Title:
Self facing display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A display for retail items is provided with a pusher for moving items on the display towards the front of the display. The pusher is biased towards the front portion of the display by an elastic band stretched around at least three attachment points. One attachment point is secured to the display. Another attachment point is secured to the pusher. Additional attachment points may be secured in either location.



Inventors:
Johanson, James E. (Old Chatham, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/706753
Publication Date:
08/14/2008
Filing Date:
02/14/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F5/00; A47F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARNETT, DEVIN K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP GROUP OF DLA PIPER LLP (US) (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A display, comprising: at least one shelf, the shelf defining a first portion and a second portion; a pusher slidably mounted on each shelf, the pusher reciprocating between a first position corresponding to the first portion of the shelf, and a second position corresponding to the second portion of the shelf; at least three attachment points for an elastic band, at least one of the attachment points being secured to the first portion of the shelf, at least one of the attachment points being secured to the pusher, and the third attachment point being secured to either of the first portion of the shelf or the pusher; and an elastic band extending around the at least three attachment points.

2. The display according to claim 1, wherein two of the three attachment points are secured to the shelf.

3. The display according to claim 2, wherein the two attachment points secured to the shelf are substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

4. The display according to claim 2, further comprising two attachment points secured to the pusher.

5. The display according to claim 4, wherein the two attachment points secured to the shelf and the two attachment points secured to the pusher are substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

6. The display according to claim 1, wherein two of the three attachment points are secured to the pusher.

7. The display according to claim 6, wherein the two attachment points secured to the pusher are substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

8. A pusher for pushing items disposed on a display, the display having a first portion and a second portion, the pusher comprising: an elastic band; at least three attachment points for the elastic band, at least one of the attachment points being secured to the first portion of the display, at least one of the attachment points being secured to the pusher, and the third attachment point being secured to either of the first portion of the display or the pusher, the elastic band being stretched around all attachment points; and the pusher being slidably mounted on the display, the pusher reciprocating between a first position corresponding to the first portion of the display, and a second position corresponding to the second portion of the display; whereby the elastic band biases the pusher towards the first portion of the display.

9. The pusher according to claim 8, wherein two of the three attachment points are secured to the display.

10. The pusher according to claim 9, wherein the two attachment points secured to the display are substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

11. The pusher according to claim 9, further comprising two attachment points secured to the pusher.

12. The pusher according to claim 11, wherein the two attachment points secured to the display and the two attachment points secured to the pusher are substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

13. The pusher according to claim 8, wherein two of the three attachment points are secured to the pusher.

14. The pusher according to claim 13, wherein the two attachment points secured to the pusher are substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

15. A method of biasing a pusher for a display, the method comprising: providing an elastic band; providing at least three attachment points for the elastic band, at least one of the attachment points being secured to a fixed location on the display, at least one of the attachment points being secured to the pusher, and the third attachment point being secured to either of the fixed location or the pusher; and extending the elastic band around a perimeter defined by all of the attachment points, while permitting the elastic band to slide along the attachment points so that substantially the entire elastic band is stretched by rearward movement of the pusher.

16. The method according to claim 15, wherein two attachment points are provided on the fixed location, and a third attachment point is provided on the pusher.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the two attachment points on the fixed location are positioned substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

18. The method according to claim 16, further comprising providing a fourth attachment point on the pusher.

19. The method according to claim 18, wherein the two attachment points secured to the fixed location and the two attachment points secured to the pusher are positioned substantially equidistant from an axis along which the pusher reciprocates.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to retail product displays. More specifically, the invention provides a display having a pusher for pushing items on the display towards the front of the display.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In a retail environment, it is desirable to ensure that product is displayed towards the front of a display shelf, thereby making the product readily visible and accessible to the consumer. Positioning the product towards the front of the shelf also keeps the shelf from looking “shopped down” as product is sold.

Some presently available displays use ramped shelves so that gravity will cause product to slide towards the front of the display. Such displays require a product having a shape and a packaging configuration that is appropriate to this type of display.

Other displays use spring-biased pushers to push products towards the front of a substantially horizontal shelf. Such springs are typically metal strips that are biased towards a coiled position. Pushing the pusher to the rear of the display unwinds the coiled spring. As product is removed from the display, the coiling of the spring pushes the pusher forward. Such pushers are too complicated and expensive for use in a disposable display, which typically arrives at the store filled with product, and is discarded or recycled when emptied.

It is known to use an elastic band to bias a pusher towards its forward position. However, a method of increasing the range of motion of the pusher, while decreasing strain on the elastic band, is desired.

SUMMARY

A display is provided for ensuring that products on the display are pushed towards the first portion of the display shelf. The display includes a shelf with a pusher slidably mounted thereon. The pusher reciprocates between a first position and second position, and is biased towards the first position by an elastic band. The elastic band is stretched around at least three attachment points: one on the first portion of the shelf, one on the pusher, and a third disposed either on the first portion of the shelf or on the pusher.

A method of biasing a pusher is also provided. The method is followed by providing an elastic band, extended around a perimeter defined by at least three attachment points. At least one attachment point is secured to a fixed location, a second attachment point is secured to the pusher, and a third attachment point is secured to either the fixed location or the pusher. When the pusher is moved to stretch the elastic band, the elastic band slides along some of the attachment points, so that substantially the entire elastic band stretches to accommodate movement of the pusher.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front isometric view of a display.

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of one embodiment of a display, showing the pushers in its forward position.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the embodiment of FIG. 2, showing the pushers moved rearward.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of another embodiment of the display.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of yet another embodiment of the display.

FIGS. 6a-6b are schematic views showing the strain on an elastic band stretched between two points.

FIGS. 7a-7b are schematic views illustrating the strain on an elastic band stretched between three points.

FIGS. 8a-8B are schematic views illustrating the strain on an elastic band stretched between four points.

Like reference characters denote like elements throughout the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the figures, alternative embodiments of a self facing display are shown. Referring to FIG. 1, the display 10 includes a substantially horizontal shelf 12 that has been divided into four sections, 14A, 14B, 14C, and 14D. Although four sections are illustrated in this example, the display 10 may include any number of sections 14. A wall 16A, 16B, 16C separates each of the adjacent sections 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D, respectively. Side walls 18A, 18B extend upward from opposing sides of the shelf 12. Each of the side walls 18A, 18B may include various attachment means for securing the display 10 to an adjacent display 10, to a display rack, or to other fixtures. In the illustrated example, each of the side walls 18A, 18B includes downwardly facing hooks 20 along its upper edge, and upwardly facing hooks 22 along its lower edge. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that a fixture such as an arm of a display rack may be held between the opposing hooks 20, 22 on either side of the display 10. A front wall 24 extends across the front of the shelf 12. An optional rear wall 26 extends upward at the back of the display 10. The rear wall 26 may optionally include means for securing the display 10 to a fixture.

A pusher 28 is slidably mounted within each section 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D. In the illustrated example, each of the pushers 28 is essentially identical to the other pushers 28 and therefore only one of the pushers 28 is described in detail herein. However, nothing prevents various combinations of the embodiments of the pusher 28 described herein from being combined in a single display 10, or including a pusher described herein with a display including prior art pushers.

Each pusher 28 includes a base 30 that is slidably mounted on the shelf 12. In the illustrated example, the base 30 is reciprocally secured within a channel 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D defined within each of the sections 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D of the shelf 12. Each of the channels 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D is defined between a pair of edges 34. Each of the bases 30 includes a pair of opposing channels 36 defined therein. The channels 36 are structured to receive the edges 34 therein. Panels 38 may optionally extend below the channels 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D at various intervals to resist the passage of product packages 39 through the slots 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D. Each of the pushers 28 also includes an upwardly extending panel 40.

Referring to FIGS. 2-3, the pusher 28 is biased towards the front of the display 10 by an elastic band 42 passing around attachment points 44A, 44B, secured within the front portion of the display 10, and attachment point 44C, secured to the pusher 28. Although the illustrated elastic band 42 is a rubber band, the elastic band 42 may be made from any suitable resilient material, including elastic, rubber, a metal spring, or the like. Although the illustrated attachment points 44A, 44B, 44C are pins, any suitable attachment points such as pins, posts, hooks, loops, or the like may be used, provided that the attachment points permit the elastic band 42 to slide across the attachment points. In the illustrated example, attachment point 44C is disposed along the axis A along which the pusher 28 reciprocates. Attachment points 44A, 44B are disposed on opposite sides of, and substantially equidistant from, the axis A. Each side of the elastic band 42 therefore provides approximately equal force to the pusher 28, biasing the pusher 28 from the rearward position of FIG. 3 to the forward position of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 shows an alternative arrangement of the attachment points 44D, 44E, 44F. Attachment point 44F is disposed on the forward portion of the display 10, along the axis A. Attachment points 44D, 44E are secured to the pusher 28. In the illustrated example, attachment points 44D, 44E are disposed on opposite sides of, and are substantially equidistant from, the axis A.

Referring to FIG. 5, another embodiment of the display 10 is illustrated, having four attachment points for the elastic band 42. One pair of attachment points, 44A, 44B, are disposed in the forward portion of the display 10. Attachment points 44D, 44E, are disposed on the pusher 28.

The advantage of the arrangement of the attachment points 44A-44F in FIGS. 2-5 is best explained with reference to FIGS. 6A-8B, which illustrate various examples of how increasing the number of attachment points 48, combined with a larger elastic band, reduces strain on the elastic band. Referring to FIGS. 6A-6B, an example of an elastic band 46 having a relaxed perimeter of eight inches is stretched between attachment points 48A and 48B which are separated by distance B (FIG. 6A), which in the illustrated example is about 4.25 inches. The perimeter of the elastic band 46 is stretched to 8.5 inches, resulting in a percentage strain of 6% (strain=(stretched length−relaxed length)/(relaxed length)×100%). When the elastic band 46 is stretched so that the attachment points 48A, 48B are separated by distance C (FIG. 6B), which in the illustrated example is about 13.75 inches, the perimeter of the elastic band is 27.5 inches, resulting in 244% strain.

Referring to FIGS. 7A-7B, an elastic band 50 is illustrated stretched around attachment points 52A, 52B, 52C. Attachment point 52C in FIG. 7A is a distance B from the attachment points 52A, 52B, which in the illustrated example is about 4.25 inches. The attachment points 52A, 52B are about 4.16 inches apart. The elastic band 50 has a relaxed perimeter of about 12 inches and a perimeter of 13.61 inches when stretched around the attachment points 52A, 52B, 52C, resulting in 13.4% strain. When attachment point 52C is moved to a distance C from attachment point 52A, 52B, which in the illustrated example is about 13.75 inches, the resulting perimeter of the elastic band 50 is 31.96 inches, resulting in 166% strain. As attachment point 52C is moved away from attachment points 52A, 52B, the elastic band 50 will slide over the attachment points 52A, 52B, so that the elastic band portion 54 between attachment points 52A, 52B will stretch at about the same rate as elastic band sections 56 and 58, between attachment points 52A and 52C, and 52B and 52C, respectively. Therefore, the use of a third attachment point in FIGS. 7A-7B provides a significant reduction in the strain within the elastic band 50 when in its fully stretched position as compared to the elastic band 46 of the FIGS. 6A-6B.

Referring to FIGS. 8A-8B, an elastic band 60 is illustrated stretched around attachment points 62A, 62B, 62C, 62D. In this example, attachment points 62A, 62B are about 4.16 inches apart, and attachment points 62C, 62D are likewise about 4.16 inches apart. The attachment points 62A and 62B are a distance B away from attachment points 62C and 62D, which in the illustrated example is about 4.25 inches. Using an elastic band 60 having a relaxed perimeter of about 15 inches, the perimeter of the elastic 60 is stretched to about 16.82 inches when it is positioned around the attachment points 62A, 62B, 62C, and 62D, for a strain of 12.13%. When attachment points 62C and 62D are moved to a distance C inches away from attachment points 62A and 62B, which in the illustrated example is about 13.75 inches, the perimeter of the elastic band 60 is increased to 35.82 inches, resulting in a strain of 138.8%. Again, increasing the number of attachment points permits the use of a larger elastic band, and reduces the strain on the elastic band when the elastic band is stretched for the same distance.

Referring back to FIG. 1, in use, each pusher 28 will be pushed towards the rear of the channel 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, as shown in section 14A of the display 10. The portion of each section 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D forward of each pusher 28 be filled with product such as the packages 39. The packages 39 are biased forward by the pusher 28 and restrained from being pushed off of the display 10 by the front wall 24. Each time a package 39 is removed from the display 10, the elastic band will move the appropriate pusher 28 towards the wall 24, thereby ensuring that packages 39 are pushed towards the forward portion of the display 10. Forward movement of each pusher 28 will continue with successive package removals until each pusher 28 reaches the forwardmost position illustrated in section 14B and 14C of the display 10. The display 10 may then be restocked by pushing the pusher 28 towards its rearward position, and placing new product within each of the sections 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D. Alternatively, the display 10 may be easily recycled or discarded.

The display therefore provides a means of reducing the strain on an elastic band that biases the pusher forward by using a larger elastic band stretched around three or more attachment points. The pusher may therefore be provided with a larger range of motion than that which would be possible using only two attachment points. The display is less complicated and less expensive to manufacture than a display using a metal spring. The display is also easier to recycle. The method of stretching a larger elastic band around three or more attachment points may also be used to provide bias for devices other than the pusher for the display described herein.

A variety of modifications to the embodiments described will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the disclosure provided herein. For example, considerable variation in the distances between the various attachment points is permissible. Thus, the invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification, as indicating the scope of the invention.