Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020070640 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/733,015
Publication dateJun 13, 2002
Filing dateDec 7, 2000
Priority dateDec 7, 2000
Publication number09733015, 733015, US 2002/0070640 A1, US 2002/070640 A1, US 20020070640 A1, US 20020070640A1, US 2002070640 A1, US 2002070640A1, US-A1-20020070640, US-A1-2002070640, US2002/0070640A1, US2002/070640A1, US20020070640 A1, US20020070640A1, US2002070640 A1, US2002070640A1
InventorsEugene Hamilton, John Matthai, John Otto, Kevin Osborn, Noel Carrillo, Jack Hough, Shawn Barrett, William Cessaroni
Original AssigneeHamilton Eugene R., Matthai John T., Otto John G., Osborn Kevin O., Noel Carrillo, Jack Hough, Shawn Barrett, Cessaroni William C.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Locking mechanism, and locking barrier and cabinet using same
US 20020070640 A1
Abstract
A self-locking mechanism for use with a locking barrier on a cabinet. The locking mechanism includes an actuator and one or more locking members for securing the locking barrier in a closed position. When the locking barrier is in an open position, a detent element holds one of the locking members and the actuator in an unlocked position. A projection attached to the cabinet disengages the detent element upon closing of the locking barrier, thus allowing the locking member to extend into its locked position.
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(24)
1. A locking mechanism for use with a locking barrier, the locking mechanism comprising:
at least one locking member moveable between a locked position and an unlocked position;
a detent element engaging said locking member when said locking member and said detent element are in an unlocked position, said detent element biased towards the unlocked position, said detent element moveable to a locked position where said detent element does not engage said locking member; and
an actuator connected with said at least one locking member, said actuator capable of movement between a locked position and an unlocked position, said actuator biased towards the locked position, said actuator adapted to move said at least one locking member to said locked position in response to the movement of said detent element to its locked position.
2. The locking mechanism of claim 1, wherein said at least one locking member comprises a first locking pin.
3. The locking mechanism of claim 2, wherein said at least one locking member further comprises a second locking pin.
4. The locking mechanism of claim 3, wherein end portions of the first and second locking pins move in substantially parallel but opposite directions when moving between their respective locked and unlocked positions.
5. The locking mechanism of claim 2, wherein said end portion of said first locking pin comprises a shoulder adapted to engage a portion of said detent element when said first locking member and said detent element are in their respective unlocked positions.
6. The locking mechanism of claim 1, wherein said actuator rotates between its locked position and its unlocked position.
7. The locking mechanism of claim 6, wherein said actuator comprises a rotatable disk.
8 The locking mechanism of claim 7, wherein said disk further comprises a slot on a periphery thereof, and wherein the locking mechanism further comprises a lever having a disk engaging portion adapted to engage said slot when said disk is in its locked position.
9. The locking mechanism of claim 8, wherein said disk is incapable of movement to an unlocked position when said disk engaging portion of said lever is engaging said slot of said disk.
10. The locking mechanism of claim 9, further comprising a cam for moving said lever to an unlocked position wherein said disk engaging portion of said lever does not engage said slot.
11. The locking mechanism of claim 10, further comprising a lock core assembly, said lock core assembly engaging said cam and capable of moving said cam from the locked to an unlocked position.
12. The locking mechanism of claim 8, further comprising a release member adapted to move said disk engaging portion out of said slot.
13. A locking barrier comprising:
a barrier housing;
at least one locking member within said housing moveable between a locked position and an unlocked position;
a detent element within said housing engaging said locking member when said locking member and said detent element are in an unlocked position, said detent element biased to the unlocked position, said detent element moveable to the locked position where said detent element does not engage said at least one locking member; and
a first actuator moveably mounted within said housing and connected with said at least one locking member, said actuator capable of movement between a locked position and an unlocked position and biased towards the locked position, said actuator adapted to move said at least one locking member to its locked position in response to the movement of said detent element to its locked position.
14. The locking barrier of claim 13, wherein said barrier housing comprises a front panel and a spaced rear panel, the panels defining a housing interior therebetween, and wherein said first actuator is mounted within said housing interior and is moveable by movement of a second actuator mounted on said front panel.
15. The locking barrier of claim 14, wherein said first actuator comprises a rotatable disk.
16. The locking barrier of claim 15, wherein said disk further comprises a slot on a periphery thereof, and wherein the locking barrier further comprises a lever having a disk engaging portion adapted to engage said slot when said disk is in its locked position.
17. A cabinet comprising:
a cabinet housing;
a plurality of bins within said cabinet housing, said bins moveable between a closed position and open positions;
an actuating member attached to said cabinet housing; and
a locking barrier connected with said cabinet housing and moveable between a closed position and open positions, said locking barrier adapted to secure said bins in their closed position when said locking barrier is in its closed position, and allowing said bins to move to their open positions when said locking barrier is in one of its open positions; and
a locking mechanism associated with said locking barrier, said locking mechanism including at least one locking member capable of locking said locking barrier in its closed position, an actuating member engaging portion of said locking mechanism configured so as to contact said actuating member when said locking barrier is in its closed position, said locking mechanism and said actuating member cooperating to activate said locking member in response to movement of said locking barrier from one of its open positions to its closed position.
18. The cabinet of claim 17, wherein said actuating member comprises a projection.
19. The cabinet of claim 18, wherein said actuating member engaging portion of said locking mechanism comprises a detent element.
20. The cabinet of claim 17, wherein said locking barrier comprises a lock bar.
21. The cabinet of claim 20, wherein said cabinet housing comprises a top, a bottom, a pair of sides, a back, and an at least partially open front face; and
said lock bar is pivotedly attached to a portion of one of said sides and is adapted to restrict movement of said bins out of said front face when said lock is its closed position.
22. The cabinet of claim 17, wherein said bins are adapted to contain pharmaceuticals.
23. The cabinet of claim 17, wherein said at least one locking member comprises at least one locking pin.
24. The cabinet of claim 23, wherein said housing further comprises a locking cavity for each of said at least one locking pin, said locking pin residing in said locking cavity when said locking bar is in its closed position.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to a locking mechanism for use with a locking barrier. More particularly, the present invention relates to a self-locking mechanism for use with a lock bar on a cabinet, such as a cabinet adapted to contain pharmaceuticals and supplies.

[0002] Lockable pharmaceutical cabinets and carts are widely used in hospitals and other medical care facilities. Keeping pharmaceutical products secure from unauthorized access is a matter of major concern in medical care facilities, not only to protect against theft and misuse of the pharmaceuticals but also to comply with legal requirements concerning controlled substances. Security of pharmaceutical carts used for delivering and dispensing pharmaceutical substances are of particular concern since the carts are of necessity used in areas where they are within easy reach of patients and other non-medical personnel. It is a general requirement in hospitals and the like that pharmaceutical carts be locked when not attended by an authorized person.

[0003] One important advance in such cabinets is the use of a locking bar. Such locking bars are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,069,511, 5,205,628, and 5,314,244, all issued to Swets et al. These patents disclose a multiple drawer cabinet having a lockable vertically extending locking bar external to the cabinet and pivotally attached to one edge thereof. The locking bar, in its locked position, extends along the front of several drawers to obstruct their movement. This vertical locking bar cooperates with a plurality of horizontal locking bars to selectively allow and prevent removal of bins or drawers from a plurality of shelves of a cabinet.

[0004] The arrangement disclosed in these patents allows a plurality of bins or drawers to be locked in place by pivoting the locking bars into a locked position without the need for providing individual locks on the bins or requiring that the bins be contained within a lockable drawer or the like. Furthermore, the bins may be readily removed by unlocking the vertical locking bar, which will allow for free rotation of the horizontal locking bars, providing for convenient removal of the bins individually.

[0005] Although providing a substantial improvement in the art, the cabinets disclosed in those patents did not provide for automatic locking of the vertical lock bar. The lock bar of these patents had to be manually locked once closed. Thus, a potential problem is that medical personnel might remember to close the lock bar, but then forget to lock the lock bar once the lock bar was in the closed position.

SUMMARY

[0006] Therefore, there is a need in the art for an improved locking barrier for use on such cabinets that automatically locks upon closing.

[0007] In one aspect of the present invention, a locking mechanism is provided that has self-locking ability. The locking mechanism includes one or more locking members moveable between a locked position and an unlocked position, and a detent element engaging the locking member when the locking member and the detent element are in an unlocked position. The detent element is biased towards the unlocked position, and the detent element is moveable to a locked position where the detent element does not engage the locking member. The locking mechanism also includes an actuator connected with the one or more locking members, the actuator capable of movement between a locked position and an unlocked position. The actuator is biased towards the locked position, and the actuator is adapted to move the one or more locking members to the locked position in response to the movement of the detent element to its locked position.

[0008] In another aspect of the invention, a locking barrier is provided that uses a locking mechanism having automatic locking capacity. The locking barrier includes a barrier housing having one or more locking members within the housing which are moveable between a locked position and an unlocked position. The locking barrier also includes a detent element within the housing that engages the locking member when the locking member and the detent element are in an unlocked position. The detent element is biased to the unlocked position, but is moveable to the locked position where the detent element does not engage the locking member. The locking barrier also includes a first actuator rotationally mounted within the housing and connected with the one or more locking members. The actuator is capable of rotation between a locked position and an unlocked position and is biased towards the locked position. The actuator is adapted to move the one or more locking members to their locked position in response to the movement of the detent element to its locked position.

[0009] In yet another aspect of the invention, a cabinet is provided that utilizes a locking barrier that includes a self-locking mechanism. The cabinet includes a cabinet housing and a plurality of bins within the cabinet housing. The bins are moveable between a closed position and open positions. An actuating member is attached to the cabinet housing. A locking barrier is also connected with the cabinet housing and is moveable between a closed position and open positions. The locking barrier is adapted to secure the bins in their closed position when the locking barrier is in its closed position, while allowing the bins to move to their open positions when the locking barrier is in an open positions. In addition, the locking barrier includes a locking mechanism. The locking mechanism includes one or more locking members capable of activating to thereby lock the locking barrier in its closed position. A contact portion of the locking mechanism is configured so as to contact the actuating member when the locking barrier is in its closed position. The locking mechanism and the actuating member cooperate to activate the locking member in response to movement of the locking barrier from an open position to its closed position.

[0010] Other aspects of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, along with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cabinet utilizing a locking barrier according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0012]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the cabinet and locking barrier of FIG. 1, shown in the unlocked position.

[0013]FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the locking barrier and locking mechanism according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0014]FIG. 4 is an exploded front view of a top portion of the locking barrier of FIG. 3, shown as it relates to the cabinet.

[0015]FIG. 5 is a rear view of the locking barrier shown with the back panel removed and the locking mechanism in the locked position.

[0016]FIG. 6 is a rear view of the locking barrier shown with its back panel removed and the locking mechanism in the unlocked position.

[0017]FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view along line VII-VII of FIG. 5.

[0018]FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view along line VIII-VIII of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0019] Referring now to the accompanying drawings and initially to FIG. 1, a cabinet according to a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown generally at 100. With the exception of the locking mechanism and the locking barrier (as described in detail below), the cabinet 100 of the preferred embodiment is substantially similar to the cabinets disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,069,511, 5,205,628, and 5,314,244, all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.

[0020] In the preferred embodiment as shown, the cabinet 100 is a segmented side wall pharmaceutical cabinet 100 having a housing including a top surface 101 and a base 102. The cabinet is provided with casters 104 and may be used as a pharmaceutical dispensing cart. The cabinet housing further includes a base side wall segment 103, middle side wall segments 105 and a top segment 106. It is provided with a plurality of drawers 109 for containing various items and a plurality of pharmaceutical cassettes 107, each containing a plurality of bins 108. Each of the cassettes 107 comprises two rows of bins 108 disposed in a side-by-side relation, and is slidably removable from cabinet 100. Each of the cassettes 107 is further provided with a horizontally extending bin locking barrier 116 extending frontally along a lower portion of an upper row of bins and an upper portion of a lower row of bins. The bin locking barriers 116 have an elongated cross section and are rotatable between a horizontal releasing position allowing for removal of individual ones of the bins 108 and a vertical locking position in which removal of the bins 108 is restrained.

[0021] A vertically extending cabinet locking barrier 110 is hingedly attached to one side of cabinet 100 by a hinge 111 and is rotatable between a locked position as shown in FIG. 1 and an unlocked position as shown in FIG. 2. In the embodiment shown, the locking barrier 110 is formed as a lock bar, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that in other embodiments the locking barrier 110 could be formed as a door, shield, or other barrier having a locking mechanism. When in the locked position, as shown in FIG. 1, cabinet locking barrier 110 cooperates with the horizontally extending bin locking barriers 116 of the individual cassettes 107, to lock each of the individual bins 108 in the cart. The details of the structure and operation of the cassettes 107, bins 108, and horizontally extending bin locking barriers 116 are described in detail in the above referenced patents.

[0022] The locking barrier 110 includes a rotatable handle 112 for opening for the locking barrier 110. When the locking barrier is locked, the handle 112 is only rotatable after unlocking the locking barrier 110 using the key core 114 or the key button pad 118.

[0023] FIGS. 3-8 illustrate the locking mechanism 120 (FIG. 5) of the preferred embodiment. The locking mechanism 120 is disposed within the locking barrier housing defined by front panel 160, a spaced rear panel 162, a bottom cap 164, and a top bracket 166 and a detent housing 200. The locking mechanism 120 includes locking members defined by an upper locking pin 122 and a lower locking pin 124. Locking pins 122 and 124 are oriented so as to move in substantially parallel but opposite directions. Locking pins 122 and 124, when in an extended position as shown in FIG. 5, engage cavities (not shown) in the cabinet 100 and thereby secure the locking barrier 110 in a closed position. When locking pins 122 and 124 are in the retracted position (as shown in FIG. 6), the locking barrier 110 is rotatable along hinge 111 to any of its open positions.

[0024] The locking pins 122 and 124 are connected to an actuator disk 126 at lateral positions thereof. The actuator disk 126 is rotatable about an axle assembly 128 (FIG. 5) disposed normal to the front panel 160. The opposite end of the axle assembly 128 is connected to a manual actuator defined by a rotatable handle 112 mounted on the front panel 160. Thus, the actuator disk 126 is rotatable by manual turning of actuator handle 112.

[0025] As shown in FIG. 5, the actuator disk 126 is biased by a spring element 130 to a locked position. The opposite end of the spring element 130 is connected to an extension 167 of top bracket 166. In the locked position as shown in FIG. 5, the locking pins 122 and 124 are held in an extended position by virtue of their connection at lateral positions of the actuator disk 126 which are now raised and lowered, respectively. In the unlocked position as shown in FIG. 6, the locking pins 122 and 124 are held in a retracted position because the lateral positions of the actuator disk 126 are lower and higher, respectively, as compared to their positions when the actuator disk 126 is in the locked position.

[0026] The locking mechanism also includes a lever 140 and a cam 152. The lever 140 is mounted at a pivot axle 142, which is in turn mounted to a mounting bracket 150 (see FIG. 3; the mounting bracket 150 is shown in phantom the FIGS. 5 and 6). The lever 140 is biased by a spring element 144 to a locked position as shown in FIG. 5. In the locked position, a disk engaging portion defined by a flange 143 (FIG. 3) extending perpendicular to the end of the lever 140 fits into slot 127 of actuator disk 126. When engaging and residing in the slot 127, the flange 143 renders the actuator disk 126 incapable of movement, and thus maintains the locking mechanism 120 in its locked position.

[0027] The flange 143 can be removed from the slot 127 by rotation of cam 152 and thus the lever 140, as shown in FIG. 6. The cam 152, in turn, is moveable only by rotation of lock core assembly 114. Alternately, the flange may be removed by a rod 172 defining a release member. The rod 172 is moveable downward by knob 119 (FIG. 1) only after the correct sequence of buttons 117 (FIG. 1) have been pressed by the user. Thus, once the locking mechanism 120 is in a locked position, only turning of the rotation of the lock core assembly 114 (FIG. 1), such as by a key, or pressing of the buttons 117 will permit movement of the locking mechanism to an unlocked position, and thus subsequent movement of the locking barrier 110 to one of its opened positions.

[0028] The actuating member 126 may be rotated by handle 112 (FIG. 1) after the flange 143 has been removed from the slot 127. The gate member 145 is attached to the actuating member 126 by a pivot axle 147. The gate member 145 is biased to a slot covering position by spring 146, so that once the flange 143 is removed from slot 127, the gate member 145 covers slot 127 and prevents flange 143 from re-entering the slot 127. Therefore, the locking barrier 110 can be opened with one hand because the handle 112 can be turned without simultaneously holding a key in the lock core 114 or the knob 119 in the open position.

[0029] The locking mechanism 120 is designed to lock automatically, after rotation and removal of the key, and upon movement of the locking barrier 110 from an open position to its closed position, as will be described in detail below.

[0030] As shown in FIGS. 2-6, a detent housing 200 is mounted atop the locking barrier 110. As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the detent housing 200 houses a contact portion of the locking mechanism 120 defined by a detent element 202. A flange 204 of the detent element engages channel 206 and thus the detent element is free to pivot between an unlocked position as shown in FIG. 7 and a locked position as shown in FIG. 8. A spring element 208 resting in channel 209 biases the detent element 202 to the locked position. In the unlocked position, an end portion of the detent element 202 resides in a machined shoulder 123 (see FIG. 4) at the top of the locking pin 122. When the detent element 202 resides in the shoulder 123 and thus prevents the locking pin 122 from upward movement, the entire locking mechanism 120 is held in an unlocked position as shown in FIG. 6.

[0031] The detent housing 200 includes a cavity 210 that communicates with the detent element 202. The cavity 210 is positioned in the housing such that when the locking barrier 110 is in its closed position, an actuation projection 230 (shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, and in phantom in FIG. 7) attached to the cabinet 100 extends into the cavity 210. The actuation projection 230 is dimensioned such that it contacts the detent element 202 and moves it away from the locking pin 122. Once the detent element 202 clears the shoulder 123 of the locking pin 122, the locking pin 122 is free to extend through a locking member aperture 212 of the detent housing 200 and into its locked position. Because the actuator disk 126 is biased by the spring element 130, the movement of the actuator disk 126 and thus the locking pins 122, 124 is automatic upon clearance of the detent element 202 from the shoulder 123. Furthermore, as long as the lock core 114 or knob 119 are not held in the open position, spring element 144 causes the lever flange 143 to urge against the periphery of actuator member 126. The level 140 contacts portions 148 and 149 of gate member 145, and pushes gate member 145 clear of the slot 127. The flange 143 then enters slot 127, thereby locking the actuator disk 126. Thus, closure of the locking barrier 110 results in automatic locking of the locking mechanism 120.

[0032] The elements shown in the preferred embodiment are designed to be fully reversible to facilitate placement of the locking barrier 110 on either side of the cabinet 100. For example, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, in a reverse orientation, the detent element flange 204 could be mounted in channel 305, the spring element 208 mounted in channel 309, with the locking pin 122 extending through locking member aperture 312. The actuator disk 126 could also be flipped over in a reverse orientation, with the spring element 130 attached to a leg 367 of the bracket 166. Likewise, the lever 140, the cam 152, and the spring element 144 are readily repositioned to support this reverse orientation.

[0033] The locking barrier 110 may also include an alarm 280 (FIG. 3) for signaling to the user the locking barrier 110 has been in an unlocked position for a specified period of time. The details of the alarm 280 are disclosed in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. ______ (Attorney Docket No. 4634/133) entitled “Alarm for Locking Mechanism, And Cabinet Using Same,” filed Dec. 7, 2000, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0034] It should be readily understood by those persons skilled in the art that the present invention is susceptible of a broad utility and application. Many embodiments and adaptations of the present invention other than those herein described, as well as many variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements will be apparent from or reasonably suggested by the present invention and the foregoing description thereof, without departing from the substance or scope of the present invention.

[0035] For example, although the locking barrier has been shown as a lock bar in the preferred embodiment, the locking mechanism of the invention could be used in a door or shield. Accordingly, while the present invention has been described herein in detail in relation to a specific embodiment, it is to be understood that this disclosure is only illustrative and exemplary of the present invention and is made merely for purposes of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the invention. The foregoing disclosure is not intended or to be construed to limit the present invention or otherwise to exclude any such other embodiments, adaptations, variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements, the present invention being limited only by the claims appended hereto and the equivalents thereof.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8939523 *Aug 22, 2013Jan 27, 2015Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.Computer case protecting apparatus
US20140070677 *Sep 6, 2013Mar 13, 2014The Stanley Works Israel Ltd.Storage Assembly
US20140184045 *Aug 22, 2013Jul 3, 2014Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.Computer case protecting apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/107.5, 312/216
International ClassificationE05B65/46, E05B63/20, A61G12/00, E05C9/04
Cooperative ClassificationE05C9/008, A61G12/001, E05B63/20, E05C9/043, E05B65/467
European ClassificationE05C9/04E, E05B65/46C3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 17, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: HERMAN MILLER, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE ASSIGNEES ADDRESS PREVIOUSLY RECORDED AT REEL 011827 FRAME 0378;ASSIGNORS:HAMILTON, EUGENE R.;MATTHAI, JOHN T.;OTTO, JOHN G.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:012161/0606;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010309 TO 20010322
May 18, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: HERMAN MILLER, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HAMILTON, EUGENE R.;MATTHAI, JOHN T.;OTTO, JOHN G.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:011827/0378;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010309 TO 20010322