Title:
Shelf organization system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shelf organization apparatus includes a first end member, a second end member and at least one elongated divider. The first end member is capable of being disposed at the front end of the shelf and engaged therewith. The second end member is capable of being disposed at the back end of the shelf and engaged therewith. A lip portion depends from the edge of each end member and is shaped so as to facilitate engagement with the shelf. At least one elongated divider is capable of being disposed between the first end member and the second end member so as to be capable of separating the shelf into separate portions.



Inventors:
Scharff, Eric M. (Marietta, GA, US)
Elliott, Wyatt Blair (Acworth, GA, US)
Hecklinski, Thomas E. (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/113681
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAVCHAVADZE, COLLEEN MARGARET
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRYAN W. BOCKHOP, ESQ. (SNELLVILLE, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shelf organization apparatus, for use with a wire grid-type shelf that includes a front end and an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods, the shelf organization apparatus comprising: a. a first end member and a second end member, the first end member capable of being disposed at the front end of the shelf and engaged therewith, the second end member capable of being disposed at the back end of the shelf and engaged therewith, each end member including: i. a planar portion having a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge; ii. a lip portion extending from each of the first planar portion edge and the second planar portion edge, each lip portion being shaped so as to facilitate engagement with at least one of the longitudinal rods; and iii. a raised portion extending upwardly from the first planar portion end; and b. at least one elongated divider capable of being disposed between the first end member and the second end member so as to be capable of separating the shelf into separate portions.

2. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 1, wherein the elongated divider comprises: a. a substantially flat portion; and b. a vertical wall extending upwardly from the flat portion.

3. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 2, wherein the substantially flat portion of the elongated divider is affixed to both the first end member and the second end member.

4. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 2, wherein the substantially flat portion of the elongated divider is affixed to both the first end member and the second end member with two-sided tape.

5. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a center support member disposed on the shelf transverse to the longitudinal rods and under the elongated divider so as to provide support to the elongated divider.

6. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first end member and the second end member both comprised a plastic.

7. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first end member and the second end member both comprised a metal.

8. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 1, wherein the raised portion comprises: a. a vertical stop extending upwardly from the first planar portion end and terminating a top portion; b. an angled wall depending angularly downward from the top portion; and c. a substantially vertical plate depending downwardly from the angled wall.

9. A shelf end apparatus for use with a wire grid-type shelf that includes a front end and an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods, the shelf end apparatus comprising: a. a planar portion having a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge; b. a lip portion extending from of the first planar portion edge and a lip portion extending from the second planar portion edge, each lip portion being shaped so as to facilitate engagement with at least one of the longitudinal rods; and c. a raised portion extending upwardly from the first planar portion end.

10. The shelf end apparatus of claim 9, wherein the lip portion depends downwardly and has a substantially curved shape that is capable of engaging a rod.

11. A shelf end safety apparatus for use with shelf for supporting an item that includes a front end and an opposite back end, the shelf end safety apparatus comprising: a. a planar portion having a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge, the planar portion including an attachment mechanism that facilitates attaching the planar portion to the end of the shelf; b. a raised portion extending upwardly from the first planar portion end, the raised portion having a strength sufficient to inhibit removal of the item unless the item is lifted off of the shelf; and c. an attachment mechanism that attaches at least one of the planar portion and the raised portion to the shelf.

12. The shelf end safety apparatus of claim 11, wherein the attachment mechanism is selected from a group consisting essentially of: screws, nails, bolts, rivets, cotter pins, fasteners, two-sided tapes, adhesives, and combinations thereof.

13. A shelving system, comprising: a. a wire grid-type shelf that includes a front end, an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods; b. a first end apparatus disposed at the front end and removably engageable with the wire grid-type shelf; and c. an elongated divider, extending from the first end apparatus substantially adjacent to the back end, that includes a raised portion of a height sufficient so that items placed on the shelf are confined to a selected one of two shelf portions.

14. The shelving system of claim 13, wherein the first end apparatus comprises: a. a planar portion having a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge; b. a lip portion extending from of the first planar portion edge and a lip portion extending from the second planar portion edge, each lip portion being shaped so as to facilitate engagement with at least one of the longitudinal rods; and c. a raised portion extending upwardly from the first planar portion end.

15. The shelving system of claim 13, further comprising a second end apparatus disposed at the back end and removably engageable with the wire grid-type shelf, the second end apparatus comprising: a. a planar portion having a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge; b. a lip portion extending from of the first planar portion edge and a lip portion extending from the second planar portion edge, each lip portion being shaped so as to facilitate engagement with at least one of the longitudinal rods; and c. a raised portion extending upwardly from the first planar portion end, the elongated divider extending from the first end member to the second end member and affixed thereto with an adhesive member.

16. The shelving system of claim 15, wherein the raised portion comprises: a. a vertical stop extending upwardly from the first planar portion end and terminating a top portion; b. an angled wall depending angularly downward from the ton portion; and c. a substantially vertical plate depending downwardly from the angled wall.

17. The shelving system of claim 15, wherein the adhesive member comprises two-sided tape.

18. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 13, wherein the elongated divider comprises: a. a substantially flat portion; and b. a vertical wall extending upwardly from the flat portion.

19. The shelf organization apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a center support member disposed on the shelf transverse to the longitudinal rods and under the elongated divider so as to provide support to the elongated divider.

20. A method of organizing a wire grid-type shelf of a type that includes a front end, an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods, the method comprising the steps of: a. placing a first end member adjacent the front end so that the first end member engages at least one of the rods of the shelf; b. placing a second end member adjacent the back end so that the back end member engages at least one of the rods of the shelf; c. placing an elongated divider between the first end member and the second end member so that the divider separates a first portion of the shelf from a second portion of the shelf; and d. securing the elongated divider to at least one of the first end member and the second end member with and adhesive member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to shelf organization systems and, more specifically, to a system that facilitates reconfiguration of shelf organization systems.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Many mass-marketing stores, such as large home improvement stores, display items for sale on industrial shelving. Some shelving systems employ simply flat wooden or metal shelves upon which the items being sold are displayed. The merchant employing a shelving system usually displays the price of the items on the shelf at the front of the shelf using a detachable bracket. Items on the shelf frequently slide off of the shelf unless an additional lip is affixed to the front edge of the shelf.

Typical shelving systems include rigid dividers used to separate items of different types. Once set, such dividers may be difficult to reconfigure when an item of one size replaces an item of a different size on a shelf.

Fire codes in many locations require shelving systems in which the shelves have a plurality of holes passing there through. This ensures that water from a sprinkler system will not be blocked from reaching lower shelves by upper shelves. For this reason, wire grid-type shelves are being used increasingly in sales and warehouse settings. However, wire grid-type shelves do not lend themselves to the easy placement of dividers or shelf-edge lips.

Therefore, there is a need for wire grid-type shelving system that employs an easy to reconfigure divider and end piece system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The disadvantages of the prior art are overcome by the present invention which, in one aspect, is a shelf organization apparatus for use with a wire grid-type shelf that includes a front end and an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods. The shelf organization apparatus includes a first end member, a second end member and at least one elongated divider. The first end member is capable of being disposed at the front end of the shelf and engaged therewith. The second end member is capable of being disposed at the back end of the shelf and engaged therewith. Each end member includes a planar portion, a lip portion and a raised portion. The planar portion has a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge. A lip portion depends from the first planar portion edge and a lip depends from the second planar portion edge. Each lip portion is shaped so as to facilitate engagement with at least one of the longitudinal rods. The raised portion extends upwardly from the first planar portion end. The elongated divider is capable of being disposed between the first end member and the second end member so as to be capable of separating the shelf into separate portions.

In another aspect, the invention is a shelf end apparatus for use with a wire grid-type shelf that includes a front end and an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods. The end apparatus includes a planar portion, two lip portions and a raised portion. The planar portion has a first planar portion end, an opposite second planar portion end, a first planar portion edge and an opposite second planar portion edge. A lip portion extends from the first planar portion edge and a lip extends from the second planar portion edge. Each lip portion is shaped so as to facilitate engagement with at least one of the longitudinal rods. The raised portion extends upwardly from the first planar portion end.

In another aspect, the invention is a shelving system that includes a wire grid-type shelf. The wire grid-type shelf includes a front end, an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods. A first end apparatus is disposed at the front end and is removably engageable with the wire grid-type shelf. An elongated divider extends from the first end apparatus substantially adjacent to the back end. The elongated divider includes a raised portion of a height sufficient so that items placed on the shelf are confined to a selected one of two shelf portions.

In yet another aspect, the invention is a method of organizing a wire grid-type shelf of a type that includes a front end, an opposite back end, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods. A first end member is placed adjacent the front end so that the first end member engages at least one of the rods of the shelf. A second end member is placed adjacent the back end so that the back end member engages at least one of the rods of the shelf. An elongated divider is placed between the first end member and the second end member so that the divider separates a first portion of the shelf from a second portion of the shelf. The elongated divider is secured to at least one of the first end member and the second end member with an adhesive member.

These and other aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments taken in conjunction with the following drawings. As would be obvious to one skilled in the art, many variations and modifications of the invention may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top front perspective view of one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top front perspective view of an end member employed in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3A is a top plan view of a divider member employed in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the divider member shown in FIG. 3A, taken along line 3B-3B FIG. 4A is a top plan view of an end member employed in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the end member shown in FIG. 4A, taken along line 4B-4B.

FIG. 4C is a cross-sectional view of the end member shown in FIG. 4A, taken along line 4C-4C.

FIG. 4D is a front elevational view of the end member shown in FIG. 4A.

FIG. 5A is a top plan view of one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5B is a top plan view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5A.

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the invention in use.

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of a gravity feed embodiment of the invention

FIG. 8A is a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of an end member.

FIG. 8B is a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of an end member.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a shelf end safety apparatus mounted on a wire grid shelf.

FIG. 10A is a cross-sectional view of a shelf end safety apparatus mounted on a wood shelf.

FIG. 10B is a cross-sectional view of a shelf end safety apparatus mounted on a sheet metal shelf.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the invention is now described in detail. Referring to the drawings, like numbers indicate like parts throughout the views. As used in the description herein and throughout the claims, the following terms take the meanings explicitly associated herein, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise: the meaning of “a,” “an,” and “the” includes plural reference, the meaning of “in” includes “in” and “on.”

As shown in FIG. 1, a shelving system 100, according to one illustrative embodiment of the invention, includes a wire grid-type shelf 102 that has a front end 104 and an opposite back end 106, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal rods 108 and a plurality of spaced-apart latitudinal rods 110 that are transverse and secured to the longitudinal rods 108. A first end member 120a is disposed at the front end 104 of the shelf 102 and engaged therewith. Similarly, a second end member 120b is disposed at the back end 106 of the shelf 102 and is also engaged therewith.

An elongated divider 150 is disposed between the first end member 120a and the second end member 120b. The elongated divider 150 separates the shelf into separate portions, into which items being displayed may be placed.

As shown in FIG. 2 and FIGS. 4A-4D, each end member 120 includes a planar portion 124 having a first planar portion end 126, an opposite second planar portion end 128, a first planar portion edge 130 and an opposite second planar portion edge 132. A lip portion 138 extends from the first planar portion edge 130. A lip portion 138 also extends from the second planar portion edge 132. Each lip portion 138 is substantially U-shaped so that it can engage a longitudinal rod 108, thereby holding the end member 120 in place. A raised portion 122 extends upwardly from the first planar portion end 126. As shown in FIG. 4B, the raised portion includes a vertical stop 404 extending upwardly from the first planar portion end 126 and terminating a top portion 402. An angled wall 134 depends angularly downward from the top portion 402 and a substantially vertical plate 136 depends downwardly from the angled wall 134. Price indicia 118 (such as stickers), as shown in FIG. 1, may be placed on the angled wall 134.

As shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the elongated divider 150 includes a substantially flat portion 152 and a raised portion 154, such as a vertical wall, that extends upwardly from the flat portion 152. The flat portion 152 of the elongated divider 150 is affixed to both the first end member 120a and the second end member 120b using, for example, two-sided tape 156. As will be readily appreciated, other means of affixing the divider 150 to the planar portion 124 of the end members 120 may also be employed without departing from the scope of the invention, including using adhesives and fasteners. The raised portion 154 is high enough to guide items placed on the shelf 102 in a selected one of two shelf portions.

As shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, a center support member 160 may be placed on the shelf 102 so that it is transverse to the longitudinal rods 108 and under the elongated divider 150. The center support member 160 could be made from sheet plastic that has a lip 162 formed at each end. The center support member 160 provides support to the elongated divider 150. Typically, the end members 120, the divider member 150 and the center support member 160 may be made of a plastic, such as by vacuum forming or through another heat forming process. However, other materials, such as sheet metal, could be used to make some or all of the parts for certain applications.

Boxes 170, and other items, may be loaded onto the shelving system 100 as shown in FIG. 6. The dividers 150 may be positioned to form channels of widths to correspond to the widths of the boxes being loaded onto the shelf 102. A gravity feed configuration 101 is show in FIG. 7. In such a configuration 101, the shelf 102 is simply tipped at an angle to allow the boxes 170 to slide to the front. This embodiment provides a significant safety feature, in that the end member 120a prevents boxes 170 from sliding off of the shelf unless the box is lifted off of the shelf.

Alternate configurations of end pieces are shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. A simple up-turned raised portion 222 is shown in FIG. 8A, while a simple angled raised portion 322 is shown in FIG. 8B. These configurations might be less expensive and easier to make than the configuration shown in FIG. 4B, but they might not have as much strength. Use of a single end piece 120, acting as a shelf end safety apparatus, with a grid shelf 102 is shown in FIG. 9. This embodiment provides the safety feature of inhibiting an item being removed from the shelf without the item being intentionally lifted above the raised portion. This embodiment can help prevent injuries as a result of someone (such as a child) sliding a heavy object off of the shelf. This configuration is also useful when dividers and a back end piece are not necessary.

As shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B, a shelf end safety apparatus 900 for use with a wood shelf 902 or other type of shelf 904 (such as a sheet metal shelf, a plastic shelf, or other commonly used type of shelf) can be made similarly to the end member 120 discussed above. Such a shelf end safety apparatus 900 includes a planar portion 910 and a raised portion 920. The shelf end safety apparatus 900 could be attached to the shelf using one of a plurality of mechanisms, including: screws 930, adhesives 932, pop rivets, bolts, cotter pins, two-sided tape and any one of many other fasteners and attaching mechanisms commonly known in the art. The raised portion 920 should be of sufficient strength to hold items on the shelf. The strength of the raised portion 920 can be enhanced by fastening the vertical plate 136 to the shelf.

The above described embodiments are given as illustrative examples only. It will be readily appreciated that many deviations may be made from the specific embodiments disclosed in this specification without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be determined by the claims below rather than being limited to the specifically described embodiments above.





 
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