|Publication number||US3643808 A|
|Publication date||Feb 22, 1972|
|Filing date||Sep 2, 1969|
|Priority date||Sep 2, 1969|
|Publication number||US 3643808 A, US 3643808A, US-A-3643808, US3643808 A, US3643808A|
|Inventors||Hoagland Raymond L, Ryan James D|
|Original Assignee||Gerber Prod|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (25), Classifications (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Ryan et al. 1 Feb. 22, 1972  GRAVITY FEED MERCHANDISING 2,933,196 4/1960 Childs ..248/243 X RACK 3,203,554 8/1965 Pendergrast, Jr. et al. .2! H49 3,269,556 8/1966 Streater ..2l l/l32 1 lnvemorsI James Ryan; Rflymond "oagland, 3,321,089 5/1967 Krikorian 211/134 both Fremont/M199 3,329,281 7/1967 Ball 1 ..211/153 G be Prod s C F t 3,355,134 11/1967 Chesley..... .211/134 X  Ass'gnee g ompany remon 3,528,558 9/1970 Williams ..21 1/49 1) Filedl p 1969 Primary ExaminerRamon S. Britts ] Appl 854 481 Att0rney-Townsend and Townsend 7] ABSTRACT FIat-endedcontainers are shipped in cartons and arranged 58 I d 4 133 8 I35 49 therein in a single layer so that the flat sides rest on the carton 211/88 103 1 base. To merchandise the containers the carton tops are 221/l30 248/243 removed, while the containers remain in the open box, and a plurality of boxes are vertically stacked in a rack spacing the cartons sufficiently to permit removal of the containers from  References Cited the cartons. The rack inclines the cartons so that the con- UNITED STATES PATENTS tainers slide downwardly along the carton base towards the 2 599 380 6/1952 G l 21 1,133 lowermost side of the carton from where the containers are a v1n removed 2,648,442 8/1953 Lowmaster 2,905,330 9/1959 Lilja ..2l H49 10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENIED FEB 22 I972 INVENTORS JAMES D. RYAN RAYMOND L. HOAGLAND ATTORNEYS GRAVITY FEED MERCHANDISING RACK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In high volume merchandising, such as in supermarkets, the arrangement of merchandise on shelves is a major cost item. Generally speaking, the merchandise is prepacked by the manufacturer in containers which are shipped in large cartons. At the point of sale the cartons must be opened and each container is separately placed on the shelves.
Attempts have been made to display the containers without their removal from the cartons. For example, when cartons are stacked on top of each other to display a large volume, say for a days business, only the containers in the uppermost carton are accessible. That carton must be fully emptied and then discarded. This involves additional attention and work by store personnel and often results in empty cartons laying about the floor, thereby giving the establishment an unsightly and uninviting appearance. Moreover, the arrangement is not very stable and cartons can be accidentally pushed off the shelf or the supporting container-filledcarton below resulting in possible damage of and/or loss to the merchandise. Consequently, this method of merchandising prepacked goods has not become accepted to any appreciable extent.
It has been suggested to provide gravity dispensers for cylindrical containers, such as cans, in which the cartons are inclined and a side of the cartons is opened so that the containers roll towards a dispensing point. U.S. Pat. No. 3,203,554 illustrates and discloses such a rack. Although such racks eliminate some of the necessary work to display prepacked merchandise, it has several disadvantages. When a filled carton is placed on the rack the containers roll towards the dispensing end of the rack at relatively high speeds which can damage the containers or mar their surface finish or, if they are constructed of glass, can cause breakage. If the containers have protrusions projecting from their cylindrical surfaces the rack is inoperative since the protrusions prevent the necessary rolling of the containers. Thus, the merchandising rack disclosed in that patent is, for practical purposes, limited for use with conventional tin cans.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a merchandising rack which eliminates the need for removing the containers from their shipping cartons and which operates irrespective of the exterior configuration and material of. the containers. Briefly, the rack comprises a support structure and a plurality of vertically spaced and aligned cantilevered shelves for holding the shipping cartons. Connection means secure the shelves to the support structure and incline the shelves with respect to the horizontal so that gravitational forces biasing the containers towards the lowermost side of the carton exceed the frictional forces between the containers and the carton base. Flat supporting ends of the upright containers thus slide over the carton base.
To merchandise, i.e., dispense, the containers the top of the shipping carton is removed in a conventional manner and the carton is placed on a shelf. This automatically inclines the carton and biases the containers towards the lowermost carton side which is the dispensing side of the carton from where customers remove containers they wish to purchase. The removal of a container results in another container sliding downwardly until it is engaged by the lowermost carton side, i.e., until it occupies the space from which the other container was removed. In this manner, containers are always disposed at the front edge of the carton.
The simplicity of the rack, its low cost and the time savings it provides for store personnel handling the merchandise afford significant operating cost reductions. In addition, the rack provides a pleasing and inviting merchandise display and dispensing unit.
It is presently preferred that the racks have a sufficient size to provide for the side-by-side storage oftwo or more shipping cartons. The racks are mounted to the cantilever arms so that BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevation of a merchandising rack constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, enlarged perspective view of the ,merchandising rack and illustrates the placement of shipping cartons on the racks;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, enlarged front elevational view, in section, of a supported rack shelf and is taken on line 3-3 of FIG. I;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elevational view that is taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, sectional view of the means for attaching the rack to the wall and is taken on line 5-5 of F IG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a merchandising rack 6 rests on a base 8 which includes an upright support 10'. Mounted to the upright support are vertically oriented, spaced-apart connection rails 12 which are of a conventional construction, have a generally U-shaped configuration and include serially ar ranged slots (not shown). Outwardly extending side arms I4 include projections (not separately shown) which extend through the slots in the rails and engage the rails to mount the side arms. As more fully described hereinafter, pairs of side arms support shelves 16 which are inclined from the horizontal and upon which shipping cartons or cases 18 holding single layers of containers 20 are placed. The lowermost shelf sides are provided with shelf walls or flanges 24 to prevent the cartons from sliding off the shelves.
The containers are placed onto the shelves through open spaces 26 between adjacent shelves. For best space utilization and to provide sufiicient clearance between a top edge 28 of shelf wall 24 and the adjacent upper shelf the spacing between the two is no less than the height of the containers or walls 30 of the carton, whichever is greater. Preferably the spacing exceeds that maximum dimension slightly to facilitate the ease with which the cartons are placed onto the shelves. As a general rule the vertical spacing between adjacent shelves should equal or exceed the maximum container or carton height plus the height of the shelf wall 24 which results in an open space 26 exceeding the maximum carton or container height. An uppermost shelf 22 is constructed to provide a storage shelf for closed cartons for subsequent placement on one of the shelves 16.
Although the merchandising rack illustrated in FIG. I is a self-contained, transportable unit which can be moved to any desired location, the invention can be equally well practiced by securing the vertical connection rails 12 to fixed walls, partitions and the like.
Connection rail 12 has a generally U-shaped configuration and includes a pair of flanges 13 extending outwardly from the free end of the channel-shaped center'portion of the rail. The flanges include apertures for receiving mounting screws .15 and the screws secure the rail to the wall in a conventional manner. It will be noted that the mounting screws may straddle conventional, special-purpose connection rails 11 of various designs, that may be contained inside the wall for mounting of conventional merchandising racks. Connection rail 12 enables the mounting of the present invention to existing upright support 10 without damaging the special-purpose mounting rails usually present. The mounting rail includes at least one row of vertically elongate, serially arranged slots for the mounting of the shelves as described below.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, unlike conventional side arms constructed to operate with special-purpose connection rails 11, side arms 14 of the present invention have an uppermost side 32 which slopes downwardly and which is parallel to shelves 16. A rear end 34 of each side arm includes an upper, notched protrusion 33 extending through a slot 35 in connection rail 12 and engaged by the rail to cantilever the shelf from the rail. A second, lower protrusion 31 extends through the next lower slot in the connection rail and assures adequate support for the shelf and alignment of the side arms with the connection rails and the slots therein. The connection formed by the protrusions and the rail is a quick disconnect attachment of the shelf to the rail for easy installation and handling.
in one embodiment of the invention a side 36 of each side arm facing towards shelves 16 mounts a generally Z-shaped bracket 38 the lower portion of which is permanently secured, such as spot welded, to the side arm while the upper section thereof defines an upwardly opening, channel-shaped space 40. The upper section of bracket 38 preferably includes a flared end 42.
An L-shaped member 44 is inserted into space and engages the transitional section 46 of Z-shaped bracket 38 to provide a firm support for the member 44 and position arm 48 of member parallel to side arm top edge 32. Arm 48 is inclined from the horizontal and slopes downwardly over its length from its rear end towards its front end. The L-shaped member further includes a stop 50 which engages the rearwardmost end of Z-shaped bracket 38 to position the member and limit its forward movement.
Shelf 16 is preferably constructed of metallic rods 52 which are positioned parallel to side arms 14 and which are supported by heavy-gauge metallic rods 54 defining a shelf frame 56 and the lowermost shelf wall 24 (see particularly FIG. 2). The shelf frame includes a plurality of spaced-apart heavygauge transverse rods 58 which are disposed perpendicular to the side arms to provide intermittent supports for rods 52. For relatively large shelf sizes transverse support beams 59 are provided to prevent excessive sagging of the shelf when fully loaded. Shelf frame 56 is secured to arms 58 by welds so that brackets 44 form an integral part of the shelf. The shelf frame has a depth, from adjacent rails 12 to lowermost wall 24, which is at least twice the length of a carton side 30 so that two or more cartons can be placed on each shelf and to reduce the frequency of restocking the rack.
Shelves 16 are secured to side arms 14 by inserting the downwardly extending portion of members 44 in spaces 40 defined by Z-shaped bracket 38. The shelves are then slid forwardly until stop 50 engages the rear end of Z-shaped brackets to limit any further movement of the shelves in a forward direction.
A top surface 60 of each shelf is defined by the uppermost portion of rods 52. The top surface is spaced above top edge 32 of side arms 14. By utilizing this arrangement and employing cantilever supported shelves, the dimensions of the cartons are not limited by the location of side arms 14. In addition, rods 52 extend parallel to the side arms to facilitate the slidable movement (as shown in FIG. 2) of cartons 18 along the rods to place them on the shelves.
in another presently preferred embodiment side arms 14 are interconnected by an elongate plate 61 secured, i.e., welded to the forwardmost ends of the side arm pair and extending over the full length of shelf 16. The shelf is permanently secured to side'arms 14 and plate 61 as by welding it thereto. This provides a unitary, rigid construction of the shelves and side arms which are manufactured and installed in a standard length. Two or more shelves can be horizontally abutted to lengthen the useable shelf space as desired. in those instances connection rails 12 disposed between abutting shelves have an extra width and include two parallel rows of slots 35 for engaging the side arms ofthe abutting shelves.
As already referred to the closest possible spacing between adjacent shelves is determined by the height of the containers 20 and shipping cartons 18. The distance which an elongate plate 61 depends from its shelf 16 is likewise controlled. To provide clearance for the removal or insertion of cartons the lowermost shelf wall 24 may not drop below the horizontal plane intersecting the edge 63 of lowermost plate 61. Thus. the overhang of the shelf beyond plate 61 is determined by the slope of the shelf.
Turning now to the use of the merchandising rack, the spacing between adjacent shelves is first adjusted to correspond to the height of the containers to be dispensed by the rack. The top (not shown) of the cartons is removed in a conventional manner, leaving carton walls 30 intact, and the cartons are placed onto the shelves by inserting them through open spaces 26 as previously described. The operator thereby need not handle a single container. By simply placing the carton on the shelf, all containers in the carton are positioned for merchandising and dispensing. Thereafter customers remove the containers from adjacent lowermost container wall 62 supported by lowermost shelf wall 24.
Each time a container is removed the container behind it slides downwardly until engaged by the lowermost container wall. To assure such slidable movement the inclination of the shelf and the container is such that the gravitational forces biasing the container forward into engagement with the lowermost wall exceeds the frictional forces between the supporting container end 64 and the base of the carton. If the carton is constructed of cardboard and the containers are glass jars, such as baby food jars, an inclination of the shelves from the horizontal of about 15 or more is sufficient to assure that the containers slide gravitationally towards the carton front wall. For other carton or container materials, which results in greater or lesser frictional forces between the two, the angular inclination of the shelves from the horizontal is suitably adjusted.
The merchandising shelf described above can be used irrespective of the exterior configuration of the containers which may include outwardly projecting protrusions (not shown).
if the carton base is constructed of two flaps meeting adjacent the center of the base sharp corners between the container supporting end 64 and the upright container sides 66 should be rounded. Sharp corners between the supporting end and the upright container sides, which can be engaged by the flaps and the slidable motion of the containers, are thereby avoided. It is therefore preferred that the transition between the upright container sides and the lowermost container surfaces includes rounded portions 68 which readily slide over edges of the base flaps or other unevenness of the carton base.
l. A display assembly comprising in combination: a plurality of substantially rectangular boxes having a base, four upright walls and an open top, a plurality of upright glass jars having flat supporting ends resting on the base, an upright support structure, a plurality of inclined box-supporting shelves, each shelf being supported by an independent pair of cantilevered side arms, the upper surface of each of said shelves extending above the uppermost portion of said pair of side arms, the shelves being in substantial vertical alignment and having a spacing exceeding the greatest combined height of the box and the jars, connection means secured to the support structure for supporting the shelves and the boxes, the connection means being formed to incline the shelf and the boxes with respect to the horizontal at least about 15 whereby jars in the boxes gravitationally slide towards a lowermost wall of the boxes.
2. A display assembly according to claim 1 wherein the shelves include wall means at lowermost sides of the shelves preventing the boxes from gravitationally sliding past the lowermost shelf sides, and wherein the vertical spacing between adjacent shelves is no less than the maximum height of the box and the containers plus the vertical height of the wall member.
3. A rack according to claim 1 wherein a depth of the shelves is at least about two times the length of a side of the box base, and wherein the shelf is constructed of substantially perpendicular, elongate members secured to each other, and wherein a top surface of the shelf is solely defined by members oriented to extend from the lowermost to an uppermost side of the shelves.
4. A display assembly according to claim 2 wherein the containers include upright sides and a convexly rounded portion interconnecting the supporting ends and the sides to facilitate slidable movement of the containers over the base.
5. A merchandising rack for dispensing upright containers having flat supporting ends and packed in boxes holding a multiplicity of containers, the rack comprising vertical connection rails adapted to be mounted to an upright support structure, a plurality of side arm pairs each side arm having an end attached to the connection rails and means interconnecting free forward ends of the pair of side arms, means spacing the side arm pair on the connection rails, shelf means secured to the side arm pairs, the upper surface of said shelf means extending above the uppermost portion of said side arm pairs, and means for inclining the shelf means from the horizontal at a sufficient angle so that gravitational forces acting on the containers exceed frictional forces between the flat container ends and the box whereby the containers slide towards a lowermost wall of the box for removal from the box.
6. A merchandising rack according to claim 5 wherein the support structure includes built-in rack support rails, and wherein the connecting rails are generally U-shaped and include outwardly extending flanges spaced from a center portion of the rail sufiiciently to straddle the rack support rail.
7, A merchandising rack according to claim 5 wherein the interconnecting means comprises an elongate plate having a lowermost edge spaced from an adjacent, lower shelf sufficiently to permit passage of the box and the containers therebetween, and wherein a lowermost point of the shelf means is above the horizontal plane intersecting the lowermost plate edge.
8. In combination with a plurality of open boxes, each containing a multiplicity of upright individually removable glass jars, having flat supporting ends, a merchandising rack for displaying said boxes of jars so that said jars can be individually removed from respective of said boxes, said merchandising rack comprising: an upright support structure; a plurality of vertically spaced, downwardly inclined shelves, each supported by an independent pair of cantilevered side arms, the upper surface of each of said shelves extending above the uppermost portion of said pair of side arms, each of said shelves supporting at least one of said boxes; and connection means for individually securing the pair of side arms to the support structure, the connection means being formed to independently incline the shelves at an angle with respect to the horizontal, the magnitude of the angle being such that gravitational forces acting on the jars exceed frictional forces between the flat container and the box, whereby the individual jars are continuously urged toward a lowermost wall of the box.
9. A combination according to claim 8 wherein the connection means comprises vertically disposed members connected to the shelf and depending downwardly thereof, the side arms including bracket means engaging the members and connecting the members to the arms for support of the shelf, and stop means positioning the members and the shelf with respect to the side arms and limiting movement between the shelf and the side arms.
10. A combination according to claim 8 wherein the shelves have a substantially rectangular configuration and three open sides, and wherein the shelves include retaining means adjacent a lowermost, fourth side of the shelf for preventing slidable movement of the boxes past the fourth side.
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|U.S. Classification||211/59.2, 211/134|
|International Classification||A47F7/28, A47F5/00|
|Cooperative Classification||A47F7/28, A47F5/0025|
|European Classification||A47F5/00C1, A47F7/28|