BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a roll-out storage assembly having the storage unit mounted upon an overhanging track assembly. Specifically, the present invention is a roll-out storage assembly containing one or more storage units which are aligned in a stacked and stored condition with each of the storage units mounted to a pair of track rollers to permit movement of the storage unit from a stored position to an accessible position to provide access to the storage unit.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It has been suggested that storage systems comprised of movable storage sections be utilized to provide for the storage of various articles. Such storage systems generally utilize rows of storage shelves supported upon a common base and movable upon track mechanisms. The length of the parallel tracks is equal to the total width dimension of the various storage units or segments plus the width of an access aisle-way by which a user may selectively position the segmented units to provide access to the desired storage unit. See for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,439,281 for one such storage structure. Although these storage structures attempt to provide a compact storage system, such structures require the utilization of tracks and wheels which interface to accomplish the movement of the storage units relative to one-another. Moreover, such tracks must be positioned and aligned in a level planar configuration to provide support for the storage units. Accordingly, the placement and installation of such systems upon uneven floors or surfaces require leveling structures and expensive installation costs in mounting such storage systems for use. Also, the requirement that the storage system must provide for an aisle-way for access to a specific storage shelf reduces the amount of shelving area available for storage within the storage area.
Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a roll-out modular storage assembly and system having a plurality of storage units which provide maximum storage of materials within a specified storage area while eliminating the need for aisle or passageway spacing between the storage units to permit access to the individual storage units.
In accordance with the present invention, the roll-out storage assembly and system is designed to provide a maximum of storage shelf space within a defined storage area. The roll-out storage assembly is comprised, preferably, of a plurality of shelving units that are each suspended from roller tracks which are mounted above each individual shelving unit. The roller tracks are structurally arranged to be engaged by rollers that are mounted to the upper portion or frame extensions of each storage unit and which permit the shelving unit to move outwardly from the storage area to permit access to the shelving unit. Preferably, the storage assembly is comprised of two or more storage units that are mounted and aligned to roll inwardly and outwardly upon the roller tracks. However, it is within the scope of the present invention that a single storage unit may be suspended and mounted within a confined space and movable inwardly into and outwardly out from the confined space to provide, respectively, storage and access to the storage unit.
The bottom surfaces of the storage units include casters mounted along the corners and sides thereof to supplement and to provide additional support for the load mounted onto the shelves of the storage unit. Although, it is preferred that the bulk of the weight of the stored materials on the storage unit be supported by the engagement of the rollers in the roller track of the overhead track assembly, the engagement of the casters to the floor supplements and provides additional support for the loaded storage unit. This permits the roll-out storage assembly system in accordance with the present invention to provide maximum storage within a defined storage area by eliminating the need for aisle-ways or passageways to the units to permit placing and removing stored articles from the shelving units.
In a further embodiment of the present invention, a reversible electric motor is mounted between the parallel roller tracks and operatively connected through a rail system with a slide member. The slide member is coupled to the drive chain, which is driven by the reversible electric motor. The slide member is attached to the storage unit. Upon energization of the electric motor, the chain is driven to move the slide member and coupled storage unit is moved outwardly along the roller track, as desired. This outward movement positions the shelving unit in a position so that the storage shelves are exposed to permit access to the shelves. This movable feature of the present invention is particularly advantageous for elderly users or those having limited physical strength in selectively moving a predetermined storage unit outwardly to permit access to the material stored on the shelves of the storage unit.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention consists of certain novel features and structural details hereinafter fully described, illustrated in the accompanying drawings, and particularly pointed out in the appended claims, it being understood that various changes in the details may be made without departing from the spirit, or sacrificing any of the advantages of the present invention.
For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the present invention, there is illustrated in the accompanying drawings a preferred embodiment thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, the invention, its construction and operation, and many of its advantages will be readily understood and appreciated.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the roll-out storage assembly in accordance with the present invention illustrating the positioning of one of the storage units to permit access thereto;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a shelving unit and the roller tracks in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a front view of the storage assembly illustrating the alignment of the shelving units which comprise the roll-out storage assembly in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross sectional view of the mounting of the roller members to the frame of the shelving unit in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4 in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a view taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 4 in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a side view of one of the shelving units resting in the stored position in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 8 is a side view showing the movement of a shelving unit from the stored position to an extended position wherein access is provided to the shelves of the storage unit in accordance with the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like numerals have been used throughout the several views to designate the same or similar parts, in FIG. 1 a roll-out storage assembly 10 in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. As shown in FIG. 3, the roll-out storage assembly 10 is comprised of a plurality of storage shelving units, with the storage shelving units being numbered as 12, 14, 16 and 18. Specifically in FIG. 1, there is shown a roll-out storage assembly wherein three storage shelving units 12, 14 and 16 are illustrated, with shelving units 12 and 14 in the stored position and shelving unit 16 in the extended exposed position. As shown, a user may readily have access to the shelves 24 of the shelving unit 16.
As shown in FIG. 2, the storage shelving unit 12, 14, 16 or 18 is comprised of a plurality of corner frame members 20 and intermediate frame members 22 extending upwardly from a base shelf member 23. Preferably, the corner and intermediate frame members 20 and 22 contain a plurality of openings 25 therein which permit the user to adjust the distance or gap between each of the mounted shelves 24 and the lower base shelf member 23, as desired. Located and secured to the upper ends of each of the corner frame members 20 and the intermediate frame members 22 are U-shaped extension members 26. The U-shaped extension members 26 are structurally arranged to be adjustably mounted to the upper ends of the corner frame members 20 and the intermediate frame members 22 to precisely suspend the storage unit upright with the minimal weight upon the casters 31. The U-shaped member 26 includes an opening 27 therein, as shown in FIGS. 4-6, which is structurally arranged to receive a roller shaft member 28 onto which is mounted a rotatable roller member 29.
As shown in FIG. 2, the roll-out storage lower surface 11 of the storage unit 12 includes a plurality of rubber casters 31 mounted thereon which supplement and provide additional support for the loaded roll-out storage unit, as desired. However, it is preferred in the present invention that the bulk of the weight of the goods stored on the roll-out storage units are supported by the engagement of the roller members 29 on the roller track 30, as shown in FIGS. 3-4 and 7-8, as will hereinafter be described.
As shown in FIG. 1, the roll-out storage assembly 10 includes storage shelf units 12, 14 and 16. The storage shelf unit 16 is positioned outwardly from the stored position of shelf units 14 and 16. The shelf unit 16 is in the extended position to permit access to the shelving unit 16. The roller tracks 30 are preferably mounted to the ceiling or suspended from the ceiling in such a manner to be structurally engaged by adjacent storage shelving units, as shown in FIG. 3 and enlarged FIG. 4. The roller track 30 (FIGS. 2 and 4) is substantially a Y-shaped member with each of the diverging lower portions 34 structurally arranged to provide an U-shaped channel 35 which receive and engage roller members 29 located on adjacent sides of adjacent storage shelving units, as shown in FIG. 3. However, the roller track structurally arranged to receive the roller members 29 on the outside of the aligned units, is a single U-shaped channel.
In FIG. 7, the roll-out storage unit 16 is positioned in the stored position, as represented in FIG. 3. If access is desired to the storage shelving unit 16, the storage shelving unit 16 is moved to the outward, extended position, as shown in FIG. 8. This permits the user of the storage assembly to have access to all shelves of the storage assembly, without the need of utilizing an aisle or passageway between adjacent storage shelving units. Accordingly, the present invention provides for maximum storage of articles within a predetermined sized area by eliminating the necessity of requiring space for an aisle or passageway to provide access between adjacent positioned storage shelving units.
It is within the scope of the present invention that the actual size and number of shelves per unit may vary depending upon particular space requirements and the type of goods to be stored. For purposes of illustrating the attainment of maximum storage within a given area, if it is assumed that the present invention envisions a four-unit storage shelving system positioned in a storage space area 9 feet wide, 7 feet long, or deep, and 7 feet high having a total storage area of 441 cubic feet.
The present invention provides a total storage are of approximately 378 cubic feet. This is calculated by providing a distance of 2.5 inches between each of the aligned storage shelving units and between the end units and the walls of the area. Thus, the non-used space is approximately 63 cubic feet of the storage system. If the width of each shelf is 7 feet with a depth of 2 feet, each module or storage unit provides 56 square feet of shelf space while providing a total area of 94.5 cubic feet. This is calculated by having a depth of 7 feet, a width of 2 feet and a height of 7 feet, less the approximately 3 inches at the bottom of the unit where the casters are not mounted. When compared to a system that requires an aisle-way or passageway to permit access to the stored storage units, the present invention provides maximum storage within a particular storage area by limiting the need for aisles or passageways to the units while permitting the placement or removal of storage objects from each of the shelving units.
As shown in the present invention, each of the roller tracks 30 would be 14 feet long to permit selective roll-out of each storage shelving unit moved from the stored position to the outward position to permit access by the user. Also, as shown in FIG. 7, it is possible that one side of the storage shelving unit 16 may include cross brace members 32 which reinforce and provide structural integrity to the storage unit. In a further embodiment of the present invention, in FIGS. 7 and 8 a reversible electric motor 36 is provided and is positioned between the parallel mounted roller tracks 30. The motor 36 is operatively connected through a rail system 38, drive chain 40 and slide member 39 to the shelving unit 12. The slide member 39 is coupled to the drive chain 40 driven by gear member 42 of the reversible electric motor 36. The slide member is engaged with the storage shelving unit 16 and when the motor is engaged, the drive chain 40 is moved and the associated slide member 39 and the storage unit 16 are also moved from the inward stored position (FIG. 7) to the outward position (FIG. 8). This outward movement positions the shelving unit 16 in a position where the storage shelves are exposed to permit access to them, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 8. This movable feature is particularly advantageous for elderly users or for those having limited physical strength in selectively moving one or more of the storage units outwardly to permit access to the shelves of the storage unit. When the user has completed loading or unloading of materials or items from the unit 16, the reversible electric motor is engaged and the drive chain is reversed and the storage unit is moved from the outward position (FIG. 8) to the inward stored position, as shown in FIG. 7.