Title:
Pallet system for product display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pallet system for displaying products including a plurality of trays (which may be stacked one to a level, two to a level or four to a level), a tie sheet for securing the trays of a level together, one or more graphics panels that display important and useful product information and a pole cover for product display.



Inventors:
Pedler, David James (Kernersville, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/732064
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/02/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D1/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NEWAY, BLAINE GIRMA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Rock-Tenn / Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A pallet system for holding and displaying products, comprising: (a) a plurality of pallet trays comprising at least a first pallet tray stacked above a second pallet tray, wherein at least the second pallet tray comprises a base, at least one back wall, and at least two side walls, the back wall and side walls extending generally vertically from the base to define an interior space for holding and displaying products; and (b) at least one graphics panel associated with the first and second pallet trays, wherein the graphics panel is secured to the first pallet tray and associated with the second pallet tray in a sliding manner, wherein the graphics panel is not secured to the second pallet tray, and wherein the graphics panel includes indicia related to the products.

2. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 1, wherein the graphics panel is associated with the second pallet tray in a sliding manner by a blade extending from a back side of the graphics panel.

3. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 2, wherein the blade fits into a gap between the second pallet tray and a third pallet tray to associate the graphics panel with the second pallet tray in a sliding manner.

4. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 3, further comprising a capture tray; wherein a lower portion of the graphics panel is positioned within the capture tray; and wherein the second pallet tray is stacked in the capture tray.

5. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 4, wherein the capture tray comprises a planar base and at least four walls extending generally vertically from the capture tray planar base.

6. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 1, wherein the graphics panel is secured to the first pallet tray by the interaction of a tab with a slot.

7. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 6, wherein the tab extends from the graphics panel and the slot is formed in the first pallet tray.

8. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 6, wherein the graphics panel is associated with the second pallet tray in a sliding manner by a blade extending from a back side of the graphics panel.

9. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 1, wherein the second pallet tray back wall and side walls comprise top surfaces; and wherein the top surfaces of the second pallet tray back wall and side walls are substantially level.

10. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 9, wherein the top surfaces of the second pallet tray back wall and side walls comprise mitered corners.

11. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 1, wherein the second pallet tray comprises a plurality of products held and displayed within the interior space of the second pallet tray.

12. A pallet system for holding and displaying products, comprising: (a) a plurality of pallet trays comprising at least a first level and a second level of pallet trays, the first and second levels of pallet trays each comprising at least two pallet trays, wherein the first level of pallet trays are positioned above the second level of pallet trays, and wherein at least one of the pallet trays comprises a base, at least one back wall, and at least two side walls, the back wall and side walls extending generally vertically from the base to define an interior space for holding and displaying products; and (b) at least one tie sheet, the tie sheet positioned above the second level of pallet trays and below the first level of pallet trays, wherein the tie sheet is secured to the first and second level of pallet trays, and wherein the second level of pallet trays is at least indirectly secured to the first level of pallet trays.

13. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 12, wherein a plurality of slots and tabs facilitate securing the tie sheet to the first and second level of pallet trays and at least indirectly securing the second level of pallet trays to the first level of pallet trays.

14. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 13, wherein the tabs comprise a plurality of tabs extending downwardly from the tie sheet; wherein the slots comprise slots formed in upper surfaces of the at least two pallet trays of the second level of pallet trays; and wherein the tabs extending downwardly from the tie sheet engage the slots formed in the upper surfaces of the at least two pallet trays of the second level of pallet trays.

15. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 14, wherein the tabs further comprise a plurality of tabs extending downwardly from the at least two pallet trays of the first level of pallet trays; and wherein the tabs extending downwardly from the first level of pallet trays also engage the slots formed in the upper surfaces of the at least two pallet trays of the second level of pallet trays.

16. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 12, wherein the tie sheet locks the pallet trays of the first level of pallet trays together.

17. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 16, wherein the tie sheet locks the pallet trays of the first and second levels of pallet trays together.

18. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 12, wherein the back wall and side walls of the at least one pallet tray comprise top surfaces; and wherein the top surfaces of the back wall and side walls are substantially level.

19. The pallet system for holding and displaying products of claim 18, wherein the top surfaces comprise mitered corners.

20. A pallet system for holding and displaying products, comprising: (a) a plurality of pallet trays comprising at least a first level and a second level of pallet trays, wherein the first level of pallet trays are positioned above the second level of pallet trays, wherein each level comprises at least two pallet trays, wherein the first level comprises a first pallet tray and the second level comprises a second pallet tray, wherein the first pallet tray is stacked above the second pallet tray, wherein at least the second pallet tray comprises a base, at least one back wall, and at least two side walls, the back wall and side walls extending generally vertically from the base to define an interior space for holding and displaying products; (b) at least one graphics panel associated with the first and second pallet trays, wherein the graphics panel is secured to the first pallet tray and associated with the second pallet tray in a sliding manner, wherein the graphics panel is not secured to the second pallet tray, and wherein the graphics panel includes indicia related to the products; and (c) at least one tie sheet, the tie sheet positioned above the second level of pallet trays and below the first level of pallet trays, wherein the tie sheet is secured to the first and second level of pallet trays, and wherein the first level of pallet trays is at least indirectly secured to the second level of pallet trays; wherein the back wall and side walls of the second pallet tray define top surfaces; and wherein the top surfaces of the back wall and side walls are substantially level.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Serial Application No. 60/788,263, filed Mar. 31, 2006 and entitled “Improved Pallet System for Product Display,” the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by this reference.

RELATED FIELDS

Embodiments of the present invention relate to a pallet system for displaying products.

BACKGROUND

Pallet systems that house and display products in retail stores or the like at the point of sale are well known. Retailers use such systems to reduce the costs of shipping, stocking and displaying products with such costs-savings being passed on to the consumer. Retail pallet systems are generally made of flat paperboard or corrugated board that can be folded or assembled into free standing structures with trays with planar bases and panels. The folding of the panels is made possible through the use of pre-manufactured score lines or separation lines along the paperboard or corrugated board.

Pallet systems generally have a plurality of planar tiers with a plurality of compartments or dividers. Each planar tier or compartment may hold a plurality of products for display to customers in retail stores or warehouses. In many cases, the planar tiers of the pallet system are only held together by their own weight, glue, or by interlocking notches or slots in the tiers or compartments. Because of the number of panels associated with forming pallets, it is often difficult to form pallets uniformly, making formation very cumbersome. Additionally, many of the available pallet systems are unattractive and may negatively impact consumer purchasing decisions.

Retailers may also desire that their pallet systems have an appearance that attracts customers to the display, thereby increasing the chances of purchase. For instance, some pallet systems may include graphics panels to indicate to the consumer the nature of the products displayed in the pallet or to attract customers to the displayed product. Typically, these graphics panels have been glued, stapled or otherwise directly affixed to the product trays. In use, the trays may settle or compact somewhat due to the weight of the trays and products. Problematically, as the trays settle or compact, the graphics panel may become bent, distorted, or otherwise damaged.

Another problem with some pallet systems is that the product trays used with them do not allow for level stacking, which may also cause the display to be less visually attractive. The top edges of a typical pallet tray are not level with one another. For instance, the tray back is often formed by folding the portions of the blank corrugated board forming the back of the tray over portions of the blank board forming the sides. Because the back portions are folded over the sides, the backs of typical trays extend slightly higher on the sides and front of the trays.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present invention generally include pallet systems for holding and displaying products. In some embodiments of the invention, the pallet system may include a number of pallet trays (which may be stacked one to a level, two to a level, four to a level, or in other arrangements), a tie sheet for securing the trays of a level together, and one or more graphics panels that display information related to the product held and displayed in the pallet system, or other types of graphics. The pallet system may also have a number of additional features generally intended to give it an attractive appearance at the point of sale and to increase its durability.

In certain embodiments of the invention, a pallet system tray may include top surfaces that are level with one another. For instance, the tray may include top surfaces of the tray sides and backs that abut one another to define a level surface to stack additional trays on. In some embodiments, these top surfaces may be joined at a miter joint.

In these or other embodiments, the pallet system may also include a tie sheet to facilitate orderly stacking of the trays and/or prevent the trays from spreading apart from one another after being stacked. In some embodiments, the tie sheet may include tabs and/or slots that interact with tabs and/or slots on the pallet system trays to lock them together.

In these or other embodiments, the pallet system may also include a graphics panel that may not distort or otherwise become damaged as the pallet trays settle. For instance, in some embodiments, the graphics panel is only secured to the topmost trays of the pallet and can move independently of the lower trays, such that graphics panel will “float” with respect to the other trays and not become distorted as the pallet settles or compresses due to the weight of the displayed items. In some embodiments, the graphics panels may be secured to the topmost trays by the interaction of a tab with a slot. The graphics panel may also include a blade that aligns the graphics panel with respect to the lower trays, yet allows the graphics panel to slide with respect to those trays as they settle or compact.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of a blank for a pallet tray in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pallet tray assembled from the blank shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a blank for a capture tray in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a capture tray assembled from the blank shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a pallet tray of FIG. 2 being positioned in a capture tray of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of several pallet trays of FIG. 2 positioned in a capture tray of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a top view of a blank for a tie sheet in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the tie sheet of FIG. 7, shown with its tabs pushed out.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the tie sheet of FIG. 7 being assembled with the portion of the pallet system shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another pallet tray being added to the pallet system shown in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of pallet tray being positioned in a capture tray in accordance with other embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a tie sheet being assembled onto a portion of a pallet system in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an another pallet tray being added to the pallet system shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a top view of a blank for a graphics panel in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a graphics panel assembled from the blank shown in FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the graphics panel of FIG. 15 being associated with a pallet system in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the graphics panel of FIG. 14 associated with the pallet system shown in FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a graphics panel being associated with a pallet system in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is another perspective view of the graphics panel being associated with a pallet system as shown in FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a top view of a blank for a pole cover in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a pole cover assembled from the blank shown in FIG. 20.

FIG. 22 is a top view of a blank for a riser in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a riser formed from the blank shown in FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of the riser and pole cover of FIGS. 21 and 23 being assembled to a pallet system in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 25 is a perspective view after the riser and pole cover have been assembled to the pallet system of FIG. 24.

FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a riser being assembled to a pallet system in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 27 is a perspective view after the riser has been assembled to the pallet system of FIG. 26.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a blank 10 for a pallet tray 30 in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention. The blank 10 may be formed by cutting a sheet of material, such as corrugated board, solid fiberboard, heavy paperboard, heavy plastic sheet, or other materials, and also perforating the blank with score lines 31. The blank 10 shown in FIG. 1 includes a planar base 32, a back panel 38, a top back panel 40, opposing inner side panels 44, L-shaped top dust panels 50, opposing outer side panels 54, top side panels 46, side top flap panels 58, front panel 60, and opposing front dust flaps 62. Blanks for pallet trays having other configurations are also possible and within the scope of the present invention.

The pallet tray 30 shown in FIG. 2 may be assembled from the blank 10 shown in FIG. 1 by vertically folding the top back panel 40 of the blank 10 along its associated score lines 31 and inserting tabs 42 into slots 34. Next, the opposing inner side panels 44 may be inwardly folded along their associated score lines 31 and the L-shaped dust panels 50 may be inwardly folded along their score lines 31. Back panel 38 may then be folded into an upright position along the score line 31 separating it from planar base 32.

Subsequently, the outer side panels 54 may be folded into an upright position along the score lines 31 separating them from the planar base 32 and the top flaps 46 may be folded over the inner side panels 44. The tabs 42 on the top flap 46 may be inserted into the slots 34 on the inner side panels 44 to secure the top flaps 46 to the inner side panels 44. Next, the side dust panels 62 may be folded inwardly and the side top flap panels may be folded down with their associated tabs 42 tucked into slots 34.

Subsequently, the front panel 60 may be folded upright over the side dust panels 62 with the left and right sides of the front panel flexing as they are folded over the score lines 31. The front panel 60 may be secured by inserting its associated tabs 42 into the slots 34. Finally, the tabs 36 on the base 32 may be pushed downward so that they extend beneath the base 32.

Other methods may also be employed to assemble pallet trays in accordance with the present invention.

The pallet tray 30 shown in FIG. 2 includes top surfaces 200 that are level with one another to facilitate stacking additional pallet trays on top in a stable manner. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the top surfaces 200 are joined at mitered corners 33, i.e., beveled at a 45-degree angle to form a 90-degree corners. In other embodiments, it is not necessary for the pallet tray 30 to include mitered corners or other level top surfaces.

In some embodiments, such as the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the pallet tray 30 includes apertures 56 to assist in lifting and moving the pallet tray.

FIG. 3 shows a blank 11 used to form the capture tray 64 shown in FIG. 4. Like the blank 10 for the pallet tray 30, blank 11 may be formed by cutting a sheet of material and perforating it with score lines 31. The blank 11 shown includes a planar base, four side panels 68, and four dust panels 70. Capture tray 64 may be formed from blank 11 by folding the dust flaps inwardly and folding side panels 68 upright to insert tabs 42 into slots 34. In some embodiments, once capture tray 64 is formed, it may be centered and secured on a pallet (not shown) with a pneumatic staple gun, glue, nails, rivets or in some other manner. Blanks for forming capture trays having other configurations are also possible and within the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows one way to position a level of pallet trays 30 into a capture tray 64. In this embodiment, the pallet trays 30 are shown in one type of X4 configuration (e.g., a configuration that includes 4 pallet trays per level), although other X4 configurations may also be possible and within the scope of the present invention. FIG. 6 also shows that dividers 72 may optionally be positioned inside of pallet trays 30.

FIG. 7 shows a blank 12 used to form the tie sheet 80 shown in FIG. 8. Blank 12 may be made in similar manners and from similar materials as blanks 10 and 11, although in other embodiments, the blanks 10, 11, and 12 may be made from different materials. The blank 12 shown in FIG. 7 includes a pole opening 82, rectangular shaped notches 84, and perimeter and interior tabs 42. Pushing the tabs outwardly (as shown in FIG. 8) forms additional slots in the tie sheet 80. Blanks for forming tie sheets of other configurations are also possible and within the scope of the present invention.

As illustrated in FIG. 9, tie sheet 80 may be placed on top of the pallet trays 30 and the tabs 42 may be inserted into corresponding slots 34 in the trays 30 to secure the tie sheet 80 in place and fix the positions of the pallet trays 30 with respect to one another. FIG. 10 shows how additional levels of pallet trays 30 may be placed onto the tie sheet 80 with the tabs 42 fitting through slots or notches in the tie sheet (or around the edge of the tie sheet) and into the slots 34 of the lower level of pallet trays 30. Thus, in some embodiments, including the embodiments shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, the slots 34 in the lower level of pallet trays 30 are sized to receive both the tabs 42 of the tie sheet 80 and the tabs 42 of the upper level of pallet trays 30. In other embodiments, however, the tie sheet and/or pallet trays may be secured to the lower level of pallet trays in another manner.

FIGS. 11-13 illustrate the use of a tie sheet 80 in conjunction with a pallet system having a X2 configuration.(e.g. a pallet system that includes two pallet trays per level).

FIG. 14 shows a blank 13 used to form the graphics panel 90 shown in FIG. 15. Blank 13 may be made in similar manners and from similar materials as blanks 10, 11, and 12, although in other embodiments, the blanks 10-13 may be made from different materials. Blank 13 includes a central panel 92, two side opposing panels 94, dust panels 96, locking tabs 98, top side panel 100 and top tab 102. The graphics panel 90 may be formed by folding the various portions of blank 13 over score lines 31.

FIGS. 16-17 show a graphics panel 90 being associated with a pallet system in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention. The graphics panel 90 may be secured to a topmost pallet tray 30 by inserting the tab 42 of the graphics panel 90 into a slot 34 of the pallet tray. The blade 102 of the graphics panel 90 may be inserted into a gap between the sides and backs of the pallet trays 30 such that the graphics panel will slide with respect to the pallet trays 30 that are not the topmost pallet tray. A lower portion of the graphics panel 90 may be inserted into the capture tray 64 to help further retain the graphics panel 90. FIGS. 18-19 show an alternative method for associating graphics panels 90 with a pallet system that does not involve a graphics panel blade 102 like the one shown in FIG. 15. Rather, the graphics panel 90 shown in FIGS. 18-19 fits over the edges of the pallet trays 30. Graphics panels 90 may also be associated with pallet systems in other manners that are within the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 20 shows a blank 14 used to form the pole cover 110 shown in FIG. 21. The blank 14 shown in FIG. 20 may be formed from similar, or different, materials, and in similar, or different, manners as the blanks discussed above. Like the blanks discussed above, blank 14 may be folded along score lines 31 to form the pole cover shown in FIG. 21. The blank 14 includes a planar base 112 with two opposing sectional tubes 114 with square openings (shown in FIG. 21), two opposing side panels 116 with notches 118, pole opening 120, and rectangular slots 122. On formation, the two opposing sectional tubes 114 are racked up to a square position and secured in place by tabs 42, and the opposing side panels 116 are folded down. In some embodiments of the present invention, other pole cover configurations may be used, or, in still other embodiments, no pole cover is necessary.

FIGS. 22 and 23 show a blank 15 and the riser 130 that may be formed from it, which may optionally be used in conjunction with some pallet systems of the present invention. As shown in FIGS. 24 and 25, the riser 130 may be secured to the pole cover 110, which may positioned near or at the top of the pallet display. In other embodiments, a sign on a pole may be associated with the pole cover 110. As shown in FIGS. 26 and 27, the riser may be directly associated with the rest of the pallet display in some embodiments, and pole cover 110 is not always necessary.

Changes, modifications, substitutions, additions and deletions may be made to the structures, methods and concepts described above without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention.