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Publication numberUS20050167301 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/051,619
Publication dateAug 4, 2005
Filing dateJan 27, 2005
Priority dateJan 29, 2004
Also published asWO2005073973A1
Publication number051619, 11051619, US 2005/0167301 A1, US 2005/167301 A1, US 20050167301 A1, US 20050167301A1, US 2005167301 A1, US 2005167301A1, US-A1-20050167301, US-A1-2005167301, US2005/0167301A1, US2005/167301A1, US20050167301 A1, US20050167301A1, US2005167301 A1, US2005167301A1
InventorsPerry Oram
Original AssigneePerry Oram
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Packaging
US 20050167301 A1
Abstract
The disclosure concerns an improved storage facility for data-recording cards, discs, records and/or cassettes, including but not limited to CDs, DVDs, minidiscs, diskettes, digital photo albums, CD-ROMS, memory cards, records, and tape and video cassettes, and hereinafter generically referred to as “disks”. In particular, the present invention seeks to provide a storage facility which is capable of storing large numbers of disks whilst permitting convenient independent access to each disk stored therein. According to one aspect of the present invention therefore, there is provided a disk storage unit comprising a housing and one or more disk holders each of which is adapted for holding a disk securely such as to restrict movement of the disk within the holder, each of which disk holders is arranged to be supported by the housing in a retracted position in which a disk held by the disk holder is not exposed, each of which disk holders is arranged to be movable relative to the housing within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder into a deployed position in which a disk held by the disk holder is exposed for removal and/or replacement.
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Claims(18)
1. A disk storage unit comprising a housing and one or more disk holders each of which is adapted for holding a disk securely such as to restrict movement of the disk within the holder, each of which disk holders is arranged to be supported by the housing in a retracted position in which a disk held by the disk holder is not exposed, each of which disk holders is arranged to be movable relative to the housing within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder into a deployed position in which a disk held by the disk holder is exposed for removal and/or replacement of the disk.
2. A disk stroage unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein said disk holders are arranged to be supported in the retracted position in one or more elongate arrays of disk holders; and each disk holder is individually movable out of said array into the deployed position for exposing a disk in the disk holder and/or inserting a disk into the disk holder.
3. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 2 wherein the disk holders in the array are arranged to be parallel or substantially parallel with one another, such that the array forms a straight row of disk holders.
4. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein said disk holders are attached to the housing.
5. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein the disk holders are attached to said housing by way of a pivotable joint so that said disk holders are movable relative to the housing by way of a pivoting movement.
6. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 5 wherein each disk holder comprises a pair of pivoting pins for pivotal engagement with said housing.
7. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 6 wherein said pivoting pins are fixed to the disk holder and are adapted to be rotatably engaged with said housing so as to permit pivoting of the disk holder relative to the housing.
8. A disk storage unit comprising a housing and a plurality of disk holders each of which is adapted for holding a disk securely such as to restrict movement of the disk within the holder, each of which disk holders is arranged to be supported by the housing in a retracted position in which a disk held by the disk holder is not exposed, each of which disk holders is arranged to be movable relative to the housing within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder into a deployed position in which a disk held by the disk holder is exposed for removal and/or replacement, wherein said housing is provided with an elongate spindle and each of said disk holders is adapted to be mounted on said spindle and to pivot on said spindle.
9. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spindle is detachably connected at one or both ends to said housing, and is arranged to be detached from the housing in order to permit disk holders to be threaded onto and/or removed from the spindle.
10. A disk stroage unit as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spindle comprises two portions which are arranged to be coupled to one another for fixing the spindle to said housing, and uncoupled from another for releasing the spindle from said housing.
11. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spindle is shaped such that each disk holder will be located on a particular portion of the spindle.
12. A disk storage unit comprising a housing and a plurality of disk holders each of which is adapted for holding a disk securely such as to restrict movement of the disk within the holder, each of which disk holders is arranged to be supported by the housing in a retracted position in which a disk held by the disk holder is not exposed, each of which disk holders is arranged to be movable relative to the housing within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder into a deployed position in which a disk held by the disk holder is exposed for removal and/or replacement, wherein each disk holder is arranged to nest slidably against the adjacent disk holder.
13. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 12 wherein each disk holder is provided with a nesting protrusion, which is shaped and positioned so as to engage a corresponding nesting recess on an adjacent disk holder; and/or a nesting recess, which is shaped and positioned so as to engage a corresponding nesting protrusion on an adjacent disk holder.
14. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 12 wherein each disk holder is provided with a nesting protrusion on one face of the disk holder juxtaposed a first adjacent disk holder, and is provided with a nesting recess on the opposing face of the disk holder juxtaposed a second adjacent disk holder, the arrangement being such that said nesting protrusion is shaped and positioned so as to engage the nesting recess on said first adjacent disk holder, and said nesting recess is shaped and positioned so as to engage the nesting protrusion on said second adjacent disk holder.
15. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein said disk holders are be shaped for manual engagement, by comprising one or more shaped portions such as protuberances and/or indentations which are shaped for manual engagement, whereby said disk holders may be manually withdrawn or released from said retracted position into said deployed position.
16. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 1 comprising biasing means such as a spring for biasing said disk holders into the retracted position.
17. A disk storage unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein releasable latching means are provided for latching said disk holders in the deployed position.
18. A modular disk storage assembly comprising at least two identical or matching disk storage units in accordance with claim 1, which disk storage units are adapted for being vertically stacked on top of one another, wherein each unit presents an upper surface and an opposing lower surface, and wherein said upper surface is shaped to support the lower surface of another identical unit or another matching unit in said modular storage facility, and/or said lower surface is shaped to be supported by the upper surface of another identical unit or another matching unit is said modular storage facility.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns an improved storage facility for data-recording cards, discs, records and/or cassettes, including but not limited to CDs, DVDs, minidisks, diskettes, digital photo albums, CD-ROMS, memory cards, records, and tape and video cassettes, and hereinafter generically referred to as “disks”.

In particular, the present invention seeks to provide a storage facility which is capable of storing large numbers of disks whilst permitting convenient independent access to each disk stored therein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Data-recording disks such as CDs and DVDs are commonly sold and stored in cases formed from light-weight plastics materials. Jewel boxes, which are widely used for packaging CDs, comprise a flat box having one or more trays for holding CDs, and a hinged lid for opening and closing the box. Wallet-type holders, which are also extensively used, meanwhile have a number of pockets or trays for accommodating discs, which are arranged to be interleaved or folded together to close the holder, and unfolded to expose the pockets or trays.

CDs and DVDs are usually supplied either individually or in small sets, and so most CD/DVD cases are designed to accommodate no more than five discs, and very frequently no more than one disc. Thus, a collection of CDs or DVDs may include virtually as many cases as discs. It is clear that the storage of such a collection will require a disproportionate amount of shelf or cabinet space, as compared with the sizes of the actual discs involved. Furthermore, the extraction of individual discs from the collection for use can be a somewhat cumbersome operation, as each disc must be separately accessed by picking out the appropriate case, opening the case and removing the disc, and subsequently re-stowing the case. Clearly, where a number of discs are required simultaneously, this can be a time-consuming operation.

GB-A-2,388,244 discloses a device for storing a plurality of compact disks, the device having compact disk compartment elements which may swing out about a pivot.

There is accordingly an outstanding need for an improved disk storage facility, from which disks may be easily and conveniently removed and/or replaced after use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention therefore, there is provided a disk storage unit comprising a housing and one or more disk holders each of which is adapted for holding a disk securely such as to restrict movement of the disk within the holder, each of which disk holders is arranged to be supported by the housing in a retracted position in which a disk held by the disk holder is not exposed, each of which disk holders is arranged to be movable relative to the housing within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder into a deployed position in which a disk held by the disk holder is exposed for removal and/or replacement.

In order to remove a disk from the storage unit, therefore, it is necessary only to cause or allow the appropriate disk holder to move from the retracted position into the deployed position. Once the disk holder is in the deployed position, the disk stored therein is exposed for removal. After removal of the disk, the empty disk holder may be caused or allowed to move from the deployed position back into the retracted position for stowing.

According to the invention, the disk holders are arranged to be movable within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder. For the purposes of this invention, the plane of a disk is regarded as the plane of its largest flat surface; and movement of a disk holder within the plane of a disk held by the holder is regarded as movement of the disk holder in such a way that the disk is moved within the plane of its largest flat surface. In many embodiments of the invention, the disks are relatively thin, having two flat parallel surfaces; particular examples of such disks being CDs, DVDs, memory cards and diskettes. In such cases, it will be appreciated that movement of the disk within the plane of the disk will constitute “edge-wise” movement of the disk.

Such disks may, of course, be moved in an “edge-wise” fashion into and out of a stack of disks.

Preferably, said disk storage unit may be adapted to store a plurality of disks, such as at least two, or at least three, or at least four, or at least five disks, or between five and ten disks, or between ten and twenty disks. In theory, there is no upper limit on the number of disks which may be stored by the disk storage unit, although in practice the number of disks stored therein is unlikely to exceed about twenty. The disk storage unit may thus comprise a plurality of disk holders. Each disk holder may be adapted for holding one disk or more than one disk.

Suitably, said disk holders may be arranged to be supported in the retracted position in one or more elongate arrays of disk holders; and each disk holder may be individually movable out of said array into the deployed position for exposing a disk in the disk holder and/or inserting a disk into the disk holder. Thus, each disk holder in the array can be individually deployed without moving or disturbing any other disk holder in the array. The disk holders in the array may be arranged to be parallel or substantially parallel with one another, such that the array forms a straight row of disk holders. Alternatively, the disk holders in the array may be arranged such that the array forms a curving row of disk holders, such as a circular row of disk holders.

In favored embodiments of the present invention, said disk holders may be attached to the housing. Preferably, said disk holders may be arranged to be movable relative to the housing by way of a pivoting movement. Alternatively, or in addition, said disk holders may be arranged to be movable relative to the housing by way of a sliding movement, or a lifting or falling movement, or a pulling or pushing movement, or by any other type of movement.

Each disk holder may therefore be adapted to be fixed to the housing by way of any type of movable joint, such as a ball joint; or by way of an extendable arm; or by way of sliding tracks; provided that the disk holder can be moved relative to the housing between said retracted position and said deployed position within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder.

Where said disk holders are arranged to be pivotable relative to the housing, the disk holders may conveniently be attached to said housing by way of a pivotable joint. Thus, for example, each disk holder may comprise a pair of pivoting pins for pivotal engagement with said housing. In some embodiments, said pivoting pins may be fixed to the disk holder and may be adapted to be rotatably engaged with said housing so as to permit pivoting of the disk holder relative to the housing. In other embodiments, said pivoting pins may be rotatable relative to the disk holder, and may be adapted to be fixed to said housing.

Alternatively, each disk holder may be adapted to be pivotably mounted on a spindle connected to said housing. Advantageously, where said disk storage unit comprises a plurality of disk holders, said housing may be provided with an elongate spindle and each of said disk holders may be adapted to be mounted on said spindle and to pivot on said spindle. In this way, the spindle will serve both as a basis for pivoting movement of the disk holders, and as a means for holding the disk holders together in the housing. Each disk holder may therefore comprise a spindle hole for threading the disk holder onto said spindle. Said spindle hole may suitably be provided close to an outer edge of the disk holder.

Conveniently, said spindle may be arranged such that said disk holders can be threaded onto or removed from said spindle as required. Thus, said spindle may be detachably connected at one or both ends to said housing, and may be arranged to be detached from the housing in order to permit disk holders to be threaded onto and/or removed from the spindle. Advantageously, said spindle may comprise two portions which are arranged to be coupled to one another for fixing the spindle to said housing, and uncoupled from another for releasing the spindle from said housing. Said spindle may, furthermore, be shaped such that each disk holder will be located on a particular portion of the spindle. This will serve to minimize lateral sliding of the disk holders on the spindle.

In some embodiments of the present invention, each disk holder may be arranged to be maintained in slidable engagement with each adjacent disk holder in the storage unit. Engagement of the disk holders with one another will serve to stabilize the disk holders relative to one another, whilst the slidable nature of the engagement will not disrupt relative movement of the disk holders. Preferably, the engagement between the disk holders may be substantially friction-free. Suitably, the engagement between adjacent disk holders will be such that the disk holders are to a large extent spaced apart from one another, and remain in contact only at one or more defined areas of engagement.

Advantageously, therefore, each disk holder may be arranged to nest slidably against the adjacent disk holder. Thus, each disk holder may be provided with a nesting protrusion, which is shaped and positioned so as to engage a corresponding nesting recess on an adjacent disk holder; and/or a nesting recess, which is shaped and positioned so as to engage a corresponding nesting protrusion on an adjacent disk holder. In some preferred embodiments, each disk holder may be provided with a nesting protrusion on one face of the disk holder juxtaposed a first adjacent disk holder, and may be provided with a nesting recess on the opposing face of the disk holder juxtaposed a second adjacent disk holder, the arrangement being such that said nesting protrusion is shaped and positioned so as to engage the nesting recess on said first adjacent disk holder, and said nesting recess is shaped and positioned so as to engage the nesting protrusion on said second adjacent disk holder.

Where said disk holders are adapted to pivot relative to one another, said nesting protrusion may comprise an annular raised portion surrounding the center of pivot, and said nesting recess may comprise a corresponding annular recess surrounding the center of pivot. Thus, as each disk holder pivots relative to the adjacent disk holder, the nesting protrusion will rotate within the nesting recess.

Suitably, each disk holder may be adapted to grip a disk such as to restrict any movement of the disk within the disk holder. This will ensure that the disk is securely held within the disk holder and is protected from damage arising from small movements of the disk within the holder. Said disk holder may therefore comprise a central grip for gripping the center of the disk, and/or a perimeter grip for gripping the outer perimeter of the disk, and/or a surface grip for engaging the surface of the disk. Said central grip may be adapted for engaging the hole in the center of a disk. Central grips suitable for this purpose are known in the art, and are used for example in CD jewel boxes. Said perimeter grip meanwhile may be arranged for clasping the outer perimeter of a disk, such as to restrict lateral and/or rotational movement of the disk within the disk holder. Said surface grip may comprise a pair of plates which are adapted to engage a disk on either side thereof, so as to hold the plate therebetween, or may comprise any other releasable attachment means which is adapted for releasably attaching the surface of a disk.

Conveniently, said disk holders may be adapted to be manually withdrawn or released from said retracted position into said deployed position. Thus, said disk holders may be shaped for manual engagement, and may in particular comprise one or more shaped portions such as protuberances and/or indentations which are shaped for manual engagement, whereby said disk holders may be manually withdrawn or released from said retracted position into said deployed position. Said shaped portions may be adapted to be pushed and/or pulled by hand in order to cause or allow said disk holder to move from the retracted position into the deployed position.

Each of said disk holders may be adapted for holding one disk, or two disks, or more than two disks. Each disk holder may comprise a flat tray, which tray may have a recess or cut-out portion that is shaped to accommodate a disk, or may be adapted to engage a disk lying flat against the tray. It will be appreciated that a disk holder in the form of a flat tray will take up relatively little space. Moreover, such a disk holder will be readily maneuverable in accordance with the invention within the plane of a disk held by the disk holder, because this type of movement, corresponding to edgewise movement of the tray, will encounter little air resistance.

Where the disk is circular in shape, said tray may thus be provided with a circular recess or cut-out having dimensions which match the dimensions of the disk. The periphery of said recess or cut-out may be formed with one or more “thumb-print” cut-away portions, in order to expose an edge of a disk accommodated within the recess or cut-out. This will facilitate removal of disks from the recess, by permitting the edge of the disk to be grasped and/or levered out of the recess, whether by hand or otherwise.

In some embodiments, said disk storage unit may comprise biasing means such as a spring for biasing said disk holders into the retracted position. This will ensure that the disk holders will usually return to and be retained in the retracted position in the housing. Conveniently, releasable latching means may be provided for latching said disk holders in the deployed position.

In other embodiments, said disk storage unit may comprise biasing means such as a spring for biasing said disk holders into the deployed position, and a releasable latch may be provided for latching said disk holders in the retracted position within said housing.

Advantageously, regardless of the presence or absence of any biasing means, said housing may be arranged for releasably gripping said one or more disk holders in the retracted position. This will serve to improve the stability of the disk storage unit, and to guard the disk holders against accidental dislodgement. Thus, said housing may be provided with a grip which is adapted for releasably gripping said one or more disk holders in the retracted position. Said grip may, for example, comprise one or more releasable clips. Alternatively, said grip may comprise a resilient gripping member formed from a resilient material, which gripping member comprises one or more recesses each of which is adapted to receive a part of a disk holder in the retracted position, the recesses being shaped to receive and resiliently retain a disk holder in the retracted position. Optionally, said resilient material may be a rubber material, or a foam material. Conveniently, each of said recesses may comprise a slit which is adapted to receive and resiliently retain an edge of a disk in the retracted position.

Conveniently, said disk storage unit may be arranged to be stored such that each disk held by the disk storage unit is vertically or substantially vertically disposed. Thus, where said disk storage unit comprises one or more elongate arrays of disk holders, each array may be horizontally or substantially horizontally disposed.

Suitably, said disk storage unit, including said housing and/or said disk holders, may be configured such that when said one or more disk holders are supported by said housing in the retracted position, the unit is capable of being vertically stacked with other identical or matching units. This will permit convenient handling and stowing of the storage units. According to another aspect of the present invention therefore, there is provided a modular disk storage facility, comprising at least two identical or matching disk storage units in accordance with the present invention, which disk storage units are adapted for being vertically stacked on top of one another.

When the disk holders of a disk storage unit in accordance with the invention are supported by the housing in the retracted position, therefore, said unit may suitably present an upper surface and an opposing lower surface, wherein said upper surface is shaped to support the lower surface of another identical unit or another matching unit in said modular storage facility, and/or said lower surface is shaped to be supported by the upper surface of another identical unit or another matching unit is said modular storage facility. Conveniently, each of said upper surface and said lower surface may be flat or substantially flat.

Suitably, said storage unit may have a generally rectilinear configuration when said one or more disk holders are supported by said housing in the retracted position. In particular, said unit may have a generally cuboidal configuration when said one or more disk holders are supported by said housing in the retracted position. Alternatively, said unit may have a generally cylindrical configuration when said one or more disk holders are supported by said housing in the retracted position.

In preferred embodiments, said housing may define an enclosure which is adapted to accommodate said one or more disk holders in the retracted position. More specifically, said housing may comprise a box into which said disk holders may be inserted for storage in the retracted position. Thus, said upper and lower surfaces of the disk storage unit may respectively correspond to the upper and lower surfaces of said box. Conveniently, said box may have a generally rectilinear configuration, such as a cuboidal configuration. This will serve to facilitate vertical stacking of the units. Furthermore, said box may be adapted to protect the disk holders when the disk holders are in the retracted position. Said box may be formed from any strong and lightweight material, such as thick card or a plastics or low-density metal material.

In other embodiments, said housing may define a frame for supporting said one or more disk holders. When said disk holders are in the retracted position, the configuration of said disk storage unit may be defined in part by the shape of said frame, and in part by the shape of said disk holders. Alternatively, said frame may advantageously include an upper wall which is arranged to be horizontally disposed above the disk holders and which constitutes said upper surface of the disk storage unit, and a lower wall which is arranged to be horizontally disposed below the disk holders, and which constitutes said lower surface of the disk storage unit. The provision of such walls will serve to protect the disk holders and the disks stored therein.

Said disk storage unit may be adapted for storing any kind of data recording or storing disks. For the purposes of the present application, the term “disk” includes, without limitation, data-recording cards, discs, records, memory cards and cassettes, including compact discs, minidisks, floppy disks and diskettes, CD-ROMS, DVDs, digital photo albums, and tape and video cassettes for storing all kinds of data, including information, pictures, photographs, moving images, sound, music, videos, games, and programs.

Said disk storage unit or said disk storage facility may preferably be supplied with an outer wrapping or slip box, which may be decorated with suitable identifying material.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Following is a description, by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings, of embodiments of the present invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a disk storage unit in accordance with the present invention, with one disk holder in the deployed position:

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of the disk storage unit shown in FIG. 1, with all the disk holders in the retracted position.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a disk holder suitable for installation in the disk storage unit of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 shows a front view of the disk holder of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows front (a) and rear (b) views of an alternative disk holder suitable for installation in the disk storage unit of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIGS. 6(a) and 6(b) show respective right and left side views of an array of the disk holders of FIG. 5 assembled with a spindle, whilst FIG. 6(c) shows a cross-sectional side view of a part of the array, as illustrated.

Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, a disk storage unit 1 is shown which comprises a plurality of substantially identical disk holders 2 and a rectilinear (cuboidal) box housing 3. The box housing is shaped to stow the disk holders 2 in a retracted position, as shown in FIG. 2; and each disk holder is adapted to be withdrawn from the box housing 3 into a deployed position, as shown in FIG. 1.

Each disk holder 2 comprises a flat tray having a recess 5. Said recess 5 is shaped to accommodate a standard compact disc (CD), and is accordingly circular in shape, approximately 120 mm in diameter, and approximately 4 mm in depth. It will however be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to the storage of standard CDs, but encompasses the storage of other types of data-recording media, including disks, cassettes and memory cards.

The shape and dimensions of the recess 5 may be varied accordingly to accommodate any such disk, cassette or memory card, as hereinbelow discussed.

Said recess 5 includes a central grip 6, which is adapted for resiliently engaging the central hole of a standard CD, in order to retain the CD in the recess 5 and to restrict any movement (either lateral or rotational) of the CD within the recess 5. Central grips for resiliently engaging the central hole of a standard CD are known in the art, and are commonly used in CD jewel boxes and other types of CD packaging. Such grips are capable of effectively holding a CD without damaging the CD, and hence are preferred for use in the present invention. However, it will be appreciated that other types of grips, such as peripheral edge grips for holding the outside edge of a CD or other type of disk, cassette or memory card, may be used as an alternative to said central grip 6.

As seen in FIG. 3, said recess 5 is formed with a “thumb-print” cut-away portion 15 on one side thereof. The cut-away portion 15 is positioned such as to expose an edge of a CD which is accommodated within the recess 5. Thus, when a CD is accommodated within the recess 5, an edge of the CD will be exposed through said cut-away portion 15, and may thus be grasped and/or levered out of the recess 5, whether by hand or otherwise. This will serve to facilitate removal of the CD from the recess 5.

Each disk holder 2 is therefore adapted for securely but detachably engaging and holding a standard CD. Such a CD may be placed by hand (or otherwise) in the recess 5, and pushed into the recess 5 in order to permit the central grip 6 to engage with the central hole of the CD. The CD will then be firmly held and will be restricted from moving within the recess 5, by virtue of its engagement with the central grip 6. In order to release the CD from engagement with the central grip 6, an edge of the CD exposed through said cut-away portion 15 may be grasped and used to lever the CD away from the recess 5 and out of engagement with the central grip 6.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, said disk holders 2 are arranged to be stowed in said box housing 3, packed flat against one another in a parallel array. As explained in more detail hereinbelow, the disk holders 2 are pivotably mounted on an elongate spindle 7 which is fixed to the box housing 3. Each disk holder 2 is arranged to pivot independently on the spindle 7 between a retracted position in which the holder is fully stowed within said box housing 3 (FIG. 2) and a deployed position in which the recess 5 of the holder is exposed (FIG. 1). Thus, the disk holders 2 may be withdrawn from the box housing 3 one by one, as illustrated in FIG. 1, such as to permit CDs to be loaded into the holders for storage and/or removed from the holders for use.

As seen in FIG. 3, each disk holder 2 comprises a spindle hole 12, which is shaped to receive said spindle 7 in order to allow the disk holder 2 to be threaded onto the spindle 7 for pivoting thereon. When the disk holders 2 are assembled with one another in a parallel array as shown in FIG. 2, the spindle holes 12 of each disk holder 2 are aligned with one another, so that the array may be threaded as a whole directly onto the spindle 7. Said box housing 3 also comprises a pair of spindle holes 14, which are positioned to align with the spindle holes 12 of said array of disk holders 2 when the array is stowed within the box housing 3 (FIG. 2).

The spindle 7 is arranged to be releasably attached to the box housing 3. As seen in FIG. 3, said spindle 7 comprises an elongate spindle member 8, which is adapted to releasably engage a plug member 9 by way of a male/female coupling. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, said elongate spindle member 8 is a female member whilst said plug member 9 is a male member; but it will readily be appreciated that these facets may be reversed, and indeed any type of releasable coupling between the elongate spindle member 8 and the plug member 9 may be used. Each of said elongate spindle member 8 and said plug member 9 is formed with a head 10, so that said members 8 and 9 can engage with one another to form an elongate spindle 7 having a head 10 at each end thereof, as best seen in FIG. 6(c).

The length of said spindle 7, more specifically the length of said elongate spindle member 8, is selected so that the spindle can be threaded through an array having any chosen number of said disk holders 2, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, or more than 20 disk holders. In use, the array of disk holders is placed within said box housing 3, such that the spindle holes 12 of the disk holders are aligned with the spindle holes 14 of the box housing; and said elongate spindle member 8 is threaded through one of said spindle holes 14 in the box housing 3 and through the spindle holes 12 of the array of disk holders within the box housing 3, until the head 10 of the elongate spindle member 8 abuts against the outer wall of the box housing 3, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Thereafter, the plug member 9 is threaded through the other spindle hole 14 of said box housing 3, until the head 10 of the plug member 9 abuts against the outer wall of the box housing 3. The respective lengths of members 8 and 9 are selected such that in this position, the female end of said member 8 mates with the male end of said member 9, thereby forming said spindle 7. It will be appreciated that the assembly of the spindle 7, disk holders 2 and box housing 3 may be taken apart by disengaging said spindle member 8 from said plug member 9, and withdrawing these members 8 and 9 from the array of disk holders 8 and box housing 3.

In use, therefore, the spindle 7 serves both to hold the array of disk holders together and to attach the array securely to the box housing 3. Each disk holder 2 can pivot independently on the spindle between said retracted position (FIG. 2) and said deployed position (FIG. 1).

The spindle 7 may optionally be provided with external beading or tracking (not shown) in order to hold each disk holder 2 in a specific position on the spindle 7.

In order to further stabilize the disk holders with respect to one another in said array, the disk holders are shaped so as to nest against one another adjacent said spindle holes 12. More specifically, the front face of each disk holder (FIGS. 4 and 5 a) is provided with an annular shoulder 20 surrounding said spindle hole 12; whilst the back face of each disk holder (FIG. 5 b) is provided with a corresponding annular nesting rim 22 surrounding said spindle hole 12. The inner diameter of the nesting rim 22 corresponds to the outer diameter of the annular shoulder 20, such that the annular shoulder 20 on the front face of one disk holder 2 in the array can nest within the annular nesting rim 22 on the back face of the adjacent disk holder 2 in the array. Furthermore, as seen in FIG. 6 c, the back face of each disk holder is also provided with an inner annular rim 24 having a smaller diameter and a smaller height than said nesting rim 22. The difference between the height of the nesting rim 22 and the inner rim 24 is however less than the height of the annular shoulder 20. Thus, when the annular shoulder 20 of a first disk holder A nests within said nesting rim 22 of a second disk holder B, the shoulder 20 of the first disk holder A will seat against the inner rim 24 of the second disk holder B, and a small space will be maintained between the front face of the first disk holder A and the back face of the second disk holder B, as seen in FIG. 6 c. Thus, adjacent disk holders are held apart from one another, hence avoiding scratching or friction from arising between adjacent disk holders as the disk holders move relative to one another.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the disk storage unit 1 is adapted to be stored such that the disk holders 2 are disposed in a vertical plane and are arranged to be deployed by way of a downwards movement from the retracted position into the deployed position. To assist with manual deployment, each disk holder 2 is provided with a protruding tab 18, which is shaped to be grasped by the hand for pulling the disk holder downwards from the retracted position into the deployed position.

In order to assist with retaining the disk holders 2 in the box housing 3, a resilient foam padding (not shown) is provided inside the box housing. The resilient foam padding is attached to the inside top wall or inside rear wall of the box housing 3, and is provided with an array of parallel slits, which slits are respectively shaped and positioned so as to engage said array of disk holders 2 when the disk holders are in the retracted position (FIG. 2). The arrangement is such that when any one disk holder is pivoted from the deployed position (FIG. 1) into the retracted position (FIG. 2), the disk holder will come into contact with said resilient foam padding on the inside top wall or inside rear wall of the box housing 3, and will slot into a corresponding slit provided in said resilient foam padding. The resilient nature of the foam padding ensures that the disk holder will be clasped within the slit, and will therefore be stably retained within the box housing 3. The foam padding furthermore serves to insulate adjacent disk holders from one another. When the disk holders are in the retracted position (FIG. 2), each disk holder is engaged with a separate slit in said foam padding, and hence is precluded from inadvertently knocking against and potentially damaging any adjacent disk holder in the box housing 3.

In use, the disk holders 2 will usually be stowed within the box housing 3, as shown in FIG. 2. The disk holders 2 are thus protected by the box housing 3. The box housing 3 ensures that the disk storage unit is conveniently shaped and sized for stacking, either with other similar disk storage units, whether in an outer slip box or not, or upon shelves. Furthermore, the box housing 3 ensures that the disk storage unit may be easily handled and transported. The outer periphery of each disk holder within the disk storage unit may be labeled or decorated in order to enable the CD stored therein to be identified whilst the disk holder 2 is retained in the retracted position.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7837125Dec 27, 2007Nov 23, 2010Apple Inc.Methods and systems for encoding a magnetic stripe
US8540160Sep 9, 2010Sep 24, 2013Apple Inc.Card carrier having extended transaction card
US8777110Mar 3, 2008Jul 15, 2014Apple Inc.Multi-pack gift card and activation thereof
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/307, G9B/33.019, 211/40, 206/308.1, 211/41.12
International ClassificationG11B33/04
Cooperative ClassificationG11B33/0472
European ClassificationG11B33/04D3B