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This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/325,053, filed Apr. 16, 2010, which is incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth.
Display systems are used for sheet goods such as vinyl flooring in order to display a number of sheets in a compact area while allowing a user to flip through the sheets to view the different samples of the materials available. Typical flip module displays may include forty or more samples which, in the prior art, were connected to a plastic spline that was riveted or mechanically fastened to the edge of each sample so that it could be attached to a display rack. Prior known systems are shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.
A problem with these prior known systems is that the spline thickness adversely affected the display since the splines used in the known prior art were formed as U-channels in which the sheet material samples were inserted and either screwed or riveted to be held in position. As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, this resulted in a base that had more than twice the thickness of the sheet goods being displayed taking up additional space and also causing a roll or fold toward the bottom of the material being displayed.
It would be desirable to provide a flip module display in which more sheets of material can be displayed in the same area while avoiding the fold or roll in the area of transition from the spline attachment to the sheet goods on the display.
Briefly stated, a flip display system for sheet goods samples and spline for use in connection with a flip display system are provided that provide a more even flat presentation of the sheet goods samples that are displayed, as well as an even cascading of the samples when they are flipped over to the front of the display. This is carried out in a display system having a frame and two support rods with which the samples of the flat goods to be displayed are engaged using the spline. The spline includes a spline base having a stepped recess extending along one side that transitions to a reduced thickness, forming a sample attachment area. The recess has a depth that is approximately equal to a thickness of the sheet goods being connected to the spline. The sheet goods are connected in the recess that forms the sample attachment area, preferably via adhesives, heat staking or any other suitable method. The base side of the spline includes two slots for engagement with a display stand. Each of the slots has a first portion, which preferably has an enlarged width which transitions to a narrower width as it extends inwardly. The slot further comprises a second, offset portion which transitions from the first portion, preferably by turning approximately 90°. The second portion terminates in an enlarged end portion, which in the preferred embodiment may be oval or circular.
In use, a sample with an attached spline can be easily dropped onto a display stand with the slots engaging over two rods on the display stand and being dropped downwardly prior to being shifted sideways such that the display stand rods slide along the second portions of the slots, prior to engaging in the enlarged end portions of the slots. This allows the user to easily remove or re-insert any individual one of the display samples from the flip module display without the need to remove or dislodge other ones of the display samples.
The foregoing summary as well as the following detailed description will be better understood when reviewed in conjunction with the appended drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a spline for use in a flip display module in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the spline shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 3-3 in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a portion of the spline indicated in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a partial view of the spline of FIG. 2 showing an alternative configuration for the slot.
FIG. 6 is a side view of a flip display module according to the invention.
FIGS. 7 and 8 are views showing prior art flip display modules.
FIG. 9 is a view of a preferred embodiment of a spline according to the invention.
FIG. 10 is a plan view of a spline attached to a product sample.
FIG. 11 is an enlarged view showing the spline attachment area attached to the sample.
FIG. 12 is a view of the display module in which samples of flexible sheet material are connected to the display module using splines according to the invention.
FIG. 13 is a side view of a display module according to the invention with the sheet materials stacked against the back of the display module.
FIG. 14 is an enlarged view similar to FIG. 13 showing the display module in which a number of samples have been flipped to the front providing an even cascading of the samples.
FIG. 15 is a partial view of a display module showing one sample with an attached spline engaging over two holding rods of the display module in a removable fashion.
Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. The words “front,” “back,” “top” and “bottom” designate directions in the drawings to which direction is made. The words “inwardly” and “outwardly” refer to directions toward and away from the part being referenced in the drawings. A reference to a list of items that are cited as “at least one of a, b, or c” (where a, b and c represent the items being listed) means any single one of the items a, b, or c, or combinations thereof. The terminology includes the words specifically noted above, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.
Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a spline 10 for use in a display system 50 (shown in FIGS. 6 and 12-15) in accordance with the present invention is shown. The spline 10 is attached to flexible sheet goods 12, such as vinyl flooring samples, which are to be displayed in the display system 50. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the spline 10 includes a base 14 and a sample attachment area 16. As shown in detail in FIGS. 3 and 4, the sample attachment area 16 is defined by a step or recess that extends along an entire side of the spline 10 creating a reduced thickness area for attachment of the sheet goods 12. In a preferred embodiment, the spline base 14 has a thickness of approximately 0.125 inches and the sample attachment area has a thickness of 0.02 inches allowing for sheet goods 12 having a thickness of approximately 0.10 inches to be attached such that the surface of the sheet goods 12 is approximately level with the upward facing surface of the spline base 14. This is shown in detail in FIG. 4. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other thicknesses and recess dimensions could be utilized, depending upon the thickness of the sheet goods 12 as well as the strength of the material used to form the splines. In the preferred embodiment, the spline 10 is formed from polypropylene, nylon or any other suitable polymeric materials. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other suitable materials may be used to form the spline.
Referring again to FIG. 4, the connection 18 between the sheet goods 12 and the sample attachment area 16 of the spline 10 is preferably made using an adhesive, heat staking or other mechanical fastening in order to form a strong and durable connection between the spline 10 and the sheet goods 12. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other fastening systems, including mechanical fasteners, could be used in order to attach the sheet goods 12 to the spline 10, with the fasteners preferably being countersunk into the material of the sheet goods and the spline so that generally the overall thickness of the sample material 12 being displayed and the spline 10 in the sample attachment area 16 is not increased due to fastener heads protruding outwardly.
Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 2, slots 20 are formed in the spline base 14. The slots 20 include a first portion 21 extending generally normal to the side of the spline base 14 that have an opening with a width greater than a diameter of a support rod 52 in the display module 50, shown in FIG. 15 and discussed below, with the slot width of the first portion 21 narrowing as it proceeds inwardly into the spline base 14. The slots 20 transition from the first portion 21 to a second portion 22 that extends generally at right angles (which could be +/−15 degrees) to the first portion 21 forming a turn in the slot 20. The second portion 22 of the slot 20 terminate in an enlarged end portion 24, which can be oval as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, or can be in the form of a circular end portion 26 as shown in FIG. 5. Other shapes for the end portion are also possible. In one preferred embodiment, the rods 52 on the display module have a diameter of about 0.38 inches and the first portion of the slot has an opening at the side of the base portion 14 of approximately 0.56 inches. The walls of the first portion 21 of the slot 20 taper preferably between 2° and 8°, although other taper angles could be provided, if desired. The second portion 22 of the slot 20 transitions to an angle of approximately 90° to the first portion 21, and the enlarged end portion 24 preferably has an offset that extends further inwardly in which the rods 52 of the display module 50 can engage to prevent side-to-side shifting of the sample once it is installed on the display system 50. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the end portion is oval and has a radius of about 0.22 inches in which the rods 52 rest when the spline 10 and attached sample 12 are engaged in order to hold the sample firmly in position on the display while allowing the sample to be disengaged by being lifted slightly, slid sideways such that the rod(s) 52 traverse the second portion of the slots 20 and then being lifted so that the rod(s) 52 traverse outwardly through the first portions 21 of the slot 20 as the sample is lifted.
Referring to FIG. 6, a stack of forty samples 12 with attached splines 10 is shown attached to a display module 50. The contour of the samples 12 is generally flat due to the configuration of the spline 10 having an increase in thickness of only about 0.02 in the sample attachment area 16 and the upper surface of the samples 12 being generally flush with the upper surface of the spline base 14.
FIG. 9 shows two views of a sample spline 10 similar to FIGS. 1 and 3, and FIG. 10 shows a sample spline 10 attached to sample of sheet material 12, in this case vinyl flooring.
FIG. 11 is an enlarged view showing the spline base 14 and sample attachment area 16 in connection with an attached sample 12.
FIGS. 12-14 show a sample display module 50 loaded with samples attached via the splines 10 in various positions.
FIG. 15 also shows a portion of the display module 50 with only a single sample 12 connected to the display module 50 by engaging over rods 52 which are spaced apart the same distance as the slots 20 in the spline 10. As shown in FIG. 15, it can be seen that the rods 52 engage in the enlarged end portions 24 of the slots 20 such that when the samples 12 are in the display 50 they are held somewhat firmly in position from side-to-side motion.
In order to remove a selected sample, the samples in the display can be flipped to the front as shown in FIG. 14 such that the selected sample is in the position where it can be viewed and easily removed by lifting upwardly on the sample such that the rods 52 are aligned with the second portions 22 of the slots 20 and the sample can then be slid sideways such that the rods 52 traverse through the second portions 22 of the slots 20 and, upon reaching the corner between the first and second portions 21, 22 of the slots 20, can be lifted upwardly and out from the display. The samples can be returned to the display by reversing the process.
Through the use of the present invention, display modules 50 can be provided which can allow for a more aesthetically pleasing display of samples of sheet materials, such as vinyl flooring, while allowing for easy installation and removal of samples, for example by customers, who wish to borrow a sample, or by retailers who need to change samples on a periodic basis depending upon the latest goods being provided by a manufacturer.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various other modifications can be made to the spline 10 and the display module 50 described above which would still fall within the scope of the present invention.