US 20030111657 A1
A barrier post for a personnel barrier system, includes a column (6) that, in use, is arranged substantially vertically, a support base (4) at the lower end of the column and a divider assembly (8) towards the upper end of the column. The column (6) is at least partially hollow and has an internal chamber (22) defined by a circumferential wall, said wall being at least partially transparent.
1. A barrier post for a personnel barrier system, including a column that, in use, is arranged substantially vertically, a support base at the lower end of the column and a divider assembly towards the upper end of the column, wherein the column is at least partially hollow and has an internal chamber defined by a circumferential wall, said wall being at least partially transparent.
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 As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the barrier post 2 comprises a support base 4, a column 6, a tape cartridge 8 and a support tube 9.
 The tape cartridge 8 is of a conventional design and includes a substantially cylindrical housing 10 having two support ribs 12 that extend radially outwards from the cylindrical wall of the housing. A divider tape is wound onto a spring-loaded reel (not shown) that is mounted within the housing and extends outwards through a slot in one of the ribs. A connector device 14 is attached to the free end of the tape. A complementary attachment formation 16 is provided on the other rib 12, on the opposite side of the housing. The divider tape can be extended from the top of one post and connected to the attachment formation on another post a few metres away, thereby creating a personnel barrier.
 The column 6, which is shown in detail in FIG. 2, is made of a transparent rigid plastics material such as polycarbonate and comprises a hollow cylindrical tube with an upper end 18 and a lower end 20. The cylindrical wall of the column 6 defines an internal chamber 22 that extends substantially the entire length of the column 6. The column is approximately 950 mm in length and has a diameter of approximately 65 mm.
 The support tube 9 is made of a rigid plastic material and is slightly smaller in diameter and length than the column, allowing it to fit into the chamber 22, as shown in FIG. 3. The tube 9 may be used to support a rolled sheet of paper or similar printed material (for example a poster) within the chamber 22, allowing a design (for example, an advertisement, pattern or colour) printed on the paper to be seen through the clear walls of the column 6.
 At the upper end 18 of the column, formations 24 are provided for receiving the tape cartridge 8. The receiving formations 24 comprise two symmetrical U-shaped slots, provided on opposite sides of the column. The slots are approximately 80 mm in length and approximately 8 mm wide. The tape cartridge 8 fits into the top of the column and is aligned and supported by means of the two ribs 12, which fit into the slots.
 At the lower end 20 of the column, locating formations are provided for locating the column in the support base 4. The locating formations include two symmetrical U-shaped slots 26 provided on opposite sides of the tube and two square windows 28, which are situated approximately 20 mm above the lower end 20 of the column.
 The base 4, which is shown in detail in FIGS. 4 and 5, is made of a dense material such as recycled rubber composites and is sufficiently large and heavy to prevent the post from tipping over in normal circumstances. The base 4 comprises a plate-like member that is essentially dome shaped and has two handles 30, which are located towards the edges of the base. In the centre of the base there is provided a vertical passageway 34 that is arranged to receive and support the column 6 in an upright position. Two inwardly-extending detents 36 are provided on the walls of the passageway to engage the windows 28 in the lower end of the column. At 90° to the detents 36 there are two symmetrical vertical ribs 38, which engage the slots 26. Four shallower ribs 40 are also provided, which engage and support the cylindrical wall of the column 6.
 To assemble the base 4 and column 6, the column 6 is inserted into the passageway 34, so that the slots 26 at the base of the column are aligned with the ribs 38. The column 6 is then pushed downward so that the base and column both deform slightly, allowing the detents 36 to engage the windows 28. A tool may be provided for depressing the detents to allow the column to be removed from the base.
 A printed sheet (a poster, advertisement or other suitable material) is then wrapped around the support tube 9 and inserted into the chamber 22 within the column 6. The tape cartridge 8 is then located in the upper end 18 of the column, thereby sealing the printed sheet within the column.
 The clear walls of the column 6 allow the printed sheet to be seen. This allows the barrier post to be used for advertising purposes, or it may simply be coloured or patterned to complement the colour scheme of its surroundings.
 The support tube 9 is an optional component and may be omitted. If the rolled sheet of paper or printed matter is sufficiently resilient, it will support itself when placed in the column 6, so that it fits exactly to the inner surface of the column.
 Alternatively, the printed sheet and the support tube may be omitted and the chamber 22 may instead be filled with other items to produce different effects. For example, the tube can be filled with small objects (e.g. sweets or lottery balls) for marketing purposes, or with battery powered lights, or with other materials that produce an aesthetically pleasing effect. Further, if the lower end of the tube is sealed, it may be filled water or other liquids, which may be coloured, or filled with bubbles or floating objects (in the manner of a decorative “lava lamp”).
 Various modifications of the barrier post are of course possible. For example, the tape cartridge 8 can be replaced with supports for other types of divider, such as ropes, rails and chains, and the support base may be removable or permanently attached. The top and base of the column can be modified to receive different shaped divider supports and bases. The shape and size of the column may also be varied. Further, the column may be only partially clear, for example including a clear upper part and an opaque lower part, or it may include a number of clear windows.
 An embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a barrier post, including a column, a tape cartridge and a support base;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the column;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view showing the upper part of the column, a tape cartridge and a support member;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the base along line IV-IV of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the base along line V-V of FIG. 1.
 The present invention relates to a barrier post and in particular, but not exclusively, a barrier post for use in a personnel barrier system.
 Personnel barrier systems are used in many situations to control the movement of people, for example for pedestrian guidance, to control queues, and to restrict movement and/or access. Such barrier systems typically include a set of barrier posts that can be interconnected by ropes, tapes or rails. Each barrier post includes an upright column supported by a heavy base to prevent the column from tipping over.
 The columns are normally made from metal (e.g. steel or aluminium) or a rigid plastics material, and usually have a neutral colour (e.g. grey or silver) to avoid clashing with the colour scheme of their surroundings. The posts cannot readily be adapted to complement the colour scheme of their surroundings.
 Personnel barrier systems are sometimes used in shops, for example to control queues at tills. Such a situation provides an ideal opportunity for marketing goods or services, or advertising generally. However, existing barrier systems are not well suited to this purpose.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a barrier post for a personnel barrier system that mitigates at least some of the aforesaid disadvantages. In particular, it is a preferred object of the invention to provide a barrier post that can be used for advertising and promotional purposes and/or that can be adapted to different colour schemes.
 According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a barrier post for a personnel barrier system, including a column that, in use, is arranged substantially vertically, a support base at the lower end of the column and a divider assembly towards the upper end of the column, wherein the column is at least partially hollow and has an internal chamber defined by a circumferential wall, said wall being at least partially transparent.
 A printed poster or advertisement (or any other suitable goods or materials) may be inserted into the chamber and seen through the clear walls of the column. This allows the barrier post to be used for advertising purposes, or it may simply be coloured or patterned to complement the colour scheme of its surroundings.
 Advantageously, substantially the entire column is made of a transparent material, which is preferably a clear plastics material, for example polycarbonate. The column preferably comprises a substantially cylindrical tube. Advantageously, chamber extends substantially the entire length of the column.
 The barrier post may include a support member for insertion into the chamber. The support member preferably comprises a rigid tube. This ensures that any printed materials inserted into the column are supported correctly.
 The divider assembly may include a retractable tape cartridge. Alternatively, the divider assembly may use ropes, chains or rails. Preferably, the divider assembly is removable to provide access to the chamber.
 The support base may include a heavy plate-like member. Preferably, the support base is removable.
 According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a column for a barrier post as defined above, the column being at least partially hollow and having an internal chamber defined by a circumferential wall, said wall being at least partially transparent, the column having at a first end thereof a receiving means for a divider assembly and at a second end thereof locating means for a support base.
 Advantageously, the receiving means includes a substantially cylindrical wall having at least one opening therein. The opening preferably comprises a slot that extends axially from the first end of the column.
 Advantageously, the locating means includes a locking formation for engagement with a complementary locking formation on the base.