Title:
Modular bin system and bin
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular bin system. The system comprises a plurality of panels having a first edge provided with one or more first hinge halves and a second edge provided with one or more second hinge halves. The first and second edges are parallel to each other and the first and second hinge halves are positioned so that the first hinge halves on a first panel can mate with the second hinge halves on a second panel to form a complete hinge. The panels are joined together to form the walls of a bin. The system also comprises one or more bin bottoms.



Inventors:
Lev, Avraham (Moshav Lachish, IL)
Application Number:
11/446505
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NATH, GOLDBERG & MEYER (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A modular bin system comprising: (a) A plurality of panels, each panel having i) A front surface and a back surface; and ii) a first edge having one or more first hinge halves and a second edge having one or more second hinge halves, the first and second edges being parallel to each other, the first and second hinge halves being positioned to allow the first hinge halves on a first panel to mate with the second hinge halves on a second panel; and (b) one or more bin bottoms.

2. The modular bin system of claim 1 wherein the panels are configured to support an edge of a bin bottom.

3. The modular bin system of claim 2 wherein supports project from the back surface of a panel for supporting a bin bottom.

4. Modular bin system according to claim 1 wherein the front surface of a panel is configured to receive an insert.

5. The modular bin system according to claim 1 wherein the front surface has a recessed portion configured to receive an insert.

6. The modular bin system according to claim 4 further comprising one or more inserts.

7. The modular bin system according to claim 1 wherein the first and second hinge halves are configured to snap together to form a complete hinge.

8. The modular bin system according to claim 1 wherein the first and second hinge halves are configured to receive a hinge pin when mated to form a complete hinge.

9. The modular bin system according to claim 8 further comprising one or more hinge pins.

10. A bin formed from the modular bin system according to claim 1.

11. A panel for use in the modular bin system according to claim 1.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to bins or containers, such as bins or containers used for holding and displaying items offered for sale.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Modular systems for assembling a bin or container are known in the art. Such systems consist of bin components from which a user may assemble a bin having desired characteristics for his particular needs. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,673,090 to Crosslen discloses a multi-sided merchandise display rack. Brackets are hinged together into a cylindrical structure having a selectable number of sides. Display means are connected to the brackets. U.S. Pat. No. 6,453,973 discloses a modular panel having a plurality of spaced-apart fingers that interdigitate with the spaced-apart fingers of an adjacent panel having similar fingers. Several panels of identical or varied configurations may be interconnected to form a display board or container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a modular system for assembling a bin. The bin may be used, for example, to display one or more items offered for sale. The system of the invention comprises a plurality of panels. Each panel has first and second vertical edges that are parallel to each other. The first vertical edge is provided with a number of first hinge halves and the second vertical edge is provided with an equal number of second hinge halves. The first and second hinge halves are positioned along the first and second vertical edge, respectively, so that each first hinge half on the first vertical edge on a first panel can mate with a second hinge half on a second panel, so as to form a complete hinge. In this way, the first and second panels are articulated in a hinge joint. One or more additional panels are then added in a similar fashion. After a predetermined number of panels have been concatenated in this way, the panel structure is closed into a cylindrical configuration having any desired cross-sectional shape, such as a triangular, square, hexagonal or irregularly cross-sectional shape.

The modular bin system of the invention also includes one or more bin bottoms. After assembly of the panels into the cylindrical structure, a bin bottom is selected having a shape corresponding to the desired cross-sectional shape of the cylindrical structure. For example, for a bin having the hexagonal cross-sectional shape, an hexagonal bin bottom is selected. The selected bin bottom is inserted into the cylindrical structure and is supported by the supports projecting from the surface of the panels in the inside of the cylindrical structure. The level at which the bin bottom is positioned inside the cylindrical shutter may be selectable so as to obtain a bin having a depth and volume suitable for the object or objects to be placed in the bin. At any time when the bin is not needed, the bottom may be removed and the cylindrical structure collapsed for convenient storage or transporting.

The invention thus provides a modular bin system comprising:

(a) A plurality of panels, each panel having

    • i) A front surface and a back surface; and
    • ii) a first edge having one or more first hinge halves and a second edge having one or more second hinge halves, the first and second edges being parallel to each other, the first and second hinge halves being positioned to allow the first hinge halves on a first panel to mate with the second hinge halves on a second panel; and

(b) one or more bin bottoms.

The invention also provides a bin formed from the modular bin system of the invention and a panel for use in the modular bin system of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to understand the invention and to see how it may be carried out in practice, embodiments will now be described, by way of non-limiting examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a modular bin system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a panel of the modular system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows joining of two panels;

FIG. 4 shows construction of a bin using the modular bin system of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 shows bins in accordance with additional embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a modular system 1 for assembling a bin in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The bin may be used, for example, to display one or more items offered for sale. The system 1 comprises a plurality of panels 2, and hinge pins 24. The hinge pins 24 are used to assemble the panels 2 into the walls of the bin as explained below. The system 1 further comprises one or more bin bottoms 32. The system 1 may optionally contain one or more inserts 18 to be inserted into one or more of the panels 2, as explained below.

FIG. 2 shows the panel 2 in greater detail. The panel 2 has a front surface 7 shown in FIG. 2a and a back surface 9 shown in FIG. 2b. The panel 2 has a first vertical edge 4, a second vertical edge 6, a top edge 8 and a bottom edge 10. The first and second vertical edges are parallel to each other. In the panel 2 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the top and bottom edges are straight and perpendicular to the vertical edges, so that the panel has a generally rectangular shape. This is by way of example only, and the panels may have any shape that allows the panels to be assembled together, as explained below. The panels 2 may be formed from any suitable material such as molded plastic, cardboard or sheet metal.

The first vertical edge 4 is provided with one or more first hinge halves 12 located in indentations 11 in the edge 4. The second vertical edge 6 is provided with one or more second hinge halves 14 located in indentations 13 in the edge 4. The number of first hinge halve 12 is equal to the number of second hinge halves 14. The first and second hinge halves are positioned along the first and second vertical edge, respectively, so that each first hinge half on the first vertical edge on a first panel 2 can mate with a second hinge half 14 on a second panel 2, so as to form a complete hinge, as explained below.

The front surface 7 of the panel 2 may be configured to receive an insert 18. The insert is affixed to the face 16 by means of projections 20 extending and from the front surface 7. The front surface 7 may have a recessed portion 16 dimensioned to receive the insert 18 so that the insert 18, when received in the recessed portion 16, is flush with margins 22 of the panel 2 surrounding the insert 18. The insert 18 may be imprinted with advertising or other promotional material relating to items offered for sale to be displayed in the assembly bin.

Bottom supports 19 projects from the back surface 9 of the panel 2, as shown in FIG. 2b. The bottom supports 19 are used to support a bin bottom 32 in the assembled bin, as explained below. The bottom supports 19 may be positioned at two or more heights above the bottom edge 10 of the panel 2, as shown in FIG. 2b, so as to allow the height of the bottom 32 above the bottom edge 10 to be selectable.

FIG. 3 shows a first panel 2a and a second panel 2b each of which is identical to the panel 2 of FIGS. 1 and 2. The first and second panels 2a and 2b are positioned in FIG. 3 so that the second vertical edge 6a of the panel 2a is juxtaposed to the first vertical edge 4b of the panel 2b. In this arrangement each second hinge half 14a of the panel 2a mates with a first hinge half 12b of the panel 2b. The first and second hinge halves my form a complete hinge 26, for example, simply by snapping together. Alternatively, a hinge pin 24 can be inserted into through each pair of mated first hinge half 14a on the panel 2a and the corresponding second hinge half 12b on the panel 2b to form a complete hinge 26. The hinges 26 are coaxial. Thus, after formation of the hinges 26, the panels 2a and 2b are rotatable about the axis of the hinges 26, so that virtually any angle may be achieved between the panels 2a, 2b.

One or more additional panels 2 are then added to the two panel structure shown in FIG. 3, as just explained with reference to FIG. 2. After a predetermined number of panels 2 have been concatenated in this way, the structure is closed into a cylindrical configuration 30 shown in FIG. 4a. The cylindrical configuration 30 has six sides. This is by way of example only, and the panels 2 may be arranged into a cylindrical configuration consisting of any number of panels 2 that is at least three. Moreover, the cross-sectional shape of the cylindrical structure 30 may also be selected. For example, a cylindrical structure assembled from 6 panels 2, may have a hexagonal cross-section, as shown in FIG. 4a, or a triangular cross-section, where for instance, each side of the triangle is formed from two coplanar panels 2.

After assembly of the panels 2 into the cylindrical structure 30, a bottom 32 is selected having a shape corresponding to the desired cross-sectional shape of the cylindrical structure. For example, for a bin having the hexagonal cross-sectional shape shown in FIG. 4a, the hexagonal bottom 32c shown in FIG. 1 is selected. The bottom 32 is inserted into the cylindrical structure 30 and is supported by the supports 19 on the back surface 9 of the panels 2 at a height above the bottom edge 10 to give a desired depth to the bin above the bottom 32. The bin bottoms 32 may be provided with tongues 21 along its edges (FIGS. 1 and 4d) that fit into appropriately positioned slots 23 in the back surface 9 of the panels 2 (FIG. 2b). After the bottom 32 has been inserted into the cylindrical structure 30, a bin 36 is formed by the bottom 32 and the panels 2 (FIG. 4b). The level at which the bottom 32 is positioned inside the cylindrical shutter is determined so as to obtain a bin having a volume suitable for the object or objects to be placed in the bin. At any time when the bin 36 is not needed, the bottom 32 may be removed and the cylindrical structure collapsed for convenient storage or transporting, as shown in FIG. 4d.

An insert 18 may be inserted into each of one or more of the panels 2, either before or after assembly into the bin. If the bin 36 is to be used for the display of merchandise to be offered for sale, the insert may contain information relating to pricing, advertising, or other promotional effects related to the displayed merchandise. FIG. 4e shows the bin 36 after insertion of inserts into the panels 2.

Other possible configurations of a bin that may be assembled from the system 1 are shown in FIG. 5. FIG. 5a shows a bin 40 from six panels arranged into a cylindrical structure having a triangular cross-section. The triangular bottom 32b shown in FIG. 1 is used in the bin 40. FIG. 5b shows a bin 42 formed from four panels 44. The panels 44 are generally oval in shape. Each of the panels 44 has a first vertical edge 48 and a second vertical edge 49. The first and second vertical edges are provided with first and second hinge halves 12 and 14, respectively. The panels 44 are assembled in a similar fashion to the assembly of the panels 2, described above. The bin 42 has a square cross sectional shape and includes the square bottom 32 shown in FIG. 1. The panels 44 are configured to receive an insert, such as the insert 18b.