Title:
Hinged and removable frame with sliding plates
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The frame is formed by the joining of four section bars that constitute an upper transom (1.1), a lower transom (1.2) and two mullions (1.3); some section bars (4) are internally attached to both the transoms (1.1, 1.2) and the mullions (1.3); said section bars (4) have some slideways (4.1) where the plates (3, 3′) slide; some plastic washers (5) are attached externally to both the mullions (1.3) and the transoms (1.1, 1.2) which touch the various parts of the furniture avoiding the entrance of insects or dust and contributing to its thermal proof; some retaining elements of the section bar (4) are attached to the upper transom (1.1) to hold the plates (3, 3′); each frame (1, 1′) can be blocked into its maximum opening position thanks to two couples of pins (12, 12′) where one pin (12) of each couple slides in a slit (11.1); said retaining elements consist of flat springs (8) or threaded pins (9).



Inventors:
Cianetti, Alessandro (San Pier D'lsonzo Go, IT)
Application Number:
10/555696
Publication Date:
01/04/2007
Filing Date:
05/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F3/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KELLER, MICHAEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOWELL & DOWELL, P.C. (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. - Hinged and removable frame with sliding plates suitable for use on display units, counters, wall displays and heated, neutral and refrigerated shelves for the sale of foodstuffs, formed by the joining of four section bars that constitute an upper transom (1.1), a lower transom (1.2) and two mullions (1.3); other section bars (4) having one or more slideways (4.1) bounded by arms (4.2) are internally fixed to both the transoms (1.1, 1.2) and the mullions (1.3) of each frame (1, 1′) by means of coupling, rivets, screws or adhesives; a plate (3, 3′) slides into each slideway (4.1) of said section bars (4) inserted into the transoms (1.1, 1.2) while the section bars (4) attached to the mullions (1.3) constitute the side rabbet locations of the plates (3, 3′) themselves; said frame (1, 1′) is characterised by the fact that some plastic washers (5) are attached to both the mullions (1.3) and at least one transom (1.1, 1.2) on the external side by means of coupling, rivets, screws or adhesives; such washers (5) touch the various parts of the furniture for foodstuff preventing the entrance of insects, dust or other and contributing to the thermal insulation of the furniture itself; some retaining elements of the section bar (4) consisting of flat springs (8) or threaded pins (9) are attached to the upper transom (1, 1′) by means of rivets or screws for holding the plates (3, 3′) to the frame (1, 1′); a reinforcement element, consisting of an additional section bar (10) which is attached to the lower transom (1.2) by means of coupling, rivets or screws, prevents the latter from getting deformed under the weight of the plates (3, 3′) which are heavier when the frames (1, 1′) are fitted on a heated furniture; each frame (1, 1′) can be blocked into the maximum opening position or can be removed from the furniture for foodstuff thanks to two couples of pins (12, 12′) where one pin (12) of each couple slides along a slit (11.1) having an intermediate housing (11.2) and one housing (11.3) placed at the end of the slit (11.1) itself; an external housing (11.4) placed lower with respect to the slit (11.1) accomodates said second pin (12′) of each couple; each couple of pins (12, 12′) and each slit (11.1) are located to the sides of each frame (1, 1′); when the frame (1, 1′) is in a resting position the pin (12′), placed lower than the pin (12), is lodged into the housing (11.4) and the latter pin (12) into the intermediate housing (11.2); by turning upwards the lower part of the frame (1, 1′) the pin (12′) revolves around the pin (12) as its fulcrum; when the pin (12′) reaches the entrance of the slit (11.1) it is possible to turn it for some more degrees and the frame (1, 1′) positions itself automatically and steadily into an all open position because the pin (12′) enters the slit (11.1); the pin (12) is then forced to move along the slit (11.1) and occupy the housing (11.3) located at the end of the slit (11.1) itself; if one wishes to remove the frame (1, 1′) from the furniture this is to be pulled in such a way so that also the pin (12) comes totally out of the slit (11.1) enabling the detachment of the parts.

2. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that the coupling between the section bars (4) and each section bar forming the frame (1, 1′) and between the washers (5) and the same section bar forming the frame (1, 1′) is of a male-female coupling.

3. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that each section bar forming the lower transom (1.2) of the frame (1, 1′) is without a washer (5); to create an air-tight closing a rabbet section bar (6) is attached to the lower part of the furniture, along the whole opening to access the aperture; said section bar (6) is snap-fitted attached to two blocks (7) attached to the sides of the furniture; the section bars forming the lower section transoms (1.2) of the frames (1, 1′) touch said rabbet section bar (6).

4. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that each section bar consituting the upper transom (1.1) of the frame (1, 1′) is without a washer (5); to create an air-tight closing, a rabbet section bar (6) is attached to the upper part of the furniture, along the whole opening to access the aperture; said section bar (6) is snap-fitted to two blocks (7) attached to the sides of the foodstuff unit; the section bars forming the upper transoms (1.1) of the frames (1, 1′) touch said rabbet section bar (6).

5. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that each of the above mentioned slits (11.1) where a pin (12) slides is made into a block (11) consisting of a metal plate attached to the furniture; said third housing (11.4) is made along the lower external wall of the block (11); the lower external wall of the block (11) is circularly connected with the slit (11.1); said couples of pins (12, 12′) are attached to the upper part of each of the two mullions (1.3) of the frame (1, 1′).

6. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that said block (11) is attached to the upper part of each of the two mullions (1.3) of the frame (1, 1′); said couples of pins (12, 12′) are attached to the furniture.

7. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that each of said slits (11.1) where a pin (12) slides is made directly in the furniture; said couples of pins (12, 12′) are attached to the upper part of each of the two mullions (1.3) of the frame (1, 1′).

8. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that each of said slits (11.1) is made directly in each of the two mullions (1.3) of the frame (1, 1′); said couples of pins (12, 12′) are attached to the furniture.

9. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact of featuring a single pin (12) attached to the upper part of each of the two mullions (1.3) of the frame (1, 1′); said pin (12) is engaged into a hole made in the furniture or in a block attached to the furniture and the propping up of the frame (1, 1′) on opening is performed by a gas-actioned spring.

10. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact of featuring a single pin (12) attached to the furniture; each pin (12) is engaged into a hole made in the upper part of each of the two mullions (1.3) of the frame (1, 1′) or in a block attached to in the upper part of each of the two mullions (1.3) and the support of the frame (1, 1′) on opening is performed by a gas-actioned spring.

11. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that the washers (5) attached to both the mullions (1.3) and to at least one transom (1.1, 1.2) are made of soft plastic material.

12. - Hinged and removable frame, according to claim 1, characterised by the fact that the plates (3, 3′) are not sliding.

Description:

The frame in question can be validly employed in the field of displays, counters, of wall display units and warm, neutral and refrigerated shelves, particularly destined to large distribution.

STATE OF THE ART

The counters, the displays, the wall diplay units and shelves for the sale of foodstuff are often equipped with glass or plastic plates at the back side or the one which can be accessed by the operator. Their function is that of both insulating the foodstuffs thermally contained inside them from the external environment and of avoiding insects and dust to penetrate inside especially when service has not been made.

The plates can be simply rested upon these furniture items and in this case they are removed when the units are being used and they are replaced back when sale operations are over. Alternatively the plates can be sliding along some slideways purposely made on the funiture units.

Other times the plates are inserted in one or more than one frame or section bars independent with respect to the counter; they can slide or not into them. Each frame or section bar is hung on the upper part of the furniture which is at its turn supported by posts or it insists upon a lower slideways of the unit and slides inside it with or without small wheels or rollers. Usually the frame is without side washers and, accordng to the way it is hinged to the furniture, lower or upper washers. Thus one sees that, although using these barriers, there is a thermal loss of a certain entity. Moreover dust and insects can in any case slip into the gaps left open by the frames themselves.

However a certain frame featuring a sort of upper finishing is known. This device undoubtedly reduces the disadvantages of the remaining known frames but, as such finishing is made of stiff plastics, it is less adaptable to furniture units. However it consequently allows access for insects and dust into the furniture and a waste of heat from the remaining sides.

Even if the plates slide into the frame, the users however require that both the plates and the frame can be removed so as to allow for the extraordinary cleaning of the furniture, the plates and the frame itself. The easiness with which the plates are removed from the frame is often in contrast with their safety. In fact approximate hinging system of plates can determine a detachment of the frame when the latter is being moved away from the furniture, with envisageable consequences. The same effect can be found on frames featuring badly dimensioned and little strong inner sliding section bars made of plastics, where the weight of the plates when the counter is heated can deform the lower bars of the same frames, adhering to the heated furniture, with the sudden and dangerous dropping of plates. Such a danger is increased by the fact that only glass panes are used on heated furniture units: the economic damage determined by their breakage can be therefore extremely high; anyway the safety of operators is not to be neglected too.

Independently from hygiene needs, when there is a lot of work the operators take however the frames off and put them at the back of the shop or on purposely made special locations in the furniture unit so as to avoid the continuous movement of the plates and thus allowing them to quickly reach the products on the exposition plane of the same furniture unit.

Removable frames are therefore preferred by operators. However the possibility of placing the frames at the back of the shop or on the above mentioned recesses does not always exist. In fact, first of all not all units have these recesses. Furthermore the available room in the back shop is not always sufficient. Eventually many times the frames have such a size that they cannot be taken off, handled and replaced easily.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The aim of the invention in question is that of making a frame which might solve the problems of traditional frames available to users underlined hereinbefore.

A subsequent aim is that of making also a big size frame which allows to clean both all the parts of the furniture and the frame itself, even the most difficult to be accessed ones, at least once a day in a very easy way.

This purpose and others are reached by the frame under object here, as it is better clarified in the claims, which is formed by the joining of four section bars forming an upper transom, a lower transom and two mullions. Other section bars featuring one or more slideways are internally fastened to both the transoms and the mullions of each frame. A plate slides inside each slideway.

Some plastic washers are fastened to both mullions and at least to one transom on their external side. Some retaining elements of the section bar—consisting of flat springs or threaded pins—are fastened to the upper transom to hold the plates into the frame and a reinforcement element, fixed to the lower transom, prevents the latter from getting deformed under the weight of the plates.

Each frame can be blocked into its maximum opening position or removed from the furniture thanks to the use of two couples of pins where one pin of each couple slides along a slit featuring an intermediate housing and a housing placed at the end of the slit itself. An external housing positioned below the slit accomodates the second pin of each couple. Each couple of pins and each slit is placed at the sides of each frame.

The section bars fit for plate sliding and the washers are joined to each section bar forming the frame through fittings, rivets, screws or adhesive. The section bar forming the lower or upper transom of each frame can be without washers. In this case it is attached to the lower or upper part of the furniture, along the whole opening for the access to the aperture, a rabbet section bar snap-fitted on two blocks fixed at the sides of the furniture.

Each of the above mentioned slits inside which the pins are lodged is made into a block attached to the furniture or directly in the furniture and the couples of pins are attached to the upper part of each of the two mullions of the frame. If a block is used the above said external housing is made along the external lower wall of the block which is circularly connected with the slit. Alternatively each of said slits is made in a block fixed to the upper part of the two mullions or directly on such mullions and the couples of pins are attached to the furniture.

It is also envisaged the use of a single pin attached to the upper part of each mullion of the frame or to the furniture. Each pin is engaged into a hole of a block attached, respectively, to the furniture or to each mullion of the frame. In this case the propping up of the frame when it is opened is carried out by a gas-actioned spring.

Said washers attached to both the mullions and to at least one transom are preferably made of soft plastic material. The plates can also not be sliding. The thus described frame and claimed hereinafter attains the planned goals. As in traditional frames, it allows for the sliding of plates and for carrying out sales by opening at least one plate of each frame. Differently from the traditional frames, it can however open itself upwards completely and steadily. In such a position it is therefore possible to clean both inside and outside the frame and the furniture and load or unload the goods. The fact that each frame remains steadily uplifted allows the operator to work freely without having to worry about where and how to put the frame thus reducing the danger of damage to people and things. On low counters such as those of ice-cream shops the sale can be made by lifting the frame, opening only a single sliding plate for the passage of the product or for passing the product over the frame. The plate once closed by the frame becomes an efficient anti-spitting device or a good cash dispenser and a resting point for drinks with suitable trays equipped.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and adavantages of the invention shall result primarily from the description of some preferred but not necessarily sole forms of embodiment of the frame in question, which is illustrated for indicative and not restrictive purposes in the enclosed drawings, where:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a counter equipped by the frames according to the invention;

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of a frame according to the invention;

FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 each show a longitudinal section of a frame with two different retaining devices of the plates;

FIG. 5 show a cross section of the section bar forming the frame;

FIG. 6 shows a cross section of the section bar where the plates slide;

FIG. 7 shows a cross section of a washer;

FIG. 8 and FIG. 9 each show a longitudinal section of the connection area of the upper part of a frame to the upper part of two differently shaped counters;

FIG. 10 shows a longitudinal section of the connection area of the lower part of a frame to the counter;

FIG. 11 shows, more in detail, a longitudinal section of the connection area of the lower part of a frame in an alternative embodiment to the counter;

FIG. 12 shows a prospective view from bottom of the upper part of the frame;

FIG. 13, 14, 15 and 16 show side views of the moving/removing stages from the counter of a frame according to the invention;

FIG. 17, 18 and 19 show prospective views of the removing stages of two plates from a frame according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

More particularly, in this example it is envisaged the use of two frames 1, 1′ perfectioned on a counter 2. Each frame 1, 1′ is set to the seller's side and is equipped with two plates 3, 3′. Each frame 1, 1′ is formed by the union joining of four section bars forming an upper transom 1.1, a lower transom 1.2 and two mullions 1.3. Each section bar forming the frame 1, 1′ has an approximately H-shaped section (or better a U-section joined to a 90° bent C-section) with two fins 1.5 which bound a first groove 1.6 and other two fins 1.7 which circumscribes a second groove 1.8. Each fin 1.5 ends with a tooth 1.9 opposed to another tooth 1.9 of the other fin 1.5. The two fins 1.7 have on the contrary extremely close ends and each of them is provided with two reliefs 1.10. The two reliefs 1.10 of the first fin 1.7 are opposed to those of the first fin 1.7 and in between each couple of reliefs 1.10 a slideway 1.11 is created.

Other section bars 4 are attached internally to both the transoms 1.1, 1.2 and mullions 1.3. They are shaped as a double sided U and have therefore three arms 4.2 which bound two slideways 4.1. The two external arms 4.2 are bent close to their ends to form a stair 4.3 in each of them. Each section bar 4 is inserted into the groove 1.6 of the section bar forming the frame 1, 1′ and stairs 4.3 it is equipped with go and engage themselves into the teeth 1.9 of the fins 1.5 hindering their detachment. In said section bars 4 attached to transoms 1.1, 1.2 the plates 3, 3′ slide while the section bars 4 attached to the mullions 1.3 constitute the side halting locations of the plates 3, 3′ themselves.

Moreover, some washers 5 made of soft plastic material are attached to the external side of both the transoms 1.1, 1.2 and the mullions 1.3. They have a triangular profile and two couples of reliefs 5.1, 5.2 bounding a slideway 5.3 are externally present, on two sides, close to their base. The base of each washer 5 is inserted between the close ends of the two fins 1.7 of the section bar forming the frame 1, 1′. The slideways 1.11 of the latter will thus accomodate the two reliefs 5.2 forming the extension of the base of the washer 5 and the reliefs 1.10 more external than the section bar forming the frame 1, 1′ will be lodged into the opposed slideways 5.3 of the washer 5. This double engagement allows for fixing the washer 5 to the frame 1, 1′ in a steady way.

Closing the frames 1, 1′ the washers 5 touch the posts 2.1, the upper part 2.2 and the lower part 2.3 of the counter 2 thus they create a total closing and prevents insects, dust or other from penetrating.

If for technical necessity in the lower area of the counter 2 it is not possible to use a frame 1, 1′ equipped with a washer 5 on the lower transom 1.2 a rabbet section bar 6 is attached to the counter 2 itself, all along its opening of access to the aperture as shown on FIG. 11. Said section bar 6 is snap-fitted on two blocks attached to the sides of the posts 2.1 of the counter 2. Once the frames 1, 1′ are closed the section bars forming the lower transoms 1.2 touch the rabbet section bar 6 creating an air-tight closing all along the width of the lower opening of the counter 2.

Some retaining elements of the section bar 4 attached to the upper transom 1,1 and a reinforcing element of the lower transom 1.2 complete each frame 1, 1′. Such retaining elements, whose function is that of holding the plates 3, 3′ into the frame 1, 1′, consists of flat springs 8 attached to the upper transom 1.1 by means of rivets or threaded pins 9 which are screwed into the upper transom 1.1 itself. The reinforcing element consists of an hollow aluminium additional section bar 10 which is lodged inside the groove 1.6 oriented towards the inner part of the lower transom 1.2 thus preventing the latter from getting deformed under the weight of the plates 3, 3′ which weight more when the frames 1, 1′ are on a heated counter 2 (for warm food).

The plates 3, 3′ can slide freely along the section bars 4 of each frame 1, 1′ like in the traditional frames. But when one intends to clean every corner of the counter 2 and the frames 1, 1′ on both sides or when there is a lot of work or when the goods are loaded or unloaded the operator can block each frame 1, 1′ into the maximum opening position or even remove it from the counter. Two blocks 11 are attached to the posts 2.1 of the counter 2 for allowing these operations. Each block 11 consists of a metal plate where a slit 11.1 is made having an intermediate housing 11.2 and a housing 11.3 placed at the end of the slit 11.1 itself. A third housing 11.4 is made along the external lower wall of the block 11; said external wall is circularly connected with the slit 11.1. The housings 11.2, 11.3 inside the slit 11.1 accomodate a pin 12 while the external housing 11.4 accomodates a second pin 12′. Both the pins 12, 12′ are attached to the upper part of each of the two mullions 1.3. More specifically, when the frame 1, 1′ is in a resting position the pin 12′ being placed lower than the pin 12, is lodged into the housing 11.4 and the pin 12 into the intermediate housing 1.2. By turning upwards the lower part of the frame 1, 1′ the pin 12′ slides along the external circular wall of the block 11 having the pin 12 as its fulcrum. When the pin 12′ reaches the entrance of the slit 11.1 two options are possible. If one wishes the frame 1, 1′ to remain steady on the counter 2 into its maximum opening position it must be turned for some more degrees and the frame 1,1′ sets itself automatically into its all open position as the pin 12′ comes into the slit 11.1; the pin 12 is then forced to move along the slit 11.1 and occupy the housing 11.3 located at the end of the slit 11.1 itself. The frame 1, 1′ cannot dropped downwards since the pin 12′ stops itself against the lower wall of the slit 11.1. If on the contrary one wishes to remove the frame 1, 1′ from the counter 2 this must be pulled in such a way so as also the pin 12 comes completely out of the slit 11.1 enabling the detachment of the parts. Of course the fitting on and the closing of the frames 1, 1′ are conceived so as to make the above mentioned operations in the opposite way.

When the frames 1, 1′ are opened or when they are slipped off the counter 2 it might happen that the plates 3, 3′ drop. To avoid this the above mentioned retaining elements of the section bar 4 attached to the upper transom 1, 1′ are used. In fact the flat springs 8 pushes energically the upper section bar 4 against the upper part of the plates 3, 3′ independently from the position that frames 1, 1′ have, preventing the detachment of the parts. The threaded pins 9 screwed into the upper transom 1.1 that blocking the plates 3, 3′ in a certain position, can also be used; they however have the defect of not allowing any movement of the plastic section bar 4.

When the plates 3, 3′ are to be extracted from the frames 1, 1′ for various needs, it is sufficient to operate on the retaining elements. Clearly this operation is eased by using the flat springs 8 since one has to simply act with adequate force upon the plates 3, 3′ pushing them towards the springs 8. The latter shall get compressed and allow the plates 3, 3′ to be slipped out of the section bar 4 attached to the lower transom 1.2. If on the contrary some threaded pins 9 are used it is necessary to unscrew them every time, with foreseeable waste of time.