Title:
Display case for foods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Display case (10) for foods comprising a display compartment (12) for a plurality of transparent containers (14) arranged inside a perimeter containing barrier (25) made with transparent panels (26a, 26b); the display compartment (12) is defined by a lower base (17), by a transparent upper covering element (19), by a transparent front wall (20) and by two sides (21) that extend below the display plane of the containers (14) and are transparent so that the display compartment (12) and the containers (14) can be observed also from above and from a lateral position.



Inventors:
Giulietti, Carlo (Bastia Umbra PG, IT)
Application Number:
10/558016
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
01/15/2004
Assignee:
INDUSTRIE SCAFFALATURE ARREDAMENTI-ISA S.P.A. (Bastia Umbra PG, IT)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F3/04
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Primary Examiner:
HANSEN, JAMES ORVILLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUCAS & MERCANTI, LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
1. Display case of the horizontal type for foods, particularly for ice cream and similar contained in containers (14) such as tubs, comprising at least a containment and display compartment (12) containing a plurality of said containers (14) arranged on at least a front row, adjacent to each other and the upper surface of which defines at least a display plane which extends along the front of said containment and display compartment (12), said containment and display compartment (12) being defined by a lower base (17), by an upper covering element, by two sides (21) and by a transparent front wall (20), characterized in that said front wall (20) extends below the display plane of said containers (14) which is located lower inside said containment and display compartment (12) so that the front side of said containers (14) can also be observed.

2. Display case as in claim 1, characterized in that said sides (21) extend below the display plane of said containers (14) which is located lower inside said containment and display compartment (12), and are totally transparent so that said containment and display compartment (12) can also be observed from a lateral position.

3. Display case as in claim 1, comprising at least a front containing barrier (25) defining an area for the circulation of conditioned air and inside which said containers (14) are arranged, characterized in that said front containing barrier (25) is defined by at least a front transparent panel (26a).

4. Display case as in claim 3, characterized in that said barrier also includes transparent lateral panels (26b).

5. Display case as in claim 3 or 4, characterized in that said panels (26a, 26b) are double glazed.

6. Display case as in claim 3 or 4, characterized in that said panels (26a, 26b) are supported by transparent profiles (27).

7. Display case of the horizontal type for foods, particularly for ice cream and similar contained in containers (14) such as tubs, comprising at least a containment and display compartment (12) containing a plurality of said containers (14) arranged on at least a front row, adjacent to each other and substantially co-planar, the upper part of said containers (14) defining at least a display plane which extends along said containment and display compartment (12), said containment and display compartment (12) being defined at the lower part by a lower base (17), at the upper part by an upper covering element, laterally by two at least partly transparent sides (21) and at the upper part by a transparent front wall (20) so that the user can see, characterized in that said upper covering element (19) is transparent so that said containment and display compartment (12) can be observed from above.

8. Display case of the horizontal type for foods, particularly for ice cream and similar contained in containers (14) such as tubs, comprising at least a containment and display compartment (12) containing a plurality of said containers (14) arranged on at least a front row, adjacent to each other and substantially co-planar, the upper part of said containers (14) defining at least a display plane which extends along said containment and display compartment (12), said containers (14) resting on support means able to keep them suspended, characterized in that said support means (22) are transparent, so that both the part of said containment and display compartment (12) below said support means (22), and also the lower portion of said containers (14), are visible from the outside.

9. Display case as in claim 8, characterized in that said containers (14) are of the transparent type, so that said foods are visible through them.

10. Display case as in any claim hereinbefore, characterized in that it is of the refrigerated type to display and preserve ice cream in containers consisting of tubs (14).

11. Display case as in claims 8 and 10, characterized in that said support means (22) comprise a plurality of uprights (23), on which the upper edges of said tubs (14) rest, and spacer profiles (24) located between said tubs (14).

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns a display case for foods, that is, a piece of furniture provided with a heat conditioned display compartment, closed at least partly by glass walls and used in public premises such as bars, ice-cream shops, cake shops, restaurants or suchlike, in order to display, preserve and sell foods.

The invention is advantageously but not exclusively employed to display and preserve ice cream contained in tubs.

In the following description we shall therefore refer mainly to this specific application, although the invention can also be used for other types of foods.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Refrigerated display cases used in ice-cream shops and bars to display, preserve and sell ice cream are known. Such display cases usually comprise, in the lower part, a technical compartment, which houses at least some components of the refrigeration unit, and, in the upper part, a display compartment, which has at least the front wall transparent and inside which a plurality of tubs containing ice cream are contained.

The tubs rest on a supporting frame and, in some embodiments, are closed on the perimeter by a containing barrier which defines the area within which the refrigerated air circulates inside the display compartment.

Generally speaking, in known display cases the display compartment is visible to the user only through the front wall and only partly through the sides, which have an opaque part developing as far as above the display plane; the visibility of the products is thus limited and conditioned by the arrangement of the tubs inside the compartment.

Moreover, since the tubs and the supporting frame are mainly made of stainless steel, or anyway of opaque material, the part of the display compartment that is below the supporting frame, including the lower portion of the tubs, remains hidden, so that the only visible part of the ice cream is the surface part. Furthermore, the containing barrier is made of panels that are opaque and/or supported by opaque profiles which therefore further limit the visibility of the tubs.

This lack of visibility of the product can cause uncertainty and suspicion in the user, both concerning the nature and state of preservation of the ice cream contained in the tubs, and-also concerning the general conditions of hygiene and cleanliness of the display compartment and the tubs as far as the non-visible part is concerned.

One purpose of the present invention is to achieve a display case for foods, preferentially but not exclusively of the refrigerated type, to display and preserve ice cream, which will allow an ample and complete visibility of the display compartment, allowing users to observe more easily the foods contained therein.

Another purpose of the invention is to achieve a display case for foods which allows the user to evaluate the hygienic conditions and the state of preservation of the foods, also facilitating the sales assistants in controlling the cleanliness of the display compartment.

Applicant has devised, tested and embodied the present invention in order to overcome the shortcomings of the state of the art, to obtain these purposes and to achieve other advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is set forth and characterized in the main claims, while the dependent claims describe other innovative characteristics of the invention.

The display case according to the invention comprises a display compartment defined by a lower base, by a possible rear door for access by the sales assistant, by an upper covering element, by two sides and by a front wall.

According to a characteristic feature of the present invention, apart from the front wall, the sides and the upper covering element of the display compartment are also transparent, so that the display compartment can be illuminated more efficiently and also so that users can better observe the containers, not only from the front, but also from above and from the side s of the display case. The transparent sides develop in height at least below the display plane of the containers.

According to the invention, the containers are arranged inside a perimeter containing barrier which develops at the front and laterally on the periphery of the display compartment and has the function of defining the area wherein the refrigerated air circulates.

Said perimeter containing barrier is defined by transparent panels, front and side, for example double glazed, supported by profiles which are also advantageously transparent. The presence of said containing barrier, made with completely transparent elements, combined with the wide transparent surface of the sides, does not compromise the visibility of the containers located inside, unlike what happens in conventional-type refrigerated display cases.

According to another characteristic feature of the invention, the containers for foods located inside the display compartment are transparent. In a preferential embodiment, the containers rest on support means that are also transparent which keep them suspended inside the display compartment.

In one embodiment of the invention, the display case is of the refrigerated type and the containers consist of tubs to display and preserve ice cream, which rest with their upper edges on relative support means.

The fact that the containers and the relative support means are transparent makes the food product inside the containers completely visible, even in depth, both for the user and for the sales assistant. It also allows to see both the lower portion of the containers, and also the part of the display compartment located below the relative support means, allowing to better evaluate their conditions of hygiene.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other characteristics of the present invention will become clear from the following description of a preferential form of embodiment, given as a non-restrictive example, with reference to the attached drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a three-dimensional view of a display case for foods according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a lateral view, partly in section, of a display case for foods according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERENTIAL FORM OF EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the attached figures, the number 10 denotes a display case for foods according to the invention, in this case of the refrigerated type, used to display, preserve and sell ice cream. The display case 10 comprises at the lower part a technical compartment 11, which houses the devices of the refrigeration plant (not shown), and at the upper part a display compartment 12 inside which the tubs 14 containing the ice cream are arranged.

Between the technical compartment 11 and the display compartment 12 there is an exchange compartment 13 where the flow of refrigerated air is produced, then conveyed towards the tubs 14. The technical compartment 11 and the exchange compartment 13 are defined by respective bodies 15 and 16, of an opaque type, provided with suitable inspection apertures and advantageously insulated.

The display compartment 12, on the contrary, is defined by a lower base 17, a rear door 18, an upper covering profile 19, a front wall 20 and two sides 21.

The lower base 17 is opaque, so as to hide the equipment contained in the exchange compartment 13, while the rear door 18, through which the sales assistant can access the tubs 14, and the front wall 20 are made of glass, plastic or other transparent material, in order to allow, on one side, the sales assistant and, on the other side, the user to see the display compartment 12. Advantageously, the upper covering profile 19 is also made of transparent material, so as to allow a wider view of the display compartment 12.

This embodiment allows all the tubs 14 to be seen from above also by a user of great height who is standing near the display case 10; the fact that the upper covering profile 19 is transparent also allows to exploit the natural light, and that of the artificial lights of the premises where the display case 10 is installed, in order to illuminate the display compartment 12 better, and hence the ice cream.

According to the invention, moreover, the tubs 14 are transparent and are kept in suspension by a supporting frame 22, also made entirely of transparent material.

The supporting frame 22 consists of uprights 23, on which the upper edges of the tubs 14 rest, and of spacer profiles 24, arranged between one tub 14 and another; the transparency of the supporting frame 22 and of the spacer profiles 24, unlike in conventional display cases, does not limit the visibility of the tubs 14 from the front and side. The transparency of the supporting frame 22 and the tubs 14 therefore allows both the user and the sales assistant to see substantially the whole content of the tubs 14 and also to see the lower part of the display compartment 12, since there is no obstacle to the view, except for the ice cream contained in the tubs 14.

The sides 21 extend below the display plane of the tubs 14 and are made of transparent material, so as to make the display compartment 12 visible from a lateral position too.

Moreover, the supporting frame 22 and the tubs 14 are arranged inside a perimeter containing barrier 25 made of double glazed panels, a front panel 26a and side panels 26b, with advantageously transparent profiles 27.

The perimeter containing barrier 25 is open at the upper part and extends, for a determinate height, along the sides and front of the display compartment 12; its function is to keep the flow of refrigerated air, as much as possible, near the tubs 14.

Thanks to the transparency of the double glazed panels 26a, 26b and of the relative profiles 27, the tubs 14 are visible not only from above, but also from the front and the sides, even though they are inside the perimeter containing barrier 25.

It is clear, however, that modifications and/or additions of parts can be made to the display case 10 for foods as described heretofore, without departing from the field and scope of the present invention.

For example, the exchange compartment 13 and/or the perimeter containing barrier 25 could be omitted, and the display case 10 could be equipped with a different conditioning system, or be used to display and preserve foods at ambient temperature. Moreover, neither the shape of the display case nor the number and arrangement of the tubs 14 are restrictive for the purposes of the invention.

It is also clear that, although the present invention has been described with reference to specific examples, a person of skill in the art shall certainly be able to achieve many other equivalent forms of display case for foods, all of which shall come within the field and scope of the present invention.