Title:
REFRIGERATED DISPLAY CASE WITH ICE CREAM CONTAINERS MADE OF TRANSPARENT MATERIAL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a refrigerated display case of the type comprising a bearing base and a top glass compartment with an intermediate wall provided with a series of openings, designed to receive from up downwards corresponding ice cream containers made of transparent materials, characterised by the fact that each transparent container is externally provided with projections situated at a height lower than the opening, in such a way to prevent the containers from being completely inserted from up down inside the corresponding opening obtained on the bearing base.



Inventors:
Bocchini, Pierluigi (Jesi, IT)
Application Number:
12/448993
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
12/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROERSMA, ANDREW MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert M Gamson (Towson, MD, US)
Claims:
1. Refrigerated display case of the type comprising ice cream containers (4), a bearing base (1) and a top glass compartment (2), with an intermediate wall (3) provided with a series of openings (3a) designed to receive from up downwards the corresponding ice cream containers (4) with rectangular shape, characterised by the fact that: said containers (4) are made of transparent materials, each transparent container (4) is externally provided with projections (5) situated at a height lower than the opening (40) of the container (4) designed to interfere with the surface of the wall (3) all around the opening (3a) that receives the corresponding container (4) when the container (4) is inserted from up downwards towards the same opening (3a), and the projections (5) provided on each container (4) are positioned at a distance from the opening (40) of the container (4) that tends to increase from the back transversal wall (4b) to the front transversal wall (4a) of the container (4).

2. Refrigerated display case as claimed in claim 1, characterised by the fact that the wall (3) provided in intermediate position between the base (1) and the glass compartment (2) has a forward inclination.

3. Refrigerated display case as claimed in claim 1, characterised by the fact that the projections provided on each container (4) consist in a downward perimeter border (5) that has a slightly lower height than the back transversal border (4a) of the corresponding container (4) in the front transversal section (5a) and a considerably lower height in the back transversal section (5b); it being provided that the two transversal sections (5a, 5b) of the external perimeter border (5) are connected by means of two identical opposite longitudinal sections (5c).

4. Refrigerated display case as claimed in claim 1, characterised by the fact that the external projections (5) provided on each container (4) consist in a series of feet that protrude downwards from the opening (40) of the container (4).

5. Refrigerated display case as claimed in, characterised by the fact that the external projections (5) provided on each container (4) consist in a perimeter series of teeth.

6. Refrigerated display case as claimed in claim 1, characterised by the fact that the external projections (5) provided on each container (4) consist in an annular rib.

7. Refrigerated display case as claimed in claim 1, characterised by the fact that each transparent container (4) has an increasing depth from the back to the front.

Description:

The present patent application relates to a refrigerated display case with ice cream containers made of transparent material.

The refrigerated display cases that are traditionally used to sell homemade ice cream are provided with a basically standard configuration, comprising a large bearing base made of wood or sheet metal that contains the refrigerator unit and relevant pipes.

The said base is covered on top with a basically horizontal wall that is provided with openings designed to receive rectangular metal containers used to display the various flavours of ice cream for sale.

Each container is provided with an outward projecting edge designed to interfere with the upper surface of the covering wall, all around the corresponding opening, in order to prevent the entire container from uncontrollably penetrating inside the opening.

In view of the above, customers situated in front of the display case is only see the upper opening of the containers, and not the lateral walls of the containers that are inserted and concealed inside the structure of the base or metal sheet base.

The base normally supports a top glass compartment that allows to see the ice cream containers, maintaining them at the desired refrigeration temperature and protecting them from dust, insects and other impurities.

The glass compartment is provided with a back open wall to provide easy access to the ice cream containers for the sales operators.

Some modifications have been recently made to the structure of similar refrigerated display cases in order to achieve another specific purpose, that is to say the possibility for customers to see the ice cream contained in each container not only on the upper surface (as in traditional display cases) but also for the entire height, i.e. from the opening to the bottom of the container.

Obviously, the decision to improve the visibility of the ice cream displayed in the display case was determined by the need to show the quality (meaning freshness and preservation) of the entire amount of displayed product.

The practical implementation of this solution has imposed some modifications to the traditional structure of refrigerated display cases.

The use of transparent materials, such as plexiglass, for the said containers was not sufficient, being necessary to significantly modify the structure of the bearing base of the refrigerated display case.

More precisely, it was necessary to introduce a longitudinal window covered with a transparent panel, made for example of glass or plexiglass, on top of the front wall of the base, in order to provide full visibility of the transparent containers that are normally housed in the base, and consequently of the entire quantity of ice cream they contain.

The biggest difficulty that was encountered in developing the said technology was not only related to the transparent opening on the front of the base, but also required to displace the mechanical components from the traditional position at a very close distance from the housings of the ice cream containers towards the bottom of the base.

Although it is true that a similar position of the mechanical components does not create any problems in traditional display cases in view of the fact that all the components housed under the openings that receive the ice cream containers are concealed by the wooden or metal sheet walls of the base, it is also true that in recent display cases with transparent containers it is necessary to eliminate all “foreign” elements from the top section of the base that is now visible due to the presence of the transparent front window.

Additionally, refrigerated display cases equipped with multiple parallel rows of transparent containers require to use transparent material also for the horizontal wall that covers the top of the display cases and is provided with the openings designed to receive the ice cream containers.

As a matter of fact, while the first row of transparent containers can be seen by customers for the entire height through the longitudinal window obtained on the front of the base of the refrigerated display case, the second row of transparent containers can be see for the entire height only because of the transparency of the wall designed to cover the top of the bearing base.

A careful critical evaluation of the prior technique has resulted in the development of an alternative solution, characterised by higher practical and economical value to allow a refrigerated display case to show the transparent containers for the entire height, thus showing the entire quantity of ice cream contained in them.

The present invention is based on the idea that the transparent containers used to contain ice cream are no longer inserted for the entire depth in the wall that covers the top of the base of a traditional display case, because they protrude from the wall for most of their height.

It is worthless mentioning that such a position of the ice cream containers ensures perfect visibility of the lateral borders from the outside of the glass compartment of the display case.

A similar solution allows to leave the structure of the refrigerated display case unchanged with respect to the traditional prior technique, since it is no longer necessary to provide it with the transparent front wall or use transparent material for the wall that covers the top of the base and supports the ice cream containers.

The fact that the structure of the wooden or metal sheet bearing base is unchanged (thus completely preserving the concealing function) has also avoided the introduction of expensive modifications in terms of changing the position of the refrigeration unit and the other components associated with it.

For the implementation of this inventive idea a slightly forward inclination was given to the wall used to cover the top of the base of the display case of the invention, being the same wall provided with the openings that receive the ice cream containers.

Moreover, a special structure was given to the transparent containers, usually with rectangular or square configuration, that are designed to be received in the openings provided on the wall with forward inclination.

As a matter of fact, the ice cream containers are externally provided with a large downward perimeter border (a sort of skirt) with considerable height that decreases from the front to the back.

The function of the border is to interfere with the surface of the inclined wall that covers the top of the bearing base, all around the opening designed to receive the ice cream container.

Evidently, the said interference prevents the container from being inserted for the entire height inside the opening, thus maintaining the container outside the opening for most of its height, in such a way that customers can actually see the ice cream through the lateral walls.

The external perimeter border of each container has an increasing height from the back to the front.

This has been devised to guarantee an “inclined” position of the container, with the back border at a lower height compared to the front border, in such a way that the front wall of the containers in the second row is higher than the back border of the containers in the first row.

In this way, customers standing in front of the glass compartment can see the ice cream in the second row through the front wall that is not screened by the back wall of the container in the first row.

For purposes of clarity, the description of the invention continues with reference to the enclosed drawings, which only have an illustrative, not limiting value, whereby:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of the display case with a transversal plane;

FIG. 2 is an axonometric view of one of the containers used in the same display case;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the container of FIG. 2 with a longitudinal plane;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the container of FIG. 2 with a transversal plane;

With reference to the aforementioned figures, the display case of the invention traditionally comprises a bearing base (1) and a top glass compartment (2) and is usually designed to support a series of ice cream containers (4) with square or rectangular shape, made of transparent material, on the wall (3) that covers the top of the base (1); in particular, it being provided that the cover wall (3) has a series of openings (3a) designed to receive corresponding containers (4).

As mentioned earlier, a first peculiarity of the display case of the invention consists in the fact that the wall (3) that covers the top of the base (1) has a forward inclination.

Another peculiarity of the present invention is that it is provided with transparent containers (4) having an external downward perimeter border (5) with increasing height from the back to the front.

As shown in the enclosed figures, the height of the front transversal section (5a) of the border is not significantly lower than the height of the back transversal border (4a) of the container (4), while the height of the back transversal section (5b) of the border (5) is considerably lower than the height of the back transversal border (4b) of the container (4).

Moreover, it must be noted that the perimeter border (5) is provided with a forward inclination to connect the front section (5a) and the back section (5b) in the opposite longitudinal sections (5c).

When the container (4) is inserted into the opening (3a) from up down, the external perimeter border (5) interferes against the surface of the cover wall (3), all around the opening (3a) before the container (4) “disappears” completely under the opening.

The coupling between the container (4) and the corresponding opening (3a) is produced only for a short section of the bottom of the container (4) for a depth that corresponds to the difference in height between the front section (5a) of the perimeter border (5) and the front transversal border (4a).

In view of the above, it can be said that the container (4) is maintained in a projecting position outside the opening (3a) so that it can be directly observed for almost its entire height by the customers situated in front of the display case of the invention.

Without leaving the scope of the present invention, the transparent containers (4) can be obtained with alternative, although functionally equivalent, constructive modes.

In particular, the structure of the containers (4) can be modified according to the external means designed to interfere with the upper surface of the wall (3) in order to prevent the excessive penetration of the containers (4) inside the internal compartment of the base (1).

In this case, the perimeter border (5) can be replaced by a series of projections obtained in the external walls of each container (4).

Similar projections can have the configuration of a perimeter series of teeth, a continuous annular rib, columns or feet that project towards the bottom from the opening border (40) of the container (4), preferably situated in the four corners of the container.

In fact, the said feet or columns, with evidently higher height in the is front border of the container and lower height on the back border, would be in any case suitable to determine the desired interference with the top surface of the said inclined wall (3) and give the container (4) an inclined position that favours the vision of the ice cream in all the rows of containers.

Finally, although it is not a binding characteristic of the present invention, it must be noted that in the embodiment shown in the enclosed figures the depth of the containers (4) measured between the opening (40) and the horizontal bottom wall (40a) tends to increase from the back to the front.