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Publication numberUS20030057167 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/247,266
Publication dateMar 27, 2003
Filing dateSep 19, 2002
Priority dateSep 19, 2001
Publication number10247266, 247266, US 2003/0057167 A1, US 2003/057167 A1, US 20030057167 A1, US 20030057167A1, US 2003057167 A1, US 2003057167A1, US-A1-20030057167, US-A1-2003057167, US2003/0057167A1, US2003/057167A1, US20030057167 A1, US20030057167A1, US2003057167 A1, US2003057167A1
InventorsAllen Johnson, Thomas Matthews
Original AssigneeDci Marketing, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandising system
US 20030057167 A1
Abstract
Systems and methods for merchandising product are disclosed. A merchandising system includes a base coupled to the frame configured to move between a first position and a second position. The merchandising system further includes a pusher assembly provided on the base configured to move between a first position and a second position. The merchandising system further includes a retainer assembly coupled to the pusher assembly. The retainer assembly is configured to restrict movement of the pusher assembly as the base is moved from the first position of the base to the second position of the base.
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Claims(21)
What is claimed is:
1. A merchandising system comprising:
a base configured to move between a first position and a second position;
a pusher assembly provided on the base configured to move between a first position and a second position; and
a retainer assembly coupled to the pusher assembly;
wherein the retainer assembly is configured to restrict movement of the pusher assembly as the base is moved from the first position of the base to the second position of the base.
2. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the retainer assembly comprises a coiled spring.
3. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the retainer assembly comprises an elastic cord.
4. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the first position of the base comprises one of a storage position and a display position.
5. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the second position of the base comprises one of a restocking position and a replenishing position.
6. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base is configured to slide between the first position of the base and the second position of the base.
7. The merchandising system of claim 6 further comprising at least one glide provided between the frame and the base.
8. The merchandising system of claim 1 further comprising a bracket coupled to the base configured to allow for the selective attachment of the merchandising system to a frame.
9. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base is configured to be attached to a shelf.
10. The merchandising system of claim 1 further comprising:
a first divider provided on the base; and
a second divider provided on the base;
wherein the pusher assembly is provided between the first divider and the second divider.
11. A merchandising system comprising:
a base configured to move from a first position to a second position;
a pusher assembly provided on the base configured to move from a first position to a second position; and
a retainer assembly configured to secure the pusher assembly in the first position of the pusher assembly;
wherein the retainer assembly is configured to release the pusher assembly in the first position of the base.
12. The merchandising system of claim 11 wherein the retainer assembly comprises a release assembly.
13. The merchandising system of claim 11 wherein the retainer assembly comprises a trigger assembly.
14. The merchandising system of claim 11 wherein the first position of the base is a storage position.
15. The merchandising system of claim 13 wherein the trigger assembly further comprises:
a latch; and
a spring configured to bias the latch in a position to secure the pusher assembly in the first position of the pusher assembly.
16. An assembly for merchandising product comprising:
a base configured to move between a storage position and a restocking position;
a divider assembly provided on the base having a number of product dividers;
a pusher assembly provided between adjacent product dividers and configured to move between a first position and a second position; and
a retainer assembly coupled to the pusher assembly, wherein the retainer assembly is configured to retain the pusher assembly in the first position with the base in the restocking position.
17. The assembly of claim 16 wherein the retainer assembly is coupled between the pusher assembly and a fixed point relative to the base.
18. The assembly of claim 16 wherein the retainer assembly is an elastic retainer assembly.
19. The assembly of claim 16 wherein the retainer assembly is a coiled spring.
20. The assembly of claim 16 wherein the retainer assembly is an elastic cord.
21. The assembly of claim 16 wherein the pusher assembly further comprises:
a pusher body; and
a biasing element coupled to the pusher body;
wherein the retainer assembly is coupled to the pusher body.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of priority as may be available under 35 U.S.C. §§119-21 from the following applications: (a) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/323,486 (“SHELF SYSTEM”) filed Sep. 19, 2001 (incorporated by reference herein); and (b) U.S. Patent Application No. 60/350,258 (“MERCHANDISING SYSTEM”) filed Jan. 17, 2002 (incorporated by reference herein).

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present inventions relate generally to merchandising systems for products. The present invention more particularly relates to a merchandising system (of a type used as or with a shelf system) for the display and presentation of products.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] It is known to provide for a merchandising system (e.g., shelf or display system) that may be used for display and merchandising of products.

[0004] Such known merchandising systems may provide for the display and merchandising of products, as well as a tray or holder for product units providing for the movement of a base, tray or platform relative to a fixed point (such as a frame, fixed shelf, etc.) or frame between two positions: a first position for display and presentation of products (e.g., the tray or base is retracted or pushed in relative to the fixed point); and a second position to allow greater access to the system for restocking, replenishing, etc. of product in front of or upon the tray or holder (e.g., the tray or base is extended or pulled out from the fixed point). It is also known to provide for a “pusher” (or pusher mechanism or assembly) to urge product units within the tray or platform of the merchandising system forward so that product units rest at or near the front of the merchandising system and are more readily visible for merchandising.

[0005] However, such known merchandising systems having one or more pushers may present difficulties in restocking or replenishing (e.g., refilling with) product. For example, when restocking the tray or shelf (e.g., platform) of such known merchandising systems that employ such pusher assemblies to push product toward the front of the merchandising system as product units are removed (e.g., as dispensed), it may be necessary to hold the pusher back with one hand while attempting to restock the tray or shelf using the other hand. Such known merchandising systems may not allow for the convenient placement of product onto (or into) the merchandising system, or otherwise may not realize certain advantageous features.

[0006] It would be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that allows for shelves to be refilled, repacked, replenished, stocked, etc. relatively easy and/or allowing for orderly stocking and display of products. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that is moveable, allowing it to be more easily stocked. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that has at least two positions or modes: such as a first (dispensing, display, etc.) position and a second (restocking, replenishing, etc.) position, as well as a plurality of positions therebetween. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that can accommodate products of varying size and/or shape, quantity. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that allows a pusher assembly to be selectively positioned between a dispensing position and a restocking position, as well as moveable between a number of positions between. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that may conveniently be installed on a shelving unit or the like.

[0007] It would be desirable to provide a display system or the like of a type disclosed in the present application that includes any one or more of these or other advantageous features.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention relates to a merchandising system for association with a frame. The merchandising system comprises a base coupled to the frame configured to move between a first position and a second position. The merchandising system further comprises a pusher assembly provided on the base configured to move between a first position and a second position. The merchandising system further comprises a retainer assembly coupled to the pusher assembly. The retainer assembly is configured to restrict movement of the pusher assembly as the base is moved from the first position of the base to the second position of the base.

[0009] The present invention also relates to a merchandising system for association with a frame. The merchandising system comprises a base coupled to the frame configured to move from a first position to a second position. The merchandising system further comprises a pusher assembly provided on the base configured to move from a first position to a second position. The merchandising system further comprises a retainer assembly provided on the base configured to secure the pusher assembly in the second pusher assembly position. The retainer assembly is configured to release the pusher assembly in the first position of the base.

[0010] The present invention further relates to an assembly for merchandising product associated with a frame. The assembly comprises a base coupled to the frame configured to move between a storage position and a restocking position, a divider assembly provided on the base having a number of product dividers, a pusher assembly provided between adjacent product dividers and configured to move between a first position and a second position, and a retainer assembly coupled to the pusher assembly. The retainer assembly is configured to retain the pusher assembly in the second position with the base in the restocking position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0012]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0013]FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0014]FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0015]FIG. 5 is a top schematic view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0016]FIG. 6 is a perspective view of merchandising system according to another exemplary embodiment.

[0017]FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 6.

[0018]FIG. 8 is a rear perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 6.

[0019]FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 6.

[0020] FIGS. 10 to 12 are a sequence showing the release of a pusher assembly according to an exemplary embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0021] Exemplary embodiments of the merchandising system as shown in the FIGURES are intended to provide a relatively convenient arrangement for restocking (e.g., refilling) the merchandising system with product units. The merchandising system provides or forms a receptacle or holder (such as a tray or platform) with a pusher or other member that may be urged forward so that product units within the receptacle or space or otherwise in front of the pusher are brought forward within the merchandising system. The merchandising system according to various exemplary embodiments may be configured to hold or retain the pusher (or other member within each pusher assembly) or assemblies in a first position that will allow convenient restocking (or refilling, etc.). In typical use, the pusher (or member) is free to move (e.g. extend or retract) to a second position. In the first position, the moveable pushers or members of each of the pusher assemblies are engaged (or retained) and resist (or no longer exert any force to urge the pusher and/or product units forward). When being restocked or refilled, the pusher assembly (or assemblies) are brought to a first position and product may then be conveniently replenished, restocked, or placed on the shelf, between dividers or panels of the merchandising system, without the pusher assembly interfering significantly with the placement of product within the merchandising system.

[0022] When the merchandising system has been stocked, the pusher assembly is freed to return to the second position (e.g., progressively move product units forward for a display and dispensing).

[0023] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 to 4, a merchandising system 10 may comprise a shelf assembly 20, a divider assembly 60, a pusher assembly 80, and a retainer assembly 100.

[0024] As shown in FIGS. 2 to 3, shelf assembly 20 may comprise one or more frames (e.g., mounting structures, supports, shelving units, hanger bars, braces, mounts, etc.) shown as frame 22, one or more brackets (e.g., frames, supports, etc.) shown as bracket 24, and one or more bases (e.g., trays, shelves, supports, platforms, etc.) shown as base 26.

[0025] As shown in FIG. 3, frame 22 may be provided for use with merchandising system 10. Frame 22 may be configured to attach to another frame work, merchandising system, etc. having interfaces, such as vertical braces 16. Frame 22 may have notches or tabs that fit into corresponding apertures in vertical braces 16. This configuration allows for vertical adjustment of merchandising system 10. According to another exemplary embodiment, the frame may be omitted and the merchandising system is coupled to a shelf (such as with mechanical fasteners, screws, etc.) provided through the bracket. According to other alternative embodiments, other adjustable and non-adjustable frame works, supports, braces, etc. for supporting the merchandising system may be used.

[0026] Bracket 24 may be provided to interface or coact with frame 22. Bracket 24 may be configured to hang from frame 22 (see FIG. 4). According to an alternative embodiment, the frame and bracket may be coupled with a variety of fasteners including mechanical fasteners, adhesives, screws, bolts, etc. According to another alternative embodiment, a single frame or bracket may be used.

[0027] Drawer slides or glides (shown as glides 28) which allow base 26 to move (e.g., slide) in a horizontal direction may be provided between bracket 24 and base 26. Alternatively, a variety of other mechanisms or assemblies which allow for the movement of the base may be provided.

[0028] A strip 30 for displaying various signs, indicia, etc. may be provided along a front edge of base 26. Strip 30 may additionally hold various signage which may be replaced or updated by removing the sign from the surface. According to an exemplary embodiment, signs may be slid into a slot or slots provided on the strip. According to an alternative embodiment, the strip may be configured such that it restrains the movement of product being urged forward by the pusher assembly. According to an alternative embodiment, other members may be provided to restrain such movement.

[0029] According to various exemplary embodiments, the shelf assembly may be provided in a variety of sizes (including widths and depths). For example, the shelf assembly may be provided in a width which will span all or a portion between the support braces (e.g., braces 16 shown in FIG. 3). Other merchandising systems (e.g., baskets, peg systems, shelves, etc.) may be provided next to the merchandising system.

[0030] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, divider assembly 60 may be provided for use with merchandising system 10. Divider assembly 60 may be of a type disclosed in U.S. Application Serial No. 60/286,892, filed Apr. 26, 2001, titled “DIVIDER SYSTEM FOR SHELF OR THE LIKE,” U.S. application Ser. No. 60/313,894 filed Aug. 21, 2001 titled “SHELF DIVIDER SYSTEM,” U.S. application Ser. No. 09/815,569, filed Mar. 23, 2001 titled “SHELF TRAY SYSTEM,” and U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,385 issued May 5, 2001 titled “SHELF TRAY SYSTEM,” all of which are hereby incorporated by reference. The divider assembly may also be an adjustable width or fixed width assembly.

[0031] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 3, divider assembly 60 may be a fixed width divider assembly. Divider assembly 60 may include one or more vertical panels 62 which separate products 12. Divider assembly 60 may further include a front surface 64 which may retain product 12 against the biasing force of pusher assembly 80. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, divider assembly 60 is supported by base 26. According to various exemplary embodiments, divider assembly 60 may be configured to rest on, and be supported by base 26. According to alternative embodiments, the divider assembly may be attached to the base with adhesives, low-bond adhesives, mechanical fasteners, etc. According to another alternative embodiment, the divider assembly may be directly coupled to the drawer glides. According to other alternative embodiments, the arrangement, attachment, and orientation may be changed to provide additional, alternative mounting arrangements. Friction reducing ribs may be provided on a product supporting surface (e.g., bottom of the divider assembly), thereby allowing product to slide in the divider assembly more readily.

[0032] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1, one or more pusher assemblies 80 may also be provided. Pusher assembly 80 urges product 12 toward the front of merchandising system 10. Pusher assembly 80 includes a pusher 82, and a biasing element 84. Pusher assembly 80 may move remaining product 12 forward once a product is removed for purchase, etc. Pusher 82 may move between a first position (e.g., a position toward the back of the shelf allowing product to be loaded) and a second position (e.g., a position toward the front of the shelf where product has been completely removed).

[0033] According to a particularly preferred embodiment, pusher 82 may have one or more guides or flanges (shown as flange 86) provided on a bottom of pusher 82 which is configured to coact or engage in a slot 88 provided in divider assembly 60 (see FIG. 2).

[0034] According to a particularly preferred embodiment, biasing element 84 is a coil spring (or any element or assembly which may apply a force to a pusher) that maintains a force as it is rolled and un-rolled. According to other alternative embodiments, other biasing members, assemblies, and/or mechanisms may be used including other springs, elastomeric materials, etc.

[0035] According to an exemplary embodiment, the divider and pusher assemblies may be constructed or assembled from injected molded plastic. In other exemplary embodiments, vertical and horizontal panels may be constructed from an extruded plastic. According to an alternative embodiment, the panels may be constructed from a variety of different materials or combinations of materials such as metals, plastics, polymers, composites, etc.

[0036] As shown in FIG. 2, merchandising system 10 may further comprises one or more retainer assemblies 100 for selectively retaining pusher assembly 80 at, near, or in a first or extended position.

[0037] According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3, retainer assembly 100 comprises a coiled spring or cord, for example, similar to a telephone cord, tether coil, etc. According to an alternative embodiment, the retainer assembly may be a coiled or rolled spring similar to the biasing member. According to other alternative embodiments, a wide variety of retaining assemblies may be used, including elastomeric materials, tensioning members, metal springs, nylon cords, polymer materials, etc.

[0038] Retainer assembly 100 may be a coil, or tether coil. According to alternative embodiments, the retainer assembly may include a clip, retainer, tether, coil, latch, arm, restraint, etc. The retainer assembly is configured to coact with the pusher assembly. In an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 2, retainer assembly 100 coacts with pusher 82. According to the alternative embodiment, the retainer assembly may coact with the biasing member, a slot or channel in which the pusher assembly operates, or a variety of other attachment/interface points which may restrain the movement or motion of the pusher assemblies, or retain the pusher to a limited range of positions or motion. A variety of other means for selectively engaging and restraining the pusher assembly in an extended state may be used.

[0039] As shown in FIG. 2, one end of retainer assembly 100 is attached or coupled to bracket 24 and the other end of retainer assembly 100 is attached to pusher assembly 80. According to an alternative embodiment, the retainer assembly may be attached or coupled to a variety of locations which move relative to each other when the base is moved in or out. For example, the retainer assembly may be attached to frame 22 (shown in FIG. 2), or other frame members.

[0040] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 to 5, pusher assemblies 80 may be held toward the back to of merchandising system 10 while the shelf assembly 20 and divider assembly 60 are pulled out and being restocked (e.g., a position such as a restocking position shown in FIG. 2). Once merchandising system 10 has been restocked, and as the shelf assembly 20 and divider assembly 60 are being pushed back in (e.g., a position such as a storage position shown in FIG. 1), pusher assemblies 80 are released, and resume to push or urge product forward.

[0041] As shown in FIG. 1, product 12 is stocked in a portion of merchandising system 10. Retainer assembly 100, (in this exemplary embodiment, a coiled tether) is shown as being partially extended. As product 12 is removed, pusher 82 (or follower) advances toward the front of the shelf (e.g., toward the front of merchandising system 10). Retainer assembly 100 extends as well (see FIG. 5). If merchandising system 10 needs to be restocked (when either the product is partially or completely depleted), shelf assembly 20 may then be pulled forward (as shown in FIG. 2). When shelf assembly 20 is pulled out for restocking, retainer assembly 100 will extend to its full length and not allow pusher 82 to go beyond that point. In this position, biasing element 84 which is urging pusher 82 forward is opposed by retainer assembly 100 which is restraining pusher 82 against forward motion. When retainer assembly 100 is at its full extension, retainer assembly 100 will not extend further, and biasing element 84 will be overcome. In effect, when retainer assembly 100 is at full extension, retainer assembly 100 overcomes biasing element 84, thereby restraining pusher 84 in a position toward the back of shelf assembly 20. Product 12 may be placed onto merchandising system 10. Shelf assembly 20 may then be pushed back, retainer assembly may then relax (e.g., coil back up), and does not exert as much force on pusher 82. Accordingly, biasing element 82 overcomes retainer assembly 100, and product 12 is once again urged forward.

[0042] As shown in FIG. 2, pushers 82 are in a retracted position held by retainer assembly 100. As shelf assembly 20 and divider assembly 60 is pushed back in toward a position to display product, the motion causes retainer assembly 100 to release pusher 82. According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1, pusher 82 will be released at or near a storage position (i.e. at the back position, when the shelf is pushed in). Other positions or locations may be used to actuate or release the pushers.

[0043] It should be appreciated that a variety of other retainer assemblies may be employed in place of a coiled tether. For example, a hook fixed on the end of a rigid arm which engages the pusher may be used to prevent the pusher from moving too far forward. A function which the retainer assembly may accomplish is preventing the pusher from moving forward when the divider assembly or shelf is moved forward.

[0044] The retainer assembly may cause relative motion between the pusher and shelf when the shelf is moved. Normally there would be no external force to cause such relative motion. That is, without the retainer assembly, the forces acting on the pusher would only urge the pusher move forward toward the front of the shelf, not backward relative to the shelf as the shelf is extended or pulled out.

[0045] According to an alternative embodiment, a plurality of pushers may be coupled to a single retainer assembly.

[0046] According to other alternative embodiments, the retainer assembly may be placed in a variety of locations, including below the shelf as to keep the retainer assembly out of view.

[0047] According to another alternative embodiment, the merchandising system may be provided in a variety of sizes, configurations and orientations as to allow selective modularity in the construction and assembly of an overall merchandising system. One or two or more merchandising systems may be provided next to each other, side-by-side, above each other, in other vertical and horizontal arrangements, etc.

[0048] According to another exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 6 to 12, a merchandising system 200 may comprise a shelf assembly 220, a divider assembly 260, a pusher assembly 280, and a retainer assembly 300 (see FIG. 7).

[0049] As shown in FIG. 7, shelf assembly 220 may comprise a frame (e.g., brace, mount, etc.) shown as frame 222, and a shelf or tray shown as shelf 224.

[0050] Frame 222 may be configured to attach to another frame work having vertical braces (such as shown in FIG. 3). Frame 222 may have notches or tabs that fit into corresponding apertures in the vertical braces. This configuration allows for vertical adjustment of the merchandising system. According to an alternative embodiment, other adjustable and nonadjustable frame works for supporting the merchandising system may be used.

[0051] Frame 222 may further be provided with drawer glides 226 (e.g. slides or guides) which allow shelf 224 to slide in a horizontal direction. Alternatively, the frame may be provided with a variety of other mechanisms which allow for the movement of the shelf relative to the frame.

[0052] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 6, frame 222 includes a vertical surface 228 (e.g., stop, back-stop, etc.) located on the back of frame 222.

[0053] According to one exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 6, shelf 224 may be provided with a vertical surface 230 on the back of shelf 224. Surface 230 may be provided with one or more apertures (shown as aperture 232) and one or more slots (shown as slots 234). Slot 234 may provide for selectively indexing, reconfiguring, spacing and/or separating divider assemblies 260.

[0054] A display surface for holding various signs, indicia, etc. may be provided along the front edge of shelf 224. The display surface may hold various signage which may be replaced or updated by removing the sign from the surface. In an exemplary embodiment, signs are slid into a slot or slots provided on the display surface. The display surface may be configured such that it restrains the movement of product being urged forward by the pusher assembly. Alternatively, other members may be provided to restrain such movement.

[0055] As shown in FIG. 6, shelf assembly 220 further includes one or more divider assemblies 260 and one or more pusher assemblies 280.

[0056] According to one exemplary embodiment, divider assembly 260 comprises a vertical panel 262 and a horizontal panel 264. Pusher assembly 280 comprises a pusher 282 and a biasing element 284.

[0057] Panel 262 may be received in, provided in, or coact with a corresponding slot 234 provided in surface 230. Alternatively, the panels may be free standing on the shelf surface, or may be connected using a wide variety of connections, such as mechanical connectors, adhesives, fasteners, etc.

[0058] Panel 262 may divide and separate displayed products. Panel 262 may also be provided with a slot 266 (see FIG. 7).

[0059] Panel 264 may support the display product. Panel 264 may be provided with friction reducing protrusions or ribs (shown as ribs 268).

[0060] A portion of pusher 282 (e.g., tab 286) may be provided in or coact with slot 266, and slide along slot 266. Biasing member 284 (such as a spring) may be provided to urge pusher 282 forward, toward the front of merchandising system. Pusher assembly 280 moves the displayed product forward once a product is removed for purchase, etc.

[0061] Pusher 282 may move between a first position (e.g., an extended position allowing product to be loaded) and a second position (e.g., a retracted position where product has been completely removed).

[0062] According to various alternative embodiments, a variety of product dispensing systems may be used, including bottom pusher trays, etc.

[0063] As shown in FIGS. 7 to 10, merchandising system 200 comprises retainer assembly 300 (e.g., release assembly, trigger assembly, etc.) for selectively retaining pusher assembly 280 in a first or extended position. Release assembly 300 may comprise a latch (e.g., arm, grabber, clasp, release, lever arm, etc.) shown as latch 302 and a spring or biasing element shown as spring 304.

[0064] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 9, latch 302 has one or more protrusions 306 which are configured to coact with pusher 282 and retain pusher 282 by engaging one or more apertures 308 in pusher 282. According to an alternative embodiment, the latch may engage or coact with the pusher in a variety of different ways, including via notches, friction fit, etc. Protrusion 306 may extend into aperture 308.

[0065] Spring 304 may bias latch 302 causing latch 302 to engage or coact with pusher 282. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, spring 304 is a leaf spring. According to other alternative embodiments, the spring may be other types of springs which bias the latch to engage or coact with the pusher. The spring may be a torsional spring, a “living spring” where the latch includes a spring material which is integrally constructed, or other similar biasing mechanisms.

[0066] According to a preferred embodiment, the spring is attached to a member 310. As shown in FIG. 9, spring 304 and member 310 are provided around a post 312 on latch 302. Post 312 may have an eccentric or cammed surface, such that when latch 302 is rotated (as illustrated in FIGS. 10 to 12), spring 304 biases latch 302 to return.

[0067] One advantageous feature that merchandising system 200 provides is a selective trigger so that the pushers of the merchandising system may be held toward the back to of the merchandising system while the shelves are being restocked. Once the shelf has been restocked, and the shelf has been pushed back in, the pushers are released, and the biasing element resumes to push the pusher (and product) forward.

[0068] With the pushers in a retracted position (e.g., held there with the retainer assemblies), the pushers will be released upon motion of the shelf to a certain location or position. In an exemplary embodiment, the position the pushers will be released is in a storage position (i.e. at the back position). Other positions or locations may be used to actuate or release the pushers.

[0069] The merchandising systems provide for convenient display and merchandising of products (including replenishing and/or restocking shelves). The shelf systems generally allow the shelf to be moved between a first and second position. In the first position, the shelf is in a position for use in display, storage, and presentation of products. For example, in a grocery store, the first position would be generally used to display, store and present products to consumers. In the second position (i.e. when the shelf is extended from the normal storage position via the gliders) the shelf is easily accessible for restocking, replenishing, etc.

[0070] One or more individual pushers may be locked in place using the retainer assembly. Each pusher can be locked and held into place in the first position (i.e. extended toward the back of the shelf) with each individual retainer assembly or “trigger assembly”. Product may then be conveniently placed on the shelf, between the vertical panels of the divider/pusher system, without the pusher assembly interfering with the placement of product.

[0071] Once the shelf has been completely stocked, the shelf may then be slid back into the first position. As the shelf is slid back, the latches press up against the back stop on the frame. In an exemplary embodiment, this co-action causes the latch to rotate, thereby releasing the grasp on the pusher. This resets the pusher assemblies such that the pushers are now, once again, biased toward the front of the shelf, and will push product toward the front of the shelf assembly. (See FIGS. 10 to 12.)

[0072] According to various exemplary embodiments, the shelf assembly may be made from a variety of materials that provide sufficient support for displayed products. Materials may include steel, steel alloys, aluminum, other metal alloys, plastics, polymers, composites, etc.

[0073] According to various exemplary embodiments, the divider and pusher assemblies may be constructed and assembled from extruded or injection molded plastic. Alternatively, the divider and pusher assemblies may be constructed and assembled from a variety of different materials such as metals, plastics, polymers, composites, etc.

[0074] According to various exemplary embodiments, the retainer assemblies may be constructed from a variety different materials including steel, steel alloys, aluminum, other metal alloys, plastics, injection molded plastic, polymers, composites, etc.

[0075] It is also important to note that the construction and arrangement of the elements of the merchandising system as shown in the preferred and other exemplary embodiments is illustrative only. Although only a few embodiments of the present inventions have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements show as multiple parts may be integrally formed, the operation of the retainer assemblies may be reversed or otherwise varied, the length or width of the structures and/or members or connectors or other elements of the system may be varied, the nature or number of adjustment positions provided between the elements may be varied (e.g. by variations in the number of engagement slots or size of the engagement slots or type of engagement). It should be noted that the elements and/or assemblies of the system may be constructed from any of a wide variety of materials that provide sufficient strength or durability, in any of a wide variety of colors, textures and combinations. It should also be noted that the system may be used in association with adjustable, or any of a wide variety of other surfaces in any of a wide variety of other applications. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present inventions. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangement of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present inventions.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/59.3, 211/184, 312/71
International ClassificationA47F1/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47F1/126
European ClassificationA47F1/12D1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 25, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: DCI MARKETING, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JOHNSON, ALLEN E.;MATTHEWS, THOMAS M.;REEL/FRAME:013524/0291
Effective date: 20021111