Title:
LOCKING REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER BOX
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage system allows secured attachment in a device, such as a refrigerator, a freezer, a medical cart or the like, having a shelf comprising spaced-apart wire rack ribs. The storage system has a body with top and bottom walls, side walls, a rear wall, and an open front face opposite the rear wall, the top wall having a pair of spaced-apart apertures. A front door, hingedly attached to the body, is sized to fully close the front face when attached thereto. The body is attached to the shelf using a screw and a screw-retaining member, with the screw-retaining member operating to secure the ribs of the shelf between itself and the body. A screw, with its head located inside the body, passes through one of the apertures and is threadingly secured to the screw-retaining member.



Inventors:
Meiser, Dan (Circleville, OH, US)
Brown, David J. (Brownsville, TX, US)
Baker, Jay (Mayville, NY, US)
Freyn, Scott (Westfield, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/348146
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
01/02/2009
Assignee:
HEALTH CARE LOGISTICS, INC. (Circleville, OH, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/326
International Classes:
A47B96/00; E01B9/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GALLEGO, ANDRES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STANDLEY LAW GROUP LLP (Dublin, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storage system for secured attachment in a device having a shelf comprising spaced-apart wire rack ribs, the storage system comprising: a body having top and bottom walls, side walls, a rear wall, and an open front face opposite the rear wall, the top wall having a pair of spaced-apart apertures; a front door, sized to fully close the front face when attached thereto, the front door having an aperture therethrough; means for hingedly attaching the front door to the body; means for locking the front door in a closed position on the body; and means for attaching the body to the shelf, such that attachment of the body to the shelf, or removal therefrom, is effected through access to an interior of the body.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein: the attaching means comprises: a screw, and a screw-retaining member, sized and adapted to secure the body to the shelf.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein: the screw-retaining member comprises: a flat disc portion having a diameter larger than a space between adjacent ribs in the shelf; and a diametric rib provided on a bottom surface of the disc portion; wherein an aperture, provided with female threading corresponding to male threading on the screw, passes axially through the rib and the disc portion.

4. The system of claim 2, wherein: the screw-retaining member comprises: a top portion; a rib formed on a bottom surface of the top portion, the rib extending across the bottom portion; a first and a second protrusion formed along the rib, the respective protrusions positioned near opposite ends of the rib and extending from opposite sides thereof; and an aperture, provided with female threading corresponding to male threading on the screw, passing axially through the rib and the top portion; such that the top portion, the protrusions and the rib coact to form a groove adapted to capture one rib of the shelf.

5. The system of claim 3, wherein: the body is formed in a unitary manner by molding.

6. The system of claim 4, wherein: the body is formed in a unitary manner by molding.

7. The system of claim 3, wherein: the body and front face are formed from a polymeric material.

8. The system of claim 4, wherein: the body and front face are formed from a polymeric material.

9. The system of claim 7, wherein: the polymer is a glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (“PETG”) co-polyester.

10. The system of claim 8, wherein: the polymer is a glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (“PETG”) co-polyester.

11. The system of claim 3, wherein: the screw and the screw-retaining member are each formed from a polyamide material.

12. The system of claim 3, wherein: the screw and the screw-retaining member are each formed from a polyamide material.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein: The spaced-apart apertures are a pair of elongate slots.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein: the elongate slots are axially aligned.

15. The system of claim 3, wherein: the screw is a thumb screw.

16. The system of claim 4, wherein: the screw is a thumb screw.

17. A storage system for secured attachment in a device having a shelf comprising spaced-apart wire rack ribs, the storage box comprising: a body having top and bottom walls, side walls, a rear wall, and an open front face opposite the rear wall, the top wall having a pair of spaced-apart apertures, the body being formed in a unitary manner by molding a glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (“PETG”) co-polyester; a front door, sized to fully close the front face when attached thereto, the front door having an aperture therethrough; means for hingedly attaching the front door to the body; means for locking the front door in a closed position on the body; and means for attaching the body to the shelf, such that attachment of the body to the shelf, or removal therefrom, is effected through access to an interior of the body, the attaching means comprising a thumb screw and a member for retaining the thumb screw, sized and adapted to secure the body to the shelf, the thumb screw and thumb-screw-retaining member formed from polyamide.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein: the thumb-screw-retaining member comprises: a flat disc portion having a diameter larger than a space between adjacent ribs in the shelf; and a diametric rib provided on a bottom surface of the disc portion; wherein an aperture, provided with female threading corresponding to male threading on the thumb screw, passes axially through the rib and the disc portion.

19. The system of claim 17, wherein: the thumb-screw-retaining member comprises: a top portion; a rib formed on a bottom surface of the top portion, the rib extending across the bottom portion; and a first and a second protrusion formed along the rib, the respective protrusions positioned near opposite ends of the rib and extending from opposite sides thereof; and an aperture, provided with female threading corresponding to male threading on the thumb screw, passing axially through the rib and the top portion; such that the top portion, the protrusions and the ribs coact to form a groove adapted to capture one rib of the shelf.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a nonprovisional of, and claims the benefit of priority to, U.S. 61/018,591, filed on 2 Jan. 2008, which is incorporated by reference as if fully recited herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosed embodiments of the present invention relate to a locking box for removable placement in a refrigerator or freezer.

BACKGROUND OF THE ART

In any medical or pharmaceutical setting, it is important that proper controls be established and maintained for certain medications. The controls require that the medications be kept under either single or double lock. This is complicated in situations where the particular medication also is required to be under temperature control in a refrigerator or a freezer.

While locking refrigerators and freezers are known and routinely used, it is not practical to dedicate the entire volume of such a device to the storage of materials that require the controlled temperature. While lockable chests currently exist, they are typically constructed of numerous pieces of machined acrylic and are joined together using a solvent adhesive. This results in numerous joints that can provide problems in integrity as well as achieving a poor aesthetic quality. Another important point is that the locking chests are usually attached to the wire shelf using metal plates on top of the wire shelf with nuts and bolts joining the metal plates to the locking chest while trapping the wire shelf. These nuts and bolts require the use of tools to mount the locking box. The metal plates block the visibility of the contents when looking into the box from above.

It is therefore an unmet advantage of the prior art to provide a locking container or box that may be secured in a refrigerator or a freezer that provides an improvement in the construction method achieving better integrity and aesthetics. It is also an unmet advantage of the prior art to provide a locking box that can be mounted to a wire shelf without the use of tools and to provide a more open sight of the contents when viewing from above.

SUMMARY

This and other unmet advantages are provided by a storage system for secured attachment in a device having a shelf comprising spaced-apart wire rack ribs, the storage box comprising: a body having top and bottom walls, side walls, a rear wall, and an open front face opposite the rear wall, the top wall having a pair of spaced-apart apertures; a front door, sized to fully close the front face when attached thereto, the front door having an aperture therethrough; a means for hingedly attaching the front door to the body; a means for locking the front door in a closed position on the body; and a means for attaching the body to the shelf, such that attachment of the body to the shelf, or removal therefrom, is effected through access to an interior of the body.

In some embodiments, the attaching means comprises a screw, and a screw-retaining member, sized and adapted to secure the body to the shelf.

In a first set of these embodiments, the screw-retaining member comprises a flat disc portion having a diameter larger than a space between adjacent ribs in the shelf; and a diametric rib provided on a bottom surface of the disc portion, wherein an aperture, provided with female threading corresponding to male threading on the screw, passes axially through the rib and the disc portion.

In a further set of these embodiments, the screw-retaining member comprises a top portion, a rib formed on a bottom surface of the top portion, the rib extending across the bottom portion, a first and a second protrusion formed along the rib, the respective protrusions positioned near opposite ends of the rib and extending from opposite sides thereof; and an aperture, provided with female threading corresponding to male threading on the screw, passing axially through the rib and the top portion, such that the top portion, the protrusions and the ribs coact to form a groove adapted to capture one rib of the shelf.

In many of the embodiments, the screw is a thumb screw.

In some of the embodiments, the screw and the screw-retaining member are each formed from a polyamide material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of the disclosed embodiments will be obtained from a reading of the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings wherein identical reference characters refer to identical parts and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a locking storage box;

FIG. 2 is a left side elevation view of the FIG. 1 embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the FIG. 1 embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the FIG. 1 embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a view of a thumb screw and thumb-screw retaining device used for securing the FIG. 1 embodiment to a shelf of a refrigerator or freezer;

FIG. 6 is a photographic image of a FIG. 1 embodiment as installed in a refrigerator or freezer;

FIG. 7 is an isolated perspective view of an alternate screw-retaining device;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of both screw-retaining devices, positioned on a wire shelf; and

FIG. 9 is a further perspective view of the alternate screw-retaining device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a lockable storage box 10 in a perspective view, with FIGS. 2-4 showing other views of the box. The storage box 10 generally has a body 12, which is preferably formed in a unitary manner to provide top and bottom walls 14, 16, side walls 18, and a rear wall 20. The front face of the body 12 is open and a front door 22 is used to provide closure to the front face. In the embodiment shown, the storage box is preferably molded from a transparent thermoplastic, especially a glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (“PETG”) co-polyester. The PETG material, in an amorphous state, has an appropriate stiffness, hardness and toughness for the required service and also provides good impact strength. The transparent nature of the material is very useful is rendering the contents of the storage box 10 readily recognizable even while the box is locked. The PETG can be sterilized with gamma radiation and is generally resistant to dilute aqueous solutions of mineral acids, bases, salts and soaps, so it may be readily cleansed as needed. It has good resistance to aliphatic hydrocarbons, alcohols and a variety of oils.

In the embodiment shown, the body 12 is provided with a plurality of elongate slots 30 through the top wall 14. As will be understood, similar slots could be provided on the bottom wall 16, either or both of the side walls 18, and/or the rear wall 20. The primary function of the slots is to allow attachment, although a secondary function that is provided is to allow limited circulation of the air in the refrigerator or freezer into the interior of the storage box 10, thereby equilibrating the temperatures of the interior and exterior of the box.

Certain features of the door 22 are readily observed in the figures. The door 22 is depicted as having being connected by a pair of hinges 40 to the bottom section of the front face of the body 12. In the embodiment illustrated, the hinges are arranged with the gudgeons and pintles of the hinges positioned outside of the storage box 10. In an alternate embodiment, the hinges could be placed so that the pintles and gudgeons are inside the storage box, making unauthorized entry into the storage box 10 more difficult. Door 22 is provided with an opening 24 for receiving a lock, as best seen in FIG. 6. In the embodiment depicted there, the lock 50 is a key lock with an arm 52 that may be rotated into engagement with a slot 32 in the front portion of the top wall 14. To frustrate access to the box interior by forcing the arm 52 through a gap at the top of the front opening, the front edge of the top wall may be provided with a rabbet joint. In some embodiments, the storage box 10 would be provided without the locking means, as the user can provide the lock. While a rotating key lock is illustrated, other locking means, such as a combination lock, pushbutton lock or electronic lock, are also useful in this application. It is also possible to use multiple locks on one locking chest. This could be accomplished by using two key, combination, pushbutton or electronic locks or any mixture of these or other lock types.

Attention is now directed to FIG. 5, which shows the means for securely attaching the storage box 10 to a shelf, and particularly a shelf having wire rack ribs. The attaching means comprises a screw 60, preferably a polymeric screw, such as a polyamide screw manufactured from NYLON-brand polyamide. Preferably, the screw 60 is in the form of a thumb screw with a head 61, which is threadingly received into a screw-retaining member 62. The depicted screw-retaining member 62 has a flat top surface in the nature of a disc with a diameter sufficiently large to prevent passage of the disc through adjacent ribs in the shelf. An opposing bottom surface 64 of the member 62 is provided with a diametric rib 66. A screw-receiving bore 68, provided with female threading to correspond to male threading on the screw 60, is positioned on the member 62 along the rib 66, and may pass through the entire thickness of the member, although, in some instances, the bore is countersunk from the lower surface 64 and may not extend through the entire thickness. Placement of the discs 62 relative to the rack is seen in FIG. 6. It will be recognized from the foregoing that the elongate slots 30 provide variable placement of the thumb screws 60. FIGS. 1-3 also show a counterbore at the inside surface of the slots, to accommodate a shoulder 69 on the thumb screws 60. It will also be understood that the described attachment means requires that the person attaching (or detaching) the box 10 must have access to the box interior, through the lockable door 22, in order to attach or detach the box.

An alternate screw retaining member 162 is shown in FIGS. 7 through 9. This alternate screw-retaining member 162 has a rectangular top portion 163 with an opposing bottom surface 164 that is provided with a diametric rib 166, the rib being provided with a lateral protrusion 168 at each end. Each of the protrusions 168 has a thickness that is less than that of the rib 166, thereby providing a gap or groove 170 for receiving wires of the wire shelf. Such an alternate screw-receiving member 162 may tend to be taller than an embodiment 62 that does not have the protrusions 168. This screw-retaining member 162 allows the locking box to be mounted to the wire shelf with a larger gap between the top of the box and the bottom wires of the shelf. An advantage of this is to allow the locking box to be mounted close to the front of the wire shelf but to be far enough below the shelf to allow free movement of the door relative to the front trim on the shelf. The screw-retaining member 162 can be inserted between the two wires and rotated to allow the two protrusions 168 to “lock” onto the wires. This twisting will also occur naturally as the thumbscrew is tightened into the part. With the protrusions 162 locked on to the wires the locking box will not move up and down while the user is opening the door and loading/unloading contents. The top portion 163 is shown rectangular but it could also be round or numerous other shapes.

Although the depicted embodiment shows the attachment means passing through the top wall 14, the attachment can be through another wall, especially the bottom wall 16, although hanging the box 10 from the bottom of the rack may have some advantage, because the thumb screws 60 do not interfere with the floor space of the box in that case.

When transporting the box 10, the same attaching means can be used to attach the box to a medical cart, other storage boxes, etc.

Having shown and described a preferred embodiment of the invention, those skilled in the art will realize that many variations and modifications may be made to affect the described invention and still be within the scope of the claimed invention. Thus, many of the elements indicated above may be altered or replaced by different elements which will provide the same result and fall within the spirit of the claimed invention.