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Publication numberUS20080202976 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/858,830
Publication dateAug 28, 2008
Filing dateSep 20, 2007
Priority dateSep 20, 2006
Publication number11858830, 858830, US 2008/0202976 A1, US 2008/202976 A1, US 20080202976 A1, US 20080202976A1, US 2008202976 A1, US 2008202976A1, US-A1-20080202976, US-A1-2008202976, US2008/0202976A1, US2008/202976A1, US20080202976 A1, US20080202976A1, US2008202976 A1, US2008202976A1
InventorsRoddy Burgess, Jacob Connelly, William F. Croft, Sarah Rosenbach, Hector Santos, Florencia Martinez, Seth Frankel, Randall Lewis, Adrian Sesto
Original AssigneeRubbermaid Incorporated
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable Utensil Tray
US 20080202976 A1
Abstract
An adjustable storage tray has a first tray part that defines at least one first compartment therein. A second tray part of the storage tray defines at least one second compartment therein. The second tray part is slidably connected to the first tray part such that a length of the adjustable storage tray can be adjusted. The storage tray has a ratcheting mechanism to retain a selected adjusted length and has a retention mechanism that can inhibit vertical separation of the first and second tray parts.
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Claims(19)
1. An adjustable storage tray comprising:
a first tray part defining at least one first compartment therein; and
a second tray part defining at least one second compartment therein, the second tray part slidably connected to the first tray part such that a length of the adjustable storage tray can be adjusted,
wherein the storage tray has a ratcheting mechanism to retain a selected adjusted length and has a retention mechanism that can inhibit vertical separation of the first and second tray parts.
2. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 1, wherein the at least one first compartment and the at least one second compartment combine to form at least one continuous compartment defined in part by each of the first and second tray parts.
3. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 1, wherein the first tray part has a lengthwise oriented first partition and the second tray part has a lengthwise oriented second partition that nest with one another and divide the adjustable storage tray into two side-by-side lengthwise compartments extending the length of the adjustable storage tray.
4. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 3, further comprising:
one or more removable and replaceable dividers that can be selectively positioned within a portion of either of the two side-by side lengthwise compartments to further subdivide the adjustable storage tray.
5. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 1, further comprising:
one or more removable and replaceable dividers that can be selectively positioned within one of the first and second tray parts to further subdivide the at least one first compartment.
6. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 1, further comprising:
a first bottom, a first pair of opposed side walls extending up from the first bottom, and at least one first end wall connected to and extending between the first pair of side walls along one edge of the first bottom of the first tray part;
a second bottom, a second pair of opposed side walls extending up from the second bottom, and at least one second end wall connected to and extending between the second pair of side walls along one edge of the second bottom of the second tray part; and
a plurality of ridges projecting from an underside of the first bottom that rest against a top side of the second bottom and create spacing between the underside of the first bottom and the top side of the second bottom.
7. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 1, further comprising:
a first pair of opposed side walls extending up from a first bottom of the first tray part;
a second pair of opposed side walls extending up from a second bottom of the second tray part; and
a channel extending along and outward from each of the first pair of sidewalls and carried near at top edge of each of the first pair of side walls,
wherein a top edge of each of the second pair of side walls is captured within a corresponding one of the channels.
8. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 7, wherein the ratcheting mechanism includes a plurality of teeth and mating ratchet teeth dispose within each of the channels.
9. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 7, wherein the ratcheting mechanism comprises:
a plurality of teeth projecting outward from and extending lengthwise near the top edge along each of the pair of second side walls; and
one or more ratchet teeth projecting inward from a channel surface within each channel and engaging the plurality of teeth.
10. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 7, wherein the retention mechanism includes a pair laterally overlapping ribs within each of the channels.
11. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 10, wherein one of the pair of ribs within each channel projects outward from the respective wall of the second pair of opposed side walls near the top edge and the other of the pair of ribs within each channel projects inward from a channel surface and laterally overlaps the corresponding one rib.
12. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 7, wherein travel stop projections are provided within each of the channels to limit the extended length of the adjustable storage tray to a max length.
13. An adjustable storage tray according to claim 1, further comprising:
a first bottom, a first pair of opposed side walls extending up from the first bottom, one first end wall connected to and extending between the first pair of side walls along one edge of the first bottom of the first tray part, and another first end wall connected to and extending between the first pair of side walls along an opposite edge of the first bottom; and
a second bottom, a second pair of opposed side walls extending up from the second bottom, and at least one second end wall connected to and extending between the second pair of side walls along one edge of the second bottom of the second tray part.
14. A length adjustable drawer organizer tray comprising:
a first tray part having a first bottom, first opposed side walls, at least one first end wall extending between and connected to the first side walls, and at least one first storage compartment defined within the first tray part;
a second tray part having a second bottom, second opposed side walls, and at least a second back wall extending between and connected to the second side walls, and at least one second storage compartment formed within the second tray part, wherein the first tray part is slidably connected to the second tray part so that a length of the drawer organizer tray can be selectively adjusted;
a downward facing channel carried on and extending outward from near a top edge of each of the first side walls; and
a top edge of each of the second side walls captured within a respective one of the channels and slidable along the channel,
wherein the storage tray has a ratcheting mechanism within each of the channels to retain a selected adjusted length of the two tray parts.
15. A length adjustable drawer organizer according to claim 14, further comprising:
a retention mechanism that can inhibit vertical separation of the first and second tray parts.
16. A length adjustable drawer organizer according to claim 14, wherein the first tray part has another first end wall positioned opposite the one first end wall and extending between and connected to the first side walls.
17. A length adjustable drawer organizer according to claim 14, further comprising:
one or more dividers that can be removably snapped between the two side walls within at least one of the first and second tray parts.
18. A length adjustable drawer organizer according to claim 17, further comprising:
a plurality of recesses formed spaced apart along on the inner surfaces of the two side walls; and
opposed ends on each of the one or more dividers, each of the opposed ends configured to snap into a selected one of the recesses on each of the side walls.
19. A length adjustable drawer organizer according to claim 18, wherein each of the opposed ends has at least one nub projecting outward therefrom and configured to snap into a hole in a selected one of the recesses.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION DATA

This patent is related to and claims priority benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/845,955 entitled “Adjustable Utensil Tray,” which was filed on Sep. 20, 2006 and the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure is generally directed to storage trays and organizers for utensils and gadgets, and more particularly to an adjustable storage tray that can be changed in length and reconfigured compartmentally.

2. Description of Related Art

Utensil storage and organizer products for drawers exist in the art. Some of the currently known products allow users to extend the trays in a width direction for use in various width drawers. These adjustable solutions help to create extra storage for the user, but do not prevent the storage tray from moving around when used in a drawer as the drawer is opened and closed, and particularly from moving forward and backward in the drawer. Furthermore these types of products typically leave a significant amount of unused space at the back of the drawer. Such trays are typically not lengthwise extendable.

Many current organizer products are of a one-piece structure. Such products are not size adjustable and typically have fixed-length compartments. These types of products do not incorporate a solution to allow the user to divide up, customize, and reconfigure their storage tray space to suit their individual needs. Many one-piece utensil trays and cutlery trays well are known in the art. These one-piece trays are not adjustable in any direction and often slide both side-to-side and for-and-aft in the drawer as the drawer is opened and closed and as a user rummages for a desired item. This can be frustrating to the consumer and also can leave significant unused space at the sides and/or the back of a drawer. These one-piece products offer only fixed length utensil storage compartments. Thus, a user can not customize the tray for a particular purpose as may be desired by that individual consumer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of one example of a utensil tray constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention and in a substantially extended configuration.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the utensil tray shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows the utensil tray of FIG. I in a substantially collapsed or non-extended configuration.

FIG. 4 shows a cross-section taken along line IV-IV of the utensil tray that is shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows a cross-section taken along line V-V of the utensil tray that is shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 shows a cross-section taken along line VI-VI of the utensil tray that is shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 shows an enlarged view of a portion of the utensil tray taken from Circle VII in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 shows an enlarged view of a portion of the utensil tray taken from Circle VIII in FIG. 5.

FIG. 9 shows a cross-section taken along line IX-IX of the utensil tray that is shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 shows an enlarged view of a portion of the utensil tray taken from Circle X in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 shows a perspective view of another example of a utensil tray constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention and in a substantially extended configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosed utensil tray assemblies solve or improve upon one or more of the above-noted and other problems or disadvantages with prior known storage trays. Adjustable storage tray assemblies are disclosed herein that can expand in length and that are configured for storing utensils, silverware, kitchen gadgets, or other items or tools within a drawer. The disclosed tray assemblies also have separate storage regions that can be re-sized and reconfigured using snap-in place dividers. Such dividers can be moved and placed as desired within a substantial portion of the tray. The disclosed tray assemblies are well suited for use in a kitchen environment but are certainly not limited to such use. The disclosed tray assemblies can be useful in any storage drawer such as in a work room, bathroom, garage, den, bedroom, or the like. The disclosed adjustable utensil trays could be used to hold jewelry, arts supplies, or other objects as desired.

Turning now to the drawings, one example of an adjustable utensil tray assembly 20 is shown in FIG. 1 in an assembled and extended configuration. The assembly 20 is also shown in exploded view in FIG. 2 and in a collapsed or non-extended configuration in FIG. 3. In general, the tray assembly includes a first tray part 22 and a second tray part 24 that are adjustably and slidably connect with one another. The disclosed tray assembly 20 also includes one or more dividers 26 that can be removed, installed, and replaced by a consumer during use of the tray assembly. The tray assembly 20 can also incorporate a plurality of optional feet 28. The feet can be integrally molded on a bottom of part of the assembly or can be a plurality of rubber, plastic, cork, or other type of foot pad adhered to an underside of the assembly. The feet 28 shown herein are circular pads that can be glued, in-molded, adhered, or otherwise attached to the tray as desired. The feet can be configured to inhibit the tray from slipping within the drawer during use.

In the disclosed example, the first tray part 22 and the second tray part 24 nest with one another and telescopically slide relative to one another. As will be appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the art, the telescoping engagement between the two tray parts can vary within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Which part telescopes within which part can vary from that shown herein as described below.

In the disclosed example, the first tray part 22 includes a tray bottom 30, a front wall 32 extending up from a forward edge of the bottom and a pair of opposed side walls 34 extending up from side edges of the bottom. The front wall 32 and side walls 34 meet at front corners 36 of the first tray part 22. The first tray part 22 also has a back edge that is exposed and includes a back edge 38 of the bottom and back edges 40 of the side walls. In this example, the back of the first tray part 22 is open. Also in this example, a raised center partition 42 extends up from the bottom 30 dividing the interior of the first tray part 22 into two compartments 44. In this example, the compartments 44 extend lengthwise side-by-side along the tray part on opposite sides of the partition 42, which is centrally positioned on the tray part.

A channel 50 is provided on each of the side walls 34 along their respective top edges. In this example, each channel 50 is formed by a lip 52 that is coupled to the top edge of the respective side wall 34 and that extends outward from the side wall. Each channel also has a flange 54 that depends from an outer edge of each lip 52 and that is spaced outward from the respective side wall 34.

As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reviewing this disclosure, the first tray part 22 can vary in configuration and construction from that shown and described herein. The length, width, height, and shape of the tray and its walls and bottom can vary from that shown. The central partition 42 in this example extends parallel to the side walls and is centrally located between the side walls. Additional partitions could also be utilized or the disclosed partition could be moved from its central location.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the partition 42 in this example has a height and a width which creates a tunnel 56 beneath the partition that extends lengthwise along the first tray part 22 between the two compartments 44. The tunnel 56 is defined in general by the partition and in particular by a curved or rounded top 58 of the partition and spaced apart partition side walls 60 of the partition. The tunnel configuration of the partition could also vary considerably and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Alternatively, the partition could be completely eliminated from the first tray part 22 creating only a single compartment above the bottom 30 within the tray part.

FIGS. 1-3 also illustrate the second tray part 24. In the disclosed example, the second tray part is configured to telescope under and outside of the first tray part 22. The second tray part 24 is similar in construction to the first tray part in that it also includes a bottom 70, a back wall 72 extending up from a rear edge of the bottom, and side walls 74 extending up from side edges of the bottom. Also similarly, the back edges of the side walls 74 are joined to the side edges of the back wall 72 at rear corners 76. A front edge of the second tray part 24 is exposed and includes a front edge 80 of the bottom 70 and front edges 82 of the side walls 74. Thus, the front end of the second tray part is also open. The second tray part 24 also includes a central partition 84 extending lengthwise between and parallel to the side walls 74 in this example. The partition 84 also forms a tunnel 83 under the tray part and creates two side-by-side compartments 85. The tunnel includes a rounded top 86 and partition sides 88. The second tray part 24 can vary in configuration and construction similar to the first tray part. However, in order for the two tray parts to telescopically slide relative to one another, the second tray part configuration must be configured to at least mate with the first tray part configuration to permit such movement.

With that in mind, the side walls 74 and bottom 70 of the second tray part in the disclosed example, as well as the partition 84, are configured to fit under and around the like components 34, 30, and 42 of the first tray part as shown in FIG. 1. The open front end of the second tray part 24 can be slid onto and over the open back end of the first tray part 22. The partition 84 of the second tray part nests within the tunnel 56 beneath the partition 42 of the first tray part 22. When connected together, the compartments 44 and 85 on each side of the nested partitions 42 and 84 combine to form two elongate, length extendable compartments within the assembly 10. This tray assembly configuration is thus useful for storing kitchen gadgets, grilling utensils, tools, and the like that are typically longer than ordinary cutlery and eating utensils.

The side walls 74 are positioned outward of the side walls 34 and the bottom 70 and partition 84 are positioned beneath the bottom 30 and partition 42. The top edges 90 of the side walls 74 on the second tray part 24 are sized and configured to fit within the channels 50 and are captured by the flange 54 under the lip 52 on each side of the first tray part 22. As depicted with reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, the first tray part 22 and second tray part 24 can slide lengthwise relative to one another in the disclosed example. As noted above, the two tray parts can be configured differently so that the second tray part telescopes within and above the first tray part, if desired.

The disclosed utensil tray assembly 10 includes four features that will now be separately described. A first one of the features is provided to assist in preventing the first and second tray parts from frictionally locking with one another during lengthwise adjustment. Without this feature, surface-to-surface contact between the bottoms of the two tray parts could create significant sliding friction making it difficult to lengthwise adjust the tray assembly. A second one of the features is a ratcheting detent function provided for the longitudinal or lengthwise adjustment between the first and second tray parts. Without this feature, the two parts would slide freely relative to one another. This second feature is provided to retain a selected lengthwise adjustment between the two tray parts. A third one of the features is provided to vertically retain connection between the first and second tray parts. Without this feature, the second tray part could be readily dropped downward from the first tray part or the first tray part could be lifted readily from the second tray part. A fourth one of the features is provided to create a plurality of optional locations to install the removable dividers 26.

The first one of these features is described with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. A plurality of lengthwise spaced apart ridges 102 are provided on an underside surface 100 of the bottom 30 on the first tray part 22. These ridges 102 project downward from the underside surface 100 under each of the two compartments 44 and rest on a top side surface 101 of the bottom 70 of the second tray part. As shown in FIG. 5, each of these ridges 102 has a width laterally across the tray assembly 20 that is significantly less than a width of each of the compartments 44. Thus, air gaps 103 are created both laterally (see FIG. 4) and longitudinally (see FIG. 5) permitting air to flow or pass between the two tray parts during adjustment. The ridges 102 also significantly reduce surface-to-surface contact between the bottoms of the two tray parts.

The ridges disclosed and described herein provide the first feature for the tray assembly 20 to assist in permitting relatively easy lengthwise adjustment between the first and second tray parts 22 and 24 without significant surface friction between the tray parts 22 and 24. The ridges can be replaced by longitudinal extending ridges, multiple bumps or dimples, and the like. The ridges or other such feature can also be provided on the top side of the bottom 70 in the second tray part, but will then be exposed when the tray assembly is expanded.

The second one of the features is described with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7. A plurality of interlocking or meshing teeth are provided between the two tray parts 22 and 24 to create a ratcheting or detent system that permits lengthwise adjustment between the tray parts while providing tactile feedback and positive retention of a selected adjusted length. A first set of teeth 104 are provided in the form of a linear rack of gear teeth. The teeth 104 of the rack extend outward from an outside surface 106 on the side walls 74 of the second tray part 24. In this example, the plurality of teeth 104 extends along a substantial portion of the length of each side wall 74. The rack or plurality of teeth 104 is also provided closely adjacent the top edge 90 of the side walls 74 in this example.

A pair of ratchet teeth 110 or dogs project laterally inward from an inside surface 112 of the flange 54 within each of the channels 50. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the ratchet teeth 110 thus confront and face the teeth 104 of the rack and mesh with one another. In this example, the ratchet teeth 110 are positioned near the forward edge of the channels 50 on the first tray part 22. Thus, the ratchet teeth 110 are positioned to contact the teeth 104 along the rack at any lengthwise adjusted positioned. As the tray assembly is lengthened, the ratchet teeth 110 will move along the rack from a position close to the front end of the second tray part 24 toward the back end of the second tray part. Also as shown in FIG. 6, a stop projection 114 is provided at a rear end of the rack of teeth 104. The stop projection 114 can inhibit or prevent passage of the ratchet teeth 110 beyond the stop. This can permit fully extending the tray assembly 20 to a max lengthwise adjusted position between the two tray parts, but inhibit complete lengthwise separation of the two tray parts. A consumer will thus be inhibited from pulling the two tray parts apart as the stop 114 bears against the rearward most of the two ratchet teeth 110 on each side of the tray assembly 20.

FIG. 7 shows an enlarged view of the ratchet teeth 110 and several of the teeth 104 on the rack. As can be seen in FIG. 7, each of the ratchet teeth 110 on the first tray part has a forward facing surface 116 and a rearward facing surface 118. Similarly, each of the teeth 104 on the rack of the second tray part has a forward facing surface 120 and a rear facing surface 122. As the first and second tray parts 22 and 24 are pushed together in the direction of the arrows A in FIG. 7, shortening the length of the tray assembly 20, the front facing surfaces 120 on the rack teeth 104 contact the rear facing surfaces 118 on the ratchet teeth 110. The angle on these surfaces is relatively steep and in one example can be greater than 45° and less than 90°. This surface-to-surface contact and the relatively steep angle between these surfaces 120 and 118 will increase the force needed to push the two trays together, i.e., to reduce the length of the assembly. As also shown in FIG. 7, when the tray assembly is lengthened, the two tray parts will move in the direction of the arrows B. In this lengthening direction, the front facing surfaces 116 on each of the ratchet teeth 110 and the rear facing surfaces 122 on each of the rack teeth 104 contact each other as the two trays are pulled apart. These tooth surfaces have shallower angles than the opposite tooth surfaces, and in one example can each be less than 45° angles. The shallower tooth angles in the B direction will result in a lesser force needed to lengthen the tray assembly.

Thus, in the disclosed example an individual can pull the two tray parts 22 and 24 apart to lengthen the tray assembly 20 than push the two parts together to shorten the tray assembly. This feature as configured in the present example will thus make it easy for the two tray components to be length adjusted outward in the B direction when a consumer first purchases the product and fits it to a desired drawer. Once adjusted and installed, the resistance created by the teeth in the A direction will resist the tray shortening during use. For instance, if an individual slams a drawer closed, the tray will resist collapsing in length and instead retain a snug fit within the drawer. As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art, the tooth angles can vary considerably from that shown and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. In one example, the angle on all of the teeth can be the same on either side and yet function generally as intended. The tooth angels could be reversed making it easier to shorten the tray and more difficult to lengthen the tray. The intent of the ratchet arrangement shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 is to permit length adjustment of the tray and yet provide a mode to positively retain the tray in a selected adjusted length. The mechanism also provides a solid tactile feel for the consumer while adjusting the tray length.

The location of the ratcheting mechanism can also vary, as well as its construction. In one example, the teeth can be provided on adjacent surfaces of the bottoms 30 and 70 of the two tray parts or on adjacent surfaces in this example of the nested partitions 42 and 84. In another alternate example, one of the two tray parts can employ a slot on the side or sides or on the bottom or partition. The slot can include serrations or teeth along an edge of the slot. The other of the two tray parts can include a protrusion that slides along and within the slot. The ratcheting mechanism produces a tactile, positive positioning feature for the tray as well.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 8, the third feature includes a lengthwise extending rib 124 projecting inward from the flange 54 in each of the channels 50. In this example, the ribs 124 are positioned below the ratchet teeth 110 on the same inner-facing flange surface 112 on each tray side. A second rib 126 extends lengthwise along the tray and is positioned projecting outward from the outer surface 106 of the side walls 74 on the second tray part. The ribs 126 on each side of the tray assembly are positioned above the respective ribs 124 in the channels. The ribs 124 and 126 laterally overlap one another within each channel 50. The overlap of the ribs 124 and 126 prevents vertical separation of the two tray parts and thus will keep the two tray parts connected while still permitting length adjustment. The rib location, configuration, and the like can also vary from the example shown and described herein. Other retention mechanisms may be employed between the two tray parts to inhibit vertical separation of the parts.

The fourth feature of the disclosed tray assembly 20 allows a consumer to selectively position one or more of the dividers 26 within the tray assembly 10. To accomplish this feature, a plurality of shaped recesses or depressions 132 are lengthwise spaced apart on an inner surface 130 of each of the side walls 74 on the second tray part 24. These recesses or depressions 132 create snap regions configured to receive one of the dividers 26. As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 9, and 10, a lower end of each of the recesses 132 has a pair of through holes 134 that are also lengthwise spaced apart along the side walls 74. Similarly, a plurality of the recesses 132 and a plurality of the hole pairs 134 are also provided along both sides 88 of the partition 84 in the second tray part 24. The recesses 132 and holes 134 on the partition sides 88 are each aligned with a corresponding recess 132 and pair of holes 134 on each of the side walls 74 across the compartments 83.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 9, and 10, each of the dividers 26 has an elongate body that is formed having an inverted U-shape in cross-section. Each divider 26 has a pair of opposed sides 140, a closed top 142, and an open bottom 144. The U-shape creates two spaced apart edges 145 on each side 140 of the dividers 26. Each of the sides 144, and particularly with respect to the spaced apart edges 145, is configured to match or correspond with the shape of one of the recesses 132. A pair of nubs 146 projects outward from each side 144, one on each side edge 145 of each divider 26. As best illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, when a divider 26 is positioned between a selected pair of aligned recesses 132, the pair of nubs 146 on each side 144 snaps into the pair of holes 134 in the selected recesses 132. The nubs and holes can positively and frictionally retain the divider in the selected position within the tray assembly.

As shown in FIG. 10, the nubs 146 have a rounded bottom surface 150 and an angled but generally linear top surface 152. The bottom rounded surface 150 permits relatively easy insertion downward into a selected pair of recesses and snapping into the corresponding pairs of holes 134. The angled but generally linear top surfaces 152 inhibit, but do not prevent, upward removal of the divider by the consumer. Thus, a consumer can selectively and easily place one or more dividers 26 within the tray assembly 10 to reconfigure any one of the selected compartments as desired.

In the disclosed example, the first tray part 22 does not include any recesses 132 or holes 134. Thus, the first tray part is not configured to receive any dividers 26. Only the second tray part 24 includes such features in this example. In an alternate embodiment, slightly shorter dividers could be provided that correspond with similar recesses and holes formed within the first tray part 22 to provide the ability to further customize and reconfigure the tray assembly 20. In an alternate embodiment, only the slightly narrower first tray part and not the wider second tray part need be provided with such features. The recesses 132 in the disclosed example are semi-elliptical in shape and recessed slightly into the various walls of the tray part. However, the shape, depth, number, location, and spacing of the recesses can vary from that shown. Other divider wall attachment mechanism modifications may also be utilized within the spirit and scope of the present invention. The snap details for the dividers can vary and can employ flex fingers, tabs, slots, indentations, depressions, ribs, ridges, or other shapes or forms molded into or added onto the assembly.

As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reviewing this disclosure, the configuration and construction of the partitions, tray parts, tray walls, and divider features can vary and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. FIG. 11 shows only one of many possible variations. An alternative example of a utensil tray assembly 160 is illustrated in FIG. 11. The assembly 160 has two tray parts 162 and 164. In this alternate example, the first tray part 162 includes a bottom 166, side walls 168, a front wall, 170, and a back wall 172. There is no open end on this tray part 162. Thus, the compartments of the first tray part are fixed and not alterable. The first tray part could be utilized as a stand alone organizer without a second tray part. The first tray part 162 includes multiple partitions 174, 176, 178, and 180 dividing the tray part into five separate, fixed compartments, which in one example can be configured to store kitchen silverware, cutlery, and normal tableware. The second tray part 164 again telescopes around and under the first tray part in this example. The second tray part has a flat bottom 182, a back wall 184, opposed side walls 186, and an open front end. The open front end can be telescoped around and under the first tray part.

In this example, the second tray part 164 again is provided with the dividers 26 and the recesses and holes 132, 134 for securing the dividers selectively in place. The second tray part only has one partition 188 that corresponds with the partition 174 of the first tray part. The other partitions have no second tray part counterpart. Also in this example, the second tray part partition is offset to one side creating two different sized compartments. Two different length dividers 26 and 26′ are shown, one divider 26 for the narrower compartment side and one divider 26′ for the wider compartment side. The compartments in the second tray part are adjustable by lengthening or shortening the assembly 160 and/or by utilizing the dividers 26 and 26′ to further compartmentalize the second tray part of the assembly.

The materials and processes used to fabricate the tray assembly can vary within the spirit and scope of the present invention. One-piece tray parts can be injection molded in one example from a general purpose acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), high impact styrene (HIPS), polypropylene, or other suitable plastic materials. Other materials may also fall within the scope and spirit of the invention.

Although certain adjustable tray examples have been shown and described herein in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure, the scope of coverage of this patent is not limited thereto. On the contrary, this patent covers all embodiments of the teachings of the disclosure that fairly fall within the scope of permissible equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8047373 *May 3, 2010Nov 1, 2011Murphy Michael PSuspended utensil storage system and method
US8056725 *Feb 5, 2010Nov 15, 2011Zippo Manufacturing CompanyProduct package utilizing an information indicator held in a product tray
US8196939 *Feb 20, 2009Jun 12, 2012Rubbermaid IncorporatedMedical cart and drawer assembly and lock
US8317028 *Sep 28, 2011Nov 27, 2012Zippo Manufacturing CompanyProduct package utilizing an information indicator held in a product tray
US8684222 *Dec 20, 2012Apr 1, 2014Dester Holding B.V.Tray, in particular for catering purposes onboard aircrafts
US8711557 *Jun 28, 2012Apr 29, 2014Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.Support tray for server
US20090212670 *Feb 20, 2009Aug 27, 2009Rubbermaid IncorporatedMedical cart and drawer assembly and lock
US20110084584 *Oct 11, 2010Apr 14, 2011Progressive International CorporationDrawer organizer
US20110210038 *Feb 28, 2011Sep 1, 2011Dester Holding B.V.Tray, in particular for catering purposes onboard aircrafts
US20120080348 *Sep 28, 2011Apr 5, 2012Zippo Manufacturing CompanyProduct package utilizing an information indicator held in a product tray
US20130319961 *Jun 28, 2012Dec 5, 2013Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.Support tray for server
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/558, 206/564, 206/557, 206/561
International ClassificationB65D6/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47B88/20
European ClassificationA47B88/20