US 3009579 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
NOV- 21, 1961 R. ETTLJNGER, .1R
' TRAY AND sTAcKING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 16, 1960 Emil w lllllmm n UWV TOR. 04012 Elli/gef; Jr.
EGO 3 NOV- 21, 1951 R. ETTLINGER, JR
TRAY AND STACKING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. 16, 1960 fifa., 6
Ma/M7 United States Patent iice 3,009,579 Patented Nov. 2l, 1961 3,009,579 TRAY AND STACKING DEVICE Ralph Ettlingen', Jr., 1370 Lincoln Ave. S., Highland Park, lll. Filed Feb. 16, 1960, Ser. No. 8,970 Claims. (Cl. 211-71) This invention relates to a tray and more particularly to a molded tray for use in support of a plurality of widemouth containers, such as cups or glasses, and primarily for storage or support of such containers in cleaning or washing machines.
In restaurant or other large scale eating services, use is generally made of mechanically operated machines for washing such containers as cups, glassware and the like. To the present, baskets are provided for receiving such cups and glassware for insertion into the washing machine wherein they are subjected to various wash and rinse cycles. Such Wash and rinse cycles are usually accomplished by impingement of streams of hot soapy or rinse water onto the surfaces of the cups or glasses, as by means of a spray or by means of centrifugal force.
For this purpose, it has been the practice to construct the baskets of interconnected, preferably plastic coated metallic Wires mounted within a frame of structural strength to enable displacement of the loaded basket through the mechanical washing machine. The wire sections on which the cups and glasses are supported permit the streams of wash and rinse water to reach the innermost portions of the cups or glasses for the removal of dirt or stains therefrom.
Because of the bulk and undesirable appearance of the wire baskets, most establishments nd it necessary to remove the Washed cups or glasses from the baskets for replacement onto service Atrays or the like. Thus there is a need in the industry for a support which can be used to house the multiplicity of cups or glasses during transmission through the washing and rinsing operations and which can be also employed as a storage or service tray thereby to avoid the necessity for handling the cups or glasses in replacement from the wash holder to the service tray, and it is an object of this invention to produce a tray embodying such features.
Another important consideration in restaurant or food service resides in the perishability of the glassware and utensils. Cups and glasses present particular problems because of the ease by which such items chip or break in response to the slightest impacts, especially in the handle portion of the cups. For the most part, use is made of conventional trays for the storage and support of such food service units. Since no provisions are made for holding the cups or glasses in spaced relation, out of contact with one another, the cups or glasses are subject to sliding action into each other to cause excessive chipping or breakage.
A still further source of diiiiculty to which this invention is addressed is in the storage of such cups or glasses. Usually trays lled with cups or glasses are stacked one upon the other in storage. Each layer is separa-ted by the iiat body portion of the tray such lthat the height of the stack will correspond to the cumulative heights of the cups or glasses plus the thickness of the trays. This limits the number of layers which can be maintained in a stack thereby to make inetiicient use of available storage space. Further, because of the lack of any type of intertting relationship between the layers in the stack, the stack will be somewhat unstable from the standpoint of collapse thereby to endanger the cups or glasses unless such stacks are materially limited in height.
In order to minimize capital investment in cups and glasses and in order to minimize the amount of space required for storage, it is desirable also toprovide means whereby such cups and glasses are capable of rapid return from previous use into service. For this purpose, it would be desirable to employ forced drying operations in combination with mechanical Washing so that the Washed cups or glasses can be almost immediately returned into service. To accomplish this, it is desirable to make use of trays for support of the cups or glasses in the wash and rinse operations which embody means for support of the cups and glasses in a manner to permit free access of hot drying gases into the innermost recesses thereof to accelerate drying thereby to permit the trays loaded with cups or glasses to be processed through the washing and rinsing steps and then through the drying steps without the necessity to repack the carriers.
To be capable of use in both dish washing machines and hot air drying machines, a tray assembly for the positioning and compact stacking of the cups should be structurally strong, yet should be so constructed so as to provide a maximum air space around all sides of the article stacked thereupon whereby the Washing and drying operations performed by the dish Washing and drying machines can be maintained at a high level of eiiiciency.
A still further object is to provide a molded tray which is capable of storing cups, glassware and the like in spaced apart relationship from each other and which is suitable for use in dish washers and air drying machines of the type used in restaurants.
A still further object is to provide a tray of the type described above which is s-tructurally strong, yet has a structure which readily -allows the passage of Water and air streams therethrough when it contains a plurality of cups placed thereupon.
Yet another object is to furnish a molded ltray having an integrally molded finish thereon which can hold cups on -the tray in spaced relationship to each other and which would permit fully loaded trays to be stacked one on Itop of the other while separated by a distance less than the height of the individual cups.
A further object is to provide a tray having means for holding cups thereon in spaced relation to each other and which in addition can be stacked fully` loaded one on top of the other while separated by a distance less than the height of the individual cups.
It, therefore, becomes an object of this invention to provide a -tray of the type described having means thereon for holding cups and similar type articles in spaced relation to each other in order to minimize the chance of their bumping together and breaking.
Another object is to provide a tray which affords a stable and compact way of stacking cups and similar type objects.
An important feature of the invention is to provide a tray which may be used in mechanical `dish washers, yet which is capable also of functioning as a cup storage device.
These and other objects of this invention will become more apparent in the light of the accompanying specification and drawings, in which:
FIG. l is a top plan view of the cleaning and storage tray of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a side View taken across the line 2 2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view showing several of the trays containing wide-mouth drinking containers positioned thereon;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view taken along the line 4--4 of FIG. l;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view taken along the lline s s of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional side view taken across the line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
The tray of the invention is shown in the accompanying drawings as being represented generally by the numeral 1G. The tray is formed to have a frame member 11 having opposed side walls 12, 112', 14 and 14 with the side walls defining, in a preferred embodiment, a square type structure as shown in FIG. 1.
The top 16 of the wall of the frame 11 is dimensioned to be smaller in width than its bottom portion '18. To be capable of nesting within other similar trays when not in use, each wall of the frame member 11 is constructed in the form of an inverted V which defines one space within the side -walls of the V which space is formed by the outer wall 20 of the frame and its inner Wall 22.
As shown to best advantage in FIGS. 4 and 5, the frame assembly has its two side wall portions at a point 24 near the bottom thereof formed to provide downwardly extending parallel side walls or skirt members 28 and 30. The interior top portion 32 of the frame member has positioned along the interior of the outer wall 2.0 a stop 34. The stop is preferably formed in the shape of a triangular rib having its apex 36 near the top interior portion of the frame member 32 and its base 38 extending crosswise within the interior to a point about ymidway or less between the space defined between the inverted V of the frame member. The stops are positioned in spaced apart relationship about the entire perimeter of the interior of the frame member.
Positioned within the interior 40 of the tray and preferably near its bottom are a plurality of vertically disposed, horizontally arranged support arms/42. rIl-hese support arms are formed into a web-like structure thereby making them interconnected one to the other as well as to the interior side walls 22 of the frame member 151. The support arms 42, when combined with other members hereinafter described, provide a surface upon which the cup or glassware articles rest. The support arms 42 may be arranged to take the form of any suitable geometrical configuration but their entire interconnected relationship should be such as to provide support and rigidity to the tray.
The support arms 42 are divided into a plurality of uniformly spaced apart elevated receiving areas which are designated generally by the numeral 44. As shown in the drawings, particularly FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, the receiving areas are defined by a plurality of upturned stop members 46 which, in the case of the particular tray illustrated by the drawings, represent an area having a hexagonal configuration. The support arms 42 are integral with and to the upturned stop members 46 and in a preferred embodiment, the upturned stop members are molded to the outer upper edge of the support arms. As illustrated in FIG. l, the receiving areas for the wide-mouth liquid drinking containers are slightly larger than the diameter of the wide-mouth liquid drinking containers designed to be placed therein.
The support ar-ms 50 which extend inwardly from the inner section 48 of the upturned stops, which arms comprise a segment of the support arms 42, are connected to a horizontally disposed outer cylindrical wall member S2 which has contained therein and elevated thereabove a horizontally disposed inner cylindrical wall member 54.
The outside 56 of the inner cylindrical wall member is tted with a plurality of opposed horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms 58 which radially emanate from said outer side of the inner wall and connect with the inner side 62 of the outer wall 52. The horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms emanating from the exterior of the inner cylindrical wall form a shoulder 60 at the point where the downward projection begins. These shoulders provide a. widemouth liquid drinking container positioning and holding means which keeps the articles such as cups in a spaced apart relationship. Due to the construction of the opposed horizontally extending and downwardly projecting arms which emanate from the exterior side of the inner cylindrical wall, the interior cylindrical wall member is elevated above the plane of the exterior cylindrical wall member and the support wall member 52 and/ or of the support arms 42.
The construction shown in FIG. 1 represents a tray which is suitable for use in a conveyor type dish washing machine and to that end there are provided two parallel arms 64 which are vertically disposed in construction and which are on the same plane as the support arms 42, said parallel arms extending entirely along and within two opposed sides of the frame member 11. The parallel arms 64 are in close spaced apart relationship to the interior side walls 22 of the frame member and define a space 68 within which are positioned a plurality of crosswise extending vertically disposed menibers 70 connecting the parallel arms with the interior side walls 22 of the frame member 11.
Crosswise connecting members 70 comprise a pair of parallel vertically disposed members 72 which are in turn fitted with cross brace members 76 which are also vertically disposed in relationship to the parallel arms and the interior side walls of the frame member.
The cross brace members 76 as well as the crosswise extending members divide the space 68 into a series of smaller spaces 68A. These spaces are suitable for receiving a pawl or advancing lever used in certain types of dish washing machines for advancing the tray therethrough.
As shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the cups 78 are placed within the various cup receiving areas in the tray so that the mouth 80 of the cup 82 is fitted over the opposed horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms which prevent it from being displaced. The shoulders 48 provide a surface against which the outer lip of the cup 82 will abut in the event that it is sidewardly displaced from the shoulders formed on the horizontally extending, downwardly projecting arms. The shoulders also act as reinforcing members to add strength to the support arms at their points of intersection.
As the opposed horizontally extending and downwardly projecting arms form a raised portion within the outer surface of the tray, there is formed a corresponding recessed portion within the bottom of the tray which receives in fitting relationship the bottom of the cup 82. This feature is shown to best advantage in FIG. 4 and enables the tray, when used to stack a number of cups, to provide additional means for maintaining the cups within the tray in spaced apart relationship to each other.
Trays of the type described during a given work day in a restaurant will tend to be in dis-use for longer periods of time than they are used in the operation of washing or drying cups. It is necessary that such trays should be capable of being stored without wasting valuable kitchen or dining room storage space or other spaces. Accordingly, the trays of the invention are capable of being stored in a compact nest-like arrangement, as illustrated by FIG. 6. It is therein shown that a number of these trays may be conveniently stacked one upon the other with the top 16 of the frame members being capable of being received into the recessed inverted V groove portion of another frame member in a snug fitting relationship. The stops 34 at their bottom portion 38 engage the upper portion 16 of the vertically disposed frame member to allow a close stacking of the tray, yet preventing the excessive sticking of such units whereby difficulty would be experienced when it was attempted to separate the trays for use.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the support arms 50 within the cup receiving areas 44 are so positioned horizontally that the upper edges of some are slightly below the upper edges of others whereby only a minimum number of support points upon which the lip of the cup rests are provided. This feature of the invention allows the cups to be adequately supported at only a few points thereby allowing a greater surface area of the cup to be exposed to the cleansing action of the dishwashing process.
The trays described may be made of any suitable materials, such as metals or plastics, but it is desirable that they be fabricated from heat resistant plastics by the expediency of injection molding. Very satisfactory results have been afforded by injection molding the trays from heat resistant polyethylenes, polypropylenes and polybutylenes.
The expression wide-mouth liquid drinking containers is meant to define any liquid holding device having a mouth of larger dimension than its base but the term is especially meaningful as applied to cups having handles of the type used to dispense such beverages as tea or colfee.
Having thus described my invention, I claim the following:
1. A tray for the cleaning and storage of wide-mouth liquid drinking containers comprising a vertically disposed frame member having opposed side walls and a bottom which is of larger dimension than its top, a plurality of interconnected, vertically disposed support arms arranged within and connected to the interior side walls of the frame member to form an open, web-like structure, a plurality of upturned stops axed to the vertically disposed side arms, said stops defining a plurality of widemouth drinking container receiving areas, said areas containing a wide-mouth liquid drinking container positioning assembly which comprises inner and outer vertically disposed cylindrical walls with the inner cylindrical wall being connected to the outer cylindrical wall by a plurality of opposed horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms which radially emanate from the outer side of the inner -wall to the inner side of the outer wall with the inner wall being elevated above the horizontal plane of the outer wall, and with the horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms forming a plurality of opposed shoulders for positioning the mouths of the widemouth liquid drinking containers.
2. The t-ray of claim 1 where the vertically disposed frame member is in general cross-sectional form a hollow inverted V, the bottom portion of said inverted V shape having downwardly extending parallel side walls with the interior of the side walls having positioned therewithin, in spaced apart relationship, a plurality of stops.
3. The tray of claim 2 where the stops are in the form of triangular ribs, the apex of which is near the top section of the inverted V shaped frame member and its base is positioned slightly above the downwardly extending side walls.
4. The tray of claim 1 where the receiving areas are equidistant from each other and the wide-mouth liquid drinking container positioning assemblies are centrally located within said receiving areas.
5. The tray of claim 1 where the material used in its fabrication is a resilient plastic.
6. The tray of claim 5 where the resilient plastic is a heat-stable polyethylene.
7. A tray for the cleaning and storage of wide-mouth liquid drinking containers comprising a vertically disposed frame member having opposed side walls and a bottom which is of larger dimension than its top, said frame member having a cross-sectional form of a hollow inverted V, with the bottom of the inverted V having downwardly extending parallel side walls, a plurality of stops in spaced apart parallel relationship within the inverted V, a pair of vertically disposed parallel arms within said frame member extending continuously along two sides of the frame member and connected to the adjacent opposite sides, thereby defining two parallel spaces along two sides of the frame member, vertically disposed, spaced apart connecting members extending crosswise between the sides of the frame member and the parallel arms, a plurality of interconnected support arms arranged within the frame member between the parallel arms and the adjacent side walls of the frame member to form an open web-like structure, a plurality of upturned stops aiixed to the vertically disposed side arms, said stops defining a plurality of widemouth drinking container receiving areas, said areas containing a wide-mouth liquid drinking container positioning assembly which comprises inner and outer vertically disposed cylindrical walls with the inner cylindrical wall being connected to the outer cylindrical wall by a plurality of opposed horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms which radially emanate from the outer side of the inner wall to the inner side of the outer wall with the inner wall being elevated above the horizontal plane of the outer wall, and with the horizontally extending downwardly projecting arms forming a plurality of opposed shoulders for positioning the mouths of the widemouth liquid drinking containers.
8. The tray of claim 7 where the vertically disposed spaced apart connecting members extending crosswise between the sides of the frame member and the parallel members comprise a pair of parallel arms having crosswise therebetween and connected thereto vertically disposed arms in spaced apart parallel relationship.
9. The tray of claim 7 where the support arms within the wide-mouth drinking container receiving areas are arranged such that some are lower than others.
10. A tray for the cleaning and storage of wide-mouth liquid drinking containers comprising a vertically disposed frame member having opposed side walls, a top and a bottom, a plurality of interconnected vertically disposed support arms arranged within and connected to the interior side walls of the frame members to form an open, web-like structure, a plurality of upturned stops aixed to the vertically disposed side arms, the upper portions of said stops lying in a plane substantially below the plane formed by the top of said frame member, said stops defining a plurality of wide-mouth liquid drinking container receiving areas, said areas containing a plurality of opposed shoulders for positioning the mouths of the wide-mouth liquid drinking container, and said bottom of the vertically disposed frame member containing a continuously extending recessed portion dimensioned to be of slightly larger cross-sectional area than the top of the vertically disposed frame member for allowing the nesting of the vertical frame members, one within the other, said recessed portion having a plurality of nesting stops formed therein.
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