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Publication numberUS20050199563 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/078,106
Publication dateSep 15, 2005
Filing dateMar 11, 2005
Priority dateMar 12, 2004
Publication number078106, 11078106, US 2005/0199563 A1, US 2005/199563 A1, US 20050199563 A1, US 20050199563A1, US 2005199563 A1, US 2005199563A1, US-A1-20050199563, US-A1-2005199563, US2005/0199563A1, US2005/199563A1, US20050199563 A1, US20050199563A1, US2005199563 A1, US2005199563A1
InventorsGary Richter, M. Bryson
Original AssigneeRichter Gary M., Bryson M. S.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandising system
US 20050199563 A1
Abstract
A merchandising system for presenting and storing articles on a platform comprising a base configured to move between a first position and a second position and a pusher slidably coupled to the base and providing force on the articles. The base comprises one or more grooves configured to engage a portion of the platform when the base is in the second position thereby at least partially restraining the base from moving beyond the second position when the base is moved from the second position to the first position. The base may be moved from the second position to the first position.
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Claims(22)
1. A merchandising system for presenting and storing articles on a platform comprising:
a base configured to move between a first position and a second position relative to the platform;
a pusher slidably coupled to the base and providing force on the articles;
wherein the base comprises one or more grooves configured to engage a portion of the platform when the base is in the second position thereby at least partially restraining the base from moving beyond the second position when the base is moved from the second position to the first position; and
wherein the base may be moved from the second position to the first position.
2. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base is configured to be moved from the first position by pulling the base toward the second position until the one or more grooves engage the portion of the platform.
3. The merchandising system of claim 2 wherein the base is held in the second position when the one or more grooves engage the portion of the platform.
4. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base further comprises an extension positioned at a front end of the base for engaging the platform.
5. The merchandising system of claim 4 wherein the extension is located at a front end of an underside of the base.
6. The merchandising system of claim 5 wherein the extension is configured to engage the platform at the first position so that the base is restricted from moving beyond the first position when the base is moved from the second position to the first position.
7. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base comprises an assembly for advancing the articles from a back end to a front end of the base.
8. The merchandising system of claim 7 wherein the assembly for advancing the articles comprises the pusher that provides a biasing force against the articles.
9. The merchandising system of claim 8 wherein the assembly for advancing the articles provides a biasing force from the back end of the base toward the front end of the base along a slot located on the base.
10. The merchandising system of claim 9 wherein the base further comprises one or more ribs for reducing friction between the articles and the base as the articles advance along the base.
11. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base comprises a front to retain the articles.
12. The merchandising system of claim 12 wherein the front comprises a plate configured to display information about the articles.
13. A merchandising system for presenting and storing products on a platform comprising:
a base configured to move between a first position and a second position;
an assembly for advancing the products from a back end to a front end of the base;
wherein the base comprises a retaining mechanism configured to engage a portion of the platform when the base is in the second position so that the base is at least partially restrained from moving beyond the second position when moving the base from the first position to the second position; and
wherein the base further comprises an extension positioned on an underside of the base at the front end of the base configured to engage the platform at the first position so that the base is restricted from moving beyond the first position when the base is moved from the second position to the first position.
14. The merchandising system of claim 13 wherein the first position is a stowed position on the platform.
15. The merchandising system of claim 14 wherein the second position is an extended position relative to the platform.
16. The merchandising system of claim 15 wherein the second position is a stocking position.
17. The merchandising system of claim 13 wherein the assembly for advancing the articles comprises a pusher that provides biasing force against the articles.
18. The merchandising system of claim 17 wherein the assembly for advancing the articles provides a biasing force from the back end of the base toward the front end of the base along a slot located on the base.
19. A merchandising system for presenting and storing products on a platform comprising:
a base configured to move between a stowed position and a stocking position;
an assembly for advancing the products from a back end to a front end of the base;
wherein the base comprises one or more portions configured to engage the platform when the base is in the stocking position so that the base is at least partially restrained from moving beyond the stocking position when moving the base from the stowed position to the stocking position; and
wherein the base is configured to move from the stowed position by pulling the base toward the stocking position until the one or more portions configured to engage the platform engage the platform.
20. The merchandising system of claim 19 wherein the one or more portions configured to engage the platform comprise at least one groove.
21. The merchandising system of claim 20 wherein the base further comprises a ridge positioned on an underside of the base at the front end of the base configured to engage the platform at the stowed position so that the base is restricted from moving beyond the stowed position when the base is moved from the stocking position to the stowed position.
22. The merchandising system of claim 19 further comprising one or more fasteners on the underside of the base to provide friction against movement of the base from the stowed position to the stocking position.
Description
    PRIORITY CLAIM/CROSS REFERENCE
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/552,616 filed on Mar. 12, 2004, which is hereby incorporated in its entirety for all purposes.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to the field of merchandising systems. In particular, the present invention relates to merchandising systems providing for orderly presentation of articles (such as products) in a display space.
  • [0003]
    It is known to provide for a merchandising system that may be used for displaying products in consumer settings such as grocery stores, retail outlets, shops, etc. Such known merchandising systems may be used to present, display and store products in fixed or limited spaces such as on shelves, in display cases, in cabinets, etc.
  • [0004]
    It is beneficial when merchandising an article such as a product to allow potential customers to view or handle it in a convenient and comfortable manner. Known merchandising systems may display products to a consumer by providing the products in inefficient configurations. Products and product containers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and some products may be more difficult to merchandise (e.g., present for potential retail sale) than others. Within fixed or limited spaces, known merchandising systems may not be configured to optimize the presentation of such products to a consumer. Such known merchandising systems also do not always provide convenient ways for dispensing products, especially those with unique or irregular shapes. Ease of use can be an important concern for customers and store personnel. As is sometimes the case, product or container design may be dictated by considerations separate from the ease or difficulty with which the product may be presented.
  • [0005]
    In addition, many known merchandising systems having one or more pushers may present difficulties in restocking or replenishing (e.g., refilling with) product. Some known systems require the use of extra parts to provide support when restocking. For example, some systems require an anchor or brace to hold or lock the system on a platform such as a shelf. These types of braces have one end coupled to the back of the system and the other end coupled to the shelf so that the tray does not fall off of the shelf when being restocked. Other systems do not provide any holding mechanism and pose a risk of having the merchandising system fall from the shelf when being stocked (e.g., if a user pulls the system too far from the shelf so that it is no longer supported). This is can be problematic when a user is required to maneuver a biasing mechanism with one hand and hold the merchandising system with the other hand.
  • [0006]
    Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that is configured for stocking, orderly presentation, and convenient storage of products with a shape that may not be easily stored, presented, or displayed, such as products with uniquely shaped containers. It would also be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that is configured for selective modularity in the construction and assembly of the merchandising system. It would also be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that allows for the construction and assembly of a merchandising system with any number of product facings, modules, compartments, etc. It would also be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that advances a product and/or allows a product to advance along a defined path. It would also be advantageous to provide a merchandising system having a frame for supporting and selectively retaining a product within the merchandising system. It would also be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that includes a mechanism to retain the system on a shelf or platform during restocking (e.g., a retaining mechanism). It would also be advantageous to provide a retaining mechanism that does not require any additional parts and that may be constructed from the frame of the merchandising system itself.
  • [0007]
    It would be advantageous to provide a merchandising system or the like of a type disclosed in the present application that provides any one or more of these or other advantageous features.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    One embodiment of the invention relates to a merchandising system for presenting and storing articles on a platform. The merchandising system comprises a base configured to move between a first position and a second position relative to the platform and a pusher slidably coupled to the base and providing force on the articles. The base comprises one or more grooves configured to engage a portion of the platform when the base is in the second position thereby at least partially restraining the base from moving beyond the second position when the base is moved from the second position to the first position. The base may be moved from the second position to the first position.
  • [0009]
    Another embodiment of the present invention relates to a merchandising system for presenting and storing products on a platform. The merchandising system comprises a base configured to move between a first position and a second position and an assembly for advancing the products from a back end to a front end of the base. The base comprises a retaining mechanism configured to engage a portion of the platform when the base is in the second position so that the base is at least partially restrained from moving beyond the second position when moving the base from the first position to the second position. The base further comprises an extension positioned on an underside of the base at the front end of the base configured to engage the platform at the first position so that the base is restricted from moving beyond the first position when the base is moved from the second position to the first position.
  • [0010]
    Another embodiment of the present invention further relates to a merchandising system for presenting and storing products on a platform. The merchandising system comprises a base configured to move between a stowed position and a stocking position and an assembly for advancing the products from a back end to a front end of the base. The base comprises one or more portions configured to engage the platform when the base is in the stocking position so that the base is at least partially restrained from moving beyond the stocking position when moving the base from the stowed position to the stocking position. The base is configured to move from the stowed position by pulling the base toward the stocking position until the one or more portions configured to engage the platform engage the platform.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is an exploded front perspective view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a back perspective view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 is a side view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8 is a front view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 9 is a side view of the merchandising system positioned on a platform according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 10 is a side view of the merchandising system pulled away from the platform and being retained by a retaining mechanism according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 11 is a front perspective view of the merchandising system positioned on a platform according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 12 is a front perspective view of the merchandising system pulled away from the platform for restocking according to an exemplary embodiment;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 13 is a front perspective view of a biasing mechanism according to an exemplary embodiment; and
  • [0024]
    FIG. 14 is a front perspective view of a biasing mechanism according to an alternative embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
  • [0025]
    Referring to the FIGS., various exemplary and alternative embodiments of a merchandising system intended for displaying articles such as products, containers, items, units, etc. in consumer settings such as grocery stores, retail outlets, shops, etc. are shown. According to a preferred embodiment, the merchandising system is intended to dispense, store, merchandise, display, etc. articles to provide for the space-efficient presentation of groups of articles within a given or fixed display area, and/or to allow for convenient and orderly presentation, dispensing, stocking, and storage of articles (such as products or product containers) having any of a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and profiles (e.g., wedges, cylinders, rectangular, non-rectangular, etc.). While the invention may be susceptible to embodiment in different forms, there are shown in the drawings, and herein are described in detail, certain illustrative embodiments with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the principles of the invention, and is not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments as illustrated and described herein. Additionally, features illustrated and described with respect to one embodiment could be used in connection with other embodiments.
  • [0026]
    FIGS. 1 through 4 show a merchandising system 10 (e.g., tray system, shelf system, display system, case, divider system, storage system, modular system, etc.) according to an exemplary embodiment. As shown in the Figures, merchandising system 10 may comprise a base 20, an assembly 50, and a plate 60.
  • [0027]
    According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 through 8, system 10 includes a base 20 (e.g., tray, floor, support, support system, panel, member, platform, etc.) having a rear end 22 (e.g., rear) and a front end 28 (e.g., front). The rear end 22 may comprise a rear wall 23 (e.g., member, element, etc.) and the front end may comprise a front wall 27 (e.g., member, element, etc.). Base 20 may also include sides 18 and 19 (e.g., walls, panels, members, elements, etc.) and surface 21 (e.g., floor, bottom, shelf, etc.). The front wall 27, rear wall 23, side walls 18 and 19, and surface 21 may be coupled together to provide a space 29. As shown in the Figures, base 20 may be provided in a substantially horizontal orientation. The base 20 may be configured to support articles such as product (e.g., merchandise, foodstuffs, boxes, containers, food products, bottles, cans, etc.) in space 29. The surface 21 may also be provided with one or more ribs 26 (e.g., protrusions, runners, spines, supports, spokes, struts, rods, ridges, etc.). Ribs 26 may act to reduce friction when sliding a product along surface 21 (e.g., less surface area than a flat surface). Ribs 26 extend over at least a portion of surface 21 of the base 20. According to a preferred embodiment, base 20 includes 12 ribs on surface 21. According to alternative embodiments, any suitable number of ribs may be provided (e.g., 4, 8, 10, 20, etc.).
  • [0028]
    According to various exemplary embodiments, one or more base (e.g., tray system) may be provided. The base may be provided on an existing merchandising system such as a shelf, grid system, display case, etc. The base may be configured to hold, display, retain, store, or otherwise receive articles (e.g., goods, displayed objects, etc.). The base provides for the space division and orderly and convenient presentation of such articles. Base 20 may be configured to connect or couple adjacent systems into a larger overall merchandising system. According to a preferred embodiment, the base 20 has a “modular” construction and facilitates use with other bases, shelves, or a variety of other existing merchandising systems, including shelving units, support surfaces, grids, brackets, hangers, etc.
  • [0029]
    Referring to FIGS. 3 and 7, the base 20 may be provided with a retaining mechanism such as one or more notches or grooves 33 (e.g., hooks, indentations, depressions, marks, dents, channels, portions for engaging, etc.) on a bottom surface 36 of the base 20. Grooves 33 may act as a retaining mechanism for holding the base 20 in a pre-determined position relative to a shelf or platform upon which base 20 is located. According to an exemplary embodiment, grooves 33 are formed integrally as part of the base 20 (e.g., without requiring any additional moving parts or pieces). According to an exemplary embodiment, grooves 33 are configured to engage a portion of a shelf or platform (e.g., frame), such as an end or edge. As shown in FIGS. 9 through 12, when base 20 is pulled forward toward the front edge of a shelf, grooves 33 catch on the edge and prevent the base 20 from moving forward any further. The base 20 could then be returned back to its original position on the shelf by moving it backward. In addition, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 7, base 20 may include a ridge 35 (e.g., rim, bump, stop, protrusion, projection, extension, crest, portion for engaging or engagement, etc.) positioned at the front of bottom surface 36 of base 20. Ridge 35 extends away from bottom surface 36 and is configured to engage the front edge of a shelf where base 20 is located. As shown in FIGS. 9 through 12, base 20 may be moved back away from the front edge of the shelf until ridge 35 engages the front edge, thereby preventing the base 20 from moving beyond a pre-determined position on the shelf. According to various other embodiments, the ridge can be any number of suitable shapes, sizes, configurations, etc. to prevent the base 20 from moving back on the shelf beyond a desired location (e.g., the front edge). Ridge 35 also acts as a guide so that multiple bases 20 may be aligned on a shelf in a consistent and visually pleasing arrangement (e.g., a user can push each of the bases back until the ridges stop any movement in order to align the bases with the front edge of the shelf).
  • [0030]
    The base 20 may also be provided with at least one track 70 (e.g., guide, notch, groove, recess, slot, etc.). The track 70 may extend substantially along the length of the base 20. According to an exemplary embodiment, base 20 may include a support (e.g., bar, clip, fastener, etc.) that adheres to the bottom of the base on both sides of the track 70 to prevent track 70 from being spread apart as member 52 moves along base 20. The support may be permanently coupled to base 20 to provide support to track 70. For example, the support may include tabs which “clip” into apertures located on base 20 and an adhesive bond may be applied to keep the support “locked” in place. According to alternative embodiments, a support may be removably coupled to base 20.
  • [0031]
    According to various alternative embodiments, the configuration of the base may be altered to better accommodate the shape of the articles (e.g., the base may have a circular, rectangular, triangular or polygonal cross-section, the base may have a non-uniform configuration throughout, etc.). For example, the sides 18 and 19 may comprise multiple members positioned in multiple orientations or positions.
  • [0032]
    According to an exemplary embodiment, system 10 includes an assembly 50 for advancing articles toward the front end 28 of the base 20. Assembly 50 may include biasing mechanism 51 (e.g., spring, coil spring, helical spring, elastic, etc.) to urge or bias the member 52. Member 52 (e.g., paddle, movable panel, scoop, pusher, plate, follower, etc.) is preferably slidably engaged to the base 20. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3 through 6, the member 52 is slidably engaged to the track 70 of the base 20. According to an exemplary embodiment, the member 52 may be constructed as a single unit. In an alternative embodiment, the member 52 may be provided as an assembly of two or more elements.
  • [0033]
    As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, the biasing mechanism 51 may be a coil spring with a first end attached to the front end 28 of the base 20 and a second end coacting with the member 52. When the member 52 is near the front end 28 of the base 20, the spring is at least partially relaxed. As the member 52 is moved away from the front end 28 of the base 20, the tension in the spring is increased.
  • [0034]
    According to an alternative embodiment, the coil spring shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 can be replaced with any other suitable biasing mechanism. In alternative embodiments, the biasing mechanism may be, but is not limited to, a spring, helical spring, elastic, etc.
  • [0035]
    As shown in FIG. 13, the member 52 includes a back portion 54 that is provided in a substantially vertical orientation. As shown in FIGS. 1, 4 and 7, the back portion 54 is positioned perpendicular to the base 20. The back portion 54, as shown in FIG. 13, may be rectangular in shape. According to alternative embodiments, the back portion may be circular, scoop-shaped, triangular, trapezoidal, fork-shaped, etc. The member 52 maybe configured to slidably engage with the base 20. For example, the member 52 may be configured to slidably engage with the track 70 extending substantially the length of the base 20. The member 52 may be configured to support articles such as product. The member 52 may also be configured to interact with a biasing mechanism 51. In some embodiments, the shape of the member may be fork-shaped. In other embodiments, the shape of the member may be rectangular, scoop-shaped, circular, triangular, trapezoidal, etc.
  • [0036]
    Member 52 may be provided with tabs (e.g., projections, pegs, etc.) which may be configured to coact or engage with the track 70 of the base 20. The member 52 may also be configured with a platform (tab, ledge, member, shelf, etc.) that may provide support for the biasing mechanism 51. The platform may also guide the biasing mechanism 51 during the movement of the member 52.
  • [0037]
    According to various alternative embodiments, the member (e.g., pusher) may have a wide variety of shapes and/or configurations. As shown in FIG. 14, the member 152 may have a curved shape (e.g., curved, scoop, shovel-like, cup-like, bucket-like, etc.). Providing a member with a curved shape may better accommodate certain shapes of articles. For example, the curved shape may better accommodate a bag of articles (such as chips, salty-snacks, etc.) while a member of another shape (e.g., rectangular) may better accommodate a more fixed or rigid article (such as boxed products, etc.). According to an alternative embodiment, the member located on a base may be provided with one or more apertures (e.g., cut-outs, reliefs, holes, etc.). The one or more apertures may advantageously reduce the amount of material needed to build and/or construct the member, or alternatively reduce the weight of the member.
  • [0038]
    As shown in the Figures, a front wall 27 (e.g., panel, member, plate, lens, window, etc.) may be provided along the front end 28 of a base 20. The front wall 27 may be provided in a substantially vertical orientation. According to one exemplary embodiment, the front wall 27 and base 20 may be a configured to couple with plate 60. As shown in FIG. 2, the front wall 27 is configured to selectively engage with portions 61 of the plate 60. Portions 62 (e.g., fingers, tabs, projections, connectors, etc.) of plate 60 may be configured to couple with apertures 64 of base 20. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, the plate 60 engages with the corresponding portions of the base 20 by a “snap-fit.” The plate 60 may be rectangular, circular, octagonal, trapezoidal, etc. in shape and may be of any size or configuration sufficient to retain the article as a force is being applied to the article by the member. According to alternative embodiments, the plate 60 may be an integral piece with the base and/or sides.
  • [0039]
    The plate 60 may be configured to receive or display indicia (e.g. text, graphics, display placards, signage, etc.). For example, indicia may be applied directly to the plate 60. Alternatively, the plate 60 comprises one or more channels configured to hold and display indicia. Additionally, the plate may be clear to increase visibility of the merchandising articles. This configuration allows the articles to be readily visible by minimizing the potential obstruction that could be created by a front wall. According to an exemplary embodiment, the visibility of the articles may be maximized by providing a clear or transparent plate.
  • [0040]
    According to an exemplary embodiment, one or more fasteners 40 (e.g., mechanical fasteners, adhesives, suction cups, rubber feet, bolts, Velcro™, brackets, etc.) may be provided on the bottom of merchandising system 10 to hold, retain, etc. the merchandising system 10 in place. According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the fasteners 40 may be non-skid rubber feet provided on the underside of the merchandising system 10 (e.g., provided on ends 22 and 28). Slots may be provided on the underside of the merchandising system 10 to receive the non-skid rubber feet. The non-skid rubber feet may adhere or otherwise coact with a surface (such as a display shelf). According to alternative embodiments, fasteners may be omitted.
  • [0041]
    According to various exemplary embodiments, the assemblies and components of the merchandising system 10 may be constructed from extruded or injection molded plastic. A variety of plastics may be used for construction or assembly. For example, the connector(s) may be constructed or assembled from high-impact plastics, polymers, etc. Using plastic offers several advantages including that the pieces may be constructed in a variety of different colors, surface finishes, textures, opacity, etc. According to various alternative embodiments, a variety of other known or suitable materials may be used, including metals, alloys, composites, etc.
  • [0042]
    According to the various exemplary embodiments shown in the Figures, a merchandising system may be provided on a substantially horizontal surface such as a display shelf or may be provided as the substantially horizontal surface of a display shelf merchandising system. According to alternative embodiments, the elements and the assemblies of the various exemplary embodiments may be applied to a merchandising system provided at any orientation and are not limited to a substantially horizontal surface. The exemplary embodiments shown in the Figures may be dimensioned to fit any applicable merchandising system (e.g. shelf, display, grid, etc.). For example, the exemplary embodiments advantageously allow a single merchandising system to be used interchangeably with display shelf merchandising systems of different depths without limiting the storage capacity of the merchandising system to the storage capacity of the smallest merchandising shelf system by providing an enlargeable storage space.
  • [0043]
    The merchandising system may be incorporated into a display shelf system so that the front end 28 of the merchandising system 10 is near the front edge of the display shelf system. Articles may be placed in the space 29 (e.g., storage space, compartment, bin, holder, etc.) of the merchandising system 10 defined by the surface 21, the two sides 18 and 19, the front wall 27, and the rear wall 23.
  • [0044]
    The parts defining the space configured to store or display articles may be constructed and assembled as a single integrally formed piece or may be constructed and assembled from multiple parts. The parts may be arranged to form a storage space. Before an article is placed in the space of the merchandising system, the member may be positioned near the front wall. With the member positioned near the front of the wall, the size of the space available to accept articles is minimal. The biasing mechanism positions the member near the front wall of the merchandising system when no articles are loaded in the merchandising system.
  • [0045]
    The merchandising system 10 may be loaded with articles by pulling base 20 forward until grooves 33 engage the front of the shelf. Grooves 33 will thereby retain base 20 in a fixed position relative to the shelf as a user places articles in system 10. The merchandising system 10 may be initially loaded with articles by either manually positioning the member 52 toward the back of the base 20 and then loading the articles into the expanded space, or by loading the articles through the front and having the articles move the member 52 towards the back of the base 20 as more articles are added to the space. As articles are loaded and the member 52 is moved further from the front end 28, the tension force in the biasing mechanism 51 may increase. The tension developed in the biasing mechanism 51 may cause the member 52 to apply a force to the articles in the merchandising system 10. The force applied by the member 52 may securably contain the articles within space 29. Additionally, the force applied to the articles positions or urges the articles toward the front end 28 of the merchandising system 10. The biasing mechanism 51 may be adjusted or configured so that the force applied to the articles by the member 52 does not damage the articles. After being loaded, the user may push/move the base 20 back so that ridge 35 engages the front edge of the shelf, thereby preventing the base 20 from moving beyond a pre-determined position relative to the shelf.
  • [0046]
    Once loaded with articles, the merchandising system 10 advantageously allows for the forward movement of the articles after an article is removed. When an article is removed from the front of the merchandising system 10, the remaining articles are positioned forward by the member 52 to fill the void left by the removed article. Moving the remaining articles to the front of the merchandising system 10 maximizes the visibility of the articles by eliminating the possibility that adjacent articles positioned near the edge of the display shelf system could obstruct the view of an article set back from the edge of the display shelf system. Additionally, the movement of the article to the front of the merchandising system reduces the difficulty of trying to reach an article positioned away from the front edge of a display shelf system. Furthermore, the forward movement also eliminates the need to manually reposition all of the remaining articles in the merchandising system after an article has been removed.
  • [0047]
    The sides 18 and 19 of the merchandising system may retain the articles when the articles are stored or presented in the merchandising system. The sides 18 and 19 may guide the article as the article is positioned or urged in the merchandising system by the member 52. The front wall 27 or plate 60 may prevent the articles from being urged off the front of the merchandising system. When the member 52 positions or urges the articles toward the front of the merchandising system, the front wall 27 or plate 60 may retain the articles in the merchandising system. According to an alternative embodiment, the merchandising system may be configured so that a front wall 27 or a plate 60 is not needed to retain the urged article (e.g., an additional member may be added, the configuration of the base and/or side wall may sufficiently retain the article, the angle of the merchandising system, etc.).
  • [0048]
    According to a preferred embodiment in which the biasing mechanism is a coil spring, the member may provide at least one platform to support the coil spring. When the member is positioned near the front wall of the merchandising system, the portion of the coil spring that is uncoiled may be minimal. The platform may support the coiled portion of the spring and may further act as a guide for the coiled spring by preventing the coiled spring from interfering with the merchandising system during the movement of the member.
  • [0049]
    The same technique used to initially load the merchandising system may be used to reload the merchandising system as articles are removed. In a particularly preferred mode of operation, the new article is reloaded from the front of the merchandising system as it remains incorporated with the display shelf system.
  • [0050]
    The various embodiments of the merchandising system shown in the Figures may advantageously allow for individual merchandising systems to be positioned adjacently or stacked vertically, providing for selective modularity in the construction and assembly of the merchandising system. According to alternative embodiments, adjacent systems may be coupled to each other with a variety of fasteners, including dovetails, screws, bolts, adhesives, joints, etc.
  • [0051]
    It is important to note that the above-described preferred embodiments are illustrative only. Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous modifications are possible without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter described herein. Accordingly, these and all other such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims. The order or sequence of any process or method steps may be varied or re-sequenced according to alternative embodiments. In the claims, any means-plus-function clause is intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangements of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/59.3
International ClassificationA47F7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47F1/126
European ClassificationA47F1/12D1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 11, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: DCI MARKETING, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RICHTER, GARY M.;BRYSON, M. SCOTT;REEL/FRAME:016375/0122
Effective date: 20050310