and second wings having first and second sets of wing arms, wherein the first and second sets of arms are fastened to the spine.

6. The vertical display unit of claim 5, wherein the first and second sets of wing arms include holes formed therein, fasteners being inserted through the wing arm holes and the spine apertures to attach the wing arms to the spine.

7. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the spine attachment fastening mechanism further comprises a U-shaped bracket.

8. The vertical display unit of claim 7, wherein the spine attachment fastening mechanism further comprises two inward points, the inward points being inserted into the spine apertures to fasten the spine attachment to the spine.

9. The vertical display unit of claim 7, wherein the spine attachment fastening mechanism further comprises a plate having apertures formed therein, fasteners being inserted through the plate apertures and the spine apertures to fasten the spine attachment to the spine.

10. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the spine attachment fastening mechanism further comprises clasps, the clasps being inserted into the spine apertures to fasten the spine attachment to the spine.

11. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the spine attachment fastening mechanism further comprises a portion of the spine attachment having apertures formed therein, fasteners being inserted through the spine attachment apertures and the spine apertures to fasten the spine attachment to the spine.

12. The vertical display unit of claim 1, wherein the spine attachment comprises at least one of: a hook, a bin, or a stackable ring.

13. A vertical display unit for mounting to a vertical post of an associated structure, the vertical post having apertures formed therein, the display unit comprising: a spine including a plurality of apertures formed therein; a first bracket including a first securing mechanism coupled to a first spacer and a first fastening mechanism; a second bracket including a second securing mechanism coupled to a second spacer and a second fastening mechanism, wherein the first and second securing mechanisms cooperate with the apertures of the vertical post so that the brackets are secured to the spine and the first and second fastening mechanisms cooperate with fasteners to fasten the spine to the brackets, wherein the first and second spacers are positioned between the spine and the associated structure so that a portion of the spine is spaced from a portion of the associated structure and the spine is substantially parallel to the vertical post; first and second wings having first and second sets of wing arms, wherein the first and second sets of arms are fastened to the spine; a wing attachment fastened to the first and second wings by a wing attachment fastening mechanism, wherein the wing attachment cooperates with the first and second wings and the spine to accommodate goods to be displayed on the display unit.

14. The vertical display unit of claim 13, wherein the first and second sets of wing arms include holes formed therein, fasteners being inserted through the wing arm holes and the spine apertures to attach the wing arms to the spine.

15. The vertical display unit of claim 13, wherein the spine further comprises a rear having grooves formed therein, the wing arms being inserted in the grooves.

16. The vertical display unit of claim 13, wherein the wing arm attachment further comprises a front panel.

17. The vertical display unit of claim 16, wherein the wing arm attachment further comprises a bottom.

18. The vertical display unit of claim 17, wherein the bottom further comprises a base or shelves.

19. The vertical display unit of claim 17, wherein the bottom includes a bottom fastening mechanism, and wherein the bottom fastening mechanism cooperates with the spine to fasten the base to the spine.

20. The vertical display unit of claim 17, wherein the bottom includes a bottom fastening mechanism, and wherein the bottom fastening mechanism cooperates with the first and second wings to fasten the bottom to the first and second wings.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a vertical display unit that is configured to display products, advertisements and other goods. The vertical display unit is mounted to and spaced from an associated structure.

Signs, and more particularly, point-of-purchase sign or display systems can, when properly designed, be tremendously effective marketing tools. The systems have become widely popular in all manners of retail trade.

In one common use, signs are mounted to shelving systems that permit loading of pallets and palletized items onto the shelves. These are commonly referred to as pallet racks. These arrangements permit the storage of large items and large amounts of items on each of the shelves. However, the shelves do not typically lend themselves to the mounting of point-of-purchase displays units or signs.

Many known display units and signs are permanently or semi-permanently affixed to the shelves and are hung above or below horizontal bars of the shelving systems. While these display units function well to direct a consumer's attention to the particular products, they do not permit ready access to the shelves to, for example, restock the shelves or retrieve items therefrom. This, of course, is particularly true of those display units that are permanently or semi-permanently affixed to the shelves.

To address this problem, known mounting systems for signs were developed. These include those disclosed in Padiak et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,633 entitled “Pivotal, Two-Position Locking Side Mounting System” and Conway et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,803,420 entitled “Universal Side Mounting Device”. Another known mounting system is disclosed in Conway et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,484,988 entitled “Bias-Assisted Sign Mount”. All of these patents are commonly assigned to the present applicant and are incorporated herein by reference.

All of these systems function well. In fact, they provide one or more mounting arrangements that are used to position a sign in a particular, desired orientation and position that is effective for point-of-purchase marketing. The systems in one or more forms permit fully rotating or pivoting the sign out of the way, from a display position to a storage position, to restock the shelves over or behind which the signs are located. However, one drawback to these systems is the inability to mount to vertical beams, while at the same time providing consumer accessible storage for products.

In addition, other known systems do not allow for aesthetically mounting the signs over horizontal rack beams while permitting product storage. It has been found that the horizontal beams, including the beams on which the shelves are positioned, can extend slightly outwardly from the vertical uprights or posts, preventing the mounting of signage and/or storage displays. Alternately, the horizontal beams overlie openings into which the display unit and sign mounts must be inserted. As such, the signs may not lie flush with the rack. This is an aesthetically undesirable situation.

Accordingly, there exists a need for a point-of-purchase display unit that can be positioned in a particular, desired position. Such a system permits positioning the display unit on vertical beams or posts of the associated structure and provides accessible product storage.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to a vertical display unit that is mounted to an associated structure and, in one embodiment, to a pallet rack. In one embodiment, the display unit comprises a spine that is attached to a vertical post of a pallet rack by an offset bracket. This desirably allows users to adjust the vertical position of the display unit by moving it up and down the vertical post and forwardly offsets the spine to permit the spine to overlie the horizontal beam. In this manner, products displayed in the unit are aligned with products on the associated structure or pallet rack. Further, by positioning the display unit on the vertical post, access to the associated structure or pallet rack is substantially unimpeded, allowing customers to access the rack. Different product display unit assemblies that hold and/or display products can be attached to the spine.

In a first embodiment, the product display unit assembly comprises one or more spine attachments that are attached to the spine and desirably accommodate a wide variety of different products, literature and other goods. Two adjustable wings may also be attached to the spine, and their lateral position may be adjusted inward or outward depending on the good to be displayed. Advertisement boards may be inserted into outside lateral faces of the wings to increase marketing exposure.

In a second embodiment, the product display unit assembly comprises the two adjustable wings and wing attachments, such as front panels and a bottom. The wing attachments are attached to the adjustable wings, and the adjustable wings are attached to the spine. The front panels and bottom are attached to the wings to form an enclosure. Goods may then be placed within the enclosure.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, in conjunction with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The benefits and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the relevant art after reviewing the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a first embodiment of the vertical display unit having hook type spine attachments;

FIG. 2 is rear perspective view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of FIG. 1 showing the spine overlying a horizontal beam;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view showing a bracket cooperating with the spine and a vertical post;

FIG. 4a is the exploded view of FIG. 4 as seen from the rear;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the vertical display unit having stackable ring and bottom panel type spine attachments;

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of the stackable ring and bottom panel type spine attachments;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the vertical display unit having bin type spine attachments;

FIG. 7 is a second embodiment of the vertical display unit having a bottom that comprises of a base; and,

FIG. 8 is a second embodiment of the vertical display unit having a bottom that comprises of shelves.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings and will hereinafter be described a presently preferred embodiment with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiment illustrated.

It should be further understood that the title of this section of this specification, namely, “Detailed Description Of The Invention”, relates to a requirement of the United States Patent Office, and does not imply, nor should be inferred to limit the subject matter disclosed herein.

The present invention pertains to a vertical display unit that is mounted to an associated structure and, in one embodiment, to a pallet rack. In one embodiment, the display unit comprises a spine that is attached to a vertical post of a pallet rack by a bracket.

In a first embodiment, the vertical display unit comprises one or more spine attachments that are attached to the spine and desirably accommodate a wide variety of different products, literature and other goods. For example, the spine attachments include hooks, stackable rings and bottom panels, and bins that are attached to the spine. Different goods may then be displayed by sliding them onto the hooks, such as windshield wipers, batteries, and other goods that are attached to cardboard backing having holes formed within the top. The holes are slid over the hooks. Goods such as cables and the like may be placed in an enclosure formed by the stackable rings and bottom panels. Informational pamphlets, goods packaged in squeezable tubes, cardboard boxes, and aerosol cans and a variety of other goods may be placed within the bins. Two adjustable wings may also be attached to the spine, and their lateral position may be adjusted inward or outward depending on the product to be displayed.

In a second embodiment, the vertical display unit comprises the two adjustable wings and wing attachments, such as front panels and a bottom. The wing attachments are attached to the adjustable wings. The adjustable wings are attached to the spine and their lateral position may be adjusted inward or outward, depending on the product to be displayed. The front panels and bottom are attached to the wings to form an enclosure. Goods may then be placed within the enclosure.

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of the display unit 10 having a spine 12, which is mounted to a vertical post V of a pallet rack by two brackets 14 (FIG. 4). The spine 12 may be comprised of plastic or metal depending on the goods G to be displayed. Spine attachments 15, such as the hooks 16 shown in FIG. 1, are attached to the spine 12. In other embodiments, different spine attachments 15, such as stackable rings 18 and a bottom panel 20 (FIG. 5) or bins 22 (FIG. 6) may be attached to the spine 12. Goods G may be hung from the hooks 16 or placed within the stackable rings 18 or bins 22 for display.

The hook 16 type spine attachments 15 comprise a hook rack 24 having a front face 26 and numerous pegs 28, as shown in FIG. 1. In other embodiments, the hook type spine attachment may simply comprise one peg that is attached to the spine. The hooks 16 include a fastening mechanism 30 for fastening the hook to the spine 12. As shown in FIG. 1, one type of fastening mechanism 30 comprises a U-shaped brace 32 integral with two inward points 34. The inward points 34 are inserted into apertures 36 formed within the spine 12, and the U-shaped brace 32 provides structural support to allow the hook 16 to support goods G of differing weights.

Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the material, shape and design of the fastening mechanism 30 may be modified to accommodate the desired products to be placed onto the hooks. For example, the fastening mechanism 30 may comprise upward or downward facing clasps 38, 40, or may comprise the U-shaped brace 32 having apertures formed therein. Fasteners F may be inserted through the brace's apertures and the spine's apertures 36 to fasten the hook 16 to the spine 12. In yet other embodiments, the fastening mechanism 30 of the spine attachments 15 may comprise any combination of the fastening mechanisms provided and/or may cooperate with lateral openings 58 formed in the spine 12.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, two adjustable wings 44 are attached to the spine 12 by fasteners F are positioned on opposite sides of the hook 16 (not shown in FIG. 2). The wings 44 include outer faces 46 that include channels 48 that receive advertisements A (FIG. 3), which may be slid into the channels. The advertisements A positioned on the outer faces 46 increase the aesthetic appeal of the display unit 10, 88 and attract customers walking down the aisle of a store by increasing lateral visibility of the display unit 10, 88. Note that in other embodiments not shown, there need not be adjustable wings attached to the spine. In other embodiments the inner surface of the adjustable wings may include grooves or a ledge on which the hooks may rest to provide greater support. In yet other embodiments, the adjustable wings may be transparent, or comprised of plastic or metal depending on the desired marketing objective.

The spine includes a plurality of apertures 36 formed therein, and the wings 44 include a plurality of arms 50 having laterally spaced holes 52 formed therein, as shown in FIG. 1. In one embodiment, the lateral position of the adjustable wing 44 with respect to the spine 12 may be adjusted by attaching the arm 50 to the spine 12 at different laterally spaced holes 52. In a preferred embodiment, left and right sides 54, 56 of the spine 12 include lateral openings 58 that are aligned with grooves 60 formed on a rear face 62 of the spine 12. The arms 50 are slid through the lateral openings 58 and fit within the grooves 60, as shown in FIG. 2. A fastener F is then inserted through the apertures 36 and holes 52 of the spine 12 and arm 50, respectively.

In one embodiment, the spine 12 is mounted to the vertical post V or beam by a bracket 14. One embodiment of a bracket 14 is shown in FIGS. 4 and 4a having a securing mechanism 64 comprising legs 66 that are integral with leg plates 68. The securing mechanism 64 is inserted through an aperture VA formed within the vertical beam or post V, as shown in FIG. 2. Note that the legs 66 of the securing mechanism 64 are inserted through horizontally adjacent apertures VA formed within the vertical beam or post V. In other embodiments not shown, the securing mechanism may comprise one leg that is inserted through one aperture of the vertical beam.

The bracket 14 includes a fastening mechanism 70, which comprises a sleeve 72 in the leg plate 68 in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4. Fasteners F are inserted through spine apertures 36 and into the fastening mechanism 70 of the bracket 14 to fasten the spine 12 to the brackets 14 and the vertical post V. Note that in other embodiments, the fastening mechanism 70 of the bracket may comprise structures other than the sleeve 72 shown in FIG. 4.

The leg plates 68 are integral with a spacer 76, having a spacer body 78 and spacer plate 80. As shown in FIG. 3, when attached to the spine 12, the spacer 76 spaces the spine 12 from the vertical beam V so that the spine is substantially parallel to and spaced from the vertical beam. This allows for the spine to lie parallel to the vertical beam V, overlying the horizontal beam H to prevent resting in a crooked or askew manner.

In a most preferred embodiment, the spacer 76 includes a spacer protrusion 82 that cooperates with the grooves 60 in the rear 62 of the spine 12, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 4a. The spacer protrusion 82 and grooves 60 in the rear 62 of the spine 12 desirably identify a location on the rear of the spine at which the bracket 64 should be attached. The spine grooves 60 and the spacer protrusion 82 also decrease the susceptibility of the spine 12 to slip with respect to the brackets 64 when items, especially heavy items, are added or removed from the display unit 10, 100.

Note that in other embodiments not shown, the securing mechanism is separate from the spacer, which comprises the spacer plate integral with the spacer body. The spacer plate includes an aperture, and the fastener is inserted through the front aperture of the spine, the aperture of the spacer plate, and into the fastener receiving tube. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the bracket may be comprised of plastic or different types of metal depending on the desired products to be supported by the display unit.

FIG. 5 shows a first embodiment of the display unit 10 having stackable ring 18 type spine attachments 15 that include fastening mechanisms 30. The stackable ring 18 embodiment shown in FIG. 5 incorporates a fastening mechanism 30 that comprises upward pointing clasps 38. The clasps 38 are inserted through the apertures 36 or lateral openings 58 of the spine 12. The embodiment of FIG. 5 further includes a bottom panel 20 having fastening mechanisms 30, which, preferably, also are upward pointing clasps 38. The upward clasps 38 are inserted through the spine apertures 36.

Note that the type of fastening mechanism 30 may be modified depending on the structural support required to display different products P inserted into the stackable ring/bottom panel enclosure. For example, in other embodiments, the stackable rings may include downward clasps, a back surface having a fastening mechanism that comprises a U-shaped brace integral with inward points, a U-shaped brace with apertures formed therein for cooperating with fasteners, or any combination thereof. Further, the adjustable wings may be used with the stackable rings in other embodiments not shown.

In other embodiments, the fastening mechanism 30 may comprise two tab apertures 84 formed within a tab 86 protruding from the bottom panel 20 or the stackable ring 18, as shown in FIG. 5a. Fasteners F are inserted through the apertures 84 of the stackable ring and/or bottom panel 18, 20 and into the spine 12.

FIG. 6 shows a first embodiment of the display unit 10 having bin 22 type spine attachments 15. The bins 22 are attached to the spine 12 by fastening mechanisms 30. The bin 22 embodiment of FIG. 6 incorporates fastening mechanisms 30 that comprise tabs 84 having tab apertures 86 formed therein. Fasteners F are inserted through the tab and spine apertures 84, 86. In other embodiments, the fastening mechanism 30 cooperates with either the lateral openings 58 or apertures 36 of the spine and may comprise, for example, a U-shaped brace 32 integral with upward points 34, a U-shaped brace 32 with apertures formed therein, upward or downward clasps 38, 40, or any combination thereof.

The shape and size of the bins 22 and fastening mechanism 30 may be adjusted depending on the goods G to be displayed. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the embodiments shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 may also include adjustable wings.

FIG. 7 shows a second embodiment 88 of the display unit comprising adjustable wings 44 and wing attachments 90. In the embodiment of FIG. 7, the wing attachments 90 include front panels 92 that are attached to the adjustable wings 44. The front panels 92 include wing attachment fastening mechanisms 94 that cooperate with apertures 96 formed within the adjustable wings 44 and, in the embodiment of FIG. 7, the wing attachment fastening mechanism 94 includes downward clasps 40 that are inserted into the adjustable wing apertures 96.

The embodiment of FIG. 7 also includes a bottom 98 comprising a base 100 that is either attached to the spine 12, the adjustable wing 44 or both by a bottom fastening mechanism 102. One embodiment of the bottom fastening mechanism 102 includes a flange 104 extending from a lateral side 105 of the base. The flange 104 preferably defines a clip 106 at its end. The adjustable wing 44 includes a channel 48 formed on its outside face 46. The channel 48 is slid into the flange 104, and the clip 106 of the flange slides through a wing aperture 96 to lock the wing 44 to the base 100. Goods G may be positioned within the enclosure formed by the front panel 92 and base 100, the adjustable wings 44 and the spine 12.

In other embodiments, the bottom fastening mechanism 102 comprises a slot, a protrusion, or both formed in the base, and a slot, protrusion or both formed in the adjustable wing. Either the base protrusion is inserted into the adjustable wing slot, or the adjustable wing protrusion is inserted into the base slot, or both. In other embodiments, the bottom fastening mechanism may include two apertures formed within the base, and fasteners are inserted through the base apertures and the spine apertures to fasten the base to the spine.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the bottom 100 comprises shelves 108, each attached to the adjustable wing 44 by a bottom fastening mechanism 102. The bottom fastening mechanism 102 of FIG. 8 comprises the flange 104 and clip 106 and cooperates with a channel 48 on the adjustable wing 44.

As shown in FIG. 8, an advertising insert A may be inserted over portions of the spine 12 to achieve increased marketing exposure. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that such advertising inserts may be used in conjunction with any of the embodiments shown in any of the Figures.

All patents referred to herein, are hereby incorporated herein by reference, whether or not specifically done so within the text of this disclosure.

In the present disclosure, the words “a” or “an” are to be taken to include both the singular and the plural. Conversely, any reference to plural items shall, where appropriate, include the singular.

From the foregoing it will be observed that numerous modifications and variations can be effectuated without departing from the true spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the present invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific embodiments illustrated is intended or should be inferred. The disclosure is intended to cover all such modifications as fall within the scope of the disclosed, exemplary embodiment.