Title:
Shelf Cover Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustably fitted covering member is disclosed that is secured to a shelf standard such that all but the desired slots are obscured. The covering can improve the appearance and/or installation of the adjustable shelving unit. The covering member is adhered to the shelf standard by one of a variety of ways, such as through magnetism, adhesively, using tabs, or by being snapped-on, to name a few examples. The covering member can be sold pre-cut and/or can be customized after purchase. The covering member can optionally have indications on the backside to allow the user to custom cut the covering member. The covering member can optionally be sold as part of shelving kit that where it is made to match the length and width of the shelving standard contained in the kit.



Inventors:
Zenkich, Raymond (Evanston, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/469683
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
09/01/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D65/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WOOD, KIMBERLY T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond Zenkich (Evanston, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A covering member for a shelving support member having a plurality of openings; the covering member comprising: an elongate body having a substantially planar elongate front panel; an attachment feature disposed on the elongate body and engageable with the shelving support member whereby the elongate body is securable on the shelving support member in a position wherein the front panel covers at least one of the plurality of openings; and wherein the covering member improves an aesthetic appearance of the shelving support member by covering the at least one of the plurality of openings.

2. The covering member of claim 1 wherein the attachment feature comprises a magnetic member disposed on the elongate body.

3. The covering member of claim 1 wherein the attachment feature comprises an adhesive material disposed on the elongate body.

4. The covering member of claim 1 wherein the attachment feature comprises at least one projection disposed on the elongate body, the projection being engageable with a selected one of the plurality of openings defined by the shelving support member.

5. The covering member of claim 1 wherein the attachment feature comprises first and second elongate side panels disposed on opposite sides of the covering member and wherein the covering member defines a substantially U-shaped profile, the first and second side panels being engageable with the shelving support member to thereby secure the covering member to the shelving support member.

6. The covering member of claim 1 further comprising: a plurality of spaced apart indicia defined on the front panel, wherein the indicia are positioned on the front panel at spacing intervals corresponding to spacing intervals defined by the openings on the shelving support member.

7. An adjustable shelving apparatus comprising: an elongate first support member adapted to be secured to a structure, the first support member having a plurality of spaced apart discontinuities; a second support member selectively securable to the first support member at one of a plurality of different locations by engagement of the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities and wherein at least another one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities remains unengaged after securing the second support member to the first support member; and at least one elongate covering member, the covering member being securable to the first support member and covering at least one of the unengaged discontinuities.

8. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the covering member is detachably securable to the first elongate support member.

9. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the covering member is magnetically detachably securable to the first elongate support member.

10. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the covering member is adhesively securable to the first elongate support member.

11. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the covering member includes at least one projection, the covering member being securable to the first elongate member by engagement of the at least one projection with a respective one of the plurality of discontinuities.

12. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the first elongate support member defines an elongate front surface defining the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities and first and second elongate side surfaces disposed on opposite sides of the front surface; and wherein the covering member has a generally U-shaped profile with an elongate front panel and first and second elongate side panels, the first and second side panels being resiliently flexible relative to the front panel, the covering member being securable to the first elongate support member by respective engagement of the first and second side panels with the first and second elongate side surfaces of the first support member and wherein the front panel covers the elongate front surface when the covering member is secured to the first support member.

13. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 12 wherein the first side panel has a first, inwardly projecting elongate rib and the second side panel has a second, inwardly projecting elongate rib, the first and second ribs being respectively engageable with the first and second elongate side surfaces of the first support member to thereby secure the covering member to the first support member.

14. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the covering member has a front side and an opposite back side, the front side being viewable and the back side facing the first support member when the covering member is secured to the first support member; the back side including a plurality of spaced apart indicia wherein the indicia are positioned on the covering member at spacing intervals corresponding to spacing intervals defined by the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities on the first support member.

15. The adjustable shelving apparatus of claim 7 wherein the discontinuities are defined by substantially rectangular openings in the first support member.

16. A method of installing an adjustable shelving apparatus, the method comprising: securing an elongate first support member to a structure wherein the first support member has a plurality of spaced apart discontinuities; providing a second support member securable to the first support member at a plurality of different locations by engagement of the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities; securing the second support member to the first support member at a selected one of the plurality of different locations by engaging the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities and wherein at least another one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities remains unengaged after securing the second support member to the first support member; and securing a covering member to the first support member wherein the covering member covers at least one of the unengaged discontinuities.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the step of securing a covering member to the first support member includes: providing an elongate covering member having a length substantially equivalent to a length of the first support member; and cutting the elongate covering member to a shorter length prior to securing the covering member to the first support member.

18. The method of claim 17 further comprising: providing the elongate covering member with a plurality of spaced apart indicia wherein the indicia are positioned on the covering member at spacing intervals corresponding to spacing intervals defined by the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities on the first support member; and wherein: the step of cutting the elongate covering member to a shorter length includes determining the location of the cut based upon the position of at least one of the spaced apart indicia.

19. The method of claim 16 wherein: the step of securing a first support member to the structure includes mounting two first support members to the structure in a substantially parallel orientation and wherein the spaced apart discontinuities on each of the first support members define a plurality of vertically spaced apart discontinuities; the step of providing a second support member includes providing two second support members and wherein each of the second support members are secured to a respective one of the first support members at a desired vertical location; and the step of securing a covering member to the first support member includes providing two covering members, cutting each of the covering members to a common length and securing one of the covering members to each of the two first support members.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein each of the covering members is provided with a plurality of spaced apart indicia wherein the indicia are positioned on the covering members at spacing intervals corresponding to spacing intervals defined by the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities on the first support members; and wherein: the step of cutting the two covering members to a common length includes determining the location of each of the cuts based upon the position of at least one of the spaced apart indicia.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/713,471, filed Sep. 1, 2005, which application is incorporated herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to adjustable shelving used in the commercial or home setting and in particular to a covering for an adjustable shelf.

Adjustable shelving allows a user to change the height or width of shelving according to current needs. Prior to the use of adjustable shelves, all bookcases, shelves, closets, etc. were set to a predetermined configuration. Adjustable shelf standards are pieces of shelf hardware that allow for shelf height or width to be configured and reconfigured, enabling the user to customize his bookcase, shelf, closet unit, etc. However, in order to create adjustability, the shelf standards have many slots or sockets, to which shelves are attached. This plurality of slots or sockets presents certain disadvantages. One of these disadvantages is that the shelf standard is not cosmetically similar to the rest of the shelving unit because of the numerous open spaces created by the slots or sockets. Another disadvantage is that the plurality of slots or sockets can make aligning shelves during installation difficult and/or time consuming.

SUMMARY

In one implementation of the invention, an adjustably fitted covering member is secured to a shelf standard such that all but the desired slots are obscured. In additional implementations, the covering member is magnetically adhered to the shelf standard. In another implementation, the covering member is adhesively fitted to a shelf standard. In yet another implementation, the covering member has sides that provide a force for allowing the covering member to be held in place when placed onto a shelving standard. In still yet another implementation, the covering member is made using an injection mold and contains extruded tabs that mate with at least two slots in the shelving standard.

In another implementation, the covering member is sold pre-cut. In yet another implementation, the covering member has indications on the back side or front side to allow the user to custom cut the covering member. In still yet another implementation, the covering member is sold as part of shelving kit and/or the covering member is made to match the length and/or width of the shelving standard contained in the kit.

This Summary is an introduction of select concepts that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter or to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter. Yet other forms, embodiments, objects, advantages, benefits, features, and implementations of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description and drawings contained herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prior art shelf standard.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a front side of a covering member.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a covering member installed on a shelf standard.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a back side of a covering member illustrating a magnetic attachment member.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a back side of a covering member illustrating an adhesive attachment member.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a back side of a covering member illustrating one implementation of a U-shaped attachment member.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a back side of a covering member illustrating another implementation of a U-shaped attachment member.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a back side of a covering member illustrating a projection attachment member that is engageable with at least one opening on a shelf standard.

FIG. 9 is a flow diagram illustrating installation of a covering member on a shelf standard.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to certain embodiments thereof and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations, further modifications and further applications of the principles of the invention as described herein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

Shown in FIG. 1 is a prior art shelf standard 11 that is used as part of an adjustable shelving unit and allows for shelf brackets and/or shelves to be attached. Shelf standard 11 can be one of varying lengths, as indicated by the gap on FIG. 1. The term shelf standard as used herein is meant to include any particular type of shelving support member. Shelf standard 11 can have slots or openings (e.g. discontinuities) for allowing shelves placed therein to be adjusted to one of a plurality of positions. Turning now to FIGS. 2-8, the same reference numerals will be used to refer to the same elements. The covering member 1 represented in FIGS. 2-8 is intended to be used in conjunction with shelving units and specifically in conjunction with a shelving standard or similar piece. As one non-limiting example, the covering member 1 is used to enhance the aesthetic appearance of adjustable shelving units. As another non-limiting example, the covering member 1 is used to aid in the installation process. Other implementations and/or advantages are also possible as will be apparent from the following descriptions.

A covering member 1 has a side 3 and a second side 5, a backside 7 adapted to fit securely over a shelf standard 11, and a front 8. The covering member 1 length may be adjusted such that all but the desired slots 13 are obscured. The covering member shown in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5-8 is only partially displayed (because various lengths are possible), as indicated by the wavy lines at the bottom of the covering member on those figures.

Generally, the covering member 1 functions by fitting securely over a shelf standard 11. This fit can be attained in numerous ways, as shown in FIGS. 4-8. As shown in FIG. 4, covering member 1 may have a magnetic attachment member 20 that allows covering member 1 to be magnetically attached to a shelf standard 11. The covering member 1 may be flexed or splayed into an open, arched position and then released into a closed position over the shelf standard. As shown in FIG. 5, the covering member 1 may alternatively or additionally be coated in select areas, in part, or in whole with an adhesive attachment member 22 that provides for attachment to the shelf standard. A peel-away tape or other covering 24 may be used to keep adhesive attachment member 22 covered until ready for exposing the adhesive attachment member 22. FIG. 6 illustrates one implementation of an attachment member with side panels 26 and 28 on opposite sides of the covering member. These sides (26 and 28) define a substantially U-shaped profile and are engageable with the shelf standard to secure the covering member 1 to the shelf standard. FIG. 7 illustrates another implementation of an attachment member with arched side panels 30 and 32 on opposite sides of the covering member. These arched sides (30 and 32) define a substantially U-shaped profile and are engageable with the shelf standard to secure the covering member 1 to the shelf standard. As shown in FIG. 8, the covering member may alternatively or additionally have one or more projection attachment members 9, such as tabs, which are similarly shaped to a slot 13 on the shelf standard 11 allowing for mating of the tab 9 and slot 13. A person having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the above described ways of fitting the covering member 1 onto a shelf standard 11 could be combined, used in part, or other generally known ways of securely fitting the covering member 1 could be employed.

The covering member 1 could be made from rubber, plastic, composite or other material. Any material which provides the necessary attributes to enable the secure fitting of the covering member 1 to the shelf standard 11 is contemplated. The covering member 1 could be made from a rubber polymer resin that is magnetized and/or laminated. The covering member 1 may be made from a flexible plastic that would allow the side 3 and second side 5 to splay such that the strip would arch open and then clamp on the shelf standard 11. The covering member 1 could be made from an injection molded suitable material such that the covering member has tabs on the backside 7. The covering member might be made from a single or composite material. It might have a single layer or multiple layers. For example, if the covering member 1 was made such that it adhered to the shelf standard 11, then the covering member 1 might most conveniently be made from a plastic material which has an adhesive material attached to the backside 7.

The covering member side 3 and second side 5 could be approximately the same width as the shelf standard 11 and/or could be wide enough only to cover the width of the slots 13 on the shelf standard 11.

The backside 7 of the covering member 1 can be smooth, coated with a magnetized or adhesive substance, and/or have extruded tabs 9. Alternatively or additionally, the backside 7 may have indications, such as marks, numbers, slot shapes, etc. printed, etched or otherwise shown on it to allow for positioning and/or sizing of the covering member 1.

The covering member 1 might have additional finished properties such as beveled edges on the side 3 and the second side 5, prints on the front 8, and/or a coating on the front 8 to match the shelf unit or area in which the shelf unit is to be placed. The coating on the front 8 could be vinyl or otherwise and may be matched according to color and/or texture of the surroundings.

The covering member 1 can be used commercially and/or for home use. As one example, the covering member 1 could be pre-ordered and cut to size prior to arrival. The covering member 1 can be placed on the shelf standards 11 prior to installing the shelves. This would make shelf installation precise and efficient. After adherence of the pre-cut strips, the slots 13 into which a shelving unit would fit would be the only accessible slots 13, thereby making misalignment of the shelving unit difficult, if not impossible. Such a pre-cut arrangement could be useful for shelving installations at a retail store and/or for home use, as a few non-limiting examples.

As another example, the covering member 1 can be cut into desired lengths by the customer. Alternatively or additionally, the covering member 1 could be pre-cut to be the length and width of a specific shelf standard 11 and included as part of a shelving kit. Alternatively or additionally, the covering member 1 included in a kit might have indications on the backside 7, as previously described, to guide the user in accurately cutting the chosen length.

Turning now to FIG. 9, a flow diagram is shown that illustrates installation of a covering member on a shelf standard. An elongate first support member (such as two or more first support members positioned in parallel) is secured to a structure wherein the first support member has a plurality of spaced apart discontinuities (such as slots) (stage 102). A second support member (such as one or more shelves) is provided that is securable to the first support member at a plurality of different locations by engagement of the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities (stage 104). The second support member (e.g. shelf) is secured to the first support member at a selected one of the plurality of different locations by engaging the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities (e.g. slots) (stage 106). At least another one of the spaced apart discontinuities remains unengaged (e.g. an open slot) after securing the second support member to the first support member (stage 108). An elongate covering member is provided that has a length substantially equivalent to the first support member (stage 110). In one implementation, the covering member optionally has spaced apart indicia, such as some indicia that are positioned on the spacing intervals of the discontinuities (stage 110). If the covering member is not at a desirable length, then the elongate member can be cut to a shorter length (stage 112). In one implementation, the spaced apart indicia are used to help determine the location of the cut (stage 112). The covering member is secured to the first support member so that the covering member covers at least one of the unengaged discontinuities (stage 114). The process ends at end point 116.

In one implementation, a covering member for a shelving support member having a plurality of openings is disclosed, the covering member comprising: an elongate body having a substantially planar elongate front panel. An attachment feature is disposed on the elongate body and is engageable with the shelving support member whereby the elongate body is securable on the shelving support member in a position wherein the front panel covers at least one of the plurality of openings. The covering member improves an aesthetic appearance of the shelving support member by covering the at least one of the plurality of openings.

In another implementation, an adjustable shelving apparatus is disclosed that comprises: an elongate first support member adapted to be secured to the structure, the first support member having a plurality of spaced apart discontinuities. A second support member is selectively securable to the first support member at one of a plurality of different locations by engagement of the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities. At least another one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities remains unengaged after securing the second support member to the first support member. At least one elongate covering member is securable to the first support member and covering at least one of the unengaged discontinuities.

In yet another implementation, a method of installing an adjustable shelving apparatus is disclosed that comprises: securing an elongate first support member to a structure wherein the first support member has a plurality of spaced apart discontinuities. A second support member is provided that is securable to the first support member at a plurality of different locations by engagement of the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities. The second support member is secured to the first support member at a selected one of the plurality of different locations by engaging the second support member with at least one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities and wherein at least another one of the plurality of spaced apart discontinuities remains unengaged after securing the second support member to the first support member. A covering member is secured to the first support member wherein the covering member covers at least one of the unengaged discontinuities.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiments have been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.