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Publication numberUS20070108146 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/273,323
Publication dateMay 17, 2007
Filing dateNov 14, 2005
Priority dateNov 14, 2005
Publication number11273323, 273323, US 2007/0108146 A1, US 2007/108146 A1, US 20070108146 A1, US 20070108146A1, US 2007108146 A1, US 2007108146A1, US-A1-20070108146, US-A1-2007108146, US2007/0108146A1, US2007/108146A1, US20070108146 A1, US20070108146A1, US2007108146 A1, US2007108146A1
InventorsJohn Nawrocki
Original AssigneeNawrocki John R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fences for attachment to wire shelving and related methods
US 20070108146 A1
Abstract
Various aspects of the present disclosure provide various exemplary embodiments of shelf fences that can, for example, be attached to wire shelves. In one exemplary embodiment, a fence generally includes an upper horizontal rod member and a lower horizontal rod member. The lower horizontal rod member can be spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member. The shelf also includes one or more wire members extending between the fence's upper and lower horizontal rod members. The one or more wire members can have at least one curved section including first and second retaining portions for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf, to thereby allow the fence to be attached to the wire shelf.
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Claims(24)
1. A fence for attachment to a wire shelf having a plurality of wires and support members forming a shelf deck, at least one upper support member, and at least one lower support member spaced below the upper support member, the fence comprising:
an upper horizontal rod member;
a lower horizontal rod member spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member; and
one or more wire members extending between the fence's upper and lower horizontal rod members, the wire members having at least one curved section including first and second retaining portions for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf to thereby allow the fence to be attached to the wire shelf, whereby the fence can help retain one or more objects on the shelf deck.
2. The fence of claim 1, wherein the curved section is configured to fit generally between the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf.
3. The fence of claim 1, wherein the curved section is configured to resiliently expand the spacing between the first and second retaining portions to permit the first and second retaining portions to be fit over the respective upper and lower support members of the wire shelf to thereby engage the first and second retaining portions with the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf.
4. The fence of claim 1, wherein the curved section is configured to be resiliently compressed to permit the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf to be received within the respective first and second retaining portions of the fence.
5. The fence of claim 4, wherein the curved section includes a camming portion configured to be resiliently compressed between the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf when the fence is rotated about the shelf's upper support member engagingly received within the fence's first retaining portion.
6. The fence of claim 1, wherein the curved section includes at least one camming surface for causing the curved section to resiliently compress when the camming surface contacts at least one of the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf, whereby said compression reduces a size of the curved section facilitating positioning of the curved section generally between the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf and engagement of the first and second retaining portions with the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf.
7. The fence of claim 6, wherein the at least one camming surface includes upper and lower camming surfaces for respectively contacting the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf for causing said compression of the curved section.
8. The fence of claim 1, wherein the curved section includes at least one camming surface for causing the curved section to resiliently compress when the camming surface contacts the upper support member of the wire shelf as the fence is rotated about the lower support member of the wire shelf engagingly received within the fence's second retaining portion, whereby said compression reduces a size of the curved section thereby allowing the curved section to move across the upper support member of the wire shelf for engaging said upper support member within the fence's first retaining portion.
9. The fence of claim 1, wherein the curved section includes at least one camming surface for causing the curved section to resiliently compress when the camming surface contacts the lower support member of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion as the fence is rotated about the upper support member of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion engagingly received within the fence's first retaining portion, whereby said compression reduces a size of the curved section thereby allowing the curved section to move across the lower support member of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion for engaging said lower support member within the fence's second retaining portion.
10. The fence of claim 1, wherein the fence is configured for attachment to the wire shelf in a manner such that the fence resists separation from the wire shelf when the fence is pulled in a direction generally outwardly away from the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion.
11. The fence of claim 1, further comprising an intermediate horizontal rod member vertically-spaced between and generally parallel to the upper and lower horizontal rod members, the intermediate horizontal rod member spaced above the curved section.
12. The fence of claim 1, wherein the first and second retaining portions include upper and lower hook members having generally u-shaped transverse profiles.
13. The fence of claim 12, wherein the fence's lower horizontal rod member is connected to one of the legs forming the generally u-shaped second retaining portion.
14. The fence of claim 1, wherein at least one of the fence's wire members include a generally vertical portion connected to and extending downwardly from the fence's upper horizontal rod member to the curved section, the curved section having a plurality of curved portions alternating in curvature and extending from the generally vertical portion towards a rod support end portion to which the fence's lower horizontal rod member is connected.
15. The fence of claim 1, wherein at least one of the fence's wire members include a generally vertical portion connected to and extending downwardly from the fence's upper horizontal rod member, a generally slanted portion slanting inwardly from the generally vertical portion to the curved section, the curved section having a plurality of curved portions alternating in curvature and extending from the generally slanted portion towards a rod support end portion to which the fence's lower horizontal rod member is connected.
16. The fence of claim 1, wherein the first and second retaining portions of the fence are releasably attachable to the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion.
17. A wire shelf comprising a plurality of wires and support members forming a shelf deck, at least one upper support member, and at least one lower support member spaced below the upper support member, and at least one shelf fence of claim 1 attached to the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf.
18. The wire shelf of claim 17, wherein the upper and lower support members and the fence attached thereto are located at a front edge portion of the wire shelf.
19. A fence for a wire shelf having spaced-apart upper and lower support members, the fence comprising:
an upper horizontal rod member;
a lower horizontal rod member spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member; and
one or more wire members extending between and connected to the fence's upper and lower rod members, the wire members including a curved section defining an upper attachment portion and a lower attachment portion, the upper attachment portion defining a space for receiving an upper support member of a wire shelf, the lower attachment portion defining a space for receiving a lower support member of the wire shelf, the curved section being configured to resiliently vary the spacing between the upper and lower attachment portions to permit assembly of the upper and lower attachment portions onto spaced-apart upper and lower support members of a wire shelf.
20. The fence of claim 19, wherein the fence is attached by positioning the upper attachment portion against an upper support member of a wire shelf, and resiliently compressing the curved section to permit a lower support member of the wire shelf to be received within the lower attachment portion of the fence.
21. The fence of claim 19, wherein the fence is attached by positioning the lower attachment portion against a lower support member of a wire shelf, and resiliently expanding the curved section to permit an upper support member of the wire shelf to be received within the upper attachment portion of the fence.
22. A method for assembling a fence having at least first and second attachment portions to a wire shelf having first and second support members, the method comprising:
positioning the first attachment portion of the fence against the wire shelf's first support member; and
resiliently flexing the fence to permit the wire shelf's second support member to be engagingly received within the second attachment portion of the fence.
23. The method of claim 22, wherein resiliently flexing the fence comprises resiliently compressing at least one curved section of the fence to fit between the first and second support members of the wire shelf.
24. The method of claim 22, wherein resiliently flexing the fence comprises resiliently expanding at least one curved section of the fence to fit the first and second attachment portions of the shelf over the first and second support members of the wire shelf.
Description
FIELD

The present disclosure relates to fences for attachment to wire shelving.

BACKGROUND

The statements in this background section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may not constitute prior art.

Efficient and organized use of space is very desirable, particularly with respect to storage or utility space in businesses, stores, residential homes, and apartments. With respect to closet organization and the design of closet storage units, particularly for residential use, many different options are available. One common example is the use of ventilated shelving (e.g., wire or plastic, and associated components) to construct storage units within closets. Typical ventilated shelving varies in size (e.g., different lengths and widths, etc.) and configuration (e.g., different wire mesh spacing, different number and arrangement of lateral and transverse members, etc.).

SUMMARY

According to various aspects of the present disclosure, there are provided various exemplary embodiments of shelf fences that can, for example, be attached to wire shelves. In one exemplary embodiment, a fence generally includes an upper horizontal rod member and a lower horizontal rod member. The lower horizontal rod member can be spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member. The shelf also includes one or more wire members extending between the fence's upper and lower horizontal rod members. The one or more wire members can have at least one curved section including first and second retaining portions for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf, to thereby allow the fence to be attached to the wire shelf.

In another exemplary embodiment, a fence includes an upper horizontal rod member and a lower horizontal rod member. The lower horizontal rod member can be spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member. The fence also includes one or more wire members extending between and connected to the fence's upper and lower rod members. The one or more wire members can include a curved section defining an upper attachment portion and a lower attachment portion. The upper attachment portion can define a space for receiving an upper support member of a wire shelf. The lower attachment portion can define a space for receiving a lower support member of the wire shelf. The curved section can be configured to resiliently vary the spacing between the upper and lower attachment portions to permit assembly of the upper and lower attachment portions onto spaced-apart upper and lower support members of a wire shelf.

Additional aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods of assembling or attaching a fence to a wire shelf. In one particular method embodiment in which a fence includes at least first and second attachment portions and the wire shelf has first and second support members, a method generally includes positioning the first attachment portion of the fence against the wire shelf's first support member, and resiliently flexing a portion of the fence to permit the wire shelf's second support member to be engagingly received within the second attachment portion of the fence.

Further aspects and features of the present disclosure will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. In addition, any one or more aspects of the present disclosure may be implemented individually or in any combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the present disclosure. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portion of a wire shelf with a shelf fence attached thereto according to one exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the wire shelf portion and shelf fence shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 3;

FIGS. 4A through 4C are side elevation views of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 4 and illustrating various stages of an exemplary process for attaching the shelf fence onto the upper and lower support members of the shelf shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of a wire shelf with a shelf fence attached thereto according to another exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the wire shelf portion and shelf fence shown in FIG. 5;

FIGS. 6A through 6C are side elevation views of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 6 and illustrating various stages of an exemplary process for attaching the shelf fence onto the upper and lower support members of the shelf shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a side elevation view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a portion of a wire shelf with a shelf fence attached thereto according to another exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of the wire shelf portion and shelf fence shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a side elevation view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a portion of a wire shelf with a shelf fence attached thereto according to another exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 14 is a side elevation view of the wire shelf portion and shelf fence shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 13; and

FIG. 16 is a side elevation view of the shelf fence shown in FIG. 15.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses.

According to various aspects of the present disclosure, there are provided various exemplary embodiments of shelf fences or guards that can, for example, be attached to wire shelves. In one exemplary embodiment, a fence generally includes an upper horizontal rod member and a lower horizontal rod member. The lower horizontal rod member can be spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member. The shelf also includes one or more wire members extending between the fence's upper and lower horizontal rod members. The one or more wire members can have at least one curved section including first and second retaining portions for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members of the wire shelf, to thereby allow the fence to be attached to the wire shelf. Accordingly, the fence can help retain items or products on the shelf deck.

In another exemplary embodiment, a fence includes an upper horizontal rod member and a lower horizontal rod member. The lower horizontal rod member can be spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member. The fence also includes one or more wire members extending between and connected to the fence's upper and lower rod members. The one or more wire members can include a curved section defining an upper attachment portion and a lower attachment portion. The upper attachment portion can define a space for receiving an upper support member of a wire shelf. The lower attachment portion can define a space for receiving a lower support member of the wire shelf. The curved section can be configured to resiliently vary the spacing between the upper and lower attachment portions to permit assembly of the upper and lower attachment portions onto spaced-apart upper and lower support members of a wire shelf. Accordingly, the fence can help retain items or products on the shelf deck.

Additional aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods of assembling or attaching a fence to a wire shelf. In one particular method embodiment in which a fence includes at least first and second attachment portions and the wire shelf has first and second support members, a method generally includes positioning the first attachment portion of the fence against the wire shelf's first support member, and resiliently flexing a portion of the fence to permit the wire shelf's second support member to be engagingly received within the second attachment portion of the fence. In various embodiments, the process or operation of resiliently flexing the fence generally includes resiliently compressing at least one curved section of the fence to fit between the first and second support members of the wire shelf. In alternative embodiments, the process or operation of resiliently flexing the fence generally includes resiliently expanding at least one curved section of the fence to fit the first and second attachment portions of the shelf over the first and second support members of the wire shelf.

Various exemplary embodiments provide fences or guards that comprise welded and/or formed wire attachments, which can be retrofit and added to the front portion (or other additional or alternative shelf locations, such as along a side edge portion, along an intermediate portion, and/or along a back edge portion, etc.) to existing wire ventilated shelving, and, in at least some cases, without using any tools or additional hardware. In such embodiments, the shelf fence or guard can have a unique configuration (e.g., shape, sizing, etc.) that enables the shelf fence to hook into position and then be rotated to a lockingly engaged position with a generally vertical downwardly-extending section (e.g., a “cascading” or “water wall” section) of an existing wire shelf. In any of the various embodiments of the present disclosure, rotation of a fence relative to a shelf can occur by rotating the fence as the shelf remain stationary, or by rotating the shelf as the fence remains stationary, or by rotating both the shelf and the fence. Regardless of the particular manner in which the relative motion between the shelf and the fence takes place, the fence (after being installed to the wire shelf) can then help retain articles on the shelf by preventing or at least inhibiting articles from falling off (e.g., sliding off, rolling off, etc.) the shelf.

Shelf fences and guards of the present disclosure can be manufactured from various sizes and shapes of wire (among other suitable materials) and can be arranged to accommodate various types of wire shelving. The overall shape, length, height, width, and spacing of the integral components of a shelf fence or guard can vary as necessary to accommodate proper fit with a particularly configured wire shelf. In accordance with teachings of the present disclosure, various embodiments of a shelf fence or guard can be readily attached to an existing wire shelf and also be readily relocated as desired. Furthermore, a plurality of shelf fence pieces can be positioned substantially inline and adjacent each other to create a longer fence where desired, and/or be positioned at various locations to provide or define compartments on the shelf. Some embodiments include shelf fences (or portions thereof) manufactured from molded plastics or composite materials instead of or in addition to wire.

Various exemplary embodiments are directed to shelf fences or guards (e.g., fence 100 as shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, etc.) that can be configured to have cam features, which provide for a relatively high degree of flexibility and reduced resistance to installation onto a wire shelf. In some exemplary embodiments, a shelf fence may include a camming feature that generally provides for shelf fence installation by hooking, rotating, and camming the fence into a lockingly engaged position at the attachment location (e.g., on the shelf's front, back, intermediate, side edge, etc.) of the wire shelf. These particular shelf fence embodiments with cam features can allow for less stringent tolerances during manufacture. Plus, these particular embodiments with cam features can also be fairly aggressive in that the shelf fences will not pull away from their mounting when pulled forward and away from the wire shelf, that is, until sufficient force is exerted to deform the shelf fences.

Other exemplary embodiments are directed to shelf fences or guards (e.g., fence 200 as shown in FIGS. 5 through 8, etc.) that can be configured to have compressible or flexural areas, which provide for a lesser degree of flexibility than the fence embodiments with cam features (e.g., fence 100, etc.) and moderate resistance to installation onto wire shelves. In some particular embodiments, the compressible area generally provides for shelf installation by hooking, rotating, and lockingly engaging the shelf fence into position at the attachment location (e.g., on the shelf's front, back, intermediate, side edge, etc.) of the wire shelf. These particular shelf fence embodiments with the compressible areas can include tighter tolerances in manufacturing than those shelf fence embodiments with camming features. In addition, these particular embodiments with compressible areas can also be fairly aggressive in that the shelf fences will not pull away from their mounting when pulled forward and away from the wire shelf, that is, until sufficient force is exerted to deform the shelf fences.

Further exemplary embodiments are directed to shelf fences or guards (e.g., fence 300 as shown in FIGS. 9 through 12, etc.) that do not include either cam features or compressible features as just described. Instead, these particular embodiments include shelf fences shaped to assist in fit for installation. These particular embodiments can offer significant resistance to installation onto a wire shelf in that relatively high forces may be needed to manually install by hand. These particular embodiments can also be less aggressive and fairly easy to remove from a wire shelf than those embodiments with the cam features or compressible features.

Additional exemplary embodiments are directed to shelf fences or guards (e.g., fence 400 as shown in FIGS. 13 through 16) that do not have camming features. Instead, these particular embodiments include expansion or flexural areas and are shaped to assist in fit for installation. These particular embodiments can offer significant resistance to installation of the fences onto wire shelves, and may need relatively large forces to manually install by hand. These particular shelf fence embodiments can also be less aggressive and more readily removed from a wire shelf than other embodiments.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 4, there is shown one exemplary embodiment of a shelf fence 100 embodying one or more aspects of the present disclosure. As shown in FIG. 1, the fence 100 can be attached to a wire shelf 102 without using tools or mechanical fasteners.

The shelf 102 (to which the fence 100 can be attached) may include wire or rod members 108 that form a support surface or shelf deck on which articles can be stored. The shelf 102 can also include at least one generally vertical flange, edge portion, or downwardly extending portion 104. This shelf portion 104 can include an upper support member or rod member 112 and a lower support member or rod member 116. In the illustrated embodiment, the shelf's lower support member 116 is shown directly beneath the upper support member 112 such that the support members 112 and 116 are in the same vertical plane. In other embodiments, however, the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 may not be in the same vertical plane. Indeed, FIGS. 1 through 16 show only one particular example of a ventilated wire shelf 102 to which one or more of the fences of the present disclosure can be attached. In other embodiments, shelf fences of the present disclosure can be used with a wide range of shelves other than what is shown in the figures, including shelves in different sizes (e.g., four foot, six foot, eight foot, ten foot, and/or cut to a custom size, etc.) and/or mounted at various locations (e.g., closet wall, bathroom, grocery store, department store, etc.) using brackets and/or other suitable means. Embodiments of the present disclosure can also be used with shelves having a different depth and/or different spacing between the shelf's wires or rod members than that shown in the figures. Further, embodiments of the present disclosure can also be used with shelves having wires or rods oriented generally longitudinally, transversely, diagonally, etc. relative to the shelf. Accordingly, aspects of the present disclosure should not be limited to implementation into any specific form/type of shelf.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1 through 4, the fence 100 comprises an upper horizontal rod or wire member 120, and a lower horizontal rod or wire member 124. The lower horizontal rod member 124 is spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member 120.

The fence 100 further includes one or more wire or rod members 128. The wire members 128 extend generally between the fence's upper and lower horizontal rod members 120 and 124. The wire members 128 have at least one curved section 132 therein. This curved section 132 includes first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102, to thereby allow the fence 100 to be attached to the wire shelf 102.

With regard to the configuration and shape of the fence 100, at least one of the wire members 128 includes a generally vertical portion 130 connected to the fence's upper horizontal rod member 120, for example, by welding, adhesives, other suitable attachment methods, etc. As shown, the generally vertical portion 130 extends downwardly to the curved section 132.

The curved section 132 has a plurality of curved portions alternating in curvature. The curved section 132 extending from the generally vertical portion 130 towards the end portion to which the fence's lower horizontal rod member 124 is connected.

The curved section 132 defines first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 of the fence 100. When the fence 100 is installed to the shelf 102, the shelf's upper and lower support members 112 and 116 are engagingly received within the fence's retaining portions 136 and 138, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

The curved section 132 has a configuration and shape that defines the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 The curved section 132 also defines a generally protruding portion 134 between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138. At least a part of the curved section 132 or protruding portion 134 of the fence's wire members 128 is configured to fit generally between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102. In this particular embodiment, the curved section 132 is configured to be flexed so as to resiliently compress or reduce the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138. This resilient compression of the curved section 132 in the wire members 128 permits the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102 to be received within the fence's first and second retaining portions 136 and 138, to thereby attach the fence 100 to the shelf 102. When the fence 100 is attached to the wire shelf 102 in this exemplary manner, the fence 100 can thus help retain items on the shelf deck of the wire shelf 102.

While FIG. 1 illustrates the fence 100 being attached to a front generally vertical edge portion of the wire shelf 102, other embodiments can include one or more shelf fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) attached at one or more alternative or additional shelf locations, such as along a side edge, intermediate position, and/or back edge of a shelf. In addition, FIG. 1 further illustrates the fence 100 attached such that it is generally parallel with the front edge portion of the shelf 102. In other embodiments, however, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be attached along a front edge, side edge, and/or back edge such the shelf is not parallel with the edge of the shelf. In addition, FIG. 1 also shows only one fence 100 attached to the wire shelf 102. In other embodiments, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be positioned substantially inline and adjacent each other to create a longer fence where desired, and/or may be positioned at different locations to provide or define compartments on the shelf.

In the fence embodiment 100 shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the generally protruding portions 134 of the wire members 128 define cam-shaped portions or features 142. Each cam-shaped portion 142 is configured to be resiliently compressed between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102 when the fence 100 is rotated about the upper support member 112 received within the fence's first retaining portion 136. The fence 100 may be positioned with the first retaining portion 136 of at least one wire member 128 against the upper support member 112, so as to allow the fence 100 to be rotated about the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf 102 into an assembled position. The fence 100 may be rotated relative to the shelf 102 such that the camming surface 142 of the curved section 132 of at least one wire member 128 comes into contact with the lower support member 116 of the wire shelf 102. Further rotation of the fence 100 with respect to the shelf 102 causes the cam-shaped portion 142 to be compressed between the shelf's upper and lower support members 112 and 116, so as to reduce the height of the curved section 132 and the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138. The camming surface 142 on the curved section 132 can thus move across the shelf's lower support member 116 to allow the second retaining portion 138 to receive and engage the shelf's lower support member 116. The compression of the curved section 132 or cam-shaped portion 142 accordingly reduces the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 of the wire member 128, such that the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102 may be received therein.

Referring to FIGS. 4A through 4C, one exemplary method for attaching the fence 100 to an exemplary wire shelf is shown. As shown in FIG. 4A, the fence 100 may initially be positioned with the first retaining portion 136 of at least one wire member 128 against the upper support member 112 of a wire shelf, so as to allow the fence 100 to be rotated about the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf into an assembled position. The fence 100 may be rotated relative to the shelf such that the curved section 132 of the wire member 128 near the second retaining portion 138 comes into contact with the lower support member 116 of the wire shelf, as shown in FIG. 4B. Further rotation of the fence 100 with respect to the shelf causes the curved section 132 in the wire member 128 to be compressed between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116, represented by the upward arrow in FIG. 4B. This compression reduces the height of the curved section 132 and the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138. The curved section 132 of the wire member 128 near the second retaining portion 138 moves across the shelf's lower support member 116 to engage the fence's lower horizontal rod member 124 (FIG. 4B). The second retaining portion 138 of the wire member 128 resiliently expands (as represented by the arrows in FIG. 4B) to allow the shelf's lower support member 116 to be received and engaged within the second retaining portion 138, as shown in FIG. 4C. The compression of the curved section 132 of the wire member 128 accordingly reduces the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 of the wire member 128, such that the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 may receive the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf. Thus, the fence 100 may be attached to a shelf by positioning a first or upper attachment portion 136 against an upper support member 112 of a wire shelf, and resiliently compressing the curved section 132 to permit a lower support member 116 of the wire shelf to be received within the lower attachment portion 138 of the fence 100.

In various embodiments, the cam-shaped portions 142 of the curved sections 132 of the wire members 128 can allow for ease of compression of the curved sections 132, to thereby provide reduced resistance to installation of the fence 100 onto a wire shelf. The first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 of the wire members 128 of the fence 100 can also be configured such that the fence 100 resists separation from the wire shelf 102 when the fence 100 is pulled in a direction generally outwardly away from the wire shelf portion to which the fence 100 is attached.

The compression of the curved section 132 of the wire members 128 can also help retain the fence 100 to the wire shelf 102. As the fence 100 is rotated relative to the shelf 102 into an assembled position, the camming surface 142 causes the curved section 132 to resiliently compress when the camming surface 142 contacts a support member of the wire shelf 102. When the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 come into engagement with the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104, the curved section 132 can resiliently expand to a lockingly engaged position in which the fence 100 may not be easily removed from the shelf's downwardly extending portion 104 without compression of the curved section 132.

In the fence embodiment 100 shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 of the wire members 128 generally comprise upper and lower hook-shaped portions having generally U-shaped transverse profiles, which are adapted to receive the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the shelf's downwardly extending portion 104. The fence's lower horizontal rod member 124 is connected to the legs or ends of the wire members 128 forming the generally U-shaped transverse profiles. The fence 100 may further comprise one or more intermediate horizontal rod members 140 vertically spaced between and generally parallel to the upper and lower horizontal rod members 120 and 124. As shown in FIG. 4, the intermediate rod member 140 is spaced above the curved section 132 in the wire members 128.

In some embodiments, one or more of the fence's curved section 132 may comprise upper and lower camming surfaces for respectively contacting the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104 for causing the compression of the curved section 132. At least one of the upper and lower camming surfaces can cause the curved section 132 to resiliently compress when the at least one camming surface contacts at least one of the upper or lower support members 112 or 116 of the wire shelf 102, as the fence is rotated about the other one of the support members 112 or 116 of the wire shelf 102. This resilient compression reduces the size or height of the curved section 132, which facilitates positioning of the curved section 132 generally between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104. In this exemplary manner, the fence 100 may be positioned onto one of the upper or lower support members 112 or 116 of the shelf's downwardly extending portion 104 and rotated towards the other support member 112 or 116 into a lockingly engaged position.

Referring to FIGS. 4A through 4C, one exemplary method for attaching the fence 100 to an exemplary wire shelf is shown. As shown in FIG. 4A, the fence 100 may initially be positioned with the first retaining portion 136 of at least one wire member 128 against the upper support member 112 of a wire shelf, so as to allow the fence 100 to be rotated about the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf into an assembled position. The fence 100 may be rotated relative to the shelf such that the curved section 132 of the wire member 128 near the second retaining portion 138 comes into contact with the lower support member 116 of the wire shelf, as shown in FIG. 4B. Further rotation of the fence 100 with respect to the shelf causes the curved section 132 in the wire member 128 to be compressed between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116, represented by the upward arrow in FIG. 4B. This compression reduces the height of the curved section 132 and the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138. The curved section 132 of the wire member 128 near the second retaining portion 138 moves across the shelf's lower support member 116 to engage the fence's lower horizontal rod member 124 (FIG. 4B). The second retaining portion 138 of the wire member 128 resiliently expands (as represented by the arrows in FIG. 4B) to allow the shelf's lower support member 116 to be received and engaged within the second retaining portion 138, as shown in FIG. 4C. The compression of the curved section 132 of the wire member 128 accordingly reduces the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 of the wire member 128, such that the first and second retaining portions 136 and 138 may receive the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf. Thus, the fence 100 may be attached to a shelf by positioning a first or upper attachment portion 136 against an upper support member 112 of a wire shelf, and resiliently compressing the curved section 132 to permit a lower support member 116 of the wire shelf to be received within the lower attachment portion 138 of the fence 100.

In some alternative embodiments, the fence 100 may be positioned with the second retaining portion 138 of at least one wire member 128 against the lower support member 138 of a wire shelf 102, so as to allow the fence 100 to be rotated about the lower support member 138 of the wire shelf 102 into an assembled position. The upper camming surface can thus cause the curved section 132 to be resiliently compressed when the camming surface contacts the upper support member 116 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104, as the fence 100 is rotated about the lower support member 112 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104. The resilient compression reduces the height of the curved section 132 to allow the curved section 132 to move across the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104 for engaging the upper support member 112 within the fence's first retaining portion 136.

In other embodiments, both the upper and lower camming surfaces can cooperatively cause the curved section 132 to resiliently compress when the upper and lower camming surfaces contact the respective upper lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102, as the curved section 132 is forcibly inserted between the space defined between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the shelf 102. This resilient compression reduces the size or height of the curved section 132 and facilitates positioning of the curved section 132 generally between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104 by allowing the curved section 132 to move across the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 for engaging the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 within the fence's first and second retaining portions 136 and 138.

FIGS. 5 through 8 illustrate another exemplary embodiment of a fence 200. As shown, the fence 200 includes an upper horizontal rod or wire member 220, and a lower horizontal rod or wire member 224. The lower horizontal rod member 224 is spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member 220.

The fence 200 also includes one or more wire or rod members 228 extending generally between the upper and lower horizontal rod members 220 and 224. The one or more wire members 228 of the fence 200 have at least one curved section 232. The curved section 232 includes first and second retaining portions 236 and 238 for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102, to thereby attach the fence 200 to the wire shelf 102. The fence 200 may be readily attached to the wire shelf's downwardly extending portion 104 to help retain items stored on the deck of the wire shelf 102.

While FIG. 5 illustrates the fence 200 being attached to a front generally vertical edge portion of the wire shelf 102, other embodiments can include one or more shelf fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) attached at one or more alternative or additional shelf locations, such as along a side edge, intermediate position, and/or back edge of a shelf. In addition, FIG. 5 further illustrates the fence 200 attached such that it is generally parallel with the front edge portion of the shelf 102. In other embodiments, however, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be attached along a front edge, side edge, and/or back edge such the shelf is not parallel with the edge of the shelf. In addition, FIG. 5 also shows only one fence 200 attached to the wire shelf 102. In other embodiments, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be positioned substantially inline and adjacent each other to create a longer fence where desired, and/or may be positioned at different locations to provide or define compartments on the shelf.

As shown in FIG. 8, the curved section 232 of the one or more wire members 228 has a configuration and shape defining first and second the retaining portions 236 and 238, and a generally protruding portion 234 between the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238. At least a part of the curved section 232 or protruding portion 234 is configured to fit generally between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102.

In this particular embodiment, the curved section 232 is configured to be flexed so as to resiliently compress the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238 to fit the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238 across the respective upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102. This resilient compression of the curved section 232 permits the shelf's upper and lower support members 112 and 116 to be received within the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238 of the wire members 228.

Referring to FIGS. 6A through 6C, one exemplary method for attaching the fence 200 to an exemplary wire shelf is shown. As shown in FIG. 6A, the fence 200 may initially be positioned with the first retaining portion 236 of at least one wire member 228 against the upper support member 112 of a wire shelf, so as to allow the fence 200 to be rotated about the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf into an assembled position. The fence 200 may be rotated relative to the shelf such that the curved section 232 of the wire member 228 near the second retaining portion 238 comes into contact with the lower support member 116 of the wire shelf, as shown in FIG. 6B. Further rotation of the fence 200 with respect to the shelf causes the curved section 232 in the wire member 228 to be compressed between the upper and lower support members 112 and 116, represented by the upward arrow in FIG. 6B. This compression reduces the height of the curved section 232 and the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238. The curved section 232 of the wire member 228 near the second retaining portion 238 moves across the shelf's lower support member 116 to engage the fence's lower horizontal rod member 224 (FIG. 6B). The second retaining portion 238 of the wire member 228 resiliently expands (as represented by the arrows in FIG. 6B) to allow the shelf's lower support member 116 to be received and engaged within the second retaining portion 238, as shown in FIG. 6C. The compression of the curved section 232 in the wire member 228 accordingly reduces the spacing between the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238 of the wire member 228, such that the first and second retaining portions 236 and 238 may receive the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf. Thus, the fence 200 may be attached to a shelf by positioning a first or upper attachment portion 236 against an upper support member 112 of a wire shelf, and resiliently compressing the curved section 232 to permit a lower support member 116 of the wire shelf to be received within the lower attachment portion 238 of the fence 200.

FIGS. 9 through 12 illustrate another exemplary embodiment of a fence 300. As shown, the fence 300 includes an upper horizontal rod or wire member 320 and a lower horizontal rod or wire member 324. The lower horizontal rod member 324 is spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member 320. The fence 300 may further include one or more intermediate horizontal rod or wire members 340 vertically spaced between and generally parallel to the upper and lower horizontal rod members 320 and 324.

The fence 300 also includes one or more rod or wire members 328 extending generally between the shelf's upper and lower horizontal rod members 320 and 324. The one or more wire members 328 of the fence 300 include at least one curved section 332. The curved section 332 defines upper and lower attachment portions 336 and 338 for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf, to thereby allow the fence 300 to be attached to the shelf.

While FIG. 9 illustrates the fence 300 being attached to a front generally vertical edge portion of the wire shelf 102, other embodiments can include one or more shelf fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) attached at one or more alternative or additional shelf locations, such as along a side edge, intermediate position, and/or back edge of a shelf. In addition, FIG. 9 further illustrates the fence 300 attached such that it is generally parallel with the front edge portion of the shelf 102. In other embodiments, however, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be attached along a front edge, side edge, and/or back edge such the shelf is not parallel with the edge of the shelf. In addition, FIG. 9 also shows only one fence 300 attached to the wire shelf 102. In other embodiments, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be positioned substantially inline and adjacent each other to create a longer fence where desired, and/or may be positioned at different locations to provide or define compartments on the shelf.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 9 through 12, the curved section 332 is configured to resiliently vary the spacing between the upper and lower attachment portions 336 and 338, such that the first and second attachment portions 336 and 338 fit over the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of a wire shelf 102.

With regard to the configuration and shape of the fence 300, at least one of the wire members 328 includes a generally vertical portion 330 connected to the fence's upper horizontal rod member 320, for example, by welding, adhesives, other suitable attachment methods, etc. The generally vertical portion 330 extends downwardly from the fence's upper horizontal rod member 320 to the curved section 332.

A generally slanted portion slants inwardly from the generally vertical portion 330 to the curved section 332. The curved section 332 has a plurality of curved portions alternating in curvature and extending from the generally vertical portion 330 towards the end portion to which the fence's lower horizontal rod member 324 is connected.

The curved section 332 defines first and second retaining portions 336 and 338, which are releasably attachable to the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102. In the fence embodiment 300 shown in FIGS. 9 through 12, the upper attachment portion 336 of the fence 300 generally comprises a protruding portion 334 that defines a curved space for receiving the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf 102. The lower attachment portion 338 generally comprises a hook shape that is configured to receive the lower support member 116 of the wire shelf 102. In this particular embodiment, the fence 300 may be assembled to the wire shelf 102 by positioning the lower attachment portion 338 against the lower support member 116 of the wire shelf 102, and resiliently expanding the curved section 332 (e.g., by pulling upwardly on the fence 300 while the shelf's lower support member 116 is engaged within the lower attachment portion 338, etc.) to permit the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf 102 to be received within the upper attachment portion 336 of the fence 300.

The curved section 332 is configured to be flexed so as to resiliently expand the spacing between the upper and lower attachment or retaining portions 336 and 338 to fit the upper and lower attachment portions 336 and 338 in engagement with the respective upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102. This resilient expansion of the curved section 332 permits the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102 to be received within the upper and lower attachment portions 336 and 338 in the one or more wire members 328.

FIGS. 13 through 16 illustrate another exemplary embodiment of a fence 400. As shown, the fence 400 includes an upper horizontal rod or wire member 420 and a lower horizontal rod or wire member 424. The lower horizontal rod member 424 is spaced below and generally parallel to the upper horizontal rod member 420. The fence 400 may further include one or more intermediate horizontal rod or wire members 440 vertically spaced between and generally parallel to the upper and lower horizontal rod members 420 and 424.

The fence 400 also includes one or more wire or rod members 428 extending generally between the upper and lower horizontal rod members 420 and 424. The one or more wire members 428 of the fence 400 include at least one curved section 432. The curved section 432 defines upper and lower attachment portions 436 and 438 for engagingly receiving the upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102, to thereby allow the fence 400 to be attached to the wire shelf 102.

While FIG. 13 illustrates the fence 400 being attached to a front generally vertical edge portion of the wire shelf 102, other embodiments can include one or more shelf fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) attached at one or more alternative or additional shelf locations, such as along a side edge, intermediate position, and/or back edge of a shelf. In addition, FIG. 13 further illustrates the fence 400 attached such that it is generally parallel with the front edge portion of the shelf 102. In other embodiments, however, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be attached along a front edge, side edge, and/or back edge such the shelf is not parallel with the edge of the shelf. In addition, FIG. 13 also shows only one fence 400 attached to the wire shelf 102. In other embodiments, one or more fences (e.g., 100, 200, 300, and/or 400, etc.) may be positioned substantially inline and adjacent each other to create a longer fence where desired, and/or may be positioned at different locations to provide or define compartments on the shelf.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 13 through 16, the curved section 432 is configured to resiliently vary the spacing between the upper and lower attachment portions 436 and 438, to permit the attachment portions 436 and 438 to fit onto the spaced-apart upper and lower support members 112 and 116 of the wire shelf 102.

In this particular fence embodiment 400, the fence's upper attachment portion 436 generally comprises an upper protruding portion 437 and a lower protruding portion 434 that define a space therebetween for receiving the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf 102. The lower attachment portion 438 generally comprises a hook shape that is configured to receive the lower support member 116 of the shelf 102. In one exemplary operation, the fence 400 may be assembled to the shelf 102 by positioning the lower attachment portion 438 against the shelf's lower support member 116, and rotating the fence 400 relative to the shelf 102 to a position in which the shelf's upper support member 112 engages and resiliently expands the spacing between the upper and lower protruding portions 437 and 434, to permit the upper support member 112 of the wire shelf 102 to be received within the upper attachment portion 436 of the fence 400.

Additional aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods of assembling or attaching a fence to a wire shelf. In one particular method embodiment in which a fence includes at least first and second attachment portions and the wire shelf has first and second support members, the method generally includes positioning the first attachment portion of the fence against the wire shelf's first support member, and resiliently flexing a portion of the fence to permit the wire shelf's second support member to be engagingly received within the second attachment portion of the fence. In various embodiments, the process or operation of resiliently flexing the fence generally includes resiliently compressing at least one curved section of the fence to fit between the first and second support members of the wire shelf. In alternative embodiments, the process or operation of resiliently flexing the fence generally includes resiliently expanding at least one curved section of the fence to fit the first and second attachment portions of the shelf over the first and second support members of the wire shelf.

Various aspects of the present disclosure can be used with a wide variety of shelving products. Accordingly, the specific references to wire shelving and ventilated shelving should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present disclosure to only one specific form/type of shelf. For example, FIGS. 1 through 16 show only one particular example of a ventilated wire shelf 102 to which one or more of the fences of the present disclosure can be attached. In other embodiments, shelf fences of the present disclosure can be used with a wide range of shelves other than what is shown in the figures, including shelves in different sizes (e.g., four foot, six foot, eight foot, ten foot, and/or cut to a custom size, etc.) and/or mounted at various locations (e.g., closet wall, bathroom, grocery store, department store, etc.) using brackets and/or other suitable means. Embodiments of the present disclosure can also be used with shelves having a different depth and/or different spacing between the shelf's wires or rod members than that shown in the figures. Further, embodiments of the present disclosure can also be used with shelves having wires or rods oriented generally longitudinally, transversely, diagonally, etc. relative to the shelf. Accordingly, aspects of the present disclosure should not be limited to implementation into any specific form/type of shelf.

Further, the particular methods of manufacture and geometries disclosed herein are exemplary in nature and are not to be considered limiting. The 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. In addition, any one or more aspects of the present disclosure may be implemented individually or in any combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the present disclosure.

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 disclosure 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.

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

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20140112752 *Dec 20, 2013Apr 24, 2014Rtc Industries, Inc.Product Management Display System
US20140175034 *Feb 24, 2014Jun 26, 2014Rtc Industries, Inc.Product Securement and Management System
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/119.003, 211/90.03, 211/134
International ClassificationA47G29/087
Cooperative ClassificationF16B12/38, A47B55/02
European ClassificationA47B55/02, F16B12/38
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 9, 2005ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NAWROCKI, JOHN RICHARD;REEL/FRAME:016878/0164
Owner name: CLAIRSON, INC.,DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NAWROCKI, JOHN RICHARD;REEL/FRAME:016878/0164
Effective date: 20051111
Owner name: CLAIRSON, INC.,DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NAWROCKI, JOHN RICHARD;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100225;REEL/FRAME:16878/164
Effective date: 20051111