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Publication numberUS20070119805 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/287,729
Publication dateMay 31, 2007
Filing dateNov 28, 2005
Priority dateNov 28, 2005
Publication number11287729, 287729, US 2007/0119805 A1, US 2007/119805 A1, US 20070119805 A1, US 20070119805A1, US 2007119805 A1, US 2007119805A1, US-A1-20070119805, US-A1-2007119805, US2007/0119805A1, US2007/119805A1, US20070119805 A1, US20070119805A1, US2007119805 A1, US2007119805A1
InventorsJohn Nawrocki
Original AssigneeNawrocki John R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Overhead storage systems
US 20070119805 A1
Abstract
Various aspects of the present disclosure provide various exemplary embodiments of systems and apparatus that can, for example, be used to suspend storage devices from supporting structure. In one exemplary embodiment, a system generally includes one or more shelf members and a framework configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework can include at least two spaced-apart hanger members, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows each having a generally vertical portion engagable with a corresponding one of the hanger members, and a generally horizontal portion engagable with the spanner member.
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Claims(25)
1. A system comprising:
one or more shelf members having a plurality of wire members forming at least one shelf deck and at least one wire member having at least a portion disposed below the shelf deck;
a framework for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure, the framework including:
at least two spaced-apart hanger members coupled to the supporting structure, each said hanger member including a channel;
at least one spanner member including a channel;
at least two elbows each including a channel with a generally vertical portion engaged with a corresponding one of the hanger member channels, and a generally horizontal portion engaged with a corresponding portion of the spanner member channel;
whereby, when the one or more shelf members are being supported by the framework suspended from the supporting structure, the wire member portion disposed below the shelf deck cooperates with at least one other portion of the one or more shelf members for operatively trapping therebetween at least a portion of at least one of the spanner member and the elbows thereby inhibiting dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the hanger members, spanner member, and elbows include generally C-shaped channels.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the hanger member channels are configured for sliding engagement with the elbow channels, and wherein the elbow channels are configured for sliding engagement with the spanner member channel.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the elbows are configured to be at least partially received within the hanger member channels, and wherein the elbows are configured to be at least partially received within the spanner member channel.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the hanger members and elbows include a plurality of fastener holes providing multiple locations for selectively attaching the hanger members to the elbows, whereby the fastener holes allow selective adjustment to the height at which the one or more shelf members are suspended by the framework relative to the supporting structure.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the spanner member and elbows include a plurality of faster holes providing multiple locations for selectively attaching the elbows to the spanner member, whereby the fastener holes allow selective adjustment to the overall shelf width that can be accommodated by the framework.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the framework comprises a first assembly and a second assembly spaced apart from the first assembly, each said first and second assembly including at least two of said hanger members, at least one of said spanner member, and at least two of said elbows.
8. The system of claim 1, further comprising eyebolts coupling the hanger members to the supporting structure.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the hanger members include openings, and wherein the eyebolts are coupled to the hanger members by clevis pins within said openings and cotter pins securing the clevis pins within the openings.
10. The system of claim 9, further comprising bushings disposed generally between corresponding portions of the hanger members and eyebolts.
11. The system of claim 1, wherein the one or more shelf members include generally vertical wire segments and at least one generally horizontal rod member connected to the generally vertical wire segments, and wherein at least one of the generally vertical wire segments and generally horizontal rod member are disposed relative to at least one of the spanner member and elbows for creating a snap-fit connection, whereby the snap-fit connection inhibits dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.
12. An apparatus configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending one or more shelf members from the supporting structure, the apparatus comprising:
at least two spaced-apart hanger members including generally C-shaped channels;
at least one spanner member including a generally C-shaped channel; and
at least two elbows including generally C-shaped channels having generally vertical portions configured for sliding engagement with the hanger member channels, and generally horizontal portions configured for sliding engagement with the spanner member channel;
whereby the apparatus provides at least one support surface for supporting one or more shelf members thereon when the hanger members are coupled to supporting structure and the elbows are engaged with the hanger members and the spanner member.
13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the elbows are configured to be at least partially received within the hanger member channels, and wherein the elbows are configured to be at least partially received within the spanner member channel.
14. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein at least one of the hanger members and elbows include a plurality of fastener holes providing multiple locations for selectively attaching the hanger members to the elbows.
15. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein at least one of the spanner member and elbows include a plurality of faster holes providing multiple locations for selectively attaching the elbows to the spanner member.
16. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the apparatus comprises a first assembly and a second assembly spaced apart from the first assembly, each said first and second assembly including at least two of said hanger members, at least one of said spanner member, and at least two of said elbows.
17. The apparatus of claim 12, further comprising eyebolts for coupling the hanger members to supporting structure.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the hanger members include openings, and wherein the eyebolts are coupled to the hanger members by clevis pins within said openings and cotter pins securing the clevis pins within the openings.
19. The apparatus of claim 18, further comprising bushings disposed generally between corresponding portions of the hanger members and eyebolts.
20. A system comprising:
one or more shelf members having a plurality of wire members forming a shelf deck, generally vertical wire segments extending downwardly relative to the shelf deck, and at least one generally horizontal rod member connected to the generally vertical wire segments;
a framework configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure, the framework including:
at least two spaced-apart hanger members;
at least one spanner member;
at least two elbows each having a generally vertical portion engagable with a corresponding one of the hanger members, and a generally horizontal portion engagable with the spanner member;
whereby, when the one or more shelf members are supported by the framework suspended from the supporting structure, at least one of the generally vertical wire segments and generally horizontal rod member are disposed relative to at least one of the spanner member and elbows for creating a snap-fit connection therewith for inhibiting dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein the generally horizontal rod member is disposed below the shelf deck, and wherein the generally horizontal rod member cooperates with the shelf deck for operatively trapping therebetween at least one of the spanner member and elbows, whereby the trapping inhibits dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.
22. The system of claim 20, wherein the one or more shelf members include generally vertical wire segments and at least one generally horizontal rod member adjacent first and second edge portions of the one or more shelf members and configured for cooperatively creating the snap-fit connection.
23. The system of claim 22, wherein the framework comprises first and second assemblies adjacent the respective first and second edge portions of the one or more shelf members, each said first and second assembly including at least two of said hanger members, at least one of said spanner member, and at least two of said elbows, wherein the generally vertical wire segments and generally horizontal rod member adjacent the first edge portion are disposed along a first side portion of the first assembly, and wherein the generally vertical wire segments and generally horizontal rod member adjacent the second edge portion are disposed along a second side portion of the second assembly generally opposite the first side portion.
24. The system of claim 20, wherein the hanger members, spanner member, and elbows include generally C-shaped channels.
25. The system of claim 24, wherein the elbows are configured to be at least partially received within the hanger member channels, and wherein the elbows are configured to be at least partially received within the spanner member channel.
Description
FIELD

The present disclosure relates to overhead storage systems.

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 desirable, particularly with respect to storage or utility space in workshops, garages, businesses, stores, homes, and apartments. With respect to overhead storage, particularly for residential use, different options are available. One common example is the use of ventilated shelving (e.g., wire or plastic, and associated components) to construct units that can be supported from overhead structure. 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 systems and apparatus that can, for example, be used to suspend storage devices from supporting structure. In one exemplary embodiment, a system generally includes one or more shelf members and a framework configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework can include at least two spaced-apart hanger members, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows each having a generally vertical portion engagable with a corresponding one of the hanger members, and a generally horizontal portion engagable with the spanner member.

In another exemplary embodiment, a system generally includes one or more shelf members having a plurality of wire members forming at least one shelf deck and at least one wire member having at least a portion disposed below the shelf deck. The system also includes a framework for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework has at least two spaced-apart hanger members coupled to supporting structure, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows. Each elbow includes a channel with a generally vertical portion engaged with a corresponding channel of a hanger member, and a generally horizontal portion engaged with a corresponding portion of a channel of a spanner member. When the one or more shelf members are being supported by the framework suspended from the supporting structure, the wire member portion disposed below the shelf deck can cooperate with at least one other portion of the one or more shelf members for operatively trapping therebetween at least a portion of at least one of the spanner member and the elbows. This trapping can inhibit dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.

Other aspects of the present disclosure include apparatus configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. In one exemplary embodiment, an apparatus can generally include at least two spaced-apart hanger members including generally C-shaped channels and at least one spanner member including a generally C-shaped channel. The apparatus can further include at least two elbows including generally C-shaped channels having generally vertical portions configured for sliding engagement with the hanger member channels, and generally horizontal portions configured for sliding engagement with the spanner member channel. The apparatus can provide at least one support surface for supporting one or more shelf members thereon when the hanger members are coupled to supporting structure and the elbows are engaged with the hanger members and the spanner member.

Further aspects of the present disclosure include systems generally including one or more shelf members having a plurality of wire members forming a shelf deck, generally vertical wire segments extending downwardly relative to the shelf deck, and at least one generally horizontal rod member connected to the generally vertical wire segments. In one particular embodiment, the system can also include a framework configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework can include at least two spaced-apart hanger members, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows each having a generally vertical portion engagable with a corresponding one of the hanger members, and a generally horizontal portion engagable with the spanner member. When the one or more shelf members are supported by the framework suspended from the supporting structure, at least one of the generally vertical wire segments and generally horizontal rod member can be disposed relative to at least one of the spanner member and elbows for creating a snap-fit connection therewith. This snap-fit connection can inhibit dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.

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 framework shown supporting two shelves according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one of the two assemblies of the framework shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is another perspective view of the assembly shown in FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are perspective views of an end portion of a hanger member of the assembly shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 and also illustrating exemplary components that can be used for mounting the hanger member to supporting structure according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the hanger member end portion shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B with one of the bushings removed for clarity;

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the hanger member's end portion shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 but with the bushings, clevis pin, cotter pin, and eyebolt exploded away from the hanger member's end portion for clarity;

FIG. 7 is an elevation view of a hanger member of the assembly shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 and illustrating fastener holes that can provide providing multiple locations for selectively attaching the hanger member to another component;

FIG. 8 is another elevation view of the hanger member shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing one of the elbows of the assembly shown in FIGS. 2 and 3;

FIG. 10 is an elevation view of the elbow shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a view looking into the spanner member channel of the assembly shown in FIGS. 2 and 3;

FIG. 12 is a view showing a generally C-shaped channel which may be defined by one or more framework components according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of one of the two exemplary shelves shown in FIG. 1 according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 14 is an upper plan view of the shelf shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an elevation view of the shelf shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15A is an elevation view of a portion of the shelf shown in FIG. 15;

FIG. 16 is an elevation view of the shelf shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16A is an elevation view of a portion of the shelf shown in FIG. 16;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view showing an exemplary manner in which shelf portions may be engaged with a spanner member according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 17A is a perspective view showing an exemplary manner in which shelf portions may be engaged with an elbow member according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of another exemplary shelf that may be suspended from supporting structure by the framework shown in FIG. 1 according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of another exemplary shelf that may be suspended from supporting structure by the framework shown in FIG. 1 according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of another exemplary shelf that may be suspended from supporting structure by the framework shown in FIG. 1 according to exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure.

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 systems and apparatus that can, for example, be used to suspend storage devices from supporting structure. In one exemplary embodiment, a system generally includes one or more shelf members and a framework configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework can include at least two spaced-apart hanger members, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows each having a generally vertical portion engagable with a corresponding one of the hanger members, and a generally horizontal portion engagable with the spanner member.

In another exemplary embodiment, a system generally includes one or more shelf members having a plurality of wire members forming at least one shelf deck and at least one wire member having at least a portion disposed below the shelf deck. The system also includes a framework for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework has at least two spaced-apart hanger members coupled to supporting structure, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows. Each elbow includes a channel with a generally vertical portion engaged with a corresponding channel of a hanger member, and a generally horizontal portion engaged with a corresponding portion of a channel of a spanner member. When the one or more shelf members are being supported by the framework suspended from the supporting structure, the wire member portion disposed below the shelf deck can cooperate with at least one other portion of the one or more shelf members for operatively trapping therebetween at least a portion of at least one of the spanner member and the elbows. This trapping can inhibit dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.

Other aspects of the present disclosure include apparatus configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. In one exemplary embodiment, an apparatus can generally include at least two spaced-apart hanger members including generally C-shaped channels and at least one spanner member including a generally C-shaped channel. The apparatus can further include at least two elbows including generally C-shaped channels having generally vertical portions configured for sliding engagement with the hanger member channels, and generally horizontal portions configured for sliding engagement with the spanner member channel. The apparatus can provide at least one support surface for supporting one or more shelf members thereon when the hanger members are coupled to supporting structure and the elbows are engaged with the hanger members and the spanner member.

Further aspects of the present disclosure include systems generally including one or more shelf members having a plurality of wire members forming a shelf deck, generally vertical wire segments extending downwardly relative to the shelf deck, and at least one generally horizontal rod member connected to the generally vertical wire segments. In one particular embodiment, the system can also include a framework configured to be coupled to supporting structure for suspending the one or more shelf members from the supporting structure. The framework can include at least two spaced-apart hanger members, at least one spanner member, and at least two elbows each having a generally vertical portion engagable with a corresponding one of the hanger members, and a generally horizontal portion engagable with the spanner member. When the one or more shelf members are supported by the framework suspended from the supporting structure, at least one of the generally vertical wire segments and generally horizontal rod member can be disposed relative to at least one of the spanner member and elbows for creating a snap-fit connection therewith. This snap-fit connection can inhibit dislodging of the one or more shelf members from the framework.

Additional aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods of suspending storage devices, such as racks, shelving, etc. from supporting structure. In one particular embodiment in which a framework includes one or more hanger members, elbows, and spanner members, a method generally includes slidingly engaging channels defined by the hanger members with channels defined by the generally vertical portions of the elbows. The method can also include slidingly engaging channels defined by the generally horizontal portions of the elbows with a channel defined by the spanner member. The method can further include coupling the hanger members to supporting structure, and supporting one or more storage devices along at least a portion of at least one of the spanner member and the generally horizontal elbow portions.

In various embodiments, the method can also include selectively adjusting the height or vertical location of the connection between the hanger members and elbows, to thereby raise or lower the shelf members. In various embodiments, the method can include selectively adjusting the horizontal positioning of the connection between the elbows and the spanner member, to thereby increase or decrease the overall shelf width that can be supported by the framework.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 3, there is shown one exemplary embodiment of an overhead storage system 100 embodying one or more aspects of the present disclosure. As shown in FIG. 1, the system 100 includes a framework 104 configured to be coupled to supporting structure (e.g., ceiling or overhead structural components, trusses, rafters, etc.) for suspending any of a wide range of storage devices from the supporting structure. Exemplary storage devices that can be suspended from supporting structure by the framework 104 generally include racks, baskets, bins, shelves, trays, buckets, among other containers and storage devices.

By way of example only, FIG. 1 illustrates the framework 104 being used in combination with two wire shelves 108 (also shown in FIGS. 13 through 16). In other embodiments, however, a framework (e.g., 104, etc.) can be used to support other shelving structures and storage devices, such as a basket, bin, and/or one or more of the shelves 208 (FIG. 18), 308 (FIG. 19), 408 (FIG. 20), combinations thereof, etc.

FIG. 1 illustrates the framework 104 being used to support two shelves 108. But other embodiments include frameworks (e.g., 104, etc.) that are used to support only one storage device or more than two storage devices. In embodiments in which a framework is supporting two or more storage devices, the framework may be used to support substantially identical or different storage devices.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1 through 3, the illustrated embodiment of the framework 104 includes two assemblies 112 disposed adjacent the shelf front and back edge portions 166 and 168. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the assemblies 112 include hanger members 116, elbows 120, and spanner members 124. In other embodiments, however, any of these framework components may be made integral with another component. For example, other embodiments include a hanger member and an elbow integrally or monolithically formed as a single component. Additionally, or alternatively, an elbow and a spanner member can be integrally or monolithically formed as a single component.

A wide range of materials and manufacturing processes can be used for the various framework components 116, 120, 124. Exemplary materials include metals, alloys, plastics, composites, high density foam materials, combinations thereof, etc. Further, the same material or materials do not need to be used for each component.

In the illustrated embodiment, each hanger member 116, elbow 120, and spanner member 124 includes a channel. FIG. 12 illustrates an exemplary C-shaped channel 127 that may be defined by one or more of these components 116, 120, and 124. In other embodiments, one or more of the hanger members 116, elbows 120, and spanner members 124 may include a channel having a configuration (e.g., size, shape, etc.) different than what is shown in the figures. Or, for example, one or more of the components 116, 120, 124 may not include any channel. In addition, the channel defined by a particular framework component need not have the same configuration, but may, for example, vary in size and/or shape along the length of the component. For example, one particular embodiment includes an elbow with a vertical portion having a channel with a different configuration (e.g., size, shape, etc.) than the channel defined by the elbow's horizontal portion.

In the illustrated embodiment, the hanger member channels 128 are configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) to at least partially receive therein the channels 132 defined by the generally vertical portions 136 of the elbows 120. Accordingly, the vertical portion 136 of an elbow 120 can slide or nest at least partially within the channel 128 of a corresponding hanger member 116. In alternative embodiments, however, the sliding or nesting arrangement may be reversed such that the vertical portions of the elbows include channels configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) for at least partially receiving therein channels defined by the hanger members.

The nesting arrangement in combination with the fastener holes 140 (FIG. 7) of the hanger members 116 and fastener hole 144 (FIG. 9) of the vertical elbow portion 136 allow selective vertical adjustment to the locations at which the hanger members 116 are attached to the elbows 120. The fastener holes 140 provide multiple vertical locations for selectively attaching the hanger members 116 to the elbows 120 with one or more fasteners 145 (FIGS. 2 and 3). The fasteners 145 may comprise any of a wide range of suitable fasteners, including nut-and-bolt assemblies, among other suitable mechanical fasteners.

Accordingly, various embodiments allow selective vertical adjustment to the height at which the one or more shelf members are suspended by the framework 104 relative to the supporting structure. By way of example, a user can decrease the distance that the shelves 108 are suspended away from the supporting structure by the framework 104 (and thus raise the height of the shelves 108 relative to the ground) by positioning more of the vertical elbow portions 136 within the hanger member channels 128, and using higher holes 140 for the fasteners 145. Conversely, a user may increase the distance that the shelves 108 are suspended away from the supporting structure by the framework 104 (and thus lower the shelf height relative to the ground) by positioning less of the vertical elbow portions 136 within the hanger member channels 128, and using lower holes 140 for the fasteners 145.

FIG. 7 shows the hanger member 116 having twelve holes 140. In alternative embodiments, however, the hanger members can have more or less than twelve holes, can have differently configured (e.g., shaped, sized, arranged in different patterns, etc.) openings, and/or can be provided with other means for selectively engaging the hanger members and elbows at varying heights. By way of example, other embodiments can include hanger members having more holes than what are shown in the figures, for example, for increased adjustability and/or utility.

FIG. 9 shows the vertical elbow portion 136 having a single hole 144. In alternative embodiments, however, the elbows can have more or less holes, can have differently configured (e.g., shaped, sized, arranged in different patterns, etc.) openings, and/or can be provided with other means for selectively engaging the elbows and hanger members at varying heights. By way of example, other embodiments include elbows having more holes than what are shown in the figures, which can provide increased adjustability and/or utility.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the spanner member channels 148 are configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) to at least partially receive therein the channels 152 defined by the generally horizontal portions 156 of the elbows 120. Accordingly, the horizontal portion 156 of an elbow 120 can slide or nest at least partially within the channel 148 of a spanner member 124. In alternative embodiments, however, the sliding or nesting arrangement may be reversed such that the horizontal elbow portions include channels configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) for at least partially receiving therein corresponding channels defined by a spanner member.

The nesting arrangement in combination with the fastener holes 160 (FIG. 9) of the horizontal elbow portions 156 and fastener holes 164 (FIG. 11) of the spanner members 124 allow selective horizontal adjustment to the locations at which the spanner members 124 are attached to the elbows 120. The fastener holes 160 and 164 provide multiple horizontal locations for selectively attaching the spanner members 124 to the elbows 120 with one or more fasteners 165 (FIGS. 2 and 3). The fasteners 165 may comprise any of a wide range of suitable fasteners, which can provide including nut-and-bolt assemblies, among other suitable mechanical fasteners.

Accordingly, various embodiments allow selective horizontal adjustment to the spaced distance separating the hanger members 116. For example, a user can decrease the distance separating the hanger members 116 (and thus decrease the overall shelf width that can be accommodated by the framework 104) by positioning more of the horizontal elbow portions 156 within the spanner member channel 148, and then using the corresponding holes 160 and 164 for the fasteners 165. Conversely, a user may increase the distance separating the hanger members 116 (and thus increase the overall shelf width that can be accommodated by the framework 104) by positioning less of the horizontal elbow portions 156 within the spanner member channels 148, and using the corresponding holes 160 and 164 for the fasteners 165. For example, the user may increase the distance separating the hanger members 116 in order to support one or more wider shelves, and/or to increase the number of shelves that can be supported by the framework 104.

FIG. 9 shows the horizontal elbow portion 156 having two holes 160. In alternative embodiments, however, the elbows can have more or less holes and/or have differently configured (e.g., shaped, sized, arranged in different patterns, etc.) openings and/or be provided with other means for selectively engaging the spanner member to the elbows at varying horizontal locations. By way of example, other embodiments can include elbows having more holes than what are shown in the figures, for example, for increased adjustability and/or utility.

Likewise, FIG. 11 shows the spanner member 124 having two holes 164 along each end portion thereof. Alternative embodiments can include spanner members having more or less holes and/or having differently configured (e.g., shaped, sized, arranged in different patterns, etc.) openings and/or having other means for selectively engaging the elbows and spanner members at varying horizontal locations. By way of example, other embodiments can include spanner members having more holes than what are shown in the figures, for example, to increase adjustability and/or utility.

FIG. 1 illustrates the framework 104 with two assemblies 112 disposed to provide support along the front and back shelf edge portions 166 and 168. Other embodiments include frameworks with more or less than two assemblies. Still further embodiments include frameworks configured (e.g., having other components, and/or spaced relative to the shelves 108) to provide support at one or more alternative or additional shelf locations, such as along a side edge and/or at an intermediate portion. Additional embodiments include frameworks having more than two assemblies 112, for example, to provide additional support for substantially heavy shelf loads.

FIG. 1 illustrates the framework assemblies 112 positioned relative to the shelves 108 such that the spanner members 112 are generally parallel with the front and back shelf edge portions 166 and 168. In other embodiments, however, one or more assemblies may be positioned relative to a shelf such that the spanner member is not generally parallel (e.g., generally transverse, diagonal, etc.) to a shelf's front or back edge portions.

FIG. 1 further illustrates the spaced-apart hanger members 116 and generally vertical elbow portions 136 positioned adjacent generally opposing edge portions of the shelf deck 170 formed by the grid of lateral and longitudinal wire members 172 of the shelves 108. In other embodiments, however, the generally vertical elbow portions 136 and/or hanger members 116 may be positioned or inserted through the generally rectangular shaped openings defined between the wire members 172. In such embodiments, portions of the shelf deck 170 would be disposed outside of the space defined between the hanger members 116.

FIGS. 4 through 6 illustrate various exemplary components or hardware that may be used for coupling the hanger members 116 to supporting structures according to one or more embodiments of the present disclosure. In the particular illustrated embodiment, the hanger members 116 can be coupled to supporting structure by eyebolts 174. The eyebolts 174 can be attached to the hanger members 116 in various ways, and one exemplary way will now be described.

As shown in FIG. 6, the upper end portions 176 of the hanger members 116 can include openings 178. An eyebolt 174 can be coupled to the upper end portion 176 of a hanger member 116 by a clevis pin 180 as follows. The end portion 181 of the clevis pin 180 is inserted into one of the openings 178, through an opening 182 of a bushing component 183, through the eye portion 184 of the eyebolt 174, through an opening 182 of another bushing component 182, and then through the other opening 178 of the hanger member 116. A cotter pin 185 is inserted into the opening 186 of the clevis pin 180, to thereby secure the clevis pin 180 within the openings 178 of the hanger member 116, and, accordingly, also secure the eyebolt 174 and bushing components 183 to the hanger member 116.

The eyebolts 174, in turn, can be threaded (or otherwise attached) to supporting structure. In this exemplary manner, the hanger members 116 can thus be coupled to the supporting structure. Alternatively, other suitable components and methods may instead be used for coupling the hanger members 116 to supporting structure.

By using eyebolts (e.g., 174, etc.) for connecting a framework (e.g., 104, etc.) and its components (e.g., hanger members 116) to supporting structure, various embodiments can allow for good versatility in the installation process. Eyebolts can aid in the alignment of the hardware as well as accommodate for uneven or non-level mounting surfaces, such as uneven ceilings, vaulted ceilings, and cathedral ceilings. Eyebolts can also be relatively easily installed with layman's tools. Further, bushings can also be used in exemplary embodiments at the connections of the eyebolts to the hanger members, for example, to provide a relatively snug fit, to inhibit rattling, and/or to inhibit swaying of the system 100.

When the various components 116, 120, and 124 are assembled to form the framework 104 as shown in FIG. 1, the spanner member 124 and generally horizontal portions 156 of the elbows 120 can provide a generally horizontal support surface for supporting the one or more shelf members 108 thereon. Accordingly, the elbows 120 and spanner members 124 (when assembled between the elbows 120) can carry and distribute the shelf load to the eyebolts 174 (or other suitable means connecting the hanger members 116 to supporting structure). The eyebolts 174, in turn, can then transfer that load to the supporting structure.

As noted herein, FIGS. 13 through 20 illustrate exemplary shelves 108 (FIGS. 13 through 16), 208 (FIG. 18), 308 (FIG. 19), and 408 (FIG. 20). Any one or more of these shelves 108, 208, 308, 408 can be suspended (individually or in any combination with any one or more of the other shelves) from supporting structure by one or more embodiments of a framework (e.g., 104, etc.) of the present disclosure.

With further reference to FIG. 13, the shelf 108 includes wire or rod members 172 that form a deck or support surface 170 on which articles can be stored. The shelf 108 also includes generally vertical flanges or downwardly extending portions 187 along the front and back edge portions 166 and 168. These shelf portions 187 can include a wire or rod member 188 disposed below the shelf deck 170.

The rod member 188 can be connected (e.g., welded, glued, adhesively bonded, mechanically fastened, etc.) to generally vertical wire segments 189. In the particular illustrated embodiment shown in FIGS. 13 through 16, wire members 172 extend generally between the shelf's front and back edge portions 166 and 168. As shown in FIGS. 13 and 16A, these wire members 172 also extend and cascade downwardly to connect to the lower rod member 188. Accordingly, in this particular embodiment, the generally vertical wire segments 189 comprise downwardly bent or formed portions of wire members 172. Alternative embodiments, however, include generally vertical wire segments that comprise separate wire components, which are not integral with (but may be separately attached to) the wire members extending between the front and back edge portions of the shelf.

With continued reference to FIGS. 13 through 16, the shelf 108 also includes generally vertical flanges or downwardly extending portions 190 along the side edge portions 191 of the shelf 108. These flange portions 190 can include upper, lower and intermediate wire or rod members 192, 193, 194 (FIG. 15A). In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 15A, the rod members 192, 193, 194 are shown in the same vertical plane. In other embodiments, however, one or more of the rod members 192, 193, 194 may be in a different vertical plane than one or more of the other rod members.

The upper, lower, and intermediate rod members 192, 193, 194 can be connected (e.g., welded, glued, adhesively bonded, mechanically fastened, etc.) to generally vertical wire segments 195. In this particular embodiment shown in FIGS. 13 through 16, wire members 172 extend generally between the side edge portions 191 of the shelf 108. As shown in FIGS. 13 and 15A, these wire members 172 also extend over the upper rod member 192 and cascade downwardly to connect to the intermediate and lower rod members 194 and 193. Accordingly, in this particular embodiment, the generally vertical wire segments 195 comprise downwardly bent or formed portions of wire members 172. Alternative embodiments, however, include generally vertical wire segments that comprise separate wire components, which are not integral with (but may be separately attached to) the wire members extending between the front and back edge portions of the shelf.

FIGS. 17 and 17A illustrate an exemplary manner in which the shelf portions 187 and 190 can be engaged with one or more of the components of the framework 104. In various embodiments, one or more of the wire members 188, 189, 192, 193, 194, 195 may be configured (e.g., sized, shaped, located, etc.) for clamping and creating a snap-fit with portions of the framework 104, such as the spanner member 124 (FIG. 17) or elbows 120 (FIG. 17A).

In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 17, the lower wire members 188 and generally vertical wire segments 189 adjacent the shelf's front and rear edge portions 166 and 168 are configured (e.g., sized, shaped, located, etc.) to cam over and operatively trap the spanner channels 124 for creating a snap-fit connection or interference fit with the spanner channels 124. With continued reference to FIG. 17, the flange portion 187 can cooperate with the flange portion 190 whereby the flange portion 187 cams over the spanner channel 124 for operatively trapping the spanner channel 124 generally between the flange portions 187 and 190, which, in turn, may create a snap-fit connection therewith. As shown in FIG. 17A, the wire members 188 and generally vertical wire segments 189 can also (or alternatively) create a snap-fit connection with the horizontal elbow portions 156. These snap-fitting features can inhibit the shelf 108 from dislodging off the framework 104, for example, when the shelf 108 is bumped, loaded, and/or unloaded.

In addition (or as an alternative) to forming snap-fitting connections, various embodiments include the flange portions 187 acting as stops for inhibiting movement of the shelf 108 relative to the framework 104. For example, and as shown in FIG. 1, the flange portions 187 adjacent the shelf's front and back edge portions 166, 168 can cooperate for inhibiting respective forward and rearward movement of the shelf 108 relative to the framework 104. When the shelf 108 is supported by the framework 104 as shown in FIG. 1, the flange portion 187 adjacent the shelf's forward edge portion 166 can function as a stop that inhibits forward movement of the shelf 108 relative to the framework 104, while the flange portion 187 adjacent the shelf rearward edge portion 168 can function as a stop that inhibits rearward movement of the shelf 108 relative to the framework 104.

With reference now to FIG. 17A, wire members 188 and 189 of flange portion 187 can cooperate with the wire members 192, 193, 194, 195 of flange portion 190 for trapping the elbow 120 between flange portions 187 and 190. For example, the wire members 189 and 190 can function as a stop that inhibits forward movement of the shelf 108 relative to the elbow 120, while the wire members 192, 193, 194, 195 can function as a stop that inhibits rearward movement of the shelf 108 relative to the elbow 120. Accordingly, this trapping can inhibit the shelf 108 from dislodging, for example, when the shelf 108 is bumped, loaded, and/or unloaded. This trapping in combination with gravity can help maintain the shelf positioning relative to the framework 104.

In FIGS. 1 and 17, two shelves 108 are shown supported adjacent one another. In other embodiments, a framework (e.g., 104, etc.) can be used to support two or more shelf members with the shelf members abutting one another. Still further embodiments include frameworks (e.g., 104, etc.) that are used to support two or more shelf members that are spaced apart from one another. In addition, FIGS. 1 and 17 show two shelves being supported by the framework 104 for purposes of illustration only, as other embodiments can include frameworks for supporting any suitable number of (i.e., one or more) storage devices depending, for example, on the particular application.

Various embodiments of the present disclosure can be mounted to a wide range of supporting structure, including ceiling trusses, rafters, etc. Accordingly, the specific references to supporting structure herein should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present disclosure to mounting to any one specific form/type of structural components or location thereof.

Various aspects of the present disclosure can be used with a wide variety of storage devices. Accordingly, the specific references to shelves herein should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present disclosure to use with only one specific form/type of storage device. For example, the figures show only particular examples of wire shelves 108 (FIG. 13), 208 (FIG. 18), 308 (FIG. 19), 408 (FIG. 20) that can be suspended by one or more of the frameworks of the present disclosure. Other embodiments include frameworks that can be used with a wide range of other storage devices besides 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.), having different depths and widths, without vertical flange portions, with different wire sizing, with different spacing between the wire members, combinations thereof, etc. 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 use with any specific form/type of shelf. Indeed, aspects of the present disclosure should also not be limited to just shelving as embodiments of the present disclosure can also be used for suspending a wide range of other storage devices, including racks, wire baskets, wire bins, shelves, trays, buckets, among other containers and storage devices.

Further, the particular methods 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
US7597203 *Mar 19, 2007Oct 6, 2009Victor JasniyStorage system
US7959019 *Sep 13, 2007Jun 14, 2011Roger JetteSuspended cable support system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/119
International ClassificationA47F5/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47B55/02, A47F5/0892
European ClassificationA47F5/08H, A47B55/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 9, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: CLAIRSON, INC., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NAWROCKI, JOHN RICHARD;REEL/FRAME:016878/0039
Effective date: 20051123