Title:
Stacking shelving system for utility shed
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular shelving system is formed with dimensions to be integrated in the structure of a pre-formed utility shed without compromising the integrity of the shed structure. The interior of the walls of the shed have a pattern of apertures formed during manufacture. The shelf units each have brackets snap fitted on each end. The brackets carry hooks spaced to cooperate with the apertures. The brackets also have bores into which support posts are fitted. The support posts are stopped in the bores and extend vertically from shelf to shelf to support the weight of the shelves. The floor of the shed also has a connector to fix the distance of the lower posts from the wall.



Inventors:
Richardson, Jed C. (Batavia, IL, US)
Rosine, Lyle A. (Oswego, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/217253
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/31/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/189
International Classes:
A47B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCHALE & SLAVIN, P.A. (2855 PGA BLVD, PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL, 33410, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shelving system for installation in a utility shed with structural panels having spaced apertures oriented in horizontal rows and vertical columns comprising at least one shelf having a supporting surface, said shelf including a first end and a second end, a first bracket connected to said first end and a second bracket connected to said second end, a first hook extending from said first bracket, a second hook extending from said second bracket, said first hook and said second hook adapted to engage a row of said spaced apertures to stabilize said shelf horizontally, said first and said second bracket each having a bore therein, a support post adapted to be disposed in each said bore to support said shelf vertically.

2. A shelving system of claim 1 comprising a plurality of shelves each having supporting surfaces, each of said plurality of shelves having a first end and a second end, a plurality of first end brackets connected to said plurality of shelves first ends, a plurality of second end brackets connected to said plurality of shelves second ends, a plurality of first hooks extending from said plurality of said first brackets, a plurality of second hooks extending from said plurality of second brackets, said plurality of first hooks and said plurality of second hooks adapted to each engage a column, respectively, of said spaced apertures to stabilize said plurality of shelves horizontally and space said plurality of shelves vertically, said plurality of first brackets and said plurality of second brackets having a plurality of bores therein, a plurality of support posts adapted to be disposed in said plurality of said bores, said plurality of support posts having a length to extend between said spaced apertures to support said plurality of shelves vertically.

3. A shelving system of claim 1 comprising a circumferential flange in each said bore, each said bore being a through bore extending through said first and said second bracket, an end of each support post engaging said flange to support the weight of the shelf.

4. A shelving system of claim 3 comprising a circumferential shoulder near the other end of each said support post, a smaller diameter extension between said shoulder and the other end, said extension adapted to pass through said flange.

5. A shelving system of claim 4 comprising a cavity in said end of said support post adapted to receive said extension.

6. A shelving system of claim 1 comprising a spring biased snap connection between said first end of said shelf and said first bracket and a spring biased snap connection between said second end of said shelf and said second bracket.

7. A shelving system of claim 2 comprising a circumferential flange in each said plurality of bores, each said plurality of bores being a through bore extending through said plurality of first and said second brackets, an end of each of said plurality of support posts adapted to engage said flange in each of said plurality of bores to support the weight of the shelf.

8. A shelving system of claim 7 comprising a circumferential shoulder near the other end of each of said plurality of support posts, a smaller diameter extension between said shoulder and the other end of said plurality of support posts, said extension adapted to pass through said flange.

9. A shelving system of claim 8 comprising a cavity in each of said plurality of one end of said plurality of support posts adapted to receive said extension whereby said plurality of shelves can be vertically separated and supported by said plurality of support posts and stabilized horizontally by said plurality of hooks.

10. A shelving system of claim 9 comprising a second duplicate plurality of bores in each of said plurality of said first brackets and said second brackets adapted to engage said plurality of support posts.

11. In a utility shed having a vertical wall, said wall having apertures spaced apart in horizontal rows and vertical columns, the improvement comprising a modular shelving system having several shelves adapted to be horizontally oriented along a row of apertures and vertically stacked one above the other in columns of apertures, said several shelves of a length to extend between said apertures in a row of apertures, said several shelves including hooks adapted to be disposed in said apertures, said several shelves having bores, a plurality of support posts of a length to extend between said apertures in a column of apertures, said plurality of support posts adapted to be disposed in said bores whereby said several shelves are held in place by said hooks and supported by said posts.

12. In a utility shed having a vertical wall, said wall having apertures spaced apart in horizontal rows and vertical columns, the improvement of claim 11 further comprising each of said several shelves having a first end and a second end, a first bracket mounted on said first end and a second bracket mounted on said second end, said bores in said brackets, said first bracket having a first hook, said second bracket having a second hook, said first hook and said second hook adapted to be disposed in adjacent apertures in a row of apertures.

13. In a utility shed having a vertical wall, said wall having apertures spaced apart in horizontal rows and vertical columns, the improvement of claim 12 further comprising a spring biased connection between said first end of said shelf and said first bracket and a spring biased connection between said second end of said shelf and said second bracket.

14. In a utility shed having a floor and a vertical wall, said wall having apertures spaced apart in horizontal rows and vertical columns, the improvement of claim 12 further comprising said plurality of support posts adapted to engage a connector in said floor whereby the distance between said plurality of support posts and said wall is fixed.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ filed entitled, Plastic Expandable Utility Shed.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a large enclosure constructed of plastic structural panels. More specifically, the present invention relates to a modular construction system utilizing shelves having integrated connectors to cooperate with integrated connectors in the structural panels for stability and support.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Utility sheds are a necessity for lawn and garden care, as well as general all-around home storage space. Typically, items such as garden tractors, snow blowers, tillers, ATVs, motorcycles and the like consume a great deal of the garage floor space available, forcing the homeowner to park his automobile outside.

The large items, such as mentioned above, require accessories and supplies that must also be stored, as well as other small tools. To avoid using more floor space for these supplies, a system of shelving is usually constructed as free standing units or attached to the walls of the sheds. Free standing units are unstable, particularly, when carrying a top-heavy load. And in the modular plastic sheds, now available, it is difficult to attach shelves to the plastic panels without damaging the integrity of the panels.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Modular shelving systems are well known as illustrated by U.S. Pat. No. 6,178,896 to Houk, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,709,158 to Wareheim and U.S. Pat. No. 5,588,541 to Goetz. These are stand-alone modular units with multiple horizontal shelves supported by sectional legs or, in the case of the Goetz patent a back panel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a primary objective of the instant invention to provide a shelving system for cooperating with structural elements in a plastic utility shed for stability and support.

It is another objective of the instant invention to provide a modular shelving system with flexibility in assembly to support different size and different weight articles.

It is a still further objective of the instant invention to provide manual assembly of the shelving system.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with any accompanying drawings wherein are set forth, by way of illustration and example, certain embodiments of this invention. Any drawings contained herein constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the present invention and illustrate various objects and features thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a front perspective of the shelving system of this invention installed in the structural panels of a utility shed;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the shelving system of this invention with additional support;

FIG. 4 is a side perspective of the shelving system of this invention installed in the structural panels of a utility shed;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged side view of an installed shelf shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6A is a top plan view of a shelf and an end bracket disassembled;

FIG. 6B is a enlargement of the locking snap assembly;

FIG. 6C is a top plan view of the shelf and the end bracket assembled;

FIG. 7 is a perspective, partially in cross section, of an assembled support post and a shelf; and

FIG. 8 is a side view of another embodiment of the shelf hook shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, molded plastic utility sheds 10 are assembled from large panels, such as a vertical wall unit 11, a floor unit 12, and other components to form an enclosure to protect the interior from the elements. During the molding of certain panels reinforcing strips 13 are integrally formed on the surface of the panels. The strips 13 have apertures 14 on the interior surface which do not penetrate the exterior wall surface preserving the integrity of the shed. The floor units 12 also have connectors 15 formed in the exposed surface. The connectors 15 may be indentations, apertures or projections. The connectors serve to fix the distance of the support posts from the walls of the shed for stabilizing the bottom of the shelving system.

The shelving system 20 is a modular construction with interchangable components. The interchangable components include the shelves 30, the brackets 40, and the support posts 60. The modular components are sized to cooperate with the pre-formed apertures in the shed walls. The components may be mixed and matched to build different sized shelving attached to the shed so that the shed becomes part of the structural load bearing partition.

A shelf 31 is preferably formed of an open framework of wires 32 extending across the width of the shelf and reinforced with wires 33 extending length-wise of the shelf 31. The wires 32 form the supporting surface 34 with depending opposite ends 35. The depending opposite ends are joined by longitudinal wires 36. The wires 36 terminate at both ends with a depending tang 37. The length-wise extending wires 33 project beyond the wires 32 and form loops 38 and 39.

The brackets 40 have a molded plastic body 41 with a top surface 42 and depending sidewalls 43 connected to opposite end walls 44. The depending sidewalls 43 have a notch 45 formed on each end through which a tang 37 of the shelf 31 pass during assembly. As shown in FIGS. 2, 6 and 7, the top surface 42 has L-shaped grooves with a staff 46 beginning at each notch 45 and exiting intermediate the end walls with a foot 47.

The L-shaped grooves cooperate with the loops 38 and 39 on the shelves to snap fit the bracket onto the shelf. The length of the loops 38 and 39 is different than the length of the longitudinal wire 36 such that the tang 37 and the loops are spring biased when the loops are disposed in the L-shaped grooves and the tang is in the notch.

Each bracket has a bore 48 and a duplicate bore 49 extending through the top surface and parallel to the sidewalls. Each bore 48 and 49 has a flange or stop 50 of a lesser diameter intermediate the length of the bore. The flange or stop 50 engages the end of a support post to carry the weight of the shelf. As shown in FIG. 3, a second set of support posts may be assembled with each shelf to provide additional load carrying ability for the shelves. The fourth set of support posts has been omitted in the Figure for clarity.

Each bracket 40 has an integral hook 51 of a size to cooperate with the apertures 14 in the shed wall. The hook 51 extends outwardly from one end wall 44 parallel to the top surface. The shaft 52 of the hook is of such a length so that the end wall of the bracket is held closely to the shed wall. The link 53 depends from the shaft and prevents separation of the bracket from the reinforcing strip. The shaft also provides weight bearing support for the shelves.

Some reinforcing strips 13 have internal spacers 16 for additional rigidity. In another embodiment of the hook 51, shown in FIG. 8, a flange 54 extends parallel to the link 53 intermediate the length of the shaft 52. The flange 54 has an angled surface to wedge between the spacer 16 and the strip to secure the bracket in place.

The support posts 60 are formed with a body 61 having a certain circumference and a length to extend between two vertically adjacent apertures in the wall of the shed. One end of the support post has an extension 62 of lesser circumference and the other end has a cavity 63 of a size to accept an extension of a support post.

The shelving system 20 may be incorporated with the original shed or it may be an optional accessory and it may be an after market item.

The assembly of the shelving system is very flexible and as an example only, two support posts are pushed into the bores on each end bracket with the lesser circumference extension exposed on the other end of the posts. The shelf may be hooked into a row of horizontal apertures near the floor panel and the exposed extensions fitted into the floor connectors, in this case, depressions in the floor panel. The ends of the support posts fitted into the brackets rest against the stop or flange in the bores with an exposed cavity opening. The next higher shelf is assembled like the first and the post extension fit into the cavities of the lower shelf. The hooks are inserted into the next high row of horizontal apertures. This may be repeated until all the apertures are occupied by hooks.

It is to be understood that while a certain form of the invention is illustrated, it is not to be limited to the specific form or arrangement herein described and shown. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the invention is not to be considered limited to what is shown and described in the specification and any drawings/figures included herein.