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Publication numberUS20060283819 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/381,483
Publication dateDec 21, 2006
Filing dateMay 3, 2006
Priority dateJun 17, 2005
Publication number11381483, 381483, US 2006/0283819 A1, US 2006/283819 A1, US 20060283819 A1, US 20060283819A1, US 2006283819 A1, US 2006283819A1, US-A1-20060283819, US-A1-2006283819, US2006/0283819A1, US2006/283819A1, US20060283819 A1, US20060283819A1, US2006283819 A1, US2006283819A1
InventorsEric Larsen, Patrick Mitten, Kenneth Shaw, Edward Knorring, Jr.
Original AssigneeB-O-F Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular Shelf Management System
US 20060283819 A1
Abstract
A modular system of interconnecting track members for use on a flat shelf or on an inclined gravity-feed shelf, wherein each individual track member includes an overhang on a first sidewall extending in a direction opposite the second sidewall of that track member, the overhang defining a channel to receive a portion of a second sidewall of an adjacent track member. The track members are provided in a variety of configurations, including different widths and different wall heights. The track members may also be provided with such features as friction-reducing hip slide rails, a groove to facilitate removal of the overhang, drainage openings, permanent dividers, and removable dividers. The track members of each of the various possible configurations each has the overhang on a first sidewall, and a second sidewall having a portion that is receivable in the channel formed by the overhang of the first sidewall of an adjacent track member, so the retailer may arrange a plurality of track members having different parameters (e.g., width, height, friction-reducing surface) to optimize display of different types and sizes of retail products on a shelf.
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Claims(28)
1. A track member for a shelf comprising:
a bottom;
a first sidewall extending upward from the bottom;
a second sidewall extending upward from the bottom;
the first sidewall having a portion curling in a direction away from the second sidewall and forming an overhang defining a downwardly-open channel.
2. The track member of claim 1, wherein the overhang extends from a front end of the track member to a rear end of the track member.
3. The track member of claim 1, including a plurality of hip slide rails extending upward from the bottom.
4. The track member of claim 3, wherein each of the hip slide rails is provided with a lubricant coating.
5. The track member of claim 3, in combination with at least one divider intermediate the first sidewall and the second sidewall, the divider comprising a wall and separating the track member into a plurality of track channels.
6. The track member of claim 5, wherein said divider is removable and is secured to the bottom of the track member by the hip slide rails.
7. The track member and removable divider combination of claim 6, wherein the removable divider includes a slanted first wing and a slanted second wing extending from a lower portion of the removable divider;
wherein the hip slide rails are arranged in pairs and each pair of hip slide rails defines an inverted generally V-shaped groove to receive one of the slanted first and second wings of the removable divider.
8. The track member of claim 1, wherein the first sidewall extends above the overhang.
9. The track member of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first sidewall and the second sidewall includes a portion that jogs inwardly in a direction toward the other of the first and second sidewalls.
10. The track member of claim 1, wherein at least one drainage opening is provided in the bottom.
11. The track member of claim 1, wherein the first sidewall includes a wedge-shaped groove running parallel to and below the overhang, said wedge-shaped groove facilitating removal of the overhang.
12. A modular system of interconnecting track members for a shelf comprising:
a plurality of track members each having a bottom, a first sidewall and a second sidewall, the first sidewall having a portion curling in a direction away from the second sidewall and forming an overhang defining a downwardly-open channel.
13. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 13, wherein each of the track members is selectable from at least a set of track members having a first width and a set of track members having a second width.
14. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein at least one of the first sidewall and the second sidewall of at least one of the plurality of track members includes a portion that jogs inwardly in a direction toward the other of the first and second sidewalls of that track member.
15. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein in at least one of the plurality of track members, the overhang extends from a front end of the track member to a rear end of that track member.
16. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of track members includes a plurality of hip slide rails extending upward from the bottom of that track member.
17. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 15, wherein each of the hip slide rails is provided with a lubricant coating.
18. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 15, wherein at least one of the plurality of track members is provided in combination with at least one divider intermediate the first sidewall and the second sidewall of that track member, the divider comprising a wall and separating that track member into a plurality of track channels.
19. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 17, wherein the divider is removable and is secured to the bottom of that track member by the hip slide rails.
20. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 18, wherein the removable divider includes a slanted first wing and a slanted second wing extending from a lower portion of the removable divider;
wherein the hip slide rails of that track member are arranged in pairs and each pair of hip slide rails defines an inverted generally V-shaped groove to receive one of the slanted first and second wings of the removable divider.
21. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein on at least one of the plurality of track members, the first sidewall extends above the overhang of that track member.
22. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein on at least one of the plurality of track members, at least one of the first sidewall and the second sidewall includes a portion that jogs inwardly in a direction toward the other of the first and second sidewalls.
23. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 21, wherein the first or second sidewall of a second one of the track members adjacent and interconnected to the track member having the portion that jogs inwardly, and the sidewall including the portion that jogs inwardly, cooperate with one another to define a double-layer separation between two track channels defined by the respective track members, with an air gap therebetween.
24. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of track members has at least one drainage opening provided in the bottom.
25. The modular system of interconnecting track members of claim 12, wherein the first sidewall of at least one of the plurality of track members includes a wedge-shaped groove running parallel to and below the overhang of that first sidewall, said wedge-shaped groove facilitating removal of the overhang of that first sidewall.
26. A method for arranging a plurality of interconnecting track members on a shelf, comprising:
selecting a plurality of track members from a set of track members having a bottom, a first sidewall and a second sidewall, the first sidewall having a portion curling in a direction away from the second sidewall and forming an overhang defining a downwardly-open channel, and a width complementary to retail product to be displayed in each of the respective track members; and
interconnecting the selected track members by successively inserting a portion of the second sidewall of one of the selected track members into the downwardly-open channel of the overhang of an adjacent one of the selected track members until all the selected track members are interconnected.
27. The method of claim 26, and further including cutting along a groove provided under the overhang on the first sidewall of an outermost one of the selected track members and removing the overhang.
28. The method of claim 26, wherein in interconnecting the selected track members, arranging the track members such that on every other track member, the first sidewall includes a portion extending above the overhang of that sidewall.
Description
    REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. Design patent application No. 29/232,370, filed on Jun. 17, 2005.
  • FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • [0002]
    This disclosure relates to controlled display of retail merchandise, such as gravity feed shelving, and more specifically, to a shelf management system including individual channel-defining track.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • [0003]
    In order to increase inventory turnover and maximize efficient use of shelf space, retailers frequently utilize gravity feed shelving systems, wherein inclined shelves are used to stock merchandise. In such shelf systems, consumers are presented with an array of merchandise arranged in parallel track channels on each shelf, generally with only the front-most (“first-in” or “first-up”) unit of merchandise in each individual track being easily accessible, i.e. so-called “first-in-first-out” (FIFO) product merchandising. Upon removing this front-most unit of merchandise, the remaining units of like-merchandise in that given track channel advance, i.e. slide down, toward the front of the shelf, so that the next-successive unit in line becomes the new front-most unit in that track channel.
  • [0004]
    Since conventional flat merchandise shelves, e.g., cantilevered or so-called “gondola”-type shelves, a ow users to rearrange product on the shelves, such as to find product with later expiration dates, inclined gravity feed shelving systems help ensure that oldest product is sold first. By making rearrangement of product more difficult for consumers, it is found that inventory waste is reduced. The inclined arrangement of the gravity feed shelves also allows greater shelf-space on a given footprint of valuable floor space or the retailer, which is a particular advantage in relatively costly refrigerated aisles and wall units where gravity shelving systems are becoming the industry standard.
  • [0005]
    Gravity feed shelving is used in many applications, including for food containers, such as in grocery and convenience stores. For example, cartons or bottles of milk, cans of soft drinks, juice boxes, cottage cheese containers, and other like items are transported, in a FIFO format, along angled, gravity feed shelf systems. One such gravity flow shelving system is typified by U.S. Pat. No. 5,607,068, owned by the assignee of the present disclosure. Some applications for such gravity flow shelving include indexable and adjustable positioning structure, i.e. so as to allow the shelf lane dividers to be adjusted in their position as desired by the retailer, to accommodate larger or smaller product sizes, among the multiple flow lanes of a given gravity shelf unit. Such indexable and adjustable shelf assemblies are typified by U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,047,647 and 6,332,547, both owned by the assignee of the present disclosure. There have been many attempts to create shelf divider members that extend from the front to the rear of a gravity feed shelf and which can be easily adjusted.
  • [0006]
    Displaying and delivering containers of freshness-dated liquids such as fruit juice or milk products can often be hampered by leakage from these containers. When liquids spill onto the gravity flow racks, sticky residues can impair the ability of product to flow down the shelf, impair cleaning of track channels, and unsanitary conditions can be created. A system of shelf tracks which are easily rearranged at the option of the retailer, and which may be easily replaced when desired, would be advantageous. Further, track members which are more economical and less complicated to manufacture, install, and arrange than existing adjustable-width shelving systems would be desirable.
  • SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • [0007]
    The present disclosure concerns a modular system of track members for display shelving in which the individual track members may stand alone or may be interconnected with either track members having similar configurations, or with track members having different configurations, in order to provide a flexible convenient system to display items. The track members of the present disclosure may be installed on a shelf individually or in groups in order to display and deliver product of various shapes and sizes, so as to maximize use of retail shelf space while assuring an orderly array of retail merchandise. The display channels formed by the individual track members may have a generally U-shape.
  • [0008]
    On each track member there exists a means for interconnecting adjacent tracks, such as an overhang on one sidewall which forms an inverted locking channel, which is shaped and sized to slidingly receive a male portion of an adjacent track member's sidewall. Typically there is only one overhang that runs the entire length of a given track member; however, it is possible that the overhang may extend over one or more portions of the length of a sidewall of the track member.
  • [0009]
    A wedge-shaped groove may be incorporated, running parallel to the overhang on one side of the sidewall having the engagement overhang, in order to facilitate removal of the overhang. For instance, it may be desirable to remove the overhang in the event the overhang, if present, would interfere with the track installation (such as when the sidewall of an outer-most track member is installed against a hard object such as a display case wall, support or cross bars of the shelf, or some other obstacle).
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1A is a perspective view showing a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1B is a front view of the track member of FIG. 1A;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1C is a left side view of the track member of FIG. 1A;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1D is a top view of the track member of FIG. 1A;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1E is a right side view of the track member of FIG. 1A;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1F is a bottom view of the track member of FIG. 1A;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1G is a front view of a section of the base of the track member shown in FIG. 1B, taken along detail line “FIG. 1G” of FIG. 1B;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 1H is a front view of a section of the left sidewall of the track member shown in FIG. 1A, taken along detail line “FIG. 1H” of FIG. 1B;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2B is a front view of the track member of FIG. 2A;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2C is a left side view of the track member of FIG. 2A;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2D is a top view of the track member of FIG. 2A;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 2E is a right side view of the track member of FIG. 2A;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 2F is a bottom view of the track member of FIG. 2A;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 2G is an enlarged front view of a section of the base of the track member shown in FIG. 2A, taken along detail line “FIG. 2G” of FIG. 2B;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2H is an enlarged front view of a section of the left sidewall of the track member shown in FIG. 2A, taken along detail line “FIG. 2H” of FIG. 2B;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 5A is an enlarged front view of a section of the base of the track member shown in FIG. 5;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 6B is a front view of the track member of FIG. 6A;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 6C is a left side view of the track member of FIG. 6A;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 6D is a top view of the track member of FIG. 6A;
  • [0034]
    FIG. 6E is a right side view of the track member of FIG. 6A;
  • [0035]
    FIG. 6F is a bottom view of the track member of FIG. 6A;
  • [0036]
    FIG. 6G is a front view of a section of the base of the track member shown in FIG. 6A, taken along detail line “FIG. 6G” of FIG. 6B;
  • [0037]
    FIG. 6H is an enlarged front view of a section of the left sidewall of the track member shown in FIG. 6A, taken along detail line “FIG. 6H” of FIG. 6B;
  • [0038]
    FIG. 7A is a perspective view of a seventh embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0039]
    FIG. 7B is a front view of the track member of FIG. 7A;
  • [0040]
    FIG. 7C is a left side view of the track member of FIG. 7A;
  • [0041]
    FIG. 7D is a top view of the track member of FIG. 7A;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 7E is a right side view of the track member of FIG. 7A;
  • [0043]
    FIG. 7F is a bottom view of the track member of FIG. 7A;
  • [0044]
    FIG. 7G is a front view of a section of the base of the track member shown in FIG. 7A, taken along detail line “FIG. 7G” of FIG. 7B;
  • [0045]
    FIG. 7H is an enlarged front view of a section of the left sidewall of the track member shown in FIG. 7A, taken along detail line “FIG. 7H” of FIG. 7B;
  • [0046]
    FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a eighth embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure;
  • [0047]
    FIG. 8B is a front view of the track member of FIG. 8A;
  • [0048]
    FIG. 8C is a left side view of the track member of FIG. 8A;
  • [0049]
    FIG. 8D is a top view of the track member of FIG. 8A;
  • [0050]
    FIG. 8E is a right side view of the track member of FIG. 8A;
  • [0051]
    FIG. 8F is a bottom view of the track member of FIG. 8A;
  • [0052]
    FIG. 8G is a front view of a section of the base of the track member shown in FIG. 8A, taken along detail line “FIG. 8G” of FIG. 8B;
  • [0053]
    FIG. 8H is a front view of a section of the left sidewall of the track member shown in FIG. 8A, taken along detail line “FIG. 8H” of FIG. 8B;
  • [0054]
    FIG. 8I is a front view of a track member similar to that shown in FIG. 8A, having an inward jog not only on the left sidewall but also on the right sidewall.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 9A is a front view of three track members of the embodiment of FIG. 7A, connected together;
  • [0056]
    FIG. 9B is a front view of four interconnected track members of various embodiments of this disclosure;
  • [0057]
    FIG. 9C is a front view of three interconnected track members of various embodiments of the present disclosure;
  • [0058]
    FIG. 10A is a front view of a relatively wide track member having two fixed dividers partitioning the track member into three track channels;
  • [0059]
    FIG. 10B is a front view of a relatively wide track member having two fixed dividers partitioning the track member into three track channels;
  • [0060]
    FIG. 10C is a front view of a relatively wide track member similar to the embodiment of FIG. 8A, and having two fixed dividers partitioning the track member into three track channels;
  • [0061]
    FIG. 11A is a front view of an embodiment consisting of a relatively wide track member with one removable divider partitioning the track member into two track channels;
  • [0062]
    FIG. 11AA is an enlarged front view of a section of the base of the track member and removable divider of FIG. 11A taken along detail line “FIG. 11AA” of FIG. 11A;
  • [0063]
    FIG. 11B is a front view of another embodiment of a track member in combination with an adjustable and removable divider partitioning the track member into two track channels;
  • [0064]
    FIG. 11BB is an enlarged front view of a section of the base of the track member and removable divider of FIG. 11B, taken along detail line “FIG. 11BB” of FIG. 11B; and
  • [0065]
    FIG. 12 is a front view of a number of track members of various embodiments of the present disclosure, interconnected into a cohesive modular unit as an example of the options available for a shelf layout.
  • [0066]
    It will be understood that the drawings are not to scale and that, in some instances, details which are not necessary for an understanding of the disclosed embodiments or which render other details difficult to perceive, may have been omitted. It should also be understood that this disclosure is not limited to the embodiments specifically illustrated in the drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • [0067]
    Having reference to the drawings, where like reference numbers comprise like elements, there is shown in FIG. 1A a track member for display shelving, generally denoted by reference numeral 10. Track 10 includes a left sidewall 12, a right sidewall 18, and a bottom 30. The left sidewall 12 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 13, where it joins the bottom 30, to a top edge 16. The left sidewall 12 has a portion which curls downward from the top edge 16, in a direction opposite the right sidewall 18, creating an overhang 14 defining an inverted channel 15 which runs the entire length of the left sidewall 12. Similarly, the right sidewall 18 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 19, where it joins the bottom 30. The right sidewall 18 continues upward until it cants outwardly at a bend 20, and then it extends upward a short remaining distance ending at a top edge 22.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 1B shows a front view of the track member 10 with a detail labelled “FIG. 1G”, which shows a profile of a plurality of hip slide strips 32 which extend upwardly from the bottom 30. The hip slide strips 32 are present in order to provide a low-friction surface over which dispensed product is gravity fed when the track member 10 is mounted on an inclined shelf (not shown). Also shown in FIG. 1B is a detail labelled “FIG. 1H”, which shows a profile of the top edge 16 of the left sidewall 12. The left sidewall 12 is provided with a knife groove 17, facilitating removal of a overhang 14 if the overhang 14 impedes installation of the track member 10. FIG. 1C shows a left side view of the track member 10, while FIG. 1D shows a top view of track member 10, including optional drain apertures 34 cut through the bottom 30, as well as the plurality of hip slide strips 32 running the length of the bottom 30. FIG. 1E shows a right side view of the track member 10, while FIG. 1F shows a bottom (underside) view of the track member 10.
  • [0069]
    With the exception of the optional drain apertures 34, the track member 10 of the present disclosure may be formed as one piece, in a single extrusion operation, using a suitable plastic material.
  • [0070]
    There is shown in FIG. 2A a track member for display shelving, generally denoted by reference numeral 210. Track 210 includes a left sidewall 212, a right sidewall 218, and a bottom 230. The left sidewall 212 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 213, where it joins the bottom 230, to a top edge 216. The left sidewall 212 has a portion which curls downward from the top edge 216, in a direction opposite the right sidewall 218, creating an overhang 214 defining an inverted channel 215 which runs the entire length of the left sidewall 212. Similarly, the right sidewall 218 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 219, where it joins the bottom 230. The right sidewall 218 continues upward until it cants outwardly at a bend 220, and then it extends upward a short remaining distance ending at a top edge 222.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 2B shows a front view of the track member 210 with a detail labelled “FIG. 2G”, which shows a profile of hip slide strips 232 which extend upwardly from the bottom 230. The hip slide strips 232 are present in order to provide a low-friction surface over which dispensed product is gravity fed when the track member 210 is mounted on an inclined shelf (not shown). Also shown in FIG. 2B is a detail labelled “FIG. 2H”, which shows a profile of the top edge 216 of the left sidewall 212. The left sidewall 212 is provided with a knife groove 217, facilitating removal of a overhang 214 if the overhang 214 impedes installation of the track member 210. FIG. 2C shows a left side view of the track member 210. FIG. 2D shows a top view of track member 210 containing a plurality of hip slide strips 232 running the length of the bottom 230; however, unlike the previous embodiment, there are no drain apertures cut through the bottom 230. FIG. 2E shows a right side view of the track member 210, while FIG. 2F shows a bottom (underside) view of the track member 210.
  • [0072]
    FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of a track member 310 that is very similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 2; however, the track member 310 has a flat bottom (i.e., it does not include the hip slide strips 232 as shown in FIG. 2B and FIG. 2G). FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of a track member 410 that is very similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1; however, FIG. 4 contains no hip slide strips 32 as shown in FIG. 1B and 1G. FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of a track member 510 which is very similar to the embodiment in FIG. 1; however, instead of having a plurality of hip slide strips 32 as shown in FIG. 1G, this embodiment contains slide strips 532 having a block profile, as shown in FIG. 5A.
  • [0073]
    There is shown in FIG. 6A a track member for display shelving, generally denoted by reference numeral 610. Track member 610 includes a left sidewall 612, a right sidewall 618, and a bottom 630. The left sidewall 612 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 613, where it joins the bottom 630, to a top edge 621. On the left sidewall 612 there is an overhang 614 formed by a portion of the left sidewall 612 which curls downward, in a direction opposite the right sidewall 618. The overhang 614 defines an inverted channel 615 which runs the entire length of the left sidewall 612. Similarly, the right sidewall 618 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 619, where it joins the bottom 630, and continues upward to a top edge 624. On the right sidewall 618, there is a fastening lip 623 which has a top edge 622 and is connected to the right sidewall 618 by an outwardly canting bend 620. As explained in more detail below, the portion of the sidewall 612 extending above the overhang 614 provides an increased height relative to track members of the previous embodiments. This increased wall height is advantageous for use with, for example, tall products to be displayed, such as bottles, as well as products intended to be displayed in a stacked manner in a given track channel, such as cottage cheese tubs, one product container on top of another.
  • [0074]
    FIG. 6B shows a front view of the track member 610 with a detail labelled “FIG. 6G”, which shows a profile of a plurality of hip slide strips 632 which extend upwardly from the bottom 630. The hip slide strips 632 are present in order to provide a low-friction surface over which dispensed product is gravity fed when the track member 610 is mounted on an inclined shelf (not shown). Also shown in FIG. 6B is a detail labelled “FIG. 6H”, which shows a profile of the top edge 621 of the left sidewall 612. The left sidewall 612 is provided with a knife groove 617, facilitating removal of a overhang 614 if the overhang 614 impedes installation of the track member 610.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 6C shows a left side view of the track member 610, including a view of the overhang 614 running the length of the left sidewall 612. FIG. 6D shows a top view of track member 610 containing a plurality of hip slide strips 632 running the length of the bottom 630. FIG. 6E shows a right side view of the track member 610, including a view of the fastening lip 623 running the length of the right sidewall 618. FIG. 6F shows a bottom (underside) view of the track member 610.
  • [0076]
    There is shown in FIG. 7A a track member for display shelving, generally denoted by reference numeral 710. Track 710 includes a left sidewall 712, a right sidewall 718, and a bottom 730. The left sidewall 712 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 713, where it joins the bottom 730, and proceeds to a slight inward jog 711. Continuing upward from the inward jog 711, the left sidewall 712 extends generally vertically to a top edge 716. The left sidewall 712 then curls back downward from the top edge 716 creating an overhang 714 and an inverted channel 715 which run the entire length of the left sidewall 712. The right sidewall 718 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 719, where it joins the bottom 730. The right sidewall 718 continues upward until it cants outwardly at a bend 720, and then it extends upward a short remaining distance ending at a top edge 722.
  • [0077]
    FIG. 7B shows a front view of the track member 710 with a detail labelled “FIG. 7G”, which shows a profile of a plurality of hip slide strips 732 which extend upwardly from the bottom 730. The hip slide strips 732 are present in order to provide a low-friction surface over which dispensed product is gravity fed when the track member 710 is mounted on an inclined shelf (not shown). Also shown in FIG. 7B is a detail labelled “FIG. 7H”, which shows a profile of the top edge 716 of the left sidewall 712. The left sidewall 712 is provided with a knife groove 717, facilitating removal of an overhang 714 if the overhang 714 impedes installation of the track member 710.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 7C shows a left side view of the track member 710, including the slight inward jog 711 and at the top is the overhang 714. FIG. 7D shows a top view of track member 710 containing a plurality of hip slide strips 732 running the length of the bottom 730. FIG. 7E shows a right side view of the track member 710, including the bend 720 near the top of the right sidewall 718. FIG. 7F shows a bottom (underside) view of the track member 710.
  • [0079]
    There is shown in FIG. 8A a track member for display shelving, generally denoted by reference numeral 810. Track 810 includes a left sidewall 812, a right sidewall 818, and a bottom 830. The left sidewall 812 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 813, where it joins the bottom 830, and proceeds to a slight inward jog 811. Continuing upward from the inward jog 811, the left sidewall 812 extends generally vertically to a top edge 821. On the left sidewall 812 there is an overhang 814 which curls back downward creating an inverted channel 815 which runs the entire length of the left sidewall 812. Similarly, the right sidewall 818 is generally vertical as it rises from a bottom edge 819, where it joins the bottom 830, and continues upward to a top edge 824. On the right sidewall 818, there is a fastening lip 823 which has a top edge 822 and is connected to the right sidewall 818 by an outwardly canting bend 820.
  • [0080]
    FIG. 8B shows a front view of the track member 810 with a detail labelled “FIG. 8G”, which shows a profile of a plurality of hip slide strips 832 which extend upwardly from the bottom 830. The hip slide strips 832 are present in order to provide a low-friction surface over which dispensed product is gravity fed when the track member 810 is mounted on an inclined shelf (not shown). Also shown in FIG. 8B is a detail labelled “FIG. 8H”, which shows a profile of the top edge 821 of the left sidewall 812.
  • [0081]
    The left sidewall 812 is provided with a knife groove 817, facilitating removal of a overhang 814 if the overhang 814 impedes installation of the track member 810. FIG. 8C shows a left side view of the track member 810, including a view of the overhang 814 and the slight inward jog 811 running the length of the left sidewall 812. FIG. 8D shows a top view of track member 810 containing a plurality of hip slide strips 832 running the length of the bottom 830. FIG. 8E shows a right side view of the track member 810, including a view of the fastening lip 823 running the length of the right sidewall 818. FIG. 8F shows a bottom (underside) view of the track member 810.
  • [0082]
    FIG. 8I represents another embodiment of a track member of the present disclosure, generally denoted by reference numeral 810A. Track member 810A has both a left sidewall and a right sidewall which contain a slight inward jog 811A, running the length of each sidewall.
  • [0083]
    FIG. 9A is a front view of three track members 710, 710, 210 interconnected with one another. The track member 210 at the far right has a left sidewall that is straight, whereas the track members 710 on the far left and in the center each has a left sidewall 712 that includes the inward jog 711 at a point slightly above where the left sidewall 712 meets the bottom of the track member. As can be appreciated from FIG. 9A, when two track members 710, 710 are interconnected with one another, the left sidewall 712 and right sidewall 718 cooperate with one another to define a double-layer separation between two track channels, with an air gap 724 between the left sidewall 712 and right sidewall 718. This double-layer separation provides enhanced strength and stability as compared to a single-layer track channel divider. The complementary shapes of the interconnected left sidewall 712 and right sidewall 718 of the adjacent track members 710, 710 also achieve superior perpendicularity of the sidewalls 712, 718. Maintaining perpendicularity of the sidewalls 712, 718 is desirable, as this can help avoid a column of products, in particular tall products having a high center of gravity, in a given track channel from becoming skewed (e.g., falling or tilting over into the next-adjacent track channel) as the products in the column advance toward the front of a given track channel.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 9B is a front view of four track members 610, 210, 610′, 210 interconnected together. The track member 610 on the far left is of a first width. As used herein, the width of a given track member is considered a distance between the first sidewall and the second sidewall of that track member. The track member 210 next to it has a lower profile, and has a second width different from the first width. The next track member 610′ (rightward) is taller than the track member 210, and has the same width as the second width, i.e. the width of the track member 210. This alternating arrangement of relatively higher-walled and relatively lower-walled track members 610, 210, 610′, 210 is desirable for use with relatively tall products to be displayed. In order to conserve material, only the sidewalls 612, 618 of every other track member generally need to be higher-walled (except, perhaps, with particularly tall top-heavy products which may require a double-wall that extends the entire height of both adjacent track members), because there is sufficient strength in the portions of the walls of the adjacent track members 610, 210 to substantially resist deflections due to products in the channels defined by the respective track members 610, 210.
  • [0085]
    FIG. 9C is a front view of three track members 710, 610, 710′ interconnected together. The track member 710 on the far left is a track member of a first width. The middle track member 610 is of the same width but taller and has a straight left sidewall 612. The track member 710′ on the far right has a second width different from, e.g. wider than, the first width.
  • [0086]
    FIG. 10A is a front view of an embodiment of a track member 110A, including a relatively wide track member 1010A with two fixed dividers 1028 partitioning the track member into three channels each of smaller width.
  • [0087]
    FIG. 10B is a front view of an embodiment of a track member 1010B including a relatively wide track member with two fixed dividers 1028 partitioning the track member into three channels each of smaller width. Like the track member 610 described above, this track member 1010B is of a relatively tall height with a straight left sidewall and the dividers 1028 of the track member 1010B of this embodiment are relatively tall as well.
  • [0088]
    FIG. 10C is a front view of an embodiment of a track member 1010C having two fixed dividers 1028, 1030 partitioning the track into three channels each of smaller width. This track member 1010C is of a tall height with a left sidewall 1012 that cants or jogs inward at a point slightly above where the left sidewall meets the bottom of the track member. The leftmost divider 1028 is of tail height and the rightmost divider 1030 is relatively lower.
  • [0089]
    FIG. 11A is a front view of another embodiment of a track member 1110A of the present disclosure, including a relatively wide track member 1110A with one removable divider 1128 partitioning the track member into two channels each of smaller width. As best seen in the detail of FIG. 11AA, the bottom 1130 of the track member 1110A is provided with a plurality of hip slide strips 1132 which are arranged in pairs to form inverted generally V-shaped grooves to securely receive slanted first and second wings 1134, 1136 which extend from a lower portion of the removable divider 1128.
  • [0090]
    FIG. 11B is a front view of another embodiment of a track member 1110B of the present disclosure, similar to the track member 1110A, but as best seen in the detail of FIG. 11BB, the hip slide strips 1136 have mushroom-shaped (in cross-section) caps to securely receive horizontal projections 1140 of the removable divider 1128′.
  • [0091]
    FIG. 12 is a front view of a number of track members 1010B, 710, 1110B, 810, 210, 810 of various embodiments of the present disclosure, all interconnected into a cohesive unit as an example of just one of a multiplicity of the options available for a shelf layout.
  • [0092]
    The track members of the present disclosure may be provided in a variety of widths so that, at the option of the retailer, a shelf may be configured having track members of selected widths to optimize efficiency of shelf space and to best correspond to the widths of the product to be displayed and dispensed from the shelf. The width of the track member is determined when the track member is designed and then manufactured. Once manufactured, the width of a given track member cannot be altered. However, in certain embodiments disclosed herein, the track members may be provided with adjustable dividers to enable retailers to form track channels of customized widths.
  • [0093]
    When interconnected with adjacent track members, each of the track members of the present disclosure becomes more stabilized, by virtue of the double-layer separation achieved by adjacent sidewalls, than if the track members were provided individually. As a result, a shelf system of selectable width track channels having superior strength and rigidity is achieved. With the overhanging lip interconnection, it is also easy to remove a given track member, such as for the purpose of cleaning or to substitute a track member of a different height or width.
  • [0094]
    Like the track member of the first embodiment, the track members of all other embodiments disclosed herein may be extruded using a suitable plastic material. In addition, for those embodiments having hip slide strips, it is noted that such hip slide strips may each be provided with a friction-reducing lubricant coating, such as silicone, which coating may be co-extruded with the track members.
  • [0095]
    The length of the track member will vary depending upon the length of the display case into which it is arranged. The length of track member when manufactured is not necessarily the final length as the final product could be cut shorter upon installation. Alternatively, a manufacturer may extrude (or otherwise form) the track members to a variety of lengths to meet the needs of different shelf applications. While it is desirable to use the track members of the present disclosure in gravity feed shelving applications, it is also contemplated that the track members disclosed herein are appropriate for use in flat shelving, such as gondola-type shelving.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/59.2, D06/574, 108/33, 108/59
International ClassificationA47F1/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/005, A47F1/12
European ClassificationA47F1/12, A47F5/00D1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 17, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: B-O-F CORPORATION, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LARSEN, MR. ERIC G.;MITTEN, MR. PATRICK J.;SHAW, MR. KENNETH A.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018129/0179;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060526 TO 20060609