US 20060032829 A1
A self-assembly storage system or a kit of parts for construction thereof comprises: a base portion, a stem portion, storage units extending forwardly from the stem portion, the base portion comprising two fire elements connected via a linking element, the extended frame elements comprising curved extensions extending from the base portion for fixing the stem portion in linear continuity therewith. Hence the stem portion is substantially offset from the base portion to locate the storage units over a center of gravity defined by the base. The storage system is substantially stable, and the base portion and the stem portion comprise substantially two-dimensional components, allowing for flat packaging of the kit for easy storage and transport.
1. A kit of parts for assembly into a storage system, comprising:
a base portion for defining a stable center of gravity, said base portion comprising at least one extended frame element and a lateral element, and
a stem portion extending from said base portion for hanging of at least one storage unit over said base portion, said stem portion being connected in linear continuity with said extended frame elements.
2. The kit of
3. The kit of
4. The kit of parts of
5. The kit of parts of
6. The kit of parts of
7. A self-assembly storage system comprising:
a base portion;
a stein portion;
storage units extending forwardly from said stem portion; and
said base portion comprising two frame elements connected via a linking element, the extended frame elements comprising curved extensions extending from said base portion for fixing said stem portion in linear continuity therewith, such that said stem portion is substantially offset from said base portion to locate said storage units over a center of gravity defined by said base, such that said storage system is substantially stable, and wherein said base portion and said stem portion comprise substantially two-dimensional components.
8. A storage system comprising:
a base in a first plane,
a stem extending in a perpendicular direction from said first plane, and
an S-shaped linking portion for attaching said stem in linear continuity with said base while maintaining mutual perpendicularity therebetween.
The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/601,626, filed on Aug. 16, 2004, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates to a self-assembly or DIY storage system and, more particularly, but not exclusively to a storage trolley useful in a kitchen or office or like environment.
DIY storage units are known, as are DIY storage trolleys. DIY units are typically provided as kits of part assembled pieces. Generally in DIY systems the part assembly of the pieces is chosen so that the kit can be provided to the user in as easy to handle a package as possible, at the same time attempting not to leave the consumer with too onerous a construction task in order to make the final product.
The pieces of a DIY system are thus generally designed to be as one- or two-dimensional as possible without compromising on the mechanical integrity of the final product.
Now storage systems in particular have to balance, meaning that the storage space has to be located stably over the center of gravity of the system. Indeed the part-assembled pieces have to be made so that they fit together to define a centre of gravity that confers stability on the unit for any reasonable load that is placed in the storage unit A consequence of this is to constrain the possibilities for designing such a product.
In one solution at least one of the pieces has to have a full three-dimensional shape. A flat base portion, often square or rectangular, typically has a stem extending upwardly therefrom in a plane which is perpendicular to the flat base portion. The base and stem form the stable skeleton of the storage unit. As the base and stem extend in respectively perpendicular planes, the skeleton is necessarily three-dimensional.
In order to incorporate the three-dimensional skeleton, the package in which the kit is provided is not as easy to handle as is desirable, hence increasing transport costs or being inconvenient to customers who wish to transport the package in their cars from the DIY store.
In other solutions which allow for flat packaging, the storage units or shelves in fact attach to walls or poles to provide structural stability. These solutions do in fact provide for substantially flat packaging but have other disadvantages. First of all the storage units, whether baskets or shelves, become an intrinsic part of the structure and hence cannot be removed. Secondly, construction is more complicated, requiring awkward attachment operations using substantial numbers of screws or Like attachment means.
There is thus a widely recognized need for, and it would be highly advantageous to have, a storage system devoid of the above limitations.
According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a kit of parts for assembly, typically by a consumer, into a storage system, comprising:
a base portion for defining a stable center of gravity, the base portion comprising at least one extended frame element and a lateral element, and
a stem portion extending from the base portion for hanging of at least one storage unit, typically a hanging basket, over the base portion, the stem portion being connected in linear continuity with the extended frame elements.
Preferably, the extended frame element is curved.
Preferably, the extended frame element comprises a straight length for defining the base portion, and which extends with an S-shaped curve to locate the stem portion at an offset to the base, such that the storage units are hung substantially centrally over the base portion.
Preferably, there is provided a second substantially identical extended frame element, wherein the lateral element is a lining element configured for fitting between the straight lengths of the extended frame elements to form the base portion.
Preferably, each of the extended frame elements, the lateral linking element and the stem portion are substantially two-dimensional for minimal volume packaging.
According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a self-assembly storage system comprising:
a base portion;
a stem portion;
storage units extending forwardly from the stem portion; and
the base portion comprising two frame elements connected via a linking element, the extended frame elements comprising curved extensions extending from the base portion for fixing the stem portion in linear continuity therewith, such that the stem portion is substantially offset from the base portion to locate the storage units over a center of gravity defined by the base thereby rendering the storage system substantially stable, and wherein the base portion and the stem portion comprise substantially two-dimensional components.
According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a storage system comprising:
a base in a first plane;
a stem extending in a perpendicular direction from said first plane; and
an S-shaped linking portion comprising at least one S-shaped linking component for attaching said stem in linear continuity with said base while maintaining the mutually perpendicular arrangement between the base the and the stem.
The present embodiments encompass a storage system made of parts for self-assembly by a user, as well as a kit of self-assembling parts for constructing a storage system. In these embodiments, the constituent parts are substantially flat, meaning that most of their extent is in two of the three dimensions, in other words that the parts take up minimal volume.
Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. The materials, methods, and examples provided herein are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.
The invention is herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in order to provide what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice.
In the drawings:
The present embodiments comprise a kit of parts for construction into a storage system. The parts are substantially flat for easy packaging and storage, and yet are designed so that when constructed they provide a storage system in three dimensions having a stable center of gravity. A preferred embodiment has wheels or castors attached to the base to provide a storage trolley system.
The principles and operation of a storage system according to the present invention may be better understood with reference to the drawings and accompanying description.
Before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
Reference is now made to
As will be explained in greater detail below, the base consists of frame elements which extend beyond the base with an ‘s’ shaped bend. The stem extends from the end of the S shape and in linear continuity therewith.
Castors 20 may optionally be provided on the base to provide mobility.
Stem part 26 is an inverted U shape with cross-supports 27. Stem part 26 forms a hanging frame. The two extended frame elements are fixed to the lower end of stem part 26 such as to extend in parallel with each other at right angles to the plane of stem part 26.
The upper end of the second curve 29, at the end of the tubing, is fixed to the lower end of stem part 26, such that the stem extends from the end of the extension in linear continuity therewith. This is distinct from the prior art systems where the stem is generally the same piece as the base and usually extends from the flat part of the base as part of a “T” connection, or an “L” connection.
The combination of stem, extended frame elements and lateral linking element preferably provides a stable framework for carrying a load.
Reference is now made to
It will be appreciated from a brief perusal of the figures that the parts in the kit are substantially two-dimensional so that they can be packed in a minimal volume or flat packaging. In particular, the extended base elements, the inverted U of the stem, and the lateral linking element are substantially two-dimensional. The baskets necessarily have volume for storage but easily fit within each other.
Flat packaging is advantageous as it reduces transport costs throughout the distribution chain, requires less storage space, and allows consumers to fit the packaging directly into their vehicles with ease.
It will be appreciated that in place of wire baskets any other sort of container can be used and may be made of any suitable material, such as plastic, or wood. Similarly the stem and base parts may be made of any suitable material.
It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination.
Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof; it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.