Title:
EXPANDABLE DISPLAY SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An expandable display system that has an expanded position for displaying products and a compact position for efficient shipment. The expandable display system includes a product tray and a graphic panel, with the graphic panel being configured to slide along the product tray so that the expandable display system can move from the compact position to the expanded position and vice versa. In certain embodiments, the expandable display system includes a locking mechanism that prevents the graphic panel from separating from the product tray when the graphic panel slides along the product tray as the expandable display system moves from the compact position to the expanded position.



Inventors:
Lang, Tom (New Milford, CT, US)
Application Number:
12/014873
Publication Date:
07/16/2009
Filing Date:
01/16/2008
Assignee:
ROCK-TENN SHARED SERVICES, LLC (Norcross, GA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/557, 206/459.5
International Classes:
B65D6/16; B65D1/34; B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELKINS, GARY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Rock-Tenn / Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A display system comprising: (a) a product tray for housing a plurality of product; (b) a graphic panel slidably engaged with the product tray and capable of sliding between a compact position and an expanded position; and (c) a locking mechanism that prevents the graphic panel from separating from the product tray as the graphic panel moves from the compact position to the expanded position.

2. The display system of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism further comprises a tab on the product tray and a flap associated with the graphic panel.

3. The display system of claim 1, wherein the width of the graphic panel is the same as the width of the product tray.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention relate to expandable display systems having a compact position and an expanded position.

BACKGROUND

Retail product sales are driven by many factors. Product demand, quality, and pricing are some factors that contribute to retail product sales. Other factors may include product advertising and product location in the retail environment. Many product display devices are designed to take advantage of valuable retail space and their location. Display devices may also be designed to utilize advertising space creatively to include product graphics, indicia, and trademarks.

Display devices and product ideally should be easy to set up, requiring minimal time and effort from retail employees. Some retail establishments require that displays meet particular size specifications to maximize the advertising and display space for the product. However, display size specifications are often greater than the merchandise space requirements, which leads to waste in materials and space during shipping and storage.

It is thus desirable to provide a display unit that is easy to ship, easy to set up, and provides efficient delivery of product to the end-consumer. It is further desirable to provide display units that feature graphics, while also providing the additional display space on the unit, if needed. It is further desirable to provide a display unit that uses a minimal amount of material and requires a minimal amount of space during shipping.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of this invention include an expandable display system including a product tray and an associated graphic panel. According to one embodiment of this invention, the graphic panel is slidably connected to the product tray, allowing the graphic panel to telescope along the product tray to expand and contract the overall size of the expandable display system. In this manner, the expandable display system has a compact position and an expanded position. According to one embodiment, the expandable display system includes a locking mechanism to prevent the graphic panel from separating from the product tray when the expandable display system moves from the compact position to the expanded position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the expandable display system according to one embodiment of the invention, shown in the compact position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the expandable display system of FIG. 1, shown in the expanded position.

FIG. 3 is front plan view of the expandable display system of FIG. 1, shown in the compact position.

FIG. 4 is front plan view of the expandable display system of FIG. 1, shown in the expanded position.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the graphic panel of the expandable display system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the graphic panel and the product tray of the expandable display system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view of the product tray of the expandable display system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the blank from which the product tray of the expandable display system of FIG. 1 is formed.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the blank from which the graphic panel of the expandable display system of FIG. 1 is formed.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the expandable display system, shown in the compact position.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the expanded position.

FIG. 12 is a front plan view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the compact position.

FIG. 13 is a front plan view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the expanded position.

FIG. 14 is an exploded bottom perspective view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a graphic insert that can be used with either the expandable display system of FIG. 1 or FIG. 10.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a product insert that can be used with either the expandable display system of FIG. 1 or FIG. 10.

FIG. 17 is a front perspective view of the product tray of FIG. 10, shown in use with the graphic insert of FIG. 15 and the product insert of FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a front perspective view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the compact position and in use with the graphic insert of FIG. 15 and the product insert of FIG. 16.

FIG. 19 is a front perspective view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the intermediate position and in use with the graphic insert of FIG. 15 and the product insert of FIG. 16.

FIG. 20 is a side perspective view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the intermediate position and in use with the graphic insert of FIG. 15 and the product insert of FIG. 16.

FIG. 21 is a front perspective view of the alternate embodiment of the expandable display system of FIG. 10, shown in the expanded position and in use with the graphic insert of FIG. 15 and the product insert of FIG. 16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the invention now will be described more fully with reference to the drawings.

FIGS. 1-21 show various views of different embodiments of an expandable display system of this invention. As shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-9, the expandable display system 10 comprises two main components: a product tray 12 and a graphic panel 14. The product tray 12 holds and dispenses the retail product while the graphic panel 14 provides additional space for advertising and graphics promoting the retail product. The graphic panel 14 is slidably associated with the product tray 12, the benefits of which will be discussed below.

In one embodiment, the assembled product tray 12 includes a bottom panel 18, a back panel 20, a front panel 22, and two side panels 24. The bottom panel 18 connects the front panel 22 to the back panel 20. The side panels 24 extend from the back panel 20. The side panels 24, the front panel 22, the bottom panel 18, and the back panel 20 form a cavity capable of holding retail product. The front panel 22 may vertically extend from the bottom panel 18 to retain retail product within the product tray 12, while still allowing the retail product contained within the product tray 12 to be visible to a consumer. The product tray 12 also includes one or more locking tabs 26 (shown in FIGS. 6-7), which will be discussed below.

Optionally, a graphic insert 242 (shown in FIG. 15) can be placed in the product tray 12. The graphic insert 242 can include additional graphics, trademarks indicia, and/or promotional materials to further advertise the retail product. A product insert 244 (shown in FIG. 16) also can be optionally placed in the product tray 12. Retail product can be placed upon the product insert 244 so that the product is more visible and/or more accessible to a potential consumer. In some embodiments, the graphic insert 242 and the product insert 244 are shaped and sized so that either one, or both, can be placed in the product tray. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 17, both the graphic insert 242 and the product insert 244 are placed within the product tray.

The blanks illustrated herein are formed from paper, paperboard and/or corrugated paperboard material, although other materials may be used if desired. Unless otherwise stated, within the borders of an illustration of a blank, broken or dotted lines indicate fold lines, score lines or other lines of weakness, while solid lines indicate cuts or apertures.

The assembled product tray 12 may be formed from a blank 50 shown in FIG. 8. The blank 50 includes an inner front panel 54, an outer front panel 56, two front flaps 64, two outer side panels 66, two inner side panels 68, two top flaps 70, two back side panels 72, a bottom panel 74, an outer back panel 78, an inner back panel 76, slots 62, 80, 84, 90, and tabs 60, 82, 86, and 88.

The front panel 22 of the assembled product tray 12 is formed by folding the inner front panel 54 along fold line 58 and capturing the tabs 60 into the slots 62. Front flaps 64 may be folded along score lines 96 to provide additional structural support for assembled front panel 22. The two side panels 24 of the assembled product tray 12 may be formed by folding the inner side panels 68 along fold lines 92 and capturing the tabs 86 within the slots 84. Optionally, the back side panels 72 may be folded along fold lines 100 and used to provide additional structure support for the assembled side panels 24. Similarly, the top flaps 70 may be folded along fold lines 104 to provide additional support. The assembled back panel 20 may be formed by folding the inner back panel 76 along fold line 102 onto the outer back panel 78, and capturing the tabs 82 within the slots 80.

The tabs 86 may be sized so that they are received within slots 84 and extend beyond slots 84 so that they protrude from the bottom panel 74. These protrusions serve as the at least one locking tab 26, as shown in FIG. 7. The locking tabs 26 may vary in width. In some embodiments, only one locking tab 26 is included in the product tray 12 and in other embodiments, more than one locking tab 26 are included.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-9, the assembled graphic panel 14 includes a top panel 28, a front panel 30, a back panel 31, an end panel 34, and a bottom panel 36. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the bottom panel 36 of the graphic panel 14 includes a locking flap 32 that is configured to cooperate with the at least one locking tab 26 of the product tray 12. In some embodiments, the width A of the graphic panel 14 is the same as the width B of the product tray 12. In other embodiments, the width A of the graphic panel 14 is different than the width B of the product tray 12.

The design and shape of the graphic panel 14 may vary depending on the needs of the retail customer. For example, the front panel 30 may be parallel to the back panel 31, as shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-9, or the front panel of the graphic panel may be sloped at an angle, as shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 10-14 and 18-21. The front panel 30 of the graphic panel may be rectangular or square in shape, or may have a curved cutout portion or a scalloped design. Similarly, the top panel 28 of the graphic panel may be rectangular or square in shape, or may have a curved cutout portion or a scalloped design. In some embodiments, the graphic panel 14 does not include an end panel 34. Although only one embodiment of the graphic panel 14 is shown and described in FIGS. 1-9, the graphic panel 14 can be any suitable shape and size that meets the requirements of the retail customer.

The assembled graphic panel 14, like the product tray 12, may be formed from a blank 250, shown in FIG. 9. The blank 250 includes a top panel 150, a front panel 152, a bottom panel 156, a back panel 158, an end panel 182, and a locking flap 180. The top panel 150 folds along the fold line 162 so that it is perpendicular to the front panel 152. Similarly, the back panel 158 folds along fold line 166 so that the back panel 158 is perpendicular to the bottom panel 156 and the top panel 150. The front panel 152 folds along fold line 164 so that the front panel 152 is perpendicular to the bottom panel 156 and the top panel 150. The tab 186 of the back panel 158 is folded along fold line 170 and secured to top panel 150 with glue, tape, or other suitable means. The tab 186 may be secured to the top panel 150 by machine or by hand. Once the tab 186 is secured to the top panel 150, the tab 186 serves to keep the assembled blank 250 in a rectangular shape. The locking tab 180 folds along fold line 168 and cooperates with the locking tab 26 of the product tray 12, as described below.

Inner end panels 190 and 194 fold along fold lines 176 and 172, respectively, inwardly toward each other. An optional support panel 192 then folds along fold line 174 so that it lays on top of inner end panels 190 and 194. The support panel 182, if used, serves to provide additional strength and help retain the shape of the assembled graphic panel. End panel 182 folds along fold line 178 and lays on top of the support panel 192. A tab 184 folds along a fold line 188 and is secured to the bottom panel 156 with glue, tape, or other suitable means. The tab 184 may be secured to the bottom panel 156 by machine or by hand.

Optionally, the back panel 158 may include a cutout 196. If used, the cutout 196 acts as a handle to assist with sliding the assembled graphic panel 14 along the assembled product tray 12 to expand and contract the expandable display system 10, as is discussed in detail below. The cutout 196 can be any suitable size and shape.

The assembled graphic panel 14 is adapted to cooperate with the product tray 12 and is capable of sliding along the product tray 12 so that the expandable display system 10 has an expanded position and a compact position. In the embodiment show in FIGS. 1 and 3, when the expandable display system 10 is the compact position, the graphic panel 14 slides along the product tray 12 so that the graphic panel 14 covers the product tray 12. In the embodiments where the width A of the graphic panel 14 is the same as the width B of the product tray 12, the graphic panel 14 slides along the product tray 12 so that the graphic panel 14 completely covers the product tray 12. In this case, when in the compact position, the width W of the expandable display system 10 is equal to the width B of the product tray 12, which is equal to the width A of the graphic panel 14. In these embodiments where the width A of the graphic panel 14 is the same as the width B of the product tray 12, when the graphic panel slides out from the product tray 12 so that the expandable display system 10 is expanded fully into the expanded position (shown in FIGS. 2 and 4), the expandable display system 10 is doubled in width. In other words, the width W of the expandable display system 10 when the display system 10 is in the fully expanded position is equal to the width A of the graphic panel 14 plus the width B of the product tray 12. The width W of the expandable display system 10 can be any number between the width B of the product tray 12 (the minimum width W of the expandable display system 10, when the display system 10 is in the compact position), and the width B of the product tray plus the width A of the graphic panel 14 (the maximum width W of the expandable display system 10, when the display system 10 is in the expanded position), depending on how far the graphic panel 14 has slid out from the product tray 12.

The graphic panel 14 of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-9 is larger than the product tray 12 so that the graphic panel 14 can slide freely over the product tray 12 to the various length desired. In other words, the graphic panel 14 is slidably secured to the product tray 12.

In one embodiment of this invention, the expandable display system 10 includes a locking mechanism to prevent disengagement of the graphic panel 14 from the product tray 12 when the display system 10 is sliding from the compact position to the expanded position. As shown in FIG. 6, one non-limiting example of a locking mechanism is the use of one or more locking tabs 26 of the product tray 12 in conjunction with the locking flap 32 of the graphic panel 14. As shown in FIG. 7, the locking tabs 26 serve as a protrusion that extend from the bottom panel 18 of the product tray 12. As discussed above, the product tray can include any number of locking tabs 26. The locking tabs 26 are adapted to cooperate with the locking flap 32 of the graphic panel 14 so that the locking tabs 26 catch the locking flap 32 to prevent the graphic panel 14 from extending so far away from the product tray 12 that the graphic panel 14 becomes dissociated with the product tray 12. When the locking flap 32 is folded back onto itself, it automatically tends to spring back open so that the locking tabs 26 of the product tray 12 catch on the thickness of the locking flap 32. This in turn causes a natural stop, preventing the product tray 12 from sliding out of the graphic panel 14. In this way, the expandable display system 10 has a self-locking mechanism and does not require the use of additional materials such as clips or screws.

The top panel 28, the front panel 30, the back panel 31, and the end panel 34 of the graphic panel 14 may optionally include graphics, trademarks, and/or other promotional materials to advertise the retail product stored in the product tray 12. Because the product tray 12 slides into the graphic panel 14 when the expandable display system 10 is in the compact position, the graphics, trademarks, and/or promotional material are visible whether the expandable display system 10 is in the expanded position or the compact position.

An alternate embodiment 200 of the expandable display system is shown in FIGS. 10-14 and 18-21. The alternate expandable display system 200 includes a product tray 212 and a graphic panel 214. The graphic panel 214 includes a top panel 228, a lower front panel 230, a bottom panel 240, an upper front panel 232, and a back panel 234. As described above, the graphic panel 214 can be any number of design shapes and sizes, depending on customer requirements. The product tray 212 includes a back panel 220, a bottom panel 218, a front panel 222, and two side panels 224.

The alternate expandable display system 200 is designed to fit multiple extension length tray sizes. The alternate expandable display system 200 has a compact position (shown in FIG. 18), an intermediate position (shown in FIGS. 19-20), and an expanded position (shown in FIG. 21). The alternate expandable display system 200 includes a locking protrusion 236 (shown in FIG. 20) that folds away from the back panel 234 of the graphic panel 214 so that the locking protrusion 236 catches the side panel 224 of the product tray 212 and retains the alternative expandable display 200 in the intermediate position. Moreover, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 14, the alternate expandable display 200 also includes the locking mechanism described above to prevent disengagement of the graphic panel 214 from the product tray 212 when the alternate display system 200 is sliding from either the compact position or the intermediate position to the expanded position. Specifically, in this embodiment, the product tray 212 includes one or more locking tabs 226 that extend from the bottom panel 218 and catch with a locking flap 238 of the bottom panel 240 of the graphic panel 214, as described in detail above.

The sliding graphic panel 14 and the product tray 12 eliminates production materials and reduces transportation costs. The product tray 12 and the graphic panel 14 are sized to meet the dimensions required by the retail stores, reducing the space needed to ship and store a single expandable display system 10. Additionally, less material is needed for the shippers and fillers used to store and contain the expandable displays 10 during shipping. Because less material is used to make the expandable display systems, more display systems can be shipped per shipping pallet. Therefore, less shipping pallets are required per trailer, which reduces the number of trailers needed to ship the expandable displays. This results in transportation cost savings.

To display retail products contained within the expandable display system 10, the graphic panel 14 slides along the edge of the product tray 12 to expand to the needed display size. Because the expandable display system 10 has a compact position and an expanded position, the material costs are lowered because the display systems 10 ship in the compact position, but can expand to the expanded position to fill space as might be required by retail stores. This leads to more efficient shipping and storage of the expandable display system 10. The expandable display system also achieves cost savings in labor and assembly costs. Because the expandable display system 10 is expandable, the smaller shipping size does not affect the ability of the expandable display system 10 to expand to larger retail store requirements once it is on the shelf.

Changes and modifications, additions and deletions may be made to the structures and methods recited above and shown in the drawings without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention and the following claims.