Title:
DISPLAY SHELF WITH ADJUSTABLE DIVIDER WALLS
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A divider wall for use with a gravity-fed shelf assembly includes an elongate wall portion and a first front leg extending from a first end of the wall portion. The first front leg has a body portion and an engagement protrusion extending from the body portion. The divider wall further includes a rear leg extending from a second end of the wall portion. The first front leg and the rear leg are each adapted to be received into a front slot and a rear slot, respectively, of the shelf assembly. Gravity acts on the divider wall and displaces it within the front and rear slots toward a front end of the shelf assembly such that an undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slot is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion to prevent the removal of the first front leg from the front slot.


Inventors:
Mitten, Patrick J. (Barrington, IL, US)
Coretti Jr., Joseph (Wheaton, IL, US)
Hammac, Scott R. (Joliet, IL, US)
Groholski, Tracy M. (Mount Prospect, IL, US)
Application Number:
13/244322
Publication Date:
03/28/2013
Filing Date:
09/24/2011
Assignee:
B-O-F Corporation (Aurora, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/183, 211/133.6
International Classes:
A47F1/04; A47B23/00; A47B96/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090071920WINE-BARREL WINE RACK SYSTEMMarch, 2009Bassetti
20090009940DISPLAY HAVING A STORAGE SPACE FOR A REMOTE CONTROLJanuary, 2009Liou et al.
20090272703CANDY DISPLAY STANDNovember, 2009Conway Jr.
20090107936DISPLAY RACKS AND METHODS OF USE THEREOFApril, 2009Scriba et al.
20040256341Shelf having an adjustable dividerDecember, 2004Donnell et al.
20070075027Book end with saving-boxApril, 2007Yeh
20070256988Model car display system and use thereofNovember, 2007Psaradellis
20070158509Pool cue case of musicians instrument case with tripod stand and restJuly, 2007Hubbell
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A divider wall for use with a gravity-fed shelf assembly, the divider wall comprising: an elongate wall portion extending along a longitudinal axis, the wall portion having a first end and a second end; a first front leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the first end, the first front leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, the first front leg having a body portion and an engagement protrusion extending from the body portion, the engagement protrusion extending in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis towards the first end of the wall portion; and a rear leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the second end, the rear leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, wherein the first front leg is adapted to be received into a front slot disposed at or adjacent to a front end of the shelf assembly and the rear leg is adapted to be received into a rear slot disposed at or adjacent to a rear end of the shelf assembly, and wherein gravity acting on the divider wall causes the divider wall to displace within the front slot and the rear slot toward the front end of the shelf assembly such that an undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slot is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion to prevent the removal of the first front leg from the front slot.

2. The divider wall of claim 1, wherein the front leg and the rear leg each extend from a bottom edge of the wall portion.

3. The divider wall of claim 1, further comprising an intermediate leg extending from the wall portion between the first end and the second end, the intermediate leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion.

4. The divider wall of claim 1, wherein the wall portion is substantially planar.

5. The divider wall of claim 1, wherein the wall portion includes a rigidifying portion that longitudinally extends along the wall portion.

6. The divider wall of claim 5, wherein the rigidifying portion comprises a single intermediate oblique portion.

7. The divider wall of claim 5, wherein the rigidifying portion comprises a top oblique portion, a bottom oblique portion, and an intermediate planar portion extending between the top oblique portion and the bottom oblique portion.

8. The divider wall of claim 1, further comprising a second front leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the first end, the second front leg having a body portion and an engagement protrusion extending from the body portion, the engagement protrusion extending in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis towards the first end of the wall portion, and wherein the first front leg is coupled to a first surface of the wall portion and the second front leg is coupled to a second surface of the wall portion.

9. The divider wall of claim 1, wherein each of the first front leg and the rear leg is integrally formed with the wall portion.

10. The divider wall of claim 1, wherein each of the first front leg and the rear leg is coupled to the wall portion.

11. A divider wall for use with a gravity-fed shelf assembly, the divider wall comprising: an elongate wall portion extending along a longitudinal axis, the wall portion having a first end and a second end, the wall portion adapted to be removably coupled to the shelf assembly; and a rigidifying portion longitudinally disposed along the wall portion, the rigidifying portion reducing transverse deformations of the wall portion when the wall portion is subjected to lateral loads.

12. The divider wall of claim 11, wherein the rigidifying portion comprises a single intermediate oblique portion that extends between top planar portion of the wall portion and a bottom planar portion of the wall portion.

13. The divider wall of claim 11, wherein the rigidifying portion comprises a top oblique portion, a bottom oblique portion, and an intermediate planar portion extending between the top oblique portion and the bottom oblique portion.

14. The divider wall of claim 11, wherein the rigidifying portion extends from the first end of the wall portion to the second end of the wall portion.

15. The divider wall of claim 11, further comprising: a first front leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the first end, the first front leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, the first front leg having a body portion and an engagement protrusion extending from the body portion, the engagement protrusion extending in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis towards the first end of the wall portion; and a rear leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the second end, the rear leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, wherein the first front leg is adapted to be received into a front slot disposed at or adjacent to a front end of the shelf assembly and the rear leg is adapted to be received into a rear slot disposed at or adjacent to a rear end of the shelf assembly, and wherein gravity acting on the divider wall causes the divider wall to displace within the front slot and the rear slot toward the front end of the shelf assembly such that an undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slot is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion to prevent the removal of the first front leg from the front slot.

16. A shelf system for supporting containers, the shelf system comprising: a shelf assembly coupled to a support frame, the shelf assembly having a plurality of transversely-aligned rear slots at or adjacent to a rear end of the shelf assembly and a plurality of transversely-aligned front slots disposed at or adjacent to a front end of the shelf assembly, wherein the front end of the shelf assembly is disposed vertically lower than the rear end of the shelf assembly; and a divider wall adapted to be removably coupled to the shelf assembly, the divider wall comprising: an elongate wall portion extending along a longitudinal axis, the wall portion having a first end and a second end; a first front leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the first end, the first front leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, the first front leg having a body portion and an engagement protrusion extending from the body portion, the engagement protrusion extending in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis towards the first end of the wall portion; and a rear leg extending from the wall portion adjacent the second end, the rear leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, wherein the first front leg is adapted to be received into one of the plurality of front slots and the rear leg is adapted to be received into one of the plurality of rear slots, and wherein gravity acting on the divider wall causes the divider wall to displace within the one of the plurality of front slots and the one of the plurality of rear slots toward the front end of the shelf assembly such that an undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the one of the plurality of front slots is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion to prevent the removal of the first front leg from the one of the plurality of front slots.

17. The shelf system of claim 16, wherein the shelf assembly includes a plurality of transversely-aligned intermediate slots disposed between the plurality of front slots and the plurality of rear slots, and wherein the wall divider further comprises an intermediate leg extending from the wall portion between the first end and the second end, the intermediate leg extending normal to the longitudinal axis of the wall portion, and wherein the intermediate leg is adapted to be received into one of the plurality of intermediate slots.

18. The shelf system of claim 16, wherein the wall portion includes a rigidifying portion that longitudinally extends along the wall portion.

19. The shelf system of claim 18, wherein the rigidifying portion comprises a single intermediate oblique portion.

20. The shelf system of claim 18, wherein the rigidifying portion comprises a top oblique portion, a bottom oblique portion, and an intermediate planar portion extending between the top oblique portion and the bottom oblique portion.

21. A spill tray for use with a shelf assembly adapted to support a plurality of containers, the spill tray comprising: a planar bottom wall that extends along a longitudinal axis from a first end of the spill tray to a second end of the spill tray, the bottom wall being laterally defined by a first side edge and a second side edge, the first side edge and the second side edge each being parallel to the longitudinal axis and each extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; a planar first side channel wall extending from the first side edge of the bottom wall such that the first side channel wall forms an acute angle with the bottom wall, the first side channel wall extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; a planar first top channel wall extending from a top portion of the first side channel wall such that the first top channel wall forms an acute angle with the first side channel wall, the first top channel wall extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; a planar first side wall upwardly extending from an outermost portion of the first top channel wall, the first side wall extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; a planar second side channel wall extending from the second side edge of the bottom wall such that the second side channel wall forms an acute angle with the bottom wall, the second side channel wall extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; a planar second top channel wall extending from a top portion of the second side channel wall such that the second top channel wall forms an acute angle with the second side channel wall, the second top channel wall extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; a planar second side wall upwardly extending from an outermost portion of the second top channel wall, the second side wall extending from the first end of the spill tray to the second end of the spill tray; and a front lip extending normal to the longitudinal axis along the first end of the spill tray, the front lip establishing a first gap adjacent to the first side channel wall and a second gap adjacent to the second side channel wall, wherein the first top channel wall and the second top channel wall are each adapted to support a lateral portion of the shelf assembly adapted to support the plurality of containers, and wherein fluid spilled onto a top surface of the bottom wall is adapted to exit the spill tray through one or both of the first gap and the second gap when the first end of the spill tray is disposed vertically lower than the second end of the spill tray.

22. The spill tray of claim 21, wherein the front lip is planar and is normal to the bottom wall.

23. The spill tray of claim 22, wherein the front lip extends from a front edge of the bottom wall, the front lip being laterally defined by a first side edge and a second side edge, wherein each of the first side edge and the second side edge intersects the front edge of the bottom wall at a right angle.

24. The spill tray of claim 23, wherein the first gap is at least partially defined by the first side edge of the front lip and the first side channel wall and the second gap is at least partially defined by the second side edge of the front lip and the second side channel wall.

25. The spill tray of claim 21, wherein each of the first top channel wall and second top channel wall is parallel to the bottom wall.

26. The spill tray of claim 21, wherein the first top channel wall, the first side channel wall, and a portion of the bottom wall adjacent to the first side edge form a Z-shape when viewed along the longitudinal axis, and wherein the second top channel wall, the second side channel wall, and a portion of the bottom wall adjacent to the second side edge form a Z-shape when viewed along the longitudinal axis.

27. The spill tray of claim 21, wherein the spill tray is symmetrically formed about the longitudinal axis.

28. The spill tray of claim 21, wherein each of the first side wall and the second side wall is normal to the bottom wall.

Description:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

This disclosure relates generally to shelving systems and, more particularly, to divider walls that are removably coupled to shelf assemblies of such shelving systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gravity-flow shelving systems are commonly used in retail food outlets to both store and display consumable items, such as individual-serving food containers or beverage containers. Gravity-flow shelving systems generally include one or more display shelves (also called shelf assemblies) supported by a support frame, and each such shelf assembly is inclined relative to a horizontal plane such that items stored on the shelf assembly slide towards a visible and accessible area at the front of the shelf assembly. Each shelf assembly may have a plurality of channels that are formed by divider walls disposed along the length of the shelf assembly. The width of each of the channels may correspond to the width of the containers stored on the respective channel of the shelf assembly to group the containers in a visually appealing array of rows.

However, when the shelf assemblies are initially configured, or subsequently reconfigured to store the containers described above, the channel widths must be carefully calculated for each row of containers. This process of calculating channel widths and repositioning divider walls is time consuming, especially considering the large number of shelves that are typically restocked or reconfigured each day at retail food outlets. Once the position of each of the divider walls is determined, the divider walls must be secured to the shelf assembly to prevent accidental disengagement of the divider wall from the shelf assembly during use. Typically, it is time-consuming to engage and disengage the divider walls using conventional securing mechanisms, thereby reducing the efficiency of the employees tasked with reconfiguring the channel widths.

Moreover, the divider walls are typically planar walls or rods that longitudinally extend across the length of the shelf assembly. Such elongate divider walls offer little resistance to lateral (i.e., normal to the wall or rod) loads that result from the shifting of larger containers, such as gallons of milk. As such, divider walls may laterally deform, or “bow,” resulting in the lateral shifting of containers in the longitudinal channels, creating a disorganized visual product presentation to the consumer and also potentially disrupting the flow of containers in adjacent channels. In addition, significant lateral loads may permanently deform the divider wall, requiring the repair or replacement of the damaged divider wall.

The adjustable divider wall of the present disclosure overcomes these and other shortcomings of conventional divider walls. As compared with typical divider walls, the divider wall of the present disclosure provides for the fast and accurate creation of channels for accommodating gravity-influenced inventory control of products while providing increased stiffness to resist lateral loads. Additionally, the divider wall of the present disclosure includes a gravity-driven engagement feature that prevents the divider wall from being inadvertently disengaged from the shelf assembly while allowing for the fast and easy intentional removal of the divider wall from the shelf assembly.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The divider wall of the present disclosure includes an elongate wall portion that may extend along a longitudinal axis such that the wall portion includes a first end and an oppositely-disposed second end. The wall portion may be planar, substantially planar, or partially composed of planar segments. The wall portion may be defined by a top edge that horizontally extends (relative to a plane of a shelf to which the divider wall is to be secured) between the first end and the second end, and a bottom edge may be parallel to and vertically offset from the top edge. The wall portion may be further defined by a rear edge disposed at or adjacent to the second end of the wall portion. The rear edge may be vertical (again, relative to a plane of a shelf to which the divider wall is to be secured) and may extend between the top edge and the bottom edge. The wall portion may be additionally defined by a front edge disposed at or adjacent to the first end of the wall portion. The front edge may be vertical such that the front edge is parallel to the rear edge. A front rounded edge may extend between the top edge and the front edge, and a rear rounded edge may extend between the top edge and the rear edge. The front edge and the rear edge may be separated by any suitable distance that allows the divider wall to extend from the front end of the shelf assembly to the rear end. The edges may each form a corresponding edge segment of a continuous perimeter surface that extends in a transverse direction around the perimeter of the wall portion.

The wall portion may also include a rigidifying portion that increases the bending stiffness of the wall portion. More specifically, the rigidifying portion reduces transverse deformation or bending of the wall portion when the wall portion is subjected to transverse loads. The rigidifying portion may longitudinally extend along the entire length of the wall portion, or the rigidifying portion may extend along one or more longitudinal segments of the wall portion. The rigidifying portion may include a top oblique portion that obliquely extends from the first surface of the wall portion such that the top oblique portion forms an obtuse angle with a top planar portion. The rigidifying portion may also include a bottom oblique portion that obliquely extends from the first surface of the wall portion such that the bottom oblique portion forms an obtuse angle with a bottom planar portion, wherein the bottom planar portion and the top planar portion are each bisected by a longitudinal plane. An intermediate planar portion may extend between the inwardly-disposed ends of the top oblique portion and the bottom oblique portion such that the intermediate planar portion is transversely offset from both the top planar portion and the bottom planar portion. In another embodiment, the rigidifying portion may include a single intermediate oblique portion that obliquely extends from the first surface of the wall portion such that the intermediate oblique portion forms an obtuse angle with the bottom planar portion. A top planar portion may extend from an end of the intermediate oblique portion such that the top planar portion is parallel to and transversely offset from the bottom planar portion.

The divider wall also includes a first front leg a disposed adjacent to the first end of the wall portion. The first front leg may vertically extend downwardly from the wall portion. The first front leg may be integrally formed with the wall portion, and the first front leg includes a body portion that may have a first end that is in contact with or adjacent to the bottom edge of the wall portion. The body portion may also have a second end opposite to, and spaced vertically downward from, the first end. The body portion may be defined by a vertical or substantially vertical first side edge and a second side edge that may be parallel to and offset from the first side edge. At the second end of the body portion, a bottom edge may extend from the second side edge towards the first side edge. The first end of the body portion may include a step side edge that vertically extends from the bottom edge of the wall portion. A second step bottom edge may horizontally extend from the step side edge to the second side edge. A first step bottom edge may horizontally extend from the front edge of the wall portion to the first side edge of the first front leg, and the second step bottom edge and the first step bottom edge may be horizontally aligned.

The first front leg also includes an engagement protrusion that extends from the body portion, and the engagement protrusion may extend in a horizontal direction from the first side edge at or adjacent to the second end of the body portion. The engagement protrusion may be defined by the bottom edge of the body portion and may be further defined by a front engagement edge that vertically extends from a frontward, terminal end of the bottom edge. The engagement protrusion may also be defined by a top engagement edge that horizontally extends between the front engagement edge and the first side edge such that the top engagement edge forms an undercut surface of the engagement protrusion. With the first front leg integrally formed with the wall portion, the edges defining the first front leg may each form a corresponding edge segment of the continuous perimeter surface that extends in a transverse direction around the perimeter of the first front leg.

The first front leg may not be integrally formed with the wall portion, but may instead be coupled to the wall portion. Such an embodiment of the first front leg may have a substantially planar top leg portion that is bisected by a first leg longitudinal plane. As such, the top leg portion has a first top leg surface and a second top leg surface that are each parallel to and equidistant from the first leg longitudinal plane. The first top leg surface may be coupled to a first surface of the wall portion. The top leg portion may be further defined by a vertical first side edge and a second side edge that is parallel to and offset from the first side edge. A horizontal top edge may extend between the first side edge and the second side edge at a first end of the top leg portion. A leg transition portion may extend from a second end of the top leg portion, and the leg transition portion may transversely and obliquely extend from the second top leg surface at the second end of the top leg portion. The leg transition portion may be laterally defined by the first side edge and second side edge of the top leg portion. The first front leg may additionally include a substantially planar bottom leg portion that may extend from a terminal end of the leg transition portion such that a second leg longitudinal plane that bisects the bottom leg portion may be parallel to and offset from the first leg longitudinal plane. A second bottom leg surface that is parallel to and offset from the second leg longitudinal plane may be transversely separated from the first top leg surface. The bottom leg portion includes a body portion and an engagement protrusion that are identical to the body portion and the engagement protrusion previously described. The edges defining the first front leg may each form a corresponding edge segment of a continuous perimeter surface that extends in a transverse direction around the perimeter of the first front leg.

The divider wall may also include a second front leg coupled to the first end of the wall portion. The second front leg may be a minor image of—but otherwise identical to—the first front leg. As such, the first top leg surface of the second front leg may be coupled to a second surface of the wall portion.

The divider wall may also include a rear leg that vertically extends from the wall portion adjacent the second end. The rear leg may be integrally formed with the wall portion or may be coupled to the wall portion. The rear leg may be substantially identical to the first front leg that is integrally formed with or coupled to the wall portion, with the exception being the absence of an engagement protrusion on the rear leg and a potential difference in the horizontal distance between the first side edges and the second side edges of the body portions of the first front leg and the rear leg, respectively. A second rear leg may also be included that is substantially identical to the second front leg.

The divider wall may also include an intermediate leg that is disposed between the rear leg and the first front leg and the intermediate leg may vertically extend from the wall portion. The intermediate leg may be identical to the rear leg. However, when the intermediate leg is coupled to the wall portion instead of integrally formed with the wall portion, the intermediate leg may not have a leg transition portion and may instead be planar.

Configured as described, the divider wall may be removably coupled to a shelf assembly that may be used to support and display disposable food containers, and multiple shelf assemblies that are vertically offset may be supported by a support frame. Each shelf assembly has a rectangular shape and includes a plurality of transversely-aligned rear slots at or adjacent to the rear end of the shelf assembly. The shelf assembly also includes a plurality of transversely-aligned front slots disposed at or adjacent to the front end of the shelf assembly. Each of the plurality of front and rear slots may have a uniform width and a uniform length, and each of the plurality of rear slots may be horizontally aligned with a corresponding one of the front slots. Optionally, and particularly in the case of shelf assemblies having a front-to-rear length of at least four feet or approximately four feet, a transversely-aligned intermediate row of slots is disposed between the front slots and the rear slots. The intermediate row of slots may be centered or approximately centered between the front slots and the rear slots. The shelf assembly may include an additional transversely-aligned intermediate row of slots for each foot of length in excess of four feet. For example, if the front-to-rear length of the shelf assembly is five feet or approximately five feet, the shelf assembly may include two parallel and offset intermediate rows of slots that are disposed between the front and rear slots. The shelf assembly may also include a plurality of support tracks that longitudinally extends from the front end to the rear end of the shelf assembly. A plurality of elongate rollers may be transversely disposed between and rotatably coupled to adjacent support tracks. Due to the rotatable rollers, containers disposed on the shelf assembly will (or will have a tendency to) translate towards the front end of the shelf assembly under the influence of gravity when the front end of the shelf assembly is disposed lower than the rear end of the shelf assembly. When two or more divider walls are longitudinally disposed on the shelf assembly, one or more channels may be formed between adjacent divider walls. The channels may have a transverse width that generally corresponds to the width of the container located in a particular channel to maintain the containers in uniform longitudinal rows.

To removably couple a divider wall to the shelf assembly, the first front leg is vertically aligned with a suitable front slot and the rear leg is vertically aligned with a suitable corresponding rear slot. If a transversely-aligned row of intermediate slots is disposed between the front slots and the rear slots, and the divider wall includes an intermediate leg, then the intermediate leg is vertically aligned with a corresponding intermediate slot. If more than one transversely-aligned row of intermediate slots is disposed between the front slots and the rear slots of the shelf assembly, the divider wall may include at least two longitudinally offset intermediate legs. If such longitudinally offset intermediate legs are disposed on the divider wall, each intermediate leg may be vertically aligned with a corresponding one of the slots of each of the transversely-aligned intermediate row of slots. The divider wall is then vertically displaced towards the shelf assembly such that the first front leg is received into the front slot and the rear leg is received into the rear slot (and, if applicable, each of the intermediate legs is received into a corresponding intermediate slot). The divider wall is continued to be displaced towards the shelf assembly until one or both of the first step bottom edge and the second step bottom edge contacts an upper surface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slot, and until one or both of the first step bottom edge and the second step bottom edge contacts an upper surface of the shelf assembly adjacent the rear slot (and, if applicable, the intermediate slot or slots).

When the first front leg and the rear leg (and, if applicable, the intermediate leg or legs) are fully inserted into the front slot and the rear slot (and the intermediate slot or slots), respectively, the divider wall is released and is allowed to displace towards the front end of the shelf assembly under the influence of (or with the assistance of) gravity. Eventually, a portion of the perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge of the first front leg comes into contact with a forward wall that partially defines the front slot, thereby preventing further forward displacement of the divider wall within the slot. At this time, a portion of the perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge of the rear leg may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall that defines the rear slot, and, if appropriate, a portion of the perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge of each of the intermediate legs may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall that defines each of the intermediate slots. So positioned, an undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slot is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion of the first front leg. More specifically, the undersurface of the shelf assembly is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the portion of the perimeter surface that is bounded by the top engagement edge of the engagement protrusion. With the undersurface in contact with or immediately adjacent to the top engagement edge of the engagement protrusion, the divider wall is prevented from upwardly displacing relative to the shelf assembly, thereby securing the divider wall to the shelf assembly.

To disengage the divider wall from the shelf assembly, the divider wall is horizontally displaced towards the rear end of the shelf assembly until the top engagement edge of the engagement protrusion is no longer in contact with or immediately adjacent to the undersurface of the shelf assembly. In this position, the divider wall may be upwardly displaced relative to the shelf assembly such that the first front leg is no longer received into the front slot and the rear leg is no longer received into the rear slot (and, if applicable, each of the intermediate legs are no longer received into the corresponding intermediate slot or slots).

In embodiments having a first front leg and a second front leg, each of the first front leg and the second front leg are aligned with a corresponding front slot as described above. A rear leg (and a second rear leg, if applicable) is aligned with a corresponding rear slot and, if applicable, one or more intermediate legs are aligned with a corresponding intermediate slot. The first front leg and the second front leg are inserted into the corresponding front slots as previously described, and under the influence of gravity, the divider wall translates towards the front end of the shelf assembly such that a portion of the perimeter surface of the first front leg that is bounded by the first side edge comes into contact with a forward wall that partially defines the first corresponding front slot and a portion of a perimeter surface of the second front leg that is bounded by the first side edge comes into contact with a forward wall that partially defines the second corresponding front slot. At this time, a portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge of the rear leg may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall that defines a second corresponding rear slot, and a portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge of the second rear leg may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall that defines a corresponding rear slot. Additionally, if appropriate, a portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge of each of the corresponding intermediate legs may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall that defines each of the intermediate slots.

So positioned, the undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slots is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion of each of the first front leg and the second front leg. More specifically, the undersurface of the shelf assembly is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the top engagement edge of the each of the engagement protrusions of the first front leg and the second front leg. With the undersurface in contact with or immediately adjacent to the top engagement edges of the engagement protrusions, the divider wall is prevented from upwardly displacing relative to the shelf assembly, thereby securing the divider wall to the shelf assembly. To disengage the divider wall from the shelf assembly, the engagement process is reversed.

When secured to the shelf assembly as described, the engagement protrusion prevents the accidental or inadvertent disengagement of the divider wall from the shelf assembly. In addition, the rigidifying portion that horizontally extends along the wall portion increases the stiffness of the divider wall to more effectively resist lateral loads caused by shifting containers while maintaining an ultra-thin profile. In addition, the use of both a first front leg and a second front leg increases the engagement strength between the divider wall and the shelf assembly to effectively prevent damage to or disengagement of the divider wall when relatively large containers subject the divider wall to lateral loads.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a side plan view of an embodiment of the divider wall of the present disclosure;

FIG. 1B is a partial plan view of a rear leg of the embodiment of the divider wall illustrated in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1C is a partial plan view of a first front leg of the embodiment of the divider wall illustrated in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1D is a sectional view along section line 1D-1D in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 2A is a side plan view of an embodiment of the divider wall of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2B is a partial plan view of an intermediate leg of the embodiment of the divider wall illustrated in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3A is a side plan view of an embodiment of the divider wall of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3B is a plan view of a first front leg of the embodiment of the divider wall illustrated in FIG. 3A;

FIG. 3C is a sectional view along section line 3C-3C in FIG. 3B;

FIG. 3D is a plan view of a rear leg of the embodiment of the divider wall illustrated in FIG. 3A;

FIG. 3E is a sectional view along section line 3E-3E in FIG. 3D;

FIG. 3F is a side view along line 3F-3F in FIG. 3D;

FIG. 3G is a sectional view along section line 3G-3G in FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4A is a side plan view of an embodiment of the divider wall of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4B is a partial sectional view along section line 4B-4B in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 4C is a plan view of an intermediate leg of the embodiment of the divider wall illustrated in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the divider wall of the present disclosure secured to a shelf assembly;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a plurality of shelf assemblies secured to a support frame;

FIG. 7A is a partial sectional schematic front view of a first front leg being inserted into a front slot of a shelf assembly and a rear leg being inserted into a rear slot of the shelf assembly;

FIG. 7B is a partial sectional schematic front view of the first front leg being inserted into the front slot of the shelf assembly and the rear leg being inserted into the rear slot of the shelf assembly;

FIG. 7C is a partial sectional schematic front view of the first front leg being inserted into the front slot of the shelf assembly and the rear leg being inserted into the rear slot of the shelf assembly;

FIG. 7D is a partial sectional schematic front view of the first front leg having an engagement protrusion that engages the undersurface of the shelf assembly adjacent the front slot;

FIG. 8A is a front view of an embodiment of the spill tray of the present disclosure;

FIG. 8B is a side view of the embodiment of the spill tray illustrated in FIG. 8A;

FIG. 8C is a perspective view of the embodiment of the spill tray illustrated in FIG. 8A;

FIG. 9 is a front view of the embodiment of the spill tray illustrated in FIG. 8A supporting a shelf assembly; and

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a plurality of spill trays and shelf assemblies secured to a support frame.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As illustrated in FIG. 1A, a divider wall 10 for use with a gravity-fed shelf assembly 12 includes an elongate wall portion 14 extending along a longitudinal axis 16, the wall portion 14 having a first end 18 and a second end 20. The divider wall 10 also includes a first front leg 22 extending from the wall portion 14 adjacent the first end 18, the first front leg 22 extending normal to the longitudinal axis 16 of the wall portion 14, the first front leg 22 having a body portion 24 and an engagement protrusion 26 extending from the body portion 24, the engagement protrusion 26 extending in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis 16 towards the first end 18 of the wall portion 14. The divider wall 10 further includes a rear leg 28 extending from the wall portion 14 adjacent the second end 20, the rear leg 28 extending normal to the longitudinal axis 16 of the wall portion 14.

As illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 7A to 7D, the first front leg 22 is adapted to be received into a front slot 30a disposed at or adjacent to a front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 and the rear leg 28 is adapted to be received into a rear slot 30b disposed at or adjacent to a rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12. So positioned, gravity acting on the divider wall 10 causes or assists the divider wall 10 to displace within the front slot 30a and the rear slot 30b toward the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 such that an undersurface 34 of the shelf assembly 12 adjacent the front slot 30a is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion 26 to prevent the removal of the first front leg 22 from the front slot 30a. Configured as described, the divider wall 10 provides a self-locking locking mechanism to retain the divider wall 10 within the desired slots 30a, 30b of the shelf assembly 12. The divider wall 10 is also easy to remove. Specifically, the divider wall 10 is displaced towards the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12 such that the engagement protrusion 26 is not disposed in operative engagement with the undersurface 34 of the front slot 30a, and the first front leg 22 can be vertically removed from the front slot 30a, thereby disengaging the divider wall 10 from the shelf assembly 12.

As illustrated in FIG. 1A, the divider wall 10 includes the wall portion 14, and the wall portion 14 may be elongate and may extend along the longitudinal axis 16 such that the wall portion 14 includes the first end 18 and the oppositely-disposed second end 20. The wall portion 14 may be planar, substantially planar, or partially composed of planar segments that will be described in more detail below. As such, a longitudinal plane 48 may extend through the entire wall portion 14 or a planar segment of the wall portion 14 such that the longitudinal plane 48 bisects the entire wall portion 14 or the planar segment of the wall portion 14. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 1D, the longitudinal plane 48 bisects a bottom planar portion 84 that comprises a longitudinal bottom portion of the wall portion 14. The longitudinal plane 48 may extend in a vertical or substantially vertical direction. As used herein, the term vertical refers to a direction co-linear with or parallel to the Y axis in the reference coordinate system provided in FIGS. 1A, 1D, 3A, and 5. The longitudinal axis 16 may be confined to the longitudinal plane 48, and the longitudinal axis 16 may extend in a horizontal or substantially horizontal direction. As used herein, the term horizontal refers to a direction co-linear with or parallel to the X axis in the reference coordinate system provided in FIGS. 1A, 1D, 3A, and 5. The wall portion 14 may be defined by a top edge 50 that horizontally extends between the first end 18 and the second end 20. A bottom edge 52 may be parallel to and vertically offset from the top edge 50. The top edge 50 and the bottom edge 52 may be separated by any suitable distance that allows the divider wall 10 to separate adjacent rows of shelved containers. For example, the top edge 50 and the bottom edge 52 may be separated by a distance of 1.000″ or 3.500″.

Referring to FIG. 1A, the wall portion 14 may be further defined by a rear edge 54 disposed at or adjacent to the second end 20 of the wall portion 14. The rear edge 54 may be vertical or substantially vertical, and the rear edge 54 may extend between the top edge 50 and the bottom edge 52. The wall portion 14 may be additionally defined by a front edge 56 disposed at or adjacent to the first end 18 of the wall portion 14. The front edge 56 may be vertical or substantially vertical such that the front edge 56 is parallel to the rear edge 54. A front rounded edge 58 may extend between the top edge 50 and the front edge 56, and a rear rounded edge 60 may extend between the top edge 50 and the rear edge 54. The front edge 56 and the rear edge 54 may be separated by any suitable distance that allows the divider wall 10 to extend from the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 to the rear end 33. For example, front edge 56 and the rear edge 54 may be separated by a distance of approximately 38.2″ or 43.8″. The edges 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 may each form a corresponding edge segment of a continuous perimeter surface 66 that extends in a transverse or substantially transverse direction around the perimeter of the wall portion 14. As used herein, the term transverse refers to a direction co-linear with or parallel to the Z axis in the reference coordinate system provided in FIGS. 1A, 1D, 3A, and 5. As illustrated in FIG. 1D, all or a portion of the perimeter surface 66 may be bisected by the longitudinal plane 48 such that the wall portion 14 has a first surface 68 and a second surface 70.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1A to 4C, the wall portion 14 may also include a rigidifying portion 64 that increases the bending stiffness of the wall portion. More specifically, the rigidifying portion 64 reduces transverse deformation or bending of the wall portion 14 when the wall portion is subjected to transverse loads. The rigidifying portion 64 may longitudinally (i.e., horizontally) extend along the entire length of the wall portion 14, or the rigidifying portion 64 may extend along one or more longitudinal segments of the wall portion 14. The rigidifying portion 64 may extend along or adjacent to a vertical midpoint of the wall portion 14. As shown in FIGS. 3A and 3F, the rigidifying portion 64 may include a top oblique portion 72 that obliquely extends from the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14 such that the top oblique portion 72 forms an obtuse angle with a top planar portion 74. The rigidifying portion 64 may also include a bottom oblique portion 76 that obliquely extends from the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14 such that the bottom oblique portion 76 forms an obtuse angle with a bottom planar portion 78, wherein the bottom planar portion 78 and the top planar portion 74 are each bisected by the longitudinal plane 48. In other embodiments, one or both of the top oblique portion 72 and the bottom oblique portion 76 may form a right angle with the top planar portion 74 and the bottom planar portion 78, respectively. An intermediate planar portion 80 may extend between the inwardly-disposed ends of the top oblique portion 72 and the bottom oblique portion 76 such that the intermediate planar portion 80 is transversely offset from both the top planar portion 74 and the bottom planar portion 78. The transverse distance between the second surface 70 at the top planar portion 74 and the first surface 68 at the intermediate planar portion 80 may be any suitable value, such as 0.140″ to 0.160″, for example. In other embodiments, the top oblique portion 72, the bottom oblique portion 76, and the intermediate planar portion 80 may extend from the second surface 70 of the wall portion 14 instead of the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14.

In another embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1D, the rigidifying portion 64 may include a single intermediate oblique portion 82 that obliquely extends from the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14 such that the intermediate oblique portion 82 forms an obtuse angle with the bottom planar portion 84. In other embodiments, the intermediate oblique portion 82 may form a right angle with the bottom planar portion 84. The bottom planar portion 84 may be bisected by the longitudinal plane 48. A top planar portion 86 may extend from an end of the intermediate oblique portion 82 such that the top planar portion 86 is parallel to and transversely offset from the bottom planar portion 84 (and the longitudinal plane 48). The transverse distance between the second surface 70 at the bottom planar portion 84 and the first surface 68 at the top planar portion 86 may be any suitable value, such as 0.160″, for example. In other embodiments, the intermediate oblique portion 82 may extend from the second surface 70 of the wall portion 14 instead of the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1C, the divider wall 10 includes the first front leg 22 disposed adjacent to the first end 18 of the wall portion 14. The first front leg 22 may vertically extend (i.e., extend normal to the longitudinal axis 16) from the wall portion 14. The first front leg 22 may be integrally formed with the wall portion 14 or may be coupled to the wall portion 14 by any method known in the art, such as by welding, adhesives, mechanical fastening, or a combination thereof, for example. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1A to 2B, the first front leg 22 is integrally formed with the wall portion 14, and the first front leg 22 vertically extends from the first end 18 of the wall portion 14. As shown in FIG. 1C, the first front leg 22 includes a body portion 24 that may have a first end 86 that is in contact with or adjacent to the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14. The body portion 24 may also have a second end 88 that is vertically opposite to the first end 86. The body portion 24 may be defined by a vertical or substantially vertical first side edge 90 and a second side edge 92 that may be parallel to and offset from the first side edge 90. At the second end 88 of the body portion 24, a bottom edge 98 may extend from the second side edge 92 towards the first side edge 90. The first end 86 of the body portion 24 may include a step side edge 94 that vertically extends from the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14. A second step bottom edge 96 may horizontally extend from the step side edge 94 to the second side edge 92. A first step bottom edge 97 may horizontally extend from the front edge 56 of the wall portion 14 to the first side edge 90 of the first front leg 22, and the second step bottom edge 96 and the first step bottom edge 97 may be horizontally aligned. The first step bottom edge 97 and the second step bottom edge 96 may both be any suitable vertical distance from the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14, such as 0.156″, for example. In addition, the first step bottom edge 97 and the second step bottom edge 96 may both be any suitable vertical distance from the bottom edge 98 of the body portion 24, such as 0.447″, for example. Moreover, the front edge 56 of the wall portion 14 and the step side edge 94 may be separated by any suitable horizontal distance, such as 0.634″, for example.

As shown in FIGS. 1A to 1C, the first front leg 22 also includes the engagement protrusion 26 that extends from the body portion 26. More specifically, the engagement protrusion 26 may extend in a horizontal direction (i.e., in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis 16) from the first side edge 90 at or adjacent to the second end 88 of the body portion 24. The engagement protrusion 26 may be defined by the bottom edge 98 of the body portion 24 and may be further defined by a front engagement edge 100 that vertically extends from a frontward, terminal end of the bottom edge 98. The engagement protrusion 26 may also be defined by a top engagement edge 102 that horizontally extends between the front engagement edge 100 and the first side edge 90 such that the top engagement edge 102 forms an undercut surface of the engagement protrusion 26. The first side edge 90 of the body portion 24 and the front engagement edge 100 may be separated by any suitable horizontal distance, such as 0.052″, for example. In addition, the top engagement edge 102 and the bottom edge 98 of the body portion 24 may be separated by any suitable vertical distance, such as 0.100″, for example.

In alternative embodiments, either or both of the top engagement edge 102 and the front engagement edge 100 may be curved edges, or may be partially curved and partially linear. In other alternative embodiments, both of the top engagement edge 102 and the front engagement edge 100 may be a single curved edge that extends between the first side edge 90 and the bottom edge 98 of the body portion 24. In further alternative embodiments, either or both of the top engagement edge 102 and the front engagement edge 100 may be linear edges that are obliquely disposed relative to the first side edge 90 of the body portion 24.

When the first front leg 22 is integrally formed with the wall portion 14, the edges 90, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98, 100, and 102 defining the first front leg 22 may each form a corresponding edge segment of the continuous perimeter surface 66 that extends in a transverse or substantially transverse direction around the perimeter of the first front leg 22. As such, the first front leg 22 may be bisected by the longitudinal plane 48, as shown in FIG. 1D. Accordingly, a first surface of the first front leg 22 may be coextensive with the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14 and a second surface of the first front leg 22 may be coextensive with the second surface 70 of the wall portion 14.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C and as discussed above, the first front leg 22 may not be integrally formed with the wall portion 14, but may instead be coupled to the wall portion 14. Such an embodiment of the first front leg 22a may have a substantially planar top leg portion 104a that is bisected by a first leg longitudinal plane 106a. As such, the top leg portion 104a has first top leg surface 108a and a second top leg surface 110a that are each parallel to and equidistant from the first leg longitudinal plane 106a. The top leg portion 104a may be further defined by a vertical first side edge 112a and a second side edge 114a that is parallel to and offset from the first side edge 112a. The first side edge 112a and the second side edge 114a may be separated by any suitable horizontal distance, such as 0.625″, for example. A horizontal top edge 116a may extend between the first side edge 112a and the second side edge 114a at a first end 118a of the top leg portion 104a. A leg transition portion 120a may extend from a second end 122a of the top leg portion 104a. More specifically, the leg transition portion 120a may transversely and obliquely extend from the second top leg surface 110a at the second end 122a of the top leg portion 104a. Alternatively, the leg transition portion 120a may orthogonally extend from the second top leg surface 110a. The leg transition portion 120a may be laterally defined by the first side edge 112a and second side edge 114a of the top leg portion 104a.

Still referring to FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C, the first front leg 22a may additionally include a substantially planar bottom leg portion 124a that may extend from a terminal end of the leg transition portion 120a such that a second leg longitudinal plane 126a that bisects the bottom leg portion 124a may be parallel to and offset from the first leg longitudinal plane 106a. A second bottom leg surface 127a that is parallel to and offset from the second leg longitudinal plane 126a may be transversely separated from the first top leg surface 108a by any suitable distance, such as 0.131″, for example. The bottom leg portion 124a includes a body portion 24a and an engagement protrusion 26a that are identical or substantially identical to the body portion 24 and the engagement protrusion 26 previously described. Specifically, the first side edge 112a and second side edge 114a of the top leg portion 104a and the leg transition portion 120a vertically define the bottom leg portion 124a adjacent the first end 86a of the body portion 24a. A second step bottom edge 96a and a first step bottom edge 97a may each horizontally and inwardly extend from the first side edge 112a and second side edge 114a, respectively. The second step bottom edge 96a and the first step bottom edge 97a may be horizontally aligned, and the second step bottom edge 96a and the first step bottom edge 97a may be separated from the top edge 116a by any suitable vertical distance, such as 1.000″, for example. The body portion 24a may be defined by a vertical or substantially vertical first side edge 90a and a second side edge 92a that may be parallel to and offset from the first side edge 90. At the second end 88a of the body portion 24a, a bottom edge 98 may extend from the second side edge 92a towards the first side edge 90a.

The first front leg 22a also includes an engagement protrusion 26a that extends from the second end 88a of the body portion 24a, and the engagement protrusion 26a may extend in a horizontal direction (i.e., in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis 16) from the first side edge 90a at or adjacent to the second end 88a of the body portion 24a. The engagement protrusion 26a may be identical or substantially identical to the engagement protrusion 26 previously described. In particular, the engagement protrusion 26a may be defined by the bottom edge 98a of the body portion 24a and may be further defined by a front engagement edge 100a that vertically extends from a frontward, terminal end of the bottom edge 98a. The engagement protrusion 26a may also be defined by a top engagement edge 102a that horizontally extends between the front engagement edge 100a and the first side edge 90a such that the top engagement edge 102a forms an undercut surface of the engagement protrusion 26a, and such an undercut surface will be described in more detail below. The edges 90a, 92a, 96a, 97a, 98a, 100a, 102a, 112a, 114a, and 116a defining the first front leg 22a may each form a corresponding edge segment of a continuous perimeter surface 129a that extends in a transverse or substantially transverse direction around the perimeter of the first front leg 22a.

As previously discussed, the first front leg 22a may be coupled to the wall portion 14 in any manner known in the art. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 3F, the first top leg surface 108a may be immediately adjacent to or in contact with the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14 adjacent to the first end 18. More particularly, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the first side edge 112a of the first front leg 22a may be vertically aligned with the front edge 56 of the wall portion 14, and the first step bottom edge 97a and the second step bottom edge 96a of the first front leg 22a may be disposed a suitable vertical distance from the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14, such as approximately 0.156″ for example. The top leg portion 104a may then be welded, mechanically fastened, bonded with an adhesive, or otherwise secured to the wall portion 14. To assist in welding, one or more welding projections 128 may be formed on the top leg portion 104a, as illustrated in FIG. 3B. Each of the one or more welding projections 128 may be an elongate blister that has a horizontal longitudinal axis. Each welding projection 128 may outwardly protrude from the second top leg surface 110a and each may have a corresponding elongate depression formed on the first top leg surface 108a. Preferably, two welding projections 128 are disposed on the top leg portion 104a, and the welding projections 128 may have longitudinal axes that are vertically offset such that the welding projections 128 are vertically aligned. As understood by one having ordinary skill in the art, the welding projections 128 allow the focus of welding energy to be transferred consistently and evenly through multiple layers of materials to be welded (such as through the first front leg 22a and the wall portion 14), thereby creating a strong bond between the multiple layers of materials. One having ordinary skill in the art would recognize that the first top leg surface 108 may be immediately adjacent to or in contact with the second surface 70 of the wall portion 14 instead of the first surface 68, and the first front leg 22a may be identical to the second front leg 22b described below.

As shown in FIG. 3F, the divider wall 10 may also include a second front leg 22b coupled to the first end 18 of the wall portion 14. The second front leg 22b may be a minor image of—but otherwise identical to—the first front leg 22a (and corresponding features have corresponding reference numbers). Specifically, the first top leg surface 108b of the second front leg 22b may be immediately adjacent to or in contact with the second surface 70 of the wall portion 14 adjacent to the first end 18. More particularly, the first side edge 112b of the second front leg 22b may be vertically aligned with the front edge 56 of the wall portion 14, and the first step bottom edge 97b and the second step bottom edge 96b of the second front leg 22b may be disposed a suitable vertical distance from the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14. In particular, the first step bottom edge 97a and the second step bottom edge 96a of the first front leg 22a and the first step bottom edge 97b and the second step bottom edge 96b of the second front leg 22b may be vertically and horizontally aligned. The top leg portion 104b may be welded, mechanically fastened, bonded with an adhesive, or otherwise secured to the wall portion 14 in the manner previously described. So secured, the second leg longitudinal plane 126a of the first front leg 22a and the second leg longitudinal plane 126b of the second front leg 22b may be equidistant from the longitudinal plane 48 bisecting the wall portion 14. As such, the second side edges 92, the first side edges 90a, 90b, the bottom edges 98a, 98b, the front engagement edge 100a, 100b, and the top engagement edges of the first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b are transversely offset but vertically and horizontally aligned. The second bottom leg surface 127a of the first front leg 22a and the second bottom leg surface 127b of the first front leg 22b may be separated by any suitable transverse distance to allow the first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b to be inserted into corresponding front slots 30a, and that distance may be 0.310″, for example.

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 3A, the divider wall 10 may also include a rear leg 28 extending from the wall portion 14 adjacent the second end 18. The rear leg 28 may vertically extend (i.e., extend normal to the longitudinal axis 16) from the wall portion 14. The rear leg 28 may be integrally formed with the wall portion 14 or may be coupled to the wall portion 14 by any method known in the art, such as the methods previously discussed, for example. In one embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1D, the rear leg 28 may be integrally formed with the wall portion 14, and the rear leg 28 vertically extends from the second end 20 of the wall portion 14. The rear leg 28 may include a body portion 130 that may have a first end 132 that is in contact with or adjacent to the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14. The body portion 130 may also have a second end 134 that is vertically opposite to the first end 132. The body portion 130 may be defined by a vertical or substantially vertical first side edge 136 and a second side edge 138 that may be parallel to and offset from the first side edge 136. At the second end 134 of the body portion 130, a bottom edge 140 may extend from the second side edge 138 towards the first side edge 136.

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, the first end 132 of the body portion 130 may include a step side edge 142 that vertically extends from the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14. A first step bottom edge 144 may horizontally extend from the step side edge 142 to the first side edge 136. A second step bottom edge 146 may horizontally extend from the rear edge 54 of the wall portion 14 to the second side edge 138 of the rear leg 28. The second step bottom edge 146 and the first step bottom edge 144 of the rear leg 28 may be horizontally aligned with the second step bottom edge 96 and the first step bottom edge 97 of the first front leg 22. In addition, the bottom edge 140 of the rear leg 28 may be horizontally aligned with the bottom edge 98 of the first front leg 22. However, the horizontal distance between the first side edge 90 and the second side edge 92 of the first front leg 22 may be slightly shorter than the horizontal distance between first side edge 136 and the second side edge 138 of the rear leg 28. For example, the horizontal distance between the first side edge 90 and the second side edge 92 of the first front leg 22 may be 0.312 inches and the horizontal distance between first side edge 136 and the second side edge 138 of the rear leg 28 may be 0.325 inches. The longitudinal plane 48 that bisects the wall portion 14 (or a portion of the wall portion 14 as described above) may be coplanar with a longitudinal plane that bisects the rear leg 28 and a longitudinal plane that bisects the first front leg 22. The thicknesses (i.e., the transverse length of the perimeter wall 66) of the wall portion 14, the first front leg 22, and the rear leg 28 may all be equal.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3A, 3D, 3E, and 3G and as discussed above, an embodiment of the rear leg 28a may be a separate component that is coupled to the wall portion 14. Such a rear leg 28a may be identical or substantially identical to the first front leg 22a with the only exceptions being the absence of an engagement protrusion 26a on the rear leg 28a and a potential difference in the horizontal distance between the first side edges 90a, 136 and the second side edges 92a, 138 of the body portions 24a, 130 of the first front leg 22a and the rear leg 28a, respectively. Unless otherwise noted, identical features of the first front leg 22a will have the same reference numbers of the rear leg 28a. A further potential difference between the first front leg 22a and the rear leg 28a may be a difference in the transverse distance between the first leg longitudinal plane 106a and the second leg longitudinal plane 126a of the first front leg 22a and the transverse distance between the first leg longitudinal plane 148a and the second leg longitudinal plane 150a of the rear leg 28a. This difference may exist if the plurality of slots 30b that transversely extends across the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12 are not longitudinally (i.e., horizontally) aligned with the plurality of slots 30a that transversely extends across the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12. When secured to the wall portion 14 as described above and as illustrated in FIG. 3G, the first top leg surface 108a of the rear leg 28a may be immediately adjacent to or in contact with the first surface 68 of the wall portion 14. In addition, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3D, the second side edge 114a of the rear leg 28a may be vertically aligned with the rear edge 54 of the wall portion 14, and the first and second step bottom edges 144a, 146a of the rear leg 28a may be horizontally aligned with the first and second step bottom edges 97a, 96a. The top leg portion 104a may include one or more welding projections 128 as previously described.

In another embodiment (illustrated by dashed lines in FIG. 3G), the divider wall may have a second rear leg 28b, and the second rear leg 28b is a minor image of—but otherwise identical to—the rear leg 28a. As such, the first top leg surface 108b of the second rear leg 28b may be immediately adjacent to or in contact with the second surface 70 of the wall portion 14. The second rear leg 28b may be used instead of, or in addition to, the rear leg 28a. If both the first rear leg 28a and the second rear leg 28b are coupled to the second end 20 of the wall portion 14, corresponding features of the first rear leg 28a and the second rear leg 28b may be transversely offset but horizontally and vertically aligned in a manner identical to the arrangement of first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b at the first end 18 of the wall portion 14.

Referring to FIGS. 2A, 2B, 4A, 4B, and 4C, the divider wall 10 may also include an intermediate leg 152, 152a that is disposed between the rear leg 28, 28a and the first front leg 22, 22a, and the intermediate leg 152, 152a may vertically extend (i.e., extend normal to the longitudinal axis 16) from the wall portion 14. The intermediate leg 152, 152a may be identical to the rear leg 28, 28a, 28b, and identical features share the same reference numbers. In one embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the intermediate leg 152 may be integrally formed with the wall portion 14, and a first step side edge 154 and a second step side edge 156 may vertically extend from the bottom edge 52 of the wall portion 14. A first step bottom edge 144 and a second step bottom edge 146 may horizontally and inwardly extend from the first step side edge 154 and the second step side edge 156. The first step bottom edge 144, the second step bottom edge 146, and the bottom edge 140 of the rear leg 28 may be horizontally aligned with the bottom edge 144, the second step bottom edge 146, and the bottom edge 140, respectively, of the intermediate leg 152. The longitudinal plane 48 that bisects the wall portion 14 (or a portion of the wall portion as described above) may be coplanar with a longitudinal plane that bisects the rear leg 28, a longitudinal plane that bisects the first front leg 22, and a longitudinal plane that bisects the intermediate leg 152. The thicknesses (i.e., the transverse length of the perimeter wall 66) of the wall portion 14, the first front leg 22, the rear leg 28, and the intermediate leg 152 may all be equal.

As illustrated in FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C and as discussed above, an embodiment of the intermediate leg 152a may be a separate component that is coupled to the wall portion 14. Such an intermediate leg 152a may be identical or substantially identical to the rear leg 28a, 28b discussed above. However, the intermediate leg 152a may not have a leg transition portion 120a, and the top leg portion 104a may be vertically aligned with the bottom leg portion 124a of the intermediate leg 152a. The top leg portion 104a may include one or more welding projections 128 as previously described. The divider wall 10 may include a second intermediate leg 152b, and the second intermediate leg 152b is a minor image of—but otherwise identical to—the intermediate leg 152a.

Configured as described, the divider wall 10 may be removably coupled to a shelf assembly 12 that may be used to support and display disposable containers, such as individual sized containers of yogurt, fruit, or beverages. As illustrated in FIG. 6, multiple shelf assemblies 12 that are vertically offset may be supported by a support frame 158, and each shelf assembly 12 may be identical. Each shelf assembly 12 may be directly or indirectly coupled to the support frame 158 in any manner known in the art. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, the shelf assembly 12 has a rectangular shape and includes a plurality of transversely-aligned rear slots 30b at or adjacent to the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12. The shelf assembly 12 also includes a plurality of transversely-aligned front slots 30a disposed at or adjacent to the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12. Each of the plurality of front and rear slots 30a, 30b may have a uniform width (in the transverse direction) and a uniform length (in the horizontal direction). Each of the plurality of rear slots 30b may be horizontally aligned with a corresponding one of the front slots 30a. However, each of the plurality of rear slots 30b may not be horizontally aligned with a corresponding one of the front slots 30a, and the widths and or lengths of the front slots 30a and rear slots 30b may not be equal.

Still referring to FIG. 5, the shelf assembly 12 may also include a plurality of support tracks 160 that longitudinally extend from the front end 32 to the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12. A plurality of elongate rollers 162 may be transversely disposed between and rotatably coupled to adjacent support tracks 160. Due to the rotatable rollers 162, containers disposed on the shelf assembly 12 will translate towards the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 under the influence of gravity when the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 is disposed vertically lower than the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12. When the shelf assembly 12 is so declined, the reference coordinate system provided in FIGS. 1A, 1D, 3A, and 5 may be correspondingly declined such that the X axis is parallel to or co-linear with a longitudinal reference axis that centrally extends from the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 to the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12. The Z axis of the reference coordinate system may be normal to the X axis such that the X-Z plane of the reference coordinate system is parallel to or co-planar with a plane defined by the perimeter of the shelf assembly. When two or more divider walls 10 are longitudinally (i.e., horizontally) disposed on the shelf assembly 12, one or more channels may be formed between adjacent divider walls 10. The channels may have a transverse width that generally corresponds to the width of the container located in a particular channel to maintain the containers in uniform longitudinal rows.

As illustrated in FIG. 10, each of the shelf assemblies 12 may be received into a spill tray 170, and the spill tray 170 may be supported by the support frame 158. As illustrated in FIGS. 8A to 8C, the spill tray 170 may include a planar bottom wall 172, and the bottom wall 172 may generally extend along a reference axis A from a first end 174 of the spill tray 170 to a second end 176 of the spill tray 170. The bottom wall 172 may be laterally defined by a first side edge 178 that is parallel to the longitudinal reference axis A, and the first side edge 178 may extend from the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 to the second end 176. The bottom wall 172 may be further laterally defined by a second side edge 180 that is parallel to and offset from the first side edge 178, and the second side edge 178 also may extend from the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 to the second end 176. A front edge 182 may extend from the first side edge 178 to the second side edge 180 adjacent to the first end 174 of the spill tray 170, and the front edge 182 may be normal to the longitudinal reference axis A. A rear edge 184 may extend from the first side edge 178 to the second side edge 180 adjacent to the second end 176 of the spill tray 170, and the rear edge 184 may be parallel to and offset from the front edge 182. The rear edge 184 and the front edge 182 may be longitudinally separated by any distance suitable to accommodate a shelf assembly 12 that is vertically offset from a top surface of the bottom wall 172, and this longitudinal distance may be 47.500″, for example. A planar first side channel wall 186a may longitudinally extend from the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 to the second end 176, and a bottom portion of the first side channel wall 186a may be adjacent to the first side edge 178 of the bottom wall 172. The first side channel wall 186a may be obliquely disposed relative to the bottom wall 172. More specifically, when viewed along the longitudinal reference axis A, the first side channel wall 186a may form an acute angle with the bottom wall 172, and this acute angle may be 77°, for example.

Still referring to FIGS. 8A to 8C, a planar first top channel wall 188a may longitudinally extend from the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 to the second end 176. The first top channel wall 188a may transversely extend from a top portion of the first side channel wall 186a in a direction away from the longitudinal reference axis A. The first top channel wall 188a may be parallel to the bottom wall 172, and the first top channel wall 188a may be offset from the bottom wall 172 by any suitable distance. For example, a top surface of the top channel wall 188a may be offset from a top surface of the bottom wall 172 by a vertical distance of 0.850″. When viewed along the longitudinal reference axis A, the first top channel wall 188a may form an acute angle with the first side channel wall 186a such that the first top channel wall 188a, the first side channel wall 186a, and a portion of the bottom wall 172 adjacent to the first side edge 178 form a Z-shape. The acute angle between the first top channel wall 188a and the first side channel wall 186a may be 77°, for example. A planar first side wall 190a may longitudinally extend from the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 to the second end 176, and the first side wall 190a may be normal or substantially normal relative to the bottom wall 172. More specifically, a bottom portion of the first side wall 190a is adjacent to an outermost portion (i.e., a portion of the first side wall 190a that is farthest from the longitudinal reference axis A) of the first top channel wall 188a. A first side wall top edge 192a longitudinally extends along the top portion of the first side wall 190a, and the first side wall top edge 192a may be vertically offset from the first side edge 178 of the bottom wall 172. When viewed normal to the planar bottom wall 172, a first front edge 194a of the first side wall 190a may be coplanar with the front edge 182 of the bottom wall 172, and a first rear edge 196a of the first side wall 190a may be coplanar with the rear edge 184 of the bottom wall 172. The vertical distance (i.e., the distance normal to the plane of the bottom wall 172 when viewed along the longitudinal reference axis A) between the first side wall top edge 192a and a bottom surface of the bottom wall 172 may be any suitable distance that allows the first side wall 190a to act as an outermost divider wall when a shelf assembly 12 is disposed on the spill tray 170 in a manner that will be described in more detail below. For example, the vertical distance may be 4.750″. One having ordinary skill in the art would recognize that the cross-sectional Z-shape of the first top channel wall 188a, the first side channel wall 186a, and the portion of the bottom wall 172 adjacent to the first side edge 178 provides stiffness against transverse forces acting normal to the first side wall 190a.

The spill tray 170 may be symmetrically formed about the longitudinal reference axis A such that the spill tray 170 has second side channel wall 186b, a second top channel wall 188b, and a second side wall 190b that are a mirror image of, but otherwise identical to, the first side channel wall 186a, the first top channel wall 188a, and the first side wall 190a, respectively. So configured, the transverse distance (i.e., the distance parallel to the plane of the bottom wall 172 and normal to the longitudinal reference axis A when viewed along the longitudinal reference axis A) between an inner surface of the first side wall 190a and an inner surface of the second side wall 190b may have any suitable value to accommodate the width of a shelf assembly as will be described in more detail below. For example, the transverse distance may be 26.625″. In addition, the transverse distance between the top portion of the oblique first side channel wall 186a and a top portion of the oblique second side channel wall 186b may have any suitable value to accommodate the width of shelf assembly 12 that rests on a top surface of each of the first and second top channel walls 188a, 188b.

Still referring to FIGS. 8A to 8C, the spill tray 170 may further include a front lip 198 that vertically extends from the front edge 182 of the bottom wall 172. The front lip 198 may be planar, and the planar front lip 198 may be normal to each of the bottom wall 172, the first side wall 190a, and the second side wall 190b. The front lip 198 may be defined by a top edge 200 that is parallel to and offset from the front edge 182 of the bottom wall 172. In addition, the front lip 198 may be laterally defined by a first side edge 202a that intersects the top edge 200 at a right angle. The front lip 198 may be further defined by a second side edge 202b that is parallel to and transversely offset from the first side edge 202a. The first side edge 202a and the second side edge 202b may be offset by any suitable distance, such as 25.000″, for example.

The spill tray 170 may be made from any suitable material, such as aluminum having a thickness of 0.040″. The spill tray 170 may be first formed from a single sheet of material or may be comprised of two or more component parts that are coupled to form the spill tray 170.

In use, a spill tray 170 may be directly or indirectly coupled to the support frame 158 in any manner known in the art, and the spill tray 170 may provide support for a corresponding shelf assembly 12, as illustrated in FIG. 10. As illustrated, multiple spill trays 170 that are vertically offset may be used, and each spill tray 170 may be identical. Each spill tray 170 may be secured to the support frame 158 such that the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 is disposed vertically lower than the second end 176 of the spill tray 170. So configured, when the shelf assembly 12 is disposed on the spill tray 170, the longitudinal reference axis A of the spill tray 170 is parallel to the longitudinal axis (i.e., the X axis) of the shelf assembly 12.

To secure a shelf assembly 12 in a corresponding spill tray 170, the shelf assembly is positioned such that the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 is disposed adjacent to the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 and the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12 is disposed adjacent to the second end 176 of the spill tray 170. As illustrated in FIG. 9, a first longitudinal lateral portion 208a (illustrated in FIG. 5) of the shelf assembly 12 may rest on the first top channel wall 188a and a second longitudinal lateral portion 208b of the shelf assembly 12 may rest on the second top channel wall 188b such that the shelf assembly is vertically offset from the top surface of the bottom wall 172 of the spill tray 170.

So positioned, a first shelf sidewall 204a (illustrated in FIG. 5) longitudinally disposed along a first lateral perimeter of the shelf assembly 12 may be positioned adjacent to an inner surface of the first side wall 190a and a second shelf sidewall 204b (illustrated in FIG. 5) longitudinally disposed along a second lateral perimeter of the shelf assembly 12 may be positioned adjacent to an inner surface of the second side wall 190b, as illustrated in FIG. 9. Accordingly, contact with the inner surfaces of one or both of the first and second sidewalls 190a, 190b may prevent or limit transverse displacement of the shelf assembly 12 relative to the spill tray 170. A forward stop (not shown) may be secured to the support frame 158 to prevent or limit longitudinal displacement of the shelf assembly 12 relative to the spill tray 170 due to the influence of gravity. One having ordinary skill in the art would recognize that the cross-sectional Z-shape of the first top channel wall 188a, the first side channel wall 186a, and the portion of the bottom wall 172 adjacent to the first side edge 178 strengthens the first and second top channel walls 188a, 188b to support the shelf assembly 12 and also provides stiffness against transverse forces acting normal to the first and second side walls 190a, 190b.

With each spill tray 170 secured to the support frame 158 such that the first end 174 of the spill tray 170 is disposed vertically lower than the second end 176 of the spill tray 170, one having ordinary skill in the art would recognize that liquid spilling or leaking from products supported on the shelf assembly 12 would flow on the top surface of the bottom wall 172 towards the first end 174 of the spill tray 170. The front lip 198 acts as a barrier that allows such spilled fluid to exit the spill tray 170 between one or both of a first gap 210a defined by the first side edge 202a of the front lip 198 and the first side channel wall 186a and a second gap 210b defined by the second side edge 202b of the front lip 198 and the second side channel wall 186b. The liquid exiting the first and/or second gap 210a, 210b under the influence of gravity may spill into a drip tray (not shown) coupled to the support frame 158. By positioning the shelf assembly 12 vertically offset from the bottom wall 172 of the spill tray 170, and by providing the first and second gaps 210a, 210b, spilled liquid may be directed away from a customer's view. In addition, the vertical offset directs spilled liquids away from the shelf assembly 12, simplifying the cleaning of spills and resulting in a more sanitary product display environment. Additionally, in conjunction with the slim-profile divider walls 10 and the first and second side walls 190a, 190b that vertically extend to act as outmost divider walls, the spill tray 170 enables maximum product facings because the entire shelf assembly 12 is received into a single spill tray 170. This configuration can lead to an additional product facing on a single shelf assembly 12, for example.

Turning again to the divider walls 10, each divider wall 10 may be removably coupled to the shelf assembly 12 by inserting the first front leg 22 into a desired front slot 30a and the rear leg 28 into a corresponding rear slot 30b. For example, when the front slot 30a is longitudinally aligned with the rear slot 30b, the rear leg 28 of the divider wall 10 may be horizontally aligned with the first front leg 22, as illustrated in FIG. 5. The horizontal length of each of the front slots 30a is greater than the horizontal distance between the front engagement edge 100 of the engagement protrusion 26 and the second side edge 92 of the body portion 24 of the first front leg 22. In addition, the horizontal length of each of the rear slots 30b is greater than the horizontal distance between the first side edge 136 and the second side edge 138 of the body portion 130 of the rear leg 28 by an amount that is larger than the horizontal distance between the first side edge 90 and the front engagement edge 100 of the first front leg 22. As such, to couple a divider wall 10 to the shelf assembly 12, the first front leg 22 is vertically aligned with the front slot 30a and the rear leg 28 is vertically aligned with the rear slot 30b, as illustrated in FIG. 7A. If a transversely-aligned row of intermediate slots 30c (not shown) is disposed between the front slots 30a and the rear slots 30b, an intermediate leg 152 is vertically aligned with a corresponding intermediate slot 30c. In embodiments in which the intermediate leg 152 does not have a leg transition portion 120, the plurality of intermediate slots 30c may not be horizontally aligned with the plurality of front slots 30a and the plurality of rear slots 30b.

Once aligned as described, the divider wall 10 is vertically displaced towards the shelf assembly 12 such that the first front leg 22 is received into the front slot 30a and the rear leg 28 is received into the rear slot 30b (and, if appropriate, the intermediate leg 152 is received into the intermediate slot 30c), as shown in FIG. 7B. The divider wall 10 is continued to be displaced towards the shelf assembly 12 until one or both of the first step bottom edge 97 and the second step bottom edge 96 contacts an upper surface 164a of the shelf assembly 12 adjacent the front slot 30a, and until one or both of the first step bottom edge 144 and the second step bottom edge 146 contacts an upper surface 164b of the shelf assembly 12 adjacent the rear slot 30b, as illustrated in FIG. 7C. In addition, if appropriate, the divider wall 10 is continued to be displaced towards the shelf assembly 12 until one or both of the first step bottom edge 144 and the second step bottom edge 146 of the intermediate leg 152 contacts an upper surface 164c of the shelf assembly 12 adjacent the intermediate slot 30c.

When the first front leg 22 and the rear leg 28 (and, if appropriate, the intermediate leg 152) are fully inserted into the front slot 30a and the rear slot 30b (and the intermediate slot 30c), respectively, the divider wall 10 is released and is allowed to displace towards the front end 32 under the influence of (or with the assistance of) gravity. Eventually, a portion of the perimeter surface 66 that is bounded by the first side edge 90 of the first front leg 22 comes into contact with a forward wall 166a that partially defines the front slot 30a, thereby preventing further forward displacement of the divider wall 10 within the slot 30a. At this time, a portion of the perimeter surface 66 that is bounded by the first side edge 136 of the rear leg 28 may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall 166b that defines the rear slot 30b, and, if appropriate, a portion of the perimeter surface 66 that is bounded by the first side edge 136 of the intermediate leg 152 may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall 166c that defines the intermediate slot 30c. So positioned, as illustrated in FIG. 7D, the undersurface 34a of the shelf assembly 12 adjacent the front slot 30a is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion 26 of the first front leg 22. More specifically, the undersurface 34 of the shelf assembly 12 is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the portion of the perimeter surface 66 that is bounded by the top engagement edge 102 of the engagement protrusion 26. With the undersurface 34 in contact with or immediately adjacent to the top engagement edge 102 of the engagement protrusion 26, the divider wall 10 is prevented from upwardly displacing relative to the shelf assembly 12, thereby securing the divider wall 10 to the shelf assembly 12.

To disengage the divider wall 10 from the shelf assembly 12, the divider wall 10 is horizontally displaced towards the rear end 33 of the shelf assembly 12 until the top engagement edge 102 of the engagement protrusion 26 is no longer in contact with or immediately adjacent to the undersurface 34 of the shelf assembly 12, as illustrated in FIG. 7C. In this position, the divider wall 10 may be upwardly displaced relative to the shelf assembly 12 such that the first front leg 22 is no longer received into the front slot 30a and the rear leg 28 is no longer received into the rear slot 30b (and, if appropriate, the intermediate leg 152 is no longer received into the intermediate slot 30c), as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B.

In embodiments having a first front leg 22a and a second front leg 22b, as illustrated in FIG. 3F, each of the first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b are aligned with a corresponding front slot 30a as shown in FIG. 7A and as described above. A rear leg 28a (and a second rear leg 28b, if applicable) is aligned with a corresponding rear slot 30b and, if applicable, an intermediate leg 152a is aligned with a corresponding intermediate slot 30c. The first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b are inserted into the corresponding front slots 30a as previously described and as illustrated in FIG. 7A, and under the influence of gravity, the divider wall 10 translates towards the front end 32 of the shelf assembly 12 such that a portion of the perimeter surface 129a of the first front leg 22a that is bounded by the first side edge 90a comes into contact with a forward wall 166a that partially defines the first corresponding front slot 30a and a portion of a perimeter surface 129b of the second front leg 22b that is bounded by the first side edge 90b comes into contact with a forward wall 166a that partially defines the second corresponding front slot 30a, as illustrated in FIG. 7D. At this time, a portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge 136a of the rear leg 28a may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall 166b that defines a second corresponding rear slot 30b, and a portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge 136b of the second rear leg 28b may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall 166b that defines a corresponding rear slot 30b. Additionally, if applicable, a portion of a perimeter surface that is bounded by the first side edge 136 of the corresponding intermediate leg 152 may come into contact with (or may be closely adjacent to) a forward wall 166c that defines the intermediate slot 30c.

So positioned, the undersurface 34 of the shelf assembly 12 adjacent the front slots 30a is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the engagement protrusion 26a, 26b of each of the first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b. More specifically, the undersurface 34 of the shelf assembly 12 is in contact with or immediately adjacent to the portion of a perimeter surface 129a, 129b that is bounded by the top engagement edge 102a, 102b of the each of the engagement protrusions 26a, 26b of the first front leg 22a and the second front leg 22b. With the undersurface 34 in contact with or immediately adjacent to the top engagement edges 102a, 102b of the engagement protrusions 26a, 26b, the divider wall 10 is prevented from upwardly displacing relative to the shelf assembly 12, thereby securing the divider wall 10 to the shelf assembly 12.

When secured to the shelf assembly 12 as described, the engagement protrusion 26, 26a, 26b prevents the accidental or inadvertent disengagement of the divider wall 10 from the shelf assembly 12. In addition, the simple disengagement and gravity-driven engagement provides for quick and efficient reconfigurations (or initial configurations) of a shelf assembly 12 to accommodate desired containers of various sizes. Moreover, the rigidifying portion 64 that horizontally extends along the wall portion 14 increases the stiffness of the divider wall 10 to more effectively resist lateral loads caused by shifting containers while maintaining an ultra-thin profile. In addition, the use of both a first front leg 22a and a second front leg 22b, particularly in conjunction with the use of an intermediate leg 152, increases the engagement strength between the divider wall 10 and the shelf assembly 12 to effectively prevent damage to or disengagement of the divider wall 10 when relatively large containers subject the divider wall to lateral loads.

The divider wall 10, including subcomponents such as the first front legs 22a, 22, for example, may be formed from a steel blank. In addition, the rigidifying portion 64 of the wall portion 14 and/or the leg transition portion 120a of the first front leg 22a (and other similarly formed transition portions) may be formed in one or more secondary bending operations. However, other materials or manufacturing process may be used to form the divider wall 10 and appropriate subcomponents, including forming all or part of the divider wall 10 of injection-molded plastic.

While various embodiments have been described above, this disclosure is not intended to be limited thereto. Variations can be made to the disclosed embodiments that are still within the scope of the appended claims.