FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to racks. In particular, this invention relates to a nesting rack which reduces storage space requirements.
So-called “bakery racks” are widely used in commercial premises such as bakeries, to temporarily store products such as baked goods. A typical bakery rack comprises a rectangular side frames welded to a base frame mounted on castors, having a series of pan supports vertically aligned on the sides of the frame. A pan on which baked goods, for example pastries, are baked can be removed from the oven and placed in the bakery rack for storage, where the pan is supported along its side edges by the pan supports.
Such bakery racks provide the advantages of being relatively lightweight, since the baking pan itself forming a shelf when placed on the pan supports and therefore built-in shelves are not required. Further, the open design of bakery racks allows for baked products to cool properly, without locking in moisture or humidity.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
However, bakery racks take up a significant amount of floor space. An industrial or commercial premises such as a bakery may require many bakery racks to handle the daily production and inventory of baked goods, and at any particular point in time some of the bakery racks will be in use and some will be in storage. However, a conventional rectangular bakery rack takes up the same amount of space whether it is in use or in storage. Bakery racks are typically made from metal, for example aluminum, and are thus heavy and usually quite bulky, so reorienting bakery racks for stacking or to maximize space usage in a storage area is unfeasible. As such, bakery racks must be left upright on the floor even when not in use. In many industrial and especially commercial premises, floor space is at a premium and at any time when a number of bakery racks are in storage and not in use, a substantial amount of floor space is wasted.
The present invention provides a bakery rack having a configuration which allows the bakery rack to abut another like bakery rack in a nested relation when stored. Accordingly, while the side-to-side space taken up by the stored bakery rack is the same as in the case of any conventional rectangular bakery rack, the front-to-back space required for storage is significantly reduced where a number of bakery racks are stored nested one in the other.
In the bakery rack according to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a pair of substantially identical side frames on which the pan supports are mounted, are in turn on a base comprising base members which are substantially identical to one another. The base members are also substantially identical to top members ion a top frame affixed to the top of the bakery rack, which helps to maintain the side frames in proper vertical alignment. A cross brace extends between the rear end of one base member and the front end of the other base member, and a cross brace similarly extends between the rear end of one top member and the front end of the other top member. Each cross brace is further supported by truss members, to maintain the selected angular orientation of the cross brace in the top or bottom frame. Also, in the preferred embodiment a secondary cross brace extends between a rear portion of one side frame and a front portion of the other side frame.
A bakery rack according to one embodiment of the invention is thus easy and inexpensive to manufacture, providing both lateral and vertical symmetry and utilizing substantially identical components for many different purposes. The invention at the same time provides a nesting rack which takes up significantly less storage space than a conventional rectangular bakery rack.
In a further embodiment of the invention, the top frame is mounted inside the side frames, and the side frames have curved shoulders.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention thus provides a rack, comprising a base frame comprising a pair of spaced apart base members connected by a cross brace extending from a rear portion of one base member to a front portion of the other base member; side frames mounted to the base frame, each side frame comprising a series of pan supports affixed in vertically spaced relation to front and back risers; and a top frame mounted to the side frames, comprising a pair of spaced apart top members connected by a cross brace extending from a rear portion of one top member to a front portion of the other top member; whereby a plurality of racks can be stored in nested relation with a portion of one rack disposed between the side frames of another rack.
In drawings which illustrate by way of example only a preferred embodiment of the invention,
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bakery rack according to a first embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the bakery rack of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a front elevation of the bakery rack of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the bakery rack of FIG. 1, showing a plurality of bakery racks in nested relation.
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the bakery rack of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of a bakery rack according to the invention.
FIG. 7 is a side elevation of the bakery rack of FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a front elevation of the bakery rack of FIG. 6.
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the bakery rack of FIG. 6.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 10 is a bottom plan view of the bakery rack of FIG. 6.
A first embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 5. In this embodiment, the bakery rack 10 according to the invention comprises a pair of side frames 20 mounted to a base 30 and capped by a top 40.
The side frames 20 are preferably substantially identical, and each comprises front and back risers 22, 24 and an intermediate riser 26 which is generally centred between the front and back risers 22, 24. Affixed, for example welded, to the risers 22, 24, 26, are a series of pan supports 28 which may conventionally comprise a supporting plate 28 a depending substantially orthogonally from a back plate 28 b. In the preferred embodiment the pan supports are substantially evenly spaced along the risers 22, 24, 26. All components of the side frames are preferably formed from food grade stainless steel, but may alternatively be formed from plastic or another suitable material.
The risers 22, 24, 26 are mounted on and affixed, for example welded, to a base frame 30 comprising base members 32. The base members 32 are preferably substantially identical, and each has mounted to its underside at the front and rear ends, respectively, a castor 34 to facilitate transporting the rack 10 about a commercial premises. The base members 32 are connected by a cross brace 36 which is suitably affixed, for example welded, to a rear portion of one base member 32 and a front portion of the other base member 32. Trusses 38 are similarly affixed between the cross brace 36 and each respective base member 32, to maintain the selected angular orientation of the cross brace 36 relative to the base members 32 and form a structurally secure, integrated base frame 30.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 5, the risers 22, 24, 26 are affixed at their top ends to a top frame comprising a pair of top members 42. The top members 42 are connected by a cross brace 46, which is suitably affixed, for example welded, to a rear portion of one top member 42 and a front portion of the other top member 42. The top frame 40, which is thus substantially identical to the bottom frame 30, serves to retain the top ends of the side frames 20 in spaced apart relation and to hold the side frames 20 in a vertical orientation.
In the preferred embodiment a secondary cross brace 50 is affixed to side brace members 54, which are respectively affixed on one side between the front riser 22 and the intermediate riser 26, and on the other side between the rear riser 24 and the intermediate riser 26. The secondary cross brace 50 is preferably disposed in a bottom portion of the rack 10, and advantageously immediately beneath a pair of pan supports 28 so as not to interfere with the loading of the rack 10.
In use, the bakery rack 10 serves as a storage area for pans 2, which for example may be used for baking and subsequently storing baked goods. The pan 2 is slid onto pan supports 28, as shown in phantom in FIG. 2, and a series of pans 2 can thus be stacked into the rack 10 for cooling and temporary storage of the baked goods.
When the rack 10 is not in use, it can be wheeled up against another rack so that the racks 10 abut in nested relation, as shown in FIG. 4. This configuration occupies considerably less floor space than the cumulative floor space occupied by each individual rack 10.
A further embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 6 to 10. In this embodiment the top frame 40 is affixed to interior surfaces of top rails 60. The ends of each top rail 60 join the front and rear risers 22, 24 at curved shoulder portions 62, so affixing the top frame 40 to the interior surfaces of the top rails 60 allows for a more secure attachment between the top and side frames 60, 20. The construction and use of this embodiment of the invention are otherwise as previously described in relation to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 5.
Various embodiments of the present invention having been thus described in detail by way of example, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the invention. The invention includes all such variations and modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims.