US 3716282 A
A mobile drawer supporting frame with a back and sides is molded of a temperature resistant, impact resistant plastic. Integrally molded drawer guides include drawer seating recesses which cooperate with drawer glides on molded plastic drawers to insure that the drawers are seated against accidental opening during movement of the frame. The molded plastic drawers are stackable, as are molded plastic shelf-trays which also can be supported in the drawer guides. The shelf-trays are invertible to provide either a shelf or a tray, and can be inserted either forwards or backwards in the guides to thereby increase their versatility.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Propst et al.
[ 1 Feb. 13,1973
1 1 DRAWER, TRAY-SHELF AND SUPPORTING STRUCTURES THEREFOR  Inventors: Robert L. Propst, Ann Arbor; James O. Kelley, Saline, both of Mich.
[731 Assignee: Herman Miller, Inc., Zeeland, Mich.
[221 Filed: Oct. 12, 1970 [211 Appl. No.: 79,890
 US. Cl. ..312/322, 312/348, 312/350  Int. Cl. ..A47b 88/16  Field of Search ..312/350, 330, 341 NR, 214,
2,799,145 7/1957 Jansen ..312/350 3/1964 Rhoads..... 7/ 1963 ..312/350 Schless ..3 l 2/ 330 5 7] ABSTRACT A mobile drawer supporting frame with a back and sides is molded of a temperature resistant, impact resistant plastic. integrally molded drawer guides include drawer seating recesses which cooperate with drawer glides on molded plastic drawers to insure that the drawers are seated against accidental opening during movement of the frame. The molded plastic drawers are stackable, as are molded plastic shelftrays which also can be supported in the drawer guides. The shelf-trays are invertible to provide either a shelf or a tray, and can be inserted either forwards or backwards in the guides to thereby increase their versatility.
2 Claims, 21 Drawing Figures PATENTED FEB] 3 I973 SHEET 10s 7 INVENTORS PPOPS77- @5445 ATTORNEYS I PATENTEDFEBHIQB 3,716,282
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DRAWER, TRAY-SHELF AND SUPPORTING STRUCTURES THEREFOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION disclosed in US. Pat. Nos. 3,212,646, 3,241,850 and 3,241,898. The present invention comprises several improvements on the inventions disclosed in those patents.
In hospital environments, cleanliness is a key factor. The innumerable cracks and corners in present drawer and drawer supporting structures are totally unacceptable. Such defects indicate clearly that prior art hospital equipment simply has not kept pace with the significant demands in cleanliness and sterilization which have been placed upon modern hospitals. The complicated drawer glides in existing cabinet structures are but one example of equipment which is too intricate to be capable of proper cleaning.
Economy of use is another significant factor to be considered in creating hospital equipment. Labor costs must be minimized. With most present equipment, nurses must go from room to room changing the contents of drawers to meet the varying needs of new patients. Existing drawers and cabinets are cumbersome and are not designed for movement to a central location or for storage in a central location for later filling and use. In general, existing drawer and cabinet structures are far too cumbersome and lacking in versatility toachieve any important economies in hospital usage. I
Finally, economy in construction is an extremely important factor in minimizing hospital costs. Thus, while equipment must be designed which can be readily cleaned and which is versatile, these goals must be achieved in designs which can be economically constructed.
Of course, the inventions disclosed in the aforementioned United States Patents constitute a great step to be inserted in these guides, include means cooperating to seat the drawers in the guides when the drawer is in its closed position. Thus, accidental openingof the drawer during the movement of the frame is prevented. This renders the system particularly useful in central storage and filling systems.
The guides also include top and bottom guide flanges which are vertically spaced a distance sufficient to allow proper cleaning. These flanges define a smooth fillet at their junction with the side walls of the frame to further facilitate cleaning. Finally, a unique but simple door is provided for closing the frame to thereby further facilitate cleanliness and versatility.
In another aspect of the invention, the drawers themselves have first and second vertical end walls which facilitate their stacking with other drawers of like construction which have varying depths. In the present invention, only the side walls of the drawers are slanted. The end walls are vertical such that the drawer cannot possibly nest in another drawer having the same length and width dimensions. At least one end wall extends beyond the side walls, at least at the bottom of the drawer, to provide stacking support ribs. A supporting rim at the top of the drawer includes a recess at each side wall near the first end for receiving the support ribs and preventing lateral shifting of a stacked drawer. The second end wall includes a rim which is also recessed to provide a supporting surface for one end of a drawer stacked thereon. Also, this recess acts in concert with the first end wall to prevent the longitudinal movement of a stacked drawer. Thus, the drawers of this invention can be stored in a central location for subsequent, individualized filling and transport to a patient area. The drawers will stack together regardless of their relative depths, so long as their lengths and widths are constant. Furthermore, being molded of plastic, the drawers are sufficiently light that mobility is greatly facilitated.
It is yet another aspect of this invention to provide a versatile combination molded plastic tray and shelf. This can be supported in the drawer guides of the mobile frame and it includes a bottom having sides upwardly extending therefrom to form a tray. The opposite surface of the bottom is generally flat and forms a shelf which can be readily cleaned. Glide flanges extend outwardly from opposite sides to support the trayshelf, and these glides have top and bottom surfaces which are mirror images of each other such that the tray-shelf may be inverted to provide either a tray having side walls, or a shelf having a generally flat and readily cleanable surface. When used as a tray, the combination tray and shelf can be used to support bottles or other containers for liquid. The side walls of the tray will prevent any liquid from a spilled bottle from draining onto the floor. On the other hand, the flat shelf surface can be used for storing sheets or other material which should be readily removable as by sliding them off a shelf.
Finally, it is' an object of this invention to provide a unique drawer guide member which can be fastened either beneath a horizontal surface or which can be fastened to a vertical surface in order to provide a drawer guide where none previously existed. Further, this drawer guide comprises spaced top and bottom flanges, comparable, to those described in connection with the mobile frame above, such that it is readily cleanable.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects and advantages of this invention will be seen and understood by reference to the specification and appended drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the mobile C-frame;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a smaller mobile C- frame;
FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the C-frame;
FIG. 4 is a cutaway top view of the side wall of the C- frame;
FIG. 5 is a cutaway bottom view of the side wall of the C-frame;
FIG. 6 is a cutaway front view of a side wall of the C- frame stacked on top of another C-frame;
FIG. 7 is a cross section taken along plane VII-VII of FIG. 2;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the portion VIII of FIG.
FIG. 9 is a side perspective view of a drawer; FIG. 10 is a plan view of a drawer; FIG. 11 is a front view of a drawer; FIG. 12 is a side perspective view of a plurality of drawers stacked one upon the other;
FIG. 13 is a longitudinal cross section of a tray-shelf; FIG. 14 is a lateral cross section of a tray-shelf; FIG. 15 is a perspective view of two tray-shelves in stacked position;
FIG. 16 is a plan view of a tray-shelf; FIG. 17 is a cutaway perspective view of the C-frame and its door, viewed from within the C-frame;
FIG. 18 is a bottom plan view of the cover for the C- frame;
FIG. 19 is a side view of an attachable drawer guide; FIG. 20 is a front view of the attachable drawer guide; and
FIG. 21 is a cross section taken along plane XXI- XXI ofFlG. 19.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the preferred embodiment, a molded plastic C- frame 10 includes integrally molded drawer guides 20 which provide support for molded plastic drawers and molded plastic tray-shelves 50 (FIG. 1). C-frame 10 includes a flipper door 60 which can be flipped into a down position to thereby close the C-frame (FIGS. 1 and 17). Finally, C-frame 10 can be covered by C- frame cover 70 (FIG. 3). In order to increase the versatility of the drawers 30 and tray-shelves 50, individual drawer guides 80 are provided for attachment to either horizontal or vertical surfaces (FIGS. 19 through 21).
All of the above components can be molded in a great variety of plastics but, are preferably molded of a temperature resistant, impact plastic such as ABS, high-impact polystyrene, polyphenylene oxide or polyvinyl chloride. They must be resistant to warpage when exposed to hot water washing. In some situations, it will be desirable to use even a higher temperature resistant plastic which will withstand autoclave drying at 260 F. Additionally, they must be resilient such that they do not chip or break readily in usage.
C-frame 10 is C-shaped and includes integrally molded sides 11 and back 12 (FIG. 1). Back 12 includes an integrally molded, outwardly projecting hook 13 (FIGS. 2 and 3) which facilitates hanging C-frame 10 on a cart or on a rail in the manner disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,2l2,646, 3,241,850 and 3,241,898. Similarly, a foot 14 projects rearwardly from each side 11 to abut the surface against which the C-frame is hung. These features render C-frame 10 mobile.
C-frame 10 is preferably somewhat rigid such that sides 11 do not accidentally spring apart and allow drawers 30 or tray-shelves 50 being supported thereby to fall out. Accordingly, a reinforcing flange 15 projects rearwardly from back 12 and extends between the feet 14 which project rearwardly from the sides 11 (FIGS. 2 and 3). This prevents the sides 11 from being sprung outwardly. To further increase this rigidity, a small rib 150 projects downwardly from the bottom of reinforcing flange 15 and extends the length thereof.
It is important that all of the components of this invention be readily stackable. This greatly facilitates handling the components and thereby increases economy of usage. Thus, C-frame 10 includes a top stacking rib 16 located on the top of either side 11 (FIGS. 2, 4 and 6). At the bottom of each side 11, a bottom stacking lip 17 flairs outwardly and then downwardly from the side 11 such that it mates with the top stacking rib ofa lower C-frame 10 (FIGS. 5 and 6).
The sides 11 of C-frame 10 include integrally molded drawer guides 20. These are formed by inwardly projecting, integrally molded bottom guide flanges 21 and top guide flanges 22 (FIG. 2). The bottom guide flange 21 provides support while the top guide flange 22 prevents a drawer from tipping out of C-frame 10 when it is pulled into a forward position. Except for the uppermost top guide flange 22a, the guide flanges 22 extend from the front of frame 10 only about halfway back side 11.
In order to facilitate cleaning, the guide flanges 21 and 22 are spaced a sufficient distance that a person can readily insert a cloth or brush therebetween. Preferably, a person is able to wrap a cloth around his finger and insert his finger between the spaced guide flanges 21 and 22. Additionally, each guide flange 21 and 22 defines a fillet 29 at its junction with a side wall 11 (FIG. 7). The radius of this fillet is a minimum of approximately one-eighth of an inch. This eliminates a sharp corner which would be difficult to clean properly. All inside corners are radiused in such a manner.
The drawer guide structure 20 comprises a unique combination of simplicity, to facilitate cleaning, and efficiency to facilitate a properly workable guide means. The front portion of bottom guide flange 21 is bent sharply upwardly and then forwardly to form a drawer stop 23 having a shoulder 23a which cooperates with a downwardly projecting catch 39 on drawer 30 (FIGS. 2 and 9).
At its rear quarter, bottom guide flange 21 is recessed or cut away to form a drawer seat 24 (FIGS. 2 and 8) which cooperates with drawer catch 39 to insure that drawer 30 does not accidentally fall out of C-frame 10 during movement. The leading edge 24a of seat 24 is inclined slightly forwardly as is the leading edge 39a of catch 39. This makes it possible to unseat drawer 30 with a slight forward pull.
Preferably, the drawers 30 are readily removable from C-frame 10. Accordingly, top guide flange 22 includes a front portion which inclines upwardly at 260 and then levels off again above drawer stop 23 to form a drawer release 26 (FIG. 2). Drawer release 26 is spaced from drawer stop 23 a distance approximately equal to the spacing between bottom guide flange 21 and top guide flange 22. Thus, when a drawer 30 is pulled to its forward most position, it can readily be removed by tipping it upwardly and pulling outwardly such that drawer catch 39 passes over the top of drawer stop 23.
Each bottom guide flange 21 and the next lower top guide flange 22 are actually part of a single continuous inwardly projecting flange. The ends of bottom guide flange 21 and the next lower top guide flange 22 are joined by a vertically oriented face flange 27 (FIG. 2). This construction accomplishes several important goals. First, it actually makes the C-frame easier to mold and thereby increases the economy of construction. Secondly, it provides a blocking face which prevents a person from inserting a drawer 30 or trayshelf 50 into a position between adjacent drawer guides 20 (FIG. 6). Finally, it gives C-frame increased strength.
Drawer 30 includes an integrally molded bottom 31, front wall 32, rear wall 33 and side walls 34 (FIGS. 9 and 10). The side walls 34 are inclined slightly with respect to the vertical to facilitate the release of drawer 30 from a mold (FIG. 11). However, front wall 32 and rear wall 33 are vertical and thereby facilitate the stacking of drawers 30 with similar drawers, regardless of the varying depths of the drawers (FIG. 10). One drawer 30 cannot possibly nest within a lower drawer 30 since the lengths of the drawers 30 are identical at their tops and bottoms.
The front wall 32 extends beyond side walls 34 to define a vertical stacking rib or flange 32a (FIGS. 9, 1 1 and 12). Thus, the front end of one drawer cannot fall down into a lower drawer, since front wall 32 is equally wide at both top and bottom.
When one drawer 30 is stacked on top of another, it is received within a side stepped-down recessed portion 38 at the top rims of the side walls 34 and within a similar rear recess 38a at the top rim of rear wall 33 (FIG. 10). Stepped-down recess 38 is defined by outwardly projecting side flanges or lips 36 and an outwardly projecting rear lip 37. The stacking ribs 32a on an upper drawer fit against the inside of front wall 32, within the side recessed portions 38. This makes it impossible for the rear end of the stacked drawer to fall into the lower drawer. The rear of the drawer then sets within the rear recessed portion 38a. The side recessed portions 38 prevent lateral movement of the drawer 30 and the rear recessed portion 38a cooperates with front wall 32 to prevent longitudinal shifting of a stacked drawer 30. Due to these stacking features, drawers of varying depths can be stacked one on top of the other and they will not fall one within the other. This allows them to be filled and then stacked in readiness for later usage. Thus, the vertical end walls 32 and 33 prevent one drawer 30 from falling lengthwise into a lower drawer while the front wall 32, extending beyond sides 34 to form stacking ribs 32a, prevents it fromfalling sideways into a lower drawer 30.
The outwardly projecting side lips 36 of side walls 34 also act as drawer glides for insertion between top and bottom guide flanges 22 and 21. The rear portion of side lip 36 includes a downwardly projecting catch 39 which, as heretofore explained, cooperates with seating recess 24 and drawer stop 23 of bottom guide flange 21.
Finally, drawer 30 is provided with a pair of downwardly projecting feet ribs 40 at either side of its bottom 31. These allow an operator to set a drawer 30 on a wet surface without having the drawer 30 stick to that surface as a result of a vacuum being created between the drawer bottom 31 and the table surface. A front lip 35 curls downwardly from the top rim of front wall 32 to provide a convenient drawer handle.
The unique combination tray and shelf 50 comprises an integrally molded bottom 51, upwardly projecting side walls 52 and front and rear walls 53 (FIG. 16). A
glide flange 54 extends laterally from each side wall 52 such that tray 50 can be supported within the guides 20 of C-frame 10 (FIGS. 13 and 16). Glide flange 54 terminates a sufficient distance from the ends of side 52 that it will abut, but not rest on top of stop 23, regardless of whether tray-shelf 50 is inserted into C- frame 10 forward or backwards. Glide flanges 54 are merely flat flanges such that tray-shelf 50 can be inverted within C-frame 10. Thus, it can act either as a tray, or as a generally flat shelf. Also, glide flanges 54, being positioned halfway up the side walls 52, act as handles whereby tray-shelf 50 can be conveniently grasped without getting fingers or thumbs on the inside of the tray.
Handling is also facilitated by the fact that the bottom surface of bottom 51 is slightly concave (FIGS. 13 & 14). This prevents a vacuum from being created when tray-shelf 50 is set on a wet surface.
Stacking is facilitated by means of a peripheral notch or recess 55 extending around the bottom perimeter of bottom 51 (FIGS. 13 & 14). This recess mates with the top perimeter of side walls 52 and front and rear walls 53 of a next lower tray-shelf 50 (FIG. 15).
The front of C-frame 10 can be closed by means of a flipper door 60 (FIGS. 1 and 17). This is used when C- frame 10 carries tray-shelves 50 to keep them free of dust. Flipper door 60 is specially constructed such that it can slide within the top drawer guides 20 of frame 10. It includes a bracket 62 extending rearwardly from its face panel 61. A pin 63 then extends outwardly from bracket 62 at a distance spaced from face panel 61. The face panel 61 and pin 63 then embrace a bottom guide flange 21 and face panel 61 resides between a bottom guide flange 21 and top guide flange 22.
Face panel 61 is flexible such that it can be bent to facilitate its insertion into C-frame 10. As the door 60 is slid forwardly, pin 63 is stopped by blocking face 27. Door 60 then flips over to cover the front of C-frame 10. Feet 66 are provided at either side for abutting the front ends of sides 11. A short catch flange 28 extends rearwardly from face 27 to provide a catch against which pin 63 rests, to prevent door 60 from falling downwardly. The bottom of face panel 61 is bent outwardly and then downwardly to define a gripping flange 64 (FIG. 1). The contour of gripping flange 64 corresponds to that of front lip 35 (the handle) of drawer 30 such that a drawer 30 can be placed in the lowermost set of glides 20 (FIG. 1) when flipper door 60 is used. Thus, even though front lip 35 will project slightly beyond the ends of guide rails 20, door 60 will still close generally flush with the front of guides 20.
The top of C-frame 10 can be covered by means of a cover 70 (FIGS. 3 and 18). Cover 70 includes a pair of grooves 71 at either side which fit over top stacking ribs 16 of C-frame 10 (FIG. 18). A pair of similar stacking ribs 72 project upwardly from thetop surface of cover 70 at either side thereof to make it possible to stack another C-frame on top of cover 70 (FIG. 3). In effect, the stacking ribs 72 replace top stacking ribs 16 of the C-frame 10 when it is enclosed by cover 70.
The individual drawer guides (FIGS. 19 through 21) increase the versatility of drawers 30 and trayshelves 50 in that they can be secured to the bottom of any horizontal surface, such as a table (FIG. 21), or to the side of any vertical surface 101 (FIG. 20).
They include an integrally molded side wall 81, bottom flange 82 and top flange 83. Bottom flange 82 includes an upwardly projecting drawer stop 84 near the front thereof and includes a recessed drawer seat 85 near the rear quarter thereof. Top guide flange 83 includes a portion near the front thereof inclining upwardly and then extending horizontally forwardly to define a drawer release 86. Thus, the manner in which a drawer 30 or a tray-shelf 50 slides within individual drawer guide 80 is identical to that in which it slides within a drawer guide 20 molded integrally with sides 11 of C- frame 10.
Each drawer guide 80 includes mounting holes 87 within its side wall 81 to facilitate fastening drawer guide 80 to a vertical surface 101 as shown in FIG. 20. Similarly, top guide flange 83 includes mounting holes 88 which allow it to be fastened to the bottom of a horizontal surface as shown in FIG. 21. Because top guide flange 83 is bi-level, side wall 81 extends above the lower level of top guide flange 83 to insure that guide 80 will be horizontal when abutting a horizontal surface. Similarly, top guide flange 83 bends upwardly to form a longitudinal rib 89 which extends upwardly to the top level of side 81 (FIG. 21). This causes drawer guide 80 to be horizontally oriented when it is placed against the bottom of a horizontal surface 100 as is shown in FIG. 21. Finally, it should be noted that access holes 90 are provided through bottom flange 82 whereby screws can be inserted into mounting holes 88 and whereby a screwdriver can be inserted through bottom guide flange 82 to provide access to the screws in mounting holes 88.
Thus, in accordance with this invention, the drawers 30 and tray-shelves 50 can be individually filled at a central servicing station and can there be stacked one on top of the other for storage. The stepped-down side recesses 38 in a lower drawer accommodate the vertical stacking ribs 320 of an upper drawer. The front wall 32 of the upper drawer abuts against the inside of the front wall 32 of the lower drawer. The rear of the upper drawer is supported within rear recessed portion 38a. Thus, the stacked drawer is maintained against both longitudinal and lateral shifting. Tray-shelves 50 can be stacked one on top of the other by peripheral recess 55 nesting over the top rim of side walls 52 and front and rear walls 53.
From their storage station, the drawers can be inserted into the drawer guides 20 of a C-frame 10. WI-len a loaded drawer is pushed into its closed position, drawer catch 39 will seat within drawer seat recess 24 in bottom flange 21. This will insure that a drawer 30 will not accidentally open during transport. Because drawer catch 39 and drawer recess seat 24 are inclined slightly forwardly, the drawer 30 can be unseated therefrom merely by the exertion of a slight forward pressure.
Once the C-frame is hung in place, a drawer 30 can be pulled forwardly until catch 39 abuts drawer stop 23 on bottom guide flange 21. The drawer will be prevented from tipping outwardly since the rear of the drawer 30 will abut against top guide flanges 22. If it is desired to again remove a drawer 30 from C-frame 10, it can be tilted upwardly and pulled forwardly. Release portion 26 of top guide flange 22 allows the drawer 30 to be tipped upwardly. Because the spacin between release portion 26 and stop 23 IS compara 1e to the spacing between top guide flange 22 and bottom guide flange 21, the drawer can then be pulled forwardly and out of C-frame 10.
A tray-shelf 50 can also be inserted into guides 20. The glide flanges 54 reside between a top flange 22 and a bottom flange 21. The front of a glide flange 54 abuts drawer stop 23 such that trayshelf 50 will not readily fall out. Tray-shelf 50 is invertible, such that it can be used in one instance as a tray for storing liquid vials and the like, and in the other instance as a shelf for sheets or other materials which should be readily removable.
If a vial of fluid were to spill when tray-shelf 50 were used as a tray, the liquid would not run all over the floor or interior of C-frame 10. It would be trapped by side walls 52 and front and rear walls 53. On the other hand, sheets or the like can be conveniently stored on the shelf side of shelf-tray 50 and there will be no walls or ribs to interfere with their ready removal from the shelf.
During transport and during storage, cleanliness is facilitated by cover and flipper door 60 for C-frame 10. These prevent dust and the like from entering any tray-shelves 50 which might be in position within C- frame 10.
Finally, a drawer 30 or a tray-shelf 50 can be supported by individual drawer guides positioned in any desirable location within the hospital. In this manner a stationary drawer position can be established if this is desired.
It will be understood that the above is merely a preferred embodiment of the invention and that many changes and alterations can be made thereof without departing from the spirit and broader aspects of the invention.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows.
l. A supporting member for drawers and the like comprising: a molded plastic frame having a back and two sides; drawer guides being integrally molded with said sides; each of said guides comprising at least one flange projecting inwardly from said sides; a door for said frame comprising a face panel with brackets projecting from the rear thereof and at either side thereof; said brackets including outwardly projecting pins such that said door can be slidably carried on a pair of opposing ones of said flanges, each said flange being embraced between said face panel and one of said pins; at least the uppermost one of said flanges on either side comprising a downwardly and then inwardly turning portion at the front of said frame to provide a stop and a support for said pin when said door is slidably moved to the front of said frame.
2. The supporting member of claim 1 in which a drawer having a handle projecting outwardly beyond the front of said guides is positioned in the lowermost drawer guides thereof; said door extending to a point below said handle and having an outwardly projecting portion corresponding to that of said handle such that said door will close generally flush against the front of said guides.