Title:
DISPLAY MERCHANDISER WITH CONICALLY-SHAPED GLASS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A glass member configured for installation on a display case that includes a front portion and an upper case frame. The glass member includes a glass pane having a curved lower portion configured to couple to the front portion and a curved upper portion configured for pivotal attachment to the upper case frame. The glass pane defines a curved profile in a horizontal cross-section and a straight profile in a vertical cross-section.



Inventors:
Arrosagaray, Al (Rancho Cucamonga, CA, US)
Mullen, Robert (Anaheim Hills, CA, US)
Twohy, Raymond (Riverside, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/669663
Publication Date:
08/02/2007
Filing Date:
01/31/2007
Assignee:
HUSSMANN CORPORATION (Bridgeton, MO, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A case for displaying food product in a product display area, the case comprising: a base including a front portion and a rear portion; an upper case frame coupled to the rear portion and extending partially above the product display area; and a glass member including a lower portion coupled to the front portion, and an upper portion coupled to the upper case frame, the glass member defining a curved profile when viewed in a horizontal cross-section, and the glass member defining a straight profile when viewed in a vertical cross-section.

2. The case of claim 1, further comprising a clamp coupled to the upper portion of the glass member and a hinge pivotally coupled to the clamp and the upper case frame.

3. The case of claim 2, wherein the clamp is bent to match a curvature of the upper portion of the glass member.

4. The case of claim 1, wherein the case is defined by a wedge-style shape, and wherein the case includes one of an inside wedge-style case and an outside wedge-style case.

5. The case of claim 4, wherein the glass member is curved to match a curvature defined by the wedge-style case.

6. The case of claim 4, wherein each of the inside wedge-style case and the outside wedge-style case extends through an angle of approximately 45 degrees.

7. The case of claim 1, wherein the glass member includes a conically-shaped glass pane as if cut from a cone pointing in a downward direction.

8. The case of claim 1, wherein the glass member includes a conically-shaped glass pane as if cut from a cone pointing in an upward direction.

9. The case of claim 1, wherein the glass member defining a straight profile in a vertical cross-section is configured to mate with a straight glass member of a straight case positioned adjacent the case.

10. The case of claim 1, wherein the straight profile of the glass member defines an axis and wherein the axis defines an angle relative to a vertical axis between about 25 degrees and about 45 degrees.

11. A glass member configured for installation on a display case that includes a front portion of an upper case frame, the glass member comprising: a glass pane including a curved lower portion configured to couple to the front portion, and a curved upper portion configured for pivotal attachment to the upper case frame; wherein the glass pane defines a curved profile in a horizontal cross-section, and a straight profile in a vertical cross-section.

12. The glass member of claim 11, wherein the glass pane is conically-shaped as if cut from a cone pointing in a downward direction.

13. The glass member of claim 11, wherein the glass pane is conically-shaped as if cut from a cone pointing in an upward direction.

14. The glass member of claim 11, wherein the glass pane is configured to mate with a straight glass member of an adjacent straight display case.

15. A clamp configured for installation on a wedge-style display case to couple a glass member to the display case, the display case including an upper case frame, the clamp comprising: a base including a first surface, the base configured to couple to the upper case frame; a top portion spaced apart from the base and including a second surface; a back wall coupled to the base and the top portion such that the first surface, the second surface, and the back wall define a slot configured to receive a portion of the glass member along a clamping axis, the clamping axis and a vertical axis cooperating to define a clamping angle for the glass member between about 25 degrees and about 45 degrees.

16. The clamp of claim 15, wherein the clamping angle is between about 30 degrees and about 40 degrees.

17. The clamp of claim 15, wherein a wedge is configured to be positioned at least partially within the slot to partially secure the glass member.

18. The clamp of claim 15, wherein the second surface includes ridges configured to partially secure the glass member in the slot.

19. The clamp of claim 15, wherein the base defines a curved profile to substantially correspond to the curvature of the wedge-style display case.

20. The clamp of claim 15, wherein the base is configured to attach to a hinge of the display case to pivotally couple the glass member to the case.

21. A method of converting a case having a spherical glass member to a case having a conically-shaped glass member, the method comprising: providing a case including a hinge, a first clamp attached to the hinge, and a spherical glass member coupled to the first clamp; removing the spherical glass member from the first clamp; detaching the first clamp from the hinge; attaching a second clamp to the hinge; and coupling a conically-shaped glass member to the second clamp.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein providing a case includes providing a wedge-style style case including one of an inside wedge-style case and an outside wedge-style case.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein detaching the first clamp from the hinge and attaching the second clamp to the hinge includes modifying a clamping angle from about 55 degrees relative to a vertical axis to between about 25 degrees and about 45 degrees relative to the vertical axis.

24. The method of claim 21, further comprising: inserting a wedge at least partially within the second clamp; and partially securing the conically-shaped glass member to the second clamp with the wedge.

25. The method of claim 21, further comprising aligning the case including the conically-shaped glass member with a case including a straight glass member.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to co-pending U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/763,601, filed Jan. 31, 2006, the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a glass-front display merchandiser. More particularly, the invention relates to a glass-front display merchandiser with wedge-style cases.

Glass-front display merchandisers, sometimes referred to as deli or service merchandisers are generally assembled from aligned modular sections or cases. The modular cases typically include straight cases of variable lengths (e.g., 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 feet long) and inside and outside wedge cases of variable arc length (e.g., 45 and 90 degrees). The different modular cases can be aligned end to end and assembled to form a linear merchandiser or a merchandiser having a customized shape, such as a 90 degree corner, a bump out, an inlet, or an S-curve.

Typically, display merchandisers that include only straight cases have glass fronts made from “straight glass” panes. Straight glass is used to described a generally planar glass pane. When straight cases are assembled together end-to-end, the adjacent ends of the straight glass panes are aligned with each other to provide the illusion of a single seamless elongated merchandiser. Alternatively, when a customized shape is desired, the glass fronts of the straight cases can use “curved glass” and the glass fronts of the wedge cases can use “spherical glass” panes. Curved glass refers to glass panes that are curved when viewed in a vertical cross-section, and that are flat when viewed in a horizontal cross-section. Spherical glass is curved in both the horizontal and vertical cross-sections. When a straight case is assembled together with a wedge case the adjacent ends of the spherical and curved glass panes are aligned with each other along a curved path to similarly provide the illusion of a single seamless customized merchandiser.

FIG. 1 illustrates a prior art straight case 10 with a curved glass pane 12. The case 10 generally includes a product display area 14 that supports food product (not shown) available to consumers in a retail setting. The case 10 further includes a base 16 and an upper case frame or case top 18. The base 16 includes a front portion 20 and a rear portion 22 which partially define the product display area 14. At least one strut 24 connects the case top 18 and the rear portion 22 of the case 10. A lower portion 26 of the curved glass pane 12 contacts the front portion 20 to maintain the food product in the product display area 14 at predetermined conditions.

With further reference to FIG. 2, an upper portion 28 of the curved glass pane 12 is pivotally attached to the case top 18 above the product display area using a clamp 30 and a hinge 32. When curved glass panes are attached, the clamp 30 is linear. Alternatively, when spherical glass panes are attached the clamp 30 is bent to match the curve of the upper edge of the spherical glass pane. An extruded stationary front profile 35 is attached to the case top 18 and provides a transition between the clamp 30 and the case top 18. The clamp 30 includes a clamping axis 34 that defines an angle A (e.g., a clamping angle) relative to a vertical axis 36. This angle A is typically approximately 55 degrees. The hinge 32, case top 18, and front profile 35 are collectively referred to as spherical glass hardware because they are used to mount curved and spherical glass panes.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, the invention provides a case for displaying food product in a product display area. The case includes a base having a front portion and a rear portion, and an upper case frame coupled to the rear portion and extending partially above the product display area The merchandiser also includes a glass member having a lower portion coupled to the front portion and all upper portion coupled to the upper case frame. The glass member defines a curved profile when viewed in a horizontal cross-section and a straight profile when viewed in a vertical cross-section.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a glass member configured for installation on a display case that has a front portion and an upper case frame. The glass member includes a glass pane having a curved lower portion configured to couple to the front portion, and a curved upper portion configured for pivotal attachment to the upper case frame. The glass pane defines a curved profile in a horizontal cross-section and a straight profile in a vertical cross-section.

In vet another embodiment, the invention provides a clamp configured for installation on a wedge-style display case to couple a glass member to the display case. The display case includes an upper case frame. The clamp includes a base having a first surface. The base is configured to couple to the upper case frame. The clamp also includes a top portion spaced apart from the base and having a second surface, and a back wall coupled to the base and the top portion such that the first surface, the second surface, and the back wall define a slot configured to receive the glass member along a clamping axis. The clamping axis and a vertical axis cooperate to define a clamping angle for the glass member between about 25 degrees and about 45 degrees.

In still another embodiment, the invention provides a method of converting a case having a spherical glass member to a case having a conically-shaped glass member. The method includes providing a case having a hinge, a first clamp attached to the hinge, and a spherical glass member coupled to the clamp. The method also includes removing the spherical glass member from the first clamp, detaching the first clamp from the hinge, attaching a second clamp to the hinges and coupling a conically-shaped glass member to the second clamp.

Other aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a straight case of a display merchandiser of the prior art having a curved glass pane.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a prior art glass clamp of the straight case shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an inside wedge-style case of a glass-front display merchandiser according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the case shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the case shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a front view of the case shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of a glass clamp of the case shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 is a front view of the glass clamp and conically-shaped glass pane of the case shown in FIG. 3

FIG. 9 is a top view of the glass clamp and conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the glass clamp and conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 is a cross-section view taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 8.

FIG. 12 is a front view of the conically-shaped glass pane of the case shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 13 is a top view of the conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a side view of the conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 15 is a cross-section view taken along line 15-15 of FIG. 12.

FIG. 16 is a front view of the glass clamp of the case shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 17 is a top view of the glass clamp shown in FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a cross-section view taken along line 18-18 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of an outside wedge-style case of a glass-front display merchandiser according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 20 is a side view of the case shown in FIG. 19.

FIG. 21 is a front view of the case shown in FIG. 19.

FIG. 22 is a top view of the case shown in FIG. 19.

FIG. 23 is a front view of the glass clamp and conically-shaped glass pane of the case shown in FIG. 19.

FIG. 24 is a top view of the glass clamp and conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 23.

FIG. 25 is a side view of the glass clamp and conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 23.

FIG. 26 is a cross-section view taken along line 26-26 of FIG. 23.

FIG. 27 is a front view of the conically-shaped glass pane of the case shown in FIG. 19.

FIG. 28 is a top view of the conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 27.

FIG. 29 is a side view of the conically-shaped glass pane shown in FIG. 27.

FIG. 30 is a cross-section view taken along line 30-30 of FIG. 27.

FIG. 31 is a cross-section view of the glass clamp of the case shown in FIG. 19.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms “mounted,” “connected,” “supported,” and “coupled” and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, “connected” and “coupled” are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings.

FIGS. 3-6 illustrate an inside wedge-style display case 100 of a display merchandiser (not shown) according to one embodiment of the invention. The case 100 includes a product display area 102 that supports food product (not shown) available to consumers in a retail setting. The case 100 further includes a base 104, a glass pane 106, and an upper case frame or case top 108 he base 104 includes a front portion 110 and a rear portion 112 which partially define the product display area 102. In some embodiments, the case 100 is a refrigerated display case, and the base 104 encloses at least a portion of a refrigeration system which refrigerates the food product. In other embodiments, the case 100 can be a dry case or a hot case, and the base 104 can enclose at least a portion of an air circulation system or heating system, respectively. Two struts 114 are located at opposite ends of the case 100 and connect the case top 108 and the rear portion 112 of the case 100. As shown in FIG. 5, the case 100 extends through an angle of approximately 45 degrees, although other embodiments of the case 100 can extend through any angle less than or greater than 45 degrees.

The glass pane 106 is conically-shaped as if cut from a cone pointing in the downward direction. A lower portion 116 of the glass pane 106 contacts the front portion 110 to maintain the food product in the product display area 102 at predetermined conditions. With further reference to FIG. 7, an upper portion 118 of the glass pane 106 is pivotally attached to the case top 108 above the product display area 102 using a clamp 120 and a hinge 122. An extruded stationary front profile 125 is attached to the case top 108 and provides a transition between the clamp 120 and the case top 108. The hinge 122, the case top 108, and the front profile 125 are collectively referred to as spherical glass hardware because they are used to secure curved and spherical glass panes to the case 100. The conically-shaped glass 106 is best shown in FIGS. 13-15. With reference to FIG. 15, the conically-shaped glass 106 is straight when viewed in a vertical cross-section. Alternatively, the conically-shaped glass is curved when viewed in a horizontal cross-section such as the top edge 118 shown in FIG. 13.

As best shown in FIGS. 9-11 and 16-18, the clamp 120 is bent to match the curve of the upper edge 118 of the glass pane 106. Alternatively, to hold straight glass in a straight case, the clamp 120 is linear. The clamp 120 includes a base 126, a top portion 128, and a back wall 130 connecting the top portion 128 and the base 126. The base 126, the top portion 128, and the back wall 130 define a slot configured to receive the top edge 118 of the glass pane 106. The base 126 includes a channel 132 that operates to secure a nut 134. The base 126 is connected to the hinge 122 by inserting a fastener through the hinge 122 and into the nut 134 (FIG. 7) secured by the channel 132. Fasteners are generally located at the ends of the clamp 120. The back wall 130 further includes a plurality of equally-spaced apertures 136 that receive corresponding set screws.

The top portion 128 includes a forward extension 138 and a rearward extension 124 extending from the back wall 130. A bottom surface 140 of the forward extension 138 includes ridges for gripping the upper surface of the top edge 118 of the glass pane 106. A wedge 142 extends the length of the glass pane 106. The wedge 142 also includes a top surface 144 having ridges for gripping the bottom surface of the top edge 118 of the glass pane 106. The wedge 142 further includes a bottom surface 146 that is in sliding contact with an upper angled surface 148 of the base 126. Tightening the set screws forces the wedge 142 away from the back wall 130 and down the upper surface 148 of the base 126. In turn, this moves the wedge 142 closer to the forward extension 138 to clamp the glass pane 106 between the ridged surfaces of the wedge 142 and the forward extension 138. In some embodiments, the top edge 118 of the glass pane 106 is covered with a hard silicone trim piece 150 to assist in clamping the glass pane 106.

As shown in FIG. 18, a clamping axis 152 is defined parallel to the bottom surface 140 of the forward extension 138 and the upper surface 144 of the wedge 142. In some embodiments, the clamping axis 152 may be defined along the straight profile of the conically-shaped glass 106 when viewed in the vertical cross-section. The clamping axis 152 defines an included angle B (e.g., a clamping angle) relative to a vertical axis 154. This angle B is typically approximately 34 degrees. In other embodiments, the angle B can be between the range of 30-35 degrees. In vet other embodiments, the range can be 30-40 degrees, and even other embodiments, the range can be 25-45 degrees.

FIGS. 19-22 illustrate an outside wedge-style case 200 of a display merchandiser (not shown) according to another embodiment of the invention. For this embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 19-30, two-hundred-series reference numbers are used and reflect similar structure represented by the corresponding one-hundred-series reference numbers used for the previous embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3-18. The case 200 includes a product display area 202 that supports food product (not shown) available to consumers in a retail setting. The case 202 further includes a base 204, a glass pane 206, and an upper case frame or case top 208. The base 204 includes a front portion 210 and a rear portion 212 which partially define the product display area 202. In some embodiments, the case 200 is a refrigerated display case, and the base 204 encloses at least a portion of a refrigeration system which refrigerates the food product. In other embodiments, the case 200 is a dry case or a hot case, and the base at least partially encloses an air circulation system or a heating system, respectively. Two struts 214 are located at opposite ends of the case 200 and connect the case top 208 and the rear portion 212 of the case 200. As shown in FIG. 22, the case 200 extends through an angle of approximately 45 degrees, although other embodiments of the case 200 can extend through any angle less than or greater than 45 degrees.

The glass pane 206 is conically-shaped as if cut from a cone pointing in the upward direction A lower portion 216 of the glass pane 206 contacts the front portion 210 to maintain the food product in the product display area at predetermined conditions. An upper portion 218 of the glass pane 206 is pivotally attached to the case top 208 above the product display area 202 using a clamp 220 and hinge 222. An extruded stationary front profile 225 is attached to the case top 208 and provides a transition between the clamp 220 and the case top 208. Similar to the previous embodiment, the hinge 222, case top 208, and the front profile 225 are collectively referred to as spherical glass hardware because they are used to mount curved and spherical glass panes to the case 200. The conically-shaped glass 206 is best shown in FIGS. 27-30. With reference to FIG. 30, the conically-shaped glass 206 is straight when viewed in a vertical cross-section. Alternatively, the conically-shaped glass 206 is curved when viewed in a horizontal cross-section such as the top edge 218 as shown in FIG. 28.

As best shown in FIGS. 23-26, the clamp 220 is bent to match the curve of the upper edge 218 As shown in FIG. 31, the clamp 220 has the same cross-section as the clamp 120 and is similar to the clamp 120 in all respects except that it is bent in the opposite direction. Similar to the clamp 120, tightening the set screws forces the wedge 242 away from the back wall 230 down the upper surface 248 of the base 204. In turn, this moves the wedge 242 closer to the forward extension 238 to clamp the glass pane 206 between the ridged surfaces of the of the wedge 242 and the forward extension 238.

To assemble a display merchandiser, multiple straight or wedge-style cases 100, 200 can be aligned end-to-end to result in a merchandiser of a customized shaped. When two wedge-style cases 100, 200 are positioned together, the adjacent edges of the conically-shaped glass 100, 206 are aligned along a linear path. Similarly, when a wedge-style case 100, 200 is positioned next to a straight case, the adjacent edge of the conically-shaped glass pane 106, 206 of the wedge-style case is aligned along a linear path with the adjacent edge of a straight glass pane of the straight cases. The alignment of the edges of the glass panes creates a smooth transition between cases giving the illusion of a single, seamless display merchandiser.

To convert a display merchandiser that includes curved glass panes on the straight cases and spherical glass panes on the wedge-style cases to a display merchandiser that includes straight glass panes on the straight cases and conically-shaped glass panes on the wedge-style cases the curved and spherical glass panes and the clamps are removed. Next, the clamps 120, 220 are connected directly to the hinges 122, 222 of the spherical glass hardware. Then, the conically-shaped glass panes 106, 206 are mounted to the wedge-style cases 100, 200 using the clamps 120, 220 and straight glass is mounted on the straight cases using the same type of clamps 100, 220.

Thus, the invention provides, among other things, a display merchandiser that includes a case having conically-shaped glass panes, glass clamps that can be used to support conically-shaped glass and straight glass onto spherical glass hardware, and a method for converting a display merchandiser from having curved and spherical glass to straight and conically-shaped glass.