Title:
One handed, pop-up cargo management system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cargo management system includes a bottom panel, a pair of top panels hingedly connected to the bottom panel, and a plurality of side panels hingedly connected to the bottom panel and the top panels. A plurality of rib members may be provided to divide the cargo management system into separate storage wells. Both the side panels and the rib members pop-up from the bottom panel when the cargo management system is placed from a collapsed position to a fully deployed position. The cargo management can be easily placed from the collapsed position to the fully deployed position by a single hand of the user by pulling one of the top panels toward the user.



Inventors:
Svenson, Richard Neal (Northville, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/694329
Publication Date:
04/28/2005
Filing Date:
10/27/2003
Assignee:
Intier Automotive Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60R7/02; B60R11/00; B60R13/01; B65D6/12; (IPC1-7): B65D6/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, NIKI MARINA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HONIGMAN LLP (Kalamazoo, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A one-handed, pop-up cargo management system, comprising: a bottom panel; a pair of top panels hingedly connected to the bottom panel; and a plurality of side panels hingedly connected to the bottom panel and the pair of top panels such that the cargo management system can be placed from a collapsed position to a fully deployed position.

2. The cargo management system according to claim 1, further including a plurality of rib members hingedly connected to the bottom panel, the plurality of rib members dividing the cargo management system into separate storage wells.

3. The cargo management system according to claim 1, wherein the side panels are triangular in shape.

4. The cargo management system according to claim 1, wherein the pair of top panels are hingedly connected to the bottom panel by a living hinge.

5. The cargo management system according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of side panels are hingedly connected to the bottom panel and the pair of top panels by a living hinge.

6. The cargo management system according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of side panels form a deployment angle of approximately zero degrees with respect to the bottom panel when the cargo management system is in the collapsed position.

7. The cargo management system according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of side panels form a deployment angle of approximately ninety degrees with respect to the bottom panel when the cargo management system is in the collapsed position.

8. The cargo management system according to claim 1, further including a top perimeter member, a bottom perimeter member, and a pair of side perimeter members.

9. The cargo management system according to claim 8, wherein one of the perimeter members includes a handle.

10. A one-handed, pop-up cargo management system, comprising: a bottom panel; a pair of top panels hingedly connected to the bottom panel; a first pair of side panels hingedly connected to the pair of top panels, and a first side panel hingedly connected to the first pair of side panels and the bottom panel; and a second pair of side panels hingedly connected to the pair of top panels, and a second side panel hingedly connected to the second pair of side panels and the bottom panel, wherein side panels form a first deployment angle with respect to the bottom panel when the cargo management system is in a collapsed position, and wherein side panels form a second deployment angle with respect to the bottom panel when the cargo management system is in a fully deployed position.

11. The cargo management system according to claim 10, further including a plurality of rib members hingedly connected to the bottom panel, the plurality of rib members dividing the cargo management system into separate storage wells.

12. The cargo management system according to claim 10, wherein the side panels are triangular in shape.

13. The cargo management system according to claim 10, wherein the first deployment angle is approximately zero degrees.

14. The cargo management system according to claim 10, wherein the second deployment angle is approximately ninety degrees.

15. The cargo management system according to claim 10, wherein the bottom panel forms a plurality of perimeter members.

16. The cargo management system according to claim 15, wherein one of the plurality of perimeter members includes a handle.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to application Ser. No. 10/282,598, filed Oct. 29, 2002, the entire contents of which is herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a vehicle storage system, and in particular to a cargo management system that can easily be transported and deployed by the user for separating, controlling and/or securing cargo and other items.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventional cargo storage devices for motor vehicles normally employ netting affixed to an elastic cord. The location for this conventional device directed to cargo separation, control, and securement is normally limited to a trunk space or the rear portion of a mini-van or sport utility vehicle (SUV). The netting and elastic cord device however doesn't completely secure weighted cargo that may move or roll during operation of the vehicle. In addition, this type of conventional device lacks rigidity that may prevent weighted cargo from moving freely in the storage area. Further, the netting only provides a single barrier for separating cargo because the netting may only stretch from a first side of the storage area to a second side of the storage area.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The inventor of the present invention has recognized the problems associated with conventional vehicle storage systems and has developed a one-handed, pop-up cargo management system that is easily transportable, deployed and collapsed by the user. Specifically, the cargo management system comprises a

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the cargo management system according to the invention when in a collapsed position;

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the cargo management system of the invention when in a partially deployed position;

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the cargo management system of the invention when in another partially deployed position;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of the cargo management system when in a fully deployed position;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the cargo management system of the invention when being transported by the user; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the cargo management system of the invention as used in a vehicle.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows the cargo management system, shown generally at 10, when in a fully collapsed position. In general, the cargo management system 10 is preferably made of lightweight, rigid plastic material, such as a thermoplastic composite (TPC) or the like. In the illustrated embodiment, the cargo management system 10 is light in weight (approximately 10 lbs.) to allow the user to selectively position the cargo management system 10 within a vehicle 60, as shown in FIG. 6. It will be appreciated that the invention is not limited by the type of rigid, lightweight material, and that the invention can be practiced with any suitable lightweight, rigid material that can allow the user to easily transport the cargo management system 10. For decorative purposes, a decorative carpet or other trim may be applied over the one or more outer surfaces of the cargo management system 10. When in the fully collapsed position shown in FIG. 1, the cargo management system 10 may be stowed away in a compact, collapsible, “thin stack form” in or outside of the vehicle. For example, the cargo management system 10 when in the collapsed position can be stowed within any “dead storage space” of the vehicle, such as a trunk space in a rear portion of a vehicle, or under a bench style seat, such as a rear seat, a third row seat, or the like. In addition, the cargo management system 10, can be easily transported by the user when in the collapsed position, as shown in FIG. 5.

Referring back to FIG. 1, the cargo management system 10 includes a top perimeter member 12, a pair of side perimeter members 14, 16, and a bottom perimeter member 18. A opening or handle 18a is formed in the bottom perimeter member 18 includes a cutout or handle 18a large enough to allow the user to easily transport the cargo management system 10, as shown in FIG. 5. The cargo management system 10 includes a pair of top panels 20, 22 that are hingedly connected to the top perimeter member 12 and bottom perimeter member 18, respectively, by the use of a live or living hinge 21, 23, respectively. Each top panel 20, 22 include a semi-hemispherical cutout 24a, 24b, respectively, that are positioned in a mirror symmetric relationship with each other. One of the cutouts 24a, 24b includes an insert 25 mounted therein. The insert 25 may include indicia 25a thereon to provide instructions to the user on how to use the cargo management system 10. Preferably, the insert 25 has a thickness somewhat less than the thickness of the top panel 20, 22 in which the insert 25 is mounted such that the user can position one or more fingers behind the insert 25 and pull the top panel 20, 22 in which the insert 25 is mounted toward the user, as shown in FIG. 2. Thus, the cargo management system 10 can be deployed with using one hand of the user, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

Referring back to FIG. 1, each top panel 20, 22 may include one or more raised portions 20a, 22a, respectively, to provide structural rigidity to the top panel 20, 22, as well as protect the top panel 20, 22 when an article (not shown) is placed on the top panel 20, 22. In the illustrated embodiment, each top panel 20, 22 includes five (5) raised portions 20a, 22a, respectively. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited by the number of raised portions 20a, 22a, and that the invention can be practiced with any desirable number of raised portions 20a, 22a. As seen in FIG. 1, the top panels 20, 22 are substantially aligned with each other to form a substantially continuous, flush outer surface when the cargo management system 10 is in the collapsed position.

FIG. 2 shows the cargo management system 10 in a partially deployed position. As seen in FIG. 2, the cargo management system 10 includes a plurality of triangular-shaped side panels 26, 27, 28, 29 and a pair of optional triangular-shaped rib members 30, 31. The side panels 26, 27 are hingedly connected to the top panel 20 by live or living hinges 32, 33, respectively. Similarly, the side panels 28, 29 are hingedly connected to the top panel 20 by live or living hinges 34, 35, respectively. In addition, the side panel 26 is hingedly connected to the side panel 28 by a live or living hinge 36 and the side panel 27 is hingedly connected to the side panel 29 by a live or living hinge 37. Further, the optional rib members 30, 31 are hingedly connected to the top panels 20, 22 by a live or living hinges 38, 39, respectively, and are hingedly connected to each other by a live or living hinge 40. As seen in FIG. 2, the side panels 26, 28 and the optional rib members 30, 31 are angled toward the side panels 27, 29 when the cargo management system 10 is in the partially deployed position shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 3 shows the cargo management system 10 in another partially deployed position. As seen in FIG. 3, the side panels 27, 29 are hingedly connected to a triangular-shaped side panel 41. The side panel 41 is hingedly connected to a bottom panel 45. Similarly, the side panels 26, 28 are hingedly connected to a triangular-shaped side panel 42. The side panel 42 is hingedly connected to the bottom panel 45. Likewise, the pair of rib members 30, 31 are hingedly connected to a triangular-shaped rib member 43. The rib member 43 is hingedly connected to the bottom panel 45. It should be noted that the bottom panel 45 may constitute the entire bottom of the cargo management system 10. Thus, the bottom panel 45 may be integrally formed with the top perimeter member 12, the pair of side perimeter members 14, 16, and the bottom perimeter member 18. The side panels 41, 42 and the rib member 43 are hingedly connected to the bottom panel 45 by live or living hinges, 46, 47, 48, respectively. The side panel 41 is hingedly connected to the side panels 27, 29 by live or living hinges 49, 50. Similarly, the side panel 42 is hingedly connected to the side panels 26, 28 by live or living hinges 51, 52. Likewise, the rib member 43 is hingedly connected to the rib members 30, 31 by live or living hinges 53, 54.

As seen in FIGS. 1-4, the live hinge connections allow the side panels 26, 27, 28, 29, 41, 42 and the rib members 30, 31, 43 to form a deployment angle, θ, of approximately zero (0) degrees with respect to the bottom panel 45 and are substantially parallel to the bottom panel 45 when the cargo management system 10 is in a collapsed position, as shown in FIG. 1. As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the side panels 26, 28 fold over the side panel 42 and the side panels 27, 29 fold over the side panel 41 when the cargo management system 10 is in the collapsed position. Similarly, the rib members 30, 31 fold over the rib member 43 when the cargo management system 10 is in the collapsed position.

The live hinge connections also allow the side panels 26, 27, 28, 29, 41, 42 and the rib members 30, 31, 43 to form a deployment angle, θ, of approximately ninety (90) degrees with respect to the bottom panel 45 and are substantially perpendicular to the bottom panel 45 when the cargo management system 10 is in a fully deployed position, as shown in FIG. 4. In other words, the side panels 26, 27, 28, 29, 41, 42 and the optional rib members 30, 31, 43 pop-up from the bottom panel 45 when the user pulls the top panel 22 when the cargo management system 10 is in the collapsed position (FIG. 1) to place the cargo management system 10 in the fully deployed position (FIG. 4).

The live hinge connections described above can be realized by using a one-sided tape of a type well-known in the art. However, it will be appreciated that the live hinge connections described above can be achieved by any appropriate means well known in the art. For example, the live hinge connections 21, 23 can be formed by decreasing the thickness along the junction between the top panels 20, 22 and the top perimeter member 12 and the bottom perimeter member 18, respectively. Thus, an alternate embodiment of the cargo management system 10 may include live hinge connections without the use of the one-sided tape. The live hinge connections may also be replaced with other means well-known in the art for hingedly connecting the various panels of the cargo management system 10, such as a piano-type hinge, door-type hinge, or the like.

As seen in FIG. 4, the rib members 30, 31, 43 divide the cargo management system 10 into one or more individual storage wells 55 of varying size when the cargo management system 10 is in the fully deployed position. Preferably, the storage wells 55 are suitably sized so as to provide enough space to store goods of interest, such as a six-pack of beverages 56, a can of paint 57, a bag of groceries 58, a water container 59, or the like. It will be appreciated that the storage wells 55 can be suitably sized by including additional rib members to provide additional storage wells 55 or no rib members to provide a single storage well 55 that occupies the maximum amount of space.

As seen in FIG. 6 and described above, the cargo management system 10 of the invention can easily be transported to the vehicle 60 and deployed by the user for separating, controlling and/or securing cargo and other items in the vehicle 60. Once the items are removed from the cargo management system 10, the cargo management system 10 can be easily stored by placing the cargo management system 10 in the collapsed position.

While the invention has been specifically described in connection with certain specific embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that this is by way of illustration and not of limitation, and the scope of the appended claims should be construed as broadly as the prior art will permit.