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Publication numberUS20060011568 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/231,381
Publication dateJan 19, 2006
Filing dateSep 21, 2005
Priority dateNov 9, 1999
Publication number11231381, 231381, US 2006/0011568 A1, US 2006/011568 A1, US 20060011568 A1, US 20060011568A1, US 2006011568 A1, US 2006011568A1, US-A1-20060011568, US-A1-2006011568, US2006/0011568A1, US2006/011568A1, US20060011568 A1, US20060011568A1, US2006011568 A1, US2006011568A1
InventorsLee Remmers, John Nawrocki
Original AssigneeRemmers Lee E, Nawrocki John R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Track-mounted shelving systems and components
US 20060011568 A1
Abstract
A shelving system generally includes a track and at least one shelving component, such as a bracket. In one embodiment, the track includes a support portion and a retaining lip. The support portion has an upper generally horizontal planar support surface and a lower generally horizontal planar surface. The upper generally horizontal planar support surface is vertically spaced from the lower generally horizontal planar surface. The bracket includes first and second end portions. The bracket also includes an arm extending generally between the first and second end portions for supporting a storage structure. The bracket's first end portion includes forward and rearward surfaces. The bracket's rearward surface includes an opening having an upper surface that contacts the upper generally horizontal planar support surface of the track when the bracket's first end portion is engaged with the track. The bracket's front surface includes an upper portion that contacts the track's retaining lip when the track's support portion is within the opening of the bracket's rearward surface.
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Claims(30)
1. A shelving system comprising:
a track having a support portion and a retaining lip, said support portion having an upper generally horizontal planar support surface and a lower generally horizontal planar surface, said upper generally horizontal planar support surface vertically spaced from said lower generally horizontal planar surface;
at least one bracket including first and second end portions, and an arm extending generally between the first and second end portions for supporting a storage structure, the first end portion having a forward surface and a rearward surface, said rearward surface including an opening having an upper surface that contacts said upper generally horizontal planar support surface of said track when the bracket's first end portion is engaged with the track, the bracket's forward surface having an upper portion that contacts the track's retaining lip when the track's support portion is within said opening of the bracket's rearward surface.
2. The shelving system of claim 1, wherein the at least one bracket is slidably movable along the track.
3. The shelving system of claim 2, wherein the at least one bracket includes two or more brackets each slidably movable along the track for cooperatively supporting at least one storage structure.
4. The shelving system of claim 3, further comprising at least one storage structure supportable by the two or more brackets.
5. The shelving system of claim 4, wherein the storage structure comprises a plurality of wire members.
6. The shelving system of claim 1, wherein the at least one bracket is reversibly mountable to the track such that the bracket's first end portion is engaged with the track when the bracket is in a first orientation, and such that the bracket's second end portion is engaged with the track when the bracket is in a second orientation.
7. The shelving system of claim 6, wherein the second end portion includes:
a load-bearing surface that contacts the track's upper generally horizontal planar support surface when the at least one bracket is in the second orientation; and
an upper portion that contacts the track's retaining lip when the track's support portion is within the opening of the bracket's second end portion.
8. The shelving system of claim 7, wherein the bracket's second end portion includes at least one protuberance having a generally rounded transverse profile and defining the load-bearing surface of the bracket's second end portion.
9. The shelving system of claim 1, wherein the track includes a generally backward S-shaped transverse profile, and wherein the support portion of the track includes a generally U-shaped transverse profile.
10. The shelving system of claim 1, wherein the bracket's rearward surface includes at least one protuberance having a generally rounded transverse profile and defining the upper surface of the opening of the bracket's rearward surface.
11. The shelving system of claim 1, wherein the bracket includes at least one surface having at least fastener opening therein to allow mounting of the bracket directly to a vertical support surface without using the track.
12. A shelving system comprising:
a track including a web extending generally between an upper flange portion having a retaining lip and a lower flange portion having a generally horizontal planar support surface; and
at least one shelving component including at least one end portion having a rearward side and an upper portion, said rearward side having a load-bearing surface configured to be positioned on the track's support surface, the shelving component's upper portion configured to contact the track's retaining lip when the load-bearing surface is positioned on the track's support surface, whereby said at least one shelving component may be slidably positioned along and be supported by said track.
13. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the at least one shelving component comprises a bracket having said at least one end portion, the bracket further including a leg extending downwardly from the at least one end portion, and an arm generally extending from the leg for supporting a storage structure.
14. The shelving system of claim 13, wherein the storage structure comprises a plurality of wire members.
15. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the at least one shelving component comprises at least two spaced apart end portions, and a storage structure disposed between said at least two spaced apart end portions.
16. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the at least one end portion of the shelving component comprises at least one protuberance having a generally rounded transverse profile and defining the load-bearing surface.
17. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the track further comprises a lower generally horizontal planar surface configured to limit the upward movement of the shelving component relative to the track when the upper portion of the shelving component is contacting the track's retaining lip.
18. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the track is configured to be mounted on a wall.
19. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the track includes a generally backward S-shaped transverse profile, and wherein the support portion of the track includes a generally U-shaped transverse profile.
20. A shelving component for use with a track having an upper flange portion including a retaining lip and a lower flange portion including a generally horizontal planar support surface, the shelving component comprising at least one end portion configured to be engagingly received by the track, the at least one end portion having a rearward side and a upper portion, said rearward side including a load-bearing surface configured to be positioned on the track's support surface, the shelving component's upper portion including a forward surface configured to contact the track's retaining lip when the shelving component's load-bearing surface is positioned on the track's support surface, whereby the at least one shelving component may be supported by engaging the shelving component's end portion with the track.
21. The shelving component of claim 20, wherein the at least one shelving component comprises a bracket having said at least one end portion, the bracket further including a leg extending downwardly from the at least one end portion, and an arm generally extending from the leg for supporting a storage structure.
22. The shelving component of claim 21, wherein the bracket's end portion includes at least one protuberance having a generally rounded transverse profile and defining the load-bearing surface.
23. The shelving component of claim 22, wherein the bracket includes a second end portion having an upper portion and at least one protuberance with a generally rounded transverse profile and defining a load-bearing surface, whereby the bracket is reversibly mountable to the track with the bracket's second end portion engaged to the track such that the second end portion's load-bearing surface positioned on the track's support surface and such that the second end portion's upper portion contacts the track's retaining lip.
24. The shelving component of claim 21, wherein the bracket includes at least one surface having at least fastener opening therein to allow mounting of the bracket directly to a vertical support surface without using the track.
25. The shelving component of claim 20, wherein the at least one end portion comprises two spaced apart end portions, and a support structure disposed between said two spaced apart end portions.
26. A track for supporting at least one shelving component having an end portion with a load-bearing rearward surface and a upper forward portion, the track comprising a web extending between an upper flange portion having a retaining lip and a lower flange portion having at least an upper generally horizontal planar support surface, the track configured to support the shelving component therefrom with the shelving component's load-bearing surface positioned on the track's upper generally horizontal support surface, and with the shelving component's upper portion contacting the track's retaining lip.
27. The track of claim 26, wherein the track includes a generally backward S-shaped transverse profile.
28. A shelving bracket including first and second end portions and a leg extending generally between the first and second end portions for supporting a storage structure, each said end portion of the bracket including an upper portion and at least one protuberance defining a load-bearing surface, whereby the first and second end portions allow the bracket to be reversibly mountable to a track having a retaining lip and a support surface with one of the end portion's load-bearing surface positioned on the track's support surface and upper portion contacting the track's retaining lip.
29. The shelving bracket of claim 28, wherein the bracket includes at least one surface having at least fastener opening therein to allow mounting of the bracket directly to a vertical support surface without using the track.
30. The shelving component of claim 28, wherein at least one of said protuberances has a generally rounded transverse profile.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/194,849 filed Aug. 1, 2005, which, in turn, is a divisional of presently allowed U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/657,855 filed Sep. 9, 2003, which, in turn, claimed priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/436,363 filed Nov. 9, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,154, issued Dec. 30, 2003. The disclosures of the above applications are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the use of tracks for mounting shelves and other storage devices.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Support standards for the purpose of supporting shelving brackets are well known in the art. These support standards are often comprised of narrow strips that may be mounted vertically against a wall and contain a plurality of slots such that tabs of shelving brackets can be inserted and supported by such standards. Vertical shelving standards are typically mounted to a wall through screws or other means such that the standard is not generally mobile or removable from its position if desired by the consumer after installation. Additional improvements thus in the manner of flexibility in positioning such standards combined with added strength and load-bearing capacity thus remains warranted.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention, an exemplary shelving system generally includes a track and at least one shelving component, such as a bracket. In one particular embodiment, the track includes a support portion and a retaining lip. The support portion has an upper generally horizontal planar support surface and a lower generally horizontal planar surface. The upper generally horizontal planar support surface is vertically spaced from the lower generally horizontal planar surface. The bracket includes first and second end portions. The bracket also includes an arm extending generally between the first and second end portions for supporting a storage structure. The bracket's first end portion includes forward and rearward surfaces. The bracket's rearward surface includes an opening having an upper surface that contacts the upper generally horizontal planar support surface of the track when the bracket's first end portion is engaged with the track. The bracket's front surface includes an upper portion that contacts the track's retaining lip when the track's support portion is within the opening of the bracket's rearward surface.

In another aspect of the invention, a shelving system generally includes a track and at least one shelving component. In one particular embodiment, the track includes a web extending generally between an upper flange portion having a retaining lip and a lower flange portion having a generally horizontal planar support surface. The shelving component includes at least one end portion having a rearward side and an upper portion. The rearward side has a load-bearing surface configured to be positioned on the track's support surface. The shelving component's upper portion is configured to contact the track's retaining lip when the load-bearing surface is positioned on the track's support surface. Accordingly, the shelving component may be slidably positioned along and be supported by said track.

In a further aspect, the invention provides shelving components. The shelving components can be used with or without a track having an upper flange portion including a retaining lip and a lower flange portion including a generally horizontal planar support surface. In one embodiment, the shelving component includes at least one end portion configured to be engagingly received by the track. The end portion has a rearward side and an upper portion. The rearward side includes a load-bearing surface configured to be positioned on the track's support surface. The shelving component's upper portion includes a forward surface configured to contact the track's retaining lip when the shelving component's load-bearing surface is positioned on the track's support surface. Accordingly, the shelving component may be supported by engaging the shelving component's end portion with the track.

In still another aspect, the invention provides tracks for supporting at least one shelving component having an end portion with a load-bearing rearward surface and an upper forward portion. In one embodiment, the track includes a web extending between an upper flange portion having a retaining lip and a lower flange portion having at least an upper generally horizontal planar support surface. The track is configured to support the shelving component therefrom with the shelving component's load-bearing surface positioned on the track's support surface, and with the shelving component's upper portion contacting the track's retaining lip.

In yet another aspect, the invention provides shelving brackets. In one embodiment, the shelving bracket includes first and second end portions and a leg extending generally between the first and second end portions for supporting a storage structure. Each bracket end portion of the bracket includes an upper portion. Each bracket end portion also includes at least one protuberance that defines a load-bearing surface. Accordingly, the first and second end portions allow the bracket to be reversibly mountable to a track having a retaining lip and a support surface with either one of the end portion's load-bearing surface positioned on the track's support surface and upper portion contacting the track's retaining lip.

Further aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating exemplary embodiments of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following drawings form part of the specification and are included to further demonstrate certain aspects of the present invention. The invention may be better understood by reference to one or more of these drawings in combination with the detailed description presented herein.

FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of a shelving apparatus.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of an embodiment of a shelving apparatus, with a standard having a bracket and a shelf mounted thereon.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a shelving apparatus, with a bracket and a shelf mounted to the standard.

FIG. 4 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of a shelving apparatus.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a shelving apparatus including a track and brackets mounted to track for supporting a shelf from the track.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the shelving apparatus shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one of the retaining clips shown in FIG. 5 and illustrating engagement of the retaining clip to the bracket and the wire shelf.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one of the retaining clips shown in FIG. 5 according one exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective of one of the brackets shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 10 is a rear perspective view of the bracket shown in FIGS. 14 and 18.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a shelving apparatus including a track having a different cross-sectional profile than the track shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 12 is a side view of the shelving apparatus shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a shelving apparatus including a track and brackets mounted to track for supporting a shelf from the track.

FIG. 14 is a partial perspective view of the shelving apparatus shown in FIG. 18.

FIG. 15 is a side view of the shelving apparatus shown in FIG. 13.

FIG. 16 is an upper view of the shelving apparatus shown in FIG. 13 with the end portions of the brackets slidably engaged within the track.

FIG. 17 is a frontal view of the brackets and shelf shown in FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a back perspective view of the shelving apparatus shown in FIG. 16.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view showing a retaining clip engaged to the wire shelf and bracket shown in FIG. 13.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a bracket having two retaining clips engaged to the bracket but without a shelf according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view showing an end portion of the bracket and the two retaining clips shown in FIG. 20.

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of one of the retaining clips shown in FIGS. 13 through 21.

FIG. 23 is a front view of the retaining clip shown in FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of the wire shelf shown in FIG. 13.

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a shelving apparatus including a track and a shelf including brackets mounted to the track for supporting the shelf from the track.

FIG. 26 is a side view of the shelf having integral brackets shown in FIG. 25.

FIG. 27 is a perspective view of a bracket according to another embodiment in which the shelving bracket includes fastener slots for mounting the bracket directly to a wall.

FIG. 28 is a back view of the bracket shown in FIG. 27.

FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a shelving apparatus including two of the brackets shown in FIGS. 27 and 28 mounted to a track.

FIG. 30 is a perspective view of a shelving apparatus including two of the brackets shown in FIGS. 27 and 28 mounted to a wall using the fastener slots without a track.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The following descriptions of various embodiments are merely exemplary in nature and are in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

Various aspects of the present invention generally relate to a vertical support standard and track system for supporting shelving brackets, such that the standard is able to receive greater loading capacity and can be moved prior to final positioning, if desired, to various positions across a wall through use of a track. In various embodiments, the horizontally mounted track provides added support to increase the loading that can be placed on the standard and also provides the ability for such standard to be moved to various positions along the track's length. Illustratively, one embodiment of the invention generally includes a shelving apparatus containing a vertical support standard and a track. Embodiments of the invention can also include a shelf and shelving bracket mounted to the standard. The standard may be constructed like a typical wall mounted standard having front and back sides. The front side of the standard may contain a plurality of slots so as to be able to receive tabs or other mounting means of a shelving bracket. The standard can contain one or more columns of slots so as to accept one or more shelving brackets or multi-sided shelving brackets. The back side of the standard, preferably near a top portion, defines an opening having upper and lower surfaces. This opening should preferably be constructed in such a way that it can receive a support portion of a track. The standard may also be able to be moved horizontally along a wall mounted track without becoming detached from the track.

Another component in embodiments of the invention is a track which can be mounted to a wall by any typical mounting means. The track comprises a body which is able to accept a standard. In order to keep such a standard mounted to the track, various embodiments include a track having a lip that extends downwardly and overlaps a front surface of the top portion of the standard so as to prevent the standard from disengaging from the track. The track can also include a support portion having upper and lower surfaces that is adapted to be inserted into the opening on the back of the standard. The opening on the standard and the support portion of the track are preferably aligned so that the front lip of the track is able to engage a front portion of the standard.

The top portion of the standard that engages the lip of the track, and the upper surface of the opening that engages the upper surface of the support portion of the track, provide support for downward loading placed on the standard and keep the standard locked into the track. The lower surface of the opening prevents the standard from being pushed up and disjointed from the track by engaging the lower surface of the support portion of the track. When mounted on the track, the standard is preferably able to move horizontally along the support portion so as to be placed in a desired position by the consumer prior to first mounting of the standard to a wall. In this way, a shelf bracket and shelving system can be mounted to the standard in a location preferable to the consumer while providing maximum support and accepting greater amount of loading such as by an attached bracket and shelf.

According to another aspect of the invention, an exemplary shelving apparatus generally includes a track and a standard. The track includes a support portion having an upper support surface and an extension extending generally outwardly from the support portion. The standard includes a back surface having an opening. When the support portion is within the opening, an upper surface of the opening contacts the upper support surface of the support portion, and the extension is engagingly received within a portion of the opening. This engagement of the extension within the portion of the opening can inhibit disengagement of the standard from the track.

According to another aspect, the present invention provides methods of supporting standards with a track. In one particular implementation, the track includes a support portion having an upper support surface and an extension extending generally outwardly from the upper support surface. The standard includes a back surface having an opening configured to engagingly receive the support portion. The method generally includes positioning the standard relative to the track such that a portion of the opening engages the extension, the opening engages the support portion of the track, and the upper support surface of the support portion contacts an upper surface of the opening.

According to another aspect, an exemplary shelving apparatus includes a standard and a track. The standard includes a back surface having an opening. The track includes means for supporting the standard. The track also includes means for retaining the standard within the track. When the standard is engaged with the track, an upper surface of the opening contacts the means for supporting, and the means for retaining contacts a portion of the opening.

According to another aspect, various embodiments of a shelving system are also provided that include a track for supporting at least one shelving component. In some embodiments, the shelving component may comprise a bracket having an end portion and an arm generally extending therefrom for supporting or connection a shelf or rack thereon. In other embodiments, the shelving component may comprise a support structure having integral thereto at least two spaced apart end portions.

According to other aspects of the invention, a shelving system includes at least one shelving component, such as a bracket configured to engage the track. In various embodiments, the track includes a support portion and a retaining lip. The track's support portion has an upper generally horizontal planar support surface and a lower generally horizontal planar surface. The upper generally horizontal planar support surface is vertically spaced from the lower generally horizontal planar surface. The bracket includes first and second end portions. The bracket also includes an arm extending generally between the first and second end portions for supporting a storage structure. The bracket's first end portion includes forward and rearward surfaces. The bracket's rearward surface includes an opening having an upper surface that contacts the upper generally horizontal planar support surface of the track when the bracket's first end portion is engaged with the track. The bracket's front surface includes an upper portion that contacts the track's retaining lip when the track's support portion is within the opening of the bracket's rearward surface. In this exemplary manner, the bracket can thus be retained in a supported manner by the track.

In one particular embodiment, a shelving system is provided that includes a track having a generally vertical web extending between an upper flange portion and a lower flange portion. The upper flange portion of the track has a retaining lip, and the lower flange portion has at least a support surface. The lower flange portion includes a support surface that is a generally horizontal surface extending along the length (or at least a portion thereof) of the elongate track. The lower portion may further include a bottom surface that prevents (or at least inhibits) a shelving component engagingly received in the track from being disengaged from the track if the shelving component is pushed or jarred in a generally upward direction. The shelving system further includes at least one shelving component having at least one end portion engageable with the track. The end portion of the shelving component has a rearward side and an upper portion. The rearward side includes an opening having a load-bearing surface that is configured (e.g., sized, shaped, positioned, etc.) to be positioned on and in contact with the support surface of the track. The shelving component also has a top portion that includes a frontwardly-facing surface configured to contact the retaining lip of the track when the upper load-bearing surface is positioned on the support surface of the track. In this position, the at least one shelving component may be slidably positioned along the track, which provides support for the shelving component. The shelving component may be a bracket that includes an end portion, a leg extending generally downwardly from the end portion, and an arm extending generally outward from the leg. The leg may be used for supporting and/or connecting to a support or storage structure such as a wire shelf, wire basket, or wire bin, etc. For example, various embodiments include a wire shelf, which may be secured to a bracket by means of a clip member and/or by positioning end portions of the wire members forming the shelf into openings/holes in the bracket. In other embodiments, the shelving component may also be a storage structure such as a wire shelf, which is disposed between at least two spaced apart end portions of brackets integrally connected to the wire shelf.

Other aspects of the present invention include tracks, standards, brackets, storage structures (e.g., wire shelves, wire bins, wire baskets, etc.), shelving systems, and methods of making and/or using one or more of the same. Any of the aspects of the present invention can be used individually or in combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the present invention.

In FIG. 1, there is shown a cross-sectional side view of a shelving apparatus according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention. As shown, the shelving apparatus comprises a standard 10 and a track 100. The embodiment of the standard 10 shown comprises a front surface 50, a back surface 55, and a top portion 60. The front surface 50 defines slots 70 (as shown in FIG. 3), which in other embodiments can be of any size and shape such that a shelving bracket may be mounted thereto. Alternatively, instead of slots, any other means of mounting a bracket, such as protrusions, may be used on front surface 50.

As shown in FIG. 1, the back portion 55 of the standard 10 defines an opening 20 for supporting the standard 10 on the track 100. The opening 20 defines an upper surface 30 and a lower surface 40. The opening 20 is preferably shaped such that the upper and lower surfaces 30 and 40 are generally horizontal in orientation. The opening 20, however, can be of any shape such that it can receive and be supported by an opposing supporting member and is preferably slidable along that member. The opening 20 can be located on any portion of the standard such that it is supported by engaging with a track.

Also shown in FIGS. 1 and 3 is a track 100, which can be mounted on a wall or other surface, preferably horizontally. Track 100 may be constructed of any material suitable for standards or brackets, such as steel or aluminum. Track 100 also has a length such that standard 10 can preferably slide horizontally along the length of the track 100.

As shown in FIG. 1, the cross-section of an embodiment of track 100 is preferably generally shaped like a backward S. The track 100 also defines a front lip 110 that is designed to abut the front surface 50 of the standard 10 such that the standard 10 is held within track 100. Lip 110 preferably extends some distance over the top portion 60 of standard 10 and comes into contact with the front surface 50 such that when jarred or otherwise moved, the standard 10 is not released from the track 100. Any means, however, such as a latch or other mechanism can also be used in place of the lip 110, as long as the standard 10 remains held within track 100.

Track 100 also defines a support portion 120 that, when engaged with the opening 20, supports the standard 10 and prevents (or at least inhibits) the standard 10 from being pushed upward and separated from track 100. In one embodiment of track 100, support portion 120 (as shown in cross section in FIG. 1) is generally U-shaped and is adapted to extend into opening 20 on standard 10.

With continued reference to FIG. 1, support portion 120 includes upper surface 140 and bottom surface 150. Upper surface 140 supports standard 10, such as when a shelf and shelving bracket and the contents of the shelf are connected to the standard 10. Bottom surface 150 prevents (or at least inhibits) standard 10 from being disengaged from track 100 if the standard 10 is pushed or jarred in an upward direction by engaging with lower surface 40 of opening 20.

Support portion 120 may also be designed to allow standard 10 to slide horizontally along the track if desired, as shown in FIG. 3. Once in a desired position, the portion of the standard 10 not engaged with the track 100 may thereafter be secured to a wall to prevent (or at least inhibit) any further movement of the standard 10 from its desired position.

Alternative embodiments of support portion 120 may also be used. In such alternative configurations, the support portion need only provide an upper and bottom surface adapted to engage opening 20, or other means to support the standard 10 while preferably allowing the standard to slide if desired. Additionally, support portion 120 is not required to be at the bottom of track 100, but can be located at any place on the track 100 such that the support portion 120 can engage with an opening on the back surface of a wall standard and preferably provide one or more of the benefits as described herein. Preferably, however, support portion 120 is located in a position that when inserted into opening 20, lip 110 will be engaged with front surface 50 of standard 10. Thus, as shown in FIG. 1, distance y (the distance between the top 60 of the standard and bottom of the lip 110) is preferably greater than distance x (the spaced distance between the lower surface 40 and bottom surface 150 when the upper surface 140 of the track 100 is in contact with the upper surface 30 of the standard's opening 20). Also, track 100 may be of any cross-sectional design, and such alternative cross-sectional design can provide one or more of the benefits described herein.

In an alternate embodiment as shown in FIG. 4, lip 110 may be eliminated altogether by support portion 120 both providing support and keeping the standard 10 connected to the track. For example, support portion 120 can comprise not only upper and bottom surfaces 140 and 150, but can comprise extension 160 that provides the same function as did the lip 110. In one such embodiment (as shown in FIG. 4), extension 160 prevents the standard 10 from disengaging from the track 100 by engaging a notch or hole 72 in opening 20. The notch 72 and extension 160 may be located on the opening 20 and support member 120 respectively (or vice versa) in any position such that they can engage each other and prevent the standard 10 from disengaging from track 100. The standard 10 is also preferably slidable along the track 100 in this embodiment.

A method of mounting the standard 10 to track 100 is also disclosed herein. Track 100 is first secured to a wall or other surface, preferably in a substantially horizontal manner. A top portion of the standard 10 is then inserted under lip 110 and standard 10 rotated such that the opening 20 on the back 55 of the standard 10 engages the support portion 120 of the track 100. The standard 10 may then be slid along track 100 until it is in a desired position and then attached to the wall to prevent further movement along the track 100.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, standard 10 and track 100 may be used in combination with a shelf 200 and/or shelving bracket 250. Such bracket and shelf can be of any type ordinarily used with vertical wall standards. As described above, standard 10 in combination with track 100 not only preferably allows standard 10 to be horizontally moved so that bracket 250 and shelf 200 can be supported in a position desired by the consumer, but also provides additional support and increased loading capacity for the shelf and bracket.

In FIG. 5, there is shown a shelving system according to one exemplary embodiment. The shelving system comprises a track 100 and at least one shelving component 260 configured to engage and be supported by the track 100. While the track 100 in some embodiments may be shaped such that the track 100 includes a generally backward S-shaped transverse profile, the track 100 may include other shapes as well without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 6, various embodiments of a shelving system include a track 100 having a web 102 extending between an upper flange portion 104 and at least a lower flange portion 106. The upper flange portion 104 has a retaining lip 110, and the lower flange portion 106 has at least a support surface 120 extending along a substantial portion of the track 100.

The lower flange portion 106 may further comprise a downwardly extending portion 108 that forms a generally U-shaped configuration. The lower flange portion 106 may further include a bottom surface 150 that prevents (or at least inhibits) a shelving component received in the track 100 from being disengaged from the track 100 if pushed or jarred in an upward direction. The track 100 is adapted to engagingly receive an end portion 262 of the shelving component 260 within the space generally between the retaining lip 110 and the support surface 120. The shelving component 260 may be used to support a support structure 290, such as a wire shelf, wire basket, wire bin, solid shelf member, etc. The support structure 290 may be secured to the shelving component by one or more clip members 300. Alternatively, or additionally, other suitable means can also be used to secure support structure 290 to the shelving components 260.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the shelving component 260 generally comprises a bracket 264 having an end portion 262 configured to be received generally within the space between the track's retaining lip 110 and support surface 120. The bracket 264 may be used to support any of a wide range of support structures, such as wire rack, wire baskets, wire bins, non-wire shelving structures, etc.

The bracket 264 includes a leg 266 extending downwardly from the end portion 262. The bracket 264 also includes an arm 268 generally extending from the leg 266 for locating a support structure 290 thereon. The shelving component 260 is configured to be engagingly received by the track 100 in a manner such that the shelving component 260 may be slidably positioned along the length of the track 100.

As shown in FIG. 6, the end portion 262 of the shelving component 260 has an opening 270 on the rearward side that includes a load-bearing surface 272 configured to be positioned on the support surface 120. The end portion 262 also includes a top portion 274 configured to contact the track's retaining lip 110 when the load-bearing surface 272 is positioned on the support surface 120, such that the shelving component 260 may be supported by the track 100. The shelving component 260, when engagingly received by the space between the retaining lip 110 and the support surface 120, may be slidably moved along the support surface 120 of the track 100. This, in turn, allows the shelving component 260 to be slidably positioned as needed to position a shelf of the shelving system.

With continued reference to FIG. 6, the shelving component 260 further comprises a second end portion 280. The shelving component 260 includes a rib 282 spanning across at least the second end portion 280. The second end portion 280 further includes at least one opening 284 therein for receiving at least one wire end portion of a wire support structure 290. The arm portion 268 of the shelving component 260 may also include one or more openings 284 for receiving at least one wire end portion of a wire support structure 290. The one or more openings 284 in the shelving component 260 may comprise a hole in which a wire end may be inserted, or alternatively may comprise a slot or other contour adapted to receive a wire end.

The wire support structure 290 may be a wire shelf, wire basket, wire bin etc., which may have one or more wire ends adapted to be received in the openings 284 of the shelving component 260. The one or more openings 284 are oriented such that the one or more openings 284 may slide over the wire end of a wire support structure 290 as the shelving component 260 is moved along the support surface 120 of the track 100. In this exemplary manner, the shelving component 260 may be positioned on the track 100 and slid relatively towards the wire support structure 290 to such that the wire ends are received within the openings 284 in the shelving component 260, to provide for assembly of the shelving system without requiring the use of tools or screw-type fasteners.

The wire support structure 290 may further be secured to the shelving component 260 by one or more clip members 300. As shown in FIG. 8, the clip members 300 include spaced apart ends 302 and 304. These ends 302 and 304 are configured to be positioned over the rib 282 (or other portion of the shelving component 260) and a portion of the wire support structure 290 to help retain the wire support structure 290 to the shelving component 260.

In the particular embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9, the second end portion 280 may include at least two spaced apart protuberances 286 having generally rounded or arcuate transverse profiles. As shown, each protuberance 286 has a generally semi-circular or hemispherical transverse profile. Alternatively, other shapes and configurations can be used for the protuberances 286, such as circular, ovular, triangular, rectangular, etc.

Each protuberance 286 may include an opening 284 for receiving a wire end of a wire support structure 290 as shown in FIG. 7. The two spaced apart protuberances 286 define a space 288 for receiving and retaining a clip member 300 positioned over the shelving component 260, such that the protuberances 286 inhibit the clip member 300 from sliding out of position on the shelving component 260.

As generally shown in FIG. 8, the first end 302 of the clip member 300 includes a retaining flange 306, and the second end 304 includes a retaining flange 308. These flanges 306 and 308 are configured to be positioned over a portion of the shelving component 260, whereby the retaining flanges 306 and 308 cooperate to retain the clip member 300 to the shelving component 260. The retaining flanges 306 and 308 are further configured to be positioned over a portion of the wire support structure 290, such as a length of wire that is positioned adjacent to the shelving component 260. The clip member 300 accordingly is configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) to be positioned over a portion of a wire support structure 290 and a portion of the shelving component 260. At which point, the clip member 300 is retained over the wire support structure 290 and shelving component 260 so as to help secure the wire support structure 290 to shelving component 260.

FIG. 7 shows a clip member 300 engaged to the second end portion 280 of the shelving component 260 and a portion of a wire rack 290. The clip member's retaining flanges 306 and 308 extend generally inwardly from the respective end portions 302 and 304 of the clip member 300, to thereby define a space therebetween for receiving a portion of the wire support structure 290 and the shelving component 260. This space is such that a slight interference may exist as the clip member 300 is slid over the shelving component 260. The retaining flanges 306 and 308 can be configured to allow the flanges 306 and 308 to be flexed away from each other to permit the clip member 300 to fit over the shelving component 260.

In some embodiments of a shelving system, the shelving bracket component 260 may comprise a first end portion 262, a second end portion 280, and an arm 268 extending generally therebetween. The shelving component 260 may be reversibly mountable to the track 100 in either a first orientation or a second orientation. That is, the shelving component 260 can be mounted to the track 100 in a first orientation in which the shelving component's first end portion 262 is engaged with the track 100, as shown in FIG. 5. But the shelving component 260 can also be mounted to the track 100 in a second orientation in which the shelving component's second end portion 280 is engaged with the track 100 (instead of the shelving component's first end portion 262 which is shown engaged to the track 100 in FIG. 5).

The second end portion 280 includes generally oppositely facing surfaces 288 and 289. The second end portion 280 includes protuberances 286. The lower protuberance 286 includes a load-bearing surface 294 that contacts the upper support surface 120 of the track 100. The second end portion 280 also has a top portion 295 that contacts the retaining lip 110 when the second end portion 280 is engaged with the track 100, and when the load-bearing surface 294 is in contact with the track's support surface 120.

In some of the exemplary embodiments of a shelving system, the track 100 may further comprise a lower surface 150 configured to limit the upward movement of the shelving component 260 relative to the track 100 when the portion 274 of the shelving component 260 is contacting the retaining lip 110 on the track 100. This lower surface 150 can at least inhibit the shelving component 260 from lifting and sliding out of the track 100 when the shelving component 260 is subject to an upward jarring force. Such an upward movement of the shelving component 260 could occur, for example, by a person accidentally bumping against the underside of the shelving component 260 or a shelf (e.g., wire ventilated shelf, etc.) supported by the shelving component 260. The lower surface 150 can thus help ensure that the shelf and all its contents are not dropped by minor upward movement of the shelf and/or shelving component.

As shown in FIG. 10, the shelving component 260 comprises a bracket 264 that includes an end portion 262 having an opening 270. As shown in this particular embodiment, the opening 270 is defined generally between a rib 278 and the lower protuberance 286. The upper surface 272 of the opening 2780 (or in this particular embodiment, the lower surface 272 of the protuberance 286) contacts the upper support surface 120 of the track 100 such that the surface 272 serves as a load-bearing surface for the shelving component 260, which the support surface 120 of the track 100 bears against to permit the bracket 264 to be supported by the track 100.

The top portion 274 contacts the track's retaining lip 110 when the support portion 120 is within the opening 270. The load-bearing surface 272 of the shelving component 260 is suitably supported by the support surface 120 of the track 100, particularly when the shelving component 260 is under load such as when a wire shelf 290 is being supported.

With continued reference to FIG. 10, some embodiments include a shelving component 260 having an end portion 262 and a leg portion 266 extending from the end portion 262. The leg portion 266 further comprises a generally vertical support surface 296 for contacting a wall. The vertical support surface 296, when contacting a wall or vertical support, provides additional support that reduces the bending moment about the end portion 262 received within the track 100 when the shelving component 260 is under a load. When the wall is in contact with the vertical support surface 296 of the shelving component 260, the wall provides a force against the vertical support surface 296 acting about the end portion 262 received in the track 100, which force counters the cantilever load on the shelving component acting about the end portion 262. Accordingly, the track 100 can support a greater shelf load with a shelving component 260 having a vertical support surface 296 on its rearward side. Accordingly, this particular shelving component 260 with a vertical support surface 296 can be slidably positioned on a track 100 and connected to a wire structure to allow for assembling a shelf without requiring the use of tools or screw-type fasteners, and can also support a greater shelf loads.

FIGS. 19 through 23 illustrate another embodiment of a clip member 300′, which can be assembled over a wire rack 290 and the shelving bracket component 260. As shown in FIG. 19, the clip member 300′ is assembled over the second end portion 280 generally between two spaced apart protuberances 286. As shown, each protuberance 286 has a generally semi-circular or hemispherical transverse profile. Alternatively, other shapes and configurations can be used for the protuberances 286, such as circular, ovular, triangular, rectangular, etc. The spaced apart protuberances 286 define a space 288 sized to receive and help retain a clip member 300′ positioned over the shelving component 260, such that the protuberances 286 inhibit the clip member 300 from sliding out of position on the shelving component 260.

In this particular embodiment, the clip member 300′ includes first and second end portions 302′ and 304′, each of which includes a tapered retaining tab 306′ and 308′ respectively. The tapered tabs 306′ and 308′ generally extend inwardly from the ends 302′ and 304′ of the clip member 300′, to define a space there between for receiving a portion of the wire support structure 290 and the shelving component 260. This space is such that a slight interference exists as the clip member 300′ is slid over the shelving component 260, where the taper on the retaining tabs 306′ and 308′ aid in the clip member's end portions 302 and 304 flexing apart from each other to permit the clip member 300′ to fit over the shelving component 260.

FIGS. 25 and 26 illustrate another embodiment of a shelving system. As shown, the shelving system includes shelving component 260 having two end portions 262 each received within the space between the track's retaining lip 110 and the support surface 120. The shelving component 260 may be used to support a storage structure 290, such as a wire rack, wire shelf, wire bin, etc. The shelving component 260 further include a leg 266 extending generally downwardly from each end portion 262, and an arm 268 extending generally outwardly from each leg 266. The shelving component 260 is adapted to be received in the track 100, such that the shelving component 260 may be slidably positioned along the length of (or at least a portion of the length of) the track 100. As shown in FIG. 26, each end portion 262 of the shelving component 260 has a load-bearing surface 272 configured to be positioned on the tracks' support surface 120. Each end portion 262 also includes a top portion 274 configured to contact the track's retaining lip 110 when the load-bearing surface 272 is positioned on the support surface 120, such that the shelving component 260 may be supported by the track 100. Each end portion 262 in this particular embodiment has a generally curved portion 298.

FIGS. 27 and 28 illustrate another embodiment of a bracket 360. As shown, the bracket 360 includes fastener slots 361. As shown in FIG. 28, the two of the brackets 360 can used to support a storage structure 290 (e.g., wire shelf, wire basket, wire bin, plank-type shelf, etc.) from the track 100. In this particular embodiment, the fastener slots 361 can be used with fasteners (e.g., bolts, nails, screws, etc.) to further secure the brackets 360 to a wall or other vertical support surface. Alternatively, the fastener slots 361 and fasteners can be used to mount the brackets 360 directly to a wall or other vertical support surface without using the track 100. For example, FIG. 30 illustrates two brackets 360 mounted to a wall using fasteners that are engagingly received within the fastener slots 361. In this particular embodiment, the brackets 360 are supporting the storage structure 290 without using a track 100.

In alternative embodiments, a shelving system includes a track having a generally vertical web extending between upper and lower generally horizontal flange portions. In these embodiments, the lower flange portion does not necessarily comprise a downwardly extending portion that forms a generally U-shaped configuration, or a bottom surface. The track may still include a retaining lip and the support surface such that a shelving component can be engagingly received by the track with a load-bearing surface of the shelving component positioned on the track's support surface and with a top portion of the shelving component contact the track's retaining lip. In such alternate embodiments, the track may not have the lower surface feature that inhibits the generally upward movement of the shelving component relative to the track.

In the figures, there are shown exemplary ventilated wire shelves for which can be used one or more of the devices of the present invention. Ventilated shelves may be of different sizes (e.g., four foot, six foot, eight foot, ten foot, and/or cut to a custom size, etc.) and may be mounted to walls of a closet (or at other locations, such as a bathroom, grocery store, department store, etc.) using brackets and/or other suitable means. The depth of the shelves and the spacing of the wires or rod members may also be different than what is shown in the figures. Further, the wires may be oriented generally longitudinally, transversely, diagonally, etc. relative to the shelf. In addition, non-wire type (e.g., wooden, etc.) shelving structure can also be used in other aspects of the invention. Accordingly, aspects of the present invention should not be limited to implementation into any specific form/type of shelf. In addition, any of the aspects of the present invention can be used in combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the present invention.

The examples described and shown herein are provided to demonstrate exemplary embodiments of the invention. It should be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the techniques disclosed in the examples represent techniques discovered by the inventor(s) to function well in the practice of the invention, and thus can be considered to constitute preferred modes for its practice. However, those of skill in the art should, in light of the present disclosure, appreciate that many changes can be made in the specific embodiments which are disclosed and still obtain a like or similar result without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Certain terminology is used herein for purposes of reference only, and thus is not intended to be limiting. For example, terms such as “upper”, “lower”, “above”, and “below” refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made. Terms such as “front”, “back”, “rear”, “bottom” and “side”, describe the orientation of portions of the component within a consistent but arbitrary frame of reference which is made clear by reference to the text and the associated drawings describing the component under discussion. Such terminology may include the words specifically mentioned above, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import. Similarly, the terms “first”, “second” and other such numerical terms referring to structures do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context.

When introducing elements or features of the present invention and the exemplary embodiments, the articles “a”, “an”, “the” and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of such elements or features. The terms “comprising”, “including” and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements or features other than those specifically noted. It is further to be understood that the method steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order or performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed.

The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7798341Sep 10, 2007Sep 21, 2010Suncast CorporationHanging shelving system
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/94.01, 211/106, 211/175, 211/90.03
International ClassificationA47F5/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/0846, A47F5/101, A47B96/067, A47B96/028, A47B96/00
European ClassificationA47B96/02J2, A47F5/10B, A47B96/00, A47F5/08B4, A47B96/06R
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 11, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: CLAIRSON, INC., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:REMMERS, LEE E.;NAWROCKI, JOHN RICHARD;REEL/FRAME:016633/0532;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050919 TO 20050920