US 3104627 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 24, 1963 J. E. FOHN STEEL sHELvING CONSTRUCTION Filed March 6, 1961 United States Patent 3,104,627 STEEL SHELVING CONSTRUCTIGN Jack E. Fohn, Aurora, Ill., assignor to Aurora Steel Products Company, Aurora, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Mar. 6, 1961, Ser. No. 93,467 6 Claims. (Cl. 10S- 157) The present invention relates to a steel shelving construction, and more particularly to such a construction of inherently greater strength and rigidity than conventional shelving.
The load-bearing capacity of steel shelving depends in general upon the gauge or thickness of the material employed therefor and the manner ofV supporting the shelves from the vertical support members. Means of several different types have been developed and are commonly employed to fasten the corners of the shelves to the vertical suppor-ts or uprights for support thereby, such as bolts and nuts, clips, pins, and the like. Such fastening means accomplish their pur-pose effectively, but are adequate only for average shelf loads, since they provide support for the shelves only at the corners. In order to provide for the support of heavy loads, it has been necessary in the past to weld or otherwise secure reenforcements such as angle or channel members to the lower side of the shelves, or to the inside of the shelf flanges or corners. Such reenforcement prevents sagging or collapse of the shelves under designed load, but is expensive, and is apt to be wasteful in requiring either a relatively large number of reenforced shelf members designed for only slightly differing loads, or frequent use of shelves desi-gned for much heavier loads than they are actually called upon to support. In addition, despite lthe relativelyv great weight of material employed to give the desired strength to the shelves, such prior reenforced shelf constructions do not provide .the rigidity and stability required in shelving, so that sway braces must be employed in the 'backs and ends of the shelving. The strengthening of shelves 'by means of integral iianges of different forms has been employed, but for practical reasons is effective only -within aV definite limit ordinarily well below that achieved by the welding or sinn'lar addition to shelves of separate reenforcing members. AVarious other means for imparting the desired strength -to shelves have been proposed, but have achieved at .best only limited acceptance because of -various defects and drawbacks.
The present invention provides means for reenforcernent ofsteel shelves'by which avery strong construction adapted to support very heavy loads is afforded. Structure according to the invention, furthermore, so rigidiiies the shelving in which it isincorporated that no sway braces are required, a stable, substantially nonf swaying construction being achieved without the use of the same. Moreimportant, however, is the fact that by the invention each individual shelf is separately and selectively adjustable to support loads varying t a maximurn yfor which the shelf construction is designed, so that material is not wasted in providing a shelf which is much stronger than is necessary to supporta particular load, yet the Shel-.f may be strengthened and reenforced so as'to support a maximum load when desired. In addition, the invention permits ofthe reenforcement of a shelf only at the area or areas at which concentration of load occurs, so that a minimum of reenforcement will achieve a maxi-mum of support. The rigidiiication of shelving incorporating the invention is achieved by the fact that the shelf construction itself serves to ibrace the shelving both from side to side and from front toback. The strengthening of the shelf by the renforcement structure and the adjustability thereof as to both degree and concentration of load'do not require any increase in ICC the weight or strength of the shelf itself, and on the contrary allow a minimum thickness or 'gauge of material lto be employed for lthe shelf proper. Another advantage afforded by the structure of this invention is the fact that the parts are readily assembled `and disassembled without requiring any securing means to be applied, removed, or adjusted, the parts being simply and easily interlocked to 'be held securely in desired relation and being just as readily separated when desired. 'I'.he numerous advantages of the invention are achieved Without a correspond- `ing increase in cost.
It is an important object of the invention` to provide a reenforced shelf construction particularly for steel shelving which is very quickly and easily assembled and disassembled merely by placing the several parts in posi-k tion or removing them.
llt is another object of the invention to provide a reenforced shelf construction particularly for steel shelving which is adjustable to permit support by each shelf of a ywide range of loads up to a maximum.
Another object is the provision of a reenforced shelf construction in which the reenforcement is adjustable in accordance with the center of gravity ofthe load supported by a particular shelf.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a reenforced shelf construction for steel shelving or the like -which serves so to rigidify the shelving as to eliminate need for sway braces.
Another object ofthe invention is the provision of a reenforced shelf construction for steel shelving or the like 'which provides maximum load-supporting strength while permitting use of minimum-strength material for the shelff.
A fur-ther object is the provision of a reenforced shelf construction which. is extremely,` strong when maximum reenforcement is employed, and which may be economically used to support a small load when minimum reenforcement is employed.
It is yalso an object of the invention to provide a reenforced shelf construction for steel shelving'or the like which is simple and relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and which is readily assembled yand disassembled in an arrangement adjustable selectively as regards the several shelves in accordance with the individual loads to be supported by each. Y `Other and lfurther objects, advantages, and features of the invention will be apparent to'those skilled in the art 'the accompanying drawings,rin which: p
FIG. l is a perspective view of a steel shelving assem- -bly incorporating the present invention, with Va portion broken away for clearness; j Y
FIG. 2' is an enlarged ver-tical sectional View take substantially as indicatedl by the lineA 2'2 in FIG. 1; FIG. 3 isla Yhorizontal sectional view taken substantially as indicated by the line 3 3 in lFIG. 2; and
f vil-"IG, 4 is a vertical sectional view taken 'substantially as indicated by the' line 4-'4 of FIG. 2.
Referring to the drawings, lthere isshown a steel shelving assembly generally designated .10, comprising a plurality of shelving uni-ts each provided by four vertical support members or uprights 11 arranged to dene in plan a rectangle corresponding tothe 'size and shape lof the `shelves supported by the uprights, each shelving unit also including at least one shelf connected to and supported by'theuprights. 'Each upright l11 is substantially of Teshape in cross section, having a stern portion 12` with a cross portion 13 presenting web portions projecting to both sides Vthereof at substantially right angles to the stem portion which are formed with keyhole slots 23 in vertically spaced relation therealong. The two'uprights 1-1 at the rearof Ieach unit are arranged 'with the from the following description, taken in conjunction `with cross member 13 of each in substantially the same vertical plane, and the two uprights at the front of the unit are similarly arranged, the pair of uprights at each end of the unit being arranged with the stem portions thereof extending toward each other, las is clearly shown in the drawings. lFor convenience in handling, the uprights of each end pair may be connected together bytop, bottom, and if desired, intermediate connectors 14 extending between and secured to the stem portions 12. thereof.
Each shelf, generally designated 15, employed in the shelving construction according to the invention comprises a pair of elongated shelf support members :16 arranged parallel to each other, each extending horizontally with one supported by the rtwo rear and the other by the two front uprights of the shelving unit. Each support member 16 is of generally channel cross section, as best shown in FIG. 4, defined by a flange 17, a web portion 13 extending at substantially right angles to the liange 17, and a flange 19 substantially perpendicular to the web 18. Bach member 16 has substantially flat end portions 2t? extending from and lying in the planeof the wider or higher llange 17. Each end portion 26 has projecting therefrom a pair of headed studs 21 spaced apart in the direction of the width of flange 17. The studs extend oppositely relative to the web 1S, and are adapted to engage in vertically spaced keyhole slots 23 formed in the web portions of the uprights 11, with the end portions Ztl lying against the slotted portions of the uprights. As best seen from FIG. 4, the members 16 when in position are arranged with the narrow or low flanges 19 thereof being disposed inwardly or closer together than they high flanges l17. The vertically spaced points of engagement between the members '16 and the uprights 11 provided by the studs 2.1 when disposed in the slots 23 result in the members 16 `holding and bracing the uprights engaged thereby against tilting relative to each other in the vertical plane thereof, and thus eliminatev the need for any sway braces between the rear upriglllts. The end portions 2t) are preferably of greater vertical extent than the high flange 17, to allow `adequate vertical spacingbetween the studs. appreciated that other means than the studs and slots disclosed may be employed to secure the members 16 to the associated uprights, while retaining the bracing advantage of the specific structure disclosed.
IReenforcement or brace members -generally designated 25 are provided for support by the shelf support members 16, each brace member 25 extending transversely between the pair of members 16 provided for each shelf. Each brace member is of inverted channel section, as best shown in FIG. 2, defined by a web 26 of suitable width from the longitudinal edges of which depend flanges 27. Spaced from each end of each flange 27 is a slot 28 extending upwardly from the lower edge thereof for a height corresponding to the height of the low frange 19 of the member 16. The slots 2S are provided forv the reception of the low ilanges 19 of the pair of parallel members 16 by which the brace member 25 is supported, the slots being spaced from the respective ends of the flanges 27 a distance such that the end edges of the flanges and of the web 26 abut against the inner face of the high flange 17 of the adjacent member 16, as best shown in FIG. 4. The height of the anges 27 is such that the end portions thereof between the slots 23 and the end edges thereof engage on the Webs 18 of the members `16, and the upper surface `of the web 26 is disposed substantially llush with the upper edges ofthe members 16, or high flanges 1-7, as also best shown in FIG. 4. By this arrangement, the brace members 25 serve to brace and rigidify :the shelving construction against sway in a plane transverse of theY members 16, by reason of the labutting relationship between the end edges of the members 25 with the outer and higher ilanges y17 of the members 16. It will of .course be obvious that the brace members 25 are also supported by the members 16 to perform their primary function of providing a strong shelf construction capable of-supporting heavy loads.
The shelf construction is completed by a shelf sheet Si) which is disposed Voverlying'the upper edges of the support members 16 and the upper'surfaces of the webs 26 `of the brace members 25, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, to provide a continuous supporting surface for the shelf. Along its forward and rear edges, the sheet 30V is formed with depending flanges 31 Which engage close-.I`
ly against the outer faces of the'high llanges 17 of the support members 16, and are of substantially the same height so as to substantially conceal the'members 16.
The sheet 30V may also be provided with similar endV flanges 32 depending vfrom the end edges thereof ass j i shown in FIGS. l, 2, Vand 4. The anges 31 are cut away adjacent their ends, as indicated atBS'QFlG. 3),
in order -to accommodate the web portions of the cross member-s 13 of the uprights 11. 'I'he flanges '31,.and also the flanges 32 if they are provided, hold the shelf sheet 30 against shifting laterally on the members 16 and` suppont members 16, or the members 16 to the. upf.`
rights. Assembly of the parts is very quickly and .easily accomplished simply. by engaging the studs 21 at the op-j, posite end of each member 16 with the corresponding keyhole slots 23 in the uprights y11, disposing one or more of the brace members 25 to engage between and i be supported by the two members 16 in the manner here.-
` inabove described, and then merely placing the shelf sheet It will be 30 overthe members 16 and 25. Disassembly is justas simple, involving merely performing the reverse of the assembly steps just described. One of the shelf units or assemblies 15 may be employed as the top of the shelv-l ing unit, but lif noload is to be carried by the shelving unit top surface, the brace members 25 may be omitted and the shelf sheet 3ft supported merely on the horizontalunits 16. Again, if desired, otherfsupport means t may be employed to hold .the top shelf sheet 30 instead of the members 16, if desired. Similarly, a shelf u nit 1S or parts thereof may be used to provide a base for a Of course, a base and/or top for each means. The ease of assembling and disassembling the shelf sheet with and from the means by which it is sup-l ported facilitates adjustment of the shelf construction to varying loads. Thus, when the shelf is to be employed for minimum load, the shelf sheet may readily be liftedfrom the assembly and any brace members 2-5 removed from therebeneath, the sheet ithen being replaced to be supported only by the members 16. It will be obvious that the channel cross section of the support members,V
with the flanges disposed vertically to develop the full strength, provides a relatively light structure of ample strength for supporting the load on the thin shelf sheet without any reenforcement or brace members. 'When a greater load up to the maximum for which the shelf construction is designed is to be supported bythe shelf, the` i shelf sheet 36 is removed from the assembly and a number Y of brace members 2S applied on the support members 16 suicient to provide the necessary strength for supportof such load by the shelf assembly, with the shelf sheet thenv being replaced. Similarly, the shelf sheet may be raised in order to allow one or more of thebracelmembers 25 to be shifted or applied to a particular location longitudinally of the support members 16 when there is a concentration of load-on the shelf at sucha location rather than a uniform load distribution over the entire shelf area. It will be appreciated that the members 25 may be slid along the members 116, or moved downwardly thereunto for engagement therewith, as may be most convenient in providing for such positional adjustment of the brace members. For many types of articles or materials, the sheet 30 may be dispensed with, if desired, and the support members -16 used with one or more brace members 25 appropriately located therealong to support the load.
The horizontal support members |16 and the brace members 25 in ellect provide an undercarriage or supporting assembly for the shelf sheet, and by reason of the strength imparted to the shelf construction by such arrangement the shelf sheet may be of relatively thin material. The support members 16', which are .the basic load-carrying members of the shelf assembly, are made of relatively -thick or heavy-gauge material corresponding to the maximum designed load. The brace members 25, which provide major supporting areas for the sheet 30, are formed of material of a gauge intermediate that of the sheet 30 and the support members 16. The invention thus allows utilization of `the minimum weight and thickness of material affording the necessary strength to accomplish the purpose of the shelf construction, namely the support of maximum expected load without sagging or danger of collapse, while allowing the structure to be lightened by removal of parts when less than the maximum load is to be supported. IIt is to be understood, of course, that the relative thickness of the material of the sheet 30, brace members 25, and horizontal support members 16 as shown in .the drawings is indicative and illustrative only, and that the differences in thickness between these parts may be in any of various proportions. Similarly, in appropriate circumstances the 'shelf sheet, brace members, and support members may all be of the same thickness, or the parts shown as formed of thinner material than certain of the others may instead be formed of thicker material, although the economy achieved by the disclosed relative thicknesses is of course sacrilced in such case.
It will be understood that -the disclosed embodiment of the invention is exemplary and illustrative, and that many changes and modifications in the specific structure may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited otherwise than as required by the appended claims.
1. A shelf construction comprising a pair of elongated shelf support members disposed in parallel substantially horizontal relation each of channel cross section defined by a horizontally extending web portion and a pair `of flanges of unequal height projecting upwardly from said web portion and each having substantially at end portions in the plane of said higher flange adapted for support thereof in said relation, said support members being arranged with the higher flanges outward, at least one brace member of inverted channel section disposed transversely of said support members and supported thereon with its web horizontally disposed in ythe plane of the upper edges of the higher flanges of the support members, each `said brace member having slots in the depending llanges thereof receiving the shorter flanges of the support members therein and defining end portions of said depending flanges having lower edges resting on said support member web portions and end edges abutting said higher flanges, and a shelf sheet disposed over and supported by said support and brace members, said sheet having flanges depending alongside the support member flanges and of a height substantially to conceal the support member lian-ges.
2. A shelf construction substantially as defined in claim 1, in which the support members are of relatively heavy gauge metal, the shelf sheet is of relatively light gauge metal, and each brace member is of metal of gauge intermediate that of the support members and sheet.
3. A shelf construction comprising a pair of elongated shelf support members disposed lin parallel substantially horizontal relation each having end portions adapted for support thereof in said relation and also having between said end portions a generally channel-shaped cross section defined by a horizontally extending web portion and a pair of ilanges of unequal height projecting upwardly from said web portion, said support members being arranged with fthe higher llanges thereof spaced apart farther than the lower flanges, at least one brace member of inverted channel section disposed transversely of said support members and supported thereon with its web horizontally disposed in the plane of the upper edges of the higher ilanges of the support members, each said brace member having slots in the depending flanges thereof receiving the shorter flanges of the support members therein and defining end portions of said depending llanges having lower edges resting on said support member web portions and end edges abutting said higher support member llanges, and a shelf sheet disposed over and supported by said support and brace members, said sheet havin-g ilanges depending alongside the support member flanges and of a height substantially to conceal the support member flanges.
4. A shelving assembly comprising four vertically extending rect-angularly arranged uprights, a plair of elongated shelf supports disposed in parallel horizontal relavtion each having a generally channel cross section with the web extending horizontally and the flanges projecting vertically upwardly therefrom to dillerent heights, the higher ilanges of the supports being disposed outwardly of the respective shorter llanges, each support also having end portions the plane of the higher flange, cooper-able means on said end portions and a pair of uprights providing vertically spaced points of engagement between the support and each upright of said pair, a brace member of inverted channel section of a depth substantially equal to the vertical extent of said higher ilanges of the supports above the support webs and having upwardly extending slots in the `depending flanges thereof spaced from the ends -a distance substantially equalling the interior Width of the supports and of a height and width not less than the height and thickness of the shorter flanges of :the supports, said brace being disposed transversely on the supports with said slots receiving said shorter flanges of the supports to dispose the end edges of the brace llanges abutting the higher support flanges and engage Ithe end portions of the lower edges of the brace flanges on said support webs a-nd to dispose the brace web substantially in the horizontal plane of the upper edges of the higher flanges, and a sheet overlying the supports and brace between the uprights to provide a supporting shelf surface and having depending edge flanges substantially concealing the supports and engaging therewith to hold the sheet against movement transversely of the supports. f
5. A shelving assembly substantially as defined in claim 4, in which the supports are of relatively heavygauge metal, the sheet is of relatively light-gauge metal, and the brace is of intermediate-gauge metal.
6. A shelving assembly comprising vfour vertically extending .rectangularly arranged uprights, a pair of elongated `shelf `supports disposed in parallel horizontal relation each extending between and supportedly engaged at its ends with a pair of said uprights, each of said supports having between its ends a generally channel cross section with the web extending horizontally and the flanges projecting vertically upwardly therefrom to different Iheights, the higher flanges of the supports being disposed outwardly of the respective shorter ilanges, a brace member of Iinverted channel section of la depth substantially equal to the vertical extent of said higher flanges 7 of the supports :above the support webs and having up- Wardly extending slots in. the depending flanges thereof spaced from the ends a distance substantially equal to the interior Width of the supports and lof a height and Width not less than the height `and thickness of the shorter flanges of the supports, said brace member being disposed transversely on the supports with said slots receiving said shorter anges of the supports to engage the end portions of the lower edges of the brace member ilanges on said support webs, and the end edges of the brace mem# ber flanges in abutting relation `against the higher flanges of the supports and .to dispose `the brace web substantially in the horizontal plane of the upper edges of the higher support flanges, and a sheet overlying the supports and brace member between the uprights to provide a supporting shelf surface and having depending edge portions engaging With the supports to hold the sheet against movement transversely thereof.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS l 1,062,759V Beecher May 27, 1913 1,213,394 Vance Ian. 23, 1917 1,366,743 OConnor Ian. 25, 1921 2,264,120 MacDonald Nov. 25, 1941 '2,815,139 Franks Dec. 3, 1957 2,992,744 Fehn July 18, 1961