Title:
Frame and door for a locker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A frame for a locker is a single piece of material having exterior edges, interior edges and one or more frame hinge halves formed monolithically therein. The frame is made from a blank, which is a single piece of material. A door for a locker is formed similarly from a single piece of material. The door has one or more door hinge halves formed monolithically therein. The door is pivotally mounted to the frame by a pin through intermeshing frame and door hinge halves. The monolithic construction provides frames and doors for lockers that are stronger and easier to fabricate.



Inventors:
Green, John Antony (London, CA)
Application Number:
11/403961
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
04/14/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ACKUN, JACOB K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Aird & McBurney LP (Toronto, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. Frame for a locker, the frame comprising a single piece of material having exterior edges, interior edges and one or more frame hinge halves formed monolithically therein.

2. Door for a locker, the door comprising a single piece of material having exterior edges and one or more door hinge halves formed monolithically therein.

3. Face panel for a locker, the face panel comprising a frame as claimed in claim 1 and a door as claimed in claim 2 pivotally mounted to the frame, the one or more door hinge halves interacting with the one or more frame hinge halves to pivotally mount the door to the frame.

4. Blank for a frame for a locker, the blank comprising a single piece of material having a front face portion, interior edge portions extending inwardly from the front face portion into an interior aperture in the blank and exterior edge portions extending outwardly from the front face portion, at least one of the interior edge portions comprising a plurality of spaced-apart tabs.

5. Blank of claim 4, wherein the front face portion is rectangular.

6. Blank of claim 4, wherein all of the spaced-apart tabs are on one of the interior edge portions.

7. Blank of claim 6, wherein the plurality of spaced-apart tabs comprises six sets of spaced-apart tabs.

8. Blank of claim 7, wherein each set of spaced-apart tabs comprises five tabs.

9. Frame for a locker comprising the blank as claimed in claim 4, wherein the exterior edge portions of the blank are bent back to form exterior edges of the frame, the interior edge portions of the blank are bent back to form interior edges of the frame and the plurality of spaced-apart tabs of the blank are rolled to form one or more frame hinge halves on the frame.

10. Frame of claim 9, further comprising a rib in the front face portion raised from a rear of the front face portion.

11. Blank for a door for a locker, the blank comprising a single piece of material having a front face portion and exterior edge portions extending outwardly from the front face portion, at least one of the exterior edge portions comprising a plurality of spaced-apart tabs.

12. Blank of claim 11, wherein all of the spaced-apart tabs are on one of the exterior edge portions.

13. Blank of claim 11, wherein the spaced-apart tabs comprises six tabs.

14. Blank of claim 11, further comprising an aperture in the front face portion.

15. Door for a locker comprising the blank as claimed in claim 11, wherein the exterior edge portions of the blank are bent back to form exterior edges of the door and the plurality of spaced-apart tabs of the blank are rolled to form one or more door hinge halves on the door.

16. Door of claim 15, further comprising a handle, the handle formed monolithically in the door by bending back a rim of an aperture in the front face portion of the blank.

17. Face panel for a locker comprising a frame as claimed in claim 9 and a door as claimed in claim 15 pivotally mounted to the frame, the one or more door hinge halves interacting with the one or more frame hinge halves to pivotally mount the door to the frame.

18. Face panel of claim 17, wherein the door is pivotally mounted to the frame by one or more pins through the one or more frame hinge halves and one or more door hinge halves.

19. Locker comprising a face panel as claimed in claim 17 and a plurality of walls defining a locker volume.

20. Process for forming a frame for a locker, the process comprising: providing a blank as claimed in claim 4; bending the interior edge portions to form interior edges of the frame; bending the exterior edge portions to form exterior edges of the frame; and rolling the plurality of spaced-apart tabs to form frame hinge halves.

21. Process of claim 20, further comprising pressing a perimetrical groove into the front face portion to form a rib raised from a rear of the front face portion.

22. Process for forming a door for a locker, the process comprising: providing a blank as claimed in claim 11; bending the exterior edge portions to form exterior edges of the door; and rolling the plurality of spaced-apart tabs to form door hinge halves.

23. Process of claim 22, further comprising forming a handle in the door by bending back a rim of an aperture in the front face portion of the blank.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to lockers, particularly to frames and doors for lockers. More particularly, the present invention relates to blanks for production of frames and doors for lockers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Lockers are used in schools, sports facilities and other buildings to store, often on a temporary basis, the personal effects of people visiting or using the building. Theft from and vandalism of such lockers is an endemic problem, the theft and vandalism usually accompanied by damage to the face panel of the locker. Such theft and vandalism results in the loss of valuables to the person using the locker and in great expense in replacing or repairing damaged lockers.

Many types of lockers and door frame assemblies are known in the art. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,289,363, 5,802,801, 4,579,400, 5,327,682, and 6,151,848, British Patent Publication 2,393,635 and published European Patent Application 516,961 are illustrative of such lockers and/or door frame assemblies. A common problem in all such lockers and door frame assemblies is that one or more of the parts of the frame and/or door are welded, or otherwise attached by some attachment means, to the frame or door. Such welds or attachments lead to weaknesses in the structure of the frame and/or door. Thus, the frame and/or door, and therefore the locker, is more susceptible to damage and forced entry. Further, having to make welds or other attachments in the process of fabricating the frame and/or door is more expensive and time consuming since more steps in the process, more types of equipment and more labor are required to make the frame and door.

There remains a need in the art for frames and doors for lockers that are stronger, more resistant to damage and are cheaper and easier to produce.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is provided a frame for a locker, the frame comprising a single piece of material having exterior edges, interior edges and one or more frame hinge halves formed monolithically therein.

There is further provided a door for a locker, the door comprising a single piece of material having exterior edges and one or more door hinge halves formed monolithically therein.

There is yet further provided a face panel for a locker, the face panel comprising a frame as described above and a door as described above pivotally mounted to the frame, the one or more door hinge halves interacting with the one or more frame hinge halves to pivotally mount the door to the frame.

There is still yet further provided a blank for a frame for a locker, the blank comprising a single piece of material having a front face portion, interior edge portions extending inwardly from the front face portion into an interior aperture in the blank and exterior edge portions extending outwardly from the front face portion, at least one of the interior edge portions comprising a plurality of spaced-apart tabs.

There is still yet further provided a frame for a locker, the frame comprising the blank described above wherein the exterior edge portions of the blank are bent back to form exterior edges of the frame, the interior edge portions of the blank are bent back to form interior edges of the frame and the plurality of spaced-apart tabs of the blank are rolled to form one or more frame hinge halves on the frame.

There is still yet further provided a blank for a door for a locker, the blank comprising a single piece of material having a front face portion and exterior edge portions extending outwardly from the front face portion, at least one of the exterior edge portions comprising a plurality of spaced-apart tabs.

There is still yet further provided a door for a locker, the door comprising the blank described above wherein the exterior edge portions of the blank are bent back to form exterior edges of the door and the plurality of spaced-apart tabs of the blank are rolled to form one or more door hinge halves on the door.

There is still yet further provided a locker comprising a frame as described above, a door as described above and a plurality of walls defining a locker volume.

There is still yet further provided a process for forming a frame for a locker, the process comprising: providing a blank for a frame as described above; bending the interior edge portions to form interior edges of the frame; bending the exterior edge portions to form exterior edges of the frame; and rolling the plurality of spaced-apart tabs to form frame hinge halves.

There is still yet further provided a process for forming a door for a locker, the process comprising: providing a blank for a door as described above; bending the exterior edge portions to form exterior edges of the door; and rolling the plurality of spaced-apart tabs to form door hinge halves.

The frame comprises a monolithic structure in which required elements of the frame including the edges and the one or more hinge halves are formed from a blank comprising a single piece of material. The door comprises a monolithic structure in which required elements of the door including the edges and the one or more hinge halves are formed from a blank comprising a single piece of material. Blanks may be created from sheet material by any suitable method, for example, die stamping, laser cutting, etc. Die stamping is of particular note.

To form a frame or door, elements of an appropriate blank are subjected to forming, preferably die forming, to form corresponding elements of the frame or door. Die forming generally comprises bending the blank in various places using one or more appropriately tooled dies. Any number of die forming steps, and therefore any number of dies, may be used in the forming process. It is preferable to use as few steps and dies as possible to reduce cost and to reduce stress to the material. Preferably, from 1 to 4 die forming steps are required to form a finished frame or door.

The material of which blanks are made is preferably a durable material that can be formed into the frame or door by die forming. Such materials include, for example, metals and thermoplastics. Preferably, the material is steel. A blank has a thickness, which may or may not be uniform throughout the blank. A blank is preferably sufficiently thin to permit die forming, while being thick enough so that the frame or door formed therefrom is strong and can withstand a considerable amount of damage. The thickness is preferably in a range of from about 0.060-0.067 inches, for example about 0.065 inches.

A face panel is a combination of a frame and at least one door pivotally mounted to the frame. In one embodiment, the face panel may comprise a frame of the present invention and a door of the present invention. In another embodiment, the face panel may comprise a frame of the present invention and a door not of the present invention made to fit the frame. In yet another embodiment, the face panel may comprise a door of the present invention and a frame not of the present invention made to accommodate the door. Preferably, the face panel comprises a frame of the present invention and a door of the present invention.

The face panel may be part of a new locker, or may be fitted to an existing locker so that the whole locker does not need to be replaced in the event of damage to the original face panel. Face panels may have one or more doors, with two door and six door models being common in many institutions. In multiple door models, the doors are commonly aligned in a vertical manner within the frame, although aligning the doors horizontally is also possible, particularly when the locker is oriented horizontally rather than vertically. In multiple door models, a single locker is generally sub-divided into multiple compartments and the doors are aligned with each compartment. Face panels of the present invention may also be used with banks of lockers.

Further features of the invention will be described or will become apparent in the course of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the invention may be more clearly understood, embodiments thereof will now be described in detail by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A is a plan view of a blank for a frame in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 1B is a detailed view of area A in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 2A is a plan view of the blank depicted in FIG. 1A after a first forming operation;

FIG. 2B is a detailed view of area B in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2C is a cross-sectional view through C-C in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3A is a plan view of the blank depicted in FIG. 2A after a second forming operation;

FIG. 3B is a detailed view of area D in FIG. 3A;

FIG. 3C is a cross-sectional view through E-E in FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4A is a plan view of a frame in accordance with the present invention comprising the blank depicted in FIG. 3A after a third forming operation;

FIG. 4B is a detailed view of area F in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 4C is a cross-sectional view through G-G in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a blank for a door in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6A is a plan view of the blank depicted in FIG. 5A after a first forming operation;

FIG. 6B is a magnified end view of the blank depicted in FIG. 5A after a first forming operation;

FIG. 7A is a plan view of the blank depicted in FIG. 6A after a second forming operation;

FIG. 7B is a magnified end view of the blank depicted in FIG. 6A after a second forming operation;

FIG. 8A is a plan view of a door in accordance with the present invention comprising the blank depicted in FIG. 7A after a third forming operation;

FIG. 8B is a magnified end view of a door in accordance with the present invention comprising the blank depicted in FIG. 8A after a third forming operation;

FIGS. 9A to 9D are front views of locker face panels in accordance with the present invention having one door, two doors, six doors and four doors, respectively.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Frames:

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, frame blank 1 for a generally rectangular locker frame is depicted after it has been die stamped from a single flat piece of steel and before any further forming operations have been performed. Blank 1 has front face portion 2, four interior edge portions 3a-d extending inwardly from front face portion 2 into central aperture 4, and has four exterior edge portions 5a-d extending outwardly from front face portion 2. Between the four interior edge portions are four interior corner slots 6a-d which will permit bending of the interior edge portions in later forming operations. The slots are shaped to provide further frame features as forming operations are performed. Six sets of spaced-apart tabs 7a-f are formed in interior edge portion 3a on one side of the blank. As shown in FIG. 1B, a detailed view of one set of tabs 7a shows that there are five spaced-apart tabs per set. Holes 8 (only two labeled) are formed in the top and bottom of the blank, and will act as ventilation holes in the finished frame.

Using an appropriately tooled die, a first die forming operation is performed on blank 1 of FIG. 1A to form the blank into a form as shown in FIG. 2A. Referring to FIGS. 2A-2C, exterior edge portions 5a-d of the blank are bent back at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 2 to form the exterior edges of the frame. Interior edge portions 3a-d are bent back at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 2 to form the interior edges of the frame. Due to the shape of the corner slots depicted in FIG. 1A, when interior edge portions 3b and 3c are bent back, the very edges of the two interior edge portions can be bent another 90-degrees to remain parallel to the front face portion to form top lip 10 and side lip 11, respectively. The lips help form a better seal at the top and side of a locker face panel once a door is mounted to the frame. Further, as best seen in FIG. 2C, each tab in sets of tabs 7a-f is bent back at a tip of the tab at an angle of 90-degrees from the front face portion.

Using an appropriately tooled die, a second die forming operation is performed on the blank of FIG. 2A to form the blank into a form as shown in FIG. 3A. Referring to FIGS. 3A-3C, in the second die forming operation, each tab in the sets of tabs 7a-f is bent at their bases at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 2 so that each tab extends in a direction opposite interior edges 3a-d. This is best seen in FIG. 3C which shows set of tabs 7b pointing in a direction 90-degrees from front face portion 2 and in a direction 180-degrees from interior edge 3a. Thus, the plurality of tabs all point toward the front of the frame. Additionally, rib 15 is formed completely around the blank in front face portion 2 by pressing a perimetrical groove into the front face portion. Rib 15 is raised from a rear of the front face portion and will further strengthen the frame and reduce the possibility of bowing.

Using an appropriately tooled die, a third and final die forming operation is performed on the blank of FIG. 3A to form a finished frame as shown in FIG. 4A. Referring to FIGS. 4A-4C, sets of tabs 7a-f are rolled to form six frame hinge halves.

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, it can be seen that through a sequence of three die forming operations, frame blank 1 comprising a single flat piece of stainless steel can be formed into a monolithic frame for a face panel for a locker. Exterior edge portions 5a-d of the blank become the exterior edges of the frame. Interior edge portions 3a-d of the blank become lips 10,11 and the interior edges of the frame. The six sets of spaced-apart tabs 7a-f of the blank become the six frame hinge halves of the frame. Front face portion 2 of the blank becomes the front face of the frame. Holes 8 in the blank become ventilation holes in the frame. Other features can be tooled into the blank to serve various functions in the frame, for example, rib 15 formed into the blank strengthens the frame.

Doors:

Referring to FIG. 5, door blank 51 for a generally rectangular locker door is depicted after it has been die stamped from a single flat piece of steel and before any further forming operations have been performed. Blank 51 has front face portion 52 with aperture 54 therein, and has four exterior edge portions 55a-d extending outwardly from front face portion 52. Six sets of spaced-apart tabs 57a-f are formed in exterior edge portion 55a on one side of the blank. There are six spaced-apart tabs per set, which will ultimately form door hinge halves that will intermesh with the frame hinge halves in a face panel. Aperture 54 is bounded by rim 58. Rim 58 has upper interior edge portion 53 between slots 56a, 56b. The slots will permit bending of the upper interior edge portion to a greater extent.

Using an appropriately tooled die, a first die forming operation is performed on blank 51 of FIG. 5 to form the blank into a form as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. Referring to FIGS. 6A and 6B, exterior edge portion 55a and part of exterior edge portions 55b-d are bent back at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 52. Exterior edge portion 55a forms the exterior edge of the door on the side of the door that will have the hinge halves. The bent parts of exterior edge portions 55b-d will ultimately form rear, inwardly pointing lips running around the other three exterior edges of the door. As best seen in FIG. 6B, each tab in sets of tabs 57a-f (only 57f shown in FIG. 6B) is bent back at a tip of the tab at an angle of 90-degrees from the front face portion. As best seen in FIG. 6B, upper interior edge portion 53 is bent back at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 2. Rim 58 is pushed forward so that the rim protrudes forwardly from front face portion 52 with upper interior edge portion 53 protruding back from the blank.

Using an appropriately tooled die, a second die forming operation is performed on the blank of FIG. 6A to form the blank into a form as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B. Referring to FIGS. 7A and 7B, in the second die forming operation, each tab in the sets of tabs 57a-f is bent at their bases at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 52 so that each tab extends forwardly of front face portion 52. This is best seen in FIG. 7B, which shows set of tabs 57f pointing in a direction 90-degrees from front face portion 52.

Using an appropriately tooled die, a third and final die forming operation is performed on the blank of FIG. 7A to form a door as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. Referring to FIGS. 8A and 8B, exterior edge portions 55b-d are bent back at an angle of 90-degrees from front face portion 2 to form the exterior edges of the door on their respective sides. As indicated in connection with FIG. 6, the previously bent parts of exterior edge portions 55b-d form rear, inwardly pointing lips running around these three exterior edges of the door. Further, sets of tabs 57a-f are rolled to form six door hinge halves.

Referring to FIGS. 5-8, it can be seen that through a sequence of three die forming operations, door blank 51 comprising a single flat piece of stainless steel can be formed into a monolithic door for a face panel for a locker. Exterior edge portions 55a-d of the blank become the exterior edges of the door. The six sets of spaced-apart tabs 57a-f of the blank become the six door hinge halves of the door. Front face portion 2 of the blank becomes the front face of the door. Rim 58 and upper interior edge portion 53 of the blank become the handle of the door and provide a location where a locking mechanism can be mounted.

Face Panels:

Referring to FIGS. 9A-9D, four variations of face panels are shown, all of which combine monolithic frames and monolithic doors of the present invention. A single frame can accommodate various numbers of doors. As shown in FIGS. 9A-9D, a single frame having six frame hinge halves can accommodate one, two, six or four doors by providing doors of appropriate size with door hinge halves placed to coincide with the frame hinge halves. Thus, it can be seen that the frame and face panel of the present invention are particularly advantageous as a single frame can be utilized in many different locker variations, and replacement of the frame is simple and cost effective as one size of frame fits all the variations.

Referring to FIG. 9A, a face panel having one large door is shown. Door 62 is pivotally mounted to frame 60 at six hinges 63 (only one labeled). Six door hinge halves of the door intermesh with six frame hinge halves of the frame, the intermeshed hinge halves held together with pins.

Referring to FIG. 9B, a face panel having two doors is shown. Upper and lower doors 72, 74 are pivotally mounted to a single frame 70. Three door hinge halves of upper door 72 intermesh with three of the frame hinge halves of the frame to form three hinges 73 (only one labeled), the intermeshed hinge halves held together with pins. Three door hinge halves of lower door 74 intermesh with three of the frame hinge halves of the frame to form three hinges 75 (only one labeled) the intermeshed hinge halves held together with pins.

Referring to FIG. 9C, a face panel having six doors is shown. Doors 81a-f are pivotally mounted to a single frame 80 at hinges 82a-f. Each door has one door hinge half, which is intermeshed with one of the frame hinge halves. The intermeshed hinge halves are held together with pins.

Referring to FIG. 9D, a face panel having four doors is shown. Three identically sized doors 91a-c are pivotally mounted to a single frame 90 at single hinges 92a-c. One larger sized door 93 is pivotally mounted to the same frame 90 at three hinges 94 (only one labeled). Each of the smaller doors 91a-c has one door hinge half, which is intermeshed with one of the frame hinge halves. The larger door 93 has three door hinge halves, which are intermeshed with three of the frame hinge halves. The intermeshed hinge halves are held together with pins.

Behind the face panels are lockers. Lockers have a floor, a ceiling and three walls. Where the face panel has more than one door, the lockers also comprise shelves to create separated compartments, each compartment accessed by a different door.

Other advantages which are inherent to the structure are obvious to one skilled in the art. The embodiments are described herein illustratively and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention as claimed. Variations of the foregoing embodiments will be evident to a person of ordinary skill and are intended by the inventor to be encompassed by the following claims.