Title:
Display Merchandiser with Lighting Enhancement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Illumination of the interior product display space of a cold beverage merchandizer is enhanced by: a first reflector (90) disposed along a lower front region of the interior product display space at the front of the cabinet; a second reflector (92) disposed in the upper front region of the interior display space in operative association with a lamp (80); a third reflector (94) disposed in a side front region of the interior display space at a side and front of the cabinet; a fourth reflector (94) disposed in a side front region of the interior display space at a side and front of the cabinet opposite the third reflector, a fifth reflector (96) mounted to an interior facing surface of the door bounding the upper front region of the interior display space, and a sixth reflector (98) mounted to an interior facing surface of the door.



Inventors:
Saraiji, Riad (Al Ain, AE)
Daniels, Mark A. (Port Charlotte, FL, US)
Reese, Robert J. (Edwardsville, IL, US)
Kenney, Stephen (North Syracuse, NY, US)
Drago, Thomas E. (Liverpool, NY, US)
Tifft, Timothy J. (Liverpool, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/885193
Publication Date:
08/27/2009
Filing Date:
12/23/2005
Assignee:
CARRIER CORPORATION (Farmington, CT, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
362/125
International Classes:
F25D27/00; A47F11/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CARTER, WILLIAM JOSEPH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cantor Colburn LLP - Carrier (Hartford, CT, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A display merchandiser having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within said display merchandiser, said display merchandiser comprising: a cabinet defining the interior display space and having an area through which at least a portion of the interior display region can be viewed, said viewing area bounded by at least a first side and a second side, the second side being opposite the first side; a lamp disposed along the first side for emitting light into the interior product display space; and a first reflector disposed along the second side of said access opening, said first reflector adapted to direct at least of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior product display space.

2. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 1 further comprising: a second reflector disposed along the first side in operative association with said lamp, said second reflector adapted to reflect at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp toward said first reflector.

3. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 2 further comprising: a third reflector disposed along a third side extending laterally along said viewing area between the first side and the second side, said third reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior product display space.

4. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 3 further comprising: a fourth reflector disposed along a fourth side extending laterally along said viewing area between the first side and the second side and opposite of the third side, said fourth reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior product display space.

5. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 1 wherein said viewing area comprises an access opening to the interior display space of said cabinet.

6. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 5 further comprising at least one transparent door mounted to said cabinet, said at least one door being selectively positionable between a first position in which said door closes said access opening to access to the interior display space and a second position in which said door opens said access opening to access to the interior display space.

7. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 6 wherein said at least one transparent door comprises at least one hinged glass door.

8. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 6 wherein said at least one transparent door comprises at least one sliding glass door.

9. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 6 further comprising a fifth reflector disposed along a first portion of said door bounding the first side of said viewing area, said fifth reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior display space.

10. A display merchandiser as recited in claim 6 further comprising a sixth reflector disposed along a second portion of said door bounding the second side of said viewing area, said sixth reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior display space.

11. A display case as recited in claim 1 wherein said viewing area comprises a transparent surface of said cabinet.

12. A cold beverage merchandiser having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within said merchandiser, said cold beverage merchandiser comprising: a refrigerated cabinet defining the interior display space bounded by a top, a base, an open front, and a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of insulated side walls extending between said top and said base; at least one door mounted to said cabinet and extending across the open front of the interior display space, said at least one door having a transparent viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior display space can be viewed; a lamp disposed along an upper front region of the interior display space at the top and front of the cabinet for emitting light into the interior product display space; and a bottom reflector disposed along a lower front region of the interior display space at the base and front of the cabinet, said bottom reflector adapted to direct at least of the light emitted from said lamp to illuminate the interior product display space.

13. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 further comprising a lamp reflector disposed in the upper front region of the interior display space in operative association with said lamp, said lamp reflector adapted to reflect at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp toward said first reflector.

14. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 13 further comprising: a first side reflector disposed in a side front region of the interior display space at a side and front of the cabinet, said first side reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp to illuminate the interior product display space; and a second side reflector disposed in a side front region of the interior display space at a side and front of the cabinet opposite said first side reflector, said second side reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp to illuminate the interior product display space.

15. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 further comprising a side reflector disposed in a front region of the interior display space at a side of the cabinet, said side reflector adapted to reflect an image of the interior product display space toward the transparent viewing area of said at least one door.

16. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 further comprising a first door reflector mounted to an interior facing surface of said at least one door bounding the upper front region of the interior display space, said first door reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior display space.

17. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 further comprising a second door reflector mounted to an interior facing surface of said at least one door bounding the lower front region of the interior display space, said second door reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior display space.

18. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 wherein said at least one door comprises at least one glass door.

19. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 wherein said at least one door comprises at least one hinged glass door.

20. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 wherein said at least one transparent door comprises at least one sliding glass door.

21. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 further comprising a refrigerant unit operatively associated with said refrigerated cabinet for supplying refrigerated air to the interior display space of said cabinet.

22. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 12 wherein said refrigeration unit comprises a refrigeration cassette including a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator connected in a refrigerant flow circuit.

23. A cold beverage merchandiser having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within said merchandiser, said cold beverage merchandiser comprising: a refrigerated cabinet defining the interior display space bounded by a top wall, a base, a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of insulated side walls extending between the top wall and the base, and an open access area in either the top wall or one of the side walls providing access to the interior display space; at least one door mounted to said cabinet and extending across the open access area of the interior display space, said at least one door having a transparent viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior display space can be viewed; a lamp disposed within the cabinet along a first side bounding the open access area for emitting light into the interior product display space; and a reflector disposed within the cabinet along a second side bounding the open access area, said reflector adapted to reflect an image of the interior product display space toward the transparent viewing area of said at least one door.

24. A cold beverage merchandiser as recited in claim 23 wherein the open access area is in a front side wall of the cabinet, the lamp is disposed along an upper side bounding the open access area, and the reflector is disposed along a vertical side bounding the open access area.

25. A refrigerated merchandiser having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within said merchandiser, said cold beverage merchandiser comprising: a refrigerated cabinet defining the interior display space bounded by a top wall, a base wall, an open front, and a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of insulated side walls extending between said top wall and said base wall; at least one door mounted to said cabinet and extending across the open front of the interior display space, said at least one door having a transparent viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior display space can be viewed; a lamp disposed along an upper front region of the interior display space at the top wall and front of the cabinet for emitting light into the interior product display space; a reflective surface disposed along a lower front region of the interior display space at the base and front of the cabinet; a lamp reflector disposed in the upper front region of the interior display space in operative association with said lamp; a reflective surface disposed along a first side front region of the interior display space of the cabinet; and a reflective surface disposed along a second side front region of the interior display space of the cabinet opposite the first side front region.

26. A refrigerated merchandiser as recited in claim 25 further comprising: a reflective surface on an interior facing surface of said at least one door bounding the upper front region of the interior display space; and a reflective surface on an interior facing surface of said at least one door bounding the lower front region of the interior display space.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Reference is made to and this application claims priority from and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/663,081, filed Mar. 18, 2005, and entitled LIGHTING ENHANCEMENT USING REFLECTIVE SURFACES IN BOTTLE COOLERS, which application is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to display merchandisers and, more particularly, to improving illumination of product displayed within a lighted display merchandiser.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Display merchandisers, also commonly referred to as display cases or display cabinets, are widely used in merchandising products in department stores, bakeries, groceries, supermarkets, convenience stores and other retail establishments. Such merchandisers commonly have a glass front, and often also a glass top and even glass sides, through which a consumers may view the products display within the merchandiser. Non-refrigerated display merchandisers are commonly used to display a wide range of products, including for example, jewelry, toys, electronic devices, baked goods, bottled and canned beverages. Refrigerated display merchandisers are commonly used to display perishable and frozen comestibles and beverages, including for example meats, poultry, fish, diary products, prepackaged frozen foods, cold bottled and canned beverages and other products that need to be maintained in a controlled environment.

It is well appreciated that illuminating the product displayed within the merchandiser can enhance the appearance of the displayed product to the consumer. Accordingly, both refrigerated and non-refrigerated display cases have often been equipped with lights placed within the interior of the cabinet to illuminate the product. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,098,529 discloses a non-refrigerated display case for food items, such as baked goods, wherein the interior of the cabinet is illuminated by a plurality of vertically arrayed incandescent lamps disposed in the rear corners of the cabinet and by a plurality of horizontally disposed, vertically spaced fluorescent lamps extending across the front of the cabinet. A front lighted display case, for displaying jewelry and the like, disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,381,876, has a single, horizontally extending fluorescent light mounted at the upper front of the cabinet for illuminating product display therein. U.S. Pat. No. 5,865,516 discloses a display case for displaying scale models wherein the cabinet is illuminated by a plurality of low wattage lamps extending around the entire upper periphery of the interior of the cabinet.

Similarly, refrigerated display merchandisers are well known in the art, such as, for example, disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,297,863; 5,584,189, 5,508,898; and 4,977,754. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,297,863 a multiple door, glass-door display case is disclosed wherein vertically extending fluorescent lamps disposed near both front comers and between the doors of the display case illuminate a plurality of horizontal shelves. U.S. Pat. No. 5,584,189 discloses a hexagonally-sided refrigerated merchandiser wherein three vertically extending fluorescent lamps are disposed in the wall of the cabinet at equally spaced intervals about the periphery of the interior of the cabinet to illuminate the horizontal shelves therein.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,508,898 discloses an open-front refrigerated display case for food products wherein a pair of horizontally extending fluorescent lamps disposed at the upper front of the cabinet with an associated reflector which directs the light from the lamps downwardly and into the cabinet to illuminate the forwardly-sloping shelves therein. Additionally, a horizontally extending fluorescent lamp is mounted to the underside of each shelve near the forward edge thereof with an associated reflector to illuminate that the next shelve there below and the region below the lowermost shelve.

Lights are also commonly used in cold beverage merchandisers to illuminate the beverage cans or bottles displayed therein. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,977,754 discloses a two-door, glass door, cold beverage merchandiser wherein a horizontally extending fluorescent lamp is mounted in a forward position in an upper region of the interior of the cabinet to illuminate the sloping shelves therein. Further, a horizontally extending fluorescent lamp is disposed in a separate compartment in association with a sign disposed at the upper front of the merchandiser so as to illuminate the sign. Glass-door, cold beverage merchandisers are also available that include a single horizontally-extending fluorescent lamp disposed at the upper front of the cabinet interior with to light a sign disposed along the upper front of the cabinet, as well as illuminate shelves there below. A reflector is typically provided in association with the lamp to aid in directing light from the lamp downwardly toward the shelves.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,666 discloses a glass door refrigerated merchandiser wherein a vertically extending fluorescent lamp mounted to door so as to extend along the side thereof at a front corner of the cabinet provides light to illuminate the interior of the cabinet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide a display merchandiser having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within the merchandiser.

It is an object of the invention to provide a display merchandiser including at least one reflector having a relatively high reflectivity surface adapted to direct light into an interior product display space within the merchandiser.

It is an object of an aspect of the invention to provide a cold beverage merchandiser having a lighting system incorporating a lamp and at least one reflector having a relatively high reflectivity surface adapted to direct light emitted from the lamp into an interior product display space within the merchandiser.

In one aspect of the invention, an embodiment of a display merchandiser is provided having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within the display merchandiser. The display merchandiser includes a cabinet defining the interior product display space and having a viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior product display region can be viewed. A lamp for emitting light into the interior product display space is disposed along a first surface bounding the interior product display space. A first reflector, adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from the lamp into the interior product display space, is disposed along a second surface bounding the interior product display space, the second surface being opposite the first surface.

In another embodiment, a second reflector may be disposed in operative association with the lamp, and adapted to reflect at least a portion of the light emitted from the lamp toward the first reflector. In additional embodiments, a third reflector may be disposed along a third surface bounding the interior product display space, and a fourth reflector may be disposed along a fourth surface bounding the interior product display space. In addition to reflecting light into the interior product display space, when both the third and fourth reflectors are provided, these reflectors may be cooperatively disposed to reflect back and forth across the product viewing area. The viewing area may be an open access opening in a surface bounding the interior product display space or a transparent portion of a surface bounding the interior product display space.

In a further embodiment of the display merchandiser, the viewing area constitutes an access opening and the cabinet has at least one door that is selectively positionable between a first position in which the door closes the access opening to access to the interior product display space and a second position in which the door opens the access opening to access to the product interior display space. The door includes a transparent surface commensurate with the viewing area and may be a hinged glass door or a sliding glass door. In additional embodiments, a fifth reflector may be mounted to an interior facing surface of the door bordering the first surface bounding the interior product display space along which the lamp extends, and a sixth reflector may be mounted to an interior facing surface of the door bordering the second surface bounding the interior product display space. In addition to reflecting light into the interior product display space, when both the fifth and sixth reflectors are provided, these reflectors are cooperatively disposed such that the fifth reflector also reflects light emitted by the lamp toward the sixth reflector.

In one aspect of the invention, a cold beverage merchandiser is provided having an improved lighting system for illuminating an interior product display space within the merchandiser. The cold beverage merchandiser includes a an insulated cabinet having a top wall, a base wall, an open front, and a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of side walls extending between the top wall and the base wall, and defining a refrigerated interior including the interior display space. At least one door is mounted to the cabinet and extends across the open front of the interior display space. The door has a transparent viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior display space can be viewed. The door may be a hinged or a sliding glass front door. A lamp is disposed along an upper front region of the interior display space near the top wall and front of the cabinet for emitting light. A first reflector is disposed along a lower front region of the interior product display space at the front of the cabinet and is adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from the lamp into the interior product display space. In another embodiment of the cold beverage merchandiser, a second reflector disposed in the upper front region of the interior display space in operative association with the lamp and is adapted to reflect at least a portion of the light emitted from the lamp toward said first reflector.

In a further embodiment of the cold beverage merchandiser, a third reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from the lamp into the interior product display space is disposed in a side front region of the interior display space at a side and front of the cabinet, and a fourth reflector adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp into the interior product display space is disposed in a side front region of the interior display space at a side and front of the cabinet opposite the third reflector. The third and fourth reflectors may be cooperatively disposed to reflect back and forth across the front of the interior product display space.

In other embodiments of the cold beverage merchandiser, a fifth reflector is mounted to an interior facing surface of the door bounding the upper front region of the interior display space. This fifth reflector is adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from the lamp inwardly and downwardly into the interior display space. Advantageously, a sixth reflector may be mounted to an interior facing surface of the door bounding the lower front region of the interior display space. The sixth reflector is adapted to direct at least a portion of the light emitted from said lamp, including light reflected downwardly by the fifth reflector, into the interior display space.

In a further embodiment, a refrigerated merchandiser includes an insulated cabinet having a top wall, a base, an open front, and a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of side walls extending between the top wall and the base wall, and defining a refrigerated interior display space. At least one door is mounted to the cabinet and extends across the open front of the interior display space. The door has a transparent viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior display space can be viewed. A lamp is disposed along an upper front region of the interior display space near the top wall and front of the cabinet for emitting light. Illumination of the interior product display space is enhanced by: a reflective surface disposed along a lower front region of the interior product display space at the front of the cabinet; a lamp reflector disposed in the upper front region of the interior display space in operative association with the lamp; a reflective surface disposed along a first side front region of the interior display space of the cabinet; a reflective surface disposed along a second side front region of the interior display space of the cabinet opposite the first side front region. In an embodiment of the refrigerated merchandiser, a reflective surface is provided on an interior facing surface of the door bounding the upper front region of the interior display space, and a reflective surface is provided on an interior facing surface of the door bounding the lower front region of the interior display space.

In a further embodiment, the cold beverage merchandiser includes a cabinet having a top wall, a base wall, and a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of side walls extending between the top wall and the base wall, defining a refrigerated interior display space. An access opening is provided in either the top wall or one of the side walls providing access to the interior display space. At least one door is mounted to the cabinet and extends across the access opening to the interior display space. The door has a transparent viewing area through which at least a portion of the interior display space can be viewed. A lamp is disposed along an upper front region of the interior display space near the top wall and front of the cabinet for emitting light. A reflector is disposed within the cabinet along a second side bounding the access opening. The reflector adapted to reflect an image of the interior product display space toward the transparent viewing area of the at least one door.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a further understanding of these and objects of the invention, reference will be made to the following detailed description of the invention which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawing, where:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partly sectioned, of a cold beverage merchandiser in accord with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the exterior of the cold beverage merchandiser of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectioned plan view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded side elevation view of the upper front region and the lower front region of the interior of the merchandiser of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an exploded plan of the right and left comers of the front region of the interior of the merchandiser of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a reflector strip;

FIG. 7 is a side view of an embodiment of a side reflector strip;

FIG. 8 is a side view of an embodiment of a bottom reflector strip;

FIG. 9 is a side view of an embodiment of a door reflector strip; and

FIG. 10 is a side view of a two-lamp embodiment of a lamp reflector.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 3 in particular, there is depicted a cold beverage merchandiser, designated generally by the reference numeral 10, including an interior product display space 100 having shelves 102 for holding product 110 to be purchased, such as for example bottled or canned soda, milk, water, juices, fruit drinks, beer and other beverages. Although the invention will be described herein with reference to the depicted embodiment of a refrigerated cold beverage merchandiser, it is to be understood that that invention may be applied to other display merchandisers, for example non-refrigerated display merchandisers for displaying jewelry, toys, electronic devices, baked goods, bottled and canned beverages and the like, and refrigerated display merchandisers for displaying perishable and frozen comestibles and beverages, including for example meats, poultry, fish, diary products, prepackaged frozen foods, and other products that need to be maintained in a controlled environment.

A refrigerated cabinet 20 having a top wall 22, a base wall 24, and a surrounding side wall structure including a plurality of insulated side walls 32, 34 36 and 38 extending between the top wall 22 and the base wall 24. The front side wall 32 includes a viewing area 35 through which the interior product display space 100 may be viewed from exteriorly of the cabinet 20. In the depicted embodiment, the viewing area in the front side wall 32 comprises an open area covered by a one door 40 mounted to the cabinet 20. The door 40 extends across the open area 35 to the interior product display space 100 and has a transparent viewing area, for example a glass panel 44 mounted in frame 42, through which at least a portion of the interior product display space 100 can be viewed. Although the embodiment of the display merchandiser 10 depicted in the drawing has only one door 40, it is to be understood that the display merchandiser may have one, two, three or more doors that collectively cover the open area 35 when in the closed position. The door 40 is selectively positionable between a closed position covering the open area 35 and an open position in which consumers may access the interior product display space 100 to remove a product for purchase. The door or doors 40 may be mounted to the cabinet 20 in a conventional manner, for example on hinges for pivotal movement or on a tract for sliding movement between an open and closed position.

The top wall 22, base wall 24 and surrounding side walls 32, 34, 36 and 38 may be heat insulated for insulating the refrigerated interior product display space 100, from the environment exterior of the display merchandiser 10. A refrigeration unit is provided in operative association with the interior product display space 100 for providing refrigerated air thereto. In the depicted embodiment, the refrigeration unit is housed in a compartment 52 beneath the product display space 100 and includes an evaporator/evaporator fan assembly 60, a condenser/condenser fan assembly 70, and a compressor 74. The evaporator of the evaporator/evaporator fan assembly 60, the condenser of the condenser/condenser fan assembly 70 and compressor 74 are appropriately coupled in fluid communication by refrigerant lines (not shown) in a conventional refrigeration cycle to form a closed loop refrigerant circuit.

The evaporator fan is operative in a conventional manner to draw air from the interior product display space 100 and thence pass the air through the evaporator to and through a return air circulation duct defined between the rear side wall 34 and a rear panel 33 spaced inwardly of the rear side wall 34. Refrigerated air passing through the circulation duct passes back into the interior product display space 100, typically in part through an opening (not shown) at the upper end of the duct and in part through openings (not shown) provided in the rear panel 33. The condenser fan is operative, typically only when the compressor 74 is in operation, to draw air from outside the refrigerated display merchandiser, such as for example from the ambient environment external thereof through the front grille 12 at the lower front of the merchandiser 10, and through the condenser. As the external air passes through the condenser in heat exchange relationship with the hot refrigerant vapor from the compressor 74 being passed through the condenser, the refrigerant is cooled and condensed, and the air heated. The cooled refrigerant passes on to the evaporator. Having traversed the condenser, this air is exhausted out of the compartment back into the external environment.

The particular mode of refrigerating the product display space 10 is not limiting of the invention. For example, rather than a self-contained refrigeration unit as discussed above, an evaporator/evaporator fan assembly may be provided within the product display space, the evaporator of which is connected by refrigerant lines in a refrigerant circuit with a condenser/condenser fan assembly and compressor which disposed remotely from the merchandiser 10. In such as arrangement, the evaporator fan circulates air within the product display space over the evaporator refrigerant coils to cool the air.

As discussed hereinbefore, it is desirable to illuminate the interior product display space 100 and the product disposed therein to enhance the appearance of the product 110 disposed on the shelves 102 to the consumer viewing the product through the view area. A lamp 80, preferably a fluorescent light, is positioned in an upper front region of the interior product display space 100. When energized, the lamp 80 emits light directly into the interior product display space 100. As in the depicted embodiment, the lamp 80 may also function to illuminate graphics 78, which may carry an advertising message relating to one or more of the products displayed or other design, laid on an upper portion of the door 40. Although light emitted from the lamp 80 will effectively illuminate product disposed on the front portion of the upper shelf within the interior product display space 100, as well as product disposed at the front portion of the lower shelves, that light will only poorly illuminate product disposed on portions of the shelves more toward the rear side wall 34 or on portions of the lower shelves shaded by any shelves there above. The shelves 102 may be gravity-feed shelves angled slightly downwardly from back to front, as depicted in FIG. 2, or horizontally disposed shelves, or other shelving configuration appropriate to support the particular product being displayed for purchase. However, the specific number, arrangement and configuration of the shelves 102 is not germane to the invention and is within the skill of one of ordinary skill in the art to select for optimizing the presentation of and the customer accessibility to the particular product being displayed.

In accordance with the invention, illumination of the product is enhanced through at least one, and most advantageously a plurality of, highly reflective surfaces disposed at specific locations relative to the lamp 80. Commonly, the surfaces of the walls facing the interior product display area I 00 are relatively non-reflective or of relatively low reflectivity. Therefore, most of the light emitted from the lamp 80 that impinges upon these bounding surfaces is absorbed. The reflective surfaces of the lighting system of the invention will reflect, rather than absorb, a significant portion of the light form the lamp 80 that impinges thereon back into the interior product display space 100, thereby enhancing illumination of the interior product display space 100 and the product disposed therein. In the embodiment depicted in the drawings, the system comprises six reflectors, a first reflector 90 in a lower front region of the interior product display space 100, a second reflector 92 in the upper front region of the interior product display space 100, a third and a fourth reflector forming a paired side reflectors 94 disposed along the respective front side regions of the interior product display space 100, a fifth reflector 96 on an upper portion of the door 40 and a sixth reflector 98 on a lower portion of the door 40. It is to be understood, however, that this embodiment is illustrative only and that the system of the invention may include one or greater number of reflectors.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 4, a first reflector 90, having a reflective surface 91, is disposed opposite the lamp 80 extending along the front of the bottom wall 34 bounding the interior product display space 100. The first reflector 90 is contoured or otherwise configured with its reflective surface 91 facing inwardly and upwardly toward the interior product display space 100 so as to reflect light upwardly and also inwardly into the product display space. A second reflector 92, having a reflective surface 93, may be disposed in operative association with and to extend along the lamp 80. As depicted, the second reflector 92 is contoured or otherwise configured and positioned so as to extend over and inside of the lamp 80 whereby the reflective surface 93 thereof will reflector light emitted from the lamp 80 both generally downwardly toward the first reflector 90 positioned oppositely thereof along the lower front of the cabinet. The second reflector 92 may also be configured such that a portion of its reflective surface 93 reflects light from the lamp 80 generally outwardly toward the sign 78.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 5, a third reflector 94A, having a reflective surface 95A, may be disposed in a side front region of the interior product display space 100 so as to extend vertically along the side wall 36 near the front edge thereof. Also, a fourth reflector 94B, having a reflective surface 95B, may be disposed in the other side front region of the interior product display space 100 so as to extend vertically along the side wall 38 near the front edge thereof. These side reflectors may extend the full height of the interior product display space or may be foreshortened so as to extend for only a portion of the height of the interior product display space 100. Each of the reflectors 94A and 94B are contoured or otherwise configured with its reflective surface 95A and 95B, respectively, having a portion extending obliquely to the side walls 34 and 36, respectively, and facing inwardly toward the interior product display space 100 and a portion extending generally parallel to the side walls 34 and 36, respectively. Each of the reflective surfaces 95A and 95B reflects light inwardly into the product display space 100 as well as along the glass front panel 45 of the door 40 and toward its paired side reflector on the opposite side wall. Additionally, each of these side reflectors 94 may be configured to reflect an image of the interior product display space toward the transparent viewing area 44 of the door 40 to create an illusion for consumers viewing the product through the door of a larger display space filled with more products. This enhanced merchandising effect provided by the side reflectors 94 improves the consumer-appeal of the products displayed.

One or two additional reflectors may be provided on the indoor side of the door 40, one positioned to extend along the top of the door and the other to extend along the bottom of the door. For example, referring again to FIG. 4, a fifth reflector 96 may be disposed against an upper portion of the inside surface 45 of the glass panel 44 of the door 40. The fifth reflector 96 has a reflective surface 97 that faces generally inwardly toward the interior product display space and that is contoured or otherwise configured to reflect light inwardly and downwardly into the interior product display space 100 when the door 40 is closed. A sixth reflector 98 may be disposed against a lower portion of the inside surface 45 of the glass panel 44 of the door 40. The sixth reflector 98 has a reflective surface 99 that faces generally inwardly toward the interior product display space and that is contoured or otherwise configured to reflect light inwardly and upwardly into the interior product display space 100 when the door 40 is closed.

The reflectors 90, 94, 96 and 98 may comprise simple, elongated strips bent along a longitudinal line at an included angle, A, with the respective interior surface 91, 95, 97 and 99 being reflective, such as depicted in FIG. 6. The reflectors may comprise a structural support member having a reflective surface on the side that will face the interior of the product display space. The strips may be formed sheet metal strips, for example anodized aluminum, having a polished surface as a reflective surface or a having a reflective paint or other reflective material coating deposited thereon as a reflective surface as depicted in FIG. 7. The strips may be extruded strips configured to the desired contour during the extrusion process and having a reflective coating deposited, for example extruded plastic, PVC resin or aluminum substrate laminated with a skin of reflective aluminum or aluminized Mylar to provide the reflective surface as depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9. The reflectors may be mounted to the cabinet structure and door structure as appropriate by any suitable attachment technique, such as for example mechanical fasteners, including screws, magnetic strips, hook-and-loop fabric with adhesive on both sides, double-sided tape, or adhesive.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the length of each reflector and the included angle in the reflective surface will depend upon the geometry and dimensions of the product display space 100 and exact placement of the reflectors therein. In a conventionally sized, single door, rectangular cabinet, cold beverage merchandiser, for example, the interior product display space would commonly have a width of about 26 inches, a depth of about 29 inches and a height of about 52 inches. For a product display spaced so sized, the strip reflectors 90, 94, 96 and 98 would typically have an included angle, A, lying in the range of about 130 to about 170 degrees. In the illustrative example shown in FIG. 7, the side reflectors 94 might, for example, be a strip having a width of about 2.5 inches, be bent along a longitudinal line at an included angle of about 165 degrees, and extend up the respective front side comers of the product display space 100 for substantially the full height of the product display space or a portion of the height of the product display space. In the illustrative example shown in FIG. 8, the bottom reflector 90 might, for example, be a strip having a width of about 3.5 inches, be bent along a longitudinal line at an included angle of about 135 degrees and extend up the respective across the front bottom surface of the product display space 100 between the side walls thereof for an overall length commensurate with the width of the product display space. In the illustrative example shown in FIG. 9, the top and bottom door reflectors 96 and 98, for example, be a strip having a width of about 1.5 inches, be bent along a longitudinal line at an included angle of about 147 degrees and extend up the respective across the top inside and bottom inside surfaces of the door 40 between the sides thereof for an overall length of about 18 inches for a typical single door.

The reflector 92 comprises an elongated member having a multi-facet contour such as illustrated in a one-lamp embodiment in FIG. 4 and in a two-lamp embodiment in FIG. 10. In the two-lamp embodiment, the reflector has a first section 92A, associated with the first lamp 80 and similar in configuration to the one-lamp embodiment of the reflector as depicted in FIG. 4, and a second section 92B, associated with the second lamp 80, extending outwardly from the front edge of the first section. The reflector 92 comprises a structural support member, for example anodized aluminum or other metal, having a polished surface as a reflective surface or a having a reflective paint or other reflective material coating deposited thereon as a reflective surface. The reflector 92 is positioned within the product display space 100 behind the lamp or lamps 80 with its reflective surface on the side facing the interior of the product display space. The length of the lamp reflector, the number of facets and the included angles between the various facets in the reflective surface will also depend upon the geometry and dimensions of the product display space 100 and the placement of the reflector with respect to the lamp or lamps 80 therein. In a conventionally sized, single door, rectangular cabinet, cold beverage merchandiser, for example, the included angles between adjacent facets would typically fall in the range of about 90 to about 170 degrees.

While the present invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the embodiment as illustrated in the drawing, it will be understood by one skilled in the art that various changes in detail may be effected therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims. For example, in a display merchandiser having a vertically extending lamp disposed along one side of the product display space at the front thereof, the first reflector would be disposed in the opposite front corner of the product display space to extend vertically along that side opposite the lamp. Additional reflectors could be disposed along the upper front and lower front of the product display space.